Saturday, November 4, 2017

Korban and Texas Law

Jesus notes how a religious tradition intended for good, i.e., communion with god through offering and sacrifice, is used, instead, to further greed, and to avoid caring for (i.e. honoring) one’s parents in their days of need (Mark 7.11 and Matthew 15.

The written word commands care for parents - i.e., to “honor them” …  in their day of need, a child is bound by the Word of God to offer assistance to her parents.

But as Jesus notes, a tradition had emerged by which a child might say to her parents, “Sorry Mom, sorry Dad, what you might expect in support from me isn’t available any longer - I intend to give the money to the Temple, it’s Korban.”

Jesus condemns the practice, because it was a cover for greed. I suspect that it became an easy way for a child to avoid caring for Mom and Dad, with flippant words of a future gift to the Temple,  and we all know what time does to such promises: Mom and Dad die in need, and the money promised to the Temple, oh well, the check never gets written, or at least gets written for a much smaller amount. 

It was Korban that occurred to me in mulling over aTexas bill recently passed in the House, that women should get abortion insurance, if they intend to ever get an abortion, and specifically, because the law offers no exceptions for rape or incest.

In other words, the good and righteous lawmakers of Texas don’t want Christian money to pay for an abortion through taxes and state provisions. So, if a women is raped, and doesn’t have any “abortion insurance,” she can pay for the abortion herself, or better yet, go through with the pregnancy, or better yet, teach others not to get raped, because, according to conservative minds, rape is mostly the woman’s fault anyway God-abiding women are never raped, and if they are, it’s God’s will for a greater purpose - who knows, the child so conceived might grow up to become a great leader, a scientist, or a even better, a Baptist preacher like Mike Huckabee.

As I read the article about the bill (not yet signed by the governor, but likely so, because the Senate is also considering a similar bill), I thought of the notion of Korban (Corban), wherein a religious tradition is used to avoid responsibility to one’s parents.

I can only imagine some young hotshot evangelical saying to her parents, “You should have planned better for your retirement, you should have saved more, invested in the Stock Market, put money aside for your day of need. Don't count on me to help, because I’ve promised my money to my megachurch pastor. Oh, I’ve not paid it yet, but I will. It’s promised to the LORD, so no help for you. You’re on your own, and I hope you learn your lesson, and others, too, will learn from my righteous example.”

Evangelicals don’t want their money associated with rape, pregnancy, abortion, sin and sorrow. Women are on their own in this matter, and that’s just the way it is. You’ll not see any Evangelical money helping anyone in need, because this money is promised to the LORD. So there. And if anyone is in dire straits, poor and suffering, it’s there fault for poor decisions and bad planning. And, besides, it’s all in God’s good will, and God will provide. Woo hoo … praise the LORD, and look at my bank account.

Jesus calls the crowed together in Mark 7.14-16 and says: There’s nothing outside of a person that can defile one, but what comes out of a person is the defilement. The “righteous,” who are fussy about what they eat and drink, and their pots and pans and cups (Mark 7.1-4), are mistaken. They fail to see what’s coming out of them as the issue, and what’s coming out of them is greed, all gussied up in religious jargon.

The proposed Texas law, and so many like it, have nothing to do with God’s purpose; it’s all greed, a means by which the “righteous” can keep more of their money, and the means by which human suffering can be ignored, and those who suffer can be scolded for their wayward behavior.

The story of Korban: a well-intended purpose subverted for the purposes of greed.