Monday, September 10, 2007

How Many Assumptions Can You Count?

I was just reading this article on the Boston Globe website. It is stunning in the assumptions which the writer brings to the table. Let me highlight a few with a few comments thrown in.

  • "An increase in the price for prescription birth control obtained at
    campus health centers has some college officials worried that students
    will be at greater risk for unwanted pregnancies." - unless the students were abstinent resulting in zero risk for unwanted pregnancies.
  • "The price increase has left Massachusetts college campuses scrambling to accommodate students' needs." - this sure seems like a huge assumption. Since when has contraception been a "need" rather than a desire?
  • "Imani Williams, a sophomore at UMass-Boston, said, 'If the problem is
    children having children, then contraception shouldn't cost so much.' - how can it be that no one is thinking about abstinence as a form of contraception that costs nothing?
  • "Angus G. McQuilken, a spokesman for the Planned Parenthood League of
    Massachusetts, said his organization has been lobbying Congress to
    change the law. 'Birth control is basic healthcare. Making birth
    control less affordable for college students and low-income women is
    bad public policy, and counter to the goal of reducing unintended
    pregnancies,' he said. - if it's basic healthcare then why don't we overtly tell young people who don't want to get pregnant that the healthiest they can be is abstinent?
The above, besides being annoying reveals that the culture assumes that kids are rabid sexual creatures incapable of not having sex and that we should do all we can to support them indulge their animal nature. This is not only harmful but demeaning to those made in the image of God.

Monday, September 03, 2007

A Brief Critique of Torture

Early on in my blog career I considered posting on torture when the Abu Ghraib scandal broke. I'm not quite sure why I eventually didn't post anything. But the topic nags me periodically and today I felt like saying something.

My thoughts are not a well developed nuanced political philosophy. They more flow from some personal growth I've been experiencing in my own Christian life. Believe it or not I'm going to link my sinful tendencies towards worry, anxiety, and fear of the future to torture. I believe them linked because both seek knowledge of the future which isn't available to us as mere creatures. That is both are an idolatry, a seeking to be God instead of a mere creature.

Let me carry this brief critique forward with some questions.

1) Do individuals and governments have a responsibility to care for life taking measures to protect it? Yes. The positive side of the sixth commandment requires caring for our lives and the lives of others.

2) Can torture by a government be a legitimate means of caring for the lives of the people governed? No.

I know that seems bold and narrow and straight forward with no gray areas. Personal and and national security can be an idol. Perhaps you know a germophobe. They're miserable to be around because they try to so protect they and their children's lives from germs that they can hardly do anything with anybody. They're paralyzed by their fear. They do foolish things because of their fear of the future; knowledge of which is unavailable to them.

I liken torture to this same kind of thinking. Unwilling to trust God with what may well be a violent end to the lives of some of our citizens we instead disobey God through dehumanizing people. The seeking of information about the future can be an idolatry in itself. Is torture really something different than other clearly pagan ways of trying to find out the future? Isn't all this an inability to reconcile our finitude as creatures with our lust for knowledge? Isn't this precisely what Eve and Adam sought in the garden, to be like God?

These are preliminary thoughts for sure. But it's an angle on torture that I haven't heard but which needs to be heard.