Sunday, April 10, 2005

Topic of the Week - 'Culture of Life'

Below in italics is part of the verbiage posted on last week's Topic of the Week specific to the 'Culture of Life' agenda of Pope John Paul. Although we had the most activity this past week on the blog with 13 postings, not one posting addressed this 'Culture of Life' issue. Obviously, a very controversial issue, and one of two of the most controversial issue polarizing the populace in this country. The other controversial issue, homosexuality, had a lot of activity with the 13 postings this past week and thanks to those who posted their views.

So, why weren't there any postings on the 'Culture of Life' issue? Its understandable that when speaking to another regarding this issue, with the emotions behind it, why people avoid this issue rather than get into an inflamed argument. But the beauty of the blog universe is that this issue (or any issue) can be addressed between people with like or differing views and actually you can do it anonymously as well as with writing your opinions, rather than speaking directly with another, the blog minimizes an immediate reaction and causes one to pause and reflect before answering. It allows one to really think through their comments and frame their emotions and reasons behind their values and beliefs on this issue.

So here is a chance for the Republicans & Democrats, Conservatives & Liberals, The Christian Right & Other Christians/Other Beliefs to discuss this issue to see if there is any common ground. As stated below in italics on last week's posting, this is the one of two issues that polarizes this country and continues to slow progression in many areas on a whole.

So Conservatives & Christian Right people, give us your views so others can get more insight on your stance on the "Culture of Life' issue. Liberals and other Christians & other Beliefs, give us your views as well. Here are the five elements respective of the 'Culture of Life' and questions associated with each:

1. Abortion - what is your view and why? How does this fit into your values & beliefs with respect to the 'Culture of Life?' What do you personally think we should do about this issue specific to public policy within our political structure and system?

2. The Death Penalty - same questions.

3. Euthanasia - same questions.

4. Justification of War in Killing People Residing in Another Country & Culture - same questions.

5. Stem Cell Research - same questions.

Lets hear from both sides and see if there is any common ground. Click below on 'Comments' and then click on 'Post a Comment' and write your comments in the window box and then publish.

Its interesting to evaluate the commitment to the 'culture of life' that Pope John Paul had across the entire platform inclusive of abortion, the death penalty in all cases (overturning 1600 years of Catholic teachings on ' cases of extreme gravity'), calling for an end to war in absolute terms no matter the seemingly justification behind it, and an end to Euthanasia.

Pope John Paul's 'culture of life' realizes in contrasting values and beliefs here in the U.S. between Liberals (against death penalty, against war absolutely) and Conservatives (against abortion, against euthanasia) on this definition of the preservation of life. One wonders why there is such polarization within our country on this issue? Not really.

I personally believe there is some common ground on this issue between Liberals and Conservatives but only if one is truly open to understanding and accepting another person's values and beliefs on this issue without judgment...without proclaiming the other is wrong. Otherwise this country will continually be inflamed with hatred, dissention and attacks on the other's stance on this issue leading to further corruption, manipulation and increasingly unethical behavior by our government leaders in trying to win "votes" from the side that may have the most populace base in a given state...eventually resulting in stagnation on progress in all areas of our culture.

This one issue of the 'culture of life,' in my opinion, causes a majority of our population to base their vote without any or with very little consideration of the many other public policy issues. This has led and leads us continually to a state of paralysis in this country. It further lessens our standard of living in all areas; economically (macro and micro), spiritually (religious and secular people), financially (individually and state/federal government). This issue, 'culture of life,' is most important in finding common ground if we are to evolve in a positive direction in this country and is why I have mixed emotions on the Pope's stance specific to this issue - his was an absolute interpretation, regardless of circumstance.

Click below on 'Comments' and then click on 'Post a Comment' and write your comments in the window box and then publish.

5 Comments:

At 12:38 PM, Anonymous San Fran said...

I think we call can agree a definition of life that is consistent among liberals and conservatives are those people who are born into this world with the umbilical cord detached as well as those people who are not brain dead in one form or another...actually fully or partially functioning human beings. I assume all of us can agree on this, correct?

OK - so when we speak of a 'Culture of Life,' the areas that become heated are those areas where there is interpretation from many sides on the definition of "life" - i.e. fetus.

So my question is - why then does The Christian Right tend to focus on these gray areas (fetus, euthanasia and stem cell), rather than areas where killing of innocent lives (Iraq civilion war casualities) and killing of actual living, fully functioning human beings (death row inmates) are not addressed and/or not supported by The Christian Right? I struggle with understanding this rational.

Any Christians care to respond and explain the rational to this based on their belief system?

 
At 8:02 PM, Blogger Stranger in a Strange Land said...

Conservatives traditionally trumpet "states' rights" and the autonomy of the individual. But the Hard Right Conservatives amend this position whenever states' rights oppose their own position. It's how W. snared Florida in 2000, after all. In a decision that overturned the will of the voting public, U.S. Supreme Court Justices Rehnquist, Thomas, Scalia, O'Connor and Kennedy appointed George W Bush to office. (But hey, this time around Bush was appointed by the U.S. Senate when Democrats failed to challenge the Ohio election. Bye bye Democracy.)

Few issues highlight the states' rights hypocrisy of the Right as clearly as do end-of-life issues. Case in point: Oregon.

History. Oregon is the pioneer in physician-assisted suicide legislation. In 1994 we (barely) passed a death-with-dignity bill -- 51% to 49%. The bill languished in legal challenges, however, and in 1997 our Republican-"led" legislature put the issue back on the ballot. To their dismay, we more than affirmed our support for physician-assisted suicide: this time the bill passed by a whomping 60% to 40%. In 1998 Janet Reno upheld Oregon's right to enact the legislation.

Enter John Ashcroft. In 2001, soon after the Bush Administration took the stage, John Lost-to-a-Dead-Guy Ashcroft tried to gut the law by using the Controlled Substances Act. Had he succeeded, the U.S. AG would have been able to sue Oregon's physicians and pharmacists for following Oregon law. The legal basis of Attorney General's appeals is so groundless as to be laughable:

-- Ashcroft's first challenge to Oregon law was overruled in 2002 by U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones.

-- Ashcroft's appeal to a 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was overruled in 2003.

-- Ashcroft's appeal to the entire Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was denied a hearing in 2004.

Never Say Die. Earlier on the day that Ashcroft announced his retirement, he filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Oregon v Ashcroft is now Gonzalez v Oregon. The case will go to the Supreme Court this fall -- no guesses as to whether the high court will hear the appeal.

If you want some facts about Oregon's Death With Dignity law, you'll find more information here:

http://egov.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/pas/faqs.shtml

http://www.deathwithdignity.org/fss/facts.asp

http://www.deathwithdignity.org/law/filings.asp

The Beat goes on.Given Oregon's harassment by Republican politicos, there's nothing surprising in the their intervention in Terri Schiavo's right to die.

States' rights and autonomy of the individual my ass.

If you want to preserve these rights, call your Senator tomorrow and plead for the continued existence of the filibuster in judicial nominations. You can bet that Gonzales and Company will do everything possible to overshadow the presence of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Robert E. Jones and anyone else who opposes the will of the Religious Right.

 
At 12:23 AM, Anonymous JR said...

You are a typical Leftists -- wanting to push every general rule to ridiculous extremes. Conservatives recognize thatb the world is complex and no rule can be treated that way. There are always exceptions. And saying that a "culture of life" excludes war just shows how boneheaded you are. ALL rules have limited applicability

 
At 7:56 AM, Blogger PWB said...

JR, you miss the point. And talk about extremes, you conservatives see the world primarily and usually only in black and white terms - your comments below support this mentality.

No one said or implied the culture of life excludes war (that is a typical conservative absolute statement). What I am saying is within this country, The Christian Right seemingly minimize, and at times disregard the value of life for the Iraqi citizens - that has been my experience in one on one conversations with people who I know well who are part of The Christian Right.

Remember the theme of my Blog, JR. The purpose being to engage The Christian Right in making known their values and beliefs on issues so moderates and progressives can respond accordingly, and vice versa. Therein lies the reason behind categorizing the 'Culture of Life' into segments that isolate the division between the right and left on this issue. Rather than attack my statement, why not explain your rational behind your belief?

FYI - I have colleagues and friends who are part of the Christian Right and they state and imply at times by their statements in exalting themselves above people with other beliefs in that their lives are of higher value because they will be with Jesus Christ on Judgment Day and rise to heaven while non-Christians will not, especially Muslims.

I would venture to guess you have similar Christian values and beliefs? Probably.

 
At 8:29 AM, Blogger PWB said...

JR, you miss the point. And talk about extremes, you conservatives see the world primarily and usually only in black and white terms - your comments below support this mentality.

No one said or implied the culture of life excludes war (that is a typical conservative absolute statement). What I am saying is within this country, The Christian Right seemingly minimize, and at times disregard the value of life for the Iraqi citizens - that has been my experience in one on one conversations with people who I know well who are part of The Christian Right.

Remember the theme of my Blog, JR. The purpose being to engage The Christian Right in making known their values and beliefs on issues so moderates and progressives can respond accordingly, and vice versa. Therein lies the reason behind categorizing the 'Culture of Life' into segments that isolate the division between the right and left on this issue. Rather than attack my statement, why not explain your rational behind your belief?

FYI - with my colleagues and friends who are part of the Christian Right, they state and imply at times with exalting themselves above people with other belief systems in that their lives are of higher value because they will be with Jesus Christ on Judgment Day and rise to heaven while non-Christians will not, especially Muslims.

I would venture to guess you have similar Christian values and beliefs? Probably.

 

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