Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama Dilemma

First off, I like him. I've always liked Obama. Liking Obama is like liking the Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto. (Even the biggest music snobs who think Rach is all schmaltz can't help but like this concerto.) I'm only human. If you read ALLLL my blogs about Obama you'll never find one single negative remark towards they man or his character. I've questioned his policies and his experience, but not his character. First off, I have no right to say nasty things about any man or woman's character.

Except for Madonna.

That being said, Obama... I've still got mixed feelings about the guy. It is sorta that same feeling I get when I have a friend that I really like, or a musician that is just excellent that I've hired, but I believe that they are doing something or they have an ideology that is very harmful.

My main beef with Obama has always mostly been over abortion. I hate it, and I think that abortion is the deadliest of sins to our world. It even goes beyond the "right" of the unborn and to the root of the moral, rotten weed. It is about the sanctity of life. "Sanctity" is one of those church words but essentially it is the belief that life, and the creation of human life is a sacred, sacred thing. It is the subtlest and deadliest of paradigm shifts when a nation decides that the creation of life is a nuisance or a pain-in-the-ass byproduct of our good times. It is a subtle turn to self that leads us to a TOTAL self-centeredness where we no longer "lay our life down for our friends," but we lay the unborn's life down for ours. We harvest unborn children for their stem cells so that we can live a few more years or repair our hip bone instead of a hip replacement. We take a pill after sex because we need a few more years to party until we are ready. Or we need a bigger apartment and a better job. We we we we we we.

Everything about the process of creating life is precious and selfless to a Christian. From sex, to conception. Contrary to what many popular Christian authors and pastors are teaching, sex was never meant JUST for our pleasure. Yes, it is a good good good good good good thing; the pleasure is there and it is good. Nuf said. But it is also something that is beyond physical. It deeply connects us to that "partner" in ways beyond the physical. This is why someone feels so empty when they've had casual sex or if they are involved sexually with someone they shouldn't be. In a way, they've given a part of their spirit away and it has been discarded. If it was just a physical feel-good then we should feel as guilty after casual sex as we do when we get a really good back rub, or a pedicure, or conversely, we should feel as spiritually fulfilled as after a back rub. And maybe that's okay to many. I think it cheapens it.

This is why we should teach our children to wait. Not JUST so they won't catch the creeping crud, (a very good reason) but because sex is also a powerful, life creating act. And how amazing and appropriate is it that a life is created in the greatest moments of human physical and spiritual pleasure. Of course, the value of life goes beyond sex between man and a woman, but I'm speaking here about the way it (procreation) is meant to be.

This could go on for pages and pages. What I'm trying to get at is this: I think Obama is a terrific guy. He canceled some fancy party thing this week so he could spend spring break with his wife and girls at camp David. He recently said this to Iran, "we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." - Blessed are the peacemakers. It's about friggin time.

So the man's got his priorities in order. He sets a good example as a dad. No doubt. I also believe that his socialist tendencies come from a sense of what is right and what we should do rather than for more power. I believe that, even though I don't think it will work. As far as government, the socialist/capitalist hybrid is the best we can do until the Messiah returns.

I think Obama has done a good job thus far, and I hope he succeeds. He has already succeeded at many things not discussed in the media and as always, I pray pray pray for his daily safety. I pray that some scientist will develop some sort of bullet proof bubble that he can walk around in at all times.

More than that, I pray he will change his mind on abortion. I pray that his love for family will open his mind to the love and sanctity of unborn human life.

Just some morning thoughts on the Pres and so forth.

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree?

15 comments:

Jenny said...

Ideas about sex aside, doesn't it just come down to when life begins? There's no way to reconcile two faiths about when it starts - conception or birth (or somewhere in between). Science can't weigh in, because "life" (and "death") could be defined scientifically as a whole range of things. Christianity has one answer, Judaism has another, and then there's everybody else (it could be worse; Peter Singer could be running things!). So politically, we're in a bind, because the country can't agree. Which is rough, because disagreeing on the definition of murder is, um, ya know, kind of important. But that's the way it is I guess.

Becky said...

Extremely well said, Seth. I agree, definitely.

tiny dancer said...

I agree so much Seth.

About the question of when life begins... Anyone who has seen an ultrasound is just in denial if they maintain that is begins any time other than conception. I saw my sister's unborn baby at 8 weeks old - just a grain of rice with a heartbeat, but a real HEARTBEAT, a real heart. And feeling the searing pain of a real life lost when it died only weeks later... that's reality. Ask a mother or father who lost an unborn child that they actually WANTED when life began. Is that what defines life- whether parents WANT it to be true? We are trying to make something subjective that simply is not. We are guilty, and need to cry out for mercy.

Jenny said...

Tiny Dancer,

I beg to differ. Many a genuine and thinking person believe that life - in all of its sanctity - begins at birth, even having seen ultrasounds. What you describe is subjective, and I fully respect that subjective experience and belief, and I fully expect anyone who believes as you (and Seth and many others) believe, to vigorously oppose abortion as murder. But some of simply believe otherwise.

What you say is like suggesting that if only a person reads the New Testament honestly, she will come to love Jesus. But then what do you say to someone who says that anyone who reads the Torah and Talmud honestly will come to love Judaism and reject Jesus? (Btw I'd never say that.) Many different people look at the same pictures, realities, experiences, books, ideas, and what-not, and come away with vastly different beliefs, all thinking they're self-evident. Well the upshot is that nothing is self-evident. However you come to be sure of when life begins, it's not because all reasonable and honest people would realize that.

(By the way, it is very interesting to me to participate in this discussion; I don't really speak with my Christian friends about this sort of thing, but I often wonder what folks think and also how they'd respond to my comments. So thanks!)

tiny dancer said...

Jenny,

I don't agree that it's the same thing, but you're entitled to your opinion. :)

tiny dancer said...

Okay, I have to apologize for a few things. The first is using a subjective experience to get my point across. Although logically it makes no sense to me to see a beating heart and think, "that thing is not alive", I think it only hinders the point to be subjective.

Secondly, I have to apologize for just writing the most ignorant, hypocritical statemenet I can think of.

Jenny, the truth is that you are not entitled to your opinion. I am not entitled to my opinion. Our responsibility is to find out God's heart and His will through His Word and through prayer, and to prophesy that to a sinful, hurting world. We're not entitled to opinions if we are His bondservants.

Also I want to clarfiy that I do not judge anyone who has had an abortion. I believe with all my heart that Jesus' church should and someday will be at the forefront of helping women heal from past abortions, as well as joyfully adopting the children no one wants.

Sorry to write a book, but just had to kick myself in the butt there. :) Bless you

Tully said...

Great discussion so far, albeit a touchy subject!

I think the whole abortion issue goes above and beyond when life begins for me. I don’t question when life begins, nor do I believe that abortion isn’t ending a life (it is, to think otherwise is na├»ve)…it comes down to whether or not reproductive rights should be legislated. In my humble opinion, they should not.

It’s a political debate, not a religious one. If your churches were advocating abortion, then it would be a religious debate as to whether or not the Bible (or whatever religious document you adhere to) agrees with that statement. Here we are talking about whether or not abortion should be punishable by law or legislated – and I don’t agree with this position (no matter how appalling I find abortion to be).

The government has a responsibility to govern with consideration to ALL its constituents (this includes all denominations, and even those who are agnostic or atheist). They are members of our nation just as much as you and I are and they have a right to be heard and represented as well…otherwise we can cut out that whole “separation of church and state” piece (last time I checked, that was still in there, right?)!

God gave us free will, and everyone has to make choices every day as to how to live their life and they have to live with those choices (and the consequences) – legislating something like this is walking down a dangerous path. I’d be more interested in sex education in schools, and oh, I don’t know, parents actually “parenting” their children to have the kinds of values to where the need to even have this debate would be reduced or preferably eliminated (wishful thinking on my part, I know).

Sex and stem cell research…well, here goes nothing. Seth, I totally agree that stem cell research on a fetus is just wrong. It makes my stomach turn – and maybe I’m not as clear on this issue, but why can’t they do the same research on the stem cells retrieved from the umbilical cords (as that requires a life to be brought into this world and wouldn’t it yield the same results?). I may be wrong on this one and too tired to Google it to read up on it. But here is the dichotomy for me… stem cell research freaks me out just as much as IVF births…it’s messing with nature, is it not? I’m thrilled when parents who really wanted to have children, can, through the modern miracles of science…but if I follow your logic on the “greatest moments of human physical and spiritual pleasure” being God’s will to create life, isn’t IVF also going against God’s will (especially when freak shows like Octomom end up with 14 kids). How many Christians who are childless have no problem with IVF manipulating nature, but then end up all up in arms about stem cell research?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with IVF or people who have built families from this procedure as a result, but if God’s will was for you to have children, wouldn’t it have happened without medical intervention? And if you believe that God enabled the innovation behind medical miracles like IVF, can we perhaps expand that not all science is the devil’s work?

BTW, although this discussion is interesting, we will never all agree because it’s too personal and too controversial. We can debate all day long, but I think the best we can hope for on this subject is to try to “understand” where the other is coming from (because I don’t think anyone is going to magically change their whole political ideology based on anything someone else has to say). ;)

Bill Hensley said...

Tully,

Abortion is fundamentally a moral issue. It is only a political issue because people don't agree about the morality of it. If a fetus is human and killing it is murder then it should be illegal.

Let us avoid the old canard about "not legislating morality." Of course we legislate morality. Murder is illegal, theft is illegal, assault is illegal, fraud is illegal and perjury is illegal. These and many more are moral issues. They are also issues about which our society enjoys a broad consensus.

If we believe abortion is wrong we need, for the same of the victims (both mother and child), to vigorously pursue getting it made illegal. The core of that effort must be helping others to see how very wrong it is.

Seth Ward said...

Great thoughts, my friends.

Good things to think about here. I don't think that I really got much into the legislation aspects of abortion, rather it was my own personal burden for Obama's belief on this and what effect that has already had on propagating it to the masses, particularly the poor.

I think that many times Christians don't have a foot to stand on because they are always trying to sand on the wrong ground. Moral? Of course it is. Zygote? Fetus? Human?

All wrong questions IMO and since we can all agree that abortion is a moral topic, I think Bill hit it on the head: "The core of that effort must be helping others to see how very wrong it is."

I think that Christians need to get their act together on life, sex and procreation altogether. The Catholics and Eastern Orthodox churches are the only ones who seem to have a "whole" and coherent view on sexuality and life. I believe that until we are able to rid ourselves of our own selfish desires as far as sex goes, we'll never convince anyone. The beauty of sex is that if you are all about "pleasing" your lover, then it works better than if you are just using them as a ... well... an object for M, with a little love and affection dashed in there.

However, to take a jab at the Catholics... Augustine did say that the unborn fetus doesn't get a soul until three months after conception...

Seth Ward said...

I suppose what I am saying is that I hate abortion for more reasons than the right of the unborn's life.

If you believe that abortion is extinguishing a human life against its will, then it would be like saying, "I hate murder because the murdered person's rights was violated." Even though that may be a part of the atrocity, it is not nearly the whole. Most women who get abortions do not get it because they are asserting their rights and they don't believe that it is a real child. They get them because they are scared to death of the consequences - embarrassment, financial burdens, alienation, condemnation... These are things that do NOT need to cause abortions, and sadly, the church is the guiltiest offender when it comes to the finger pointing and raised noses.

Btw, this is why I do love Juno so much. A film that demonstrated a girls love for life and a family's unconditional love for her even though she "messed up."

Tully said...

I loved Juno too...great movie on many, many levels.

Bill Hensley said...

Seth, I agree with you completely about how the church needs to stand for a coherent picture of love, sex and life. At the root of many modern problems is the destructive attitude that sex is just a way to have fun and is unconnected with anything of greater permanence or importance.

Tully said...

Yeah, sex really isn't all that fun, I agree with you Bill! :P

(Sorry, had to lighten the mood a little.) ;)

Susanne said...

What a wonderful post, Seth. When I think about abortion, I always think about Psalm 139 that says (my paraphrase), "You knit me in my mother's womb...you knew the days planned for me before there were yet any of them." God knew the plan for our lives before we were even born. Who are we to destroy life?

But even if you take away the religious aspect of abortion, it still makes no sense at all. Legally, it seems SO wrong to me that someone can be convicted of murder if they shoot a pregant woman and the fetus dies, yet pay no penalty at all if they kill their OWN fetus. In what world does that make sense? If you can kill a fetus by abortion, then you shouldn't be punished by killing a fetus with a bullet. I guess the law is saying that it's okay to kill children as long as they're your own. Using that logic, it was okay for Andrea Yates to kill her kids (don't even get me started on how ridiculous it is that someone can be "NOT guilty by reason of insanity"...it should instead be "GUILTY by reason of insanity"...but that's another post!). I'm getting off-track now, so I must go to bed. :) Anyway - I really enjoyed this discussion. And Seth, I pray that one day I'll like a president as much as I like the Rach 2. :)

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Ruth

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