Christian Values and Policy

In a Fort Worth hospital Marlise Munoz lies brain dead and on life support while her husband and parents argue with the state of Texas about letting her go. Because she is pregnant, the hospital refuses on the ground that the law in Texas keeps them from it in order to protect the unborn. Critics says the hospital is misinterpreting the law, but the fact is there is a law in Texas as in about 12 other states, preventing medical personnel from cutting off life support to pregnant women. As any observer of the culture can attest, such laws represent the Christian beliefs and Christian values of those we sometimes call the Christian right. Miles away in Los Angeles the county board of supervisors just voted to re-include the cross on the city’s seal. The seal represents the San Gabriel mission and its advocates say that the cross is part of the mission, a truer historical representation. But Zev Yaroslavsky , a supervisor who voted against the inclusion says “It’s not just about history, it’s about the cross and to say anything else is disingenuous.” In 2004 the cross had been removed when the ACLU threatened to sue the city over it. While critics of the cross maintain it is unconstitutional and does violate the separation of church and state, its supporters believe that as part of the mission reinstating the cross will pass the test should it be challenged in court. The values of one religion, whether or not that religion is that of a majority, ought not to inform the laws applying to other Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and non-believers.