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Do Wagle, Schmidt, Ryckman, Hawkins, Finch and Denning really believe they are protecting Christianity from criminalization? Or is it simple opposition to a Democratic governor?


A stand against tyranny and for religious freedom? Or ignorance of real, life-threatening consequences?


Either way, they expose the smug thuggery of the hypocritical hierarchy.


Their inside-the-box thinking is what happens, says a friend, when religion is used as an excuse. “The churches that stay open do so not out of spirituality, but because their ‘religion’ is based on blind obedience to authorities.” Authorities like these legislator/office holders and the Kansas Catholic Bishops, holding Medicaid expansion hostage to their Constitutional Amendment against women’s reproductive rights.


The words of Sister Joan Chittister, a present-day prophet, seem especially trenchant in this moment: “To close ourselves off from the wisdom of the world around us in the name of God is a kind of spiritual arrogance exceeded by little else in the human lexicon of errors. It makes of life a kind of prison where, in the name of holiness, thought is chained and vision is condemned. It makes us our own gods. It is a sorry excuse for spirituality.”


We imprison ourselves when we blindly follow anyone raising Cross, Crescent or Scepter. But those bars become yet more rigid when we blindly follow leaders raising the Dollar Sign.


Now more than ever, the Almighty Dollar, the Medium of Mammon, the Invisible Hand of the “Free” Market, infects us like a virus. Imprisoned by it, we literally die of it’s dis-ease.


A parishioner on Topeka streets once provided me a revelation. She confessed bewilderment at seeing Gov. Brownback attend Mass every single day, and then go directly across the street to enact some of the least Christian policies she’d ever seen.


It wasn’t Catholicism or Christ-worship that did us in. It was Brownback’s unfailing belief in the unregulated market, free of the income tax necessary to support all Kansans. The Laffer Doctrine richly rewarded him for unfailing obedience to its authority. And cost the rest of us dearly.


The gubernatorial stone has been rolled away from the tomb, but legislative disciples still suck us back from Resurrection.


If you agree with Grover Norquist that we should cut money for government till you can drown it in a bathtub, then good luck screaming for the lifeguard when you are drowning in the deep end.


As Economist James K. Galbraith writes, “A house of cards has fallen. An entire world of illusions, self-deceptions, and sophistries has died. . . . . The delusion is economics as we’ve known it.” Self-organization and “the veil of money” promised “competition, flexibility, incentives, efficiency; the reality is a fragile web, woven of thin threads of glass.” While we drown in a sea of plastic.


Busting out of our prison will require bursting the hypocritical hierarchy’s mind control. Converting our most vital services (delivery of essential goods, broadband communications, etc.) from private ownership to publicly run utilities would be a start.


Meanwhile, COVID-19 has reduced CO2, giving our planet some breathing room. Unwelcome wake-up calls sometimes have welcome outcomes. There can be hope in the dark stuff.


In this come-to-Jesus moment, let’s stop relying on saviors. Instead, let’s rely on each other.


David Norlin is a retired North Central Kansas college instructor, former chairman of Salina Access TV, Planning Commission and Human Relations Commission: and occasional columnist/writer for Kansas newspapers.