Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Distance from the world

Andrew Sullivan hits it out of the park. A rare "good" post on politics and religion:
And the difficulty of both embracing some parts of the modern world, while eschewing others, is evident in our current climate. That's why I favor a religious stance of distance from the world, rather than enmeshment in it and an attempt to control it. One critical thing Jesus taught was that controlling the world is not just impossible but inherently sinful. Our task as Christians is to control no one but ourselves and to love all. Our main weapon must always be example, not control.

Moreover, Christianists cannot both assert a fundamental right to economic and personal freedom and yet also oppose that freedom when it means that women can choose if and when to have children, when it means that gay couples can choose to form build strong and admirable relationships and have children, when it means that straight couples can buy and use contraception, etc. The Christianists are engaging in cafeteria theocracy here. Which is why their obsession with gays and avoidance of so much else does indeed bespeak a form of prejudice against a group of people they barely know or understand but nonetheless scapegoat for much broader social ills.

In other words, Christianists cannot both be pathological consumers of debt and materialism while condemning gay people as a class for the same thing. I see no real distinction between gays and straights on the consumerist, materialist front. And it remains true to my mind that until Christians start condemning the greed and debt and consumerism of the past two decades as morally wrong, they have no standing on other moral questions that are now in play.