President Bush made a symbolic visit to one of 5 sanctioned Protestant churches in Beijing during his recent trip to China. This article from the Washington Post, with a superb commentary by Rick Moore of HolyCoast, points to an important event. Religious freedom is a cornerstone of our democracy, and expanding such freedoms in China will lead, over the long term, to greater personal and democratic freedoms.
The President, while a Protestant evangelical himself, did not specify his actions and comments directly at promoting the Christian faith in China. The San Diego Union Tribune reports:
"Prodded by U.S. evangelical Christians and a bipartisan group in Congress, he has long championed the cause of Chinese persecuted for their religious beliefs. Bush met with Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, long denounced by China, in Washington before the trip.
The president made his case directly to Hu yesterday when the two leaders met in the Great Hall of the People just off Tiananmen Square. 'It is important that social, political and religious freedoms grow in China,' he said in his formal statement read standing next to the Chinese leader. 'And we encourage China to continue making the historic transition to greater freedom.'"
From the same article here are some of President Bush's comments while in China regarding religion:
"As he entered Gangwashi Church with first lady Laura Bush, he was greeted by pastor Du Fengying, who gave him two Chinese bibles. He then wrote in her guest book, 'May God bless the Christians of China.'"
"'My hope is that the government of China will not fear Christians who gather to worship openly,' he said during the church service, after applauding the small choir's rendition of Beethoven's Ode to Joy. 'A healthy society is a society that welcomes all faiths and gives people a chance to express themselves through worship with the Almighty.'"
"After the services, Bush remarked that 'the spirit of the Lord is very strong inside your church.'"
"'I will continue to remind President Hu about . . . my personal faith and the belief that people should be allowed to worship freely,' he said in a pre-departure interview. He added, "And a vibrant, whole society is one that recognizes that certain freedoms are inherent and need to be part of a complete society.'"
It is important for the President to speak out about religious freedoms. They often go hand in hand with how a country approaches human rights. As the move to abolish slavery, to restore civil rights to black Americans and efforts to affect poverty in the United States have been largely driven by religious organizations from a Judeo-Christian perspective, so too will a greater level of religious freedom in China lead to a better Chinese society with dignity for all peoples.
"Many bloggers are now writing about religious oppression, poverty and world hunger, instead of hot-button issues such as abortion, homosexuality and assisted suicide, said the Rev. Andrew Jackson, a seminary professor and pastor at the Word of Grace Church in Mesa, Ariz.
'With blogging you tend to break out of those circles and you see other points of view,' Carter said. 'There's a bigger world out there than gay marriage and abortion.'
At one well-attended workshop — 'When Non-Christians Read Your Blog' — Biola University professor Timothy Muehlhoff (search) gave instructions on writing about faith without alienating nonbelievers.
He stressed that God blogging has the potential to be a "train wreck" because done wrong it can reinforce stereotypes of evangelical Christians as angry and close-minded "pit bulls of the culture wars.'
'As Christians today we are embroiled in the argument culture and we have forgotten this one thing: Blessed are the peacemakers,' he said. 'Wouldn't it be nice if we could say we brought a level of civility back to the conversation?'"
There is more to Christianity online than the typical Main Stream Media debates. The SCBA is a great example of the diverse opinions and areas of interests to a group of Christian bloggers. There is a tremendous amount of collegiality and civility among Christian bloggers that I have experienced online. It is a wonderful, growing community.
I am looking foward to meeting more Christian bloggers at GodBlogCon 2006!
GodBlogCon 05 was, on the whole, a success. (The GBC blog is here with great links to commentary). Much thanks is owed to Hugh Hewitt for innovating the idea, Dr. John Mark Reynolds for graciously hosting the convention and sharing his ideas at Biola, and Matt Anderson and his team for pouring their energy into making it a reality. The hospitality shown by all at Biola sure does add to its credit as a first-rate Christian university.
While the blogosphere is a wonderful place with possibilities of linking people together around the globe in stimulating thought, discussion, arguments and building friendships, there is still nothing that can replace the ability to sit down for a meal among friends.
I had this pleasure in finally meeting Marvin Hutchens from Little Red Blog and his delightful and thought-provoking wife. They are an excellent team, and it is a privilege to call them friends.
The concept of GodBlogCon will continue next year, likely in August, back at Biola University. With that in mind, I would like to suggest how it can be improved:
More opportunity for building "community"
Community is often one of the more overused and misunderstood words in the modern Christian church. However, God did not intend for us to live this life solo. Far from it. As God is in community as a triune God, so we too can benefit from the whole body of Christ with all of its talents and gifts. It is the perfect argument of how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. (For a great primer in Christian Community, see Pastor Tod's Blog, "It Takes a Church" under the category Christian Community here).
GodBlogCon benefitted from having some great Christian bloggers at the events. Each of these bloggers is like an elite soldier in an army. (Note: This is only an analogy, and it is important to not read too much into the military paradigm). On their own, they are very capable. However, leveraged with the proper logistics, support, intelligence and technology, they are lethal.
GodBlogCon II will hopefully expand upon the opportunities to build our relationships together. I recommend having people break out into different groups, such as: Polibloggers, Pastorbloggers, Religious Issues, etc. Within these groups, I strongly encourage having a time of prayer together. Praying for one another is one of the best ways of quickly building understanding and community. Such groups could then interchange members with the other groups for interesting discussions.
Breakout sessions, at the suggestion of Marvin Hutchens, could be "track" oriented for the different types of Christian bloggers at the conference. One conflict was having several breakout sessions, only being offered at the same time. Having different tracks would reduce this conflict. While I don't think tracks should be mandatory, they may be helpful in also building community as people get to know each other in smaller settings.
Focus on the future
I am very curious what can be done to advance the work of the Christian church community through the Internet. While I enjoyed hearing different bloggers' experiences, I longed for some energetic thoughts on what we can do together online. The net has an enormous potential for good and bad. The Christian community would be better served by focusing on larger, measurable goals. I regret that I do not have suggestions for what these goals may be, but welcome comments of those that do.
GodBlogCon 05 was a rich experience, and I look forward to the next convention. Hopefully we can all build upon the relationships started this year and be stronger as a community for next.
Update: A must read commentary on GodBlogCon can be found at Sheep's Crib (funny too). I strongly agree that more women bloggers and maybe even a women's blogging panel should be organized. I would love to see Lorie Byrd of PoliPundit at the convention next year.
Update 2: Pastor Tod Bolsinger's comments are a must read and say in a much better way what I was trying to express. (October 18, 2005)
Dan over at tdaxp has an interesting post about a billboard that reads, "Jesus Cares for the Poor, so do We", pictured to the right. He writes:
"A good start by South Dakota liberals, if a hopeless one. The biggest 'liberal' church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is regularly ignored by its members and in terminal decline. The state Presbyterian Church (USA) [DEL: I believe he means PCUSA] worshipers are in loud revolt against the national leftists. The fastest growing churches are known for their conservatism -- the Catholics, Mormons, Orthodox, and 'Baptists.'
But at least they have some 4GPS2 force. After all, half of the battle is just showing up. (The other half is winning.)"
" I would imagine the billboard above makes most evangelicals laugh or bewildered rather than to think about how Democrats support religious values.
The best line of attack Democrats have regarding identifying with religion is caring for the poor. However, evangelical, socially conservative Republicans care for the poor as well. Both groups go about it differently. While Democrats often see Republican efforts to promote individual responsibility as cruel or uncompassionate, Republicans see mass social welfare as creating an entitlement, victim class.
Socially conservative, evangelicals also believe the church should be the center of providing aid to the needy, not government, which they often distrust from doing so properly.
I think it is better to teach a man how to fish than to give him a fish, as the old Chinese proverb says. Democrats are wasting money with billboards such as those above.
Your comments about the liberal American churches dwindling is very true. Most churches are more conservative than their leadership, because activists tend to be more liberal. This is very true of church networks. Those content with the status quo do not usually pursue larger church leadership positions.
I have attended 5 Presbyterian churches (PCUSA), all in Southern California, of decent size during my lifetime, and they are all far more conservative than what is reported in the news about the PCUSA leadership decisions.
Until Democrats stop working to remove the word "God" from all areas of life save when one is alone in private, the religious community cannot embrace the Democrat party. As your Sorosnet post describes, the areas with money and influence in the DNC are not the moderates. The Democrats will be in the wilderness for some time to come. I pray they find religion. But based on what lessons they choose to learn from Republican defeats (usually the wrong ones), I sincerely doubt it.
Thanks for the post.
I am curious what other readers and bloggers think about the campaign. Maybe Citizen Z will weigh in as well, being a Christian Democrat. Feel free to write in my "Comments" section below or cross post on Dan's site as well. I will update this link if we have a good thread of thought.
Update: John Gillmartin at Sheep's Crib has some interesting commentary here and also links to the orignal picture (thanks for doing the research).
"A guy passes by a bake sale and sees a pretty girl, a real hottie. He goes over and feins interest in her pies, cookies and baked wares. The guy strikes up a conversation and talks at length about how much he likes her bake wares. He doesn't buy any of course because he is only interested in what she could do for him, and she understands that his drool is for her and not the wares.
That is just what this Democratic ploy is, and holding hands with Jesus will get Christian votes about as likely as the guy looking at the baked goods will get into the bakers nickers. Both ploys are about as transparent as a bay window."
She found the post from Lorie Byrd on PoliPundit. Lorie has this take:
"When I read this my first thought was about how the difference between the two approaches is often highlighted during elections when the tax records of the candidates are made public. I recall specifically the 2000 election when the charitable contributions of Bush and Gore were released. I don’t recall the specific numbers, but Bush had given a sizable amount to charity and Gore had given virtually nothing.
It is not fair for Democrats to say that they care more about the poor because they want to let government do the work, rather than individuals, churches and community groups. It is especially unfair to say that Republicans care less for the poor because they believe that churches and community groups can do a better job tending to the needs of the poor than some government bureaucrat."
Lorie also has over 70 comments on her post if you are interested in a larger dialogue than here. (May 14, 2005)
"It is interesting to try alternative headlines and see how they work: Jesus Cares for the Unborn, so do We.
Jesus Supported in the Death Penalty, so do We.
Jesus Healed the Sick without Government Money, so do We.
Jesus Told the Woman at the Well to Stop Sleeping Around, so do We.
Jesus Believed He was the Living Son of God, Sent to Die and Rise from the Dead to Sit at the Right Hand of God, so do We.
...I don't think the billboards will hurt the Dem base much, though. Religious Dems will relate to the "Help the poor" line as both Christians and Dems. Unbeliving Dems will forgive the party its sins, knowing this billboard is more about politics than beliefs."
I watched with interest yesterday the "Habemus papum!" (Latin for "We have a pope!") switching between the various networks. I found most of them poor in coverage and analysis. The Fox News special commentator, upon hearing that Cardinal Ratzinger, whom had been elected to be the next pope, had taken the name Benedict XVI, observed that "there were 15 Benedicts before him". While the Fox commentary seemed clueless, MSNBC and CNN seemed to stop translating the Latin once the new pope began his blessing.
Hugh Hewitt has a must read piece summarizing the naive editorial reaction of the major papers in America here.
"U.S. cardinals criticized on Wednesday snap judgments on Pope Benedict XVI, saying some media coverage had been 'skewed' toward a mistaken caricature of the new Church leader as an iron-fisted conservative.
'I think we just have to be very careful about caricaturising the Holy Father, and very simply putting labels on this man of the Church,' Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles told reporters in Rome."
I find it ironic that secular media institutions are calling on the Vatican to take certain stances on issues of faith. I do not recall these same liberal opinion makers calling for a new type of Islam. The editorials that Hugh Hewitt links to with their criticisms give me more hope, not less, for this pope. As a Protestant, my prayers are with him and his flock. I think the MSM is wrong on this pope as well.
Update: Anne Applebaum, who is not "Catholic or religious", has an exceptional analysis of the European reaction to Cardinal Ratzinger's papacy. She writes:
"For the many Europeans who dislike religion, it was easy enough to dismiss the late pope as a "backward" Pole, and to find him inconsequential even when he somehow persuaded millions of young people to attend his outdoor "youth" Masses. But the advent of a German pope, who in fact shares many of John Paul II's views, may well make religion part of the European political debate again, this time on the western as well as the eastern half of the continent. At the very least, a German-speaking pope will be hard for Germans to ignore.
This will be a debate worth watching, even if you aren't Catholic or religious (and I am neither), because it will reveal much about the direction in which European politics is heading. It might also hold clues to the future of the battered, long-suffering transatlantic relationship. While many of the cultural differences between Europe and America are vastly overstated, the religious differences are profound."
Ms. Applebaum concludes with this observation:
"In their decision not to pick a pope from a part of the world in which the church is actually growing, the cardinals showed that they've nevertheless not given up on the continent where the papacy was born. Perhaps they see some trend that is invisible to the rest of us. Perhaps they are betting that the enormous growth in the European Muslim population, with all the questions it raises about national identity in countries such as Holland and France, may lead many Europeans, if not directly back to religion, then at least to a recognition that there is a role for the church in public life, or at the very least in history books."
In the opening Executive Summary, the study states:
"This generation could be - and has been – described as directionless, lacking in community ties and meaningful participation in communal life. This research builds a more nuanced understanding of this generation, revealing that Generation Y does seek community and meaningful involvements, though often in informal and non-traditional ways. Religious faith and commitment is one route by which young people find meaning, value and community, though their religious pluralism complicates what this looks like in practice. The diversity of Generation Y and the informality of much of their religious participation make it difficult to say that there is any one way that religion works in young people’s lives."
As a member of Generation X, which the study describes as a "generation of seekers", to me Generation Y (born after 1980) is a generation of "individuals". There is a tremendous amount of choice available to our youth today, from buying an individual song on iTunes instead of a whole prepackaged album to not 3 major networks but 200-plus cable channels, covering a spectrum of interests to a myriad of religious groups, organizations, spiritual disciplines and online help.
The study is informed by three goals:
" 1) To ascertain how young people are coming to understand their religious identity; 2) To describe what their religious practices look like in this era of customization and change; and 3) To explore the ways religious identity informs the civic participation of today’s youth. Throughout, we were careful to note that religious life does not operate in a vacuum and we embed the role of religion in the context of their other concerns, such as finding a job or getting good grades in school."
For the non-religious, you may ask why do I think this study is important or relevant? My Protestant religious leanings aside, I would argue several societal gains from a religious society in America. The United States is the most generous nation as far as donations and charity. Religious groups of all faiths play an important role in American largess, both at home and abroad. Additionally, a civic minded society is strengthened by religious involvement. The report notes:
"Religious young people more active in politics, community. In this study, we find a strong relationship between religiosity and a broad range of volunteer activities with 79 percent of the most religious participating in volunteer activity in the last 12 months compared to 43 percent among the least religious. Religion is less closely tied to political and cultural involvement."
As readers of Dawn's Early Light might already know, I am a believer in American Exceptionalism, which is supported by America's Judeo-Christian values. A weakening of these value systems could undermine America's place in the world, which could prove damaging if the US was to become more like Europe, a post-modern, post-Christian continent.
Generation Y is more pluralistic in their social circles, with only "7 percent say[ing] that all of their friends are members of the same religion, and a near majority says that only some or a few of their friends adhere to the same religion as themselves." This bodes well for tolerance in American society in the future, but does it also represent that Generation Y is less beholden to religious tenets?
Other interesting statistics from the study is the relationship between Generation Y identifying themselves as "religious" vs. "spiritual". 44% of the population identified with being "religious" while 35% viewed themselves as "spiritual", and 18% didn't identify with either label. When individuals use the word "spiritual" in describing themselves, I usually interpret it to mean that they do not belong to organized religion but believe in God or hold to New Age beliefs.
For parents, other statistics support that religious families have stronger bonds. 75% of "the Godly" among Generation Y individuals "turn to family for advice (strongly agree)" compared to 57% of "the God-less".
Religious affiliation also builds stronger character, on average, and improved self-esteem.
"Importantly, religious youth have a stronger sense of themselves than less religious youth. In other words, among the less religious, religion is not supplanted by a stronger ascribed or achieved characteristic. In fact, less religious youth are less strongly identified with anything at all, which suggests that religious group involvement is mutually reinforcing with other identities. Or, that feeling connected to a religious community or tradition heightens all other aspects of self-understanding. Religious adherence, in other words, builds social capital not just in terms of participation in civic life, but also in terms of connection with family, self-esteem, and self-understanding. As Christian Smith finds in his study of teenagers, religious youth rank higher than less religious youth on every measure of self-esteem."
Religion's role for Generation Y has to be viewed in light of other priorities of this age group:
(Percent Responding "Very Important")
Your ethnic origin
Where you live
It is interesting to note that Muslims and African-Americans identify with their religion at almost the same rates as their family. This says a great deal for our progress in assimilation here in America.
Political and social attitudes of the respondents is interesting as this graph describes:
The study concludes with a few observations and my summary of them:
There are no silver bullets - old school methods of building community will not work with Generation Y.
Support experimentation - To reach Generation Y, non traditional methods of creating community are necessary.
The Power of Culture - Music, DVDs, film and the written word are powerful tools for conveying meaning. Mel Gibson's Passion of The Christ indie production is an example given.
I agree with the findings on the whole. However, creating a community where individuals feel that they belong and contribute is important regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. People have a need to belong. While Generation Y may be better at determining that which seems stale or fake, I don't think they differ from my generation or my boomer parents. We all want to belong to something greater than ourselves. I know I feel my life is more enriched by my faith and community with other Christians, regardless of the form it takes, as long as it is personal and real and encourages me to think beyond myself.
I highly recommend the full study to you.
Open Invitation: Southern California Blogger Alliance and Other Interested Bloggers. I will post a link to your site below for anyone who wants to contribute their opinion on the above study.
Pastor John Gillmartin, over at the Sheep's Crib has some good advice to Christians looking to reach out to Generation Y: "Our charter is to identify leaders among Generation Y; then nurture and equip them to reach out to their peers with the goal of raising up the next generation of disciples for Christ Jesus.
My warning to those whom God calls to directly engage "Gen Y" is to avoid novelty at the expense of the Word who took on flesh and dwelt among us."
John Schroeder at Blogotional has some insightful comments as well: "What I have found is not kids that need new ways to build community, but kids that are starving for it. All my wife and I really needed to do was give them a small taste, then they were addicted. 'The more things change, the more they stay the same.'"
Rick Moore at Holy Coast relates the study to his life growing up compared to the age his daughter lives in and has some comments about the church's future: "All that being said, there's something about the power of Christ that transcends all the technical gizmos, and even Gen Y'rs come with a God-shaped void in their lives that can't be filled with gadgets and toys. The churches that can get their attention and show them how God's love can bring fulfillment to their busy lives will find their ministry to this younger age group very successful. Every church is going to have to try to connect, or else they will fade away as their congregation ages and is not replaced by younger folks."
Dawn's Early Light reader Larwynn, a Catholic, was the first to email me the news and summed it up very well "The Pope has died, many millions are happy that he had lived."
The world's Catholics will mourn his passing with very good reason. I imagine that a good number of the world's protestants will feel the same way. I know I do.
My first thoughts regarding what Pope John Paul meant to the world and just a small portion of what his legacy will be:
He was a strong defender of the Bible, especially when its words are not convenient or easy to hear.
He was a strong promoter of bridging old religious divides, with other churches, synagogues and mosques the world over.
He deeply deeply cared for the world's poor and least well represented, traveling like no other Pontiff to care for those less fortunate.
He supported the church and democracy in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet empire.
He promoted a consistent "culture of life"
While the Catholic Church like any other institution of humankind is not prone from scandal and conflict, the Pope was a great man with tremendous influence around the world.
He will be missed. May he rest in the truly awesome hands of his Maker and Creator. May the Spirit of God be with those he leaves behind. May the road that Christ walked humbly, be the road we follow along.
Dawn's Early Light invites your comments and reflections on Pope John Paul II. (Non-civil comments will be deleted.)
Additionally, bloggers, please feel free to email me with links to your thoughts on this Pope and I will update this post accordingly.
Thanks to ABC News for this uplifting story. Wisconsin National Guard Captain Scott Southworth, formerly of the 32nd Military Police Company, while on a 14-month tour in Iraq, volunteered at an orphanage for disabled children.
That is where Capt. Southworth met Ala'a (pronounced "Allah"), an eight-year-old boy who was abandoned at age 3 or 4, who cannot walk because he has cerebral palsy (for more info on CP). The Atlanta Constitution Journal (free registration required) has a very good account of the story that gives far more of the story than the ABC News piece:
"Southworth grew up in a military family, raised with love of God and country. He graduated from law school at the University of Wisconsin with honors and planned to run for Juneau County district attorney at the end of his deployment.
As for Ala'a (pronounced "Allah"), when he was 3 or 4, an Iraqi police officer found him alone on the streets of Baghdad. The officer brought him to the orphanage, run by the Catholic Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa.
By the time Southworth started visiting him there, Ala'a was about 10. The nuns who cared for him had taught him to pray and to speak English.
Face to face, Ala'a called Southworth by his first name, Scott. But the nuns told Southworth they saw a stronger bond beginning to form.
Ala'a was always concerned about what he would wear when Southworth came to visit. He was suddenly interested in learning to walk. At night when Ala'a lay down in his crib, he would pray not for himself but for Southworth, whom he felt was in danger.
And when he talked about his new friend from America, he called him "Baba," which means "Daddy" in his native Arabic.
'At first, it was just kind of cute, kind of nice,' said Southworth, 32, who felt more like Ala'a's big brother than his father.
Then he started to realize what a difference he was making in the boy's life. Sure, Ala'a had always been loved by the nuns, but they loved everyone. This little boy had likely been abandoned by his parents. He'd never had anyone to make him feel valuable as an individual. Now, he did.
'Everybody on the planet needs to feel special to somebody, and I could see that happening for him,' Southworth said."
What motivated Captain Southworth, as a single man, with a future in law as a District Attorney (he later won election to the position) to adopt little Ala'a? Ala'a was getting too old for the orphanage and would soon be sent to a state run institution that would have meant most likely a terrible future, if one at all, without the care and love the boy needed.
Captain Southworth was also convicted by his faith:
"Southworth had heard about the home. By all reports, it was horrible. The doctor confirmed his fears.
"If he goes there, his life is over," the doctor said, speaking more than figuratively.
"Then I'll adopt him," Southworth said. The words came out in a rush. Only after he'd spoken them did he begin to think things through.
Could he really adopt this boy? Southworth started to pray, trying to figure out the Lord's plan for him.
The first sign he received was a bootleg DVD of "The Passion of the Christ," sent to a fellow soldier in a care package from home. The film's quality was poor, but its message was clear.
"I thought, 'If He can do that for me, surely I can (adopt Ala'a)."'
Every time a friend or family member pointed out one of the challenges, Southworth thought about the distant future.
He imagined meeting Ala'a in heaven. In his vision, Ala'a came to him and asked, "Scott, why didn't you come back for me?"
Southworth went through all the answers. He pictured himself saying, "Well, I didn't have a lot of money." Or: "I'm a single guy, I don't know anything about taking care of a child with cerebral palsy." Or: "I have a very demanding career."
"Every time I thought of a reason (not to adopt him), it quickly turned into an excuse, and I was absolutely ashamed and embarrassed," Southworth said. "I thought, 'Well, I can sacrifice a little bit here and make some adjustments, or I can spend the rest of my life ashamed and embarrassed."'
However, Southworth's tour ended before he could overcome the obstacles of bringing the boy home with him to the United States. There was no legal way, it appeared, to adopt him, and being dedicated to the rule of law, he was not going to bribe a local judge to win custody in Iraq.
Read the whole AJC piece. It is an amazing story of courage, sacrifice, the love of a boy and faith in God. It is a story that brings hope out of chaos. It is possible that Ala'a may yet walk again.
Reader Larwynn pointed me across the Atlantic to an exceptionally well-written opinion piece in London's Times Online by Michael Grove regarding Terry Schiavo, her "husband" and her family.
Not only does Mr. Grove give a good account of the shifting court positions, but:
"After Mrs Schiavo collapsed in 1990, her husband sued for medical malpractice and claimed that he wished to secure resources so that he could care for her for the rest of her natural life. The court awarded Michael Schiavo $300,000 for loss of companionship and awarded Mrs Schiavo around $700,000.
Mr Schiavo’s conduct since then does not suggest that he has exerted himself to provide the duty of care that he was awarded money to ensure. A year after winning his case on the basis that he wished to nurse his wife, he refused to allow doctors to prescribe antibiotics for a serious infection. In contrast to the position he held when suing for compensation, Mr Schiavo argued that his wife would not wish to live in her disabled condition. Had she died, Mr Schiavo would have inherited her $700,000."
Mr. Grove is wise to link the tale to the Old Testament tale of Solomon:
"Attachment to the rule of law is certainly a foundation stone of our civilisation. But so is respect for the moral principles on which our civilisation has been built. And it has often been through religion that those moral principles most central to civilised conduct have been preserved and defended. One does not need to be a member of any church, or a subscriber to any established faith, to appreciate the ethical debt we owe in the West to our Judaeo-Christian inheritance.
To take just one example, our notion of the role that judicial intervention should play in interpreting the law owes a great deal to Jewish tradition. Take the resonant story of the judgment of Solomon. Presented with a child whom two women claimed as their own, Solomon proposed depriving both of the baby by the decision to divide the child into two. One woman acquiesced, the other protested, and by their reactions the woman with the real bond of love to the disputed child revealed herself.
Invoking Old Testament justice may seem anachronistic in an age of advanced medical technology. But the importance of respecting the bonds of love has a profound bearing on Terri Schiavo’s case."
I am not arguing that the Book of Leviticus should be our basis for laws, but laws that do not serve a moral purpose are unjust. The German government during the Second World War was built on many laws. Laws do not make justice. Law rooted in a strong moral tradition and democratic principles does lead to a more just society.
Unfortunately, none of that is found in the current pain a family finds itself left with in Florida today.