Skip to main content

Unto Caesar

I write this as a Catholic.  Religious faith is under attack in both England and America this week, from reasonable secular argument that no doubt emanates from enlightened good will.  This does not make it right.  In American, President Obama wishes to enforce by law provision of contraception in health care, even at Catholic institutions (such as hospitals), where such provision explicitly flies in the face of Catholic teaching; though most Catholics turn a blind eye to the contraception ban, such an option is not easily available to an official organ of the Church.

This is an example of two competing claims for good - the state's versus the personal moral rights of persons and churches to follow their own beliefs.  The absence of contraception is a secular evil; its presence, for Catholics, is a sin.  Obama, a politician, is attempting to render unto Caesar what is not his.  In England, a new judgement by the courts has banned the saying of prayers before town council meetings, a common practise in a nation where Her Majesty the Queen is the head of the Church of England.  Here, the state has a religion, unlike in America, but atheist activists are attempting to prune such powers back.  This seems a grubby and sad attack on a harmless, even positive act.  To ban prayer is to begin to delimit what more broadly makes us human - and here, unlike with contraception, is no medical issue.  If anything, prayer is known to be therapeutic.

It would seem that in America, the churches need to be tempered, and in England, bolstered - a paradox, since on paper, England's religion is more secure; but on paper only.  Faith is stronger in America, where 90% of citizens claim to believe in God.  Seen in this light, Obama's liberal attack on faith-based institutions seems bold, and, arguably, foolhardy.  This will play into Santorum's zealous hands.
7 comments

Popular posts from this blog

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

OSCAR SMOSHCAR

The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…