Tag Archive: Abortion


Healthcare and Religion

I have many friends on both sides of the political spectrum who are currently blowing up my news feed about the Hobby Lobby decision yesterday. I’ll start by saying I have not had the time to read either the majority or the decent in it’s entirety so I have no intention of debating the legal ramifications of the ruling, because while I do see some worrisome precedent being set I’m not prepared to dig into it yet. This post rather is going to be a few thoughts that I’ve had in response to the reactions I’ve seen in the mainstream and social media.

 

Perhaps it is because I am an increasingly cranky Libertarian but I honestly think both sides are missing the point here. If you want your boss and the government to stay out of your healthcare decisions then we shouldn’t encourage either party in any way to be involved. I do believe that your health is a private matter between your physicians and your family and where applicable God. That said if you expect your boss/company to pay for your healthcare in a subsidized fashion (anything other than a normal wage), you are bringing them into the mix.  If you want the government to provide money for healthcare it is also going to come with regulations and laws as they can not give money without doing so.

 

Adding those extra parties of government and employer into the system of healthcare to allow it to function at an affordable cost erases the possibility of true freedom. It’s the recurring catch 22 of the ever present freedom vs security paradox, in this case the security of having reliable, regulated and affordable healthcare versus your freedom to do whatever you want to do with your own body. It’s a horribly flawed system we have in the US because of that paradox and attempts to fix it are likely going to make it even more messy.

 

Unless we are willing to find a way to make healthcare a completely private industry again, there will be continuing infringements upon our personal liberty in this area.

 

So it may seem odd given that I am writing a blog on current events, but I HATE election season. As may be evidenced by my lack of posts over the past couple of weeks, during this time of year every 4 years I find it very difficult to not be outraged by the ever present election coverage. Since I currently live close to Washington DC and in a swing state, the never ending cacophony of election chatter has been like nails on a chalkboard. Honestly the blame game, the mud slinging, and the general effort to misinform voters in order to garner votes makes me want to scream.

This probably came to a head in church this Sunday when I came the closest I have ever come to storming out of a service. Let me preface this by saying that I acknowledge and accept that the church I currently attend is theologically more conservative than I am, and I have come to peace with that. I also believe that churches have a right to endorse a candidate publicly if they so choose as a matter of free speech. I was however unprepared for my church to plaster the message from Billy Graham on the large screens (I attend a megachurch) and ask that we all pray that the country votes for “biblical values” at all levels and for all candidates.

I grew up in a church, family and community that adored Billy Graham, and honestly I still admire the man greatly despite some theological differences; however when he posted the message I linked above in many newspapers I was exceedingly disappointed. First of all Billy Graham has been the “Pastor to Presidents” and part of what allowed this to be true was his ability to be a voice of faith beyond politics. Both of the versions of the add that have gone out have been directly endorsed and seem to usually be funded by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and while they don’t directly name a candidate, they are quite clear in their intent.

I also found it quite strange that just before the ad ran the website of the organization removed Mormonism as a “cult” on their website. Let me be clear that I do not see the Church of Later Day Saints as a cult and I would have liked to have seen that particular view changed a long time ago, however doing so in this manner seems to be a form of political pandering.  If standing by your “biblical” values in choosing a candidate is so important why was this view changed to allow for one candidate to no longer be seen as a cultist, while values of “biblical” marriage, Israel and abortion are elevated to special status in the importance of preserving America’s religious integrity.

I do believe that in general there is a candidate that Evangelical Christians will find more appealing theologically, however I do not agree that it is ok to fleece over things that might make the same candidate unappealing in order to make it easier for people to sleep at night. I also find it somewhat reprehensible to insinuate that you are “anti-biblical” and leading our country down an unholy path if you have decided that there are either other factors in your vote, or other ways to interpret particular issues. While the message did not directly imply those things the people who I have heard pushing this message upon others via Facebook and now through church have insinuated that.

My faith means a great deal to me, but so does my freedom to choose how and why I vote. I believe wholeheartedly that you have to view politics and by extension the law separate from your faith. I personally will never vote solely on what candidate has a religion closest to mine. I do however grant that people have a right to vote however they choose. If abortion or gay marriage are issues that are most important to you, then you have the right to vote how your conscience dictates, just please don’t judge my faith by your standards, or expect my vote to mean the same thing that your vote does.

We have a right to be independent free thinkers, I wish elections were celebrations of that rather than the divisive force that they have turned into. Please don’t mind me while I crawl into a hole and hide until this is all over.

EDIT: After reading Mayim Bailik’s blog, her thoughts captured so well what I was thinking right now. To share a quote:

“With the election approaching, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind people that Jews (and Christians and Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and people of all religions) come in all flavors. Just because you’re religious doesn’t mean you are politically or socially conservative, and just because you’re an atheist or agnostic doesn’t mean you’re politically or socially liberal. Humans are very complicated and thank God we are.”

From the other side

Last week I posted about my disappointment about the Republican Platform. While I still think on many of the issues that matter to me I side with the Republicans, here are some things from the Democratic Platform that I agree with and that caught my eye as interesting. You can find the whole thing here if you would like to read it, note that the titles will jump you to a more in depth section.

“District of Columbia. Every citizen of the United States is entitled to equal citizenship rights, including the 638,000 residents of the nation’s capital who pay federal taxes without representation. The American citizens who live in Washington, D.C., like the citizens of the 50 states, should have full and equal congressional rights and the right to have the laws and budget of their local government respected without congressional interference.”

Living so close to Washington DC, this issue has become very close to my heart. One of the primary reasons I live in the suburbs rather than in the city itself is that I refuse to not have a representative with full voting rights in the legislature.

“Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.

We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.”

I would like to point out that I really liked the phrasing of the gay marriage issue, and the freedom of churches to decide how to practice marriage being completely separate from the government.

While at heart I didn’t agree with the particulars of the plank on abortion to be fair I must admit that the Libertarian in me very much appreciated the sentiment in this phrase from it: “Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way.”

I would also like to mention that these planks that I have pointed out were pretty buried within the platform. From the main page there were no main jumps to them. Rather the main jumps were about the economy, American community, and international affairs. While many of these things I don’t agree with the stance of the Democrats, or their particular solutions to the problems we are facing, I have to applaud the fact that the issues that I think the government has a right and duty to be dealing with were front and center.

Strangely I am starting to think that the party least interested in intruding upon my liberties and personal life is the Democrats at the moment. This leads me to an interesting problem; trying to determine how my vote is really going to effect my liberty. Is big government the lesser of two evils when thinking about personal liberties being stripped away? Is preserving a more conservative fiscal view along with immigration and healthcare more important than allowing the government a say in my personal life? Even if for now the government and I are on the same side, is allowing them any say at all too great a risk to take? Would my liberties really be any safer with one side or the other in power?
For now I’m not sure, hopefully I’ll figure it out by November.

The Irrisponsible Politician

Politicians say some really stupid things sometimes, and this comes to no shock to anyone who happens to pay even the slightest attention to the news. Recently though even those of us rather inured to stupid off the cuff comments from politicians were shocked to hear a national politician speak with astounding ignorance about a very sensitive subject in a heated campaign year.

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” – Rep Todd Akin

First off I don’t even for a second want to debate the term “legitimate rape” as there is no such thing. Rape in any circumstance is wrong and that is one of the very few things I will never consider an argument against. The real anger I had against this statement however was the sentiment behind the concept not the incredibly insensitive and stupid phrasing.

The idea that a pregnancy could be prevented if it were violent enough or distressing enough to cause “shock” is an outdated, medically unproven and an incredibly dangerous thought. Many women who are abused are already afraid to come forward, or already feel as if it was their fault somehow. The idea that a woman who happened to get pregnant from rape, deserved such because her rape was not “real” because it didn’t cause enough “shock” is simply horrific. The thought that this comment might cause a woman to possibly not come forward about her rape because silence is better than facing someone saying she is not a real “victim” is tragic to me. Even if the vast majority of people have condemned these comments the fact that the sentiment is out there, and held by someone in power is very disheartening.

All of this attention to the issue of rape and abortion can not be seen as totally unfortunate however. I feel that these issues are incredibly important in today’s society. Political discourse on the issues of victims rights as well as the legality of abortion should not be prevented, but they should be respectful, and aware of the rights feelings and ramifications of those positions to victims of sexual assault.

This brings me back to the politician himself who was not knowledgeable nor respectful to victims of such horrible crimes. While I know that no one is perfect, I do believe that politicians have a moral obligation to use the voice and attention that they get in conjunction with their jobs responsibly. If they do not do so, as in this case, I think that it is a failure on their part to do their job and they should face consequences. I may not believe that one off the cuff remark taken out of context (which while not the case for this example is often the source of similar stupid politician moments) should always spell out disaster for someones career, they should expect to face some pretty serious negative repercussions when a comment is offensive, poorly researched, or outright offensive. I think it is the voters job to make sure those consequences are carried out and that we don’t vote for candidates like this who use an incorrect opinion to justify policy making.

Side note: The following are comments that I found interesting; one is a piece about a victim of rape, and the other is an opinion piece that while doesn’t conform to all of my political stances on the issue reflects the anger and dismay I felt when reading about this issue over the past week. Please note that there is also some really great pro-life commentary going on out there that isn’t offensive toward victims of rape and is attempting to clarify what many non-insane pro-life people believe and those are well worth reading as well.

Rape Fatigue and You: When there is just no anger left

Raped, Pregnant and ordeal not over