An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
So a recent poll is making the newswires lately in which we are told that "more Americans want religion out of politics." What the heck does that really
mean, anyway? Well you can read the details of the poll HERE
As long as I am religious, there is going to be religion in MY politics. But, to what degree? How does one decide...based of which issues? In my mind, it seems one must balance particular issues and then categorize them according to what you deem most important...BUT I always add one important distinction that I think more and more Christians miss: WHAT, IN YOUR OPINION, IS THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT? How you answer that question should color how you prioritize the issues you will ultimately use to vote on. I urge caution in assuming that every command and virtue laid upon us as individual Christians ought to be applied to the government. Let me explain.
I listen all the time to both sides of the religious coin claim that voting a particular direction (left or right) is clearly the way that Christians should vote. However, in the past this expressed opinion has been largely the monopoly of the so called "Christian Right." The "Christian Left" has always been there, but they've been relatively weak in their ability to communicate their positions. They are clearly gaining strength and the po-mo movement seems to be a big part of the fuel formula for them. Brian McLaren appears to be the frontman of a new political action group called the "Matthew 25 Netwrok." You can read all about them, but in essence they take the "least of these" verse and insinuate that this implies a vote for Obama. Ummm...well if you read the entire context of the passage, one ends up in hell for not helping "the least of these"...sooo...does this mean voting against Obama is a ticket to hell? I think we have reason to be a little nervous about applying this passage to a vote to a particular individual. As I will show, we should be cautious in doing this with ANY passage.
Anyway, ok, fine...what we have here is the leftist version of the 700 club. A complete mixing and intertwining (confusion?) of religion and politics. I appreciate it to the exact same degree that I appreciate the 700 Club.
Taking into consideration this literal notion of putting specific Christian virtues and commands into the hands of the US government, I have decided to start a number of my own PAC's to really make our nation NOT just a Christian nation (like the 700 club and the Matthew 25 Network want to do - whether overtly or not), but more specifically an ORTHODOX Christian Nation. So, Here we go (relax everyone...all in good fun):
Candidates supporting the following proposed laws and affiliated Political Action Committees will be supported:
Welfare is abolished. In it's place people will receive government fiscal assistance to the same degree that they perform public service labor. See this new PAC: 2 Thessalonian 3 Network
Lust is now a crime. People caught staring lustfully at others will be a ticketable offense. A 3 strikes law would also be advisable - perhaps including eye gouging or hand removal. See this new PAC: Matthew 5 Network
Correlating with this, the following are all banned: pornography, sexually oriented advertising, skirts above the calf, anything other than long-sleeved shirts buttoned to the neck, and excessive jewelry. Men caught wearing Speedos shall be shot on sight. See this new PAC: 1 Timothy 1 Network
Demonstrating evidence of loving oneself more than another is also now a ticketable offense. See this new PAC: Matthew 22 Network
Meat and Dairy products shall not be served on Wednesdays and Fridays. All restaurants and grocery stores shall go "All Vegan" on such days and additionally according to the Orthodox Church's calendar of fasting. To be caught serving or eating meat is a criminal offense. To look forlorn for having your favorite fast-food joint go "vegan" is also a criminal offense. See this new PAC: Matthew 6 Network
Divorce is made illegal except in cases of infidelity (at which time adultery laws may also apply - see below). See this new PAC: Matthew 19 Network
Adultery is illegal. However, first time offenders will get off with a warning to not do it again. No stoning allowed. See this new PAC: John 8 Network
Civil courts will be dissolved. Henceforth all civil complaints and issues will be overseen by the nearest local Orthodox church. See this new PAC: Matthew 18 Network
Laws shall be enacted forcing all health insurance companies (assuming they still exist) to provide benefits for the payment for alternative therapies such as anointing with oil - including "raising the dead" ministries. See this new PAC: James 5 Network
As a means of social engineering, people who publicly demonstrate the fruits of the spirit shall earn extensive tax rebates. See this new PAC: Galatians 5 Network
Anyone fulfilling the scriptural criterion of being "Blessed" shall garner extensive tax rebates. See this new PAC: Matthew 5 Network "Fair Tax Division"
If anyone asks to stay in your home, you must allow them to do so. See this new PAC: Romans 12 Network
The right of self-defense is hereby abolished. It is illegal to protect yourself against criminals. All US military organizations are disbanded in favor of a new organization called "Love your Enemies" which will be in charge of sending Valentine's Day cards to terrorists. See this new PAC: Matthew 5 Network "Go the Extra Mile Division"
If anyone asks for something from you, it is illegal to deny them. This is especially true if the government asks anything of you. Additionally, if your neighbor borrows your tools you may not ask for them back. See this new PAC: Luke 6 Network
If anyone trips a child, they shall be drowned. See this new PAC: Mark 9 Network
Well, there are plenty more...and I didn't even begin to mention the Orthodox Canon Law Networks, of which there are LEGION! But I suppose this is good enough to really start a dialogue amongst Christians in terms of how to express their faith in the context of a government that is - I reckon - supposed to also do so.
Can anyone lend me some money to buy all these .org domain names? You'd be doing your country a big favor. Additionally...anyone know any candidates we could endorse?
Sorry, I'm not nervous about the vote, because I don't expect much except posturing and incompetence from any centralized bureaucracy, especially the Federal govt.
As far as abortion goes, does anyone know how many Supreme Court Justice positions are likely to open up during the next one or two presidential terms? You see my point? If the next President is probably not going to appoint any justices, who the President is matters quite a bit less.
As far as the economy goes, oil-based capitalism is little better than bleeding-heart based pseudo-altruism.
As James has pointed out, it would be nice to vote for someone who would aim at limiting state inroads into our personal lives. However, (1) tell me who that is, and then (2) tell me he has a snowball's chance in Hell of being elected.
The attempted institutionalization of Christian ethics will always be partial at best. If Byzantium was a fairly noteworthy failure at this, even having had a millennium to get it right (and the post-schism Western Empire was even worse), then I'd like to know why Americans think they can do better, seeing as how the combination of pragmatism, pluralism, and secularism are the only real national religions. Not only that, but if you scratch most "right-wing" Christians, they don't really believe in anything more substantial than the aforementioned combo, with some God talk lightly sprinkled over it.