Laws & Hearts

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com (1)

Gentle Reader,

I had a good response to my thoughts on voting Libertarian this year. In that, an important question was raised: How can I, a woman who claims to be pro-life, vote for a pro-choice candidate?

It’s simple: I think we’re going about this all wrong.

Gary Johnson is pro-choice in the sense that he doesn’t intend to attempt to change existing laws (which, if he were elected, he wouldn’t have the power to do, anyway). This means that he is not in favor of removing restrictions already in place nor is he in favor of repealing the Hyde Amendment (if I am wrong on that one, correct me). While he is personally opposed to abortion, he does not think he can impose his view on the country.

Does it make me sad that this is the state of affairs in my country? Yes. Does the “safe, legal and rare” line make me roll my eyes? Yes. Do I shake my head that Planned Parenthood managed to avoid abiding by building codes that other medical entities must adhere to? Yes. Do I believe that women have bought into lies when they believe “it’s just another medical procedure” and “it’s your body” and “it’s just a fetus, a blob of tissue”? Yes.

How can I vote for someone who doesn’t see this issue in exactly the same way?

I do it all the time when I participate in presidential elections, when I vote for the person who may send people to war. Am I no longer a pacifist because of that? I don’t think so. All I can do is find the person whose positions are closest to my own. Should I not vote? I’ve considered that, but cannot escape the sense that I have some duty to contribute (in a hopefully positive way) to the direction my country takes.

But I digress.

Here’s the thing: Outlawing abortion won’t change the fact that some women will have abortions.

I believe that the pro-life movement needs to stop with laws and move to hearts. Suppose it suddenly became legal to, I don’t know, punch people over 60 in the face. Suppose the country was fairly evenly divided on whether or not this was a good thing. Would it be a good use of time for opponents of punching older folks to draft legislation? To stage protests outside government buildings? To contribute to years of gridlock while people are being punched in the face?

No. They should go out and convince people that punching older folks is wrong.

People of the pro-life movement need to win over individuals. We need to spend time with scared, angry women. We need to be the support system that they don’t have. We need to throw our weight behind the reformation of Family Court in calling for the enforcement of existing laws. We need to foster and adopt if we are able (not every Christian person is; let’s not get legalistic). We need to cheer on single dads. Instead of wasting our time trying to take down Roe v. Wade, we need to work to change hearts. People need to know that we care about more than just the nine months a baby lives inside the womb. If we would do that, if we would live out a consistent ethic of life, then perhaps our words would cease to ring so very hollow.

God never told us to to dominate society through the force of law.

He told us to serve and to witness.

I know that there are a whole lot of people who are going to disagree with me, and that’s fine. I simply think we need to admit that what we’ve been doing isn’t working. Let it go and move on. Take a page from the conservative Mennonite playbook (they don’t vote but they’re very active in the pro-life movement). Try a different strategy.

Really, try a little repentance. We weep over abortion but say little about the grinding poverty that many single parentss struggle under. We cannot give with one hand and take away with the other. We, the Church, the Body of Christ, need to get busy actually living out the pretty words we spout so easily.

And maybe, just maybe, the laws will flow out of the hearts.

My journey to faith. (15)

Photo Credit: Hannah Morgan

 

Libertarian Lady

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Gentle Reader,

Painkillers shorten my temper.

Three months to go.

August, September, October.

Then the circus will end and a new one will begin.

I am heartily sick of the entire election process. We’ve been in this for over a year. Enough already. Enough with the screaming and the name-calling and the whining and the scheming and the polls and the predictions. Enough with trying to determine who’s more patriotic or who Jesus would vote for.

No political party should ever be linked to Christianity. Full stop. Should Christians seek to ground our votes in a biblical worldview? Yes. Should we be single-issue voters? No. Should we assume that any party platform is always going to be in line with Scripture? No. Do we have the right to say that one believer has “betrayed God” by voting for a certain party or candidate? No.

Study the issues. Read up on what the candidates say they want to do. Then realize that it’s Congress that does things. The Executive Branch has limited power – by design. Those seeking the office can make as many promises as they want but that doesn’t mean their particular vision will come to pass. Remember that the next President will be choosing Supreme Court justices.

And for pity’s sake stop believing that it has to be Trump or Clinton.

If you want to vote Trump, fine. If you want to vote Clinton, fine. But don’t choose either because you think you have to. Don’t go with the whole “lesser of two evils” thing.

Barring some radical change in the next 12-14 weeks, I will be voting for former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. What’s a Libertarian, you ask? In a nutshell:

common-sense-on-issues-WA

Do I agree with everything in this image? No. Do I agree with every word of the party platform? No. Do I agree with everything Gary Johnson has ever said or done? No.

I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal. This means that while I abhor abortion, I don’t think that Roe v. Wade will ever be overturned, and, even if it is, that won’t stop women from seeking abortions. This means that while I hold to marriage as being between one man and one woman, legislating one way or the other won’t stop homosexual (or polyamourous, for that matter) couples from being together. This means that while I think it’s insane that anyone can buy a gun at Wal-Mart and I definitely believe that there should be rigorous background checks, I can’t deny that the Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms and since we haven’t ever bothered to pause and clarify what that means, go get your rifle. This means that while I think using marijuana recreationally is stupid, I can’t see how it should be illegal when alcohol isn’t.

In essence, you have the right to live your life as you want, even if I disagree with your choices. Neither the Republican or Democrat parties seem to understand this as of right now. You cannot and should not police thoughts. You cannot and should not change the meaning of words. You cannot and should not live in fear of “the other” all the livelong day.

I vote Libertarian because I want a small government. I vote Libertarian because I think the Church should provide for the poor and helpless; we’ve turned that job over to the government and we should feel shame for doing so. I vote Libertarian because it’s not the end of the world that two lesbians live across the street from me. I vote Libertarian because I don’t think that the Internet should be regulated. I vote Libertarian because I believe in real immigration reform, reform that would make it easier for people fleeing war and poverty to come here the right way. I vote Libertarian because I’m basically a moderate, a centrist. I vote Libertarian because I want our military troops to come home. I vote Libertarian because the middle class shouldn’t bear the burden of paying for entitlements that will not, cannot last. I vote Libertarian because I believe the judiciary’s job is to interpret and apply law, not create it from the bench. I vote Libertarian because we desperately need to place term limits on every elected position throughout the nation. I vote Libertarian because the education initiatives of the past nearly two decades aren’t working. I vote Libertarian because I despise SuperPACS and corporations controlling the outcome (and as much as Clinton complains about Citizens United, she’s taken more than her fair share from Wall Street). I vote Libertarian because I don’t believe Planned Parenthood should receive a dime collected through taxation, federal or state. I vote Libertarian because Republican and Democrat are two sides of the same, old, tired, no longer working coin.

Really, how is it working for you, voting in gridlock year after year?

Our system is broken.

Ultimately I vote Libertarian because my job as a Christian isn’t to press laws on people, thereby coating society with a thin veneer of morality. My job as a Christian is to share the Gospel, whenever and however I can, not to force people to live by its tenets when there has been no heart change, no transformative encounter with Christ.

These are my convictions. Please, go find yours. Read. Think. Pray. Don’t go with the flow. Don’t vote out of fear. Don’t despise others. Figure out what you believe, what is dear to you, and go from there. If that means you vote Trump, fine. If that means you vote Clinton, fine. If that means you vote Johnson, fine. If that means you vote Stein, fine.

But please, I beg of you – really think about it.

My journey to faith. (15)

If you think I’m absolutely insane for refusing to align with either major party, check this out.

Wonder Woman and Tidbits

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Gentle Reader,

A picture speaks a thousand words.

I think we ladies need to learn to see ourselves as Wonder Women instead of damsels in distress. No, I’m not saying that women don’t need men. I am saying that this world is a hard place and we’ve got to be tough. We’ve got to grow thick skins. We’ve got to get out there and engage. Can our toughness be expressed in different ways? Yes. One woman will cry over a sad plotline in a movie but be the first one to leap to the defense of a hurting child. Another will be largely reserved and quiet but burst forth with eloquence on a subject she’s passionate about. There are as many ways to be strong as there are women on the planet.

Fight. Not with each other. Not to earn the approval of men. Fight for what matters.

********

The Southern Baptist Convention called on its members to discontinue use of the Confederate flag. Such a move comes extremely late in the game, but credit where credit is due. Job well done.

The California state legislature is in the middle of passing a law that “would allow lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students to sue religious educational institutions if they were denied married student housing, dorms, or bathrooms consistent with their gender identities, or otherwise subject to rules of conduct that singled out their sexuality or identity.” Why would one deliberately choose to attend a school that ascribes to a worldview and practices at odds with one’s own worldview and practices? Should schools of any religious affiliation really be required to make room for behaviors that run counter to their foundational principles? Does this law make sense?

Some say that this is in the same vein as the legislation that stopped racial segregation in schools. I disagree, for there is nothing in Scripture that allows for people of any skin color or racial background to be hostile to each other. There is no excuse for racism. (Or sexism, for that matter). There is, however, a distinct code of sexual ethics. (Of course the living out of that code does not entail avoiding or harassing or harming or feeling superior to those who operate outside of it). Non-Christian people live by whatever standards they hold to. Should Christians not be allowed to do the same?

I’m not whining. If my civil liberties fade away someday, that’s okay. Christ is worth the loss. I’m also not saying that everyone (on either side of these issues) has their panties in a bunch all the livelong day. I have many non-believing friends who are happy to operate in real tolerance with believing people. It’s beautiful when we allow each other the freedom to disagree. It just makes me sad to see the general decline in critical thinking skills.

Speaking of freedom, it is good to remember that the Christian’s freedom is never tied to a nation’s laws or interests. It is found in the Lord.

Finally, this beautiful passage from the Hiding Place, written by Corrie ten Boom:

I asked Father about a poem we had read at school the winter before. One line had described “a young man whose face was not shadowed by sex-sin.” I had been far too shy to ask the teacher what it meant, and Mama had blushed scarlet when I consulted her. In those days just after the turn of the century sex was never discussed, even at home.

So the line had stuck in my head. “Sex,” I was pretty sure, meant whether you were a boy or a girl, and “sin” made Tante (Aunt) Jans very angry, but what the two together meant I could not imagine. And so, seated next to Father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, “Father, what is sex-sin?”

He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.

“Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said.

I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.

“It’s too heavy,” I said.

“Yes,’” he said. “And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.”

And I was satisfied. More than satisfied–wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all my hard questions–for now I was content to leave them in my father’s keeping.

– p. 28-29

She wasn’t saying that children should never learn about sex, but rather communicating that parents should be sensitive to what their children are able to understand at any given point. I firmly believe in good, thorough education in all areas including sexuality, but parents, let your kids be kids. Let them be innocent and carefree for as long as possible. The burdens of knowledge come quickly enough.

My journey to faith. (15)