The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


“Not a witch” vs. “Not a Marxist”?

posted by jmcgee
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The subject of faith came up — prominently — in last night’s debate between the two contenders for Senate in Delaware:

Christine O’Donnell, the Republican Delaware Senate candidate, and her Democratic opponent, Chris Coons, hurled personal attacks at each other in a nationally televised debate Wednesday night.

A feisty, aggressive Ms. O’Donnell called Mr. Coons a Marxist whose beliefs came from a socialist professor and said he would “rubber stamp” the policies of the Democrats in Washington. Mr. Coons raised questions about whether Ms. O’Donnell’s faith would drive her positions on social issues like abortion, prayer and evolution.

Pressed by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, Ms. O’Donnell refused to say whether she believed evolution was a myth, saying that “what I believe is irrelevant.” As she did throughout the first half of the debate, Ms. O’Donnell quickly tried to return the focus to Mr. Coons, saying, “I would argue there are more people who support my Catholic faith than his Marxist belief.”

Mr. Coons responded that the source of her charge – an article he wrote as a student – was “a joke” that his Republican friends at the time conceived when he registered as a Democrat.

“I am not now nor have I been anything but a clean-shaven capitalist,” Mr. Coons said.



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just_a_dre

posted October 14, 2010 at 11:35 am


*sigh* Let’s-all-insult-each-other-until-there’s-nothing-left-to-say-except-“You mom”



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kenneth

posted October 14, 2010 at 12:08 pm


O’Donnell’s remarks are entirely representative of the savage ignorance of most of the Tea Party movement, and certainly all of its candidates to date. They constantly drop terms like “Marxist”, and “socialist” in ways that make it clear they have never read a book or even an encyclopedia entry on the topics.
Many of these buffoons maintain that Obama is a Marxist, Socialists AND a practicing Muslim. So they’re saying he’s a hardcore atheist who believes that there is one God and one primary prophet of the God of Abraham! This is a woman who I can almost promise couldn’t write a passing freshman essay about Marxism to save her life, and she’s applying it to any mainstream American politician whose ideology she doesn’t like.
Catholics should be ashamed to have people like this representing your faith. This is a movement which actually celebrates ignorance as a virtue. The RCC has had its failures of holding up theology over science, but on the whole, it’s always valued scholarship and reasoning. Conservatives, real conservatives, should be horrified at who they have allowed to take over the movement.
I always had my disagreements with the conservatives of the 1960s-80s, but I respected many of them. Guys like William F. Buckley defined the movement as one of ideas and principles, not anger and ignorance and demagoguery. Love them or hate them, and I’ve done both, these were people who valued education and reason and were conversant in geopolitics and science and political theory. By the standards they upheld, O’Donnell (and Palin), would not have been considered fit to serve on a local zoning board. National office would have been beyond unthinkable. If we allow our legitimate fears and angers to propel people like this into national power, they will rapidly reduce us to third-rate status among the nations of the world, and we will richly deserve it.



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Michael

posted October 14, 2010 at 1:19 pm


“The RCC has had its failures of holding up theology over science”:
I think a view like this is too frequently upheld and not quite accurate. Individuals who champion this belief like to point to the Galileo debacle, and perhaps rightfully so. However, very rarely do they point to Copernicus, Gregor Mendel, and numerous financial contributions the Church has made to science.
JP II said many things on the subject, but here is something that 5 seconds of Google pulled up for me: “Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. ”
An interesting, quick read: http://catholiccitizenamerica.blogspot.com/2010/09/science-religion-and-pope.html
Apologies for not sticking to the topic, this was just one of those straws for my camel’s back, I suppose.



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Rick

posted October 14, 2010 at 3:02 pm


quoted:
Pressed by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, Ms. O’Donnell refused to say whether she believed evolution was a myth, saying that “what I believe is irrelevant.” As she did throughout the first half of the debate, Ms. O’Donnell quickly tried to return the focus to Mr. Coons, saying, “I would argue there are more people who support my Catholic faith than his Marxist belief.”
The point she made which this reporting left out is that she thinks, and rightly so, whichever side you believe is correct… She thinks if you teach evolution, then you should teach creationism. It’s not fair to teach one or the other.
Seems only fair to me. Any fair and reasonable minded people agree with that position?



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Tom

posted October 14, 2010 at 3:31 pm


Hello Kenneth,
I suppose that my “savage ignorance” compels me to respond to your post. I have, in fact, read the Communist Manifesto as well as Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.
I do agree with you regarding the conflict between Obama as an atheist as suggested by Marx and the assertion that he is a muslim. However, Islamic law is a form of governance as opposed to a holding a primary position of religion.
For me this resolves that issue.
As to whether Obama governs from the extreme left (socialism) look at the summation of his term. I have borrowed from Ms. Debbie McKee for the following:
1. Government provided retirement pay to senior citizens (i.e., Social Security).
2. Government provided health care (i.e., Medicare and Medicaid).
3. Government-provided, mandatory education to people’s children (i.e., public schooling).
4. Government-provided unemployment compensation.
5. Government-provided welfare payments.
6. Government central planning of monetary affairs (i.e., a Federal Reserve).
7. Government management of the economy.
8. Government-issued licenses for occupations and professions.
9. Government central planning over immigration affairs.
10. Government control over trade.
11. Government equalization of wealth among the citizenry.
12. Government-mandated wage rates.
13. Government control over prices.
14. Government-provided subsidies.
15. Labor unions
These are some of common elements of countries under socialism. Obama supports them all.
In addition to these, there are other commonalities of socialist regimes:
1. Under Josef Stalin 7,000,000 citizens starved in one year
2. Under Adolf Hitler 6,000,000 citizens were murdered
3. Under Mao-tse-tung 80,000,000 citizens were murdered



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romancrusader

posted October 14, 2010 at 4:39 pm


It was actually 12 million that were murdered under Hitler.



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Tom

posted October 14, 2010 at 5:04 pm


Romancrusader,
Thanks. I stand corrected. Good luck to Delaware next month. We could use a little of it in Texas, too!



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kenneth

posted October 14, 2010 at 5:22 pm


Tom, this 15-point litany of actions you attribute to extreme left policies has been supported by every president of both parties, to one degree or another since the 1930s. By your standards, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan also “governed from the extreme left.” Many of these “liberal” principles have been core functions of Western governments dating back to the 19th Century and sometimes well before that. Yes, truly totalitarian regimes have been bloody, but guess what? A defining characteristic of them was that they placed ideology above critical thinking and reason – very much the same mentality as O’Donnell.
Where are these death camps you assume Obama must be advocating? Are you getting more black helicopters over your bunker these days? The people who are preparing and fantasizing about bloodshed these days are mostly Tea Party folks or their sympathizers. Your ideological colleagues are the ones buying container ships full of weapons and compiling lists of the types of people they’d like to put up against a wall. In the 60s and 70s, yes, it was leftists who were throwing bombs in this country, but not anymore.
Some of these other things you mention don’t add up either. Government re-distribution of wealth? Not since the stock market crash of the 1920s has wealth been so un-evenly distributed and concentrated in the top 1% of the population. Labor unions are at the lowest ebb they have been since they were legalized. Most of the “welfare” dollars these days go to Fortune 500 companies. Obama’s “health care” was written by, and for the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. It is as far from “socialism” as one can get. The government actually helps companies offshore jobs and has more tax loopholes for corporations than any Western government. Does that sound very “leftist” to you?
This supposed stranglehold of government control of the economy is an illusion. They essentially allowed the financial sectors to self-regulate for two decades, with the result that we now live in an economic slump we may never climb out of.



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Steve

posted October 14, 2010 at 5:47 pm


Under the regimes in the United States. 40,000,000+ babies slaughtered.



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Deacon John M. Bresnahan

posted October 14, 2010 at 7:10 pm


I’m puzzled.
O”Donnell mentions going on a date with someone who is into witchcraft when she was a teen-ager. The media goes ballistic, bezerk, virtually out of its mind with invective over it.
But yesterday the First Lady talked about prayer circles keeping the evil spirits away from the White House–and barely a blip, hardly a whisper asking “What IS she talking about?”
Maybe it is the media’s double standard that needs to be exorcised.



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romancrusader

posted October 14, 2010 at 7:51 pm


The media’s blind and hates God. It’s that simple really. There’s no other way of getting around it. Why else would they go goo-goo and ga-ga over O’Donnell dating a pagan as a teenager? I’m so tired of you liberal America. You make me sick. It’s people like Chris Coons that give our nation a bad name.



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Emily

posted October 14, 2010 at 8:15 pm


As a socialist, I can say that we do not live in a socialist country. Period.



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romancrusader

posted October 14, 2010 at 8:38 pm


“As a socialist, I can say that we do not live in a socialist country.”
What an incredibly niave statement. We became socialist without knowing it.



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Emily

posted October 14, 2010 at 10:22 pm


The country we live in is nowhere near socialism. We have a few social programs (social security, medicare, etc.), but that is NOT socialism. You are the naive one.



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Katherine

posted October 15, 2010 at 8:57 am


Tom,
I’ve read your list defining Socialism. I am shocked to learn that I as a Catholic belong to a socialist or semi-socialist church. #’s 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 11, 12 and 15 easily are items supported by our bishops and popes. Possibly many of the others as well.
Not only has socialism taken over America, it has taken over the Catholic Church.



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Ronald King

posted October 15, 2010 at 10:48 am


Are there any sane intelligent Catholics out there running for office on either side? All I see are reactionaries on the left and right and I am disappointed with the shallow extroverts who scream the loudest that represent our faith in public.
They need to follow the example of Pope Benedict when he visited the UK.



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Panthera

posted October 15, 2010 at 1:29 pm


Rick said:
The point she made which this reporting left out is that she thinks, and rightly so, whichever side you believe is correct… She thinks if you teach evolution, then you should teach creationism. It’s not fair to teach one or the other.
Seems only fair to me. Any fair and reasonable minded people agree with that position?
endquote
Rick, I suppose, were one to teach a course on comparative religion, then it would make sense – the Roman Catholic position is officially in support of evolution and natural selection. At least, that is the Vatican’s position. I know many American Catholics have other opinions.
However, in the natural sciences, we don’t take the same approach. For as long as I taught – from the early 1980’s until this year – I always had an American student or three from the Bible-Belt who would stand up after an introduction to evolution and demand equal time to present their “Intelligent Design” or “Creationism” or whatever the current term was, at that time.
I always told them to sit back down, we were in Europe where π was not set equal to 3.0 just because that was “convenient” (Tennessee almost did do that, a few years ago!) and the only possible arguments I might entertain had to be based on firm research, capable of being scientifically validated.
Goodness.
Well – you may not consider me a reasonable person, and I may not seem fair to you, but, no, I didn’t teach the proper way to fold together the ingredients for a mousse au chocolat alongside double recessives.
Science is science, religious beliefs are religious beliefs and, increasingly, I find my Christian faith, which is based on God having sent his only Son to die for my sins, far, far away from the politically driven, dumbed down reality of American public opinion in 2010.



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Panthera

posted October 15, 2010 at 1:33 pm


Oh, and, an honest reading of the positions of the Roman Catholic church would explain which party B16 supported in Germany.
You might actually take the time to look that up RomanCrusader. CSU is not only a university in the West.



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Micha Elyi

posted October 16, 2010 at 4:12 am


@Pantera – “…the only possible arguments I might entertain had to be based on firm research, capable of being scientifically validated.”
Have you evolved any new species in the lab yet?
Oh, and you’re wrong about Tennessee too. Hint: A Heinlein novel isn’t a history text.



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