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September 09, 2008

Comments

Michael

Paul,
I, for one, must say that I hope I've never intimated that you are some sort of 'right wing conservative evangelical', because that could not be farther from reality; but does this mean that all of us "thinking Christians" are always going to argue on all of the issues, most certainly not! I think the reason you provoke such engagement is simply because you provide cogent (and convincing) arguments for position that some (of us) are hesitant to subscribe to.

That said; two quick thoughts. As far as Just War theory goes, it should really serve as nothing but the bare minimum for Christian ethics as regards war. It's a contestable theory, and the myth of it's inception in the work of Augustine is just that, but yet I'm still thankful for it. I do think it's important for Christians to not lose the ability to conceive of a Christianity that is entirely non-violent (the irony being the non-violence of christians would provoke violence none the less); but until then, I hope most Christians can at least agree on the terms of Just War (sadly, most won't even go that far).

One other thought. It seems that in all the recent conversation regarding candidates, war, abortion, etc on here there has been a steady presupposition that the Christian has a responsibility, or duty, to be involved in the electoral process. The question has never been "should Christians vote?" but instead, "who should Christians vote for?". I think there is a bit of danger in this, as it assumes a level of responsibility to the state and its clever parody of 'democracy'. We seem to buy into the illusion that if we vote for Obama, lots of unborn children will die; and if we vote for McCain, they won't. This is quite absurd when you think about it, I would be willing to bet that no matter who wins the difference in abortions will (sadly) be negligible. THIS is why the Church stands to be an important place for this issue. As Hauerwas has argued, the Church needs to always be fervently anti-abortion, while taking in all the unwanted children thrown its way and caring for the mothers who have chosen to abort.

It seems that this option is the difficult one, so instead Christians would rather spend an hour voting and leave the rest to the white house. This is why its important to differentiate the nation from the church for the Christian, and acknowledge that that nation is nothing but a perversion of the one true polis, the Church.

I say all this in hopes that we struggle to not get caught up in the false dichotomy given to us by the modern political system. We, as Christians, should be far more creative than this.

Paul Martin

I guess there is a frustration with being linked with "them." So to be radically pro life, one must, somehow, be with them. This really angers me. Not your fault, and I appreciate your respect for me, Mike. I'm just banging my head against the wall because my own frustrations with...blah, blah, blah. Life is good!

Hauerwas is right. He articulates the model of Mother Teresa. Radically outspoken against killing babies, while being a catalyst in the adoption of 3,000 babies in line-for abortions. It's "both and." Yet the current of liberation theology in America, coupled with the resistance to anything with a scent of American Evangelicalism, creates these two categories that I so resist.

To vote or not to vote? Hmmm. I still need to hear why McCain's policies (specifically) are inhumane. Aaron tried to highlight the 22,000 Americans that die each year from a lack of health care. That might be true (though I'd want to see the source). Yet the CDC's statistics are lucid and irrefutable: one million abortions each year.

Finally, Mike, the current US Supreme Court (largely based on the recent presidential appointments of Roberts and Alito to replace Reinquist and O'Connor) just upheld the ban on partial birth abortions, meaning that it will be harder for a confused woman to easily choose the inhumane act of killing a 7-9 month old fetus. She, as a direct result of recent additions to the court, will have to put the child up for adoption, or, as my wife's mother did, care for the life.

Matt K (The Bear)

Paul,

I just looked through my previous comments to make sure that I did not insinuate that you were fashioning yourself as the mouthpiece of the Religious Right. I don't think of your politics in that way as I don't see them falling under any clear political dogma, which is probably best as they are intentionally polemical, I think.

Aaron Adams

Paul,

I don't think that I have ever intimated that you were some kind of extremist, right-wing, fundamentalist, "Bushie."

As a matter of fact, in my comment on the O-bortion post dated Aug. 29th, I wrote: "I don't see you as an extremist/fundamentalist/etc. I know you labor over these issues as you should."

In any event, I appreciate and applaud you bringing up these issues in a meaningful and engaging way.

Blessings,
AA

Aaron Adams

Paul,
Having, I hoped, made it clear that I don't lump you in with the talking-head ideologues on the cable-news channels, I did want to address a concern that I have about your equation on the abortion issue. I agree that it is impossible to argue that other social justice issues will result in - to put it bluntly - as high of a body count as that incurred as a result of abortion.

I suppose that I struggle with the statistical quantification of moral issues. It seems that this runs the risk of relativizing issues of right and wrong based upon certain objective criterion. Abortion is unjust and sinful. The perpetuation of a system that turns a blind eye to those that cannot afford access to basic health care in the richest nation in the world is unjust. A friend recently made a convincing argument to me that a nation spending billions each year building, planning, and strategizing on the means, technologies, and methods to kill people around the world (brings an interesting angle to our previous posts on the issue of intent, no?) is unjust.

Again, I respectfully ask, how we can quantify and thus relativize these issues when they are all evidence of sinful behavior. I do not suggest that you don't care about these issues, I suppose I am just wrestling with using this lens to judge moral issues.

By the way, here are two links I found very quickly that address the stats I gave regarding the number of deaths/year that come as a result of lack of health care coverage.


http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/healthcare/2002-05-22-insurance-deaths.htm

http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2008/05/05/gvsc0505.htm

Blessings,
AA

Paul Martin

I now feel redeemed! Sorry for the counseling session. I guess I need to get over my own fears of being pigeon-holed. Churchill changed parties a few times; he was a man focused more on issues, than party affiliation. I hope to provide, even if in a very modest scope, a platform for people to talk without reference to party.

I'm learning that as the moderator of this blog, it's all a bit tricky. But I really thank you all for assuring me (tissue please). No, seriously, thank you.

Jarred Lawrence Romley

Random thoughts about your post:

Guilt by association! unfortunatley it is easier to place you and your views in a box, does that make it right, no...but like a wise friend once told me, perception is reality. And if it is percieved you are touting conservative values, then unfortunately the perception is you are now conservative, especially when you argue a culturally sensative issue like abortion.

We are on the heals of another culture war, and this is scary because the conservatives know how to win when the country is polarized on moral issues.

Paul Martin

I think you raise some accurate, though unfortunate, points. But neither John Paul II nor Mothear Teresa were perceived as "conservative." Were they?

I disagree that a consistent pro-life stance is the touting of conservative values! I'm against any form of capital punishment, against any form of torture, for allocation of tax dollars toward social and racial cases of injustice, and also, I'm against abortion. This amalgamation is not a classic conservative view. In fact, Senator Obama supports the death penalty (in federal cases).

So I consider myself nether conservative, nor liberal. I can't, because holding to all those views (above) offends each side.

Heck, I could just as easily be perceived as a liberal...In fact, to many of my far-right leaning friends, I am.

It's sad that abortion is considered "culturally sensitive." I think it's just plain sensitive and sensible to protect life. Period. In all cases. No matter what. In my view, this is the most radical position for those concerned with social equality. But for some reason I still can't grasp, many prefer to grant "happiness" to a temporarily insane woman, versus the right to live, to a helpless pre-born child.

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