Religion and Politics: Why Church Reforms Make Sense Socio-economically

by Bobby Reyes

| Photo by Ryk Neethling via Flickr/Commons CC BY 2.0

Part XIV of an “EDEN America” series

When this columnist was a freshman in 1966-1967 in the San Beda College of Law, I stunned our professor who was teaching political science by claiming that Jesus Christ originated the separation between the church and state. Asked for proof, I simply said that Jesus Christ’s reply, when asked about taxation, was: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” I argued that Christ’s answer regarding taxes also applied to the dividing line between religion and governance.

In February 2017, I wrote this Facebook Note entitled “The GOP Is the ‘Will-o’-the-WASP’ Party Since the 1960.” It is about religion and politics, especially when the United States took over the Spanish colony that was the Philippines.

In the Facebook Note, I mentioned that “WASP” was the acronym for “White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.” And the WASP members of the U.S, colonial bureaucrats in the new American colony called the “Philippine Islands (P.I.)” made life for the Filipino natives miserable. It required a lot of courage and wisdom on the part of William Howard Taft, the first U.S. civil governor-general, to win the hearts and minds of Filipinos. Eventually, Mr. Taft called Filipinos his “Brown Brothers” (and sisters, if this writer may revise the term to make it politically correct, as required now in the 21st century).

Just as then-Sen. John F. Kennedy met so-much opposition as the first Catholic to become the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party. William Howard Taft met nearly the same arguments (based on religion) why he should not be the presidential bet of the Republican Party. Why? Please read what I found out online about Mr. Taft’s religion and details of him as a liberal: QUOTE. William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857-March 8, 1930) is the only person to have served both as President of the United States and Chief Justice of its Supreme Court. The sole Unitarian President since Millard Fillmore, he remains the only Unitarian Chief Justice. He is remembered for his services to his fellow religious liberals and the American Unitarian Association.

“Both major parties may support the advocacy for church members to pressure the clergy members to do cooperative-based socio-economic empowerment. Why? Because President Abraham Lincoln said that a government is of, by and for, the people.”

William’s parents, Louise Torrey and Alphonso Taft were active Unitarians in Cincinnati, Ohio. Alphonso’s two sons from a previous marriage and William’s three younger siblings all became Episcopalians. William—called Will by friends and close associates—enjoyed the church school of First Congregational Church (Unitarian). By the time he graduated from public high school and entered Yale, he was an enthusiastic Unitarian. So much so that, when he returned home in 1878 after graduating second in his Yale class, he was an officer in the church’s Unity Club. He produced and sometimes participated in important fund-raisers while he attended Cincinnati Law School. UNQUOTE.

Both major parties may support the advocacy for church members to pressure the clergy members to do cooperative-based socio-economic empowerment. Why? Because President Abraham Lincoln said that a government is of, by and for, the people. Advocates for reforms in the Christian churches may use the same argument. A “church is composed of the member-believers, by the faithful member and for the proactive members.”

I suggest that each parish or diocese members organize their own “SWATT,” as this column has advocated. The SWATT means “Social Workers, Agriculturists, Teachers and Technicians.” SWATT teams can do social engineering and other back-to-basic socio-economic projects. With or without the blessing of their church leaders or elders.

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