Thursday, September 18, 2008

Politineutics

We can argue extensively about how to interpret various passages of the Bible - but there's a lot of stuff in there that really doesn't need much explanation and/or interpretation:
  • He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool. (Proverbs 10:18)
  • Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (Ephesians 4:31)
  • But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (Colossians 3:8)
  • Brothers, do not slander one another. (James 4:11)
  • Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. (1 Peter 2:1)
Just in case you're unclear on the definition of slander:
  • words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another
  • Anything spoken about an individual that is false and malicious that ridicules them or damages their reputation.
  • Abusive language, accusation, character assassination; the speaking of false and malicious words concerning another, whereby injury results to a person's reputation.
Now, we come to the really important part of Biblical interpretation - application. And as far as I can see, the political landscape is littered with folks who either completely ignore the ethical obligation to avoid slander and/or excuse it as "part of the process" or "the way things are done." It's the same ol' "break few eggs to make an omelet" garbage rhetoric.

And - no surprise - it's on both sides. There are a number of Christians who need to take advantage of 1 John 1:9 for the way they've forwarded rumors & innuendos in order to damage Senator Obama's campaign. At the same time, there are other Christians who've exalted in flaying Governor Palin as she's entered the campaign, accusing her of base motives and, in one very odd case of overreaching in political rhetoric, of pretending to be a woman.

All four of the main players in the presidential election come from Christian churches - one Roman Catholic (Joe Biden) & three Protestant (Barack Obama - United Churches of Christ, John McCain - Episcopal/Southern Baptist, Sarah Palin - Assemblies of God). So it's especially funny (funny ironic, not funny ha-ha) that the most common slander against these candidates is done by connecting them to Islam:
  • the last survey I saw indicated that 12% of Americans believe that Senator Obama is a Muslim
  • an article on Salon.com likened Governor Palin's beliefs to a Muslim fundamentalist
It's time for this to stop. I realize I'm spitting into the wind, but I appeal to all people of Biblical faith to take God's word seriously and apply it to the way you behave & speak in this political season. (I'd like for you to do this 24/7, but for right now I'm just lathered up about the campaign.)

For those of you not of Biblical faith, you still need to deal with the moral & ethical implications of slander... and acknowledge that whatever you think about the Bible, it makes good sense here.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said and sorely needed, Mark. Thank you.

--Keith

Jon said...

And let's not vote for candidates who slander either.