Neglect the Weightier Matters

I have been reading, but not too deeply, the news stories and commentaries coming out of Ferguson, Missouri. I recognize that the corporate media has its own agenda there. It’s not likely that very deep journalism is taking place. I’ll likely have to wait for some blockbuster feature to come from one of the smaller press organs.

This morning I saw a link on RNS to yesterday’s opinion piece from Anthea Butler. In considering the public prayer of those policing the town, her citation of Frederick Douglass rather stings, doesn’t it?

The whole situation has me thinking a lot about Frederick Douglass’ Slaveholding Religion and the Christianity of Christ. His words still ring true with regard to the empty prayers of the police in Ferguson “They attend with pharisaical strictness to the outward forms of religion, and at the same time neglect the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith.”

Ms Butler cites the cursing of police toward protesters. If that is true, it suggests to me that they have lost the moral high road. Cursing, whether the use of God’s name, or the expression of sexual acts or elimination, would indicate one or more of several possible attitudes:

  • A grave disrespect for God, suggesting that prayer is mere show and hypocrisy. If not a mockery of God.
  • Forced sexual acts are a matter of force and domination. The verbal suggestion of those indicate the idea is not to keep the peace, but to suppress and intimidate.
  • Citing words associated with elimination almost always shows anger. And if peacekeepers cannot control the anger within, they certainly have no hope of keeping a peace they have already lost.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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