The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Elliott Denniston - Danforth Speaks

The Joplin Globe - Online Edition
"Danforth speaks

Recently, Missouri Republican John Danforth wrote about how his religious views differ from those of more conservative Christians. Since Danforth is an Episcopal priest, a former Missouri senator, and a former member of the Bush administration, I thought that Globe readers would be interested in hearing a summary of his views.

Danforth believes that for moderate Christians such as himself, the "only absolute standard of behavior" is the commandment to love our neighbors: repeatedly in the Gospels the "Love Commandment takes precedence when it conflicts with laws." Thus he believes that someone in a persistent vegetative state is better served by allowing her a natural and merciful end than by government intervention that keeps her hooked up to a feeding tube. He believes that the Gospel would have us pursue stem cell research because it provides an opportunity to save our neighbors' lives. He believes that, given the example of Christ who reached out in compassion to all humans, we should oppose amending the Constitution in a way that would "humiliate homosexuals." "Following a lord who sat at the table with tax collectors and sinners, we welcome to the lord's table all who would come," says Rev. Danforth.

It is difficult and dangerous to try to codify Christian values into secular law, argues Mr. Danforth; it is best to keep church and state separate. Danforth believes that the increased activism of the Christian right brought about the end of bipartisan collegiality. Partisan bickering, Danforth argues, occurred in large part because of the lack of humility of the Christian right. Danforth concludes that moderate Christians are passionate in their beliefs but moderate and modest in knowing the details of God's plans: "Far from claiming to possess God's truth, we claim only to be imperfect seekers of the truth."

To read his full text, see his editorial (June 17, The New York Times).

Elliott Denniston

Webb City"


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