We need an Athanasius; we need a William Wilberforce (Part 2)


And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:39-40

William Wilberforce is known primarily for working to bring about an end to not only the slave trade in the British Empire, but slavery in general. In fact, a movie was recently done over his tireless effort to end slavery in the British Empire and her colonies. While the movie is excellent and if you get a chance, you should watch it, it still fails to capture both the opposition Wilberforce faced and why he chose to end slavery.

Wilberforce was born in 1759 in England and once he graduated school he decided to attend Cambridge. Upon graduating from Cambridge he ran for the British parliament as a Torie (Conservative Party) at the age of 21 and due to his quick wit and ability to woo crowds with his speech, he easily won.

Once Wilberforce entered London to take his seat in Parliament he quickly attempted to advance his life through both politics and social pleasures. It was customary for men in those days to gamble, and gamble Wilberforce did. The London Wilberforce moved to is one out of a Charles Dickens novel, where the rich lived a life of luxury while the poor were huddled into small and filthy homes, where children worked for little to nothing for 14-16 hours a day, where prisons were crammed with debtors and murderers. The seedier side of London, which did exist, was a few blocks from Wilberforce, but might as well have been another country in terms of how he lived.

It is during this time that the government – and society as a whole – abounded in corruption and this impacted the slave trade. The England’s high court, it had been ruled that slaves were simply goods, no different than cargo, so if slaves had to be thrown overboard in a storm in order to lighten the load then it was completely permissible and legal to do so. The Government wasn’t much better; the Parliament members were often bribed to vote a certain way. Anytime a group arose to challenge the slave trade, the companies that benefited from the trade would simply pay off the members of Parliament and the group would eventually dissipate while the slave trade remained.

The London that Wilberforce moved to when accepting his seat in Parliament was not a bastion for Christendom; instead, it was a city where passions ran wild. The rich did as they pleased, purchased what they wanted, and treated the poor as they desired. The poor worked long hours to scratch out a mere existence, one unfit for animals, much less humans. Christianity might have been the religion everyone grew up with, but it was hardly followed or recognized.

In 1784, Wilberforce’s life underwent quite a transformation. He elected to go on a tour of Continental Europe during a break in Parliament and asked his old schoolmaster Isaac Milner to come along. During this trip, Milner had Wilberforce read the Scriptures daily. Though Wilberforce had to take a break due to his need to return to Parliament, he continued his tour of Europe in 1785. After concluding the tour he was spiritually confused upon his return to London and that’s when he sought counsel from the famous John Newton (composer of Amazing Grace and a former slave boat captain turned abolitionist). Continue reading

Advertisements

Oklahoma and Abortion


Today, the Oklahoma Senate voted to override the governor’s veto of a bill that requires mothers to get an ultra sound and have the fetus described to them before getting abortion. The bill also prohibits women from suing a doctor if the doctor purposefully withheld information about the fetus (such as disabilities) from the mother.

I am extremely happy to see such a bill pass and I wish that every state had a law like this one. Though the Oklahoman governor says that such a bill violates the woman’s right to privacy (though I fail to see how), I would argue that her right to privacy is trumped by the child’s right to life. After all, this is what the entire abortion issue centers upon – if what is in the womb is not a human person, who can possibly argue against a woman’s right to terminate this non-human life? If, however, what is in the womb is a human person, who can possibly argue that a woman has a right to terminate another human, regardless of location?

What bothers me the most on this issue is that so few seem to have attempted deep thought on this issue. The governor himself says that the bill is a waste of tax-payer money. Since when was the dollar placed ahead of human life? Rather than assuming that what is in the womb is not human, shouldn’t we think deeply, logically, and scientifically on this issue first? Rather than turning to the cost of a bill, shouldn’t we first review the moral ramifications of a bill?

My hope is that the people of Oklahoma will wise up and vote out this ignoramus governor who refuses to think deeply or openly on the issue of abortion and instead vote in someone who holds to a correct moral view of human life.

A Christian Response to the Healthcare Bill


In looking at the healthcare bill that was recently passed, I am left with one overriding conclusion; the Church in America has completely and utterly failed to do her job. This statement, however, is quite open-ended. So let me elaborate with a follow-up:

Though I hate what the current administration is doing, we must realize that their advancements are only occurring because the Church has failed America; rather than living as the Church and taking care of the needy, we instead chose to retreat into our million-dollar sanctuaries. If a needy world can’t turn to the followers of the one true God, what choice are they left with other than to turn to the government?

Though I am very much against nationalized healthcare, especially when taxpayer money will most likely be used for abortions, I don’t want to take the time writing against it. What’s done is done, every argument that could be made against nationalized healthcare has been made. The courts will see to the legality of this bill and, in my opinion, the people will speak out against the bill in the form of elections this coming November. But what if, when elected, the Republicans rescind the bill? Or, what if tomorrow Obama and half of the Democratic Party woke up and thought, “No, wait, this is wrong”? Those who will be covered by this healthcare bill would then be left without the chance to get proper healthcare.

From a purely human perspective, I would argue that I have no obligation to help get better healthcare for a stranger. I have no obligation to see to a stranger’s needs; while I can do it, it’s not necessarily immoral for me to see to the needs of my own family and then my own immediate community, but then stop there. Thus, the healthcare bill is wrong because it takes a non-obligation and attempts to make it an obligation.

The problem, however, is that as a Christian I am held to a higher moral code. What would generally be supererogatory actions become obligations for Christians. The Christian obligation to his fellow human is more than “do not kill,” but instead as Christians we are to look after the needs of others. However, as a whole the Christian Church has not been doing this in America; so what are the poor, the disadvantaged, and the crippled supposed to do?

Continue reading

Moral Majority?


As I sit here flipping through the articles of the day, I came across one article condemning the new health care bill. Due to the health care bill, there’s been quite a bit of discussions among Republicans that the era of the moral majority is back. Unfortunately, I don’t find this to be the case.

Look at the main opposition to the health care bill – the cost and loss of liberty. Granted, these are big issues that should be dealt with, but conservatives were generally quiet about the fact that the health care bill is going to support abortions (there are notable exceptions, such as Rep. Tom Coburn). By ignoring this fact and focusing on the others, conservatives seemingly placed money ahead of life.

This is not the only example. When President Obama signed the Freedom of Choice Act, there were no Tea Parties or major protests. Certainly conservatives protested such an act in their minds, but they did not take to the streets. No, only when their pocket books were threatened did conservatives raise their voices against a tyrannical government. Though justified in raising their voices against this government, they unwittingly showed where they stand on the morality of human life; overturn state laws to kill children on demand and we’ll shake a fist, mess with our income and we’ll come after you.

This upsets me quite a bit because it tells me that the government sanctioned murdering of innocent human beings is valued less than taxation. The irony is that for most conservatives, who do happen to be Christians of some form of the other, have a Biblical command to follow in paying taxes. This doesn’t mean we can’t complain about taxes or realize that we’re being over-taxed, but at the end of the day taxes exist and we’re told by God to pay them. The killing of innocent life, however, is something the Bible is not too keen on. Yet, where is our moral outrage over the most pro-abortion president in the history of America?

Why aren’t we taking to the streets to support a Constitutional Amendment that prohibits at-will abortions (with exceptions to the mother’s health) or one that protects the sanctity of human life (by prohibiting euthanasia)? Where are the tea parties for this? Even if Congress won’t listen, so long as we are out there, we cannot be ignored forever.

So long as conservatives protest over lost money, but remain relatively silent on the issue of abortion and human life, they will continue to lose their moral ground.

Tom Coburn on the health care bill


Here’s a statement from Tom Coburn on the passage of the health care bill. Thought I’d post it here because I happen to agree with it:

This vote is indeed historic. This Congress will be remembered for its arrogance, corruption and stupidity. In the year of 2009, a Congress ignored the coming economic storm and impending bankruptcy of our entitlement programs and embarked on an ideological crusade to bring our nation as close to single-payer, government-run health care as possible. If this bill becomes law, future generations will rue this day and I will do everything in my power to work toward its repeal. This bill will ration care, cut Medicare, increase premiums, fund abortion and bury our children in debt.

“This process was not compromise. This process was corruption. This bill passed because votes were bought and sold using the issue of abortion as a bargaining chip. The abortion provision alone makes this bill the most arrogant piece of legislation I have seen in Congress. Only the most condescending politician can believe it is appropriate to force Americans to pay for other people’s abortions and to coerce medical professional to take the lives of unborn children.

“The president and his allies genuinely believe that expanding government’s control over health care is the way to control health care costs, improve lives and extend life spans. I don’t question their motives, but I do question their judgment. History has already judged this argument and put it in its ash heap. The experience of government-run health care in the United States and around the world shows that access to a government program is not access to health care. Forty percent of doctors restrict access to Medicaid patients. Medicare already rations care and denies medical claims at twice the rate of private insurers. Nations like the United Kingdom with government run health care routinely ration care based on cost, and Canadians flock to the United States to escape waiting lines. Neither nation, incidentally, has managed to control costs as promised.

“Our health care system needs to be reformed not because government’s role has been too small but because it has been too big. Since the 1940’s, government’s role in health care has been expanded to the point that it controls 60 percent of our health care economy, according the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. If more government were the answer, health care would have been reformed long ago.

My Little Radical


For those that don’t know, I am a philosopher. In my studies, I have dedicated a huge portion of my time to reading about postmodernism, humanity, and ethics. Of those three, postmodernism has consumed most of my reading. Now, this isn’t because I’m postmodern, but instead because I see a threat and I want to know everything I can about postmodernism. I write all of that simply so I can point out that I am not opposed to reading books that oppose my viewpoint; instead, I think everyone should engage in such an activity.

At the same time, I am greatly concerned when the National Education Association (NEA) encourages teachers to read Saul Alinsky and to pass such knowledge onto their students. It is not a matter of, “Here is someone who influences a number of people today,” but instead, “Here is something you should read and put into practice.” Considering Alinsky was a liberal and hated conservatism, it is a blatant endorsement for liberalism. On top of all that, it’s a support for someone who proposes radical violence. As quoted from the NEA’s own website:

“The Radical may resort to the sword but when he does he is not filled with hatred against those individuals whom he attacks. He hates these individuals not as persons but as symbols representing ideas or interests which he believes to be inimical to the welfare of the people.”

Though there are certainly things worth fighting for and dying for, Alisnsky is calling for a war-like change that Lenin and Mao brought about. When the American colonists rose up against their oppressors, they did so for freedom. What Alinsky is supporting goes beyond an armed revolution in that it would requires the deaths of anyone who happens to be conservative. Not because of the person, but because of the ideology that the person represents. That is what the NEA wants teachers to read and to encourage students to read as well.

Continue reading

Not Everything is About “Rights”


It seems the recent trend in American political debates is to point out that the status quo or the proposed policy will “ruin” someone or is currently creating multiple victims. For instance, Michelle Obama pointed out that under the current health care system, women suffer. There have been multiple people who have shown that the current system isn’t fair for the poor, doesn’t help the elderly (as there are already “death panels” in the status quo, under private insurance companies), or so on and so forth.

Certainly, some issues come down to someone or some people group being oppressed. Segregation is a good example of this. But not every issue facing America is an issue of oppression. An expensive health care system doesn’t necessarily oppress people (at least not by design); it may just be expensive. Certainly, even the poor can find ways to enjoy our health care system in some situations, showing that “oppression” is hardly the right view of the issue.

Or similarly, not all higher taxes oppress people. If someone makes seven figures a year and his taxes are raised, but they are raised to pay for a justifiable war or to help pay off the national debt (for a plan that works), that is hardly oppressive.

The problem is that people on both sides want to moralize every issue they support; if you don’t support me, then you are immoral and for oppression. It’s a way to vilify and demonize the opposition while pushing yourself toward sainthood. In some instances, this is justifiable. But in most cases, it’s not. In most cases, it’s simply two opposing points of view on how to fix an issue.