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Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Discussion Continues
In response to Estephania's Borowitz post, David Cho responded:

I found your blog through other people. I've been reading what you say about religious fundamentalists with great interest. You raise a lot of interesting points. I happen to attend a church full of what you refer to as fundamentalists in Orange County, California. The county went to Bush by a 20 point margin while its neighboring LA county gave Kerry the largest county wide margin in the country. While the state may be blue, the county is very red.

David then linked to a post on his own blog entitled "Moral Selectivity." Here are portions of his post:

...But upon closely examining the range of issues put forth by my fellow evangelical Christians over the years, I've come to be rather intrigued and disillusioned by a certain disturbing pattern I see in what and how we promote them. For example, the two most prominent issues showcased in the pamphlets from the Traditional Values Coalition and the Christian Coalition are abortion and homosexuality.

Why do those two issues in particular eclipse almost all others whenever conservative Christians talk of morals? They are certainly not the two most dominant topics in the Bible and America is plagued with a lot more moral problems than those two....

The media may lead you to believe, with the accusations of eroding the separation of church and state, that only conservative Christians (read the Religious Right) promote political issues with strong moral overtones.

That is simply not true. Christians with liberal leanings are traditionally almost as active in politics as conservative Christians are. A case in point: Jesse Jackson....Throughout the 60's, political activists affiliated with mainline denominations stormed into Washington to actively expand Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society," setting off in motion the unprecedented expansion of the welfare state....

What is clear is that each side has cherrypicked a set of "favorite" moral issues not necessarily based on conviction, but rather on convenience....

One of my favorite parables told by Jesus involves two men who went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector....

According to Jesus' parable, the Pharisee, wallowing in self-righteousness prayed the following prayer.

"God, I thank thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector"

Rhetoric such as this can be heard from all across the spectrum.

From the Right, "God, I thank thee that I am not like other people: feminists, homosexuals, abortionists, ACLU members, secularists, evolutionists ...

And from the Left: "God, I thank thee that I am not like other people: racists, greedy capitalists, polluters, homophobes, bigots..

But the tax collector, the parable says, 'would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner."'

The story ends with a stunning conclusion:

I tell you, this man, rather than the other went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

God, have mercy on us, sinners.

Needless to say, I had to put my two bits in:

I got here via Estephania, and believe that many religious people are being lured into silly secular political games, forgetting that Christ spans all people, Jew or Greek, Republican or Democrat, Constitution or Green.

There's also another thing that is of no concern to non-Christians (or other non-believers), but is of a concern to me - namely, that people who are doing things for religious reasons often end up allying with people that do not share their faith, and then get more caught up in the cause than in the dictates of their god.

I'll name two examples. Take your average "moral majority"-type group, which judges all politicians by their important issues -- abortion, gay marriage, and school vouchers. If you look at the membership of such a group, you may find a number of Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, Muslims, and other non-Christians in the group. In accordance with Christian teaching (I am the Way), the beliefs of these people are flawed. Now I have no problem in taking political action with non-Christians, but I do this with the understanding that any "moral majority" movement is of extremely miniscule importance compared to my salvation. In other words, don't skip Bible study to attend a political rally.

Now let's look at the other side of the political spectrum and take your average "moral" group which focuses on ITS main issues -- free health care for illegal aliens, a reduction in the U.S. defense budget, and higher taxes for millionaires. Again, any Christian moved by his/her faith to join this group will be aligned with Unitarians, Buddhists, New Agers, and who knows what else, and again may get caught up in the cause while ignoring the dictates of God.

I spent the month of November ruminating on issues of faith and politics. Three examples:


I'm confused. Kinda. But I kinda get it too? Does that make any sense at all. Not being religious 1/2 the content of this post takes a lot of mental effort to comprehend.
Fair comment. Let's just say that the religious world and the political world are two different spheres.
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