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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
        Wednesday, February 25 2004

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Electing our priests

It says here that Monica Lewinsky, "outraged" by recent gossip that Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry had had an affair with an intern, said, "I've heard it before but it bears repeating: We're electing a President, not a priest." I'm reluctant to continue propagating Lewinsky's fame, nor am I interested in propagating the thus-far unsupported whispers about Kerry, but I think the attitude represented in Lewinsky's quote is a kind of common sense that a lot of people spout but which, under deeper scruitiny, may not contain much meaningful truth.

I would argue that when we elect a President we are, in fact, in a sense that has biblical support, always electing one of the most important priests in our lives. (It's interesting that Lewinsky, who is ethnically Jewish and one suspects "religiously" secular, chose to say "priest" rather than "rabbi"...maybe she really means "a Catholic priest," but she knows that extra qualification wouldn't be politically correct, assuming that Catholics also have the political franchise in our democracy and who might take umbridge by this inference). Monica's attitude would be more defensible if our politics and our "religion" could be divorced more neatly than they can...but they can't.

For example, is not John Edwards running for federal high priest when he says on the Tonight Show last week that the federal government should honor states' decisions to legalize gay marriages? Isn't this playing a role as mediator between the people he hopes to represent in the White House and the highest principles, or God/gods those people believe in? I'd say so; how could it be otherwise? Is this not being so presumptious as to suggest the majority "religious" view of marriage and homosexuality needs reform, even if the public in poll after poll rejects that proposition?

Likewise, doesn't the Bush Administration play religious roles when it supports faith-based initiatives (utilizing the dedication and usually volunteer-supported efforts to stretch our tax dollars farther to heal social ills), opposes marriage between couples other than one human male and one human female, ask for prayers during our time of national tragedy, and many other examples of presbyterial* leadership? Didn't the Johnson Administration, spurred by the religious appeals and sometimes martyrific example of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, take priestly leadership into broader civil rights for Americans of African descent as well as other ethnic minorities? Both Old and New Testament refer to the people of God as priests, and a nation of priests, a people in service to the Most High.

Those who deny the legitimate religious concerns of government, like enforcing the moral code regarding murder, theft, doing justice, and other God-given mandates, are trying to pull the wool over our eyes, telling us "our" religion isn't worthy of political respect, while theirs is. But government, since Old Testament times to our own, is inescapably "religious." It is either the servant of the God of creation or some usurpers. Its leadership may mesh with our personal moral and spiritual codes, or ones competing with ours, but are no less religious.

Your mileage, as always, may vary.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

*The English word "priest" is a a rendering of the Latin (Greek-derived) and New Testament term, "presbyter."

Steven Wrightisms

11. I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met.

—Sent by Trudy Myers 

Lenten thought for today

It might be said that the whole secret of the Christian life is paying attention; keeping your eye fixed on the Lord, putting first his Kingdom, and listening for his direction moment by moment in all we do. If we had that right, everything else would follow. But it's hard to keep focusing on Him, with such a busy, enticing, and frightening world around us all the time. Ask Peter, who could walk on water only as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. Instead of attending to God constantly in our hearts as Paul advised ("Pray constantly," 1 Thess 5:17), we pile up self-improvement projects.

— Frederica Mathewes-Green,
in Christian Reader

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