Saturday, May 14, 2022

Musings on Inflation, the Stock Market, and the Economy

             Rudy Barnes, Jr.


The stock market was once the barometer of America’s economy, but now it reflects the economy of the rich, not the rest.  Most of the means of production and the prices of most products are controlled by megacorporations on Wall Street.  The stock market is now a measure of inflation, but the President, Congress and the Federal Reserve ignore that reality.


An early sign of inflation was the stock market’s surge of more than 55% over the past five years, with most of those market gains going to the top 10% who own almost 90% of U.S. stocks.  Stock market investments are normally speculative, but during the pandemic the Fed reduced those risks with subsidies and low interest rates that bolstered the stock market.


The Fed has finally reduced subsidies to megacorporations and raised interest rates to reduce spending and cool inflation; but spending is needed in a strong economy and higher interest rates increase the cost to sustain America’s massive national debt.  Controlling inflation will require a delicate balancing act in monetary and economic policies.


Fed subsidies to megacorporations and Congressional spending during the pandemic were inflationary, as were Interest rates kept below 1% to support the stock market and home sales.  With increasing interest rates, the stock market and home sales are dropping and rents are increasing.  With a 20% drop in the stock market, we’re going from a bull to a bear market.


Unemployment is now less than 4%, with two jobs available for every unemployed person.  Automation is changing employment policies.  Megacorporations are not reinvesting their profits in personnel and expansion as they have done in the past, but instead paying dividends to shareholders and using buy-backs to increase the value of their stock.


Competition is the primary means of preventing big businesses from exploiting consumers, but the many brands available can be deceptive.  Mega-mergers and acquisitions coupled with corporate diversification have reduced competition with more brands produced by fewer megacorporations. 


With less competition and few regulations to protect consumers from the unrestrained greed of America’s megacorporations, they have become bigger and richer, along with their shareholders.  The result has been increasing disparities in wealth and a shrinking middle class; and those demographic changes have destabilized American democracy.


With runaway inflation and increasing disparities of wealth, exacerbated by few restraints on public spending and a massive national debt, American capitalism is facing an existential crisis.  Socialism looms if regulation, taxes and more competition cannot reform capitalism.  But don’t hold your breath.  Megacorporations are mega-patrons of Congress, and with their wealthy shareholders they have so far prevented needed reforms of capitalism.

   


Notes:


Forbes has reported that the S&P 500 hit a new 2022 low as “staggering” market losses continue.     “Markets are continuing one of the worst starts to a year in history as mounting losses have dragged the benchmark S&P 500 index to a new low point for 2022.  Investors continue to offload stocks, with increasingly negative investor sentiment weighing on markets.  The S&P 500 has fallen 20% so far this year, while the Dow is down nearly 15% in 2022, and the Nasdaq has dropped 29%.”   See https://www.forbes.com/sites/sergeiklebnikov/2022/05/12/dow-falls-600-points-sp-500-hits-new-2022-low-as-staggering-market-losses-continue/?sh=100058d31befMarkets.


Catherine Rampell is a Democrat, but she sounded like a Republican when she asserted that an inflation conspiracy theory is infecting the Democratic Party.  Coining the  term “greedflation” to describe President Biden’s and Elizabeth Warren’s criticism of Wall Street’s recent big profits, Rampell describes it as “a pejorative tautology. Yes, prices are going up because companies are raising prices. Okay. This is the economic equivalent of saying ‘It’s raining because water is falling from the sky.’”  Actually it illustrates the need for America to decide whether it supports the Fed’s efforts to reduce inflation by discouraging consumer spending or Wall Street’s efforts to promote consumer spending to make big profits. See

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/12/democratic-conspiracy-theory-on-inflation-makes-things-worse/?tm_campaign=wp_todays_headlines&utm_medium=email&utm.


The Washington Post editorial board has affirmed the statistics that show the correlation between inflation and the dramatic increases in the stock market over the last five years. See  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/06/stock-market-decline-not-all-bad-news/?utm.  


Previous commentary relating to religion, inflation, the stock market and the economy:  

(10/1/16): The Federal Reserve, Wall Street and Congress on Monetary Policy

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2016/10/the-federal-reserve-wall-street-and.html

(2/11/17): The Mega-Merger of Wall Street, Politics and Religion

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/02/the-mega-merger-of-wall-street-politics.html

(2/17/18): Musings of a Maverick on Money, Wall Street, Greed and Politics

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2018/02/musings-of-maverick-on-money-wall.html.

(4/27/19): Musings on the Legitimacy of Crony Capitalism and Progressive Capitalism

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/04/musings-on-legitimacy-of-crony.html.

(5/9/20): Exposing the Corruption of Crony Capitalism

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2020/05/exposing-corruption-of-crony-capitalism.html

(5/16/20): The Evolution of America’s Libertarian Democracy from Plutocracy to Kleptocracy

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2020/05/musings-on-evolution-of-americas.html?.

(6/20/20): The Fed Just Made Investments in Stock as Safe as Bank CDs

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2020/06/the-fed-just-made-investments-in-stock.html.

(6/27/20): Musings on a Zombie Economy Fostered by the Federal Reserve

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2020/06/musings-on-zombie-economy-fostered-by.html.

(8/22/20): Musings on America’s Two Economies: One for the Rich and One for the Rest

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2020/08/musings-on-americas-two-economies-one.html.

(2/6/21): Musings on the danger of economic disparities and excessive debt in America

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2021/02/musings-on-danger-of-economic.html.

(2/27/21): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on Debt as a Vice or Virtue

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2021/02/musings-of-maverick-methodist-on-debt.html.

(7/31/21): Musings on a Socialist Experiment in a Nation Burdened by Pandemic Debt

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2021/07/musings-on-socialist-experiment-in.html.

(9/25/21): Musings on an American Economic Apocalypse

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2021/09/musings-on-american-economic-apocalypse.html.

(10/30/21): Musings on Modern Monetary Theory, and Why National Deficits and Debts Matter

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2021/10/musings-on-modern-monetary-theory-and.html.

(2/5/22): Musings on the Stock Market, Inflation and Providing for the Common Good

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2022/02/musings-on-stock-market-inflation-and.html.


Saturday, May 7, 2022

Musings on Abortion as a Constitutional Right or a Political Issue

By Rudy Barnes, Jr., May 7, 2022


A woman should have the right to an abortion, albeit with restrictions   If the Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade (1973), as expected, any right to abortion will depend on Congress or the states providing it--and that’s how it should be.  The Supreme Court doesn’t make laws; its jurisdiction is limited to interpreting laws in the context of the U.S. Constitution.


The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is limited by the Constitutional separation of powers.  Article I states that “All legislative Powers herein granted  shall be vested in Congress.  Article III provides that “The judicial power of the U.S. shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” 


The decision of Roe v. Wade was based on the constitutional right of a woman to choose life or death for a fetus she carries.  It’s based on the 4th Amendment rights to privacy that protect “the right of the people to be secure in their persons…against unreasonable searches  and seizures…”; but it says nothing about protecting the rights of a fetus in the womb.  


There’s a precedent for reversing Supreme Court precedents.  In Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) the Supreme Court found that “separate but equal” laws did not violate the Constitution; 60 years later in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) the Supreme Court ruled that “separate but equal” laws were unconstitutional in public schools, effectively overruling the Plessy decision.


Religion is a major factor in the abortion debate, as it was with slavery; but abortion is not mentioned in the Bible or in the Constitution. We can’t expect the Supreme Court to resolve the issue, and we don’t need to fight another civil war over abortion. We need only require that Congress functions as it should to resolve this contentious issue.


Abortion, like euthanasia, involves issues of life and death that are defined by law.   Abortion has its focus on when life begins, while euthanasia (the right to die) has its focus on how and when life ends.  A fetus has no voice in what happens to it, and with euthanasia the right to end one’s life has traditionally been denied based on the sanctity of life.


The 9th Amendment provides that rights provided in the Constitution do not “deny or disparage others retained by the people.”  The 10th Amendment provides that “The powers not delegated to the U.S. by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the  States respectively, or to the people.”  They reflect a federal system of state and federal rights.


On the issue of abortion, the Supreme Court is not the problem.  The problem is that America’s polarized partisan politics have failed to find a compromise on abortion rights.  If the two parties can’t resolve this contentious issue in Congress or in the states, American democracy will fail, and both parties will only have themselves to blame.



Notes


Asserting that The Supreme Court might never recover from overturning Roe v. Wade, the Washington Post Editorial Board revealed a misunderstanding of the separation of powers in the Constitution, the  role of theSupreme Court, and the distinction between fundamental Constitutional rights that are beyond the reach of Congress, and rights that can be created or changed by Congress.  

The opinion cites Justice Alito’s “dreadful reasoning and extreme potential consequences…that declare Roe ‘egregiously wrong,’ and  obliterate its guarantees of reproductive choice and empower lawmakers to abridge at will this long-held right.”  The editorial goes on to say that ”The court’s legitimacy rests on the notion that it follows the law, not the personal or ideological preferences of the justices who happen to serve on it at any given time. Americans rely on the court to exercise care and restraint against making sharp turns that might suddenly declare their everyday choices and activities unprotected or illegal.”  

The editorial attributes Alito’s draft decision to blatant partisan politics: “What brought the court to its current precipice was not a fundamental shift in American values regarding abortion. It was the shameless legislative maneuvering of Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.).”

The editorial suggests that the Supreme Court should be guided by public opinion rather than by the Constitution. “A Post poll found just last week that Americans support upholding Roe by a 2-to-1 margin. For most people, Roe is a workable standard on a fraught issue.  Absent a clear understanding about when life begins, and with the moral implications surrounding that question far from settled, the Constitution’s guarantees of personal autonomy demand that pregnant people be able to make the difficult decision about whether to end their pregnancy according to the dictates of their own conscience.”

The opinion engages in blatant fear-mongering: “It is Justice Alito’s proposed decision that would further divide the country, starting in nearly every statehouse. He would inaugurate a terrifying new era in which Americans would lose faith in the court, distrust its members and suspect that what is the law today will not be tomorrow. They would justifiably fear that rights will be swept away because a heedless conservative fringe now controls the judiciary.”  See

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/03/supreme-court-might-never-recover-overturning-roe-v-wade/?utm.

  


Saturday, April 30, 2022

Musings of a Maverick Methodist on the Obsolescence of Christianity in Politics

             By Rudy Barnes, Jr.


Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. and its NATO allies have been stymied over how to stop Russian aggression without precipitating a nuclear exchange.  It represents the end of the old world order with the U.S. at its apex.  Christian nationalism has complicated the political crisis with the Russian Orthodox Church supporting Putin’s unprovoked aggression.


In America the mantra is America First, represented by Donald Trump and his coterie of white Christian charlatans, while in Russia it’s Putin’s Russian World.  With both sides having vast arsenals of nuclear weapons, the future of the world hangs in the balance.  The irony is that both nations claim to be Christian democracies, while ignoring the moral teachings of Jesus. 


A majority of white Christians elected Donald Trump President in 2016, and he remains the most powerful person in the Republican Party with his radical-right political minions and white Christian supporters.  The Democratic Party is a collection of minorities who don’t relate to mainstream Americans, leaving centrists without an effective voice in Congress.


Trump’s narcissistic immorality is the antithesis of the altruistic morality taught by Jesus, summarized in the greatest commandment to love God and our neighbors, including those of other races and religions, as we love ourselves.  It’s a common word of faith for Jews, Christians and Muslims, and in politics it’s a moral imperative to provide for the common good.


Putin has much in common with Trump.  The Russian Orthodox Church supports Putin’s unprovoked aggression in Ukraine to restore the Soviet Union and make Russia the leader of a new world order; and Trump has praised Putin as he continues to seek autocratic power by promoting white supremacy and denigrating libertarian democracy in American politics.


Russia’s threat of nuclear retaliation against military intervention in Ukraine has so far prevented any direct intervention, but economic sanctions against Russia and arms for Ukraine have failed to stop Russian aggression.  Submitting to Russian intimidation and the destruction of freedom and democracy in Ukraine is a greater risk to world peace than nuclear retaliation.


America and NATO should convene an international peace conference to explore all options for peace before any intervention, making it clear to Putin that if measures short of intervention fail to end Russian aggression, the free world will not be held hostage to Putin’s nuclear threats.  De oppresso liber (to liberate from oppression) must prevail over aggression.   


Christian support in America and Russia for America First and Russian World nationalist ideologies illustrates the obsolescence of Christianity in geopolitics, and portends further armed conflict.  Christian nationalism fails to provide for the common good and peaceful coexistence.  It should be challenged by an international peace conference; and if Russian aggression continues in Ukraine, military intervention may be needed--even at the risk of nuclear war.



Notes:


 “Week after week the powerful head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch KIrill, is working to ensure that the faithful are all in on their country’s invasion of Ukraine. Whether warning about the ‘external enemies’ attempting to divide the ‘united people’ of Russia and Ukraine, or very publicly blessing the generals leading soldiers in the field, Patriarch Kirill has become one of the war’s most prominent backers. His sermons echo, and in some cases even supply, the rhetoric that President Vladimir Putin has used to justify the assault on cities and civilians. ‘Let this image inspire young soldiers who take the oath, who embark on the path of defending the fatherland,’ Kirill intoned as he gave a gilded icon to Gen. Viktor Zolotov during a service at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in mid-March. The precious gift, the general responded, would protect the troops in their battles against Ukrainian “Nazis.”

“Any war has to have guns and ideas,” said Cyril Hovorun, professor of ecclesiology, international relations and ecumenism at University College Stockholm. “In this war the Kremlin has provided the guns, and I believe the church is providing the ideas.” The Orthodox Church was a dominant force in Russian life until the Bolshevik Revolution, when the Soviets heavily restricted the faith and purged many priests. A mini-revival of religion was allowed during World War II to inspire a “patriotic impulse” in society, explained Andrey Kordochkin, a Russian Orthodox priest in Madrid. But the state kept tight control.

Russia’s post-Soviet constitution restored religious freedom, sparking an upsurge in believers, with the share of adults identifying as Orthodox Christian rising from 31 percent to 72 percent between 1991 and 2008, according to the Pew Research Center. Only about 7 percent regularly attended church as of 2008, however. The end of the Soviet period left an “ideological hole” in Russian society, a void that Hovorun said Kirill rushed to fill as he rose through the church ranks and became patriarch in 2009. He turned to the Russkiy mir [Russian World] doctrine, as did Putin five years later when he annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. Kirill, an ally who once praised the early years of Putin’s rule as “a miracle of God,” did not speak out against the annexation. His sermons since the war began in late February have repeatedly cast foreign enemies, not Russia, as the aggressors attempting to divide neighboring countries that he describes as “one people.” “God forbid that the current political situation in fraternal Ukraine, which is close to us, should be aimed at ensuring that the evil forces that have always fought against the unity of Rus and the Russian Church gain the upper hand,” Kirill said days after Russia invaded.

Several days later, one of Kirill’s lieutenants circulated a letter asking churches to read a prayer beseeching God to “overthrow the plans” of “strangers speaking foreign tongues” who want to fight Russia. “Most of the countries of the world are now under the colossal influence of one force, which today, unfortunately, opposes the force of our people,” Kirill said, apparently referring to the United States. “All of our people today must wake up, wake up, understand that a special time has come, on which the historical fate of our people may depend.” See https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/04/18/russian-orthodox-church-ukraine-war/?utm.


“The Russian Orthodox Church is one of the largest and most influential in the world, with  more than 100 million followers, according to the Pew Research Center. In 2009, Kirill was elected patriarch — the first since the fall of the Soviet Union. Since then Kirill has solidified his role as an ally of the Kremlin, helping Putin cloak his political and military ambitions in the language of faith. On Feb. 23, one day before the invasion, Kirill released a statement praising Putin for his “high and responsible service to the people of Russia” and describing mandatory military service as “an active manifestation of evangelical love for neighbors.” In the weeks since the war started, Kirill has used his sermons to justify the campaign, portraying it as a struggle against sinful Western culture — although he is careful to avoid referring to the conflict as a war or invasion that was launched by Russia. He has focused almost entirely on what he calls Ukraine’s “extermination” of pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region in the eastern part of the country. Earlier this month, Kirill delivered a sermon urging Russians to rally around the government “during this difficult time,” the Reuters news agency reported..” See https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/04/24/russia-ukraine-orthodox-church/?utm.


On De oppresso liber, Where Religion and Politics Intersect (commentary from May 15, 2015), see http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2015/05/de-oppresso-liber-where-religion-and.html.


The New Nuclear Reality on Russia’s war in Ukraine has reawakened fears about the  bomb--and endangered the  principle of deterrence. “Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine has jolted the world back into an uncomfortable consciousness of the nuclear threat. In the past month, official warnings have emerged at a striking pace. ‘Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they’ve faced so far militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons,’ William Burns, the C.I.A. director and a former ambassador to Russia, warned on April 14th. The U.S. assessment of when and why Moscow might use such weaponry has changed, Lieutenant General Scott D. Berrier, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, conceded in testimony to a House Armed Services subcommittee. A prolonged war in Ukraine will sap Russia’s manpower and matériel, while sanctions will throw the nation into an economic depression and undermine its ability to produce more precision-guided munitions and conventional arms, he said. ‘As this war and its consequences slowly weaken Russian conventional strength, Russia likely will increasingly rely on its nuclear deterrent to signal the West and project strength to its internal and external audiences.’ Putin’s aggression is ‘reviving fears’ of a more ‘militaristic Russia.’ 

Putin’s reckless war now has a “distinct nuclear dimension”—with lessons that extend far beyond Ukraine and that will endure after the war is over, the Arms Control Association in Washington, D.C., concluded this month. Putin’s invasion ‘underscores the reality that nuclear weapons don’t prevent major wars,’  said Daryl Kimball, the organization’s executive director. ‘U.S. and NATO nuclear weapons have proven to be useless in preventing Russian aggression against Ukraine.’ The war has imperilled a long-standing premise of deterrence—having a bomb to avoid being bombed. Kimball reflected, ‘When nuclear deterrence fails, it fails catastrophically.’  The type of nuclear weapons most at issue has also changed. There’s more than one. The U.S. dropped two strategic nuclear bombs on Japan. Strategic weapons are long-range—they travel some three thousand miles—and produce high-yield explosions. The other type of nuclear weapons are  tactical, or nonstrategic, which the U.S. is more worried about today. They are shorter-range—they travel up to three hundred miles—and often have lower-yield warheads. (Some, though, carry more kilotons than the Hiroshima bomb.) They are designed to take out tank or troop formations on a battlefield—not wipe out a city. In the history of nuclear weapons, there has never been a treaty—bilateral or international—that limits developing or deploying tactical nukes anywhere. During the Cold War, the U.S. and the Soviet Union produced thousands each, with Moscow controlling up to twenty-five thousand. Afterward, the U.S. dismantled most of its tactical arsenal and withdrew most of those weapons from Europe. Russia kept more of its stockpile. There is now a vast disparity in tactical arsenals. Last month, the Congressional Research Service reported that Russia has up to two thousand tactical nukes, while the U.S. has around two hundred. 

Since the nineteen-sixties, experts have debated whether Washington and Moscow would use a limited number of tactical nuclear weapons on a conventional battlefield—for example, to destroy a military position or gain a chunk of territory. “The answer is no,” Kimball said. “There is nothing like a limited nuclear war.” At the end of his military career, McKenzie, who spent more than four decades preparing for wars of all kinds, reflected on the nuclear stakes. “We should be rattled right now,” he said. “I am rattled. I’m concerned about where we are.” Three decades after Gorbachev’s speech, the respite now seems illusory. See https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-new-nuclear-reality?utm.

The threat of nuclear war has created “a widespread belief of Russians that they have two choices: Win this war or be destroyed. They justify Putin’s fratricide because the West, and ‘internal Ukrainians,’ present an existential threat.  The  survival instinct is extremely powerful in Russia, where various invasions from the West define the historical experience. There is a mode of Russian collective behavior in the face of mortal danger: People forget their old grievances and rally behind the leader, even one hated by many. This is what happened in 1941, when the victims and perpetrators of communist genocide united under Joseph Stalin to repel the existential threat posed by the Nazis. Russians are not facing an existential threat now, of course. Rather, it is their own country that’s posing an existential threat to a neighbor. But the human tendency is to grasp for comforting, rather than truthful, narratives. The West will not win this conflict unless it gets Russians on board. But without a clearly spelled-out vision of a post-Putin Russia fully integrated into the West — the kind of vision that inspires Ukrainians to fight against Putin — the vector of Russian society will remain fratricidal and, increasingly, suicidal. This is bad news for everyone on the planet, given that Russia’s nuclear arsenal is capable of destroying humanity. See https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2022/04/22/putin-biden-russians-existential-choice/?utm.


Saturday, April 23, 2022

Musings of a Maverick Methodist on Why Americans Are Losing Their Religion

        By Rudy Barnes, Jr., April 23,  2022


Since 1972, 25% of Americans have left the church, and most were young adults between the ages of 18 and 35.  In 1991, 87% of young adults claimed to be Christians, and by 1998 that number had dropped to 73%.  Those percentages reflect a loss of religion, but not necessarily of faith.  Faith can be based on religion, or independent of institutional religion. 


When I became a United Methodist pastor in 2000 the UMC was in decline, and it has been in decline since then.  It seemed to me that many Christians were losing interest in the church due to its emphasis on belief in Jesus Christ as a Trintarian God and the only means of salvation rather than on following the teachings of Jesus as God’s Word.


The teachings of Jesus are summarized in the greatest commandment to love God and our neighbors, including those of other races and religions, as we love ourselves.  It’s a common word of faith for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike; but the Apostles Creed has its focus on worshiping Jesus Christ as a Trinitarian God rather than following Jesus as the Word of God.


After the Enlightenment of the 17th century, great thinkers like Hugo Grotiuis, John Locke and Thomas Jefferson challenged ancient concepts of  religion and politics with advances in knowledge and reason.  Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and considered the moral teachings of Jesus “the most sublime moral code ever designed by man.”


After more than 2,000 years of  evolution, exclusivist Christian doctrines of belief continue to be immune to reason and ignore the primacy of the teachings of Jesus.  The myriad forms of the church still cling to exclusivist beliefs never taught by Jesus, and have allowed the altruistic teachings of Jesus to become irrelevant in a world of increasingly pluralistic religions.


Democracy made popularity the measure of success in the church as well as politics.  Since the altruistic teachings of Jesus were never popular, they were subordinated to exclusivist church doctrines that made belief in Jesus as the alter ego of God essential for salvation.  Most Christians believe in Jesus as their personal savior, but few follow his teachings.


Ryan Burge has listed other factors that help explain why Americans are leaving the church.  They include the end of the Soviet Union, a backlash against the religious right (or support for it); and political  polarization.  All those factors have been exacerbated by a social media tsunami on Christianity that has ignored the moral teachings of Jesus.  


Is there anything to fill the spiritual and moral vacuum as Americans lose their religion?  The church may remain a popular social institution in America, but to save Christianity and libertarian democracy from the dustbin of history the church must give primacy to the altruistic teachings of Jesus as God’s truth.  That’s the only way to make Jesus relevant in America’s materialistic and hedonistic culture, but it’s not likely since it would cost the church its popularity.     

               


Notes:


On Ryan Burge’s commentary on How America’s young people lost their religion, see https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2022/04/14/commentary-how-americas/.


Other commentary on a fading church that has lost its moral compass:

(2/8/15): Promoting Religion Through Evangelism: Bringing Light or Darkness?

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2015/02/promoting-religion-through-evangelism.html

(2/15/15): Is Religion Good or Evil?

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2015/02/is-religion-good-or-evil.html

(4/5/15): Seeing the Resurrection in a New Light

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2015/04/seeing-resurrection-in-new-light.html

(4/19/15): Jesus: A Prophet, God’s Only Son, or the Logoshttp://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2015/04/jesus-prophet-god-only-son-or-logos.html

(10/4/15): Faith and Religion: The Same but Different

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2015/10/faith-and-religion-same-but-different.html

(7/9/16): Back to the Future: Race, Religion, Rights and a Politics of Reconciliation

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2016/07/back-to-future-race-religion-rights-and.html

(9/17/16): A Moral Revival to Restore Legitimacy to Our Politics

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2016/09/a-moral-revival-to-restore-legitimacy.html

(12/31/16): E Pluribus Unum, Religion and a Politics of Reconciliation

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2016/12/e-pluribus-unum-religion-and-politics.html

(1/28/17): Saving America from the Church

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/01/saving-america-from-church.html

(3/18/17): Moral Ambiguity in Religion and Politics

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/03/moral-ambiguity-in-religion-and-politics.html

(4/22/17): The Relevance of Jesus and the Irrelevance of the Church in Today’s World

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/04/the-relevance-of-jesus-and-irrelevance.html

(4/29/17): A Wesleyan Alternative for an Irrelevant Church

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/04/a-wesleyan-alternative-to-irrelevant.html

(6/24/17): The Evolution of Religion, Politics and Law: Back to the Future?

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/06/the-evolution-of-religion-politics-and.html.

(7/1/17): Religion, Moral Authority and Conflicting Concepts of Legitimacy

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/07/religion-moral-authority-and.html.

(7/15/17): Religion and Progressive Politics

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/07/religion-and-progressive-politics.html.

(7/22/17): Hell No! 

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/07/hell-no.html.

(8/12/17): The Universalist Teachings of Jesus as a Remedy for Religious Exclusivism  

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/08/the-universalist-teachings-of-jesus-as.html.

(10/7/17): A 21st Century Reformation to Restore Reason to American Civil Religion http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2017/10/a-21st-century-reformation-to-restore.html.

(3/17/18): Jefferson’s Jesus and Moral Standards in Religion and Politics

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2018/03/jeffersons-jesus-and-moral-standards-in.html

(3/31/18): Altruism: The Missing Ingredient in American Christianity and Democracy

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2018/03/altruism-missing-ingredient-in-american.html.

(4/7/18): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on the Need for a Moral Reformation

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2018/04/musings-of-maverick-methodist-on-need.html.

(4/28/18): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on the Virtues and Vices of Christian Morality

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2018/04/musings-of-maverick-methodist-on.html.

(7/14/18): Musings on Why Christians Should Put Moral Standards Over Mystical Beliefs

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2018/07/musings-on-why-christians-should-put.html.

(8/4/18): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on Religious Problems and Solutions in Politics

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2018/08/musings-of-maverick-methodist-on.html.

(8/11/18): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on Changing Morality in Religion and Politics

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2018/08/musings-of-maverick-methodist-on_11.html.

(9/1/18): Musings on the American Civil Religion and Christianity at a Crossroads

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2018/09/musings-on-american-civil-religion-and.html.

(9/29/18): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on the Resurrection of Christian Universalism

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2018/09/musings-of-maverick-methodist-on.html.

(10/6/18): Musings on Moral Universalism in Religion and Politics http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2018/10/musings-on-moral-universalism-in.html.

(12/1/18): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on the Mystical Logos

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2018/12/musings-of-maverick-methodist-on.html.

(12/15/18): Musings on the Great Commission and Religious and Political Tribalism

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2018/12/musings-on-great-commission-and.html.

(12/22/18): Musings on Faith and Works: The Unity of All Believers and The Last Judgment

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2018/12/musings-on-faith-and-works-unity-of-all.html.

(2/9/19): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on the Hypocrisy of American Christianity

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/02/musings-of-maverick-methodist-on_9.html.

(3/2/19): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on a Post-Christian America

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/03/musings-of-maverick-methodist-on-post.html.

(3/9/19): Musings on the Degradation of Democracy in a Post-Christian America

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/03/musings-on-degradation-of-democracy-in.html.

(3/16/19): Musings on the Evolution of Christian Exclusivism to Universalism

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/03/musings-on-evolution-of-christian.html.

(5/11/19): Musings on the Relevance of Jefferson’s Jesus in the 21st Century

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/05/musings-on-relevance-of-jeffersons.html.

(5/18/19): Outsiders Versus Insiders in Religion, Legitimacy and Politics

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/05/outsiders-versus-insiders-in-religion.html.

(5/25/19): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on the Divinity and Moral Teachings of Jesus

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/06/musings-on-military-legitimacy-and.html

(6/8/19): The Moral Failure of the Church to Promote Altruism in Politics 

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/06/the-moral-failure-of-church-to-promote.html

(6/15/19): Back to the Future: A 21st Century Pentecost for the Church

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/06/back-to-future-21st-century-pentecost.html.

(6/22/19): The Universal Family of God: Where Inclusivity Trumps Exclusivity

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/06/the-universal-family-of-god-where.html

(8/10/19): Musings on Christian Nationalism: A Plague on the Church and Democracy

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/08/musings-on-christian-nationalism-plague.html.

(9/7/19): Musings on the Self-Destruction of Christianity and American Democracy

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/09/musings-on-self-destruction-of.html.

(10/5/19): Musings on the Moral Relevance of Jesus to Democracy

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/10/musings-on-moral-relevance-of-jesus-to.html.

(11/9/19): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on a Virtual Alternative to a Failing Church

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/11/musings-of-maverick-methodist-on_9.html.

(11/16/19): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on the Irrelevance of Morality in Politics

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/11/musings-of-maverick-methodist-on_16.html.

(11/23/19): Musings on Jesus and Christ as Conflicting Concepts in Christianity

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2019/11/musings-on-jesus-and-christ-as.html.

(1/11/20): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on Christians as a Moral Minority

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2020/01/musings-of-maverick-methodist-on.html.

(2/1/20): Musings on the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Altar of Partisan Politics

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2020/02/musings-on-sacrifice-of-jesus-on-altar.html.

(4/17/21): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on the Future of the Church

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2021/04/musings-of-maverick-methodist-on-future.html?

(4/24/21): How a Fading Church Could Help Reconcile America’s Polarized Politics

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2021/04/how-failing-church-could-help-reconcile.html.

(5/15/21): Musings on the Moral Failure of American Christianity and Democracy

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2021/05/musings-on-moral-failure-of-american.html.

(1/15/22): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on America’s Morally Muddled Mainstream

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2022/01/musings-of-maverick-methodist-on_15.html.

(1/22/22): Musings on Popularity as a Corrupting Influence in Democracy and Christianity

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2022/01/musings-on-popularity-as-corrupting.html.

(1/29/22): Musings on the Inadequacy of Religious Moral Standards in American Democracy   

http://www.religionlegitimacyandpolitics.com/2022/01/musings-on-inadequacy-of-religious.html.