Saturday, April 15, 2006

2383 A walk in the park

To get my 30 minute walk in this morning, I took along two items that needed to be returned to the library, then parked about 1/2 mile from the library, which is located in the park. So I was listening to the radio and when I tired of the garden guy making me feel guilty (cucumber peels will drive away ants I learned), I switched over to Dennis Prager. Actually, I didn't know he was available locally, but I've occasionally heard him via a California AM station on the internet.

"THE DENNIS PRAGER SHOW is different from every other radio talk show in America. First, Dennis talks about everything in life. Everything—from international relations to family issues to religion to sex. Second, Dennis is not only very smart, he is very funny. Third, he brings a moral perspective to every topic. Fourth, he is relentlessly interesting. That is why, after 20 years on Los Angeles radio, he is the most respected broadcaster in Southern California. He is now taking that reputation to a growing audience nationwide. The Los Angeles Times has described Prager as an “amazingly gifted man and moralist whose mission in life has been crystallized: to get people obsessed with what’s right and wrong.” That’s what he does everyday, for three terrific hours." Salem Communications

Prager, a Jew, said (this is a paraphrase) that although the right occasionally thinks unclearly, the left always does. The left sees morality in terms of rich and poor, and strength and weakness. If you are rich, you are bad. If you are strong, you are bad. Therefore, everything about the USA is bad. Israel is bad because it is richer and stronger than Palestine. The left hated Reagan more than Brezhnev. That's morality from the left (keep in mind I'm paraphrasing because I didn't have a pencil and paper with me).

Well, I used to be left of center; I was a humanist and a Democrat. But even when I was an evangelical Christian I was still voting and registering as a Democrat until 2001. Not all Democrats deny the role of personal responsibility--you can find a lot of them in AA and Al-Anon, and those folks know that it wasn't poverty or injustice that caused their elbows to bend so that their brains fell out.

Even in my most liberal days, I never believed that abortion was anything other than the destruction of a human being no matter what party supported it and never will. I've always disagreed with the "Palestinians just want their homeland back" argument that many mainline Christians support. At least during the last 30 years I've thought the UN and the National Council of Churches were sops for money of well meaning people. I've always thought it was our responsibility as Christians to take care of the earth, and thank you, if it had been up to the Republicans to get the job done, I wouldn't own a home on Lake Erie which is now clean enough to enjoy. For many years I was a pacifist, but that was my religious upbringing (Anabaptist), not politics. Most pacifists have lost their spiritual core as near as I can tell. They don't advocate peace in their personal lives, which is where it needs to start.

I part company with many evangelicals who may also be politically on the right in that I see nothing scriptural in denying ordination to and keeping women out of the pulpit, although it is practical and essential if you want a growing church. I don't believe in the death penalty and I don't think machine guns and uzzies are what the founding fathers had in mind. Nor do I think gun registration for law abiding citizens will reduce the crime rate at all, so there are other motives.

That said, if Prager is correct that the left thinks of morality in terms of rich and poor and strong and weak, then I agree, they cannot possibly think clearly about moral issues. I'm sure he's had much more to say on this topic, but it is something to think about, isn't it? While walking in the park.

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