Thursday, November 04, 2004

People saying it better than me

Check out Jeff Sharlet's very interesting and provacative thoughts on why the election swayed right: ("Gay Marriage: The GOP Secret Weapon")

Also, Salon had some great reader letters yesterday. I can't retype all the good ones, just go check it out (watch a commercial for a free day pass). I especially liked the electoral haiku.

Finally, I get a daily email meditation from a priest named Barbara Crafton ( and here was yesterday's:

Moral Values

Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the wife and raise up children for his brother. Luke 20:28

"Moral values" was the phrase the exist pollsters used: they asked people who had just voted which issue had most informed their votes. Was it the war? The economy? Jobs? Or was it "moral values." And of the first-time voters who swamped the polling stations, "moral values" was the reason given most often for the vote cast.

It was a phrase at once narrow and vaguely defined. It seemed to confine itself to sexual concerns -- moral concerns were gay marriage and abortion. Oh, and stem cell research, the discussion of which relates to abortion. But the poor, and the war, and fair access to health care -- these were not moral concerns. Neither was the budget deficit. Neither was Social Security. Neither was our relation to other countries and other cultures.

I see. I guess you don't learn everything there is to know about morality in seminary. Or maybe you learn too much.

There is a moral theology of sexuality, a discussion that has been going on for thirty years and more. But there is also a moral discussion of war and peace, of the dignity of human labor -- read the eloquent letters of the assembled Roman Catholic bishops on these subjects: they do often express their views on issues other than sex. Capital punishment is a moral issue, especially for those who claim to value the sanctity of human life. Good Lord.

Stand up. Stand up for morality in all its rich dimensions, for the love of God that soaks every human encounter with the wine of eternity. Don't let small minds shrink the arena of God's mercy and power to fit our prurient interests. It is not fitting. It beggars God's greatness. And puts our own further and further off.

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