Fascination with wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.
Wisdom of Solomon 4:12

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Problem With DOMA

We found out very early on this day June 26, 2013 that constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act - DOMA was struck down by the supreme court of America.  I learned of it through my electronic news portals.  It was no real surprise to me at all!  To be frank, I am not moved either by its being upheld or struck down.   The problem with DOMA is much more complex than it seems at first glance.

America, the premier Western nation, has long championed the rights of individuals, and made the individual’s freedom and happiness central to all of our jurisprudence.  Our so called democracy debates in the public square with its winner being the one with the loudest voice able to sway the hearts and minds of the populous.  Right and wrong for Americans is not a moral imperative given to us by our maker and sustainer, but rather it is a conditioned set of suggestions that the populous approves of or disapproves of.

So then, am I saying that DOMA was evil and needed to be overturned?  No, but neither am I saying that it was the most helpful legislation in light of our present perdicament.  Let’s face it; those who planned DOMA and fought for it were for the most part conservative Christians of various sects.  Their motive was to keep America from sliding into an advanced secularism and to try and keep some vestiges of the Christian culture within the law. I can understand that desire.  Nevertheless, it is foolish to assume that America is now or ever was a Christian land.  It just doesn’t hold to historical fact.  We have always had the secularists and the Christian sects fighting in the public square and each has exchanged victories. 

The real problem is that American Christians and their various confessions have lost almost all credibility with the rest of Americans. Why, because of their naïveté.  Most people look upon Christians as those people who cherry pick amongst evils.  Example: they fight against abortion, and homosexuality, but they sleep around, get divorced, gossip, and for the most part are not much different than the rest who are not Christians. Consequently, the masses conclude that Christians are just hypocrytical bigots who happen to be backward in certain social areas.

It is at this point that a great amount of repentance is required by everyone who names Christ.  Today’s readings in the Orthodox Church calendar were quite timely for today news (Rom 1: 18-27 & Mat 5: 20-26).  What particularly struck me about the epistle passage was the complete list of evils.  It begins by saying, therefore God gave them up in the passions of their hearts to impurity.”  Then a list of those things which the historic church has come to call "the Passions" is given. 

         First on the list is heterosexual sex outside of marriage. The passage states, therefore God gave them up in the passions of their hearts to impurity, the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves.”  Now, I must ask, why have we not had a “No Dishonoring Our Bodies By Unmarried Sex Act?”  It seems to me that it is because Christinas have come to accept this act as tolerable, or at worst as a venial sin. This evil has not been found worthy of opposition.

The list goes on in the passage calling the rest all manner of unrighteousness, here is the list: evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness, gossip, slandering, hating of God, insolent, haughtiness, boastfulness, inventing of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, and ruthless.  I cannot help but ask when have Christians run a campaign to legally suppress that list?  Or better, when was the last time in American history when the absence of this list has characterized so called Christians?   How dare Christians signal out one passion on the list of many, and neglect the rest of them in their own lives.

3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his works”  Rom 2: 3-6

Friends, there is much to repent for! Only when Christians are true to the whole restoration of human beings to the image of God, will they have any kind of public platform that is of any redeeming consequence. Only then can Christians speak to the issues of  DOMA with credibility. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A World Split Apart - Solzhenitsyn

 Thirty-five years ago today – on June 8, 1978

I am sincerely happy to be here with you on this occasion and to become personally acquainted with this old and most prestigious University. My congratulations and very best wishes to all of today’s graduates.

Harvard’s motto is “Veritas.” Many of you have already found out and others will find out in the course of their lives that truth eludes us if we do not concentrate with total attention on its pursuit. And even while it eludes us, the illusion still lingers of knowing it and leads to many misunderstandings. Also, truth is seldom pleasant; it is almost invariably bitter. There is some bitterness in my speech today, too. But I want to stress that it comes not from an adversary but from a friend.

Three years ago in the United States I said certain things which at that time appeared unacceptable. Today, however, many people agree with what I then said…
The split in today’s world is perceptible even to a hasty glance. Any of our contemporaries readily identifies two world powers, each of them already capable of entirely destroying the other. However, understanding of the split often is limited to this political conception, to the illusion that danger may be abolished through successful diplomatic negotiations or by achieving a balance of armed forces. The truth is that the split is a much profounder and a more alienating one, that the rifts are more than one can see at first glance. This deep manifold split bears the danger of manifold disaster for all of us, in accordance with the ancient truth that a Kingdom – in this case, our Earth – divided against itself cannot stand.

Contemporary Worlds
There is the concept of the Third World: thus, we already have three worlds. Undoubtedly, however, the number is even greater; we are just too far away to see. Any ancient deeply rooted autonomous culture, especially if it is spread on a wide part of the earth’s surface, constitutes an autonomous world, full of riddles and surprises to Western thinking. As a minimum, we must include in this category China, India, the Muslim world and Africa, if indeed we accept the approximation of viewing the latter two as compact units. For one thousand years Russia has belonged to such a category, although Western thinking systematically committed the mistake of denying its autonomous character and therefore never understood it, just as today the West does not understand Russia in communist captivity. It may be that in the past years Japan has increasingly become a distant part of the West, I am no judge here; but as to Israel, for instance, it seems to me that it stands apart from the Western world in that its state system is fundamentally linked to religion.

Read the whole article here