October 31, 2006

Strib: "Hey! There Was A Reformation!"

The Strib notes last week's media-induced farce over Michnele Bachmann's putative (and false) believe that the Pope is the antichrist:

The labyrinthine doctrine of a theologically conservative Lutheran denomination has wound its way into the Sixth District congressional campaign
Well, let's be honest; here's what really happened:
  1. A bunch of liberal bloggers dredged up a baked rumor based on long-obsolesced theological antagonism left over from the Reformation. The Strib even notes it, if only obliquely: "Liberal blogs are abuzz with claims that the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the parent of Bachmann's church, holds that the pope is the antichrist...The issue surfaced on the Internet last week at www.,". And as we all know, if you read it in a liberal blog, it must be true.
  2. So the story, as the Strib says, "got a mention on Saturday's Star Tribune opinion page". What do you suppose the odds were?
  3. Made it into last weekend's WCCO debates; as the Strib said, "[it] was the subject of a weekend debate question that WCCO-TV's Pat Kessler put to Bachmann". Again, let's try to be honest here; Kessler stated it as fact, even turning to Wetterling and saying "Assuming this story is true...", keeping the non-theological non-issue in play, allowing Wetterling to exploit it to her benefit before an unwitting audience, and forever dispelling any notion that Kessler, once a great political reporter, is a whole lot better or less biased than Doug Grow or Lori Sturdevant.
Y'see, major media figures, we had this thing called The Reformation, starting about 600 years ago. Protestants split from Catholics, wars were fought, hundreds of years of prejudices and bigotries and animosities formed...

...and eventually faded.

To the point where someone like a Michele Bachmann, a devout evangelical Protestant, can say something like...:

Bachmann replied, "That's a false statement. ... It's abhorrent, religious bigotry. I love Catholics, I'm a Christian, and my church does not believe that the pope is the antichrist. That's absolutely false. ... I welcome and have as part of our family many Catholic members as well."
...rather than "what, you're going to vote for a Papist, who takes orders from Rome?", as she might have had to have said 100 years ago in order to not get shunned by her own church.
But Catholics United for the Common Good, an online group based in Massachusetts, demanded that Bachmann denounce any association of the pope with the antichrist.
Really, CLUCG? You'd like it if Bachmann denounce what she, in the paragraph I cited above, denounced?

Tell ya what, CLUCG: has your group denounced Catholicism's long-standing anti-semitism, which was firmly-engrained enough in Catholicism to remain part of the liturgy until the sixties? A strain that caused many devoutly-Catholic Poles to hate the conquering Nazis less than their Jewish neighbors?



Because the Catholic Church as a whole distanced itself from that historical crime? Because it is not what the Church believes today? Because Pope John Paul spent much of his career reconciling Catholicism with the Jews?

If anything, Catholics and Protestant have been working longer to heal their rifts - and nowhere longer than in the US, where Protestant/Catholic (and Christian/Jewish) rivalry is mainly a matter of private-school football and rantings of the occasional sect of lunatics.

So if I asked you, CLUCG, to denounce that part of the Catholic Church's history, you might reply "that's all been dealt with!". And you'd be right.

We Protestants are protestants for a reason; there are certain areas of Christian theology on which we differ from the Catholics (as they differ from the Orthodox). They are matters of doctrine, not causes for war - at least among non-fringe commentators. As Bachmann notes, she and her church join the vast, vast majority of Protestant Christians in happily co-existing with Catholics.

So why is this an issue?

Because many in the media are no less zealous in their hatred of and fear for Bachmann - and the very notion of evangelicals in society, to say nothing of government - than these freaks - and no less ignorant about what Christians of all stripes really believe.

Posted by Mitch at October 31, 2006 07:56 AM | TrackBack
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