Friday, October 06, 2006

Sin doesn't choose sides, or political parties, or denominations

Sin doesn't choose sides, or political parties, or denominations

In light of what has been written about the Foley Gate or follies, and even waht I have written, I wanted to add these two articles from The Christian Science Monitor and God's Politics a blog by Jim Wallis and Friends. We are all tempted to sin, and we do, including me. So here is they are for your reading and comments.

Congress is consistent at corruption

Some lawmakers act as though they are beyond the reach of rules meant for others.
By Daniel Schorr
WASHINGTON
Foley's folly - the sexually suggestive messages that Rep. Mark Foley (R) sent to one or more former congressional pages - is only the latest manifestation of Lord Acton's axiom that power tends to corrupt.
In the case of our Congress, the corruption is of two general sorts - money and sex.
The money corruption hardly needs to be spelled out. Just mention names such as Republicans Duke Cunningham and Tom DeLay, or lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Trading votes on pending pork has become a routine part of the legislative process.
But the big ones are remembered - like the 1981 sting operation called Abscam, in which a senator and six representatives were caught in a trap when they thought they were being handed cash by an Arab sheikh.
In the case of scandals with sexual overtones, there was, for example, Rep. Wayne Hays (D) of Ohio, exposed in 1976 as having put his mistress on his official payroll. She later admitted she couldn't type, but typing was apparently not part of her duties.
The sex-linked scandal I remember best involved Wilbur Mills, the powerful Democratic chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. He was caught in 1974, carrying on around the Tidal Basin with an Argentine striptease dancer. Like former Representative Foley, he attributed it to alcoholism.
Then there was Sen. Robert Packwood (R), accused of sexual harassment by 10 women in 1992.
In all of these episodes there was a sense that lawmakers, once ensconced in office by the voters, were acting as though they were beyond the reach of rules meant for others, from parking in "no parking" zones to making advances to 16-year-olds. There is a sense of "you can't touch me," until some scandal explodes that is too outrageous to ignore.
But if the past is any guide, power will continue to corrupt, perhaps absolutely.
Daniel
Schorr is a senior news analyst at National Public Radio.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It is interesting that Daniel Schorr doesn't mention Ted Kennedy's tryst that cost a life.

Diana Butler Bass: Sin Is Neither Republican nor Democratic

A couple weeks ago, I was having lunch with a neo-conservative Christian friend, a person with whom I disagree, yet whose faith and intellectual perspectives I respect. In our wide-ranging discussion, we wound up talking about the politics of sexuality, and he made the off-handed comment that students in mainline Protestant seminaries were “more likely” to engage in pre-martial sexual activity than those in evangelical seminaries—that sexual misconduct occurs more among liberals than conservatives.
“Sexual morality or immorality is NOT linked to either theology or politics,” I argued back. “Sexuality is part of human nature. Whether left or right, all Christians struggle to be faithful people and live out our commitments to chastity or monogamy. Human sexuality isn’t a liberal-conservative thing.”
He laughed, realizing, of course, that every Christian theologian from St. Paul and St. Augustine forward has pretty much said the same thing.
Making sexuality a political issue, as much of the Religious Right has done, distracts from a host of other issues, such as poverty, war, and environmental concerns. But it also obscures the fact that Christians agree (as my friend and I do) on many things regarding this intimate part of our lives. We agree that sexuality is a gift from God, that love and commitment are foundational to sexual expression, that marriage is the best vessel for human sexuality, and that authenticity, honesty, fidelity, and mutual regard form the basis of Christian sexual relationships. Sex is, theologically, an ultimate expression of self-giving and surrender, qualities that resemble those in Christian spirituality. As the medieval mystics taught, humanity sexuality is a metaphor for our relationship with God.
We also know, as the Christian tradition teaches, that all of this is hard. Sexuality is difficult because it is potentially holy and potentially sinful at the same time. In the midst of this powerful mystery, we are merely human. And none of these things—honesty, holiness, fidelity, or mutual regard—come easily to us. Thus, to politicize sexuality divides us at the very point at which we are united—our shared human nature and our shared quests to live in faith-filled grace.
Which, of course, brings us to the terrible revelations this past weekend about (now former) Congressman Mark Foley (R-Fla.), caught in an explicit email tryst with a teenage page.
In the last two days, I have heard people (in both the media and on the streets) politicize Mr. Foley’s misconduct, exalting in the lurid revelations about the hypocrisy of “Republican moralists.” Ah ha! God’s own political party is covering up sin in its midst! Elmer Gantry lives! Those who live by politicizing sexuality, die by sexual politics.
This is NOT a Christian response. If Christians are to be involved in political life, it needs to be a political life of pastoral compassion. Mr. Foley’s alleged activity and subsequent resignation will have lifelong consequences for some unnamed (thank goodness) teenage boy. As in the Roman Catholic Church sex scandal, the victims are the people who must relive the abuse every time a pundit makes political points by bringing up the whole sordid mess. Our prayers and sympathies go out to those hurt by sexual misconduct of all sorts. Our churches must do better ministering to the victims of disordered sexuality.
And then there’s Mr. Foley himself. Who knows what sad personal struggle exists between his private sexuality and his public crusade against sexual predators? I had never heard of this congressman before, but his story is nothing short of spiritual tragedy—allegedly acting out of one persona in private and another in public, violating and degrading his own humanity in the process, evidently victimized by his own hubris, power, and lust, consumed by several of the “big seven” deadly sins.
Christian political compassion extends, as it extended in Jesus’ own teaching and ministry, toward both victims and oppressors (theologian Miroslav Volf refers to this double action as “exclusion and embrace”), for each has to bear the cross of twisted humanity. Our hearts naturally extend to the innocent victim in the story, and in the case of Mr. Foley, we do well to remember with pastoral concern his young victims (as well as all victims of sexual abuse). Yet oppressors cry out for Christian compassion as well, even when they are members of Congress. In pastoral mercy, we do well to remember the counsel of Proverbs 24:17:

“Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble.”
God is, as scripture tells us, the author of all goodness. God never rejoices in sin, and we know that sin is not the exclusive possession of any political party. The darkness that stalks us is neither Republican nor Democratic. It is part of the human condition, that which makes us all cry out for compassion—and that compassion is an apt starting point for a Christian politics of grace, not partisan vindictiveness.
Diana Butler Bass is an independent scholar and author. Her latest book is Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church is Transforming the Faith (Harper, September 2006).

2 comments:

sushil yadav said...

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.


Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.


When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.



A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.



FAST VISUALS /WORDS MAKE SLOW EMOTIONS EXTINCT.

SCIENTIFIC /INDUSTRIAL /FINANCIAL THINKING DESTROYS EMOTIONAL CIRCUITS.

A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY CANNOT FEEL PAIN / REMORSE / EMPATHY.

A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY WILL ALWAYS BE CRUEL TO ANIMALS/ TREES/ AIR/ WATER/ LAND AND TO ITSELF.


To read the complete article please follow either of these links :

PlanetSave

EarthNewsWire


sushil_yadav

Seven Star Hand said...

Hello Rev Abi,

Want to better understand some of the desperation among Christian politicos? Follow the links and read about who I am and what I have to say. Notice my last name? Pass the word along...

If Christian political leaders are going to go around attacking others for not living up to their professed values, it's a damn good idea to be truthful and actually walk the walk. Logs and motes in the eye, camels through the eye of a needle, glass houses, kettles and pots, and what goes around comes around, et al. Karma's a bitch when She finally decides enough is enough! This wouldn't have been so bad on Republicans if they hadn't been such arrogant hypocrites in order to corner the so-called values voters! Now the Two Candlesticks and Two Witnesses (Truth and Justice) are "breathing fire" and "raining hailstones!"

Christian Political Leadership, Hypocrisy, Duplicity, and Purposeful Evil

The current scandal involving Congressman Foley is merely the latest in an amazingly long list of blatant deception and duplicity by Republicans and the Christian Right in recent years. While bedeviling us all with their holier-than-thou pretenses, they consistently support and/or perform blatant greed and abominable evil. Never forget the extent of their arrogance over the last two decades and especially the last 6 years. It is beyond amazing that Christians continue to blindly support such obviously blatant scoundrels, even as they are repeatedly exposed going against the most basic of human values. The level of hypocrisy and duplicity boggles the mind. There is no longer any doubt, whatsoever, that Christianity is little more than a purposeful deception used by political and religious leaders to dupe, manipulate, and coerce entire populations into giving them wealth and power, which they always use for greed, injustice, and abominable evils.

The actions of Foley and those who covered up for him directly parallel the actions of scores of priests that have raped innocent children, preyed upon others for centuries, and had their actions hidden and abetted by the Vatican. Now, in eerie repetition of Vatican history, we have a power hungry Christian Emperor (GW) working closely with the Vatican and Judeo-Christian aristocrats to lead crusades in the so-called Holy Land. Furthermore, to leave little doubt about the reality of this assessment, the USA, as the new Holy Roman Empire, is about to legalize the torture it has perpetrated in recent years while steadily reversing many of the democratic and civil freedoms that people gained when the Vatican and royalty lost control of their European empire at the turn of the nineteenth century. Now we see them following the same old path of evil as they strive to cement the status of the USA as the latest proxy Vatican empire. Make no mistake about it, the new dark ages are looming on the horizon unless we do something proactive to prevent it.

Remember that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it!

Read More:
Here is Wisdom !!

Peace...