Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What Happened To The Lessons of Childhood? (Or, “What the **** Is Wrong With People?”), Part 2

Continued from Part 1 (http://beyond-the-political-spectrum.blogspot.com/search/label/Adults)

Whenever we think about the life lessons that we were given in our childhoods, perhaps no institution comes to mind more than the Church. But what happens when the Church itself ignores the same advice it gave us? What happens when those we look up to the most, who are supposed to represent themselves as agents of all things decent and spiritual, allow themselves to fall prey to material pursuits and all-too worldly behavior? We get a dose of painful reality…an understanding that many spiritual institutions are every bit as dysfunctional and out of control as many in the secular world.
It’s only recently that the seemingly rampant wave of child molestation and allegations of such at the hands of officials in the Catholic Church have started to subside. The allegations, the arrests, the accusations of sanctioned cover-ups, the civil actions…all because officials within the Church were incapable of living up to their promise of disciplined and dedicated spiritual counselors and followers of the advice they were charged with giving us (remember the Golden Rule?).
In the [recent] American Protestant tradition, politically active Evangelicals wed themselves to secular political ideologies and groups for the sake of influencing social policy, and violating the spirit Church and State separation. What does it say that those of us who don’t share a particular faith with the religious movers and shakers are forced to accept an interpretation and application of law based on how someone views the “Word of God?” Must the possibility of beneficial treatments for many medical maladies go unexplored because someone else’s interpretation of God’s intention’s forbids harvesting stem cells from dead fetuses…no matter the cause of death? Do we ignore benefits of making available to young people in this country contraceptive simply because someone believes doing so will endorse out-of-wedlock “fornication?
Acknowledged religious figures like Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell have a great deal of influence among the religious bloc within the conservative electoral base in this country—one needn’t have to look beyond the many Christian-based institutions each have built such as universities, television programming, etc. So what does it say when figures like Robertson overly maligns the feminist movement in the following way:

"(T)he feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

And what of religious leaders in America? What does it do to the faith of a believer when a [at least to some] religious figure like Jesse Jackson is revealed to have been involved in an extramarital affair during the same time that he was supposed to be providing spiritual counsel to former President Bill Clinton during his own widely publicized tryst with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky?
What it looks like is that our traditional refuge of spiritual counsel is not longer a place for solace and comfort, as those who represent its values have seemingly lost their minds along with everyone else!
What’s worse is that politicians of all stripes—from leftist liberal to reactionary conservative and everyone in between—still holds out hope that our political institutions are where our hopes lie. This particular sense of hope that salvation for our collective well-being lies in the political realm is harder to understand than even the basic question of what’s wrong with people? given the unexplainable way that politicians have and continue to violate both their family and the public’s sense of trust…and despite being in the public eye constantly. The list of political officials who have recently had questionable sexual indiscretions reads like a Who’s Who of the politically influential:

2009: after disappearing for seven days, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford admits that he had secretly flown to Argentina to visit a woman with whom he’d been having an affair.

2009: Sen. John Ensign admits that he had engaged in an extramarital affair with a campaign staffer who was then employed as one of his top aides.

Aug. 2008: John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, and the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004, confesses that he had lied repeatedly about an affair with 42-year-old Rielle Hunter.

2008: Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleads guilty, is forced to resign, and is jailed for lying under oath about explicit text messages he sent to an aide, revealing they the two were involved in an extramarital affair.


March 2008: New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat, resigns a week after a New York Times report links him to a prostitution ring.

June 2007: Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, is arrested in a Minneapolis airport restroom. He pleads guilty to disorderly conduct for tapping his feet and swiping his hand under a stall divider in a way that signaled he wanted sex. Craig later denies any wrongdoing and says he is not gay.

July 2007: Sen. David Vitter, R-La., acknowledges that his Washington phone number was among those called several years before by an escort service.

September 2006; Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., abruptly resigns after reports that he sent sexual messages to teenage male congressional pages.

2005; Spokane Mayor Jim West, one of the most powerful Republicans in the Legislature and a champion of an anti-gay agenda during his tenure, admits to having private online relationships during 2005 through the Gay.com website. In more than 20 years in the Legislature, West had initiated legislation to outlaw sexual contact between consenting teenagers; supported a bill that would have barred gays and lesbians from working for schools, day care centers and some state agencies, and; voted to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.


If one looks at this issue from both a Biblical standpoint, and that of how they ignore the lessons were were taught in our childhoods, it would tax the imagination as to how many of those simple lessons for living these violations ignore.
What is wrong with people?

To Be Concluded

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