Friday, November 18, 2011
Morality & reason: what is Noushin Framke really saying?
One of Framke’s unreasonable thoughts is that what a person believes about an issue is or should be determined by a label. That particular view lends itself to dictatorial rulings since it takes away individual freedom of conscience. Labels can be very misleading. I am both orthodox and Evangelical, and I am also a Democrat, who does not vote the party line, but who does agree with the need for both immigration and prison reform. Few progressives such as Framke realize that in the early twentieth century many progressive pastors and churches were heavily invested in the eugenics movement. Labels often mean one thing in one era and other things in a different era.
Making decisions about ethical issues cannot, must not, be determined by following any list that can be neatly tucked under a label. I think conservatives need to learn that also. Instead each issue must be looked at from its own particular set of circumstances. And for a Christians that means finding out what God’s word says about the issue. It may not have a direct imperative but there are biblical values that cover most issues.
Making it even worse, Framke fills in all of the qualifications for progressive with what she believes about issues, making her self the epitome of what a progressive is. Because she does this, Framke can find no other reason for disagreement with her views than fear. If the other progressives weren’t afraid of ridicule they would believe like her. Not only is this kind of argument not based on clear logical thinking it is tainted by arrogance.
There is a third issue here that totally wipes out any reasonableness. That is that the issue Framke writes about, the Israeli and the Palestinian conflict, has both a history and many complex sides. But by insisting that all progressives take one side, Framke is avoiding even looking at the other side’s needs and she is refusing to look back at the history that explains why there is so much contention on all sides.
As communications chairperson for IPMN, Framke links to internet sites that supposedly give information about the issues. But because she is not a PEP and certainly not a PFI (Progressive For Israel-I made that up-but I like it) she is one-sided to the extreme. If she finds a Jewish rabbi in the United States who has been indicted for a crime, she links to the article. If she sees an article on crime in Israel she links to it, but not to any crime article in Gaza. If she finds an article where the IDF have bombed militants in Gaza because they have fired rockets at Israel she links to that but not to an article about the original rocket attack.
Reason and morality; they have always been important in Christian ethics. Disagreement over complex issues is not a sign of fear. Rather, suggesting that other people’s disagreement with your views happens only because of fear is itself a sign that you have not looked into why the person disagrees. You may find after you do that that you still disagree with the person’s views, but at least reason and respect have become a part of your argument. Perhaps Framke should take the time to ask fellow progressive Presbyterians why they disagree with her views.