God's Politics

God's Politics


Randall Balmer: Moral Myopia on the Right

posted by gp_intern

You would think that the people who want creationism or intelligent design taught in the public schools would evince some concern for the handiwork of the intelligent designer.

You might think that the human costs wrought by global warming – crop destruction, famine, displacement – would capture the attention of those who persistently style themselves “pro-life.”

Well, no, not really, not if it detracts from the single-minded agenda of making abortion and same-sex unions illegal. Or if it offends corporate interests. That’s the gist of a letter, which Jim Wallis and others have blogged about recently, sent on March 1 by a coalition of high-powered leaders of the Religious Right.

Writing to L. Roy Taylor, chair of the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization that claims to represent 45,000 evangelical congregations, 25 Religious Right stalwarts, including James Dobson, Paul Weyrich and Donald Wildmon, called on the NAE to throttle the efforts of Richard Cizik, the organization’s lobbyist, to call attention to the environmental crisis caused by global warming.

“The existence of global warming and its implications for mankind is a subject of heated controversy throughout the world,” the letter states. “More importantly, we have observed that Cizik and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time, notably the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children.”

This is not the first time that leaders of the Religious Right have tried to derail evangelical interest in environmental matters. In October 1999, meeting (ironically) in the bucolic hills of northwestern Connecticut, several of these same signatories produced a document called the Cornwall Declaration, a putative statement of concern for the environment. The Cornwall Declaration opens with a pious affirmation of “shared reverence for God and His creation,” but a closer reading reveals that the statement is really a brief for corporate interests. Let’s trust market forces to determine our posture toward the environment, the Declaration argues, because public policy “can dangerously delay or reverse” economic development.

If the leaders of the Religious Right are truly concerned about “the great moral issues of our time,” I suggest they look beyond abortion and same-sex unions. They could do far worse than to address the displacement and the human toll caused by global warming.

Once they summon the courage to address that issue, the leaders of the Religious Right might want to look elsewhere. I happen to believe that the defining issues of our day are the morality of the war in Iraq and the Bush administration’s use of torture against those it designates as “enemy combatants.” Regarding the former, there are centuries of thought and writing that go into defining what is or is not a just war: Is it a defensive war? Is the use of military force the last resort? Is there a reasonable chance of success? Is the amount of force used roughly proportional to the provocation? Have provisions been made, as much as possible, to protect civilians?

No one has yet persuaded me that the war in Iraq meets any of these criteria.

Regarding the use of torture, as I was writing Thy Kingdom Come, I contacted eight Religious Right organizations, including many represented as signatories to the NAE letter, with a simple query. Please send me, I asked, a copy of your organization’s position on torture. I heard from only two – both of whom defended the Bush administration’s policies on torture. To my knowledge, no Religious Right organization has yet issued a statement unequivocally denouncing the use of torture, despite the fact that these despicable practices came to light nearly two years ago.

Thankfully, the board of the National Association of Evangelicals stood up to the leaders of the Religious Right at their meeting last week. They refused to censure Cizik for his efforts on global warming, and they also approved a long overdue statement denouncing the use of torture.

The leaders of the Religious Right suffer from a kind of moral myopia. If they are truly concerned about “the great moral issues of our time,” I suggest they look beyond abortion and same-sex unions. Protection of the natural world, God’s creation, from neglect and from the effects of predatory capitalism would be a good place to start.


Randall Balmer, an Episcopal priest, is professor of American religious history at Barnard College, Columbia University, a visiting professor at Yale Divinity School, and the author, most recently, of Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America: An Evangelical’s Lament (Basic Books). He is also a member of the Red Letter Christians.



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kevin s.

posted March 20, 2007 at 4:39 pm


So, just so I am clear. When Ted Haggard is galavanting about with prostitutes, the NAE represents the religious right. When they advocate (albeit nebulously) on bahalf of the environment and against torture, they are “standing up to” the religious right.”Regarding the use of torture, as I was writing Thy Kingdom Come, I contacted eight Religious Right organizations, including many represented as signatories to the NAE letter, with a simple query. Please send me, I asked, a copy of your organization s position on torture. I heard from only two both of whom defended the Bush administration s policies on torture. ” Or, as Tony Campolo put it, a dozen “Religious Right organizations (sic)” unanimously condoned torture. What you have here, is not eight conservative evangelical organizations condoning torture, but two conservative evangelical leaders agreeing with an administration that does not allow torture.



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splinterlog

posted March 20, 2007 at 5:00 pm


Kevin what’s your point? So you mean that Ted Haggard standing up to the Religous Right??? I see that you’re still trolling around these parts – buddy take your own advice and get a job. Seriously! On the subject of climate change, this just out today -http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21418971-2703,00.html James Hansen, who heads the Goddard Institute for Space Science in New York, said in testimony: “The effect of the filtering of climate change science during the current Administration has been to make the reality of climate change less certain than the facts indicate, and to reduce concern about the relation of climate change to human-made greenhouse gas emissions.” Since the Democratic takeover of Congress in January the committee’s chairman, Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California, has led efforts to uncover the extent of White House interference with scientific debate. The Administration has moved to exercise control over environmental agencies by installing political appointees including a former oil industry lobbyist, Philip Cooney, as chief of staff of the Council on Environmental Quality. Mr Cooney told the committee: “My sole loyalty was to the President and advancing the policies of his Administration.” Documents released on Monday show that in 2003 Mr Cooney and other senior appointed officials made at least 181 changes to a strategic plan on climate change to play down the scientific consensus on global warming. They made a further 113 alterations to minimise the human role in climate change, and inserted possible benefits of climate change. “These changes must be made,” a note in Mr Cooney’s handwriting says. “The language is mandatory.”



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Wolverine

posted March 20, 2007 at 5:14 pm


Meanwhile, Sojourners has yet to acknowledge that their link to the “final report” of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was in fact to a summary for policy makers, and that the final report has yet to come out. But the left would never think of spinning science to advance its political agenda… Wolverine



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Adam Omelianchuk

posted March 20, 2007 at 5:18 pm


I this post makes the same mistake as Dobson et all by taking pet causes and turning them into “the great moral issues of our time” to the denigration of others. Moral thinking should not act this way. To be sure, we can argue over ethical hierarchy, but to use such a ranking system to smear one issue with another as “not that big of a deal” isn’t very prophetic if you ask me. That reeks of partisanship, not unlike Balmer’s uninspiring book.



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moderatelad

posted March 20, 2007 at 6:23 pm


You know – let’s give Al Gore Card Blanche on the environment so that he and everyone that endorses St. Al can make wholesale changes on our mfg. companies that will make them all ‘green’ in a matter of 18 months.There really is not one area of industry that Al did not ‘gore’ in his book ‘Earth in the Balance’. So since Al seems to be the patron saint of the environment – let him fix it for us. Then what everyone s IRA tank to the point that it will not support them in their old age. Watch jobs disappear off shore to countries that were not part of the Kyoto Agreement and our unemployment will be the upwards of 50 to 65 percent. But we will be green – the environment that St AL is out there protecting will be safe because we know that we are just a few SUV’s away from destroying the Eco-system. Let’s tax everyone for the energy that they use – but with so many not having jobs – what are they going to be using for energy and how are they going to pay the tax. Al will not have a problem – he is rich. Teddy Kennedy will be fine – the Kennedy fortune is off shore so that he does not have to pay taxes on it anyway. Kerry – I am sure that he will make his ‘family’ mothball the SUV’s they own.We can make improvements without harming the economy. Later – .



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(the other) Brian

posted March 20, 2007 at 6:23 pm


One could as easily say, to use Balmer’s words, “if the leaders of the progressive Christian left are truly concerned about the great moral issues of our time, I suggest they look beyond global warming, poverty, and the displacement of human lives. They could do far worse than to address abortion and the crumbling of Christian marriage”. In other words, I do want to hear what Wallis and others say about global warming, poverty, etc. But when a group doesn’t have have the spine or adherence to the catholic Faith to even prophetically speak in defense of the unborn, then they have lost all credibility. Life is foundational. You call this being “myopic” or narrow. Again, I am fine for the most part with Wallis and Co. speaking on poverty. But why the one-sided hesitancy to speak with the same energy on the abortion issue? Is it fear of the democrats? Fear of people lumping you in with those nasty and dreaded “pro-lifers”? Seriously, what is it? Thank God that we have a witness in the early father and mothers of the church who saw no problem speaking of a wholistic view of God’s created word and the moral order he built into it. Would that many on both the left and the right walk on their path.



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(the other) Brian

posted March 20, 2007 at 6:27 pm


Oops, make that “world” in the last sentence above. Not ‘word’.



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splinterlog

posted March 20, 2007 at 6:42 pm


The other Brian, see Exodus 21:22 and Matthew 19:2-9 – the scriptures have already spoken about both issues so I don’t see why Sojourners needs to add anything. Do we have the spine to listen?



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 20, 2007 at 6:46 pm


Again, I am fine for the most part with Wallis and Co. speaking on poverty. But why the one-sided hesitancy to speak with the same energy on the abortion issue? Is it fear of the democrats? Fear of people lumping you in with those nasty and dreaded “pro-lifers”? Seriously, what is it? The latter is probably it. See, some of those “pro-lifers” are so starved for authority and simultaneously full of themselves that they readily quote those who support their view, never mind that he/she may do so for far different reasons (e. g. Nat Hentoff) — and in fact don’t really talk to such people. I have always opposed abortion myself, but when I state that I always feel I have to use caveats to make sure I’m indeed not lumped in with the likes of Randall Terry or Paul Hill.



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jesse

posted March 20, 2007 at 6:55 pm


Again, I am fine for the most part with Wallis and Co. speaking on poverty. But why the one-sided hesitancy to speak with the same energy on the abortion issue? Is it fear of the democrats? Fear of people lumping you in with those nasty and dreaded “pro-lifers”? Seriously, what is it? –The reason, of course, is that Wallis and Co. are pro-choice.



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moderatelad

posted March 20, 2007 at 7:40 pm


jesse | 03.20.07 – 1:00 pm | #We are all ‘pro-choice’.Just what is your ‘choice’ pro-life or pro-abortion? Later – .



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Kate Maver

posted March 20, 2007 at 7:56 pm


I for one, am delighted that the NAE is willing to broaden its understanding of “great moral issues” to include God’s creation. (protecting the environment is the ULTIMATE prolife issue–we lose the planet and ain’t NOBODY whose unborn gonna be born!), and the extreme poverty of over one billion of our neighbors (didn’t Jesus say something about giving a cup of water to the least of these is like giving a cup of water to him? If we, by sins of omission anda commission, DENY the basics of life to the poor, aren’t we DENYING Christ? I think that’s spelled out pretty clearly in the gospels. Have those on the right wing ever actually READ the gospels or the prophets?). And OF COURSE the NAE took the right stand on torture! Jesus himself was the victim of unfair, brutal torture. How could any Christian in any church find any controversy in taking a stand against that? The scandal is much more that more Christian organizations are NOT taking a stand against it. Standing against torture is standing FOR Jesus. I am delighted that evangelicals who have actually read the words of Jesus about poverty and justice and read about his actions with the poor and marginalized are finding their voice and being a witness for Christ. Through the words and actions of these Christians the world will know that our faith can be something other than simply making life miserable for gay people, and that there’s more to being prolife than simply overturning Roe v Wade (yeah, like THAT’S gonna make abortion go away).



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Christian Beyer

posted March 20, 2007 at 8:37 pm


It does seem to be contrary to Jesus’ teachings if you condone the misuse of the gifts God has given us all or if you believe that your first priority in life is to benefit yourself, your family, friends (or your country)at the expense of others. Jesus is very clear on these points. But….what if there is no “Global Warming”? How responsible would it be to accept a premise, embrace ideals, if they were false, no matter how ‘good’ they sounded.A lot of people may feel morally superior because they are chasing a dream that just sounds ‘right’, even if it turns out to be wrong. I keep hearing people say; “What can it hurt to err on the side of nature”. That’s a question that needs to be answered more fully. On paper, the works of Karl Marx look a lot closer to the Gospels of Jesus than those of Adam Smith’s. But in practice that did not turn out to be the case. Remember, this isn’t the planet Vulcan. ;) The needs of the many do NOT always outweigh the needs of the few.(Quite often the opposite is just the case)



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Kate Maver

posted March 20, 2007 at 9:05 pm


Christian, Would you suggest that the words of Adam Smith are closer to the gospels than the words of Karl Marx? Oohh! That’s scary!Also, you haven’t been keeping up with the issue of global warming if you think that somehow the scientists who study it(all 99.9% of them) are wrong. This isn’t just a little philosophical exercise, Christian. The consequences for doing nothing are death. My Bible says “Choose life.” And that bit about the planet Vulcan and the needs of the many do not outweigh the needs of the few? What the Sam Hill does that mean?



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WolvesFan

posted March 20, 2007 at 9:32 pm


Kate, you are overexagerating…actually that is putting it mildly…you are “inventing” your own statistics. 99.9% of scientists have not come to a consensus on global warming. There was a large feature in the New York Times (hardly a conservative newspaper, to way the least) entitled, “From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype”. Many scientists do not agree with Al Gore. See the article at: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A00E5D71031F930A25750C0A9619C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=3



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evilconservative

posted March 20, 2007 at 9:47 pm


“The consequences for doing nothing are death.” So Kate, you’re for the War on Terrorism?



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Kate Maver

posted March 20, 2007 at 9:55 pm


I read the article you referred me to already. Of course I was exaggerating, but did so to make a point. I’ll rephrase myself THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of scientists who study this say it’s a human-caused problem. There. Better? May I refer you to the website of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, if you haven’t read it yet . . . http://www.ipcc.ch/ Kate



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Kate Maver

posted March 20, 2007 at 9:58 pm


evil conservative, I don’t see what global warming has to do with the war on terrorism. You are taking my words out of context. Kate



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Doug7504

posted March 20, 2007 at 10:00 pm


This debate is degerating into self-righteousness on both sides, which serves no purpose. I, too, wonder why Sojourners doesn’t take a stronger stand about abortion? Equally, I wonder about those who decry abortion on demand, but condone the “abortion” of thousands of lives in Iraq and elsewhere in our “War on Terror.” Can you really judge which is worse? Jesus said “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethern, you do to me.” Think about it before you demonize those who disagree with you…and work to share ideas, not to destroy them.



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Christian Beyer

posted March 20, 2007 at 10:09 pm


Kate, you missed my point. At first glance, Marx looks to be closer to the philosophy of Jesus; concern for those who have not due to the meanness of those who have, concern for oppressed people, concern for justice etc etc. Smith, on the other hand seems to be all about the prevailing doctrine of self-interest.But in the ‘real’ world, not the academic one, it was the followers of Smith, not Marx that eventually engineered a (not perfect) world of liberties and freedoms, the world that the participants of this blog are enjoying today. It was Marxist philosophy that, though it looked to be more liberating, was in fact the most enslaving (numerically) of any in history. It’s just as simplistic (no offense) to say “Choose Life” as it is to say “Workers of the World Unite”, “Power to the People”, “My Country Right or Wrong” or “Seperate but Equal”. They are emotional slogans that don’t amount to a hill of beans when it comes to discerning the truth. Eventually, merely expressing these slogans emphatically enough allows one to cease reasoning for themselves.Another socialist (not Marx) once said “Repeat a lie often enough and the people will believe it. Now I am not suggesting that all (or even most) adherents to a belief in drastic climate change are lying (although one leader has developed quite a reputation for taking credit for things he never did) but the same dictum applies to well intentioned exaggerations. Repeat a misconception ofen enough, loudly enough and hysterically enough and people will believe it as well. (Oh, Spock used to repeat that Vulcan saying quite a bit. You know, on “Star Trek”? I think Marx may have been a political infiltrator from Vulcan.) :)



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Deryll

posted March 20, 2007 at 10:15 pm


lad You said you choose abortion for one trimester and no abortion for two. I choose no abortion for all three. I choose no war; you say you’re ready to dispatch them to Allah. I choose to believe that following the spirit means taking the gospel to the world in their “language>” you told me you choose isolation and let them “go to hell.” You are right that we all choose.What does the choice of “pro life” really mean??



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Kate Maver

posted March 20, 2007 at 10:31 pm


Christian, you make me giggle with your Trekkie reference. Believe it or not, I have never seen a Star Trek episode in my life. We’re getting off topic of what Balmer had to say, but I will comment on what you had to say about Adam Smith. I don’t think Smith is much of an improvement on Marx. I agree that terrible things were and are done in the name of communism, but terrible things were and are done in the name of capitalism, too. Greed and the lust to power are at least two of the real culprits of societal ills, whether communist or capitalist. Sin, we’ll all agree, can be woven into all structures and found in all economic systems.As to Sojourners not taking a stronger stand about abortion–Heavens! It’s been done by everybody else in the evangelical world! Evangelicals have already heard about abortion, haven’t they? I am not for abortion myself. BUT, it has become a political red herring. The legislative battles over abortion have been used, very cynically, ad infinitum, to elect conservative officials and keep the focus off of other “great moral issues.” You’ll notice that we’re still fighting the battle how many years after Roe v. Wade? Some elected officials know they can bait and control conservative Christians just by mentioning the word. I think that’s why there has been no legislation–just more and more haranguing and talk. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t care about abortion, but abortion and gay issues are not the only issues on the planet. Sojourners has come out with a pro-life stance. I think that the abortion issue is already REALLY well supported in the evangelical community. Let’s allow Sojourners to bring some other moral issues to the table.Kate



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moderatelad

posted March 20, 2007 at 10:45 pm


Deryll | 03.20.07 – 4:20 pm | #Let me clarify – I am pro-life – sorta ‘conception to grave’ person. But I was willing to give into the people on this site that support abortion that I would not fight them on the issue and allow abortions in the first tri if they would agree with me and not allow third tri abortions. No one was willing to come to the center on that one. War and Abortion are not apples to apples.I would prefer no war – war is that final act of a rational society to deal with an irrational entity. Yes – I believe that we are in the 4th world war and it is nothing like what we have dealt with before. It knows no geographic boundaries. It is the ideologies of one group that will attack whenever and wherever they can. Now we are faced with what we are going to do about it. From what I have read – Sojo is a group of pacifists. They talk about St. Augustine s ‘Just War’ but I do not believe that they would ever support any war. They do not believe in preemptive strikes at all so we have to be attacked first and allow our loved ones to die. Now we can talk about what we are going to do but they will not support armed conflict of any kind. I am sure that if you could look back into the archives of these people s minds you would find that they talked about the oppression of the Iraqi people 15+ years ago just like they decry about Darfur today. But all they do is talk. I don’t want to talk anymore. I don’t want to be involved with war anymore either. So I am becoming an isolationist and don’t want to hear about what is going on in the world because we do not have the stomach to deal with it anymore. The writers on Sojo believe that the UN is far more moral than we in the US. Fine – let the UN deal with the world and the US can stay home. I will agree that we should contribute finically to their efforts – so I think that we should match dollar for dollar what the three top countries contribute to the effort.Later – .



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Christian Beyer

posted March 20, 2007 at 11:18 pm


Believe it or not, I have never seen a Star Trek episode in my life.” There is no way I can reason with a person who has never watched Star Trek. I guess you think Bill Shatner isn’t a good actor, either! :) But all kidding aside….I was always a big Sci-Fi fan. Perhaps that’s why I recognize many elements of this current ‘crisis’ with the plot lines of quite a few apocalyptic ‘end of the world’ novels.Isn’t that the question? Are we dealing with scientific fact or science fiction? If people such as myself are unconvinced as to the validity of this theory is it justifiable to assume that I have ulterior and perhaps immoral motives?



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Joy

posted March 20, 2007 at 11:40 pm


moderatelad, You said if Al Gore made all companies go green it would wrech the economy. Oh, really? Tell that to the people of California. They will be creating 58,000 high paying, high-tech jobs through out the state in coming years as they invest in green energy. Those jobs will not be outsourced to India or China. All those 58,000 workers will earn living wages. As they and their families see their income increase they will spend some of that windfall at local restaurants, movie theaters, stores, etc. Those companies will then see their business increase and higher more employees who will then also probably see their income increase and so on, boosting local economies. New Mexico is already seeing the beginnings of this economic boom thanks to Governor Richardson (who incidentally is running for president). New Mexico is now the second leading state in the country for producing green energy. Earlier this month Governor Richardson signed legislation which will increase the state’s production and use of green energy to 20% by 2020. He signed another piece of legislation to begin creating the infastructure to export that green energy to other states, particularly California. Maybe that’s part of the reason New Mexico now ranks 6th in the nation for growth and 7th in the nation for personal income growth. Arguments that companies cannot afford to convert to greener practices just don’t hold water.



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Randy G

posted March 20, 2007 at 11:54 pm


You would think by listening to Balmer that there is no way there can be more than one or two issues. everyting you mention is an issue and while at this point neither side has it right they both need to listen to each other. I read the red letter words in the bible and it says emphatically to love you neighbor as your self. So who will be first to lay down their agenda (read ego) and really try to bring together the most powerful coalition the world has ever seen. Christians. Not right, not left just Christians attempting to accomplish what Jesus himself called us to…unity and love. It is just not that complicated aside from pride, anger, criticism etc etc. Christ must weep daily, as over Jerusalem, because we are so incredibly caught up in oursevles.



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Wolverine

posted March 20, 2007 at 11:57 pm


Randy: Short answer, nobody, because there are important differences in what we believe Jesus would have us do, especially in the political arena. Wolverine



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HASH(0x11f87d8c)

posted March 21, 2007 at 12:14 am


Christian, So it comes down to which set of scientists you believe, the majority of scientists who think global warming is caused by humans, or the minority who think it is not. Let’s just say, for the sake of argument that your minority view is correct. We still face some of the same great moral issues that we would face if the majority opinion held. We still have a wasteful, unsustainable, oil-based, commodity-driven civilization. We still have the problem of encroaching deserts and shrinking glaciers. We still have famine, a shortage of fresh water, and the destruction of natural resources on a vast scale. Even without global warming, these problems are still very great moral issues for us. It is still immoral for those of us in the developed world to waste resources at the level we have been wasting them when we have a planet full of people who are suffering as a result of our wastefulness. I happen to think that global warming is not a vast conspiracy thrust on us by a vast array of geologists, biologists, atmospheric scientists and oceanographers who have come together in some sort of cabal. I think it’s real. I am backed up by the majority of climate scientists. how much more convincing do I need, given the stakes? I think my actions now–my letters to Congress now–are a way of putting my faith in Christ into practice on what is possibly THE GREATEST moral issue our civilization will ever face. If the vast majority of highly trained climate scientists are wrong about global warming, I have still been faithful to Christ in living more simply so that others can simply live. I have still chosen life.



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Randy G

posted March 21, 2007 at 12:25 am


If we all believed in the same Jesus the differences may not be so great. Not saying mine is right and theirs is wrong but his words were just not that difficult. We Christians make them so, to make our points and keep our agendas, not his. Right or Left.



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moderatelad

posted March 21, 2007 at 12:30 am


Joy | 03.20.07 – 5:45 pm | #Those are predictions – not facts, time will tell. Yes we can go ‘green’ and not hurt industry but that is not what Gore has talked about in the past. Earth in the Balance is an interesting read. If we do it systematicly – yes, but historically enviromental issues and industry have gone where the jobs left because of the unrealistic constraints that were made on business. CA has lost so much industry over the past few decades for any number of reasons they only had the option of going up / getting better. Richardson is doing some good things in NM – I am watching. Later – .



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Hali

posted March 21, 2007 at 12:57 am


Christian wrote: “Repeat a misconception ofen enough, loudly enough and hysterically enough and people will believe it as well.” Yes! It’s called Fox News ;)



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Hali

posted March 21, 2007 at 1:06 am


Just curious…. Are there any scientists among you?



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Kate Maver

posted March 21, 2007 at 1:06 am


Touche, Hali! Kate



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Erin

posted March 21, 2007 at 1:07 am


Whether there really will be a catastrophic scenario of Global Warming played out in the years to come… which includes the poorest of the earth starving… so even a “kind of” in this scenario doesn’t look good, in my opinion… can’t we all at least agree that pumping CRAP into the atmosphere is probably BAD?



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Deno Reno

posted March 21, 2007 at 1:16 am


kevin s.: ..what you’ve got is two rel./orgs agreeing with the Admin. that does NOT allow torture. Kev didn’t you get the memo where V.P. Chaney said He thought it was alright to dunk captives under water till they thought they were about to drown! How many captives have died ?We may never know the toll of lives lost thru the actions of the Bush Administration!!!!!



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Deno Reno

posted March 21, 2007 at 1:27 am


Christian A caveat would be that Many will say here that if you don’t accept The Gore Green house gas theory you can’t possibly under stand science ? At least I myself was attacked with the reasoning that I didn’t agree with the prevaling Theory of Global warming I must be dumber than a box of rocks. So keep up the Great posts Brother!



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M South

posted March 21, 2007 at 1:30 am


The pictures and reports from too many credible sources have revealed a sad picture – one that is completely opposite from the ideals that motivate so many of us. We respond in different ways: revulsion, guilt, compassion, justification, denial. We struggle to see what stares back at us, wanting so much to catch nothing more than the slightest glimpse of something so intrinsically ugly. Can it be real? Writing to ministries we supported and who did so much for us, including Focus on the Family, revealed all the above reactions. We were told, “You’re obviously passionate about the issue of torture” pointedly revealing that they are not. “We subscribe to the Just War Theory, and our support for the war is non-negotiable.” Just how the theory fit was only asserted, never explained. This kind of reaction rips the soul in two of many. It provoked a re-reading of Jesus’ words – going back to the source – to try to see what could be salvaged out of a Christianity suddenly seemingly become hardened and cruel. Matthew 5 and 6 seem to be the core, the kernel of what Jesus has to reveal to us. For so long those words seemed easier to ignore and fill with a mild churchianity that’s not so challenging, an easier to fulfill practical compromise because Jesus’ words are just too hard. But are they really? With all that’s happened, the traumatic playing out of what the truth reveals the horrible consequences to be of an uncritical Christian compromising, it’s the failure to have tried to learn and live out in better conformance to Jesus’ words that’s become unbearably hard. If this is what remains, strengthen what remains.



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Deno Reno

posted March 21, 2007 at 1:53 am


Jesus said ” The poor you will have with you always ” they are NOT suffering as a result of our wastefullness as anoymouse believes but instead because of technological resources of their own like solar powered deep wells , irrigation equipment , tractors and agricultural implements ; Not because I drive a Gas Guzzler!



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Deno Reno

posted March 21, 2007 at 1:56 am


I meant lack of tech devices, above statment



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Hali

posted March 21, 2007 at 2:35 am


On Science Science is necessarily a discipline of skeptics, and it takes an enormous body of compelling evidence, as well as a lack of credible alternative explanations, to achieve a consensus. Right now, the international scientific consensus is that global warming is real and that human activity is significantly contributing to it. Global weather patterns, particularly in the past decade or so, have been following the predicted model (and common sense, if you’ve taken freshman chem and physics). A couple of renegade scientists with alternative but unproven hypotheses will always be out there. (Remember the Raelian lady?) That doesn’t mean there’s a real controversy.



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Christian Beyer

posted March 21, 2007 at 5:51 am


Gosh,no, Hali. I’m not a scientist. So I guess those of us who are scientific laymen should recuse ourselves from this debate? My father is a man of science. But he is no more qualified than I am concerning this issue, seeing as how he is a urologist. (Although he does know a little something about water conservation) The very politicians and bureaucrats who would like to be making the decisions for the rest of us are not scientists either. That dog just don’t hunt. One “renegade” scientist, Richard Lindzen, had this to say in the Wall Street Journal: (dont’ worry, you can wash up later :) ) “…nonscientists generally do not want to bother with understanding the science. Claims of consensus relieve policy types, environmental advocates and politicians of any need to do so. Such claims also serve to intimidate the public and even scientists–especially those outside the area of climate dynamics. Secondly, given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam…..there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition.http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008597 Mr. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT. Now, why would a layman such as myself disagree with an atmospheric scientist who teaches at one of the world’s most prestigious schools of scientific research? “I have still chosen life.“Very gallant of you, anonymous. But are you (we) qualified to choose the type of life others should live? And if the crusade you would like to see is exactly the right thing to do (and I believe that most of what you suggest is noble) then it wouldn’t require the threat of Global Warming to fuel it. And what if the theory then turns out to be false? Do we then abandon all these plans for better stewardship of the planet? What do we tell the people in third world countries who courageously gave up on the evils of industrialization in order to ‘save the planet’? (Industrialization that we already enjoy the fruits of, by the way.) Sorry, we goofed? It really would have been nice if you had more electricity for your hospitals and your schools but…. “Vincit omnia veritas.



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moderatelad

posted March 21, 2007 at 2:42 pm


Christian Beyer | Homepage | 03.20.07 – 11:56 pm | #What do we tell the people in third world countries who courageously gave up on the evils of industrialization in order to ‘save the planet’? What third world countries courageously gave up on the evils of industrialization in the past 2 or 3 decades? They have been the countries that were exempt from any ‘world’ agreement on the climate. Later – .



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Sherye Hanson

posted March 21, 2007 at 2:55 pm


There are many moral issues that need to be addressed. Right now I have a dear friend whose two year old daughter is in danger due to the drug abuse of her mother. Child Protective Services is very arbitrary as to which cases it will investigate. This father should be able to call them and ask them to investigate, but he has no assurance that they will do anything. Christians should be leading the way in calling for the protection of children. Instead we are only concerned about them in the womb. If we called our government and bureaucracy to make correct moral choices on all things then maybe we would be heard. But since we only speak about gay marriage and abortion the general public turns us off. Real people need solutions to their real problems. For most people gay marriage and abortions are not their issue. But in the context of concern for all families and all children, we might have a case. As it stands we are just one more lobby advocating for our pet issues. But beyond that Jesus and Paul both called for moral change in every area of life. We should do no less.



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moderatelad

posted March 21, 2007 at 3:18 pm


Sherye Hanson | 03.21.07 – 9:00 am | #Please do not believe that just because there is more ink given to issues like abortion and gay marriage that we as evangelicals do not have other issues that we work with or deal with.Child Protective Services – don’t get me going on that one. We have several couples in our congregation that have taken at risk or challenged children into their homes. This is something that my wife and I do not feel called to do – but we have come along side several of these families to assist them with these children.I and others have worked with students in the community that are at risk and need mentoring. But these subjects are not worth writing about – even for Sojo.It is interesting – Sojo seems to select subjects that will divide the brethren to write about. They seem to take great pride in outing the brethren that do not have the same vision as Sojo. All they would need to do is say something like ‘so-and-so claims this but our research seems to come up with a different conclusion. We believe that such-and-such could possibly be a better way of dealing with this issues.’ Wallis seems to be very good at doing the very thing he charges other with doing – end justifies the means? Later – .



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Kate Maver

posted March 21, 2007 at 4:22 pm


I don’t think I’m reading the same Bible as some of you. Deno Reno, frankly, you deserve a scolding. You seem to revel in your wasteful ways. You almost seem proud of it. You are living a destructive lifestyle that does, indeed, negatively impact the poor of this world. You actually think that Jesus statement about having the poor with us always is somehow a reason to not care about their needs. You are not demonstrating a commitment to follow Christ in your actions. I can’t believe your callousness. And Christian, you say that Christians aren’t qualified to tell other people how to live. Then it follows that Christians shouldn’t be telling gay people that they can’t marry and live the life that they want. We shouldn’t be preventing teenagers from getting condoms or birth control. We shouldn’t be legislating away women’s control over their bodies. Etc. Etc. Etc. Also, I think anonymous’s point was exactly the point you bring up. Even if there was no global warming, we still need to change our ways. We are still living unsustainably and we still need to change our ways.Your point about industrialization is well taken. However, you seem to assume that industry must always operate out of its current wasteful paradigm. It is so common to think “oil or nothing.” We can invest in wind energy. I heard somewhere that there are European countries that are operating on 30% wind energy. It’s clean, the supply is pretty much always going to be there, it doesn’t take food away from hungry mouths like ethanol does, and it’s cheap. It’s good stewardship. There’s a lot we can do if we free ourselves from thinking things always have to be the way they are now.



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Kate Maver

posted March 21, 2007 at 4:34 pm


“Please do not believe that just because there is more ink given to issues like abortion and gay marriage that we as evangelicals do not have other issues that we work with or deal with.” moderatelad moderatelad, This is exactly the point that Balmer is making. Did you hear what Dobson and his cronies said? Dobson et al want to define American evangelicals as people who are only interested in preventing gay marriage and preventing abortion. He thinks taking on more than that will confuse people as to what the “great moral issues of our time” are. What Sojourners is saying is that there are PLENTY more great moral issues for Christians to be engaged in. Glad you agree with Balmer.



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Christian Beyer

posted March 21, 2007 at 5:33 pm


moderatelad, I was suggesting a hypothetical scenario, based upon what some global warming alarmists are suggesting. As far as I know, any nation that rejects the international protocals is also exempt, correct?And Kate, I agree with you completely. Christians should never tell anyone to do anything. We should lead by example and counsel only upon request. And we should definitely change our ways. I feel that is shameful that we waste our resources the way we do, that the Western world consumes what? -40- 60% of the world’s resources while millions starve to death. That we have a permanent under class in our cities – a caste system almost as demeaning as India’s, while our middle class “Christians” practice their faith one day a week in the comfort of their air-conditioned and heavily mortgaged churches.We all need to work towards furthering Christ’s kingdom on earth, starting in our pews, garages, kitchens and workplaces. We need to befriend people that we might at times find different or even unsavory. We need to moderate our own lifestyles, taking into consideraton environmental and social justice concerns. Only then can we justly (and gingerly) address the different political ways in which to help advance Christ’s kindgom agenda. But the ends do not justify the means. It would be wrong to promote an untruth (if it turns out to be an untruth) just in order to promote good. If we do that then we are no better than those we oppose, who use hysterical, single issue verbage to scare people into agreement. The use of apocalyptical language is something both sides seem to have in common at this time.



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moderatelad

posted March 21, 2007 at 5:50 pm


Kate Maver | 03.21.07 – 10:39 am | #I think that Dobson spends more time on those issues because they are the ones that are being pushed by the SP’s of the world. I know that Dobson has many other issues that his FOTF deal with every week. It is Wallis / Sojo’s blasting of Dobson that I take issue with. Dobson writes a letter to someone and expresses his opinion about an issue. Wallis takes that issue and blasts Dobson when he was never in the mix to begin with. (Kinda like the supporting actor fighting the lead for the spotlight) Why didn’t Wallis just write a letter to the same person expressing his point of view instead of blasting Dobson. (I worked for several years for a major christian not-for-profit and there were others out there that tried to weazel in on what we were doing. I looked at it as they were into ‘franchizing’ while we were ‘evangelising’. but never did we blast them openly in the press, no one wins. I wish Wallis would learn that lesson soon because he is starting to loose some of us more moderate conservatives) Later – .



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kevin s.

posted March 21, 2007 at 6:06 pm


“He thinks taking on more than that will confuse people as to what the “great moral issues of our time” are. What Sojourners is saying is that there are PLENTY more great moral issues for Christians to be engaged in.” Sojourner’s also disagrees with Dobson on the issue of whether abortion and gay marriage ought to be allowed as a matter of law. Naturally, the inclination to downplay these issues plays to their benefit when they wish to be seen as a non-partisan organization.I agree wth Adam above that Balmer is making the same mistake Dobsone is making by essentially ranking priorities. No reasonable person could say that Sojourners has exhibited as much passion about this issue as it has about the environment.If the reason for this is that Dobson’s group has that base covered, then Sojourners should not have any real reason for complaint.



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kevin s.

posted March 21, 2007 at 6:09 pm


“Kevin what’s your point? So you mean that Ted Haggard standing up to the Religous Right??? I see that you’re still trolling around these parts – buddy take your own advice and get a job. Seriously!” I have a job. My point was that just a few months ago, Haggard (who was then head of the NAE) was a symbol of the hypocrisy of the religious right. Now, the NAE is no longer a part of the religious right? How convenient.



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Kate Maver

posted March 21, 2007 at 6:45 pm


I don’t think either gay marriage bans or abortion should be matters of law, frankly. As legal issues, they are the means by which Republicans have very cynically turned evangelicals into Pavlov’s dogs. And why does Sojourners have to be more passionate about abortion? TONS of evangelicals are already passionate about abortion. What would it mean to your rank and file evangelical for Sojourners to be more passionate about abortion? Would it give Sojourners some sort of evangelical seal of approval that means they are a member of the Evangelical Club? Does your stance on abortion define whether or not you belong in the Club? Maybe being against abortion is noble and in line with Judeo-Christian ideals, but it is certainly not a Biblical definition of what it means to be a Christian or an evangelical. Why isn’t anybody here asking why Dobson isn’t passionate about world poverty? Dobson is the one (if you read his letter to the NAE) who is going for the two-issue definition of “great moral issues of our time”, not Sojourners. If you’re going to be pro-life–be ALL THE WAY pro-life, not just pro-fetal-life. Be against the death penalty, against violence, against torture, against destruction of the planet, whether through global warming or through plain old waste of limited resources, against the needless starvation and illness of millions of poor people. We need evangelicals working in all of these areas. Good Lord, what’s to argue about in that? This is ridiculous. I’m outa here.



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ginab

posted March 21, 2007 at 6:48 pm


Okay, is there a site where Christian’s don’t put Right or Left in front of their faith? I started visiting Sojourners because I was so dissatisfied with the Religious Right putting the Republican platform above the Bible. Unfortunately, in pointing out the mote in the Right’s eyes… I know we won’t all agree on what Jesus would do, but I need to move away from the dreary, repetitious Right/Left arguments. Perhaps if no site exists for Christians willing to agree to disagree in order to further the Kingdom, I could at least find a newer and less predictable fault line. Suggestions?



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Unsympathetic reader

posted March 21, 2007 at 6:50 pm


Regarding the Wall Street Journal editorial by Linzden, Christian Beyer writes: “Mr. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT. Now, why would a layman such as myself disagree with an atmospheric scientist who teaches at one of the world’s most prestigious schools of scientific research?” Maybe if you dug a little deeper into his claims and reviewed analyses of his editorial?



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kevin s.

posted March 21, 2007 at 7:09 pm


“I don’t think either gay marriage bans or abortion should be matters of law, frankly.” You could just as easily say the same about environmental issues, yes? This is my point. I think Balmer and Dobson are both appealing to the idea that their pet issue is most important as a means of patching over substantive policy disagreements. “As legal issues, they are the means by which Republicans have very cynically turned evangelicals into Pavlov’s dogs.” Not all Republicans are pro-life, and conservative religious leaders have done much to shape the Republican party platform on abortion. “And why does Sojourners have to be more passionate about abortion? TONS of evangelicals are already passionate about abortion.” Right. They are more passionate about other issues, and therefore really have no fair criticism to offer Dobson et al… “What would it mean to your rank and file evangelical for Sojourners to be more passionate about abortion?” Given that they are pro-choice, I think it would serve to alienate them from most evangelicals, which is why I think they downplay the issue.”Does your stance on abortion define whether or not you belong in the Club?” No, so why should my stance on the environment have the same bearing on whether I belong to the club? “Why isn’t anybody here asking why Dobson isn’t passionate about world poverty?” Who says he isn’t. Greenpeace is an advocacy group focused on the environment. Does anyone automatically assume that they are unconcerned with world poverty?”Dobson is the one (if you read his letter to the NAE) who is going for the two-issue definition of “great moral issues of our time”, not Sojourners.” There were more than two issues there, but I agree that Sojourner’s addresses a slightlty broader range of issues. Sojourners is not oriented around family issues. But the title of this post is “Myopia on the right”. The religious right (which includes the NAE) has advocated on behalf of any number of issues. Franklin Graham, for example, has done a tremendous amount to alleviate poverty. “Good Lord, what’s to argue about in that? This is ridiculous. I’m outa here.” The argument is about the role of government in all of the issues that you just mentioned. You think abortion should be legal, but torture should not be. There is quite a bit to argue about right there. Whether the government should take a more active role in protecting the environment than they do in teaching abstinence to our children is not a settled question.



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Christian Beyer

posted March 21, 2007 at 7:38 pm


Good advice,’unsympathetic reader’. Everyone, on both sides of this debate, should take heed. Dig a little deeper into all the claims and review the analyses more thoroughly. Ginab makes a great point. It appears that few of the respective followers of either “Left Jim” or “Right Jim” are really interested in listening to what the other has to say. There appears to be certain, very different, passwords that each faction requires for admission into what is supposedly an open camp. Is this the ‘submergent’ church in action?



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Kate Maver

posted March 21, 2007 at 7:45 pm


Okay, I said I was outta here, but I found a bit about OPEC favorite (and well-paid!) scientist, MIT’s illustrious Richard Lindzen, on the internet that was too good not to post. http://www.logicalscience.com/skeptics/Lindzen.htm Those of you who are all hot and bothered about my Evangelical Club Card (abortion issue), I am pro-life. I am just not convinced that legislation is the most effective means to deal with the problem. And the Republican party has really strung evangelicals along on that issue–a lot of evangelicals have voted Republican based on that plank in the national platform, and the Republicans keep doing nothing on the issue, even when they practically owned the United States Government. Clue phone! They’re using you! In Balmer’s blog, “Myopia on the Right” he is referring to Dobson and his cronies and their letter to the NAE, which attacked Cizik for daring to go beyond the two planks in their platform. Again, go back to the blog, read it. Read the letter that Dobson wrote. I didn’t see any reference to Franklin Graham in there, did you? Okay, now I’m outta here. I wish you all pax et bonum. Kate



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moderatelad

posted March 21, 2007 at 8:03 pm


kevin s. | Homepage | 03.21.07 – 12:14 pm | #Haggard (who was then head of the NAE) was a symbol of the hypocrisy of the religious right. So the failings of a T. Haggard is a symbol for the religious right – please… That type of thinking is like saying Bill and Monica are a symbol for all liberals. Later – .



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moderatelad

posted March 21, 2007 at 8:06 pm


ginab | 03.21.07 – 12:53 pm | #Welcome to reality – Sojo is about Left vs Right. Left = Good / Right = Wrong. Let me know if you ever find that site. Later – .



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 21, 2007 at 9:21 pm


Mr. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT. Now, why would a layman such as myself disagree with an atmospheric scientist who teaches at one of the world’s most prestigious schools of scientific research? If it’s on the Journal’s editorial page, you know anything you read will support the conservative agenda. I stopped reading it a decade ago because of that.



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 21, 2007 at 9:24 pm


That type of thinking is like saying Bill and Monica are a symbol for all liberals. Not a fair comparison. That was the result of a right-wing set-up.



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moderatelad

posted March 21, 2007 at 10:10 pm


Rick Nowlin | 03.21.07 – 3:29 pm | #So the ‘Right Wing’ played Match Maker for the two of them? Saying that Haggard is what the conservative evangelicals are like – maybe I should have said that all Liberals are like Teddy Kennedy. No forward planning other than his next drink and no memory past the last babe he bedded. They are both stupid – but it is OK to dis evangelicals and conservatives. Whatever – later – .



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Wolverine

posted March 22, 2007 at 1:43 am


Rick Nowlin wrote: If it’s on the Journal’s editorial page, you know anything you read will support the conservative agenda. I stopped reading it a decade ago because of that. So, if they quote Jesus, that means Jesus is a radical right-winger who can be ignored? Wolverine



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kevin s.

posted March 22, 2007 at 1:53 am


“and the Republicans keep doing nothing on the issue, even when they practically owned the United States Government. Clue phone!” They used what you call ownership to put two conservative judges on the Supreme Court. Given the Roe v. Wade is the largest impediment to pro-life legislation, that is the only step they could have taken toward banning the practice.When Republican try to do anything else, they are oppose by Democrats. So we should abandon the issue and vote Democrat simply because they won’t let us have our way anyway? Nonsense.



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Deno Reno

posted March 22, 2007 at 2:27 am


Far from callous I really do care.But if you knew me you would see some one in the top 10% income bracket in a Chemical industry that has been sited for pollution by the E.P.A. Now wiould you have me quit my job because of third world hunger?I didn’t cause anyone to starve or grow thirstier, So I can grow hungry and thirsty and homeless myself , how very noble. Seems to me if we spent more money to feed the hungry masses and less on the killing fields of Iraq (which my company also profits on, and has a presence in-country)



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Christian Beyer

posted March 22, 2007 at 3:56 am


Kate, we could go ’round and ’round over this and get nowhere. I guess my next move would be to find some source who can cast doubt on ‘your’ scientists’ motives. But I don’t consider Lindzen to be ‘my’ scientist any more than those who espouse global warming are ‘yours’. Motivation is irrelevent. What is important is whether or not the data is accurate and the conclusions drawn are probable. Here is a list of some other noted scientists that feel that this ‘crisis’ is highly exaggerated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_global_warming_consensus Do you have the time to investigate all their motives?To save us all a lot of time let’s just agree that all those who do not share a high level of concern over global warming are right-wing conservative shills and all those who are alarmed are far left one-world socialiststs and leave it at that. :) Waddya readin’ now, Rick? The Nation? Of course you really don’t need to, as in this situation the mainline media have swallowed the whole climate change crisis in one frantic gulp.



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Christian Beyer

posted March 22, 2007 at 4:03 am


Balmer says that the Religious Right might be more interested in: ‘Protection of the natural world, God s creation, from neglect and from the effects of predatory capitalism would be a good place to start.” And he would be right. But perhaps Mr.Balmer should look at the less than sterling record that the predatory socialists (sorry for the redundancy) have had with environmental protection issues.Why must some people insist upon making wholesale political generalizations nearly every time they speak pubicly?



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 22, 2007 at 6:51 am


So the ‘Right Wing’ played Match Maker for the two of them? Saying that Haggard is what the conservative evangelicals are like – maybe I should have said that all Liberals are like Teddy Kennedy. No forward planning other than his next drink and no memory past the last babe he bedded. They are both stupid – but it is OK to dis evangelicals and conservatives. Don’t forget one person who kicked off that whole Bill-and-Monica story — one Linda Tripp. BTW, I am myself an evangelical. Do you have the time to investigate all their motives? Being myself well-versed in the media — in fact, that’s what I do for a living — it’s pratically my job to do just that. Today I know how conservative media, including the Journal’s editorial page, work, and because of what I know I have no respect for them. None. So, if they quote Jesus, that means Jesus is a radical right-winger who can be ignored? They wouldn’t dare — because he’d chew them out, too.



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Christian Beyer

posted March 22, 2007 at 2:47 pm


Rick, some conservatives would disagree with your assessment of the WSJ: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=28078



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moderatelad

posted March 22, 2007 at 3:42 pm


Rick Nowlin | 03.22.07 – 12:56 am | #Don’t forget one person who kicked off that whole Bill-and-Monica story — one Linda Tripp. BTW, I am myself an evangelical. Yes – based on Monica having ‘girl talk’ with Linda boasting about her ‘doing the big guy’. Not sure if Monica was bragging about her abilities or trying to teach Linda what it takes to get ahead in the White House. Later – .



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 22, 2007 at 5:02 pm


Rick, some conservatives would disagree with your assessment of the WSJ. I specifically said the editorial page, which is separate from the rest of the newspaper. My comments stand.



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 22, 2007 at 5:20 pm


Not sure if Monica was bragging about her abilities or trying to teach Linda what it takes to get ahead in the White House. Droll. Actually, Monica was crying on Linda’s shoulder, which is how Linda managed to “con” Monica into saying more. Linda, who hated Clinton and wanted to write a “tell-all” book about the Clinton White house, later hooked up with Ken Starr (“independent” counsel my eye) and lawyers from the Rutherford Institute who were representing Paula Jones, and they all concocted what turned out to be an illegal perjury trap, which led directly to his impeachment. But, getting back on topic, this is actually part of the problem. Conservative Christians were among the very first to believe all the right-wing propaganda about Clinton’s “sins” when (as it turned out) almost none of it was true; on the other hand, similarly seamy situations were virtually ignored when conservative Republicans were involved. Much has been made about Newt Gingrich’s recent confession to having an affair of his own during the impeachment craze; what Gingrich probably didn’t tell Dobson was that he left his first wife for his second during the late 1970s, when he first came to Congress, simply because he wanted a younger woman.



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moderatelad

posted March 22, 2007 at 5:59 pm


Rick Nowlin | 03.22.07 – 11:25 am | # Clinton’s “sins” when (as it turned out) almost none of it was true; 17 people serving or served prison terms because of their involvement with the Clintons and you say ‘almost none’ was true?The Iran-Contra investigation was over 5 years – 48+ million dollars and 2 Presidents. The only thing that has determined by the Dem. controlled congress was that North got a security fence put around his property to protect his family at gov’t expense. He should have paid for it himself – he reimbursed the gov’t. Neither Reagan nor Bush 1 withheld (lost) any records that congress requested.NOW – Pelosi and Company are going after the White House for the dismissal of 8 investigators crying foul. Clinton dismissed 90+ at one time and one of them was investigating his dealings in AR. These people work at the pleasure of the President and can be dismissed at any time for basically any reason. Oh – and no one challenged Clinton on his dismissals. Later – .



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 22, 2007 at 6:35 pm


17 people serving or served prison terms because of their involvement with the Clintons and you say ‘almost none’ was true? Where did you get the information? The answer is telling. The Iran-Contra investigation was over 5 years – 48+ million dollars and 2 Presidents. The only thing that has determined by the Dem. controlled congress was that North got a security fence put around his property to protect his family at gov’t expense. He should have paid for it himself – he reimbursed the gov’t. There actually was far, far more involved than what you just said, but as expected the White House stonewalled and Congress didn’t have the gumption to challenge Reagan, and on top of that his Alzheimer’s may already have set in by this point. Independent counsel Lawrence Walsh did find plenty, BTW. Pelosi and Company are going after the White House for the dismissal of 8 investigators crying foul. Clinton dismissed 90+ at one time and one of them was investigating his dealings in AR. 1) Because they didn’t find any “voter fraud” in districts that the Democrats won. 2) Patently false, because he didn’t find anything, either.



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moderatelad

posted March 22, 2007 at 7:46 pm


Rick Nowlin | 03.22.07 – 12:40 pm | #Independent counsel Lawrence Walsh If Walsh had the evidence, he would have used it. It continued over two Presidents – they had the time. No one when to prison over Iran-Con, which means that either a) no evidence, no convictions. or b) an incompetent counsel. Dear Gussie – will you people ever let the 2000 vote die – Gore lost. The Supreem Court first voted 8 to 1 that the whole state of FL needed to be recounted not just the 3 countys that Gore wanted. The second vote from the S-C was to end the counting and validate the vote acording to FL state law. The counting had been done – Al just didn’t get the results he wanted.I believe that you can google and find out who is or went to prison. Webster Hubble did not go to prison but turned states evidence. Later – .



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moderatelad

posted March 22, 2007 at 8:06 pm


Rick Nowlin | 03.22.07 – 11:25 am | #So – are we to go over the sexual antics of all who are on capital hill. Foley (R) from FL – inapproiate e-mail and text messages to capital pages – resigned. (no proof of sex) There was a Senator from NV that had sex with a male page – maintained his seat on the hill. Inoway, (D) of HI – had sex with a 16 year old girl – still in office. Packwood (R) from OR, kissed and fondled a few women – resigned. Teddy Kennedy (D)…still in office. Clinton – finished term in office. Seems that (R) are paying a higher price than (D) for their sexual antics.Oh this one I love. Barack Obama is in office because the Dems. in IL got the Rep. candidates divorced papers unsealed and outed him for wanted to have sex with his wife at sex clubs. When challenged that maybe we should open up Kerry s divorce papers the Dem s screamed foul whatever. Later .



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 22, 2007 at 8:25 pm


If Walsh had the evidence, he would have used it. It continued over two Presidents — they had the time. No one when to prison over Iran-Con, which means that either a) no evidence, no convictions. or b) an incompetent counsel. Except for one thing you totally overlook — the conservatives historically were very good at intimidating their opponents, as I was alluding to earlier (that’s not flying today, however). Had Walsh actually attempted to pursue the case he would have been smeared mercilessly in the right-wing press with no recourse. In fact, conservatives have even been known to sue people into bankruptcy, which nearly did happen with Clinton (after the impeachment he had to hold fund-raisers to pay his legal bills, for which Hollywood, which was pretty sick of the right wing for numerous reasons). You also forget that Oliver North was indeed convicted of three felonies, and that was overturned on appeal to the D. C. Court of Appeals — which just happened to have Larry Silberman as a judge, and he is notorious for “legislating from the bench.”



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Big Time Patriot

posted March 22, 2007 at 8:29 pm


An imperial occupying force tortures zealots of another religion for fear that they will try and over throw the dominant religion of the current regime. Jesus was tortured under such conditions. The question for Christians today regarding torture is what side do you want to be on? Jesus’s side? Or the Roman’s side?



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kevin s.

posted March 22, 2007 at 8:55 pm


“An imperial occupying force tortures zealots of another religion for fear that they will try and over throw the dominant religion of the current regime. Jesus was tortured under such conditions. The question for Christians today regarding torture is what side do you want to be on? Jesus’s side? Or the Roman’s side?” First, you just compared Islamic militants to Jesus. Second, your biblical history is lacking (the Jews turned Jesus over to the Romans). Third, your statement insinuates that we must be on the side of Islam in order to be on Christ’s side, which is untenable.



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Daniel

posted March 22, 2007 at 9:02 pm


Kevin, This post pretty clearly presents the NAE thing as happening within the religious right – the NAE deviates from the agenda and gets smacked down.



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Elmer Gantry

posted March 22, 2007 at 9:44 pm


I am outraged!!!



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 22, 2007 at 9:48 pm


Adding to Kevin’s response, it was the Roman political leadership that felt threatened by Jesus, not simply the Jewish religious leadership. Remember, He called himself a King.



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generosa

posted March 22, 2007 at 10:51 pm


God gave me this body. He did not give it to you. He entrusted me with this bodily vehicle. He entrusted me with the possibility of bearing a new life. He entrusted me with the decision to end that life out of mercy if I found that I could not continue to bear it, for reasons that are between God and me. God trusts me to do the best that I can with what He’s given me.It is all between God and me. You have nothing to do with it. Keep out.



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moderatelad

posted March 22, 2007 at 10:59 pm


generosa | 03.22.07 – 4:56 pm | #He entrusted me with the decision to end that life out of mercy if I found that I could not continue to bear it… You make a good statement – now where is scripture does God give you the right to make the decision to ‘end that life out of mercy’? I seem to have missed that chapter. Then – if it is out of mercy – does that gives us the right ‘out of mercy’ to end the suffering of a parent with Alzheimers? Later – .



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JohnH

posted March 22, 2007 at 11:31 pm


We live in a fallen world. Why don’t we set about sharing the Gospel and not some watered down left of right version of it. And while we’re at it, let’s pray for and look forward to the return of the King.



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 22, 2007 at 11:48 pm


Why don’t we set about sharing the Gospel and not some watered down left of right version of it. And while we’re at it, let’s pray for and look forward to the return of the King. This discussion is part of that because we need to understand the ramifications of the Gospel if we’re going to share it effectively. In other words, we need to communicate just what Christ’s Kingdom looks like.



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Elmer Gantry

posted March 23, 2007 at 12:16 am


I am apoplectic!!!!



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Christian Beyer

posted March 23, 2007 at 4:47 am


Whew, boy!



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Wolverine

posted March 23, 2007 at 5:29 am


Rick Nowlin wrote: …it was the Roman political leadership that felt threatened by Jesus, not simply the Jewish religious leadership. Remember, He called himself a King. Sorry Rick. There is no evidence in the gospels that Rome considered Jesus himself a threat. Pontius Pilate, in all four gospels, responds to Jesus the same way: He finds Jesus innocent. In the end he has Jesus executed for fear of the mob. I’m not saying that Pilate was a model of statesmanship, but he had no particular fear of Jesus himself. Honestly, you should know better than this. Wolverine



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moderatelad

posted March 23, 2007 at 6:05 am


Rick Nowlin | 03.22.07 – 2:30 pm | #that was overturned on appeal to the D. C. Court of Appeals If they overturn a ruling – that most likely means that there was a miscarrage of justice and this was the correction. You might not like the results but that is how are system works in this country. The Republican can not be that intimadating – they do not have ABC – CBS – NBC & CNN in our back pockets like the Dems’ do. Later – .



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kevin s.

posted March 23, 2007 at 7:39 am


“He entrusted me with the decision to end that life out of mercy if I found that I could not continue to bear it, ” No he didn’t, at least not in the sense that you mean it.



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Canuckelhead

posted March 23, 2007 at 7:58 am


Guys! Guys! I just found out what Jesus would do!!



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 23, 2007 at 4:18 pm


If they overturn a ruling – that most likely means that there was a miscarrage of justice and this was the correction. That isn’t how it happened — North’s convictions were appealed to that court precisely because his defense team knew full well they would be overturned. (See David Brock’s book “Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative.”) The Republican can not be that intimadating – they do not have ABC – CBS – NBC & CNN in our back pockets like the Dems’ do. If you truly believe that the major mainstream media take orders from the Democratic National Committee, then I have some oceanfront property in Kansas you might be interested in. (The DNC probably wishes they do!) The truth be told, right-wing media have told hundreds of outright lies about liberals and Democrats, but because their backers have so much money they literally cannot be sued for libel. I can give specific examples of that if you like. Getting back to the original topic, that’s the kind of hypocrisy that people are starting to wake up to, and it makes us Christians look bad.



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Wolverine

posted March 23, 2007 at 4:47 pm


Rick Nowlin wrote: The truth be told, right-wing media have told hundreds of outright lies about liberals and Democrats, but because their backers have so much money they literally cannot be sued for libel. I can give specific examples of that if you like. Yeah, and the Texas Air National Guard memos that CBS hawked in the fall of ’04 were totally on the up-and-up. But getting to the important point: the reason that nobody sues Fox or the rest of the “Right Wing Media” is because it’s nearly impossible to win a libel suit against anyone, left, right, or center, thanks to a US Supreme Court case called New York Times v. Sullivan, in which the court held that for a “public figure” to win a libel suit, he or she must prove malice. And Rick, if you want to argue that Fox News isn’t a reliable source of info, that’s fine. But don’t plead poverty on behalf of the mainstream media. They have lawyers too. Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted March 23, 2007 at 4:49 pm


Rick Nowlin wrote: North’s convictions were appealed to that court precisely because his defense team knew full well they would be overturned. Which proves conclusively that North had a sharp defense lawyer. And the problem with that is… Wolverine



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Christian Beyer

posted March 23, 2007 at 5:18 pm


I have some oceanfront property in Kansas you might be interested in” Rick, what a shameless attempt on your part to cash in on the whole ‘the ice caps are melting and the ocean levels are rising’ hysteria. Kansas indeed! :) (How much’re you asking?)



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 23, 2007 at 5:27 pm


Yeah, and the Texas Air National Guard memos that CBS hawked in the fall of ’04 were totally on the up-and-up. They may have been, truth be told — CBS simply botched the story because they didn’t have all the facts before trotting it out. And besides, heads rolled (and should have) as a result. You won’t see that kind of mea culpa in right-wing media. And Rick, if you want to argue that Fox News isn’t a reliable source of info, that’s fine. But don’t plead poverty on behalf of the mainstream media. They have lawyers too. I understand that. But Fox News exists specificially to promote conservative propaganda masquerading as news, and everyone in media gets this. Which proves conclusively that North had a sharp defense lawyer. And the problem with that is… The court was itself politicized. Read the book I referred to earlier, which is how I found out.



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 23, 2007 at 5:28 pm


Rick, what a shameless attempt on your part to cash in on the whole ‘the ice caps are melting and the ocean levels are rising’ hysteria. Kansas indeed! Wish I’d thought of that… :-)



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 23, 2007 at 5:33 pm


Wolverine — I forgot to mention: You know where I first learned that the National Guard memos may not have been all that? On ABC News, the day after CBS tried to break the story, and of course ABC is certainly not a GOP haven.



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moderatelad

posted March 23, 2007 at 5:59 pm


I have invested in land in NV. Between ‘global warming’ and earthquakes it should be beach front in a few years. Have a great weekend! .



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Wolverine

posted March 23, 2007 at 6:04 pm


Rick, You’re missing the point. Yes, ABC ran a story, but they weren’t the ones who discovered the forgery. The truly sad thing about the Texas Air National Guard memos wasn’t just that the memos were fakes, it was just how obvious the fakery was, and how blind CBS was to problems with their “evidence”. The real credit for blowing up the TANG memos goes to conservative bloggers at Power Line and Little Green Footballs, who used exotic methods that were apparently unavailable to the networks: eyes and common sense. Wolverine



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Elmer Gantry

posted March 23, 2007 at 6:55 pm


Oooooh, I am spittin’ mad!!!!



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 23, 2007 at 8:38 pm


You’re missing the point. Yes, ABC ran a story, but they weren’t the ones who discovered the forgery. The truly sad thing about the Texas Air National Guard memos wasn’t just that the memos were fakes, it was just how obvious the fakery was, and how blind CBS was to problems with their “evidence”. Says you. Indeed, the producer at CBS who lost her job complained not that the story was false but that it was rushed, for the sake of ratings. She said it would have been proven had it waited about a week. (Also see Media Matters for America’s take on it — it has the best research of any media watchdog, so strong that the Media Research Center won’t go on the air with it. Oh, BTW, Brock runs it.) My point is that had something like this run on Fox no one would have lost his job. The real credit for blowing up the TANG memos goes to conservative bloggers at Power Line and Little Green Footballs, who used exotic methods that were apparently unavailable to the networks: eyes and common sense. Anyone who believes conservative bloggers, who are never subject to the same standards as mainstream media (and that is the problem here), is ideologically skewed anyway.



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generosa

posted March 23, 2007 at 9:40 pm


You missed the critical part, “for reasons that are between God and me”. I claim the right to have my own personal relationship with God just as you have. The difference is that I don’t claim to have knowledge of your boundaries, as you seem to have decided mine.



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Elmer Gantry

posted March 23, 2007 at 10:40 pm


My blood is boiling with rage!!!!



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Wolverine

posted March 24, 2007 at 2:23 am


Rick, Legally, they are subject to the exact same standard: as long as they avoid outright malice, they cannot be sued no matter how bad they screw up a story. I also not how you avoid the bottom line of the TANG story: CBS screwed up, and the bloggers caught it within a matter of hours. As for Mary Mapes and her claim that they could have proved it if they’d only had a few more days: Sister, you just go ahead and tell yourself that. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 24, 2007 at 6:24 am


Legally, they are subject to the exact same standard: as long as they avoid outright malice, they cannot be sued no matter how bad they screw up a story. That’s bogus — almost all the false stories about Democrats, most recently in the Washington Times about Barack Obama’s alleged time in a Muslim “seminary,” were clearly done with malice. How about the gossip, published anonymously, in the local (to me) right-wing newspaper that John Kerry and Bill Clinton had affairs with the same woman? But in both cases the publishers are zillionaires. As for Mary Mapes and her claim that they could have proved it if they’d only had a few more days: Sister, you just go ahead and tell yourself that. After seeing Media Matters’ take on it, I believe her.



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moderatelad

posted March 24, 2007 at 4:04 pm


generosa | 03.23.07 – 3:45 pm | #You are correct that you have the right to your personal relationship with the Almighty. But you were the one that made the statement that the ‘Almighty gave you the power to… ; As I read the Bible – there is level ground for all – no one gets special treatment or privileges. The Bible is very direct as to what God requires of us and what we as children of God can and can not do.So – what scripture are you using to back up your statement about what God has revealed to you – inquiring minds want to know. Later .



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generosa

posted March 24, 2007 at 5:37 pm


I wouldn’t argue over what the Scriptures say to you, at all. I am not using the literal Bible as my basis, but what I have learned about Christ, his words and his actions. I believe in these things because I have seen them, throughout my life, result in the highest forms of human thinking and behavior. The qualities of love, mercy, charity, forgiveness, and courage mark my understanding of Christ. In regard to abortion, perhaps I phrased it wrong. I believe that God puts the weight of such a decision solely in the woman’s hands. She must bear the consequences of her decision. No one else will go to hell for it, presumably. Just her. In this country we do not have forced abortions, as they do in China. If the government takes control of women’s bodies to prevent abortion, what is to prevent it from forcing abortion? That is a road I would not want to travel. I am only saying that the price of wrongdoing is on the doer, not on anyone else. God gave us minds to think and make decisions. That is the power we are given.For most, I think abortion is not an easy decision. It is a sad state of affairs.



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kevin s.

posted March 24, 2007 at 6:59 pm


“Anyone who believes conservative bloggers, who are never subject to the same standards as mainstream media (and that is the problem here), is ideologically skewed anyway.” The same can be said for Media Matters, which is a left-wing organization.



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kevin s.

posted March 24, 2007 at 7:11 pm


“In this country we do not have forced abortions, as they do in China. If the government takes control of women’s bodies to prevent abortion, what is to prevent it from forcing abortion? That is a road I would not want to travel.” Abortion is legal in China. What road do you want to travel?The distinction is that an abortion is an act forced upon the fetus, which is a separate individual from the mother. As such, the government is not taking control of a woman’s body, except to protect another body. For this, there is obviously a long-established precedent. We have laws which prohibit thievery. Must we then have laws that require citizens to steal? Obviously not.”I am only saying that the price of wrongdoing is on the doer, not on anyone else. God gave us minds to think and make decisions. That is the power we are given.” That isn’t true. The price of the wrongdoing is on the unborn child, who dies as a result, which is why government must intervene. Shall we allow murder or rape, for the reason that “the price of wrongdoing is on the doer”?



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Wolverine

posted March 24, 2007 at 8:13 pm


Rick, I really don’t want to get bogged down indefinitely in the TANG story. All I can say is, Mary Mapes fell for a forgery of remarkable ineptitude, and the only question remaining is: is she a political hack, or a total fool? If I were you I’d stick with political hack, but the bottom line is the same either way, her credibility on this story isn’t worth jack-doo-doo. It has never been our claim that the DNC gives the orders in most of the media. Rather, our claim is that a generally left-of-center ideology prevails among most reporters in the mainstream media, that reporters themselves have become blind to it, and that this results in slanted coverage of any news with a political aspect. The TANG story was just one illustration of that: if there had been one Bush supporter in the loop on that story, he or she would have seen the obvious problems with the forgery (namely, that the memos didn’t look anything like typewritten documents from that period) and warned the reporters not to use those documents. Look, you don’t have to concede the larger point about media bias, but admit it, Mary Mapes screwed up royally on the TANG story, and has nobody to blame for that but herself. Wolverine



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generosa

posted March 24, 2007 at 8:15 pm


I was pointing out the danger of giving governments power over our bodies. Having known women who were sterilized against their will, and impregnated against their will, it is too familiar to me. There are times in life when we must make hard decisions, and no choice seems a good one. Here’s a hypothetical: A young girl, maybe 10 or 12 years old, is severely diabetic. She is violently raped and becomes pregnant. Do you force her to continue the pregnancy, which could kill her, or at very least cost her sanity? Is your compassion for the unborn greater than for the young girl? Do you think God would send the girl to hell if she has an abortion?



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 24, 2007 at 8:17 pm


The same can be said for Media Matters, which is a left-wing organization. Outright false, Kevin — Media Matters for America makes sure it gets its facts straight before saying anything, and as I mentioned before, it keeps extremely detailed files and is so effective that the right-wing Media Research Center won’t even go on the air with it. Brock, by his own admission, was part of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” — he told Hillary about it, BTW, so he knows what he’s dealing with. Anyway, you ask Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly about it; they will probably puke, because they can no longer lie without someone saying something about it.



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 24, 2007 at 8:51 pm


It has never been our claim that the DNC gives the orders in most of the media. Rather, our claim is that a generally left-of-center ideology prevails among most reporters in the mainstream media, that reporters themselves have become blind to it, and that this results in slanted coverage of any news with a political aspect. Frankly, but with all the humility I can muster, your claim is false; you have obviously never worked in the media, otherwise you would know that we do consistently check ourselves. We have editors, and editors on top of editors, to remove as much slant as we possibly can, and on top of that we as a whole are very, very well acqainted with the conservative viewpoint. That said, we are not a public relations outfit and do not exist to tell conservatives what they want to hear. In my quarter-century of experience (and probably also that of my co-workers), the conservative outlook is as a rule very dismissive of those that don’t conform and gets very snippy when someone challenges it. The reason I personally reject most challenges of “liberal bias” from conservatives is because, upon further inspection, they rarely hold water. You, as a polemicist, believe that we by definition also are polemicists; we are not. A good example of that is when we didn’t have a great deal of coverage of the “March for Life” a few years back — there’s been more where I work of late but still not much. One woman I know asked me about that, and I asked her, honestly, “Where’s the news in it?”. I mean, you have the same people doing the same thing with some of the same speakers making the same speeches — what’s really new? Once I explained that to her she understood. (I say this as an evangelical who is staunchly “pro-life.”) That actually gets to the heart of the matter and the original topic of this thread. In my experience, the right can see only its own view and relates to others along that prism. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with subscribing to a particular ideology, only that you cannot change the facts in order to support it, which we feel conservatives try to do consistently.



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Wolverine

posted March 25, 2007 at 12:09 am


Rick Nowlin wrote: Frankly, but with all the humility I can muster, your claim is false; you have obviously never worked in the media, otherwise you would know that we do consistently check ourselves. We have editors, and editors on top of editors, to remove as much slant as we possibly can, and on top of that we as a whole are very, very well acqainted with the conservative viewpoint. While I’ve never worked for the media, I have worked with the media quite a bit. I think by and large most reporters are conscientous people who want to get the story right. The Mary Mapeses are a distinct minority. But layers of editors are not a guarantee against bias if the editors share the biases of the reporters. The only real defense against that is more ideological diversity, and when 80 percent of reporters and editors vote Democratic (as poll after poll has shown) what you have is an absence of balance. That said, we are not a public relations outfit and do not exist to tell conservatives what they want to hear. I never said that was your job. In my quarter-century of experience (and probably also that of my co-workers), the conservative outlook is as a rule very dismissive of those that don’t conform and gets very snippy when someone challenges it. Funny, I’ve seen the same thing among liberals. Could it be that this is a human trait, and not an ideological one? The reason I personally reject most challenges of “liberal bias” from conservatives is because, upon further inspection, they rarely hold water. You, as a polemicist, believe that we by definition also are polemicists; we are not. Again, I don’t recall saying you were a polemicist. Maybe someone else did, I didn’t. I said you were mostly honest people who were unaware of your biases because you had few people around the newsroom who were inclined to challenge your conclusions. A good example of that is when we didn’t have a great deal of coverage of the “March for Life” a few years back — there’s been more where I work of late but still not much. One woman I know asked me about that, and I asked her, honestly, “Where’s the news in it?”. I mean, you have the same people doing the same thing with some of the same speakers making the same speeches — what’s really new? Once I explained that to her she understood. (I say this as an evangelical who is staunchly “pro-life.”) Wait a minute, wasn’t she supposed to be snippy? Please let me know her name so I can have her VRWC membership card cancelled. That actually gets to the heart of the matter and the original topic of this thread. In my experience, the right can see only its own view and relates to others along that prism. The thing is, the only way we can prove to you that we can see your worldview is to convert to your world view. Or is there something else we could to to demonstrate that we are listening, even if we aren’t agreeing? I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with subscribing to a particular ideology, only that you cannot change the facts in order to support it, which we feel conservatives try to do consistently. That’s a constant temptation of any worldview. I’ll admit conservatives have fallen into that temptation at times, but again, this is a human thing, not a conservative thing. Mary Mapes fell for this too — she believed the memos were genuine because they fit her narrative. Then when they were debunked she was too proud to admit her mistake. I’m not going to tell you to renounce your worldview, but I wouldn’t be so confident that I was totally beyond any of this if I were you. Bias is forgiveable, but combine bias with arrogance, as happened on the TANG story, and the result is liable to be a couple ruined careers. Wolverine



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Payshun

posted March 25, 2007 at 1:11 am


Everyone has bias. I doubt Rick is blind enough to ignore his own. i have bias, Wolverine, you have bias. So what? The question needs to be is the story gettin out in a way that can be supported by real intel and accurate sources. That’s the important thing. p



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Christian Beyer

posted March 25, 2007 at 4:49 am


Rick, listen to what your are saying; “In my experience, the right can see only its own view and relates to others along that prism” Doesn’t your statement show that you are guilty of the same thing? Payshun makes a good point; we all are biased. It is when we are convinced of our own impartiality that we begin to make mistakes in judgement. We need to engage those we consider to be the opposition with open arms, minds and hearts, no matter how repugnant they or their views may be to us. I disagree with much that you (and others) have said. Upon reflection I realize that I also agree with much that you have said. By making a deliberate decision to respect your point of view I am able to learn and (what a cliche’) evolve. That is what I find dangerous in what Mr.Balmer (and Wallis and McLaren) have had to say on this issue. They have decided to be idealogically immovable, disregarding out of hand opposing viewpoints as being partisan or intellectually inferior. In the process they have cut off an important avenue of learning.Yes, yes, Dobson and Co. are guilty of this also, in spades. But two wrongs don’t make a right (or a very credible Left)



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 25, 2007 at 5:20 am


But layers of editors are not a guarantee against bias if the editors share the biases of the reporters. The only real defense against that is more ideological diversity, and when 80 percent of reporters and editors vote Democratic (as poll after poll has shown) what you have is an absence of balance. This, believe it or not, means practically nothing because you assume — wrongly — that media professionals (and I cannot stress enough that we ARE professionals) are as ideologically driven as the conservatives who despise them; in fact, most are pretty apolitical and focus upon doing their jobs. Basically, you are unfairly projecting your ideas on a group of people who simply may not deserve that kind of treatment. This is a generally a problem with conservatism — and why it is engendering more and more contempt. The thing is, the only way we can prove to you that we can see your worldview is to convert to your world view. Or is there something else we could to to demonstrate that we are listening, even if we aren’t agreeing? In fact, it’s just the opposite — the projection I was talking about before. As I said, I know more about conservatism than many conservatives, and it’s my knowledge about what it believes and teaches (and they’re not even aware of its consequences most of the time) that causes me to reject it. Bias is forgiveable, but combine bias with arrogance, as happened on the TANG story, and the result is liable to be a couple ruined careers. Fox News stays in business by being both biased and arrogant, but in our view its biggest problem is its shoddy reporting (we never have it on in our newsroom because we know its accuracy is questionable). I occasionally wear a “Faux News” T-shirt around the office, and our straight-laced executive editor — the same guy who warned us not even to attend any campaign concerts sponsored by MoveOn.org in 2004 — loved it when he first saw it. And as I said before, the problem with the TANG story was that it was rushed before it was complete. The question needs to be is the story getting out in a way that can be supported by real intel and accurate sources. That’s the important thing. Agreed. But that’s the last thing ideologues want.



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HASH(0x1165ca84)

posted March 25, 2007 at 5:44 am


Christian — The real problem is not so much “bias” but an unwillingness to adjust worldviews to accommodate facts on the ground. This was first brought to my attention when I was watching the 700 Club in 1983 and ’84 and noticed stories that were either misleading or in some cases just plain false (and one of them, which left out a key detail, even involved my church at the time). I personally have no problem with “slant” because I can generally detect it whether left or right; it’s when you distort facts or even lie that gets me going. And that’s more likely on the right. You see, right-wing media sprouted a few decades ago for the expressed purpose of spreading propaganda (ostensibly to keep another Watergate from happening), but they don’t — can’t afford to — give it to you straight. Now, in standard journalism you are supposed to have at least two independent sources for every story for which you do not have first-hand knowledge; however, conservative media have never operated this way and to my knowledge still do not. That is why I simply do not trust them. Thankfully, people are starting to speak up. Recently I saw a segment on C-SPAN with a reporter from (I think) the Washington Post who had been in Iraq, and he was talking about the WMD that were never found. A supported of GWB called in and insisted that the weapons were moved to Syria; he said in response, “The caller is wrong.” As a Christian, I am committed to truth no matter from where it comes because I know God sees it. As Payshun said, I’m not totally objective, but (and this is the case since 1993, when my media career started) I do my very best to eliminate my ideology in the straight news stories I write. (That said, I’ve done a lot of opinion writing but not on subjects I cover.)



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 25, 2007 at 5:50 am


That last post was mine.



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Wolverine

posted March 25, 2007 at 7:17 am


Rick Nowlin wrote: This, believe it or not, means practically nothing because you assume — wrongly — that media professionals (and I cannot stress enough that we ARE professionals) are as ideologically driven as the conservatives who despise them; in fact, most are pretty apolitical and focus upon doing their jobs. I notice you do not deny the facts of the poll of the media. Now lemme ask you: if the media were apolitical, why do so many of you fall on one side of the political line? Shouldn’t that be closer to 50-50? If nothing else, random chance should generate some stray GOP votes — if you weren’t strongly aligned one way or another. Basically, you are unfairly projecting your ideas on a group of people who simply may not deserve that kind of treatment. No, I am making an entirely natural and reasonable inference from a factual foundation that you have not questioned so far. This is a generally a problem with conservatism — and why it is engendering more and more contempt. Among whom? Non-ideological types such as yourself? As I said, I know more about conservatism than many conservatives, and it’s my knowledge about what it believes and teaches (and they’re not even aware of its consequences most of the time) that causes me to reject it. Yes, and much of what you know is false, but don’t let that get in the way of lecturing me about my ideology. I occasionally wear a “Faux News” T-shirt around the office, and our straight-laced executive editor — the same guy who warned us not even to attend any campaign concerts sponsored by MoveOn.org in 2004 — loved it when he first saw it. Which leads me to another question: if you are so unattached to ideology, why did your straight-laced editor, who was so amused by your “Faux News” tee-shirt, feel the need to warn you to stay away from events sponsored by MoveOn.org? I mean, if your staff is totally non-ideological, you had at least as good a chance of accidentally wandering into a gun show or a Toby Keith concert, right? And as I said before, the problem with the TANG story was that it was rushed before it was complete. Yeah, give Mapes and co. another day and someone might have thought of retyping the memos using the Courier font, so that they would at least halfway resemble documents from a 1970s era typewriter. The real problem is not so much “bias” but an unwillingness to adjust worldviews to accommodate facts on the ground. This was first brought to my attention when I was watching the 700 Club in 1983 and ’84 and noticed stories that were either misleading or in some cases just plain false (and one of them, which left out a key detail, even involved my church at the time). Which reminds me of something else: for all your assertions that the right wing media cannot get stories straight, you’ve yet to give a concrete example of a story that they’ve screwed up. And 1984 was 23 years ago man. Got any examples from after the days of betamax? Now, in standard journalism you are supposed to have at least two independent sources for every story for which you do not have first-hand knowledge; however, conservative media have never operated this way and to my knowledge still do not. That is why I simply do not trust them. Oh please, tell me about the time that you hung around the newsroom at Fox and saw all the reporters not using second sources. Thankfully, people are starting to speak up. Recently I saw a segment on C-SPAN with a reporter from (I think) the Washington Post who had been in Iraq, and he was talking about the WMD that were never found. A supported of GWB called in and insisted that the weapons were moved to Syria; he said in response, “The caller is wrong.” So somebody smacked down a crank caller on a C-SPAN. Woo Hoo! I do my very best to eliminate my ideology in the straight news stories I write. In spite of all the above, I have no reason to believe that you aren’t at least trying to be objective, or that you don’t largely succeed. But on the whole I’m not convinced that the media is doing a very good job. Which is why Fox News, for all its faults, (I’m definitely not a fan of Bill O’Reilly, for one thing.) is so valuable. There is at least one network where the conservative view of events can get out. If the established media were more genuinely balanced, there would be no market for Fox. Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted March 25, 2007 at 7:23 am


Whoops! Reposted to fix formatting screwups and avoid confusion over who said what: Rick Nowlin wrote: This, believe it or not, means practically nothing because you assume — wrongly — that media professionals (and I cannot stress enough that we ARE professionals) are as ideologically driven as the conservatives who despise them; in fact, most are pretty apolitical and focus upon doing their jobs. I notice you do not deny the facts of the poll of the media. Now lemme ask you: if the media were apolitical, why do so many of you fall on one side of the political line? Shouldn’t that be closer to 50-50? If nothing else, random chance should generate some stray GOP votes — if you weren’t strongly aligned one way or another. Basically, you are unfairly projecting your ideas on a group of people who simply may not deserve that kind of treatment. No, I am making an entirely natural and reasonable inference from a factual foundation that you have not questioned so far. This is a generally a problem with conservatism — and why it is engendering more and more contempt. Among whom? Non-ideological types such as yourself? As I said, I know more about conservatism than many conservatives, and it’s my knowledge about what it believes and teaches (and they’re not even aware of its consequences most of the time) that causes me to reject it. Yes, and much of what you know is false, but don’t let that get in the way of lecturing me about my ideology. I occasionally wear a “Faux News” T-shirt around the office, and our straight-laced executive editor — the same guy who warned us not even to attend any campaign concerts sponsored by MoveOn.org in 2004 — loved it when he first saw it. Which leads me to another question: if you are so unattached to ideology, why did your straight-laced editor, who was so amused by your “Faux News” tee-shirt, feel the need to warn you to stay away from events sponsored by MoveOn.org? I mean, if your staff is totally non-ideological, you had at least as good a chance of accidentally wandering into a gun show or a Toby Keith concert, right? And as I said before, the problem with the TANG story was that it was rushed before it was complete. Yeah, give Mapes and co. another day and someone might have thought of retyping the memos using the Courier font, so that they would at least halfway resemble documents from a 1970s era typewriter. The real problem is not so much “bias” but an unwillingness to adjust worldviews to accommodate facts on the ground. This was first brought to my attention when I was watching the 700 Club in 1983 and ’84 and noticed stories that were either misleading or in some cases just plain false (and one of them, which left out a key detail, even involved my church at the time). Which reminds me of something else: for all your assertions that the right wing media cannot get stories straight, you’ve yet to give a concrete example of a story that they’ve screwed up. And 1984 was 23 years ago man. Got any examples from after the days of betamax? Now, in standard journalism you are supposed to have at least two independent sources for every story for which you do not have first-hand knowledge; however, conservative media have never operated this way and to my knowledge still do not. That is why I simply do not trust them. Oh please, tell me about the time that you hung around the newsroom at Fox and saw all the reporters not using second sources. Thankfully, people are starting to speak up. Recently I saw a segment on C-SPAN with a reporter from (I think) the Washington Post who had been in Iraq, and he was talking about the WMD that were never found. A supported of GWB called in and insisted that the weapons were moved to Syria; he said in response, “The caller is wrong.” So somebody smacked down a crank caller on a C-SPAN. Woo Hoo! I do my very best to eliminate my ideology in the straight news stories I write. In spite of all the above, I have no reason to believe that you aren’t at least trying to be objective, or that you don’t largely succeed. But on the whole I’m not convinced that the media is doing a very good job. Which is why Fox News, for all its faults, (I’m definitely not a fan of Bill O’Reilly, for one thing.) is so valuable. Wolverine



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moderatelad

posted March 25, 2007 at 5:28 pm


generosa | 03.24.07 – 11:42 am | #Interesting logic – but you were the one that said that God gave you the ability to make that decision. No we do not have ‘forced abortion’ but I find it interesting that the ‘woman’ has the power to make that decision to hvae the abortion regardless of the ‘man’ (father) if he would like to keep the child and raise it himself. BUT – she can keep the child even if the man wants her to have an abortion and stick it to him for the next 18 years on child support and he has no power in that decision either.If the roles were reversed – you would support this logic? Later – .



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 25, 2007 at 9:06 pm


I notice you do not deny the facts of the poll of the media. Now lemme ask you: if the media were apolitical, why do so many of you fall on one side of the political line? Shouldn’t that be closer to 50-50? If nothing else, random chance should generate some stray GOP votes — if you weren’t strongly aligned one way or another. Another straw man. As I mentioned, we may be overwhelmingly Democratic in registration, but that doesn’t mean that we take the Democratic Party’s pronouncements as gospel. Then, I’m told that more idealistic people (who tend to be politically liberal) go into journalism for the sake of public service — where you will thus naturally see few conservatives. Also, did it ever occur to you that we are the best-informed people anywhere? I get some of my best material from wire services — stuff not available to the general public because there’s no room in the paper. OTOH, many of the conservatives I know are the worst-informed people around; another poll taken some years ago showed that Fox News viewers were indeed quite ignorant of basic facts compared to those who listen to NPR or watch network news. Which reminds me of something else: for all your assertions that the right wing media cannot get stories straight, you’ve yet to give a concrete example of a story that they’ve screwed up. And 1984 was 23 years ago man. Got any examples from after the days of betamax? I said, that’s when I FIRST began to notice it, and about 10 years ago I stopped watching/reading because I simply got tired of all the stuff I knew to be false. Go to Media Matters to find more recent examples — if you dare; it mentioned last year that in its three years of existence it found nearly 1,500 items of misleading or false stories on Fox News alone (not including National Review, the Washington Times or CNN). Which leads me to another question: if you are so unattached to ideology, why did your straight-laced editor, who was so amused by your “Faux News” tee-shirt, feel the need to warn you to stay away from events sponsored by MoveOn.org? I mean, if your staff is totally non-ideological, you had at least as good a chance of accidentally wandering into a gun show or a Toby Keith concert, right? James Taylor and the Dixie Chicks, who are very popular here, were the specific performers; some folks may have wanted to go just for the music. Perhaps some of my co-workers do indeed like Toby Keith — we’ve always kept a country music reviewer on staff and country music is popular as well. (He was not supported by any conservative groups, BTW.) Which is why Fox News, for all its faults, (I’m definitely not a fan of Bill O’Reilly, for one thing.) is so valuable. Like a hole in the head. I don’t wear that “Faux News” T-shirt for nothing. But more to the point — based on your previous posts you seem to be of the mindset that all opinions have equal weight. But that’s the post-modern thinking that, among other things, that all views are valid. I am a Christian, and I thus believe that some things are right and some things are wrong, and I don’t particularly care which side of the political fence they fall on. That said, I long suspected (and my suspicions were confirmed about five years ago) that there’s been a long-standing institutional campaign of disinformation from the conservative camp and that no such “liberal” cabal exists (if there were, the conservatives would tell you about it, chapter and verse).



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Canuckelhead

posted March 26, 2007 at 6:14 am


where can I obtain a “Faux News” T-shirt?



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moderatelad

posted March 26, 2007 at 2:34 pm


Canuckelhead | 03.26.07 – 12:19 am | #”Faux News” T-shirt? At CNN.comLater – .



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Wolverine

posted March 26, 2007 at 3:21 pm


Rick Nowlin wrote: OTOH, many of the conservatives I know are the worst-informed people around; another poll taken some years ago showed that Fox News viewers were indeed quite ignorant of basic facts compared to those who listen to NPR or watch network news. Just curious, you got a cite for that? I’d love to see who did it, and what the “facts” were that Fox viewers were ignorant of. Go to Media Matters to find more recent examples — if you dare; I did, and was not blown away. Most of the items struck me as trivial, or matters of interpretation or emphasis. based on your previous posts you seem to be of the mindset that all opinions have equal weight. But that’s the post-modern thinking that, among other things, that all views are valid. Not exactly. I wouldn’t want the media to waste a whole lot of time on Lyndon LaRouche. But there are a broad range of opinions that are reasonable and deserve a fair hearing. I think the media are prone to jump to conclusions based on faulty or incomplete evidence (TANG, again) and in those cases it almost always tends to help one party and one ideology. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 26, 2007 at 5:18 pm


Just curious, you got a cite for that? I’d love to see who did it, and what the “facts” were that Fox viewers were ignorant of. Offhand, I don’t. But specifically it consisted of three questions surrounding the war in Iraq and 9/11, and it was amazing just how much people refused to believe the truth. It came out, I believe, last year and was widely cited. Most of the items struck me as trivial, or matters of interpretation or emphasis. That’s exactly what gets slanted and thus can be very important. Remember when John Kerry stuck his foot in his mouth last year about “[getting] stuck in Iraq”? Well, conservatives insisted he was insulting the troops, but if you looked carefully at his remarks, which I did, they were a clear slap at President Bush. I think the media are prone to jump to conclusions based on faulty or incomplete evidence (TANG, again) and in those cases it almost always tends to help one party and one ideology. Part of the problems is that people don’t read newspapers or magazines the way they once did. More and more folks get their news from cable TV, which is never a good thing because they can’t get into anything in depth. But I don’t agree at all they they are meant to help one side; only the “politically obsessed” tend to believe that. Anyway, as I mentioned, I am not always open to hearing “all sides” because there are some things in this world that are non-negotiable. This is due not to my unwillingness to hear “incovenient truths” but my nose for propaganda (I’ve learned there is something called “reporters’ instinct” — I have a good idea when I’m being fed a line). Though I am a severe critic of the current President, I refused to watch “Fahrenheit 9/11″ because I knew it fit into that category and I want to make decisions based on facts.



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 26, 2007 at 5:21 pm

generosa

posted March 26, 2007 at 8:10 pm


moderatelad, it is just a biological fact that the woman has the power to terminate or continue a pregnancy. It is her body that is the vehicle. Yes, ideally, one should include one’s partner in such decisions, but that’s not always possible or safe. And yes, I think it’s very wrong for a woman to trap a man into paying lifelong child support for a child he didn’t intend. The only sure ways to avoid that situation are either to be able to trust your partner, or to abstain.



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auZSDYawWTd

posted September 4, 2013 at 11:00 am


773341 419546I



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