Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"...and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it."

MM and I have a little bit of a guilty pleasure of watching "The O'Reilly Factor" after the girls have gone to bed most nights, and last night was no exception. One of the top stories last night was Rev. Jeremiah Wright's return to the pulpit at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. I'm pretty burned out on the whole Jeremiah Wright thing--as I'm sure a lot of people are--but the clip O'Reilly played from his sermon last night got me thinking a little bit.

According to The Chicago Tribune, Wright was discussing media speculation that his career (and the future of Trinity) had been badly damaged because of the many soundbites from his sermons that had been used against Barack Obama in various stages of the presidential campaign. The Tribune says Wright quoted Matthew 16:18 (sort of), saying:
"Jesus said upon this rock I will build—listen to the promise—my
church," he said. "And the gates of hell—listen to the promise—the gates of
hell—neither ABC nor CNN—the gates of hell—neither Hannity nor O'Reilly—the
gates of hell—neither Time, Time magazine, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago
Tribune . . . the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Nothing will
be impossible with God."

So... he kinda loses me on this one on several levels. At first, I thought he was implicitly making himself out to be the Pope, since this passage is so important to Catholics and our theology surrounding papal authority (and I wish that O'Reilly, as a Catholic, had at least brought that up). I suppose the more fair use of context here, though, is that he is trying to say Jesus's church--as described to and "built upon" Peter--has been attacked by those media outlets. While that may very well be true, I find it pretty dubious that Trinity is really what Peter and the early Christians had in mind when Jesus used the term "church," especially if you look at the practices described by the "Early Church Fathers." Nor do I think Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly are exactly what Jesus had in mind when referring to "the gates of Hell."

Anyway, the papist in me got kind of agitated by Wright quoting "our" passage to legitimate himself or his church or whatever he was talking about. And his general level of asinine anti-Americanism (which he revealed again by referring to December 7th as the day the US government killed 84,000 civilians in Hiroshima--yes, I know...), together with the news today of more corruption in Chicago-area politics, has me thinking we Americans had a big blind spot during this last election.


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