Saturday, April 2, 2016

Seldom acknowledged realities

Two items in the current news cycle strike me as noteworthy because they are not widely acknowledged.

The first is the credit that President Obama deserves for the economy, among other issues. I was glad to see in today's NYTimes a piece by Jackie Calmes on why Obama is not given credit for the current low unemployment in America.  Could the reason have to do with his race, or is it that the anti-Obama narrative that has set in has obscured the reality of his many achievements?  For an answer, see Paul Krugman's op-ed piece in yesterday's Times.  (

It is easier for many to protest and rally behind Donald Trump than to recognize the president's positive record.  Anyone who listens to the carefully worded, thoughtful and informed Obama, then listens to the rambling, inconsistent babble of Trump would be hard pressed to find two public figures more different.  One is being celebrated, the other denigrated.

This brings me to the second point: the "religious right," courted by Republicans since the Reagan years, is often blind and seldom right. Richard Rohr, whose recent comments I summarize, says it well: Many who call themselves evangelical Christians cannot see through the self-interest that cloaks itself in Christianity, as is apparent among several of the leading GOP candidates and their supporters.

The role of religion should be to offer a corrective to the culture of capitalism and materialism, to the lack of compassion so evident in people like Trump and Ted Cruz.  As Rohr says, cultural Christianity in America often has little to do with the Gospel.

 "Two thousand years of Jesus' teaching and compassion, love, forgiveness, and mercy (not to mention basic kindness and respect) are all forgotten in a narcissistic rage. Western culture has become all about the self. . . ." He doesn't mention Trump by name, but we know. It is often self-interest masquerading as Christianity.

I saw a woman in a T-shirt yesterday. It said, "Holler if you love Jesus. Holler if he is your personal Lord and Savior."  Doing the will of God is more important than proclaiming a personal devotion: What about loving thy neighbor? What about our connection with our fellow men and women?

No comments: