Stem Cell Silence — Neither Clinton nor Obama commented on the recent news about the stem cell breakthrough. Mark I. at RedState thinks he knows why they remained silent:
These Democrats are the ones who claim to have so much compassion for the suffering and afflicted and who label their political opponents as heartless and cruel. So, why the silence on this advancement? In some cases it could be because the campaigns are seeking a way to appear to praise the announcement while not offending embryonic stem cell research advocates among the their supporters. For Sen. Hillary!™ Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama, it may be because in a crucial vote for ethical stem cell alternatives taken earlier this year, they voted no.
Although I follow this issue fairly closely, I wasn’t aware these Senators had voted against the HOPE Act. Democratic voters should ask why their leading Presidential nominees voted against funding such promising research.
Christians & Government — Matt Kaufman has a very good article at Boundless that provides a basic understanding of the biblical role of government and how it should affect our vote. Kaufman contends that the primary purpose of government is protection of its citizens.
On Boundless’s blog, The Line, Motte Brown adds some useful thoughts on the subject:
We see elsewhere (Proverbs 8:15,16; Romans 13:4) that God established government to make and enforce laws specifically so “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives.” Beyond protection, there’s no clear mandate for governmental responsibility found in Scripture, even when it comes to the physically poor. Proverbs 29 and Psalm 72 speak of rulers dealing justly with the poor. So the government has some responsibility. But not much. According to the Bible, the needy are to be cared for first by the family, and then the church.
Both Kaufman and Brown appear to take the “conservative” view of the Biblical mandate for government, a position on which I largely agree. I’d be interested to hear how politically liberal Christians use Scripture to justify the expansion of the role of government.
Politics as Vocation — At Theolog, the blog of The Christian Century magazine, David Heim has an excellent post on Christian engagement in politics. He begins by noting that some “significant voices on the right that are disillusioned about political engagement.”
Skepticism about politics is always healthy. But it strikes me that [David] Kuo’s and [Gregory] Boyd’s comments reflect a broad, unhelpful tendency in American Christianity to oscillate between two poles: either a fervent engagement in politics for the sake of the gospel and the world, or an equally fervent detachment for the sake of the purity of the gospel and the health of the church. Isn’t there something between the two poles?
Calling Greg Boyd a “voice on the right” will surely raise a few eyebrows. But aside from that minor quibble, Heim makes an important point worth considering:
Meanwhile, however, individual Christians have their particular vocations. In a democracy, all people have the vocation of citizen and so are in some degree called to the work of politics. Beyond that, a certain number of individual Christians are called to a more specific vocation: to study, analyze or participate in the day-to-day workings of politics. They make arguments and pay attention to data. They look for affinities between the gospel and political philosophies and programs. They listen to what constituents say and arguments other people make. Their work is fallible, limited, pervaded by sin, always subject to revision—but so are lots of vocations.
I think this is exactly right. My particular vocation (both my career and, to some extent, this blog) focuses on politics and public policy. And while I think it is important work, I certainly don’t think it is any more or less important than most other vocations (though it can certainly be much duller than other fields, such as business or ministry). I also agree with Heim that the work is fallible, limited, pervaded by sin, and always subject to revision. If only we could be reminded of that fact every day before we begin our work, the world would be much better off.
(HT: A Thinking Reed, which also adds some useful thoughts to the discussion.
The Full Bard — The BBC is planning to produce new versions of all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays:
[The BBC] has enlisted Sam Mendes, Oscar-winning director of American Beauty and Road to Perdition, and his Neal Street company to produce the entire canon over a 12-year period.
Some of the country’s biggest stars – including Kate Winslet, who is married to Mendes, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Jude Law, Dame Helen Mirren, and James McAvoy – are being tipped to take part in what will be one of the BBC’s most expensive and ambitious drama series.
With quality television drama costing up to £900,000 an hour, the final bill could touch £100?million.