National Commentary

A Simple Parable To Unite Us

As Trump continues his presidential crawl descending to the lowest pit of hell, in a manner that could enlighten a new edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy, the brazen obscenity that this man represents should question what kind of decent morality can the nation and the majority of its people, well meaning, articulate to bring this to a certain halt.

Stepping up to accept this important task is perhaps the most significant thing a leader of the Trump opposition can do, even if not the most popular for the humorless circus the major media has turned the race to elect an alternative into.

I thought we might get it from an unlikely but refreshing source, the campaign of the openly-gay mayor of South Bend, Pete Buttigieg. He came into the race with a strong message grounded in valid moral imperatives, laced with a commitment to universal human values arising from his own growth, development and struggle as a gay person with a mission to improve all humanity.

But we’ve not been hearing about that lately, as his campaign has gotten drowned out by his noisier rivals and his own campaign’s perceived imperative to join the chorus of all the fundraising appeals.

On the other side, the contemptible sellout by phony “rock star” hypocrites of the fake evangelical Christian movement, ignoring Trump’s locked-in determination to wind up in the fiery abyss, callously back this cretin and turn their congregations into mewling, hateful copies of their own blackened hearts.

The major media calls this the “religious” component in the election. Readers interested in the modern roots of this phenomenon as a battering ram against progressive societal impulses can check out the mini-series on Netflix based on Jeff Sharlet’s powerful expose, entitled, “The Family.”

Otherwise, among the most articulate and reasonable pro-faith alternatives that get no play in the media, the likes of the Sojourners, progressive strands of mainstream Protestant denominations (Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, the United Church of Christ), or even columnists like the Washington Post’s Michael Gerson, are kept on the political sidelines. The strongest voice globally, Pope Francis, is also muted as out of bounds for U.S. elections.

Gerson’s latest column, “The Reputation of the Gospel is at Risk,” has repeated a theme he’s frequently echoed, that persons of faith are being sold out by their leaders who are backing Trump, who is about as un-Christian as you can get, and they need to wake up.

Paul Musgrave’s op-ed in Sunday’s Post, “Plato and Proust Can’t Save Silicon Valley” is a variation on this theme, noting that the amorality of the tech sector, steaming along without regard for the human moral consequences of their inventions and applications, has, far from advancing the uplifting values of the Enlightenment that informed the American revolution and its democratic goals, sparked a “Dark Enlightenment,” a scary techno-reactionary philosophy of a new fascist order with Peter Thiel as among its apostles. Now that’s nasty.

But Musgrave’s pessimism on the subject is grounded in his lame conclusion that cutting our culture off from the humanities in education would “cut the world off from its own past.”

Lord help us, there’s a lot more relevance to the humanities than as dead relics of the past, as Musgrave suggests. They may be all that can save us.

On the same theme, the current New Yorker magazine features an article by Andrew Marantz, “Silicon Valley’s Crisis of Conscience,” that is even more frightening. It suggests the place for Silicon Valley leaders to go in order to find a moral ground is none other than the infamous “Esalen,” one of the original new age-generating social engineering experiments that began society’s descent into chaos in the 1970s. Esalen and the “Dark Enlightenment” may seem like opposites, but are the flip side of the very same coin.

There’s a very simple remedy that’s in what most reasonable people can find in their New Testament. That is, that the core of religious faith is rooted in one of its most plain passages, the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Let’s start there. Come on, Mayor Pete, pipe up!