Alternative Political Conversation

APC Topic Index

Instructions for APC

Primary Contributers

New Directions for Community Education

When one stops to think about it, the notion that governments would take it upon themselves to educate children is rather strange.  Governments may be well-suited for tasks such as building highways, or fighting wars, or regulating economies—but educating 7-year olds?  Isn’t that rather an odd idea?

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Topic #9: Education

Please consider the following potential leading questions:

 #1: What role, if any, should the federal government play in K-12 education as compared to state governments and local school districts?

 #2: Was the Bush administration’s “No Child Left Behind” program a positive step or a negative interference by the federal government in local school affairs?

 #3: Are there any public policy solutions to the steady decline in the level of performance of K-12 students in the U. S. in comparison to many other industrialized countries in the world?

 #4: What public policy steps can be taken to address the deteriorating condition of many inner-city “public” schools?

 #5: Should there be “school voucher” systems that will allow parents to use local, state, or federal funds to send their children to “public” or “private” K-12 schools?

 #6: What is the proper balance between the role of “professional educators” and parents/parent groups/local school boards in determining the curriculum in K-12 “public” schools?

 #7: What is the proper role for “Teacher Unions” in “public” education?

 #8: What public policies can make higher education “more affordable” for more college students?

Will We Eventually Insist on Medicare for Everyone?

I highly recommend for your reading a slim 72 page volume written by Dr. Tim Johnson, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor, titled The Truth About Getting Sick in America: The Real Problems with Health Care and What We Can Do (Hyperion: 2010).

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Health Care and Judgement Day (Part 2)

Two years later as pundits projected how the Supreme Court would rule, they confirmed the heart of the opposition's arguments; "State's rights", but they miscalculated the level of ideological loyalty within the nation's highest court.

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Health Care: The Road to Real Reform

The Supreme Court will rule tomorrow on the constitutionality of major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform package crafted by President Obama and Congressional Democrats. As we await the ruling on this legislation, let me offer a few thoughts on the economics and spiraling costs of health care in the United States, the kind of health care reform we really need, and what we as Christians can do to help meet needs now.

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The Hard Work of Health Care Policy 

Health insurance functions in largely the same way as other forms of insurance. Consumers bet they will get sick, and insurers bet that they won’t. However, the health insurance market has characteristics that distinguish it from other insurance markets and make it quite complicated as a matter of public policy.

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TOPIC # 8: Health Care

Please consider the following potential leading questions

 

#1: The U. S. Supreme Court will soon pass judgment on whether the “individual mandate” requirement in President Obama’s Health Care initiative is constitutional. What are your views about this issue?

 

#2: If the “individual mandate” is declared unconstitutional, are there other workable and politically feasible means for providing adequate health care coverage for all Americans? 

 

#3: If you object to President Obama’s Health Care Initiative, what would you put in its place?

 

#4: The costs associated with health care continue to spiral. Are there workable and politically feasible means for reducing such costs? Can costs be contained without sacrificing the quality of or access to adequate health care services for all Americans?


Same Sex Marriage and Sin

For the purpose of this discussion, I will stick to the question of public policy. Given the fact that we live in a pluralistic democracy with a spectrum of experiences and deeply held convictions at play, how then shall we live together?

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Same-Sex Marriage and the Political Task

In my experience, when Christians consider same sex marriage as a public policy issue, we often approach the subject as if we were in church. If we believe homosexual relationships are not part of God’s design, we say that governments should not recognize these relationships because they are sinful. Similarly, if we believe that the church should embrace homosexual Christians who make public commitments to each other, we conclude that the legal definition of marriage should be revised to include these relationships. My view is that these arguments may be beside the point.

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Reflections on the Institution of Marriage

It is hard to speak out as an advocate for traditional marriage today because so many observers immediately equate opposition to same-sex marriage with hatred or fear. As I hope to demonstrate below, I support marriage as a union between a man and a woman not out of dislike of gays and lesbians but out of conviction that traditional marriage is a universal social institution created by God for the good of all humanity. I hope that our discussion on this emotionally-charged issue will model a truly alternative political conversation with a spirit of mutual respect and desire for understanding.

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