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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Most ironic comment of the day.

In Christianity Today's unfriendly profile of John Kerry, we come across this gem of ironic analysis from an evangelical Presbyterian professor of political science: "Kerry is the imperial self dressed up in a politician's suit. There's no evidence that he's read the bishops' statements on Catholic social teaching." Oh, I'm laughing so hard! I can't wait for the profile of Bush and the description of his close reading of anything remotely related to moral theology, Catholic, Methodist, or otherwise. "Imperial self" indeed.

But there's also a section near the end of the essay on Evangelicals who have been turned off by the President:

Mark Bennett from Brooklyn says the Bush administration has "betrayed" evangelicals. The administration, he said, "has co-opted the Christian Right with empty promises and has not told the truth to the American people about the war and about jobs."

("John Kerry's Open Mind," Mark Stricherz, Christianity Today 9.27.04)

There's an easy-to-remember bit of moral theology that says, "Thou shalt not lie." In the very same ten-point document of moral theology is another easy-to-remember passage: "Thou shalt not bear false witness." How well is the President measuring up?

(Update: Farley is an even better student of moral theology than I am, because he notes that I've inaccurately presented lying and bearing false witness as two separate proscriptions in the Ten Commandments when in fact they're two versions of the same commandment. Rather than rewrite the entry, I'll just eat my humble pie and mark my error.)

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 28 September 2004 at 8:29 AM

Previous: James Carroll on Kerry's Catholicism.
Next: 'Joined in the middle.'

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3 comments:

Farley:

September 28, 2004 11:03 AM | Permalink for this comment

Your citation of two points of moral theology are actually one point. There would be 11 Commandments by your count.

Philocrites:

September 28, 2004 11:25 AM | Permalink for this comment

Good catch, Farley! I should have said:

There's an easy-to-remember bit of moral theology that says, "Thou shalt not lie." Or, as a memorable ten-point document of moral theology puts it: "Thou shalt not bear false witness."

Maybe I should put up a granite monument in my dining room so I don't forget!

David Engel:

September 28, 2004 12:49 PM | Permalink for this comment

Actually, I believe not bearing false witness is not the same as not lying. I think the point of contention between the two is a presumption that false witness was in a legal circumstance, while lying was not necessarily. The King James Version says "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." Then later, it says "Do not spread false reports."

If I remember correctly, I think there are over 600 commandments in the Old Testament - mostly in Leviticus.



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