Mary Pitt: The Moral Treason
The Moral Treason
by Mary Pitt
Prime among the campaign issues in the recent election were "Christian morals" and "family values" and they were sufficient to convince a smalll majority of American voters to re-elect President Bush for four more years. However, the historic and realistic examination of the arguments that have been made to that end do not bear up under close scrutiny.
The first argument is that the United States was established by Christians and based upon Judeo-Christian priciples. This, of course. is true in the main. However, a historical perspective reminds us that the nation from which they so desperately sought their "freedom of religion" was also "Christian". Their principle complaint was that all subjects of the King were REQUIRED to adapt the tenets and the paractices of the established Church of England. They yearned for the freedom to follow their own interpretation of the Word of God and the privilege of worshipping in thier own chosen way. The refugees from religious persecution included the Puritans who insisted that only the strictest interpretation of Biblical rules and observance of Mosaic Law were involved in the "correct" exercise of faith. There were the forerunners of the modern-day Methodists who were eager to spread their "new" faith to the "heathens" of the New World. There were the simplistic Quakers from England, from Scotland came the Presbyterians and from mainland Europe the Catholics and other sects, all Christians, and all in search of the freedom to pursue their faith in peace.
This polyglot of religious rebels found common ground in their quest of that right that is contained in essential parts of the Constitution of the United States and is considered by most to be the essence of our national being. And yet, those who would "put God at the head of our society" would limit that inclusion to the expression of their OWN faith at the expense of all the others who contributed in equal measure to the freedom of worship which exists here today. If they gain their wishes, those who feel that their allegiance to God preclude their expression of allegiance to country, those who prefer to keep their religious life separate from the secular world of government, and those who refuse to express their allegiance but reserve the right to avoid Christian phrases due to affiliation with a religion other than Christian would be required to choose between their faith in their God and their patriotism.
On the level of realism, other questions arise. Just as the Founding Fathers proclaimed freedom of religion to be prime concern, there were also among them men who were less concerned with that aspect of freedom than they were with the freedom to pursue riches and personal gain, and that alliance continues to this day. As a matter of fact, in modern society it is still difficult to know the difference. Those who shout most loudly about the need to "put God in charge" are among the most wealthy and influential poitical figures of the day. They solicit donations from the poor in order to buy television time to hawk their version of "Christianity in government", contribute to political campaigns and make deals with political candidates in order to increase their influence over the American electorate. No wonder people are confused!
I suggest that they carefully and prayerfully consider the following hypotheses, answer first for themselves and then try to consider the reaction of some of these "religious leaders" to the same questions:
What would we do if Jesus Christ were to arise today? If a man whom we thought dead were to suddenly appear and walk among us? If He were to tell us that we had done great evil for which we must atone; if He were to say that our concept of following His example and His instructions had gone astray and that we had been very wrong in our lifestyles and in our treatment of our fellow man?
Would we all miraculously turn our lives and our attitudes around and love one another as ourselves, regardless of skin color, mode of dress, or sexual definition? Would we give all our worldly goods to the poor and the sick? Would we turn our efforts and our energies into the pursuit of saintliness, nurturing the children without question of their parentage and doing good to our enemies as He commanded? Would we abandon our luxurious homes and wander the world with Him, spreading the Gospel to all who would listen and devoting ourselves entirely to the good of mankind?
You may think you know how you would answer. Now, ask yourself how the silk-shirted television-evangelist-turned-political-hack who holds himself up as the arbiter of the human condition and spokesman for God Himself might answer if Jesus were to approach him, holding the hand of a gay man with one hand and a prostitute with the other, and asking for lodging for the night and a few dollars for food. The greatest likelihood is that the reaction would be much like that of the Jews and the Romans. When asked for alms and lodging, the response would likely be, "Get out of here, you dirty, thieving, unemployed, worthless, scum-sucking welfare cheat and take your fag and your whore with you! You're nothing but a leech on society and you will not get a dime of my money! You should be locked up!"
They long for wealth and power, just as the multi-national corporatists do and the true Christians among us are the only ones who can stymie their ambitons for power and wealth. They are the money-changers in the temple. Let us follow the example of Jesus and cast them out with all their ill-gotten gains and get back the real meaning of Christianity and the real freedom of our beloved United States of America.
Mary Pitt is a septuagenarian Kansan who is self-employed and active in the political arena. Her concerns are her four-generation family and the continuance of the United States as a democracy with a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people". Comments and criticism may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org .