Thursday, April 21, 2005

Popes and Politics

I've seen an interesting similarity going on between church and state. This week, of course, we saw the election of a new leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, the Pontiff Formally Known As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. In his old role, he was known as the cheif enforcer of Catholic doctrine, and he did that with gusto. He put a stop to theologians who the Vatican believed were straying from dogma. Leading theologians like Hans Kung and Charles Curran were sidelined.

While there has been much ballyhoo about the current Pope's penchant for religious correctness, there is something similar going on in American Politics. Both major parties have their own Cardinal Ratzinger who is watching for dissent from political orthodoxy and ready to pounce on the apostate.

As I said yesterday, two legislators, one Democrat, the other a Republican, are being beaten up because they are not falling in line. The Yellow Line reported yesterday that Ohio GOP Senator George Voinovich is being attacked by a right wing group for wavering on the nomination of Joh Bolton to the post of UN Ambassasdor. They report today about how Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer is being savaged by for is vote on the bankruptcy bill.

As the extremes control both major parties, politics is become more like religion, the dark side to be exact. Those who follow the dictates of the Family Research Council or are rewarded, but woe to those who decided to actually represent their constitutents or put country before party. They will be dealt with.

In the eyes of the extremists, legislators must toe the line. No independent thinking aloud. Heck, in this state, there is NO thinking.

Like the new Pope, both parties no longer worry that their adherence to the extreme is causing people to drop out of politics. It doesn't matter. What matters is being right...or left.

It's time for centrists "agnostics" to back up these embattled moderates in government. If not, then we will lose our government to the extremists.


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