Thursday, August 28, 2008

Accountable for "Choice"

This week as we Americans find ourselves in the midst of the flurry of the political convention season, I am reminded of the warning I heard spoken by Kenneth Copeland a couple of years ago. In this meeting held just outside of Washington, D.C. he spoke about Christians being held accountable for their vote. As Americans we have the priviledge and responsiblilty to vote in every election. When we as the Body of Christ choose not to vote, we silence His voice in an area over which we have been given stewardship. He also told us that our vote is not necessarily coming into agreement with a particular candidate, but coming into agreement with the party platform of the candidate we choose. This is especially true when voting for the President. As Christians we will be held accountable for what we come into agreement with to bring to pass in this nation.

I have included below the two major political party platform positions on one of the most divisive issues of our time - the right to life. These two party platforms as so clear on this issue that we cannot plead ignorance on this matter. On this issue the party positions are very black and white, there are no gray areas. Please read for yourself and decide where you want to place your power of agreement.

The platform, as approved today (Aug. 27, 2008), states in part:
Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity and dignity of innocent human life.
We have made progress. The Supreme Court has upheld prohibitions against the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. States are now permitted to extend health-care coverage to children before birth. And the Born Alive Infants Protection Act has become law; this law ensures that infants who are born alive during an abortion receive all treatment and care that is provided to all newborn infants and are not neglected and left to die. We must protect girls from exploitation and statutory rape through a parental notification requirement. We all have a moral obligation to assist, not to penalize, women struggling with the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy. At its core, abortion is a fundamental assault on the sanctity of innocent human life. Women deserve better than abortion. Every effort should be made to work with women considering abortion to enable and empower them to choose life. We salute those who provide them alternatives, including pregnancy care centers, and we take pride in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.
Respect for life requires efforts to include persons with disabilities in education, employment, the justice system, and civic participation. In keeping with that commitment, we oppose the non-consensual withholding of care or treatment from people with disabilities, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, which endanger especially those on the margins of society....
The Republican Party platform stands in sharp contrast to the platform approved this week by delegates at the Democratic Convention which stated, in part. that the Democratic Party "strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right." As noted by National Right to Life earlier this week, gone are former references of the Democratic Party's desire to see abortion as "rare."

Our choices bear lasting consequences. May God grant us the grace to choose wisely knowing that we will one day give an account.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Tribute

Allow me the indulgence of a personal tribute today to someone who has marked my life with her love. In recent days I have spent time with my grandmother, Carrie Clutter, at the nursing home. This is not unusual because I would often "pop" in for a few moments to say hello and check on her, but now each word she spoke was a treasure. We were told by her doctor that her days on earth were coming to a close. At 97 years old, this was not really a surprise to us, yet it was so surreal.

Monday evening, the family gathered with her and shared stories that only we would know about one another. We laughed and shed a few tears and even sang "Happy Birthday" to my now 15 year old daughter. As the evening went on and we saw that Grandma was getting tired, we said our goodbyes. As we kissed her and said we would see her soon, she spoke to each one, "I love you." How I have come to treasure those words, as they were the last words any of us would hear her speak.

Tuesday, when I went to see her she was barely aware of my presence. Then Wednesday morning I received a call from my dad that it would not be long. As I drove through the early morning fog, a flood of childhood memories washed over me. I have no regrets in my relationship with Grandma. I will always treasure our conversations.

When I arrived at her room she looked so tiny and frail. It seems we leave this earth much like we enter it. She was not conscious and I could hear the sound of looming death as she took each breath. My Dad and I talked with her and told her it was alright to go home. She was such a fighter and it seemed she was still clinging to life. I sang to her and prayed for her as we listened for each breath. The nurses at Goodwill took their turns in coming in to say their goodbyes. Each one spoke of her with a smile.

As I sat by her bedside I was comforted in knowing her commitment to Jesus Christ. She was raised in the church and often played the piano for the services. She told me the story of a summer revival meeting when she was a teenager and she and her friend had decided that they would "go forward" together to receive Christ the next day. However, she was so convicted in the meeting that night that she accepted Jesus herself without the accompaniment of her friend. In our recent conversations she would also relate her relationship with her Lord.

As she breathed her last, I imagined her escorted by the angels into the arms of her Saviour. My friend, I pose a question to you today. When your loved ones are at your bedside awaiting your last breath, will they have the assurance of knowing where you will spend eternity? None of us are promised even one more day and our decision about our eternal home is made by no one but us. The Bible tells us that "today is the day of salvation." Heaven is a real place and I hope to meet you there one day. When I see you I'll introduce you to my grandma.