26 April 2019

Sins of the Father (Again)

That sure didn't take long… after either Easter or Passover, both of which (at least indirectly) concern forgiveness for flaws — the more-recent one, the flaws of the faithful (and mankind in general), the older one just the flaws of the faithful. I call on Franklin Graham to repent of his bigotry. poor scholarship, not-so-hidden partisan agenda, and outrageous hypocrisy — all of which are inconsistent with the scripture and faith he purports to preach.

  • Jesus forgave Mary Magdalene for her sexual crimes. Her faith was enough to redeem her; Mr Buttigieg professes faith (and I'm in no position to judge sincerity, so I'm only saying "professes" in an entirely nonjudgmental manner). The obvious distinction is "But Mary Magdelene discontinued her sin when she acquired her faith — or, at least, it isn't mentioned again — so that's enough." By that reasoning, a deathbed repentance by Kunarac, Kovac, and Vukovic would be/have been good enough despite much worse, nonconsensual behavior. And, conversely, the long-term and continuing sexual misconduct of so many leading religious figures, despite the purported purity of their faith, isn't. I guess it's ok if it's by force or other coercion, or just some out-there cult…
  • All of which assumes that there's actually scriptural support in the original languages for acting with full consent on same-sex attraction being sinful (and, and as, distinct from unlawful under temporal law and/or taboo under nonreligious cultural imperatives). Go ahead: Show me, in a pre-Fall of Rome text of the New Testament (whether considering the Council of Damnia's "editorial selections" or not), linguistically and culturally faithful translations that do so without 20/20 hindsight from later theology and politics. For the moment, we'll leave aside whether a reasonable intepretation or consideration of the Song of Solomon would undermine that decision… since the question of how much of the Old Testament is truly made "obsolete" (or, certainly as to the right to sell off inconvenient relatives — Exodus 21:7 being just the most obvious among at least fifty examples — actually repudiated) is definitely for another time. Especially since I'm willing to assert that this piece of halibut is good enough for Jehovah and thereby risk being stoned to death. (That this is a hint about just how binding we should find "originalism" in any flavor of legal interpretation is also for another time.)
  • But maybe Mr Buttigieg is a sinner. (He's a politician, the chances are pretty good — especially for other than his marital status.) Isn't one of the foundational tenets of all protestantism that all men are sinners, and that our task is to obtain forgiveness (whether by deeds or by faith alone is for another time, as the first point above should demonstrate)? We'll leave aside, at least for the moment, that women's interests and capabilities and so on are rather neglected in the theology of sin, which has been almost entirely created by the testosterone-enhanced parts of Western culture. We'll also leave aside that Mr Buttigieg's surname indicates ancestry that's, umm, different from yours, Mr Graham… just as Mr Obama's did. Ms Harris's doesn't, though, so you'll have to find a different proxy; wait a minute, her gender is more than enough… and don't even think about visiting Chicago any time soon.
  • Last, the most obvious bit of hypocrisy in your screed, Mr Franklin: Your claim that this is non-partisan and non-ideological. Just how stupid do you think your audience is? And just how much contempt and arrogance are you displaying by trying to pretend that there is not a partisan and ideological basis for your criticism of a candidate from a party other than the one you and your father supported? And have you forgotten that judgment belongs to the Lord, not to man? Notice, too, that by accusing you of mere "hypocrisy" I'm actually giving you the benefit of the doubt: The alternative is that you're fully aware that you're stating a falsehood, and "bearing false witness" (especially wrapped in religious paraphenalia, both symbolically and linguistically) is just a little more serious than lack of self-awareness.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, asshole. And you'd better think fairly carefully about what sin "is" and who gets to define it… and whether the sins of your father should be held against you… and whether an individual's proclamation that he is, in fact, without sin doesn't epitomize the sin of pride.

P.S. Yes, I'm of the devil's party. And the devil quotes scripture. But how does one tell whether the individual quoting scripture is, or is not, the devil or of the devil's party without either assuming the conclusion or referencing actual deeds… like the paying audience's stated predispositions? If none of Hegel, Kant, Kierkegaard, and Descartes could do so, I stand with Milton; I'll judge as best I can by deeds. (Sometimes that classical education has benefits other than bad translations of quotations about Alexander the Great.)