Time to clear out some more logs

This morning, I spotted the following status update on my Facebook feed.  My first thought was “there goes another candidate who claims to support the Constitution and the concept of ‘limited government’, but ultimately is just another follower of the neo-Puritanical movement called the ‘religious right’*”.

Why I hate (Yes, I said Hate), the Islam Countries and these kind of people!
How could you not? These are children!!! If you don’t feel for them, you don’t feel. Your already dead! People that can’t see something is wrong here, you need to be off my FB! This is just WRONG! in ANY religion!!!

But, rather than immediately hitting the “de-friend” button,** I chose to follow the link he shared, and read the article behind it.  Having done so, I think I can appreciate where my “friend” is coming from, and am not going to write him off as a potential US Senator.***  At the same time, I also want to comment on the subject he brought up.

I, too, am appalled by those who would treat children as chattel****, subject to being bartered away, whether directly (as payment for a debt), or indirectly (for example, as the subject of an arranged marriage.)  This practice is a characteristic of primitive, barbaric, unenlightened societies, a holdover from ancient times.  Unfortunately, there are still too many cultures where this type of behavior is considered acceptable, and in fact the practice is condoned by several religions, according to some folks’ interpretations of their sacred texts.*****

However, as distasteful as I find the practice, I can at least understand it, given the fact that it has been a part of many cultures over the centuries, and is discarded by many societies as they mature.******  What I can’t understand, though, is members of societies which have abandoned the practice, continuing to engage in it – especially for personal profit.  Such a case in point: a juvenile court judge in Luzerne County, PA, was recently found to have taken payments from the owners of a private prison to which he sentenced children, oftentimes after ‘trials’ lasting as little as a minute.  This abuse of the public trust is, in my opinion, beyond the pale.  Fortunately, it seems that the jury in the case agreed, since the judge was convicted on 12 out of 39 charges.  It will be interesting to see what sort of sentence he draws, and maybe more importantly, where he will have to serve it.

The point I am trying to make?  It is all well and good to condemn unacceptable behavior one sees in others,******* but one must not simply look outward, because these behaviors are oftentimes a part of the dark side of human nature, and are something we must be ever on the lookout for.  Or, as someone said several millenia ago,

“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”  Matthew 7:5, NASB

Because it is very difficult to speak with authority when your own hands******** are stained with the blood of innocents.

*Which IMNSHO is neither (religious, nor right).
** Technically speaking, that would be “clicking ‘Unfriend’.” For you anal-retentive purists out there.
*** Not yet, anyway.  I will, however, be scrutinizing his positions a bit more closely.
**** Personal property, similar to domestic animals, or furniture.  Or slaves.
***** I am not sure that any major religion actually condones the owning of other human beings as a tenet of faith.
****** I can understand, though I do not condone.
******* However,  we also need to make sure our condemnation is aimed at the proper targets.  For example, many of the perceived “flaws” with Islam are in fact the product of the cultures, and mode of government, found in many Mideast and other countries where Islam is the predominant religion.  If you look at history with a clear eye, you will find that many other cultures and societies, including those in “Christian” Europe during the Middle Ages and even the Renaissance, engaged in the same practices, and even legitimized them based on “God’s Word.”  In fact, they even made their way to the “New World”, where IIRC a really bloody Civil War had to take place before the most onerous practice, that of slavery, was finally declared to be illegal.
******** In the context of this blog post, on a societal level.  Because I am not insinuating that the person who posted the status update condones, much less participates in, this type of activity.
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