At Politico, Elena Schneider reports on how the sleepy city of Green Bay, Wisconsin — sleepy except when the Packers are playing at Lambeau Field! — has seen its election processes become a source of such turmoil and friction that they need police officers on hand when ballots are being counted. Why? Election conspiracy theorists and their allies are running media campaigns questioning the legitimacy of past elections. Our political system has long viewed conflicting interests and ideas as a guarantor of liberty, but no political system can long survive when it is unable to stigmatize pure fabrications.
From The Forum, the online magazine of the group Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church, Filipino theologian Eric Marcelo Genilo examines the political involvement of some clergy in the upcoming presidential elections in the Philippines. He rightly argues that the Catholic Church and its clergy are right to raise profound concerns about any attempt to rewrite history, but that the clergy needs to avoid any partisanship in the pulpit.
In The New York Times Magazine, Elizabeth Zerofsky looks at the fractured and fractious French rightwing, where Marine Le Pen's role as standard bearer has been challenged by a right-wing pundit, Eric Zemmour, who has gained the support of Le Pen's niece, Marion Marechal. Zerofsky considers the role of religious identity in the split between Le Pen and Marechal, and while the headline names "Catholic" identity as the key inflection point, the article itself points to anti-Muslim attitudes and the traditional French liberal ideas of laïcité as the central focus of the debate. It is remarkable that the author did not discuss the Action française, which featured an attempt to coopt Catholicism in the cause of antisemitism, but which was condemned by Pope Pius XI. That condemnation caused many prominent Catholics to leave the organization. One wonders if a similar condemnation today would have any effect on the conservative French Catholics who are flocking to the banner of the political right?
From the Berkley Center at Georgetown University, a discussion of Anthony Annett's Cathonomics: How Catholic Tradition Can Create a More Just Economy. Moderated by Georgetown law professor and senior fellow at Berkley, Amy Uelmen, the panel included Fordham's Christine Firer Hinze, E.J. Dionne of the Brookings Institution and Kate Ward from Marquette University. I reviewed Annett's wonderful book here. Glad to see that so many super bright people shared my positive assessment of Annett's important book.
Another worthwhile video conversation: At Religion News Service, a discussion of the role of religion in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The conversation featured Mark Silk, director of the Greenberg Center for the study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College, where I serve as a senior fellow; the Rev. John Burgess from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; and Elizabeth Prodromou from Tufts University. A really smart discussion of an enormously complicated topic. The discussion was moderated by RNS managing editor Roxanne Stone.