The LORD will reign for ever and ever. Exodus 15:18
For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.
God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy throne. Psalm 47:7-8
"Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." -- Jesus, Luke 20:25
Kerry just conceded the election; America has voted President Bush into a second term in office. I'm disappointed, but not entirely surprised. It's really hard to give to Caesar what is Caesar's when you dislike Caesar so much. I know our true King is God, but it's hard to be led by someone who seems to be taking our country in bad directions. At least, I'm grateful that jcobleigh is past the age that qualifies for the draft...but so many are not...
Our country is split in half philosophically, and I'm torn between the halves. My identity is that of an evangelical Christian, but my allegiance is not to the Republicans. I am philosophically opposed to homosexuals calling themselves "married," but I know that within our government's legal system (which hasn't been based on the Bible in a long time--if it were, we'd be a whole lot closer to a theocracy than we are at this point), we cannot present a valid legal argument against it. We're effectively operating in a "might is right, as needed" legal system: a democracy. We can present a philosophical argument based on the Bible's tenets, but that's about it. Thus, I don't think we should be trying to carry a ban against gay marriage through the legal process, unless we plan on actually adopting the Bible as the basis for our government.
I believe practising homosexuality is wrong, but if two people are willing to enter into a legally-binding contract that connects them to each other, they should be allowed to do so. I'm in favor of a "civil union" concept, which allows hospital visitation rights, health care coverage, decision-making power. The legal status of marriage is all that I'm talking about here. Nothing that the government accords or decrees can change what You accord or decree. They will not be "married" in Your sight, but they can take care of each other in a legally-protected fashion, if that is what they want to commit to. It is an artificial imitation of marriage as created by a secular government. I do not want anyone to be forced to accord them the status of "religiously married" if they do not want to.
Abortion, the other hot-button issue, is not a single black-and-white decision. If we Christians were really going to follow through with our claims that "every child is wanted," we should be doing more than just protesting abortions. We should also be helping out with single-parent childcare assistance, adoption, and foster care en masse. I saw how hard it was for my friend Jen to find parents who would adopt her unborn child--the only people who would accept her mixed-race infant daughter was a lesbian couple. Jen knew that she couldn't afford to take care of a child and she didn't want to go on welfare and get into that vicious cycle. Her own family had rejected her when she got pregnant. She couldn't afford birth control and she made bad choices. Afterwards, she was trying to make better choices. She gave up her her daughter so that the little girl could be provided for.
Abortion won't solve the problem; it just shoves it farther under the carpet and the defenseless lose their lives. If we outlaw abortion, women will protest losing their rights to "control their own bodies." Kara cited "The Handmaiden's Tale" as a book that portrayed a worst-case, inevitable future society in which women didn't have the right to get an abortion: women would end up regarded as baby-making machines, without human rights. I think this view is extreme and without basis in history, which before the current century did not generally accord women a right to get an abortion, and yet they were not all treated as baby-making machines! I see two perspectives at work here:
- Pregnancy is regarded an uncomfortable medical and social problem that has a quick and easy solution. Women shouldn't have to endure the discomfort and inconvenience if they don't want to.
- Many people want to be able to end the pregnancy at will so that neither they nor anyone else has to deal with the subsequent huge commitment of raising a child. Often, there is a legitimate concern that there are not sufficient resources to raise the child. Is this concern enough of a reason to just kill the child before it runs into the resource problem? Kara saw it as a choice between the lesser of two evils: kill the child (brief pain) before it has to suffer a lifetime of pain.
In cases where the woman has a choice about having sex, I think she gives up "control" of her body when she chooses to have sex when she isn't in a situation that enables her to provide for the possible outcomes of aforesaid sex, at the very least. That said (and that being true), people make mistakes and foolish choices and we end up with millions of unwanted children. The same Christians who condemn the behavior that produces these unwanted children do almost nothing to help take care of them. It's as if we wash our hands of them because it wasn't our fault that they ended up in their situation. But they grow in their situation and repeat their parents' mistakes and because we didn't show them Your love in a more effective and practical way, it is our fault.
In cases where a mother's life is in danger, I think she should be able to choose whether or not she should get an abortion. I think the right choice is to give the unborn child a chance at life (the mother has already had it), but that's just the choice I would make. In cases of incest and rape, we must protect the mother. Encourage her to allow the child to come to term (what I think is the right choice), but give her the choice...
More than stopping abortion, though, we need to step up and help take care of the children. Regardless of their parents' decisions, they should not be swept under the carpet and ignored.
Could I take my own admonition?
Of course, the issue I thought was most important was not these hot-button issues, but Iraq. We're faced with either a long, drawn-out war where nobody is happy with the situation, or a draft so that we can get out of the situation more quickly. People are dying in Iraq, too. We've alienated the rest of the world. I think we in America are like all the empires that came before us: we will eventually fall. We're practically walking the exact same path of social and political evolution that the Roman Empire did. I can only hope that we learn our lesson...but of course we won't. Every generation forgets the previous ones' lessons and thinks that they have at last figured out how to sin and get away with it...
Here's an interesting link about the decline of civilization. The conclusion of the writing is that "civilization is the blossoming then withering of a communal intelligence." (Judge its conclusions for yourself--some are a little scary--but at least some thought-provoking ideas are spelled out).
One of my favorite quotes:
"Our group thought processes are portrayed in the media—-the media is the mirror of our communal mind."
Instead of blaming the media for destroying our culture, basically, we should be looking at ourselves. We're the ones paying the money and going in those directions. Despite how many people voted for G.W. because they considered him "moral," we have a thriving industry in immorality in this country. Somewhere in that voting bloc is a large chunk of the demographic that supports the opposite of what they claim...