A Current Lesson In Politics.

I went to a few social gatherings this weekend and was surprised at how often the topic of religion was raised.  It wasn’t theology, of course, it was the new Pope.  I also heard a long piece on Public Radio where a Priest expressed the view that over 80% of both clergy and lay people are feel relief the old regime is gone and are enthusiastic about the ideas expressed by the new Pope and the personality he projects.

I remember a political pundit reflecting on the years of Ronald Reagan and how popular conservative ideas became while he was President.  “It proves,” the pundit wrote, “the best way to sell an idea is to have it wrapped around an attractive personality.”  In Pope Francis we are observing that happen again.

To actually wrap ideas around an attrative personality is not easy as most people in politics can tell you.  It is not always possible to predict how a new celebrety politican/clergy will look to the public until he/she is out there.  The press also writes about people in ways that define, correctly or incorrectly, a personality.  The Pope is portrayed as warm, Mitt Romney as cold.

All this shows that what the doctrine of the Catholic Church, or, any other denomination or political party party for that matter, actually is is less important than the personalities of those representing the doctrine.  Popular personalities make for popular ideas.

We are all life long students of politics.


32 Responses

  1. Wanna B Sure

    Jon: Your:”…doctrine…or any other denomination…is less important than the personalities of those representing the doctrine”. Your:”Any other” is highly inaccurate in it’s inclusiveness. In “many”, that may be the case, especially in the megas, or TV shows, but “ANY” is not truthful. There have been and will continue to be pastors that have been removed from the roster of churches when they have taught doctrine contrary to the confessions/ creeds of churches. In a couple cases I am familiar with, those de-credentialed pastors actually had a better “bedside manner”, or pleasant personality, which would have lead to more base popularity. The laity were the ones who first noticed faulty doctrine, and went through proper channels to either correct , then remove.
    Your “any” is inaccurate, and misinformed.

    1. Wanna B Sure

      I need also say that I know of pastors that had/have a rather abrasive personality, not at all condusive to the cult of personality, that are highly respected, by laity, in particular churches, and in the framework of synod because of their doctrinal integrity. For these and many others, “popularity” (your word), is not a consideration.

        1. Wanna B Sure

          In case you haven’t realized it, the Pope does not speak or represent everyone. Neither does Joel Osteen. I’ll let Catholics remind you of Francis’ later statements. I can’t speak for him.

          1. Wanna 2:49 “..the Pope does not speak for everyone.”

            Neither did Ronald Reagan. Many believe, however, he moved to needle of politics in a certain direction. Or, maybe the needle was moving and he took advantage of it. In either case, it involved a popular personality that appeared to be in the front of things. That’s what the Pope and Joel Osteen are doing, moving, or, appearing to move, the needle a little.

          2. Wanna B Sure

            “Any” (your word). From the dictionary: each-every-all-without restriction.
            See my 1:18. I understand your intent, but your selection of words is simply a poor and inaccurate choice.

  2. Michael Ross

    “The press also writes about people in ways that define, correctly or incorrectly, a personality.”
    ” Popular personalities make for popular ideas.”
    I think you have that backwards, Jon. The press promotes ideas and the personalities must line up with those ideas. Examples:

    *”Saddam Hussien has WMD’s”. To deny this was unpatriotic, even treasonous.
    * “Ron Paul is unelectable”. You’re just wasting your vote.
    *”If you oppose gay ‘marriage’ you are a hate-filled bigoted homophobe”
    * “The traditional family consisting of a bread-winning father and a homemaker mother is gone forever.”
    *”Gold is a barbaric relic”
    These are (or at least were) popular (PC) ideas pushed by the establishment media. The American people cannot think for themselves so they let the media do that for them and support personalities line up with this trendy thinking. A popular idea promoted by an attractive personality will win over the mob not anchored in time-tested principles.

    1. Wanna B Sure

      Not the use, but the understanding the content. Can’t be coveting, as there has to be a desire for it. Jon just does not care to be accurate in presentation.

    2. Wanna B Sure

      OH MY GOD !!! one too many “the” in first sentence of my 10:54. In one small unintentional act, I completely destroyed the English language. Rendering it useless for ANY who come after us. At least I can admit to it.

      Smilie face

  3. Brad

    “In case you haven’t realized it, the Pope does not speak or represent everyone.”

    I bet the Pope would be speaking for everyone if what he said was in agreement with the right wing agenda.

    1. Wanna B Sure

      I don’t expect every Baptist or Assembly of God going to confession on Sunday. You are confusing church and state.

      1. Wolfy32

        YIKES you classified Baptist and Assembly of God in the same sentence / category of churches. My parents would Beat you or simply judge you and give you glaring eyes,like you said something Blasphemous for thinking the Assemblies of God is anything like the Baptists!!! You’ve committed a very unholy sin!!

        You must seek absolution!!

        1. Wolfy32 1:20 “YIKES you classified Baptist and Assembly of God in the same sentence..you must seedk absolution.”

          That’s great. I know you are right about that battle.

        2. Wanna B Sure

          So Wolfy: Apart from the charismatic issue, (some Baptists are also charismatic), Calvin and Arminius, (the lines are now so blurred today the difference is hard to detect), What is the significant difference between the two? Remembering that the rites, are similar, so to is “decision theology”, (the sinners prayer). Some from both sides seem to stress prosperity/ success. Many of each believe that if you don’t belong to their particular group, you are going to hell. I have personally had them tell me that from both sides. There are also different charismatic sects. All are strongly non-creedal, in spite of having a “statement/declaration of belief”, (which itself is a creed in the truest sense. Please be specific.

          1. wolfy32

            Is there any rational logic in prejudice?
            In this case religious prejudice and/or supremecy or exclusivity?

            I’m sentenced to hell probably for saying this (in my parents eyes), but, the judgement of anyone else is astounding… “Oh so and so is Lutheran, and did xyz… That’s too bad…”

            You can substitute lutheran with anything… Anything outside of Assemblies of God (or fanatical right wing) is following false teachings.

            I don’t know of anything specific Baptists believe or do. Maybe they’re not fanatical right wing enough… heh.

            I have really honestly heard nothing good about any other denomination. There’s always something wrong.. I remember one time they were really putting down some people that went to the “Church of God.” a Split off branch from Assemblies of God.

            It’s like really? Everyone worships God, does it matter what denomination they serve?

            Like a God being is going to be like, that church is better, I’m picking only them. If he does, well, then, a lot of people got it wrong!

  4. dan

    “I also heard a long piece on Public Radio where a Priest expressed the view that over 80% of both clergy and lay people are feel relief the old regime is gone and are enthusiastic about the ideas expressed by the new Pope and the personality he projects.”

    Hundreds of people went to a mall in Kenya, over 65 non-muslims were slaughtered.
    Survivors said they saw fellow shoppers mercilessly executed after being singled out as non-Muslim. Shoppers said people were lined up and gunned down for failing to recite passages from the Koran. At least 68 people killed in attack – including three Britons – at Westgate shopping centre.

    Aaron Alexis, 34, a contractor from Fort Worth killed 12 people at a Naval ship yard.

    Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major fatally shot 13 people and injured more than 30 others at Fort Hood.

    Yemen-based al-Qaida recently stated, “we call upon our Muslim brothers in Western nations to fulfill their duties in supporting God’s prophet . . . because they are the most capable of reaching them (U.S.) and vexing them.”

    And you’re worried about what the Pope had to say???

    Jon, I know that you’ll assert that Islam isn’t a majority here in America and that’s why your bias towards Catholics and Christians will remain undetered but, while you sleep, the people you don’t acknologe are plotting attacks against anyone who is not Muslim. Athiests are disliked even more than those they oppose (Catholics and Christians). There is Islamic jihad is here in the U.S. whether you choose to ignore it or not. The bombing in Boston, the Fort Hood massacure, the Naval Ship yard attacks will continue. None of these were orchastrated by Catholics and Christians and yet, they are the most riticuled people in the world.


    1. Wanna B Sure

      Re. the “80%” : I believe the majority of Catholics are registered Democrats. Historically, they have had Democrat leanings. Giving credence to the 80%. Hardly something the “right wing”, (whatever that means), would agree with. That being said, the Pope’s initial statements were primarily concerned with the spiritual, not the political, and his later clarifications reveal no real change in positions of the contested issues. Most people including the press jumped on the political cosmetics, not the spiritual, which has never changed.

    2. dan 12:04 “Atheists are disliked even more than those they oppose (Catholics and Christians)….by Catholics and Christian and yet, they are the most riduculed people in the world.”

      So, who is most disliked, athiests or Catholic/Christians? I would say it is atheists. Now, if you ask who is more disliked in the U. S./Western Countries, Muslims or atheists, I would guess atheists again.

      1. dan

        A suicide attack on a historic church in northwestern Pakistan killed at least 78 people on Sunday in one of the deadliest attacks on the Christian minority in Pakistan in years.

        Since when did an attack on an athiests meeting occur last time?

        Conclusion: If not agreeing with homosexuality makes one a hater, then athiests are haters as well for not agreeing with religion. Correct? Same logic. This only makes sense.

        1. Michael Ross

          Christians are not bombing atheists nor atheists bombing Christians. “Christians” are bombing Muslims in the middle east and north Africa on a daily basis with drone warfare. We (Christendom) have been in their part of the world dominating and murdering them for our own selfish oil interests since the early part of the last century. When they fight back we call them “terrorists.” They see “Christians” as their enemies and take out their hatred against Christians in their own country. I’m not defending them. Killing innocent people is never justified, even as retaliation but American Christians bare much responsibility for for the deaths of their religious brotheran in foreign lands.

        2. entech

          When did such an attack occur in downtown San Fransisco, either against Christians or atheists?
          An openly atheist meeting in any Islamic country would be severely dealt with.

          I cannot see any connection between your points about attacks on Christian churches in Pakistan and your rather strange conclusion.

          point a. suicide attacks by Pakistani fundamentalists on a Christian church (not an uncommon scenario in Islamic dominated countries with large semi-educated populations).

          point b.There is no last known attack on an atheists meeting (certainly in historical times there were, but recently none come to mind. In many Islamic countries it is far too dangerous to be openly atheistic that there are never enough to recognise each other and hold a meeting)

          conclusion. this is where I get lost, can’t see any relationship. This is not logic and it certainly does not make sense.

          You could make a case for your proposition, not a good one but something more cohesive. But then you would have to fight the Christians ( I bet they are gathering as I write) that contend that atheism is a religion.
          are atheists religious?
          do atheists hate religion?
          Does this only include the monotheists? Hindus and Buddhists have a traditional acceptance of atheism.

  5. Michael Ross

    “The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.” – H. L. Mencken

    1. entech

      A couple more to add.

      Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.
      For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing.

      H. L. Mencken

      Love Mencken’s definition of faith.
      Was it that Kierkegaard said that true faith is believe that is held in spite of all evidence to the contrary?

      1. entech — 1:25 “Faith may be defined as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable…the unknowable in terms of the not-wort-knowing.”

        Interesting and pithy observations. “..the unkownable in terms of the not-worth-knowing” is a great way to describe the big words people in theology use to discuss their umimportant concepts and mythical beings and events.

    2. Michael 5:59 “admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars…”

      Wonderful. What comes to mind are weapons of mass destruction, mission accomplished and the gulf of tonken.

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