January 25, 2008

On Legislating Morality

Tuesday, January 22 was the 35th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision that overturned most laws in the United States prohibiting abortion. More than three decades later, abortion is arguably the most divisive issue inside and outside of politics. It has become an issue championed by people on both sides of the fence and this single topic has the ability to raise a person’s ire faster than almost any other issue.

Before I go on, I should let you know I am pro-life. This stance does not just mean I am against abortion, but I’m in favor of helping those who need help in all stages of life. This includes the homeless, the subjected and the elderly. This blog entry is not going to be a long argument in which I try to convince everyone that abortion takes the life of an unborn child. You either believe that life begins at conception or you don’t. You either believe that what is being formed in a woman is a human with a soul and a future, or you don’t. It’s been my experience that all the logic and studies and medical proof in the world will not be enough to prove a person’s existence. Therefore, the point of this post will not be about whether abortion is right or wrong, but I will ask the following question(s) and attempt to discuss and answer it:

Should Christians (or any pro-life advocate) pursue legislation that will outlaw abortion? Does it benefit anyone, or are there other things they should be focusing on and other ways they should attempt to lower the abortion rate?

Over the last few decades, many Christian leaders have taken it upon themselves to become involved in politics and attempt to push their agenda on politicians. Jerry Falwell has been attributed to beginning this movement and has thus been blamed for the over-saturation of religion in politics. The heart of my issue with such tactics is not that I don’t agree with some (not all) of the views of political religious leaders, but I question whether or not it’s their duty to legislate their Christianity at all.

Show me the verse in the Bible that says we are called to save the world through legislation.

Show me the passage where Jesus explains that not only will He make them holy, but you can also pass laws to make people moral and holy.

It’s just not possible. The very foundation of our Christian belief is that we are fallen human beings who are absolutely unable to be moral by our own strength. We are unable to achieve perfection (or anything close to it) without the saving grace of Christ.

And yet we attempt to make unbelievers moral through legislation. We attempt to make this world clean and sinless by passing laws that unbelievers do not agree with.

How can we expect non-Christians to act like Christians?

This argument/question does not just apply to abortion, but to many of the Morality Legislation issues that “Right-wing Evangelical Christians” try to pass.

So here’s the bottom line: Christians are living in a fallen world that does not agree with their views on things and is unable to comprehend why we believe what we believe. The scales are covering their eyes and the veil has not been lifted. No matter how many laws are passed, they will not understand or agree. We were not called to storm Capitol Hill or our local government. We were not called to write angry letters to our senator or manipulate candidates and tell them we will pull all our support from them unless they do exactly as we think Jesus would do.

Christians are called to love and to reach out to the hurting and needy. We are called to embrace the least of us as well as those with the most. This includes the teenager with an unexpected pregnancy and the twenty-something who is pregnant but afraid the baby will interrupt her career-driven life. This includes the woman who had an abortion and feels the emptiness and guilt that often comes after the procedure.

What I’m trying to say is that rather than spend our time trying to outlaw something that women will still seek out if it were illegal, shouldn’t we be counseling those who want one and those who have already had one? Shouldn’t we be working directly with these women, educating them not only on the physical, mental and emotional dangers of abortion, but also on its alternatives? Shouldn't we be focusing our time and energy and efforts on the person rather than the piece of legislation?

After writing all of this, I also don't think we should completely give up on making abortion illegal. However, I believe we need to spend a lot less time fighting politicians and a lot more time embracing those who believe they need an abortion. Rather than spending 90% of our efforts on outlawing it and only 10% on preventing the need for it, shouldn’t we be spending 90% of our efforts on the women and preventing abortions and counseling women, and 10% on legislation? Maybe not quite that much of a change, but at least change direction so that Christians are known more for caring and loving for the hurt, rather than legislating their views.

Like I said at the beginning of this post—these are just my thoughts and ponderings on the subject and I don’t have a clear yes or no opinion on this. But I definitely believe that Christian political machines should stop trying to find their savior on Capitol Hill (and stop trying to moralize the country) and begin showing their Savior to the people who need their help.

January 22, 2008

On UFOs and Rednecks

Welcome back! Yes, I still update this blog. Every once in a while when I have something to say. I'm currently tossing around the idea of writing about the education system in America and how craptastic it is, or about art and its importance. But for today I'll write briefly about UFOs.

A story on NPR details a report that dozens of people in a small Texas town have seen a UFO. Around 40 residents reported seeing the flying object, although many were reluctant to say anything until others came forward. Here's where the fun begins: the sheriff said the object was "bigger than a Wal-Mart."

I have a new joke for Jeff Foxworthy: You might be a redneck if you use Wal-Mart as your measuring device.

"The house was the size of the women's department at Wal-Mart!"

"That cat was so large, you could have fit him in the biggest fish tank down at the local Wal-Mart."

"I saw a truck the other day that was so big, it couldn't have fit through the front doors of Wal-Mart!"

Another interesting tidbit about the whole thing is that the incident is "eerily similar" to one that happened a year ago at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Hmmm...

Stay tuned for more developments. Or for more pointless blog posts about news stories I read.

Also--it snowed this weekend here in the Piedmont of North Carolina. My roommate and I were driving to church on Sunday morning, admiring the pristine white of the snow and its light dusting on the world. We pass by something on the road and pause in our conversation because we both noticed something.

Even the roadkill looks a little prettier when it has a light topping of snow.

That's all folks! I'll be here all week!