[Vision2020] Baal breaking, again

Joan Opyr auntiestablishment@hotmail.com
Thu, 20 Nov 2003 19:28:24 -0800

My dear Doug,

I gather from your post that Tom, Melynda, and I (et al.) have really gotten 
your goat.  I wouldn't have believed it, but I just looked out the window 
and there it was, tied to a stake on the front lawn.  Wish I could return it 
to you, but it's too tightly noosed with that piece of rope you and Steve 
Wilkins so carefully wove.  Ah, well.  Perhaps we can sacrifice it at the 
Temple of Baal -- as soon as we finish building one, that is.  We seem to 
have used up all the Legos on the Altar of Modernity.

You fling terms like moral relativism about as if there's universal 
agreement that that's a bad thing -- worse, say, than perverse anachronism.  
Well, Smiley, I'm afraid it won't work.  I am perfectly willing -- by the 
powers invested in me by secular humanism, good sense, and my own conscience 
-- to declare that slavery is always and everywhere bad.  That it's wrong to 
sell, to purchase, or to own another human being.  Wrong in Egypt, wrong in 
Greece, wrong in Rome, wrong in Dixie, wrong under your nose, behind your 
back, round the corner and up the street.  It was wrong then; itís wrong 
now; it shall be wrong in the future.  What's more, I'm willing to say this 
without asking for God's approval on the one hand or your sanction on the 
other.  I don't need them.  I've accepted the premise that all human beings 
are created equal, endowed by their creator (or the primordial sea and 
genetic mutation) with certain inalienable rights, among these life, 
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and I am pleased to take this premise 
all the way back to the stone age.  Picts with blue bums dancing in 
Scotland; Neanderthals painting on the caves of Lasquaux; Lucy taking a walk 
through Olduvai Gorge -- none should have held slaves or been slaves.  I'm 
not interested in Pauline prescriptions for Christian slave-holding anymore 
than I care whether or not Ra told Pharoah he should round up some Hebrews 
to build his pyramid.  It doesn't matter if it was last millennium or last 
Tuesday -- if your God tells you that you may own another human being, then 
your God is the First Bank of Self-Interest.

You're free to call this moral relativism.  If that's what it is, I'll have 
a heaping helping with mashed potatoes and gravy.  You see, Doug, like 
Pollyanna I believe that people are basically good, and, given world enough 
and time, that we'll find a better way.  In short, I'd rather take my 
chances with a jury of my peers than embrace the narrow self-justifications 
that pass for sound theology in your fallen world.

And that's what I call kicking it, Idaho-style.  God is dead.  Long live 

Joan Opyr/Auntie Establishment

PS: You'll probably notice that I haven't bothered to answer your canned 
questions.  That's because A) you're not Socrates, B) this isn't Sunday 
school, and C) you're stacking the deck and dealing from the bottom.  I 
admit freely that my standard is comparatively modern, and I say, so what?  
You live and you learn.  If the price of eternal verity is the license to be 
a jackass, then you can keep your logos.  I'm content to keep doing exactly 
what humanity has been doing for the past three million evolutionary years: 
making it up as we go along.

Now, I'm off to have a cup of tea and re-read The Scarlet Letter.  (Plot 
summary: woman sleeps with Calvinist minister; gets left holding the bag.)

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