Getting beyond the politics


It’s that time of year again. Time for all the ghouls and goblins to make their way out to haunt the world.

No, I’m not talking about the forthcoming children’s holiday, when kids get dressed up in costumes and request candy from their kind-hearted neighbors. That happening carries with it joy, community, and cooperation.

It is election season and it is coming in hot. It brings with it division, discord, and a great deal of misunderstanding. It is a truly terrifying reality.

While I love our democratic system and can see the value it affords, I have struggled in recent years with the either/or duality our current manifestation has created.

Polarizing terminology is the norm in political discourse. We use terms such as left and right, liberal and conservative, etc. It forces us to migrate to the margins, or to at least identify with one side or the other. It causes us to see our fellow Americans as opponents to be defeated and not partners in the democratic process.

Further, this polarization has created extremely narrow windows that limit our ability to gain full-bodied perspectives of various issues. This is often intentionally so, in order to court our support. As a result, we often times hang our hat on one or two issues, plug our nose and pull the proverbial lever.

One of the issues that gets a lot of consideration is the issue of abortion, and rightfully so, in this pastor’s opinion. I personally believe that life starts at conception. Bible verses such as Psalm 139:13-16 and Jeremiah 1:4-5 indicate that God is involved in the intricacies of forming the unborn, that they are known while in the womb.

Further, modern science has helped us observe a sense of awareness before birth. Politically speaking, this makes me Pro-Life, a label which I would happily accept. I would, however, submit that this label is somewhat inaccurate.

I would suggest that holding such views only make me Pro-Birth. While I hold that life begins at conception, it does not end at birth; it continues. With all my heart, I want ALL the babies to be born. Our world is less than it could be without these precious persons, with all of their potential and participation.

To be truly Pro-Life, then, is to value the sacredness of a life, not just in the womb, but for the totality of its duration.

I was first confronted with this “theology of life” soon after I graduated college. I was invited to present the Baptist perspective on a variety of issues to an advanced theology class at a Catholic school. While I may or may not have taught them anything that day, they certainly taught me something.

Their view held “that every human life is precious and is a gift from God, and that every institution is measured by whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.” This led to the logical conclusion that “human dignity can only be protected if all human rights are protected and responsibilities of all human beings are met.”

To state it another way, if we are going to claim that all life is sacred (which it is), and if we are going to fight for the right of babies to be born (which we should), then we need to be equally willing to fight to make sure these young lives are properly cared for and nurtured in keeping with the value we ascribe to that life.

Jesus clearly teaches this sort of care and concern for all people in Matthew 22:36-40 (the Great Commandment) Matthew 25:3-146 (the Final Judgement).

This is the nightmare that many of us face during this time. Our various options often only present us with one piece of the puzzle or the other. It leaves us with a very difficult decision.

I, personally, begrudge no one for voting their conscience, and from both a biblical and philosophical standpoint, there are many directions your conscience could lead you. There are no perfect platforms or easy choices. We simply must do the best with what we have, while hoping and advocating for better.

As we navigate this season, may we thoughtfully and prayerfully consider the options before us. May we not be blinded by partisan politics and the vitriol that often accompanies it.

Let us see the value of the lives around us as well as the lives to come and do what we can to create a world that puts them in a place to become all God created them to be.

The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at Send comments to [email protected].

No posts to display