Friday, September 02, 2011

Idol worship?

An excellent article by Father De Souza. I was disappointed that Jack's funeral was so partisan. It was supposed to be a state funeral.

Stephen Lewis knew something was wrong. The Jack Layton rally planned for Saturday afternoon was in danger of turning into a funeral. State funerals are like that, with the flag-draped coffin and uniformed pallbearers and various bits of ceremonial. The deathbed letter, carefully crafted by Layton and his political team, had been hijacked by its own coda.

That business about love and hope was no doubt thought a suitable rhetorical flourish - an update on Obama's audacity of hope. Yet the drafting team forgot that the trope of hope belonged to Obama's messianic phase. Love and hope are religious words, hence their resonance. The idea that love and hope are more powerful than anger and fear is a religious idea. The world certainly doesn't teach that. Common experience teaches that it's every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.

In contrast, St. John writes that perfect love casts out fear. So there were transcendent, even biblical, echoes in Layton's coda. That was the problem faced by the eulogist, for Jack Layton's life was unapologetically, unabashedly, unambiguously this-worldly, directed entirely to the mundane matters of politics.

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