Week of 11/27-12/2/2023: Fighting Fascism & Finding Joy

November 27, 2023: Joy and Justice, Birds of a Feather
Aquinas, Terry Tempest Williams, and Rabbi Heschel all celebrate Joy. Rabbi Heschel teaches: “When we sing, we sing for all things,” and that “joy lies at the very heart of worship.” Also, that God is not only the Creator of earth and heaven but is also the One ‘who created delight and Joy’….Even lowly merriment has its ultimate origin in holiness. The fire of evil can be better fought with flames of ecstasy, than through fasting and mortification. Meanwhile, the poet Rilke says we “do justice only where we praise.” In this way he is linking justice and joy. After all, justice brings balance back, so that joy flows more freely. Joy empowers us in the struggle for justice and keeps us going.

The joy of birdsong. Virtuoso nightingales sing during the day, too! Video by Wildlife World.

November 28, 2023: Is There Joy in Injustice and Fascism?
America was once considered a beacon of democracy. Now, sadly, an entire political party and many so-called Christians embrace a man hellbent on destroying democracy. Rachel Maddow’s new book, Prequel: An American Fight Against Fascismtells an important story of the allure of fascism in pre-World War II America.  She shares the story of the Roman Catholic priest in the Detroit area, Father Coughlin, who had over 30 million devout followers listening to his weekly radio show that spewed hatred toward Jews and praised fascism. Hitler and his cronies actually studied Jim Crow laws in America to create their pogroms against Jews and other minorities.  No, there is no joy in fascism. Instead we see hate, fear, projection, violence, anger, grievance and blame. 

The Atlantic’s Peter Wehner joins Morning Joe to discuss the growing allegiance of evangelical Christians to “a man who embodies cruelty” and ignores the teachings of Jesus. MSNBC

November 29, 2023: Religion & Fascism: Examination of Conscience in a Time of Advent
The Conference of Catholic Bishops recently declared that their number one priority this upcoming presidential election year will be: abortion. Not the destruction of democracy and rule of law; and not even climate change, the subject of not one, but two encyclicals by Pope Francis. Yesterday we looked at Fr. Coughlin’s antisemitic radio program which reached 30 million listeners. Mussolini, Franco and Hitler also used the church in their reigns of terror, and now many churches in our country are espousing the dictator wannabe who is again running for president. Fascism with its extreme homophobia and misogynist anti-abortion politics seems to hold a special appeal to some Roman Catholic hierarchy in America today. Let the season of Advent be a fitting time for collective examination of conscience regarding religion’s role in the history of American fascism. 

November 30, 2023: Advent 2023:  Good News & Bad News
Matthew asks the question: Is it possible to be a fascist and a Christian? The obvious answer is no. Matthew puts forth the following: I would love to see an encyclical on that subject from Pope Francis before he retires or dies. After all, since Pope Francis’ people fled Italy in the 1930s because of the rising tide of fascism, he seems especially fit to take on this important subject. Matthew states that he does not find “Catholic bishops in bed with political zealots bent on authoritarianism the least bit Christ-like.” How can we bring Jesus’ message of love and Good News back to the fore?

“A photo that speaks for itself.” Photo by Tom Parsons on Unsplash

December 1, 2023: More Good News alongside Questions for the USCCB
At this year’s plenary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, they unanimously agreed that abortion was the #1 issue before the country right now. There are some questions we would like to see the bishops answer. Among them: Why do you feel anointed to tell women what decisions they can and cannot make about their bodies? Why don’t you care about saving Mother Earth, such as Pope Francis proposes in two encyclicals? Why don’t you take a stand on getting dark money out of politics? (to be continued)

December 2, 2023: Further Questions for USCCB in Advent & Presidential Election Season
When the Conference of Catholic Bishops convened recently, instead of providing moral leadership for all that is wrong in our country and world, they chose to focus on only one thing: abortion. We have some more questions for those bishops. Why not prioritize voting rights for black Americans? Why not fight the rise of fascism in our country? Why not speak for the poor, and against tax breaks for billionaires? Why not be concerned about health care? Why not speak out against the candidate who continues to support Putin in the face of an immoral war in Ukraine? Why not speak up for democracy when Trump is threatening a very different kind of kingdom than the one Jesus proclaims?

Banner image: Be the change you wish to see in the world. Photo by Robin Prime / Craftivist Collective on Flickr.

Recommended Reading

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

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2 thoughts on “Week of 11/27-12/2/2023: Fighting Fascism & Finding Joy”

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    COMPASSION… continue growing in the hearts~Eternal Souls of All our sisters and brothers around the world, and with beautiful Sacred Mother Earth in Loving Diverse ONENESS in the Sacred Process of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT….
    — Amen

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