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Are Politics Spiritual Poison?


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Initial post: Oct 20, 2012 7:48:03 AM PDT
neonpisces says:
Probably not, at least as such. Obviously people, regardless of religious orientation, have a lot at stake in who runs the country and how it is run.

That said, it's glaringly obvious that the politics of this presidential race has the effect of poisoning relationships and attitudes. As I read the call for the followers of Christ to be peacemakers, this means striving for some form of reconciliation. Instead, we are getting into virtual shouting matches.

I'm of the view that we're supposed to be Christians first, and political partisans second. One of the reasons I turned my back on the Evangelical world, and sought communion with the Catholic Church has to do with this. Evangelicals for the most part have become the religious wing of the GOP. Catholics, not so much.

In fact the Church is large enough to house both conservatives and progressives. When we approach the sacraments, all that political stuff is stripped away as we stand in awe of God.

This is not to say that there are no political ramifications to belief...but that politics is subservient to human relationships within the Church, and most definitely takes second place to our individual and communal relationship with Christ.

I don't want to trivialize this with a Rodney King-like plea that we all just get along. But if we can't talk with our political opponents without demeaning them, then that's fodder for the next confession.

That's my view anyway.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2012 6:13:57 PM PST
Anne Rice says:
I think you're asking interesting questions and making interesting points.
The election is over now.
And the country is still absorbing what happened.

I would say that our separation of church and state in America
must be preserved.

I go into the voting booth with my fully informed conscience,
with my religious beliefs and with my absolute values,
and I make the best decision I can based on the information I have.
But the reasons for my vote involve essentially political realities ---
that we are a two party system (a vote for a third party is essentially thrown
away right now in this country), that neither party may be offering a perfect
or ideal candidate or platform and that I must evaluate the candidate based on how he (she)
and his (her) party might handle all of the moral, political, and economic realities we face.

That's how I see it.

Politics should not be spiritual poison.

The American agreement is this: we live with different religions, and
different religious points of view; and we compromise at the ballot box.
We uphold the social contract even when there are unresolved "moral" issues
because this is the only way that the republic can hold together.

Why people think it is appropriate right now to "shun" members of the
other major party is beyond me.

I would never boycott a business because the owner was Republican,
and I am a Democrat. I would never exert economic pressure on some one
to vote against his or her conscience. I think that's absurd.

And I think the shunning is absurd.
I have Republican friends. I am a Democrat with many Democrat friends.
I respect both parties, and have from time to time considered
candidates from both parties.

Watching this last election and what it did to people was
frankly horrible.

Posted on Nov 13, 2012 6:18:42 PM PST
Lao Tzu says:
I am much more upset by politics than I am religion. Religion has a minimal effect on me, except for making republicans unelectable.

Politics on the other hand is how other people (the ones with the guns) decide how to spend MY money. That impacts me every single day.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2012 6:20:10 PM PST
"Are Politics Spiritual Poison?"

Yes, when they are divisive which is most of the time.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2012 6:20:30 PM PST
Anne Rice says:
You wrote, "In fact the Church is large enough to house both conservatives and progressives. When we approach the sacraments, all that political stuff is stripped away as we stand in awe of God."

I think you are absolutely right on that. That is the Catholic Church as I have known it, not a monolith, but a huge belief system that has always embraced progressives, liberals, arch conservatives, visionaries, saints and people who are somewhat pragmatic.

Some Catholics during this election period did not side with those conservative bishops
who are against Obamacare and indicated to believers that if they voted for a pro choice
candidate, they might be in danger of Hell. Some Catholics want to see a pulling back from politics.

Since both parties ended up advocating abortion in one way or another,
(Romney and Ryan ended up saying they would justify abortion in some instances),
this must have left some religious people with a dilemma.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2012 6:29:59 PM PST
Anne Rice says:
I hear you.

Posted on Nov 13, 2012 6:48:52 PM PST
Anne Rice says:
Some rather interesting questions emerged from this election and its outcome.
Same Sex marriage is clearly gaining acceptance all over the country, and
many simply don't see this as a major "moral" issue so much as a matter of
extending traditional civil marriage to include gay people.
Has organized religion made a mistake in targeting this as a moral issue,
and insisting that gay marriage harms traditional marriage?
I think they have actually.
No one has ever been able to prove in any convincing way that
gay marriage does harm traditional marriage.
So this whole issue, and the outcome of the election
seemed to be a real loss for the Religious Right, and I
am wondering how they are going to re-group.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 12:12:16 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2012 12:13:56 PM PST
M. Simonson says:
I see that your thread came to life. Yes, the conflation of politics with religion is quite unfortunate (if not poison) and has hurt the goals of the political groups and has corrupted the faith groups.

Many folks will have core beliefs that may influence their voting choices but that doesn't mean they should use the pulpit as a wing of political parties. Politicians are looking for a place to rally folks and speak; then here are the churches with assembly halls. The temptation was hard to resist.

The most annoying manifestation of this is what started out as an eschatological view called Dominionism which holds that Christ will come in glory to greet a triumphant church that occupies the whole world. That view is in complete opposition to Millennial views that things will get worse and worse leading to a final conclusion.

Domionist views got expanded and conflated with getting the Church involved in politics on the right, the left made their own types of mistakes.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 12:39:56 PM PST
Anne Rice says:
Informative post. I appreciate it.
This sheds light on some of what we've been
hearing in the last two years.
Thanks.

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 6:14:25 PM PST
jpl says:
Are Politics Spiritual Poison?

jpl: The main reason politics has devolved into its current state is the lack of term limits. When ignoramuses and people who don't want to work keep voting in corrupt people term after term, the electorate grows in power.

Special interest groups and lobbyists make it their business to get into the back pockets of Congress, whose first priority is to those special interest groups. Meanwhile, Congress sells their gullible constitiuents on everything they want to hear.

Service to the country took a back seat to Congressional careers many decades ago, thanks to the voting public.

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 9:29:29 PM PST
neonpisces says:
The fundamental problem with politics is that it is always parochial. Ironically this is what the Church is accused of, time and again. However the universal Church, which includes members from not only the United States, but also, say, Syria, cannot afford the luxury of parochialism. Hence the witness of the Church remains universal: the dignity of human beings regardless of nationality.

The Church is as opposed to abortion in the United States and in Western Europe as it is anywhere else on the planet.

Likewise the Church is opposed to torture, execution, mistreatment of minorities (including Gays - read the fricking Catechism), warfare and genocide, persecution of *any* group, and the systemic perpetuation of poverty...anywhere...including the USA.

To borrow from The Boondock Saints, these are not polite recommendations. These are divinely issued universal laws.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 9:58:19 PM PST
neonpisces says:
> The most annoying manifestation of this is what started out as an eschatological view called Dominionism which holds that Christ will come in glory to greet a triumphant church that occupies the whole world.

Oddly enough this is the inverse of so-called "Liberal" Protestantism. Historically, the Social Gospel, (which was repudiated by Fundamentalists), preached the same thing.

Replace compassion with legalism and you have Dominionism.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 10:28:38 PM PST
neonpisces,

Can you give me a quick synopsis of what the catechism says about minorities/gays? I know someone who would listen!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 11:18:02 PM PST
neonpisces says:
Paragraph 2358:

The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.

* Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. *

These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 11:24:11 PM PST
neonpisces,

That sounds like an old DSM. Homosexuality has been removed from medically diagnosis for some time. And there have been several research studies that show that it is not nurture but nature.

I personally don't think God makes junk. I think the variation of sexual orientation are a spectrum, just like all of the other spectrum that God created. So if your point of whatever that paragraph is from it to prove that this is deviant behaviour, that sexual orientation is choice, then I would have to ask you the standard questions: when did you decide/choose to be heterosexual?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 11:30:34 PM PST
Astrocat says:
I think it's from DSM III, Reed.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 11:35:41 PM PST
Nancy,

I wanted so bad to publish a page number and then some stuff on neurology or mathematics.

I'm not sure what has been extracted there makes sense without a heading --- I was just guessing. Thanks for the help. I had asked for the passage about homosexuality in the catechism but it doesn't read that way and I thought the original post said the catechism said minorities were to be "cared for" or "protected"? I'm not familiar enough with the language which is why I wanted a synopsis.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 11:40:08 PM PST
neonpisces,

As I reread this for the 10th time, is it possible that this is the equivalent to "human sexuality is a good gift of god" I don't remember all of the quote but it later goes on to talk about welcoming homosexuals into the fold and ministering to all of God's people.

What I can't tell is whether this is intended to "convert" or just "accept". I just realized I know exactly to ask. I'll get back to you. Thanks

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 7:32:29 AM PST
neonpisces says:
The RCC does not "convert" Gays. That's evangelical pseudo-science. Rather the Church demands celibacy.

I agree with you that the underlying premise, homosexuality "is objectively disordered", is objectively wrong. The Church in my view is making a huge error.

But, to reiterate my point, the catechism teaches not only acceptance, but active avoidance of discrimination.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 11:04:35 AM PST
Anne Rice says:
These are recent positions from the Church.
Historically the church has employed torture, and fiery execution,
and genocide (the Cathars) (the Crusades) etc.
The church is 2,000 years old.
If the church could again gain political ascendency in Western Europe,
we might see all these things come back.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 11:07:35 AM PST
Anne Rice says:
This is typical Catholic Double Talk.
What the church means is homosexuals are to remain celibate
because their sexual orientation is "gravely disordered." They are to have
no sex life, no sexual intimacy of any kind.

It should be noted that we have abundant information to indicate
that seminary educated and anointed priests for the most part cannot and
do not remain celibate.

So how are homosexuals supposed to remain celibate in practical fact?
But the church isn't interested in practical fact.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 11:12:32 AM PST
Anne Rice says:
Again, this is Catholic Double Talk.
There is only acceptance of gays who remain celibate for life.
The church prides itself on its tolerance and acceptance
without admitting that both are severely undercut by
its insistence that homosexual orientation is gravely disordered
and homosexual persons should never known sexual satisfaction,
sexual love or sexual intimacy.

Also when the church spends millions in the US trying to prevent
gay Americans from obtaining the right to civil Same Sex marriage
which is essentially none of its business (since it does not recognize anyone's
civil or secular marriage), it reveals its hypocrisy and fear of what it refuses to understand.

This situation is probably very much complicated by the fact that such a high
number of the Roman Catholic clergy and hierarchy are gay (homosexually oriented.)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 11:27:57 AM PST
neonpisces,

I wasn't seeing the active avoidance of discrimination. And I have no idea what objectively disordered --- the best I can figure out it is subjective!!

There are many Protestant churches that appear to be welcoming gays but not allowing them to hold positions as pastors and sometimes other "offices" as well --- they nevertheless are open to their attendance and say they are open to them "openly" ! Still others are "full" members in the sense that they have no restrictions, per se, on whether they can be ordained.

I didn't know that the RCC was even this open!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 11:31:37 AM PST
Anne Rice,

I have a friend that left the priesthood how often talks about the women in the monseigneur room. He adamantly rejects that these women are being "counseled", on more than one occasion he has called them prostitutes which for some reason offended me, and I'm not Catholic.

Posted on Nov 15, 2012 11:35:09 AM PST
Anne Rice says:
http://www.catholics-united.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=2110&qid=97030806
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This discussion

Discussion in:  Christianity forum
Participants:  14
Total posts:  63
Initial post:  Oct 20, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 18, 2012

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