Posts Tagged ‘Morality’

It could be a rant, but truly at this point it is an earnest question. Born, raised and continue living in Alberta seen and read about many social conservatives (out of Christendom and other religions) politicians and governments within my province, and the base rock for Federal. Yet at this time of C-tine, the question is in my mind, how is it possible (even with some rust on the buckle), that Canada’s bible belt equivalent province struggles so much with love thy neigbour?

34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

-Gospel of Matthew 22:34-40 (New King James Version)

To love our neighbour as we love ourselves and love God. I have written many times unpacking this passage in different ways, so I am not going to deep on that now. Yet, here we are as a province with pandering to anti-mask/anti-vax/anti-science bases, over-dramatized to downright untrue stories from our governance around issues, and basically a sentiment began from our Premier and shared by many that those who are dying (now 500+) are past their best before date or had co-morbidities so it is all good (those of low human capital, a favourite term of our current provincial government).

Which raises many questions on the humanity of the religious who claim freedoms in our province? For it was not the call to the individual, but to the communal freedom, love and belonging.

Let’s re-humanize our statistics, have the releases signed not to share age, region, gender and they had co-morbidities, but rather, age, region and name. I mean, how many even know what co-morbidity is? They believe it is a death sentence to begin with, no these are two or more occurring chronic (ongoing) conditions? Do you know someone with two conditions? Mental, physical or neurological health? High blood pressure? Depression? Anxiety? Cystic Fibrosis? MS (that we lead Canada in)? Cancer? How about those covid 20 that you can’t shake? Epilepsy? PTSD? OCD? Substance Abuse/use disorder? Carpal Tunnel? The list goes on an on…

The term coupled with age, is used to de-humanize the disease and reduce severity so the base is appeased. It is like the 1991 Star Trek The Next Generation episode, “Half-Life” (S.4,Ep.22) that created an ethical discussion at the time in my school, but also with parents. The crux is Timicin (played wonderfully by David Ogden Stiers), whose species at age 65 end their own lives as “their time is up” or “they are past their best before date”. In the episode this becomes a debate as he develops an intimate relationship with Betazed Ambassador, Lwaxana Troi (mother of Ship Counsellor Deanna Troi), and it ensues about quality of life, purpose and belonging. I encourage you to have a virtual watch party with friends outside your household, and watch within your household to discuss the key points of this with our current situation. As this can create a different lens to look at how we view life and death, and what matters. But this is not the only challenge facing us, in those hard conversations we need to have around the dinner (or communion) table.

The other, with current restrictions announced due to lack of concern for anyone outside your own skin (Alberta’s public health emergency restrictions can be found here) in an attempt to bend the curve back down, find out trackable data (as we have 85%+ cases on traceable) over the next three weeks. Has led to much llama dramas on line. Some throwing shade about religious organizations allowed to stay open at 1/3 capacity, and why on businesses, most being about big box vs small businesses closing open (conflating restrictions of other provinces with our own). Are these restrictions perfect? No, but even though I do not support that the UCP has the moral or ethical right to governance (ongoing criminal investigations), I will follow through for care for my family and neighbour.

What is saddening and maddening is the many religious sharing posts about Alberta being 70 years rat free so don’t become one on your neighbours now, or don’t snitch. Like the stereotypical “snitches get stitches” . Seriously, when did we as grown ass adults begin acting like pre-adolescents enamoured with faux hip hop culture?

Or as I shared on Facebook today:

“It’s not about not “snitching” on your neighbours at the holidays for the social gathering, that is being gaslit like in an abusive relationship. Seriously, it is about our neighbours having enough care and respect to follow the rules so we do not have to call 311 to have a healthy AHS that can respond to our current pandemic, epidemic, emerging epidemic, and outbreak. But hey, let’s continue giving those that can’t follow rules a pass.”

And as one friend pointed out, how easily we compartmentalize and pick and choose what we will call in our neighbour on. Noise complaints? Speeding? Parking? Loud or at large animals? Not shovelling snow? Think about what happens to our society, if we do not hold one another accountable?

This doesn’t even go deep into the neighbourhood watch to prevent crime, which if my neighbours do not have discernment and care with these how can I trust them if my car is being stolen or house being prowled? Starting to see how the “not my problem” begins to flow?

This is not even with jumping on the not mandatory vaccine discussion the Premier opened up to pander to his slipping away base. Which, I am sure my stance on that will lose even more “Facebook friends” but for those able to take the vaccine (any vaccine) it is a care of neighbour, why my kids both got the HPV one.

As I sit, having wrestled with the new restrictions, and lowering our house into more of a shut down (my one kids cohort with her best friend has come to an end, I miss their giggles and joy and it has only been one day), we are here because of a provincial quorums of adults that refused to adult. As I watch the video feed of the 200 person “freedom march” -anti-mask rally in Calgary this morning, I do hope that they are all levied the $1000 fines to send a strong message. Reading in the paper that due to lack of corporate care at CF Chinook yesterday in limiting to 25% capacity city police had to be used to evacuate people and I know these restrictions are supposed to be re-looked at on Dec. 15.

Where I am at now?

Christmas is different this year. Looking like my household, as we find new joys, way to share love, and know we are doing this, because many may not see us as “believers” or “Christian enough”, but I can honestly tell you it is about following through on love of neighbour.

The question for our “Bible Belt” is do you get it?

Because I am tired of your Pharisee ways.

Ah 2020, what a way to show us the meaning of hindsight being as clear as 20/20 vision. The journey and trajectory or society into entrenched ideologies where we cannot have discussions-debates of discovery to move forward in healthy ways as a community. How do we know this? The rise of populism in the last 10 years that has not been matched since the 1930’s, whether you fall on the right or the left. I still remember the political spectrum exercise of public school social studies, that illustrated so clearly populism on the right becomes fascism, on the left, goes through communism to Stalinist dictatorship which connects clearly with Fascism as the same point—that is extremists are extremists—anger, hatred, dehumanization, inability to see the other–the continuing discussion on dualism, for one’s side to be correct the other has to be completely evil (looking for a villain or an enemy every under every bushel).

As I continue exploring ending the false myth of the protestant work ethic evolved into neo-liberalism and by continued evolution, capitalism of 2020, and getting back together the writings of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks have been informative. His latest, being 2020’s Morality: Restoring the common Good in Divided Times. Where in five parts he takes the reader through an exploration of the philosophical-sociological-historical-political and religious paradigms that have brought us to this point in history.

As Sacks works through his theory and thoughts, it builds to a pertinent epilogue on our divided times and hyper-individualism had negatively impacted the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing measures. As an Albertan, I would say the myth of hyper-individualism continues to impact our effectiveness in stemming the covid tied, but also in our ability to destroy public institutions that aid the common good such as public education and health care.

How does Sacks get us to these ponderances? He takes us through the history as noted. He lays out the philosophers, sociologists, and anthropologists. As well he explores the role religion plays in morality, but also what it means and how religions’ has been used to shape societal understanding. At the example level out of the Hebrew Bible he touches on the story of Korach in the book of Numbers, more broadley, he also looks at the Reformation and the shift away from works in Christendom to a Pauline individual grace. This begins the slide slowly, which has accelerated in recent years with the addition of social media and the internet to not only connect us 24-7-365, but let’s be honest, to make it easier to share false information more rapidly before fact checking can disprove, and as such, the falsity takes root in some as the truth.

That is even before we explore (as I have written about many times) the algorithms that aid in keeping us in a an echo chamber of our own belief systems. This is the piece that explored what it means to have an ethical market. But to combine those thought processes, as the trust level of politicians continues to devolve, what is our role of citizens in accountability with this? Do we demand and expect a higher level of character within those seeking office? Are we working to end it as the drive of personal ambition, power and money? It has been a steady shift from 2005 forward in Canada within our political landscape, as the hyper-vigilance towards individualism and privatization of crown corporations and government responsibilities continues to march forward. The concept of collective or common good, public service (regardless of whether we trusted the policies) to serve citizens being the goal and calling.

This is but one snap shot for reflection.

As we look at a moment in time when we can continue into the fallacy of “I” (how independent are we? Building our own cars? Pouring our own roads? Growing our own food? Refining our own oil? And no, this is literally asking about in your own home are you able to do all this?). How did you get where you are today? What pieces were at play in the interdependence of community? How is your purpose cultivated? What is belonging and identity? How does it happen in the vacuum of “I”?

What it doesn’t? It happens in the labyrinth of “WE” and yes you are correct.

So how, do we, move forward in creating a new reality as we emerge from c-tine…

How do we as a household live into we? As a collection of households known as a community live into we? As a collection of communities that make up a city or county live into we? As a collection of cities or counties that make up a country live into we?*

And as we live into we—how does that change the character, passions and skills we look for in our elected representatives? Those that are servant leaders of our communities?

Are you ready to answer the call out of I to We?

*The narrative on household to country came from my friend John, rewriting community narrative, he shared it over coffee and had to adapt it to this post.