Thursday, January 3, 2008

Lynn Swanborn column

A few weeks ago, the Spokesman-Review published letters co-ordinator Lynn Swanborn's editorial about faith and the symbols of faith. About the fact that the atheist in Spokane, Washington who successfully forced the removal of crosses from police chaplains badges. About the people who offer up a truly strict and restrictive view of church and state relations, and those of course, on the religious side, who don't want such restrictions, as long of course as they are served first and the only ones being served. Then the Spokesman-Review opened up the column in their "Matter of Opinion" blog for comments. I finally joined in on this debate because the comments were becoming rather infantile from some folks in particular. He is called, "J. Grey." He treated even the 10 commandments as a symbol of faith. In this post, the 10 commandments are the initial set of Jewish law as found in the Torah. Any time that "Christians" feel they need to transmutate laws into "symbols of faith" also says they are liable to abandon the meaning of law, the intent of the law, the final application of the law as a moral act. One doesn't adhere to symbols to act morally, one must be reminded of the moral frameworks that pre-exist the symbols as the rationale of acting morally. He is called "Casey King" who certainly opined on this same issue. He is John Olsen who was pictured helping the homeless in the Spokesman-Review. At least some of his comments had the authority of the adult.

My opinions? I saw me, me, me coming from a number of commenters. I saw I, I, I. I saw, "it's my right to do what I wish." I saw victimology, "Christians are being silenced." I saw denial, "it isn't about Christianity," (in a violent history led by people who associate all they do and say with Christ) "they abuse their faith." Nor could there be a more explicit abuse of faith in deciding that MY cross or MY 10 commandments should be put on the courthouse lawn. After all, can we expect love of neighbor coming from a mindset such as that? My opinion? Putting a cross or the 10 commandments into a public space financed by all taxpayers says that this space is owned by that particular religious faction and we expect even you non-believing taxpayers to finance it for us. Hardly what I would call support for the second of the two greatest commandments. As for love of God, found in letters from John, he spoke against the hatred of brother to brother because such hatred would also be a hatred of God. Did not God create you both? Putting up a cross on public land, putting the 10 Commandments on a courthouse lawn, demonstrates very ably both a hatred of one's brother and a hatred of God. As extrapolated for this modern and American era and its religious diversity, the founding fathers had more respect for the bible and God than the current crop of Christian extremists. Finally, putting a symbol ahead of one's maker; the only time that you can be assured of faith is to have it as a symbol ever before you; has been received by the prophets as idol worship. Isaiah had an argument about those who would use wood to build a house, then a fire, and use the remnants to build a statue to the God or Gods they served. The statue does not save them in times of disaster, nor protect them from womb to tomb. But it is the statue that Christians now want erected, to deny them this and their rights are threatened. When was the last time that Christians truly reflected on the bible as a guide book of better living within their own house? The "faith" seems to have become what the rest of us should kowtow to, rather than a principle or moral act for Christians themselves to adhere to. Which is a truly sad argument for them to make.

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