2008 is over.
The most important event on the religious landscape of America was the presidential election. The Democratic party reinvented itself as “religious” and the Republicans lassoed former Baptist minister and Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. Mormon governor Mitt Romney stepped up the plate, as well. John McCain suffered a slight setback for snuggling too close to John Hagee, a card-carrying anti-Catholic. McCain then chose Sarah Palin, an Pentecostalesque evangelical who was denounced as a “creationist” and “fundamentalist”. Who can forget the Saturday Night Live skits mocking Palin.
Then there were the Pastor Rick Warren interviews, which were very civilized and enlightening–perhaps the highlight of the entire campaign. Barack Obama shocked everyone by saying that decisions over abortion and the moment with life begins were “above his pay grade.”
We elected Barack Obama, a professed Christian whom a majority of practicing Christians voted against. Barack Obama’s greatest moment of unpopularity centered around his pastor Jeremiah Wright’s racist comments about Whites, Jews, and the infamous “God damn America” sermon. Obama promised America that he had not heard the Reverend Wright say anything prejudicial in his twenty years of attending Wright’s Trinity United Church in Chicago. Obama withdrew his membership at Trinity United and the rest is history. Obama won the election but Proposition 8 passed in California with the support of Catholics, Evangelicals and Mormons.
Pope Benedict XVI made his first visit to the United States and celebrated Holy Mass in Washington, D.C. and New York City where he visited Ground Zero. Most notably, the Holy Father met with victims of priestly sexual abuse and offered apologies.
As a former Anglican clergyman, I followed with great interest the crisis in the Anglican Communion and the related fallout in America’s branch-the Episcopal Church USA. After a meeting in Jerusalem, conservatives around the globe rallied together in their affirmation that homosexuality is a grave sin and contrary to the Sacred Scriptures. In the meantime the American Episcopal denomination continues to fracture and splinter. Perhaps 2009 will see the formation of a new denomination.
Did I miss anything? If so leave a comment.
Meeting at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome (the site of the Apostle Paul’s burial), Pope Benedict XVI discussed the importance of Bible study and the collapse of Christian culture:
“Today, nations once rich in faith and vocations are losing their own identity, under the harmful and destructive influence of a certain modern culture.”
Pope Benedict has also convened a synod to discuss the Catholic Church’s persecution under the anti-Catholic policies of communist China.