Thursday, May 14, 2009


One writer in today's News-Leader was lamenting the fact that she cannot have people that use her taxes forced into sterilization. Several commenters agreed. The Constitution: They are not a fan.

Abuse and neglect of children is a horrible crime, and I happen to agree that some people are given their children back when they should not have them. I also agree that some people continue to have children when they are completely incapable of taking care of the children. I think framing the issue around a person's IQ and mental illness is a mischaracterization probably based on erronious experiences and knowledge. Just because someone has a low IQ or has a mental illness does not necessarily disqualify them from the good parent category.

It is the harsh reaction, the anger in the letter and the comments, that strikes me strangely. Considering our Bible belt status, I would expect many of these writers to consider themselves Christians. I'm not entirely convinced the ideas in the article are reflective of Jesus' teachings. Forced sterilization is a pretty strong stance considering the Bible and the Constitution.

I find it so interesting when good people are willing to suspend their ethical and religious beliefs when it comes to war and taxes. Our ethics are more important during perilous times. That is the time when God, our friends and our children are really watching to see what we do. I don't think it is ever okay to suspend our ethics to quash our fears.

Easier said than done, as the saying goes. It's hard to be nice and caring and loving. Hard for me and hard for you. It can be a struggle.


Jeremy D. Young said...

The only forced sterilization I could be supportive of would be of people convicted of crimes directly related to procreation.

I would never support the Government giving or denying permission to bear children for any group of people.

Jackie Melton said...

From the News-Leader:

"I feel that birth control/sterilization should be encouraged/paid for at 100 percent (if not mandated) for people who are not able to support the children that they already have and are getting public assistance."

I think it's important to note the writer announced at the beginning that birth control/sterilization should be encouraged...that's a different issue than a mandate. I'd argue against either, I think, though I haven't given as much thought to "encouragement" as I have a mandate.

Interestingly, the question of mandated sterilization for those with a proven track record of not being able to care for their children came up in my Sunday School class a few months ago. I was horrified, sick at my stomach horrified, that there were members of my class who felt that their tax dollars were more important than human life and that the removal of rights from American citizens to bear children would be preferable to the use of their tax dollars in providing assistance to needy children (Sorry, if that might be an unpalatable characterization to some but, that's the way I see it). The discussion came as close to becoming a heated argument as any topic that has ever been raised in our class.

There have to be other solutions to the issue. And, I might add, individual circumstances, both financial, and otherwise, change. There should be continued hope of change, hope for better circumstances. The government should not take the hope of a better life and the ability of our resilient citizens to effect change in their own lives, through education and hard work, away from our citizens.

I don't necessarily support government assistance as the supreme answer to meeting the needs of poor mothers and children, "Jack," however, a step as drastic as the federal or state government dictating who should qualify to bear children and who should not, is NOT the answer. There has to be a more creative solution. At this point, you could get into the whole, "If churches were doing what they should be doing, in the first place, taxpayer money would not be required to support the needy among us."

I'm happy to be able to add, my Sunday School class supports Newborns in Need both materially and financially.

Jack said...

Dear conservative Jackie,

Liberal Jack and you are so close in ideology here that it is scary (or humorous).

Our churches (conservative and liberal Christian as well as Buddhist and Jewish and all the others) should be more community minded and help solve more of these issues so the government is not in the place where it feels it must jump in.

Thanks for the comments Jeremy and Jackie. I enjoy this and miss it when the local bloggers don't engage.