Monday, August 24, 2009

Walking in Another's Shoes

I hate the first post after a lengthy (lazy) hiatus. There's always so much to cover since my last post, but at the same time I want to be timely. While these articles may be dated (at least relative to the 24-hour news cycle), I believe they are too relevant to not be read.

One of my goals with this blog is to be even-handed in my analysis and commentary, though I do have obvious religious and political beliefs. That doesn't mean I'm not open to taking a different point of view. Walking in another's shoes, so to speak, and these two articles do just that. They both highlight how one’s worldview impacts their decisions. By reading these articles, I gained a great deal of respect for both men because they are consistent in applying their worldview, something I seldom see in the present culture-war.

The first is about Ted Olson, a conservative lawyer who is fighting to overturn Proposition 8 in California. His defense of gay-marriage is based on his conservative principles to keep the government out of our personal lives. You can’t argue that he’s not consistent with his conservative view of government, in contrast to a conservative view of social moors taken by many politicians and activists. Now, I’m not about to change my opinion on gay-marriage. However, given the background in this article I will concede the point of “fundamental right” though I still worry about the “slippery slope” and disapprove the means by which homosexuals are trying to gain this right. (Specifically, not responding to Prop 8 with a proposition of their own and instead throwing a legal hissy fit)

The second article is about the “abortion evangelist” (gotta love the sensationalist headlines) LeRoy Carhart. I don’t approve of his practice, but I understand his motivation for providing it. I also admire that he does stick to his guns. In one example, "Carhart asked her what she would do if she had to carry the baby to term. 'She didn't say she was going to kill herself,' he says. 'She said she would put it up [for adoption].' He turned her away.." I do regret that he feels the way he does about his own safety. I hope he realizes that not everyone who is opposed to abortion wants him dead. But given the slant of the article, I don’t expect that perspective to be conveyed. What is also important to glean from this article is how tragic abortion really is and that criminalizing it only marginalizes those who “need” (I hesitate using that word, but I think it’s appropriate here) the service. The real war against abortion needs to be against this need (“abortion should be available, but rare”). Think simple supply-demand economics. Legal restrictions to abortion reduce the supply which only increases the cost (emotional and physical in addition to financial) to women. Instead, the demand needs to be brought down. And no, I believe showing pictures of fetuses to women entering a clinic is too late to have any measurable effect. Instead the preciousness of life (scripture) needs to be emphasized alongside the value of reserving sex for marriage. There is a moral case for family planning.

In both of these cases, it can be seen how their careers are guided by their respective worldviews. But neither worldview is Biblical. Get Religion points out that the profile of Ted Olson only mentions that Olson is "not a regular churchgoer", and Newsweek fails to mention any religious affiliation of Carhart. Yet, while we may not agree with them, we should take the lesson that our lives should be guided by some particular worldview. As Christians, our worldview should be built on being Christ-like and “what would Jesus do?” I also think it is important to be open-minded and respectful of others’ worldviews. I linked these two articles above despite my being against both cases. It is always important to see the other side of an argument. That may sound wishy-washy, but I’m not saying “we can both be right” or “truth is relative”. Instead I’m saying that I disagree with, but respect your opinion, just as you are free to disagree with mine.

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