In two recent Daily Meditations we have reflected on the sick masculinity behind police killings of unarmed men, the toxic masculine that prefers dominance to justice or to love (which, as Meister Eckhart points out, is always about equality or making equality).
Then, on cue, Mr. Trump shouts at governors on the phone that they should “dominate.” President as poster boy for a sick masculinity—Dominator-in-chief buttressed by enablers including right wing media and senators who see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil and refuse to call witnesses for his impeachment trial. It was beyond surreal to watch the president clear the way for his photo-op to hold up the Bible in front of an historic church by ordering the gassing of peaceful protestors. He held up the Bible in a most strange way—I never saw anything like it , as if he had never held a book before. Was it upside down? Back to front? Whatever it was, it clearly was not studied for its contents.
Autocrats invariably find it necessary to enlist religion in their schemes for domination.
Washington D. C. Bishop Mariann Budde uttered her “outrage” at the president’s photo-op, calling it “an abuse of sacred symbols” dear to Jewish, Christian and Muslim peoples. Posing with a bible “as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our churches stand for,” she declared speaking truth to power.
The compulsion to dominate is what lies behind racism. And slavery. And sexism. And anthropocentrism. And lynchings. And fear. And heterosexism. And institutionalized violence. And fascism therefore.
Beware of the compulsion to dominate. Beware of where the “need to dominate” comes from. Beware of the sadism this “value” carries with it. The Third Reich was also very successful in commandeering religion to its brutal ends. The failure of religion to speak up strongly encouraged the anti-semitism in the air.
Beware of those who preach Dominance. Dominance is not only the opposite of love and truth and justice and compassion. It is also the favorite word of the bully. Cowards yearn to dominate. Ask Cardinal Ratzinger. Ask Bill Barr (who, by the way, was in tow with Trump at the Episcopal church and by all accounts led the way to clear away non-violent protestors with teach gas and rubber bullets). Ask any pedophile. Ask any rapist. Ask the winners in Wall Street who are so determined to dominate Main Street. And their congressional and judicial enablers.
Good law enforcement stands up to the Dominators and does not join them. So do outraged citizens who protest injustice and hatred. Those trying to hijack the demonstrations by burning cities share the need to dominate in common with the president. The need to dominate seems to be widespread in a patriarchal culture like ours.
Love trumps dominance. And love is happening too. Consider the wonderful collection of stories and pictures of what people with heart and a sense of justice are accomplishing in our streets today. People in high places can choose to reject dominance in pursuit of justice; and love; and creating societal structures that take us beyond dominance.
All is not lost. Generous and loving hearts and willing hands offer alternatives.
Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul & Society, pp. xxviii-xxxii, 243-247.
See also Matthew Fox, The Pope’s War.
See also Matthew Fox, A New Reformation.
Banner Image: Holy Bible and Flag. Photographer unknown.
Queries for Contemplation
What are the marks of a dominator society? And of a co-operative society? How do they differ? Are you engaging in the battle in whatever circumstances you find yourself in? Do you find that the struggle and internal as well as external one?
The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved
The Pope’s War offers a provocative look at three decades of corruption in the Catholic Church, focusing on Josef Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. The final section in the book focuses on birthing a truly catholic christianity.
“This book should be read by everybody, not only for its ferocious courage, but also for its vision for what needs to be saved from the destructive forces that threaten authentic Christianity.” ~ Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope.
“In the gripping The Pope’s War, Matthew Fox takes an unwavering look at the layers of corruption in the Catholic Church, holding moral truth against power.” — Jason Berry, author of Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II
A New Reformation: Creation Spirituality & The Transformation of Christianity
A modern-day theologian’s call for the radical transformation of Christianity that will allow us to move once again from the hollow trappings of organized religion to genuine spirituality. A New Reformation echoes the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther in 1517 and offers a new vision of Christianity that values the Earth, honors the feminine, and respects science and deep ecumenism.
“This is a deep and forceful book….With prophetic insight, Matthew Fox reveals what has corrupted religion in the West and the therapy for its healing.” ~Bruce Chilton, author of Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography