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4 years ago  ::  Sep 21, 2010 - 8:20AM #1
JRT
Posts: 339

 


Sex and Social Justice


 


by Mike Lux


 


So all this talk against masturbation by Republican candidates reminded me of an email exchange I was having with a conservative relative recently. He said that us liberals always talked about Jesus talking about helping the poor and oppressed, but never talked about his stands on sexual immorality. Okay, fair point, I thought, so I decided to check my Bible and see how much emphasis Jesus placed on such issues compared with his discussion of social-justice-related issues. I figured the easiest way to check this out was just a verse count, which could give some sense at least of how much time he spent on one area vs. another.


 


I found 19 verses in the gospels where Jesus mentions divorce, which he was against. At that time in Jewish culture, men were quite cavalier about divorcing their wives, leaving them deserted in abject poverty (women of the time had little in the way of economic or civil rights) frequently with little prospects for remarriage, and Jesus was appalled at that idea, and so spoke out against divorce. His focus in these passages was not about the sex part and was focused on marriage as an institution.


 


I found nine verses that specifically referenced adultery and/or fornication. Three of these verses listed one or both on a long list of sins he was mentioning on his way to another point -- for example, in Matthew he is discussing the idea that what makes you a sinner is at least as much about what is in your heart as what you do. The final six verses mentioning sexual morality were in the long (29 verse) section of Matthew where he again talked about how we should not just obey the laws but hold ourselves to a higher standard of personal morality, and he used several examples including murder, violence, lying, loving others, and adultery (the famous lusting in your heart verses which Christine O'Donnell was so eloquent about). That's it in terms of Jesus' worries about sex-related sinning -- four mentions, all of them in the context of explaining a much bigger point he was making about how what's inside matters as much as whether you obey specific laws in the Jewish scripture.


 


Now, let's compare those to the social justice areas of the Gospel, which I think of as where Jesus talks about showing mercy to those weaker than us, not judging others, loving/forgiving/turning the other cheek to our enemies, forgiving enemies/blessing peacemakers in general, loving/treating others as we would ourselves, and what I would call the class warrior verses (the blessed are the poor/woe to the rich sections). Here are the numbers for these kinds of verses:



Mercy to those weaker: 24 verses


Do not judge others: 34 verses


Love and forgive your enemies/make peace: 53 verses


Loving your neighbors (defined as all other people, not just those who live next door) and treating them as you would treat yourself: 19 verses


Help the poor/the rich should sell all their possessions [or give] them away: 128 verses


 



All told, that is 258 verses about mercy, forgiving enemies, not judging others, loving all people, helping the poor and woe to the wealthy vs. nine verses that mention adultery or fornication in any way, and 19 more saying divorce isn't good. Oddly enough, Jesus didn't say a single word against homosexuality or masturbation or abortion or birth control, although if you listened to some of our conservative friends, you would think he was obsessed with those topics.


 


Those ratios are pretty daunting. About 14 to one on class war vs. sex. Almost four to one on just the simple idea of not judging others as compared to all the mentions of sex sins. If you combine all the things Jesus said about sex and divorce, and compare it to all the stuff he said about helping the poor and how the rich should give away everything they own, you get close to a five to one. And if you combine all the stuff about sex and divorce vs.all the stuff about social justice, it's more than nine to one in favor of us social justice lefty types.


 


Of course, 2,000 years after Jesus lived and preached, we can't know for sure how much he said or cared about these issues. All the evidence we have of his life and ministry are those four gospels, written probably 40-60 years after his death by fervent believers who didn't always agree with each other on the details of his life, death, and ministry. But what is obvious from the gospels is that the Jesus of the Bible preached and cared overwhelmingly about just two things: his followers' relationship with God, and their love and kindness toward others, especially the weak and the poor.


 


Why is this important to our modern society today? Because conservatives try so hard to twist the religion of the majority of Americans into a warped, unrecognizable version of the message its founder had for us.


At least conservatives like Ayn Rand were honest in their disdain for religious pieties about compassion and helping the weak. Those conservatives who are trying so hard to wrap themselves in the Bible ought to try actually reading one someday.

the floggings will continue until morale improves
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4 years ago  ::  Sep 21, 2010 - 7:31PM #2
Justme333
Posts: 1,101

I did a bit of a double take when I saw the title of this thread - the merging of three words that I usually do not think go together.  But now I see, and am impressed.  Did you read through the Bible marking all the verses dealing with sexual morality and then all the verses dealing with social justice, or is there a tool that I am unaware of that does that for you?  Doesn't matter, cause I agree with you wholeheartedly.


I was never confronted with the sexual morality issue thing (but then I consider social justice to be a moral issue in and of itself).  During the health care reform debates, I often quoted Matthew 25:31-46 (about doing for the least of these), and was told that that meant we were to personally do these things for others, not government.  I would reply that I personally pay taxes so that those less fortunate than I, can have basic necessities, because obviously, I, alone, or anyone else alone, cannot serve as many people people as the government can by using taxes from everyone - and that is why I am a liberal.  Then I get told that I am a socialist, so, so be it. 


Justme

"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."  Will Rogers

"Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow."  Matthew 5:42

"Charity is no substitute for justice withheld."         St. Augustine

"Your love for God is only as great as the love you have for the person you love least."  Dorothy Day

"If you want peace, work for justice." Pope Paul VI
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4 years ago  ::  Sep 23, 2010 - 8:14AM #3
JRT
Posts: 339

I am not the author of that essay. I did like your comments about liberalism vs socialism --- I feel the same way. I am reminded of a comment by Archbishop Dom Helder Camera (of Recife Brazil): "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."

the floggings will continue until morale improves
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4 years ago  ::  Sep 24, 2010 - 11:28AM #4
watcher59
Posts: 1,606

Charity, when compelled by government, is no longer charity, it is socialism. I can't find anything in Jesus' teachings that said charity should be mandated. What did I miss?


A second thought on the topic; Since when has any government EVER done the right thing? Socialism is nothing more than government enforced poverty. It's "do-gooders" mostly wanting to feel good about themselves. Socialism represses productivity and creates a much larger class divide than free market capitalism. Only when government gets involved does capitalism fail.


My last thought; How would you feel about me telling you how best to spend your money?

How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!
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4 years ago  ::  Sep 25, 2010 - 3:36PM #5
Justme333
Posts: 1,101

Sep 24, 2010 -- 11:28AM, watcher59 wrote:


Charity, when compelled by government, is no longer charity, it is socialism. I can't find anything in Jesus' teachings that said charity should be mandated. What did I miss?



 Apparently you missed Matthew 25: 31-46, which is also frequently referred to as the *Final Judgment*.  Sure sounds like a mandate from Jesus to me.


A second thought on the topic; Since when has any government EVER done the right thing? Socialism is nothing more than government enforced poverty. It's "do-gooders" mostly wanting to feel good about themselves. Socialism represses productivity and creates a much larger class divide than free market capitalism. Only when government gets involved does capitalism fail.



Obviously I do not agree with that.  I have known too many people who have used the helping hand that the Government provided to go to college and lift them selves out of poverty.


My last thought; How would you feel about me telling you how best to spend your money?




Oh, like you are now?  You are telling me how best to spend my money.  I want my taxes to go for those things that assist people to meet their basic needs.  Neither I nor my Church can effectively meet those needs, which is why I feel the Government should *provide for the general welfare* of our citizens.  And you are wanting my taxes to go toward, what - more warfare,  tax breaks for the wealthiest?


Justme 

"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."  Will Rogers

"Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow."  Matthew 5:42

"Charity is no substitute for justice withheld."         St. Augustine

"Your love for God is only as great as the love you have for the person you love least."  Dorothy Day

"If you want peace, work for justice." Pope Paul VI
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4 years ago  ::  Oct 01, 2010 - 10:02AM #6
JRT
Posts: 339

watcher59 wrote:


 


"A second thought on the topic; Since when has any government EVER done the right thing? Socialism is nothing more than government enforced poverty. It's "do-gooders" mostly wanting to feel good about themselves. Socialism represses productivity and creates a much larger class divide than free market capitalism. Only when government gets involved does capitalism fail."


 


The Canadian experience with social democracy puts the lie to that. A number of other nations have similar experience.  Several years ago a Canadian TV network initiated a vote for the greatest Canadian hero. About 10 were nominated and a TV special was done on each one. The final result was conclusive. The winner was Tommy Douglas, a firey Baptist preacher who entered politics, rose to be premier of Saskatchewan, and to lead a national party. He had no problem in reconciling his strong Christian values with democratic socialism. He is remembered as "the Father of Canadian Medicare".


 


A democratically elected government operated charity is really no different than a democratically elected government operated war. If the first is unjust then the second must be an abomination.

the floggings will continue until morale improves
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3 years ago  ::  Jun 28, 2011 - 10:02AM #7
watcher59
Posts: 1,606

My aplogies for taking so long to respond.


Charity, when compelled by government, is no longer charity, it is socialism. I can't find anything in Jesus' teachings that said charity should be mandated. What did I miss? 


Apparently you missed Matthew 25: 31-46, which is also frequently referred to as the *Final Judgment*.  Sure sounds like a mandate from Jesus to me.


I disagree. It's a warning. There is consequence for not being a part of humanity. Selfishness comes with a price. Jesus never REQUIRED anyone to do anything. In Matthew 19:16-24. Jesus tells the rich man if he wants to be perfect he must give everything he has to the poor and follow Jesus. The man's free-will is not compromised. The choice remains his.  Jesus didn't put his hand in the man's pocket (well, purse). Government forces employers to be thieves. They "withhold" (steal) a part of MY pay to support social programs which may or may not be in line with my morals and conscience.


 A second thought on the topic; Since when has any government EVER done the right thing? Socialism is nothing more than government enforced poverty. It's "do-gooders" mostly wanting to feel good about themselves. Socialism represses productivity and creates a much larger class divide than free market capitalism. Only when government gets involved does capitalism fail.


Obviously I do not agree with that.  I have known too many people who have used the helping hand that the Government provided to go to college and lift them selves out of poverty.


That helping hand is available from sources other than the government. I say that with confidence because I have been the recipient of other's generosity. However, the generosity was there own.


My last thought; How would you feel about me telling you how best to spend your money?


Oh, like you are now?  You are telling me how best to spend my money.  I want my taxes to go for those things that assist people to meet their basic needs.  Neither I nor my Church can effectively meet those needs, which is why I feel the Government should *provide for the general welfare* of our citizens.  And you are wanting my taxes to go toward, what - more warfare,  tax breaks for the wealthiest?


Justme 


You misunderstand my point. I am not saying you can't give your money to the government. It's your money. You can do whatever you want with it. However, in acknowledging your autonomy in these matters, I expect the same in return. There are certain services the government provides that they are authorized to administer. I have no objection to paying for those. I have strong objections to being forced to fund programs and services I think are invalid or immoral.

How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!
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3 years ago  ::  Jun 28, 2011 - 3:26PM #8
Justme333
Posts: 1,101

Jun 28, 2011 -- 10:02AM, watcher59 wrote:


My aplogies for taking so long to respond.


Charity, when compelled by government, is no longer charity, it is socialism. I can't find anything in Jesus' teachings that said charity should be mandated. What did I miss? 


Apparently you missed Matthew 25: 31-46, which is also frequently referred to as the *Final Judgment*.  Sure sounds like a mandate from Jesus to me.


I disagree. It's a warning. There is consequence for not being a part of humanity. Selfishness comes with a price. Jesus never REQUIRED anyone to do anything. In Matthew 19:16-24. Jesus tells the rich man if he wants to be perfect he must give everything he has to the poor and follow Jesus. The man's free-will is not compromised. The choice remains his.  Jesus didn't put his hand in the man's pocket (well, purse). Government forces employers to be thieves. They "withhold" (steal) a part of MY pay to support social programs which may or may not be in line with my morals and conscience.


 A second thought on the topic; Since when has any government EVER done the right thing? Socialism is nothing more than government enforced poverty. It's "do-gooders" mostly wanting to feel good about themselves. Socialism represses productivity and creates a much larger class divide than free market capitalism. Only when government gets involved does capitalism fail.


Obviously I do not agree with that.  I have known too many people who have used the helping hand that the Government provided to go to college and lift them selves out of poverty.


That helping hand is available from sources other than the government. I say that with confidence because I have been the recipient of other's generosity. However, the generosity was there own.


My last thought; How would you feel about me telling you how best to spend your money?


Oh, like you are now?  You are telling me how best to spend my money.  I want my taxes to go for those things that assist people to meet their basic needs.  Neither I nor my Church can effectively meet those needs, which is why I feel the Government should *provide for the general welfare* of our citizens.  And you are wanting my taxes to go toward, what - more warfare,  tax breaks for the wealthiest?


Justme 


You misunderstand my point. I am not saying you can't give your money to the government. It's your money. You can do whatever you want with it. However, in acknowledging your autonomy in these matters, I expect the same in return. There are certain services the government provides that they are authorized to administer. I have no objection to paying for those. I have strong objections to being forced to fund programs and services I think are invalid or immoral.




Matthew 25: 31-46 is a *warning*?  Hmmm, when I warn my children about something it is because I expect them to do something that I want them to do, and the warning is what will happen if they choose not to obey me, just like Jesus expects us to care for the *least of them*.  I do not know about you, but it is important to me to try to do as Jesus asks - not because I am afraid of hell, but because, as a Christian, Jesus is who I want to follow, and following Jesus means to me to try my best to live my life as He lived His.


Do you not consider the Preamble to be a part of the constitution?  The courts do - as evidenced in Ellis vs City of Grand Rapids, which dealt with eminent domain, and the question of whether a Catholic Hospital is a public use.  The court cited the Preamble's reference to "promote the general Welfare"  " as evidence that "[t]he health of the people was in the minds of our forefathers" mi.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.....


 


Justme 



"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."  Will Rogers

"Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow."  Matthew 5:42

"Charity is no substitute for justice withheld."         St. Augustine

"Your love for God is only as great as the love you have for the person you love least."  Dorothy Day

"If you want peace, work for justice." Pope Paul VI
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3 years ago  ::  Jun 28, 2011 - 4:34PM #9
watcher59
Posts: 1,606

Matthew 25: 31-46 is a *warning*?  Hmmm, when I warn my children about something it is because I expect them to do something that I want them to do, and the warning is what will happen if they choose not to obey me, just like Jesus expects us to care for the *least of them*.  I do not know about you, but it is important to me to try to do as Jesus asks - not because I am afraid of hell, but because, as a Christian, Jesus is who I want to follow, and following Jesus means to me to try my best to live my life as He lived His.


Exactly. There are consequences for our choices. But they are still our choices. Jesus never stood in the pay line taking a portion of anyone's money before the person entitled to said money could get what he chose to let them keep.


 


Do you not consider the Preamble to be a part of the constitution?  The courts do - as evidenced in Ellis vs City of Grand Rapids, which dealt with eminent domain, and the question of whether a Catholic Hospital is a public use.  The court cited the Preamble's reference to "promote the general Welfare"  " as evidence that "[t]he health of the people was in the minds of our forefathers" mi.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.....


I do consider the Preamble as part of the Constitution. I don't get your point. Are you saying government is the supreme authority?


 

How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!
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3 years ago  ::  Jun 28, 2011 - 6:18PM #10
Justme333
Posts: 1,101

Jun 28, 2011 -- 4:34PM, watcher59 wrote:


Matthew 25: 31-46 is a *warning*?  Hmmm, when I warn my children about something it is because I expect them to do something that I want them to do, and the warning is what will happen if they choose not to obey me, just like Jesus expects us to care for the *least of them*.  I do not know about you, but it is important to me to try to do as Jesus asks - not because I am afraid of hell, but because, as a Christian, Jesus is who I want to follow, and following Jesus means to me to try my best to live my life as He lived His.


Exactly. There are consequences for our choices. But they are still our choices. Jesus never stood in the pay line taking a portion of anyone's money before the person entitled to said money could get what he chose to let them keep.


 


Do you not consider the Preamble to be a part of the constitution?  The courts do - as evidenced in Ellis vs City of Grand Rapids, which dealt with eminent domain, and the question of whether a Catholic Hospital is a public use.  The court cited the Preamble's reference to "promote the general Welfare"  " as evidence that "[t]he health of the people was in the minds of our forefathers" mi.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.....


I do consider the Preamble as part of the Constitution. I don't get your point. Are you saying government is the supreme authority?


 




Gosh, I am really sorry.  I forget sometimes that not all who post here claim Christianity.  You are correct, you have every right to not follow Him. I guess I am too used to discussing things like this with those who strongly claim Christianity and yet seem not to follow Christ.


No, my point about the preamble is in response to your statement of "There are certain services the government provides that they are authorized to administer. I have no objection to paying for those. I have strong objections to being forced to fund programs and services I think are invalid or immoral."  I was pointing out that there is constitutional authority for helping others.  So I guess they fall under your *immoral* clause, and that I can not argue with cause our values are so different. I do not think that the Government is the supreme authority - I think I have already established that Christ is my supreme authority. So am thinking we need to agree to disagree.


Justme


"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."  Will Rogers

"Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow."  Matthew 5:42

"Charity is no substitute for justice withheld."         St. Augustine

"Your love for God is only as great as the love you have for the person you love least."  Dorothy Day

"If you want peace, work for justice." Pope Paul VI
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