Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Religion, morals, faith and values

This is going to be a post aside from politics. It is a post about faith, about religion, about the two sides of religion, and how liberals and moderates can retake the faith discussion, and the morals discussion.
In rereading Al Franken's book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, the chapter about his visit to Bob Jones University struck me. The tight dating bans, the Big Brother-ish internet filters, the inferences that secular universities and colleges cause alcoholism, venereal disease, and loss of faith, and the inability to leave campus without a chaperone. These people are adults.
The whole idea of faith should always be that faith alone can sustain you. Is it really faith when all temptation must be filtered from you? Is it faith when you can't be trusted to leave the protective womb of the university without escort?
It is currently the Lenten season. It was during this time that Jesus Christ spent 40 days and 40 nights in the desert, without food or water, resisting the temptation and entreaties of Satan. Since Jesus Christ is supposed to be the model of Christianity, then why can't these students be trusted to be faithful?
Jesus prayed to his father, our God, for sustenance against these temptations. If faith is what we are, then shouldn't faith alone be enough? Why must there be restrictions? Why must there be such stifling intrusion? Why is there not trust in the power of faith? If Bob Jones University is supposed to be the pinnacle of faithful people in this great nation of ours, then why do they have so little trust in the power of faith to properly guide its students and steel them against temptation?
This leads me to the perversion of religion in this nation. We have an evangelical clique proclaiming to be following God's true path, and they are trying to save us from the filth in our society, from the "perversions" of homosexuality, in short, to save us from ourselves.
Jesus said in Matthew 23:13, "How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You lock the door to the Kingdom of heaven in men's faces, but you yourselves will not go in, and neither will you let people in who are trying to go in!"
Matthew 23:15 says, "How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You sail the seas and cross whole countries to win one convert; and when you succeed, you make him twice as deserving of going to hell as you yourselves are!"
Does this bode well for James Dobson, for Jerry Falwell, for Jimmy Swaggart, for Bob Jones, for Pat Robertson? These men of "faith" decry homosexuals (i.e. locking the door to the kingdom of heaven) and blame them for society's ills, even, in Falwell's case, blaming them for 9/11.
While we're on it, how about Matthew 23:27-28, which says, "How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look fine on the outside, but are full of dead men's bones and rotten stuff on the inside. In the same way, you appear to everybody as good, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and sins."
How about you, Jimmy Swaggart? You were caught with prostitutes twice, yet continue to throw stones at others for their sins. How about you, Bob Jones? You and staffers at your university helped propagate lies about a decent and honorable man in Senator John McCain, a fine public servant, a man who kept faith through five years of torture in Vietnam. How do you reconcile that hideous act with your faith?
I could go on, but the point has been made. The leaders of the religious right have teamed with the Republican party not for the purpose of saving lives and being men of good faith, but instead for the power and riches that come with it. They are men of hypocrisy, men of no shame, men of no decency. They lie, distort, slander, and outright bully those who don't believe in the intolerant Church that they preach. They continue to launch an outright assault on homosexuals, focusing purely on Old Testament verses, and not on New Testament love and tolerance.
It is time for the rest of America, the majority of America, to stand up for our beliefs. It is time for us to not try to outpreach the right-wing Republicans, but instead to showcase our morals, our family values. The Kennedys were conservative Catholics for much of their lives, and yet they were for desegregation, for civil rights, for ending poverty, for freedom, and for separation of church and state.
What is moral about rising poverty and unemployment levels? What is moral about giving tax breaks to those who do not need them? What is moral about dividing America by using religion as a club to beat people down with? What is moral about violating civil rights in the name of temporary safety? What is moral about publicly lying to the citizens of this nation? What is moral about sending people to die when they could have been protected in a better fashion? What is moral about treating human beings as "less than" simply because their genetic makeup makes them look or act different than us? What is moral about imposing one set of religious values on a nation in which many different religions abound? What is moral about trying to censor virtually every program on television, and depriving citizens of their right to decide what they choose to see, hear and speak? What is moral about cutting programs that assist the destitute, hard-working, impoverished among us in favor of giving more money to those who have no need of it? What is moral about taking America's best domestic achievement, a safety net for all Americans in case they should fall on hardship during their working years and after, and trying to shred it in favor of ideology? Tell me, what sort of moral values do these people hold?
Enough is enough. One small group of people should not be allowed to dictate the direction of 275 million people. We need to make our voices heard, loud and proud, proclaiming a set of true moral values, values that benefit our fellow man, values that benefit the vast majority, and not the small minority. Religion should not be the dominion of just one population group, and evangelicals are not the only voice of Christ in our society. This nation belongs to everyone, and God is everyone's God, not just the evangelicals. It is time to end this hijacking and restore our nation to its rightful place and restore our God to his.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Uh, you should check your facts.

Poverty and unemployment are on the decline. Poverty has been slowly declining ever since the mid-fifties. Unemployment is at a lower percentage now that it ever was under Clinton. 5.2% now. 5.6% under Clinton. And, to top it off, the majority of Americans (and Canadians) are opposed to homosexual marriage.

4:58 PM  
Blogger jOoLz said...


the gutless wonder who left that comment should check HIS facts.

and as far as opposition to gay marriage is concerned, at one time the majority of americans were opposed to the idea of women and minorities being allowed to vote. did the opinion of the majority make it right? of course not.

methinks someone needs to grow a pair(see above).

1:56 AM  

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