Tuesday, October 12, 2004

An Email Exchange

So I received a forward from my former youth minister asking my thoughts in response to it. the email contained multiple juxtipositions between bush and kerry from a "christian" perspective with regard to their politics. lots of stuff about abortion and homosexuals. i found the email disturbing for several reasons. i spent a good hour thinking over it and writing him back with my response. thought i might offer it up here too . . .

first of all, i think christians should prioritize on what the issues of importance are. secondly, i think they should consider the type of country we live in, thirdly, they need to re-evaluate what type of christians they need to be.

that said . . .

1. the issues of importance: gay marriage seemed to be big on whoever's list this is. i have my own opinion about gay marriage, but either way, it is not on my list of top five reasons to vote for a president. for that matter, neither is abortion. my reasons for this are biblical, legistical and compassion oriented. the word "homosexual" in the hebrew and greek is only actually used 6 times in the whole bible. the idea of "homosexual" is only mentioned a handful of times more than that. however, loving our neighbor, providing for widows, orphans and the poor, standing up for the oppressed, getting along with our enemies, are discussed explicitely and extensively more times than i care to sit down and count. not to mention, we don't know what the bible would have said to homosexuality that wasn't old men sexually oppressing young boys and being pornographic (as was the case at that time), but was two adults wanting to engage in a monogomous relationship. with abortion, personnally, i think its wrong (as does John Kerry - obviously since he's a catholic and catholics hate abortion, they even reject birth control, they're so fundamental with that), but i don't think that it's right to make abortions illegal in america. partial birth abortions? yes. illegal. and repulsive. but other abortions? i don't think so. what would you have done if shannon found out that either boston or will's bodies were being created minus a brain? minus a face? amy's sister in law tamara has a friend who was a new parent (with her husband) whose unborn child was diagnosed with this disease that only allowed half of his body to develop (the brain was on the non-developmental half). it would die without its brain in the womb (because the brain tells the body to breathe, blink, grow, etc.). so do you have the abortion now, or let the woman continue to have the baby(is it a baby?) grow within her only to die once the babies functions shut down? do you make her body wait nine months with a dead baby in it before she gives birth? no, obviously. not to mention that i'm not sure how ethical it is to make abortions illegal and force women (and children) into back alley abortions or coat hanger mothers. is it more ethical to close our eyes and pretend it won't happen? to lose mothers to death this way too? plus, people who push the abortion issue really get to me. if abortion is such a big deal, why aren't they adopting children? are they active in pushing options for high school pregnant girls? are they involved in a mentoring program? are they volunteering at orphanages? giving money to education of women's choices regarding adoption? becoming foster parents, etc.? if you're gonna talk the talk and make abortion the number one issue, you better be walking the walk.
so if what the bible says is important is different than this (or at least greatly leaning on other issues) then what is important? i'd say war is a big one. the treating of our enemies and the treatment of our own people who disagree with the government (our own free americans), is big. is a war just when our president has lied about numerous issues? is it just to go to war with a country that oppresses its people, hates america, but sits on a big fat pocket of oil, but not go to war with a country that oppresses more people, kills more of its own citizens, but doesn't have any oil to give america? is the killing of innocent civilians over a war that we're not even sure is legitimate right? is it right to act in the world as if we are the know it alls of everything? we had a pack in the UN to not ever drop nuclear weapons on a country that has none. bush broke that rule. is that right? what about poverty in america and abroad? is is right to give tax breaks to the rich when middle-class and poor americans are suffering? what about education? is it right to not make this a priority when black students in the ghetto don't even get a chance to learn half the things a white kid in suburbia does? that they are born into a system that is hard if not impossible to escape - a sytstem of poverty, violence and biased education? is it "christian" for a president to lie to a country? the pentagon papers exposed vietnam and lots of people have started talking, exposing the bogus nature of this war too.

2. We live in America, a country that is founded on free rights for everyone. I love this. I hate it though when people call us a christian nation. We are not a christian nation and perhaps shouldn't be. I know the conservative christians are gasping now, but hear me out. Christian nations don't allow for dialogue among people of different views, christian nations have a history of oppression (the crusades, germany in ww2, england with regard to ireland, etc.) - why would we want to live in a nation like that. God created us with free will - wouldn't he want us to live in a world that allows for that? Plus, in America, i can talk freely with my hindu and muslim and atheist friends about my faith, and they can talk to me about theirs. we can dialogue and discuss what we have in common and what makes us distinct. The Muslim faith is growing across the world and in America. If you have a school where a muslim or a hindu is elected student body president, do you want his prayer to be prayed for boston's and all the other students? If you want prayer in school then you better be ready to be more accepting of all types of people and all types of prayers (and time for dialogue to develop!!). but most people wanting prayer in schools want "christian" prayer in schools. they have an oppressive, exclusive agenda. besides that, look at our models for people who pray. i don't care if george bush says he prays every day. so did hitler!! just because someone prays doesn't mean he is allowing god to transform him. and the "fruit" i see from george w is few and far between. i have a hard time believing jesus would look at bush's fruit: war, oppression, fewer jobs, tax breaks for rich, lies, etc. and say, "good job - you got that love your neighbor thing down. oh and thanks for praying so much!" i know some would say i'm judging bush but since when does going to church make you a christian? and since when did the bible back out on knowing a follower based on their fruit?

3. Who are we? What is important to us? Are we afraid of homosexuals? Are we afraid of blacks and hispanics in our schools? Do we love the fact that republicans allow our companies to become monopolies? Do we love financial security? Do we love digging for oil, owning guns, pushing Christianity on our neighbors and hating our enemies? Are we afraid of the hard issues like poverty and oppression and find it easier to hang our hats on abortion? Are we afraid of diversity, of dialogue? Are we afriad God can't pull his own weight? Have we not taken seriously the command to love our neighbors? Is it too hard? Too vague? Too easy to hate middle-easterners?

Those are some of my thoughts based on the email you sent me. It's probably fairly clear where I stand on a lot of things. I'm not looking to start an argument and I hope you won't think i'm a non-christian and try to convert me or something dumb like that. It's just that I think that Christianity as it is exhibited by Bush and right wing conservatives is not the type of Christianity i want to embrace. When I look at the government, I don't think, "Now those are some Christians who really know what it means to follow Jesus!" It's disappointing to me that right wing extremists are saying that Democrats can't be Christians. It's offensive to me that to be a Christian is to support Bush and all he stands for. He is not my God or my salvation (or America's). Jesus is. And I'm doing my best to take my cues from Him.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Whoo hoo! Speak on Ann! You have a wonderful, organized outline with facts to back it up! I love it! You are the best! I only wish I could so eloquently discuss my beliefs as you do.