"Unapologetic Theology: A Christian Voice in a Pluralistic Conversation" is the title of a book by my beloved theology professor and friend, the late William C. Placher. It is also now the title of this blog, a place where I hope to add a Christian voice -- God knows, not "the" Christian voice, but "a" Christian voice and not just any old voice, but a distinctly Christian voice -- to the pluralistic conversation going on about just about everything.
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"So-called" Judge Robart?
This clip is of the United States Senate voting, on June 17, 2004, on President George W. Bush's nomination of James L. Robart to be the U.S. District Judge for the Western District at Washington. Judge Robart is the one who issued a ruling yesterday that temporarily blocks one of the Executive Orders on immigration and refugees.
As an exercise in democracy, watch the clip. It's only 51 seconds long. Wait for it -- notice whose vote was the last affirmative vote.
Note what the final vote count was.
After watching, ask yourself: are there any other steps in our democracy that necessary to confirming a District judge?
After answering those questions, ask yourself:
Why would the person currently holding the office of President of the United States refer to Robart as a "so-called" judge?
“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump wrote.
Recall that "so-called" means something is false...ostensible...supposed...not actually the case.
Keep in mind the "so-called" phrase is in reference to the judge -- the office or position of judge itself, and is not about the substance of the ruling.
(In my opinion, calling the judge's ruling a "so-called ruling" -- you know, calling the legitimacy or accuracy of the legal ruling into question -- would have been fair game. Rough and tumble politics and all.)
But that is not what is going on here: what is being called into question is the legitimacy of the judge himself.
Please, ask yourself:
What is the intention of a President calling a judge who reverses one of his orders a "so-called" judge?
Is it unreasonable to conclude this is an attempt, deliberately or not, by the President of the United States to undermine people's trust in this Judge, and therefore in the American judicial system, particularly when the attempt is coupled with an accusation that the judge's ruling "takes law-enforcement away from our country"?
What is the end game of this Administration there?
Are there United States Senators, other judges, or conservative Republicans who are alarmed by this?
No one can -- and I certainly don't want to try -- to unpack every tweet the person currently holding the office of President of the United States sends out.
No one has the time to respond to every one of his tweets on just one issue. Although I wish I had the time on the issue of the Executive Orders recently issued in regard to refugees.
But every so often I feel I MUST respond to at least SOME of those tweets, lest I grow accustomed to them as normal. And I refuse to normalize the abnormal.
Take one of Saturday's tweets, for example: in response to Judge Robart's temporarily stopping an Executive Orders, there was this:
“What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.?”
Let's unpack: "What is our country coming to..." Does that lament sound familiar? Ask yourself: who often says it, where do you hear it from the most? Is it a positive, hopeful line of thinking? I wil…
A sermon preached January 29, 2017 The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector The Falls Church Episcopal
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the p…
A sermon preached June 19, 2016
The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector
The Falls Church Episcopal, Falls Church, Virginia
(“Dear Lord: Carry your word into the most protected parts of our hearts.”)
Today I don’t have a traditional sermon. I certainly don’t have a sermon about Father’s Day, but now that I’ve mentioned it, happy Father’s Day. Today, instead of a traditional sermon, I feel led to share some things that have been on my heart this past week.
I’ve been your Rector here since August of 2012. Those of you who have been here a long time know that my preaching style is almost always “expository,” a fancy word that simply means you take a passage of scripture, and having studied it during the week, you show – or expose – its meaning and relevance as best you can, and then you sit down, trusting Holy Spirit will be hard at work simultaneously translating for each of you what you need to hear on any given Sunday.
One of the implications of this style of preaching is I tend not to preach “to…