Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The Nature of the Left/Right Divide

Senator Tim Scott - a social conservative (Wiki)
Rights versus obligations. What does one do when there is a conflict? As is often the case it depends on who you ask.

If you believe in God and that He has a plan for mankind as expressed in the bible, then obligations must trump rights. If on the other hand one does not believe in God or that the bible expresses His will, then of course rights take precedence. Obligations based on faith are at best not clearly understood or may not even exist to someone who is an agnostic or an atheist

But if you are like me and believe that the bible expresses the actual word of God, then its obligations are very real and must be followed. Always trumping individual rights. 

Judaism is in fact a religion of obligations. It is not a rights based democracy. Although Judaism does recognize democratic values and rights in many areas, it is mostly in the realm of human interactions such as financial rights or property ownership. Obligations to God always win over personal rights. There is no such thing as a right to have gay sex, physically change one’s sex, or cross dress just because it doesn’t hurt anyone else 

This more or less defines the basic dispute between the right (social conservatives) and the left (social liberals). These two opposing ideologies are best reflected in what I believe is the most important social issue of our day the LGBTQ+ community.

If you are a religious person who believes that certain obligations are Divine, you will always choose obligation to God over your rights or anyone else’s. If you are not a religious person and do not see the obligations of the bible to be the actual word of God, you will pick rights over obligation. Adding that faith traditions vary. Just because my faith tells me that God wants X doesn’t mean someone else’s does. Thus individual rights must be the defining factor in determining what is fair and just. Because we cannot know for sure what God wants anyway - since there are so many different religions telling us what our obligations to God are (if one even believes in God in the first place).

But in a nation founded by Christians whose motto is ‘In God we trust’, I think it is safe to say, that the bible is where God is found and from which the founding fathers drew their founding principles. 

This is why the right opposes legislation that forces us to accept LGBTQ+ lifestyles as normal. The left would say that everyone has the right to live the way they choose as long as they don’t hurt anyone else. The left and the right defines morality differently. 

The right sees those obligations set in stone. Violating them is a violation of God’s will. They will dare not defy the will of God by normalizing behavior they believe violates God’s laws. And will certainly oppose any legislation that tries to do that.

The left will ague that rights are a universal good that applies to all human beings. And therefore should always be chosen over obligations when they conflict - since mankind is divided over what those obligations are. What about God? ‘Who knows what God really wants’, might be their reply since they do not view the words of the bible as the final word of God, if they even believe in God! They see such legislation as a violation of human rights and an outrageous and unjust treatment of the LGBTQ+ community. A community that only wants to be treated like everyone else.

Therein lies the conundrum. At the end of the day this is an ideological war between the right and the left. A war that has become extremely polarizing. Is America going to be a Godly society... or a humanistic society? That is the question. Should the bible is trashed because some of its obligations are seen as unjust in our more enlightened times?

If you listen to the left, that is exactly what they want. 

As someone that believes that the word of God as expressed in the bible is the ultimate truth – I obviously do not think anything in the bible should be trashed. Certainly not where the beliefs Judaism and Christianity coincide based on a shared bible. (Our Torah and their old testament) Beliefs which are shared by Islam too even though Christianity and Judaism do not share a bible with them.                      

What about atheists? Don’t they have rights too in a democracy like ours? Of course they do. But no one is forcing them to believe in God. Sure they see human rights trumping what they believe are non existent obligations. But until such time they become the majority they will have to live in a country where the vast majority are not atheists.  

The sad reality is that culturally - the left is winning. Choosing rights over obligations every time.  Which is why I support efforts by the right to counter the trend of normalizing lifestyles that are conducive to countering obligations to God.

All that being said, I want to be clear, I actually sympathize with the struggles of LGBTQ+ people. Depression and suicide is much higher in their community than it is in the general population. I also realize that their sexual orientation and sense of which gender they are is a situation not of their own making. So treating them with anything other than with the dignity that all human beings made in the image of God deserve is just as much of a Godly obligation for us as is their not acting in the prohibited ways their sexuality might lead them. 

Disparaging or ridiculing LGBTQ+ people is not an option. No human being deserves to be treated that way. That is just plain evil. The Gemara is very clear. Embarrassing anyone in public is tantamount to murder. One must separate our obligation in how to treat forbidden behavior from our obligation to treat LGBTQ+ people as human beings worthy of respect and dignity.