A Political Moment:
Christianity and its “place” in America
Observations by Kathleen Parker
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Kathleen Parker is an excellent syndicated columnist who observes things that others miss–or don’t want to see. Here’s are excerpts from a column that appeared May 15, 2015 in Florida Today. She quotes both Clinton and Bush (with probably a good speech writer in tow) making observations worth sharing.
The topic: How We should think about Christianity, the FL headline, “Defining deity down.”
…”Last month at Tina Brown’s ‘Women in the World Summit,’ Clinton plainly said: ‘Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed’ so that women can have unfettered access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth.’
“One would like to imagine that Clinton was speaking only about primitive cultures where children are forced into marriage and childbearing, or where rental cutting is common. But we know that she also meant religious conservatives closer to home whose beliefs get in the way. She explicitly criticized Hobby Lobby for not paying for its employees’ contraception.
“By contrast, Jeb Bush, who will become the GOP nominee if Republicans are smart, assumed a much different tone and direction in his recent commencement address at Liberty University: ‘How strange, in our own time, to hear Christianity spoken of as some sort of backward and oppressive force,’ he said. ‘It’s a depressing fact that when some people think of Christianity and of the Judeo-Christian values, they think of something static, narrow and outdated….I cannot think of any more subversive moral idea ever loosed on the world than “the last shall be first, and the first last.” ‘
“He also spoke of what our world would have been like without the ‘unalloyed compassion, such genuine love, such thorough altruism,’ as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described Christianity.
“It would be defined, Bush said, by ‘power without restraint, conflict without reconciliation, oppression without deliverance, corruption without reformation, tragedy without renewal.’
“In a culture more attuned to the grits ‘n’ gravy style of a Mike Huckabee, it is rare to hear Christianity discussed in such elevated terms. Indeed, Huckabee can be expected to go after Bush as a blue-blooded elite who can’t relate to everyday Americans. But I suspect that even conservative Southern Christians might appreciate hearing their beliefs so eloquently described by Bush.
“To be fair, Clinton likely would have reframed her comments had she been speaking to a Christian audience. But her spoken words can’t be deleted and her thinking is clear: Religious beliefs have to be changed.
“Or else what, pray tell?”