Thursday, July 23, 2020

Bishop Vasa pens a Christian response to 2020

Bishop Vasa, of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, CA, attempts a balanced take on the crazy and the problems of the year 2020.

It's a good piece.  It strikes a balance between the extremes.  A couple things leaped out at me.

First, any virus that kills 130,000 Americans is serious.  Even if we assume half of them are misreported, that's still over 60,000 dead, and the year isn't over.  That's worth doing something about.  Those who run around saying 'they were going to die anyway' bring disgrace to basic human decency much less the Gospel.

With that said, anyone with more than two brain cells knows that much of the 'response' has been four parts political, one part anything else.  Destroying the lives of millions, shutting down freedoms and liberties, blocking the worship of God (while allowing sporting events and amusement parks) is the stuff any sane human, much less Christian, should rise up against.  There are ways to help fight the spread of the virus without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  That, of course, necessitates admitting that there are those who want both baby and bathwater out of the way.

The same with racism.  Of course there is still racism in our country.  There is racism today against blacks too.  There is much to examine, and we obviously don't have the stones to do it.  Even on the most superficial level, however, we can assume that in the third largest population in history, you'll have bad actors.  Other groups face discrimination as well.  My sojourns with the Orthodox of the Antiochene tradition taught me that Arab Americans face discrimination - and sometimes from white people.  In a strange way, if you know Arabic or Hispanic Americans, you also know that sometimes the most venomous racism they face comes from - you guessed it - decidedly non-white sectors.

With that said, the 'white as pox on humanity' or 'burn, destroy, desecrate all!' isn't worth discussing, much less defending.  Here, Bishop Vasa is a little more wimpy.  He appears to concede there is nothing to learn of the past from statues but the bad.  He talks of a few protests stepping out of line and destroying a few businesses, as if this is a minor misstep in a valid cause.  At least he seems to say there is no excuse for either.  He simply gives that 'surrender three steps and hope for a compromise' approach which has, well, led us to where we are.

But at least he doesn't rush forth and defend, condone or support these things.  He doesn't seem to join in the 400 Year Nazi Slave State' narrative of America, or the idea that all of Western History is a cultural swastika watermarked on the human story.  Given where much of American Catholic leadership is, I'd call that  a win.

More importantly, he points out the need for balance in responding to the virus - and everything.  That's something.  The Left has declared war on America and the Christian West.  It is using anything to destroy Trump and, more importantly, the civilization it has been at war with for generations.  To that, Bishop Vasa offers at least a slap on the wrist.  He reminds us, in the end, it's more about just keeping the person healthy and happy while waiting for the next ball game.

So it's worth the read.  Overall, not bad.  Apologetic at times, a bit conciliatory where it might not be warranted, but on the whole a fair job.

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