Sunday, February 13, 2005

When the right veers left

Have you heard about the theologically conservative minister who is having formal charges brought against him by the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America? The seminary president has already been ousted from his job for having officiated at his gay daughter's wedding.

In his Newsday article entitled "When it's personal, the right veers left", Ellis Henican discusses what happens in the conservative mind when life gets a little messy:

Nancy Reagan supports stem-cell research after her Ronnie gets sick.

Dick Cheney opposes the gay-marriage ban after his daughter comes out.

Rush Limbaugh is suddenly an advocate of treatment - not prison - for people addicted to narcotics. Oh, I almost forgot: The epiphany comes while Rush is being investigated for drugs.

The list goes on and on: prominent conservative figures, forced to question some sweeping social principle, after being rudely interrupted by the messy realities of life.

Sometimes I think the failure of compassion is really a failure of imagination. Right wing idealogues just can't imagine the possibility that something could happen in their lives such that they would need to be a little flexible in their approach to social issues. They just can't imagine that someone they love might be hurt by rigidity and judgment. They just can't imagine that they or a loved one might become catastrophically sick or disabled and need a social safety net. How to raise consciousnesses among such people? I don't know. I really don't know. But I do commend this article to you. It's ironic. And so true.

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