"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.
Search This Blog
"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?
For Lent, I was thinking of doing the typical fasts: fast from Facebook and take up reading, fast from petty vices like overindulging in sweets and alcohol and take on moderation, yada yada yada.
But I'm re-thinking that this year. What I'm fasting from this Lent is discouragement. That means cutting back on what is so often the source of discouragement, which is a tendency to gorge on, or dwell on, bad news.
(Let me be clear: that does not mean giving up news or otherwise burying my head in the sand: it means staying informed while finding ways not to get pulled into a downward spiral of feelings of numbness and helplessness; it means giving up unproductive feelings like hopelessness and resignation and taking on visible behaviors like giving encouragement and taking action.)
It means making visible -- here, on my blog, and even on Facebook -- the good.
Because the problem is -- to paraphrase the community organizer Rich Harwood -- a lot of times we see "good news stories…
So for Lent, I was thinking of doing the typical fasts: fast from Facebook and take up reading, fast from petty vices like overindulging in sweets and alcohol and take on moderation, yada yada yada.
But I'm re-thinking that.
Now one of the things I'm thinking about fasting from during Lent is discouragement. That means cutting back on what is so often the source of discouragement, which is a tendency to gorge on, or dwell on, bad news.
That would mean taking on encouragement: to make visible -- even on Facebook -- the good.
Because the problem is -- to paraphrase the community organizer Rich Harwood -- a lot of times we see "good news stories" as being quaint -- they are tossed in at the end of the news as an inspiring story, or put in the style section. But stories of good things happening -- people coming together to do things, is not a touchy-feely, feel-good story, but something affecting real change.
So for starters: I'm inspired by the leadership example of…