God’s Laws

Something Sanford said at his press conference that’s been bugging me since:

But I — I guess where I’m trying to go with this is thatthere are moral absolutes, and that God’s law indeed is there to protect you from yourself.

Because … I’m sorry, it isn’t God’s law that keeps me from cheating on my husband. It’s the promise I made in public to basically not be an asshole to him for the rest of our lives, and that I like him quite a lot and don’t want to upset him. God is not my traffic cop, and I just find the idea that He should have to be so very tiresome. Doesn’t He have enough to do without protecting me from my otherwise uncontrollable urges?

Now, granted, God and I have a relationship not unlike two exes who meet once a year for a quickie in a hotel room to get it out of their systems and then spend the other 364 days bitching about each other, but I’m not unaware that many people do rely upon Christian moral teachings for guidance as to how they live their lives. I’m not talking about looking at the life of Jesus and thinking, “You know, I should be like that guy, with the working for the poor and the defense of the decent and downtrodden and whatnot.” There’s nothing wrong with inspiration and motivation.

I’m talking about this certain conservative fundie tendency to cite God as a preventative, like chemical castration or something. You can be the biggest dick on the planet but so long as your Cosmic Crossing Guard is there, you’ll stay inside the white lines? God’s a vaccine, basically, to keep away the kind of flu that leads to you sticking your dick in somebody you’re not married to?

How … reductive.


10 thoughts on “God’s Laws

  1. Let me see if I have this right: God is so awesomely powerful that he keeps track of every single one of the 4 billion people inhabiting this planet, plus the umpteen billion of his other “children” inhabiting other planets. He is so utterly in charge that he created all of the billions of stars, planets, galaxies, and even tiny bits of loose matter moving around the universe. He has been doing this since he first created the universe about 13 billion years ago. (By the way, does anyone have a feel for how big a number even one billion is?) But, this awesomely powerful God, who is so consumed with having all of us keep our pants zipped unless we are with the wives, has to depend on each of us, all umpteen billion of us, to remember that “He cares”, in order to maintain the order he so loves? Is that about right? Pardon me for having a slight doubt about this.

  2. Some religion-related things that piss me off:
    1. The “Jesus as personal savior” line. You don’t have a personal savior like you have a personal trainer or a personal accountant. “Am I saved?” is narcissistic, indulgent and irrelevant. Thereal question is, “Are WE saved?” And if your immediate response to that is, who is “we” and what does that kind of collective “saved” mean, congratulations and keep thinking.
    2. “I don’t need to go to church to feel close to God – I can do that at (fill in the blank).” It isn’t about you getting a warm fuzzy, it’s about worshipping as part of a community. You communing at the mountaintop or in your living room isn’t what it’s about. That’s what the whole “whentwo or more are gathered” business means.
    As for the “otherwise uncontrollable urges”here is the kind of crappy reasoning used to defend it. If you’re the type who can be so overwhelmed with infatuation that you’re willing to throw away whoever you’re with then maybe you ought not to marry in the first place. Fuller’s moon eyed rationalizing for him is not helpful.

  3. Hi A,
    While I see your point, I would point out 2 things : One is, “Do Unto Others…” is considered one of God’s laws (and easily gives a good rationale on not being a jerk to one’s spouse). The idea also appears in a wide range of spiritual literature across a wide range of religions.
    The other is that in the Catholic tradition (including Episcopalian which Sanford is), marriage can be seen as a marriage of not just 2 people, but of 3 (Groom, Wife, Christ).
    So as much as I detest Sanford’s politics, I am somewhat willing to give him a pass on your point.
    However, I fully agree with you that his speech had an undue emphasis on “God’s Law” and only a perfunctory apology towards his wife. (Not to mention, his kids which had absolutely nothing to do with this but are, I’m sure, going through hell right now just from the marital discord. And when you add on the public buzz on this…YECH!).
    I’d also agree that this is a fudie habit to legalize based on “God’s Law” and be totally blind to what they are doing to those around them (something Jesus was rather critical of with the Pharisees being held out as a prime example. Not to mention the Old Testament minor prophets again being highly critical of.)

  4. “Cosmic Crossing Guard “– stealing that but will give you credit. Thank you for the riff. I had picked up on this Forgiveness Gives Me a Pass thing a few years ago listening to some preacher (which?). Then there is Augustine saying Give me chastity– but not yet. I am ashamed to say I hope his wife is not sincere about letting him come nack. Keep him kicked out!

  5. Because if it weren’t for god, we’d all be cheating, thieving rapists combing the pedophilic countryside. The sad thing is that, without an external set of rules deemed acceptable by a collective which tell them not to do something, the self-important sanctimonious would probably run amok. The rules are there to protect us from them, not them from us. So much for the individualism, internalized values and Randian humanism these assholes purport to stand for.

  6. Can’t remember who I stole this from:
    God created man in His own image. Man, being a gentleman, returned the favor.
    Pretty sure that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to worship a God who hates all the same people you do.

  7. No, basically what Sanford is saying is, “It’s God’s fault. His Law failed to protect me from myself. I am blameless here, I am the victim.”
    Christian “morality” is at the root of our social decay. It forgives too much and requires too little.

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