Thursday, December 26, 2019

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Beware the pro-immigrant, conservative newspaper columnist. Allow her to speak and to write, expressing her opinions on the intersection of politics and religion, but view her perspective skeptically.

Editor-in-chief of Christianity Today Mark Galli last week advocated removal of President Trump from office.   He cited Trump's obviously "grossly immoral character" and warned "consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency."

In a rebuttal, The Christian Post attacked the "spirit animating CT editor Galli’s 'thunderbolt' from on high.... likely found in the self-appointed Mount Olympus from which Mr. Galli made his 'moral' pronouncement."

Enter the ardently pro-forced birth Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Christine M. Flowers, who responded

I was surprised to see the cheers from progressives and liberals who lauded Christianity Today for criticizing the president.

I’ve written about my Catholic faith many times for newspaper and others, including recent columns about Joe Biden being denied Communion because of his pro-life stance (I agree with the priest) and Nancy Pelosi saying that her Catholicism means she doesn’t have hate in her heart (I rolled my eyes at that).

More often than not, the vast majority of progressives who reach out to me about those columns tell me to shut up about my faith and to keep my rosaries off their ovaries. (And much more colorful language that I can’t print here because this is a family newspaper.) Watching those same types of readers thrill with delight over Galli’s anti-Trump comments was frustrating. It’s hypocritical for liberals to think it’s OK to talk about religion and its relationship to politics when they agree, but to shout “separation of church and state” as soon as the opinion shifts to something more conservative.

Well, O.K.  Ms. Flowers should feel free to continue trying to establish a connection between Catholic theology and conservative political ideology, just as a Christian publication is free to point out the ghastly immorality of Donald Trump and the Christian Post to rebut it in a fairly vile fashion.  The First Amendment, and a commitment to free expression neither slanderous nor libelous, must apply to non-journalists and journalists alike.

Opposition in the Roman Catholic Church to offering communion to individuals in "obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin" does not preclude communion for politicians who merely advocate abortion rights. So, too, does Flowers draw the wrong conclusion when she argues

While Galli and the leadership at Christianity Today are within their rights to call for Trump’s removal, it is the height of hypocrisy for progressives who embraced that message to ever again criticize conservatives who speak out about faith in the public square.

The next time a Catholic priest refuses communion to a public official who supports abortion rights, the liberals who are infuriated need to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Flowers has managed to go from point A to point Q while skipping over points B-P. She had lamented that "people who are strong advocates of that presumptive wall between church and state feel uncomfortable when faith is discussed in the same breath as.....  anything else that takes place outside a place of worship." From that she illogically concludes that liberals are hypocritical when they applaud criticism by Christian media (including CT) while knocking a Catholic priest who refuses to offer communion to a pro-choice politician.

I'll agree that liberals (or anyone) should not oppose discussion of faith in the context of politics.  But that has nothing to do with whether Joe Biden or any other pro-abortion rights politician is permitted to take part in the Lord's Supper.  It's almost enough to conclude that this anti-choice warrior has substituted illogic for logic, emotion for facts, and bias for objectivity. She is not one of a kind.

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