Friday 19th of August 2022

waiting for goodot...


Christianity and Democracy do not mix, despite what Luke Bretherton tells us in a new book...  


In Christ and the Common Life Luke Bretherton provides an introduction to historical and contemporary theological reflection on politics and opens up a compelling vision for a Christian commitment to democracy.

In dialogue with Scripture and various traditions, Bretherton examines the dynamic relationship between who we are in relation to God and who we are as moral and political animals. He addresses fundamental political questions about poverty and injustice, forming a common life with strangers, and handling power constructively. And through his analysis of debates concerning, among other things, race, class, economics, the environment, and interfaith relations, he develops an innovative political theology of democracy as a way through which Christians can speak and act faithfully within our current context.

Luke Bretherton, Ph.D., professor of theological ethics at Duke Divinity School and senior fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, has written a guide to the historical and contemporary relationship between Christianity and politics, while making a compelling case for why Christians should be committed to democracy.

Christ and the Common Life guides readers through the political landscape and identifies the primary vocabulary, ideas, and schools of thought that shape Christian reflection on politics. Ideal for use in the classroom, the book equips students to understand politics and its positive and negative role in fostering neighbor love.

The book begins with a discussion of political theology before examining how five different “schools”—humanitarianism, Black Power, Pentecostalism, Catholic social teaching, and Anglicanism—have approached political engagement. Bretherton then examines challenges to coexistence and some central commitments, such as tolerance, that make the cultivation of a democratic common life possible. In the final section, each chapter explores key concepts that are the building blocks of democracy. These serve as the foundation for outlining the theological basis of the relationship between Christianity and democracy. This is especially urgent at present when many around the world are renouncing democracy or questioning its relevance as a way of addressing shared problems.

Bretherton is also the author of Resurrecting Democracy: Faith, Citizenship, and the Politics of a Common Life published in 2014 by Cambridge University Press.


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Christianity and democracy have been uneasy bedfellows.

Tyrants from Biblical times to the 20th century have used Christianity to justify their power.

But Christianity has also been marshalled in the cause of anti-slavery, anti-racism, women’s suffrage and workers’ rights.

But is the democratic impulse waning among Christians?


Christianity and Democracy do not mix, never did mix, even before Emperor Constantine adopted the religious arcane caper as a way to control his empire. Christianity and Democracy are like oil and water. Even when emulsified, the result is cloudy...

Christianity developed a hierarchical structure reminiscent of kings, knights and toilers, while democracy is supposed to be based on equality of individuals. There is of course a defined structure in our present democracy, but it is based on choices — bad or good — by the people who elect representatives, and appoint a system of public servants, in which the executive, the legislative and the application of the laws are (supposedly) separate. 

In Christianity, the controlling echelons are mostly chosen by the above hierarchy rather than by the people, and the role of women is often subservient rather than equal. Many religious male will say that the roles of men and women are “different” in order to justify their adopted superiority. The problem is worse under Islam — which despite some elegance, is often subject to rabid interpretations and nasty applications, even for non-believers caught in the religion-politico system. 

Democracy isn’t perfect either. It relies on a weak paradigm of majority which by all intent is susceptible to powerful manipulations between practical knowledge and cultivated ignorance — or simple disinterest. The inclusion of religious beliefs into the democratic umbrella is often part of a sway of intent to increase ignorance while controlling people. Miracles don’t exist, contrary to what Scummo tells us. For him, his miracle is named Rupert Murdoch. Glorious stupidity reigns in the shire and we end up with a wicked choice between Trump and Clinton...

In the three (simplified) blurbs and articles above about the Bretherton book, there is a common thread: words, words words, words, far too many words about self-importance of believers doing good deeds (dealing with race, class, economics, the environment, interfaith relations, and "other topics") — but none defining democracy, nor what the religious beliefs are, only that these beliefs can do good while participating in the social environment. So before defining the pseudo-social role of religion — a role that kept many a people in darkness across centuries about the structures of government by supporting kings and despots before, we need to define what the Christian beliefs are. 

We start with the belief in god. So far, any true democratic structure is going to suffer from this delegation of importance. Using god as a referee in our relationships is ludicrous and weak: it is admitting defeat as if we could not solve our human problems.

Our second point is, of course, the “original sin”. This underpins all of Christianity’s behaviour. This is the core belief of Christianity — believing in Christ, the “son of god”, who came to redeem this blight, the original sin, upon humanity — as long as "we believe" he did die (he did not really died, since in the "belief", he came back three days later...) for us. Ridiculous. Democratically, we cannot accept this nonsensical belief. 

We can accept however that we’re not perfect, but this is a resultant of our complex evolution of which we are aware, rather than a mistake made by a couple of idiots called Eve and Adam. 

Democratically, we can thus deal with this knowledge and find ways to deal with managing democracy, without delegating the rules of our behaviour to an imaginary being. 

This process has boiled over in the last 50 years or so. Following the generations of the war, generations which strongly believed that god would save them from this awful misery and then worked hard at creating gadgets — came new generations that are now living more like humans from planet earth rather than the fallen angels of the past. Practical comforts, including light, joyful and heavy entertainment instead of spiritual rituals, have shifted the human needs on many levels. This does not mean a drop in our stylistic appreciations or personal creations, nor a reduction of our mindfulness and awareness. To the contrary.

This rapid awakening is frightening to believers. The kids now protest about saving the planet rather than hypocritically believe that this little earth is to be use which ever way our god-given fancy takes us. 

Good one, kiddies.

This is a major transformation of ideas. We need to be awaken by a scientific Renaissance. We are the masters of our ephemeral individual destiny on our own terms in a relative system of WIR (collective us) managed humanity with its gamut of variations — not because we are promised eternal life, but because we are humans. We can make this happen for the best, not trying to fight temptation of a lousy imaginary devil, but because we can simply be better, without being stupid.

This may sound like bringing up the mundane to the fore, and it is somewhat. Protecting the poor and the less-able, accepting racial differences, managing cultural views, without compromising our own aspirations become a matter of managing the dialog in which compassion and acceptance create our relative ethical necessity, even inventing our entertainment dare I say, without foregoing of some habits, and devising new statutory democratic rituals with intelligent flexibility… Is this a form of “quantum consciousness”? Possibly, but on the terms of genetic inheritance, rather than “spiritual values”. It’s not easy... Our human nature gets in the way of sharing or not. 

The perfect human does not exist, though humans have been searching a long time for this delusion through various shamanic and religious channels. The Cathars devoted their life to reincarnation until they felt they were ready to go to the next level and be forever perfect — gone from this devilish earth. Buddhism has a similar view with less devil, while the beliefs of Christianity only allows for perfect reincarnation or eternal damnation, at the end of time, when we are judged by Santa Claus himself. Such dealing with our imperfections has led us to a great magnitude of misunderstandings… including how we mismanage our arbitrary democratic functions.

Natural life is our driver. Understanding, protecting the natural life-force and fathoming the cosmic energies should be essential for this Renaissance of purpose to our supportive stylistic inventions, in which our social structures should be devoted to, with flexibilities, while not destroying the joint. 

We still need plumbers to fix the outhouse, though...


Here Christianity has provided too many loopholes in the system, such as confession and absolution. These ridiculous ideas allow repeats of crimes (under the pretence of sin), especially in the secrecy of priesthood. Redemption is another bad idea that works against the democratic concept.

Gus Leonisky

your not-knowing, witness and active risk taker in humanist democracy...

the three motivators: sex, power, money...

to be


Founder of The Pink Protest and author Scarlett Curtis shares her vision for 2030, and asks whether feminism is anywhere near "done".

Scarlett is one of this year's BBC 100 women, an inspiring and innovative group who are driving change for women around the world. 


I am not a fan of science fiction. It's a genre that bores me and as much as I have tried, over the years, to muster up excitement for Star Wars, Doctor Who or even Nineteen Eighty-Four, I inevitably end up switching off and losing interest. 

There is just one future reality that truly interests me. It's the far-off, magical world titled "The Female-Led Future". 

After all, feminist activism is an act of science fiction. This is a world being created in real time, by real people.

So, let us take the grand unveiling of the 2019 BBC 100 Women list as an opportunity to imagine what this world could look like by 2030. 

A world in which women everywhere are given equal access to education, have control of their own bodies and are fairly represented by the leadership that drives social change and affects the way we live.

The 'ball-busting girl-boss'

What could this future female leadership look like? There are two competing schools of thought on this.

One argues that female leadership looks exactly like the male leadership we already know. 

This is the concept of the "ball-busting girl-boss". She's the kick-ass CEO with heels as sharp as her tongue, an army of nannies at home caring for her kids and a trouser-suit that brings cold, hard fear to all the men who serve beneath her. 

The other argument explores the idea that perhaps the brutal machismo that we have come to associate with leadership and power is as much a part of the problem as female oppression. 

Perhaps aggression, fear and hierarchy are the issues, so the idea of whacking a business suit on a woman and throwing her into the boardroom was always a bad idea.

Perhaps the idea of "having it all" is one that was flawed from the beginning.

This second argument tends to be the one I like best. 

I'm a "soft" person. I cry easily, I am led by emotions and would rather never work again than earn a living from a job in which I was required to argue on a daily basis. 

My preference is for a leadership model with these traits, which are often seen as "female", at its core.

From Greta to AOC

While progress is slow, this "vulnerable power" is starting to make itself known.

Activist and campaigner Greta Thunberg's quiet determination has arguably propelled the climate movement further in the last year than in the decade before it. 

At the same time, the passion and emotion of Senator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has sparked a much-needed fire within the US political climate, while Tarana Burke's #MeToo movement has used simple, powerful storytelling to reframe global perceptions of sexual harassment. 

Looking at the representation at the top is often a depressing exercise, with fewer women leading FTSE 100 firms than are run by men called Stephen.

Yet when women do get a seat at the table, the positive impacts are plain. 

Women still make up just 3% of mediators in major peace processes, but the resulting agreement is 35% more likely to last at least 15 years. 

Hiring women to lead corporations can be beneficial too. 

Interviews with female CEOs of major US firms found they were often driven by a sense of purpose, and embraced teamwork to lift up others and achieve their desired results.

Meanwhile, if other OECD countries increased their female employment rate to match that of Sweden - which is often held up as a beacon of gender equality - collective GDP could be boosted by more than $6 trillion (£4.9tn).

Do we 'actually' need feminism?

So there we have it - the tantalising hints of a female-led future utopia in which money and equality run through society like rivers. 

But what is it actually going to take to get there?

I have, much to my chagrin, become that person at parties that people like to challenge on whether or not we "actually need feminism".

This question tends to be posed by those who have never personally felt the negative effects of inequality.

The response is simple but generally not one that I like to whip out over cocktails; one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence, while 61% of 15-24 year-olds infected with HIV are female.

One in five girls worldwide are thought to be married before 18, and at least 200 million girls and women worldwide have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM).

Fewer than one in five of the world's landowners are women, and in 18 countries a husband is still allowed to ban his wife from working.

These statistics aren't just numbers - they are the basis for gender inequality.

They are the fire that fuels the fearless activism of millions of women across the globe. 

They are the reason that feminism will not be "done" until equality is a reality not just for certain groups but for every woman on every corner of the globe. 

These numbers betray the violations of fundamental human rights that take place every second of every day, and are the core of feminism. 

Boys in skirts, girls in spaceships

So let us return to our question - what does a female-led future look like? 

The first step is to fix these glaring inequalities. 

In 2015, every UN country agreed to 17 sustainable development goals, and number five is gender equality.

These world leaders made a promise to end FGM, value unpaid labour, promote empowerment through technology and ensure women's full participation in leadership and decision making. 

These goals are not a dream - they are a promise, and unless this groundwork of equality is laid, nothing else is going to be possible.

But once that has been done, once rights have been given, discrimination ended, equality achieved, what does a true "female-led future" look like? 

I think that's what we're all trying to figure out. I think it might be the stuff of dreams, of visions, of stories yet to be told. 

It's the story of boardrooms with breast-pumps, of blind dates without fear, of short skirts that don't "send signals", and gender without binaries. 

It's the story of boys in skirts, girls in spaceships, governments with compassion and sex without power. 

It's the story that is yet to be told, but one which activists are dreaming up and writing into reality every day. 

It's the story I'm extremely excited to find out the ending to, and one that I promise never to give up on. 

It's the story that needs YOU if it's ever, ever going to become a reality.


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That's going to make Miranda Devine happy...


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a caricature debunked...



not the christian thing to do...

Michel Brown brutes it along with the finesse of an idiot:

I will leave it to others to reflect on the political and strategic implications of the killing of the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (see, for example, here and here). And enough has been said to ridicule the disastrous “austere scholar” headline of The Washington Post (see here and here and here). Allow me instead to offer some moral reflections on America putting this monstrous terrorist to death.

First, there really is such a thing as good and evil. ISIS is and was evil. Al-Baghdadi was evil, just as Hitler was evil.

Terrorism is evil. Murder and rape and are evil. Selling human beings into sex slavery is evil. Merchandizing aborted baby parts is evil.

Conversely, it is good to confront evil and to judge evil. And it was good to take out al-Baghdadi.

To be sure, there is more than enough moral ambiguity in our society, and many “good” causes become compromised by ulterior motives and human corruption.

As for life on earth, none of us are perfectly good (outside of Jesus; see Matthew 7:11), and even the most evil person has some good quality, having been created in God’s image.

Yet there is no denying that some people are downright wicked, and either in this world or the world to come, they will certainly pay for their sins.


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This article by moustachioed Michael Brown of the CP is a simpleton view of the world, from the wrong end of the looking glass. Trying to find a Christian excuse to take out Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is beyond the pale. Christ himself would be appalled and would totally object to this turd polishing of intent. 

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was a creation of the West in conjunction with Saudi Arabia. He and his Daesh people had different values that did not fit the Western politics once they started to blossom into a pseudo-country, within countries that the West was trying to shape into vassals of the Saudis — until the Russians came along. 

Had the Russian done the deed (killing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi), they would have got a pasting from the Western journos — with claims that no matter what, the guy "had to be brought to justice" for whatever. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi WAS NOT EVIL. He was just implementing a different religious crap designed to destroy Assad. He was helped by the French with cement and by the US (and the Europeans) with weapons... until it was time to shut him up so he would not "spill the beans" about the dirty deals that were made behind our back... to get rid of Assad.


more donkeys in the brood...

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) has officially named a successor to its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, following the US raid on his hideout, thus confirming that the notorious terrorist leader was indeed killed in the operation.

A man called Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi will take on the role of the terrorist group’s new leader, the extremists announced through their affiliated Amaq new agency.

The jihadists also confirmed the death of the terrorist group’s spokesman, Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir. The terrorist group urged its followers to pledge allegiance to the new “Caliph” and issued a menacing message to the US, saying that Americans should not “rejoice” at the Islamic State leader’s death.


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