Thursday, August 30, 2012

Discussion questions

Saw this on facebook


and I've been chewing on it all evening.

Sister Chittister is a very controversial in the Catholic church. I'm sure I'd disagree with her on many issues, and I find government to be woefully inept and corrupt, not to mention bankrupt. Nonetheless, I found the pro-life vs. pro-birth thing distinction extremely thought provoking.

You?

37 comments:

  1. I think she makes a good point here. But I don't trust the gov't. They manage money/resources/EVERYTHING horribly. I AM for pro-life people doing more than just picketing at abortion clinics. Give money, time, resources, food, clothes to kids/families who need it. Be a foster parent. (We are hoping to do that soon). Etc. The Church needs to step up and then we won't need tax dollars. But the Church needs to keep stepping up. (end rant)

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  2. I agree with Amanda. This should be part of the ministry of the body of Christ. There are so many ways to care for a child once they are born (helping their mothers find jobs, fostering, adopting, sponsoring a child in another country). I think we should care for those children after they are born, but I don't think it should be through our tax dollars. I think it should be through the compassion of Christ.

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  3. Churches should be putting the govt out of business in terms of caring for children/elderly/needy/etc. Then we will truly be as "pro-life" as we claim to be. And until I see that happening, I will agree with the Sister on that one. (remember that post I wrote? She said what I was trying to say:)

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    1. I think they sometimes become mutually exclusive.

      If my taxes are being raised, I don't have money to give to charities (which almost always do a MUCH better job of caring for the poor.)

      So gov funded faith based initiatives seem like a great idea. But they aren't if you are rabidly in favor of separating church and state, as I am.

      I don't want, say, the Moonies receiving my tax dollars. So I have to say that Christian groups who receive tax dollars shouldn't preseletize as well.

      Problem is, if you are a Christian group who is not proclaiming the Only Way to healing, then I don't want to give you any money either!!

      what to do, what to do....

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  4. Hmmm. I saw this on facebook earlier today too. I agree with it (and I don't see her saying anything about the government in this quote, but then I have no clue who she is so that could be part of her larger stance).
    I 100% hate abortion.
    However... since being married to my VERY liberal and social justice minded husband he has opened my eyes to some of the other things we should consider.
    No longer will I simply vote for someone based on whether or not they support abortion (which can mean many different things actually) but based on what they do for the "least of these" as a whole. Which includes, children living in poverty, the elderly, and disabled. Especially because if those children who were going to be aborted live, a large portion of them will live in poverty.
    Honestly I think there are too many politicians (and more of them on the Republican side) who have convinced people to vote on this one issue alone when they do many more really awful things to the rest of society.
    All that to say, I'm not a fan of either party right now and really am almost to the point of abstaining from voting this year (to the horror of my high school history teacher I'm sure!)
    All right, probably enough comment for one night! ;)

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    1. I'm not voting. I can't vote for Obama but I can't vote for a Mormon.

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    2. Why can't you vote for a Mormon? Could you vote for a Catholic? A Muslim?

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  5. I believe it is the church's job as well but until the church steps up, if a body of people expects a nation to legislate it, they better put their money where their mouth is.

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  6. I do think that most people who are pro-life (who want a child conceived to be safely born) also want that child to receive love, food, education, etc. It's a matter of how you think money should travel to those who need it. Should it be entirely/primarily/partially/or not at all through taxes?

    The government does a lot of things spectacularly badly, but as an ideal, I like the notion of coming together with other members of my town, state, or nation and saying, "As a people, we determine that we care about the welfare of small children, and therefore we will assign a certain portion of the contributions we require of all our members to that cause"--taxes.

    Nongovernmental methods of addressing causes allow people to come together with people who are much more like-minded, but I like the notion of people who *aren't* like-minded coming together and working on these things. The problem with working with people who are like-minded is that the definition of like-minded gets smaller and smaller--pretty soon there are splinter groups depending on how you feel about hair ribbons, or whatever. When it's just people who live in a certain area (town, state, nation), then you *can't* just splinter off and run; you have to try to get along with people who are very different, and that's a good thing, I think. Too bad these days we seem to do it very badly...

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  7. I'm Canadian, and so I understand that my grasp of American politics in general is fairly shaky (Read: practically non-existant). However, I do have an opinion about the church-as-social-provider stance. While I agree that Christians are called to be Christ to the world, and to provide assistance to the least of the least, as Christ clearly states, I worry about how this translates into the real world. What *should* theoretically be a simple command (ie "give food to the hungry") can easily backfire on the hungry who need that food. What if the churches in a town DON'T give food to the hungry? Or what if they choose to support other social programs instead? What if a missional church says (as many many many of them do) we're going to give our money to X cause, and not Y, because we only have so much to give and we had to make a decision somewhere. And then, if Y cause was 'Feed children in a breakfast program in our town', do the children not get fed?
    Do you see what I'm saying?
    It isn't a condemnation of the church, not at all! But Christians DO only have set financial resources, as all people do, and eventually you have to decide where to put those resources. The benefit of having money from taxes go towards social programs is that even if Missional Church X can't support the breakfast program, there is money that CAN continue to feed those children, allowing the resources that the church has to go towards funding something else.
    Also, and I know this is going to sound Big Brother-ish, but having a portion of taxes go towards these programs means that everyone is taking some responsibility, Christian or not. And I think everyone should take responsibility. Some of us are called to that by our Lord and Savior, and some of us by our social conscience and whatever, but yes, you should help the poor whether you believe in Jesus or not.

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    1. Do you think that your government perhaps runs better than ours?

      I worked in city government - CITY - for a year and saw so much waste, corruption and flat out idiocy that it made me want to take as much power away from the gov as possible.

      It makes it hard for me to want to raise taxes because it's just a waste of money. Kwim?

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  8. I have heard this same criticism from pro-choice people: that pro-life people only care about the baby until it's born. And there are some terrific safety nets in place from the government (my siblings and I received free hot lunch at school for 2 full years when our parents were struggling, for example). But I agree with the commenter who said our focus tends to get smaller and smaller . . . and that's one reason I don't protest outside clinics. I've chosen to use my time, energy and resources in other ways to help -- but I think that should also happen outside/in addition to the church.

    For example, our church has a food pantry, but if I know a family who is struggling, I should also find ways to help them in real life, not just direct them to a church program . . . And if I don't know any families who are struggling, then it's my job to put myself in places that are not so homogenous so I can be the hands and feet of Christ. "They will know we are Christians by our love" is a song that springs to mind here. Right now, many non-Christians wouldn't likely say that they can tell who Christians are because we're so loving . . . Sad, but we're more known for what we're against than for exuding the love of Who we're for.
    Nancy

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    1. I think Nancy makes an excellent point. Many Christians clamor against the government getting involved and say "the church" should do it. Yet, when they think of "the church" they think of it as an organization (like sending a hungry family to "the church's pantry"). What they forget is that WE are the church. The church is made up of people, of US. So when we say "the church" has to do something, that means WE have to do something. WE are the Body of Christ. So if Christians don't like what the government is doing, it is our responsibility to get involved in feeding the hungry, caring for the widow and the orphan, etc. To BE the church.
      I hope that makes sense.

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  9. I am not anti-abortion. But I do see this as a huge contradiction among people who are. The same goes for being "pro-life" yet for the death penalty and for war - I don't see how someone can claim to care so deeply about the sanctity of life, but not when it comes to criminals or to anyone whose life is ended or ruined by war... Google "consistent ethic of life" if you are interested in more discussion on that though. I understand that a lot of people think that government doesn't do anything right, but IMO it is the role of government to provide social welfare for all its citizens, and if it's not doing that well enough, it is the people's responsibility to correct it, not dismantle it further. Or if a society really wants to be without government as much as is feasible, it ought to be libertarian - low taxes, hardly any services, and few regulations on any aspect of life. In which case I don't know why even have a government.

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    1. I often see the contradiction too. I also see scores of pro-life Christians rising up to care for children in a multitude of ways.

      However, the problem is government. If I thought they would use my tax dollars efficiently, there is no place I'd rather it go than children.

      But so many of our gov programs already in place - Houston ISD, Head Start, and the entire state of Florida's child welfare system come to mind - are so ridiculously inept, giving them more money doesn't seem very wise.

      As for the death penalty and war, let's stick to the topic at hand please :)

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    2. I feel the urge to do a SNL Bush impression now "It wouldn't be pru-dent"

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  10. Taxes are not the form of charity that we are called to provide for the least among us. They are mandated and unfortunately, used for both good and evil. We are called to care for the least of these through our money, yes, but our works, as well. Since this a pic of a nun, a Catholic comment is appropriate (and I'm Catholic so I can make it) here because what I notice from some of the most stingy Christians on earth (Catholics) is that they willingly hand over those mandated taxes because of some of the good that money is used for, but they overlook all the bad, even the intrinsically evil that some of the tax money is used for. So, they tend to be apathetic toward the work for the poor that needs to be done. Dropping off a canned good once a year; donating used clothing; participating in whatever the church/parish has going to help the poor, doesn't cut it. Yes, pay your taxes and be grateful you can because as Catholics we are also called to respect our leadership. But don't pay them with the mindset that all your money is going for the betterment of society, like feeding the poor, etc. Just imagine all the good works that could come out of lowered federal taxes that in result, would free our money to be spent on charities in our own community (even higher taxes locally), where we see the issues and can spend our money appropriately. Of course, this lowered tax idea is controversial because the assumption is that most people wouldn't use their excess money for good works and I guess there is some truth there. I mean, in our society- that doesn't value the teachings of Christ; separates Him from all facets of life; has no respect for life from conception to natural death... yep, with all the God-rejecting going on, it is no wonder people wouldn't use their money for good works. No wonder people would selfishly squander or hord their money... and that cycle will forever continue... Back to the pro-life/pro-birth thing, that is a crock!! Just political jargon to persuade the masses that pro-lifers really don't care for the baby, mother (especially the mother!), or the future of that family! It is a lie.

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    1. You listed so many good points.

      I do agree with her tho. I know a lot of Christians who think, 'I'm pro-life, I'll vote Republican, yea me, Jesus owes me a cookie.' But then they don't do jack to help any children other than the ones they birthed themselves. But hey! They're pro-life! They proved it on election day!

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    2. Well, they didn't vote FOR abortion. It should also be noted that our most important work comes from doing our best with raising our children up into God's kingdom- to eternal life, which is an important form of being "prolife" (in my opinion)... I mean, there are those that struggle with not properly caring for their children. I don't mean to be argumentative, but how do you know they "don't do jack to help any children other than the ones they birthed themselves"? Do only public/obvious prolife actions count as being prolife? What about those that prayer and fast for the end of abortion while they silently struggle (or not) to care for the children they birthed? I disagreed with her when she got into the tax issue... we're called as the body of Christ to care for the least among us. I missed the part that commanded us to care for the least among us by using the discretion of our government servants employed by the U.S. of A!

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    3. As far as not doing jack, I'm referring to people I know personally, and I feel quite confident that they don't do jack.

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    4. I understand. I have some of those people in my life, I think. I really hope I'm wrong.

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  11. Have any of you noticed that socialist countries, ones who highly tax their citizens and provide many social programs, are the countries where the Church is the weakest? (eg Canada and all of Europe)

    You think there is a correlation?

    Like if the government does so much, the Church gets apathetic and eventually impotent? If the gov solves all my problems, then I become more 'self-reliant' and believe there is no need for God?

    Thoughts?

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  12. I agree with her. Are you familiar with Feminists for Life, Missy? Look them up. Powerful stuff. Strong arguments.

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  13. I agree with her completely. I'm tired of listening to Christians condemn abortion but also question us on why we adopted and make comments like "Oh I could never love someone else's child." I think Christian adoptive families can end up living in a bubble where everyone loves their children like they do. I think the system is broken (foster care system, any government welfare systems) but I don't think the answer is to completely remove the choice (mainly because the more permission we give the government to mandate what happens in our bodies, the further down a slippery slope we get) or the funding.

    Being pro birth is not enough. Being against reproductive choice is not enough. And often I feel that Christians are so much on our high horse about abortion and taxes that we AREN'T giving to charities (who are just as guilty of abusing funds) and we're trying to shut down what the government can do. How can we be pro life AND be against health care for everyone? How can we be pro life but ignore those kids once they're here?

    The government is broken but so is the church.

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  14. I just want to respond to those who are saying they are not voting because they don't like either choice. We each have a very important responsibility to make a choice for the leader we think will make the best decisions for our nation. not, the perfect choice in our mind. We owe it to those who have secured the freedoms we enjoy over the years with their lives to vote. Christians are suddenly becoming more concerned and aware of justice issues, (which I love) and do we even realize that our country (even though not perfect) has been a world leader with regards to justice. We are in danger of losing that status, we are in danger of losing our freedoms and we cannot just sit by and let it happen whining that we don't like our options. Please become educated and if you haven't seen it, go see the movie 2016, but above all, vote. Don't those that gave their lives deserve to have us take our voting responsibility seriously? And, yes, we all need to be prolife and prochild, because Every Life is Beautiful!

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    1. agreed- VOTE VOTE VOTE! it would be a rare election to find a candidate that has the EXACT same alignment of beliefs on EVERY issue- you choose who you believe is better for the country at this place and time. to NOT vote is to disrespect all those that fought and prayed and died for the freedom to do so.

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    2. I agree with you wholeheartedly!! Everyone should vote! If you don't agree with the republican or democratic nominees, then vote libertarian, or write in your candidate. Not voting is taking the easy way out. No candidate will ever be perfect, because NONE of us are perfect.

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  15. I don't enjoy paying taxes. But to be honest, my taxes are not what keeps me from giving more to those in need. I complain too much about not having enough time. I spend my money on myself and my own family. I'd rather not get my hands dirty. That's just me. And I should do much, much more. I should give much, much more. And I believe that I am called to give and do more. If I did my part the world would be a better place. Of course, I can only do so much. But I can do SOMETHING.
    And as for the political question, I don't think there is one right answer. What can and should churches do to help those without health care? What can and should churches do to stimulate the economy? Many things that Christians can and should do are not necessarily best tackled as churches but can be handled better on an individual basis. Our church doesn't adopt, families in the church adopt. Our church employs a few but many business leaders in our church reach out to those in need and employ a great deal more. And families and business and individuals are not under the same sort of legal restraints that a church is under.
    I don't wish to make an argument here for the candidate I plan to vote for. But I am encouraged by the discussion. I think we need to have more constructive and loving discussions on these issues in this country. Both sides are concerned about people and both have good ideas about how to solve these problems. Talking it out, planning, praying and action can lead to dramatic change. Partisan politics only helps the politicians (who are also worthy of our compassion but ... )

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  16. Pro-life or Pro-choice, that shouldn't be the issue of debate. The debate is why we put the mother in the situation to make "a choice" in the first place.

    Was she seeking love from the wrong place and gave her body in a misguided direction?
    Was she on a career path or at a job where being a single mother was look down upon and limited her growth?
    Was she simply uneducated about the birds and the bees (hard to believe but it happens)?

    This debate is one giant cycle, until our society can become greater than the individual it won't matter how much we pay in taxes. Respect for life to me has a much greater meaning.

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  17. I agree. We Christians rally against abortion and "fight for life"...yet we don't support these women who choose to give their babies life on this earth. We look down on them, push them away, tell them it's all their fault...they were irresponsible. We line up outside of Planned Parenthood sites to advocate for life, but we don't line up to turn adoption applications to advocate for living life.

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    1. YES. Totally agree with this comment Misti.

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  18. Thought provoking indeed.....I'll be chewing on this as well.

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  19. it does give you something to think about!

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  20. I love that you asked this question. The other day on my Facebook page I asked the question, what would happen if the pro-lifers got their way? then what? Not one of my conservative, pro-life friends had an answer. I received lots of comments about how abortion was evil and wrong and how unborn babies should have rights, but not one person could tell me what happens after a baby is born to a woman that doesn't want it. I need the answer to that question.

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