Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Deface the Nation: A Panel of the Banal

Easter Sunday Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer hosted an interfaith panel comprised of Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Episcopal Bishop Mariann Budde, Imam Suhaib Webb, Evangelical Bishop Harry Jackson, and Rabbi David Wolpe. The topic was contemporary American spirituality.

After allowing the Archbishop to gush about how cool it was to pick a pope, Bob Schieffer asked the panel to comment on the recent Pew Survey suggesting that Americans under forty were leaving organized religion in droves. Their conclusion: the problem isn’t the message but the way it is marketed. Wrong.

The reason people are leaving organized religion is that the message is filled with irrationality, arrogance, ignorance, hatred, tribalism, and an inability to see outside the official boxes into which religion seeks to cram God.

After refusing to take the shift in American spirituality seriously, the panel did their best to avoid saying anything interesting, and worked hard to not ruffle each other’s feathers. They almost made it, too.

Late in the discussion (such as it was) Bishop Jackson attributed the freedom of religion in the United States to the fact “we believe this to be a Christian nation. We feel like we've been persecuted in the places we came from, and we are going to intentionally let this nation be founded in a way that if you come here and you're Islamic, and you come here and you're Jewish, we're not going to persecute you.”

Are you kidding me? The only reason we have religious freedom in this country is because it became clear to people that without it we would have endless war as different sects of Christianity battled to control the nation.

To his credit Imam Webb challenged Bishop Jackson’s false history of America, but no one came to his defense. No one! At one point the Bishop said testily, “We have got a strong disagreement,” to which the Imam said, “But we still love each other.”

What? We do? And even if we do love one another, what does that have to do with the Bishop’s false sense of American history?

And then Rabbi Wolpe tossed out this non sequitur: “All I can say is dig the roots deep enough, you’ll find us.” Who’s “us”? The Jews? Or did he mean the faux Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition that Face the Nation was promoting?

Not to be out done, Bishop Budde added, “That’s right. And it’s—and who was there—who was here before us…”

Who? The Native Americans that’s who. You know, the people who gave us corn so we could make syrup and ethanol?

If you want to know why younger Americans are abandoning organized religion—listen to this panel.


Gunner said...

I've always been interested in the effect that the internet has on people staying or losing their religion. The younger generation has access to more information than ever before, and much conflicts factually with the world views of many religions and likely their own.

No One Special said...

I'm so glad I didn't tune in.

Religions are nothing more than another type of institution bent on self-perpetuation.

My connection to our Source is deeply personal and won't be forced into some sort of religious dogma - ever.

Erick Reynolds said...

I agree with all of the above.