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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Act of Contrition

I really, sincerely, appreciate those kind readers who reacted to my post on Bush’s heretical leanings by emailing me to dispute this or that definition of Symbolism or Pelagianism, or to let me know that the Second Vatican Council overruled the Tridentine definition of Protestantism as a heresy. But before I get attacked by the Methodist Anti-Defamation League, or Fox News cites NewDonkey in a piece on Democratic hostility to born-again Christians, I should probably make something real clear:
Truth is, I’m not a canon lawyer. Actually, I’m not a Roman Catholic; I’m a Protestant myself, though I do have a pronounced weakness for incense and chant and Jesuit logic. I wrote the post in about an hour, without benefit of clergy. Maybe I should have quoted Father Guido Sarducci to make the joke a little clearer.
To the extent I was trying to make any serious points, they were (a) the inquisition of John Kerry’s religious views by some conservatives is remarkably one-sided, with everybody taking it for granted that the president is a veritable Tower of Faith; yea, verily, of Everybody’s Faith, Catholic and Protestant alike; and (2) in this country at least, Christian controversy seems to be about nothing other than sexual ethics, instead of the old-fashioned arguments over the nature of God, the divine order of the universe, and the appropriate manner of worshipping one’s Creator, which is what Christians fought and often died over for most of the last 2,000 years. I’m glad we’re not burning each other any more, but I’m not sure the shift in emphasis from God to us is an improvement.
But in any event, to anyone who was somehow offended by the humorous treatment of religious subject-matter, I offer a perfect act of contrition, if not a firm purpose of amendment. Which reminds me of a great Methodist joke (for all I know, it may be the only Methodist joke):
Two friends, one Baptist, one Methodist, agreed to attend each other’s church. The first Sunday they worshipped with the Baptists, and the Methodist asked a few pertinent questions about the choice of hymns, the purpose of the large baptismal font, etc. The next Sunday, after the Methodist service, the Baptist told his friend he had just one question. “Who’s this John Wesley you keep talking about?” The Methodist, visibly shocked, replied: “Who’s John Wesley? Read your Bible, man! Read your Bible!”
Thus endeth today’s lesson.

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