We should be judged not by the company we keep, but the reasons why we keep the company that we do.
The problem with Rick Perry’s call for a day of prayer and fasting is not that it involves anti-Catholic bigots and Islamophobes. Instead, the problem is that the meeting seems like more like political three card monte.
While it portrays itself as an apolitical gathering of repentant Christians, “The Response” is quite political indeed. The Christians involved also need to learn a little more about repentance, not to mention reconciliation.
Among the names of the endorsers of “The Response” are Pastor John Hagee and Rene Henry Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi. The combination does seem odd. While Pastor Hagee did attempt to back off his statement that the Catholic Church was the “whore of Babylon,” he has not retracted some of his other quite bigoted criticisms of Catholicism. One would surmise then that by approving “The Response,” Bishop Gracida is affirming the need for reconciliation among Christians. If so, it would be powerful counter witness to those Catholics who resist engaging, or even recognizing, those who hold beliefs diametrically opposed to Catholic teaching.
Materials for “The Response” are saturated with a spirit of reconciliation and repentance. In calling for divine guidance to deal with the multiple crises facing the nation, “The Response” boldly proclaims that the hope for America “lies in heaven, and we will find it on our knees.”
It’s good to be focused on heaven, but we should never lose sight of what is going on right before our eyes.
If reconciliation were the issue, “The Response” leadership would reach out to those whom Christians have offended. Instead, the meeting affirms Christian exclusivity, even though not all Americans are Christian. If repentance were the issue, Governor Rick Perry would confess his own failings as a leader. Instead, the blame placed on a faithless American society.
Instead of an apolitical gathering, the whole intent behind “The Response” seems to be to create the impression that a pure vanguard group is going to lead the moral reawakening of America. Accordingly, only a select group of Christians are worthy and capable of beseeching divine aid for this “historic breakthrough.”
In three card monte misdirection allows the dealer to win. The earnest player, “the mark,” is set up by a plant in the audience and then bamboozled by the dealer’s sleight of hand. “The Response” is political three card monte, with religion as the bait. As far as Rick Perry is concerned, I wonder how much the company that he keeps is in on the scam.
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