Monday, February 29, 2016

Faith and Decency in Presidential Politics

Max Lucado on Decency and Donald Trump

For the first time in his 61 years of life, influential Christian preacher and author Max Lucado has spoken out about politics.

Lucado shared his decency test when vetting prospective suitors for his teen-aged daughter with the crucible being evident decency.

Lucado wonders why in Election 2016 that Donald Trump, the current front-runner in the Republican Presidential Primary race, would be turned away from Lucado's door as he persistently fails the decency test.

Some polling from the first four Republican primary contests show that Trump grabs a good amount of support from self proclaimed evangelical voters. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) who had expected to earn the support of most evangelicals, posits that Trump is getting lots of self-described "Born Again" votes but not real evangelicals.

The logic is that evangelicals who are serious about their Christian walk in faith care more about being biblically correct than eschewing political correctness through Trump support.  It is similar to the political divide between Mass going Catholics (25% of the total) and those who are C-I-N-Os (Catholics in Name Only).

After electing Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Americans should have learned the lesson that despite triangulating promises and eloquent oratory that character matters.  When some one shows you who they are, you ought to believe them.

Decency is a good gauge of character.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What to Make of Ash Wednesday Marking

Ash Wednesday is the second most attended Mass in the Catholic calendar, even though it is not officially a holy day of obligation.

One of the features of the Ash Wednesday liturgy is the application of ashes on the faithfuls' foreheads to mark the start of Lent to represent our consciousness of our own sin and need for repentance. These sacramentals are not uniformly applied in the same manner, hence the waggish graphic of Ash Art.

Some non-liturgical Protestants question whether Christians should advertise their faith by walking around wearing schmutz on their forehead. They would question why we are not adhering to Matthew's admonition not to trumpet their faithfulness in public.

However, walking around with Ashes on their forehead is not exactly a boast of one's virtue.  In fact it is the opposite.  And unless Fr. Hollywood applies "The Hitchcock" or "Harry Potter" ashes, the mark is a variation of the Cross.  In the ancient world, the cross was a sign of shame, as it was the cruel way the Romans enforced their authority against "criminals".  In Christendom, it is a reminder of the Via Dolorosa which each of us are invited to take in our walk of faith.

Lest anyone think that Ash Wednesday Ash art is just a benign symbol, consider the case of Stuart Varney.  In 2001, the host of CNN's Moneyline, quit after CNN head honcho Ted Turner mocked those with ashen crosses on their foreheads as "Jesus Freaks".  

Pope Francis on Sin

Pope Francis on Sin