September 15, 2011

A sword

I read this quote at one of my favorite blogs, The Steady Conservative:

"You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal, play with falsehood without forfeiting your right to truth, play with cruelty without losing your sensitivity of mind.  He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn’t reserve a plot for weeds.” – Dag Hammarskjold

I was leading a Bible study on Joseph and the temptation he faced from Potiphar’s wife (Gen 39) and in preparing for it I found this quote in a book about Joseph by Charles Swindoll.  It hit me as a pretty profound statement; especially that last line.  It applies to any sin that we rationalize and justify into our lives.  Politics and government are just another segment of our lives and the world we live in.  God’s word is God’s word and sin is sin.  When we try to rationalize why it is ok to allow abortion, to allow same sex marriages, to rule unfairly outside the rule of law…etc…we are straying from the example that was given to us with Joseph.  We are playing with the animal inside us and then are left puzzled…wondering why our society is falling apart.  While the answer is staring at us straight in the face."

While I wholly agree with Chris, and really want to highlight this quote and analysis without taking away, I'm still stuck with a dilemma.  I believe in being subject to Kings, Presidents, Rulers, and Magistrates in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.  I also believe that the founders of this country built the foundation for the most free country this earth has ever seen, and the best chance we have to live peaceably with one another is pointed out in our Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..." 

I'll get to the junction of these two quotes in a minute, but first I want to point out that the quote (within a quote....quoteception?) from Dag, while universal in its principle, really only applies to a moral person or society of persons.  Only one who is interested in bettering themselves, or in persuading others toward a train of thought, will really be affected by the strength of Dag's statement.  I believe Chris correctly points out that we are currently reaping what we and others have sown, which can also be extrapolated to the seeds we are currently sowing.  My/our dilemma stems from our own declaration of self government:  my code of morals is entirely different than yours, even those of you who are of the same faith as me.  How does freedom prevail, when every single voice in "the governed" is pulling for something different?  How can I justify compromise in the law without "reserving a plot for weeds"?

The short answer is, "I can't."  What really spurred this post today is a section of Mormon scripture: D&C Section 134, which talks about the Church's views on government.  I've been pondering on this section for over a year now, trying to put all this together.  I can't say that I will have done it satisfactorily by the end of this post, but if you read that section, you may get a better idea what I'm trying to explain here.

I understand that we need laws to help us all live somewhat peaceably, what I think people forget most is that the enumerated right only claims the pursuit of happiness, not the guarantee of it.  We are all going to fight for what we think is the best way to do things, and we will all end up with varying degrees of disappointment - that much is guaranteed.  I cannot and will not ever vote for something that I know to be wrong.  Do I think it is wrong to "impose my beliefs" on people who disagree?  Not anymore.  I will never again be cowed into submission by all the big, scary words people use to shut others up.  I'll be labeled a racist, bigoted, homophobic (help me out Keith Olbermann) religious zealot, and all the while I'll be thinking, "You say that like it's a bad thing!"

"Wow, Jim, that's quite a jump from D&C 134 to all the crap you just spewed out..."  You may right, but I forgot to bring up one little thing: Matthew 10:34-39.  I don't mean to be an ass about it, this is just my attempt at boldness.  Can we smile and get along nicely when we disagree?  Sure.  Does that mean I'm going to be steamrolled in the interest of talking nicely to one another?

If you agree, I hope you find the strength to stand.  You're gonna need it.

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