Can a Catholic critique of ‘throwaway culture’ pull politics from the brink?

Religion News Service | 5/15/2019 | Staff
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(RNS) — When confronted with the views of a candidate from “the other” party, have you ever felt so upset that you had to change the channel in anger or disgust? Have you ever become profoundly anxious at the prospect of having to engage with your family about politics?

Have you ever transferred out of a course because you couldn’t handle the ideology of the instructor? Have you left a church community because you disagreed with the views of the pastor or your fellow worshippers?

Many - Enemies - Ones - Views

Many have. Many of us refuse to have our perceived enemies, even thoughtful ones, challenge our safe, comfortable views. We prefer not to engage.

We might be tempted simply to dismiss this state of affairs as what any pluralistic Western republic has to put up with. After all, if a culture genuinely tries to welcome multiple and even antagonistic understandings of the good, could there really be another outcome?

Years - Heart - Election - Cycle - Archbishop

Maybe. Three years ago, in the heart of the 2016 presidential election cycle, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles said, “It is clear that we need a new politics — a politics of the heart that emphasizes mercy, love and solidarity.”

This kind of politics is especially important, perhaps, to Christians caught up in the country’s polarization and incoherency. These plagues don’t just shove today’s complex issues into a simplistic right/left framework; they prompt us to view our ancient theological traditions through the lens of the culture wars.

Liberals - Conservatives - Result - Views - Liberals

Christian liberals and Christian conservatives as a result often hold views indistinguishable from those of secular liberals and conservatives, putting Christianity at the service of America’s political tribes.

There are a few reasons for hope.

Eugene - Robinson - View - Axis - Schematic

As Eugene Robinson recently stated, “My view is that the traditional left-to-right, progressive-to-conservative, Democratic-to-Republican political axis that we’re all so familiar with is no longer a valid schematic of American political...
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