Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Is religious faith a political sin?

Jerry Stratton, September 15, 2010

I’m not very religous; but just like I’m less repelled by pro-life arguments than by pro-choice arguments, I’m becoming more and more uncomfortable with the anti-religious bigotry coming out of anti-christians.

I do not understand the vitriol, even from some people on the right, to Christine O’Donnell’s adultery PSA from the nineties. O’Donnell is a Catholic. Catholics believe that adultery is a sin; they believe that adultery in thought is also a sin. These are basic teachings of Catholicism.

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.—Matthew 5:27-281

O’Donnell’s PSA added to this the obvious observation that a normal person doesn’t masturbate without lust.

We have God-given sexual desires, and we need to understand them and preserve them to be used in God’s appropriate context. Masturbation is a part of sexuality, and it is important to discuss this from a moral point of view. The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery. You can’t masturbate without lust.

The hatred for this view means either having an issue with the basic Christian belief that sinning in your heart is a sin, or that masturbation involves emotion. I’d be more wary of someone who masturbates without emotion, than someone who believes lust is a sin.

Further, O’Donnell wasn’t asking for intrusive laws forcing everyone to pay taxes and buy into her belief system. It was a PSA. She was a young adult and a Christian committing to her faith in the irreligious nineties—and it took a lot of courage to come out for faith back then, especially on MTV. I expect it still does. Do I agree with Catholicism on this? No. But it is standard, normal, everyday Christian belief. To claim that this belief is beyond the pale for politicians is to deny Catholics the right to serve in public office—and to deny this right to many other Christians, too. When President Carter confessed to lusting in his heart, he was referencing exactly that belief, and acknowledging it as sinful within his Baptist faith.

  1. That’s from the King James Bible. The Catholic version runs:

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

  1. <- Politics of confusion
  2. The Left’s witch-hunt ->