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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 politics.

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, they're hypocrites.

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 great country.

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 from injury.

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 no insurance.

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.

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