Thursday, June 18, 2020

Upside down. . .

In the Virgin Islands, the US Governor has said no to communion, yes to masks, six feet of distance even within families who live in the same home, and no more than 50 in attendance no matter the size of the structure and no matter if all the other restrictions could be met.  This ban hits sacramental churches hardest.

Germany has told the Orthodox that they may not offer or receive Holy Communion because the method of communion is conducive to the read of corona virus and endangers public health.  This ban covers largely the Greek community of over 400,000 migrants living in Germany.

In San Francisco the Catholic Charities organization is promoting pride month with genital shaped cookies and is tweeting tributes to Harvey Milk and ways to celebrate Pride at home.  This is Catholic Charities, mind you, an agency of the Roman Catholic Church.  The issues here are not simply the stands taken but the poor taste and vulgarity in the way they are taken.

In Florence, one of the homes to the flourishing of the arts in the time of the Renaissance, a museum director is suggesting that religious art has no place in a museum and, since it is devotional art, it should hand in a religious setting.  Perhaps this is a grand gesture to restore art that was often taken from churches over the centuries.  Or perhaps it is a sign that the public square is to be stripped of its religious symbols just as it is even now being stripped of statues of those whose views are no longer tolerated.

Mayor De Blasio insists that churches be limited to 10 while allowing the protesters unlimited numbers in their protests and then tells a Hebrew language newspaper that the reason is the 400 years of racism that has been endured – as of Jews know nothing of racism, prejudice, and persecution.

Does it seem to you as if we are seeing a world turned on end?  Does it seem to lack reason and thought?  Does it seem like the intent here is simply to draw lines, tear down, and control?  I am all for finding paths to reduce prejudice, to ensure equal protection under the law, to teach the flaws and the flawed leaders of our past, to be safe and deliberate in what we do (as churches as well as individuals in the age of COVID 19), and to be sensitive to the diversity of the public square (without sacrificing our identity as Christians), but I am not at all sure that is the overall plan here.  Perhaps there is no plan.  Perhaps it is all about reacting without reason or acting without thought.  It does seem to place often conflicting and impossible burdens upon the fabric of our society and it also seems that Christianity is either unfairly blamed or unjustly singled out amid it all.  Strange because the Church was and remains an agent responsible in great part for the flowering of the arts and science, medicine and social work, individual rights, challenges to oppression, racism, and prejudice, and the care of those without voices or power.  Yet somehow that seems to have been forgotten.  Be careful when you erase history.  What you choose to write in its place may not be any more truthful or helpful than what you took out.