Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Jesus Is Just Alright: Since the 2004 election plastered Democrats as “out of touch” with “values voters,” I’ve been keeping a little catalogue of all of the various times that I see liberal writers, bloggers and politicians pointing out that much of the political philosophy that Jesus himself argued for is fairly liberal, all things considered. Mark Kleiman wins not only this week’s prize for best reference, but vaults himself nicely into the Top 10 all-time by making it a parenthetical, for writing it from a Jewish perspective, and for getting in a knock at kashruth laws, all at once:

[I]t’s also true that the worldwide Sexual Purity League, no matter which religion it’s connected to, takes the violation of sexual taboos as more basically, more shockingly immoral than any other sort of norm violation. (Drug abuse is a close second.) Illicit sex is dirty — that is, polluting — in a way that theft, slander, and assault simply aren’t.

(Back when a certain rabbi of the School of Hillel was preaching up a storm in Galilee, food taboos had some of the same salience that sexual taboos have now. He didn’t make himself popular with the local equivalent of the Traditional Values Coalition or Moral Majority when he pointed out that it’s not what goes into your mouth that really pollutes you, since it’s all going to wind up in the same sewer, but rather what comes out of it: perjury and slander, for example.)