Politics and religion are not the subject of polite conversation, or so I’m told. But they sure do have a way of showing up together, don’t they? Even without looking overseas.
What have we got this election cycle? A private citizen supporting traditional marriage in a niche market interview drew a firestorm of outrage. Battle lines were drawn over a fast-food chain, and a gunman opened fire at the Christian “Family Research Council”. Politicians fought over whether a businessman had the right to a private opinion.
There was a clash between religious liberties and (ahem) “reproductive rights”, centering on whether government could mandate birth control. And a SCOTUS ruling that government cannot overrule job appointments in religious orders. And a parade of court cases demanding freedom “from” religion, the latest involving the “Ground Zero cross”. And the DNC’s “God & Jerusalem” vote for their party platform, where they couldn’t quite decide whether God was welcome in their party.
“And, And, And…” This list sheds light on the deepening divisions between parties. It also says something about why the stakes seem so high. The base of each party stands further and further apart, over issues like government, authority, property, God, ethics etc.. In a word: Worldview.
Sometimes, seeing things from a new angle grants new insight. That happened to me this week. With the Ten Commandments as a backdrop, I mentally ran down the points of conflict between the two parties. What I found surprised me.
But first, the obligatory disclaimer. These observations relate specifically to Democratic party philosophy, not (necessarily) those aligned with it. (And so on and so forth.)
The First Three Commandments. “No Other Gods” “No Idolatry” and “Misuse of God’s Name”.
A keystone tenet of the Left’s political orthodoxy is “pluralism”. You are permitted to hold any religious belief you like. But keep it quiet. Anyone making exclusive truth claims (like Acts 4:12 “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved”) will provoke an immediate and visceral reaction. Blind to the irony, they will label that “judgmental”.
Since they generally treat God as man-made, idolatry is impossible. “Sex”, “money”, “power”, “entertainment” and “the State” are acceptable alternatives to divine worship. As for the misuse of God’s name, no big deal. Don’t involve Mohammed, of course … that makes them jumpy; otherwise, blasphemy will be celebrated as “bold” or “artistic”, like the recent Venice Film Festival’s award for a film especially offensive to Catholics.
Fourth Commandment — “Sabbath”. If the first 3 Commandments are set aside, the Fourth one becomes meaningless. Why reserve a day to worship God if you don’t think he belongs in a “modern” world?
Fifth Commandment — “Honor”. The respect and obedience due to legitimate authority figures. First among these are parents, but this extends to others, like law enforcement, invested with civil authority. Look around today at our attitude toward parents, police, teachers, and other authority figures, and see how we value the 5th commandment..
Sixth Commandment — “Murder”. Everybody’s opposed to murder, right? Finally, something we can both agree on: Murder is Bad. Except in cases of rape or incest. Then it should be safe, legal and rare. And unless your last name is Schaivo, or Latimer.
Cue Skippy from his mother’s basement: “Oh yeah? What about war and capital punishment! You call yourself pro-life?” — Actually, Skippy, I do. Because I know there really is a difference between killing and murder. War and law enforcement deal with ugly realities. But there is a world of difference between a uniformed soldier or cop shooting a gunman intent on killing him, and the murder of unsuspecting strangers. As for capital punishment? The accused can hope for a lenient jury; his victim could not.
Seventh Commandment — “Adultery”. Needless to say, chastity and traditional marriage are not popular views among the Left.
Eighth Commandment — “Shall not Steal”. God is affirming property rights. Anything lawfully yours is yours. Period, full stop. Nobody can demand it from you. This ought to serve as a brake on the government’s urge to unduly squeeze its own citizens. But — it doesn’t. Rhetorical question: how compatible is “Eat-The-Rich” with the 8th Commandment? Right. Moving on.
Ninth Commandment — “False Witness”. Don’t lie. Don’t slander people. Don’t call people you disagree with names. (I think both parties take a beating on this one.) Some words exist only to slander people; “homophobe”, for instance. People are called things like racist and bigot with absolutely no proof. Enough already.
Tenth Commandment — “Envy”. Hating someone because he has what you want. How petty and small can you be? If you don’t like your situation, go do something about it. Pouting and hating the “1%” won’t do squat. Smashing windows and setting fires only shows the world your impotent rage. Grow up, wouldya?
There you have it. The Democratic Party is philosophically aligned against the principles of the Ten Commandments. Ten-for-Ten. They’ve taken their stand. Booing God was simply putting a voice to their deepest values.
Now that you have seen the line they hold to, one question remains.
Where do YOU stand?
Image: Deutsch: Moses mit den Gesetzestafeln; Rembrandt; 1659; courtesy of: Gemäldegalerie