Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why Pro-life/Pro-choice Doesn't Factor Into My Vote

Okay, it's time to clear the air.

Over the past many years, I've had opportunities to share with several people about why I don't use pro-life/pro-choice as a test on candidates. These have primarily been one on one exchanges with reasonable people that have asked. Most people are quick to make poorly informed decisions about my views because they would rather judge than ask.

I know that some think that I'm a heretic of some sort, or perhaps a Christian that has lost my mind. I have never said that I think that abortion is okay. And yet, I am often regarded as a pro-choice person and treated with the disdain reserved for godless reprobates.  Apparently, many people fail to realize that there are both pro-choice Republicans and pro-life Democrats.

But when it comes right down to it, it really doesn't matter.

We have been sold a lie that has lived for decades. Originally, it was pushed by the GOP as a divisive wedge and a huge money maker. I believe that the Dems have jumped on the financial bandwagon to keep the money coming in and the fight going on. In the end, either the candidates are ignorant of how our system works or they are manipulating the voters in order to get their money and their vote. Neither situation speaks well of their ability to govern.

Here's the deal:

The Supreme Court that made the Roe v Wade decision was made up of five Republican justices and four Democratic justices. The vote was 7-2, with one Republican and one Democrat in opposition. It wasn't a partisan issue. In the late 70s, the religious right began to champion the idea that the Roe v Wade decision could be overturned if conservative presidents would appoint conservative justices and the make up of the Supreme Court would change to the point that a reversal would be possible.

Unfortunately, THIS IS NOT TRUE!
There is no appeals process for a decision of the High Court!
A current bench cannot even re-hear an old case, much less overturn it.
The only way that it could be re-tried is if there is new evidence that might change the decision.

There have been decisions that were reversed when the decision of a later case rendered the previous ruling moot or reversed it due to changes in society. Others were reversed due to Amendments to the Constitution.
And that's pretty much it.

Even if the High Court is made up of nine far right, pro-life jurists, they could not simply choose to reverse the Roe v Wade decision.

You may have heard a clip from a previous debate when Gov. Romney was asked if he was President and Congress sent him a bill that would overturn Roe v Wade, would he sign it? The fact that he answered the question (or the fact that it was asked at all) shows a true ignorance of our system of law and justice. Congress can't send a bill that overturns the Constitutional rights as decided by the Supreme Court!

Electing pro-life legislators to write laws that overturn the decision or act in opposition to the decision is futile since they would be ruled as unconstitutional.

For pro-lifers that want to push legislation to limit abortions, you have to work within the confines of the decision. It doesn't matter if you disagree with the decision, it's all you have to work with. As medicine improves and viability moves earlier into the second trimester, laws should be pushed to restrict access according to the Ruling. This has been done on a few rare occasions and is the only real legislative answer.

Or you can push for a Constitutional Amendment.
You will need for 2/3 of the House and 2/3 of the Senate to agree on a proposal defining person-hood to send to the states for ratification. Thirty-eight of the fifty states would have to ratify it for it to become an Amendment.

When you consider that a person-hood amendment recently failed in Mississippi, I'd say it's a long shot.

I'm a realist.
I realize that this is as much a philosophical issue as it is a scientific or religious issue. The question is, When does the unborn child become an individual person with individual rights? I believe that if Christians want non-Christians to believe as they do, they are living a dream world. It is foolishness.

I choose not to waste my time on the futile arguments of the laws of the land and to share the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus. If you are a Christian that feels like pouring your money and time into the futility of electing officials that you expect to be some kind of religious leaders; have at it. And if you feel better for judging me, well ... go ahead, but you'll have to get in line.

I am not ignorant of the issues or how the system works. Within the Ruling--addressing the issues of poverty, providing birth control, providing birth options, and sharing the Hope found in Jesus; these are the ways to reduce abortions in the US. The real issue isn't whether abortions are legal or illegal. The issue is to keep them rare.

John <><

Monday, October 29, 2012

Personal Progress

I started the Month of October with a renewed will to drop some of the weight that I've put on over the past few years and to (once again!) begin to eat with good health in mind.

I started the month with time exercising on the exercise bike every day, but that only lasted for a week on a daily basis, a second week on an occasional basis and ... yeah, that was pretty much it. I've been using the stairs at work and only used the elevator twice (out of habit). That usually amounts to 500-800 stair steps per day (that's due the 'tower' part of air traffic control tower).

The biggest effort comes in the way of what I'm eating (and not eating). My focus is to really cut out processed foods. I'm eating more fruits and vegetables, less red meat, and trying to stick to whole foods. I'm also reducing my portions and overall intake. For the four weeks ending yesterday, I've lost 11 pounds and can make it to the fifth floor sign-in without being out of breath!

It's time to get back on the idea of regular exercise (in addition to the stairs). Weight loss was better in those weeks when I was exercising and slowed when I stopped. I'm trying not to be unrealistic about expectations and am generally pleased with my progress. With three days left in the month, I'm hoping to push for one more pound to end the month at -12.

Favorite smoothie of the month:

two small apples (whole, core and all!)
a couple of heaping scoops of plain Greek yogurt
a large scoop of all natural peanut butter

John <><

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Out of Sorts

Yeah, that's the way I've been feeling when it comes to blogging--out of sorts.

I haven't even been reading blogs like I used to. I've been keeping up with my favorites, but not much more.

I've started to write several times and decided not to post before completing the article. Although political posts and posts about social issues have been a part of my blogging in the past, I'm really trying not to be divisive here and to keep a few of my evangelical readers from leaving.

I can certainly handle the personal criticism but would prefer not to continue to foster the misunderstanding that seems to come from people that are so focused on their own point of view that they refuse to believe that there may actually be good, sound reasoning behind the differing opinions of others.

Recently, a friend sent a private message asking me about my political stance. I really appreciated that they took the time to ask rather than judge. I've thought about posting my answer here but haven't really decided if I should or if it would matter to those that really haven't cared enough to ask on their own.

If you've been wondering why it's been quiet at Out of My Hat, that's why.

John <><

Friday, October 19, 2012

Christian Democrat

I'm cheating today by simply directing you to another blog.

For the record, I'm a registered Republican that will vote for a Democrat (again) because of many of the reasons in this post.

John <><

Monday, October 15, 2012

Why Do I Write?

It has been nearly four weeks since I've posted anything at Out of My Hat.

I can't say that it's been because I've been too busy, although it has been a full month. Neither can I say that it's been because I haven't had anything to write about; there are always things to write about. I would use convenience as a part of my excuse as I generally carry a tablet with me now instead of my laptop and while I like the tablet for its size and convenience, I really don't care to write on it.

In the end, I guess it comes down to just not being committed to writing.

Last weekend was our monthly meeting of the Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers (OCACW). I took notes during the workshop portion and also while our guest was making her presentation. Not only did I get some ideas for future posts, but I was encouraged to look at why I write.

Although I have never written a book (and have only modest desires to do so), nor have I had any great experiences that the world must read about, I do have the occasional urge just to write. In a small way, writing is for me. I write as a way of ranting without getting into too much trouble. As my readership has grown, I'm less able to go on those unchecked rants and have to consider the effects of those rants on my readers and deal with the personal consequences as well.

However, I also write because I occasionally have something to say. I'm not certain that anybody wants to hear it, but there are many people that need to hear, none the less.

So what's the simple answer to the question -- Why do I write?
The answer I came up with at the meeting is -- Because my voice is too small.

Even with voice amplification (and many would say that's not necessary), the sound of my voice can only reach so many. Through blogging, writing books or brochures, or posting on other forums many people from around the globe can read both the meaningful and meaningless rants of a simple man in the Midwest of the US of A.

Perhaps it is time to be more purposeful about writing. I know that I've said that before, but I need the occasional kick in the shorts.

Here is one of the things that I need to address in blogging:
Writing from the Heart vs. Writing for the Market
Our guest speaker, author Tracey Bateman, spoke on this topic.

Okay, so maybe I'm not dealing with a "market" and I don't have anything to sell. But I do know that I have already cost myself opportunities to preach at churches because of some of the things that I believe and have written. Do I write from the heart and accept the consequences or do I bridle the pen (so to speak) and not risk offending the pastors and decision makers of both past and future speaking/preaching/performing opportunities?

I think it's rather funny (funny in the weird, sad sort of way not the ha ha sort of way) that I can always preach salvation in Jesus and Jesus alone and be unwelcome because we disagree in other areas of life. I suppose that a pastor is well within his authority to not invite me because he is a misguided Royals' fan and I am a Cardinal fan, but most people would view that as petty and question how that might affect my preached message. You could argue that politics may have a greater influence over one's biblical views and not invite a member of the "other" party to come to your church. But if they never preach politics and stick to the bible, does it matter?

Sometimes I wonder if our "religious" leaders ever realize how many people they disqualify from the kingdom because of their legalistic views. I suppose that many of you already know that you don't have to be an alcoholic to be looked down on (or even condemned) in most Southern Baptist churches; you just have to have an occasional alcoholic beverage. Being a Democrat is even worse. It's almost as if an eleventh commandment was inserted without my knowledge -- Thou shalt not vote for a  Democrat!

There are plenty of controversial social issues and world views that can be covered in a blog or a sermon and I suppose that it is fair that we are judged for our personal opinions.

So if you are in a judgmental mood, here are just a few of my personal opinions (beliefs):

When Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me," I believe that He meant exactly that.

I believe that you can have a beer and still be a follower of Jesus.

I believe that you can be a Democrat and still be a follower of Jesus.

I believe that you can be an "American Christian" and not be a follower of Jesus.

I believe that there are as many Republican liars as there are Democratic liars.

I believe that a part of not having the religious beliefs of others imposed on me is that I can't impose my religious beliefs on them.

I believe that you cannot hate others in the name of Jesus.

I believe that we have all sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. (Rom 3:23)

I believe that even though we are sinners, God loves us. (Rom 5:8)

I believe that the price we pay for our sin is eternal separation from God--spiritual death.
I believe that God has given us a great gift in allowing His Son, Jesus to pay our sin debt. (Rom 6:23)

I believe that we can know that we have salvation in Jesus. (Rom 10:9-10)

Any questions?
John <><