It fascinated me to learn about the career of the late Congressman Jim Olin when his wife, Phyllis, spoke on “Life of a Unitarian in Congress” at our June 10, 2007 Sunday service. Rep. Olin served our district (Virginia’s 6th – yes, the same district we are in now) from 1982 to 1993. I happened to move here in ’93, shortly after his retirement. It seems amazing, now, to think that someone who was not only a Democrat, self-described “Yankee,” and labeled “liberal,” but a UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST, could get elected for 5 terms from this central Shenandoah Valley whose ham-fisted conservatism we love to lament!
What has changed?
W.B. Yeats, reflecting on the troubles of another place and time, wrote, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” That seems so true here and now. One cause, and/or symptom, may be the recent trend of pushing political candidates to talk “about their faith.” The Religious Right has driven that dialogue, enabled by a shallow and credulous media that seems totally unaware of Jesus’ warning against loud, pious hypocrites in Matthew 6:5. [Read more…]