Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Response

In response to the great comments that I've gotten to my previous blog, which have stirred so much thought and contemplation in me I thought I would share this e-mail I wrote to one of my commenters...

Thanks for your comments on my blog and your passion. I am excited to know that there are others who are passionate about faith and politics here on campus. You hit the nail on the head with what I’m struggling with in our political system in that neither party fully represents Christian values. I don’t agree with abortion but I also don’t agree with forcing a woman to go through 9 months of pregnancy and labor, and the stigma of giving a baby up for adoption if say she were raped. I also know that prior to Roe v. Wade abortions still happened in large numbers in poor “back alley” conditions. So will that be any different if we overturn Roe v. Wade? Can we overturn Roe v. Wade and somehow keep allowances for certain situations (like medical necessity for mom’s safety, rape, incest, etc)? How do we change the culture as a whole to stop unwanted pregnancies from happening? What I’ve heard is that abstinence-only training programs do not work. What are your thoughts?

I am legitimately wrestling with this conflict between supporting a party that is pro-life but won’t push for immediate, significant energy/environment change, won’t treat all people with simple respect and human dignity, will take action to remove a dictator whose biggest crimes were decades ago, but won’t step in to end genocide happening now. I have a hard time supporting a party that says we need to put criminals in jail longer, but will cut the taxes that pay for jails, a party that says life should always be protected but we will kill criminals because apparently their life is not the same life. I have a hard time supporting a party that says we need to improve our schools but will cut the taxes that pay for schools and teachers. Taxes are not pleasant but they are necessary. I have a hard time supporting a party that preaches individual liberty but will hold people in Guantanamo for years without even bringing official charges against them, much less a fair trial. This only promotes extremist hatred of the United States. I have a hard time supporting a party that says the Constitution (checks and balances) is the rule of law but wants the President to be able to veto anything that comes from Congress and to appoint judges who will legislate that party’s platform from the bench.

As far as I’m concerned, “the least of these” represents more than just unborn babies. It represents all of those lacking in salvation, so let’s talk about capital punishment, throwing people in jail for years but not funding those jails or rehabilitation programs, stopping genocide, treating homosexuals and muslims with the love of Christ while being firm in our faith. If you want to respect life, you must also respect those that are living outside the womb.

Let me go into more detail on some of the concerns I have with the Republican platform from a Christian standpoint. The model of Christ as a leader to me was somebody who interacted directly with those who opposed him or those living in sin and challenged them both firmly and compassionately to change their ways. That is in direct opposition to this statement in the GOP Platform, “We oppose entering into a presidential-level, unconditional dialogue with the regime in Iran until it takes steps to improve its behavior.” What my experience in life has been is that when somebody is threatened and not given some level of respect, they lash out. This is no different at the individual or governmental level. If you act arrogantly towards people and governments you cannot be surprised if they respond negatively. Jesus was impactful because he spent time with those who were used to being shunned. This obviously is very tricky to translate to diplomatic policy but I think it is important.

I also feel like an energy platform that does not put a timeline goal in place, like 10 years is absolutely in violation of our call as Christians to be good stewards for the earth. We’ve already seen the impact of 40 years (28 years of Republican Presidencies) of talking about changing our energy focus and not doing anything about it, expecting the market to take care of it and develop new technologies. We need specific plans with specific goals and specific timeframes. I’ve read the entire GOP platform on energy and climate change and while it looks good, it lacks commitment.

As a future healthcare provider I disagree with components of this statement, “No health care professional —
doctor, nurse, or pharmacist — or organization should ever be required to perform, provide for, or refer for a health care service against their conscience for any reason.” Every medical ethicist with any credibility agrees that we at least have a responsibility to refer patients if we personally will not provide a service. I also think it is horribly reckless to say we could deny care “for any reason”.

I’m sure I’ve probably stirred more frustration in you and for that I apologize. Discussion is good and you have challenged me to think more deeply about priorities!