Wednesday, August 27, 2008

pro-life

i have been getting up at 6:10 a.m. every morning during the week since school started. it gives me time to take a shower and get everything else done to get the kids to school on time and get back home so i can (theoretically) begin working. i made a commitment to myself on sunday that i was going to do yoga monday through friday. yes, you have heard me say this before. but rick started his job on monday, so now that the house is empty during the day, i find it easier to make this really happen.

so today is day 3 of this commitment, and i'm already going "ugh." it's not even that bad--just 20 minutes. but i find myself trying to think of things to occupy my mind while i'm doing down dog and warrior pose so i am not thinking about how i really wish i wasn't doing yoga at all but eating a plateful of cookies i baked last night instead.

so this morning, i started thinking about how much i love obama and really want him to win the presidency, which made me think about how i grew up in a conservative-ish Christian household where the message (at church, not from my parents at all) was that being Republican is synonymous with being a Christian. i knew nothing about politics, so i just said, "okay."

fast forward to today. i still don't know much about politics. what i do know comes mostly from my husband, whose passion it is to read everything (and i mean EVERYTHING) he can about what's going on related to politics. he's very gifted (i think) at all the crap that's being said and really get to the root of things. so when GW became president, we began having discussions. these discussions led to more insight on my part (at least i like to think so!). at any rate i don't feel completely lost related to politics anymore (just mostly lost).

ok, i say all of this because i don't usually write about politics and don't feel like i'm in any way qualified to do so. these are just my thoughts that came up in my head while i was doing yoga. so please don't crucify me in the comments if you have a strong passionate argument against what i'm saying... :)

so what i started thinking is that obama is a democrat, and he has some stances on abortion that i don't like. i don't know all of them--i've already said i'm not completely informed. :) and i know that mccain claims to be pro-life related to abortion. so first i thought about how interesting it is that people might choose to vote for mccain based on the fact that he is pro-life. and other people might choose not to vote for obama because he is pro-choice.

and then i thought about myself. i used to have severely strong (read: judgmental) viewpoints about abortion. about how abortion should never take place, even if the woman has been raped, or even if the mother is about to die. i am not saying that i have changed my viewpoint, but i'm not saying i HAVEN'T changed my viewpoint. i'm saying that now that i'm a mother (obviously sexually active!), i am not so sure about where i stand on this issue. back then i wasn't a mother and wasn't sexually active, so it was easier to make these black & white statements. but now...

and i think that this mirrors the thought processes that have been swirling around in my mind a lot over the past 4 or so years--a lot of them have been more in the gray areas than in the black & white. if you ever watched the movie "saved" then you can picture how i was as a teenager. everything was so black & white. i'm not so sure i'm comfortable in the gray, but that's where i am right now, and in some ways it feels better than thinking i'm absolutely right about everything.

but i digress: so then i started thinking about what it means to be "pro-life" and how narrow-minded we can really be when it comes to that label and what it means or DOES not mean (there are of course always two sides to every issue right?). which made me think about how mccain seems to support the war in a way i am not comfortable with. which made me think about how in some ways obama seems to be more "pro-life" than mccain.

the issue of abortion aside, obama seems to be trying to breathe life (as best he can) into americans in general--promoting change, promoting a new way of thinking, promoting a new kind of politician. only time will tell if he is telling the truth, but for now, i believe him. i have to have some hope, after all.

obama also seems to be supporting life in the way he wants to bring troops home from iraq. this, to me, right now is a much bigger "life" issue. and i don't think we can just segment things away until we don't have to think about these things in the same paragraph. because they ARE so similiar in so many ways.

supporting life, being "pro-life," means being for life in ALL areas. being congruent with our thought processes. being consistent with our beliefs. this means being anti-death-penalty. anti-war. pro-life-and-when-it-begins-and-how-to-treat-fetuses. pro-saving-the-planet-so-our-children-have-a-life-on-Earth-after-we-are-gone. pro-not-spending-every-last-dime-and-borrowing-3-trillion-more-so-our-kids-and-their-kids-and-their-kids-and-THEIR-kids-are-destitute. pro-giving-life-to-the-needy-and-suffering.

when i think of my faith, of Jesus, of what he stood and stands for, obama represents "pro-life" to me, and that is exciting.

p.s. even if you don't follow politics, please feel free to comment; i'd love to hear what you all think!

28 comments:

Penny said...

The only thing I'll say is check this out:
http://www.youtube.com/v/4FCNKwHRCQM
This is just me, but I really don't want someone in office who is this ignorant of the meaning of the stories in the Bible (AND willing to share his ignorance publically). I hope you don't concider this comment too harsh, but I really believe there is a lot of deception surrounding Obama and what he stands for (although the video is VERY clear that he certainly is NOT a Christian!)

kristi said...

penny! thanks so much for being willing to comment. i was afraid no one would dare... :)

i've seen this video already; it's being circulated in those mass scare tactic emails (my opinion).

what i'll say about this, after spending quite a bit of time looking at it and discussing it with several people at length, is that you can tell nothing about obama from this video. it's completely edited (there isn't even one full paragraph from his speech), and there's no link to a full sermon online (that i could find anyway--if you have the link could you please share it here? i'd like to watch the whole thing).

and 2 years ago when obama gave this speech no one had anything negative to say about whether he was a Christian. it's interesting that now that people have a reason for bringing it up they are using it to try to prove something about him.

in all honesty, i think that it's almost impossible to see who politicians really are anyway. we are given the media version--edited down, sound bytes, emotional music. so it's really tough to have any clarity and not be somewhat deceived.

i think for me it comes down to which person seems to have at least more of a moral center. for me, i see less of one in mccain (left his first wife under horrible circumstances on his part; supports a senseless war; seems to flip flop depending on who he's talking to). probably why i'm so passionate about this election vs. other ones.

i really enjoy this dialogue, so thank you for being willing to comment! i look at this as a learning experience.

Penny said...

Hi Kristi,
While I was showering this morning, I started thinking about the comment I left here yesterday. As I was pondering, I believe that God just spoke to my heart and challenged me to "look what I did with Saul". Saul was one of the most renown Christian killers at the time of the writing of the new testament. When God got ahold of him and changed his name to Paul, he ended up writing 2/3 of the new testament. My point is that God can work with anyone. I don't want to be one of those Christians who live in fear (since fear IS a tactic of the enemy!) of what will happen if a certain person is elected because I know who my God is and if "God be for us, who can be against us?" I believe whoever is elected, the biggest thing we as Americans can do is pray for this person to make Godly decisions.

Brandon said...

1) We are not a theocracy.

2) Our founding fathers - some Christians, some not - deliberately made "separation of church and state" a prominent point. Why? Because they saw the potential tyranny and oppression that can result when a religious agenda is in power.

3) Evangelicals - of which I am one - continue to mistakenly assert that the US must get back to its Christian roots. First, this is historically inaccurate. Many of our founding fathers were not Christians. Second, it leads us to view our nation more as a church and less as a country. The two realms are completely different and we shouldn't attempt to fit the same set of principles for the other.

4) The US is not Israel of the Old Testament. And as hard as this is for many Christians to accept, God has no more of a special interest in the US than he does with any other people or nation on earth. That's the beauty of the new covenant. It's not nationalized salvation, but universal (i.e. cross border) in a sense. (No I'm not an open theist or a universalist.)

5) I think this discussion is helpful and hope it continues!

amommystory said...

Very articulate post Kristi! I am always so curious to know why people choose to vote the way they do.

I second you for sure on the whole republican=christian up-bringing, and it is really to bad that the church at large has done that. In the end, people end up not thinking for themselves; churches ESPECIALLY should encourage people to think.

Ok, so here is my opinion: I am voting for Ron Paul, because he is a constitutionalist. The US was established to be a democracy, free of religious persecution, a government for the people, by the people, and that is not what we've become. The current government has taken way to much power into their own hands, and the government has used that power to create a horrible economic system. Personally I am a fan of Ron Paul's plan to fix our economics.

I also grew up in the old school of "if you don't vote for someone who doesn't have a chance at winning, it is worse than not voting at all." Personally, I think that's crap, each person should vote for who they think will do the best job.

I have to say that the video Penny posted actually made me like Oboma more. He is right. If we run our government according to the Bible, we will find ourselves in some interesting situations. America is a democracy, not a theocracy. If we elect someone who is a christian, to run the nation in a christian manner, we open ourselves up to allowing the president to set the moral/spiritual standard for our nation. This may be fine, so long as the whole nation is one religion, but we aren't. What happens when we elect someone who is a buddist, or an atheist, or an agnostic, or insert whatever religion. I will expect them to meet the requirements of the job, not the requirements of their faith.

SOOO that Oboma recognizes that a democratic nation has to be governed by the laws of democracy, I really apriciate. It would be dangerous to have a some one picking and choosing biblical passages to govern a democracy with.

Though if we lived in a theocracy, the discussion would be different. But that video actually makes me confident that Oboma knows more about scripture than I thought he did. Politics are so interesting! H

krystal said...

Hear, hear, Brandon! That is one of my biggest (well, at least top ten) pet peeves...the tendency to confuse the Church with the United States.

Re: the original post, years of living in DC has made me jaded and more than a little skeptical of pretty much any politician (I think just the desire to become a politician indicates someone who is too authoritarian for my taste). But, that said, I think Obama will be getting my vote.

kristi said...

this is why i love blogging: getting feedback and perspectives i would not have seen without your comments!

brandon, you point out some things i didn't think about when i watched the video. i didn't even connect the whole separation of church & state when i listened, but i am definitely a fan of that too; the alternative is too scary because we can't control HOW someone practices his/her faith and what kind of demands that person might start trying to place on Americans if he/she had the chance.

although, to risk sounding a bit inflammatory, i do think we've seen a bit of that danger in our current president, who declares he's doing everything in the name of Jesus while people die tragically unnecessarily.

h, i think it's awesome that you are voting for who you feel like is really right for the job. i think it's great to follow your conviction.

and one more thing: penny, as i've thought more about your initial comment, i thought i should point out that if we call ourselves Christians we should not say someone is NOT a Christian--especially if that person has publicly declared that he IS a Christian (you can see that in the Rick Warren forum, where he talks specifically about being redeemed.)

i could say the same thing about Bush: it's very clear to me that he doesn't act remotely like any version of Jesus i have ever heard of, but i stop short of saying he isn't a Christian because i think this is all up to God and the person.

i also think it's dangerous to say that because a person believes in separation of church and state they are not Christians. that might mean that i'm not, and i do call myself one...

Brandon said...

The ironic thing about leaders of the Christian right (I'm painting with a broom) is that they:

- IGNORE the idea of separation of church and state by fighting for prayer in school, 10 commandments, etc

yet,

- PROMOTE the idea of separation of church and state if another religion is trying to enter the system.

The self-serving expediency of such contradictory views is alarming.

Amelia Plum said...

great post kristi! i think brandon brings up some excellent points in his first post, a number of the founding fathers were deists. i think part of maturing is realizing that everything isn't polarized to black or white, because you experience so much as you get older, hopefully, that might make you reconsider previous stances that you might not have really thought about from all points of view. and by the way i loved the movie saved! your last paragraph is great. i think there's more than a little irony about people that are pro-life yet are for capital punishment and sending so many off to a senseless war. obama has got my vote! he's thoughtful, articulate, compassionate and i really believe in his message of hope - i can think he's what america needs at this critical time.

Amelia Plum said...

this isn't related to the post but i love the new header and layout of your site kristi - great job!

oh and for random political soapbox stuff. all those hillary supporters who are so mad she isn't the democratic nominee that they're considering voting for mccain or aren't sure what they're going to do. well that level of stupidity and stubbornness should preclude them from being allowed to vote. hilllary needs a good hard kick in the ass. she should have gotten behind obama & shown her support for him a long long time ago. if he loses it will partially be her fault for dividing the democratic party. and if he loses i'm leaving this country!

james said...

Gotta say, I dig your thoughts (and brandon's) on being holistically pro-life as well. I have a similar background like you in terms of what i was told with regard to voting the "Christian" vote. As i've come to learn though, most republican voters end up being blind loyalists and hypocrites with their reasoning to keep voting republican. This election turns all the old rhetoric against McCain, yet they are still going to vote for him.

jjisdynomite said...

Wow, I'm going to crash the party here.

First, I appreciate you Kristi really thinking with scrutiny about the political process. This has been the most interesting election cycle for me as well and I'm proud of you for posting your thoughts and really putting it out there. You go girl.

But I disagree with much said here.

1) while the theory of being "overall pro-life" is an important one, I don't think you can equate the war with the abortion issue, period. There is SOOOOOO much difference between an unborn child and someone who has voluntarily entered the armed forces to serve our country in peace time and in war. When you become a soldier, you're strapping it on. If you're ordered to rumble, you rumble. Just ask a marine. I know several.

But a baby has no choice and no defenses. God puts life into a womb because of his divine plan and as people of faith that's something we can't question. Rape and incest are unspeakably horrible things...I dated someone who was raped and I myself was abused. But we must base our lives on what we truly believe, and if we truly believe we know better than God what of his creations should live or die then we are truly deceived. In my opinion, by his own statement at Rick Warren's forum, Barack Obama is deceived about this all-important issue.

If you need another reason not to compare the Iraq war with abortion, compare the number that have been killed by each.

I do agree about the danger of theocracy. I wouldn't want someone of another faith to govern in a way that keeps me from practicing mine, but I don't think anyone's done that, have they? No matter what you think of W, he's been pretty good about honoring the diversity of religion within our country. What's to say McCain OR Obama would be any different? To me, the theocracy issue isn't going to make me cast my vote one way or another in November.

Do I believe either Obama or McCain are Christians? Maybe. I wouldn't presume to know another man's truest heart (especially one who really wants my vote) but both seem shaky at best on living their faith. I don't appreciate the message of what I've seen of Obama's church...and even in context Barack himself comes off as biblically ignorant. As a person, I'm sure he's cool. Would I like to hang out with him? Sure, we could play basketball and listen to Stevie Wonder (two things I hold dear)! But he will not get my vote.

As for McCain, he just seems like a jerk to me. When I think of the fruits of the spirit, I don't really see them in such a hothead. Would he govern angrily? Maybe. Will he get my vote? There is an outside chance. The door is not closed as I've always been conservative (not necessarily republican - unlike James seems to think we don't all follow blindly), so I'm giving him time to earn my trust. His VP pick helps, because Sarah Palin (though almost as inexperienced as Obama) impresses me greatly. Her views on governing with a "servant's heart" scores major points with me. Plus her stance on the life issue was never more clear that when she decided NOT to abort her son with Down Syndrome. How can anyone not respect that?

So I guess at this point I'm leaning republican.

Another issue that I see separating the parties is their view of what government should do for us. I don't think it should fix everything for everybody. We need to do for ourselves. The bible so if a man doesn't work he shouldn't eat. The socialist welfare-state mentality keeps people worshiping their welfare checks and suckling at the public teet. The church needs to rise up (corporately and individually) and assume the responsibility for caring for the poor - this is true religion! As long as we look to government for hand-outs and hope, we are putting people on the altar instead of God. My hope is in JESUS, not a politician, a party or a system.

Lastly, I wish everyone who says "if so and so wins this election I'm leaving the country" actually WOULD. If you love our country so little that a person serving a maximum of 8 years in the oval office would make you want to leave it, please do. In fact, I'd like to buy you a ticket to go live somewhere you'd feel more free. Good luck with that.

Viva discussion!

Brandon said...

Regarding abortion, here is a clip from John Piper on the issue. Here is it.

james said...

Definitely a worthwhile discussion!

I'm against abortion as well and i'm also very much akin to Kristi's line of thinking. We can oppose abortion, but why ensure an innocent life is worth being born only to invite it into a world where we invite it into death? We should be as much opposed to war as we are to abortion. We should be as for the environment, as we are to ensure the unborn have a chance, for that is the way of the Kingdom! We are about life! If we believe in redemption, why not embrace the way of life in all political facets.

Next thought. What has the Republican party done for the abortion issue? Nothing! The republicans have been in the executive office since 1981 (minus the clinton years) and have had all the opportunity to appoint all the judges they need to overturn roe v. wade. What have they done? Yet, most anti-abortionists are content to pick someone just because they say they are pro-life.

Oddly enough, the lowest abortion rates we've had in the last 25 years came in 1997 under a pro-choice. Not so much an odd conclusion when you look at how Clinton had no problem financially supporting social programs that helped those who were less fortunate. This in turn can reduce the number of pregnancies terminated when a woman feels she cannot financially support a baby.

I like Obama's rhetoric on the abortion issue. I like that he's talking about reducing abortion. I appreciate the dialogue.

rick bennett said...

JJ

If you will pay for our entire family's move, I would totally move to Canada.

I am figuring that plane tix don't cut it. We need a moving van and gas. That is pushing $3-4K.

I am waiting for the cash. I can give you my account if you need it... but only if McCain wins:)

Rick said...

JJ,

Of course I will disagree. But, you never liked Social Distortion, so I question your judgment anyway:)

While I would agree that a soldier volunteering for duty is very different from an unborn child, I would point out that most war related deaths are not soldiers, unless we only consider American deaths important.

If we assume that all people are God's children, even those that may be Afghan or Iraqi, Arab and Muslim as well as American Christian, we must say that the human cost of war is not simple. If these people are more than collateral damage, we must assume that their lives are worth at least as much as the life of an unborn child. they did not choose to be in harm's way.

If this is correct, we are talking upwards of 500K according to many reputable counters, which means war is getting into abortion territory. If we then take the amount of children dying due to poverty, starvation, in the future due to our environmental policies, etc. the counts add up and begin to get closer.

then if we understand that abortion will not be legalized with the overturning of Roe V Wade, which all Republican political leaders know, we need to look at real numbers. Only a few states will outlaw abortion if RvW is overturned.

So, the judges appointed by a republican have the potential to save thousands of babies, not millions- which may be less than the cost of the war.

the only possibility for complete stopping of abortion is a constitutional amendment. Nothing else saves large numbers. And, that will not happen unless the people want it. right now they do not.

So, to stop abortions.. it must be a combo of things... but the most important is people's minds, which will not change by the decree of a President or Supreme Court Justice.

And, under Obama there is as much a chance for lower abortion numbers as McCain. Look at Clinton's numbers (they went down- partially due to economic reasons). However, if we take the numbers of kids in other nations saved by Obama not being a warmonger, his Prolife cred goes up. BTW, I am Pro-life in the parlance of the Christian Right (however, i would find myself closer to a Catholic understanding understanding called consistent fabric of life).

nothing is as simple as those on the extremes want us to believe. Electing Republicans has not decreased abortion and the overturning of Roe v Wade will not make abortion illegal (except in a few states). Both sides want to use it for their benefit to bring power and money to their side, but in the end- political solutions will not happen on this issue...

but political solutions are available for this War (that would not have happened under a Democrat or another Republican) and a number of other Life Issues.

So, there is my opinion on this issue. It is worth less than a cup of tea.

kristi said...

ok i just have to say that i think i'm going to try this more often. usually it's my husband who is stirring things up, so this is exciting that i have gotten so many comments!

i think it's so valuable for us to really think about what being pro-life means in the largest sense of the word. what got me really thinking about this the most was when i started thinking about how most "republicans" and most "conservative Christians" seem to be pro the death penalty but pro-life this doesn't make any sense to me at all.

and that led to my thoughts during yoga about the war and the waste of life and how ending this stupid thing should be a pro-life stance also.

AND growing up i just heard so much about how adults around me were republicans because of the abortion thing. it seems like such a narrow-minded way of viewing the world, and it seems like you all get it.


jj, i think one thing you say really stands out to me and makes me think: it's the part about "if we really we truly believe we know better than God what of his creations should live or die then we are truly deceived."

i think this is a good point for those of us who call ourselves Christians, and it's definitely worth wrestling with, which is where i am currently--wrestling. and i really like being in this stage and not being sure, because i feel like it keeps me from being the selfish, self-centered, judgmental bitch on wheels i was in my former high school life. :)

thanks again, everyone, for making me think.

Brandon said...

First, where the discussion is at after 17 comments I think caution is needed to not lump the death penalty in with abortion and collateral damage. The latter two are discussions of innocence while the first is a discussion of guilt (presumably) and consequences - very similar to someone becoming a soldier - there is cognition involved.

Second, I think the reason so many "conservative Christians" are pro-death penalty is because people get whacked in the Bible. Sometimes God does it, sometimes people do it. But there is a clear, direct relationship of "you do X, Y or Z and you'll die." Regardless of how palatable it is, it's there. So it's not far fetched to continue to draw similar conclusions. (Not to mention culturally historical precedents that have been set for punishment of crimes.)

Third, I agree that many on the Evangelical right "Christianize" way too many things - God is republican, God is pro-military, God is pro-America, etc - but we have to protect against other errors as we swing back in the other direction.

We can't (at least in good conscience and moral consistency) simply turn our fight away from something important (say abortion), to something else (say war) just because that something else has previously been ignored. The "something else" should be a new element INCLUDED in the philosophy, not a REPLACEMENT of things previous.

I hope that makes sense.

PS - Rick, should we evacuate?

kristi said...

brandon, points well taken, esp. re: the death penalty. i'm not trying to say they are equal; just adding to my original train of thought.

and rick says maybe you should head toward texas or louisiana...

james said...

The moment we deem someone as worthy of death is the moment we deem them as not worthy of redemption. Or incapable of redemption perhaps. This is one reason I oppose the death penalty.

Are we not about redemption as followers of Christ?

james said...

Oh and throw Brooke and I in for two one-way tickets to Ireland. We'd totally go.

jjisdynomite said...

So many good replies. It's great that as believers our minds are at work and that we take these life questions seriously. I feel good knowing that you all (only two of you whom I have met) are plugged in enough to have some informed and illuminated thinkers among you, even if I disagree completely with some of you.

Regarding abortion versus the totals of dead in the Iraq war. While you could argue numbers on both sides, I'm pretty sure no one could dispute who is the most defenseless, the born (American and otherwise) or the unborn. I stand by my opinion that while both are "pro-life" causes, abortion is the one that will continue to be a more vital issue both now and in the future. While I'm sure someone will be tempted to float a "100 years" comment, I'd bet what's left in my post moving-you-all-to-a-seemingly-better-place-to-live bank account that we'll be arguing about abortion long after my friend Nate is home from Baghdad. And while many disparage the right's ability to overturn Roe v. Wade, it's obvious Obama has NO desire to! So then if we care about this issue we should give him our vote? That sounds like some pretty weak justification for supporting the Dems.

Regarding Clinton's high (or low?) score on the abortion rates, you just incriminated the democratic way of thinking: let's throw money at the problem! If our government has to pay people to not abort their babies then our thinking as a country is seriously wacked. And if you follow that to its logical conclusion, how much is human life worth? Is there a cut-off? Does it depend on the price of diapers? I agree about real change starting with our mindset, and in this case I appreciate Obama's starting of the dialogue. But if we truly believe in the worth of human life then we'll think differently about aborting a child...not "can I afford it?"

Kristi: thanks for the kind words. I've got to say I spent a lot of time reacting to my upbringing too. I went this way and that, dodging the opinions and positions of grandparents who got their prejudices prior to WWII, and boy was it exhausting! I came to the conclusion that I will believe what I believe based on the facts I can find and the convictions of my heart. If these happen to correspond with my family's, fine. If they don't, so be it. But I'm not going to let them pressure me into being anything less than what God made me: myself.

Regarding the death penalty: I'm thankful for this discussion in this area. It's made me do a lot of thinking and I plan to follow it up with a lot of reading and a lot more prayer.

And finally, to those of you who are ready to move out of the country, I find your comments truly sad. Rick I love you but if you're joking it's poor humor and if you're serious you're an utter ingrate. This is the best country in the world...I thought so when Clinton was in the White House and I'll think the same if Obama wins, because I am a patriot. And while I do see the warts on this country I reject the notion that some on the left seem to hold: that we're the enemy. That we deserve to be laid low. That 9/11 was just desserts. No other country responds to people in need like ours. No other country allows the freedoms we do. The marks on our flag (I believe there are some) don't blot out our true colors and they never will. I worship Jesus not the USA, but for the latter I am ever thankful.

Hopefully this post will inspire more reaction. I enjoyed reading some of your replies, others left me scratching my head completely. Rick, shoot me an e-mail so we can exchange numbers. We should catch up.

Pixie said...

Interesting discussion. I'm sad I missed it while on vacation.

Kristi, I loved what Obama said in his acceptance speech about pro-life & pro-choice coming to a point where we could agree on finding a way to have fewer unwanted pregnancies. At the same time, I wondered how that comment would sit with some pro-lifers.

I am pro-life, but an unusual one, I think. I believe that abortion is horrible & shouldn't happen. I am also OK with it being legal. I know for a fact that making abortion illegal will not make it stop. My mother had an abortion a year out of high-school in 1967. That's still 6 years BEFORE RoevWade. My mother grew up in a Christian household in the South. I know that my grandfather arranged the abortion. I haven't asked what the facility was like - whether it was a doctor's office or a shack in the country without sanitation or anything.

So my position comes down to this - abortion is horrible & shouldn't happen but it has & will continue to happen even if illegal. We do have an opportunity to decide whether it happens in a viable medical facility or whether it happens in a country shack or in a back bedroom with a coat hanger.

Rick said...

JJ,

I will get my email and phone to you.

Needless to say, I would like to catch up and not talk about politics alone. however, for the sake of this blog posting, I will say that we would probably have to disagree on most of this stuff.

One thing to know is this... I am not an Ideologue. I hold to no comprehensive political standard. I find them all inane and useless in the real world, whether it is conservatism, liberalism, libertarianism, free market capitalism, socialism, christianism, or communitarianism (which I find myself closer to most days). I definitely don't subscribe to Republicanism or Democratism. If you subscribe to a specific ideology, you will not like my thoughts. Also, if you are a fan of talk radio or the BS slingers giving "perspective" on the news, you will find my ideas squishy and inconsistent. I tend to think of them as nuanced and thoughtful.

I tend to be a pragmatist, not content with political purity, although I have strongly anabaptist tendencies. I mention this because I agree with everyone on some things and think they are all full of BS on other things. I cannot be pinned down politically (or theologically).

That said, I would disagree with most everything you said. I would strongly argue against saying the unborn are more (or less) the same (defenseless, god's children and in need of a Samaritan). I am not going to give you anything on the importance of abortion vs. war and peace. The Bible speaks directly to one issue consistently and we infer (some rightly and some wrongly) the Bible's teaching on the other.

I would say that abortion is the more vital issue to only a group of people that have chosen to make it the most vital. It is not the most vital to the majority of Americans or to God (def not the Bible).

If your name is Rush, Sean or James and you depend upon it for power and money, then it will be the most vital and you will make sure you fill your coffers with money made from making 1 issue tantamount.

Because I believe in a consistent pro-life position I will not arbitrarily decide upon one being more important at the expense of all the others, including poverty.

You quote 1 verse from Thessalonians regarding poverty (taken out of context) but forget that the bible addresses poverty over 2,000 times (only eternity is talked about more often).
If God finds this issue so important that he would want it at the forefront of his Word, I find it wrong to find one verse and use it to build an ideology on poverty and work around.

Not being a purist, I do not care who takes care of the poor. It is the mark of a good society (church, people, government) how we treat the least of these, including unborn children, children killed by soldiers, kids living in cars and immigrants looking for a better life. We must all work together to help them ALL.

I am not and never will be a 1 issue voter. I did it while I was young and nothing happened. It was a carrot stick to keep 1 group in power.

Regarding your comments on Clinton and abortion rates, it is not about throwing money at the problem (BTW, the Republicans throw money at people all the time, just like the Dems- the Dems give it to poor people and the Reps give it to corporations- I know whose side I want to be on- read Luke 1:51-55)... it is about having an economy and tax code that does not hurt poor people and their is opportunity for jobs, etc. When those things happen abortion rates lower. It has nothing to do with welfare (which Clinton reformed).

Finally, regarding the USA. Understand I am not (and will never be) a Patriot. I find patriotism as loyalty to a country above all others. My loyalty is to another (competing) kingdom with another leader/ President/ King. I don't think the USA wants competition for loyalty so it tries to blur the lines between God and Country.

I like the USA just fine and love it because it is where my people live. it is home. But, I don't think is is the BEST NATION EVER. There is no way to decide that. I can think it is the best country ever the same way I think the St Louis Cardinals are the best baseball team ever.

The US deserves my respect and my service to it (because I belong to any community I am responsible for it), but not my loyalty.

If we think of ourselves as the best country because we have constitution that separates powers and we don't torture people and we treat immigrants with respect and we love our neighbor and we don't attack countries without cause and we don't let presidents run roughshod over that constitution.. then I would say we can be concerned about what has happened to this country and its moral authority the last 8 years. 1 Administration has done terrible damage (and it is not Clinton, Bush Sr, Reagan, Carter, etc.). You will find me in agreement with many across the spectrum on that issue- Democrats, Republicans, Europeans, Arabs, Christians, Atheists, Liberals and true conservatives.

Understand that I am not just in disagreement with you on this issue. I am in disagreement with my dad, my denomination, my classmates and some of my best friends.

I don't expect anyone to agree with me. But I do feel confident in my views (but they do come from my experience, worldview, reading and personality) which are not yours. I actually like having friends that disagree with me, as long as they don't think I am bad, evil, stupid, unenlightened or a Bad Christian for having them.

my email is rickkristi@gmail.com. Shoot me your email and I will shoot you my phone #.

jjisdynomite said...

Rick: though we will continue to disgree I think you are thoughtful, well-spoken and right on many things. I will take your points to heart. One thing I will never be as long as I have breath is someone who is unwilling to change or consider other viewpoints. I like having friends who think differently too, it makes me question my views which either strengthens me or makes me more aware of my shortcomings. Thanks for sharpening my iron, friend.

I'll shoot you an e-mail shortly.

JJ

Anonymous said...

Kristi, I truly appreciate your holistic view of politics. However, Obama is not against war. In fact, he wants to put MORE troops in Afghanistan (to increase our military operation there). See below (from CNN - http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/20/obama.afghanistan/). I will not support his selective diplomacy. From what I have heard of Obama’s rhetoric, as president, he will be responsible for just as many war related fatalities as those before him.

"Obama said troop levels must increase in Afghanistan."

kristi said...

hi anonymous, thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment! (do i know you? i always like it when "anonymous" people identify themselves for the sake of the discussion.)

i think that's a very valid point to bring up re: obama & his plan to send more troops to afghanistan. when i was listing my string of "anti" and "pro" things i want in a candidate, i shouldn't have said "anti-war." here's why.

in thinking about it some more, i realize that i don't think we'll ever see an "anti-war" president. and even though i'm for peace and believe it's the right answer (read: the jesus answer), i don't think it would go over too well if the leader of the free world got up and said "no more war. i refuse to fight." i think we'd all be finding a new country to live in soon after those words were uttered!

which leads me to the fact that at some point, in all our beliefs, we are hypocrites. so i'm for peace, but i'm uncomfortable with our president saying he's for peace. well...he can be for peace in an overall goal, as in let's not invade countries preemptively. that sort of thing. but in terms of literally laying down our swords, i don't think this sounds like the best idea!

howEVER, i DO think that the best idea in IRAQ is to lay down our swords. we attacked them; they did nothing to us. and i'm glad and relieved to hear obama say he's anti the war in iraq. so i should have written that statement as "anti the war in iraq," which would have made it clear up front that i'm a hypocrite and that i realize there's not one good answer for everything. :)

one last thing: the whole political discussion is new to me, so maybe i don't have all or any of the answers. i am just learning, trying to formulate opinions, somehow to see things through the lens of my faith. that's always a scary thing, since the lens of my faith is shaped by who i am.

there's that, for what it's worth! thanks again for commenting.

karin said...

I really appreciate the discussion. It's refreshing to find people of faith who are thinking about the issues and not just voting with the Christian status-quo. And, are willing to talk about it peacefully.

I have been thinking some of the same things you posted about, Kristi. As James put it "holistically pro-life". And like you, Kristi, I think Obama seems to be about issues that are life-giving to people, especially those that are struggling, which these days is the average American.

For awhile I have been bothered by the fact that there is ALWAYS a pro-life candidate and a pro-choice candidate. I have wondered lately if all of the candidates who say they are pro-life really are or if they are just using that position for votes. Pixie brought up a good point about how recent Presidents who have had the opportunity to do something about Roe V. Wade haven't. Kind of makes you think.

No candidate is going to line up with our individual belief system, nor should we expext them to. that said, it matters less to me how committed a Christian the candidate is and more how what they stand for allows me to cast a conscious vote. Obama again seems to be for the kinds of issues I think should get some attention...healthcare, education, taking care of our veterans, etc. Personally I think his plan to offer a free education at a state school for students who are willing to give back in community service is brilliant and could be an amazing start to a generation who begins to look outside of themselves and starts helping others. The trickle down effect of this could be bring have an amazing effect on the U.S. and abroad.

I have a lot more to say, but for sake of some semblance of brevity I will leave it there. Good post.