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March 28, 2005

The Christian Response

In my post below, I noted the Internet Monk's post on the Christian media response to Terri Schiavo. I noted the post because while I think Michael Spencer makes some good points, I simply believe the timing of the post was wrong. But Spencer has posed the questions, and they are questions that need examining.

I felt then, as I feel now, that this is too important an issue for us as believers to be distracted over the political bickering that is taking place. I also noted Hugh Hewitt's post below concerning the Christian right. Clearly there is some debate within the religious right, and I myself am not immune. I have very little use for the public face of the religious right, as identified in Dobson, Falwell and Robertson. I believe these leaders have outlived there usefulness as public spokesmen. Yet Spencer stops there. What about Hugh Hewitt, Bill Bennett and John Mark Reynolds? These are not knee-jerk reactionaries. Are they part of the same crowd that Spencer (correctly) cites as being problematic?

I didn't join the "Let Terri Live" crowd because of James Dobson or Rush Limbaugh or Jerry Falwell. (Though I admit that Rush has been nothing short of flawless on this issue). I support the Schindler family because life should always, always be given the benefit of the doubt. I didn't do it because I was raised Southern Baptist or because I listen to Rush Limbaugh. I haven't been watching O'Reilly or Hannity & Colmes. I think Randall Terry is an embarrassment.

The point that Spencer seems to ignore, at least concerning the blogosphere, is that dozens of pundits not normally considered to be a part of the Christian right - Bill Kristol, Wesley J. Smith, Stanley Kurtz, John Podhoretz, John Leo, and Ralph Nader, for heaven's sake - have taken the side of Terri Schiavo's parents. Does that mean they're right? Not necessarily, but it should be a hint that the Dobsons and Falwells of the world aren't out there fighting this battle alone. I have no doubt at all that every Christian blogger who has shown even the slightest divergence from the standard religious right position in this case has recieved an inbox full of anger. I don't condone nasty e-mails and angry comment threads. I realize that many Christians, often uninformed on the matter, have the capacity to become belligerent. But I won't step away from the position that life must always be protected, and it is incumbent upon Christians to protect life. Not because it will win us points in the 700 Club, but because a stable, decent society depends on it. I'm not trying to defend or even establish the Southern Baptist America. Simply a just and decent society. It's what we've had in this nation for over two hundred years, but we're fools if we allow it to slip away.

Does salvation depend on this issue? No. No one will end up in hell because they sided with Michael Schiavo. Is James Dobson the final voice on the matter? Nope. Shall I say that there is a defacto Christian position on this? Not quite, at least not in the sense that one's salvation is revealed or denied in the issue. But as it concerns the taking of a life, the slow starvation (ten days and counting) of a woman, the precedent of an unfaithful husband determining his wife's fate against the rest of her family's wishes, the kangaroo court that has masqueraded for the last ten years...if a believer finds this fair and decent and just, be my guest. That position will be between the man and God, but I shall have no part of it.

Posted by Matt at March 28, 2005 09:50 PM

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Tracked on March 29, 2005 08:34 AM