“…evangelical Christians are sizing up the 2024 GOP race for president” – Politico, June 18, 2022
This had been showcased at the recent Faith & Freedom conference. The participants seemed quite aware of the payoff from pitching faith-based issues.
Of course, this isn’t new.
Back in immigrant urban areas in the early and mid 20th century the Roman Catholic Church maintained tight control through what religion could deliver to those of us in the melting pot. Its mantra for the struggling masses had been The Family That Prays Together Stays Together. That held out the promise of not going through the stigma of divorce.
But the power of prayer, which the priests and archbishop closely supervised, was not the only part of the ideology. As with current conservative politics, there was the mission to spread the “good news” of salvation to others.
That required funding, of course. Big time.
At Sunday mass there would be a second collection for the outreach.
In Catholic grade school like St. Boniface in downtown Jersey City, New Jersey, every Friday there would our own kind of collection. We had been instructed to bring in at least a quarter. That would be to help adopt pagan babies. When the specified amount had been reached, then we students would decide on a name for the pagan baby. That name would be added on a large poster to the list of other names we had given pagan babies in far-off countries. You bet, we were also encouraged to become a missionary to go to those lands and bring the good news of Jesus’ love to not only the pagan babies but to their parents.
It wasn’t until I was in my mid 20s and a doctoral student at the Univesity of Michigan that I thought all that through and I was through. Yes, it took that long to connect some dots. When I would return to Jersey City to visit my parents, though, I would take on the protective coloring of a devout Catholic. By then the second-collection and pagan-baby kinds of fundraising had been updated. There was the focus on grants and community partnerships. I was impressed at the resilience of Catholicsm.
Obviously the GOP is onto a good thing. I would recommend that progressives also leverage some of that unique kind of voodoo. Being supposedly so sophisticated about ruling out invisible forces such as God and the caring of Jesus isn’t getting the Democrats very far. The Biden Admistration seems to be crashing.
So, let us liberals pray. I felt safe growing up a good Catholic girl in Jersey City. Jesus was in my corner.
Aren’t we chasing after that same safety ethos now? Will we be gunned down shopping for groceries? An opinion piece in Fortune by Brad Karp and Chris Boehning presented an innovative solution for reducing gun violence keeps resonating. It lifted our minds and hearts away from the tedious platitudes by the policy wonks and the outraged activists. We were transported into another dimension for viewing a problem.
Obviously, prayer can take many forms. The one with the most reach is this: transcending the usual solutions about coping with life’s being so hard – and dangerous.
The GOP provides the magic of hope via unseen forces. Progressives are hammering detailed concrete agendas. The latter does nothing for me. I need to feel protected in a personal way. Yes, a customized version of Jesus’ caring about me.
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