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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Grocery Shopping for Scriptures



One of the things I’d miss if I traveled several decades back would be grocery stores. If you live in a suburb like myself, or even a newly gentrified neighborhood, you have access to fresh produce  flown from orchards in Florida and California, more spaghetti sauce brands than you’d ever thought imaginable and the whole gamut of paper towel options (thick and soft or rough but economically priced!)

Prior to the massive grocery stores with bright, welcoming aisles, most people had access to what was immediately available like Neighbor Jones’ potatoes, and Sister Smith’s homemade solution for warts. It was pretty much an all or nothing deal. Either you got the sugar made in your backyard or you just didn’t get anything.

Our society has been spoiled. Just the way we pick some brands of peanut butter (Choosy moms choose JIF!) and leave others on the shelf, we often choose to do the same with our morality. Specifically, I’m speaking of the so-called Moral Majority, who quote scripture to justify legislation or ideals, but ignore other scriptures when it doesn’t fit their agenda. The notorious example is capital punishment and abortion. The “religious right” argues for the protection of life citing that it’s a “gift from God”, yet most fail to be concerned about this protection of life when discussing capital punishment. One of the best arguments I’ve ever heard in opposition to capital punishment was a Christian one. A dear friend of mine said, “At every opportunity that Christ had to legally exact capital punishment on a sinner, He chose mercy. Who are we to choose death?”

Another inconsistency is on the issue of appropriate sexual behavior; for the moral majority only some of the scriptures seem to be put into the grocery basket of political ideals. Many opponents to gay marriage weakly claim they are opposed to the redefinition of “Biblical marriage.” According to these folks, marriage is a religious institution, Biblically defined as between a man and a woman. But we know the truth. Gay marriage opponents are really against homosexuality, which the Bible does decree as sinful (here, here, and several other places.) However these folks are grocery store shopping again. In the same book, often right before or after the verses on homosexuality, there are passages that extol the impiety of premarital sex, adultery, and sometimes even divorce. (Examples here and here.) Jesus himself stated in Luke 16, “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” Has anyone put forth an amendment to the definition of marriage that includes making heterosexual remarriages illegal? Of course not; that’s not the brand of sin that politicians care about. Just the ones that make people afraid their sons will like other boys.

*For the record, I don’t support creating any laws governing sexuality, largely because I think that’s none of the government’s business. Furthermore, with so many varying beliefs about what’s morally or ethically acceptable when it comes to sexuality, I’m not sure the government should be in the business of making bedroom decisions for such a diverse group of people as Americans.

I’m all about consistency. This doesn’t mean I think in black and white; but it does mean that I don’t think truths, moralities, values, ethics, etc can be called upon when convenient to your existence, political policies or practices. While I’m a liberal, I believe that both the Democratic and the Republican party are full of inconsistencies. I’m all about meaning what you say and saying what you mean.  

How do you feel about the “Moral Majority” and our overall society? Do we shop for scriptures as we see fit? Thoughts?