Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Of God, Stones, and Political Candidates

What a day? Super Tuesday and the elections are underway which began a discussion among Christian adoptive parents. The straight line argument was that Christians should vote for the person who upholds Christian values and morals. There seemed however to only be two moral issues of concern, gay marriage and abortion. Feeding the poor, caring for the homeless, and providing healthcare were not seen as moral issues but rather socialist politics against the word of God. Homosexuality wasn't discussed much but the rhetoric was high about abortion. I think what got my attention was the insistence that a candidate that is pro-choice is a murderer, unholy, immoral, and against God and that pro-life candidates were upholding their Christian duty.

Romans 10:9 is one of the first scriptures that I learned in church. We were taught that we had to consciously decide to accept God into our hearts and lives. That you had to not only know who God was but to believe. Believing is a choice (the right choice for a Christian) just as Christians can, have, and do reject Christ by choice.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. - Romans 10:9

I've always believed that pro-choice candidates where just that. They believe that every individual has a right to chose for themselves and their families. That is a long way for me from them sanctioning murder. But, that is just me. I mentioned that God sat before man choice. No one is born into Christianity they have to choose to believe. A Christian must choose to believe that Jesus was the son of God, that he came, bled, and died for our sins. It is only upon making that profession that one is ushered into Christian fellowship. The Bible said that I set before your life and death, blessings and cursing, CHOOSE life. That is the power of accepting God into your life. If he coerced you or forced you, it would be inconsistent with who the Bible tells us God is. There is punishment but there is also free will.

God urges us always to choose Him but in every story in the Bible where someone did not, God still tells a story of redemption. Read Jonah. The story is not about a whale.
  • I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; - Deutoronomy 30:19
  • And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... - Joshua 24:15
  • ‘Thus says the LORD: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you. - 2 Samuel 24:12
  • Let us choose justice for ourselves;Let us know among ourselves what is good. Job 34:4
  • Who is the man that fears the LORD?Him shall He teach in the way He chooses - Psalm 25:12
  • Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD - Proverbs 1:29
  • For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good - Isaiah 7:16
  • You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. - John 15:16
Everyone does not believe, but by mentioning that God gave us free will and urged us to choose life seemed more consistent with the pro-choice argument than the pro-life argument. The reason why I honestly struggled with this is that there are candidates that are pro-life and pro-war. Candidates that are pro-life also support the right to bear arms. Now, I proposed that one might argue that having a right to bear arms doesn't mean that anyone will be killed. Isn't that the pro-choice argument? Allowing people to choose doesn't mean that they will choose abortion. I think that statistics bear that out. There are far too many abortions in the country to be sure but the fact that that number is small in comparison to the women who bear their children to term even though the choice is there. I'm not arguing for abortion. I'm saying that I can't demonize or criminalize someone who makes that choice.

One person even took the argument and said that bearing arms had to do with liberty and protecting our freedom. Shewww.....!?! Who's freedom is the question? Because the other argument was that Christians don't have freedom of choice but are bound to abide by the 10 Commandments. You first have to choose to be a Christian. So following this logic, there is a freedom to bear arms but no freedom of choice? Another person compassionately said that someone has to speak for the unborn and I agree. The question is how do we do that? Do we speak for them by shutting down the conversation are dealing with the issues that lead people to think that abortion is their only option? I honestly have no answer. I just can't seem to grasp how it is only this commandment that we should be legislating. I'm trying to see where bearing arms is in line with the 10 Commandments.

I wrote the post below and I'm really confused as to how quoted scriptures about God's love for all mankind received such a negative reception. The post below received a much more negative than the talk of stoning people and the difference between murdering or killing. After all the duty to love is the first and second commandment. It is from these two that all the other laws hang. The response I got was that God said it was okay to stone people for certain sins. I wrote the post below in response and the response was shocking. I guess there are somethings that are lost in translation in the group forums. The intent of my message was to say that abortion or adultery or not the only sins. I was trying to say that everyone of us including me sins and that God wants us to deal with others like he did for us. The Bible says that God tosses our confessed sins into the sea of forgetfulness.

I was told that my sarcasm was not appreciated, that I was making somebody hot under the collar, that I was not being supportive of the troops. I was told that my thoughts were interesting when they are not my thoughts but scriptures directly from the Bible. I'm not exactly sure how you get that out of these scriptures but I am quite confused. I thought that showing God's grace was the right thing to do. Go figure. For my faithful readers, if I have any left (smile) let me know what you think. I stand open to your correction or you can just pray for me.

The post:

My Bible said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."(John 8:7) It also says in my Bible that "ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) If you flip over to 1 John 1:8 it says plainly "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and truth is not in us." Romans 3:10 says, "There is no one righteous, not even one..." So, which stones should we get out for "you" and for me?

The Bible says further that "God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He that believeth on him is not condemned." So, if God is not doing the condemning what man has the righ to condemn and stone?

My Bible says in Deutoronomy that thou shalt not "kill". Now I use the KJV and murder is not what is says. Even if it is, I cannot believe that we are trying to parse words to determine who it is okay to kill or murder.

1 John 3:18 says "...let us not love in word and tongue but in deed and truth." Further it teaches that we can know love by observing the way Jesus lived His life. I remember him meeting the woman at the well in love, compassion, and forgiveness -- not stoning. I have yet to read about Jesus stoning anybody. Hanging on the cross he even said, Father forgive them..." But maybe that's all only in my Bible.


Mara said...

Ahh yes.. The UnChrist-like Christians. As a Christian, I struggle with this daily. DAILY! It's like Bono of U2 (a devout Christ follower) said "Christians are hard to tolerate, I don't know how Jesus does it." It is fascinating to me that people focus on abortion and homosexuality as if these were the only two sins in the bible or that they top the list as being most heinous, when it is mentioned in the same breath as adultery, thievery etc in the book. It makes me shake my head. So every day I consciously choose to show grace and not spew hate, a few curse words notwistanding.... I try, but see I'm not perfect and either is anyone else....

graceling said...

That whole thread was interesting, and in terms of following logic, your logic was far more sound. The difficulty is that these are heated issues and logic is often cast aside when discussing them.

To me, it is interesting what it is that people are looking for in a president. Most, it seems, want a president who claims they will represent certian issues in a way that the voter would like. Perhaps it is foreign policy, the economy, social security, abortion, gay rights- whatever. People are "issue voters."

Given our political system, I believe that be an "issue voter" is great when voting for Congress, but personally, when I look at voting for a President, I am voting for a leader. That is the job of the President.

So, as I look at this election, I am looking for someone who could be a good leader for this country- not just a good leader for my political party, but rather a leader who will cross party lines and unite this country to accomplish good. I think our country is so politically polarized that electing an extremist, regardless of party affiliation, is a bad move. We don't need another person who will divide us.

We need a person who will lead us- help us overcome our misconceptions and prejudices and mobilize the great wealth and power of this country for good.

At the same time, I am very greatful for the wisdom of creating a government with checks and balances.

Anonymous said...

As a member of the discussion board you reference, I am not aware that people said that pro-choice candidates are muderers. I think many people feel that there is no law in place to protect the unborn child.

As for the other issues you mention, there seems to be a tone that perhaps a conservative person does not care about the poor, healthcare etc. I think this is false. I believe that many conservative people (not necessarily candidates) believe that in many cases the various government programs just enable people, not help them. "Give a man a fish feed him for a day, teach a man to fish feed him for a lifetime".

VALARIE - Single, Ethiopian-bound, mother-to-be of two bright-eyed Ethio children. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VALARIE - Single, Ethiopian-bound, mother-to-be of two bright-eyed Ethio children. said...

Tamara. Thank you for giving me the best response of the day. I'll quote Bono from now on. Thank for the comment and Grace you know I always love your post.

Deanna said...

Yes, sadly I see this often in Christians as well. Christians (present company included at times) get so wrapped up in other people's sins so that we do not have to focus on our own. That is why I think Christians choose to get all hot under the collar about homosexuality and abortion. I am positive that Jesus wants us to focus our energy in other places. You quoted some of the very same verses that tell us this.

What is also sad is that the only person who came to comment for the opposing view (for lack of a better term) chose not to leave their name. This is why conservatives get a bad name. No all conservative Christians are like this, but the loud ones are the only ones who get heard over all the rhetoric.

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