I really like Chris Pratt. I liked his ‘9 rules,’ which used a platform given by MTV (of all places) to deliver a few simple Christian messages—a person is of more than material value, embarrassment is nothing to be afraid of, kindness matters, and we are beloved of God.
Right at the end, though, there was a moment that my ears prick up: “grace is a gift. Like the freedom that we enjoy in this country, that grace was paid for with somebody else’s blood. Do not forget that. Don’t take that for granted.” The idea that American freedom was paid for in military blood is, of course, ubiquitous—throughout the controversy over Colin Kaepernick’s anthem protests, no-one in mainstream discourse has questioned the idea that the freedom to protest is enjoyed because of military sacrifice. But before Pratt’s speech, I’d never realized this was an atonement theology.
A substantial number of Episcopal Bishops recently wrapped up a conference in Chicago. Titled “Unholy Trinity: the Intersection of Racism, Poverty, and Gun Violence,” it was organized by Bishops United Against Gun Violence and it dealt with how to broach these three social sins in scriptural and theological frameworks. It was probably a very powerful event, especially given the panel it put together. I can also easily imagine that the work done will inspire new forms of advocacy and activism within various Episcopal Dioceses.
[N.b. The argument in this post presumes voting for a third party in an effort to work against the current two party hegemony, not as an act of political dissent. That is a different kind of case, requiring a different kind of argument.]
I don’t typically write about politics. I would, however, like to dedicate a post to a phrase which I’ve heard quite a few times over the past month.
As we approach a presidential election featuring two historically unpopular candidates, a common refrain has emerged: ‘vote your conscience.’ It has been used by those who identify as true conservatives and those who identify as true progressives. It has been used by those who are tired of a two-party hegemony to explain why they’re thinking of voting for a third or fourth party candidate. It’s been used by those supporting both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump to justify a vote for their candidates: ‘can your conscience allow four years of Clinton/Trump?’