A Cautious Man
March 09, 2005
 
Well Now Way Back In The Bible
Through How Appealing, I read the following about legislators in Mississippi:
Rep. Tommy Reynolds, D-Water Valley, persuaded his colleagues to allow the display of the Beatitudes — the teachings from the Sermon on the Mount about the meek inheriting the Earth and peacemakers being blessed. The Beatitudes are in the book of Matthew.

"We need to not use God's holy word to divide us but to join us," Reynolds said. "The Beatitudes are the bedrock of everything all of us have been taught that is good and pure and decent."

The movement to display religious texts in Mississippi taxpayer-funded buildings comes a week after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in cases from Texas and Kentucky on whether Ten Commandments displays are lawful on public property.

Rep. Jim Evans, D-Jackson, who's a minister, objected to the displays, saying politicians who try to use holy texts for their own benefit have "a weak understanding of God's word."
What caught my eye was the suggestion that the Sermon on the Mount should be included. Now, let's think about this, for a moment. Maybe it would be alright to encourage these legislators to vote for this – heck, let's encourage Congress. There would be a catch, though (there's always a catch). They'd have to read the Sermon on the Mount, and explain how they apply those teachings in their own actions. You certainly could start with the Beatitudes:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
You know, you could get called a "liberal" for doing stuff like that. But, why stop there? What about this little ditty:
You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, "You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment." But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.
A rule like that would wipe out most of the cable news shows. Not to mention this left-wing propaganda:
You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow. You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you …
But, wait, there's more! The best part would be to have them explain why all of their public pronouncements, and demands for big, publicly-funded monuments (for their religion only) were consistent with this instruction:
(But) take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
I know that reading something before voting on it may be the exception for many elected representatives, but maybe in this case they could give it a try.

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