Day: December 25, 2019

Background Briefing: December 25, 2019


Barr and Bannon’s War on the Pope

With evangelical leaders rushing to defend the indefensible, Donald Trump, we look into the unholy compact evangelical leaders have with right wing Catholics, in particular the many prominent figures in the Trump Administration who are members of the far-right cult Opus Dei, in particular the Attorney General, who is stacking the federal courts and the supreme court with religious extremists who are at war with the Pope and do not reflect the diversity within the Catholic Church. James Carroll, a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University and the author of eleven novels and seven works of non-fiction, joins us. A former priest who has been a civil rights worker, an antiwar activist, and a community organizer in Washington and New York, Carroll served as Catholic chaplain at Boston University and then left the priesthood to become a writer. He was named Best Columnist by the Catholic Press Association and received the first Thomas Merton Award. His recent books include CHRIST ACTUALLY: The Son of God for the Secular Age, and Cloister: A Novel. We will discuss the absurdity of the claims by a born-again Republican Congressman who came to Trump’s defense in the impeachment debate in the House with the bizarre charge that the Democrats were treating Donald Trump worse than Pontius Pilot treated Jesus. And while the Pope has gone out of his way to express support for migrants and the poor, while warning against nationalism and rampant capitalism, all of these pious members of the Trump Administration from Pence to Perry, from Barr to Bannon, are engaged in un-Christian cruelty while exacerbating inequality and in Bannon’s case, trying to bring down the pontiff.

The Jewish and Christian Tradition of Forgiving Debts and Freeing Slaves Every 7 Years

Then with gift-giving underway on this Christmas Day, much of it purchased by credit cards, we discuss the biblical sanction against usury and the religious tradition found in Judaism and Christianity of the Jubilee, the forgiveness of debts and the freeing of slaves every seven years. Joining us is Eric LeCompte, the director of the Jubilee USA Network, a coalition of 75 religious, policy, labor, relief, environmental and human rights organizations advocating for solutions to the international debt crises. Jubilee USA Network has won critical global financial reforms and more than 130 billion dollars in debt relief for the world’s poorest countries so the money could be reinvested in social infrastructure. Eric currently focuses on development in relationship to the international debt crisis, and we will also examine the domestic landscape of mounting student debt crisis, in particular from fraudulent for-profit colleges. And we will also address the Trump Administration’s empowerment of the predatory pay-day lenders whose usury would embarrass the Mafia with interest rates charged to low-wage working Americans as high as 400%.