Wednesday, March 28, 2007

On a week of morality and "morality"

Okay, so the College Republicans at UNC-Greensboro have declared this week to be Morals Week (because, I'm sure, more than five moral days in a row makes them itchy). And, in the grand tradition of neo-conservative Orwellianism, they have chosen to celebrate said week by... hating people. The UNCGCRs celebrate morality by sticking it to the pro-choicers, the queers, and the vegetarians, and by bringing in military recruiters but not, one would assume, signing up themselves. I suppose we can all breathe a sigh of relief that they won't be hunting immigrants in the name of morality.

And, just out of curiosity, what the hell is inherent immoral about vegetarianism?

Anyway, that is (thank God) only one take on morality. Another view on the subject is held by Joe Murray, a columnist and former staff attorney for the American Family Association. Murray is the originator of such pro-family declarations as
The Sodomy Squadron has been flying high, for the Supreme Court has deemed sodomy a fundamental right, the Federal Marriage Amendment was DOA, and Massachusetts strong-armed the Catholic Church into ceasing its adoption program when it demanded that a Catholic agency allow same-sex couples to adopt children under the care of the Roman Catholic Church.

There is no question about it: the Summer of 2003 will go down in history as the Summer of Sodomy. The Buggery Battalion, forever diligent in its quest to lay siege to America's cultural institutions, has made tremendous strides in replacing traditional Judeo-Christian values with a New Age doctrine of tolerance and acceptance -- i.e., unconditional acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle. Put simply, there is not a social structure existing today that has not been touched by the homosexual movement.

Make no mistake, the past few months have been extremely beneficial to the homosexual community. Sodomy has become a celebrated constitutional right, New York City officially resurrected a homosexual Jim Crow by creating a high school strictly for gays, and gay marriage has been declared in Canada and, possibly soon, in California. There is no doubt about it, homosexuals are in the driver's seat and Americans holding traditional values have been moved to the back of the bus...

Hofstra is teetering on the brink of the ultimate betrayal -- it has sold its collegiate soul for a one-night stand with the extremes of the gay and lesbian community. Hofstra has bequeathed to the extreme left a powerful gift -- the keys to the academic vault...

and, in response to General Pace's remarks about gays in the military,
The American Family Association, a pro-family organization and former employer of this writer, sprung into action sending out this “action alert”: “Homosexuals working to get Marine general punished for comments calling homosexual act immoral.”

AFA then warned that the homosexual lobby “already forced [Pace] to back down a step,” and urged supporters to defend Pace and “take a stand for our troops who cannot get involved in this political situation.” AFA, like others, had pulled out its red herring.

This is not a political situation, but instead it is a situation where a high ranking official made comments that judged individuals, not ideas. Pace singled out gay soldiers during a time of war and told these men and women that they were immoral. His comments, as a military official, were over the line and not defensible.

AFA, like other “Christian” groups, chose to run to Pace’s aid and such an act suggests borderline bigoted behavior from an organization claiming the mantle of Christianity. This is disturbing.

Hold on, say what?
AFA, like other “Christian” groups, chose to run to Pace’s aid and such an act suggests borderline bigoted behavior from an organization claiming the mantle of Christianity. This is disturbing.


Pandagon's Pam was similarly, pleasantly surprised about Murray's apparent about-face, and she even went so far as to actually ask him about it. I recommend clicking over and reading the entire interview, 'cause it's a good one, but this is the part that stood out for me:
I am pro-life, but I am also in favor of gay marriage. I believe in a strong military, but I do not believe homosexuality is immoral. I believe that trade policy should protect the Main Street worker and not the Wall Street fat cat. I believe that America has a duty to protect her borders and preserve her cultural integrity. And I believe in a higher minimum wage. So, I am not sure exactly where I fit in political spectrum.

That being said, the issue of gay rights has been weighing heavy on my mind for quite some time. The gay issue is a human issue, and thus I strongly believe that it must be approached with concern and compassion. Furthermore, the individuals engaging in the debate must recognized that behind the theories there are real life human beings that are made in the image of the Creator.

While it is true that I have written some inflammatory pieces (which I will explain in the next question), I must say I never really gave them much thought, for I was attracted to the American Family Association (AFA) because of the pro-life issue. To me, that is the number issue facing our civilization today, for if one is not guaranteed the right to life, rights such as a gay marriage are meaningless because you will not be around to enjoy them. Hence, the gay issue was just a secondary issue in my view.

This, however, changed when I got to Tupelo.

After adopting the AFA party line for some time, something in the back of my head kept tearing away at my conscience. How could AFA, an earthly organization, declare the divine intention of the God and condemn the souls of homosexuals? How was it that men could make the declaration of who was getting into Heaven and who was getting the one-way ticket to Hades? ...

As I studied the Bible, I found that the word “sodomite” that was used in Corinthians and Romans referred not to all homosexuals, but largely to the promiscuous behavior of the Roman/Greek bathhouses and the use of boy prostitutes.

Take for instance, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, a verse commonly referred to support the argument that all forms of homosexuality are immoral. As I understand it, the Greek word translated as “boy prostitutes” may refer to catamites, i.e. the boys or young men kept for purposes of prostitution and the term translated for “sodomites” refers to all homosexual males who engaged in such practices with such boys. In other words, the condemnation of homosexuality in that passage, thus, refers only to homosexual males who engage the services of boy prostitutes-it is a very narrow definition.

To argue that this verse condemns all homosexuality ignores the true meaning of the words used. Rather than embrace the true meaning of the words and explore the possibility that some homosexual conduct may be permissible, such as that between two consenting adults, fundamentalists have opted to hijack this verse and fill in the gaps with the wisdom of the world. In other words, the definition was not as broad as many fundamentalists would argue, thus it left a huge opening as to whether gays in a committed relationship would be damned to hell.

How could preachers preach such vehement messages towards gays when it was clear that the Bible was unclear at best, and silent at worse, on the issue? Why recklessly condemn a group of individuals? Why fixate on them when your congregation is knee deep in divorce (Jesus had some pretty clear words on that issue)? And as for gluttony, how could preachers lecture gays on restraint when churches host pot luck dinner after pot luck dinner and not be deemed hypocritical?

It was this hypocrisy that caused me to open my eyes. Those on the Christian right, for whatever reasons, have become fixated on homosexuality. They are obsessed by it and perverse form of vengeance appears to be fueling their inquisition. I may be wrong, but I think actions are speaking much louder than words here.

The whole gay issue is no longer about the quest for the Truth; it is about fear and loathing. It is about shame and sorrow. It is anything but Christian. ...

While many on the right will argue I am soft on the issue and playing with souls, I believe that failure to seek the Truth and understand the Gospel is a worse sin. God gave us minds to exercise them, not be spoon fed information. I truly believe that if people actively seek the Truth, they will end up in the right place, but those who fail to embark on the journey will remain forever lost in the wilderness.

He also quotes Joan of Arc, who was asked, as she was being burnt at the stake, whether she'd get into heaven. Her response was, "If I am not, may it please God to put me in it; if I am, may it please God to keep me there.” Denying the right of judgment and condemnation to anyone other than God? What a concept.

So there are, presented with remarkably little comment, considering the subject, two versions of morality to chew on. I'll leave you to decide whether your personal standard for morality involves fear, hatred, aggression, and condemnation or respect, humanity, and compassion. It's not the kind of thing you can legislate or force on other people anyway. That's what makes this country great, and so damn scary.

Sidenote: As one commenter at Pandagon pointed in re: Morality Week, eating meat on a Friday? During Lent? Totally not moral, if you're Catholic. Tut tut, College Republicans, tut tut.

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