"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?
One of the joys of my ministry is leading children's chapel for our Day School every other Wednesday (Rev. Cathy and I take turns).
About 11:30 each Wednesday, the children - about a 190 of them, ranging in age from 18 months to five years of age - file in with their teachers, take their places in the pews in the Historic Church, and wait for Mrs. Thomas, the Day School Director, to start us.
The service is simple: Mrs. Thomas welcomes everyone, brings us to order with a short prayer, and introduces Rev. Cathy or me.
We give a short message based on the theme of the week ("David the Shepherd," "Mary and Joseph Go to Bethlehem," "Jesus is Born," "Jesus as a Little Boy" and so on.)
After the homily, we stand and say what's called "The Children's Creed."
I believe in God above, I believe in Jesus' love. I believe His Spirit too, comes to tell me what to do. I believe that I can be kind and good, dear Lord, like Thee.
Thank you, all, for your cards and notes and calls the last week as Mary and I dropped off our daughter Elizabeth last Friday for her first year in college and then immediately drove to Indiana for my sister Kathy's funeral on Saturday.
Between Wednesday of last week and Sunday night, we drove just under 2,000 miles, crossing nine different state lines. We went through at least as many states of mind, from "pride and joy" to "heartache goodbye at bittersweet parting" to "grief-for-the-dying" to "appreciation for, and celebration of, life." Not to mention all the inherent joys and stresses of a de facto family reunion - I was able to catch up not only with my three older brothers and my sisters-in-law, but with nieces and nephews I haven't seen in years, and was able to visit with - in some cases for the first time -- their spouses/girlfriends/boyfriends and children.
Just as was the case at my dad's funeral in 2001, and my niece…