Wednesday, August 02, 2006

marking territory

I looked at the previous pieces from this blog, and was surprised (and a little embarrased) to see so many badly spelled words!The last one had a boo boo in the title, on a word I must have written a thousand times!I owe it to this mass audience (which I understand is now in the mid single digits) to get it right. Sorry.
The concept of a "Christian" candidate for office, or a "Christian"anything, for that matter, has certainly changed drastically in the last twenty years. At first, it was just an adjective to describe a certain person. Now it carries the baggage of a whole range of issues (most of which are NON-issues, as we'll see) that define someone in very specific ways, almost all of which lead one to the Republican Party.
Let's look at an example. The Ten Commandments. Who could be AGAINST them? Certainly not little ole liberal me. If the people of the world were to vow to keep these simple (and simply put) absolutes, the world itself would certainly be better off. I suspect that some of the Commandments' most vocal defenders would be hard pressed to recite them. But that's another story.
What we have going on now is a furor (temporarily off the front pages) to control the places where the Commandments are displayed. But instead of concentrating first on places where such displays are a problem, why not begin with a list of places which everyone agrees are perfectly fine to show off your new three-ton custom-carved reminder of what happened on the mountain with Moses:
private homes
private yards, front or back
private buldings, including churches, hospitals, office buildings, factories and schools and places to which the public may have access
Combine all these and you have a breathtaking number of places. Not all have such displays, of course, but that's just a matter of personal choice, and there is little or no argument about these locations.
No, the dispute is over PUBLIC places, in which good "Christian" folks, all backed by the Republican Party, insist that T.C. displays MUST exist in order to somehow guarantee the Christian standing of the entire community. To be fair, the Left also advocates that certain displays, some in place for years, be removed on the grounds that they support certain (Judeo-Christian) beliefs, something that governments shouldn't do lest they be suspected of supporting a certain view of religion.
Where I think the Right goes way overboard is in these often emotional events in which loud prayers are sent up to "preserve" the public TC displays, lest the people be seen by God to inadequately devout. You can be sure at such events to hear invocations to the Almighty for Americans to remember their Christian Heritage, their Christian duty, blah, blah, even theough the commandments have NO direct connection to Christianity. The huge display removed (finally) from the Alabama Supreme Court Building is the best example of what I mean.
Now, does this mean that we have to dig out all the TC dispalys in crumbling county courthouses all over the nation? I would hope not. The longer ago these things were put in place, the less political were the intents of the installers. Those folks just never thought that there were any OTHER kind of people than Christians and OK, maybe a few Jews. I'm ready to give the benefit of the doubt to folks who thought this way 50 years or so ago.
Christmas dispalys in public squares? "In God We Trust"? Prayers to begin the sessions of Congress or the Supreme Court? These all deserve a calm reasoned discussion again, not because we've given up Christianity, but that others have joined us with the right to practice their own faith, whatever it is. The Christians need to recall that their business is PEOPLE, not buildings. Otherwise they look like those timberwolves wandering the wilderness to "mark" their territory, one buiding at a time. I say let 'em put up displays anywhere they like WHERE it's LEGAL, and realize that buildings, especially public buildings, don't require a Christian ID.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are there with you.

11:13 PM  

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