Monday, June 30, 2008

Picking and Choosing the Rules

After sincere attempts to let the world "settle down of its own accord," I emailed a letter to the editor of the Eagle, our Wichita paper, in response to the following outrage, which appeared on the op/ed page, Sat, June 21:

Bible mocked
Regarding "Uneasy with strong women?" (June 5 Reader Views): Many in today's society love to mock the bible and discredit God's word. Genesis 3:16 says, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."

Today many women and men scoff at this and think that those who still hold to such beliefs are old-fashioned, fanatical nut cakes trying to hold women down. Well, maybe this is true in a few cases, but for most genuine Christians, nothing could be further from the truth. I, for one, love women and think that, except for the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, they are the most precious gift to man and should be treated as such.

It is not our place to decide what the rules of life are for the sexes. God made us and therefore not only has the right to make the rules but, more important, the power and authority to do so. And all the mocking and scoffing, unity marches and pushes for so-called equality will not change it one iota. -James E. Sullivan, Augusta

My reply is below. I waited several days to compose this, so it lacks my original ideas about stabbing eyeballs, ripping out hearts, tearing limbs, etc. That and I had to keep it to 200 words, which repressed my freedom to elaborate on various forms of torture.

Dear Editor,
As evidence that God never intended women to have “so-called equality,” Mr. Sullivan cites Genesis 3:16, “…thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." He embraces a rule of God of which he approves, yet, I assert, rejects those he finds objectionable, picking and choosing, according to his opinions.

To verify, I assume Mr. Sullivan doesn't believe teenagers slamming the door with a curse at a parent is worthy of death as in Exodus 21:17, “And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.” I also assume he doesn’t support legislation to execute people working on Sunday, according to Exodus 35:2, “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day…whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.”

Christians, by definition of faith, must espouse liberation from intolerant “Laws of God,” shackling the ignorant. Paul wrote, Galatians 2:21, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." It's indefensible to pick and choose rules to suit prejudices and wield them as weapons of oppression.

Not that the following has any place with what I've written above, which was about picking and choosing laws, although it did set me thinking about another topic, judging others, it's worthy to quote St. Catherine of Siena where I'm spouting about laws and tolerance and such. In a letter addressed to Daniella of Orvieto, St. Catherine writes (trans. by Elizabeth Petroff),

I want us to do two special things so that ignorance doesn't impede the perfection to which God calls us and so that the devil, under the cloak of virtue and charity for one's neighbor, doesn't feed the root of presumption within the soul. Because of this we will fall into false judgements, seeming to ourselves to judge correctly and we will be judging wrongly; and often by following our own impressions, the devil would make us see many truths to lead us into falsehood. This happens because we make judgments about the minds of our fellow creatures, which God alone ought to judge.

Later in that same letter, Catherine writes, "...know that we ought not to trust in every appearance, but we ought rather to put it behind us, and dwell only on seeing and recognizing ourselves."

Lao Tzu from the Tao Teh Ching (trans. by Wu): "The virtuous attends to his duties; the virtueless knows only to levy duties upon the people. The Way of Heaven has no private affections, but always accords with the good."

And the Beatles sang, "Let it be."

No comments: