Monday, April 03, 2006

To act boldly on their faith in Jesus Christ

A quote:
"Heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases kill more women every year than the next five causes of death combined, according to the American Heart Association."

Source: "Women of the ELCA Board Endorses HEART Legislation, Accepts MIF Challenge" ELCA NEWS SERVICE

Consider this hypotethical response. There's a crowded restaurant in a state that hasn't banned public smoking. Members of a club or association in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America go through the restaurant. They see a man chain-smoking in front of his non-smoking, coughing wife. They hand him a tract. The tract says something which indicts his behavior as being part of that stuff that C.S. Lewis wrote about,
"You may want Him [God] to make an exception in your own case, to let you off this one time; but you know at bottom that unless the power behind the world really and unalterably detests that sort of behaviour, then He cannot be good. On the other hand, we know that if there does exist an absolute goodness it must hate most of what we do. That is the terrible fix we are in."

Source: C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Then the tract offers a solution to this "terrible fix": the Cross. The tract advocates neither a 12-step program for smokers nor an interfaith press conference to call for legislation. The approach would be completely absent of cynicism for these things, even as it would not have these as the focus-- it wouldn't mention them.

Such a path for social action could lead to some controversy. Neocons would accuse your troupe of "playing the Bible card." Neocons would accuse you of "junk science" because you pointed to something evident from reading the headlines of the medical literature, and for your flouting the scholarly-sounding obfuscation of all the libertarian think tanks out there. Liberal Christians and your interfaith partners would scold you for pointing nonbelievers to the Cross. Such a path may engender harsh words from those you witness to; it may engender beatings, mad riots, imprisonments, shipwrecks, floggings, etc.

Given that there are other causes to women's heart disease, I suppose you could wander the same restaurant and lecture obese people on eating fatty food, but I find it harder to have as much outrage at victimless crimes.

This "women's organization is rooted in the women's missionary societies of the 19th century", according to the ELCA News Service press release. In this light, consider that their response to this problem above is:
ITASCA, Ill. (ELCA) -- Heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases kill more women every year than the next five causes of death combined, according to the American Heart Association.

Though more women than men die of the disease, most cardiovascular studies are conducted on men.

Because of such facts, Women of the ELCA's executive board, at its March 23-26 meeting near Chicago, voted unanimously to endorse new federal legislation aimed at fighting heart disease in women. It also authorized Women of the ELCA to write the bill's backers and request co-sponsorship.

"By endorsing the Heart Disease Education, Analysis and Research, and Treatment (HEART) for Women Act and becoming a co- sponsor of this bipartisan legislation, the executive board is taking the women's health initiative into a new arena," said Linda Post Bushkofsky, executive director, Women of the ELCA.

Rallying around the HEART for Women Act is a way to highlight the Women of the ELCA's new health initiative, Raising Up Healthy Women and Girls, Bushkofsky said.

"Staff looks forward to developing a plan to support this groundbreaking legislation throughout the U.S.," she said. "This is a living and breathing example of mobilizing women to act boldly on their faith in Jesus Christ."

I find this vapid and fatuous. I am strongly in favor of the church getting involved in social issues, yea, even coming down on the liberal side of them, because I believe that the liberal side more often ultimately boils down to calling folks to repentance of greed, trickery, exploitation, and brutality. And the conservative side starts off by advocating the "self-correcting" actions of the "invisible hand" over those of the state-- not too bad a thing-- but too often end up poo-pooing and mockery of these problems that cause blood to flow from the cross.

I just believe that the church has a higher calling here than to ask for a few extra dollars to be tacked onto the deficit for benevolent purposes.

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