Established religion

Golden CalfMany on the left, and certainly militant atheists, seem to think that we are already living in a theocracy. That our leaders consult their Bibles before issuing any pronouncements or passing legislation; that the clergy controls everything behind the scenes. And sometimes from the front of the podium. As to whether this theocracy is Baptist, Methodist, or some other Christian denomination is open for some debate, of course.

That last would have appeared as part of the <sarcasm> html code…

I maintain that the atheists and liberalati are correct. We do have an established religion, and its name is…paganism. It would be obvious to any visitor from another planet, if they were able to read Scripture and observe what, exactly, we exalt in our culture. It would be crystal clear that we do not at all honor, as a culture, the second commandment.

As exhibit number one, may I present the Super Bowl Halftime show? Or, if you prefer, just turn on the tv, almost at random, and take a gander at some of the “entertainment” shows. Or shows about entertainment. Just look at the adverts in your nearest glossy magazine, or in the daily newspaper. Baubles and trash that will rust and decay, yet which we will work hard, driving ourselves into early graves, just to possess. If this isn’t idolatry, the worship of something that is less than God, I don’t know what might be.

Perhaps we don’t literally bow down to the idols we have created, but we certainly pay them obeisance. Why is it that an inner-city school teacher earns $50,000 a year, and a star football player, a thug like Michael Vick would have “earned” $7 million this season? There are many, many, examples, and the idol worship extends to NFL stars like Vick, as well as pop music stars, well-endowed prostitutes like Anna Nicole Smith, and others whose claim to fame is that they are, somehow, famous.

So what if some folks like their bling, and like to pimp their rides, or pimp their women? So this: God has spoken about this, directly, and with force, to Israel, and thus to us. It is not accident that this particular passage from Leviticus 18 is part of the Jewish yom kippur service, the Day of Atonement. A time to review one’s past year, and see how, and in what ways, we have failed to meet what God expects of us. Quite high on the list of those expectations? The second commandment. Leviticus 18 tells us, in no uncertain terms, what God does not want us to do:

1And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2″Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the LORD your God. 3You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4 You shall follow my rules[a] and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God. 5You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.

You and I may not attend yom kippur services, but our Lord, the Jew Jesus Christ, most certainly did. And there’s a rumor that he was on quite good terms with the Author.

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