Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mitt Romney on the Bible

In tonight's debate, Mitt Romney was asked if he believed every word in the Bible. He attempted to dodge the question by stating that he believes the Bible is the word of God, but when pressed to answer the question specifically he stumbled more than I've ever seen before.

Now, I think the question is flawed. I think the question stinks of a religious test. It's fine for any individual to base his decision on whatever he likes, including religion if he so chooses. But it's not OK to make ask a "religious test" question at a sanctioned debate.

Still, I'm disappointed at Romney's response. Considering the focus on his Mormonism, I would think he would be more prepared for questions like this. Here's the answer I would have given: "I believe in every word of the Bible as they were written by the prophets." It is a fact, not some crazy Mormon belief, that the Bible was compiled long after the words were written, and that the words have undergone much translation, which can change meaning.

I'm starting to wonder if Mitt Romney's desire to appease the religious right is making him fake. I'd much rather vote for someone who is not afraid of being honest than someone who is a "true conservative".

Mitt, I want to believe in you. Don't let me down.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Primary Program... Check.

Last week was our primary program in church. I am a primary teacher so I saw all the preparation that went into it. I like the primary program as much as everyone else, and I also think it is good to give the kids a chance to participate in sacrament meeting and get used to speaking in front of people.

But I couldn't help but notice the collective sigh of relief when it was all over. The music leader was noticeably giddy during singing time afterward, taking joy in singing primary songs that we haven't sang for a long time since we had to practice the program songs. The kids also seemed happier. I don't think I've ever seen them sing as well in primary this year. I think they enjoyed singing songs that were familiar to them. The spirit was strong.

Don't get me wrong, I like the songs that were written for the program, but most of them are not familiar to the kids and it takes a lot of time and effort to learn them. And there is a lot of time spent preparing in other ways. Does the primary program distract the primary leadership to some degree from what is truly important: the spiritual development of the kids?

I don't have the answers. And I respect and support the policy of the church to have a primary program. I just wonder if there is a different way we can implement this that would not feel like such a burden on those who are doing their best to serve the children.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

One Laptop Per Child

When I first saw this I thought it must be a joke. But no, it's completely serious. For just $400 you can give a laptop in Africa (and get one yourself). Here's a blurb from the website:

"The mission of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is to empower the children of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child. In order to accomplish our goal, we need people who believe in what we’re doing and want to help make education for the world’s children a priority, not a privilege."

Ah yes, the laptop--the staple of education. How did we ever learn with it? Seriously, I applaud them for trying to do something, but is this really the right way? My children don't have laptops and I imagine they won't have one for a long time. Will the children of Africa suddenly be educated if they have a laptop? I think our resources might be better directed toward training teachers in Africa, or fighting some of the factors that distract kids away from education like AIDS and starvation. Connectivity in comparison seems a tad lower of the list.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Boasting vs. "Let Your Light So Shine"

An interesting commentary on the Church web site raises an interesting question about our humanitarian efforts. Could it be charitable to boast?

Duty to Adopt

Pro-lifers, including myself, often promote adoption as a great alternative to abortion. Mitt Romney, for example, has been making it an issue. It's hard to see a reason where it would be acceptable to choose abortion rather than adoption, except those already listed by the Church as valid reasons for abortion such as the threatened health of the mother. So it's no wonder why pro-lifers promote it so much. A year ago the Church did a presentation in our ward about encouraging unwed mothers to put their babies up for adoption instead of abortion, and even instead of keeping the baby themselves.

While I support these efforts, I also think there is a problem with this strategy.

Currently, my understanding is that many parents need to wait years before being selected to adopt. In the Church system, birth parents can select the couple of their choice from many qualified couples. In other agencies, it might be the system that chooses and not the birth parents, but still I think there are waiting lists. (To be balanced, I've also read about children waiting to be adopted. I'm not sure where the disconnect is here. Why do some parents have to wait to adopt while there are children also waiting? But that's not central to my point.) When there are numerous qualified parents willing to adopt, it makes sense that unwed and unprepared mothers should give their children a better alternative.

However, what if we were successful? What if each of the close to a million abortions a year would instead be adoptions? Would there be enough adopting parents? I was unable to find hard numbers, but my impression is that there is not a million waiting parents. Even if there were, many of them have been waiting years and so that number would not replenish itself next year to keep up with the number of abortions.

Of course the ideal solution would be to eliminate both abortion as well as unwed, unprepared pregnancy. But if we only get rid of the former without the latter, we have a problem.

So the questions I'm considering are these: Are us pro-lifers willing to step up to the plate and adopt to support our strategy of adoptions over abortion? If my hypothetical situation were to come to pass, would the Church give a presentation encouraging married, fertile members to adopt in addition to (or perhaps even instead of) having biological children?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Telling the Truth

Clunk. "Waahh!"

"Did you just throw your shoe at your brother?" My wife asked as she drove.

"No", my daughter answered innocently. Sure enough, her foot dangled shoe-less, and the other shoe was on the floor by her brother's car seat.

As we have done before, we gave her the lecture about being honest. Telling the truth is the right thing to do. It's what Jesus wants us to do.

"But why?" she asks.

She's been asking that for the last couple of days. Strangely, it seems that since that incident, every book she reads and every cartoon she watches has to do with honesty. Yesterday, her favorite morning cartoon was about the boy who cried wolf. Each time the topic comes up she's eager to share what's she's learned.

My daughter's on a mission to find out why it's so important to tell the truth.

I only wish we could get her as passionate about other things, like going to sleep when it's bed time!