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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 4th

Today, July 4th, was a restful holiday.  I read as much as I’m going to in The Politics of Jesus (Hendricks). Dr. Hendricks’ insistence on a political interpretation of Mathew 20:1-16 ( the story of a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard and then hired others throughout the day—paying all the same wage) got me to thinking he was stretching the interpretation a bit.  Also, I resisted his interspersion of American politics within a discussion of scripture.  I rejoiced when MLK used the common experience of religion and scripture in the cause of civil rights and found his allusions powerful and convincing.  But to excoriate Republican positions repeatedly as irreligious is contrary to what I think of as an introspective application of scripture.  No doubt Dr. Hendricks observed some Republicans claiming that God endorsed their agenda in detail and decided to return tit for tat.  Generally, I guess, I am suspicious when anybody wraps themselves in the leaves of scripture implying they are beyond the normal critiques of reason and their cause beyond debate.

I watched two documentaries:  In Search of Beethoven  (2009) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony (1999).  The documentary of Beethoven discussed his political and religious philosophy.  I understood for the first time the kinship we hold in this area.  Now I am moved by his message as well as his music.  The Stanton/Anthony video reminds me of the deeply conservative aspects of American politics.  Long after much of the world gave women the right to vote, finally the US did too.  Though the movement for equal rights for women began officially in 1849 in a conference held in a Methodist Church, it was not until 1920 (just 24 short years before my birth) that women finally received the right to vote in the 19th Amendment.  Like in so many political issues, religion was used passionately on both sides of the argument.  

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