Eliminating the Causes of Trumpism

Even if Trump is gone, will Trumpism remain? This reflection is not about him. It is about us and where we go from here.

Most of us understand where Trump is coming from and how he got the way he is. We even understand how he became President of the nation by a non-majority vote through electoral structures established centuries ago by compromise. We understand his TV performance appeal. …

The new radical conservatives citing cancel culture deplore the increasing secularization of America. Many say that the nation is losing its Christian moorings. An excellent dispatch by Shadi Hamid in the latest April 2021 Atlantic Magazine asks the question about the relation of the decline in America’s unity to the decline in religious faith. It is a good challenge to this former Jesuit theologian with a degree in social ethics from the University of Chicago Divinity School. Please read it. My comments are not quite an analysis of this article, but more an attempt to answer its question: is religious…

Or How Can Christians be Trumpists?

Political Scientist Rogers Smith (Civic Ideals: Connecting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History) finds three stories that woven together make up the story of America: 1) progressive democratization, 2) societal pluralism, and 3) universal rights. But he warns of another tradition found in America linked to the European colonialization of America that led to its division into nation states. He calls it the “ascriptive” tradition in which people are ascribed a place in society based on a quality beyond their control. Race, sex, age, class at birth, religion, ethnicity, residence, and country of origin are examples of these qualities.


As I watched the inauguration the other day, I felt what I called a redemptive moment. Many articles in very secular, i.e., non-religious, non-theological, publications also spoke of redemption of democracy or of the soul of the country.

I do not like the concept of “redemption.” It connotes a pay-off to bad guys like a ransom paid to terrorists, pirates, and kidnappers. In religious context even worse. It connotes a bribe to a god for a favor. Like Agamemnon sacrificing his daughter to get favorable winds to get to Troy to avenge the taking of Helen by Paris thus starting…

Reflection on his Jan 21 column: Trumps Kinship with his Critics

O George, there you go again! Perhaps it is the nature of punditry to be over-simplistic.

You start making a good point about Trump’s nostalgic return to pre-enlightenment thinking and then you characterize it as “postmodernism” and so condemn thinkers that criticize the ideology of free-market “capitalism.”

Most of us in many ways have criticized and moved on from modernism which make us all “postmodern.” What was great about the period historians call the Enlightenment and the modern age is that it ushered in the scientific method or critical thinking including continued questioning of previously held beliefs, seeking new and…

Reflections on Fukuyama’s “Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment”

Hand in Hand by Vivien Feyer

The Washington Post recently published an article on the Catholicity of President-Elect Joe Biden. He is a fervent Catholic who attends Mass and receives Communion regularly. Nevertheless, priests have condemned him from the pulpit as a standard bearer of the “party of death.” Some Catholic Bishops have denounced him because of his stance on reproductive rights including access to contraception and abortion. Biden has been quoted as saying: “Reproductive rights are a constitutional right. And, in fact, every woman should have that right.” And many Catholic clerics don’t like that.

American Catholics, according to the Pew research center, are playing…

For full disclosure, I am a Jesuit-educated Catholic who caucuses in Unitarian-Universalist congregations whose principles and practices resonate more firmly with mine than most Roman Catholic institutions. Moreover, they more strongly resonate with my understanding of Catholic social teaching which I have valued, taught, and used throughout my career as a community organizer, an urban planner, and director of non-profit organizations including Catholic Charities and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

I have been taught to be slow to judge persons especially for their opinions. And so it is with Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Even though I have made negative…

Faithful America writes: “More and more right-wing Catholic priests are falsely claiming it’s a sin to vote for Joe Biden. This isn’t just bad policy — it’s bad theology, and a distortion of both the Gospel and Catholic teaching.”

One prominent voice is Wisconsin’s Fr. James Altman, whose angry homily “You cannot be Catholic & a Democrat. Period,” has 280,000 views on YouTube and the endorsement of at least one bishop.

Unfortunately many priests are woefully lacking in theology. It is true that the Catholic Church teaches that it’s wrong to support abortion, as well as unjust wars, capital punishment…

Hate Mr. Trump — NOT!

Like Dorian Gray,
His picture is almost complete.
It is what he is and will be.
To destroy the portrait will destroy the self.

We are the Sophocles’ of his story.
We pity, not hate, a would be king
Led by his gods and oracles,
To kill his father, marry his mother,
And gash his eyes to blindness.

We are the Shakespeare’s of his story. We pity, not hate the old king, Deceived by daughters and judgment, To wander mad and unseeing in the storm. A king, prodded by his lady to execute rivals, The…

Rollie Smith

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