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An Honest Question - Livin' the Good Life

Sep. 5th, 2008

02:50 pm - An Honest Question

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Can someone from the "religious right" please give me a good answer to what "Thou shalt not kill" means? It seems like a pretty straightforward commandment. But, I'm confused. Why is it NOT ok to have an abortion, but it IS ok, even honorable, to kill people in Iraq? Is there really a difference? Would it be acceptable to abort a Muslim-to-be baby? How about killing a Muslim child? How about a Muslim mother? How about a good answer to the bumper sticker I just saw, "Who would Jesus bomb?" These have been lifelong puzzling questions for me. Until they are convincingly answered, I think I have to side with the Quakers and be a pacifist.

Comments:

From:ext_56511
Date:September 7th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
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I'm not necessarily "religious right" but I'm kissin' cousins to 'em.

"Thou shalt not kill" is sort of colloquial, if you will. Better interpretation of the Hebrew uses "murder" because it brings across the idea embedded in the Hebrew word selection--the idea of unlawful, malicious killing. The commandment is nuanced that way, and that nuance would make sense to the Hebrews who understood God permitted them to kill under certain, limited circumstances. A scriptural argument can be made that the New Covenant is different, the whole approach to the Law and to ethics shifts because of Jesus, His work on the cross, and His teachings.

People of the religious right are not marching in lockstep and DO grapple with this issue, though perhaps not as much or as outwardly as they should. The associate pastor at my old church is a pacifist, for example.

The alliance between Republican politics and Christian voters has not helped Christians to think clearly and independently--in fact the reverse seems to be true and in my opinion the politicians benefit by keeping the waters muddy. It is shameful that we can be led around by the nose that way, but it is not unique to the Christian Right by any means.

I fear that the same will happen as the Democratic party learns how to court Christian voters and gets them to identify with that political persuasion. Christians must think Christianly, and the result will not line up with a single political party. They are and should be a radical bunch.

The question of why, when, how and whether to use a country's military power should be discussed by everyone. It is agony. Is it ever the lesser of two evils? I don't like to think about these questions; they are terribly uncomfortable.

I don't think the answers are so easy, but I respect you if they are to you. I know my former pastor felt that way, too.

Love you.
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From:ext_56511
Date:September 7th, 2008 05:53 am (UTC)
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But I do have to say--to clarify the views of the religious right who are not here to say it for themselves, I don't know and have never heard of any of them that consider it honorable to kill an Iraqi mother, child or any non-combatant. I also don't know that religious people who do support war when certain conditions are met would normally term it 'honorable' to kill a man in the opposing army. I think they'd say it's the duty of a soldier; a sad necessity in the world we live in--that kind of thing.

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From:lestermom
Date:September 7th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for your thoughts, Kathy. It IS a sticky and uncomfortable issue. Since I am pretty much led around by my conscience, though, I have to face these issues. Especially with an election coming up. And, I am disheartened by the "courting" as you say of the religious right. I realize that the rr HAS to vote for the candidate who opposes gay marriage and abortion. There is really no choice for them, regardless of how the candidates stand on all other issues. Really discouraging when you're trying to look at the bigger picture.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 8th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
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I think there is a whole lot less lockstep than it might seem. For instance, in my reading group every single woman would probably be "religious right" at least relatively speaking. Somr are, and some are more like me--kissin' cousins. They probably all are registered Republican or Independent and they all expressed that they are undecided as far as who they'll vote for in the election. All of them expressed support of Obama's candidacy, whether or not they can ultimately vote for him, they like him, they are thinking about it, and are thrilled to live in a time when they get to see this historic social progress.

I like both candidates. I am not going to be upset either way. I am delighted by Obama's candidacy, but I have some hesitations. I liked McCain better before he chose his VP. I have some reservations regarding him, too. I do like Obama for the symbolism of getting a fresh start--might be good for the country.

This election I am striving to listen to the case each candidate makes and am avoiding sources that employ heavy partisan perspectives, fear tactics and divisiveness.
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From:ext_56511
Date:September 8th, 2008 03:45 am (UTC)
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ack....that comment is from me....
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From:lestermom
Date:September 9th, 2008 01:06 am (UTC)
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Thanks for sharing your view and yourself, Kathy. Hear, hear on avoiding fear tactics.
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