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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
            Wednesday, February 5 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmasterChoice

Continuing the discussion on abortion and related topics.

The 1983 movie, Sophie's Choice, presents its central character a nightmarish choice: which child should be kept when the Nazis tell her that one of the two must be given up, and she knows that the one surrendered will not have long to live after that point. I don't have any reason to believe the film's producers were advancing any point for or against the "pro-choice" movement of that time, just 10 years after the Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade. The Court said a woman's choice about what can be done to "her body," even by an "invading" baby she didn't want, cannot be interfered with by anyone else's choice but her own. But Sophie's Choice did express the proposition that having a choice is not always in the best interest of the person forced to choose.

The Roe v. Wade decision was a historical watershed; the world into which Americans of 1973 had been born changed radically but, I hope and pray, not forever. Like Prohibition, which had tried to force the populace to abandon the God-ordained use of wine, Roe v. Wade tried to force us to accept a form of cruelty and even murder that God prohibits. One of my favorite authors, Frederica Matthewes-Green, a former feminist converted to follower of Christ, writes in a recent edition of First Things that she believes that just as social drinking was considered a wonderful thing in the movies, radio, and TV after the repeal of Prohibition, but increasingly is frowned upon, the choice of abortion was considered a wonderful liberation after Roe v. Wade but, as its horrible consequences are better known and understood, it will become less acceptable and accepted.

Libertarians promote a democratic ideal in which personal choice is absolute. They would decriminalize all vices, arguing that as a mature individual you should have the prerogative of choosing at every instance whether to resist or give in to temptation. Some Libertarians might use "zoning" to keep prostitution, maybe even gambling, in the seedy back streets of our city downtowns, near the porn shops, rather than in your suburban cul de sacs, but many others would leave all such decisions to "market factors." Back when I was being "Ayn Randed," to use Paul Simonís term for being wooed toward Liberarian thinking, I thought it was consistent with the Conservative values Iíd already embraced, of less government and more personal responsibility— and freedom—to move in that direction.

I eventually got persuaded, however, that Christians canít be Libertarian. Christ came not to abolish, but fulfill, the law. Democracy is generally preferable to authoritarianism, but a republican form of democracy (which recognizes and enforces by law certain limitations on what's acceptable) is more consistent with a biblical worldview than anarchy, which is what would rule society if Libertarianism's principle of letting the market, alone, determine what's accepted and what isn't were to prevail. Believers in Christ, who taught "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's," have to render their best insight into the will of God for human community, behavior, and governance, not leaving it up to the "secular majority" to decide without our input. This principle obviously was at work in Old Testament Israel, and has been endorsed by virtually all Christian communities in church history.

I hope to conclude this discussion in Friday's Jonal.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

 What A Difference 30 Years Makes

1972: Long hair
2002: Longing for hair

1972: The perfect high
2002: The perfect high yield mutual fund
1972: KEG
2002: EKG
1972: Moving to California because it's cool
2002: Moving to California because it's warm
1972: Acid rock
2002: Acid reflux

—Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for the day

A father's choice

The church's pastor slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit and, before he gave his sermon for the evening, briefly introduced a guest minister who was in the service that evening. In the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the guest minister was one of his dearest childhood friends and that he wanted him to have a few moments to greet the church and share whatever he felt would be appropriate for the service. With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak.

"A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific coast," he began, "when a fast-approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to the shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright and the three were swept into the ocean as the boat capsized." The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story.

The aged minister continued with his story: "Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life: To which boy he would throw the other end of the life line. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian and he also knew that his son's friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. "As the father yelled out, 'I love you, son!' he threw out the lifeline to his son's friend. By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered."

By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old man. He continued, "the father knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus and he could not bear the thought of his son's friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son to save the son's friend. How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us. Our heavenly Father sacrificed His only begotten Son that we could be saved. I urge you to accept his offer to rescue you and take a hold of the life line he is throwing out to you in this service."

With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room. The pastor again walked slowly to the pulpit and delivered a brief sermon with an invitation at the end. However, no one responded to the appeal. Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man's side. "That was a nice story," one of the boys politely said, "but I don't think it was very realistic for a father to give up his only son's life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian."

"Well, you've got a point there," the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face as he once again looked up at the boys and said, "it sure isn't very realistic, is it? But I'm standing here today to tell you that story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up his son or me. You see—I was that father and your pastor is my son's friend."

—Author unknown
Sent by Ted Lewallen

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