Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Face the Music

I experienced two instinctive, opposing reactions last week to groups or people I am more or less affiliated with, concerning protection of the weak. I will simply describe these reactions, without much by way of reasoned postprocessing. (That can be done in comments, if necessary.)

I have been "pro-life" and Republican for as long as I can remember, but I was viscerally repulsed by the interest groups and politicians that made a circus of what ought to have been a private, sacred family time---Terry Schiavo's last days. She is the new face of the "pro-life" movement, we are told. Here are the crowds around a hospice center, complete with chants, prententious signage, ridiculous stunts of pseudo-heroism, and kleig lights. Here is what's-his-name, Senator Rick Sanctimonisorum or something (R-Pennsylvania), who "just happened" to have been previously scheduled ten minutes away from the family, how could he not show his support? Here is Congressman Tom DaLame Duck (R-Texas), hopefully-soon-to-be-ex-Majority Whip, vociferously waving the banner of the righteous in hopes of diverting attention from his own mounting ethical troubles. Here is the Congress, falling all over itself to get a piece of the spotlight by inserting themselves in the most ad hoc fashion, only to find, to their horror, the revulsion induced in the electorate. Against all these, the ringing dissonant chords of William Walton's masterpiece for choir and orchestra---Belshazzar's Feast---render stern judgment, invoking the original writing on the wall: "Thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting!"

In welcome contrast, I am made aware of quiet, nameless, selfless goodness towards recently orphaned youth: two young teenagers, recent converts of barely a year, whose mother passed away unexpectedly. Protected from Father by restraining order, sleeping on the floor in a house crowded with relatives indifferent to their faith, their continued presence with Uncle becomes untenable. In their small ward---a somewhat rural one, really more branch than ward, unwealthy, with little in the way of excess resources---not one, not two, but three families of modest means vie for the opportunity of taking them in; not as a stopgap measure, but to become their legal guardians. Told of these more-than-Samaritans who, outside the view of their fellow congregants, let alone the world at large, fast privately with their Bishop to determine the best course, unbidden tears spring to my eyes. Grateful for the latent goodness in the heritage that formed me, I hear the words once famously sung by a noble ancestor, directed this time towards these selfless people: "These deeds shall thy memorial be; fear not, thou didst them unto me."


Yes, I thought the whole Schiavo endgame became a media and political circus. It just seems like a terribly sad case to try and capitalize on for pro-lifers. I just avoided the whole topic, although it seems to have been the hot topic of the week for political blogs. 
Comment by Dave | 4/07/2005 04:09:00 AM  

Dave, for the most part the Shiavo topic has been avoided in the Bloggernacle. Perhaps this is a compliment to Mormons' appropriate tendency to leave such things personal and even sacred.

Where does that leave me, having mentioned it in two separate posts? I guess I'll try and excuse myself by saying that in neighter post did I comment on the merits of the case, or take sides on whether she should live or die; I simply allowed it to be one among several catalysts for discussion of larger themes of interest to me.
Comment by Christian Y. Cardall | 4/07/2005 08:39:00 AM  

I know I have little in common with the religious right theologically: a belief in God as an eternal Father and in Christ as Savior and Redeemer. The rest of my theology is much different. I am recognizing many differences with that group politically: especially in the means by which problems should be addressed and solved. The Terry Schaivo case demonstrated again how this group of Christians has hijacked Republican party. There are many in the church, including high-ranking politicians, who are Republican and are at odds with the religious right on "moral" issues such abortion (Mitt Romney) and stem-cell research (Orrin Hatch).

The more I read and learn, the less I have in common with this group with whom I share common some values (chastity, public decency, stong traditional families) but with whom I disagree strongly on issues such as their definition of patriotism, caring for the downtrodden, and providing a strong safety net for the most vulnerable in our society.

Thanks for this post, Christian. Stories like these, affirm my faith in humanity and provide hope that we can see those opportunities around us and "do thou likewise."
Comment by Mike Wilson | 4/08/2005 02:45:00 PM  

Mike, I think the case of Orrin Hatch is interesting, as some Church leaders have spoken specifically about protecting life from conception.

On the flip side, Harry Reid opposes abortion, and yet was able to become the Democratic leader in the Senate.

In Mitt Romney's case, I suppose he can believe abortion is immoral, but not worth outlawing (similar to adultery).
Comment by Christian Y. Cardall | 4/08/2005 08:38:00 PM  

While you're at the gym with the kids on this Saturday morning I'll try my hand at responding for the first time to one of your comments. It's so nice to have a husband who gives me time for myself.

It has been touching for me as well me to see the outporing of love for these two "orphaned" kids in our small Tennessee ward. The teenage daughter of one family offered to move next door with her grandmother so the kids could have room in the house with her parents. Another family considered adding on to their home to accomodate them. Both families are lower middle class and would have to sacrifice a lot to bring them in, but they wanted to do whatever possible to assure they continue to grow up in the church in a stable environment. The older couple that will be taking them have three grown children, one deceased. Hopefully these kids will be able to help them in their old age as they work past retirement to raise them.

Great blog honey! I enjoy learning about your thoughts and opinions, although at times I find myself scratching my head at some of your comments. No matter how long you're married (11 years in our case), you can always learn something new about your spouse. You are loved! 
Comment by Kimberly Cardall | 4/09/2005 11:10:00 AM  

Sweetie, I have to keep you scratching your head every now and then, lest you get bored with me. I'm glad you're interested in the blog so far; it's flattering you'd take some of your valuable time without the kids to read my bloviations! XOXO

(Life Lesson: A gym membership for you and your spouse---one that includes free child care---is worth its weight in gold, kills several birds with one stone, and so forth.)
Comment by Christian Y. Cardall | 4/09/2005 06:09:00 PM  



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