Tag Archives: politics

Abortion: the Proverbial Carrot in Front of the Proverbial Horse

A couple weeks before the recent election I had a conversation with a professor at a mainline-denominational seminary. I asked him about the political climate within the faculty at the seminary. He said it is a one-issue topic with everyone. The only thing anyone cares about is abortion. He said he’d changed his stance a few years ago. It wasn’t that he felt any differently about the issue of abortion, but he’d realized there are many other important issues, such as poverty, with which we as Christians need to concern ourselves.

I’ve had conversations with a growing number of Christians who share this sentiment. It’s seemed particularly strong in the last year, with the latest Presidential election. Over the last four years my world view has drastically changed, and I’ve seen many of my brothers and sisters change as well. (I’ve touched on this new and ever-changing world view in previous blogs. See “Anarchism and Ecclesiastes” and “A Mainstream Counterculture”)

Here’s one of my main conclusions: We’ve been used!

We, the Church, have been used by the political system. This is not just the Republican Party, though they are a large culprit. We’ve been used by political and religious leaders seeking to create a legislative apparatus of “Trickle-down Morality”. Twenty-nine-or-so years ago Jerry Falwell et al. created the Moral Majority, which sought to establish a political coalition to make religious (particularly Christian) voters into a powerful political demographic. The Moral Majority found enormous success at delivering this demographic to Ronald Reagan in the 1980 Presidential election. This was arguably the first time since the 1920s that the Church played a major role in politics. This, understandably, excited many within morally conservative religious communities. But this also began the intertwining of Christian ideals with right-wing conservative doctrine. In other words, two things that should have virtually nothing to do with each other have become nearly indistinguishable. And one thread in particular holds it all together: abortion.

Eventually Christians weren’t just concerned with issues of abortion, but also tax-breaks for the wealthy, support of war abroad and many other politically conservative ideals. Pastors have preached for congregations to support particular candidates simply because of hot-button issues, disregarding the other stances these particular candidates hold.

Today a candidate merely needs to say he’s Pro-life and he has 70% of the evangelical vote.

Today many Christians speak of a man like Barack Obama only as a “baby-killer”, even though many of his stances are incredibly gracious and charitable. He cares for the poor. He doesn’t just want welfare, though many on the right throw out words like “socialism” and “welfare state” in an act to scare people away from actually researching his stances. He wants to level the playing field so even the poorest of the poor can accomplish what suburban kids can accomplish with virtually no effort. But most Christians have no idea about this, and appear to have no concern for the social/economic apparatus which continually widens the gap between rich and poor (not to mention the fact that the rich control the entire apparatus).

Many Christians seem to only care if a candidate is labeled “pro-life”, or “Murderer”. And there are no other issues.

Abortion is a horrible act. Nearly everyone agrees, especially anyone who’s talked to a mother who has aborted a child. But it is more complicated than just a mother who wants to kill her baby, which is the way many people think of it. (In fact, it is an issue that deserves more than just one paragraph in this post, but alas…) Often abortion is a woman in great distress, feeling like she has no other choice-whether that is true or not. And Christ compels us to put more effort into caring for these women in their distress than in merely holding up placards with fetuses in front of abortion clinics three times a week. My mother recalls a doctor who lived down the street from her house when she was a child. This was before abortion was legalized, and he would perform abortions for free in his home under the safe supervision of a doctor. He had seen too many women resort to coat-hanger-type operations, which was a worse situation all-together. Abortion has been around for thousands of years. It has been around as long as unwanted pregnancies have been around, which is to say “forever”.

Abortion is… a lot more complicated than religious and political leaders on both sides make it out to be.

And, therefore, it should not be the only political issue Christians care about. What about the poor? What about war and support of oppressive regimes abroad? What about the number of dilapidated schools in EVERY city in this country? What about the state of race relations 35 years after the civil rights movement?

I’m not saying every Christian should have voted for Barack Obama. However, I am saying that nobody should vote for a candidate because of a single issue, especially such a complicated issue such as abortion.

I do believe we should no longer allow the political world to use us. We can’t let politicians dangle the issue of abortion in front of us and then lead us wherever they feel we should go.

And now I welcome any and all comments. Please let me know what you think.

The Calico Rebellion

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A Hoax Gone Terribly Right!

First of all, I apologize for my absence. I’ve been working on several entries, and none is ready to post. All of them deal with political issues, which is something I have yet to touch on this blog. There have been several reasons for this, but the main issue deals with the volatility of politics. I had very definite views during the Presidential election, however I noticed that political discussion tended to get people much more revved than usual. And too much revving is not a good thing, though moderate revving is important for positive public discourse. I had trouble keeping the revving in the moderate range… I’ve gone on with this metaphor so long that I’ve forgotten what I was talking about.

Regardless, I will allow this posting to be a primer for the upcoming political postings. Consider this a taste. An amuse bouche, if you will. And if you’re French I’m sure you will, because you know what that phrase means. If you’re not French, then just consider this entry to be the cheese-and-crackers plate before the buffet line starts.

I ran across a very interesting article HERE:

(http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/13/arts/television/13hoax.html?em),

And you can also read the AP article HERE:

(http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/11/13/politics/main4598895.shtml)

And HERE:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/13/msnbc-retracts-story-sour_n_143517.html).

It regards a hoax perpetrated by, what appears to be, two film makers. The hoax itself is funny because it shows how two people can string along the mainstream and blog-based media for as long as a year, while continually being exposed along the way. It is a testament to the rapid pace at which new media changes, and the difficulty in fact-checking today.

The Martin Eisenstadt blog is found HERE:

http://www.eisenstadtgroup.com/

The Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy website is found HERE:

http://www.hardinginstitute.org/

Leave comments about what you think. The Calico Rebellion always appreciates feedback.

The Calico Rebellion

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Anarchism to Ecclesiastes

So I’ve spent the last 7 days in Seattle on my honeymoon. Understandably, many things are swirling and mixing around in my heart and mind. For one, I’M MARRIED, and this takes more time to transition than I thought it would. But it is good. I’m also on the hunt for a job. I’ve been waiting tables for the past month or two (something I never thought I’d do again, but something I’m really enjoying) and interviewing for teaching positions among other pursuits. I’ve been offered a couple things, but have yet to accept anything. And, I’m fairly confused.

A FATEFUL BOOKSTORE:
While in Seattle my lovely new bride and I ventured into a radical little bookstore by Pikes Market called Left Bank Books. I’m not using the word “radical” as some of you may wish I would-which would be the Ninja Turtles sense of the word. I actually mean it in the sense that it’s far from a mainstream book store. From what I’ve gathered, it’s actually a collective co-op, rather than a business, mainly distributing counter-cultural material ranging from obscure zines to works by widely acclaimed academics.

As pragmatic a person as I am, I usually have a tendency toward and affinity for radical thought. So I was naturally drawn to the Anarchism section. (funny side note: they had a few signs above that pointed out the obvious contradiction of selling literature that more or less denounces our current system of trading currency for products. The sign noted the distinction between this collectively owned co-op and large chains (the Borders down the street), saying “If you must steal books, steal from a richly stock’d corporate book store”)

I ended up buying an interesting little glossy book titled “Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Anarchism But Were Afraid to Ask” which apparently has no author. It’s actually not very well written or thought out. There are a good amount of mistakes in the author’s reasoning as well as his/her spelling and word usage. But it’s still a fun little treat. I also bought “A Peoples History of America” by Howard Zinn and “Chomsky on Anarchism”, which is a collection of essays and interviews from Noam Chomsky regarding Anarchism. And, to round out the revolutionary literature, my wife bought Che Guevara’s “Motorcycle Diaries” which are his own diaries in his own words from that fateful trip around South America.

Interestingly, my basic political views (which are still in flux) tend to align themselves with pieces of anarchism, in the sense that I believe government is inherently evil (I believe many of our founding documents imply this truth, and I also see much evidence of this in scripture). But I differ in that I tend believe government is a necessary evil, because some form of government will always form. I also believe in scripture’s view of authority, such as in Romans 13. I think democracy just happens to be the lesser of all the other evils we’ve come up with-due to it’s check of the people. But of course, this is just in theory.

There’s a t-shirt that has an American flag with a sheep where the stars should be and below reads “The United Sheep of America”. And it’s this fact that kind of erodes the idea of democracy for me. Instead of a system that places the best representatives in power, we’ve got one that tends to put the best manipulators with the richest backers in power-a system that reproduces other so-called democracies and then destroys them or allows them to be destroyed when our system disagrees with the way they vote.

So much for the check of the people…

A LONG-DEAD WISE MAN:
So after swirling in this for a few days, I turned to Ecclesiastes, my solace. In it King Solomon describes nearly everything as useless, and “a chasing after wind”. He says we have a hunger which will never be quenched; we seek to acquire wealth, of which there will never be enough; we seek wisdom which only causes more and more vexation; it is a great and heavy burden God has placed on man, therefore the only thing we can do is enjoy our toil. The fruits of our toil can never be enjoyed, because there will never be an end to acquiring them, and then some day we will die-turning to dust just like the animals. So we must enjoy our work, our food, our drink-enjoy the lot which God has given us. We are but dust, but God is God.

And there comes Hope, my old friend I don’t visit often enough.

So I will continue to ask hard questions, and pray for the strength to receive hard answers. And I will seek to continually depend on the Lord, because I can’t trust in Uncle Sam, nor in my own confounded mind-this I realize more and more each day. In the words of Mr Stephen Colbert: I am America: And so can you!

Comments requested.

The Calico Rebellion

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