The Appearance of Partisanship

Many evangelicals are truly political partisans. There are many others who are not partisan, but nevertheless have the appearance of a partisanship because of their consistent support for Republican candidates. For those of us who fall in the latter category, the explanation is rather simple. The Democrats and Republicans couldn’t be more polarized when it comes to the most important human rights issue of our time–abortion.

I cannot improve upon Robert George’s analysis of this polarization and the effect that it has on conscientious, pro-life voters. George writes,

However much one might dislike Republican policies in other areas, it’s clear that the death toll under the Democrats would be so large as to make it unreasonable for Catholic citizens, or citizens of any faith who oppose the taking of innocent human life, to use their votes and influence to help bring the Democratic party into power.

I find no cause for joy in this. I wish that it were possible for pro-life citizens legitimately to support Democratic candidates. I wish that the party of my parents and grandparents had not placed itself on the wrong side of the most profound human rights issue of our contemporary domestic politics. I wish that the killing of embryonic and fetal human beings by abortion and in biomedical research were resolutely opposed by both parties so that we could cast our votes based on our assessments of the candidates’ and parties’ competing positions on taxation, immigration, education, welfare, health-care reform, national security, and foreign policy. It is hardly satisfactory that pro-life citizens—representing a variety of views on the range of issues in economic, social, and foreign policy—find themselves bound to the Republicans because the only viable alternative is a party that has abandoned its commitment to the weakest and most vulnerable members of the human family by embracing abortion and embryo-destructive research (source).

Right on.

(HT: Justin Talyor)

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Ben Witherington Puts Just War Tradition on Trial (at least implicitly)

Dr. Ben WitheringtonMaybe he didn’t intend to do this, but New Testament scholar Ben Witherington has put the “Just War” tradition on trial in his most recent blog post.

Commenting on the Family Research Council’s recent summit in Washington, D. C., Witherington complains that many evangelical Christians are inconsistent when they vigorously advocate pro-life policies while supporting the war in Iraq. He writes,

Interestingly, what no one was suggesting at the conservative Christian organizers meeting was that maybe, just maybe it was grossly inconsistent when it comes to being ‘pro-life’ to be campaigning so vigorously against abortion, while supporting the war in Iraq equally vigorously. Indeed, by some polls it appears Evangelical Christians are still some of the most staunch supporters of the war in Iraq. What’s up with that? . . .

What was M.I.A. at this meeting was a recognition that war is just as destructive of life in general and Christian values in particular as abortion or same sex marriage. I suspect that until it dawns on these Christian organizers that they need to be articulating a more consistent and clear life ethic that not only affects personal Christian values but our larger witness to the whole world, that most non-Christians are not going to pay much attention to us.

I don’t know that Witherington is a pacifist, but the logic of his blog-entry is. He has linked the evil of war to the evil of abortion-on-demand and same-sex “marriage.” To say that Christians must oppose war in the same way that they do abortion-on-demand and same-sex “marriage” demands that Christians surrender the idea that there is such a thing as a just war—that is, unless one can envisage a Just Abortion-on-Demand theory or a Just Same-Sex Marriage theory.

It is fine for Witherington to argue vigorously that the Iraq War was unjust and therefore anti-Christian. But it is quite another matter to suggest that all wars have the same moral status as abortion-on-demand and same-sex “marriage.” To me it makes more sense simply to acknowledge that Christians can disagree about whether the war in Iraq is a Just War. Let’s have a debate about that, but let’s not throw out the entire Just War tradition because we think that some on the religious right have misapplied it to the Iraq War.

Rosie O’Donnell: Christianity Is More Dangerous Than Radical Islam

Rosie O'Donnell & Elisabeth Hasselbeck on 'The View'Maybe you missed it, but Rosie O’Donnell made some outrageous remarks on “The View” this week. In an exchange with Elisabeth Hasselbeck, O’Donnell said that “Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have a separation of church and state.”

You can watch the video of O’Donnell’s remarks by clicking here.
Hasselbeck countered O’Donnell’s comments by saying that, “We are not bombing ourselves here in the country. We are being attacked.” Even cohost Joy Behar was compelled to respond to O’Donnell’s outlandish claims saying, “Christians are not threatening to kill us. This group (radical Islamists) is threatening to kill us.”

I think most people will recognize that Rosie O’Donnell is way off the mark on this one. But I was surprised at the audience’s reaction to what she said. When O’Donnell said that Christianity is just as dangerous as radical Islam, the studio audience erupted in applause.

That such a thing could be spoken in America today and that it could be met with such gushing approval prove that we are indeed living in the midst of a post-Christian culture.

Christians have been the objects of slanderous attacks throughout the history of the church. In the early centuries of the church’s history, pagans accused Christians of being cannibals and of committing incest. Neither of these charges were true. The pagans were simply distorting the Christian teaching on the Lord’s Supper and on the status of married Christians who called one another “brother” and “sister” in Christ.

We should not be surprised that Christianity has its detractors even today. The most important thing for Christians to do in response to slanderers like Rosie O’Donnell is not to insist that she be removed from “The View.” The most important thing that we can do is to testify to the glory of Christ in both word and deed. That testimony includes loving Rosie O’Donnell and praying for her. When the body of Christ bears faithful witness to its crucified and risen Head in this way, no amount of slanders will prevail against it.

Sources:
“AFA calls on ABC, O’Donnell to apologize for comments” – Baptist Press
“Rosie O’Donnell’s Remarks on ‘Radical Christianity’ Draw Fire” – Christian Post Reporter

Is Embryonic Stem-Cell Research Murder?

Tony SnowDoes the destruction of human embryos amount to murder? White House spokesman Tony Snow put this question on the front burner last week when he described President Bush’s position as follows:

The president believes strongly that for the purpose of research it’s inappropriate for the federal government to finance something that many people consider murder. He’s one of them. The simple answer is he thinks murder’s wrong (source). Continue reading Is Embryonic Stem-Cell Research Murder?

Bill Frist’s Incoherent Position on Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Senator Bill FristSenator Bill Frist is a political conservative. He is a Republican. He claims to be pro-life. And he is dead wrong on embryonic stem cell research.

Senator Frist contributed an opinion editorial to the Washington Post on Tuesday titled “Meeting Stem Cells’ Promise — Ethically.” In this piece he makes an absolutely morally incoherent argument in favor of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Why is his argument incoherent? Because he claims to hold the pro-life convction that from conception all life has value, yet at the same time he claims that some of those valuable lives can and should be killed. Continue reading Bill Frist’s Incoherent Position on Embryonic Stem Cell Research

TIME Magazine Takes a Whack at President Bush (and misses)

TIMEWell, I can say this much. The cover story of the latest issue of Time magazine is at least provocative: “The End of Cowboy Diplomacy: Why the Bush Doctrine no longer guides the foreign policy of the Bush Administration.” I wish I could say that the article is as insightful as its title is provocative. But it’s not. It is one of the sorriest pieces of analysis that I have read in a long time.

In a nutshell, the article argues that the current litany of global crises have put to the lie “the Bush Doctrine” of foreign policy. In other words, Continue reading TIME Magazine Takes a Whack at President Bush (and misses)