Sin Silly

November 4, 2006 | By | 17 Replies More

Oh, all right. I’ll say a few things about this Reverand Haggard thing, although what really there is to say I’m not sure.  Those caught up in the spell of an evangelist community may not care–this is just another example of how rotten-to-the-core sinful human beings are and even the best of us just can’t overcome the demons.

Frankly, it’s boring.  Swaggart, Bakker, now this guy, among many others…I am reminded of the preacher in Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath who gave up the Call because he couldn’t keep his hands off the women.  He had the integrity, finally, to realize who he was and stop being a hypocrite.

But it seems that hypocrisy is just reinforcing for people like Haggard and his followers, the more the better, because it validates their committment to the cause.  It never seems to occur to them to step back and ask if, given that no matter how hard they pray or how much money they throw in the till or how many times they repent they remain pretty much as they started out, perhaps the assumptions being made aren’t just a bit, well, wrong.

I’ve seen these born again gays on talk shows announcing that Christ “cured” them of their homosexuality and I wince.  It is indeed possible to shove yourself into a straitjacket and distort yourself to the point of being your own polar opposite.  Many of us may have found it necessary to do something like this for a short while just to deal with a given situation.  But over the longterm all it does is cripple the one in the iron lady.  They haven’t changed themselves so much as created their own condition of extreme neurotic denial, forced themselves to the point of breakdown, and become an enemy of their own natures.

For what?

Senator Mark Foley was a rabid anti-child porn advocate.  He was passionate, committed, a real zealot.  It surprised me not at all that it turned out he had a proclivity for sexual advances on the very people he was working to protect from people like himself.  It was as if, were he successful in changing the entire world and the whole sexual landscape and somehow eliminating everything he was working to eliminate, then he would no longer suffer–take away the temptation and he might never be tempted.

It’s like an alcoholic who expects everyone around him/her to refrain from drinking so he/she won’t want one.  Or a smoker who does the same.  For the most part, people would accommodate these people. 

But what if it’s a born again vegetarian who demands that no one around them eat meat so that they can more easily refrain?  (I once knew a man who blamed rock’n’roll for ruining his life and insisted that none of it be played around him anymore so he would never be tempted to pick up a guitar again.)

Now, certainly that last is a bit on the silly side, but my point is that people like Foley and Haggard have a tendency to make everyone else bear the moral responsibility for what they see as their own failing of character.  The reverend–any of them–probably thought that in the world they’d want to live in, the prostitute simply wouldn’t be there to take their money and make them feel awful.  That way they couldn’t sin because there would be no opportunity–everyone else would make sure of it.

Pass The Buck Morality.  It’s pathetic.  Not only for the hypocrisy and arrogance, but because, often, the thing being condemned is not necessarily condemnable.

Homosexuality is simply another way of being sexual.  The pernicious canard that sex is only and ever for procreation fuels the over-the-top rhetoric of those condemning it.  I wonder how many of them actually believe that–or practice it.  Sex between humans is far more than that, but somehow this frightens certain people.  And those most frightened of it seem, often, to be those most bent on stealing the fun from everyone else.

The self-loathing of such people is dangerous.  Dangerous to the rest of us who don’t buy into their moral churnings.  Because they become zealous in trying to make sure no one indulges the thing they fear so that they will never be tempted.   Rather than change their own life, they think they have to change everyone else’s.

All I want to say to such people, in the end, is:  get over yourself.

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Category: American Culture, Civil Rights, Culture, Current Events, Good and Evil, Psychology Cognition, Religion, Sex

About the Author ()

Mark is a writer and musician living in the St. Louis area. He hit puberty at the peak of the Sixties and came of age just as it was all coming to a close with the end of the Vietnam War. He was annoyed when bellbottoms went out of style, but he got over it.

Comments (17)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Erich Vieth says:

    The fundies just can't stand the thought that consenting adults somewhere might be having sexual pleasure for the fun of it, without long-term commitment and without the possibility of generating a baby in the process. That's a given.

    What I don't get it why they single out sexual pleasure for condemnation. Why are they so willing to look the other way regarding materialistic orgies. Lavish houses, second homes, boats, fancy meals, expensive hotels? No problem with these extravagances: http://dangerousintersection.org/?p=511 In fact, if they would reallocate some of that big luxury money they regularly blow, they could save numerous human lives. http://dangerousintersection.org/?p=82 Who gets hurt when consenting adults have sexual pleasure? It's hard to think of any victims.

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    Erich writes: "What I don’t get it why they single out sexual pleasure for condemnation. Why are they so willing to look the other way regarding materialistic orgies. Lavish houses, second homes, boats, fancy meals, expensive hotels?"

    The answer, I think, is that Fundies rant about sex because their own behavior in that realm is not open to public view. Many Fundamentalist evangelicals have obvious affection for high living and conspicuous consumption, so they cannot rant about the externally-observable sins (gluttony, avarice & pride) without being flaming hypocrites, but they can rant about the more hidden sins (lust, anger, sadness & envy) because their own performance on those metrics is less easy to see. A good example is televangelist John Hagee — a corpulent man who clearly has a problem with gluttony, yet seems to rant about everything but that one sin. Likewise, the ones who wear custom-made suits and fancy French-cuffed shirts seem never to mention avarice and pride. Like so many people, they conveniently excuse their own behavior, apparently under the belief that God wants them to have these earthly luxuries. "Who would follow a preacher who dresses like a loser," they will ask, conveniently forgetting that Jesus never wore French-cuffed shirts.

  3. Jason Rayl says:

    This is just a guess–I'll look into it further to see if it has legs–but all the material things can be justified as "fueling the economy". When you buy a house, you are, secondarily, putting people to work.

    Sex, on the other hand, is purely personal, purely selfish, and purely without any other function besides mutual pleasure. The production of a baby is part and parcel of the whole protestant work thing, that nothing must be "idle."

  4. Since we are discussing "sin", I have never heard 1 John 3:4 "Sin is the transgression of the Law" used in a sermon. Supposedly people who don't believe in God don't believe in sin since God gave the Law. Does hypocrisy come under the commandment "thou shalt not bear false witness"?

  5. Jason Rayl says:

    Larry,

    Hypocrisy probably ought to, but I suppose the question there is "false witness to whom?" Yourself (one's self, that is, not you specifically) would be my initial assumption. But if you're lying to yourself–and you believe the lie–then are you responsible for lying to others based on that belief?

    As for laws, well…laws change. Even the nature of the lawgiver, apparently, since he started out as a "jealous" god, not reluctant at all to do death and destruction to anyone he didn't like, and became a "god of love." Last I checked jealousy and love do not mingle. Some people think they do, but they effectively negate each other.

  6. The Law is based on God's character, and neither have changed. He is still jealous of His people and will not condone them serving other gods {rulemakers} because He is also responsible for them and has promised to redeem them. A changing god is an idol.

    "It is better to form no opinion at all of God, than to own one that is unworthy of Him". George R. Stewart

    False witness is usually associated with a legal setting. A judge is trying to determine facts by questioning a witness, and examining facts. What the witness witnessed is what the judge is seeking to know. No one could be convicted of sin {a crime} on the basis of one witness' testimony, even his own. The more witnesses the better. This keeps one from believing the testimony of one bearing false witness. Haggard knows what he saw.

    Judgement must begin at the house of God, so we can judge {examine} ourselves {as well as what others have witnessed}. But even in this we would compare our actions with the Law since "the transgression of the Law is sin". Without the Law there would be no sin. There would be no lieing and no hypocrisy.

  7. hogiemo says:

    Look at how these guys blame others or the bottle for their failures. There's no public accountability, which is in line with the "me first" culture of new Republicanism, like Ayn Rand run amok. Bush takes "responsibility" without consequence and his cronies [R]ush to commend him and his ilk. The public suffers and the sinner preens.

    Take a look at Leonard Pitts November 3, 2006 column in the Miami Herald.

  8. Jason Rayl says:

    "The Law is based on God’s character, and neither have changed. He is still jealous of His people and will not condone them serving other gods {rulemakers} because He is also responsible for them and has promised to redeem them. A changing god is an idol. "

    Actually, an idol cannot possibly change, having no character by which to accomplish that. It is a static, immutable "thing".

    But, sorry, I have to disagree. The god of the bible changed. He didn't think anything of wiping out virtually the entire human race in the Old Testament, but by 4 B.C.E. decided to sacrifice his only son to save the same bunch of reprobates? That's a HUGE change.

  9. Let me be clear about my use of the word "idol". An idol is a false construct. It is not alive and therefore is set in it's attributes. People who created idols could add to it, or cut a piece off it. Or they could burn their idol and make a new one. Idols do not create themselves. Even the True God can be fashioned into an idol when we decide that we know all there is to know about Him and construct a "religion" or "worldview" oe "belief system" based upon this understanding. Once "set in stone" it has no room to grow.

    There difference is between our understanding of God and God Himself. He has not changed, our perception of Him has changed; we have changed. As God revealed Himself to man over the eons things changed. He, His purposes and the outcome of His plan are unchanged. It seems to have changed to us because we are constricted by time, we are only aware of a small portion of the whole picture; He is painting the whole.

    Jesus was the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, everyone who has, is, or will live. This was planned from the foundation of the world, it is nothing new. You can't sneak up on God.

  10. Jason Rayl says:

    "This was planned from the foundation of the world, it is nothing new. "

    That's an assumption, since we (by your own formulation) can't know what was planned.

    Or is this another–it happened, ergo is must have been planned?

    Tautology, taulology, theology.

  11. Jason Rayl says:

    By the way, when you said–

    "Even the True God can be fashioned into an idol when we decide that we know all there is to know about Him and construct a “religion” or “worldview” oe “belief system” based upon this understanding. Once “set in stone” it has no room to grow. "

    I found a great deal there to agree with. I would expand it to include everything we assume we know, including "laws" (which in my opinion were entirely man made). By all defintions I've ever seen–including the non-Judeochristian constructs–"god" would be so far above meddling in the insignificant affairs of any given species as to be not only disintierested in handing down laws but virtually incapable of recognizing the need to.

  12. grumpypilgrim says:

    In his first paragraph above, Larry writes: "Even the True God can be fashioned into an idol when we decide that we know all there is to know about Him and construct a “religion” or “worldview” or “belief system” based upon this understanding. Once “set in stone” it has no room to grow."

    In his subsequent two paragraphs, Larry then says, "He [God] has not changed…He, His purposes and the outcome of His plan are unchanged…. Jesus was the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, everyone who has, is, or will live. This was planned from the foundation of the world, it is nothing new…."

    It is disappointing that Larry fails to see the obvious contradiction between the statements in his first paragraph and those in his latter two. First he says we cannot know God and that God cannot be set in stone, then he claims to know God and proceeds to set God in stone.

    People like Larry are one reason why I do not attend church. This is not meant as an insult, just a statement of truth. Far too many church goers memorize and repeat what they are told to memorize and repeat, without ever giving much thought to whether or not what they repeat makes any sense. This does a great disservice to a democratic society, because democracies depend on reasoned debate, which is impossible with a tape recorder that merely records and replays what it hears. Of course, rote repetition does is a great benefit to *church authorities*, because they can simply dictate their beliefs and achieve through numbers what they are unable to achieve through reason and evidence.

    We see this throughout society today. Many church authorities will make utterly ridiculous claims about stem cell research, same-sex marriage, evolution, global warming, prayer in school, abortion, etc., without any shred of scientific evidence to support their claims — indeed, often contrary to scientific evidence — but they can still sway the American democratic government because of the large mobs of human tape recorders among their followers. It is no wonder these same church authorities oppose birth control: their power comes from the sheer number of human tape recorders that follow them, so the key to growing their political power is to reproduce more human tape recorders. They do not value democracy; they value mob rule, with themselves as autocratic dictators. Their human tape recorder followers don't even realize they are being used.

  13. grumpypilgrim THINKS Larry said, "First he says we cannot know God and that God cannot be set in stone, then he claims to know God and proceeds to set God in stone."

    Larry said, "“Even the True God can be fashioned into an idol when we decide that we know all there is to know about Him and construct a “religion” or “worldview” or “belief system” based upon this understanding. Once “set in stone” it has no room to grow.”

    We cannot know God FULLY, He is infinite, we are finite, we are incapable of FULLY comrehending Him. I did not say I fashioned an idol of the True God, I said it is possible to do it. I was trying to show that this is a "not good" thing to do.

    I have been "unchurched" for 13 years for the same reasons you list. When I would bring something from the Bible to denominational leaders that wasn't part of the denominational praxis, they don't want to talk about it. They are playing the line drawing game. The problem is you scientific rational types are drawing your own lines. Anything outside your line is ignored or belittled or misquoted.

    My understanding of God is growing constantly as He shows me new things and as the dross is burned out. I have burned my idols and stand ready to burn any more I find. I make no excuse for not knowing the answers to all your questions. It is not my responsibility to do your work for you. I accept no false guilt for the ignorance of the world or the blinders that people choose to wear.

  14. grumpypilgrim says:

    Jason wrote: "By all defintions I’ve ever seen–including the non-Judeochristian constructs–”god” would be so far above meddling in the insignificant affairs of any given species as to be not only disinterested in handing down laws but virtually incapable of recognizing the need to."

    Indeed so. Erich also mentioned this in one of his early posts:
    http://dangerousintersection.org/?p=56

  15. Erich Vieth says:

    Check out Haggard's final sermon last week. Maybe there is a God after all. http://time.blogs.com/daily_dish/2006/11/haggards

  16. grumpypilgrim says:

    What I find most unfortunate about Haggard is not that his lies were finally exposed, but that he has presumably spent his entire life with homosexual desires, and his religion — and especially his status in his religion — forced him to conceal those desires. Had he instead prayed to God, decades ago, for the courage to live an honest, open, gay life, he might have spent his life as a happy homosexual — perhaps even getting married and having kids — instead of setting himself up for the humiliation of having his hypocrisy exposed. Now, both gays and straights will likely shun him. And what did he gain by his secrecy? A lifetime of lying to himself, his family and all of his friends? Such a terrible price to pay for artificial social acceptance. He could have avoided all of this damage by simply being honest from the start.

  17. rosa says:

    there was that guy a french forgot his name who wrote th book the law? it was back in the hey day, anyway he made a commnet (i read some of it) that the law makers were so intent on using law to reform everyone else he said that they should focus on reforming themselves that would be job enough. not exact quote here, but what I remember.

    frankly if I don't like a movie I change the channel, I don't go and try to get it banned, if I don't like company I am in I leave. I figure I wouldn't want someone to ban something I want/like/need because someone else doesn't like it provided I am not forcing it on them or commmiting violence against them.

    you right it is enough for us to reform ourselves there are thing I have been working on for years and barly have made headway, but I don't stop trying, well at least until I die.

Leave a Reply