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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.


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.

I certainly would. That is, I'd help. That's what my church does. We take care of people. That's what many of my (even poor) Christian friends do... they meet needs. It's what God intended. And I trust His plan.
And what does being Jewish have to do with anything?
What would they have done pre-1935? The Social Security Administration is a relatively new agency.

I would help. And I do help already in situations where I know of needs (rent money for some people, anonymous bags of groceries for others, etc.), even though I have needs too. Now, I might not be pitching in $800 for your folks, but between Melanie, Jeney, Lee, Lonnye Sue, Lara, Chip, and everyone one else I know who has commented to this entry, we could darn well get close to $800. This world, it's about community!! :-D
Just a comment on the Jewish part, if I may. Yes, I am a Christian, but I am convinced that the Bible obligates me to help anyone who is in need -- anyone!! Jesus's story of the Good Samaritan is pretty well known in popular culture, I think, and it points out that being a "neighbor" isn't about helping those who agree with you, but helping those who need mercy. Anyone. So if I end up helping a Hindu, a Jew, a Wiccan, whatever, who is in need, I think I have obeyed the Bible's instructions.
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.
Where do you get your statistics?
My friend is the VP of Development for World Vision. There is a quarterly report that is put out by an auditing firm regarding aid relief.
I believe that the fact that half of our country is part of a party who believes that governmental programs is the way to take care of the needy shows that we have abdicated our position. Understand that handing over the reigns doesn't mean we aren't helping. But it does mean that we aren't accepting the responsiblity as our own. MILLIONS of Christians in this country freak at the thought of not having welfare or social security. Their hope is no longer in the Church, it's in the government.

So maybe we represent 80%... I don't know... I haven't seen the proof. But even if we do, that doesn't mean eighty percent of the people trust us. The reigns are no longer ours. Somewhere along the lines, we set them down... and the government picked them up. We were wrong to let it happen.
ah - ok, I see what you're saying.

hmm. I'm not sure I agree with all of that, but I do believe that we could do SO much more for the poor in America, and welfare is doing a lot of what we could and should do. It's making us lazy.
You know what? I really loved this. It challenges me a lot.

Jesus is shown in how we care for the poor. You are 100% right in that our care for the poor is something that has moral authority over anything else.