‘If God is Love’ #6

We continued our study of If God Is Love on Sunday, and even though our number had dwindled to only four, we still had a great conversation.

This section was particularly interesting to me because it deals with politics. All the usual readers of this site will know that I can become quite passionate in this area, and I like how the authors seek to apply grace to such a seemingly ungracious topic. The book discusses two areas where Christians often find their faith and their politics intertwining – abortion and gay rights, but also touches on the responsibilities that we have to be gracious to those with opposing political viewpoints.

Here are some of the highlights:

To follow Jesus is to be political.

Democracy, where every voice and perspective is valued, is the least dangerous political system. Within such a system, religious voices must be heard, but each as only one voice amid a large and varied choir.

This goes along with the discussion in a previous thread about separation of church and state.

We must see politics as more like making love and less like fighting a war.

The author points out that neither side has all of the answers and that we should listen to the other side and work together for solutions to society’s problems. He mentions the legitimacy of Republican accountability and Democratic assistance.

I have never understood how liberals can protest when a person is executed, but mock those picketing an abortion clinic, or how someone can be pro-life while supporting capital punishment.

Ouch! That sentence stung me a bit, since I consider myself pro-choice and against the death penalty. I’ve always rationalized it by claiming that no one should tell a woman what to do with her body and forcing someone to have a baby that they don’t want will probably lead to all kinds of horrors for the child. While I could never make such a decision (if I were female), I know there are instances where it seems to be the only choice and I feel that the abortion should be performed safely. That’s why I consider myself pro-choice, even if it protects something that I could never choose for myself.

I have often pondered the incompatibility of being pro-life and supporting the death penalty – a view so common among evangelicals. The same things goes for those who support war. One has to wonder how any human could call themselves a Christian and believe in war, considering Jesus’s stance on violence.

Calling an unborn child a “fetus” does not negate his or her worth, just as calling others the “enemy” doesn’t diminish their value.

Ever notice how those of us who support choice are so quick to use the term “fetus”, while an expectant mother always refers to the unborn as her “baby”?

Too often, the people protesting in front of abortion clinics are the most resistant to giving away birth control in the schools or providing tax support for poor children.

Sad, but true.

The very fact that I can’t imagine being homosexual should imply that my brother can’t imagine being heterosexual.

That’s why we so adamantly exclaim that it’s not a choice!

I can understand the wisdom of creating two types of relational recognition – civil unions and marriages. Civil unions would become a function of the government – a means of valuing and regulating the legal privileges and responsibilities of both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. Marriages, which imply divine blessing, would remain a religious ceremony for those who choose it and whose communities of faith are willing to extend such a blessing.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. ;)

Author: Brian

Blogger. Bookworm. Michael Jackson fanatic. Lives in Kentucky with partner of 12 years and three fabulous felines.

2 thoughts on “‘If God is Love’ #6”

  1. On issues like abortion, some people would simply make the distinction between born life and unborn life, and only recognize the value of the former.
    On issues like war and the death penalty, some people would distinguish between innocent life and guilty life; the former to be protected, the latter to be snuffed out.

    I like the authors’ consistency with seeing all lives as sacred and valuable; born and unborn, innocent and guilty.

    The abortion argument is often reduced to “choice” or “life”. God gave us both “choice” and “life” and God values both. We have not only the freedom, but the responsibility to make choices; but when the two values collide and one has to choose between “life” and personal preference or freedom, then God says, “Choose life!”

    Some people are more concerned with the way animals are treated than the way people are treated. Some will physically beat up or harm a person who doesn’t agree with them about the value of animals. To them animals are sacred, people a little less so.

    The area where I live in Virginia is home to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and Michael Vick, quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons football team and made national news yesterday as he was indicted when evidence of dog fighting, including dog carcasses, was found on the grounds of a home he used to own in the area. He is alleged to have had knowledge and involvement in these activities.

    To say that PETA and Vick have different views about the place of animals in our society would be an understatement. To say that PETA is up in arms over these discoveries in their own neighborhood would be an understatement.

    I want to start a new movement. Let’s call it PETH—People for the Ethical Treatment of Humans. There would be no registration, membership dues or meeting requirements. Just live out two ideal ideas taught by Jesus: “Love you neighbor as yourself” and “do to others as you would have them do to you.”

    What would our families, neighborhoods, nation and world look like if we lived by those two principles and treated all life; born and unborn, innocent and guilty; as though life were sacred and valuable?

  2. JimT,

    You’re right that we sometimes seem more concerned with the welfare of animals than humans, but I think it’s important for us to consider that the way we treat our furry counterparts often speaks to how much respect we have for our own species.

    I read the news article about Vick and I can’t help but imagine that anyone who could be so cruel to a helpless animal would be the same towards a human. There are many examples of serial killers starting out killing animals (Dahmer, for instance), so it isn’t a small leap. It all boils down to a lack of respect for all life.

    This is another area where I consider my views to be somewhat hypocritical. I won’t kill an animal, but I have no problem buying a package of meat at the grocery. Therefore, I contributed to its death. I’ve seen enough PETA videos to know that the conditions in slaughter houses can be far from humane, yet I continue to support such practices with my purchases.

    What would our families, neighborhoods, nation and world look like if we lived by those two principles and treated all life; born and unborn, innocent and guilty; as though life were sacred and valuable?

    Our world would be drastically different, I’m sure.

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