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Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_NineInchCock_160IQ, Jul 30, 2006.
religion & politics should never ever interact ... ever
Its s shame some congregants felt afraid to share their feelings with others in their church. A sign of the times.
Well then perhaps you'll find this article of interest:
Oh, I'm sure the Right Wing is shaking in their boots.
"Those on the right say they are not worried by the left's activism. Richard Land, president of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission in Nashville, said, "The religious left is a shadow of what it was in the '60s."
"I'm quite confident that in the struggle for hearts and minds, we've got a lot more boots on the ground than they do.""
The religous "left" are only preaching What Would Jesus Do- yeah, let's all piss and moan about that. Stupid fucks.
With a faith-based agenda of their own, liberal and progressive clergy from various denominations are lobbying lawmakers, holding rallies and publicizing their positions. They want to end the Iraq war, ease global warming, combat poverty, raise the minimum wage, revamp immigration laws, and prevent "immoral" cuts in federal social programs.
Thanks for the link. Some of my xian friends tell me this is happening in small numbers, I hope it's enough.
This Boyd guy seems like a rational human being, understands the wisdom of our forefathers in keeping government and religion separate. How arrogant of the bushies to think they're smarter than the framers of our government. bush's resume doesn't speak to anything that would give me confidence in his ability to restructure a nation when he can't even run a small corporation (other than into the ground).
How absolutely obnoxious to trick good hearted people into believing that an xian should support war while cutting benefits to the poor. I missed the part in the Bible where it said "fuck the lazy ass poor".
Oh, and I'm just sure Jesus would support eliminating the estate tax so the wealthy could remain wealthier while denying even basic needs to the public.
Jesus was ALWAYS a rich man's god, right?
I don't "worship" Jesus as a deity, but I damned well respect him for what he tried to do. He tried to reform a very corrupt church, would that someone with that kind of heart would come along now.
Though you have to be a true christian to believe in christianity's compatibility with reality, so i'd say he's a little naive. The rest of us just write it off as another cultural phenomenon, and thus having no need for coherence.
Maybe, just maybe he is being a little arrogant, i mean frankly these are nice people who joined this congregation to wallow in their worldview and why should he deprive him of that. One of the facets of reactionary christianity is a sense that one's culture is being pushed out from every corner by the wider world, and now it isn't just some "smartass new york jew" ( a randy newman quote from the song rednecks -the first part of which is actually pertinent to our discussion ) who is casting asperions on their simplistic moral thinking, it's their own pastor. I mean c'mon that's pretty cruel of him.
Who's to say the truth is good for everyone, or even most people. As a society we recognize this when we for example, lie to mothers and tell them their sons are nice young men when they are really creeps. We should at least try to balance our need to make decisions based on reality with our need to protect people from certain truths about the inadequacy of their culture in dealing with reality.
Good points delivered in what I hope is a well-crafted irony. Actually, yes, it may be a little painful for some people in the beginning, but a much more honest world would be beneficial for everyone who lives in the world. Kudos to Boyd.
I only offer the information as an indication that there are perhaps some who might have an alternate point of view as to what constitutes a "moral imperative" as it relates to social injustices. Perhaps the way to unseat the "religious right" is to beat them at their own "game".
This is a puzzle for me though. According to WWJD, is progressive Christian political activism the antidote for conservative Christian political activism? I would like to think it was, but I dont get that from the NT. My first instinct is to go right into battle over things like state bans on gay marriage. My secular humanist side sends me an image of me running for State legislature so I could help reverse something like that. I am outraged and I want to turn the Ohio legislature upside down.
But if I put the NT next to my head, the image I get for fighting gay social injustices is the male nurse in Angels In America. That's what you get when you ask WWJD. It is just the kind of totally impractical, seemingly impotent self sacrificing waste of time that Jesus would suggest (nursing Roy Cohn's terminal AIDS) instead of the obvious grabbing of the reigns and changing the laws that affect everyone in the state. Thats how I know its probably right.
I am really uncomfortable with that answer, but that's the only one I get from the NT. I say Boyd is right.
See, that's what happens in my wet dreams. I envision someone just like you doing exactly that. I DO believe that taking the responsibility on your own back is something Jesus would do because, well, he DID. Did Jesus tend to the sick himself? Yeah, sure, when he had time and was around, but he had a much larger agenda, so he tried to empower as many people as he could to do these things for each other.
Think about it JA, we certainly need leaders- look at who we're following.
Here's how I see the two working together. I see Boyd in the John the Baptist role when on multiple occasions he harshly rebuked (Bible-times version of cussing them out) the Pharisees (Leaders of Israel at the time who used what they claimed was moral superiority to stroke their own egos and push their own agendas (which were not coherent with the message they were claiming to be a part of). In the same way, Boyd is speaking out against the Pharisees of our day who use their status as "Christians" to push their own agendas of war, legislated morality, etc.
Now we must apply the wisdom propogated by our Founding Fathers to keep Church and state seperate. We need two types of people. We need the Boyds out there to speak up (outside the political arena) and say "Hey, what they're sayin' isn't in my Bible!" And we need the people who support a political agenda Jesus wouldn't be ashamed of, but they need to do it without broadcasting their Christianity as if it were the only credentials they needed to make rational decisions.
Therefore, I think you should internalize your "What would Jesus do?" and modify it slightly to "What would Jesus want?" Run for state legislature on the merits of your ideas, not on your religious affiliation.
On the other hand, this is what I think progressive religious activism looks like. Don't get the wrong idea. This is what I am leaning towards very strongly. It resonates very strongly with my 60s heritage and also my "devout" secular humanist heritage. It also resonates with my teenage experience growing up in the civil rights movement which cemented in me the image of religious activism as something that works for social justice.
I think if Mme Zora and jake and I were in the same town, we would be marching on city hall for gay rights and the homeless, and making sure there were no pictures of Jesus in the courthouse.
Looking at their posts, Mme Zora says run for Congress, and jake says do that, not as a Christian, but as a child of the Enlightenment, which is exactly how one should approach being a congressman.
But then there is that damn NT. What I get from it is the same sense of alarm about misery, suffering, and social injustice. And I also get from it a call to action. The NT is clear that we, ourselves, and the church are to be a blessing to the world. Noone walks around in the NT agonizing over being saved or worrying about their personal "faith walk" and that kind of bullshit. The NT demands that your focus be outward as much as it is inward.
What I am conflicted about, though, is the NT's prescription for the malady. Not because I am a Christian robot, but because I am actually considering that Jesus is sending an important message on how someone might best treat the world's maladies.
So my question is, in the very long run, who best serves the world in its maladies? Congressman or people like the male nurse in "Angels"? (And I am talking about every aspect of that including the hopelessness of AIDS at the time, and the fact that he is nursing Roy Cohn, and the fact that he, too, is victimized by what he is). The congressman route is easy to understand. Its a very American pragmatic take charge and fix it kind of approach that appeals to our sense of economy of scale. I think it is easy for us to justify that kind of action, but I am not sure it is very different than justifying a "just war" in the name of Jesus, either.
On the subject of politics and "just war", I think if you asked Jesus he would say, "So how's that working for ya so far?" Then he would suggest the most outrageously countercultural thing you could imagine. I do think he would praise the basic principles of our government (which at their core ask for social justice) and he would say that its not an issue of what is good or bad, but what is best.
I have read Boyd on other matters and he is a very thoughtful and pragmatic guy. I think his recent statements are consistent with what I was just saying. He is not just concerned only about saving souls at the expense of politics. He is wondering, like I am, where a Christian should best put their energies in the service of the world.
So this is on my mind at the moment in terms of soul searching, but as always, we almost never do WWJD, because it asks us to give up too much of our selves towards a greater good in a way that seems impractical and almost never feeds the ego. I don't think anyone in the NT liked the answer they got when they asked Jesus what to do. It made them so angry, in fact, they put out a contract on him.
Don't worry about me though. In the meantime, I am reading my Sojourners, my Harper's, my NYTimes (when I can find one of those few contraband copies that get into my county in Ohio) and getting righteously indignant, and I am organizing local groups and calling my representatives about things. At the same time, I am doing the "soup kitchen" kind of stuff and even very personal one on one kind of stuff.
Thanks to Mme Z, jake, bc, DC, Andrew, and the others in this thread for having this conversation. It has been helpful to articulate this and hear it reflected back in different ways.
Here's a thought. What if the NT isn't wrong? What if people are best served by the male nurses of the world (I regret I haven't seen that movie). Think about it. It's not federal funding that's saving AIDS babies in Africa, it's volunteers who give up their own self-interests in order to help others, one-on-one. Not that politics can be an aid in struggles such as these, but how is the world best served? politics may seem like a more far-reaching option, but is it really? It's a question to be pondered.
[cue idealistic Disneyesque music]
Maybe all that's needed is people working together closely enough (and regularly enough) that they identify with each other as human beings, instead of with the characteristics that separate them into categories of human beings.
Maybe we need some grown-up version of desegregation for people of differing sexual orientations. (Or maybe not. It could be this generation's version of busing, which in many places has eroded away many people's sense of community while encouraging stereotypical thinking based on close contact with only one small slice of another skin color or ethnicity, leading to "all people who look like X behave like Y, in my experience.")
[idealistic Disneyesque music fades away]
The straight guy's wives will pay the gay guys to decorate their bus. (Sorry, that's defeating the purpose, isn't it?)
Just a joke.