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Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Monkey Wrench Of Humility

Los Angeles Times
Arizona Religious Freedom Bill,0,6953661.story#ixzz2u2l5r04h

TUCSON -- Say a gay couple in Phoenix walks into a bakery to order their wedding cake. The baker refuses to take their order because of his deeply held religious beliefs.
Under a measure that passed the Arizona Legislature this week, the baker would have greater protection to invoke religion to shield himself from a discrimination lawsuit.

The bill, approved by the Republican-controlled Senate on Wednesday and the GOP-led House on Thursday, would bolster a business owner’s right to refuse service to gays and others if the owner believes doing so violates the practice and observance of his or her religion.
The state Senate passed it on a straight party-line vote, 17 to 13. The House followed suit, 33 to 27, with two Republicans joining all the Democrats in opposition.
Proponents contend the bill is about protecting religious freedom, rights that “must be respected,” said Republican Sen. Steve Yarbrough, who introduced the measure.
Republican Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, a House sponsor, said there had been an “onslaught of attacks on religious freedoms.” The bill, he said, “is trying to protect those freedoms.” ...
Interesting state of affairs.

First, the logic is hard for me to grasp. I understand fully the sense of religious urgency; it is the "logic" that is elusive.
There is a good deal of emotion involved in this. Logical reasoning has forms and rules which logical people follow. Emotion-based conclusions, however, do not follow from premises to conclusion; one usually "jumps" over any barrier to the answer: a leap of faith, if you will.
I think we may safely say that the validity of an argument which is highly emotional usually does not depend upon the logical form of the argument, rather the validity we ascribe to such an argument is based upon our emotional agreement with the conclusion.

Second, this makes general nonsense of the old saw of loving the sinner, hating the sin.
In essence, the attitude represented by this Arizona law removes the veil of Love and Charity from the expressed religious views of its proponents, and reveals what really is beneath their smiles/frowns.

Third, I have often mentioned the Ironic Reversal, wherein a person or thing undergoes a jarring change, usually from good to bad; for example, the story of the Tower of Babel is one such story of ironic reversal. We are aware that these ironic reversals are literary devices, yet they are also real components of human life, and this awareness we sum up in pithy sayings, such as "The bigger they are, the harder they fall." and "Pride goes before a fall."
There are many such maxims.

How does one escape from the tragedy of ironic reversal? How do you avoid the fall from arrogance into oblivion? How does Dives avoid the flames of hell? How do the Branch Davidians escape the flames?

The most obvious way is to never achieve the pinnacle of an extreme position in the first place.

When one reads the Sermon on the Mount and its blessing of the meek, when one hears that one ought to turn the other cheek, did it ever occur to us that this is a prescription for throwing a monkey wrench into the works of a swift fall and destruction?
Did it ever occur that humility is the way to avoid the reversals of unkind fate, not to avoid doing anything, but to avoid following one's obsessions to an extreme position, such extremes being usually on the tipping edge of the abyss.

The teachings of the Gospels are for moderation, not total renunciation.

Now in the case of the Arizona law, we see the normal cycle of events of political differences when they are interpreted as positions extreme relatively to each other - the political life is a zero-sum game, not a "big tent", where everything someone wins is a loss for someone else.
These are political positions on the extremes. (Not necessarily, however, extreme politics in the sense of bomb throwing anarchy.)

Group A oppresses group B, group B pushes back, gains power, institutes changes which group A interprets as an attack on them... things go back and forth, cycling in this contest of wills.

The way to break the cycle of reversals is humility, it is turning the other cheek.
It is pursuit of the way of moderation in all things, politics, war, love, finance. So many of our present problems are due to our covetous and greedy desire for as much as we can possibly experience, see, own, love...

Humility is the spanner thrown into the works of destruction and desuetude.

Now you will ask how that translates into action.
You already know that answer. Your pretense of not knowing is merely your desire to keep on keeping on in the ways of vast acquisitiveness, utter satiety, and an impending downfall.
It is a narrative that we love, even though it is we ourselves who are downcast.


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