Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The National Council of Churches’ Favorite Marquette Professor

The National Council of Churches is the voice of “Mainstream Protestantism” — those no-longer-mainstream declining denominations whose national leadership is into leftist politics, rather than Christianity.

They claim, of course to be into Christianity. But they define it as pretty much identical to leftist politics.

They are the denominations that ordain gay bishops, approve gay marriage, call for the U.S. to get out of Iraq.

You get the idea.

Well whose book is now featured on the front page of the National Council of Churches web site? Marquette’s own Dan Maguire, whose volume A Moral Creed for All Christians can be purchased with a couple or three mouse clicks.

The blurb for the book says:
This new book by Professor Daniel C. Maguire of Marquette University seeks to rekindle the fiery core of Christianity by pointing out that the faith’s relevance is not uncovered by right-wing morality or left-wing rhetoric. Maguire asserts Christianity’s moral convictions about God’s care, rapport with the earth, the nature of ownership, the bond between justice and peace, the nature of enmity, the illogic of militarism, and the creative potential of the human species. Paperback, 208 pages, $14 from Fortress Press (800-328-4648).
Just how well qualified is Maguire to pontificate on Christianity?

He views are certainly not mainstream. For one thing, he doesn’t believe that Jesus died for the sins of humanity. Jim Stingl of the Journal-Sentinel interviewed him, and reported:
We sat in Maguire’s living room as he told this story. I noticed a wilted Easter lily but not a single religious image or crucifix. Maguire said he doesn’t believe Jesus died for our sins and called it heresy that makes God look like a sadistic monster. Jesus died for standing up to the unjust and exploitative Roman Empire, he said.

“That’s drama enough for me,” he said.
Maguire also wrote the following:
Jesus was crucified by an empire. With all deference to Mel Gibson, he was not killed so that his suffering would expiate for our sins, a very bad piece of theology that would turn God into a sadistic monster who would feel he had to torture his son to death in order to make up for sins of other people. No, Jesus was crucified as a rebel against empire.
Maguire hasn’t been shy in expounding on this, and e-mailed us confirming the accuracy of the Stingl quote. He even sent along a manuscript with a long footnote elaborating on his view.

Of course, he claims to be against “all the vicious ‘isms,’ that make life on a good earth horrible: sexism, speciesism, racism, heterosexism, nationalism, militarism.”

If he is against “speciesism” and thinks only a sadistic god would allow Jesus to die for the sins of mankind, one doubts he believes that the Judeo-Christian God would want animals sacrificed as an offering for sin.

Of course, Maguire has a right to believe anything he wants, and indeed a right to expound on his views at Marquette, given the institution’s commitment to academic freedom.

But one shouldn’t confuse views driven by leftist ideology with Christianity. Maguire’s views are basically leftist ideology, dressed up with a few biblical references.

Which makes him the perfect sort of “Catholic theologian” for the National Council of Churches.

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