Amaz­ing the lat­i­tude church peo­ple can give to ex­treme right-wing think­ing

Bray People - - OPINION - Fr Michael Com­mane

SOME weeks ago an English Catholic mag­a­zine re­ferred to Steve Ban­non as a prac­tis­ing Catholic. When I read that I nearly choked on my por­ridge. It re­ally was hi­lar­i­ous. Steve Ban­non has mar­ried three times and has di­vorced three times. I have to ad­mit that the piece con­fused me. Leav­ing aside his mar­i­tal sta­tus it’s plain to see that Mr Ban­non, a trusted ad­viser and friend of Pres­i­dent Trump is a right-wing zealot who wants to de­stroy all and every trace of any­thing that smacks of lib­eral or mod­er­ate think­ing. Ban­non was a found­ing mem­ber of far-right Bre­it­bart News, which is racist, sex­ist, xeno­pho­bic and anti-Semitic. It would ap­pear Ban­non does not be­lieve in com­pro­mise.

If Steve Ban­non is what Catholi­cism is about then it’s time for me to leave the church. It re­ally is amaz­ing the lat­i­tude many church peo­ple can give to ex­treme right-wing think­ing. We re­ally are be­ing bat­tered from every side. It’s dif­fi­cult to re­main sane in the days that are in it. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is not noted for telling the truth. I’m re­minded of that in­fa­mous com­ment from Vladimir Lenin that a lie told of­ten enough be­comes a truth. Is that what al­ter­na­tive facts are?

When An­thony Scara­mucci lost his job in the White House, it was re­ported that Pres­i­dent Trump said that he had to go be­cause of in­ap­pro­pri­ate lan­guage he had used. I have heard of ex­am­ples of the pot call­ing the ket­tle black but this re­ally takes the bis­cuit. Trump sack­ing some­one for in­ap­pro­pri­ate lan­guage. He’s talk­ing about par­don­ing him­self. Maybe he needs to think about sack­ing him­self.

Trump and his team clev­erly pan­dered to an Amer­i­can re­li­gious ex­treme right wing coali­tion and man­aged to garner their votes. But he also picked up a wider Chris­tian vote. In an opin­ion piece in The New York Times on Au­gust 2, Ross Douthat talks about a ‘cheer­fully pa­gan Trump’ get­ting the re­li­gious vote. Douthat points out that as pol­i­tics in the US has grown more po­larised, the Catholic po­si­tion has be­come ‘more dif­fi­cult and per­plex­ing’.

Some­times it might seem that the Pres­i­dent says the first thing that comes into his head. But most likely he is far more thought­ful than we think. If you look at his team you will quickly re­alise they are right-wing. And he now has four army gen­er­als in his cabi­net. One might be for­given for think­ing that the US has been taken over by an army coup. Trump’s pop­u­lar­ity is now on the floor. Yes, he still has a fa­nat­i­cal sup­port base but that can’t last too much longer. When the coal mines stay idle and the fac­to­ries in the rust belt re­main closed even his die-hard sup­port will be­gin to wob­ble.

His­tory tells us that go­ing to war boosts the pop­u­lar­ity of a leader. North Korean Pres­i­dent Kim Jong-Un is prov­ing to be the per­fect bo­gey man for the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion. While the shenani­gans in the White House may make for fun tele­vi­sion every evening, we are liv­ing in scary times.Trump has not shown any signs of be­ing good at diplo­macy, some­thing that the world needs in spades in the cur­rent ten­sion-filled at­mos­phere.

All the time Mother Rus­sia and The Mid­dle King­dom (China) watch on. And what must Pope Fran­cis think of the align­ment be­tween Trump and some of the US bish­ops?

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