(About a 2 minute read)
Some years ago, I was impressed with a blog kept by an Orthodox Catholic priest. The man would post quotes from Christian clergy and theologians of nearly any denomination, and those quotes so very often urged in the name of Christ social and economic justice.
It was refreshing to find in this age and culture a priest so concerned with the plight of the poor and disenfranchised, which after all, is one of the roots of Christianity itself. Did not Jesus himself hang out with those sorts of people? I came to admire the priest for going against the tide, and standing for some principles that deserved to endure.
But things changed. The priest apparently began watching right wing media, because the quotes on his blog — the more political ones — shifted into fallacious attacks on all manner of liberal positions, from women’s rights to LGBT rights, and beyond. “If women go to work outside the home, the country will go bankrupt paying for daycare, and the middle class will collapse” — crap no better than that.
But the apolitical quotes were worse. Christianity, like some other religions, has a tendency to devolve into a carrot and stick religion. I think we’re all familiar with that: “God in his love has offered you heaven (carrot) but should you refuse faith in him, he will send you to hell (stick).” While not every religion is a carrot and stick religion, and while Christianity can be understood and affirmed in much more beautiful ways than that, the religion does have a tendency become corrupt in that manner.
Well, the priest’s selection of apolitical quotes certainly made it seem that every saint who ever lived did little more with their time than waste it composing sing-songy carrot and stick homilies. If you knew nothing about Christianity other than what you could read of it on his blog during that stage of its existence, you could be forgiven for thinking Christianity was a sado-masochistic cult dedicated to infantilinzing people.
I think the worst of it, though, was the man had once seemed a rare individual willing to stand for something worth standing for, something worth outlasting our own age. I do not pity people, for in pity is the stench of condescension, but he turned into a man practically begging to be looked down upon.