The Good News

There isn’t much good news right now, nationally or globally. But there are indications of a worldwide swing toward sanity–if we can hang on long enough to allow a younger generation to take charge.

One clear trend that is immensely hopeful is the decline in religious fervor and declining trust in religious leaders, both here and abroad (although in the Arab world, increasing secularization is accompanied by increasing anger at the U.S.)

My characterization of growing secularization as “good news” will undoubtedly offend some readers, so let me be clear about the nature of the “religion” to which I’m referring.

I like my youngest son’s distinction: A “good” religion helps you ask–and wrestle with–the questions; a “bad” religion provides you with The Answers.

Folks who are certain they know what their god wants, and who want to use the power of the state to make the rest of us live in accordance with that certainty, make social peace impossible. We need more Reverend William Barbers, and fewer Mike Pences, more moral courage and less pious hypocrisy.

One reason young people are increasingly rejecting religion is the Evangelical embrace of Donald Trump. A recent article in The Atlantic explored the extent to which that embrace has triggered a crisis of faith.

Last week, Ralph Reed, the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s founder and chairman, told the group, “There has never been anyone who has defended us and who has fought for us, who we have loved more than Donald J. Trump. No one!”

 Reed is partially right; for many evangelical Christians, there is no political figure whom they have loved more than Donald Trump.

Trump’s approval rating among white evangelical Protestants is 25 points higher than the national average. Pew Research reports that, during the period from July 2018 to January 2019, 70 percent of white evangelicals who attended church at least once a week approved of Trump. (That raises the question: what on earth are they hearing from the pulpits of those churches?)

Evangelicals’ rabid support for a man who embodies everything they have long claimed to abhor has operated to de-legitimize Evangelical Protestantism in the eyes of non-adherents. For genuinely religious Christians, this has been hurtful. Peter Wehner, who authored the Atlantic article, writes

What is most personally painful to me as a person of the Christian faith is the cost to the Christian witness. Nonchalantly jettisoning the ethic of Jesus in favor of a political leader who embraces the ethic of Thrasymachus and Nietzsche—might makes right, the strong should rule over the weak, justice has no intrinsic worth, moral values are socially constructed and subjective—is troubling enough.

But there is also the undeniable hypocrisy of people who once made moral character, and especially sexual fidelity, central to their political calculus and who are now embracing a man of boundless corruptions.

Americans have traditionally purported to respect “religion.” We’ve been unwilling (at least in public) to suggest that some theologies undercut social cohesion and undermine the common good, that some “believers” support white Christian dominance more devoutly than spiritual growth, and that many have created a God in their own image.

A recent article in Forbes, of all places, illustrates the point.The author writes that it wasn’t Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” that turned the racist south Republican; it was pastors.

Southern churches, warped by generations of theological evolution necessary to accommodate slavery and segregation, were all too willing to offer their political assistance to a white nationalist program. Southern religious institutions would lead a wave of political activism that helped keep white nationalism alive inside an increasingly unfriendly national climate. Forget about Goldwater, Nixon or Reagan. No one played as much of a role in turning the South red as the leaders of the Southern Baptist Church.

Are there religious people exhibiting humility and loving-kindness, who define morality as an imperative to treat others as they would be treated? Certainly.

A group of 17 Christan church leaders under the banner of ‘Christians Against Christian Nationalism’ have issued an official statement. It condemns the Christian Right’s constant attacks on other faiths and their efforts to bring about a Christian fundamentalist theocracy in the United States.

Their warning is clear: “Christian nationalism provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation.” Adding that it goes hand in hand with white nationalism.

The group points out that the Constitution — the foundation of American law (the only one that counts) — makes it clear that: “Whether we worship at a church, mosque, synagogue or temple, America has no second-class faiths. All are equal under the U.S. Constitution.”

Equality under the Constitution, of course, does not translate into “equally meritorious.”

Before pundits decry the accelerating “loss of religion,” it would behoove us to determine just which versions of “religion” we’re losing.

Some versions need to be lost.

 

 

33 thoughts on “The Good News

  1. The majority of Trumpians I know in my neighborhood are Catholics; the same is true of family and friends outside this area who are Catholic and are staunch Republicans and strong Trump supporters. I have heard the same from Democratic and Independent friends about their family and friends who remain deeply embedded in the Catholic religion and the Republican party. When what is probably the largest and wealthiest religion internationally support leaders such as Trump and McConnell; we are to a certain extent involved in a Holy Civil War. “They” are fighting for out souls; “We” are fighting for our lives. This is my belief, coming from the “Religion of Jo”; I believe there is a higher power, all life cannot be an accident, but what form it takes is unknown. I try to follow the direct teachings of Jesus, a Jewish Rabbi, and hold a strong Atheist trust in science and evolution.

    “Before pundits decry the accelerating “loss of religion,” it would behoove us to determine just which versions of “religion” we’re losing.”

    We need to fight to lose the current religion of “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who are destroying our country. As Joe Biden said yesterday; “…we are fighting for the soul of our nation”.

  2. Your youngest son’s insight into religion needs to be broadcast coast to coast. Like mother, like son I guess.

  3. As we commenters tend to do, record our limited experience as evidence of great information, in contrast to JoAnn’ s Catholic acquaintances , the handful of my Catholic relatives and neighbors all despise Trump. What can account for our starkly contrasting experience? Beats me.

  4. Evangelicals love 45 for two reasons. 1) He is giving them anti-abortion judges. 2) They believe he will bring about Armageddon and the Rapture, in which they believe that they will be transported directly to the right hand of God. He is giving them the thing they desire most, ultimate power.

  5. Thank you! I hope you will find more ways to pick up our sorely battered spirits. I have been an activist in our deeply red area of western North Carolina for several years and find my get up and go pooping out. I don’t want to be completely defeated by what’s going on.

  6. Trump has foisted the ultimate con on the most unsuspecting people: those who understand little of the natural world, and have allowed themselves to duped by their preachers. Those preachers’ sole jobs is to make money. It doesn’t matter how. Racism and its exploitation is just another vehicle to keep coins tinkling into the plates.

    It should be obvious to all on this blog, that those who advocate the loudest and longer for their particular suite of fairy tales are the most insecure in their faiths. They have to shout down the doubts that cloy at their natural sense of reason. Pathetic.

  7. Those churches who preach or advocate for politics should lose their tax-exempt status. Period.

    No more charitable write-offs for parishioners. Period.

    That should eliminate much of what we’re experiencing.

    Your son’s description of a church is spirituality instead of dogma. Christ never preached dogma…in fact, he was very liberal. Emmet Fox’s Sermon on the Mount was brought into an adult book reading club at a local church. The pastor would not let the adults read and discuss the book. It just happened to be the same church the President of BSU is required to attend.

    Religion is a joke at this point in history. Kids are more interested in spirituality which is very open-ended and allows a personal god if one chooses. Or, they can choose nature/universe as their higher powers.

    And for my sermon, I’m usually called the Devil or possessed by the Devil. (eye-roll)

  8. While reading this morning’s blog post it occurred to me that maybe I should start attending the Sunday services of the various evangelical local churches just to hear first hand what they are preaching politically to their parishioners. This could provide me with more insight into how they are persuaded to believe in and support trump and pence and to obtain first hand knowledge of how their religion works.

    Of course, this could also provide me with the information needed to publicly denounce what takes place within those walls and to potentially start an uprising to demand again that churches be denied tax free status if they are preaching about politics and telling their members what to think and how to vote.

    JoAnn, great comment. Like you, I and millions of other lifelong church members have left our organized religions after getting fed up and recognizing that they were created by men with the sole purpose of controlling others. After several years of my former fellow parishioners asking me to come back because they missed me, they finally gave up a couple years ago. They probably think I am a ‘lost soul’.

  9. Wayne,

    Many of my Catholic college friends also support trump and pence, but I believe it is because they are anti-abortion and now they see their religious beliefs being forced on everyone else via the far right dominant Supreme Court we now have.

  10. As a Catholic of many years, I have lapsed again. When my aunt, a woman religious in a teaching order, was alive, she and I had a long discussion about being an active Catholic when you disagree with so much of its teaching. Her opinion was that working within for change is better than standing outside and letting the closed minds take the leadership. I did that for many year until this year. When I listened to the priest tell us that the Church was pro-life and against same sex marriage to the exclusion of any other doctrine, I could no longer engage. I left spiritually and financially. No more money in the basket and no participation in ritual.

    What has happened with the Catholic schools this past year has deepen my belief that working within is no longer possible as the authoritarian rulers, corrupt as they have been shown to be, will hang on to power no matter the cost to the faithful.

    It is a sad reality to many who love the message of Christ, who was indeed a liberal as Todd states. To exclude anyone for any reason, rejects his teaching. To force other to conform to their version of His teaching is making a mockery of it. No wonder young people turn away and seek spirituality in the wider world and theologies.

    The Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Conference both share very misogynistic dictates for much the same reasons. Power to the male only. It is hypocritical at best and denigrates women to handmaid status at worst. Women who support its hierarchy have given their autonomous souls to those who would use them as chattel. It is a profound mystery to me why they do it. Demeaning to them and dangerous to all of us if we don’t resist.

  11. maybe im being out there, but allow my understanding,i do not believe in a deity,or any god. i was raised ina catholic home,and it was far from what trump even brushes his fangs with. though i will atest,im not saint,(by standards of the moral majority) we have become a country of some radicalized religions,and hate professed by such religions. in a common world today,we dont see crusades as a form of need. some like myself seen crusades as a extreme force to shove religion up ones butt. i was kinda set back one night in the bible belt of kansas,surfing for some jazz to pass the nights haul. i came upon a religious discussion. well, far from religion,it was more like listening to radical islam but it was christian radio,and the talk was about the new congess woman,Llham Omar, (sorry,didnt see spelling correct) she had just barely set down to represent Minnesota,and was already in the cross hairs of debate between two men,(asswipes) who sought to judge this womans oath of office,and her intentions. the show was on a christain radio out of the KC MO? area(imagine that). michael youssef was the guest,er,the goebbels of a religions firm? (book,the third jehad)the talk was directed at Rep Omar, on both sides of this discussion,youssef said Rep Omar practiced sharia law and was not an American under the flag of the constitution,or her oath of office… she was sent here to inspire sharia law and condem the christian faith. after i wiped the tears of laughter from my eyes, i gotta admit, if any religious org who professes this shit, they are no religion,jusy another white supremacy disguised in a collar. Sheila your son made the right comment,bad and good, William Barber is a freash air of words,when we now realize, where our country just went..he lives in constant pain from a back issue and he still walks,everyday to see we dont stray…best wishes y,all!

  12. I was brought up within a religous tradition but it didn’t take me long to realize that most of the adherents who I knew well enough went though the motions because they were expected to and church was pretty central to the social structure of the community and it wasn’t like there were many entertainment alternatives unless you were a kid.

    What I learned is that in some essential ways their religion was the opposite of my religion which others called science. Religion was what people wished was true dispite the lack of evidence and science was what people knew was true because scientists took the time to measure reality in a very organized way, the scientific method, and scrupulously record for others to learn what the measured data must imply about how the universe works and always had. In the end I understood why people wished religion was like it was preached but I just couldn’t believe it without evidence.

    While I was observing religion I was being given a public education part of which was American History which was largely memorizing the dates when things deemed important happened. One of those important things were Revolutionary times when “we” ejected the British aristocracy and King George and invented freedom and liberty which we were implored to love, which I for one did. Being somewhat revolutionary myself I understood and fully accepted that freedom made me me and power, the opposite, rubbed me the wrong way.

    In the world that evolved as I was learning and living and teaching and applying, entertainment became pervasive, people because globally close to but locally remote from each other, the wishers for religious gifts morphed from the God of rules followed to get the gifts afterward to the God of plenty now and the focus went from freedom to power – what tribe gets to impose and what tribes have to follow.

    Having to because of the power of others still rubs me the wrong way. Being taught how the universe works still excites me. Life is all a lucky accident due to the extremely long odds of a perfect place for it to happen on the third rock from the sun. Part of the luck required was the evolution of the human brain capable of anticipating better for everyone and the freedom to contribute to better however each of us can and want to.

    Once again the world and I are again at odds. King George is back under a different name. Power threatens Liberty. I didn’t see it coming until it was here.

  13. I am ignorant about how any country can separate church and state. i need help here. I will say that from my perspective it’s impossible. And yes, to those who want to use politics to further their power via their religion then their tax exemption status should be forfeited. But as the NRA shows us, once power has been enjoyed extreme measures will be taken to maintain that power.

    As usual, this person who now sits in the Oval Office has proven himself to be the ‘flim flam’ man of the century. He can now invoke a new level of terror saying “You’re fired”
    and blindly experiment with people’s lives along with all the other perks of his office. One reason he enjoys this power is because of religious fanatics who have jumped on the train to the ultimate church in the sky, the White House.
    No one can be blamed for the hate that swirls around us and has done so since I was born in 1945. Those of us who have broken beyond repair hearts as we witness more and more bullets tearing bodies apart seem to be frozen and are not out in the streets or shouting from the rooftops. I guess there is no other option but to wait another endless agonizing days and nights until the voters ‘may or may not’ vote this sad state of affairs out of existance. Those bullets will eventually find their way to the movers and shakers..only then will there be some hard choices made. Maybe?

  14. Any religion is delusional, so your distinction among them escapes me.

    But Christianity’s link to authoritarianism and violence does not.

    Extreme authoritarianism and Christianity have long history of inter dependency. Going back only to WW ll, Christianity was the predominant religion in Germany and without their, at least tacit support, Hitler could not have continued in power and the war waged. The relationship, as you know, was much more visible and pronounced in Mussolini’s Italy and with the Catholic church. In particular, the complicity of Pope Pius Xll directly aided not only Mussolini but Hitler. I would also submit that without the long Christian tradition of Jewish persecution the holocaust would not have been possible.

  15. Wish I could be so hopeful….there are strong declines among young people in religious affiliation and religious community engagement and among all American/Western European peoples.

    This means less exposure/discussion of Judeo/Christian values. Lots of evidence of people spending more time on screens and less with people. Not good signs.

  16. JD: “No wonder young people turn away and seek spirituality in the wider world and theologies.”

    From what I’ve seen, young people are not seeking spirituality or theology; they are seeking comic book heroes, ghosts, banshees, paranormal, vampires, and above all else, shock. Movies, books, and cults attest to that.

    But such a phenomenon does attest to the sapien’s innate need for understanding the nature of reality and existence, which churches and schools and parents are failing to provide.

  17. Years ago the Taliban decided that large ancient statues of Buddha were such a threat to their version of Islam they had to be blown up. I remember thinking at the time is your religion that fragile that you must blow up statues of Buddha??? Our Gulf Oil state allies are in fact theocracies.

    Religion as a useful tool of a ruling class to assert authority has a long history going back to the living god like a pharaoh. The message was clear – Defy the ruler, You defy god.

    Threats to authoritarianism are dealt with in different ways, Book Burnings, censorship, or blowing up statues. Now the Republicans and some Democrats have found Violent Video Games a profound threat to civilization.

    It is rather amazing to me that woman can actually believe the theology of Evangelical Protestantism or Catholicism. They are the steerage class in the ships of religion. Perhaps this is the Stockholm Syndrome at work on a massive scale.

    Stockholm syndrome is a condition which causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors during captivity. The captivity is not physical in terms of religion. The captivity is emotional, social and cultural. Those that try to break this captivity are shunned.

  18. Thank you for this thoughtful writing. In my opinion, however, it is not yet clear if it is “good news” that there is a decline in religious participation as well as a sharp decline in respect for the leaders of religion. I am delighted you name Rev. Dr. William Barber II as a religious leader who is also Southern and one for whom we can respect both his message but also his values. In a recent sermon in Des Moines, Iowa, Rev. Barber gave a thunderous message at the national meeting of his denomination, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). It was a sermon given in the prophet voice. Rev. Barber continues the campaign of speaking for the poor as did Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a generation ago. In this sermon, Barber made a case similar to that of King by framing the cause of the poor is not only the cause of the African-Americans but also, that of the white persons. For example, there are more whites in poverty in number. The Poor People’s Campaign and the Moral Monday initiative are related. Iowa is a state where 90% of the population is white. In Iowa, over 42% of households receive SNAP benefits have children. One in seven children struggles with hunger in Iowa. In Iowa, 341, 890 persons are struggling with hunger, and of that number 111, 520 are children. Iowa is known as the breadbasket of the world.
    The challenge of poverty and fairness is a problem all over America. Even in our State of Indiana, there are 887,070 individuals who struggle with hunger. Of that number, 273, 380 are children. One in six children struggles with hunger. One in eight persons in Indiana struggle with hunger. In our great state, Hoosier children receive 49.1 % SNAP benefits. Yes, In Indiana. In sheer numbers of white children who live in poverty, Indiana has 168,028. This number of poor is nearly the same number of people who reside in Hendricks County, Indiana. While smaller in percent based on age and ethnicity, the actual number of white children living in poverty is much larger than the number of Indiana’s black children (69,537), or Indiana’s Hispanic children who live in poverty (56,560).
    It is all too easy to make bold and sweeping statements in American whether the topic is about politics or religion – especially in America. But it ought to be noted that Dr. Barber is African-American from North Carolina – a Southerner – and the message he preaches is on behalf of all poor people – black, brown, and white. So while the problem may come from the South, perhaps the answer will also come from the South. As for the religion of the Right, it needs to die. So here’s hoping the democratic presidential candidate will be able to both articulate a positive message for a better future but also have policies that can make it happen.

  19. What they are hearing in church is, “Turn off your frontal lobe and allow your emotions to blind you to reality as you obey your leaders.” Western religion IS authoritarianism.

  20. Monotonous: MARVELOUS PERCEPTION!!!!!! DESERVES REPEATING.
    “It is rather amazing to me that woman can actually believe the theology of Evangelical Protestantism or Catholicism. They are the steerage class in the ships of religion. Perhaps this is the Stockholm Syndrome at work on a massive scale.

    Stockholm syndrome is a condition which causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors during captivity. The captivity is not physical in terms of religion. The captivity is emotional, social and cultural. Those that try to break this captivity are shunned.”

    A WHOLE NEW FIELD IN SOCIOLOGY NOW OPENS

  21. There are a lot of gods that we worship in society. Money is one God, Celebrity is another God, Gluttony is another, and maybe the most pervasive, Sexual gratification. Believe it or not, Gluttony works in conjunction with most of the other “gods” men worship. The definition of Gluttony is, “habitual greed or excess” more money, more guns, more sex, more hatred! Is it a majority of people who worship these things? By the very definition, it seems a majority of people’s lives revolve around these gods. So is it any wonder, that people’s view and practice of religion has become diluted to the point of no return. People are aware of the current hypocrisy in the White House and of our political system, where it seems certain religious viewpoints are trying to be forced upon people living in a secularist society.

    I would not put my faith in the younger generation, they are not saviors. With the amount of racial nationalistic divisions rising in the schools and colleges, it can be clearly said, this is not just an older generational problem. This is ingrained in the younger generation because those that reared these young ones, had their older generation ingraining the aforementioned into them, and that generation from the one before them.

    When Cain killed Abel, and God asked, “am I my brother’s keeper?” Well the answer was provided by Christ himself in the New Testament with the parable of the good Samaritan. (Luke 10:29-37) it states that the priest saw the man beaten and bloodied on the side of the road, and he walked on the opposite side of the road and ignored him. The Levite who was also in the priestly class, did the same thing. The Samaritan, was moved by pity and bandaged the man’s wounds and put the man upon his own donkey and took him to an inn and paid for the man’s lodging. The Samaritan told the innkeeper, whatever you spend more than this, I will repay you when I return. Jesus Christ asked those religionists who were antagonizing him, who do you recognize that made himself a neighbor to the injured man? The answer was not those religious men who ignored the injured man, but the Samaritan who made himself the man’s neighbor. And Samaritans were not thought highly of, they were deemed not worthy.

    So Christ laid the foundation of Christianity right there. “Love your neighbor as yourself and love God, the whole law hangs on this.” This includes taking care of the foreigners living amongst us, taking care of the widows and orphans. None of this is being done by Trump or his evangelical followers. The apostle James wrote: “The form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation, and to keep oneself without spot from the world.”​ (James 1:27.)

    The apostle James also stated, “listen, my beloved brothers. Did not God choose those who are poor from the worlds standpoint to be rich in faith and heirs to the kingdom which he promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you and drag you before law courts? James also stated, if any brothers or sisters are lacking clothing and enough food for the day, yet one of you says to them, “go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but you do not give them what they need for their body, of what benefit is it? (James 2:5, 6 and 15, 16)

    Just because someone claims to be a Christian, which of course the root word of Christian is Christ, that doesn’t mean they are a follower of Christ. As Christ said in his sermon on the mount, “beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:13-16) Does this sound familiar? Hypocrisy is the God of our ruling class. Their days are numbered. The apostle Paul echoed Christ in Acts 20:29, 30 which states: “I know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among you and will not treat the flock with tenderness, and from among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.”

    So there you have it, seems that they had foretold the times we are experiencing.

  22. “Years ago the Taliban decided that large ancient statues of Buddha were such a threat to their version of Islam they had to be blown up. I remember thinking at the time is your religion that fragile that you must blow up statues of Buddha???”

    Monotonous; I had the same thoughts regarding the destruction of Confederate Generals in the southern states. They were American citizens; welcomed back into the Union as such. Are Republicans hold on this country so fragile they must destroy those statues…or were they destroying reminders of their party foundation today? “Out of sight, out of mind.”?

    Flying the Confederate flag on government property is somehow a different issue; they were never recognized as a separate nation by anyone but themselves.

  23. I would be shocked and amazed if not one of Trump’s many liaisons resulted in an abortion. Rampant Hypocrisy Rules!

  24. “Folks who are certain they know what their god wants, and who want to use the power of the state to make the rest of us live in accordance with that certainty, make social peace impossible. We need more… moral courage and less pious hypocrisy.”

    In a very rare event, I heard (on NPR) a Seattle man who uses his own money to contribute toilets to the homeless, speak a profound and possibly original truth. Asked to comment on the criticism he had received for “enabling” the homeless, he replied, “If you have moral clarity you aren’t in deep enough.” That’s not always true (I feel certain I have moral clarity on Trump’s words and actions), but when it applies, it expresses the impossibility of dealing with complex problems in ways that everyone finds acceptable. Sometimes you are compelled to do whatever you are convinced is the right thing.

    Is morality relative? You bet it is! If it is a positive thing, its closest siblings are compassion, empathy, love, generosity, acceptance, and a desire to make yourself useful to others. But if you harbor the morality of an alley cat, you see life as a zero sum game that is all about claiming every scrap you come across. That and hatred and intolerance and a drive to serve only oneself.

  25. My family and I went to the State Fair on Tuesday. At the north west side of the fairgrounds, near the butterfly exhibit, is a Republican tent with a life-size cut out of the Fat Slob who is occupying the White House. It is there for the disciples to pose with for selfies. Usually, he’s front and center, but this year, Fatty was shoved into a corner and sort of turned to the side. You’d almost have to know it was there and to look for him.

    Nearby was a man trying to sell subscriptions to the Indianapolis Star. I was waiting for the shuttle, and he asked me if I was having a good day. I replied that I had been until I saw that, and pointed to Trump. He started an argument with me about Trump, after I told him that this man is responsible for the deaths of at least 20 people, and his life-size image does not belong on State property. I told him I am no longer interested in The Star because of its pro-Trump stance (including Gary Varvel’s cartoons). He got very angry. That’s what this person is doing to this country. You can’t even go to the State Fair without having this slob shoved in your face and defended.

    I’ve thought about this since. What business does the State Fair, which charges admission, have to allow political advertisements on public property? Even if Trump didn’t have blood on his tiny hands and wasn’t controversial, this is still State property. Isn’t there some law prohibiting the use of State property for campaigning? Connie Lawson’s campaign has a large blue tent right on the main drag of the State Fair, which is handing out round blue hand fans with her name on them. People also can register to vote, but the main purpose of the tent is campaigning. If anyone knows what the law is on this, please advise, or better still, turn them in. Probably you would report this to Curtis Hill, so I’m guessing that nothing much would be done about it.

  26. I like to read the works of Joe Campbell, who studied religions from all eras & places. I think it’s a matter of social evolution that presently has ebbed back to less enlightened times. Joe claims that religion is metaphor for the questions in life. If Religion gives comfort & strength ( as did the sacraments to my Mom who died in March) in a positive way then it’s beneficial. What her religion meant to her is different than what it means to me.

  27. Winifred; a tent at the Indiana State Fair would be an excellent idea…only if it were nonpartisan. Everything gets down to political party today; no escaping it. I ended decades of subscribing to the Indianapolis Star last December 1st; it was then officially the USA TODAY NETWORK. About 4 times a year they added special sections such as cooking or State Fair, special event, etc., but that increased the monthly payment amount. Of course the November Thanksgiving week upped that month by about $4. I’m 82, all I miss is the daily obituaries to keep up with family and friends.

  28. “If Religion gives comfort & strength ( as did the sacraments to my Mom who died in March) in a positive way then it’s beneficial. What her religion meant to her is different than what it means to me.”
    Kathy, so true. and sorry about your loss. Losing parents can leave a huge hole in your heart.

  29. I am a leader in my parish, a member of the Episcopal Church. My brother is a Southern Baptist Cult (yes CULT) Church “preacher”. Needless to say we do not speak to each other especially after he held an altar call at Dad’s funeral. In reality Dad’s funeral was all about my brother and not about our Dad. He was there to proclaim he would “save everyone”. Just had to follow his heretical, blasphemous, and sacrilegious blathering. He, like most evangelicals, is a follower of John Calvin & Oliver Cromwell, not The Christ. I am absolutely disgusted with him and the SBC’s political stance as it has nothing to do with the teachings of The Christ.

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