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“A Few Words about Political Code Words and their Use and the Damage They Do, and A Comment on Poverty,” by Andrew J. Schatkin

So-called "Political Code Words" are a danger to the United States.

“A Few Words about Political Code Words and their Use and the Damage They Do, and A Comment on Poverty,” by Andrew J. Schatkin

I would like to speak on political code words and terminology and how they mislead and may fool some of our citizens and many young people. One of these terms is undocumented; a second is progressive; and a third is backward. These word are often tools of the left ideology. The words themselves are not bad. To be progressive is a good thing; being backward is not; and lacking proper legal documentation is not good and should be corrected.

Let me take a look at the term undocumented. The term is used to describe by some in the political spectrum persons whose status in this country is illegal. It is true their status could be described as undocumented but the reality and truth of the matter is that they are here unlawfully and in defiance or our legal and governmental system that requires our people to go through a legal mechanism in order to come here and live here. To not do so is not to be excused by this term. Those who choose to come here illegally are manipulating our system entirely and making use of our educational, medical, and employment system to obtain essentially what they are not in the first instance entitled to and then, to make matters worse, they take employment at a lower wage without benefits from the poorer Americans, blacks, and Latinos in our society.

The use of the term undocumented, which serves and seeks to cover this truth, is nothing more than an intellectual outrage which cannot and should not be allowed. The second political code word, often connected in its use by the left and its ideology, is progressive. Its use is misleading and serves to cover wrongdoing. For example, Governor Cuomo had legislation passed permitting abortions virtually at the point of birth and allowed non-doctors to perform the procedure. He used the term progressive and Mr. Liu stated the same in the Bayside Times. Moreover, the Governor had passed legislation permitting licenses to be issued to undocumented immigrants as well as granting scholarships and financial aid to the undocumented. These actions are termed progressive.

The church's position on abortion is the most ethically and morally advanced imaginable. The church in opposing abortion places infinite and eternal value on all human life from beginning to end and takes the view that the innocent are most precious and to be preserved. This view is the zenith of what is progressive and to say that it is backward and is a gross misrepresentation of the word progressive. In the same, people use the political cover term progressive to excuse granting legal status to those who in coming here illegally have defined our laws and system. This makes not only makes fools our legal residents but makes their lot ever so more difficult without these perks and advantages.

Finally, there is the third term backward. Let me give an example of the perhaps improper use of this term. NBC News reported recently on the Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act. I must make clear that as a Christian I have every love and concern for all, although I am sometimes in disagreement with their policies and views. NBC takes the view in this article that Tennessee is backward in seeking to strip gay marriage rights and in seeking to bar gay marriage in the state.

I have no hostility or prejudice against the gay community and certainly do not think they should be discriminated against and I do and will obey the ruling of the Supreme Court on this issue. The position taken by this state cannot be termed backward. The Roman Catholic Church in its catechism terms homosexual activity a disorder and contrary to natural law but the catechism goes on to state that the gay community should be treated with compassion. In the Hebrew bible, there are several sections in Genesis and Leviticus that reject homosexual relations. There are similar statements in the letters of St. Paul. It is a limited vision to say what is new and current is ahead of its time and the views of a 2,000 year old church, certain elements of the Jewish religious tradition, and Islam are backward. The word backward is a simply a political cover term to hide what is for the majority of the world a pressing moral issue.

I wish to talk about one more thing: Poverty. For a Christian believer, poverty and the Son of God’s identification with the poor and himself taking on poverty are real and significant elements of our faith. It was the poor who he chose to the his disciples and it was the poor and sinners who were his followers. For the Christian, any form of poverty and income equality must be eliminated and there must be an equal distribution of wealth in our society and we ourselves are commanded to give and share with the poor. I add this: there is not only poverty of material goods but also spiritual and intellectual and educational poverty. Spiritual poverty is to embrace and know only materialism without Christ and his love for all humanity. Intellectual and educational poverty is the absence of knowledge and thought with the result that the person remains undeveloped and unable to discern and is the victim of the popular culture, TV, and computers. If you are focusing on fads and fashion, you may be “rich” in the material sense, but, spiritually, you live in poverty.

Educational and Business Consultant, Writer, Speaker, and Teacher. He is the author of five book chapter in the areas of Evidence, Criminal Law, and Family Law.

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There was a time when poets such as Shelley, Byron, Tennyson, and Browning had a wide audience in the English-speaking world. John Stuart Mill, an English 19th century philosopher, had a wide intellectual impact on the English-speaking world and was even in the House of Commons at one point. In short, writers, poets, and philosophers at one time generated great respect and a substantial public following. Even in the 20th century, philosophers such as John Dewey and Bertrand Russell had a great public impact. There persons were in some ways the celebrities of their time.

It is apparent that times have altered and changed and one may wonder if the change has been for the good. American society has admiration for and sets up on a pedestal the wealthy, the rich and the famous. For some time now, it has been pounded into the psyche and minds of the American public that persons with wealth, notoriety, and celebrity fame are the ones to whom we should look up. Images of the rich and famous are constantly flashed for us by way of television, images, computer images and the silver screen. The American public has been propagandized into believing that the rich and famous are the persons to be admired and respected. This is absolutely ridiculous. In our society, little respect is given to intellectual activity whether scientific or otherwise. The American people are told to respect money and success.

In the early 20th century, Albert Schweitzer left his post in France to serve, for no money reward, African natives in what was then French Africa. He did so because of his Christian commitment to alleviate suffering. It is possible that in today's world he would be ignored and the public eye would be focused on former Mayor Bloomberg and Mitt Romney. For every rich and famous celebrity, there is a humble doctor saving lives, a farmer raising food for the world, and, one may hope, a lawyer bringing some form of justice to his clients. For every celebrity and for every one of the rich and famous whose images appear on television and newspapers, there is a mission post throughout the world in which believing Christian render free medical care and establish free schooling for persons too poor to get that help. One may conclude that being rich and famous does not mean a great deal.

Thus I suggest that American culture, which elevates fame, money, and riches, is a poor culture. There is no respect in America for a great writer who earns no money. There is a great respect for sports figures and actors and actresses because, in American society, success is the benchmark and keystone. How one dresses, for an American, defines that person.

In my opinion, American culture is shallow and deficient in its thrust and meaning. Culture should be defined by artistic, intellectual, scientific and literary contributions, and not by wealth appearance, looks, or the images of success that the media impose on the American public and propagandize into believing their validity and Truth.

Times change. In the 4th century A.D., wealthy people went into the desert of Egypt to find Christ. In today's world, people seek to find what they wish will define themselves in their Lexus or their house in the Hamptons or their penthouse on Park Avenue. It remains to be seen where the truth lies. One may only say that a Galilean peasant 2000 years ago founded a movement that is followed by two billion people today. One may wonder whether the wealth and success that American pop culture idolizes will last beyond the deaths of the persons who have presented to us in their lifetimes images that are fictional and false and have no truth.

Many people in our present society make the claim that the Church is anti-woman. This statement is largely based on the position of the Roman Catholic Church and several other churches such as the Orthodox Church and certain more conservative Protestant denominations that do not ordain women for the priesthood or ministry.

More to the point, many people have lighted upon certain statements or comments about women that Saint Paul makes in his letters. For example, in his first letter to the Corinthian Church in chapter 7:39, Saint Paul states a wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives, but if her husband dies she is free to marry whomever she wishes. In that same letter, in Chapter 11:3-15, Saint Paul states that the head of a woman is her husband. He further states that any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled is dishonoring her head and that if a women will not veil herself then she should cut off her hair. Saint Paul further states that the woman is the glory of man and that women were created for man. He then concludes that that is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, and in the Lord’s eyes, a women is not independent of man. Saint Paul further states in the Letter to the Ephesians 5:22 that wives should be subject to their husbands because the husband is the head of the wife and wives should be subject in everything to their husbands. He further states that husbands should love their wives. In the first letter to the Corinthians 14:34, Saint Paul states that women should keep silence in the churches, and it is shameful for a women to speak in the church. In the letter to the Colossian church, Chapter 3:18, Saint Paul again states that wives should be subject to their husbands.

These statements of Saint Paul must be weighed against the entire revelation of the bible about women and their completely equal status. In Genesis 2, we are told that a woman is created as a helper for man and that both bear the stamp of the divine image. This statement does not mean inequality. It simply means that women in the world have a slightly different role than men. Women create homes and raise families. This does mean that this activity is inferior or less important than other activities. The teaching in Genesis is that God created both man and woman in his image and that both bear that same divine stamp and image. The Book of Judges 4:5 tells the story of the Judge Deborah who, as a wife, was judging Israel. It is quite clear that this particular story should not be read not as lowering a woman to a lesser status since in fact Deborah had a high societal role in Israel.

Let me now look at Jesus’ relationships with women in the Gospels. In Matthew 2, we are told about the birth of Jesus to Mary. The fact that God himself chose to be born of a woman is a statement of the real status women in the eyes of God. The very God of God was born of a woman and had a mother. In Matthew 5:27, Jesus again raises the status of woman in saying that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her. Again, in verse 31, Jesus states that anyone who divorces his wife except on the ground of lack of chastity makes her an adulterer and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Once again, Jesus Christ is significantly raising the status of women in the world. In Matthew 15:21, Jesus heals the daughter of a society outcast a Canaanite woman. In Matthew 27:55, Matthew says that many women followed Jesus from Galilee, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary went to see the sepulcher after the crucifixion.

In Mark 15:40, we are told that many women looked on Jesus from afar, including Mary Magdalene and Mary. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him and many other women came up with him to Jerusalem. Again, in Mark 16, we are told that Mary Magdalene and Mary were at the tomb of Christ after his crucifixion. In Luke 1 and 2, we are told of the birth of Christ. In Luke 7:37, we are given the story that a woman of the city who is a sinner brought a flask of ointment and standing at Jesus’ feet wet his feet with his tears, wipe them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.

The Pharisees asked, “What sort of person are you? Associating with this sinner?” And Jesus pointed out for Simon that when he entered his house he gave him no water for his feet but this woman has we t my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. Jesus says, “You gave me no kiss but from the time I came, she has not ceased to kiss my feet. And you did not anoint my head with oil but she has anointed my feet with ointment.”

In Luke 10-38-42, we are told that Martha received Jesus into her house and that she had a sister called Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to his teaching. In Luke 23:36, we are told that the woman who followed Jesus from Galilee stood before him from a distance at the crucifixion. In John 8, we are told a story of a woman caught in adultery. Jesus prevents her execution. In John 12, again we are told the story of Martha and Mary. Six days before Passover, Jesus came to Bethany and Martha served Jesus and that Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with oil and wiped his feet with her hair.

This essay reveals that although it is basic and superficial in its examination of the status of women in the church, it is quite clear that both in the Hebrew Bible and the gospels that women have an equal status in society for Jesus. Apparently, Jesus had many women friends and women who followed him and he had friendships with them. The passages I have taken from the gospels clearly reveal that, to put it bluntly, Jesus had no problem with women. Thus, what I just have taken from the gospels and the Hebrew Bible should be weighed against the statements and comments of Saint Paul. Saint Paul was possibly addressing particular situations in the churches he had established. Perhaps his comments about the role of women may have emanated from his background and culture which had a slightly different view of the role of women in society.

My conclusion is that the Son of God was born of a woman; had many women followers who were present at the cross event; and were first present at the empty tomb and in the course of his ministry were actively present and involved with him in his work. And so, by his actions, he not only significantly raised the status of women in society, but he insisted on their total equality and equal value. 

In the 16th century, Galileo, one of the world’s greatest scientists and thinkers, ran into a bit of a problem with the Roman Catholic Church and specifically the Vatican authorities at that time. It had been formerly thought that the Earth was the center of the universe. This misconception emanated from Copernicus. In fact, it is a rather reasonable assumption and is no more ridiculous in a sense than the conception that the Earth is flat since the Earth appears to be flat.

Galileo was arrested and charges and accusations were lodged against him by the religious authorities and he was virtually imprisoned for some period of time. I think the Catholic Church and their position that the Earth was the center of the universe and Galileo in his view that the Earth revolved around the sun were both right but came at the thought from different angles and different perspectives. There is no doubt that the Earth revolves around the sun. But in many ways the Earth is the center of the universe at least theologically, philosophically and metaphysically.

It appears to be the case that despite valiant attempts by scientists to prove otherwise that human beings have not been found anywhere else in the universe. Searches have been made for life at least in the planets nearby us such as Mars and Venus and nothing has been found. Thus, in a very real sense, for whatever unknown reason, humanity has made its stand on the Earth and no other place. No one knows the reason for this and there appears to some mystery in connection with this fact and phenomenon.

Humanity, in a very real sense, is the center of things since everywhere else we look and have looked we find nothing resembling life or human beings. The biblical view that the Earth is the center of things is true. Thus, the opinion of Galileo is a physical opinion alone. The conclusion of Galileo was a statement of fact. When we know that everywhere we look we find nothing but darkness and void, and on the Earth alone life and humanity have developed, we have the absolute confirmation of the Genesis story in Chapter 1 that God created the heavens and the Earth. The problem at the time of the controversy of the Church with Galileo is that both agreed but neither understood how both agreed. The Roman Catholic Church felt threatened in its theological stance but in reality was not by the conclusion of Galileo that the Earth revolved around the sun. There was no challenge there but merely an observation of fact that failed to change the reality of what is going on, namely that only here on Earth do we find humanity.

I am confident that whatever happens to humans, God in his mercy and grace will move history as he chooses, and for whatever end he wishes, to bring about whatever he wants for us all in whatever process he chooses to employ. The heavens will be there and humanity and the Earth alone will move to whatever inevitable conclusion is ordained. The Earth may revolve around the sun but in this pinprick of life we call Earth there is something going on and as it occurs and moves along it will bring an end that none of us at the present time can understand or know. It is the absolute truth that humanity and the Earth are the center of things. Galileo was not wrong nor was the church. They both engaged in a misunderstanding and both were right.

This essay is modified from Chapter 7 of my book “Essays on Faith Politics, Culture and Others Philosophical, pp. 19-20, published in 2016 by the University Press of America. 

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