It seems to me that every once in a while several events occur at about the same time that kinda fit together resulting in a outcome larger than any of the individual pieces. That’s what I figured happened of late.
A “Pulpit Talk” column by Pastor “Pete” Creamer, a guy I’ve known for a number of years, appeared recently in this newspaper. He recounted how he ended a pre-game prayer at a church softball league game with “… one of those ‘slips of the tongue’ and … accidentally said, ‘In Jesus name we play’ [instead of the expected ‘in Jesus name we pray’].”
He continued, “As both teams made their way to field their positions or to the dugout, our team manager gathered our team into a huddle and commented how he wanted our team to play, not just this game but every game … ‘in Jesus name’. … [and] for the next several years whoever prayed for our games would use that phrase at the close of the prayer.” Pastor Pete then asserted, “One of the mistakes we often make is that of segregating life into those things we call ‘spiritual’ and those we call ‘physical.’ In reality, there are no such designations… .”
OK, keeping this in mind, let’s move on to the second event.
The news has been full recently of the U S Supreme Court and its decision that, in certain situations, a company may be exempted, on religious grounds, from some rules of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The specific rules in question are those forcing companies to provide “morning after” drugs and other procedures associated with abortion and are contrary to the company’s owners religious beliefs.
Opponents of the ruling immediately protested that the ruling was an attack on women’s reproductive rights — which is sheer nonsense - but more importantly, that religion has no place in business. According to these folks religion is acceptable as long as it’s confined to houses of worship and the home but cannot manifest itself in commerce. This is the position that has prevailed in several states where family-owned bakeries were forced to close their doors because they refused to provide wedding cakes for same sex marriage celebrations — which was contrary to their religious beliefs. In this case, however, the Supremes decided differently.
The third incident in this series of events occurred when a long-time friend told me of a conversation he had with his grandson. The lad asked his grandpa to help him learn the Ten Commandments - a homework assignment from the parochial school the young man attended as an alternative to public school. The grandpa agreed, but cautioned there might be some unusual words, such as “covet” the boy might not understand.
The boy replied disgustedly, “Grandpa, I just have to know what they are. I don’t have to know what they mean.” An interesting and revealing comment from a young member of today’s society, huh?
In the history of this country, religion has played a key role in supplying an underlying morality as well as standards of behavior in the everyday lives of our people — including in business and politics. Today, however, religion and its inherent morality are under attack. The basic concept embodied in the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, has become distorted into, “Do it unto others before they do it unto you.”
The “Ten Commandments” have become the “Ten Suggestions” and are either ignored or laughed at as being no longer meaningful in today’s world. As the young lad said, “I just have to know what they are. I don’t have to know what they mean.”
Author Randy Wayne White has observed, “In any conflict, the boundaries of behavior are defined by the party that cares least about morality.” And we sure are seeing the boundaries of behavior being pushed well past that considered acceptable in the past. What was previously considered gross immorality is now considered both acceptable and the norm.
Well, there is still some push-back against those who proclaim religion has no place in today’s society.
Pastor Pete’s Pulpit Talk reminds us, “… everything we do has connections to our relationship with God and our influence on others.”
The Supreme Court has recognized religion may play a role in the way a business is run — and that grandpa intends explaining the meaning of the Ten Commandments to his grandson. There may be hope yet. At least that’s how it seems to me.
Bill Taylor, a Greene County Daily columnist and area resident, may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.