Thursday, June 4, 2009

Freedom Ain't Free

From the American Daily Review (by Warner Todd Huston):

Liberty University, a Christian college situated near Lynchburg, Virginia and founded in 1971 by Jerry Falwell, has this week decertified its college Democratic Party club over the singular fact that the National Democratic Party is a supporter of abortion.
Liberty University, huh? Before we get to the Bible, let's look at Websters' definition of Liberty:
The state of a free person; exemption from subjection to the will of another claiming ownership of the person or services; freedom; -- opposed to slavery, serfdom, bondage, or subjection.
So here we have yet another example of the Christian right modifying the meaning of a word to suit their liking. Apparently, to Jerry Falwell and his kind, "liberty" means the freedom to do what the Christian right says it's OK to do. And if you think that's classy, check out the next sentence after the previously quoted news blurb:
After the debacle of allowing a president that is a supporter of infanticide being invited to speak at the leading Catholic University in the nation, I can only say that Liberty University should be congratulated for standing up for its principles. At least these Baptists actually believe in something unlike the putative Catholics at Notre Dame.
That's pure class, Huston. But I'm sure you don't think much of Catholics anyway, despite your generally similar ideas on abortion. After all, Catholics believe in things like Tradition, infant baptism, and the importance of Good Works. You believe only in Salvation - oh, and that women are second-class citizens who are not entitled to make decisions regarding their own bodies - oh, and that gay people are evil-doers who choose their sexual orientation with the singular purpose of pissing off God. Way to stick it to the "putative Catholics", you putative human being.

Lest you think this whole thing is as offensive as it gets, here's what Mark Hine, the vice-president of student affairs at Liberty University had to say:
“The Democratic Party platform is contrary to the mission of Liberty University and to Christian doctrine (supports abortion, federal funding of abortion, advocates repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, promotes the “LGBT” agenda, hate crimes, which include sexual orientation and gender identity, socialism, etc.)”

The decision had been made that from this point on the students could not use campus meeting rooms and could not use the university’s name in advertising or functions. Hines also warned the students that violations of these new strictures could lead to reprimands that would ultimately end in expulsion.

Now, to the school's (minor) credit, they did amend their decision to allow the students to continue to meet on campus. But that does nothing to change the heart of this issue. What I find particularly amazing is that Hine calls the platform of the Democratic party "contrary to Christian doctrine." How is it, then, that there are so many Christians in the Democratic party? In fact, the majority of the politicians in Washington are Christian. A majority of them (at the moment) are also Democrats. Could it be that Christianity may have different meanings to different people? Is it possible that one particular group of Christians is out of line in claiming ownership of the title? To outsiders it may seem that Christian means "gun-toting medieval backwoods bigoted asshole", but that's because those are the kind of people who are willing to ignore passages like Matthew 6:1-6, which says:

"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
In favor of verses like Exodus 21:22, which says:
If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows.
Which, as we've already discussed, doesn't condemn abortion as soundly as the Christian right would have us believe.

Perhaps Hine's issue with the Democrats is that they (in general) believe in the importance of verses like Luke 14:12-14, which says:
Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind . . .
But don't (in general) set too much importance on verses like Leviticus 18:22, which says:
Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.
Another major difference between the Republican and Democratic parties, is that Republicans tend to make a big show of their Christianity (See Matthew 6:1-6), using it as a political tool, whereas Democrats tend toward espousing the vital importance of the separation of church and state, and seem to have less difficulty seeing the difference between what is good for a country and what is a matter of personal faith. To ally a religion so closely with a political party is dangerous and (dare I say it?) downright wrong. I can understand how a person who is genuinely pro-life would have problems supporting a pro-choice political candidate, but I cannot see how that same person would have no qualms about supporting a candidate who is pro-war, opposed to national health care (opposition to national health care is, in my opinion, a form of murder), and believes in the vital importance of keeping poor, uneducated people poor and uneducated. Those are not Christian values. I would venture to say that some, if not all, of the ideas in modern socialism have stronger support from the Scripture than free-market capitalism. After all, Jesus helped the poor and healed the sick. Wouldn't a reformed education system, better public housing and transit, and a quality national health care system do the same? And since we're on the subject, does anyone else think it likely that fewer abortions would take place if these things existed (not to mention the positive effect realistic sex-education would have)?

No, it's pretty clear to me that while the Republican party, by and large, is Christian in name, the Democratic party is, by and large, Christian in action. But, of course, it's all a matter of personal faith and politics. Even so, a religious organization has no business playing this kind of politics. Advocate for issues, not parties. WTFWJD?

5 comments:

NOSaturn said...

"...while the Republican party, by and large, is Christian in name, the Democratic party is, by and large, Christian in action."

wow..... thems is strong words there.

Jocelyn said...

I suppose, if we're being technical, it's a lesser of two evils situation. But that just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Hannah said...

"To outsiders it may seem that Christian means "gun-toting medieval backwoods bigoted asshole"..."

Tea very nearly came out my nose.

Self said...

WTFWJD?

I suspect he'd say something along the lines of leaving Caesar's things for Caesar to manage.

Something that the militantly religious seem to forget is that a politician is bound by their responsibility to the society and constitution before anything else - a good politician puts aside their personal beliefs as best they can.

Which is unfortunately why Democratic party presidents don't intervene when the US is (admittedly rarely) putting people to death.

Shmee Skywalker said...

"To outsiders it may seem that 'Christian' means 'gun-toting medieval backwoods bigoted asshole'..."

What? They're not? *kidding, just kidding!*

But seriously, the 'Real Christians' and 'Real Americans' are why there are so many people who are now un-churched.

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