Thursday, September 23, 2004

Athletes, politicians, & religious adherence

Arghh, I just hate it whenever Jews and Muslims, without even trying, show us how bad we are at being Christian.

Maybe it's because Jews still see themselves as a minority group that's never too far beyond the clutches of Mass Persecution. But Shawn Green's decision to sit out of the Dodgers' Yom Kippur game this weekend would be inconceivable if he were Christian and we were talking about a Good Friday game. Chariots of Fire notwithstanding, Christian faith rarely trumps the obligations, quasi-obligations, or even petty requests the world lays on us.

Most striking here is that Mr. Green does not consider himself to be a devout or even practising Jew. Yet even he can confess that "baseball, or anything, isn't bigger than your religion and your roots." So when Catholics who shoot from their arses about being practising, committed, or "spiritual but not religious" and then proceed to directly violate their Church's most sacred pronouncements without a blink, I have to believe that catechesis really is the problem. Now I don't know what sort of Hebrew shul Mr. Green attended, but the melamdim did a fabulous job. And I'm sure his parents weren't self-deluding buffoons about their faith either. Somewhere along the way, he learned that if a religious identity hasn't the spine to sacrifice some of the bling the world offers, then what good is it? If a Catholic Democrat can't accept the self-sacrifice required before abortion legislation, then what good is his faith? Shawn Green did not feel the need to whine or cry victim about his religious obligations, rather, he counted them as sunk costs--you just eat it and move on. It's the only honorable thing to do. The NY Times article has a nice mini-outline of Jews of the MLB who have risked World Series glory to uphold the faith of their fathers.

Cf. Mario Cuomo's latest self-rationalization over at Commonweal. The false distinction he'd make is that choosing to sit out of a baseball game does not impose Green's belief system onto others who don't share it; ie. it's a private decision versus the public ones Catholic Democrats have to make. And the analogy would fly right over their intellectual pinheads.