God's Politics

God's Politics


‘Devils and Dust’: How We Learned to Torture (by Brian McLaren)

posted by God's Politics

In The New York Times story about the administration’s secret
authorization of torture, one sentence is particularly chilling: “With
virtually no experience in interrogations, the CIA had constructed
its program in a few harried months by consulting Egyptian and Saudi
intelligence officials and copying Soviet interrogation methods long
used in training American servicemen to withstand capture.”

Copying tactics used by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the former Soviet
Union … what does this say about our nation’s trajectory? Since
reading those words last week, I can’t keep Bruce Springsteen’s song
out of my head. First, he echoes what many
Americans might say in response to the secret authorization of
torture:

Well I’ve got God on my side
And I’m just trying to survive.

But then he raises this question:

What if what you do to survive
Kills the things you love?

Springsteen then concludes:

Fear’s a dangerous thing.
It can turn your heart black you can trust.
It’ll take your God-filled soul
Fill it with devils and dust.

Springsteen’s words have me praying for
our nation today: Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have
mercy.

Brian McLaren’s new book, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope, was released last Tuesday.



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Moderatelad

posted October 11, 2007 at 11:26 am


‘…consulting Egyptian and Saudi intelligence officials and copying Soviet interrogation methods long used in training American servicemen to withstand capture.’
Consulting them and used in training Americans servicepersonnel to withstand – OK. Does not mean that we are currently using them on others. Sometimes you need to know what other are doing to understand what you need to do in defence. Knowing what others are doing and seeing how the conform to the Genevia guidelines.
‘…what does this say about our nation’s…’
That they are doing the intel that needs to be done so that we are informed about what is happening in the world. To be fore warned is to be fore armed with what you may have to do to protect yourself and others.
Springsteen’s words have me praying for our nation today…’
Happens to many of us each and everyday. Although I can’t say that Springsteen’s word have called me to prayer.
Blessings -
.



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Eric

posted October 11, 2007 at 11:33 am


I’m against torture and I don’t think the U.S. should employ it. That photo above has nothing to do with torture though. Those are people captured trying to fight coalition troops in Afghanistan and being transported to Guantanamo Bay. Yes, their heads are covered and they’re restrained, but that isn’t torture. I think it’s prudent to constrain prisoners and reduce their ability to inflict harm on their captors during transfer. We shouldn’t confuse the two issues.



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kevin s.

posted October 11, 2007 at 11:42 am


I only casually looked at the picture, and my brain registered it as prisoners rowing a boat. But yeah, that isn’t torture. The article, though lengthy (and, naturally, including a major correction) doesn’t offer much of anything new, or much in the way of hard evidence. How often are these tactics employed? Which tactics? I have little problem with slapping-heads and loud rock music, but more problems with water-boarding and being frozen.
That is the sort of hard information that makes for a smoking gun, but I suspect the answers to these question wouldn’t fit the NYT’s desired narrative.



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I and I

posted October 11, 2007 at 11:44 am


Brian’s post brought the question to my mind: Does the word “America” mean anything anymore?
I’m starting to agree with the theological conservatives who have been decrying situational ethics for so long.
Let’s remember that many of these prisoners may be innocent. They never received a fair trial. If this were happening to Americans who never had a trial, I think many in our country who turn a blind eye to this would be upset.
Or would they be upset only if it was white, middle-class Christian Americans who were treated this way?
God help us all.



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JohnH

posted October 11, 2007 at 11:47 am


Once again, Brian assumes the worst about his fellow Americans.



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I and I

posted October 11, 2007 at 11:53 am


Let’s not get fixated on whether or not the picture depicts torture, and focus on the content of the piece. If Brian or the moderator could take down the picture in the interest of keeping the conversation focused, he/she would be doing a great favor.



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CRP

posted October 11, 2007 at 11:57 am


Imagine if YOU were hooded, restrained, and then transported across the ocean. If that isn’t torture, it’s sure on the high holy road to it.
Try to empathize neocons.



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Anonymous

posted October 11, 2007 at 12:19 pm


“Imagine if YOU were hooded, restrained, and then transported across the ocean. If that isn’t torture, it’s sure on the high holy road to it.”
I suppose to do what you suggest I would have to imagine that I had been fighting American “infidels” in clothing that allowed me to hide among innocent civilians when I wanted to escape or cause collateral damage to make the Americans look bad to their biased newspapers.



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Moderatelad

posted October 11, 2007 at 12:30 pm


Let’s remember that these are ‘enemy combatants’ or ‘prisoners of war’. These are not people that may have commited a crime – they were involved in a battle or insurgance against Allied Forces. (yes there might be some in there that should not be there – but those who we have released from Gitmo because we thought this was the case – many were recaptured again in another battle)
The picture is one of them being detained not tortured. Yes their heads are covered – that does make it almost impossible for them the communicate with one another and assists in the safety of those guarding them.
So – what happens to most of our military personnel that are captured by them. Very few ever come home and most are put on display for all the world to see with their heads missing and bodies mutilated for the most part.
Not sure if they are even aware of the Geneva Accords.
Blessings -
.



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Eric

posted October 11, 2007 at 12:33 pm


I and I – Whether or not the people being transported to Gitmo are innocent or not is besides the point of the column. They could be completely guilty without a doubt and it still wouldn’t be right to torture them; but even if they’re innocent it also wouldn’t be wrong to restrain them and put a hood over their head to prevent them from attacking you. Police restrain people all the time who they suspect of committing a crime. It’s pretty common.



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Jake

posted October 11, 2007 at 12:36 pm


They may very well not be aware of the Geneva Accords – and obviously many don’t follow them. But we say we’re BETTER than that. It doesn’t matter if they don’t follow them – WE follow them not because others do, but because its right. You can point out that they don’t follow them – I’m not sure what impact that has on the discussion of how WE act, unless we’ve started taking our behavioral cues from terrorists.



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James

posted October 11, 2007 at 1:00 pm


All of us defending “our” torture of enemy combatants need to remember the wisdom of that well-known terrorist and liberal (he gave every thing he had to the poor, owned nothing and rebelled against the government), Jesus said, in Matthew 7:12; “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
New King James Version © 1982 Thomas Nelson
So, fellow sojourners, do we really want someone to do this to us? That is why the therefore is there for….ponder and resist the temptation to do the “human” thing and do the holy thing.



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kevin s.

posted October 11, 2007 at 1:00 pm


“Let’s not get fixated on whether or not the picture depicts torture, and focus on the content of the piece.”
McLaren swallowing whole a NYT piece and drawing the worst possible conclusions from it?



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James

posted October 11, 2007 at 1:00 pm


All of us defending “our” torture of enemy combatants need to remember the wisdom of that well-known terrorist and liberal (he gave every thing he had to the poor, owned nothing and rebelled against the government), Jesus said, in Matthew 7:12; “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
New King James Version © 1982 Thomas Nelson
So, fellow sojourners, do we really want someone to do this to us? That is why the therefore is there for….ponder and resist the temptation to do the “human” thing and do the holy thing.



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wayne

posted October 11, 2007 at 1:28 pm


Forget the picture. I think enough has been told that we using torture in interrogations. We are not studying it so as to prepare our soldiers to withstand it.
I think the promise of our nation could be simply stated as “Liberty and Justice for All.” If we deny justice to some in the interest of preserving the nation we do more harm than good. Even if someone could prove that it worked out all right in the end I still don’t think we could say it was okay do torture a prisoner. The fact that we might wish it had been used to save lives and foil an attack wouldn’t be a proof that it was right to do so.
I understand the logic of holding these detainees as other than POW’s, but I think we would serve our cause better if we did not. If we are to stand for Liberty and Justice for All, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard than this. Our fear is not justification for these actions. Their hatred of us is not justification. Their ignorance of Geneva is not justification. The good of the most is not justification. The whole idea of using preemptive force may help some of us sleep better but that doesn’t mean it should.
I have on many occasions heard the cries of people who were suffering tortuous pain. It was caused by disease not by some villain. As you might imagine it is hard to sleep through. That we cannot hear it shouldn’t change our ability to sleep through it.



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Moderatelad

posted October 11, 2007 at 2:12 pm


Posted by: wayne | October 11, 2007 1:28 PM
‘…enough has been told that we using torture in…’
Maybe we should define ‘torture’ for future discussion. My understanding is that we are using techniques that are within the Geneva Guidelines. I may not like it – you may not like it. But if we are within international guidelines and we are able to get information that allows us to have an advantage over the enemy and ultimately save Allied lives in the process, who are we to argue. Yes – everyone has the right to disagree and to disagree is not being unpatriotic but we are not there. Most of us have not been in the line of fire.
We have seen a lot of still photos about Gitmo and those detained and on their way there. But I have yet to see anything that proves we are torturing people and not abiding by international accords.
Blessings -
.



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Jake

posted October 11, 2007 at 2:30 pm


I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on the Geneva Conventions, but it took me about 2 or 3 minutes of research to find the following quote from Article 17 of the Third Convention:
“No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.”
I’d love to see someone try to explain how head slapping, waterboarding, exposure to frigid temperatures, and extreme stress positions in any way abides by this part of the Convention.



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neuro_nurse

posted October 11, 2007 at 2:37 pm


My goodness!
Whoever is moderating is making quick work of some of these posts! She/he will let some people get away with personal attacks, name-calling, and baseless accusations, but remove those that question her/his motives.
canucklehead, Moderatelad, kevin s., Payshum, squeaky, N.M Rod, et alia – peace to you, and thanks for your RESPECTFUL dialog, but I think I’m going to check out of here for a while.



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Jake

posted October 11, 2007 at 2:41 pm


One other thought.
Moderatelad said: But if we are within international guidelines and we are able to get information that allows us to have an advantage over the enemy and ultimately save Allied lives in the process, who are we to argue.
I’m pretty sure from previous posts I’ve seen that moderatelad considers himself a Christian (that’s not in any way a slight or me saying that is in doubt somehow – I’m just not positive how you identify yourself).
From a Christian perspective, I think it is a real mistake to let pragmatic considerations (ie., “well, we’re getting information, so it must be ok”) govern our behavior. Even the Geneva Conventions are not a sufficient guide. If you accept any kind of view of the Bible as authoritative, then it needs to be the primary (certainly at least the starting point) source for ethical reflection. It has an awful lot to say about how we treat other people–with compassion and dignity, recognizing that they are created in the image of God.
We’re not given any situation in which we can treat them in any other way, no matter what they may have done to us. Whether you want to talk semantics and argue if the techniques we’re using constitute “torture” or not, I cannot understand how someone would not find them problematic from a Christian perspective. Jesus especially was quite clear on these issues (cf. his comments on treatment of enemies in Matthew 5 and the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, which teaches that our neighbor is ANYONE who is in need).



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Sue

posted October 11, 2007 at 2:41 pm


I think it was Frederick Buechner who talked about how, just as St. Paul tells us that “perfect love casts out fear,” so perfect fear casts out perfect love. Split hairs about what is or isn’t torture and who’s doing it to whom and by what authorization…the point is that fear casts out love. Fear causes people to forget that the other is a child of God. Fear causes us to hurt each other, and thereby hurt God. Weep with those who weep, regardless of their affiliations. And yes, with Brian McLaren and Bruce Springsteen, plead for God’s mercy on us all.



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Hali

posted October 11, 2007 at 2:46 pm


“Moderatelad” wrote
“Let’s remember that these are ‘enemy combatants’ or ‘prisoners of war’. These are not people that may have commited[sic] a crime – they were involved in a battle or insurgance[sic] against Allied Forces. ”
Actually, many of them were turned in for the handsome bounty that the U.S. was offering. Let’s remember that our treatment of “prisoners of war” is governed by the Geneva Conventions – and that the designation “enemy combatant” was invented by those who would subvert the Geneva Conventions.
Bruce Springsteen is absolutely right. Whether you pray about it is between you and God.



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ds0490

posted October 11, 2007 at 2:58 pm


So far, according to the Bush administration’s own figures, more than half of the detainees processed through Guantanamo were determined NOT to have been illegal combatants.
That means, in reference to the picture, the odds are that about 1/2 of those people in hoods are innocent, according to our government, of any offense other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.



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kevin s.

posted October 11, 2007 at 3:22 pm


“So, fellow sojourners, do we really want someone to do this to us?”
Using this logic, we would have to rule out prisons entirely, unless anyone would like to be imprisoned.
I don’t think that the question of who is ordering what, when and to whom constitutes splitting hairs. There has been precious little discussion here and elsewhere about what really constitutes torture, whether we are really committing torture, and what we do and do not wish to allow.
“So far, according to the Bush administration’s own figures, more than half of the detainees processed through Guantanamo were determined NOT to have been illegal combatants.”
And a number of those went right back to fight. What this proves, to me, is that the military is doing its able best not to retain those who are innocent, even at the risk of releasing those who are very guilty.



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Monte

posted October 11, 2007 at 3:54 pm


Please do be aware that:
1) a majority of Gitmo detainees were not arrested on any battlefield, nor even in Afghanistan, and not by American forces, but in Pakistan by Pakistanis, which was under pressure to produce “terrorists” while Afghan refugees streamed across the country.
2) even those detained for no reason and now released were held secretly, away from their families and children, for years. Their lives will never be the same. “Oops” is not an adequate restitution.
3) we are Christians first, Americans second. Those imprisoned unjustly or treated harshly should be able to expect followers of Jesus to come to their aid, regardless of national citizenship. Jesus is Lord; Caesar is not. Justice for prisoners is Jesus’ command.



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Tabitha

posted October 11, 2007 at 4:08 pm


It is simply not true that America just learned to torture. We have used torture for a very long time. We used it in Vietnam, and in the dirty wars of Latin America. We may not have always been the ones carrying it out, but we have taught torture techniques to many around the world. Released interrogation manuals from the School of the Americas prove it. We prefer not to get our hands dirty, but as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prove, we will do it ourselves if we feel we have to.



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I and I

posted October 11, 2007 at 5:24 pm


“I and I – Whether or not the people being transported to Gitmo are innocent or not is besides the point of the column.”
Eric, I absolutely agree. I mentioned that fact because the indiscrimination makes our use of torture even worse, but even had they all been found guilty by fair trial, torturing them would be very, very wrong.
On another subject, I find that there are several people on this thread who, knee-jerk, seem compelled to defend torture. I recall Dostoevsky saying the best way to judge a nation is by how it treats its prisoners. I suppose the best way to gauge the conscience of a conservative is to see how they respond to reports of torture by the military. C’mon, stop using “tortured logic” to defend it, and just admit it’s wrong!



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squeaky

posted October 11, 2007 at 5:33 pm


neuro-nurse,
I’m sorry you will be taking a hiatus. I’ll miss your always insightful thoughts. I hope you return!
blessings and peace



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kevin s.

posted October 11, 2007 at 5:58 pm


Neuro,
I think the “censorship” of which you speak is done by computer. I don’t think it is the work of an editor handpicking comments to remove.



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canucklehead

posted October 11, 2007 at 8:21 pm


Sorry to cut to the chase, but can somebody tell me what is remotely ‘Christian’ about employing any form of torture or ‘eye for an eye’ tactics? That kind of BS makes great spy novels (i.e. entertainment) – but how it relates to the legitimate tactics of a purportedly “Christian” nation beats the h out of me.
don’t leave us Neuro, we need more voices from the south than John Hagee’s!



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Kevin Wayne

posted October 11, 2007 at 8:30 pm


And a number of those went right back to fight. What this proves, to me, is that the military is doing its able best not to retain those who are innocent, even at the risk of releasing those who are very guilty.

Could mean that or it could mean they are just more confused than we thought.



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Jane Rooney

posted October 11, 2007 at 8:58 pm


Who are we kidding? Pre emptive strikes, invasion, torture, only reap horrible results. The “harvest” of our behavior is yet to come. How we are seen throughout the world is hideous. We are not respected, and at some point can expect “to be done to us what we have done to them.”
WHY would we consult three countries both outside the United States and who are known for previous torture? Why would we not consult our own experts in intelligence and interrogation?
I heard an Army colonel (ret.) whose job it was to TEACH interrogation talk last night on NPR. What he said that any sophisticated, intelligent, educated intelligence officer knows is that the most successful way to obtain information from anyone is to treat them with respect, attend to their stated needs as appropriate, not to raise one’s voice, not to threaten anyone physically and above above all, to have great PATIENCE. He said that torture was “stupid.”
I agree. Ipse facto…
Jane



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N.M. Rod

posted October 11, 2007 at 9:25 pm


I’ll tellya, before reading and posting here, I wasn’t aware that Christianity needed as big an overhaul as I’m convinced of right now.
I’ve been a Christian conservative, but until I heard the most strident and indefensible arguments possible for what I still had some doubts about, I didn’t realize how bad it really was.
I don’t know if it makes any difference, but the arguments proferred in defense of the “conservative” position – if it really is the conservative position, for I’m no liberal – have been so morally troubling that they have served only to discredit that position as Christian.
I really think there must be a committed and responsible return to Christian traditions of upholding and defending life, as espoused by as different Christian groups dedicated to the essentials of our faith as Franciscans and Mennonites.
In fact, in a Mennonite fellowship I recently heard a moving story about St. Francis, who travelled in vain to the Holy Land during the Crusades to try to convince the Crusaders to stop their killing.
Now for the sake of today’s history, which feeds on some of the awful mistakes of the past like that, if only they had listened to Francis and Jesus.



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ds0490

posted October 11, 2007 at 9:46 pm


ds0490: “So far, according to the Bush administration’s own figures, more than half of the detainees processed through Guantanamo were determined NOT to have been illegal combatants.”
kevin s.: “And a number of those went right back to fight. What this proves, to me, is that the military is doing its able best not to retain those who are innocent, even at the risk of releasing those who are very guilty.”
In other words, the end justifies the means. That’s what got us into this mess in the first place.



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JamesMartin

posted October 11, 2007 at 10:07 pm


We have arrived at a very sad day in America when Christians condone this type of behavior on the part of our government. And then to nitpick over whether a photo depicts torture- fully ignoring the content of the article.
Thank you, Brian McLaren, for being a bright light amidst so much religiously-based darkness.



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confessedemu

posted October 11, 2007 at 11:07 pm


If anyone is interested in having a more informed look at the issue of torture and enemy combatants you can check out some very informative documentaries. They are available for free at free documentaries.org One called “The Road to Guantanamo” is quite good http://freedocumentaries.org/film.php?id=82 another about the privatization of interrogation and just about every other thing in Iraq is called “Iraq for Sale” and deals with Blackwater and Haliburton Titan. You can watch it at http://freedocumentaries.org/film.php?id=130 The films are free and there is a preview available and you can watch the film in streaming video so no downloads are necessary. God Bless.



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kevin s.

posted October 12, 2007 at 1:39 am


“In other words, the end justifies the means. That’s what got us into this mess in the first place.”
I’m not sure how you got that from my statement. All I said was the we are making every effort to ensure that those who are not enemy comatants are released. In general, we do our able best to make the detainees comfortable, for the very reason that we believe this will make them more likely to cooperate with us.
“And then to nitpick over whether a photo depicts torture- fully ignoring the content of the article.
I’m sure professional photojournalists will be glad to know that their pictures do not contribute to the content of an article. The photo is misleading, and it is completely fair to point that out.



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 12, 2007 at 1:52 am


I have noticed people like John McCain and others who speak out on this that I
have much respect for have been there or have served in the military and realize but by the Grace of God I could be a prisoner and subject to the whims of the enemy . .
But I would like to know honestyly if we knew a person had the information to where a nuclear bomb was going to set off , if you would were President would you condone torture to get the information . Questions like this are bothersome , so just don’t answer it , that can be an answer too .
I believe that is an important question to ask ourselves .



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N.M. Rod

posted October 12, 2007 at 2:30 am


The “24 hour ticking nuclear bomb” straw man argument’s always pimped to justify torture after torture that have absolutely nothing to do with that completely manufactured scenario.
These TV shows that get people all pumped up for torture with their pornographic revenge sequences, like “24,” where even politicians have started referring to it as if it’s reality instead of complete manufactured fiction, are really sick, making their creators wealthy while making the world an ever more dangerous place – a place of paranoid fantasies with all restraints removed, where life begins to imitate this perverse art.



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 12, 2007 at 2:57 am


Squeaky asked
I’m just curious because I want to learn more where you are coming from. When Clinton was involved with Monica-gate, did you view that as morally reprehensible?
ME
I never had the rabid hatred that had many conservative folks had for Clinton or the liberal folks have for Bush like .
Bill Clinton had many gates , , but I have never heard the nastiness get onto mainstream news sources as it has now . I think that is a reflection of our culture more then saying liberals are worse then conservatives . But your concern about morality appears one sided here Squeak .
If hillary gets in there it will stay bad . Just for that alone I am hoping another Democrat is elected . Believe it not I figure they are doing the best they can . I had more of a problem with Bill Clinton and the people he pardoned , and not the Monica Gate per say but the reputation assaults that the women endured who came out and named him as sexually harrassing him . There was a media assault made to make them look like hookers and opportunists . That hit me as being below the best of common decency . A complete betrayal , the President is suppose to be protecting us ? I believed he could have stopped those nasty caricatures that came out about those women
That was my problem with Bill. And all the Left wing organizations that say they promote womens rights from my cheap seats ,
Squeaky
that we should be driven by fear. That if we are afraid, it is OK to jettison our dearly held beliefs and morals. That torturing others or denying them their rights as humans is OK so long as it serves the greater good. Torture devalues human life.
mE
I hear this often on Air America ans liberal news outlets , that there is an attemptto use fear to drive us . I am concerned , I am not afraid. I don;t think we should have our soldiers in Iraq .
Squeaky I can not argue with you on this , My problem is I have a hard time getting the facts on what we are doing in regards to torture . Notice the post I asked about a simple question and how Rod answers it . That is what I am talking about , I want information not a anti you , I am better then thou slanted retort like he produced .
You
Trying to limit our constitutional rights devalues human life. If our example is from Washington, and that example devalues human life, is it any wonder that people would devalue the life of a fetus to serve their own personal greater good?
Me
I thought you were pro choice . You are trying to draw a correlation between this and abortion ?
I see somewhat , but you know of the millions of abortions before Bush showed up , but I guess your point is the devalueing of life . I guess I can let that one go by . But a bit on the rhetoric side .
This is where I believe I differ big time with you is the heart of this President . . You appear to think the President is doing to this to be evil . I believe he is doing it it to protect us . What reason do you think he is doing it for ? To be popular ???????? Even if he is wrong , his motives are to protect the lives of American Citizens on our shores .
I really get tired of the folks who believe he is murdering people on purpose , that is insanity . That leads to the 9/11 conspiracies that Bush planned this , that he wanted to get rich , etc . Try thinking what it would be like being a Princiople at a HS , and have some kids come in and murder many of your student s. Do you think the rules you came up after that would be quite over the top to some people that did not share you responsibility and concern . You think some people might not apprectiate cameras etc ,
We have a liberal Congressman nearby that voted for the Patriot Act and they roasted him out here .
Like I said , he may be wrong , but I don’t share your immorality stnick for this . FDR with the internment ,was based on fear and prejudice , Lincoln put newspaper editors in jail , did away with habeous corpus and other Constitutional Rights , Lincoln makes Bush look like James Madison . . I tend to take terroism more seriously then you , I believe many people think of what happened to us as a something more of crime , that we not in a war with a large growing cult that hijacked a religion . Our perspectives start off differently about terroism and Bush .
You
Who said that, and what were the exact words?
Me
Actually P said my concern about the family structure and how it related to poverty and such was crap . and in the context of a well written letter I add ., he meant no personal attack , he even said for me not to take it that way .
I can dig it up , P is a very honest man I have found , I don’t think he would have a problem repeating it , its what he believes . He does not see the issues I have with the family falling apart , out of wed lock births , the statistical information of abuses that accompany it are relevant to my conservative views of what the real problems facing our culture , especially our poor .
Kind of amazed that it does not get even any attention over in these circles , I originally came to check this organization out in hope it would be .. I am very conservative , but I am an American too . I mean that would have provided Wallis with support from many people , I don;t think he likes us /
You
And often, if they don’t see things the way you do, you tend to broad-brush them as being anti-family. You did that to me a few threads ago, and I hadn’t even said anything about family. Just an observation. That’s how it looks from here.
Me
Crap you sound like my wife . I do that big time . Ok Ok ,



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 12, 2007 at 4:14 am


N.M. Rod said
The “24 hour ticking nuclear bomb” straw man argument’s always pimped to justify torture after torture that have absolutely nothing to do with that completely manufactured scenario
Actually for you I should have asked if it was ok to torture because of the health of the Mother .
But I will ask again for those who are not afraid of the pornographic radar of NM ROD . I have noticed people like John McCain and others who speak out on this that I have much respect for who have been there or have served in the military and realize but by the Grace of God I could be a prisoner and subject to the whims of the enemy . .
But I would like to know if we knew a person had the information to where a nuclear bomb was going to set off , if you would were President would you condone torture to get the information .
This was asked at a recent Presidential Debate .



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Trent

posted October 12, 2007 at 8:45 am


I’m the wrong nationality to ever be your president Mick but I’d answer no.
Lex Rex, the law is king. We abide by it for our own protection.
Brother’s Karamazov has the story where Jesus returns and is re-arrested. One of the accusations made against Jesus is that if he’d just submitted to Satan and turned the rocks into bread then he could have fed the world and eliminated deaths from starvation.
But wrong is wrong is wrong is wrong. Or said another way, sin is sin is sin is sin. We do not improve the world by adding further sin to it, even if that sin were to save lives (imagine this were a stem cell question – do you approve because it might save lives?). We do not murder dictators, we do not even hate them, not if we are to be obedient followers of Jesus.
Be Blessed,



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JamesMartin

posted October 12, 2007 at 9:24 am


You: “I’m sure professional photojournalists will be glad to know that their pictures do not contribute to the content of an article. The photo is misleading, and it is completely fair to point that out.” kevin s.
It is certainly not misleading and you are using it as a diversionary tactic to avoid the real question at hand. Any misleading that has been done is by your inserting an non-issue into the conversation.
You: There has been precious little discussion here and elsewhere about what really constitutes torture, whether we are really committing torture, and what we do and do not wish to allow.
Maybe you could lend your body for experimentation while we sit back in a cool, detached manner and debate whether the harm inflicted on you constitutes “torture” or simply innovative interrogation techniques. We promise to be loving and Christ-like in our analysis.



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JCinSunnyLA

posted October 12, 2007 at 9:59 am


In the interest of full disclosure, I am reposting my last two submissions from another thread. I am getting a little slow in my old age and having trouble in maintaining my relevance to the discussion at hand. Is the last man to post ever heard?
Mick:
“God invented whiskey to prevent the Irish from ruling the world.”
I can’t take credit for this quote, but your blogs certainly do bring it to mind. Perhaps you should get off the sauce and take a course in remedial English. Then I might be able to follow your line of reasoning long enough to tell you where you may have gone wrong.
As for the current course of political discourse and, of course, rigorous religious debate about our faith and fate. Let us pause and take a deep breath before it is too late.
Liberal Democrats and Conservative Republicans actively involved in pointing fingers at each other are leading this country to a serious day of reckoning—as both parties are working opposite sides of the same dead end street to Hell on Earth. There is a grain of truth to both points of view, but a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Such issues as abortion and gay marriage are major distractions from the actions we should be taking in doing unto others as we would have them do to us. Perhaps you have found Utopia in the Great Northwest—a land of milk and honey and sunny dispositions toward all of God’s children. More likely you have lost sight of the fact that “leveling the playing field” requires a little more than expecting victims to let bygones be bygones and pull themselves up by their overpriced bootstraps produced in China and sold at the local Walmart. “Always lower prices” does not translate into higher value.
On the subject of abortion:
Many Republicans who trumpet their “reverence” for all life essentially advocate a life of neglect and abuse for unwanted children. Our welfare “reform” has dictated an every man for himself philosophy of “caring” for those who cannot care for themselves. And don’t remind me that Bill Clinton signed it into law. Welfare moms are simultaneously accused of “demanding” the right to abortion while purposely having babies to increase their benefits. Life is full of anecdotal “evidence” to prove any point by means of “lies, damn lies and statistics”.
The fact is that no-one can ascribe motive to intent like those who invent a reason to demonize a particular group or subset of same. Many Blacks on welfare do not believe in abortion. Many white middle-class “Christians” cannot bear the thought of giving up their freedom to raise a child when they feel a greater need to get a college education and to begin forging a successful and lucrative career in sucking up to those who hold the reins of power and glory.
Frankly, although I will never advocate abortion, I cannot in good conscience advocate a ban on the practice unless and until we demonstrate the will to take care of the children we already have. Nothing says no-one cares like sitting on our plump derrières in suburbia and passing judgment on the square pegs we have pounded into our round pigeonholes of life’s goals for those we left behind when we went to find Heaven on Earth.
Gay Marriage? Why do we engage in semantics to define our antics? Civil recognition does not change God’s definition of the legitimacy of one’s profession of love toward another. As we argue about labels, our enmity towards each other enables no other than the Dragon himself to keep us draggin’ ourselves down into the pitiless emptiness of the pride of life in this world of strife.
Christians were never expected to change the world, but to change their hearts and fill their minds with other kinds of thought than who ought to pay for their sins today and who we can blast for sins of the past. On this point, you speak the truth when you essentially say that children should not have to pay for the sins of their fathers a la affirmative action. But most of those who expect forgiveness for their sins and the sins of any others who find favor with them appear to be rather stingy in forgiving those who have caused them the slightest inconvenience—such as, providing a decent education for all children and not just the best and brightest of those who cannot afford private school. Vouchers for a fortunate few do nothing to improve the quality of education in public schools that have been abandoned to the window dressing of a “No Child Left Behind” policy lacking the substance of adequate funding behind the style of teaching to the test and forgetting the rest of learning to think for oneself.
Let’s not forget about Iraq (as if we can until we invade Iran). Those who say that leaving now would lead to a bloodbath are certainly correct in their assessment of the situation. Those who say that there will be a bloodbath whenever we leave are equally prescient. What we have here is the gnawing fear that we shouldn’t have left the parachute in the plane when we took a leap of faith in the belief that might makes right. Christians, of all people (and most certainly those who would characterize themselves as “born again”), should be cognizant of the fact that the end does NOT justify the means. We broke it and we will never be able to fix it. Presumably, we all have read the Bible—if only occasionally. We should know by now how it ends. Our legacy is not the Manifest Destiny envisioned by those who deign to rule and reign in the name of Christ before He returns. Any notion that God needs us more than we need Him is merely wishful thinking on the part of those who covet crowns and thrones while the world groans under the weight of too little too late in accepting our fate.
We are being sold a bill of goods when we buy the argument that we must prevent the spread of evil by the endless exchange of “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”. It is not a “different world”, as some would have us believe, for “there is nothing new under the sun”. But all will soon find that we have been blind to the Good News that all things are new under the Son—who came to save everyone and not just the ones we know and love and wish to see in Heaven Above.
The price of “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” is to understand the Prince of Peace when He said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44) We seem to expect it of others. Why do we have so much trouble expecting it of ourselves?
BTW, I find canuncklehead’s sense of humor to be refreshing. He has a way of making a point without wasting a lot of hot air. After all, it gets rather cold up there.
Posted by: JCinSunnyLA | October 11, 2007 12:16 PM
Let me first apologize for my comments to Mick at the beginning of my last post. It was a little childish and perhaps un-Christian of me.
Canucklehead:
Sorry for the typo. I sometimes get a little careless when I think faster than I can type.
Rodman:
Sunny LA is about as far as you can get from California in the Continental US. Actually, it is Lackawanna, NY—just south of Buffalo. We like to believe that it is the best place to live in Western NY, and since I come originally from Florida, our little nickname of Sunny LA makes me feel much warmer. Besides, in my hippie days one of my nicknames was Sunshine. Another was Bells, but that is a whole ‘nother story.
There’s nothing much else I have to say at the moment. I have to catch up on reading the various articles and comments first.
Peace y’all
Posted by: JCinSunnyLA | October 12, 2007 2:52 AM
My thoughts for the day…
On torture:
Reading some of the comments in these blogs is pure torture for me. Christ would rolling over in His grave if He were still there. Thank God He has risen and will return to show us all the error of our ways.



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Valerie Holmes

posted October 12, 2007 at 11:18 am


How can some of you looking at that picture NOT call being rounded up randomly like animals, tied and gagged and hooded, treated roughly and brutally and inhumanely, rights stripped away – including basic ones such as relief of thirst or emptying of bladder – not to mention habeas corpus – without proof of wrongdoing or formal criminal charges or opportunity to prove one’s innocence, NOT torture??? This does not include the treatment awaiting them once they arrive at their destination.
Keep in mind also, many of these people in these photographs are not guilty of anything but being the wrong ethnicity or religion or having the wrong name or being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a time of panic and anxiety and loss or reason. Many are not even legally adults yet. Guantanamo Bay will go down in history as our shame. Shame on us.



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N.M. Rod

posted October 12, 2007 at 11:41 am


Dear Mr. Mick Sheldon.
You keep accusing me of being for abortion.
I think that this false assertion must be so you can demonize me so that you can dismiss the other things I’ve said, by accusing me of the worst possible thing in your world.
Can I tell you that you are becoming confused if you think that a growing belief in the sanctity of life across the board, makes one an advocate for or approves of abortion in any way?
Simply because it may be in your preconceived bias, that those who now find the killing of innocents as collateral damage unacceptable other than inside the womb, that is, in warfare, must somehow be leftists who are always for abortion.
No.
It simply makes one consistent in one’s beliefs; not just some human life, but all human life is precious. Inside and outside the womb.
You don’t know my history; but just let me say if abortion had been legal when I was conceived I wouldn’t likely exist.
I have also been reconciled with the mother who gave me up at birth so long ago, and with siblings similarly situated.
You simply have no idea.
I have always been against abortion and have spent time and treasure in that effort over decades. In a peaceful and loving way while still not shrinking from presenting the truth. There was a time, early on, where the expression was, I admit, not in loving words, decades ago.
More recently through a number of very traumatic events that shook my own world I realized I was inconsistent in my beliefs, often unloving, and was convicted by Jesus’ words, ignored by my own church, that I was a hypocrite unless I began to follow Him in loving my enemy, which I admit I did not before. This meant I was convicted to adopt a belief in opposing evil only through non-violent resistance when necessary.
It seems when the logic of arguments is troubling, some folks want to resort to demonising and false accusations so that they can dismiss all the wrestling with their own consciences and preconceived notions. At least this is what I think such a vehement attitude that ignores truth is; I know it was for me so I’m not unsympathetic.
If you persist in damning me for being for abortion, the truth is not in you, Mick.
Thank you for your consideration.



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 12, 2007 at 1:08 pm


I’m the wrong nationality to ever be your president Mick but I’d answer no.
I was asking Christians here Trent , but thanks anyway for the answer .



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Anonymous

posted October 12, 2007 at 1:36 pm


Dear Mr. Mick Sheldon.
You keep accusing me of being for abortion
Are you not the guy who was part of the nut cult Operation Rescue , but now have come to your senses ? And believe Conservative Christians are so off the mark , ridicule most Conservative issues , and believe you are a conservative and therefore openminded ? I don’t recall accusing you of being for abortion ? Where ?
Mick:
“God invented whiskey to prevent the Irish from ruling the world.”
I can’t take credit for this quote, but your blogs certainly do bring it to mind. Perhaps you should get off the sauce and take a course in remedial English.
Actually I am Irish . I do apologize for my gramar , in this day they would call it dylexia .In my day third reading group and a golf ball held by the ceiling on a string and I would poke at it with a knitting needle . But the older I have gotten , actually the more I read . but I have noticed you are perfect .
YOU
Liberal Democrats and Conservative Republicans actively involved in pointing fingers
Such issues as abortion and gay marriage are major distractions from the actions we should be taking in doing unto others as we would have them do to us
Me
Distractions to someone who has no concern or little concern for those issues . Now ridicule those who who do because they don’t fit into your 12 step course to a healthy world . ? And expect respect for your opinions . .
You
requires a little more than expecting victims to let bygones be bygones and pull themselves up by their overpriced bootstraps produced in China and sold at the local Walmart.
Me
As for you believing government has the ability to justify past wrongs I disagree . But because I believe government should not , well I notice the questioning my morality and prejudice has come into play by the liberal thous shall not judge squad .
I am for reaching TO THE POOR Rod , I do . I help different races with my fiances , bit because they are different races , but because in their situation they are in need . Big difference to me . If because of circumstance the poor is more of one race , religion , or political afiliation I believe in reaching out to all .
You rather help a person because of a race , regardless if that person has rich parents .That is compassion without justice . Your wrong .
Based on race I find it morrally wrong . That is not a debate , that is part of my value system . If you can’t respect that , as you and others have shown , leave my comments alone . I do respect others , and if it race preferences are the law of the land is law , I respect the law . I disagree with it like abortion , but I respect the law . That is all I can do . I will not call you a racist because you support race preferences , I will say you are wrong . I leave the racist remarks and accusations to Trent and others .
And as for your need to show how troubled you are about abortion and other issues , stuff it till you can consider those issues are just as troubling and difficult for another to handle who is pro life . You think a hospital with babies who are addicted to crack at birth , makes any sense to a pro life advocate as myself . You think conservative have all the answers as you thought you did when to pummeled women and pro abortion advocates . If you want a discussion , I will take serious time and try to make my gramar better . It is hard for me , I am a late bloomer , but I can make it better .
Canucklehead:
Rod says
Sorry for the typo. I sometimes get a little careless when I think faster than I can type.
That is a contradiction if I ever heard one . LOL
P.S God Bless you Rod , English language can be used very well for the wrong reasons also .



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 12, 2007 at 1:40 pm


Dear Mr. Mick Sheldon.
You keep accusing me of being for abortion
Are you not the guy who was part of the nut cult Operation Rescue , but now have come to your senses ? And believe Conservative Christians are so off the mark , ridicule most Conservative issues , and believe you are a conservative and therefore openminded ? I don’t recall accusing you of being for abortion ? Where ?
Mick:
“God invented whiskey to prevent the Irish from ruling the world.”
I can’t take credit for this quote, but your blogs certainly do bring it to mind. Perhaps you should get off the sauce and take a course in remedial English.
Actually I am Irish . I do apologize for my gramar , in this day they would call it dylexia .In my day third reading group and a golf ball held by the ceiling on a string and I would poke at it with a knitting needle . But the older I have gotten , actually the more I read . but I have noticed you are perfect .
YOU
Liberal Democrats and Conservative Republicans actively involved in pointing fingers
Such issues as abortion and gay marriage are major distractions from the actions we should be taking in doing unto others as we would have them do to us
Me
Distractions to someone who has no concern or little concern for those issues . Now ridicule those who who do because they don’t fit into your 12 step course to a healthy world . ? And expect respect for your opinions . .
You
requires a little more than expecting victims to let bygones be bygones and pull themselves up by their overpriced bootstraps produced in China and sold at the local Walmart.
Me
As for you believing government has the ability to justify past wrongs I disagree . But because I believe government should not , well I notice the questioning my morality and prejudice has come into play by the liberal thous shall not judge squad .
I am for reaching TO THE POOR Rod , I do . I help different races with my fiances , bit because they are different races , but because in their situation they are in need . Big difference to me . If because of circumstance the poor is more of one race , religion , or political afiliation I believe in reaching out to all .
You rather help a person because of a race , regardless if that person has rich parents .That is compassion without justice . Your wrong .
Based on race I find it morrally wrong . That is not a debate , that is part of my value system . If you can’t respect that , as you and others have shown , leave my comments alone . I do respect others , and if it race preferences are the law of the land is law , I respect the law . I disagree with it like abortion , but I respect the law . That is all I can do . I will not call you a racist because you support race preferences , I will say you are wrong . I leave the racist remarks and accusations to Trent and others .
And as for your need to show how troubled you are about abortion and other issues , stuff it till you can consider those issues are just as troubling and difficult for another to handle who is pro life . You think a hospital with babies who are addicted to crack at birth , makes any sense to a pro life advocate as myself . You think conservative have all the answers as you thought you did when to pummeled women and pro abortion advocates . If you want a discussion , I will take serious time and try to make my gramar better . It is hard for me , I am a late bloomer , but I can make it better .
Canucklehead:
Rod says
Sorry for the typo. I sometimes get a little careless when I think faster than I can type.
That is a contradiction if I ever heard one . LOL
P.S God Bless you Rod , English language can be used very well for the wrong reasons also .
Also I noticed you are speaking to me , when I answered a question a liberal prposed about if there should be a penalty for a women who had an abortion you retorted to my answer in the third person and stereotyping me as the old religious right persona . interesting , perhaps some people it takes a little jilt to realize others are people also and not sterotypes that think all one way on everything . No reason to apologize .



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squeaky

posted October 12, 2007 at 2:04 pm


Mick,
“I never had the rabid hatred that had many conservative folks had for Clinton or the liberal folks have for Bush like .”
Glad to hear that.
“Bill Clinton had many gates , , but I have never heard the nastiness get onto mainstream news sources as it has now .”
Umm…it was pretty nasty for Clinton, and as I remember it, just as bad for him as it is for Bush now. I wonder how much of it is that it only seems worse when someone you support is the one being attacked? In any case, IF the nastiness is any worse towards Bush than it was towards Clinton, it is because the issues are so much more serious than someone’s private indiscretions.
“I think that is a reflection of our culture more then saying liberals are worse then conservatives.”
I wasn’t saying that–if anything, I was saying it is just as bad from both sides.
“But your concern about morality appears one sided here Squeak .”
I’m not sure how you came to that conclusion.
“Squeaky
that we should be driven by fear…
mE
I hear this often on Air America ans liberal news outlets , that there is an attemptto use fear to drive us . I am concerned , I am not afraid. I don;t think we should have our soldiers in Iraq . ”
I don’t listen to Air America, liberal news outlets, or conservative outlets. I recognized the fear tactics without those influences–they aren’t that hard to discern. I’m not afraid, either, but it disturbs me that the current administration pulls the fear card to win votes and support, and, as I said, justify all kinds of atrocities, such as torture. Which, getting back to the main point, is a horrible example to set for our nation, don’t you think?
“I thought you were pro choice .”
I never ever said or even implied in any of the many posts I have written on this blog that I was pro-choice. See, this is what I’m saying, Mick–I think you must have this list of phrases in your brain that when you hear them causes you to categorize people before you even actually know what they really believe. There is some verse about this somewhere in Proverbs about being quick to listen and slow to speak. I mean, we all have to work on that one, but you really do catapult to conclusions based on really skimpy evidence.
“your point is the devalueing of life .”
Yes–that is the point. If we value a fetus’ life and don’t value the lives of those who are outside the womb, it is hypocrisy. All human life, even the lives of our enemies, should be valued–or at least that is my take on Jesus’ words.
“This is where I believe I differ big time with you is the heart of this President . . You appear to think the President is doing to this to be evil .”
Well, I just went up to see what I actually DID say, and I noticed that my post is missing. And so is your post that I was responding to. This is getting really annoying, moderator person. Neither Mick nor I were offensive in any way in those posts, and there was no reason to be censored. Blah.
In any case, I dont’ think I gave much opinion about where I think the Pres’ heart is. It is not for me to judge. If anything, I don’t think his driving force is evil, but fear. We have seen our civil rights threatened because of this fear–if the terrorists attacked us because they hate our freedom, then are they not winning on that front when we sacrifice freedom because of our fear?
“FDR with the internment ,was based on fear and prejudice ,”
Yup–and we now look at those internment camps as shameful.
“I tend to take terroism more seriously then you ,”
How do you know that? Just because I think torture is something our nation should not stoop to does not mean that I don’t take terrorism seriously.
“Actually P said my concern about the family structure and how it related to poverty and such was crap .”
This could be taken a couple of ways. He might have meant having concern for the family is crap. Or he might have meant your understanding of the solution to the family structure and its relation to poverty was crap (did he really use that word?). In the latter, there is an acknowledged concern for the family structure, but his perspective on its relation to poverty is different from yours. It doesn’t mean he thinks there should be no concern for the family. I think I remember that thread, and I think that was how I took his writings to mean, but I could be wrong. P would have to settle that one. However, regardless of what he meant, disagreeing with your solution to a given problem does not mean people disagree that there is a problem. It is important that you see the distinction. It is important you bring your perspective, but it is important that you are open enough to consider other perspectives, as well. I think you would find you actually share more common ground than you realize, and once that recognition is discovered, progress can be made.
Hopefully this post will pass muster with the moderator.
Blessings,
Lea



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kevin s.

posted October 12, 2007 at 2:35 pm


“It is certainly not misleading and you are using it as a diversionary tactic to avoid the real question at hand.”
You then quote me dealing with the question at hand, so I am doing a pretty poor job of topic avoidance.
“Maybe you could lend your body for experimentation while we sit back in a cool, detached manner and debate whether the harm inflicted on you constitutes “torture” or simply innovative interrogation techniques. We promise to be loving and Christ-like in our analysis.”
This, on the other hand, is a diversionary tactic to avoid the real question at hand.



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N.M. Rod

posted October 12, 2007 at 3:11 pm


Mick Sheldon,
You just posted a long response in which you supposedly posted my previous responses to a number of matters.
Things REALLY have become confused, because NONE of the voluminous passages you quoted as coming from me after the very first one are from me at all. I recognize them as postings from others, for which I obviously have no responsibility – and many of which I don’t agree with anyhow.
I don’t think you’re reading my full postings at all. I think you just fly off the handle and start engaging in knee-jerk verbal warfare to denounce without checking because you’ve written me off.
I guess in your closed-in ideological world, what I say can’t possibly be taken as sincere, because there are only two possible positions you can imagine: pro-life and pro-war, or anti-abortion and antiwar. Both of those in my view are logically inconsistent.
I do wonder how it is that the conservative tendency to value human life before we emerge from our mother’s womb and then largely remain uninterested afterwards comes to be. I’ve been around long enough to sadly realise this is all too often the case.
I think it’s probably because conservatives have such an essential negative view of human beings, that human nature is essentially bad.
Therefore, babies in the womb are humanity in the abstract, that aren’t yet people that one has to deal with in messy relationships
governed by our problematic human sinfulness.
One could say then, that religious conservatives could say, “I love mankind; it’s people I can’t stand.”
Also. because religious conservatives often have such Puritanical and unnatural attitudes towards sex, with reference to the Victorian manner, they are deeply troubled by the sinful aspects of illegitimacy that devolve upon
both the mother and bastard child.
There is a streak of moral authoritarianism in religious fundamentalism that loves to see sin punished, and the mother is therefore bound to bear the bastard as the just recompense for her sin of fornication, rather than love of the human life of either child or mother. However, the child is often viewed thereafter as a “bad seed,” the “black lamb of the black sheep,” in English middle and working class parlance from the 1850s through to the late 1960s.
I have had to bear this in my own life. You would think that by the 21st century, this wouldn’t be the case. However, fundamentalism can point to Old Testament scripture that bars bastards from entering the congregation of the Lord to the 10th generation of their own offspring.
Therefore, too, there’s a subconscious urge to have the child and mother punished once the child is born, which accounts for the uncaring and lack of Christian responsibility to them after they are born, as if they bear a scarlet letter of sin and must live out their lives in just recompense and shame. My own adoptive mother, despite her loving nature, believes in some of this.
So there is, as always in human nature, a subterfuge where the appearance of and zeal for doing good can mask ulterior, subconscious motives and urges.
How could I, conceived in sin, the product of a sinful sexual liason – an illegitimate birth, be anything but bad? Conservative Christians have a hard time reconciling these traditional views that informed them for centuries, for they must still maintain that sex outside of marriage is always evil. This hidden urge, fuelled by puritanical Christianity, helped to fuel the rush towards abortion once it was legalised – the sin and consequence that are so bad could no be hidden and disposed of.
But I love my dear mother, the teenager who carried me all those months, gave me birth, and whose voice when I heard it all those years later recognised it as the sweetest I had ever heard.
With Shakespeare’s Edmund in King Lear, I have to concur, “God, now stand up for bastards!”



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N.M. Rod

posted October 12, 2007 at 4:08 pm


I’m becoming incoherent myself.
I meant that the two inconsistent, but commonly thought to be the only two possible moral and political positions, are these:
Anti-abortion and pro-war, or pro-abortion and anti-war.
I have also just thought of something. In the Old Testament, adultery was punished by stoning to death. Wouldn’t this amount to killing any child the woman had become preganant with?
Notice that Jesus, in contrast, was consistently pro-life. He saved not only the life of the woman caught in adultery, but any possible human life conceived during the act.
Saving life, just as it had been when he was accused of working on the Sabbath, overruled narrow legalistic interpretations.



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Bill Samuel

posted October 12, 2007 at 9:40 pm


I think Sue hit the nail on the head. We are operating out of fear, rather than love.
Brian, God will have mercy on the USA. But the USA needs to repent and change from its evil ways to open itself up to God’s mercy. If it doesn’t, it will fall the way all empires will.
Brian, I think you chair Sojourners. I ask you to move Sojourners in the direction of a prophetic call to the nation to repent of its long history of oppressing and killing others around the world, to dismantle its military machine, and begin to stand for life and decency. Sojourners needs to stop sucking up to pro-war, pro-abortion, pro-death penalty politicians. I agree with the commenter who said that Jesus was consistently pro-life. Stop trumpeting Clinton, Obama and Edwards who are consistently pro-death. No matter what pro-faith rhetoric they spout, the real issue is their support of policies contrary to the Gospel.
Brian, your books have eloquently pointed out that Jesus did not adopt the positions of the groups that favored accommodation to the principalities and powers, or those that favored violent revolt, or yet those who favored withdrawal. Then shouldn’t Sojourners, as an ostensibly Christian organization, also refuse to adopt any of those positions?



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 13, 2007 at 1:56 am


Squeaky ,
Always enjoy conversing with you, and will take your criticisms to heart . I will try to be better as they say . Also I believe you did tell me you were pro choice when we talking about evolution , but to be honest you might have said it in a way that you believe in a way many others do here who believe others have a right to abortions .
The vulgarity in the public square with all the Bush bashing I was refering to the public square . Clinton got bashed for sure , but their was not the seepage in to the mainstream media . It was HATE TALK RADIO as the lefties would complain . . There I agree it was quite harsh . A example of what I mean was after the last State of the Union Speech , Keith Obberman refered to Bush as that drunk . This is after the speech and where the news folks get all together to tell us what we just listened to . It was not a talk show , it was CNBC News anayalsis .
I feel sorry for the next President , most likely a Democrat . But this culture is sinking in to the toilet very quick . We just never had people talk like this in the mainstream press .
JCinSunnyLA I enjoyed the tone of your e mail . You appear to be someone I would disagree with much , but Praise God , we are different . Thank you .
Posted by: N.M. Rod
I have also just thought of something. In the Old Testament, adultery was punished by stoning to death. Wouldn’t this amount to killing any child the woman had become preganant with?
Excellent observation , I have never considered that . Jewish Law did allow abortion though , I guess they were all back alley back then .
The abortion was allowed up to when the child would kick , I forgot the word for it . Modern Science has changed things alowing us to be able to actually see inside the womb .
Totally agree witht he concept of making it easier for the poor , especially single Moms who are pregnant . Totally disagree about waiting for all that to happen before preserving life is an issue at all stages . The billions of dollars already spent since the 60s is not enough , there will never be enough . But if all we can do is try and help those in po0verty , I support that ,
But I do not agree with you at all about your stereotypes of Conservatives , sex has been taught to me Bibically to be a gift from God , and whoope , my wife thinks so also . I really think you hung out with the wrong bunch when you were an Evangelical .
God Bless ,and I apologize for my viciousness.



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JCinSunnyLA

posted October 13, 2007 at 10:14 am


Mick:
I am likewise sorry for my impulsive outburst. I forgot to take my medication yesterday. Although I try to be clear about my feelings, I sometimes give people the wrong impression, and that is my biggest gripe with the whole “pro-life” movement. Buffalo has been the scene of many ugly displays of self-righteousness on the part of some who would make political hay out of a serious issue. There have even been cases of pro-lifers aggressively harassing women who want their children simply because their obstetrician happened to share office space with an abortionist. One woman wrote a letter to the editor several years ago describing just such an incident where she was nearly knocked down a flight of stairs.
Politics and religion often make poor bedfellows. There are many shades of gray to the issue, as “pro-lifers” and “pro-choicers” accuse each other of having a hard heart. Some obviously do, but many others are struggling with the ethical dilemma posed by God’s decision to give us all free will. There is not enough emphasis on helping mothers make the RIGHT choice, and too much emphasis on making that choice for them.
The biggest crime in abortion on demand happens to be the notion that it is just another form of birth control, and a woman’s right to “choose” when many are made to feel that they have no choice at all. Of course, there are those that merely do not wish to give up their “choice” to be totally free of responsibility for their actions. I sometimes feel that many pro-lifers believe aborted fetuses are being sent to Hell. I sincerely hope and pray that they realize that God would never condemn innocent life, and has made provision for their entry into eternal life. As such, I feel no need to weep for the children who will never experience life in this evil world. Rather, I weep for the mothers who cannot see other possibilities, and I am dismayed by those who do not realize that life most assuredly begins at conception.
I can see that many of us are in agreement in what is spiritually correct, but political correctness gets in the way of serious discussion on how to approach the issues. The label of pro-choice has been co-opted by those who are committed to making abortion a routine medical procedure with no ethical overtones. I have a difficult time understanding how some believe that transporting someone else’s child across state boundaries to have an abortion without the parent’s knowledge is moral when they would condemn others for buying the child an ice cream cone. It is proof positive that, while it is God’s creation, this is Satan’s world.
This is what makes the Neo-Con philosophy of pre-emptive, pro-active involvement in creating the Kingdom of God before Christ returns so dangerous. Many Liberal Democrats and Conservative Republicans do not realize that their judgmental attitudes towards those who disagree with them make fertile ground for the growth of apostasy and the irony of bringing the Antichrist to power. My only consolation is the fact that God most assuredly knows what He is doing even as we often do not understand why He has allowed such an evil world to exist for so long.
On a personal note, I find that my blogs make a little more sense when I compose them with Word and review them before I copy and paste them online. Still, I feel most inadequate in expressing my feelings and often question my own understanding of what is expected of me in my walk. I previously indicated that my biggest disability is Major Depression caused by Post-Polio Syndrome (among other things). However, the truth is that I have been hamstrung since earliest childhood by my inability to forgive myself for being less than perfect and by the guilt and shame of doing what I know is wrong in God’s sight. Ironically, I find it much easier to forgive others for what they have done to me, but I am nevertheless frustrated by their blindness to the pain they have caused others. It is not my right, nor is it within my power, to forgive what has not been done to me. Nevertheless, I must resist the temptation to pass judgment in God’s stead. I must admit that when I look back on my past I have seldom been able to stand on my own two feet and I am often all too reluctant to ask Christ for His help when I need it most. I thank God that He has never abandoned me to my foolish ways.
Peace be unto you and all those most near and dear to you.



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squeaky

posted October 13, 2007 at 12:13 pm


Mick–I also enjoy conversing with you.
Pretty sure I didn’t say I was pro-choice ever…evolution debate…the only debate about science I remember was about the age of the Earth. I don’t think evolution was actually discussed much–well, maybe it was–people seem to have different definitions of what they consider evolution. I don’t remember abortion coming into that discussion.
Anyway–although you bring up many intriguing issues (certainly Jewish law allowing for abortion is interesting), I will have to bow out of the discussion. I need to get a lot of work done today, and this site is a major distraction. I’m sure I’ll be procrastinating again sometime in the nearer than should be future, but until then, adeau!



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JamesMartin

posted October 13, 2007 at 5:58 pm


You then quote me dealing with the question at hand, so I am doing a pretty poor job of topic avoidance. Kevin S.
Only because I have read your posts about torture in previous discussions and know very well that you would not concede that the U.S. government is engaged in it no matter what evidence were presented to you.



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payshun

posted October 13, 2007 at 11:29 pm


Sqeaky,
I did use the word crap But unfortunately mighty mod guy deleted a very good post. Mick knows I love him we just don’t agree on many political or spiritual issues.
We are both christians. We both believe Christ died and rose again and sent the Holy Spirit its just that we have different priorities. I believe torture is wrong and from what I gather so does he.
We won’t agree on Race issues ever. From my take he has a very revisionist idea of american history and really has very little empathy to survivors of genocide. he has said before that he thought I was racist even though I am not. Jerry has even said worse but I have made it clear that I am not racist toward white people or white men in particular. If I were I would be saying a lot more about the white men on this site and Jim in particular.
I commend the efforts of those that seek reconciliation. Mick is right we are one human race but we have different cultures. I just want to see those valued more on both sides. That is all.
p



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