Saturday, February 26, 2011

Equal weights, equal measures

Moses writes that unequal weights and unequal measures are an abomination to the Lord, which means that from the perspective of God's law, such partiality - being abominable - is in the same bucket as having sex with animals. And Moses is clearly correct, since once we give way to such partiality, no one can say what atrocities we won't wind up making excuses for. Truly, if partiality is permitted, then all is permitted.

Needless to say, partiality is a whole lot more common among folks than having sex with their dogs, and a whole lot better thought of. In general, people generally think it's just fine, like Papa Bush declaring that he would never apologize for the United States of America while certainly believing that others should apologize for their own misconduct. So for Americans, 3,000 dead people in New York on September 11, 2001 is the biggest thing in the world, while 3.000 dead Panamanian poor people in Chorillo in 1989 at the hands of the US Marines is beneath notice, along with the thousands of Chileans murdered and many thousands of others tortured due to the American-sponsored coup of September 11, 1973. Jesus wasn't exaggerating when he said that what is held in honor among men is abominable to God. When we're told not to be conformed to this world, we're being told some pretty radical stuff, and if we actually obey that instruction, we'll be way out of step with everybody.

A particularly disgusting example of how this works has been supplied to us this past week by President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and Fidel Castro of Cuba, who have all been making excuses for Muammar Qaddafi's conduct in the past two weeks. How they would have talked if an American-supported dictator were doing exactly the same things can well be imagined.

No doubt they are correct in figuring that the Americans and Europeans would be pleased to take advantage of the situation in order to control Libyan petroleum. That's how it has always been. But does that change the nature of Qaddafi's conduct or the nature of his regime? And by making a revolting spectacle of themselves through their partiality, are these guys actually doing themselves or anyone else any good?

Now if these gentlemen really laid to heart the way of Americans that make all sorts of excuses for the conduct of their own favorite empire which they denounce in other countries - even as the Americans contract out torture to some of those very countries - if these guys understood that they were looking in a mirror, they might have said to themselves, "Wow, those Americans do look disgusting when they do that. Let's make real sure to learn from them not to do the same!" In this way, when we see a dog eating its own vomit, the proverb warns us to consider that that's what we look like when we return to our same old folly instead of turning away from it and doing it no more.

Instead, they've only seen debating points, seeing these specks in American eyes while taking no notice of the logs in their own. Now with their example in mind, how about asking God just how we're doing just like them right now, and learn to do otherwise. Disgusting conduct can be very purifying to look at, so long as we don't say in our hearts, "Thank you God that I'm not like those guys." The only alternative - the way of life - is to remember that God is really holding up a mirror to us. That way is tight and narrow, and few they are that find it.

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