Ramblings From the Ragged Crumbling Edge Of The Reality-Based Community

Friday, November 20, 2009

And Yet Another Example Of Wingnut Craziness 

...it probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but the suggestion offered by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver to have November 25 - the day before Thanksgiving - commemorated by Congressional Resolution as "Complaint Free Wednesday" demonstrated that A) it is a fool's errand to underestimate the fervor with which the winger right will cling to the only strategy that it has these days and, II) some members of the Pharisee component of the wingnut Right should either abandon their pretense of connection to Christianity or start reading their Bibles a little more closely to at least make a show of trying to catch up with the rest of us...but more on that in a moment...

Rep. Cleaver's resolution would seem, on the one hand, to be just a little bit of overkill. After all, the very next day is generally designated by cultural fiat to be intended to serve a similar purpose. Aside from the grim reality of a Cleveland Browns/Detroit Lions game being this year's pre-feast football entertainment, we all are supposed to understand that this is the day where we assess those temporal blessings that we
do have, however few they may be, and be thankful for them. On the other hand, it is arguable that a separate day set aside to just simply not complain and instead take stock of the ledger of one's life in preparation for a celebration of thanks (aside from that Browns/Lions matchup, of course) is a moment unto itself that is worthy of consideration. The two events that anchor the Christian calender - Christmas and Easter - have precursor days that set up the theme of those events (Christmas Eve and Maundy Thursday/Good Friday). Why can't a secular holiday like Thanksgiving have a precursor day, too?

The apparent answer from the right wing, if the response to Rep. Cleaver's suggestion is an accurate reflection (and there's no history to argue that it isn't), is a resounding "
NO". The 'outraged response' quotes in the story are instructive in their own right, demonstrating beyond any question that an otherwise unobservant public might have that the whining is a strategy rather than a response. What is even more instructive, however, is this sort of comment:
"I want you to show me where in the Bible it says I shouldn't complain. I haven't seen anything where Jesus asked us not to complain."

It's actually a little disappointing to see the failure of a Methodist minister to offer a more robust rebuttal of this misguided wingnut argument. "The Bible" actually has a couple of examples of situations where Jesus by word or parable told those around him (and presumably us, by inference) to not complain:

The parable of the vineyard workers recorded in Matthew 20: 1-16

Jesus dining with "the sinner" Zacchaeus the tax collector in Luke 19: 1-9

The parable of the lost son in Luke 15: 11 - 32

And, of course, various parts of the Beatitudes in the Gospel of Matthew , such as Matt. 5: 5 and 5: 9, along with Matt 7: 1-6

If you claim that you can't find anywhere in the Bible where Jesus in one way or another told you not to complain, you might want to consider going out and buying a Bible so you can actually read it...

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