The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The UCC, and why Jeremiah Wright matters

It may seem strange to open a post entitled "The UCC, and why Jeremiah Wright matters" with a reference to Yom Kippur, but the connection is as follows: On Yom Kippur (which began the night before last and extended through most of yesterday) the congregation whose service I attended held that service at a church of the United Church of Christ, Jeremiah Wright's denomination. (They have for many years used churches as venues for their High Holiday services, because they get large attendances on those days and need places much larger than their usual service locations. For the past 20 years they've met for High Holidays at a Presbyterian church a few blocks from the White House, but that church is under renovation, so they used this UCC church this time.)

While waiting for the service to begin, I spent some time looking at the church's hymnals, which were found in the pews. The UCC hymnal turns out to contain much more than what I expected in a hymnal; it had a lot of material on the forms with which the ICC services are to be conducted and it turns out that (not surprisingly, since it was formed by the combination of a number of originally separate Protestant denominations) it tolerates a lot of diversity of doctrine. Even on the doctrine of transsubstantiation, which is generally, among Christians, a major doctrinal difference, it seems that UCC pastors are given the freedom to determine whether they will allude to it in serving the bread and wine.

And this is why I think that Jeremiah Wright matters. It is true, and nobody can deny this, that Barack Obama was essentially a secular person until Rev. Wright converted him. And it is, therefore, likely that Sen. Obama's religious views were formed by Rev. Wright. Each UCC minister clearly has the power to make his congregation over in the image of his own religious ideas, and Sen. Obama was converted by Rev. Wright, attended Rev. Wright's church for over 20 years, and remained a communicant of Rev. Wright's church until it became politically embarrassing.

So Barack Obama has to be charged with Rev. Wright's religious ideas. Wright does matter.

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