Saturday, December 21, 2013

Center of being

Grégor Puppinck writes in First Things that conservatives, especially religious conservatives, should not join groups demanding protection from state and workplace discrimination. Doing so borrows cultural Marxists’ relativism, a flattening of moral categories, which hinders the ability to differentiate unlike things, right from wrong. Neither the world nor our moral sense is flat.

Here’s Puppinck:

The concept of non-discrimination is at an impasse because it is founded on an abstract equality: Firstly, the real problem is not the matter of “discrimination against Christians,” but the fact that the law distances itself from justice and invades all spheres of life. The real question is that of the definition of justice and the source of public morality. What Christians perceive as an “anti-Christian discrimination” is none other than the violence with which another “morality” tends to replace the Christian anthropology. What some Christians perceive as a discrimination against them, is actually an injustice per se.

When a nurse is required to practice an abortion, where is the primary cause of injustice? In the obligation or in the abortion? For discrimination to exist there must exist morally equivalent situations comparable to one another. A nurse who is dismissed because she objects to abortion could claim discrimination only on the condition that her choice is considered as equivalent to the opposite choice of performing the abortion. Indeed, for a difference in treatment to constitute discrimination, the situations at hand must be similar. Yet this is precisely what the nurse conscientiously objects.

As a result, a person who complains of being discriminated against due to his beliefs or convictions places himself within the relativistic liberal paradigm. Such an approach is certainly doomed to failure. In our subjectivist culture, populated with supposed irrational subjects, individual conscience has lost its authority, so much that the positive law would be the only admissible and workable objective social norm.

This is a pertinent article for Phil Robertson’s defenders, who rely too much on appeals to free speech. Sure, we have a right to say anything we want, but the unvarnished truth is not “anything.” The Gospel is not marginal speech that we put up with because we’re a tolerant people who honor differences of opinion no matter how spiteful or untrue. The Gospel is the root of our civil society. It’s silly to pretend what Robertson said is on the same moral plane as what Martin Bashir said about Sarah Palin, for example.

What did the “Duck Dynasty” patriarch say, which likely will result in the cancellation of his reality series?

Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.

As expected, the barbarian hordes slammed Robertson for “equating” homosexuality and bestiality, despite being like in one way (they are sin) doesn’t mean being like in all ways (homosexuals are not animals). Comparison is not equivocation.

Anyway, what’s so terrible about bestiality? Is not “to each his own” the litmus test of modern ethics?

Andrew Sullivan comments:

For the fundamentalist, all sin—when it comes down to it—starts with sex. This sexual obsession, as the Pope has rightly diagnosed it, is a mark of neurotic fundamentalism in Islam and Judaism as well as Christianity. And if all sin is rooted in sex, then the homosexual becomes the most depraved and evil individual in the cosmos. So you get this classic statement about sin: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there.”

No, sin starts with temptation, personally turning away from the truth that we are to live transformed lives for God. For most of us, sexual temptation is the most powerful human instinct we deal with. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: “The degree and kind of a person’s sexuality reach up into the ultimate pinnacle of his spirit.”

Sullivan must be blind. Does he not see the gay mafia’s passion, their vitriol? Does he not see their elevation of mutable sexual habits, behaviors, and “orientations” to the center of being? Their slander of thousands of years of moral tradition as “hate”? It’s the most visible cultural movement of our day. Phil Robertson is not blind. He sees this and is answering their obsession.

Jonathan Capehart enlists Pope Francis in condemning Robertson:

This intolerant view is especially jarring when even the pope asks “who am I to judge” gay people and insists that the Catholic Church stop “obsessing” over social issues.

Pope Francis’s full quote reads: “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?” Capehart, who is gay, deliberately dropped that first part. Can it be said the celebrators of sin are “seeking the Lord with good will”? At his aunt’s funeral, Capehart took offense and resisted the preacher’s message of redemption offered through the grace of God coming to earth in the flesh to take the world’s sins on Himself.

This resistance rests on a belief in man as he is made. There is no sin, no sense of obligation to be better, to prepare oneself for eternity. There is nothing but man and his limited time on earth, which he makes the most of in pursuit of fulfilling his will to power and pleasure. As Nietzsche wrote in The Antichrist: “An action demanded by the instinct of life is proved to be right by the pleasure that accompanies it.”

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