Sarah Palin’s speech

Sarah Palin silenced a lot of people last night. Her speech was delivered like a pro, leaving critics of her lack of experience to at least acknowledge she not only holds her own on a national stage but excels at the art of inspiring a crowd and a television audience, perhaps a nation.

I remain concerned not just about her lack of international experience but also her potentially more strident foreign policy slant. What I often hear from the Republican side about foreign policy sounds ethnocentric, going beyond patriotism to a nationalism that cares not how we interact with the world, so long as U.S. interests are served. I have as much problem with this stance, and the Bush doctrine of offensive attacks (as he repeated in his video speech two nights ago) as I do with the Democratic party view on abortion.

The “going overboard” score is at least 1-1 with Obama’s cave comment and Palin’s reference to Obama’s concern for human rights in the war on terror (I think she was referring to a terrorist having rights read to them).

Since I was voting age, I have been independent. I have tried with each election to truly make a choice between the candidates and not have a preconceived or party-picked vote. I don’t think this is the only way to go about your voting, of course. It’s just my way and I suppose hundreds of thousands of others do so. I don’t know the figures, but I suppose most voters are registered with a party. Even so, would you consider really considering the issues this year rather than just voting your party line?

I’m open to listening this week to the RNC speeches, as I was open to hearing DNC speeches. This doesn’t mean I’m not subjective in much of the way I hear. Part of being more objective is realizing at least a few of our major biases. Though Rick Warren’s forum was roundly criticized by some, I’m proud of him as a Christian who was trying to be fair and have both candidates on the same stage, though not at the same time, and ask the same questions of each. What Warren is modeling for us is an allegiance to the kingdom of God first, not country and certainly not to party, neither Democrat, Republican, Libertarian nor any other.

Obamas & Mamas

Senator Obama’s speech was excellent, with a few exceptions where he may have overstepped . . . he was biting a live rhino horn when he said McCain is not willing to go to the cave where Osama bin Laden lives. Aside from that and a few rhetorical areas that could have been stronger, it was a great acceptance speech for the nomination and a historic moment, the first-ever African-American nominee for president and reminiscent of JKF and MLK in different ways.

More detail about one thing Senator Obama said, paraphrasing, We may never agree on abortion, but can we all agree that less unwanted pregnancies could be a common goal in cities where we live?

Yes, I can agree that’s common ground. I had a chance to speak to a group of civic, educational, religious, business people planning a new initiative for East Tulsa and said I’m willing to work with any group to help reduce unwanted pregnancies, and if that means I partner with people who believe differently from myself about abortion, then I would want to find common ground where we can help single moms, children, and to reduce the number of abortions.

My brother and sister-in-law have been people of action and not just rhetoric. They teach abstinence in public schools and a variety of churches and youth groups. See http://www.drtoby.blogspot.com/ and the organization he partners with in New York, which is also nationwide: http://www.care-net.org/.

Toby and Deb are doing something about our belief that abortion is a sin of taking life–something that is more powerful than picketing in front of abortion clinics or Planned Parenthood centers. The militant way of protest, the in-your-face rhetoric of “religious” people alienates those who have had abortions, but Toby and Debbie have compassionately reached out to hundreds of teen mothers, helping them understand a better way than abortion.

At least four families at Garnett Church, and many you know, are taking in children from mothers with unwanted pregnancies. They too are taking their belief more seriously than making this an “issue” they talk or email forward about and merely vote on.

Prophets, John the Baptist, James the brother of Jesus, Jesus Christ all speak of helping the fatherless, widows, orphans. I believe if spoken or written today, single mothers would be added to this call to aid those in need.

When I preached last month from Jeremiah, I asked whether this election year we will settle for “ticking” and “clicking” or will we do something more real and substantial. Will you do more than just vote or click an email forward this year?

Your actions are just as important or more important than your vote. And would you consider voting on more than one issue? Your vote does not have to ride on one issue alone, be it foreign policy or abortion or war or economy. Would you pray about your vote rather than making your vote for a particular party a foregone conclusion?

Are you willing to partner with people in your community that you may not see eye to eye with on every issue in order to help reduce the number of abortions or unwanted pregnancies this year? Willing to take in a child? Willing to do abstinence teaching? Willing to help a single mother?