Re: What does a liberal think?

From: Graham Morbey (
Date: Sun May 12 2002 - 15:56:51 EDT

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    Hi again, Stuart,

    Just a couple of remarks on what you wrote me. First, it is not biblically
    true to say that the Christian's first duty is to "work out your own
    salvation..." According to Jesus the Christian's first duty is to love God
    and neighbour (enemy, even!). See Mark 12:28-34 for example. Paul's
    instruction to the Philippian church saves the text you quote from being
    individualized and privatized. It is the local church working together on
    its salvation that is in question here. The church is working out its
    salvation for all to see, publically! Second, a Catholic School dance is
    not a public event in the sense you seem to imply. Roman Catholics are
    especially aware of the misuse of the dance - which other Christian groups
    have simply banned - and the arena of the dance is just where its
    understood Christian values are to be applied (all of life is religious).
    Finally, there is no attack on a private life style in the case in
    question. At street level it was just a request to be allowed to maintain
    the church's communal rights. I am sorry that a relativistic individualism
    won the day!

    I was pleased that you think the questions I posed are all valid and
    important. I was somewhat disappointed that you didn't answer them,
    because they seem to me to be "first" questions that help to clear a
    lot of brush in this admittedly complex issue.

    Thank you for you irenic response. I hope you accept mine in the same


    On Sun, 12 May 2002, Stuart d Kirkley wrote:

    > Hi Graham,
    > Your questions are all valid, and are important questions that need
    >to be addressed. I am talking more about the Christian approach to
    >addressing these problems, both within ourselves and within society
    >at large. Please note that if I refer to 'you' or 'your' here it is
    >not directed at you personally , but to the Christian individual at
    > I said it already, the Christians first duty is to 'work out your
    >own salvation'. Nobody, no institution, person, government or
    >society has the moral authority to dictate how other people conduct
    >their private lives, unless their conduct is criminal in behaviour.
    >I ask you, what is more criminal, a couple of gay kids wanting to
    >attend a dance together, or an institution and society that is
    >screaming bloody murder and asking for censure of basic civil
    >liberties. You may not agree with the homosexual lifestyle, I don't
    >either, but I don't condemn those who practice it. That said, I
    >disagree even more with anyone who feels they have the right to
    >dictate what is right and isn't in another persons life. No one has
    >any authority to do this. God is the only power and authority, and
    >his wisdom will prevail no matter what we as humans try to do to
    >correct things to how we think they should be. To attempt to assert
    >your will over Gods will is a direct violation of the first comman!
    > . The only person you can correct is yourself, and the tendency to
    >try and correct, influence, judge, or condemn anyone else is
    >arrogant and perhaps even malicious.
    > It is not the environment that needs to be changed, it is your
    >perception of it. As I already pointed out, Christ was able to sit
    >down with the publicans and sinners, not because he condoned their
    >behaviour, but because he had compassion towards them and was hoping
    >to heal their behaviour. To the Pharisees, who only had condemnation
    >on their agenda, he said 'I will have mercy, and not sacrifice'. He
    >prefaced that with the admonition " But go ye and learn what that
    >meaneth' . If Christians have not begun to learn "what that
    >meaneth", what the distinction between mercy and sacrifice is, then
    >they still have a ways to go to 'work out their own salvation'.
    >Condemnation of others, dictating morality, self will and self
    >righteousness are not consistent with Christ's teachings.
    > BTW, in this instance the judge only issued a temporary restraining
    >order. The school board is contesting this, and intends to pursue it
    >to the end. The gay student also intends to pursue his fundamental
    >human rights to the end. This case will probably end up in the
    >Supreme Court. Personally I think it's a lot of energy to expend
    >just because some people aren't willing to acknowledge the simple
    >rights and dignity of others, and to put their energy into promoting
    >good will and inclusion, rather than division and strife. People may
    >not agree with other peoples lifestyle, but as long as people feel
    >they can dictate their sense of morality on someone else, there will
    >continue to be strife and discord. God's will is best served by
    >acknowledging and following his Son, and living the example of
    >Christianity he gave to us, but nowhere did Jesus ever condemn
    >anyone. Isn't that what parts of society and certain institutions
    >are doing when they exclude people based on their sexual o!
    > ation or race or whatever.
    > To be honest, I struggled with this issue a lot myself. I know that
    >homosexuality is not consistent with Christianity, but what is
    >consistent is not condemnation, but healing and reform. So I
    >realised I had to reform my own thinking about this. I came to see
    >that no amount of moralising is ever going to change the homosexual
    >mindset, if anything it only hardens it against Christianity and
    >moral reformation and redemption. Yet, I do not acquiesce to the
    >tendencies of homosexual behaviour either. I can only do what is
    >right in my own life and hope that it will shine as an example to
    > I am going to paste a copy of a letter I wrote to certain
    >politicians regarding this issue when it began to gather steam. I
    >disagree with political correctness also, and as you will see, I
    >strongly maintain that the church should be protected from
    >government interference. You will also recognise that I do not take
    >this matter lightly and that my position has evolved somewhat since
    >writing this. Remember this was a high school dance, not a church
    >dance, and although a Catholic school it is still a public arena,
    >and in the public arena, I think the human right to freely associate
    >with whom we choose as individuals should be honoured. Like
    >Voltaire(?) said: I may disagree with what you believe, but I will
    >defend to the death your right to believe it.
    > Hon. Allan Rock
    > Minister of Industry
    > Government of Canada
    > MP, Etobicoke Centre
    > Mr. Rock,
    > I would like to comment on your address to the Egale
    >Gala last Thursday night. I am not a constituent in your riding,
    >neither am I Catholic, but I am a member of a church located in your
    >riding. My concern is not about the rightness or wrongness of
    >homosexual activity. That is strictly between the individual and
    >God. I am quite concerned about certain implications arising from
    >the Marc Hall dance partner case. My concern is the crucial
    >importance of maintaining the separation of church and state. I do
    >hope you fully appreciate the importance of maintaining this
    >principle as one of the pillars of democracy. Although Mr. Hall
    >believes he should have the right to do as he pleases regarding his
    >sexual orientation, and this may be true in a wholly secular arena,
    >it becomes a different situation when his decision impinges upon
    >the jurisdiction of the church to uphold it's position regarding
    >sexual morality. The government (if not the public) must appreciate
    >the Chri!
    > Church's position regarding this issue. The church is an
    >institution, which must uphold the Christian standards of sexual
    >morality. If it does not, it has failed in its mission. How it
    >achieves this is up to each individual church.
    > Certainly if a church blatantly violated civil liberties it should
    >be subject to the laws of the land. But it would be a very dangerous
    >precedent should a government begin to dictate how the church treats
    >certain issues.
    > Although many churches more than welcome having persons of the
    >gay community as part of their congregation, it is another matter
    >whether or not those same persons would be readily admitted into the
    >church membership. This scenario is not restricted to this group but
    >certainly it should be the churches prerogative to determine who
    >becomes a church member. My concern is that if the government
    >capitulates to public opinion and political lobbying (which the
    >Egale gala certainly evinced), and in the event that Mr. Halls
    >court case is won, then what happens when individuals or groups cry
    >foul when they are refused church membership on the basis of their
    >sexual orientation? Indeed, if same sex marriage should become law,
    >what is to prevent claims of discrimination against a church if it
    >refuses to conduct a same sex marriage? These individuals and lobby
    >groups claim the church is guilty of discrimination. This is a
    >malicious charge and grows out of a misapprehension of the m!
    > n and purpose of Christianity. It is not only the churches
    >prerogative; it is its duty to maintain the sacred institution of
    >marriage and sexual morality for these are the very cornerstones of
    >civilization. I fear that if same sex marriages are allowed, that
    >provisions must be made to protect the church from harassment or
    >criminal and civil proceedings when they refuse to conduct same sex
    > The church is certainly not against human rights or equality, but
    >the church must maintain a higher platform of spiritual rights and
    >mankind's God given dominion over immorality. How it is decided what
    >is immoral or not is, again, between the individual and God, but the
    >church must uphold what it maintains to be the Christian standard of
    >morality. The separation of church and state must be maintained to
    >ensure that both these institutions are allowed to govern their
    >separate spheres without undue influence or coercion.
    > Sincerely,
    > Stuart Kirkley
    > --
    > --
    > On Sun, 12 May 2002 10:09:04
    > Graham Morbey wrote:
    > >
    > >Hi Stuart,
    > >
    > >Do you think that banning an exhibition of a homosexual life style in this
    > >case was an attack on the homosexual life style? Do you think that
    > >personal ethics nullifies social ethics? Does a social institution with
    > >particular life style values have to give them up when called upon to do
    > >so by a particular personal life style that has different values? Where's
    > >the victory here? It seems to me that postmodern political correctness in
    > >our time of mutifaith pluralism ought to defend both the limits of
    > >personal freedom and limits of communal freedom. How to you understand
    > >personal rights and communal rights in times of conflict? Where was the
    > >right to religious freedom in all of this?
    > >
    > >Regards,
    > >
    > >Graham
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >On Sat, 11 May 2002, Stuart d Kirkley wrote:
    > >
    > >>
    > >>
    > >> Hi John,
    > >> I am in total agreement with you, although I am not familiar with
    > >> Leonardo Boff's works. Religion is meant to liberate, not to
    > >> subjugate. The Bible is meant to illumine our individual paths, not
    > >> to be bashed over other people's heads. Church is meant to create a
    > >> community of faith, love, understanding and outreach, not become a
    > >> pulpit for a narrow political agenda.
    > >>
    > >> I liked your quote from Leonardo Boff. You may also enjoy this
    > >> similar quote from Mary Baker Eddy:
    > >> "The test of all prayer lies in the answer to these questions: Do we
    > >> love our neighbor better because of this asking? Do we pursue the old
    > >> selfishness, satisfied that we have prayed for something better,
    > >> though we give no evidence of the sincerity of our requests by living
    > >> consistently with our prayer? If selfishness has given place to
    > >> kindness, we shall regard our neighbor unselfishly, and bless them
    > >> that curse us; but we shall never meet this great duty simply by
    > >> asking that it may be done. There is a cross to be taken up before we
    > >> can enjoy the fruition of our hope and faith." (Science and Health p.
    > >> 9)
    > >>
    > >> In regard to your clipping from the Associated Press, you may find
    > >> the following recent news from my neck of the woods (Toronto)
    > >> encouraging as well. A month or two ago a gay high school student
    > >> from a Catholic (private religious) School took his school board to
    > >> court because they refused him to bring his boyfriend to the High
    > >> School Prom. The Prom was just yesterday, Friday. The judge issued a
    > >> temporary restraining order yesterday against the board which
    > >> effectively allowed this person to bring his boyfriend to the dance.
    > >> I think this was a great victory for human rights. Although I don't
    > >> agree with the homosexual lifestyle, I don't think anyone has the
    > >> right to dictate what other people do with their private lives,
    > >> unless it is something criminal. There is nothing criminal with being
    > >> gay. As Rousseau or Voltaire ? said, I disagree with your viewpoint,
    > >> but I will defend to the death your right to exercise it.
    > >> (paraphrased)
    > >>
    > >> To be a liberal Christian is to understand and practice what Paul
    > >> meant when he said, 'Work out your own salvation with fear and
    > >> trembling' . This has been modified over time to become the present
    > >> saying 'Live, and let live'. I think too many self proclaimed
    > >> 'Christians' feel they have the moral authority to dictate how other
    > >> people should act. Christ said, when confronted by the pharisees as
    > >> he dined with the publicans and sinners, 'They that be whole need not
    > >> a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that
    > >> meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to
    > >> call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.' (Matt (12,13).
    > >> And of course, your reference to Micah 6:8 is a wonderful instruction.
    > >>
    > >> I would say to those Christians who feel besieged and threatened by
    > >> 'liberal' ideology, to let go of any resentment, animosity or ill
    > >> will and 'rather, let it be healed'. God cares for all His creation
    > >> and you can trust God to fully care for each of His individual
    > >> children. He will do it and it is not your responsibility or right to
    > >> impose your conception of God's will on other people. Look after your
    > >> own house, and see that it is in order, and don't be so quick to
    > >> judge, for 'he that judgeth, himself also will be judged'. In other
    > >> words, Let God be God, He is in charge and He will bring all His
    > >> children back into the fold through His son, Christ Jesus. Christ is
    > >> the shepherd, not you. Let him lead his flock, and he will seek out
    > >> all that are lost and bring them back into the fold in due time. Our
    > >> individual duty as Christians and followers of Christ, is to 'work
    > >> out our own salvation', to be a light and example unto those who we
    > >> would want to save also, by saving ourselves!
    > >> .
    > >> All you are doing by moralising and condemning others is hindering
    > >> Christs' true mission (and your own as his disciple) to 'have mercy,
    > >> and not sacrifice', because you are seeking sacrifice, not mercy.
    > >>
    > >> OK, that's my piece for now.
    > >> God Bless,
    > >> Stuart Kirkley
    > >> --
    > >>
    > >> On Fri, 10 May 2002 15:34:02
    > >> John W Burgeson wrote:
    > >> >
    > >> >I heard Rush Limbaugh the other day tell his audience what a "liberal"
    > >> >was.
    > >> >
    > >> >I did not recognize myself, or anyone I know, in his rantings.
    > >> >
    > >> >What do YOU think a liberal thinks? Narrow it down -- a liberal
    > >> >Christian.
    > >> >
    > >> >I'll give you a start. Micah 6:8 is pretty important. Madison's "Memorial
    > >> >and Remonstrance" is pretty important. The Bill of Rights, particularly
    > >> >Amendment #1.
    > >> >
    > >> >In no particular order:
    > >> >
    > >> >Free speech
    > >> >Religion free from government interference, either positive or negative.
    > >> >Against any law that inserts a grim faced man in a blue suit with a large
    > >> >gun into a doctor's office. In other words, pro-choice -- but NOT
    > >> >pro-abortion.
    > >> >Anti-racist in a wide meaning of that term. See all humanity as equal
    > >> >before God.
    > >> > People of color have equal standing
    > >> > Women have equal standing
    > >> > People with different sexual preferences have equal standing
    > >> >See diversity as a "good thing."
    > >> >Honor those of a different religious persuasion.
    > >> >Honor those with no religious persuasion.
    > >> >See Christianity as primarily a confessional, not a prescriptive
    > >> >religion.
    > >> >Subscribe, to a more or less extent, to Leonardo Boff's observation:
    > >> >
    > >> >One of Boff's most powerful books is Way of the Cross -- Way of Justice
    > >> >(Orbis, 1980) Written in blank verse, it is a series of meditations on
    > >> >the stations of the cross, a traditional exercise of individualistic
    > >> >Catholic piety that Boff transforms into a communal exercise as well. He
    > >> >effects this transformation by offering meditations on each of the
    > >> >"stations" of Jesus' original journey along the Via Dolorosa, all of
    > >> >which are followed by second meditations reflecting on the meaning of the
    > >> >station for Jesus followers in today's world. The practice exemplifies
    > >> >Boff's conviction that theology must have "two eyes," one looking to the
    > >> >past "where salvation broke in" and the other looking toward the present
    > >> >"where salvation becomes a reality here and now." The "way of the cross"
    > >> >focuses on the historical Jesus, but the "way of justice" focuses "on the
    > >> >Christ of faith who continues his passion today in his brothers and
    > >> >sisters who are being condemned, tortured and killed for the cause of
    > >> >justice" (p. viii) The parallels between what Jesus suffered then and
    > >> >what his followers suffer today are acute and heartrending. The book has
    > >> >intense power, and will surely become one of the spiritual classics of
    > >> >our time. Boff writes:
    > >> >
    > >> >"The eternal destiny of human beings will be measured by how much or how
    > >> >little solidarity we have displayed with the hungry, the thirsty, the
    > >> >naked and the oppressed. In the end, we will be judged in terms of love."
    > >> >
    > >> >This liberal has that motto taped to his PC monitor.
    > >> >
    > >> >Finally, the following good news came to me today from a fellow liberal:
    > >> >
    > >> >> Dallas City Council Approves Anti-Discrimination Ordinance
    > >> >> The Associated Press, May 8, 2002
    > >> >> DALLAS - The Dallas City Council on Wednesday adopted an ordinance
    > >> >> that prohibits discrimination against gays and lesbians in
    > >> >> housing and in public places such as hotels and restaurants.
    > >> >> The council voted 13-2 for the measure, which was pledged on the
    > >> >> campaign trail by new Mayor Laura Miller. Violation of the ordinance
    > >> >> will result in fines up to $500.
    > >> >> "Let us walk out of the shadow of intolerance and bigotry
    >and into the
    > >> >> sunshine of human rights," Councilman John Loza said.
    > >> >> The two councilmen who opposed the ordinance, Alan Walne and Mitchell
    > >> >> Rasansky, said it would be too expensive for the city to
    >enforce in an
    > >> >> already tight budget year. Resansky also said the measure
    >could be too
    > >> >> expensive for small businesses.
    > >> >> The ordinance exempts employers with less than 15 workers, and
    > >> >> proponents said it would cost only $15,000 in money that's
    >not already
    > >> >> budgeted.
    > >> >> American Airlines executive Donald J. Carty spoke in favor of the
    > >> >> ordinance and said the Fort Worth-based carrier has adopted a similar
    > >> >> policy for its workers.
    > >> >> "The true strength of our city lies in our diversity," he said.
    > >> >> The Rev. Flip Benham, director of the Dallas-based
    >anti-abortion group
    > >> >> Operation Save America, spoke against the measure.
    > >> >> "It's a travesty that breaks my heart," he said. "The city hall has
    > >> >> declared itself as God. It's a direct attack on the word of God."
    > >> >>
    > >> >This person sees no attack on the word of God. Except, perhaps, by Flip
    > >> >Benham.
    > >> >
    > >> >Your mileage may differ.
    > >> >
    > >> >John Burgeson (Burgy)
    > >> >
    > >> >
    > >> > (science/theology, quantum mechanics, baseball, ethics,
    > >> > humor, cars, philosophy and much more)
    > >> >
    > >> >
    > >>
    > >
    > >
    > >******************************************************************************
    > >Graham E. Morbey, Chaplain || Wilfrid Laurier University
    > >tel. 519-884-1970 ext.2739 || Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3C5
    > >fax 519-885-4865 ||
    > >******************************************************************************
    > >
    > >

    Graham E. Morbey, Chaplain || Wilfrid Laurier University
    tel. 519-884-1970 ext.2739 || Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3C5
    fax 519-885-4865 ||

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