Monday, January 07, 2008

Christian Culture Anxieties, Part 1

I got a forward last week from a friend of mine. The original email came from an Iowan who was urging her out-of-state friends to pray for the caucus on caucus night, that people would "vote according to the things that are on God's heart."

That doesn't bother me. But the rest of her email made me squirm. Here it is:

"[Iowa City] seems pretty conservative and 'harmless' to most outsiders. I live near Iowa City, one of the most humanistic cities in the US. Per capita, we have the highest rate of abortions in the nation. Nearly 5% of the population is murdered in abortion clinics every year. That's about 3000 babies. We are fourth in the nation per capita for homosexuality. The University of Iowa boasts a 13% gay population. We are also a hotbed for wiccan activity and all sorts of post-modern thought. And believe me. These people all vote and they vote proudly for the things that matter to them. Please pray that despite what we in this country have deserved, that God would set up righteous judges over our nation."

Here are some thoughts/questions that came to mind:

1. "That's about 3000 babies." I am not pro-choice (I can write more on that later), but this email reminds me of my beef with pro-life Christian culture--not so much with what the author is pointing out. For many Christians, one of the biggest factors determining a stance against abortion is the idea that life could begin at conception. If we are to be consistent with this arguement, why don't Christians, as a "pro-life" culture, have funeral or memorial services for fetuses miscarried ("spontaneous abortions") in the first trimester and embryos implanted in fallopian tubes (ectopic pregnancies)? And why do so many pro-life Christians use birth control pills, the function of which (advertised by the manufacturers), among other functions, is to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the walls of the uterus? These cultural observations make me wonder: are we really "pro-life"? Do we grieve the loss of life through natural (or pharmeceutical-related) causes in proportion to the grief we exhibit over the loss of life created through abortion?

In addition, do the politics that typically ride along with a pro-life sensibility fit harmoniously with that sensibility? In other words, the pro-life plank is typically found on the platform of a Republican party candidate, and Republicans are notorious for their cuts on welfare and assitance to the poor, the poor being mostly women and their un-aborted children.

2. So Christians believe the gay lifestyle is not a representation of God's ideal when he made human relationships, but I don't understand all the fear implied in the email. Gay people are just more people to love, right?

3. "hotbed for Wiccan activity and post-modern thought." Wiccans, too, are more people to love. And I'm not sure I understand why Wicca and post-modernism are lumped together here, and why there is an implied moral stance against post-modernism, as if modernism (which I'm assuming postmodernism is being pitted against?) did much for proving God's existence.

Many of you reading this know a lot more than I do on the subject of modernism v. postmodernism, so feel free to add your two cents

I guess the bottom line is I'm so tired of Christian culture anxieties, the "us v. them" mentalities that keep us out of the public square, and from befriending the multitudes of people to be found there.

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