Tuesday, April 05, 2005

More Legally Right and Morally Wrong discussions

Charmaine Yoest at Reasoned Audacity has weighed in again in the discussion of what comes next following last week's death of Terri Schiavo. In her primary point, she echoes Hugh Hewitt's thoughts from today as well as the point made by John Leo in US News & World Report. From Charmaine's post:

Without an eternal perspective, why bother with pain, difficulty, and troubles, if a quick fix or a way out is available?

But if suffering doesn't make sense to the secular, this brings us right back to Paul's original question: What's a Christian to do?

Because I'm a political scientist, I've spent my entire adult life thinking about this question . . .
The Schiavo case is, of course, intrinsically important. Terri lost her life in the political struggle. However, the battle over her life highlights a portentous political reality: the divide between the religious and the secular is growing, and the ramifications of that in our communal life will become ever more apparent.

This was the elephant in the room throughout the public debate over Terri's ordeal.

She ties it all together in the next paragraph when she states: Still, things really do get dicey when one of the toughest theological questions we've got -- the origin of evil, the purpose of suffering -- is situated right at the heart of a political question. Is there a response that is both adequately Christian and adequately political?

On that question, I'm not entirely certain what the answer is. Many argue, and I've agreed with them, that one of the things that ought to change as a result of this situation is that law needs to become more "moral". In otherwords, the distinction that secular society desires to keep between government and religion, moral teaching and moral action needs to be diminished in the hope of eliminating it eventually. The problem, as I see it, is that that response alone lands us in the old predicament of trying to legislate morality.

My dogs are smart, yet as smart as they may be they are still dogs. It is illogical for me to ever think they will act as anything but dogs. From a Christian perspective, it is equally illogical to think that unsaved men and women should think and act like anything but unsaved people. The Christian response then is, ultimately, the same as it has always been: sharing the Gospel with those living without it. Society changes but one heart at a time!

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