True or False? Abortion rates were higher during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan than during the Clinton Administration.
The correct answer is "True."
Fact: When poverty declines, so do the abortion rates.
The Clinton era witnessed a decline in poverty. Along with that fall came a rather dramatic decline (32%) in the frequency of abortion.
Fact: During the administration of President George W. Bush, both the poverty rate and abortion rates have begun to climb upward again.
During the campaign leading up to the 2004 election, I heard and read interviews with many voters for whom religion was extremely important. We all know that the "values debate" played a critical role in the outcome of the election.
Over and over again, right leaning religious folks reported that two issues determined their vote: abortion and homosexuality/gay marriage.
This was true even for many religious people who cared deeply about the plight of the poor. The struggle surrounding these two sentinel issues "trumped" every other issue for this large bloc of voters.
I find this very interesting, especially in view of the facts of life in the United States today, to say nothing of the content of scripture on the subjects at hand.
Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and will not be overturned without a Constitutional Amendment--a very unlikely prospect.
The individual sexuality of gay and lesbian citizens will not be affected, nor their behavior modified, by who happens to be President of the United States. Gay marriage is not going to be institutionalized by the states, though civil unions will most likely become the norm in many. Nor will our President support a constitutional amendment to define marriage in only traditional terms.
Both abortion and issues associated with homosexuality definitely should be discussed in a civil and rational manner in this democracy. Both have a place in the national "values debate."
Neither have anything to do with a much wider and more far-reaching national and worldwide reality that should be included in any on-going values discussion.
Poverty, hunger, children, homelessness and housing, health care, education, access to opportunity--these are all issues to be considered as a part of the American "values agenda."
As my friend Jim Wallis puts it, "Budgets are moral documents."
Forty-five millions U. S. citizens have no health insurance--over 14 million are children. Does this not relate to national values?
Even though working harder than ever, almost 1.5 million additional Americans fell below the poverty line between 2002 and 2003. Does this not relate to our national values?
In the North Texas area, Dallas County bears practically all of the expense associated with providing public health care to the entire region. Collin County, the richest county in Texas, provides public health care only to those residents whose gross annual income totals 25% of the national poverty level or just over $4,000--literally a handfull of people annually. When asked, one commissioner commented that while it was "a nice thing" that Dallas County was doing for the poor, Collin County would never join in the process.
Question: Is this not a issue of public morality and values?
Question: Where are the churches in Collin County on this matter?
Question: Where are the outraged voters? Where is the movement for a values-based health care solution among religious people?
We would do well to rethink this entire matter of values.
An "upgrade" in this part of our civic discourse and action would be most welcome.
Announcement from Duke Memorial UMC
1 week ago