Marcia Pally teaches Multilingual Multicultural Studies at New York University and is a guest professor in the theology department of Humboldt University, Berlin.
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We Vote For Ourselves, But We're Wired to Vote for Community
What criteria do we use to pick a president?
We hear the daily stats and buzz, but presidential elections are about the big picture — where we want to go and the best way to get there. This means looking not only at political options but also at the way we humans are set up — how we’re wired. When public policies don’t account for that, we have reduced horizons, diminished resources, and polarization.
Humans Wired for Violence? Evolutionary Biology Begs to Differ
Given the terrorist attacks of the last few weeks, one might be forgiven for feeling a bit bleak about the human species, its frequent use of violence and its failure to negotiate solutions. We must be hard-wired for violence. Or perhaps “war is a force that gives us meaning,” as Chris Hedges put it in his 2002 book of the same title.
It turns out, however, that we’re evolutionarily wired not for violence but for cooperation.
"The vast majority of the people on the planet awake on a typical morning and live through a violence-free day — and this experience generally continues day after day after day," writes Douglas Fry.
"The real story should be the 13,748 gazillion times human beings default to cooperation and kindness!"
BETWEEN 2008 and 2009, the Centers for Disease Control reported in November, the U.S. abortion rate fell 5 percent, down to the lowest point that decade. This new data is drawing the attention of people of faith whose thinking about unwanted pregnancies has become more nuanced—both in how to prevent them and what to do when they occur.
Why did the rate drop? It's not a matter of people being more cautious about becoming pregnant due to the recession; along with the overall decline, the number of abortions per 1,000 live births also dropped. But it might be linked to the fact that use of long-acting contraceptives such as IUDs, which tend to be more effective than other methods, more than doubled from 2007 to 2009, according to a national survey.
In recent years, as evangelical activism has broadened, economic justice, creation care, and immigration reform have been at the forefront of the change—but abortion hasn't. Of evangelicals, 61 percent believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, while 33 percent say it should be legal; 84 percent of evangelicals ages 18 to 30 say they would not consider abortion if faced with an unexpected pregnancy.
While 77 percent of those young evangelicals find premarital sex unacceptable, they are also aware of facts on the ground, perhaps because they think seriously about human fallenness. Eighty-two percent, perhaps with the awareness that more-effective birth control would reduce abortion rates further, hold that those having "sex outside of marriage should use contraceptives to prevent pregnancy." (An increasing number of Catholics hold similar views, despite current church teaching.)