Thursday, December 4, 2008

Abortion and Rape: Is Chris Less Valuable

The recent election has lead to the re-stoking of the fires on the issue of abortion. A whole lot has been said from a wide array of people; some very good and thoughtful, and some outright silly. Through the various debates, I've noticed one recurring theme; what about abortion in the instance of rape. Now i know that a lot of pro-choice people throw this out there as a sort of tear-jerker, to persuade the listener into a decision on emotional grounds when of coarse as with most important issues, how we feel should be set aside for what we know. However i know for some this is a very real objection, a sort of moral conundrum that, no matter what side you come down on on the issue of abortion, is very hard to reconcile and deal with. I share this sentiment and I sincerely understand the objection made from not only pro-choicers, but from pro-lifers in the case of rape and abortion. It seems from pro-lifers are where the real conflict comes from. We want to be pro-life, we believe in the value of humans and inalienable rights, but what about when someones rights have been violated and they are stuck with a comittment that they did not set out to have. It's one thing to be frivilous sexually and conceive and simply try to dodge the responsibility of a child through abortion. But its another when another life is forced into your care.
What do we do with the issue of rape and abortion? Now I dont think this is in any way an easy issue, but I think clarifying our terms will assist us in making the best conclusion. It seems like no matter what the scenario we must go back to the essential questions; what is abortion, what is the unborn, and is it moral? Well by now we know abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. Given the law of biogenesis, like species produce after their own kind and thus what the woman is pregnant with, from the moment of conception is a human. In conclusion, an abortion is the ending, or killing of a human life while it is still in the womb, or in some cases partially born. Now the issue of rape. A man forces himself on a woman, inseminates her and she is with child. Bewildered and violated, the women is now laden with an unforseen burden of childbearing against her will. Given this misfortune, is it then acceptable for her to have an abortion? Many people who will read this dont know this but, I wasn't planned. No my conception is a mirror image of what I described above. My mom, 19 I believe, was impregnated with me against her will. For this reason I dont tread lightly around this question and it gives me different insight, insight i will challenge you to think about. What is about the way I was conceived that makes me not worthy of protection under the law? What is about the fact that a child comes into this world through the horrible crime of rape, that means that we can decide whether or not they have the same rights as other human beings? And when does that priveledge end? What is the cut off that a mom has in deciding whether or not she will allow her child to live? Some would say my mom could've killed me in the womb, because my biologically father happened to be a rapist. Okay well, minutes later after i was born my dad was still a rapist, so could my mom kill me then, after the doctor put me in her arms? If not, why not? Just minutes prior I was all game, my mother could've aborted me, but since i've traveled a few inches I'm then worthy of protection under the law like every other human being? Better yet, I was a C-section. So, what if as the doctor cut my mom open (I'd still be in the womb) upon my moms split second consent, the doctor killed me then, while my eyes were getting a glimpse of the outside world? I mean at this point I'm still technically in the womb but I can actually gaze at other people for the first time, at this point do i still not have rights? But why should the statute of limitations end there. Now that i'm all grown up i look a whole lot like my mom, but as a younger child i've been told i looked like my biological father. Imagine that, my mom seeing the face of her assailant in the eyes of her child, what grief that must have caused her. Could she have taken my life as a 1 year old, given the emotional trauma that must have put her through? What about at 2 years old, 3, 21? I ask because thats often the argument made in support of abortion due to rape. That the mother will have to endure the lasting memory of her rapist in the life of the child, and she'll be so bogged down that she and the child will live unhappy lives. Well even if that were true, our rights aren't dictated by who feels good in a paticular moment, certain rights are inalienable. But that objection isn't a good one, as I'm probably the favorite out of my brothers :) and my mom confides in me that she wouldn't change it for the world. All that aside, my main point is this, are peoples rights as humans dictated by how they become human? This same logic applies to cases of incest as well. We have rights because we are humans, no more, no less. If you are a human in all other circumstances you have the right to live without someone trying to arbitrarily take your life simply because you are you. Is Chris Billups any less valuable because he was conceived from rape, is he less human? I sure do hope not.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Black Christians for Obama; You Can't Serve Two Masters

Since the election of Senator Barack Obama to the US President, I've had and heard many a conversation. In these conversations I've noticed a common thread of inconsistency; Christian voters who are black that voted for Obama. Now the meaningful part of the observation isn't expressed solely therein, although one could look at just that alone and note a contradiction. But I want to address for a moment why this is a sad reality, why it is a bad thing, and how it speaks volumes about the hearts of many black people who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ. Yesterday after getting off work, I was stopped by a black woman, a custodian, on my way out the door. She asked me was I pleased with the president-elect, presuming already I think that I would be of coarse, seeing as though I'm black as well. I said no, and I explained my reasons why. An odd thing happened...she agreed. She agreed not only that I the reasons I gave were correct ones, but that we shared the same view point. Now, whats wrong with that? The convictions I have made it that voting for Barack would be unthinkable, yet this woman who claimed to share the same beliefs somehow transgressed her beliefs to vote for Obama, without regret but even more so, joy. How is it reasonable and explainable for a person to vote in direct opposition to what they hold to be true, to what they say matters to them the most? I think this could only work if a person has another vested interest, one that is equally or even more important than other convictions they might hold, and it is my firm belief that many black Christians have exactly that; two agendas that they seek to uphold. One is their faithfulness to the will of God which for most but admittedly not all, is completely sincere and genuine. Not simply in a flakey sense which is common in this day and age, but an actual dedication to obeying the will of God and following Christ. However on the other hand, there is another appointment to be kept, one that is dedicated to following self-interest; namely blackness. They have a commitement to everything black within reason (for the most part). Essentially they want their so called "self-identity" and identity in Christ to coincide, even though Jesus Himself does not give way to such thinking,but rather that one must die to themselves on every level,and decide to adopt His views. They want to have their race cake, and eat their religion too, but they can not co-exist. The recent election gave us a means to witness why this is such a bad way of thinking in action.So many Christians had the power to do what was right, in keeping a man out of office who would see to it that the rights of the unborn were taken away and would allow for their lives to be taken at will under the smokescreen of a "right to choose", and elect a man who would see to it that a long standing law supporting the unjust "right" was overturned. Now before the case is made against Mccain, I'm not arguing for him wholesale. However in the words of Scott Klusendorf, a second class fireman is way better than a first class arsonist. So what we have is rather than Christians voting a Christian worldview, we have people voting in diametric opposites in what they say they believe and a serious injustice follows from the decisions of those who should be using their vote to see to it that what is morally right is what reigns over the country.But what made Christians abrogate this responsibility, for what did they leave their post as ambassadors of Jesus? Embarrasingly, all to have a President whose skin is light-brown. Now do I think that the only reason all black people voted for Obama is because he's black, of course not. But do I believe, and I think we all know, that it was a reason for most if not all to some degree, yes; and I think we also all know that there were some, if only in minority that voted based solely for that reason. A vote casted in favor of melanin content of the skin, on any level, is wrong. It's the same reasoning that those whom we look back on history and scold for their bigotry used, and some have hypocritically applied the same thinking, and placed the lives of millions in jeopardy. A persons skin color should in no way sway your thinking on his ability to lead the country, such reasoning is an obvious reflection of a lack of focus on what actually matters and a symptom of being jaded by racist thinking. Finally, a persons skin color should not trump what you claim to believe to be most important when their values lie in direct contradiction to yours . Especially as it pertains to the Christian perspective, such a position is untenable; you either are a follower of Christ, or a follower of what you percieve to be your races' best interest to be but you can't have it both ways. Please, for the sake of the rights of millions, choose wisely next time.

Barack For President:1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back.

There is a great celebration amongst the American people in regards to the election of the first African American president. The U.S, as common with its history has shown us that it is able to overcome bigoted thinking and continually improve its moral clarity; some would even say that this is a significant landmark in the ongoing progress of civil rights in this country. And I agree it is, it seems that we continue to recognize all humans as being equals based solely on the quality of their being human and we hold this with the highest regard. However, human rights are still not equal for a major portion of the people who live in this country, and in a sort of sordid irony, while we traverse barriers in civil rights once thought impossible by electing a black president, it is by electing this president , that we degrade a whole class of human beings as being unworthy of the same protection under the law and rights as other human beings.
The heinousness of slavery was that it extricated a whole group of living, breathing, human beings and considered them unworthy of the same protection and freedom under the law as every other living, breathing, human being based on unjust criteria. Abraham Lincoln argued rightly that the standards used to diminish the black man as sub-human and thus unworthy of equal rights were illogical, unjust and wholly irrational. The notion that the quality of humanness depended on intelligence, color or some other physical characteristics were shown to be incredulous, and most of you would, without batting an eye, agree. We know that our value as humans does not depend upon physical characteristics, nor is it assessed by another man. Rather like our Forefathers pronounced, it is transcendent, inalienable and irrevocably bestowed to us by God, our Creator. And even in knowing this , as he was a law professor, Barack Obama's first act as presidency will not only ensure but proliferate that the rights and value of a whole class of human beings, the unborn, are taken away and diminished . Unlike you and I who are protected under law from having our lives arbitrarily taken from us at will, the Freedom of Choice act will promulgate the killing of unborn human beings, at any stage (and by that I mean trimester) for any reason, and will be funded with tax payer's money.
Now initially I know the knee jerk reaction is to say "it's still a fetus or a zygote". But so what? Those are just terminologies that describe a stage of growth, not a type of being. Following the scientific law of biogenesis, species produce after their own kind. And while it may be that determining when life begins is "above Obama's pay grade" as he phrased it, in the words of Robert P. George of Princeton "Treating the question as some sort of grand mystery, or expressing or feigning uncertainty about it, may be politically expedient, but it is intellectually indefensible. Modern science long ago resolved the question." We know that life begins at the moment of conception, so the issue is: what is it about the unborn human beings that make them subhuman, not worthy of equal protection under the law? We don't accept discrimination for other groups of people, why the unborn? So while we sit back and rejoice that the day has finally come, that we've jumped another hurdle in the ugly marathon that is overcoming immoral discrimination and the unequal treatment of humans in this country, I would urge you to take a step back and reflect. Sometimes focus can make you blind. It may seem that we've made a stride in the right direction, but it is my opinion that unbeknownst to most, we've actually lost our footing, and stumbled devastatingly far back, all because like those before us, we've mistakenly applied a criteria to being human and thus worthy of inalienable rights that can't be violated, that is illogical, unjust and wholly irrational.
It is a great day in American history, but we've traded one evil in for another, one form of discrimination against human being for another. We've exemplified the liberation of a people from unfair treatment by electing someone who at one time would've been less than human, all the while electing someone who will deem a group of people unworthy of their God given right to life and the right for that life to be protected by law like every other group of people. As the saying goes, one step forward, 2 steps back.