Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hell of a Shouting Contest (Who Can Judge Me?)


Anthony Weiner, of course, became the target of many when he sexted with numerous women.  It cost him his job in public office.  Yet, in a bit of hubris in my opinion, he decided to run for mayor of New York City.  Well and good.  To err is human.  To forgive is divine.  Well...  Um...  That is... Until it is found out that the sexting continued even after he was caught the first time.

Apparently, the guy in the video objected to Weiner's decision to remain in the public eye, and they stood toe to toe.

And this is what I found interesting:

The repeated mantra, "Who are you to judge me?  What makes you morally superior to me?  Are you my judge?  And you are perfect?  You know who judges me?  You want to think of me as your superior.  Where do you get the morality to judge me?  You are not my God."

Weiner and this guy going back and forth are Jewish, and it would be an intriguing question for them to sit down with a Rabbi and indeed hash this thing out.  But there is a bigger problem raised in this exchange:

What is the standard for morality within our nation?

I'll give you 30 seconds or so.

Found it yet?

That's because I think you won't.  I don't think you will find a moral standard which covers 100% of the folks in our nation.

This is one of the fall outs of the Post-modern world.  Essentially, one can do whatever one wants as long as it does not "harm" anyone--to one's best definition of the word harm.  Where this is exactly rooted as a particular philosophy in life, one must question for there are more than a few examples of where harming someone short term is actually a good thing in the long run.  Don't believe me: vaccines.  Short pain for the kids.  Long term protection.  But that is another issue.

What is at stake is how does one confront someone who has done something which the majority of people in society feel is wrong (sending nude pics and receiving nude pics from others when married)--when that person doesn't necessarily feel like he's done anything wrong?  How does one invoke morality and a standard of life when another doesn't hold that same standard?  How does one find some sort of moral high ground to point to when two people have such a vehement disagreement?

I mean, I could type this post out and fill it with all sorts of colorful language.  Some of you might call me on it and say, "As a pastor, you should not be using such language."

I could easily respond, "God judges me.  You don't.  I don't believe I am doing anything wrong."

"But society thinks it's wrong.  There are societal norms, and you are violating them."

"And society's norms are perfect?  We live in a perfect society?  What if their norms are wrong?  Like back in the early history of our nation when people of color were thought to be less than fully human?  Society dictates the norms?"

One can easily undermine any sort of argument just as Weiner does to this chap in the video.

Now, it is one thing to point to one's religious faith as a resource for such norms.  It is another to point to the U.S. Constitution.  It is another thing to point to case law interpreting that Constitution.  It is another thing to point out the interpretation of certain passages from the Bible.  All of these things are different!

Where is the agreed upon base, foundation, center?

We don't have one.

And until we get one, I believe we will see more shouting contests.

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