Friday, June 18, 2010

Defending BP???

Just wow...

Bellevue and the New Testament - The Church's Anti-Jesus Bent Shown

The current controversy over the esteemed "Six Flags Over Jesus" aka. Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis is, I believe, worthy of discussion on my blog. Other gay issues, like the Prop 8 battle, I will deal with when the decision comes down from Judge Walker, but I believe that this Bellevue issue is very important.

The following news article from the Memphis Commercial Appeal sums up what happened...

Now before I go into my discussion on Christianity and how it truly treats homosexuals I need to make this caveat. I do agree that many churches, some that I have been a part of, are welcoming of gay people, not condoning what they are doing, yet not expelling them completely. This post though, is not directed towards those churches, but instead at the vast majority of churches in the United States who would not do that.

Though I am in disagreement with the Church from the New Testament on, being raised in the Church I am well aware of the New Testament in its entirety, and exactly what it says.

Ok so moving on, though the New Testament does not condemn homosexual relationships as any true contextual reading of the "anti-gay passages" would show, let us assume that the New Testament does claim that gays are sinning...and therefore sinners in the eyes of God. Many mainline Christian denominations agree with this assertion.

So in Christianity what did Jesus come to do? And how did Jesus react to sinners when he was confronted with them? Did Jesus only associate himself with those people who were "worthy" and "sinless" in his eyes? Any reading of the Gospels will dispel this idea, for Jesus instead avoided those who were "worthy" in the eyes of the Judaic establishment and instead associated with...who? The tax collectors and the sinners.

The Church of today has looked over this purpose for which the New Testament says Jesus came. Instead of associating with "sinners" like the gays, they say something along the lines of "if we associate with you we will be 'agreeing' with your 'lifestyle'." So was Jesus afraid of 'condoning' a particular sin when he ministered to the tax collectors and sinners? Or was he actually concerned with those sinners? In my reading of the New Testament it would be the latter.

You see, the Church has again asserted itself as a "perfect and unblemished" bastion of truth in which you yourself must be "perfect and unblemished" yourself. But, by the churches standard what is this perfection and unblemishment look like...well, the answer is, we dont know. Does lying disqualify you? Probably not. Does gluttony disqualify you? Does divorce? Infidelity? Swearing? No probably not...for if you do all those things you are still welcome in the church. But again, the "Church" (this one being Bellevue) has asserted, you can be in our circle...as long as you don't bring "the gay" with you.

Now I agree, there is the freedom of association argument. But whatever. Yes Bellevue can decide who they do or do not want to associate with legally. But that is not what I am after. I am going after the religious aspect of this issue. The Church, as Jesus taught, is supposed to be place where sinners can be fed and ministered too, not where they have to become perfect before entering. If the Church continues to have this hypocrisy, it will see its influence in society slowly become obsolete...for no one, Christian or non-Christian, like people who speak out of both sides of their mouth.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Corporation and Ethical Responsibility

Wow, its been a while since I have posted, but I have been thinking about what I was going to write about. Though many issues are coming up that I am sure I will be following (prop 8 final arguments, Arizona immigration law issues, energy bill, etc.), I felt that the following blog is one that needed more time to settle into my brain if you will. Me being the former conservative that I am, have been thinking long and hard about what I would like to deem "corporate responsibility". This is a term that has been thrown around for years, but something that I am just coming to terms with. Hence, this post will not have my traditional news link and instead will be more a development of how I feel about this, and I probably wont stop here, but will continue on it in the future.

The Oil disaster in the Gulf and British Petroleums' reaction to it has made me think about the nature of the corporation. Are they just pure profit maximizers like we learn in economics, or should they bear responsibility for their actions. Foundational economists like Adam Smith and David Ricardo would agree with the former, that corporations are not concerned with the externalities that they inflict upon society and instead are driven purely by profit. I for one would agree with Smith and Ricardo up to this point, for then I would diverge from their ideas. In their mind this profit maximization is completely acceptable, for we should not expect a corporation to have a moral compass and care about the impact that they are having on society. Yet is this the best philosophy to take?

Modern economics still upholds the profit maximization goal of the corporation yet recognizes the externalities that come with unfettered profit. Thus, regulations are introduced by a third party - such as government - in order to mitigate these externalities. But what does this do? Does this actually address the pure profit maximization mentality of the corporation? Not in any way, in fact I would argue that regulation assures the corporation that it needs to do nothing else, because they are "paying" their part already.

Thus we get a situation like we have in the Gulf of Mexico. Yet let us not isolate just BP, for we could say the same thing about the Oil Sands of Alberta, or the coal mines in West Virginia, or Exxon on the North Slope of Alaska. What do they all have in common? "Regulations" are all paid up, so therefore the corporation does not have to care about the negative aspects of their business. They do not have to worry about the tonnes of pollution that they are spewing in the atmosphere, nor the health effects on average people the world over, or the geopolitical implications of their actions. The corporation has paid their debt to society by having to acquiesce to the many regulations that 3rd parties put on them.

So what is corporate responsibility? I don't think its increased regulation, because as I have stated, regulation gives us a false sense that the corporation is truly paying for all its negative damage. No, what must happen is a change within the corporation. No longer should it be content to just slide by, because they are only profit maximizers. But instead it should recognize that it is an integral part of society and therefore must contribute positively to it. Instead of BP wanting to always go and drill drill drill, just as an example, the company should want to develop better Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology. This should not be government mandated though, but instead should just be a part of the business model. Call me crazy, but a good business model - in my opinion - is not one that is profit driven, but is instead ethically driven.

The corporation must recognize that it exists within society, and if society fails...so does the corporation.

There will probably be more to come, as I become more coherent on this topic. Please Comment :)
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