Justice & the Sanctity of Life - Applied

Events occurring and how they relate/affect Anabaptist faith and culture.
Josh
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Re: Justice & the Sanctity of Life - Applied

Postby Josh » Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:09 pm

I'm not sure human moral values are as universal as we think they are about things like the Holocaust; in the Muslim world, such activities against Jewish people are condoned, and in other parts of the world, like east Asia, Holocaust denial is quite common.
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Szdfan
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Re: Justice & the Sanctity of Life - Applied

Postby Szdfan » Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:32 pm

mike wrote:And that is a most excellent description of the muddled mess of politics in the kingdoms of this world, which is based on a fluid moral code influenced by pop culture, winds of change, and political expediency. It is no place for those of us who want to live by the moral code of Jesus. Politics will corrupt us. We will become supporters of the ungodly Trumps, Clintons, Sanders, and Cruzes of this age, and we will forget our true mission.

I don't disagree with the "messiness" you point out in Boot's example in regards to the negotiation of norms and laws in this hypothetical village. I often wonder, however, if the conservative Anabaptist view of dualistic kingdoms and non-participation in these negotiations is not messy enough. It's been my sense that dualists treat the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of the world as entirely separate entities and that non-participation in the politics of the world means that Christians are not complicit in the injustices done by the kingdoms. But is it that simple?

Let's say that a military weapons manufacturer builds a new factory in Boot's village. The conservative Mennonites in the community don't actively participate with the weapons manufacturer, but they do benefit indirectly. The new factory brings jobs in the community and increases the tax base. Because of the increase in taxes, the village is able to fill potholes and repave the roads that Mennonites also use. A larger workforce with disposable income, benefits Mennonite businesses. Even though the conservative Mennonites don't work at the weapons factory, they still benefit from it. And if they benefit from it, aren't they somehow complicit?

What if Boot's village declares war on Robert's village? The Mennonites don't fight, but they pay taxes that supports the war effort. They don't vote, but they write about their support for Boot's war and post comments on internet forums and social media about how evil and dangerous Robert's village is. Even though, the Mennonites don't directly support the war, they indirectly support it. Aren't they also complicit in some way?

Even if we are separate from the world, we are still in it. Even if we don't participate in politics, we are still political. What if we are complicit with what our country does, not just because of our own direct, personal actions, but because of the complex web of intersecting relationships that exist in a society? And as we become more connected via technology, are we becoming more complicit?
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Szdfan
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Re: Justice & the Sanctity of Life - Applied

Postby Szdfan » Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:33 pm

Josh wrote:I'm not sure human moral values are as universal as we think they are about things like the Holocaust; in the Muslim world, such activities against Jewish people are condoned, and in other parts of the world, like east Asia, Holocaust denial is quite common.

Anti-antisemitism and Holocaust denial are also on the rise in Europe and the US.
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Dan Z
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Re: Justice & the Sanctity of Life - Applied

Postby Dan Z » Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:39 pm

Quoted from the Dylan Roof thread:

appleman wrote:I simply do not understand the plain Mennonites that are openly protesting Trump's border positions at this point. Nor do I necessarily understand those that are very vocally supporting them for that matter.


Hmm...I didn't know there were any plain folks openly protesting Trump's border positions - I'm surprised - although I can appreciate their concerns. Let me share what is so concerning from my perspective Appleman, as a brother, since I suspect the climate up there north of the border is a bit different (pun intended :D ), and since I represent the position you cannot understand.

First, from where I sit, the reaction doesn't have to do with the government managing it's immigrant vetting. Everyone accepts that this is there job.

The reaction comes on the tail end of a lot of harsh campaign language about immigrants, and a lot of anger and fear and aggression being stoked in society. I'll admit that it is not totally unjustified - especially in the face of terrorism, incompatibility with some Islamic ideology, and some of the economic realities folks are facing.

Also, maybe those of us Mennonites who have lived and ministered overseas or in cross-cultural contexts or to refugees are especially sensitive to this, since we personally know people who are directly experiencing the growing anti-foreigner zeitgeist. We also know that this climate stokes a backlash oversees that makes it more difficult to do ministry.

So executive actions actions like closing the borders, building walls, etc. - while they seem somewhat minor if taken alone - feel like part of something insidious and much bigger that is growing down here...and elsewhere in the world. We may be wrong, but some of us see a trajectory that has shown itself before in history, and we are concerned for our neighbors and for what we see growing in people's hearts - enough to publicly say that we're concerned - even though our core instincts are to steer clear of the political fray if at all possible - and even if it puts us politically in league with people we normally don't find a lot of common ground with. And, apparently, enough to get at least a few of us joining with other faith communities and secular groups in publicly expressing our concern.

Not saying this to get you to agree...but to at least sew a bit of understanding. :hug: I certainly respect those whose conscience is not there (yet ;) ), or the majority of plain folks who, by principle, are not ready to enter the fray or express an opinion at this point.
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Josh
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Re: Justice & the Sanctity of Life - Applied

Postby Josh » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:14 pm

Szdfan wrote:
Josh wrote:I'm not sure human moral values are as universal as we think they are about things like the Holocaust; in the Muslim world, such activities against Jewish people are condoned, and in other parts of the world, like east Asia, Holocaust denial is quite common.

Anti-antisemitism and Holocaust denial are also on the rise in Europe and the US.


It is not outright universal like it is in the Arab and Muslim worlds, or much of Asia, so I don't see your point here.
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Josh
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Re: Justice & the Sanctity of Life - Applied

Postby Josh » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:15 pm

Szdfan wrote:
mike wrote:And that is a most excellent description of the muddled mess of politics in the kingdoms of this world, which is based on a fluid moral code influenced by pop culture, winds of change, and political expediency. It is no place for those of us who want to live by the moral code of Jesus. Politics will corrupt us. We will become supporters of the ungodly Trumps, Clintons, Sanders, and Cruzes of this age, and we will forget our true mission.

I don't disagree with the "messiness" you point out in Boot's example in regards to the negotiation of norms and laws in this hypothetical village. I often wonder, however, if the conservative Anabaptist view of dualistic kingdoms and non-participation in these negotiations is not messy enough. It's been my sense that dualists treat the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of the world as entirely separate entities and that non-participation in the politics of the world means that Christians are not complicit in the injustices done by the kingdoms. But is it that simple?

Let's say that a military weapons manufacturer builds a new factory in Boot's village. The conservative Mennonites in the community don't actively participate with the weapons manufacturer, but they do benefit indirectly. The new factory brings jobs in the community and increases the tax base. Because of the increase in taxes, the village is able to fill potholes and repave the roads that Mennonites also use. A larger workforce with disposable income, benefits Mennonite businesses. Even though the conservative Mennonites don't work at the weapons factory, they still benefit from it. And if they benefit from it, aren't they somehow complicit?

What if Boot's village declares war on Robert's village? The Mennonites don't fight, but they pay taxes that supports the war effort. They don't vote, but they write about their support for Boot's war and post comments on internet forums and social media about how evil and dangerous Robert's village is. Even though, the Mennonites don't directly support the war, they indirectly support it. Aren't they also complicit in some way?

Even if we are separate from the world, we are still in it. Even if we don't participate in politics, we are still political. What if we are complicit with what our country does, not just because of our own direct, personal actions, but because of the complex web of intersecting relationships that exist in a society? And as we become more connected via technology, are we becoming more complicit?


If we are complicit, then we have a duty to take up arms and fight for what is "right".

The example of Jesus is pertinent here. He didn't worry about his involvement in the larger Roman war machine.
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mike
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Re: Justice & the Sanctity of Life - Applied

Postby mike » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:43 am

Szdfan wrote:
mike wrote:And that is a most excellent description of the muddled mess of politics in the kingdoms of this world, which is based on a fluid moral code influenced by pop culture, winds of change, and political expediency. It is no place for those of us who want to live by the moral code of Jesus. Politics will corrupt us. We will become supporters of the ungodly Trumps, Clintons, Sanders, and Cruzes of this age, and we will forget our true mission.

I don't disagree with the "messiness" you point out in Boot's example in regards to the negotiation of norms and laws in this hypothetical village. I often wonder, however, if the conservative Anabaptist view of dualistic kingdoms and non-participation in these negotiations is not messy enough. It's been my sense that dualists treat the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of the world as entirely separate entities and that non-participation in the politics of the world means that Christians are not complicit in the injustices done by the kingdoms. But is it that simple?

Let's say that a military weapons manufacturer builds a new factory in Boot's village. The conservative Mennonites in the community don't actively participate with the weapons manufacturer, but they do benefit indirectly. The new factory brings jobs in the community and increases the tax base. Because of the increase in taxes, the village is able to fill potholes and repave the roads that Mennonites also use. A larger workforce with disposable income, benefits Mennonite businesses. Even though the conservative Mennonites don't work at the weapons factory, they still benefit from it. And if they benefit from it, aren't they somehow complicit?

What if Boot's village declares war on Robert's village? The Mennonites don't fight, but they pay taxes that supports the war effort. They don't vote, but they write about their support for Boot's war and post comments on internet forums and social media about how evil and dangerous Robert's village is. Even though, the Mennonites don't directly support the war, they indirectly support it. Aren't they also complicit in some way?

Even if we are separate from the world, we are still in it. Even if we don't participate in politics, we are still political. What if we are complicit with what our country does, not just because of our own direct, personal actions, but because of the complex web of intersecting relationships that exist in a society? And as we become more connected via technology, are we becoming more complicit?


Yes, we are constantly told from all sides, liberal and conservative, to be responsible citizens and vote or otherwise get involved in politics. But I do not believe that Germans who refused to become involved in politics were complicit in Hitler's injustices. I do not feel responsible for the injustices perpetrated by our government when they legalized abortion and gay marriage. I don't feel complicit in Obama's or Trump's policies. I don't think that by being a Roman citizen, Paul was complicit in Rome's evils.

Also, there is some messiness in Conservative Anabaptist groups as well in terms of getting mixed up with politics, although probably not the kind of messiness you would prefer - my Amish grandfathers voted Republican, and most conservative Anabaptists I know who vote would definitely vote Republican.

The only way I could logically square getting involved in politics as an Anabaptist would be to look at it as a completely separate, secular sphere where the teachings of Jesus do not apply. (It would have to be some other code, as we have been discussing.) I don't expect Obama or Clinton or Trump to love their enemies and give them what they ask for and go the second mile. I expect them to embrace the concepts of America first, borders, armies, taxation, imprisonment, capital punishment, etc. The Romans 12 and 13 contrast or dichotomy.

In the scenario you suggest, I don't believe that benefiting from something you did not initiate or do not directly endorse or support makes you morally complicit in the enterprise. If I had a business close to a casino, would I really have to go out of business as a Christian to avoid indirectly benefiting from gambling? Jesus advocated paying taxes to a government that used it to support its military occupation of Palestine. Did that make Jesus a supporter or Rome's military?

Technology does make us much more connected to politics than we used to be, but again, how does that increased level of knowledge make us morally complicit with anything?

The messiness I would prefer we get into would be the getting our hands literally dirty with disaster relief, caring for the poor, widows and orphans, sheltering the homeless, going into prisons, teaching the good news of Jesus where and how we can. I think we have our work cut out for us; and if we are doing all we can in obedience to the great commission, what energy will we really have left for politics? Where do Jesus or the apostles even hint that some Christians should be involved in politics, government, or military (I view them all as being in the same category)?
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Remember the prisoners, as though you were in prison with them, and the mistreated, as though you yourselves were suffering bodily. -Heb. 13:3

Josh
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Re: Justice & the Sanctity of Life - Applied

Postby Josh » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:06 am

The messiness I would prefer we get into would be the getting our hands literally dirty with disaster relief, caring for the poor, widows and orphans, sheltering the homeless, going into prisons, teaching the good news of Jesus where and how we can. I think we have our work cut out for us; and if we are doing all we can in obedience to the great commission, what energy will we really have left for politics? Where do Jesus or the apostles even hint that some Christians should be involved in politics, government, or military (I view them all as being in the same category)?


These are things that, in my experience, people across the spectrum from Midwest, Beachy, CMC, CGC Mennonite, Apostolic Christian, Keystone, and other conferences too numerous to list do in great abundance. Some of our constituent churches don't do the best job, but others are doing an absolutely outsized job of this. One of the things that drew me into a conservative Mennonite church, and continues to draw me in, is the energy and enthusiasm to keep doing the work of evangelism, missions, church planting, and doing good deeds wherever we can for the needy people right in front of us - without having to get mixed up in politics first.
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Josh
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Re: Justice & the Sanctity of Life - Applied

Postby Josh » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:07 am

Also, there is some messiness in Conservative Anabaptist groups as well in terms of getting mixed up with politics, although probably not the kind of messiness you would prefer - my Amish grandfathers voted Republican, and most conservative Anabaptists I know who vote would definitely vote Republican.


This is a point my liberal brethren should consider - if conservative and plain Anabaptists all started voting en masse, you'd have a sizable chunk of new solidly Republican voters in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin - which are key swing states.

If you'd prefer to have Democrats elected to office, consider the implications of telling us we're bad Christians because we stay out of politics.
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appleman2006
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Re: Justice & the Sanctity of Life - Applied

Postby appleman2006 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:24 am

Szdfan wrote:What if Boot's village declares war on Robert's village? The Mennonites don't fight, but they pay taxes that supports the war effort. They don't vote, but they write about their support for Boot's war


You make some good comments which I do belief Mike has given you a solid answer for but I have to challenge you on this statement. The vast majority of us would never support verbally or by writing any war. Those that do I would not identify with. The fact that we do not verbalize against it simply means we do recognize the significance of Rom. 13 and recognize their business as their business.

I have a question for you,. Do you believe that your commander in chief could in fact follow Christ's teachings to the tee as we understand nonviolence and still bold true to all that the office demands of him?
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