Electoral musings, attitude edition

I’m winding down on the election, but I do have a couple more things I want to post. For one, here are a couple excellent columns on the majority Democratic attitude toward religion and conservative Christians; oddly enough, one is from the major area paper we don’t get here, the Denver Post (“Note to the Democrats from a values voter”), and one is from the major area paper we didn’t get where we used to live, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (“It’s Democrats who can do better”). No significance to that, but it amuses me.

And while it doesn’t really fit the theme, consider this a sidebar, and go read David von Drehle’s latest column in the Washington Post, “Take the Issues to the People, Not to the Courts.” If the Democratic Party follows his advice, it will be bad for the electoral prospects of the Republican Party, but very good for the nation.

Electoral musings, part V

Well, everybody’s trying to figure out why the Democratic Party lost (umm, because there are more Republican voters? Nah, too simple); as Harold Meyerson put it in the Washington Post, “We are . . . post-morteming like nobody’s business.” Now FOXNews.com has gotten into the act with an article that really makes me wonder if they deserve their conservative reputation. Consider the following statements:

“Even though Democrats would’ve helped [Midwesterners] more, they still voted for Bush because they think he’s a good old boy.” (This from a Bostonian who thinks that just because he went to college in Indiana, he understands the Midwest. Sorry, bub, wrong culture.)

“It’s clear that on conservative moral values, people voted for those values over their own economic interests. I don’t understand it, and I think we need to go back and look at it.” (Leo Girard, president of the United Steelworkers of America)

Again, Perry Mason: “Objection—assumes facts not in evidence.” Does it ever occur to liberals that perhaps conservatives actually don’t believe that liberal policies are best for the economy? Mr. Union President, if you want to understand it, you might begin by considering the possibility that those of us who voted for Bush largely understood ourselves as voting both for those values and for our economic interests, not as voting for one over the other.

“Midwesterners don’t really relate to Democrats. Especially Kerry, he was much more intellectual than Bush, and that’s not what someone in Middle America relates to.” (That was Carol Kolb, editor-in-chief of The Onion; she went on to accuse the Democrats of “a little bit of condescension.” Pot, meet kettle.)

“That’s how [the GOP] creates divisions. You call them names. The right has done a very effective job at framing the left—they suck at responding.” (That quote comes courtesy of the president of spinArt Records, whatever that is. Apparently, not a history major, or he’d realize that the GOP didn’t start that war.)

The common thread in all these is the implicit belief that the Democrats lost because voters weren’t smart enough to realize the truth. From my perspective, the revival of the Democratic Party as a national party will begin once they toss that ego-salving belief out the window and face reality: we knew exactly what we were doing when we voted Republican. (Well, not all of us; but as many as knew what they were doing when they voted Democrat. As the Rocky Mountain News‘ Dave Kopel points out, “Political ignorance plays no favorites.”)

Finally, there’s this: “Ask [Republicans] what Jesus said about the difficulty of a rich man getting into heaven. What does this say about tax cuts, about cutting funding for schools, health insurance and apparent favoritism for the wealthiest contingent of our country?” The chap responsible for this quote is a schoolteacher in Austin, TX. I’m sorry to have to tell him, but he’s unqualified to do biblical interpretation. The point of that parable is that Jesus’ fellow Jews regarded the rich as the likeliest to get into heaven, for a combination of reasons, and thus that if the rich would have such a hard time, what hope did anyone else have? Hence Jesus’ comment, “What is impossible for human beings is possible with God.” In other words, salvation is utterly impossible by any human effort; it’s only possible through God’s action in Jesus Christ. That is the point of this parable—it’s nothing at all about “tax cuts . . . cutting funding for schools, health insurance [or] apparent favoritism for the wealthiest contingent of our country.” To be sure, the gospel does bear on these issues, but this passage doesn’t; and just as importantly, the Bible shouldn’t be applied so simplistically—by either side.

Electoral musings, moral values edition

Well, we seem to have moved on from the “moral values” phase of election post-mortem, courtesy of folks like David Brooks, E. J. Dionne Jr., Charles Krauthammer, and James Q. Wilson; I think they’ve overstated their case somewhat—moral issues had a great deal of traction this year, and where Bush drew a considerable chunk of his support based on such issues, Kerry botched them, as Terry Eastland and Richard Wolffe point out—but we’re still talking about only 22% of the electorate who put such concerns at the top of their list (and that, of course, doesn’t tell us by how much, or what was second, or how important moral values were for other voters). Dionne’s point is well taken that this presidential election was too complicated to be explained that simply.

Still, it was entertaining to watch the reaction of many liberals to the importance of moral values to this election—Ellen Goodman’s column is one example: they essentially said, “What we have to do is explain that our issues are moral-values issues too—that poverty is a moral-values issue, and opposing the war in Iraq is a moral-values issue, and raising taxes is a moral-values issue,” and so on and so forth. Such an approach fits the Democratic Party’s preferences for simple solutions (Want more revenue? Raise taxes. Want to address poverty? Give poor people money. Want to address international crises? Call the UN.); it’s also remarkably condescending, assuming that folks voted Republican out of ignorance, and that all the Dems need to do is set us straight and we’ll vote donkey. The truth is, as Mark Steyn and David Limbaugh point out, we know those are moral issues, and we think the Democrats are on the wrong side of those, too—and that the Democrats won’t succeed in winning back voters they’ve turned off until they set aside that condescension.

BTW, for a fairer Democratic perspective on this, check out Gary Hart’s column in the New York Times.

Electoral musings, NYC edition

Long week—two funerals and sick kids—so I’m behind on where I wanted to be; but the New York Times‘ response to this election, in the form of columnists Nicholas Kristof and Thomas Friedman, was so egregious, I had to come back to it.

Kristof had the gall to title his column “Living Poor, Voting Rich,” and to talk about “the millions of farmers, factory workers and waitresses who ended up voting—utterly against their own interests—for Republican candidates.” Excuse me? How Marxist, and how condescending! Even if one grants his economic analysis that Bush has been and will be bad economically for those he mentions (which I most emphatically do not), who is Kristof to define people’s “own interests” for them? Who said we viewed our own interests in purely economic terms? Perhaps his view of the world begins and ends with his checkbook, but mine certainly doesn’t, and I’m not alone in that. For a great many of us, our “own interests” have a great deal to do with what sort of country we want to live in; to accept a country which is far less than what we believe it should be in exchange for a few more dollars in the pocket is a deal many of us wouldn’t want to make.

On this one, Kristof would do well to read the rest of the NYC media; Newsday columnist Joseph Dolman pegged him pretty good when he wrote, “National Democrats . . . keep thinking their losses stem from Republican demagoguery or from a misunderstanding of their message by voters in the hinterlands or—let’s be totally honest—from an epidemic of stupidity among the people whose minds they want to win.

“In short, they haven’t a clue.”

Dolman’s right, which is why, as he put it, the Democrats are “whistling Dixie after another defeat.”

On the flip side, Friedman was perceptive enough to realize this, though I think he was overstating things to declare us “two nations under God.” When he writes, “this election was tipped because of an outpouring of support for George Bush by people who don’t just favor different policies than I do—they favor a whole different kind of America. We don’t just disagree on what America should be doing; we disagree on what America is,” he’s absolutely correct. My problem with his column is where he goes next:

“Is it a country that does not intrude into people’s sexual preferences and the marriage unions they want to make? Is it a country that allows a woman to have control over her body? Is it a country where the line between church and state bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers should be inviolate? Is it a country where religion doesn’t trump science? And, most important, is it a country whose president mobilizes its deep moral energies to unite us—instead of dividing us from one another and from the world?”

Let’s take this piece by piece, shall we?

“Is it a country that does not intrude into people’s sexual preferences . . .”

Umm, two problems with this statement. One, this country always has intruded into such preferences, both at the level of who can marry whom (polygamy, for instance, is out) and at deeper levels (isn’t pedophilia a “sexual preference”?). Two, since I know Friedman isn’t really talking about “sexual preferences” generically (unless he surprises me by coming out with defenses of pedophilia and incest), last I checked, the federal government does nothing whatsoever against homosexual sex.

“. . . and the marriage unions they want to make?”

Again, our government has always defined marriage, and to define is by definition to set limits. There is nothing new about this, nor is insisting on the current operating definition of marriage anything the slightest bit new; what’s new is that some people want to change that definition. This isn’t about giving people of homosexual preference the same rights as everyone else, because they already have the same rights as everyone else: the right to marry anyone who is legally available to be married to them. What they want is to expand that definition, to change the rights which are available to anyone, and if the argument works for homosexuality, it logically works for pedophilia and incest as well. Friedman’s cast of the argument is simply a canard.

“Is it a country that allows a woman to have control over her body?”

No doubt; but this begs the question of whether or not her unborn child is in fact part of her body. I used to watch Perry Mason when I was a kid, and Perry was always objecting that Hamilton Burger’s questions “assumed facts not in evidence.” Friedman’s guilty of the same thing here.

“Is it a country where the line between church and state bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers should be inviolate?”

History lesson, Mr. Friedman: Not “Founding Fathers,” but “Founding Father,” as in, one of them: Thomas Jefferson—and he wasn’t around when the Constitution and Bill of Rights were being drafted. The “line between church and state” is in fact a constitutionally dubious interpretation of the religion clause of the First Amendment, one which has been used to deny the actual sense of that clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion [in other words, it isn’t allowed to do anything about the establishment of religion one way or the other], or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” There’s been a heck of a lot of “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” done in the name of “separation of church and state,” which ain’t even a constitutional principle.

“Is it a country where religion doesn’t trump science?”

That’s not really the issue. The issue is competing religions—one particular branch (or collection of branches) of Christianity versus the religion of scientism, which is aggressively atheistic. For most on the Christian side of these battles, all we’re fighting for is a level playing field.

“And, most important, is it a country whose president mobilizes its deep moral energies to unite us—instead of dividing us from one another and from the world?”

When those who oppose this president and everything he stands for have done everything in their power to mobilize the country against him, why is it that our divisions are suddenly all his fault? In my experience, it generally takes two to be divided.

Given these questions, it’s probably no wonder that Friedman goes on to declare, “None of the real problems facing the nation were really discussed.” Personally, I’d disagree. Fortunately, we do agree on this:

“Meanwhile, there is a lot of talk that Mr. Bush has a mandate . . . . Yes, he does have a mandate, but he also has a date—a date with history.” Yes, indeed; and following Friedman’s motto, “Never put yourself in a position where your party wins only if your country fails,” I know we’ll both be rooting for President Bush to meet that date honorably and well.

Electoral musings, part I

Interesting election, huh? I’ve been amused by the debate over whether or not the President and the Republican Party have a “mandate”—lots of crossing commentary on that point, with some saying it’s no mandate because the country is deeply divided, while on the other hand some have even gone so far as to deny that the country is divided because Bush won a record number of votes (never mind that that’s a matter of population growth and turnout, and that his 3% margin of victory wasn’t exactly overwhelming). I’m amused because none of that really matters: he and the party won a majority, which is pretty much the bottom line.

Anyway, courtesy of sites like RealClearPolitics, I think I’ve read most of the major stuff that’s been published on this election the last couple of days. There’s been a lot of great analysis; as usual, the basic primer has already been written by the indispensable Howard Fineman of Newsweek (“A Sweet Victory . . . and a Tough Loss”). Fineman is right to make the point that Kerry in many ways ran a poor campaign, a point also made well by the LA Times‘ Matea Gold (though with no help from a grammatically-challenged headline writer: “Kerry Failed Boldly to Portray Himself”) . There’s also been, in general, a pretty thoughtful and respectful spirit, marked by the understanding that the worst that could happen isn’t Our Guy Losing, but another case of election-by-litigation reminiscent of 2000 (see Anne Appelbaum’s column in the Washington Post, “Accept the Verdict”—registration required, but it’s free).

Unfortunately, there have been exceptions, and they haven’t all been limited to blogosphere eruptions like Altercation. To be sure, from the more liberal parts of the blogosphere, one can only expect statements that “The problem is just this: Slightly more than half of the citizens of this country simply do not care about what those of us in the ‘reality-based community’ [i.e., liberals] say or believe about anything”—a statement breathtaking for its arrogance and contempt. What is concerning is that this same attitude has shown up in the more respectable print media.

The editor of The New Republic, Peter Beinart, for instance, felt justified in opening his latest column, “What Went Wrong?” with this paragraph: “The other side may be euphoric, but the intensity of their happiness can’t match the intensity of our despair. Honest conservatives, even those who admire President Bush, know he didn’t earn a second term. They know he staked his presidency on a catastrophe, and that, by all rights, Iraq should be his political epitaph. Their victory, while sweet, can’t be fully enjoyed because it isn’t fully deserved.” Excuse me? The presumptuousness in those sentences is nothing short of breathtaking. It reminds me of arguing with my younger brother when we were kids—he would say, “I know I’m right, you know I’m right, you just won’t admit it.” Apparently, Beinart believes that just because he thinks Iraq is “a catastrophe,” therefore everybody else must think so too. As it happens, there are other views of the situation.

Later on in his piece, Beinart declares, “Cultural sensitivity is one thing; principle is another. . . . The fact that [gay marriage] is widely unpopular cannot obscure the fact that it is morally momentous and morally right.” Uh-huh. A flat assertion, “I’m right and you’re in the wrong.” Why do I have the feeling that he would consider an equal but opposite assertion (“The fact that gay marriage is widely popular among the elites cannot obscure the fact that it is morally momentous and morally wrong”) to be the worst form of bigotry? What, in his view, makes his beliefs right and his opponents’ bigoted except who holds them? I’m a firm believer in moral absolutes, but it does seem to me that for those of us not wearing the prophetic mantle, the language of absolutes needs to be spoken with just a little more humility—we need to speak and write out of the awareness that our perceptions are always, at best, fuzzy around the edges, and that our understanding is never equal to the truths we perceive. As such, even if he were correct (which I don’t believe he is), that statement would be hubristic.

Of course, anyone who feels justified in describing “Tom DeLay’s America” as “craven toward the economically powerful and vicious toward the economically weak, contemptuous of open debate and thuggish toward an increasingly embittered world” clearly has never encountered the concept that one should always give one’s opponents credit for good motives until proven otherwise; he truly does seem to believe that conservatives, deep down, must logically share his view of the world, and thus that conservative opposition to his favored policies must stem from base motives. Not fair, not just, and not right. Wasn’t stereotyping supposed to be a bad word?

Note: in his column of 11/12, Beinart wrote this: “In my last column (“What Went Wrong,” November 15), I wrote, ‘Honest conservatives, even those who admire Bush, know he didn’t earn a second term.’ That was a poor way of expressing my point: that, judging from the president’s low approval rating and the large percentage of people who felt the country was on the ‘wrong track,’ Bush had not convinced most Americans he deserved a second term. They gave him one because of their reservations about Kerry. My argument was a political, not a moral, one. I have no doubt that many honest conservatives believe Bush is a good, even great, president, and that, in their eyes, he has earned a second term.” I still disagree, but the restatement does take the arrogance of the column down a notch.

Under the bright (Liberal) red maple leaf

I’ve been intending to post something regarding the PC(USA)’s recent shameful entanglement with Hizb’allah, and some of the defenses which have been offered, but I’m still mulling that. In the meantime, those who don’t follow politics north of the 49th parallel might be interested in Fr. Raymond J. DeSouza’s commentary on the recent Canadian federal election. During our time in BC, I used to tell people that Prime Minister Jean Chrétien was the world’s only elected dictator, since parliamentary rules essentially turned the Canadian House of Commons into his personal fiefdom. It appears things have changed, which is a profoundly good thing. Here’s hoping, despite Fr. DeSouza’s concerns, that this opens the way for a recovery of strength by Canada’s somewhat beleaguered social conservatives.

Oh, and a side note: in the article, Canadian Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie is quoted as calling the Charter of Rights and Freedoms “the glue that holds the country together.” Silly man; every true Canadian knows that Tim Hortons is the glue that holds Canada together . . .

The mystery of redemption

Of the “other important matters” referenced up above there, the most important by far is baseball; and while I have to admit there are bigger stories in America this morning, even someone so unfortunate as to not like baseball has to stop and ponder this a moment: The Boston Red Sox just won the World Series.

But it’s not just that they did it after 86 years of falling short, it’s how. Eleven days ago, Boston was down 0-3 and 8 innings, with the greatest closer in the game, Mariano Rivera, coming on to close out a New York sweep; the Yankees were already preparing for their 412th World Series appearance, or some such ridiculous number. And what happens? Somehow, the Red Sox punched through, launching an eight-game October winning streak that might be the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen happen in baseball (which is saying something). They became the first team in baseball history to come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a playoff series—finishing the sweep in Yankee Stadium! (and leaving millions of Yankee fans wandering around like Esau, wondering where their birthright just went)—then went on to sweep the team with the best record in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals, on the biggest stage of all, gaining some measure of payback for their WS losses to the Cards in 1946 and 1967. The mind boggles. (Fortunately for one’s sense of sanity, despite the fact that they now have the NFL’s dominant team and baseball’s reigning champion, Boston fans are still Boston fans.)

I don’t just mention this as a baseball fan—that day will come if my beloved Mariners ever manage to climb this mountain (which could easily take 86 years in its own right); I’m also struck by the theology of this moment. If one believes in the sovereignty of God as I do, that Jesus Christ is Lord of everything, then that includes baseball. Which makes sense, because God is the giver of all good gifts and baseball is definitely on that list (yes, even in years when the M’s go 63-99—this postseason made up for a lot of those losses). And if that includes baseball, then the Red Sox’ accomplishment has a lot of things to teach us about the improbable providence of God, and about redemption, because God isn’t only concerned with our “souls,” he’s concerned about all of life. And maybe, just maybe, in the case of the Yankees, this has some things to teach us about humility as well.

Right for the wrong reasons

The Rev. O. Benjamin Sparks, interim editor of The Presbyterian Outlook–a weekly journal covering the PC (USA)–put out an editorial a week ago titled “Praying for the Powerful,” which makes an important point in a remarkably wrongheaded way. I agree with his opening sentence (“The first duty of responsible citizenship is prayer – even before we wind our way into the voting booth”), and his conclusion that “the first duty of Christian citizenship is prayer: prayer for all persons; prayer for kings and rulers to keep peace; prayer that the church catholic be kept humble before God, who made all humankind, and who desires that all humankind be saved.” Unfortunately, most of what comes between them is highly problematic, to say the least.

The first problem I have with the Rev. Sparks’ editorial is its smug, condescending, self-righteous leftism. I was struck, for instance, by his complaint that “factions within the church catholic are trying to capture U. S. government for religious purposes: restoring prayer in the schools, posting the Ten Commandments in public places; outlawing all abortion, and permitting or restricting gay and lesbian civil unions or ‘marriage.'” I have three problems with this statement. First, “factions” is a loaded word–by connotation, it marginalizes those groups and labels them divisive. Second, “capture” is a biasing word: it implies that the U. S. government rightly belongs to those who hold other positions (no prayer in schools, no Ten Commandments, unrestricted abortion license, same-sex “marriage”) and that anyone who challenges those positions is trying to steal our government from those who properly own/control it. Third, this sentence paints those with whom the Rev. Sparks disagrees with the broadest possible brush, assuming unanimity of opinion which in fact isn’t present. In short, it appears that in his understanding, when liberal Christians argue for liberal political positions, that’s fine, but when conservative Christians argue for conservative political positions, this is somehow sinister and inappropriate; only liberals, then, have the right to claim that their politics are supported by their faith. Such a conclusion is not only biased, it’s ridiculous.

My second objection to the Rev. Sparks’ argument is his apparent belief that our government exists to protect the rights of religious minorities but not those of this country’s Christian majority. This would have come as a great surprise to James Madison, who was just as alive to the dangers of the tyranny of the minority as he was to those of the tyranny of the majority. (See Federalist #10.)

Third, there is the Rev. Sparks’ seeming position that the Western church should have connived at the efforts of communist governments to keep their slaves from reading the Bible, rather than trying to smuggle Bibles behind the Iron and Bamboo Curtains. In making this point, he interprets Paul’s argument in Romans 13 to mean that a) no “subversion of the authority of [any] government” is permissible, that b) trying to smuggle Bibles into countries which were attempting to suppress Christian faith is such subversion, and thus that c) Paul would argue that the church should support that effort rather than trying to share the gospel message with people in those countries. Given that this conclusion is in direct opposition to Paul’s own actions (see Acts 13-28), it is, to say the least, questionable. For Paul, subjection to the governing authorities had definite limits, and certainly didn’t include acceding to their demands to stop preaching the gospel. (See also Acts 3-5 for the consensus of the early church on this point.)

Fourth, I cannot see how the Rev. Sparks reached his evident conclusion that if the Soviet government were still in place, we would never have seen the rise of radical Islam and all would be right with the world; this position is frankly ludicrous. Given that the rise of bin Laden and radical Islam was one of the major factors in the failure of the Soviet adventure in Afghanistan, on the one hand, and the fact that the Putin government is no less authoritarian or ruthless than the Soviets–in this area, it can fairly be said that there is no significant difference between the two–on the other, how can this argument possibly stand?

Fifth, I have serious objections to the Rev. Sparks’ rather Erastian understanding of the proper relationship between the church and the state. In defining “the real business of the church” as “prayer, listening to the memories of the apostles in the light of scripture (still for them only the Hebrew Scriptures), and baptism, holding all things in common, almsgiving, and the breaking of the bread,” he is speaking of the earliest Christians, but if that was “the real business of the church” then, how can it be significantly otherwise now? While he does admit that Christians should call our politicians to be moral and just (well, at least liberal Christians should), his argument makes government dominant over religion and the proper arbiter of religious disputes. Why he puts greater trust in government to act in accordance with the gospel than he does in the church is an interesting question; more importantly, for all that he talks about “the deeply Calvinistic, Reformed understanding of government written into our nation’s founding documents,” this ain’t it (being neither Reformed nor present in the aforementioned documents).

Sixth, it seems to me that at various points in his argument, the Rev. Sparks is a little casual with the facts, that he simply hasn’t taken the time to do the necessary research; my second and fourth objections, above, would be examples of this. Perhaps the most egregious example, however, comes in this statement: “Most religions, including Christianity (though not Sikhs) harbor intolerant, angry factions hell bent on oppressing and killing on behalf of their god/gods.” Excuse me? Though not Sikhs? I can only conclude that the Rev. Sparks lives in the wrong Richmond.

You see, I’ve never been to Richmond, VA, but I spent three years in Richmond, BC, part of five years in and around Vancouver, BC, Canada. As it happens, the metro Vancouver area has quite a large Sikh population, from which came the first Sikh premier in Canadian history, Ujjal Dosanjh (a good man whose time in that office was brief, thanks to the malfeasance of his immediate predecessor). As any Vancouver-area resident who bothered to follow the news could tell you, violence broke out in the area’s Sikh temples on more than a few occasions as extremists and moderates fought for control. Further, one of the reasons why this was such a concern to the BC government was the strong linkage between those extremists and Babbar Khalsa, the Sikh terrorist group responsible for the bombing of Air India Flight 182 and a bombing that same day at Tokyo’s Narita Airport (which was supposed to have been another mid-air bombing, but the bomb went off prematurely). Babbar Khalsa is the largest and worst expression of the militant strain in Sikhism which is also responsible, inter alia, for the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

I don’t offer this to bash Sikhs in any way, shape, or form, or to blame the Sikh faith for the embrace of terrorism by some of its adherents; my point isn’t to single Sikhism out, but rather to point out that the Rev. Sparks did so wrongly, in ignorance. Sikhism as much as any religion may be said to “harbor intolerant, angry factions hell bent on oppressing and killing on behalf of their god/gods,” and he should have done the research to find that out before off-handedly declaring otherwise.

In general, I don’t think this editorial did The Outlook credit, which is too bad; not only does the publication deserve better, but I think the Rev. Sparks’ thesis is important for Christians to keep in mind. Unfortunately, while he’s right in his main point, he’s right for all the wrong reasons.

Still here

Rather a long hiatus, that–crazy summer + technical problems = dead blog. Oh, well . . . life here in the mountains is settling back into winter calm (which might seem odd, but outside the ski towns it really is pretty quiet up here once Labor Day passes), and we have time to think again.

One of my aims this winter is to read Solzhenitsyn’s The Red Wheel–I started the first book, August 1914, years ago but was sidetracked before getting very far. It may seem like an odd ambition, but I was spurred to it by Daniel Mahoney’s recent piece in First Things, “Traducing Solzhenitsyn,” which is a brief consideration of the various ways in which Solzhenitsyn has been misrepresented and slandered in the West. It’s no surprise, really; he’s a true prophetic voice, and the established order doesn’t like prophets much. It never has. (Though if you listen to debates in the mainline churches, you’ll hear a fair number of people claiming the prophetic mantle for themselves–usually followed by yet another spiel as to why God supports the Democratic Party agenda. Funny, that.)