Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Don't Read This If You Don't Want to Know

This is a blog about life as worship; in other words, how my faith is to flavor all my thoughts and actions, and, hopefully, allow me to glorify God. I've written about how my faith affects my views on race relations, the environment, sharing materially with those less fortunate, and how I spend my work day. I've written, in posts about my children, about how proud I am that they have grown up to make their faith the central thing in their own lives.

I try never to talk about politics outside my home. I consider myself to be pretty moderate, (which is not the same as wishy-washy) and I usually split my ticket when I'm in the voting booth. Strident activism is distasteful to me. There are some very popular radio hosts I would never listen to, because I think they are so ugly in the way they talk about those they disagree with. Can't stand that kind of stuff. We live on a busy street, and every election year someone will ask us to place a sign in our yard, because we're so visible. We refuse. We want to be known as Christ followers first and foremost, not members of a political party.

The last few nights, I have been finding myself laying awake thinking. I feel like I need to say something, and I've been resisting that feeling. But I'm supposed to be obedient when I think God is asking me to do something in His name, even if it is risky. So today I'm just going to do it.

One of the presidential candidates has opposed legislation making this practice illegal. The other, along with his running mate, has said he would like to cultivate a culture of life. This, in my opinion, is the fundamental difference between the two. I will be voting accordingly.

This is the only post I will do on this subject.

There. Now I can sleep.


Ben B said...

Joyce, I'd like to say how much I appreciate your blog -- I'm always happy to see a new article pop up on the RSS feed.

For some strange reason, I don't share your sensible aversion to rambling on about politics, so I hope you don't mind if I add a little bit of information.

The Bill O'Reilly clip above is confusing two separate issues -- a 2002 federal born-alive law which Obama (along with everyone else) supported, and different bills which were introduced in the Illinois state senate in 2001, 2002, and 2003.

A 1975 Illinois law already required "immediate medical care for any child born alive as a result of the abortion", and made it a felony to do otherwise.

The bills that Obama (along with a bipartisan group of senators and the Illinois Medical Association) opposed, in addition to reiterating the illegality of an already illegal crime, contained language which applied the equal protection clause of the Constitution to a pre-viable fetus. This could (would) be construed as banning all abortion, and would be considered unconstitutional under current federal law.

Obama, of course, is a professor of constitutional law who's dealt with these sort of issues his entire career. (He supported the 2005 version of the Illinois bill, which removed the offending language and was identical to the 2002 federal law.)

Abortion is obviously a ugly issue, and the crimes Ms. Stanek talks about in the video clip are sickening. But it's not accurate to say that Obama supports such things -- he doesn't!

Joyce said...

Hi, Ben! I always wondered if you were one of my lurkers in Badgerland! Thanks for commenting.

Where Sen Obama and I would disagree is that I believe we are valuable, uniquely created humans from the time the DNA recombines, and from that moment should recieve care and protection. I would love to see Roe v. Wade overturned. This clip, which some will label melodrama, hits very close to home for me, because I have a neice who was born three months premature, weighing less than 2 lbs., while her parents were on vacation at Disney World. Of course she would have died without hospital care. She recieved that care, and is now a junior at Knox college, and a very nice young lady. Whatever waffling I might have been experiencing about the abortion issue back in those days was cured when I found out that in the same hospital in FL where she was being so carefully nurtured, my sister could have gone down the hall and aborted that same baby.

Bugs and Brooms said...

Hi Joyce! I am with you! I love this post and have been contemplating my own dip in these waters on my blog (though I haven't posted much of anything lately - too much morning sickness). Honestly, this entire election has me thinking a lot about my stance on many issues and, I have to admit, I was considering Obama initially (I am also an independent) but have since decided that McCain/Palin fall more in line with my Christian beliefs and principles. I am worried that my political stance will be perceived as I know longer care for the environment but that just isn't true. And I don't think it is true for you either. I have been reading lots of green blogs over the past few months and, although I do agree with a lot of things being discusses on those blogs, I don't think that are in line with my core being or my spiritual foundation. I am trying to decide what I should do with my blog but, for now, I know that we can care for our environment (as we are supposed to) and still be 'conservative'.

Sorry for the long comment. This is the first response I have left on a blog in a VERY long time but I just wanted you to know that you are not alone and I hope to find more of us online soon!

Joyce said...

Hi, b and b! Congratulations! I wanted to congratulate you over on your blog, but, somehow I coldn't get logged in.

Anyway, I have a feeling there are a lot of us around. I keep sayng that all the Christians I know are concerned about the environment, but are not sure they want to align themselves with some of the other political positions that many environmentalists hold. This is such an interesting election contest this year, and I don't have any hate toward any of the candidates, but abortion is a real deal-breaker for me. I felt like I was sort of dancing around it all the time and I needed to just speak my mind.

CindyW said...

Hi Joyce, though we disagree on some issues, it is still a joy to visit your blog :)

As you know I am not a Christian, so when fetus becomes a life has always been a debatable issue to me. I see everyone's perspective, but I normally don't see the need to argue about it...

What I am far more concerned is what politicians do about the lives after they are out of the wombs and whether they have the courage to care for the disadvantaged in our society. To me, there is a clear difference between our current candidates:

One candidate supports universal health care and is more willing to spend $ and energy on educating our children. The other does not.

One candidate is willing to use diplomacy before applying military force. During our 5 year war with Iraq, aside from our 3,000+ dead soldiers, there has been literally countless collateral damage - thousands and thousands of Iraqis. To me our senseless war has taken away their right to life. With the situation in the middle east so precarious and our relationship with Russia so strained, I don't want preemptive war(s) to happen again.

There is also a stark difference between their environmental policies, which is near and dear to my heart.

Anyway, just want to put in my perspective.

Green Bean said...

Joyce, I appreciate this post because I have wondered where you stood on the issue. I hope that you do not take offense but I really would like to know more.

Do you agree with McCain/Palin on most other major issues - environment, the war in Iraq, health care, deregulation? If no, how do you reconcile their stance will be on the environment? On the initiaton of other wars? Maintaining the war in Iraq?

And, as Republicans have shown themselves very much to be not "green", I'm wondering how you come to terms with that. (Again, I'm not trying to point fingers but to understand). McCain always seemed more concerned about the environment than others. However, his selection of Palin, who is about as anti-environment as they come, concerns me immensely on the tact that his administration would take regarding Climate Change, drilling, conservation, preservation of open space and biodiversity, etc. I would love to see a movement among conservatives that puts environment up near the front of issues.

Please please do not think I am trying to win you over to the other side or start a debate. I don't know anyone personally who has the same political position as you and I would honestly like to understand.

Bugs and Brooms, please feel free to jump in as well.

Joyce said...

Whew! Joyce, what did you get yourself into!
I'll try to answer these questions as best I can. I don't want to write another post, so this might be a longish comment.
First, Ben is a friend, a terrific young man who grew up in my church and lived with my boys on campus in a Baptist cooperative house. If you visit his blog, you'll see that evagelicals are not stamped out with a cookie cutter. I'm not tryng to speak here for anyone but myself.
Cindy, what I think I hear you saying is that the protection and care of people, especially those who are opressed or helpless, must continue through the whole contiuum of that individual's life. Yes, I agree. That would be very consistant with my Biblical world view. How best to do that is, of course, where debates begin, though I truly believe that both parties want the same outcome in the end. One example I can think of: a couple of years ago we had an Army major atending our church while he was here getting a doctorate in philosophy at the university. His next posting was to West Point, where he teaches philosophy to those who will be the highest leadership tier in the Army. He was studying the doctine of "just war",and we had some great conversations, as he was here when the Iraq war started, through the time the Abu Ghraib incidents were reported. Visiting with him showed me that there is so much thought that goes into the prosecution of war, far, far beyond the gung-ho GI Joe image people have, that I have really come to repect our military leaders in a whole new way. Many Christians are pacifists, and I totally understand how that can be argued from the Bible. I can also see a Biblical argument for just war. Each Christian must wrestle with himself and the word of God, and see where God is leading him on this issue. In the Kingdom of God, we may come down differently than either party.
Before I wrote this post, I had another one in mind that I will put up next, which will address what our church is, or should be, doing to serve those peole who have already been born. Stay tuned!

Green Bean-I'm a life-long environmentalist, a dyed in the wool reddish-green, or greenish-red:) Unles I sat down and had a chat with Gov. Palin, I can't know for sure where she is on this, because right now there isn't much about her in the press that I think of as unbiased reporting. I do know that she loves the out-of-doors and her very wild home state. That makes me think she's probably not too much of a scorched earth type, and that decisions she may have participated in at home may be based on conditions she observes right where she lives, and those conditions may not be easy for someone like me to understand from this geographical location. For now, I'll give her the benfit of the doubt. If she becomes vice-president, she won't necessarily have a lot to do with environmental policy. Sen. McCain is fairly forward lookng on the environment, and it would be his administration.
You mentioned deregulation, but not what sort of deregulation. On banking? Oil drilling? Guns? Those are all so different, I can only say that, as a rule, I think any regulation of anything is best done at the local level, or the state level, because that's where those decision makers have to live with the consequences. The less that come from the federal level, the better. So, for instance, if California doesn't want oil drilling off it's coasts, fine. If Georgia is all for it, fine. Let those who will be most affected make the decision. But this is not one of those things the Bible addresses clearly, so I'm just giving you my own take on things, and I'm sure other Christians vary widely on this subject.

Ladies, it's great to have a conversation about this stuff. Too, bad we can't just go out for coffee and have a bull session!

Green Bean said...

You know, Joyce, I'm just happy that we can talk about this - even if it isn't over coffee (though that would be much easier).

I've been an Obama supporter for a while and I was open to McCain but his pick of Palin really did me in. For a lot of reasons - including the aerial wolf thing, the "global warming is not manmade", "drill, baby, drill".

I'm glad we can agree to disagree and I fervently hope with all my heart that someday we'll find ourselves with candidates who are more in the middle. For me, personally, the environment is the key issue and I really hope it doesn't get lost in all the other issues.

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Joyce said...

GB-Everyone keeps saying that Sen. McCain's VP pick caused the base of both parties to harden up, and what you are saying fits with that. I had kind of the reverse reaction. I myself did not think global warming was caused by human action until about a year ago, so I can see that someone might evolve. Anyway, I don't think any of us wants to be seen as a one-issue voter, and yet the reality is we all have a deal-breaking issue. It's going to be interesting to see how it all turns out. I think it will be a very close election!

Green Bean said...

Yes, Joyce, I agree. It will be close and I know you have thought of all the issues though this one seems to be a deal breaker for you.

I hope that others like you speak up on the conservative side of the coin - for the environment, for improved foreign policy that helps those countries with insufficient resources and against needless wars.

Despite where we stand on abortion or on regulation, those are issues I think all of us can agree upon.

DramaMama said...

Joyce, I am like you, I generally avoid talking about politics for various reasons. I appreciate your post though. Regardless of what candidates say about all of it, the simple fact is that not everyone knows this is going on in America. Things like this should be pointed out in non-election years as well as in election years. This practice sickens and saddens me. Whether people think it is wrong or not, I would hope that learning of this practice would cause everyone to pause and consider if this is the direction we want our culture, our society, our country to be going in. I'm not trying to make a political statement, just a reflective one. I am not going to tell people what to think or how to act, just to ask them to be aware and acknowledge. Thank you for your willingness to host a discussion like this!

Joyce said...

Thanks, DramaMama. I posted with fear and trepidation. You're right, we should be talking about the ethics of abortion in any year, not just when we have to choose up sides at the ballot box. I want our nation to be seen as a place of mercy, not one that tolerates killing children that are somehow inconvenient.

ruchi aka arduous said...

Joyce, as per usual it is a pleasure to read your blog. Although there are subjects upon which we disagree, I know that you still respect me, as I respect you. And that's the most important starting place to begin a dialogue, no?

I understand why you're voting for McCain/Palin (though I'm voting for the other dude.) I respect that you're voting for them. But I would encourage you, and likeminded individuals, who are voting for McCain and Palin to use your leverage at this juncture.

Here's the thing. There is very little I can do to influence McCain or Palin. All they have to do is look up my campaign donation history (which is public) and they'll know very well that I'm not a potential vote. YOU ARE.

I believe you that many Evangelicals care about the environment. In fact I now know many that do. And because of that, you are in a unique position to be able to remind McCain and Palin that they represent YOU, not oil barons.

Basically, my dream is that if we all band together, we can push both parties to produce bipartisan movement to combat global warming.

The truth is, we democrat-voting enviros need people like you because is we want global warming to be properly combatted, we need republican and democratic support. We can't do it with just one party.

So what I'm saying is, maybe from now until election day, we should take some time out once a week to put some pressure on our respective candidates to start taking global warming seriously. And maybe if we all pitch in, we'll find Republicans and Democrats acting in concert as never before (at least on this one issue, anyway. I'm idealistic, not stupid!!)

What do you think? Dumb idea?

Joyce said...

Ruchi-Absolutely! That is exactly where I am coming from. I think there are environmentally concerned Republicans just like there are environmentally concerned Christians. Party positions change and evolve all the time (who would have predicted the new alignments of the blue-collar voters a few years ago?). One thing I like about the much-maligned Gov. Palin is that she is not in the oil barons' pocket. And I believe, from everyone I've talked to, that "Drill, baby drill" is actually coming from a desire to cut the umbilical cord to the Middle East- you could say it is an anti-war chant of sorts- so that we are never put in the position of depending on them for our economic well-being. I know, I know, we should look for alternative sources of energy. Let's do that, definately. But when people go to fill up their cars, all they can think of is how mad they are that we are dependent on people who don't like us for that fuel. You won't catch me chanting that, but I see where they are coming from.

I appreciate your wading in from far-off India. Hope everything is going well, despite the bucket baths and crazy traffic! I'm enjoying your posts. They are a nice window into another culture.

Bugs and Brooms said...

Wow Joyce! You really started some conversation which is very needed on these issues. I think we all forget that we really have the same ideas on many topics and we just get lost in all of the debate.

I started to add a comment here on my thoughts and views - especially on GB's questions for conservatives - but it turned into a small novel. I am going to finish it up and then post it on my site so as not to crash yours! I will probably post it in segments since it is so big - I got carried away.

Joyce said...

Oh, good1 Can't wait to read it.

Going Crunchy said...

Hi Joyce,

Even though we are on opposite sides of the fence, I enjoy dialogue and discussion with folks. I think that so many of us are afraid of how people can be hotheads that we don't engage in respectful and constructive disagreement.

Usually I diagree with somebody, I still focus on what I learned from that person.

I would have to concur with Ben B. above, and feel that opening the door to overturning Roe v. Wade would be wrong. I also say that coming from the side of though my beliefs are mixed, I have deep ties to God and actively participate in Christian Church. I often feel that Christians are labeled with only having one type of idea, and that is that.

I had a debate (fun!, respectful!) with my neighbor about this same issue, and she feels that voting for McCain would be the best chance to overturn Roe v. Wade. Ultimately she felt rather smarmy about it, especially when we talked and really were evaluating climate change the impact and death of millions of people.

I dunno, there are tough choices on either side.

But what I do like about your post- - and thoughts - - is that you are evaluating the issues and picking what is on your heart. To me that is to terribly important in the days of knee jerk reactionism. And peace be with you for posting what you feel is important to you on YOUR blog. May more of us do so. Shannon

Going Crunchy said...

Oops- sorry for the typo above!

And, may I have permission to link as a show of support? I'd like to put you on muy blogroll if you don't mind. If more of us on both sides of the fence can work together then we will truly have a better chance of the peaceful world that both sides want.

We are all swimming in this kettle together. Shannon

Joyce said...

Oh, thank you Shannon! I would be honored to be on your blog roll!

You know, we do just have to (gently) say what is on our hearts, and hope for respectful discussion. How else can you operate a democracy? I have an ancestor who was a slave owner, and one day heard a stump speach from someone who was lobbying to have Indiana come into the union as a free state. It change him completely. He went home and freed his slaves. I'm not saying we should all approach this as trying to change each other's minds, but we have to at least hear each other. You, and the others who commented here, have done that. I really appreciate that.

Jerry Critter said...

I think it is a shame when one decides who they are voting for based on a single issue. How much suffering are you willing to tolerate in this country and in the world by voting for a continuation of the way we have been governed for the last 8 years?