Re: August 2003 - Are we afraid of the wrong things?
One the issue of "are we afraid of the wrong things" I'd point out the fact that a good number of politically active people believe homosexual marriage is something to be afraid of, somethign capable of doing as much damage to society as global warming, which is dismissed on the grounds that "scientists can make the data say whatever they want."
In response to a letter about the 10 Commandments and how they provide a "bulwark" against social decay, I sent this letter in:
Regarding the Ten Commandments, I wonder how many proponents of displaying them on public ground realize that at least two of the Hebrew Commandments (which are not limited to ten) are against the United States Constitution. It is not so much the religious nature of the Commandments that bothers me (if it were the Wiccan Rede or Buddhist Noble Truths, I wouldn't really be offended), but that they contradict the Bill of Rights:
1. Having false gods is protected under freedom of religion. Obviously every sect except a tolerant few will think their god alone is the One True God. Without this protection in the U.S. Constitution, we would be about as secure in our rights as the average African or Middle Eastern country dismembered by religious infighting.
2. It is unclear what constitutes a "graven image" but I am pretty sure they are protected speech.
It's nice that some of the commandments reflect laws found in secular societies. Killing people is bad. Adultery is cruel. Coveting...well, coveting is what keeps our economy strong until we find something better than competition for status and bling-bling.
On a related subject, those who think Sodom was destroyed by God for homosexuality might wish to look up the story. The story is not appropriate for a family newspaper, but suffice it to say Sodom was destroyed for altogether different abominations than those found on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Ezekiel 16:49 makes this less astonishing claim:
Ezekiel 16:49 "Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy."
I need not point out the hypocrisy in denying our part in accelerating Global Warming because "Scientific models are flawed" while declaring on the other hand that alternative lifestyles cause God's wrath in the form of hurricanes and floods. I have yet to hear anything remotely like a scientific explanation of how gay marriages, even among friends who are gay, has any corrosive effect on my heterosexual relationship with my fiancee.
The current anti-sodomy activism seems more like the kind of bullying I remember happening in high school than a genuine attempt at improving society. Perhaps Americans are so terrified of God's wrath being earned by America for sins like greed, gossip, unkindness or squabbling that we must pin any previous or future catastrophes on homosexual marriage or TV. In any case, I don't have any straight friends who feel their marriages will be more secure due to pogroms against gays who want to marry.
As a final thought, when Jesus was asked to give the meaning of the law, he gave only two commands: "Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself." Even He found the 10 Commandments unnecessarily dogmatic.