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Monday, November 28, 2005

Why the Left Hates Sex

Jennifer Roback Morse has gone out on a limb, tackling Why the Left Hates Sex (HT: JT). She raises some great points here, basically asserting that liberalism is deeply opposed to anything other than intrinsic egalitarianism. That commitment places it on a collision course with gender differences, and, I would argue, creates a fundmental tension with the much of the content in Scripture.

However, I couldn't help but think as I read the article: if the left hates sex, then what does the right hate? I can't escape the feeling that conservativism is also deeply committed to something equally unbiblical... but I'm not certain I can put my finger on a single term that captures it yet.

So I'd like to invite you to share your thoughts on Why the Right Hates ________ - you fill in the blank.


At 2:40 AM, November 30, 2005, Blogger Rooster said...

So, does this commit you to "intrinsic egalitarianism"?

Why do you have the suspicion that left and right must each be committed to something *equally* unbiblical? That's a strange moral calculation I'd like to see explored.

Why can't one coalition of people be arguing for something more or less biblical (strong views of marriage & family, sanctity of life) and the other committed to something far less - nay, antithetical to biblical standards (e.g., radical sexual autonomy)?

Perhaps you share the squeamishness of many Christians about "identifying" Christianity with some (say, right-wing) political cause; therefore, distancing is necessary. That's fair enough. But it seems to me that often that kind of thought leads to a denigration of the actual good being pursued by that cause (as well as a denigration of the God-given political means to achieve those goals as something "unholy"), and thus, in turn, an unnecessary rift between the church and culture.

Any thoughts?

At 8:39 PM, November 30, 2005, Blogger Christian said...

What political party do you think Jesus identified with in his day?

(I have this recollection of Prof. Steve Taylory in NT Intro drawing a box on the board, charting out the various political factions in 1c Palestine, and then asking - "Where does Jesus' message fit?" A: "He's outside the box...")

As for actual good being achieved by either side in the political process, I'm afraid I haven't seen much evidence of it...

The purpose of my post wasn't to denigrate politics, however - it was just to say "what are some of the idols the right holds" (and if we can't see any, I don't think we're looking very carefully...)

At 11:04 PM, November 30, 2005, Blogger Master Aegidius said...

Not to quibble over kibble, but...

... while Jesus was outside of the box politically speaking, the early church (1-3 centuries)was definately inside the box, and by the 4th century, the Church had defined the political box, those who could be in it, and those whose who couldn't.

Soooooooo, your argument is lacking some oomph.

At 11:06 PM, November 30, 2005, Blogger Master Aegidius said...

Oh, I would say that the RIGHT hates meekness.

At 7:28 AM, December 02, 2005, Blogger aBhantiarna Solas said...

What's that Anne LaMott quote that everyone is using lately? It goes something like:
"You know you've remade God in your image when He hates all the same people you do."

So, I haven't filled in your blank, but mostly when I look to the right they seem to hate the Left so much that they are now morphing into the left.

What I notice mostly is that the Right likes putting people in boxes and being "right."

Jesus liked taking people out of their boxes and reminding them of their True Identity. Go figure ....

Nice question tho ...

At 7:51 AM, December 02, 2005, Blogger Christian said...

Why the Right Hates "Not Being RIGHT"... hmmm, I think you might be onto something there. Fits nicely with what Aegidius says about meekness. As for me, I suspect "Consumerism", "Individualism", and "It'll-all-work-if-you-just-try-hard-enough" are somewhere in the mix as well (but some of those may be more 'American' than specifically 'right' or 'left')

Great comments, Sonja, thanks!

At 3:11 AM, December 03, 2005, Blogger Rooster said...


Yes, individualism and pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps is certainly one idol of modern conservatism. But your overriding cynicism I find more than a bit problematic.

You "see little evidence" of "actual good" taking place from the political process. I find this a tad myopic. How about the end of slavery, civil rights, voting rights? No "good"? How about policies of economic empowerment, while perhaps not widespread in success because of a variety of factors, hardly deserve to be labed "no good." How about historical examples? Early Christian influence in the Roman Empire, ending child exposure? A political process; objective "good."

I figure I could find many more political "goods" if I had time to really put my mind to it. The fact that you can't think of any, seems to me a lazy kind of cynicism. It's just so easy to be "above" the political fray, equally dishing it out to both parties. But it's not intellectually honest. And, I might add, it does a devastating disservice to those Christians who, by the calling of God, write the bills, run for legislature, Congress, Senate, fighting for issues of justice and righteousness; or those who fight for liberty and justice in the courts. It's quite a backhanded slap to imply A) that Jesus is disinterested in the process, or B) you see "little evidence" of any good it does.

The question is not which party Jesus would affiliate with. The better question is, what party "interests" would Jesus identify with? Abortion on demand? Radical sexual autonomy? Or protection of the unborn and boundaries around marriage? Those are, by the way, each items in respective party platforms: i.e., something they self-consciously stand on and promote. Is Jesus disinterested in these kinds of issues? Is he "outside the box," not really caring what peoples and nations do on these kinds of issues? Tell me you're not serious.

I like the Anne Lamott quote; but it only goes so far, I'm afraid. If the attitude of alleged humility goes so far as to be indifferent to issues of life and death, freedom and oppression, civic depravity or civic righteousness, as though God did *not* hate murder, theft, brutality, etc. in the public square, and that such "public square" (political) issues are not of any *real* value, then I'm not humble at all. I'm actually cruel to those under oppression, arrogant to those who labor in the arena, and lying about God and his character, because he does care about such things.

I react strongly (as you can see) to pietism - the airy heights of above-it-all-ness, because I find in it a kind of Docetism and abstractedness, as if Jesus didn't claim lordship over politics. I find it flippant and ungrateful to real men and women who fight in the political sphere for our very right to be abstracted and cynical, something, I might add, it is difficult to be when being fed to a lion.

Just some food for thought.

At 3:20 AM, December 03, 2005, Blogger Rooster said...

BTW, Christian, I didn't intend to imply that you are engaging in all the litany of "evils" I rehearse! ;)

I raise these issues because all too often I find Christians who have not *at all* thought through the implications of their various cynical views on politics.

To the simple end of getting them to think more seriously about it, I offer those thoughts. Thanks for the forum.

At 7:09 PM, December 04, 2005, Blogger Master Aegidius said...

To dovetail with the Rooster, I would add:
a)Jesus was not outside the Box, Jesus is the Box.
b)In Romans, Paul commands us to submit to the authority that is placed over us. I would argue that this authority is not our elected officials per se (as Americans, mind you), but to the Constitution.
c)it is our duty as Christians to protect, uphold, and abide by the Constitution. This means we have to choose sides, we have to be informed, and we have to be involved.
d)The question is not "is Jesus a Democrat or Republican", "but how is my political activity advancing the kingdom"?
FYI, no I am not a Republican, I am a Federalist/ Contitutionalist mix.

At 6:58 AM, December 05, 2005, Blogger Christian said...

Jesus IS the box? Which box? The political one? I doubt you want to say that, yet that's the context of my original comment.

In that sense, I _don't_ think the church of the first three centuries was "inside the box" - I think they definitely changed the political landscape (by the 4th c), but the way they did it was NOT by participating in the political process of the day.

(Unless of course you consider "feeding the lions" and "taking in the games down at the coliseum" part of the "participation" process)

At 12:57 AM, December 07, 2005, Blogger Master Aegidius said...

I made a typo: when I wrote "Jesus was not outside the box", it should have been "Jesus is not outside the box", which fits contextually with the latter part of the sentence. Mea Culpa.

1)"Was" and "is" are two very different words.
So, I am not contradicting your first point, which I still think is overly simplistic.

2)I feel very confident in saying the 1-3 c. (ie 'early')church was involved in politics, much more so than supporting the wildlife.

Perhaps the modern construct of politics is acting as a hinderance in this discussion (back to the "was" and "is" thingy). No, the early church did not run for office, have PAC groups, etc. But they did lobby govenors, they were involved in adjudication (sic), and they did make political contributions of money. I don't have the sources available, but I did write quite a few papers in college about this very topic, and clearly remember being able to document several instances of the aforementioned practices happening, and the tone of the documentation was that it was not extraordinary in nature.

Two instances that come to mind (sorry, I can't remember the sources, it was @ 10 years ago): one involved two or three young men throwing stones at a govenor's residence to gain an audience. Their intent was so that they could be fed to the lions, which the govenor reluctantly allowed due to their persistence. The other instance involved "ransoming" wealthy Christians from the arena via well placed connections and/or well placed donations.

In the context of the political workings of this time, this places both groups well inside "the arena of political activity" (pun intended).

My point being, though not a major political force, the early church was involved in the political process of the day. More of a parlitarian model of them alligning themselves with larger, more powerful groups, than perhaps the federal system we Americans are familiar with.


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