Posts Tagged ‘politics’

The Call

November 5, 2008

There are many calls in life.  Lots of this blog has been about my call into ministry.  Tonight I feel a different call.  I feel a call to be an American.  This is a call I am familiar with, but this time it looks different.  It looks a lot different.  It is not a call to dominate or subdue.  It is not a call to rule or look down our collective noses at the less fortunate.  It is a call to something greater.  It is a call to unite as a nation.  And while I must admit I am a bit apprehensive about the hope encapsulated in this call, I am hopeful non-the-less. And my hope is that we might be able to taste a little bit more of God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven as we choose to love our neighbor despite their differences and reach out to those who need a helping hand.  Socialism?  Nahhh…just good old fashioned loving our neighbors with equality and mutuality as our bottom line.  Yes we can.

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A Book Review: Red Letter Christians by Tony Campolo

October 11, 2008

I learned about this book while reading my latest issue of Relevant magazine.  I decided to buy a copy because I have become more politically and socially aware in the last year of my life.  The subtitle of this book is “A Citizens Guide to Faith & Politics” and I can definitely say I think Tony Campolo did a great job in holding true to that.  While he is up front about his political leanings and adamant about certain issues, he seems to do a pretty good job of helping his reader understand both sides of the issue.  I must admit that the quote from President Clinton on the top front of the cover kinda threw me for a loop.  But it forced me to own up to my judgemental attitude towards a man who, despite his moral failings, has probably done more positive things than he is often given credit for. 

Tony addresses a wide variety of issues in this 224 page book and it could be aptly viewed as a primer for present day politics in America.  After a short intro citing increased reticence in a majority of Christians to label themselves as “Evangelicals” along with a straying from the recorded words of Jesus himself as the reasoning for the creation of the term “Red Letter Christians,” Tony spends time on Global Issues.  Covering issues such as the environment, the war, and the AIDS pandemic, he highlights the important part America plays in the globalized community that is now our reality.  It is interesting to me that he chooses to put these chapters first in his book.  Based on his writing, I think it is safe to say he did that intentionally to help his readers widen their perspective on what is important.  Next Tony tackles the Hot-button Issues that for some are the single most important issues of any election: gay rights, abortion, and increasingly, immigration before covering Economic Issues and Government Issues.  Here he covered issues such as minimum wage, wasteful government, and political lobbyists.

As a passionate person, I tend to get riled up when these issues are discussed.  That said, I didn’t read this book to illicit feelings.  I read this book to be a little bit more informed about the issues at hand.  Tony did not let me down on that.  I appreciated his even handed approach to the issues especially since he did not come across as dispassionate or disinterested.  I recommend this book to anyone who has a growing desire to understand more about the political arena in America today from a faith based stand point.

Objective

September 26, 2008

I am usually pretty good at remaining objective and then making a decision on the facts.  It’s part of my personality type so I’m not puffing myself up here.  And I am definitely not saying that I am always objective.  That said, it was hard for me to remain objective as this debate went on this evening. 

Reasons:

  1. Sen. McCain’s incessant emphasis of his extensive world travel (we get it already)
  2. Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama talking over each other.
  3. Sen. McCain’s incessant harping on Sen. Obama’s naivete
  4. Sen. McCain’s incessant use of the phrase “Sen. Obama (still) doesn’t understand
  5. Sen. McCain’s incessant character attacks of Sen. Obama
  6. Sen. McCain’s poor grammar (i.e., “…committee that oversights NATO…”)
  7. Sen. McCain’s obvious assumption that all military veterans think he is the best thing since sliced bread
  8. Sen. McCain’s shameless plugs for veteran’s benefits.
  9. The moderators use of the term “your rule as president.”  So far as  know, the president serves.  Ruling is what monarchs do.  Slip of the tongue?  Maybe.  I find it a significant slip of the tongue. 
  10. Sen. McCain’s shameless use of emotional rhetoric.  We don’t want to just feel good.  We don’t want a band aid and a pat on the head.  We want long term solutions to legitimate problems.  Sen. Obama’s response of “I have a bracelet too” did seem a bit cheesy, however, I think his point was, there are emotions on both sides of the issue.  There are veterans who actually oppose the war in Iraq.

Note to Senator McCain: We get it.  You don’t agree with Sen. Obama.  I have a humble request.  Can you just state that and then tell us why instead of bashing someone who is a colleague?  Your snarky comments are not appreciated and despite popular belief, it doesn’t make me think you’re cool and that I should vote for you.  Citing your extensive experience leads me to believe that maybe you are part of the problem and therefore not part of the solution.  Maybe your experience is what helped get us here.  Maybe a little humility would help you serve the country better whether in your role as a Senator or should you be voted in as the President.

Note to Senator Obama: Please don’t play into Sen. McCain’s snarky comments.

Photo by: Hong Kong dear Edward

Life vs. Life

September 13, 2008

So I had an interesting conversation with a guy from church at the party I went to tonight.  It was about politics.  As it was a follow on conversation from some discussion during our last small goup meeting, it pretty much cut to the chase.  The discussion was about the candidates and their stance on abortion.  This is a hard debate for sure.  There are a few things that stick out to me though:

1) Pro-life in the abortion arena does not = pro-life in general
2) Pro-choice does not = abortionists

It seems to me that the picture that is painted is that if you are pro-choice, it means you hate babies, are a murderer, and should be thrown into the pit of hell.  I find it interesting however, that many pro-choice folks do not support abortion.  They support choice (hence the pro-choice label as opposed to, let’s say, a pro-death label).  And they also support lots of reform to those things which would contribute to a woman feeling as though she doesn’t have any other choice than an abortion.  Anyway, while I am sure there are some women who would cold heartedly just abort a baby because it was an inconvienence, I think there are many more women who are faced with the difficult decision of being able to provide for themselves and the family they may already have, and providing for the child they now carry in their womb.  Am I saying that make aborting a child right?  By no means.  I’m just saying it’s complicated that’s all.  There is a great article in the latest issue (and by latest issue that is referring to the SEP/OCT 2008 issue in case that link changes) of Relevant Magazine titled Leading the Charge that speaks to this.  Cameron Strang writes…

Many Christians want to overturn Roe vs. Wade, but I don’t hear nearly as many leading the charge on a national adoption movement.  If Roe vs Wade is overturned, where are all those babies going to end up?  Christians should be focused on personal action regardless legislation, not just waiting for the right number of Supremem Court Justices to come along.

In another article of this same issue, titled In the Booth Not of the Booth written by Adam Smith, Tony Campolo is quoted as saying

The abortion issue cannot be ignored…Here’s where you can see where both parties have something to contribute.  The Republicans want to overthrow Roe vs. Wade, and the pro-life people would cheer that, and they should.  The other side of the story is this: Seventy percent of the abortions in this country are presently driven by economic orces.  You have an 18-year-ld woman who works at Wal-mart at minimum wage–she has no hospitalization, she has no opportunity for maternity leave, she has no access to daycare when the baby is born, she’s in dire straits.  If you’re going to be pro-life, you cannot only be concerned about the unborn; you have to be concerned about after they are born.

The quote from Campolo goes on and he makes it a bit more personal by asking questions like, “Are you willing to give her maternity leave so that she doesn’t hvae to either loose her job or have an abortion?”

And it’s hitting me while I write this that Jesus came to give life and life aundantly to everyone.  To the born and the unborn.  So, if by focusing on those already birthed into this world and providing economic support to women who are pregnant in order to allow them to choose to have the child that is growing in their womb, life is protected better than a law that says abortions are illegal, do we need a law?  Those who are cold hearted enough to abort a baby simply because they don’t want to inconvienence of a child will still manage to aborth babies whether abortions are illegal or not. 

I guess what I am saying is, there is more than one way to skin a cat.  While it seems very polemical, underneath it all both sides want to protect babies and mothers.  They just have different ideas about how to do that.  So  maybe instead of deamonizing each other, we should try to find a workable solution that accomplishes just that. It seems to me that it is very doable.

On another note, after reflecting on this issue, the pro-life designation is interesting to me.  It is interesting because it is reserved for the issue of abortion only.  There are HUGE contextual and practical differences between abortion, war, and the death penalty, but it is strange to me that life and death are common threads in all of these issues and yet we seperate them.  To be a bit crass, babies are much cuter than convicts, but does God not value life because God has given it?

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September 5, 2008

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