God's Politics

God's Politics


Ryan Beiler: He’ll Always Be My President of the Christian Coalition

posted by jmcgee

If you didn’t read this entire ABC News report, you’d think ex-president-elect of the Christian Coalition Rev. Joel Hunter was reading straight from God’s Politics. Check out these quotes:

He’s compassionate:

“I wanted for us to do in the political realm, in the political advocacy realm, what we do in the church. … We pay attention to poor people, we pay attention to injustice, we pay attention to those who are sick, we pay attention to the environment, because it’s God’s gift of creation and so on and so forth. So I wanted to expand the issue base … because Christ was not just about morality, Christ was about compassion.”

He’s candid:

“Frankly, one of the ways that you provoke the most response from people is through anger and through fear. It raises a bunch of money. It raises the level of exposure. And so there are practical reasons for just focusing on a few issues because that’s how you get the largest constituency active.”

And if that weren’t enough, The Washington Post reports that he’s “in favor of tackling global warming, increasing the minimum wage and opposing the death penalty.” Kind of makes you wonder how the Christian Coalition ever nominated this guy in the first place.

I agree with Becky Garrison’s recent post that despite the conservative outcry that forced his resignation, Rev. Hunter’s candidacy alone is a ray of hope in Christian political engagement–especially his assessment that there is a growing consitutuency with his broader justice perspective–a consitutuency whose existence the Right and even many journalists constantly question. Figures like Rev. Hunter proove: We’re here. We’re sincere. Get used to it.

But it’s those same tired critics on the Right that are taking Rick Warren to task for–gasp–inviting Democratic Senator Barack Obama to speak at an AIDS conference. Somehow their concern for the “sanctity of life” does not include those suffering and dying from AIDS, making Obama’s position on the legality of abortion the only “life” issue that matters. The ABC report quotes a Warren e-mail to supporters in which he says, “Jesus loved and accepted others without approving of everything they did. That’s our position too, but it upsets a lot of people … “

Well, I hope that folks like Rev. Hunter and Rick Warren continue to upset people by being boldly compassionate, and engaging the political process to make a positive difference.

Ryan Beiler is the Web Editor for Sojourners/Call to Renewal.



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Will

posted December 1, 2006 at 4:54 pm


Ryan, I appreciated your songs of resistance piece — what happened to that? Hope Sojourners will continue to highlight musicians and artists.>



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kevin sawyer

posted December 1, 2006 at 5:24 pm


Yeah, I was all ready to burn those songs to a CD and pass them out in Sunday School. Is Joel Hunter pro-choice and pro civil unions? I don’t think he is, so I don’t think he was taking pages out of the Sojourner’s playbook. It sounds like there are lots of Christian conservatives who want to take on a wide variety of issues. There are also Christian conservatives who do not. Same with the left. Some groups (PFAW) live and die on abortion and gay rights issues. Others (Greenpeace) focus solely on the environment. Doesn’t mean that liberals only care about those issuesm though I don’t see them supporting non-pro-choice causes any time soon.>



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Kempster

posted December 1, 2006 at 5:35 pm


Great article. We should strive to never slip into complacency or neutrality and to keep at it in fighting for social progress. Robert Kennedy once said, “Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies.” The teachings of Christ prove this over and over. You think people were excited to hear about grace falling on an adulterous woman at a desolate well or a Samaritan who was viewed by Christ as thoughtful and kind?>



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Kempster

posted December 1, 2006 at 5:37 pm


Forgot to mention. If you are interested in this subject, I highly recommend David Kuo’s “Tempting Faith”.>



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The Dan

posted December 1, 2006 at 5:45 pm


I think Kevin misses a key point here. He compares the Christian Right with secular groups such as PFAW rather than with religious progressives such as Sojourners. Apples and oranges. Such an undifferentiated conception of “the Left” suggests a stereotyped view of the nonRight end of the spectrum. That’s no more fair than lumping together the Christian Right with single-issue groups like the NRA.>



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Will

posted December 1, 2006 at 5:48 pm


What about Steve Earle’s Jerusalem? That’s a great song of hope and faith. Why can’t Christian’s come together for peace? May all Christians unite for reconciliation — challenge one another to love our enemies as Jesus taught.>



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MB

posted December 1, 2006 at 5:58 pm


Kudo’s to Rick Warren and Rev. Hunter. We have to be willing to dialogue with others – even if on some issues we don’t have the same view. If you are unwilling to discuss issues with people with a different perspective how can you even begin to show Christ’s love. I’m thankful that Jesus was willing to eat with the sinners, and talk with the sinners. He offered them hope. And in His speaking with sinners I don’t believe that he corrupted the message. He is the message. Considering that we are all sinners, if we only spoke with ones who we thought were always speaking the perfect talk, there certainly wouldn’t be many to talk with.>



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Robstur

posted December 1, 2006 at 6:55 pm


I find it interesting that we attack the CC because the Pres elect resigned because he wanted to ‘change’ the direction of the organization – why? The CC has a mission and vision statement that is direct in what is the goal of the ministry. If he (the pres) had a direction that he felt was more in keeping with what his desires are – find an organization that fits it better than the CC. I believe that God raises up various organizations at certain times in history to do the work. We can’t do all things in one para-church organization, it will not work and the details get lost. Better to have a group of like minded people working together on one or two issues than the same group trying to handle ten to fifteen. Do a few things well rather than a lot poorly. I pray that he finds an organization that will allow his to fulfill his God Given Dream. I would like to do the same. Blessings on all of us and the work that God calls us to do.>



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kevin s.

posted December 1, 2006 at 7:07 pm


“That’s no more fair than lumping together the Christian Right with single-issue groups like the NRA.” Well, the point was to say that, like the left, the right has diverse interests. I’m not sure what point I missed, there.>



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Bob L

posted December 1, 2006 at 7:14 pm


The times are a changin’. One day soon Dobson, Falwell, and Robertson will be talking to themselves because that will be the only “base” they have left. Imagine evangelicals having many concerns in this world, not two!>



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Kris Weinschenker

posted December 1, 2006 at 7:42 pm


It’s somewhat unsettling to me that Warren is becoming more active politcally, given that he has stated politics is “not his calling”.>



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Wolverine

posted December 1, 2006 at 7:52 pm


Here’s a news flash for you guys: Robertson and Falwell jumped the shark years ago in political terms. Of the three only Dobson is considered a serious player in conservative politics. I’m glad to see evangelicals taking on new interests, but I wouldn’t assume that the new concern for poverty issues automatically equates with adoption of politically liberal positions. There are a whole lot of ways to address poverty and health issues besides the typical liberal ones. Ryan Beiler is interesting, but this is a tempest in a teapot. And it’s a little early for you guys to start doing your end-zone dance. Wolverine>



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Wolverine

posted December 1, 2006 at 8:01 pm


As for songs of resistance, it’s pretty clear that Sojourners took it down because they realized that it was a huge error to endorse anything from NWA or Eminem, at least not without a whole lot of explanation. The question is, will they acknowledge their screwup, or throw it down the ‘ole memory hole? Wolverine>



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kevin s.

posted December 1, 2006 at 8:47 pm


Warren has a reputation for chasing shiny things in an attempt to make his ministry more popular. He is at the forefront of the debate over whether seeker-based churches have gone too far in terms of “marketing” the faith. I think he is embracing these causes because they are popular, not because he has a newfound interest in politics. I could be wrong, though. I am curious. What if a Christian group came along wanting to focus on poverty, but it was led by a fiscal conservative who believes (as I do) that many government programs ultimately hurt the poor? If the group drops the issue, they are criticized for being mopic. If they press forward, they are abandoning the poor. So the options are a) embrace ideas that you think will hurt the poor, b) ignore the issues, or c) incur the wrath of the Christian left.>



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Randy

posted December 1, 2006 at 9:23 pm


Barack Obama, on pages 197-198 of his book The Audacity of Hope, relates his response to a man who asked him, “So how can you support murdering babies?” Obama said, “I told him…that I feared a ban on abortion would force women to seek unsafe abortions, as they had once done in this country and as they continued to do in countries that prosecute abortion doctors and the women who seek their services. I suggested that perhaps we could agree on ways to reduce the number of women who felt the need to have abortions in the first place.” This doesn’t sound like a man who supports, or even turns a blind eye to, “murdering babies.” Maybe it’s time to stop assuming that because someone is “prochoice” they are “antilife.” We who are against abortion in most situations must begin to dialogue with those who fear the consequences of legislative prohibition and want to address the issue at the level of cause and prevention. Can anyone remember anything in this country which, when legally prohibited, did not in fact increase? Regardless, even if we cannot persuade Obama to join us in fighting abortion our way, would we want him to give up the battle agains HIV/AIDS as well? I applaud Rick Warren for having the insight to ask Sen. Obama to speak. If given the choice and knowing what you know, for whom would you vote for president of the U.S. if the only options were George Bush or Barack Obama? Though (thankfully) we will never have those two particular players to choose from, our answers to the question would be most revealing.>



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MB

posted December 1, 2006 at 9:36 pm


The US government is the people. It is not seperate. It only exists because we exists. Anything not just goverment can hurt instead of help. Penicillan is used to help yet, if you have an allergic reaction, take the wrong dose, don’t take it right – it can be deadly. This is true of anything. The police are here to serve, protect – yet some are corrupt – do we get rid of the police because it doesn’t run perfectly. Jesus ultimately gave for the shear fact of giving. He gave food away. Made it out of the little that was brought. He healed people and they paid nothing for the healing. He brought Lazurus back to life, for what gain other than Lazarus having his life back. We must be willing to approach, speak to another, especially people with whom we disagree. I can’t honestly think of anything of this world that can’t be corrupt or used in improperly. But to choose not to do something because it isn’t perfect doesn’t solve the problem. There are success stories out there for Goverment help, assistance. I promise – for I am one. Government is the people. All of us.>



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kevin s.

posted December 1, 2006 at 9:58 pm


“Can anyone remember anything in this country which, when legally prohibited, did not in fact increase?” Slavery. Segregation. DDT. I think, when it comes to issues of vice, you can see the correlation you describe. I don’t know that abortion falls in this category. I don’t see a lot of people saying the pro-choice people are consciously anti-life. I think the anti-legal-abortion side has a more sophisticated argument behind it than that. I agree with what you say about having a dialogue with those who are pro-choice. I don’t have a problem with him doing Warren’s little hoo-hah. By the same token, he is using this as a platform to promote his presidential candidacy, which would inevitably serve to tilt the country in a pro-choice direction. I am sympathetic to the concerns of protestors, and I do not think they area protesting because they don’t think fighting AIDS is important.>



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Robstur

posted December 1, 2006 at 10:06 pm


Barack Obama, on pages 197-198 of his book The Audacity of Hope I may have to get this book and read it. (Yes – I have read H. Clinton’s “village’ book) My challenge/question to my christian and pre-christian friends that are pro-abortion is when is the unborn fetus a person? If RvW talks about the ‘viability of the fetus’ how can they support 3rd trimester terminitions? Not one has been able to give me an answer that stands up to critical thinking. I am pro-life – period. But I can come to terms with the issue and would never agree with abortion but if we could limit it to the first tri – I believe that I could live with that if we could stop the war. (NO MORE WAR) I could do this because I know that you will only change peoples values one heart at a time with the love of Christ. But I don’t think that will ever happen because I can not find one person who is pro-abortion that is willing to meet me in the middle on this issue. (so much for purple) So again the left/liberals have made me the conservative I am today because there is no coming to a mutual understanding on most issues. I believe that we will be living with the morals in gov’t of Spkr. Nancy and she is not interested in talking with people like me and will dismiss me in a heart beat.>



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MB

posted December 1, 2006 at 10:12 pm


I’m willing to meet you in the middle, so you have one. See how easy it is, when one is willing to communicate the opposition.>



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MB

posted December 1, 2006 at 10:15 pm


And one reason I can meet you in the middle is because I believe as you do, that abortion is wrong. But I too would like to stop the War. And as you have stated: truly the only way to change a persons value is one heart at a time with the love of Christ. That’s it in a nutshell. The love of Christ one heart at a time.>



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jessie

posted December 1, 2006 at 11:17 pm


Yeah, what happened to the f’ing songs of resistance? I think it was a case of the web editor posting something that the higher ups may not have seen. Either that or a case of all of them not really thinking through what they were endorsing. Regardless, I think the spirited protests of my brothers Kevin and Wolverine were likely instrumental in its demise. I’d like to consider this a conservative victory! To commemorate this triumph, I post this link to a recently published top 50 list of conservative songs: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NzZkNDU5MmViNzVjNzkzMDE3NzNlN2MyZjRjYTk4YjE= It’s interesting that “Revolution” made both lists. A few artists have songs on both lists, too: U2, the Clash, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan. Keep up the fight!>



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Kathykb510

posted December 2, 2006 at 1:56 am


I am more than willing to meet in the middle on this issue.I too am definitely pro-life and feel pretty much exactly the way you do. I resent having my Christian faith questioned, especially from the pulpit, and being told how to vote. Perhaps I am growing cynical in my middle years, but there seems to be an inescapable correlation between the pushing forward of abortion/gay rights opposition as the “only” Christian way to vote and the fact that most of the large donors in many churches are the wealthy and usually Republican. Now that elections are over, we are back to beseeching God on behalf of the poor, but before November 7, we actually received a checklist of what factors we would consider if we were serious about our Catholic(in my case) faith. Guess what? The poor didn’t make the cut. This is not the stance that the late John Paul II took, nor the stance the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops either. It is most certainly the stance Jesus Christ took. It is easy to see who benefits most by ultraconservative economic policies, and it is in my view shameful that the Church of Jesus Christ would allow itself to be held hostage to political and economic blackmail. It seems that in so doing we are getting things backwards. We are relying on government to do what only a change of the heart can accomplish and not allowing government to do what it can to help us do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.>



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kevin s.

posted December 2, 2006 at 6:20 am


“It is easy to see who benefits most by ultraconservative economic policies, and it is in my view shameful that the Church of Jesus Christ would allow itself to be held hostage to political and economic blackmail.” It’s not that easy, in my view. Yes, the rich get richer. That is not a bad thing in and of itself. The question is whether the poor get poorer. Evidence over the last couple of decades suggests they do not really get poorer in terms of their overall standard of living. The unemployment rate in this country is 4.4%. That’s an awfully low figure. Does that not count for anything? I’m not saying a low unemployment rate means utopia, but does that mean anything to you? Surely, it says something positive, yes? What would you say regarding Australia, which has cut unemployment in half as a result of economic policies that would certainly veer in what you would call an ultraconservative direction? If you have wrestled with these questions, Kathy, I would be interested to hear your response. But if you have not, maybe things aren’t so eay as they seem.>



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Ralph

posted December 2, 2006 at 5:40 pm


I applaud Rick Warren for sticking with Barack Obama and the decision for him to speak at his church. I know several attendees of Rick Warren’s church and they speak of it highly. I too am against abortion but am also against legislating against it. Making abortions against the law is not going to stop them, education and prevention is the answer. The Aids conference is great. If people really want to make a difference they should volunteer for a local Aids organization. Put some time and effort into helping those afflicted with HIV. Especially during this holiday season.>



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Kathy

posted December 2, 2006 at 7:14 pm


Kevin, I appreciate your willingness to continue dialogue about these issues. However, I approach the issue of poverty as one who has been there, done that. Discussing it in the abstract is not possible for me. I consider that time and those experiences a gift that enlarged my capacity to empathize with others, and humbled my tendency to judge. If I came on a bit strong without supporting data, I apologize. Of course, I don’t think that no good has been done by some conservative measures. Whether the poor are getting poorer is not the issue either. How poor do they have to be? And who are the poor? Working folks who make a salary but not a living? The mentally and physically disabled among us who cannot obtain or keep meaningful employment? The immigrant -both legal and illegal- who do the work no one else will? Disabled children? How about the unaborted children of the financially destitute or any of the above? Are we to advocate their births and abdicate any resposiblity thereafter? (I have a disabled grandchild whose mother contributes 80% of her salary for insurance and medical spending accounts.) Of course there are system abusers that we all point to. Conservation of resources is necessary, in order to be sure there are enough services to meet the real needs. In my state however, the legislature gave itself a whopping 30% raise the same week they cut 2000 disabled children from the Deeming Waiver rolls. Give ya three guesses whose grandchild got cut. But I’ m just as concerned about the other 1999 who won’t get therapies they need. I agree that the issues are not easily resolved by governments or parties. But from the spiritual perspective, of course it is easy. What would Jesus do? What did He say? What does the Word of God say about our responsibilities as Christians? What I was clumsily trying to address was the chasm between that and what is being played out in many of our churches. As a person of faith, I am much less concerned with political labeling than with actions which embody the Gospel values.>



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Esther

posted December 2, 2006 at 8:42 pm


Robstur said he was interested in meeting someone who was pro-abortion to find “mutual understanding on [these] issues.” I am pro-choice, not really pro-abortion, and I doubt there are really many people who actually advocate abortion in preferrance to childbirth. To me, there is no act more sacred than giving birth. However, birth is only one moment in a person’s life. If an unwanted child is born, chances are s/he will abused or neglected. This is the population that most often (but not always) grows up to harm others. If you, an anti-abortionist, are willing to take responsiblity for the fetus you prevent being aborted, then I say go for it. Adopt that child and make sure s/he grows up loved. However, I must warn you, I have seen adopted children with birth defects caused by drug and alcohol abuse. They are often learning disabled, and some of them have deficiencies in their frontal lobes, where moral thinking takes place. They have to be medicated their whole lives so they don’t hurt anyone. Often they need to live in tax- supported homes where they can be monitored consistantly. I know a pastor and his wife who adopted an unwanted baby. By the time this little girl was five, they discovered she had no ability for attachment -or love-. She was unruly, to say the least, and turned on her adopted parents. After several agonizing years and spending lots of money on specialists, they finally had to ‘divorce’ themselves from her. It was the only way they could save the sanity of the rest of their family. They had three children of their own, and wanted to practice their belief in pro-life. I commend them for their effort. On the other side of the issue, I know of a woman who got pregnant during a mescaline ‘high’ when she was 18. She was a Christian (a confused one) and when she discovered that her late period was not a malfunction of her body that no amount of bromo-quinine or megadoses of aspirin would get rid of, she prayed for help. A ‘preacher’s kid’ helped her by getting an address from his mother. In those days, abortions were illegal in Michigan, so she had to go to Canada. She made the appointment, prayed for help, and stuck out her thumb. She was in western Michigan and had to travel to Quebec, across state. She made it there in two rides. The first one took her to Flint, where a couple of ‘hippies’ picked her up and when they learned of her problem, drove a hundred miles out of their way to take her where she needed to go, with no thought of getting paid other than doing a good deed. God not only helped her get to the clinic, He stuck with her while she underwent the procedure. By that time she was four months pregnant, so she was given a saline solution to promote contractions. Being young, naive, and alone, she was terrified of the changes happening in her body. I’m sure some of you think she deserved the pain she endured, but once again, her prayers were answered. Another woman in that clinic, who was there because her body couldn’t carry a pregnancy past four months, understood the girl’s pain, and wrapping her arms around her, she offered comfort and advice. The woman who told me this story was convinced that God helped her, and she turned around her life. She gave up the drugs and took up serving God. Years later, she married a man and raised four beautiful children, whom she loves dearly.>



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Robstur

posted December 4, 2006 at 4:40 pm


Esther and others Some of us could meet and come to terms about any number of issues, Abortion being one of them. I feel for the pain that the woman is going through to make a decision like that and fincally support an organization that works with post-abortive woman and their pain. We can talk – agree to agree on some things and agree to disagree on others. But for me living in MN – no one in the DFL Party would be willing to do the same and the higher up the food chain you get, the less talking there will be on these issues. Nancy P. would never come to terms like we could. Diane F. would call us both spineless and walk away. So unless we are willing to take our place and run for office – it is just talk. As much as will fight for coming to consencus on any number of issues – it is the Nancy and Diane’s of the US that make me stand where I am today. They keep marching to the left I have to walk to the right to keep the Balance. I will not run for office because in MN the Dem’s take delight in causing you and your family get harm personally and privately. I am by no means perfect, just forgiven. I will not put my family thought the DFL machine that we have here in MN. And if called upon by the Republican Leadership to give the sat talk to the nation should a Dem be in the White House – I will decline so that I can come to the table someday and talk to all about the issues with clean hands.>



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kevin s.

posted December 4, 2006 at 9:20 pm


” I’m sure some of you think she deserved the pain she endured, but once again, her prayers were answered” I don’t think anyone thinks that, but I found your story sad nonetheless. The notion that God would support going across federal lines in order to terminate one of his creations reminds me of the God-infused rhetoric of the KKK. In finding a beautiful story in this tragic act, you are advocating abortion over childbirth. What you have done here is used expressive anecdotes to defend an untenable position. It is effective to evoke these anecdotes (hippies helping pregnant girls, all that jazz) because it lends a false humanity to your position that cannot be countered on the other side. An aborted fetus doesn’t get a story. It doesn’t get to tell us about it’s hopes and dreams. It doesn’t have a future to share with us, and it doesn’t really have much of a past. It is dumped and forgotten. That is why I believe our laws should protect them.>



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Esther

posted December 5, 2006 at 1:25 am


Kevin, what do you mean by “In finding a beautiful story in this tragic act, you are advocating abortion over childbirth”?? I related this story to show that God is bigger than any human. He helped that woman to get the abortion she needed then, despite the fact that a lot of people detest abortions. Just because I can see that sometimes an abortion is the best choice, that doesn’t mean that I think that all women should abort their fetuses. I believe that god will guide women in this personal choice, and the rest of us should offer love and support so that healing can take place. This way, when children are born, they have a better chance of being raised in a wholesome environment. We have our own opinions about what is right or wrong, and we would do well to act according to our beliefs. The mistake we humans too often make is expecting God to judge others according to what we believe is right. God looks at each of our hearts. He knows the decisions that brought us to a ‘situation’ and knows what we will learn from it. Jesus was very tolerant of other people. The only people he had harsh words for were the ‘righteous’ fundamentalists of his day -the Pharasees- and the conservative potical party then -the Sadducees. He accepted prostitutes, tax-collectors, lepers, and everyone else who crossed his path. Jesus loved others as they were, just as he commanded his followers to do. He loves us unconditionally, too. I believe that we will do more to uplift our world if we would only love more and judge less.>



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kevin s.

posted December 5, 2006 at 2:20 am


“We have our own opinions about what is right or wrong, and we would do well to act according to our beliefs. The mistake we humans too often make is expecting God to judge others according to what we believe is right.” I don’t ask God any such thing. I’m not asking God to judge the girl. However, I do not think that God was guiding her hand in violating federal law in order to kill her baby. God asks us to follow laws, particularly as they relate to killing. “This way, when children are born, they have a better chance of being raised in a wholesome environment.” So the odds of being placed in a wholesome environment are better when babies are aborted? And if they are not going to be raised in a wholesome environment (as I and many who are reading this were not) it is better not to have been born? This statement throws logic out the window entirely. ” Jesus loved others as they were, just as he commanded his followers to do. ” No loved them as they were, but commanded them to stop the crap they were doing and follow God’s path. For those who were confronted with command, if they did not repent and follow him, I can guarantee you that they experienced God’s judgment. Jesus certainly did not guide people to help them continue their sin. “I believe that we will do more to uplift our world if we would only love more and judge less.” While this is true, it does nothing to bolster the argument that abortion should be allowed under the law. In my view, we are judging the unborn when we allow women to make a decision that their lives are not worth the emotional trouble. Imagine the protagonist in your story if she had a one week old infant. She was scared and worried, and wanted to go out of the country to dump the baby in a ravine. Clearly, that would not be a beautiful story at all. Would I be judgmental in pointing out that it was, in fact, an awful story and that God had no hand in it?>



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Esther

posted December 5, 2006 at 5:26 pm


I know some people who think they know and understand all of God’s Mind. They presume their own beliefs should be obeyed by others, as if they were advocating God’s will. I’ve heard some pretty inconsistent arguments from those kind of people. In one breath they advocate war as if it were the way to solve the terrorist problem, and in the next, they’re condemning women who get abortions. Kevin, your last example is extreme, and of course I think that killing babies is terrible, but to show how subjective every situation is, I will take this example a bit further. What if that troubled women DIDN’T dump her baby, and raised it without purging the troubled feelings that had motivated her in the scenario you give? If she resented that baby, and raised it with neglect and abuse, that baby could indeed grow up and kill others. Many criminals grew up in just that way. I recognize that a lot of us grew up in imperfect homes, myself included. But let’s take this extreme example one step further. The troubled mother in your scenario was obviously of a mind to murder her baby, so that may indicate some kind of genetic inclination towards violence. Say her son that was somehow saved by the pro-life movement. He grew up with her mindset, and being troubled and abused, he eventually killed ten children at your children’s school. Then where is the justification in saving his life? Perhaps what would have been best for the whole neighborhood would have been an abortion before that woman was put in the position of dumping her baby in a ravine. I am convinced that keeping the choice in place will enhance a woman’s choice to accept and raise her baby in an atmosphere of love. Choice obviously ALSO means choosing to HAVE the baby instead of an abortion. That’s why I believe with all my heart that the choice must be individual. God has more say in a person’s life at the individual level. We on the outside can only give opinions. As to when consciousness actually begins, that’s most likely the issue. There are some societies who won’t even name their children until they are five years old. Some people believe a child becomes a conscious individual when she makes her first moral choice. Some people believe that it is when he takes his first breath. And then there are others, which I assume Kevin is one, that believe a conscious human being comes into existance at the moment of conception, when the fetus is no more than two cells combined.>



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kevin s.

posted December 5, 2006 at 9:20 pm


“In one breath they advocate war as if it were the way to solve the terrorist problem, and in the next, they’re condemning women who get abortions. ” These are not arguments. They are policy stances that appear to be at odds, but are not. “He grew up with her mindset, and being troubled and abused, he eventually killed ten children at your children’s school. Then where is the justification in saving his life? ” We don’t kill people because we think they might be predisposed to killing people, or because we think their genetic makeup is weak. Germany tried a similar concept, and we know where that led. “As to when consciousness actually begins, that’s most likely the issue. There are some societies who won’t even name their children until they are five years old. Some people believe a child becomes a conscious individual when she makes her first moral choice.” Again, you’ve argued here in favor of legalized infanticide. You are being consistent, at least. Who cares if someone doesn’t believe you are human until you make a moral choice? There is no ethical, logical, or moral precedent for this belief. Maybe I don’t believe we exist at all. That doesn’t mean abortion should be legal. If we don’t decide that life begins at conception, any other decision we make is completely and utterly abritrary.>



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Esther

posted December 5, 2006 at 10:16 pm


Kevin, your rebuttals make it very clear that you are against abortions of any kind, and I hope you will never need one. I truly believe that sometimes an abortion is the best choice. At the material level, God is interested in the whole rather than the individual. I don’t despair of that, though, because I know He loves each of us as individuals. This may sound inconsistent, unless you remember that we are here as humans only temporarily. Our souls go on to live in Eternity. Jesus said not worry about who can harm the body, but rather, fear him who can destroy your soul. We who know the Way should go about helping those in darkness find the light. We should try to understand them instead of judge them. God dwells in Eternity, and we can get a glimpse of that, if we pay attention. Loving others is the best way to discover the joys of Heaven.>



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kevin s.

posted December 5, 2006 at 11:25 pm


“Kevin, your rebuttals make it very clear that you are against abortions of any kind, and I hope you will never need one. ” I am for abortions in the cases where live birth threatens the life of the mother. Other than that, I cannot conceive of a situation in which I or my wife would “need” one. I find it curious the notion that one can “need” an abortion. Find the option more desirable to giving birth and putting a baby up for adoption? Perhaps. But an absolute necessity? I don’t buy it, with the aforementioned exception. “At the material level, God is interested in the whole rather than the individual.” Do you think, then, that he is more interested in his creation and his law than the personal story of one girl or woman who can’t face the choice of having a baby? “This may sound inconsistent, unless you remember that we are here as humans only temporarily. Our souls go on to live in Eternity.” Yes. But using this justification, we could say that we ought not legislate anything, or find anything to be important. If our souls go on to live in Eternity, then why not simply ban abortion. In short, I don’t think an appeal to eternity answers this question. “We should try to understand them instead of judge them.” I am not advocating the substitution of judgment for love. I think it is extremely unloving and judgmental of the “least of these” to arbitrarily dictate that a woman, who has in most cases made a free will decision to act in the creation of a child, may then deprive that child of their rights by virtue of a biological technicality. In doing so, we are inherently favoring that which we can see (the woman), catering to her needs an interest, over that which we cannot see (the baby). I fail to see how this gels with your eternal perspective.>



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s holmgren

posted December 6, 2006 at 5:38 am


The constant discussion of abortion as a moral issue does not bring us closer to a solution. We just keep going round and round. Most will agree that at best abortion is a lousy choice. Personally, I believe it is immoral. However, making it illegal will not solve the problem. Closing the front door only diverts traffic to the back door. Seems to me the solution lies in offering better options. When the health of the mother is at issue, often abortion has been the only life-saving choice. Thankfully, medical advances make that situation less common. Why can’t we make concommittant advances in our societal thinking so that abortion becomes the least favored option. That would require men and society in general to take more responsibility for the well-being of the mother and the child. Whoops. We sure don’t want to do that — to actually ask people to “put their money where their mouth is”. It is so much easier to sit back and judge rather than actually do something constructive to improve others’ lives.>



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kim boers

posted December 7, 2006 at 9:02 pm


I’m with s holmgren on this one. I’m a “liberal” (Independent) who reluctantly is pro-choice, and differ from many of my friends in that I think abortion absolutely takes a child’s life. I think if this entire abortion issue were DE-POLITICIZEd instead of used cynically by politicians to turn out the vote, we could greatly reduce the number of abortions. Making it illegal doesn’t stop it. Cutting off funds, as Bush did, to international family planning groups, has caused MORE abortions. so for me, the question is, do you really want to stop abortions? if you do, you work in a bipartisan way to accomplish that end pragmatically, with education and calls to responsibility. btw, this whole partial-birth abortion issue and third tri-mester thing is so much b.s. NO WOMAN would abort a child that late unless she had no other options — ie., the child would be born with its brain outside its body, would suffer horribly, and die in a few days. That happened to a woman I know. yet people would criminalize this woman, whose heart was broken and whose baby was dead either way.>



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