Thursday, July 19, 2012

On God's Truth, and Man's Hypocrisy

The hypocrisy of those on the left has ceased to amaze me. It is not that they do not care about how it makes them look; it is that they are incapable of seeing how it makes them look.

Want some recent examples? Here are just a tiny fraction of the ones that have come out just this past week:

House Democrats are backing a bill to require presidential candidates (read: "Mitt Romney") to release ten years of tax returns, while Senator Harry Reid, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and DNC chairwoman and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz have all said they will not make their returns public, thank you.

President Obama touts himself as the president who is actually cutting back on spending, while he and Michelle have taken more vacations in three years than any prior president, at a cost to taxpayers ranging from a $4.2 million one in Hawaii, to Michelle's $83,000 to ski for just one weekend in Aspen.

In running for re-election, President Obama keeps making the same promises he did four years ago, but calculates that no one will notice how he has broken most of them already.

Over in the Episcopal Church (USA), we have one and the same General Convention positively embracing a huge contradiction:
1. It adopted blessings for same-sex couples. God made them that way, and what He made must be good.  
2. Simultaneously, it removed any obstacles to positions in the Church for transgendered people. In this case, what God made them was not right or good, and they should not be penalized for His mistake. 
Not only does the Episcoleft want to adopt contrary views of God's creation, depending on whose orientation they are trying to promote, but for the most part they contend that their views are no longer open to discussion. That's right -- after years and years of pleading for "dialogue" with fellow Episcopalians on the other side, they now say the dialogue is over. And why? Well, not just because they have won what they wanted. That's just for starters. Listen to one of their spokespersons, the Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge, writing "Why Gays and Lesbians Should Never Argue Scripture":
The most important reason, however, that gays and lesbians should never, ever argue about scripture is because the Bible has nothing much to say about homosexuality. We have to remember that this is an ancient book. It was written at a time when people believed the world was flat and that the earth was in the middle of a three-tiered world with heaven above and hell below. It was written at a time when people believed that the whole of human reproduction was held in the sperm of a man and a woman was merely an incubator. Speaking of women, this was a time when they were seen as chattel -- property to be passed along from father to husband, from husband to brother and so on. It was written at a time when slavery was seen as God-ordained and animal sacrifice was the way to cleanse sins.  
In short, we cannot extract modern ideas from an ancient book. The writers of the Bible no more understood homosexuality than they understood that a spherical Earth orbited the sun. At most, we have a commentary on same-sex sexual behavior involving lust and abuse, but nothing -- pro or con -- about the modern concept of sexual orientation. We don't take the Bible's word for it that the earth is flat and women only incubate babies and contribute nothing else to the process. Why on earth would we take it as an authority on sexual orientation?
Excuse me, ma'am? Because the Bible was written by people who lived thousands of years ago is no reason to heed what it says on topics as to which you and your ilk "know better"? In other words, your God speaks more clearly to you than their God did to them? That sounds like a winning recipe for today's theology: God is someone who changes His message to suit His audience.

Not only does such a thesis try to put man's / woman's judgment above God's, but to preach it to professing Christians seems like a foolhardy thing to do -- if Jesus is to be taken at his word:
17:1 Jesus said to his disciples, “Stumbling blocks are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 17:2 It would be better for him to have a millstone tied around his neck and be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Moreover, notice how the Rev. Chellew-Hodge sets up a bunch of straw men for her then to knock down. (Even the Greeks, who invented logic, had no trouble spotting this fallacy, which in Latin was called ignoratio elenchi -- or in our terms, "a red herring.") The Bible and slavery? Slavery was a fact of life in the ancient world, and so the Bible, as a contemporary text, mirrors its culture in depicting it, but does it endorse it? Show me the text where God commends putting people into slavery. All of its great stories are about people escaping slavery.

The Bible and women? Same fallacious argument: show me the text in the Bible where God orders men to treat women like slaves. God made Eve as Adam's companion, or help-meet, i.e., "one suited to help man in his tasks," in the language of King James.1 All other feminist-based views of the Bible are a denial of that simple truth. Feminists don't want to meet men halfway, or to be seen as a help to them -- they want to do whatever they do on their own terms, thank you.

And her final straw man, the conceit of "sexual orientation"? Please: the Bible nowhere speaks to how people believe they are attracted to others, but only to how they express that attraction. It expressly forbids fornication, or sex while unmarried; it forbids adultery, or sex with a person married to another; it forbids incest, or sex with a sibling; and it forbids sex between males and other males, and between women and other women. (See this post for details on the former, and see Romans 1:26 for the latter.)

The left cocoons itself, and thus cannot see its own hypocrisy, or its fallacies. We on the right, on the other hand, can sometimes be equally blind to our own faults, but we are never in doubt that we are susceptible to fault, because we know for a certainty that man is a broken, fallen creature -- who needs God's grace if we are to walk in His truth and ways.

That is the single most important difference between left and right: the left doesn't require God's help, thank you very much, because God is love, and (to quote the Rev. Chellew-Hodge once more) "Anything that does not promote love is not of God." For the left, God loves us just as we are, with no need for change or correction on our part.

Just as, in politics, Obama needs no help from private business to create jobs or to grow the economy: That is government's job, which he (as the only government that matters) can do just fine on his own, thank you very much.

Answering all such arrogance without sounding arrogant oneself is quite difficult -- I hope that what I have written above does not come across in that way. The truth in man's hands can sound arrogant, because man is just man, after all. That is why I try always to refer what I say back to God's words.

But in politics, the best answer to the arrogance of President Obama is the humble working man himself, who has worked hard, without asking for any help, to build his own business over generations:

Thus if anyone from the left has troubled to read this far, this is the message I pray you would take away with you -- not my message, but God's words, from Romans ch. 8:
8:31 What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 8:32 Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things? 8:33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 8:34 Who is the one who will condemn? Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us. 8:35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 8:36 As it is written, “For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 8:37 No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, 8:39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 1 Genesis 2:18. The original Hebrew word translated into English as "a help" or "helper" is 'ezer, a word of which the scholars associated with the New English Translation say (at n. 56):
The English word “helper,” because it can connote so many different ideas, does not accurately convey the connotation of the Hebrew word עֵזֶר (’ezer). Usage of the Hebrew term does not suggest a subordinate role, a connotation which English “helper” can have. In the Bible God is frequently described as the “helper,” the one who does for us what we cannot do for ourselves, the one who meets our needs. In this context the word seems to express the idea of an “indispensable companion.” The woman would supply what the man was lacking in the design of creation and logically it would follow that the man would supply what she was lacking, although that is not stated here. See further M. L. Rosenzweig, “A Helper Equal to Him,” Jud 139 (1986): 277-80.  


  1. Once a Hasidic Rebbe was chatting with his disciples on why everything God made was good. One precocious disciple asked the Rebbe what was good about atheists who denied God existed!

    The Rebbe turned and broke into a big smile. "Ah, Shmuel, atheists are very holy! You see, those of us who know God is are willing to wait for the Holy One Blessed Be He to bring HaMashiach (the Messiah) to right all the world's wrongs. But the Atheists who don't believe in God? They figure there is no one who will save the world, so they get on with it! May I merit to be considered an atheist in my service to God!"

  2. Excellent, SFitC, and thank you for that story. It complements the post, and shows that in what they practice, atheists are not hypocrites. (If there is no God, then they had jolly well better get on with it!) ;>)

  3. And btw, ASH, you seem to forget how many fine capitalist institutions and their shareholders make their money off government say government makes nothing is also to say that the Koch Brothers make nothing - I wouldn't say that, would you? Mr. Obama's point is that businesses need customers as well as owners, managers, and staff - no one is an island and least of all anyone who calls themselves a follower of Christ I should think...true?

  4. SFitC, be careful in your analysis. When government contracts with a private company to manufacture tanks or planes, or to build roads or tunnels, government is not doing the building; government is the customer. Businesses are built to meet customer demand, and to say that businesses need customers is to say only that supply needs demand -- just as demand needs supply. They are two sides of the one economic coin.

    Businesses need managers and employees, because they are the agents through whom the business accomplishes its purposes -- no business can act without agents. But they pay their agents for what they do, and they pay them out of what they earn from being in business (unless the government is subsidizing them with other people's money).

    Meanwhile, government, as government, makes precious little goods on its own (postage stamps and currency being the main examples). Instead, every dollar that government spends it must either tax or borrow from the economy -- unlike producers, who must earn what they spend in order to stay in business, or workers, who also can spend (in the long run) only what they earn.

  5. Excellent points, ASH! I note however that government is the producer of services which we buy with our taxes.

    Now of course, no one uses all of the government's services, but then I doubt any one customer/client uses all the services of News Corp, for example, yet the money paid to WSJ does go into the larger News Corp budget, right? I also note that the production side of the economy depends on government services to exist: the legal system, transportation system, national defense, education system, etc.

    So I still am unclear why the government is not considered a producer in our it the lack of profit payable to individual shareholders that is the issue?

  6. SFitC, if taxes were truly voluntary, then you might be able to consider the government as a "producer" of services. Unlike private businesses, government has the power to compel you to pay for its services, whether you use or benefit from them, or not. No one compels you to do business with News Corp., for instance.

    Also, you are correct that there is no concept of "profit" in government. That is why it constantly wastes so much money -- the taxpayers cannot hold it accountable (except to vote for new representatives), because taxes are compulsory, and so government does not have to earn its revenue. It simply takes it from us.

    Finally, government, unlike any private business except counterfeiting, has the unique ability to print money. So, in effect, it has a bottomless checkbook. If you had such a resource for your business, you wouldn't care how much money it spent, either -- and that's why government-subsidized firms almost always end up bankrupt. In Maggie Thatcher's pithy words, "They eventually run out of other people's money."

    For more background on government's abuse of its power to print money, see the series of articles linked at this page.

  7. Good post and good comments.

    I know you've been busy, but have you seen these two news stories, one from the Telegraph and the other from the New York Times?

    I have to say I was impressed. As you have shown us, the church formerly known as "ECUSA" is taking further steps into the wilderness. Well, I was moderately pleased to see two secular publications maybe taking a few baby steps back towards the Promised Land.

  8. Whether or not it is true that the bible says little about homosexuality, it certainly says a lot about marriage, and what it says is, for the most part, extremely closely coupled to the complementarity of the sexes. That's surely a large part of the reason why the scripture readings in the "provisional" blessing rite are so impoverished, and when they get around to mucking with the marriage rite proper, it's only going to get worse. The whole "the ancients didn't know anything" trope is also tiresomely inaccurate and inadequate.

  9. Dear Mr. Haley,

    Based on your reported statements concerning Sen. Reid, Rep Pelosi and Rep. Wasserman-Schultz the first order of business should be their prosecution (possibly in the form of ejection from their seats in their respective Houses of Congress) for violating the Rule of Law, more specifically that everyone is to be equal before the law. What is sauce for one elected Federal politician or aspirant, is sauce for all elected Federal politicians or aspirants.

    In response to the Chellew-Hodge person (the use of Reverend or any other ecclesiastical title other than heretic or apostate is completely indefensible, let alone unwarranted), the first order of business should be the bringing of charges against her for her rejection of scriptures the adherence to which, believe, was a non-optional part of her ordination vows. The second order of business for her would be removal of priestly faculties, followed swiftly by the third order of business, her laicization (or whatever TEC terms removal from priestly orders) for apostasy. I would argue that, so long as the quotation you provided is demonstrably her writing, the evidence is both plain and sufficient to prove such discipline warranted without further evidence. If those actions are taken in her case, we can ignore the lesser charges such as abject ignorance of Holy Writ, as that would simply amount to "piling on," which I am quite convinced none of the EpiscoHeretics in good standing with the Presiding Heretic, would wish to see established as a precedent, lest they someday find their own words as errant as Chellew-Hodge.

    Having accomplished the foregoing, you can all move on to other matters, leaving the assignment and attachment of millstones and the handicapped swiming lessons to the Judge whom we will all face at our final judgment.

    I am, as someone no longer an Episcopalian in good standing ineligible to bring charges, but I would humbly suggest that the failure everyone eligible to file a complaint or the failure to be charged if the words are demonstrated to be hers, speaks more about the impending fate of The Episcopal Church, than I, a simple layman, now Catholic, could address in this forum.

    I would, however, offer a recommendation for a very salutary book which I have just read which has greatly clarified my own mind as to why the religious leftists (and the political ones as well) likely behave as they do. I recommend it to anyone's consideration who wants to understand why things have come to this pass. The work, by Lloyd Billingsley is titled The Absence of Tyranny: Recovering Freedom in Our Time (©1986 Multnomah Press, Portland, OR, 193 pgs.). Good condition used copies are readily available from a variety of sources.

    The answer to the puzzle of the seeming irrationality of the Left (religious or political) is that they are predominantly ideologists, but in the original sense of the term first used in writing by a Frenchman in the period (1801-1815) and had a much more specific and narrower meaning than that we assign it today. It is well worth the read.

  10. That is the problem with hypocrisy, isn't it? It disguises itself so insidiously that one has to be very alert to catch in oneself.
    As for Eve being Adam's help meet, the same word (ezer) is used mulitple times elsewhere to speak of how God helps Israel. My favorite "Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and shield.: (Ps. 30.20)

  11. Mr. Curmudgeon,

    I remember hearing Eric Hoffer once speak of hypocrisy as being a universal characteristic of human beings, and I have encountered nothing since then that would dissuade me of that. I would bid you tread more lightly with your attribution of that sin. Wasn't there something about a mote and beam?

    Alvah Whealton

  12. Dear Mr. Whealton, thank you very much for your reminder. I did try to indicate that I was aware of similar shortcomings on the right, when I wrote:

    "We on the right, on the other hand, can sometimes be equally blind to our own faults, but we are never in doubt that we are susceptible to fault, because we know for a certainty that man is a broken, fallen creature -- who needs God's grace if we are to walk in His truth and ways."

    Perhaps that did not come across strongly enough. If so, mea culpa.

    I leave the blogging about hypocrisy on the right mostly to those who may infallibly be counted upon to write about it, namely, the mainstream media. Somehow, however, that same media never gets around to noticing the left's hypocrisy, and so that is mostly what I write about here, when I do bother to take note of it (since they don't).

    One big difference that I see between us (left and right, that is) is that when someone on the right gets caught in hypocrisy, he either apologizes and corrects his mistake, or even (as in the case of Rep. Livingston from LA) resigns. Once again, that only rarely happens on the left, and only after the candidate has usually tried to tough it out. (Compare the career of President Clinton to Rep. Anthony Weiner.)

    So while I plead guilty to cataloging mainly the hypocrisy of the left, I offer that plea with an explanation. I hope you will find some other items more to your liking on this blog.

  13. Thank you, MA, for those pointers, and those recommendations. I am sure you are aware that ever since the Righter trial, ECUSA has been determined to have no "core doctrine" in these matters; thus the filing of any charges against Chellew-Hodge would be ineffectual. Her bishop (who would also sit on her Disciplinary Review Board) has obviously given her license to preach, the more is the shame.