Set Up

Barack Obama recently said that the Sermon on the Mount guides his public policy, particularly with regard to “civil unions” (which will never satisfy the homosex lobby, since a civil union could apply to boyfriend-girlfriend, roommates, an elderly woman and her son, whatever).

Obama said that while he does not believe in gay marriage, he does think the state should allow civil unions that allow a same-sex couples to visit each other in a hospital or transfer property to each other.

“If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans,” Obama said.

Does he mean Romans 1, where Paul sets out the Christian understanding of natural law and how God built it into creation (how much broader can you get)? Or Romans 2, which says that no one is righteous before God? Obama’s is the same nonsense as that lady who was “both a Christian and a Muslim.” “I think,” “in my mind,” “for my faith”? Who gives a flying crap? How you feel and what you think overrule twenty centuries of Christian teaching and practice? Fine. But don’t pretend you represent the Church’s teaching.

But there’s something more insidious beneath Obama’s comments. I’ve asked the question before, but why don’t the left-wing, anti-theocracy nuts seize on these sorts of comments like they do on those of Dobson or Falwell (R.I.P)? Using the Sermon on the Mount and temporally interpreted notions of peace to govern the United States is just as theocratic as using whatever Old Testament passages. It all depends on whose theos is kratow-ing. I don’t want either of them. The United States is not and never will be a theocracy, at least to our limited vision. Of course, Jesus is Lord of all, whether anyone recognizes it or not. But neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament give a full agenda for government.

(Although, “an eye for an eye” is a much better blueprint for government than “love your enemies.” Justice in the left-hand kingdom of God is far more appropriate than the mercy of the right-hand kingdom. Mercy and forgiveness belong to the Church and to Christ, which are unknown to this world, and so they cannot be governing principles until/unless the whole world is Christian.)

Theocracy is theocracy is theocracy. Either have it or don’t, but don’t pretend Sermon-on-the-Mount theocracy is better or more “authentic” than lex talionis theocracy.

Timotheos

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2 thoughts on “Set Up

  1. Not to mention the fact that he’s not really interested in taking the Sermon on the Mount as a whole, nor in its proper context. Most people who refer to the Sermon on the Mount in similar contexts to that of Obama here, are really just thinking of Matthew 7:1 (and maybe verse 2). Indeed, taken as a whole the Sermon on the Mount does NOTHING for the positions being defended, and in fact could be argued to be antithetical to them.

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