Jesus: Was He a Gay Rights Activist?

Lesbian Methodist minister Beth Stroud is probably a very nice person. But it's a shame that the United Methodist Church has chosen to reinstate her, reversing an earlier decision. Stroud was defrocked because she was in violation of the church's rule against openly gay ministers.

From CBS:

"The church is not free to disregard the standards of justice and inclusiveness that are preached by Jesus Christ ... and are a part of church law," Stroud said after church authorities read their decision at a hotel.

Yes, Christ is inclusive--but it's hard to see him as a gay rights activist. Ms. Stroud is really twisting Christ's preaching. Moreover, it's sad to see the church of the Wesley brothers heading into the trendy irrelevance of their Episcopal brothers and sisters.

A Different Path

Unlike the Methodists who reinstated Beth Stroud, the cardinals who elected Benedict XVI did not choose a path of accommodation. George Weigel suggests that this is the real meaning behind the elevation of Cardinal Ratzinger to the papacy:

"Ever since the Second Vatican Council, some Catholics and most of the world media have expected--and in certain cases, demanded--that the Catholic Church follow the path taken by virtually every other non-fundamentalist western Christian community over the past century: the path of accommodation to secular modernity and its conviction that religious belief, if not mere childishness, is a lifestyle choice with no critical relationship to the truth of things....

"[I]t was expected that the Catholic Church would, indeed must, take the path of accommodation: that has been the central assumption of what's typically called 'progressive' Catholicism. That assumption has now been decisively and definitively refuted. The 'progressive' project is over--not because its intentions were malign, but because it posed an ultimately boring question: how little can I believe, and how little can I do, and still remain a Catholic?

"In choosing a pope with an unparalleled command of ancient, medieval and modern theology, the College of Cardinals has sent a clear signal to the entire Catholic Church: The really interesting question is, how much of this rich, vast, subtle tradition have I made my own? At the same time, the College of Cardinals, by electing Pope Benedict XVI, has told both the church and the world that the evangelical adventure of dynamic orthodoxy launched by John Paul II will not only continue, but be deepened."

Why They Don't Like Us

Theoretically, we admire the person or nation courageous enough to do the right thing in the face of public opprobrium. Theoretically. In reality, of course, politicians and journalists fret incessantly about why people abroad don't like us. Ever think it might be because we're doing the right things?

Historian Victor Davis Hanson suggests that this is the case:

"The Egyptian autocracy may have received $57 billion in aggregate American aid over the last three decades. But that largess still does not prevent the Mubarak dynasty from damning indigenous democratic reformers by dubbing them American stooges. In differing ways, the Saudi royal family exhibits about the same level of antagonism toward the U.S. as do the Islamic fascists of al Qaeda - both deeply terrified by what is going on in Iraq.

Mostly this animus arises because we are distancing ourselves from corrupt grandees, even as we have become despised as incendiary democratizers by the Islamists. Is that risky and dangerous? Yes. Bad? Hardly.