Why Christian Nationalism is a Problem – Exhibit A: India

Yesterday, Terry Mattingly at Get Religion blog began a post about the NYTs coverage of India and Compassion International like this:

If you have followed news in India in recent years, you know that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party – commonly known as the BJP – has continued its efforts to promote “Hindutva,” or Hindu-ness, which essentially argues that Hinduism is an essential component of what it means to be a citizen of India.
Thus, it’s goal is to defeat secular pluralism and the recognition of a valid role for other faiths in public life. The side effect has, in many cases, been a crackdown on many of the activities of other faiths in India – especially ministries linked to foreign groups.

For discussion’s sake, let’s Americanize these observations:

If you have followed news in the United States in recent years, you know that the Republican party – commonly known as God’s Own Party (GOP) – has continued its efforts to promote “Christian nationalism,” or Christian-ness, which essentially argues that Christianity is an essential component of what it means to be a citizen of the USA.
Thus, it’s goal is to defeat secular pluralism and the recognition of a valid role for other faiths in public life. The side effect has, in many cases, been a crackdown on many of the activities of other faiths in the US – especially the construction of new mosques and activities of foreign groups.

frank-amedia-potus-shield-just-potus12If you read the NYT’s article, you will get some insight into conditions in India where Hindu nationalism appears to be on the rise. Christian journalist Mattingly properly locates opposition to Hindu nationalism in human rights. When the government or a political party takes sides in religion, eventually freedom of conscience suffers.
Christians don’t like these policies in other countries but seem to be oblivious to the same or similar rhetoric and actions here. We should oppose religious nationalism even when the perceived winner is our team.

Advice From a Texas Monk: Abundance Without Attachment

Worth reading from the New York Times: Abundance Without Attachment

The formula for a good life, he explained, is simple: abundance without attachment.

Simple but often hard.
The 5 star monk had known plenty before poverty. Does this make it easier to leave it all behind and become a monk?
 

New York Times on Christian News, World, and This Blog

Mark Oppenheimer in the New York Times writes about World Magazine’s news reporting on Mark Driscoll. I appreciate Oppenheimer’s mention of this blog as well. Of course, there are other outlets which provided coverage of the Mars Hill story (e.g., Wenatchee the Hatchet, Religion News Service, CT, CP, etc.). With some help, I am working on a timeline which should bring together the events and important stories of the past year.
The article was online last night and is in today’s print edition.
The World folks present a compelling rationale, to me at least, for Christians in journalism and for me as a blogger. I like writing about a variety of topics and in this case the subject matter has had broad public interest.
 

New York Times on Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church

NYT is on the case with an article by Michael Paulson.
Tim Keller weighs in with some tough words for Mark Driscoll.
The article references a certain “blogging psychology professor” with several links to the blog.
Mars Hill in the form of Anthony Ianniciello spoke to the NYT and issued a statement saying that the charges will be examined by “several governing bodies.”  I have no idea what he is talking about. The by-laws require the formation of a Board of Overseers to examine the charges. Current elders have informed me that the charges were not being taken seriously until they were released to multiple sources.
The article confirms that Driscoll is slated to “update the church” on Sunday. Stay tuned…
UPDATE: Paulson’s article on Driscoll is on today’s (8/23/14) front page of the print edition.

Vice-President: How much experience is necessary?

Moderate David Brooks takes on the issue of Sarah Palin’s experience in Monday’s New York Times. He raises the question of whether or not Sarah Palin is qualified to be Vice-President without raising the more important question of whether Barack Obama is qualified enough to be President.
He writes:

What is prudence? It is the ability to grasp the unique pattern of a specific situation. It is the ability to absorb the vast flow of information and still discern the essential current of events — the things that go together and the things that will never go together. It is the ability to engage in complex deliberations and feel which arguments have the most weight.
How is prudence acquired? Through experience. The prudent leader possesses a repertoire of events, through personal involvement or the study of history, and can apply those models to current circumstances to judge what is important and what is not, who can be persuaded and who can’t, what has worked and what hasn’t.

So what is our alternative, Mr. Brooks? A half-term Senator has prudence? I suppose one could make the case that Palin and Obama are about the same in the experience category, but I think this misses two points. The first easy point is that Palin is the running mate and not at the top of ticket. A corollary is that past Vice-Presidents have been relatively inexperienced but gone on to serve quite well (e.g., Harry Truman).
Would Brooks suggest Republicans and moderates vote for someone at the top of the other ticket who has only a bit more time in public life? Second, questions of how much experience is necessary are hopelessly confounded by policy positions and ideological commitments. To many voters, where people stand on the issues that matter to them will influence (bias?) how much experience is deemed necessary.
It is one thing to raise a point and it another to make a point. I am not sure what David Brooks is advocating. Given where he ends his op-ed, perhaps he would like a reduction in smugness. My perception is that this election presents many voters with a compromise choice. They can easily find fault with aspects of both tickets but what would he advocate given the choices available? By raising Palin’s experience as inadequate, he also raises the question of Obama’s experience which is left unexamined.