Aaron Rodgers has provided a powerful reminder that religious problems like clericalism and gnosticism are not confined to the religious world.
By Zac Davis
“Gnosticism reduced to bare narcissism,” the theologian David Bentley Hart says, “might be an apt definition of late modernity as a whole.” It certainly explains the case of Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers, the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers and the reigning MVP of the National Football League, tested positive for Covid-19 and will not be allowed to play in a highly anticipated game this Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Athletes getting placed on the Covid list is sadly a new pandemic reality, and this would only be a story for the sports pages were it not for one glaring wrinkle: Aaron Rodgers lied about his vaccination status and then ignored Covid safety protocols for unvaccinated players.
Joe Biden wants to unite Americans, but that won’t be easy when disgust at Trump’s actions matches disbelief at liberal attempts to censor opponents via Silicon Valley. Can there be any return to real liberal values and a sense of normality?
BY THOMAS FRANK
It is the ‘duty’ of American citizens, President Joe Biden announced in his inaugural address last week, to ‘defend the truth and to defeat the lies’. Much of Biden’s speech was an unremarkable stringing-together of patriotic platitudes, but this call for a great truth crusade stood out for its audacity. America is, after all, the homeland of the public relations industry, of televangelism, of Madison Avenue, of PT Barnum. Our leading scholars worship at the shrine of post-structuralism; our brightest college graduates go on to work for the CIA; our best newspapers dynamite the barrier between reporting and opinion; our greatest political practitioners are consultants who ‘spin’ the facts this way or that.
As the United States prepares for the end of a nightmarish one-term presidency that seemed to drag on forever, Americans continue to unpack the January 6 insurrection that now even soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell admits was “provoked” by President Donald Trump. On January 16, NBC political analyst Mehdi Hasan tweeted, “#whereweretheyradicalized is a question we’re going to be asking of GOP lawmakers at federal and state/local levels for many, many years to come, sadly,” adding that the answer would lie primarily in “a combo of Fox/OANN/Newsmax and Facebook.”
As I like to say, however, the Christian Right has been doing “alternative facts” since before it was cool. It would be remiss of us to approach the “where were they radicalized” question without addressing how the Christian schooling and homeschooling movement, along with many white churches and other evangelical, LDS, and ‘trad’ Catholic institutions, fostered the subcultures that created the demand for hyper-partisan “news” outlets like Fox News.
After being sworn in as US President, Joe Biden kicked off his presidency signing a wave of executive orders on top priority matters. One of these is immigration, with Joe Biden taking palpable steps to dismantle key Donald Trump policies, including an 8-year path to citizenship for immigrants without legal status known as the “Dreamers”. He also halted the funding of the border wall with Mexico, as well as putting an end to the “Muslim travel ban”.