BBC Disability Ministry
We exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.
We joyfully live with a hard and glorious truth: God purposes disability in his creation for his glory and for our good.
In my blog on Sunday I asked several questions of the President following his speech to the graduates of Notre Dame. I doubt that I will ever know the answer to any of them, but I pray for the President and maybe someday God will be pleased to change his heart or at least guide him to present what he really believes more openly.
In the meantime, I am concerned at how he talks about issues, as if our greatest aspiration should be to talk about issues rather than honestly engage the differences between them. Important issues like abortion and embryonic (not adult) stem cell research.
I am even more concerned that he creates a false dilemma in his speeches rather than addressing the core problem. His policy decisions are anything but nuanced or seeking a middle ground, but he seems to want us to believe he has found common ground.
For example, from his speech on Sunday:
"And yet, one of the vexing things for those of us interested in promoting greater understanding and cooperation among people is the discovery that even bringing together persons of good will, bringing together men and women of principle and purpose -- even accomplishing that can be difficult. . .
. . . Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in an admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son's or daughter's hardships can be relieved."
We should not be drawn into such a spurious argument as not wanting to relieve the suffering of a child with a disease like diabetes. Of course we want that - the difference is that it should not come at the expense of another person's life. (And, by the way, we are against embryonic stem cell research - nobody is against stem cell research that does not involve the destruction of a human being. Another example of not dealing with the issue fairly on the President's part). This does not make it "an admirable conviction." It makes it a core principle of protecting the weakest among us from those who are more powerful and would do them harm.
Or, more graphically, my son's autism, blindness and mental retardation will not allow him to be an economically productive member of society. Does that mean we should harvest his kidneys, liver, heart and lungs for other, more worthy children?
If that thought turns your stomach, you must answer the core question of why - is it simply because his mother allowed him to be born, thus securing his rights to his own organs? Or is it something more fundamental.
The greatest guide and comfort comes from knowing that God is sovereign over all his creation:
God intimately knows how us and how he will create us: For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. . . Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13, 16
God creates some to live with a disability (or a disease like juvenile diabetes): Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Exodus 4:11
God creates freely, for his good purposes: As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him." John 9:1-3
Jesus Christ knows what suffering looks like, and paid every debt of the elect on the cross. That was not nuanced; if sin was not addressed, we are all lost. Do I feel badly about my sin? Yes. Should I feel badly about my sin? Absolutely. Is there a middle ground to talk about it? No. God gets to decide. There is only life with Jesus or eternal death.
The President did speak candidly about disagreement in his speech:
"Because no matter how much we may want to fudge it -- indeed, while we know that the views of most Americans on the subject are complex and even contradictory -- the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable. Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature."
I am commanded by God to respect those in authority, and with God's help I will respect President Obama, knowing that he serves as president because God wants him there. But we should not be silenced about calling abortion what it is; that is not caricature.
written on 21-May-2009
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Thank you for this post Mr. Knight. My younger brother has had Juvenile Diabetes since he was 7 (he is almost 18 now). Your blogging on disability is Christ-centered, compassionate and insightful. Keep up the good work!
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