Friday, March 09, 2007

moral issues

I've been very involved in housing as a moral/spiritual issue here in Santa Barbara. Virtually every time I speak to this end the local paper blasts me in an editorial and asks whether the environment is not also a moral issue. The question has always seemed a silly one to me. Of course, creation care is a moral/spiritual issue. Of course, Christians must be involved in caring for the earth, combating global warming, and conserving the wondrous diversity of plant and animal life on our planet. To place housing for people in opposition to caring for the creation is just silly. A holistic gospel requires that we look at... the whole enchilada.

Well, it seems that there is a group of evangelical leaders who in a letter express their believe that caring for creation and combating global warming is diverting attention from the "great moral issues of our time... notably the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children." In his blog, Jim Wallis asks whether these are the only great moral issues or

Is the fact that 30,000 children will die globally today, and everyday, from needless hunger and disease a great moral issue for evangelical Christians? How about the reality of 3 billion of God’s children living on less than $2 per day? And isn’t the still-widespread and needless poverty in our own country, the richest nation in the world, a moral scandal? What about pandemics like HIV/AIDS that wipe out whole generations and countries, or the sex trafficking of massive numbers of women and children? Should genocide in Darfur be a moral issue for Christians? And what about disastrous wars like Iraq? And then there is, of course, the issue that got Dobson and his allies so agitated. If the scientific consensus is right - climate change is real, is caused substantially by human activity, and could result in hundreds of thousands of deaths - then isn’t that also a great moral issue? Could global warming actually be alarming evidence of human tinkering with God’s creation?

So what are the moral issues of the day? One difference between the lists has to do with the actor... in the Dobson et al list, moral issues are only those things done by individuals - abortion, sexual activity - and not those things done by cultures, countries, or companies. For the News Press editorial staff, the only moral issues are those that impinge on the comfort of the haves. For Jesus, I fear the list is a lot bigger and less comfortable than either of those.


Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Yes, the NP only values the comfort of the wealthy and the little piggies on the Channel Islands. As for the poor working stiffs that bring them their creature comforts and tend to the little piggies -- let them eat cake. As for Dobsn and friends, well, it's proper to make babies, but once their born who cares!

Thanks Roy

Dave Miller said...

Roy, it was indeed good to meet you last weekend at the ABCLA event. I appreciate your keeping ideas and values like this one front and center for Christians to consider.