Monday, June 25, 2007

Good Ol' Southern Baptist Values

I was born and raised a Southern Baptist; church on Wednesday and twice on Sunday. I was fortunate; while my paternal grandfather was an old-school conservative preacher, my parents were far more liberal. The church we attended concentrated on instilling positive values; not on condemning the negative. My parents didn't teach me that drinking and smoking would cause me to go to Hell; they taught me that those activities were foolish. Consequently, I took the values my parents taught me to heart instead of feeling the need to rebel against them.

For the most part I still have the same values now that I had as a kid. I fit right in with my Christian co-workers; I actually come off as a bit of a prude in real life. I only differ from the church on those issues that rely on citing doctrine for justification. Or, in other words. pretty much all of the current political "morals" issues.

Let's take gay marriage. There simply is no way of legitimately opposing it without relying on scripture. That's because without claiming your religion says homosexuality is a sin, you have no way of getting around the central problem that what two other consenting adults do is none of your damn business. Thus you have absolutely no basis for claiming that gays getting married has any affect on you whatsoever.

With abortion, there shouldn't be any real debate that abortion is a bad thing. However, legally obligating women to bear any child they become impregnated with is a fundamental violation of a woman's freedom. Without the religious belief that unwanted pregnancies are a punishment for the sin of having sex; I can't just dismiss the claim that women should have a right to choose.

Finally, there's the "war on drugs". While I personally don't believe in using mind-altering chemicals; I'm also aware that using the legal system to solve social problems only acerbates the situation. The reality in this country is that most of the problem associated with illegal drugs come from the illegal part. Just like during Prohibition, we've only succeeded in creating a new criminal class.

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