Tag Archives: Ayn Rand

De-mangling political religion, Part One

November 25, 2012


We’re beyond the mere need for civil discourse. Our minds are askew. We actually believe our own rhetoric as an article of faith. We no longer know how to talk because we no longer know how to think. We’re thrusting religious categories onto politics, and that’s true of both pious and secular fundamentalists. Classical politicians are pragmatists in their heart of hearts. They’ve wended their way through local and state governments, where the grand debates center around zoning regulations, potholes, sewer lines, schools and budgets. Old school city pols made sure Mrs. O’Leary got her groceries and medicine. It was practical vs. impractical and useful vs. unworkable, all under the umbrella of the law and agreed-upon values. We’ll compromise with our opposing “friends” because the people elected them as well. Sure we have ideals, and we’ll salute Old Glory with relish, but that’s because Old Glory symbolizes our practical approach. Political ideals serve people, not vice versa.

No longer. We’ve forgotten something subtle and yet crucial, articulated well by Dutch theologian/statesman Abraham Kuyper: Politics and religion occupy two distinct, although sometimes overlapping, spheres. Our religion can and should inform our political beliefs (remember Gandhi, Aung San Suu Kyi and Martin Luther King: “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.”), but the two categories cannot be confused. They’re linked but not enmeshed. Otherwise, we view fundamentally practical questions (should we repair that bridge?) through a spiritual grid. Everything is moral vs. immoral and evil vs. good. We demand Messiahs, not effective representatives and administrators. We insist our presidents become pastors.

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Thieves in the Temple

April 19, 2011


I’m hearing whips crack, coins clink, and benches flung against walls. The hawkers and peddlers and venders race for the gate as sheep bleat and doves fly. A furious Messiah is taking his temple back a day after Palm Sunday. He’s not negotiating. As the dust clears, I can’t help but wonder: Are there money-changers in our temples? Even worse, have we become the hucksters? Have I? My answer: Yes to each. There are thieves in our temple, and I’ve been one of them.

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A round-up of thoughtful thinkers thinking thoughtfully — I think

September 14, 2010

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I’m still floored by yesterday’s discovery. It’s as if I unearthed a thirst-quenching pool in a dune-filled desert. I actually stumbled across depth, insight and acumen. Really. No kidding. Thinkers are thinking after all. There is wisdom beyond the rants of talking heads — and the people in the street (or at their laptops, at least) deserve to know. Today’s mission is to bring their thoughts to the foreground. Call this a “brain-power round up.”

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