37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
38 ¶ Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him.
Ok, I’m breaking my rule. I’m not complicating anything here, because the issue really is simple: employee-provided health insurance - and all that goes with it - is an issue of labor law, not of religion.
But let’s make it really simple. Let’s take, for example, a fictional multi-national corporation that answers to a CEO (the board is all long-since dead) and is head-quartered outside of the United States. Now - just for the sake of argument, mind you - let’s pretend that this corporation had an understanding that because they were bigger than the US government and because they were older than the US government, US laws were somewhat optional. And let’s imagine that they discovered that in numerous cases around the world, many of their employees were doing some acts that some liberal nutjobs considered to be “questionable” or “immoral” or “highly illegal” such as - and again, I’m just imagining examples off the top of my head here - raping young boys.
And when he discovered the awful facts, let’s pretend that the CEO decided that the US laws about employer’s reporting responsibilities did not apply to them. After all, they are older, bigger, and wiser than any government. So, (hypothetically speaking, of course) instead of obeying applicable laws and reporting this, several different CEO’s and executive management teams knowingly kept those employees protected for decades, which resulted in a circus parade of young person rape.
Now, I know that such a scenario is so extreme as to be unlikely, but this imaginary and improbable situation is exactly the reason why, when it comes to labor laws, the state - and not the employer - gets to set the rules. Employers have agendas, and the state is the only agency big enough to make sure that the rights of worker’s as well as society are not abused by the application of those agendas.
The flap about contraception is not religious. It is not saying that people have to take contraception. It is saying that contraception is a valid choice for healthy families and that people have a right to expect to be covered by the insurance they receive from an employer. Of course, the fact that 98% of Americans use birth control at some point (which statistically must include a fair number of Catholics) and 58% of Catholics agree with this law is being lost in the wash, due to the loud roar and outcry by - you guessed - those same folks who believe themselves to be above reporting child molestation to the state.
We are supposedly in the midst of a seismic shift to postmodernism. Supposedly, we are skeptical of any absolute claims, believing that truth claims are limited to a particular context and constrained by certain experiences.
This post by Glenn Greenwald (who is one of the most consistent and outspoken liberals in media today) is a reminder of just how trapped all of us are in the cult of authoritarianism. Maybe it’s a weird form of Stockholm syndrome.
Religion (or the hatred thereof) is not much different. In an age where we are supposedly skeptical of everything, creationists claim that true faith is measured by unwavering certainty to irrational propositions, matched only by blind denial of observable phenomenon. In the blue corner, however, we have so-called unbaised realists who bravely applaud Sam Harris as he explains how ethics differences can be resolved by science - all the while ignoring the minor inconvenience known as incommensurability of values (which just happens to be the whole reason we don’t agree on ethical systems in the first place).
I guess this isn’t too surprising - after all, his sense of authority seemed to have gotten Jesus followers as well as detractors. But Jesus also challenged those who claimed they understood absolute authority and one of our most famous favorite stories of Jesus (perhaps too favorite) portrays Jesus as quite the relativist.
We follow authority. Maybe our authoritarian-seeking leanings are a response to the shift from a world in which knowledge is power to one in which we see the consequences of the fruit of knowledge - that it is indeed power. Power that seems to exceed our wisdom.
So maybe we still are seeking a messiah. One who will guide us in not killing ourselves with our power. One who gives us hope and peace. One who makes us feel that we don’t have to fear each other - or ourselves. We might be waiting for a while.