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Related thoughts

The comments and discussion in yesterday's entry were so stimulating and encouraging to me. Thanks to all. Since I so rarely open those topics here, it can be refreshing and tiring all at once. I'm thankful for friends and readers who are so thoughtful and articulate.

Thinking about all that brought two related thoughts to mind. Since they're in the same vein, I've LJ-cut them so others can take a look if they wish:

One of the things I sometimes hear in talking about abortion is that opponents of its legality shouldn't be more concerned with the lives of the unborn than with lives in, say, Iraq. I'm not sure I agree 100%, but even if I did, I don't think it's wrong or inaccurate to characterize some actions as worse than others, nor does it necessarily mean one life is more valuable than another.

To illustrate, I made an analogy, removed killing from the picture and replacing it with "punching." Killing is worse, no doubt, but sometimes we've developed such strong opinions about current events that we've lost sight of the principles involved. Like all analogies, it only goes so far before failing. It's not intended as a complete analysis; it's an emotional gut check:
I punch another man. He punches me back, and we keep going at it for a couple of years. He and I have threatened each other over and over. We've fought before, too. Pretty much everyone knows he's a bully; lots of people think I am, too. I said I thought he was going to hurt me or someone else, but there's no proof and some people don't believe me. I also said he was helping his friends who jumped me a couple of years ago, but there's no proof and some people don't believe me. I hit him first. It looks like this fight is going to take a long time, and some people question whether I should be in it at all.

I punch a baby. The mother asked me to. After the punch, the mother will never see the baby again, which is why she asked me to punch it. I've been punching babies for 30 years, usually for the same reason. Some say mothers used to have their babies punched in unsafe conditions before me. Almost no one likes that babies are punched, but lots of people believe the freedom for me to do so is very important. I never punch a baby without a mother asking me to, though they are sometimes pressured to and sometimes regret it later.
Did one hit you harder than the other? For me, the answer is a resounding "yes," and that affects my political decisions. If I didn't believe the unborn were actual babies, my position might be different. But seriously, if they weren't lives, no one would have abortions, because there'd be no "problem" to "solve" (avoid/terminate).

Another thing I sometimes hear really ticks me off, and gets close to the heart of the internal conflict of our nation. My summary: "I'm so tired of people who vote based on abortion (or anything I disagree with them on)."

Bite me. Welcome to democracy.

If the union is to survive, we have to remain agreed on the process, even if we disagree on everything else. I may tire of someone's ideas, but I don't tire of their place in the process because of that. I'm not that self-centered. One of the great things about the process is that we can continue to disagree and still vote our consciences. I'm not going to get tired of another person exercising their right to do so.

More and more, I don't think we want democracy so much as we want what we want. We want Burger King, where we can order it off the menu, change what we don't like, and have it in our hands within the next five minutes, unaffected by anyone else and able to send it back if we decide we don't like it. That's what most of us are used to in the rest of our lives, and when democracy doesn't work that way, we stomp and howl and throw a fit. "This isn't the burger I ordered!" "He's not my president!"

Society doesn't work that way, and it makes no sense for us to grow more and more bitter with one another because of it. We can even change the process if we like; that's allowed and often needed. But it will never be a fast-food menu. We're a nation, a community. We vote, and if we aren't in the majority, so be it. Not every policy or candidate is subject to my personal review and approval. Maybe the rest of my daily life has made me come to expect that, but come election time, it's time to get over myself.

Thank God there are still plenty of reminders that I need to do that.


Darn it, I already voted Kerry. :)

*scattered thoughts follow*

Seriously, I hear where you're coming from. However, I look at the quality of a child's life once it is born. Does she have access to the type of health care and education we take for granted? Do her parents have a chance with a job that pays enough to provide for her? If she joines the military, will they be trained and equipped properly as they go to war? Is the water and food she eats safe to drink/eat? Matthew 25. Isaiah 58.

I can't ever imagine any circumstance deciding to have an abortion myself. (well probably rape) I have too many friends and family who have been unable to have children. I tell myself that if a friend were pregnant, I would take her in and help.

But I'm confused by the Christians who will literally go to the ends of the earth to adopt a child while bypassing the needy children here in America.

Then again, I don't know if I want to have children myself.

However, I look at the quality of a child's life once it is born.

Is it our duty to second guess the life that God created?
And how can we KNOW the quality of life?
I don't mean that at all. I was trying to imply that when voting it's important to consider government policies that affect children after they're born as well before they're born.
I've never thought it was the government's job to take care of people's well being. Seems to me that the bible was pretty clear that the job belonged to the Church. :)
Unfortunately, the Church abdicated that responsibility. Wonder when Christians will realize that they have lost an integral part of their service to the Lord in that abdication?
I'm not sure which is harder, getting more Christians to take the job back up, or getting the general population to understand that they don't need the government programs.
It's a toss up, but I'd put my money on the latter now.
Don't need the programs? So next time, for example, one of my immediate family members can't work because of illness, you'd be willing to kick in the $800 a month that Social Security would normally pay?

Or would you mind paying my aunt and uncle's rent while they try and find a job.

They're Jewish btw.

What do you mean? Christians today represent the offering of over 80% of the aid given both foreign and domestically. If the Church stopped giving tomorrow, do you realize how many thousands of shelters, food programs, welfare to work, counseling programs would shut down?

We can always do more, but to suggest that we've 'abdicated' this role in caring for the poor is grossly inaccurate.
But it's the goverment's job to take care of people's well beings before they are born?

In so much (is that one word) as it's their job to prevent people from harming others. Yes.
>But I'm confused by the Christians who will literally go to the ends of the earth to adopt a child while bypassing the needy children here in America.

Several of my friends have adopted children... both within America and without. The main reason that several have adopted children outside of America is simple: the American adoption system makes it really hard for couples to adopt American children. It is much, much, much easier for American couples adopt outside of the country. I have several dear friends who would love to adopt any American children, not matter what their race, but are constantly hit with roadblocks of redtape. So after years of trying to adopt nationally, they went global and succeeded. Some of them multiple times over. Most of the time, the Christians are not "bypassing the needy children here in America" - they're just not able to adopt them because of the system, and that's just sad.
But I'm confused by the Christians who will literally go to the ends of the earth to adopt a child while bypassing the needy children here in America.>>>

With all due respect, this is nonsense. I'm getting really tired of this rhetoric, so I apologize if I come across as abrupt, but it's just inaccurate.

Christian giving via church and aid agencies like constitutes over EIGHTY percent of the aid offered to children of all religions, ethnicities and genders, both here and domestically. They quite literally, keep the doors of most shelters open that are not funded by the government, which count into the thousands in America.

You should ask yourself who would step up and replaces these funds if Christians weren't giving what they give now.

If christians stopped giving the way they do now - not just of their money but of their time - who do you suppose would fill the gap? How badly off would children who are helped fare?