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Political thoughts from other sources

Instead of continuing to go on and on (or at least taking a momentary break from it), here are some election-related thoughts from others I find interesting today:
  • A couple of commenters referenced Derek Webb in my last entry. Turns out he's giving away his Mockingbird album again for election week, attaching a bonus track reading his article "How Shall We Then Vote?". A voice worth listening to at a price everyone can afford. It's an interesting way to spread his thoughts; more power to him.
  • John Piper has posted some of his thoughts on voting and politics (the first video is right along the same lines as I intended my post yesterday) and a prayer for the election (hopefully those of us in the Body who can't agree on the first thoughts can at least pray the second prayer together). He's another voice I find worth listening to, even when we disagree (and we do, even here). Justin Taylor has posted some thoughts in response to Piper's that further enrich the conversation. It's just nice to see people attempt such thoughtful, peaceable, gospel-centered commentary. There's no reason to believe everyone holding similar views engages the dialogue in a rash, inflammatory manner, but that stereotype is often referenced (not surprisingly, it's often used as part of an ongoing indictment of Christians and/or God that's already in progress and extends above and beyond the political realm).
  • A couple of weeks ago, I posted this one on Facebook, and it generated some great discussion (which remained civil to boot!). It's an analysis by Princeton law professor Robert P. George of concerns related to Obama on the issue of abortion. Given that there's a wide range of opinion and perspective, George's analysis is pretty important to consider for those opposed to the legality of abortion, and even important for those in favor of abortion's legality but opposed to its practice. Anyone who wants to go toe-to-toe intellectually with George on this is, I'm sure, welcome to do so—that's way above my pay grade.
  • OK, this last one's a doozy and inhabits the other end of the emotional spectrum. It also has graphic photographic imagery, so deciding whether to view the link is your responsibility, not mine (that was a warning, in case I wasn't clear): Barbara Nicolosi's open letter about being a "one-issue voter." Not necessarily the letter I'd write (in fact, almost certainly not, and I'm not just talking typos) as a fellow one-issue voter, with some conclusions I wouldn't draw. That said, I wish she hadn't felt she needed to write it at all, because I wish this barbaric practice weren't even up for debate as a possibility, much less a candidate's priority. Since it is, of course we can expect large measures of outrage, offense, and ridiculousness from all sides. And since that's where we are, is Nicolosi in the wrong for expressing her outrage? Regrettably, some forms of passion seem more acceptable than others. Even though she and I aren't 100% on the same page (heck, I'm not 100% on the same page with myself much of the time), I don't read this as mean-spirited, repackaged, Dobson-esque drivel. She's bringing her whole self to this surreal debate, and I can definitely respect that.


I don't read her as mean-spirited either. I read her as having had enough... which is where a lot of people are. Maybe you could post her letter without the image.
I agree with you, I think Barbara has had enough. I think gay people have had enough. I think Christians have had enough. I think athiests have had enough. I think environmentalists and teachers have had enough. I think parents of soldiers have had enough. I think Republicans and Palin supporters have had enough. And a lot of people in these groups have expressed it just like Barbara did here.

This is where I must agree with Nicolosi, however: those aren't equal things. Everyone has the freedom to go off as much and as loudly and as often as they like (obviously), but the moral weight of these things is far from equal. I don't expect that everyone would agree with me on this, but it doesn't add anything to the cause of mutual understanding for me to pretend that we're talking apples and apples.

In fact, it's more akin to apple trees and apples—the case for moral difference among these issues is supported by the simple law of cause and effect. If unborn lives aren't lives, any other rights anyone may or may not have are all negotiable: gay people, Christians, atheists, environmentalists, teachers soldiers, parents of soldiers, Republicans, Sarah Palin and her supporters, and everyone else. I can't be for or against anyone if they're all optional people in the first place. I only need to consider the rights of others if they have the right to exist. If they don't, why not pick and choose who to consider and who to ignore whenever I like?
You get to decide exactly how you view this morally - what issue is morally heavier than another, what is a tree and what gets the last word for you. You also get to decide if God and Scripture agrees with you and state that with authority, using Scripture to do so.

We all get to do that. And how we express it has an impact. If Barbara gets a pass for how she's spoken here because of the "moral weight" of abortion vs. someone who has ranted out of a righteous rage regarding gay marriage being a civil rights issue and that Christians who don't support it are the scum of the earth? Then we profoundly disagree on that.

That's my point here, I'm not going to debate how you see the world and what you decided wins out morally or even why - that is your journey. I have another story, but that's for my own journal, I don't find those to be debate-worthy, they are too personal.
I didn't suggest and didn't intend to suggest anyone gets a pass. I don't think Nicolosi will have any trouble being accountable for her statements, nor, I suspect, would "someone who has ranted out of a righteous rage regarding gay marriage being a civil rights issue and that Christians who don't support it are the scum of the earth" have any trouble being accountable for his or hers. So if the idea of someone getting a pass is something that frustrates you, I understand, but I'm not sure it's an appropriate idea to attribute to me.

What I am saying (and I know you hear me on this; I just want to sift it out publicly from whatever else might be tacked onto it) is that I agree with Nicolosi that the right to existence is morally different than the right to do or not do anything within that existence (even to die). I'm further going on to say that one of the reasons it's different is that it's first—I can't have any of the other rights if I don't have that one.

How Nicolosi or anyone expresses their beliefs on that (or anything else)? Their call. The piece I'm getting behind is that all things aren't equal, so all responses aren't, either. That understanding doesn't issue anyone any passes for anything; it's just context. Everyone is still accountable for everything they do.

I get the feeling that I'm coming in at the end of an argument that I didn't begin. If so, I can live with that, but I may not know what to be sensitive to and what to answer for, so if I'm confused and seem to be stepping in or on something, please forgive me. You know I'll try to own what's mine (or at least, I think I will).
OK, this helps me. Thank you. I didn't understand what you meant by moral weight. I thought you were referencing how things were expressed, but this is the added detail I needed. I needed to go back to read the piece again with this comment in mind, the noise within her post was pretty loud, so I missed that.

No arguments here, just filters I've allowed to move into place that weren't there before. At times I read even my most trusted friends through it, and I'm actively working on removing them. But at times sometimes get in the way of *seeing* you on your own terms instead of my own. Which is my work to do, not yours.

Wow, this is so powerful.

I read Barbara's post and can only see flashes of my own anger (it doesn't really matter what the root of it is). Righteous indignation is quite an effective blindfold.

Much love, noodle, thanks for these reminders of who we are and who we could be.

One last thing. I hope the one thing that we all can take from this is how much license we give our own side, how much focus we put on their intention, their feelings, but when it comes to anger like Barbara's on the other side of the fence? It seems we're quite quick to judge based on the impact and perception.

We're awfully fickle when it comes to pursuing Truth. But thankfully Jesus seems to be focused on looking at the intent within all of us, because the one thing this election has proved to me is that none of us are fully equipped to do so. Nor are we willing.

Edited at 2008-11-04 04:18 am (UTC)
thanks for some good background to what i knew was true. these helped me. not that i didn't know, but i appreciated their articulation.
i read all of the comments. i think this woman is saying something that many many people feel and the picture is terrible but reality every day over and over again. for me the most gripping thing was the article by Robert George. it is not one issue for me but even if it was, this is, in the scope of things ,such a giant.....Lord Jesus have mercy on us.....