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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Friday, May 5, 2017

Conservataive Nearsightedness

In his blog The Resurgent, Erick Erickson (click here for a bio) condemns Millennials for preferring mammon to God. What told Erickson that this was the case? It was because many Millennials are no longer opposing what the world supports. Yes, Erickson admits that Millennials express concern for some valid causes such as human trafficking. But such a cause, on which Erickson joins them, means little to him. It means little because most of the world opposes human trafficking. For Erickson, there are only two issues that could test the spiritual mettle of these people. And if they give in to the world on those issues, then they show themselves to be compromising with the world and preferring mammon. What are those two issues? They are abortion and same-sex marriage (SSM) (click here for the article).

First, let's take a look at those two specific issues. Abortion involves the collision of the rights of the mother and of the unborn child. When abortion is an elective procedure, Erickson has a valid claim that Millennials are compromising with the world. That is because elective abortions could rightfully be called murder. In elective abortions, the unborn child is recognized as having no intrinsic human value. On a practical level, the humanity of the child depends solely on whether the expectant mother wants the child. And one of the reasons for this reasoning is because of what women went through prior to the Roe v. Wade case. Yes, the case was decided wrongly. At the same time, women do have legitimate concerns that need to be heard when it comes to elective abortions.  And yet, I haven't seen any of those concerns, or all of them put together, that outweighs the intrinsic value of the human child who is unborn.

But SSM is a different issue. Whereas Christians could rightly be concerned with the rights of the unborn in the abortion issue, whose rights are being violated in legalizing SSM? Certainly SSM threatens no Christian marriages; it's Christian marriage partners who usually perform that task. Why does Erickson's list allowing  SSM with allowing elective abortions?

Here the issue is confused because many conservatives like Erickson fail to distinguish between supporting SSM in the Church from supporting it in society. And because of this failed distinction, many religiously conservative Christian leaders like Erickson have implicitly given all Christians this ultimatum: oppose the legalization of SSM in society or admit that practicing homosexuality and is not a sin. But Millennials have seen things differently. What they often hear from religiously conservative Christian leaders like Erick Erickson is that they must choose between opposing bigotry or opposing homosexuality. And since Millennials tend to be more sensitive to issues of bigotry than their parents, this ultimatum has moved many Millennials to accepting homosexuality because they were more sure that bigotry is wrong. And we should note here that opposing bigotry isn't necessarily practiced by the world. Unlike how the world supports abortion, the world has a spotty record in opposing bigotry.

Had religiously conservative Christian leaders said to people that opposing homosexuality in the Church is different from opposing it in society, we might have seen a different response from many Millennials. But that didn't happen. As a result, these leaders give the impression that they want at least some partial control of society, as seen in Erickson's comments about liberty, by infringing on the religious liberties of those who believe that SSM is morally acceptable.

Now the curious thing about Erickson's blogpost here is that he called the Millennials' tolerance for elective abortions and SSM siding with mammon. We should note that mammon is wealth. So how is it that accepting elective abortions and SSM indicates that one loves mammon? This is especially a pertinent question considering the other concerns Millennials have. For example, what Millennials are concerned about include climate change and the environment, wars, poverty, lack of education, food and water security, and economic opportunities. And if those issues were addressed the way Millennials wanted them addressed, then taxes on big business could not be reduced. In fact, addressing those issues the way Millennials want them addressed may cause a reduction in tax loopholes so that the effective tax rate many big businesses pay would increase.

On the other hand many conservatives oppose letting our government spend taxpayer funds on researching climate change and writing regulations that would reduced our greenhouse emissions. They also oppose any reduction in military spending. However, they want less taxpayer funds to be used to alleviate problems like poverty, undrinkable water, inadequate schools, and the exploitation of workers (click here for reference). And we should note here that corporations and wealthy financial institutions spend much mammon on controlling public opinion and what laws and regulations our government make so that they could spend as little in taxes as possible while they try to get as much business and/or welfare from the same government.

At this point, the question for Mr. Erickson regards the identity of who is serving mammon. Is it the person who tolerates practices that do not affect how businesses are taxed, or is it the person who, for whatever reason, sides with business's efforts to either reduce what it pays in both taxes and  meeting its social responsibilities or to receive as much government spending as possible who is siding with mammon? And as wrong as Millennials can be on accepting elective abortion, aren't some conservatives the ones who are siding with mammon here?


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