Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Ok

Now that we've elected a president who can separate his personal beliefs from his politics, and I've spent far too much time delineating my firm belief in secular government, it's time for me to clarify a few things.

While I think the government should stay out of legislating and enforcing morality, I should mention that although I don't believe certain things should be illegal, I think many are sinful. For example, I don't think two unmarried people who want to have sex with each other should face civil punishment, but it is fornication and a sin, and I cannot "support" them in their selfish decision, for I view sex without a marriage covenant as wholly selfish, and no amount of sophistry or soothsaying will convince me otherwise; my loins burned like everyone else's in my youth, but *I* waited until marriage. Abortion is an abomination and horrific. I want nothing to do with someone who has one (unless they truly repent), because there is nothing so selfish as killing an innocent, but that belief comes from my religious creed, so I can't force said belief on others. If people want the right to die when they are terminally ill, so be it, but it's not for me. Get drunk, get high, waste your money and impede your ability to exercise your divinely-granted free will all you want, but I'll not join you in your partying; I want my faculties about me. Adulterers cannot be trusted, but shouldn't go to jail (though I think an adulterer forfits rights in a divorce by nature of breaking the covenant). I could go on and on. Just because I voted for Barack Obama does not mean that I abide or am tolerant of sin. (Notice I didn't say sinners)

Before you think I'm condemning others, those who know me well, know that I don't condemn other people, because I am not perfect. But you don't have to be perfect to judge; that is a fallacy, in spite of the common translation of John 8. I do judge actions, and I know which ones I won't do because of my faith, which is wholly separate from my politics. Damnit, we should want to be good and serve the Lord and keep His commandments because we love Him, and not because of the law or centuries-old cultural hegemony from Judeo-Christian enculturation of our nation. Do what is right; choose the right because you want to be a good person. If someone sins you can love them and still not approve of their actions. They won't care about your approval, and not-approving isn't the same thing as "tolerating." I love my friends, in spite of decisions they make that I find sinful. I don't huck rocks at them because they didn't resist, rather I try and have an influence on them, for good, by the best example I can muster in the face of my own innumerable imperfections. If they ask me what I think, I will tell them, and it can seem blunt, but my judgment isn't unrighteous, and I'm no better than they are, because all sins are the same to the Lord (save murder and adultery). Some have harsher consequences (telling a white lie vs heroin addiction), but my sins of pride and swearing are just as bad as any others. I'm just trying to get better. Calling out others' sins is the work of prophets and apostles; I am neither. I'm just a man who sees a world full of sin, full of people who care nothing for the wisdom of the commandments (Love the Lord thy God, Love thy neighbor as thyself), and I'm a man who sees himself struggling against life, his own sins, and willful ignorance. Sin is sin. You have to struggle against it, against the toils of life, and against ignorance in yourself and others.

Obama is not a savior, but he's the right man for the job, right now. For the record, the next person who tells me (in person) that Obama might be the Anti-Christ will not like my reaction.

5 comments:

chattypatra said...

Well, Mac, if people want to stop being your friend because you voted for Obama, that's their loss.

We all have a right to our opinion. Now, if you turned out to be a pervert or a cold-blooded murdered, that would be a whole other story and I'd have to write you off! ;)

America has spoken. Let us continue to pray that all our leaders act with wisdom when it comes time to make serious choices.

David Laraway said...

Mac, you da man! I know you've caught some real grief from some of your more pious readers who think Obama is the spawn of Satan and that the only thing worse than Obama is gay marriage. I ran across a fascinating article yesterday in Slate.com that argues that Obama may have been in part responsible for passing Prop 8 in California. His candidacy inspired record numbers of African-Americans to turn out and black voters are much more opposed to gay marriage than are other ethnic groups (especially whites). Their participation may have made the difference. Do I expect those people who have a visceral hatred of both Obama and gay marriage to realize that Obama may have (inadvertently) been an instrument in defeating the latter? Nah. I'm not convinced that they're that thoughtful enough to appreciate the irony.

Paul Dunn said...

To say that Obama is the anti-Christ is the equivalent of saying Bush is Hitler. Neither holds any water.

Unlike many liberals and Democrats, when Bush was elected in 2000, I will support Obama and align my vision with his as much as possible to improve America. I will not be an Obama-hater or an Obama-basher. My vow is to give him a chance to prove he can do the job, and although I will not agree with some of his decisions and agenda, it is only "fair" that he be treated with respect and dignity that every President deserves. You would not catch me boo-hissing Obama, a treatment Bush has been subjected to almost on a daily basis. Show some respect people.

I honestly hope that he becomes a great President. As a 30-44 year old, I have MANY friends that voted for Obama. My wife voted for Obama. The best man at my wedding (which was Mac) voted for Obama. Friends that I consider great people from high school and college, X'ed in Obama.

My wife told me she read "The Audacity of Hope" and felt that Obama was as sincere and genuine a person based on the language he used as she had ever known. I too am now compelled to read his book.

This old right-wing conservative (who would vote Libertarian if they would just find a way to prove to the country they are for real) is going to give Obama a chance. We are still a center-right country... with people like Mac and Caroline voting for Obama, I believe that Obama captured a great deal of center-right voters.

If Obama makes center-right choices over the next 4 years, then it's likely he'll capture an even greater percentage of the popular vote in 2012.

Matt the Treehugger said...

Mac, I want to make three points.

1) I agree that we should not condemn people for what they do. We should merely condemn some of the choices people make.

2) I've yet to meet someone who considers Obama the "anti-Christ;" at least, noone who has outwardly expressed that view. I've met people who do not like his policies and/or do not like his race, but... Maybe this has something to do with the contrasting people we come into contact with on a daily basis. SC is a "red state," while many people in NJ and Philly are infatuated with Obama. (I drove through a fashionable neighborhood in North Philly the other day and saw at least 100 Obama lawn signs and not one McCain sign.)

3) I disagree with the idea that we cannot inflict a religious or moral creed onto others. Many laws are based on such creeds. This is why it is illegal to kill people. There was a time when it was not illegal to kill certain people because society's moral creed allowed it. This prior creed is what motivated the captain of the ship, Zong, to throw 50+ slaves overboard when water supplies were dwindling. Slaves who drowned were insured, while slaves who died of dehydration were not. The captain viewed the slaves as merely property. After an appeal (i.e. after a second try), the English court system eventually found in favor of the insurers, but the captain was never punished for the crime because his actions were not criminal in 1781. Now, imagine if the abolitionist movement took your suggested approach to this moral issue. What if they said "[my] belief comes from my religious creed, so I can't force said belief on others?" Fortunately, the abolitionists did not take this approach, and Barak Obama is a benefactor thereto. Hopefully, someone will someday benefit from my religious and moral creed.

Lastly, I wholeheartedly agree with David Laraway on the prop 8/black vote issue. I saw the breakdown of the vote by race, and upwards of 75% of the black voters supported prop 8. That truly is an interesting irony.

Mac said...

Chatty,

Amen. People that say "I hope he fails" are UNamerican.

David,

Gracias hermano, and I had the same thought about how African-Americans would influence the vote on Prop 8.

Paul,

People like you make our country great, for this reason you are a Great American, as I've always said.

Matt,

Well, I differ. While the Abolitionist movement did have some roots in Northern Protestant congregations (which came from England), ultimately, the Constitutional guarantee of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are all you need to crush slavery.

As for the drowning of cargo, slaves were property under the law, but thankfully the law changed due to the eventual recognition that slaves had a right to life, and to liberty, and to the pursuit of happiness. While there is most certainly a religious enculturation of our law, those three items are secular and the crux of our laws, even if they did eminate from a religious background.

Barack Obama is not a direct benefactor of Abolition; his father was Kenyan, his mother Caucasian. He would never have been a slave, nor is he descended from them.

Religious rights end where they impose or seek to impose their beliefs on others.