Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What Would Jesus Do?

A Catholic school in Colorado is dealing with the question of whether to allow a child to attend whose parents are lesbians. Charles Johnson, lizard that he is, reported on this issue with a variant of the question "What would Jesus do?"

That is a question one hears with fair regularity these days. The questioner is invariably a member of the secular left with next to no knowledge of Christianity or what is written in the Bible. The question is meant to be condescending and incredibly derisive of both Christianity and the 'dumb gun loving, bible toting, homophobic nut' being asked to ponder their Lord. The question is always meant to suggest hypocrisy on the part of Christians.

There was the CNN reporter a few weeks ago who asked "what would Jesus do" when it came to questioning the Christian owner of a car dealership who was offering a free AK-47 with the purchase of a pickup. The reporter obviously knew little to nothing about the Bible. She did not know that one of the last acts of Jesus was to acknowledge that use of force would at times be necessary, commanding of his apostles that "one who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one" (Luke 22:36). She did not know the rich history of defending one's self in the Old Testament and that it is honored by Christians. She obviously had never heard of the Catholic Church's Just War Theory.

And today we have this story from Colorado:

A preschooler is caught in the middle of a fight between religion and sexuality. Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School, in Boulder, has refused to readmit a preschooler because the child has two moms. Her parents are lesbians.

. . . The priest addressed the situation in his sermon.

"He feels like it's a calling to be strict with upholding the Catholic principles," said Dave Ensign, president of the Board of Directors of Boulder Pride, a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organization.

"People who understand the Catholic teaching will understand why the decision was made," said Fabien Ardila, a member of the parish.

However, not everyone in the parish agreed with the decision.

"I just feel the Catholic Church is a church that should be teaching acceptance and tolerance. I just don't think this is an example of that," Juli Aderman-Hagerty told 7NEWS as she was leaving Mass. "Father Breslin said it right. We're all sinners. Why discriminate against this end of sinners?"

. . . the Archdiocese of Denver did issue this statement:

"To preserve the mission of our schools, and to respect the faith of wider Catholic community, we expect all families who enroll students to live in accord with Catholic teaching. Parents living in open discord with Catholic teaching in areas of faith and morals unfortunately choose by their actions to disqualify their children from enrollment."

. . . Protesters said they'd like to see the decision reversed in this case. At the very least, they're glad their voices are being heard. . . .

The decision whether to enroll this child presents competing, legitimate arguments. That said, no one familiar with Catholicism or Christianity can argue that the Archdiocese has articulated anything other than a reasonable position in line with the moral teachings of the Church. Further, this is not a situation where the child has no other options. There are numerous private and public schools which, one can assume, are available to her. It is not apparent from the article whether the "two mommies" picked the Catholic school for their child out of the best interests of their child, or whether it was a choice made to advance acceptance of their homosexual lifestyle.

All of this is not a difficult question, though, for the secular and newly minted leftie, Charles Johnson. His take on this was:

What can you even say about an appalling story like this? Punishing the innocent doesn’t seem like something Jesus would have approved of.

I will grant that the child herself is innocent. But, as is obvious to anyone looking at this issue without an anti-religious bias, this is not about punishment of a child. The real issue is concern with the Church that they would be seen as condoning an immoral relationship. As the Church response suggests, if the parents forgo their relationship for the benefit of the child, then the child would be allowed entrance.

Certainly Jesus preached hating the sin but loving the sinner. That said, I know of nothing that suggests he would condone ongoing sin. Consider the money-changers in the Temple (Matthew 21:12). He certainly didn't accept their presence. Likewise, consider the parable of prodigal son (Luke 15:11). The father of the wayward son did not embrace him while he was gone. He did not go looking for him. But when the son returned and asked forgiveness, the father embraced him.

At any rate, Mr. Van Der Luen of American Digest made an interesting point the other day in a tongue in cheek post, Frequently Answered Questions.

What would Jesus do?

Why don't you ask Him? He will tell you. The hard part is for you to act on it. . . .

For people like Charles Johnson - they don't ask "Jesus;" rather they look upon people who do as somehow less intelligent, hypocritical yahoos. What they embrace is a deconstruction of Judeo Christian morality - the bedrock of Western Civilization - and a "feel-good" permissiveness in its stead. The left has been warring on Christianity since the socialism was birthed in the crucible of the French Revolution two centuries ago (and indeed, the left's war is far more advanced across the pond, though our left is doing their best to catch up). The attempt to have the Catholic Church in the instant case roll over and condone a lesbian relationship is certainly a part of that war, whether that was the intent of the "two mommies" or not.

The reality is that remaining true to one's morals and ethics is rarely easy and sometimes, as in the instant case, very messy indeed. That is what is at issue in Denver - and while there are many ways to characterize the situation, "appalling" is not among them.


OBloodyHell said...

Heh. What would Jesus do?

Let's see:
Matthew 10:34 --
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Jesus is not only about peace and turning the other cheek. I think it's not unreasonable to say that two lesbians certainly are not taking the cross and following after Him...

That said, there's another part of Matthew that is particularly relevant IMNSHO, and is certainly one problem I have with many people calling themselves Xtians:
Matthew 9:10 --
10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your master with publicans and sinners?
12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
I think this IS the thing Jesus would do, and so I don't believe it would be wrong to have the child of the parents in that school.

All this does to the women is confirm to them "what Christians are" -- uptight and homophobic.

By associating with the women, one can still make the case that what they (the women) are doing is wrong, but that it is still mainly a matter for them and God to resolve. Perhaps by this they might have come to find God.
Now, with this, the chance of that is pretty much nonexistent, and it also adds weight to various G&L positions that Xtians won't tolerate or accept them at all, which can act to prevent other G&Ls from coming into His Grace.

.... (continued)...

OBloodyHell said...

   A great Rabbi stands teaching in the marketplace. It happens
that a husband finds proof that morning of his wife's adultery,
and a mob carries her to the marketplace to stone her to death.
   The Rabbi walks forward and stands beside the woman. Out
of respect for him, the mob forbears, and waits with the stones
heavy in their hands. 'Is there anyone here,' he says to them,
'who has not desired another man's wife, another woman's husband?'
   They murmur and say, 'We all know the desire. But Rabbi,
none of us has acted on it.'
   The Rabbi says 'Then kneel down and give thanks that God made
you strong.' He takes the woman by the hand and leads her out of
the market. Just before he lets her go, he whispers to her: 'Tell
the lord magistrate who saved his mistress. Then he'll
know I am his loyal servant.
   So the woman lives, because the community is too corrupt to
protect itself from disorder.
   Another Rabbi, another city. He goes to her and stops the mob,
as in the other story, and says: 'Which of you is without sin? Let
him cast the first stone!'
   The people are abashed, and they forget their unity of purpose
in the memory of their own individual sins. Someday, they think,
I may be like this woman, and I'll hope for forgiveness and another
chance. I should treat her the way I wish to be treated.
   As they open their hands and let the stones fall to the ground,
the Rabbi picks up one of the fallen stones, lifts it high over the
woman's head, and throws it straight down with all his might. It
crushes her skull and dashes her brains all over the cobblestones.
   'Nor am I without sin,' he says to the people. 'But if we allow
only perfect people to enforce the law, the law will soon be dead,
and our city with it.'
   So the woman died because her community was too rigid to
endure her deviance.
   The [third, more famous] version of this story is noteworthy
because it is so startlingly rare in our experience. Most communities
lurch between decay and rigor mortis, and when they veer too far,
they die. Only one rabbi dared to expect of us such a perfect balance
that we could preserve the law and still forgive the deviation. So,
of course, we killed Him.

- 'Speaker for the Dead', Orson Scott Card -

GW said...

I don't necessarily disagree with your argument. It is colorable, though I think your characterization of the Church position as "uptight and homophobic" to be way over the top.

GW said...

Good quote from Card. I had not seen that one before.

OBloodyHell said...

> It is colorable, though I think your characterization of the Church position as "uptight and homophobic" to be way over the top.

No, I believe you misunderstand -- I say that that is THEIR impression of it. The meaning from the church's side is irrelevant in this sense. That is how THEY will interpret it, and I'm not so sure that it's good for the church or for God to have that. Not sure there IS an avenue into their souls at this point, mind you, but by rejecting them there is no question it's closed, and unfortunately others that might not be closed also wind up that way.

The middle path is the one you need to find, here -- accept the sinner while rejecting the sin. Make it clear you believe that God does not wish for them to follow the path they are on, but that they have to choose to find the right path, that neither the church nor those in it are the ones making that wrong choice, and will do anything reasonable to encourage them to seek that alternate path.

If they're in the usual black or white mode of most libtards, there is nothing to be done for them, but if they show capacity to understand there is a ground between total rejection and total acceptance, then it's all to the good. If not, you can certainly at least make sure those around them who might be open are aware that that is your position.

This is one problem I've always had myself with the church -- all too often they come off as stuck up self-righteous prigs rather than children of God. They're so busy being self-righteous and proud of their supposed piety that they fail to grasp that, if the only people you associate with are extremely Christian then how can you bring ANYONE to God? If you won't tolerate anything that isn't ultra pure and the pinnacle of propriety, then you won't have the chance or the capacity to lead anyone to God.

For that matter, if you tell anyone that their lifestyle will doom them to Hell, then you're full of it. You can believe that but that's only between them and God, and your opinion on the matter is pretty much irrelevant.

You can't bring someone to God by fear. Not TRULY bring them to God. Because you cannot understand or reach God because you're afraid of him. He just doesn't work that way. The negative emotions -- Fear, Rage, Hate -- do not, cannot bring you to Him. That's not what He is all about. Those can only drive a wedge between you. Sometimes those can kickstart you into thinking about God, but you'll never reach Him by retaining those emotions. You have to let them all go, as best as you humanly can.

suek said...

"The real issue is concern with the Church that they would be seen as condoning an immoral relationship."

Or worse, not condoning it. How do you take a child into a situation that requires the belief that his/her parents will be condemned to hell unless they change?

The fact is that the homosexual lifestyle is not acceptable to the Catholic Church. That's a known. Yes, there are some people within the church who are "Aww gee whiz" people who can't say no to anything if it's presented in an emotionally appealing way, but the fact is, the church's position is that the homosexual lifestyle (not the biological conditon, but the acting upon it) is sinful and will result in eternal condemnation. The Church believes this is God's law, not a law made by man, and as such they cannot change it.

One could argue that by accepting the child, the church could teach him/her that the lifestyle is immoral and thus save him/her from following the practices of the parents, but I suspect that would be unacceptable as well. So...not only would they want the child accepted, they'd also then want the school not to teach anything critical of their lifestyle. Pretty sneaky, isn't it! If the school accepts the child as a student, I predict a future filled with legal suits.

Of course, it _does_ kind of indicate why a lesbian couple might decide that a Cathoic school would be a good choice. Not for the child, but for the cause. Brother. What does _that_ say about them!

OBloodyHell said...

Indeed, sue, this is one reason I don't have a problem -- Damned if you do, damned if you don't, all in the name of damnation...

I think that the avenue towards changing them must be left open, but do concur that using the effort to force the child to be taught in a certain way in direct violation of the current interpretations of the Bible (which do seem fairly inarguable) is certainly a possible, if not probable, goal.

I think the best thing to do would be to get the parents to ack that they understand the Church's position on homosexuality, and ack in writing that they will make no effort to attempt to use legal means to force the school to alter that, or the church's legitimate expression of it or teachings regard it, as a requirement for acceptance.

In other words, "we have a position, you will not use the child as an excuse to attempt to use legal force to change that opinion. You are free to publicly disagree with it, but you are not free to attempt to alter it any other way. You are free to teach your child we are wrong, and free to take your child to another venue. Those are the only alternatives open to you, by your own acceptance of an offer to educate your child."

I'm sure one can add a lot more legalese to it, but that's the gist of the idea.