A Question of Moral Values
December 3, 2004
By Gerry Watkins
I'm a born-again Christian, but the Religious Right does not speak
for me: in fact I'm puzzled by their behavior regarding national
I grew up in, and for years I've served in, Southern Baptist churches.
For most of those years my church respected my political beliefs
and never made me feel like an outsider if I disagreed with other
members. The church taught us to pray for our political leaders,
but they never tried to influence us to vote for particular candidates.
We enjoyed the freedom of making up our own minds, and not losing
friends over political issues.
One thing about the 2004 campaign frightens me. We're told that
moral values played the most important role in the way people voted
this year, but the way I see it the campaign has warped morality
into a term that's slippery as an eel, meaning whatever the user
wants it to mean.
To some people moral values recognizes abortion as murder but
it's okay to shock and awe and kill and maim thousands of Iraqi
children and their parents, and send our young men and women to
die and be maimed in a war unsupported by half the country.
To some people it's alright to lie about issues as long as it
gets the job done, because if you tell a lie often enough people
believe it and that makes it true. That explains why so many people
in this country still believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction
and Saddam Hussein caused 9/11, even though the President himself
finally said that those things are not true. Where are those weapons,
and if they were there, why haven't the Iraqis used them?
To some people there's nothing wrong with preempting a war on
a much smaller, third world country that has not harmed us and leveling
their cities with super weapons. But when France follows our example,
Jimmy Carter was a good, decent, honorable man who confessed unashamedly
to being a born-again Christian, but my husband ran his campaign
in our county and church people wanted no part of him, especially
as our country's Commander-in-Chief. Bill Clinton, another Southern
Baptist, invited his Little Rock pastor to visit him in the White
House, no doubt feeling the need for his spiritual counsel, and
fellow Baptists raised the roof. Had he had access to that counsel
during a trying time in his life he might not have made that famous
mistake. What is with us Christians? We seem to be obsessed with
killing off our own.
Former President Harry Truman always said, "The buck stops here."
What has happened to that value? Shifting the blame to somebody
else and refusing to admit mistakes has replaced it in this administration.
Those of us who disagree with George Bush are called "Bush haters"
and are accused of being unpatriotic. I don't hate the President,
but I am extremely disturbed with the direction he's taking our
My friend, a small business owner, pays $600 a month for insurance
covering his wife and little ones, but can't afford to insure himself.
I pray that God will bless him with good health and protect him
An acquaintance lost his home when he lost his job and now travels
the country on short term contracts, moving his family from one
motel to another, hoping he can afford to pay the rent and feed
his family, wondering if he'll be able to find another job when
this one plays out. No insurance plans for him, nor his family.
There are approximately eight million children in this country with
And I resent the secrecy surrounding decisions made by this administration,
the loss of so many freedoms, the accusations of treason and accusations
of not supporting the troops made against those who oppose the war.
It's my flag too, and the fact that I don't wrap myself in it and
display it on everything I wear doesn't mean I don't love my country
and the flag that represents us all.
No: God is not a Republican, nor is He a Democrat. How foolish
of us to even try to mould Him into our image. That's His job, and
I doubt if he appreciates any effort to use Him for political reasons.
So, I've spoken my piece. Here's hoping it will encourage others
to do the same.