Friday, July 3, 2009

The Party of Family Values keeps on "thinking"...and keeps on sinking !

Oh, yeah. Promise Keepers. The Fellowship. Good ole Christian Right family values. The party of judgment and contempt, of exclusion and prejudice, the party that believes poverty, hunger, being black and homosexuality are all choices, shows once again why claiming to be morally superior is not only anti-Christian but is unrealistic and utterly prophetic. Every single time.

First of all, let's be clear. The Republican party must have been on their feet cheering like Notre Dame cheered for Rudy when John Ensign and Mark Sanford came out with their admissions of sexual, carnal, adulterous, naked, flesh-touching affairs.
At least these two cheaters had partners of the opposite sex (unlike Larry Craig, Mark Foley and Ted Haggard). So in a way the party offered their "conservative compassion" for at least not going all "log cabin-ish". Although I must say that Sanford's situation is a bit riskier as he chose an Argentine woman.
Fox News watchers have difficulty finding Argentina on the globe much less determining if it is on the Axis of Evil or if Argentina is "with us or against us." Too much culture and/or geographic distance can automatically get a country placed on Fox News' Enemy List and Argentina has both, i.e. tango, soccer, Vespas, chimichurri and empenadas.

Ensign and Sanford were both very prominent Republicans arguably in the top 5 of leaders of their leaderless party (if you don't count Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich---another extramarital conservative). Both Ensign and Sanford belonged to a religious known as "The Fellowship". Now this does not include Frodo or Gandolf but it does include a lot of white male Republicans. Here is the mission statement of The Fellowship:
To develop and maintain an informal association of people banded together, to go out as "ambassadors of reconciliation," modeling the principles of Jesus, based on loving God and loving others. To work with the leaders of other nations, and as their hearts are touched, the poor, the oppressed, the widows and the youth of their country will be impacted in a positive manner. It is said that youth groups will be developed under the thoughts of Jesus, including loving others as you want to be loved.

The mission statement seems harmless enough. Where did these two go wrong?

It shows once again how the body does not follow the mind, how one cannot think himself into right action. It is only by right action that right thinking can become automatic. A few years before Jesus pimped those sweet leather sandals in Palestine, Aristotle had several ideas that he expressed openly.

Here's one that underscores my point, taken from the Nicomachean Ethics:

II. The Good Character.

A. People have a natural capacity for good character, but it is developed through practice. The capacity does not come first--it's developed only through practice.

1. The vicious circle of which is preeminent--acts or dispositions--is broken by Aristotle's distinction between acts which create good dispositions and acts which flow from the good disposition once it has been created.
2. Arete is a disposition developed out of a capacity by the proper exercise of that capacity.
3. Habits are developed through acting; a person's character is the structure of habits and is formed by what we do.

Aha! This could explain why so many look to be saved without rowing the boat. God can calm the waters but He can't move the oars.

So, I wonder if Ensign and Sanford, as they lay atop their respective lovers in the moonlight like the scene in Top Gun with Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis, even quite possibly listening to "Take my breath away" by pop legend Berlin, if both men were still trying to think themselves into right action.

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