Different Floors of the House

Friday, February 12, 2010

Imprisoning God

While perusing the state of Oregon's job opportunity website I came across a posting for something called The Transitional Services Division. This division is some part of the Oregon Department of Corrections. The job title is simply listed as "Chaplain".

I don't know about you, but I found this to be somewhat ironic. The state is hiring religious mentors to:

"develop(s) and implement(s) an effective and efficient program of religious and spiritual services, music, educational material, equipment, and sacred spaces for all faith groups that will meet the spiritual needs of inmates from in-take through re-entry or remaining time of incarceration;"

Well, this is probably Good Work--if you can get it. But it also kind of puts the "separation of church and state" we hear so much about in tongue-in-cheek mode, doesn't it?

Meh...who cares about that whole separation of church and state thing anyway? The people that know the history of the country know that without God, it wouldn't have been possible to even have an enlightenment, let alone, a democratic republic in America. Without the idea, at the very least, of inalienable human rights bestowed upon us by the Creator and all that, we never revolt on the scale in which we did, because the foundations of that rebellion would have been, well, unfounded. So let's just move beyond that argument and look at this job opportunity from a different angle.

It's in a PRISON!

Imagine the dusty gray din, the faint, illuminated tungsten zap of institutional lights overhead...

Wait, I just thought of something: Who is the genius policy maker that thinks putting chaplains in prisons will make people better? Wouldn't that person think that putting a chaplain in, say, a school, before the criminal commits his crime, would be just as, if not more beneficial? Hmm? Yeah, if they think chaplains will "be aware of criminogenic factors that lead to recidivism and to address them in their programming" they are really saying that these chaplains will have some affect on the criminality of their parishoners in the future--thereby admitting that religion is a compelling, contributive factor in rehabilitation.

Well, I'm not one to disagree with that. Neither is Dino De Laurentis:

"Each individual man is the whole world." Hmm, rings slightly of which political ideology? Ok, back on track... Jesus associated himself with thieves, prostitutes, and fishmongers. Ok, being a fishmonger isn't a crime, per se, but they are stinky, right? And the tax man? Wow. Jesus certainly was tolerant:

Ok, Ok. So we (the state and I) agree that Jesus can make men change their ways...AFTER they've committed a crime. What would make me think that Jesus could prevent children from growing up to do nasty things (including working for the IRS)?

Well, I dunno. Maybe we should take that question in a different direction. Can the Christian idea that "Each individual man is the whole world" lead children into a more fruitful, more perfect union with one another? Maybe so. Strike that, definitely so.

Parse this at your own discretion: The Libertarian mindset of objectivism and selfishness can sometimes be misinterpreted...even by libertarians themselves. A good friend of mine in the party insists that no act conducted by man is entirely selfless. And while his experiences may confine him to this way of thinking, I would suggest that is because he doesn't view each person as the whole world. Christians, overwhelmingly, want other people to see that they are this important to their human peers and in the eyes of God. The Christian who instills this idea within another, isn't benefiting him or herself at all. They are elevating another person's sense of individuation and importance in the universe. After all, how do we know how important our individual potential is, if someone else doesn't grant us the opportunity to recognize it? If we were the only person on earth, of course all acts would be selfish! "Well," the godless libertarian might suggest, "The bible tells them they have to go out and spread the word of the Lord, and all that." True. But not to benefit themselves. For the benefit of the Other. The very same Other, the liberal academic structure indicts Christians of persecuting.

Now, we can argue all day long about the "value" of Christian contributions and the power of restitutive rehabilitation. But the fact of the matter is, ask any doctor, that preventative care is applicably more important in health care than is any procedure of curing or healing or...rehabilitation.

If the state believes that Christianity can cure recidivism, by a theology that teaches "each individual is the entire world", then certainly they MUST believe that an equal dose of that ideology would be a necessary step in preventing the outbreak of criminality in the first place.

After all, haven't you heard: Jesus loves the little children...equally as much as he loves the condemned sinner.

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