Wednesday, October 04, 2017

New Styles of Architecture

'Tis the season!

This assumes:

Maybe Matt Bevin is right. Maybe you can’t regulate evil. But you can vote those who abide it out of office. In fact, that’s exactly what has to happen. What I said in 2015 still holds today, I think:

"Religious advocates for gun control are caught on the horns of a dilemma, then. They can live their values and not get involved in the dirty business of politics, in which case the slaughter continues. Or they can come off the sidelines and start to organize effectively, which challenges the cherished belief that faith-based action can somehow rise above mere politics. Reinhold Niebuhr pegged this problem right: no option for response is morally pure—and oh, by the way, doing nothing is just another option."

Every faith-based activist and every high-minded proponent of civil religion needs to start wrestling with this reality, if we are to avoid being right back here again, only with a higher body count.
that "religious advocates for gun control" and "every faith-based activist and every high-minded proponent of civil religion" is not already "wrestling with this reality" or, for that matter, voting for people who aren't as dumb as, oh, I don't know, Joe Barton:

 “I think if that guy [in Las Vegas this week] had known that there were armed personnel with the types of weapons he had that would immediately shoot at him, that might have deterred him. I don’t know,” Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) suggested. “That did work in the Old West. You didn’t go around shooting people up too much, despite all the Hollywood movies, because if you did, someone was gonna shoot you. And that did work.”

Don't even start with responding to it; it's too stupid to give it that much credence.  But people elect morons like that, and all the high-minded proponents and faith-based activists in Texas (believe me, they're here) cannot prevail against his supporters; not numerically, anyway, which is the only thing that counts at the ballot box.

In other words, the people Pastor Dan is counting on to get "woke" and stream to the voting booths in November, ain't comin' 'cause they ain't there.  For better or worse the problem of gun control is a spiritual problem (like most intractable problems in America are), because it's a matter of culture, and if you think you can separate the spiritual from the cultural, then you don't understand either of them. And the church can't stop it because the church has no earthly power; and when it did, the Popes got very nasty with it, not to mention some of the cardinals.

I'm not even sure Calvin was that much of a saint in Geneva.  And let's all be glad Luther couldn't impose his hatred of Jews into law; Germany got around to that soon enough as it was.

The only real power the church has is the power of powerlessness  (yes, this is an old discussion). If we took that seriously, we might actually get somewhere.  But as long as we're just talking about trading one power option ("ours") for another ("theirs"), we're just playing the game of power; and power is the only winner on that field.

Auden once called for "New styles of architecture/a change of heart," but he recanted that sentiment and pulled it from his canon.  He thought he was too wise to be so foolish.  I've never been convinced we aren't more wise when we are foolish, and foolish when we think we are wise.

1 comment:

  1. Divorcing religion from gun culture in the United States isn't going to be easy but it's certainly worth trying, and the divorce shouldn't be a friendly one.

    It's a question of margins of influence and the effect they produce in American democracy. The Trump phenomenon shows that there are about a third of the population who, today, with the spectacle of Trump misrule and depravity, still like him because he hates the same people they do. I suspect in the past that the margin of people who might have voted for someone like him and support him might have been as low as a quarter of the population, still too large to feel complacent about. I think the popular culture, especially since the 1960s has encouraged that mindset and that has produced the conditions we find ourselves in. The Republicans and their corporate sponsors - including alleged religious corporations - have promoted American Nazism, neo-confederate cults, amorality, etc. I don't know how many movies and TV shows I've seen in which the hero is a jerk who is out for #1 and who is pushy and rude and obnoxious and homicidally violent.

    I've come to the conclusion that all of that fasting and self-abuse that Luther did as an Augustinian made him peevish and grouchy. I think that's why he was so down on works as opposed to faith, I think he had a set of blinders on that defined that kind of monkish self-abuse as "works". Though I've hardly read widely of Luther. Robinson makes the case that, comparatively speaking, Calvin's sins are fewer. I don't know if that's true.