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November 22, 2006

Re: Warren and Obama

Diane, in response to your post regarding with whom Christians should work in order to bring about good in the world, and whether Obama has a place on the stage with Warren, I believe he does. But rather than going into all the reasons why, I'll 1) refer you to Katharine Eastvold's comments, which mirror my own views, and 2) quote from a recent article Jennifer Lahl of the Center for Bioethics and Culture wrote for the July/August 2006 issue of BreakPoint WorldView (all you readers have subscribed and gotten gift subscriptions for friends, family, and pastors, right?).

Lahl talks about the same issue—of Christians working with those who hold different viewpoints on other issues in order to bring about what is good and true in an agreed-upon issue: in her case, human cloning. And her reasons may answer your questions, Diane, on Obama and Warren (and World Vision and the Gates Foundation, etc., for that matter) working together to combat AIDS. Lahl writes, in part:

Like-minded people often talk only amongst themselves, and the minute they start hanging out with the “wrong side,” conservatives risk their motives, credibility, and authentic pro-life position being called into question. I live in California—and not in the conservative land of Orange County, but in the San Francisco Bay area. If I wanted to work only with conservatives, I would be a very lonely person.

Very early in the days of Proposition 71—California’s $3 billion taxpayer-funded cloned human embryo stem-cell initiative—it became crystal clear that, if we were going to stop Proposition 71, we would have to band together with anybody and everybody who was against cloning humans. The campaign to get Proposition 71 on the ballot and get the bill passed was a juggernaut, and we needed some serious coalition-building. . . .

And so our ragtag team of left and right, pro-choice and pro-life, feminists, environmentalists, and religious people came together. . . .

So what can pro-choice and pro-life women accomplish together? We can recognize our profound disagreements on the issue of abortion and a woman’s right to choose as it relates to her reproductive body. However, we can also see that there are many equally important and pressing issues facing women as they relate to biotechnology and research in which we must collaborate. The issue is not whether we are pro-life or pro-choice, but rather that we are pro-woman.

As women we recognize the abuses of unfettered Big Biotech, which seeks to enslave women’s bodies in their research. We have come together because “one woman’s life lost is too high of a price to pay”—the motto of our recent collaboration. We know of the abuses that happened in South Korea, where thousands of women’s eggs were needed to conduct fraudulent research. We are aware of the abuses of Eastern European women’s bodies as egg-trafficking continues, making poor women handmaidens to wealthy and affluent infertile couples. We are very concerned about the deaths of young women and the risks to which young women assent without being properly informed about the short- and long-term effects on their own health, safety, and reproductive future. In short, we can rally around and work together to protect this higher truth: the dignity and sanctity of women’s lives. [emphasis mine]

The whole article is a great apologetic for wide-reaching collaboration. It's not yet posted online at www.breakpoint.org, but I'll send it to you if you are interested.

When you're on the ground providing medicine, food, education, and clothing to a sick child or AIDS orphan or patient -- a work that tears away at the darkness -- the political/religious views of the teacher, doctor, nurse, or NGO-worker next to you do not negate their work of good. In fact, as a Christian, your work on the ground next to them is a great witness, when you share why you do what you do. After all, if you find out that the person doing the exact same practical work you're doing, or advocating for the exact same work of good you are (e.g., Warren and Obama), believes differently than you do, and you respond by putting up the wall, closing the door, breaking ties: What message does that send about the Church?

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Unfortunately, I don't have a subscription to Breakpoint Worldview--money is tighter than tight, due to unemployment. The article looks to be well reasoned, and I would like to read it. Is there any chance it will be posted on Breakpoint.org in the near future?


Farley, hopefully within the next 2 weeks it will be posted.

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