Re-reading Reinhold Niebuhr: For a Friend in Maine

The New Oxonian

Jesus did not ask to see proof of insurance coverage before he healed the blind man.

A friend of mine in Maine writes to say, “It is almost Thanksgiving. Why don’t you write something nice about somebody?”

I have to admit, I was taken aback. I have been so busy fighting New Atheists and Old Faitheists that I have forgotten the spirit of the season.

But my friend’s request is not as simple as it sounds. During the season we will be treated to stories about heroes waging war in far-off places, sometimes against conscience, for peace and security in the homeland, heroic mothers battling to keep their health insurance, assorted others who represent our seasonal tip of the hat to the poor and the victims of wealth and opportunism.

Christians did not invent Yom Kippur; their salvation-theology would not support the idea. But the holiday season, if you…

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