Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Vote ‘Obama’ for change, reform
Oct21

Vote ‘Obama’ for change, reform

Ashli Lawson Voting gives hope to ideas becoming reality and is a great privilege we have in the United States. On November 4, I will be casting my ballot for Barack Obama for president of the United States. With Barack Obama as president, much-needed reform will be possible. Health care can become more available and affordable for families and businesses, alternative energy research will be encouraged and a war that never should have been started will be ceased. With an Obama-Biden ticket, change is possible. Health care has been the main concern for millions of U.S. families as premiums and co-pays have risen, choice of doctors has narrowed and people are turned away for pre-existing conditions. Under the Obama-Biden plan, heath care will be more affordable and more accessible. For children, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) will ensure every child has coverage from the time of birth. After age 21, a more effectively regulated health care system will instill competition between providers and mandatory access to service to allow families and employers to afford and receive coverage. Funding from this program will come when the Bush tax cuts on households making over $250,000 per year expire and a more progressive tax rate takes effect. A decrease in foreign oil dependence will not reverse the effects of current greenhouse gases. However, it will reduce the economic strain and push towards alternative energy. The Obama-Biden ticket supports government incentives for advanced car purchases and provides short-term relief for Americans at the pump. Obama will urge Congress to implement a profits tax on excessive oil companies and plug loopholes in the energy industry to prevent over-speculation in the field at the consumer’s expense. The war in Iraq began as the result of an attack on American soil. The Bush administration rushed into this war over intelligence reports that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and assertions that Saddam Hussein collaborated with al-Qaida terrorists. The 9/11 Commission report proved both false, but the war continued. The Bush administration then made it their mission to capture Suddam Hussein and make a defensive war into an offensive operation to bring democracy to Iraq. A war that was prematurely entered to protect Americans from terrorists soon became an imperialist mission to alter a political system. As North Korea’s Kim Jong Il was, and still is, testing missiles that could potentially reach the U.S., terrorism is not declining, and America’s economy is unstable, the current administration continues to supply more troops to the Middle East and exponentially allocate tax payer’s dollars to this mission. The United Nations does not back this mission, and America is...

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Abortion devalues human life, throws away God’s greatest gift

By Laura Beth Gebhardt It’s made the headlines before. A mother is tried for murder after leaving her baby to die in a trash can outside of a hospital. Seeing something like this leaves most people shocked. They can’t understand how someone could be so heartless. Yet, the same people are accepting of abortion. Despite what some may say, they are both murder. The heartbeat of a baby begins between the eighteenth and twenty-fifth days, and brain waves have been recorded as early as 40 days. The baby itself is fully developed, fingernails and eye lashes included, by 11 weeks. This is around the time that the average abortion is done. The definition of murder is, “to kill with premeditated malice.” Is this not the same thing as abortion? Recently, a new form of abortion has been introduced, known as induced labor abortion. In this procedure, labor is prematurely induced as late as six months into the pregnancy, and after the baby is born alive, it is left to die, sometimes in the soiled utility room. Sometimes it takes several hours. How can this not be considered murder? Presidential candidate Barack Obama does not oppose this procedure. On the contrary, he defends it. How a person can not be appalled and completely against this practice is beyond understanding. Voters give the president power, not only power over themselves but over the lives of thousands of defenseless babies. Anyone aspiring to lead this country should be closely scrutinized as to how they value the lives of the unborn. Throughout history, killing another human has never gone by without notice. It is a serious crime, and it has severe consequences. A study done by Elliot Institute of post-abortion patients, found that 61.3% of women experience guilt, 37.9% deal with anxiety, 31.6% have suicidal feelings and 43.6% deal with self-hatred. The guilt that faces post-abortion women is overwhelming and shows that their conscience knows that what they have done is wrong. It affects their thoughts, emotions and the way they live their everyday lives. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” God knew everyone by name before they were conceived, and taking the life of someone He created is something that people shouldn’t have the choice to do. The lives of humans are in His hands, and not something people should try to control.  Every life has a purpose and is precious in the eyes of God. Some would argue that people who are pro-life are against women having a choice....

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Fast food’s dangerous spread

Some may have heard the term, “you are what you eat.” For many, this means they are walking salt-shakers filled to the brim with grease and preservatives. In the documentary Super Size Me, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock ate only food from a fast food restaurant for 30 days to prove a point on an issue that faces college students on a daily basis. They should have taken a hint from his results, but it’s not likely. Though moviegoers were likely shocked to see Spurlock’s doctor’s diagnosis that he would die if he did not change his diet, they probably grabbed a burger on the way home. Many know the gruesome effect that the fast food industry’s products will have on health in the long run, but most simply don’t care or choose to ignore it. Americans continue to spend millions of dollars a year on the same establishments that feed them the poison causing their hospital bills. In his book Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser points out society’s dependence on fast food. “(It) is now served at restaurants and drive-through, at stadiums, airports, zoos, high schools, elementary schools and universities, on cruise ships, trains and airplanes…at gas stations and even at hospital cafeterias.” Schlosser points out that in the 1970s Americans spent about $6 billion on fast food per year. In the year 2000, that number had risen to more than $110 billion. “Americans now spend more money on fast food than they do on higher education, personal computers, computer software or new cars,” Schlosser says in his book. “They spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos and recorded music combined.” Though the amount of money spent on fast food is still significantly less than on grocery store food, a study by the agricultural publication Amber Waves points out that the amount of money spent on food from restaurants, including fast food places, is on the rise, while the amount spent on food purchased from grocery stores for home use is slowly decreasing. As obesity and cardiovascular problems run rampant, this shift in where money is spent in the United States should raise concern. Though fast food chains don’t kidnap people, their convenience and cheap prices lure many citizens who won’t stand up to the urge to splurge on a shake and instead try to eat a more healthy diet. Though buying food at the grocery store can seem more expensive in a single trip, it saves money in the long run. There are a wide variety of foods to choose from, and it allows for more health-friendly choices. Going shopping and cooking at home...

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Jesus before America
Sep30

Jesus before America

By Dennis Greeson “My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man. My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood. It’s to a King and a Kingdom.” So sings Derek Webb in a counter-culture anthem that challenges the mistake of exalting America above all else. This fervent nationalism is held by many, but it conflicts with everything Jesus stands for. The love of Christ for people of all nations and races, his unshakable love for people, is the model for all who follow him. Yet there has been a subtle arrogance woven into our faith that tells us we have the freedom to pick and choose who to love. Jesus died for Muslims, for communists, and for all who we have been convinced to hate. Countless numbers of my own friends, people I’ve cried for, would be scorned the moment they stepped off the plane into an American airport, let alone into an American church. Nationalism makes distinctions, sees borders and throws up barriers between people. We who claim to be following after Jesus have a call to be different, revolutionaries who love beyond man’s delineation. In 1994, my family and I found ourselves on an airplane bound for Asia. Just after my fifth birthday, my parents yielded to a call to give up their lives for foreign missions, and we moved to Bangladesh, a small country on India’s eastern border. I spent the next 13 years of my life amidst swollen cities and ripening rice patties, in three countries and countless houses. I watched my family step out across cultural and linguistic barriers, serving passionately a people they did not know with a love the world does not understand. Upon returning to the United States at the beginning of my freshman year of college, I discovered what my Asian experience had stolen from me. I had lost any ties to a country that I might have once had; America did not quite fit me. What I gained, however, was a sense of homelessness, which I count a blessing. Through Jesus we become adopted sons and daughters of God, born into his Kingdom. Therefore, at the deepest part of our identity, we are neither American nor Bolivian; we are neither Anglo nor African-American; we are neither Republican nor Democrat; we are, above all else, children of God. Nationalism is not wrong in itself. Commitment and submission to one’s country is important and even biblical. However, nationalism that eclipses our identity as people born into a Kingdom “not of this world” needs to be reconsidered (John 18:36). Paul told us not to be “conformed to...

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Pull the plug on life support for departed

She lay there in the bed: unsensing, expressionless, a human vegetable living on hospital tubes alone. At that point her existence was debatable. It wasn’t her—spirit gone, face swelled and soul lifted. My grandmother had passed away long before the fluids began leaking out of her swollen pores. Monitors said she was breathing and blood was pumping, but death had already consumed her gentle heartbeat. The Lord called her home. The doctor pulled the tubes. The warmth of her body left through the tips of her fingers as I stood holding her left hand and death claimed her in front of my eyes. There was a point in the week-long process of my grandmother’s hospitalization when our family came to the consensus that allowing her to remain on life-support was selfish and only yielded more suffering for her. Love is sometimes letting go. In many critical life and death situations, emotional attachments do not justify keeping people on assisted living. Circumstances will always differ, but generally speaking, it is unethical to keep the dead living through artificial nutrition and hydration for extended amounts of time. This issue has gained national attention. The 2005 Terri Schiavo case and the 1990 Nancy Cruzan case caused debates among family members over intentions and morality. The question remained over who was doing what was truly best for the patient. But after years of severe pysical inadequacy, who would want to remain alive? It is not easy to let go, but often necessary. Inner-family disputes over such matters need government judgement and an ethics council. One recent situation was in West Palm Beach, Fla. On Sept. 19, Karen Weber, 57, died after she was taken off feeding tubes on the request of her husband, Raymond Weber. Weber, who claimed his spouse would not want to live in a persistent vegetative state for an extended amount of time, fought in court against Karen’s mother, Martha Tatro, who believed her daughter was alert after her December stroke. But Karen was suffering from meningitis and had been unresponsive during the entire period. It took government intervention to allow Weber to relieve his wife from her immobile, earthly state. While it was difficult for him to pull the tube and know she would die, it was the best thing for her. There are exceptions to life-support cases, and treatment is not always humane and appropriate in each situation. Doctors and nurses must be conscious of the emotional needs of those affected, but family cannot allow someone to suffer after losing control of all bodily functions. Miracles do exist. People can regain their capabilities after accidents. But sustaining human...

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