God's Politics

God's Politics


What Will Dobson Do? (by Diana Butler Bass)

posted by God's Politics

With James Dobson and major conservative evangelical leaders threatening to bolt the Republican Party if Rudy Giuliani is nominated for president, conventional wisdom about God and politics has been turned on its head. For the last 25 years, conservative evangelicals could reliably count on the Republicans to choose a candidate acceptable to their version of Christian politics. This year, however, the leading Republican candidates seem unable to articulate any convincing religious message, much less a strongly biblical perspective on issues. All the while, the three leading Democratic candidates can testify to personal faith, possess robust theological views, and ground many policies in broadly biblical principles.


In recent weeks, Rudy Giuliani has awkwardly quoted scripture (“let he who is without sin cast the first stone”) to defend his personal record with adultery, multiple divorces, and family dissension. John McCain, an Episcopalian, said he was really a member of a Baptist church in Phoenix for the last 20 years—only to later confess that he had not been baptized in that tradition, thus excluding him from membership in the congregation. Fred Thompson rarely attends church. And, of course, Mitt Romney, a Mormon, appears to be serious and faithful about his religion—a religion long categorized as a “cult” by many evangelicals. While Sam Brownback and Mike Huckabee hold pristine evangelical credentials, neither appears able to move into the top tier of Republican candidates. Republicans are all over the theological map, with no clear direction.


Meanwhile, over in the Democratic camp, Hillary Clinton appears increasingly comfortable speaking of her faith, prayer life, and the Christian bases of policies such as health care, poverty, and the environment. A new book, God and Hillary Clinton: A Spiritual Life, written by Paul Kengor (although his conservative bias colors the analysis, he attempts to be fair) depicts Senator Clinton as a classical Methodist who takes the social vision of John Wesley seriously, and as a baby-boomer seeker whose life can be seen as a search for a meaning, wisdom, and social transformation. In 2005, Matt Bai of Time magazine suggested that Mrs. Clinton could lead an ethical revolution toward a “new Democratic moralism.”


Senator Clinton is not alone among Democratic candidates. Barack Obama is an adult convert to the Christian faith with a sophisticated grasp of neo-orthodox theology and a commitment to African-American Christianity. John Edwards consistently bases his primary issues—poverty and peacemaking—in the biblical values from his Baptist faith. All three appear to be renewing the Christian tradition of the Social Gospel, developing new ways of interweaving vital faith with the need for political change. They are reminding a new generation of American voters that, in the words of theologian Walter Rauschenbusch, “God is the substance of all revolutions.”


In this election, the leading Democratic presidential candidates are more conversant with scripture, Christian theology, and biblical ethics than the Republican candidates. (I, for one, would like to see a Bible drill between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Giuliani!) The Democratic candidates’ interpretation of faith points them toward different policies than the conservative evangelical politicians of decades past, but theirs are Christian perspectives and passions nonetheless.


Of course, evangelicals like James Dobson will never support Clinton, Obama, or Edwards no matter how richly theological their vision. But while religion should never be a test for political office, people of any faith should cheer that the Democratic Party now appears to understand that American pluralism and politics benefit from open, theologically serious, and spiritually grounded leadership. And we all benefit when more than one party contributes to the conversation between faith and public life.


Diana Butler Bass (www.dianabutlerbass.com) is the author of Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church is Transforming the Faith (Harper One) just issued in paperback this week.




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Payshun

posted October 2, 2007 at 5:42 pm


To be honest Diana I just wish neither party contributed to it. For me it cheapens the whole thing and turns it into something that Jesus never wanted. he never wanted faith to be used to show how pious one is and yet all the candidates have to do that to get elected. That’s wrong.
But I do agree w/ you Hilary would wipe the floor w/ Guiliani when it came to knowing their scriptures. it would be entertaining for five minutes.
p



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 2, 2007 at 7:33 pm


Right On P ,
We finally agree . This is a good thing . But the pious political part to put into historical perspective has been going on a long time . Adams wife Abrihgail accused Jeffersron of a being a deist .
I think he was , or at least leaned that way , I think he actually changed to and fro during his life from my readings ,
But Jefferson had a book written about him by his friend and distributed throughout the fronteir , which depicted him as a religious Christian . Kissing babies and using Christ as a part time campaign manager has been our history . But having one party claim the righteousness on their side and being holier then the other has long bothered me also .
Your a complicated man my friend , I thought we disagreed on this .



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kevin s.

posted October 2, 2007 at 7:44 pm


“To be honest Diana I just wish neither party contributed to it. For me it cheapens the whole thing and turns it into something that Jesus never wanted”
I actually agree. As Christians, our faith should inform our ideology, but we have no real way of discerning how authentic the faith lives of any of these candidates are. That isn’t to say that Christians may not hold office, or discuss faith issues while in office. I’m just not going to base my vote on the candidate who offers the most lip service (authentic or otherwise) to God.
As for Dobson, he would be utterly hypocritical to actively support Giuliani, but (and I speak as a conservative) I would hope he understands that Giuliani is more likely to advance the causes he favors than the other end of the spectrum, particularly as it relates to the Supreme Court.
Incidentally, it isn’t just evangelicals who think Mormonism is a cult. That religion is bats. Ever watch South Park?



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Beatitudes Anne

posted October 2, 2007 at 8:36 pm


“To be honest Diana I just wish neither party contributed to it. For me it cheapens the whole thing and turns it into something that Jesus never wanted”
This statement shocks and saddens me. Jesus was directly and articulately involved in the politics of his day, as were his followers, his chroniclers and the prophets who preceded him.
There is a lively conversation to be had about the intersection of faith and public life, and that means that politicians from political parties will enter into the dialogue.
That conversation is much improved when the politicians have some theological grounding, and when people of faith have the courage and passion to voice the ethical teachings of their traditions.



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neuro_nurse

posted October 2, 2007 at 8:52 pm


“Incidentally, it isn’t just evangelicals who think Mormonism is a cult.”
I can’t find anything specifically addressing Mormonism in the Catechism or the USCCB or Vatican websites – which in itself may be indicative of the Church’s position on Mormonism, since the USCCB website mentions just about every other Christian and non-Christian religion in its ecumenical and inter-religious relations pages.
My parents lived in Ogden, Utah for a couple of years. Mormons must be about the nicest folks you’ve ever met but, as far as their beliefs go, P. T. Barnum was right.
As far as politics and religion go, I’ll add my agreement to those above.



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Don

posted October 2, 2007 at 10:58 pm


” can’t find anything specifically addressing Mormonism in the Catechism or the USCCB or Vatican websites…”
Neuro_nurse, I have an interesting story to tell. When our older son was attending Catholic high school, he had a religion teacher who was a former priest. One semester they were studying church history, and he taught about the heresy of the Arians. Apparently he spent a lot of time in class discussing the Arian controversy, and of course he concluded that they were indeed heretics and not true Christians because they denied the Trinity.
Then later that term, the instructor talked about the Mormons. My son reported that he told the class that he thought Mormons are Christians, essentially because they believe that they are.
I asked him to go back to class and inquire of the teacher whether the Arians thought they were Christians too. I don’t think he ever got a response.
Regarding faith and politics, I think I agree with Beatitudes Anne regarding faith and public life, but I also agree with Kevin that we can’t ever be sure of candidates’ sincerity. Of course that goes for other matters as well, not just religion.
Peace,



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N.M. Rod

posted October 2, 2007 at 11:12 pm


My prediction is that James Dobson will “hold his nose” and ultimately back whomever is the Republican nominee, regardless. If Jesus came back and was somehow drafted as a write-in, Jim would support the Grand Inquisitor if he had the Republican nomination. Recall that he recently “pardoned” Newt Gingrich for his marital infidelities, including the ones committed at just the same time he was attacking Bill Clinton for his. Although Newt was pardoned, Billary has not been, even though Newt abandoned yet another spouse as they have not. Ah, for the dispensations of the petty popes of protestantism, that must be sought just as one is exploring presidential aspirations!
This isn’t the first time that Jim has threatened Republican poobahs to take his supporters and go home if he’s not listened to. It’s not for nothing that fellow-Christian and former political ally Dick Armey has pointed out this petulant ploy. Jim
wants to keep his place at the table, and this is, in my opinion, just jockeying for a better seat.
Remember that he strongly backed the Bush/Cheney ticket while knowing full well that Cheney, the power behind the Presidential throne, supports homosexual marriage and the Log Cabin Republicans. In one of the more disingenuous twists of the 2004 presidential campaign, Jim even pilloried Kerry’s questioning of the sincerity of the Republican ticket on this issue, characterizing Cheney’s avoiding the issue as the righteous anger of a loving father coming to his daughter’s defense!
The War Jesus triumphalism (Focus on the Family Action conflates the actions of soldiers in war to that of Jesus, making the same ultimate sacrifice for us), the anti-abortion and anti-homosexual marriage rhetoric (if not any actual fulfillment) trumps all other considerations for James Dobson.
Focus has been having some financial problems as it lost its focus, not lost on its fickle faithful. While there have been some moves to return to the core of the ministry in genuine support of families, the “right vs. left,” “conservative vs. liberal” rants of the political arm, Focus on the Family Action, continue. It is 100% rock-ribbed Republican. Fox News commentators, country club elephants, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh are extolled in just the same breath as spiritual leaders are.
The latest fundseeking letters raise the spectre once again, right on the outside envelope, of the gay agenda menace, always a sure sign that a pitch for money is inside.
Jim Dobson, as a protestant Nazarene (who has been sanctified and believes he can’t seriously sin anymore according to that doctrine?) may not claim to have the keys to the kingdom like the apostle Peter, but I think he’s definitely followed the Peter Principle, which posits that people get promoted one step beyond their area of competence.



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Amazon Creek

posted October 3, 2007 at 12:34 am


Me too, Payshun, me too.
If someone really shares their faith because they naturally do that from the heart, great. But I’ve been around enough politicians to know that they have a tendency to say what is going to get them elected. And to hear my faith tossed around like that – be it tossed round by Republican or Democrat – kind of grates on me. It makes it seem like something cheap, you know? And we all know that it isn’t and wasn’t cheap at all.
Despite my low opinion of Dobson and Friends – I would still wish that there was a presidential candidate that was NOT for legalized abortion – *****AND WAS ALSO******* – FOR – alleviating poverty, correcting injustice, not starting wars on false pretenses.
But…I would understand the being bothered by abortion. I don’t like Right to Life. I know from personal experience that they lie through their teeth. They have no integrity.
But…I am horrified by the idea of abortion. Sorry, but I don’t treat puppies or kittens – or even houseflies with that kind of cruelty. I let houseflies and bees out of my house through the screen door rather than swatting them. And so…the thought of tearing apart a helpless, dependent human person…would be the ultimate in cruelty to me.
But yeah…I’d like to be able to vote for someone that understood and respected life both INSIDE the womb – and OUTSIDE once it was born as well.
What do I think of the threat? It’s more manipulation. Same old same old…. That’s just how that crowd operates. Yawn….



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William

posted October 3, 2007 at 1:26 am


There was a time in Christian history when the Church and the State endorsed and validated each other.
That time is now called The Dark Ages.
Mr. Dobson is leading the retreat back to those sorry times. In that way he is just like Islamic fundamentalists.
Mr Dobson has advocated “beating the spirit out of children” in his book on child rearing.
Apparently he only cares about children before they are born, not after.



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jesse

posted October 3, 2007 at 7:42 am


I would add my vote with Payshun and others here. It’s hard not to be cynical about politicians who like talking about their faith and who do it obviously to show how strong their faith is. All I see is pandering and focus groups.
The real issue here is abortion, which DBB does not mention for some reason. Many Christians (I count myself among them) will find it difficult if not impossible to support pro-abortion rights politicians.



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squeaky

posted October 3, 2007 at 8:56 am


Yeah–I agree with most posting on this one. The thing is, I’m bitter over the Republican parties’ hijacking of Christianity (or is it vice-versa?), and as such, I don’t trust anyone who espouses their faith because I am now very suspicious that they are just trying to get votes by appealing to Christianity. I also find among Christians I know a kind of double standard–if a Republican expresses his or her faith, they are supported because they are so obviously a “true Christian”. If a Democrat expresses his or her faith, their faith is doubted. Many of my conservative friends seem to find it very difficult to believe a Democrat can actually be a Christian, and so any profession of faith from a Democrat is seen as “trying to win votes”.
I hope those who express their faith sincerely hold that faith, I really do. But frankly, I’m tired of either party pulling the faith card to win my vote.
If the Moral Majority wants to run a 3rd party candidate, they are basically admitting defeat for the 2008 election. Splitting the Republican vote will all but wrap it up for the Democrats, just as Ralph Nader’s supporters took just enough votes from Gore to tip the scales to Bush.



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Jorge

posted October 3, 2007 at 9:03 am


Is this for real or a joke? I am confused.



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Bot

posted October 3, 2007 at 9:12 am


John McCain, an unbaptized Baptist, had this to say on September 30th:
“People are raising … concerns about Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, which some consider to be outside the Judeo-Christian tradition. I believe that the Mormon religion is a religion that I don’t share, but I respect. More importantly, I’ve known so many people of the Mormon faith who have been so magnificent.
I think that Governor Romney’s religion should not, absolutely not, be a disqualifying factor when people consider his candidacy for President of the United States, absolutely not.”



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I and I

posted October 3, 2007 at 9:23 am


Dr. Dobson considers tax cuts and corporate deregulation and support for the Iraq War to be non-negotiable Christian issues. Giulianni supports the Bush tax cuts and deregulation and the war. Dobson is making noises now about the sexual issues to please his herd, but if Rudy gets the nomination, Dobson will carry his water. Mark my words.



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I and I

posted October 3, 2007 at 9:44 am


A quick note, to be fair, on why people for whom abotion is the main issue might feel comfortable voting for Giulianni:
Giulianni has said that he personally is in favor of abortion rights but believes Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. He has suggested that he would appoint judges that would overturn that law and make abortion a state-level issue decided by state legislatures, and would continue to support abortion rights on the state level. This is the diametric opposite of what many Democratic candidates since the 70′s have said, which is that they personally oppose abortion but recognize Roe v. Wade as a settled decision.
People who want to see abortion outlawed and/or restricted would be comfortable with Giulianni if they take him at his word about the “constructionist” judges. Regardless of what he states to be his “personal views,” they know that his judicial choices would result in some states outlawing abortion completely.
So my fellow Dems should not be so confident that a Giulianni nomination would result in millions of social conservatives staying home. Rest assured that if he gets the nomination, Dobson and Perkins and Sheldon and Falwell (oops, I forgot) will make these distinctions very clear to their followers, in e-mail after e-mail after e-mail.



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Another nonymous

posted October 3, 2007 at 9:58 am


Might I point out that two of the last two Democratic presidents have been vocally professing Christians? What have changed, IMO, are the perceptions of the media and the public, which in the past have reinforced one another in the false notion that only Republicans speak for the faithful. It’s about time.



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wildfan

posted October 3, 2007 at 10:03 am


pretty convenient that after one party (the GOP) becomes the party perceived to be the faith and values party, which translates into many votes from religious voters…that “suddenly” the other party becomes comfortable and focused on faith issues.
why don’t they both just admit they are exploiting their “so-called faith” for political gain only!
if it was discovered that a devotion to Zen Buddhism would guarantee 10 million votes…I guarantee that Clinton, Giuliani, and the rest would be new converts…or maybe even construct a childhood story about how they were on a pilgrimage to Asia…



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N.M. Rod

posted October 3, 2007 at 10:22 am


The reality is that abortion is not going to decrease nor the troops come home from Iraq no matter who is elected, regardless of party affiliation.
On the matter of homosexual marriage – which if marriage is defined as the biologically based complement of male and female necessary to naturally procreate, it’s not possible to really alter, regardless of laws that pretend to square the circle – that is up for grabs as long as Democrats lean to supporting it and Republicans tend to reject it, based on what their supporters favor.
However, the divide is not as wide on this as it appears, for most Republican politicians would be quite willing to support homosexual marriage should the demographics favor it, in an instant. President Bush had nothing to say but favorable things about the homosexual marriage and family-building of his mentor’s daughter, after all, during the brief furor over that. Even Dobson himself wouldn’t publicly criticize the President’s approval on this at all.
Let’s face it – the loyalty to morality among politicians is barely vote-deep, if that.



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Rob D.

posted October 3, 2007 at 10:32 am


Diana,
I expect the mass media to ignore Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, but I was very disappointed to see that Dr. Paul was left out of your article. Dr. Paul is not only the only candidate on either side of the aisle with a fully developed understanding of our government’s role as defined by the constitution, but he is indeed the only Republican with a consistent ethic of life:
1. Pro Life
2. No Death Penalty
3. Humble foreign policy (i.e. diplomacy and trade NOT preemptive war)
http://www.ronpaul2008.com/



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squeaky

posted October 3, 2007 at 10:33 am


“Is this for real or a joke?”
Is what a joke? I think you need to be more specific–can’t tell if it is Dobson’s response to the Republicans, Diane’s article, or our response that you think is possibly a joke.



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sistermarie

posted October 3, 2007 at 10:48 am


I absolutely agrees with those posts that conclude that Dobson is posturing but will ultimately support whoever the Republicans nominate. I think that to be consistent that those who take a very pro-life position would also need to alter there stance on other issues which are at least as moral as the abortion issue. So while I do not doubt their sincerity, I have concluded that there are other more selfish reasons for their unwavering support for Republicaan candidates. Perhaps its time that we abandon the two-party system and organize more like other countries with a multi-party system. The Religious Right could have their own political party, the Libertarians influence would increase, conservatives from both parties could unite, and at least one more party to accomodate all the rest.



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Moderatelad

posted October 3, 2007 at 11:07 am


OK -
2 sentences that have Dobsons name mentioned.
1.5 paragraphs on DBB accessment of the Republican canidates.
3 paragraphs ‘praising’ the Democratic canidates.
1 closing paragraph that uses a lot of words and really says little.
And this article got ‘Dobson’ in the headline?
It really is hard keeping the main thing the main thing in a DBB article.
Have a great day everyone, you too Ms. DBB
.



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Anonymous

posted October 3, 2007 at 11:54 am


But Sojourners is non-partisan, right Mod?



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N.M. Rod

posted October 3, 2007 at 12:18 pm


No nation, unless 100% of its inhabitants were Christians, could be a Christian nation – and that in the sense that Jesus would have to be the ultimate judge of who is His, rather than self-identification. He was clear that when the time came, He would recognize only a few. That means practically there is no such thing as a Christian nation even possible.
What is possible is for Christians to act as the conscience of a nation, to hold those who seek or achieve power accountable, without prejudice or favoritism.
It’s difficult for there to be truly Christian politicians, or even truly Buddhist politicians, or even truly Mormon politicians. It’s not that there can be exceptions, for there are. But the vast majority of those so-called water down their religion and morals in order to do what they really wanted to do all along, which is definitely not consistent with their religion or sense of morality.
They want power, or grow to like it, almost without exception.
Christians are commanded to be in the world, but not of it. This means holding oneself aloof from getting our heads in the trough with the rest of the pigs. Only from that perspective could one ever offer critiques of the swill.
The real Christian politician has to be willing to tell the electorate things which are not flattering to their own self-image. This is definitely dangerous to electoral chances. It’s why political Christian morality is combined with plenty of dollops of self-serving patriotism and pats on the back in regards to divine-sounding but deceptive world missions of democracy and freedom to help the more unpleasant moralizing go down more smoothly. The really moral leader has to be willing to face the certainty of defeat if he or she tells the whole truth when it’s unpopular – which is most of the time.
It would be annihilating to real Christian influence to have a specific party that was supposedly and overtly Christian. That was attempted in Europe – and you can see how thoroughly Christianity’s moral claim has been discredited there, and rightfully so. We’re well on the same path here in many people’s eyes, consequent to our own complete identification with an obviously corrupt “God’s Own Party.”
Lip service to a particular morality applies equally to either Party; if we had chosen the Democrats as our vessel they would have non-binding platforms as good-sounding but ineffective as those of the Republicans.
In regards to electoral politics, we need to stand aloof from Party identification and loyalty, which is the warp and woof of the two-party system and which its traditions demand for membership either party.
While one might need to register as a particular party affiliation in order to influence primaries, we really should only be subversive elements in those parties, loyal to Christ not the party or its adherents. We are here to be subversives and revolutionaries for Christ, not to become Party hacks.
The politicos of either party have no real standards other than getting elected. That’s what makes controlling personalities salivate.
They will find the courage to act according to their consciences only when we are loyal to God’s standards rather than those of men and demand it of them.



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N.M. Rod

posted October 3, 2007 at 12:38 pm


Of course, all of the above presupposes a genuinely Christian ethos, rooted in love and service to all others, not a self-righteous one riddled with inconsistencies!
You know who you are! :-)



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Moderatelad

posted October 3, 2007 at 12:48 pm


Posted by: | October 3, 2007 11:54 AM
Not sure who you are – but no, they are not. (rim-shot)
Have a great day!
.



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justintime

posted October 3, 2007 at 12:50 pm


Hopefully, the current slate of Republican ‘pigmies’, as Newt Gingrich described them, will convince James Dobson of the wisdom of staying on the sidelines of American politics.
He must have his hands full, teaching strict discipline to parents and teaching homosexuals how to be straight.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 3, 2007 at 12:59 pm


The real issue here is abortion, which DBB does not mention for some reason. Many Christians (I count myself among them) will find it difficult if not impossible to support pro-abortion rights politicians.
If you went to any other country where abortion was illegal — and that includes most countries in this hemisphere — you might change your tune. Nicaragua a few months ago passed a stringent abortion law, but no one in his right mind believes that justice prevails their for all.
And to the “one who will not name me,” you missed the point of the article. That Democratic candidates are more comfortable talking about faith — Hillary Clinton has done so for decades, but because she’s not a Republican she never got the press — than GOP candidates is quite the switch. In fact, Philip Yancey, in the book “What’s So Amazing About Grace?”, one of my favorites, did an interview for Christianity Today with Bill some years ago, and he concluded that he could not truly get a handle on him without that. (Yancey was subsequently pilloried by other “Christians.”)



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Payshun

posted October 3, 2007 at 1:19 pm


Yah I just find all the posturing to be posturing. It’s obvious that Obama and others have a sincere faith. I like that they do. It’s comforting but at the same time I feel like their faith should not be used as a political tool. It is that. Let’s not be naive about this. It’s why the right could be coopted by Conservatives.
The right is notorious for using faith to get votes. That’s why they are floundering now. They don’t have a candidate that will pander to their religious base. I wanted the democrats to speak honestly about their faith but to leave it alone once they explained what it was. Even then to be perfectly honest I don’t want it mentioned at all. I am a secularist. I don’t see how or why my faith should be used to get elected.
It just cheapens the idea of faith for me. If they were just regular citizens and not politicians my mind would change on this. But they are not and instead of keeping that which is sacred sacred they are appealing to folks like Wallis and others to get elected.
I wish evangelicals would wise up and see this sham for what it is. I don’t want republicans voting for the candidates that are the loudest “Christians” and I don’t want the democrats voting for the one that is the most articulate or pious.
p



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Payshun

posted October 3, 2007 at 1:33 pm


About abortion I understand why the right is so up in arms about this I do. I share their ideas about ending abortion. I wish it did not exist.
So the question is how do we minimize it because the truth is it will be there. This is not like slavery or other issues of genocide. There are some legitmate arguments that can be made for having abortion stay rare.
I doubt many of you on this board have been through rape or sexual abuse but trust me I can understand a woman wanting to abort a baby that may have been concieved under those circumstances. I have friends that were concieved under that and they even think that abortion for a few might be feasible.
Then their are health issues where the mother’s life is at stake. What should be done then?
p



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jesse

posted October 3, 2007 at 1:49 pm


If you went to any other country where abortion was illegal — and that includes most countries in this hemisphere — you might change your tune. Nicaragua a few months ago passed a stringent abortion law, but no one in his right mind believes that justice prevails their for all.
–No, I wouldn’t. Injustice is injustice. How bout we just stick with the US? All the available data indicate that during the few years pre-Roe, abortion was relatively rare (as were the complications from illegal abortion). Once abortion became legalized, it became more and more common (just look at the rates over time). The US now has the highest abortion rate in the West. Over 40 million lives wiped out since Roe. This is a travesty.
Payshun, I too had a friend who was conceived from rape, though I consider his life to be no less valuable than any of my friends who were conceived by loving parents. I should add that abortions performed because of rape/incest make up only 1% of all abortions.



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kevin s.

posted October 3, 2007 at 2:09 pm


I don’t think Dobson will support Giuliani, and I think that would be a mistake. I certainly don’t think he will “carry his water”.
I’ve said before that if a pro-life (and I am using this term going forward to denote one who believes abortion should be illegal, or at least out of the hands of the courts) Democrat ran, they would be exceedingly likely to win.
They simply won’t have the support within their party until the popular demand for the position rises to the point where it tips the scales between loss of votes within the party and gain of votes from pro-life Republican voters.
That said, the majority of those calling for a “consistent ethic of life” simply use the term as a rhetorical dodge, as they are actually pro-choice, anti-war and anti-death penalty. And those who are pro-choice tend to be very pro-choice.
Another Sojo member, Anne LaMott wrote a very nasty, extreme op-ed tirade for the LA Times that compared fetuses to sea-horses. Jim Wallis is relatively silent about the issue now, because he can afford to be, but if the right to legal abortion were threatened, you can bet he’ll become very “prophetic” about the issue. I’m trying to think what scripture he would use.



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N.M. Rod

posted October 3, 2007 at 2:45 pm


It’s unfortunate that there is a kind of posturing for the high moral ground when it comes to abortion that’s not completely honest. There’s a kind of “advertising” that goes on.
Those against abortion insist on not being called “anti-abortion.” Is that not accurate? Are they not against it?
They insist on self-identification as “pro-life” and celebrate publicly “Sanctity of Human Life Week.” Why do they think that is a more favorable label for their opposition to abortion?
Is the word “abortion” something that they feel too many will support if opposition to it is not couched in other terms?
The problem is that possibly a majority of those opposed to abortion and using the label “pro-life” are not opposed to taking of human life through violence, war and executions in other contexts. Some prominent anti-abortionists have called for or justified covert assassination of leaders of foreign countries with whom they disagree, others support bombing of civilians in warfare.
They justify this by the use of a kind of “Just Death Theory” in which an absolute defense of human life is weighed instead against a hierarchy of competing moral interests in which in some cases individual or national human life is worth less than other more personal or national selfish considerations.
So it is on the other side, which is for legal abortion being universally available to whomever wants it. These folks want to be identified as “Pro-Choice,” not the “pro-abortion” their opponents want them labeled with. Just like their nemesis, they also want to leave the morally troubling word “abortion” out of it when applied to themselves.
It seems the word “abortion” has a really terrible moral stigma to it that attaches negatively regardless of the manner in which it’s applied or to whom!
These latter folks claim to want it to be safe, legal, but rare.
One can concede that they too have a moral hierarchy of competing values, just as their opponents on the other side of the issue do, in regards to the sanctity of human life. In their case, the personal sacrifices of the mother are higher in that hierarchy and the sanctity of life is simply a lesser competing value to be determined by circumstances.
Pro-abortion and anti-abortion are the more accurate evaluations, and both strip away moral claims that neither really have.
Both really are relativistic and situational.
That said, I believe in the sanctity of human life, not just in the case of abortion.
For the law to meaningfully and practically change in a democracy, though, the truth will have to become written in hearts before law books.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 3, 2007 at 2:47 pm


No, I wouldn’t. Injustice is injustice. How bout we just stick with the US? All the available data indicate that during the few years pre-Roe, abortion was relatively rare (as were the complications from illegal abortion).
Not from what I understand. California and New York had eased restrictions on abortion — in fact, then-Gov. Ronald Reagan had signed such a bill in, I believe, 1966 — even before Roe v. Wade. I have seen at least one estimate of the total number of illegal abortions per year before 1973 as just over a million.
The US now has the highest abortion rate in the West. Over 40 million lives wiped out since Roe. This is a travesty.
Simply banning it today won’t make that much difference, especially now because the underlying issues still aren’t being addressed. At the turn of the last century they were, which is the reason abortion did become relatively rare. Meaning, the church encouraged men to “control themselves” and treat women as more than just mere playthings, which certainly isn’t happening now. Besides, modern Western culture has placed a great deal of emphasis on sex, but in super-religious America we’re still afraid of talking frankly about it. That’s at least part of the reason for the high abortion rate.
They simply won’t have the support within their party until the popular demand for the position rises to the point where it tips the scales between loss of votes within the party and gain of votes from pro-life Republican voters.
False, Kevin. Do you know why? Because, except for in major metropolitan areas, “pro-life” voters are ideological conservatives, and the Democratic Party will lose almost all of its African-American support if it lurches to the right. (Ironically, most African-Americans are themselves “pro-life.”)
That said, the majority of those calling for a “consistent ethic of life” simply use the term as a rhetorical dodge, as they are actually pro-choice, anti-war and anti-death penalty.
Conjecture on your part — in fact, many are Roman Catholic, which certainly wouldn’t make them pro-choice! I myself believe in a “consistent ethic of life,” but I felt Roe was wrong the minute I learned about it. But, as I said above, simply banning abortion solves few problems.



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N.M. Rod

posted October 3, 2007 at 3:10 pm


I know that the stumbling block many uncommitted have is the inconsistency of those who label themselves as “pro-life” really limiting that to the abortion issue alone. And everyone knows that, it’s fooling no one.
In order to win on the abortion issue, wouldn’t it be worth it to more consistently support life and widen out the application of sanctity of human life to apply to everyone, just as Jesus commanded?
It would be giving up so little, to gain so much.
I made that decision.



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kevin s.

posted October 3, 2007 at 3:16 pm


“Not from what I understand. California and New York had eased restrictions on abortion — in fact, then-Gov. Ronald Reagan had signed such a bill in, I believe, 1966 — even before Roe v. Wade”
This was before the “health of the mother” clause became a loophole which rendered legal virtually all abortions. He never would have signed the bill had he known its implications, and he has stated so himself.
“I have seen at least one estimate of the total number of illegal abortions per year before 1973 as just over a million.”
Yeah, according to NARAL, and based on no evidence whatsoever. 750,000 abortions occurred in 1973. If there were just over a million abortions, we have to assume that the abortion rate drastically dropped upon legalization, and then gradually increased again. That makes no sense.
According to the CDC, there were 63 abortion related deaths (legal and illegal). If there were more than 1,000,000 total abortions, that really tosses the “women dying from back-alley abortions” canard out the window, doesn’t it?
“False, Kevin. Do you know why? Because, except for in major metropolitan areas, “pro-life” voters are ideological conservatives, and the Democratic Party will lose almost all of its African-American support if it lurches to the right.”
I don’t see how that renders my statement false. In fact, it reinforces my point.
“Mr Dobson has advocated “beating the spirit out of children” in his book on child rearing.”
Where can I find this quote? Google brings up nothing, which is odd, if it is something he actually said.
“Apparently he only cares about children before they are born, not after.”
If spanking your children means that you don’t care about them, then virtually no parents care about their children.



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Another nonymous

posted October 3, 2007 at 3:36 pm


Kevin -
I have a question for you: one that was raised tellingly by Anna Quindlen in a recent column. If abortion becomes illegal, what should the penalty be for a woman who has an abortion? If abortion is murder, then she has contracted for a murder and should receive the death penalty, correct?



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 3, 2007 at 3:47 pm


This was before the “health of the mother” clause became a loophole which rendered legal virtually all abortions. He never would have signed the bill had he known its implications, and he has stated so himself.
I don’t believe that for a second. He never publicly came out with a “pro-life” stance until he ran for president in 1980 (if he truly were, I suspect he’d have done so four years earlier). Remember, he was an actor who could make most people believe anything he said.
If there were more than 1,000,000 total abortions, that really tosses the “women dying from back-alley abortions” canard out the window, doesn’t it?
Yeah, it does, and as someone whose sympathies life with the “pro-life” side I never believed it. But “back-alley” abortions were not actually performed in back alleys; it’s just where the doors to the places that were performing illegal abortions were located back in the day.
I don’t see how that renders my statement false.
Of course you don’t. Blacks do not vote conservative regardless of a candidate’s abortion stance, and urban liberals tend to be the most politically active in the Democratic Party. The only way for a “pro-lifer” to win in the Democratic Party is for the issue to be divorced from conservative ideology, and very few have done that beyond the local level. (Bob Casey Sr. and Jr. are two of the few who have, and Jr.’s only other position in which he departs from Democratic orthodoxy is his opposition to gun control.)
In order to win on the abortion issue, wouldn’t it be worth it to more consistently support life and widen out the application of sanctity of human life to apply to everyone, just as Jesus commanded?
A friend of mine who has been involved in anti-abortion and crisis pregnancy work for years is trying to start a “Sanctity of Human Life” ministry at our church, and I’m encouraging her to do just that. I recently bought her a membership in Evangelicals for Social Action, which supports that approach.



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Moderatelad

posted October 3, 2007 at 3:49 pm


Posted by: N.M. Rod | October 3, 2007 3:10 PM
It would be giving up so little, to gain so much.
What are your refering to in ‘giving up’ to gain?
Just asking the question.
Blessings -
.



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justintime

posted October 3, 2007 at 4:26 pm


Posted by: N.M. Rod – In order to win on the abortion issue, wouldn’t it be worth it to more consistently support life and widen out the application of sanctity of human life to apply to everyone, just as Jesus commanded?
This is an intelligent, sane approach to winning on abortion.
It need not rely on party politics for success.
That game is too corrupted to be effective.



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justintime

posted October 3, 2007 at 4:35 pm


Posted by: kevin s. – If spanking your children means that you don’t care about them, then virtually no parents care about their children.
I think you’re dead wrong here, Kevin.
Just from our family experience alone, we raised three children to adulthood without spanking them.
We’re by no means in the minority on this, either
Logic works a lot better than spanking your children
When your kids grow up they’re more likely to use logic than violence.



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 3, 2007 at 4:39 pm


NM said
Is the word “abortion” something that they feel too many will support if opposition to it is not couched in other terms?
Me
Compared to the secualist and those who make ending a life a cliche for those who rather not consider God as a partner in that life , they call an abortion
Reproductive Freedom , A womens right to control her own body ,terminating a pregnancy, freedom of choice, own private medical decision, access to health care , family planning, choice , back alley abortions , our bodies , etc etc



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 3, 2007 at 4:49 pm


Compared to the secualist and those who make ending a life a cliche for those who rather not consider God as a partner in that life , they call an abortion
There are non-religious people who oppose abortion, BTW. (I was once one of them.)



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Anonymous

posted October 3, 2007 at 4:55 pm


Logic works a lot better than spanking your children
When your kids grow up they’re more likely to use logic than violence.
Posted by: justintime
Well I have to agree with you , But spanking is wise I believe in certain situations . Say your child starts to run in the street , and you grab him just before something very bad was going to happen . A swat ot two may save a life because it does leave an impression of never doing that again , the child may not understand the danger
of the running in the street , but the swat on the rear he will remember better .
Then again I had one child I could just frown at and her life would crumble , and had one child who after disciplinging in any manner would look at me with thats all you got .
Or am I wrong here ?



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Anonymous

posted October 3, 2007 at 5:31 pm


Ms. Butler-Bass seems to have repeated trouble getting her facts straight:
“While Sam Brownback and Mike Huckabee hold pristine evangelical credentials”
Brownback converted from evangelicalism to Roman Catholicism some time ago.
Oh well, one needn’t be accurate on this site, just have the right intentions and that seems to cover a multitude of sins!



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Another nonymous

posted October 3, 2007 at 5:36 pm


I see nobody has taken the bait, so let me restate my challenge. Very few of those who consider themselves pro-life, I suspect, would recommend the death penalty, or even life without parole, for the woman who has an abortion. But this amounts to a tacit admission that abortion is not “really” murder, thus opening the door to all the hedges placed on it by the pro-choice lobby. As someone who is opposed to abortion but is currently uncomfortable identifying myself with either label, I would honestly be curious to know how some of the posters here would address this issue.



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Anonymous

posted October 3, 2007 at 5:41 pm


I am wondering why it matters that Clinton, Obama, or others are more biblically sophisticated than their Republican opponents?
It would be good for Sojourners, et al to realize that people of faith can reject progressivism for reasons other than a candidate or party’s theology. After all, there are many other factors that go into making political decisions including the merit or lack of value in political programs and policies.
Furthermore, last time I checked there is far from one religious or Christian perspective on politics. That, is the problem with Butler-Bass and Dobson. Both parties want to make their religious certitude and political certitude one and the same. I for one, reject that fundamentalism and long for the day when we are more careful than that.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 3, 2007 at 5:41 pm


Brownback converted from evangelicalism to Roman Catholicism some time ago.
Well, Pat Buchanan and Clarence Thomas were accepted by evangelicals, so …



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Anonymous

posted October 3, 2007 at 5:47 pm


Rick -
Fair enough, but that doesn’t make Buchanan, Thomas, or Brownback evangelical, does it? It just means the religious right is a lot less bigoted then everyone makes them out to be.
Butler-Bass’ inaccuracies stand, and this isn’t the first post where she is sloppy with her claims.
Like I said, the standard seems to be as long as you come down on the right side of the aisle it doesn’t matter if you get your facts straight.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 3, 2007 at 6:00 pm


Fair enough, but that doesn’t make Buchanan, Thomas, or Brownback evangelical, does it? It just means the religious right is a lot less bigoted then everyone makes them out to be.
“Evangelical,” in that sense, was always a broad brush that encompassed anyone that subscribed to any Christian sect but was also politically conservative, never mind any theological concerns. Moral Majority was officially non-sectarian, though virtually everyone in it was an evangelical. (By the same reasoning I’m an evangelical in the theological sense but not the cultural one.)



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N.M. Rod

posted October 3, 2007 at 6:04 pm


Having “pristine evangelical credentials” has nothing to do with a particular church dogma or membership therein – or even actual attendance – but whether the candidate’s views on certain issues pass muster with the majority of those considered “evangelical.”
Or of those who claim to be in charge of such evaluations!



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kevin s.

posted October 3, 2007 at 6:09 pm


“I have a question for you: one that was raised tellingly by Anna Quindlen in a recent column. If abortion becomes illegal, what should the penalty be for a woman who has an abortion? If abortion is murder, then she has contracted for a murder and should receive the death penalty, correct?”
First of all, I generally oppose the death penalty.
To the question, I would start by offering probation in exchange for naming the abortion provider. This will have the effect of almost immediately eliminating the black market shops run by those who are now abortion doctors. Every woman will have the opportunity to make this exchange.
For those women who are willing to go to prison to protect the abortionists, I would suggest a scalable sentence, with heavier penalties for repeat offenders. Start with 1-3 year sentence, depending on a variety of circumstances, and escalate for those who have more than one.
For those boyfriends or crazy fathers who want to force (or coerce) an abortion, nail them with a 3 year minimum sentence. 5 year minimum if there is physical abuse.
I disagree that we need to start hauling women off to the electric chair in order to treat abortion as a serious crime. These punishments would lay guilt where it is due, while recognizing that society has, for decades, treated the act as apart from murder.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 3, 2007 at 6:10 pm


N.M. Rod — My point exactly.



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Anonymous

posted October 3, 2007 at 6:15 pm


Great. Now our cynical Dem pols are learning to talk the religion talk– I didn’t say “Christian”, I said “religion.” Now they can be hypocrites too!
I thought we said God was neither a Dem nor a Republican. I really like the Separation of Church and state: not only does it preserve the state from whatever bunch of religious wackos are currently trying to establish theirs as the “Official Religion,” it prevents the state from interfering with my walk with Christ.
Again, Clinton, Obama, and Edwards, have promised to keep the great old tradition. What “great old tradition?” The great old Vietnam War tradition, whereby one president faithfully inherits the war from his predecessor and passes it on to his successor, sort of an “Apostolic Succession.” That is,they have promised to keep troops in Iraq indefinitely.
That’s a deal-breaker for me; I won’t vote for any of em.
Will we be out by 2013? At the earliest. Nixon won the presidency by promising to end the Vietnam War with a “secret plan”. I said “I don’t know what his secret plan may be– but it’ll take at least three and a half years;” and it took three and a half years. (I remembered his earlier statesmanlike dictum: “The public has a short memory.”)



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 3, 2007 at 7:05 pm


“I have a question for you: one that was raised tellingly by Anna Quindlen in a recent column. If abortion becomes illegal, what should the penalty be for a woman who has an abortion? If abortion is murder, then she has contracted for a murder and should receive the death penalty, correct?”
Interesting , what was the penalty before in the 60s and 50s ? I would think what she has already endured is enough punishment in many cases . But like illegal immigration I consider the provider of the service who should receive the harshest punishment from a legal sense .
The most important thing is that we start realizing in our culture that life is important , that their are consequences for our actions , that this belief we can abort away our problems , we can have sex without thinking of consequences before hand , is la la land , God can not be Mocked , even when we believe it is not important to respect His creation .



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N.M. Rod

posted October 3, 2007 at 7:12 pm


At least Kevin “bellied up to the bar” in terms of actually outlining criminal sanctions and punishments for women getting an abortion.
As good jobs decline, and the percentage of the incarcerated world population soars for the US to 25% of the global total, we could take advantage of the trend and pop for 50% – think of the jobs, jobs, jobs!
This could address one of the last bastions of sex discrimination and give conservatives a much-needed win – affirmative action to bring up the number of female prisoners.
The benefits might be nothing to sneeze at, either, if you get the drift. We might have to re-employ some Abu Ghraib personnel to make up the shortfall in this burgeoning industry.
However, I think it’s unfair not to somehow punish all the women who had abortions in the past too.
Shall these abortion trails be jury trials by peer (other women) or decided at the discretion of largely male patriarchal judges? Now we know why Focus on the Family Action wants to pack the courts with political fellow-travelers!
Also, additional punishments or leniency could be shown to those who refuse to name or do name the father responsible, so that we could assess part of the court and jail costs to those irresponsible scofflaws.
Pornographers (to be determined by the same group that makes up the approved prison booklists) ought to be sued for irresponsibly arousing those same delinquent impregnating men.
Movies ought to be pre-approved as well.
Burquas are a possibility, too. Let’s not despise the historical experience of fellow fundamentalists worldwide.
With good old American technological know-how, we could nip abortion “in the bud,” so to speak, by either injecting RF ID tags under women’s skins (part of entrance requirements for public school and university admittance) or monitoring those on probation for previous offences with ankle bracelets, perhaps with motion detector alarms. We would match the databases with known prescriptions for birth control pills to avoid any embarrassing police contact for those suitably protected and responsible.
This would be a real joy for those who get their jollies out of controlling women, and the especial thrill for those who tremble at the thought of actually jailing them!
Of course, there will be NO expansion of prenatal, pregnancy or child healthcare to go along with this, or welfare of any kind.
Haha, tell me that conservatives AREN’T for massive expansion of government, as long as it’s along invasive authoritarian lines.



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N.M. Rod

posted October 3, 2007 at 7:21 pm


How apropos that a conservative conflated being a woman forced by circumstances to get an abortion with that of being unemployed and forced to flee to a foreign country as an illegal immigrant!
Well he didn’t put it quite that way.
Illegal immigrant=woman getting an abortion=bad.
Persons helping illegal immigrants enter country=abortiion doctors=worse.
Right?



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lurker

posted October 3, 2007 at 7:48 pm


Question from Midwest Lurker:
why is the legality of abortion the key issue for some folks in a political campaign, when no serious candidate is proposing to order or compel anyone to have a abortion?
Whether you use the slogans of pro-choice or pro-life, having an abortion in the USA is most surely a FREE CHOICE.



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kevin s.

posted October 3, 2007 at 8:19 pm


“why is the legality of abortion the key issue for some folks in a political campaign, when no serious candidate is proposing to order or compel anyone to have a abortion? ”
Because, if you believe that an abortion takes another human being’s life, then you don’t believe it should be legal.
“Whether you use the slogans of pro-choice or pro-life, having an abortion in the USA is most surely a FREE CHOICE.”
I don’t think it should be, all-caps or no.
“Haha, tell me that conservatives AREN’T for massive expansion of government, as long as it’s along invasive authoritarian lines.”
I think abortion kills a human being, and I think human beings are protected from murder by the Constitution. Strike at that argument, instead of ranting, but I’ve yet to see a pro-choice proponent who doesn’t very quickly resort to ranting (see again the LaMott “seahorse” article.)



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 3, 2007 at 8:29 pm


The most important thing is that we start realizing in our culture that life is important, that their are consequences for our actions, that this belief we can abort away our problems, we can have sex without thinking of consequences before hand, is la la land, God can not be Mocked, even when we believe it is not important to respect His creation.
And that includes respecting the people He created, even though you may disagree with them. Trouble is, too many “pro-life” people functionally practice the maxim that life begins at conception and ends at birth. That has to change.



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N.M. Rod

posted October 3, 2007 at 8:52 pm


Without a moral renaissance, any attempt to criminalize and punish women to prevent them getting abortions is doomed to failure.
People don’t seem to understand that these issues don’t exist in isolation but that the fabric of the society as a whole is intertwined with how we are living and relating to one another. One thing can’t be fixed in isolation without paying attention to the causes or the underlying lack of morality.
There would be civil disobedience and hypocrisy on a massive scale, as well as even more overloading of the court and prison systems, because too many people wouldn’t actually support it, including law enforcement, prosecuters and judges.
I don’t know why some people think if they can just get their hands on the levers of power, then they can issue orders and everyone will have to obey or be jailed.
If abortion is believed to be murder, then why isn’t there massive civil disobedience disrupting it by those many millions who believe so?
Well, I do believe in many cases it is murder though it’s true those engaging in it don’t think of it in that way and so are not morally conscious of committing such a crime. Therefore they’re not really responsible in the same way as someone who knows it’s clearly wrong.
I do believe if we take seriously Jesus’ commands to love our enemies – this means being consistently prolife inside and outside the womb – people will begin to take our commitment seriously and be inspired and perhaps have their consciences stirred.
This is so against the grain of our culture that it requires remarkable commitment to act as salt and light.



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 3, 2007 at 10:20 pm


How apropos that a conservative conflated being a woman forced by circumstances to get an abortion with that of being unemployed and forced to flee to a foreign country as an illegal immigrant!
How common for a big government liberal to not be able to grasp that sometimes bad things happen to good people who are desperate . That perhaps changing the circumstances that causes those problems could be something we could all get together on .
Right NM , in the name of God , kill the little children so we can afford to take care of the ones the government allows to live .



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jesse

posted October 3, 2007 at 10:44 pm


Rick,
Not from what I understand. California and New York had eased restrictions on abortion — in fact, then-Gov. Ronald Reagan had signed such a bill in, I believe, 1966 — even before Roe v. Wade. I have seen at least one estimate of the total number of illegal abortions per year before 1973 as just over a million.
–Everyone I know who claims to be prolife but votes for pro-choice politicians repeats this false claim–”making abortion illegal won’t do anything.” You can tell yourself that all you want, but it isn’t true. These “estimates” of illegal abortion are of course made by supporters of abortion rights. One of the most accurate methods of examining abortion rates BEFORE legalization is to examine them RIGHT AFTER.
You can look at states such as California as a guide. In the years after legalization, their abortion rate was MUCH lower than it is today (heck, look at the national rates, too). When abortion became legal, this caused a fundamental change in sexual behavior, an increase in promiscuity, irresponsible behavior from men (who used it as an excuse to shirk their responsibilities for child-rearing), and the general acceptance of killing unborn children (“if the supreme court legalized it, it must be okay”).
Are you open to the possibility that what I’ve argued above may be true? Or are you telling yourself that laws don’t work in order to stomach voting for pro-choice politicians?



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 3, 2007 at 11:04 pm


“Trouble is, too many “pro-life” people functionally practice the maxim that life begins at conception and ends at birth. That has to change.”
I have seen pro life people like this , but your stereotype of them shows a lack of knowing the vast majority of us . Also see NM response to my attempt to try to come out against criminal charges of someone who has an abortion , to me baby and Mother is victim . NM is too good for that thought , so he needs to insult and ridicule . Of course instead of admiting he is pro abortion , votes for pro abortion politicians , he attacks the pro life side .
Guilt does that I know .
I have never seen more hate and vitrolic rhetoric then from the pro abortion camp . Why are you not mentioning that ?
Because it comes from the left wing of the democratic party ? Is that your god, your truth ?
Your point is the degree of importance , so your point is you believe the importance of supporting pro life causes is secondary to supporting political candidates who support abortion but improve the economic climate that promotes people into choosing life .
I can respect that , your wrong of course , thats not it works, but your wrong . And that is not God’s politics , that is promoting a politicasl belief that we have a right to destroy life . No other species in this world aborts their young .
Hold up a sign in a pro life march and you will see some nasty rhetoric . Also the rhetoric is never seen as hate speech or is it held accountable by the media . Call a Gay activists , property rights , Minority Rights , or any other group promoting a cause and have them ridiculed for their religion , basic stupidity and lumping them into the sterotypes you often do , of people who are intolerant mean, racist religion , and unwilling to help others , in fact not only pro life people are allowed to be called ignorant , they support killing multitudes on death row, hate muslims , etc etc .
What a crock .
To the left abortion is so sacrate they do not even mention it , its always a choice or some other name . If your a Supreme Court nominee that may see a flaw with the Constitutional Right made up by the leftist court you need to be treated as a possible racist by the left wing , this from the party who believed government should see people as property and now babies as important only when outside the womb .
Lets get government involved in killing the poor babies , mainly minoritys , kind of a contradiction if the majority of Evangelicals are racists ? Why should they be concerned with bringing more minoritys into the world , perhaps its because they see God’s creation equally important and worthy regardless of race or economic well being .
The liberals importance of life is based on where that baby’s living address is , whoops , fetus living address. Womb or out of womb .
Like you said , as soon as conservatives get control you can see the bad effects , of course some folks don’t get the chance to complain when you guys run the show .



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beenthere

posted October 3, 2007 at 11:08 pm


How do you judge a woman who, being informed of the likelyhood of death if she continues a pregnancy, opts for an abortion? Should she have ‘taken the chance’ and attempted to carry a fetus to term? What of her existing responsibilities to her children at home? Do any of you think this is an easy decision? Do you think there aren’t women everyday that have to make this decision? Do you wish that all of us that made the decision to abort were in jail, serving time, when in our hearts we already are sentenced to ‘life’?
Why aren’t you concerned that in this country, sex education in schools, churches, homes is virtually ignored? How do those with raging hormones contend this this powerful urge without education and knowledge that not only pregnancy, but std’s are rampant in today’s society? Do you talk to your children? Do you pray with them? Do you continue to talk when they become ‘involved, or in love’, or do you avoid the subject? Can’t you see that ignorance leads to lack of responsibility, and in many cases unwanted pregnancies?
The problem of abortion is many facited. Abstinance is a great theory, but unless the consequences and realities aren’t explained at an early age, then no matter your faith, your values, without a knowledge of what the sex act truly means, unwanted pregnancies are going to be there. Rape is another issue. I, for one, would not hesistate to take my 10year old daughter to a physician and my pastor, have counselling for her and for me, and then make the best decision possible for all concerned. I would not want my child to suffer either a life-long trauma from the rape, nor the trauma of an abortion. I am not wise enough to make that decision alone; she is not adult enough to make that decision, period. I have to trust that God will provide the guidance needed in such a situation.
You all want to talk about faith and politics, while the bottom line is what is happening everyday in homes across this nation. So, I still say, talk to your children, educate them in all ways, but be frank and honest enough to admit that abortion comes about AFTER all other things have failed: education, love, faith, belief or non-belief in what can happen when intimate sex happens.
I want to vote for someone who is strong enough to say that ‘abstinence’ doesn’t always work; that is willing to say that we desperately need to educate our children in a way that makes them think before they act! How anyone can be against educating our children in truth and light is beyond me. God gave us sexual feelings. It is up to us to see that those feelings are understood and used in the proper way, at the proper time and in my mind, that means after marriage.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 3, 2007 at 11:20 pm


Are you open to the possibility that what I’ve argued above may be true? Or are you telling yourself that laws don’t work in order to stomach voting for pro-choice politicians?
Irrelevant, because laws can be changed in a heartbeat depending on who’s in office. You know that. My desire is for long-term, even permanent cultural change, which is the harder road but that you don’t advocate one bit, based on your previous posts. Conservatives have no real answer for actually ending abortion — their “solutions” only drive it underground.
I have never seen more hate and vitrolic rhetoric then from the pro abortion camp. Why are you not mentioning that?
Because, truth be told, I’ve never had that kind of treatment from that side — it has always been cordial even though I’ve told folks straight-up that I’m “pro-life” and that I believe that they’re wrong. Nearly 20 years ago I attended a live-TV debate on Operation Rescue, and with one statement I singlehandedly changed the tone from one of confrontation to one of discussion. Did it ever occur to you that “pro-abortion” people scream at “pro-life” people who act like ignorant jerks?



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 4, 2007 at 1:23 am


Haha, tell me that conservatives AREN’T for massive expansion of government, as long as it’s along invasive authoritarian lines.
Posted by: N.M. Rod
Did it ever occur to you that “pro-abortion” people scream at “pro-life” people who act like ignorant jerks?
Posted by: Rick Nowlin
Uh , talk to your brother Ricky , because the ignorant jerks seem to flock together



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janet p

posted October 4, 2007 at 1:44 am


I enjoyed the article…
Comments seem to have turned into an abortion debate…
But, IMHO…I think the preachers need to stick to their preaching and let their flocks make up their own minds at the polls.
If Dobson wants to run for office there’s nothing to stop him and then he’ll have his ‘perfect candidate’.
I’ve learned to not vote for anyone according to their gender, race or religion…I listen and vote according to where they stand on issues.
I would love to see a woman or a black make it into the Whitehouse…only because such have been kept out for so long basically because they weren’t ‘white males’(and brought a differing of opinions on issues based on such)… Condi could fit the profile perfectly except that I can’t go along with her politics…
jp



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 4, 2007 at 4:39 am


P said
I would love to see a woman or a black make it into the Whitehouse…
Part of me agrees, the part that does not is how minoroties that agree with many of my views have been received by the liberals , NAACP , etc .
Look at the way abortion is supported , how can a black man who agrees with another opinion besides this kind of political jargon get credit for anything but abuse .
The following comments would never muster intellectual honesty ,
I believe you know
what I mean . But find understanding and support here . nope , this organization found enemies because it chose to gain stauture by atatcking others , regardless if their views wer God Inspired , Politcal , or Agenda based . They chose to lump those who disagreed in one brush , thus writing their obituary .
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
NM blathered
At least Kevin “bellied up to the bar” in terms of actually outlining criminal sanctions and punishments for women getting an abortion.
If abortion is believed to be murder, then why isn’t there massive civil disobedience disrupting it by those many millions who believe so
This would be a real joy for those who get their jollies out of controlling women, and the especial thrill for those who tremble at the thought of actually jailing them!
by either injecting RF ID tags under women’s skins (part of entrance requirements for public school and university admittance) or monitoring those on probation for previous offences with ankle bracelets, perhaps with motion detector alarms. We would match the databases with known prescriptions for birth control pills to avoid any embarrassing police contact for those suitably protected and responsible.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 4, 2007 at 10:08 am


Look at the way abortion is supported, how can a black man who agrees with another opinion besides this kind of political jargon get credit for anything but abuse.
That’s because, in most cases, a black man who spouts the right-wing agenda is PAID



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 4, 2007 at 10:15 am


Continuing my comment:
– and very handsomely, too — to do so, and most blacks understand that. I’ve recently argued with friends that, if they want black support for “pro-life,” it has to disassociate itself from the conservative agenda, since such agenda has always been functionally racist.
If abortion is believed to be murder, then why isn’t there massive civil disobedience disrupting it by those many millions who believe so.
There once was, back in the late 1980s. Four organizations, the largest of them Operation Rescue, staged sit-ins at abortion clinics all over the country; I have since gotten to know two people who were arrested. But they lacked any moral authority, so they dissipated.



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I and I

posted October 4, 2007 at 10:30 am


When, oh when, are we going to get a pro-life, economically liberal Democratic presidential candidate? It will be a wonderful day when abortion is no longer the bottom line for which party people choose to vote for.



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kevin s.

posted October 4, 2007 at 11:07 am


“How do you judge a woman who, being informed of the likelyhood of death if she continues a pregnancy, opts for an abortion?”
Very, very, very few people would oppose abortion to save the life of them mother.
“Do you think there aren’t women everyday that have to make this decision?”
I think they comprise a small minority of those seeking an abortion.
“Do you wish that all of us that made the decision to abort were in jail, serving time, when in our hearts we already are sentenced to ‘life’?”
I’m not sure what this means. I wish women would not make the decision (aforementioned circumstance aside) to have an abortion.
“Why aren’t you concerned that in this country, sex education in schools, churches, homes is virtually ignored?”
It’s not ignored in my church, and I’m not sure any public school ignores it any longer. I don’t have children, but I certainly intend to inform them about this issue.
“The problem of abortion is many facited.”
Sure. Most crimes are multi-faceted.
“Rape is another issue. I, for one, would not hesistate to take my 10year old daughter to a physician and my pastor, have counselling for her and for me, and then make the best decision possible for all concerned.”
Very few people would oppose legal abortion for rape victims. This is why the South Dakota proposition failed.
I appreciate the admonition that we need to understand the proper role of sexuality in our relationships. Lives are ruined because this is not the case. But this is not a compelling case for legal abortion, in which the victim has made no sexual decisions of any kind.



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squeaky

posted October 4, 2007 at 11:13 am


I and I,
Amen to that! My opinion is that neither party wants the abortion issue off the table. It is a highly emotional issue that few people on either side stop to think rationally about or to discuss rationally with those they disagree with, and it gets people to vote for a candidate they otherwise might not vote for (I have done this myself).
The day I would like to see is the day that people on both sides start listening, acknowledging, and valuing the concerns of those on the other side. Maybe then we can come to a solution. but politicians absolutely do not want that because then they couldn’t fall back on that age-old, tried and true wedge issue sure to mobilize the masses in their favor.



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kevin s.

posted October 4, 2007 at 11:38 am


“It is a highly emotional issue that few people on either side stop to think rationally about or to discuss rationally with those they disagree with, and it gets people to vote for a candidate they otherwise might not vote for (I have done this myself).”
One of the problems with judicial fiat is that we are not required to think rationally about an issue. We are not held accountable for the consequences of our ideas. If this issue were taken out of the courts, you would see a vastly different political dynamic, I think.



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Payshun

posted October 4, 2007 at 12:35 pm


Mick,
I don’t really understand everything you wrote could you explain all of it? Thanks.
p



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 4, 2007 at 12:44 pm


The day I would like to see is the day that people on both sides start listening, acknowledging, and valuing the concerns of those on the other side.
I read an article in 1989 in USA Today where folks were doing just that in three cities.



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N.M. Rod

posted October 4, 2007 at 1:09 pm


Hmm. How facts get turned on their head and accusations made that have no reality simply because I don’t believe in the “jail” approach in lieu of changing hearts.
I have never voted other than for conservative or libertarian candidates and I have NEVER voted for any politician who was pro-abortion.
So don’t put me in a box you make so you can then dismiss me.
As I said, the “left-right” chant starts to sound like jackboots after a while.



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N.M. Rod

posted October 4, 2007 at 1:41 pm


Almost thirty years ago, I became a Christian. One of the strongest influences on me then was Francis Schaeffer, and he and later surgeon-general Everett Koop wrote a book called “Whatever Happened To The Human Race?” Anyone who’s read this knows it’s a powerful indictment of how human life is precious but how the protestant, evangelical church had up until that time been complicit in allowing liberalised abortion to come about.
I once stood toe-to-toe on picket lines and shouted “baby-killer!” with the best – and worst – of them. I remember some older, wiser Christians there who tried to restrain me – but, I thought, ignorant but well-meaning as I as then, righteous anger allows for no restraint.
At the time, I made a lot of money and poured some of it into a pro-life center right next door to the city’s first abortion clinic, which certainly made for some interesting tensions and round-the-clock police patrols for the sake of both institutions. Interestingly, in this jurisdiction, abortion wasn’t actually legal – it was simply tolerated by the authorities who refused to enforce the existing laws. There were even Catholic police officers who refused to guard the clinic because of that, but who were dismissed from the force for failing to obey orders.
I remember their court cases, where the prosecutor successfully argued that allowing police officers to act according to their own consciences, rather than following orders, would produce chaos in society! Now where have we heard that argument before?
Later on, we decided to switch from overt confrontation. I met people like Randall Terry of Operation Rescue. I was chagrined to find that he was far from a saint, despite his John-Brown fervor against abortion. He is a rather ignorant, unloving man who is now involved in anti-immigrant political activity and styles himself as a patriot. He is not Christ-like, believe me. And he was ultimately unsuccessful in his tactics as we know, and so were all of those who followed that model.
In any case, the group of Christians who were committed pro-lifers got involved more with sex education, emphasizing abstinence in a realistic way, and in supporting girls and women who became pregnant in a practical way.
I know that Francis Schaeffer wouldn’t approve of the coarse legalistic and punishment oriented political ascendancy of right wing authoritarian Christianity that ironically he was one of the inspirations for. While he recognised the need for boundaries, he was no cultural philistine or book-burner. He was not afraid of free will nor dangerous thoughts.
Remarkably, as the protestant, evangelical church became more imbued with the authoritarian approach to legislating behavior, it also largely dropped most of its former historical opposition to war as a sin. I fear that an authoritarian, militaristic, fundamentalist psychology has supplanted truth, reason and free will as the guiding principles for trying to spread Christ’s teachings. Of course, I believe that this is not spreading Jesus’ teaching at all, but rather an ersatz religion that has its basis the same humanistic tendencies found in all cultures. This is the usual problem when using means that don’t measure up to the ends sought – the bad means become indistinguishable from the resulting ends.
Don’t just love your neighbor – which you aren’t doing anyhow, because you find a legalistic loophole to determine he really isn’t – but LOVE YOUR ENEMY. And do it according to 1 Corinthians 13.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 4, 2007 at 2:45 pm


N.M. Rod — You just gave the reasons why I’ve never been involved in “pro-life” activities despite my hatred of abortion; I knew that I would blow my Christian testimony if I did. Most telling were your dealings with Randall Terry, and I heard from other sources that what you said about him is quite true.



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John G. Pierce

posted October 4, 2007 at 5:57 pm


I am always a bit amused (though never amazed) at
how the Sojourners folks get all excited when a
liberal Democrat talks about “faith,” while simultaneously being dismissive about any conservative who does so. What about knowing
people by their fruit? Or displaying one’s faith by one’s works, as James adjures? Liberals can
talk about “faith” all they want, but if that
“faith” doesn’t include defending the unborn and
resisting the advance of the gay lobby, then it is
meaningless.
As for Mormonism, of course it is a cult — with no quotation marks required! It denies all of the
historic articles of faith and supplants the Bible
with its own writings. If the folks at Sojo can’t
recognize that, then they are not merely liberals
(bad enough in itself) but are well on their way
to becoming apostates.
While Jim Dobson occasionally makes statements I
find to be a bit unwise, on the whole I believe
that he has done a great deal for the cause of
Christ — far more so than the stone-throwers at
Sojourners ever have. FOTF cares for children
both before and after they are born, as anyone
truly familiar with their ministry would know.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 4, 2007 at 7:17 pm


I am always a bit amused (though never amazed) at how the Sojourners folks get all excited when a
liberal Democrat talks about “faith,” while simultaneously being dismissive about any conservative who does so. What about knowing
people by their fruit? Or displaying one’s faith by one’s works, as James adjures?

Exactly. When conservatives talk about “faith,” it’s usually to divide people into “good” and “bad,” the latter anyone who disagrees with us for any reason. That’s why we question the works of conservatives, who often dismiss those non-conservatives as, for all practical purposes, non-believers.
Liberals can talk about “faith” all they want, but if that “faith” doesn’t include defending the unborn and resisting the advance of the gay lobby, then it is meaningless.
That’s exactly the kind of divisiveness I just mentioned and what this movement rejects. You can do those things if you want and no one will say a word; but until recently if you talked about things such as unjust economic practices, racism — both of which have deeply affected fellow Christians — and, more recently, “creation care,” you’re branded as a “liberal.” In fact, that’s just what James Dobson did last year in demanding that the National Association of Evangelicals fire or discipline Rich Cizik for signing off on that creation care report — because he wanted to focus on the “cultural issues.” The trouble is that Dobson himself has been infected with the spirit of worldly power. You know, the Scripture says nothing at all about abortion and very little about homosexuality, and in the case of the latter, every passage without exception refers to it as a symptom of rejecting God.
While Jim Dobson occasionally makes statements I find to be a bit unwise, on the whole I believe
that he has done a great deal for the cause of
Christ — far more so than the stone-throwers at
Sojourners ever have.

I think the poor in Washington, D.C. might take issue with that statement. Besides, Focus was always an international media-based ministry, while Sojourners has received major press only over the last few years. Time will tell just how effective Sojourners is, so just wait.



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John C. Bonser

posted October 4, 2007 at 7:31 pm


Dobson and his fat cat followers need to listen to the prophet Amos:
“Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, ‘When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.’” Amos 8:4-6 NSRV



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N.M. Rod

posted October 4, 2007 at 11:08 pm


Well, James Dobson supports pre-emptive war, misuses Just War Theory by defending civilian deaths (including those of the unborn) and supports the use of torture. He’s also a believer in the military as a holy institution, in which soldiers are honored for making Christ-like sacrifice of their lives for our salvation.
The wealthy family that owns the Blackwater mercenary outfit embroiled in Iraq scandals, both financial and humanitarian, has a board member on James Dobson’s Focus ministry, and all his board members are wealthy, without exception.
Now I know abortion’s wrong and there’s no such thing as homosexual marriage.
However, the same scriptures say that the sin Sodom was destroyed for isn’t the one you’d think it was.
No – Sodom was destroyed for economic crimes against the poor, not sodomy.
Jesus also said that the sin of unbelief was worse than the sin of Sodom. I know the church has been weakened and made ineffective in carrying out His will because of the unbelief in Matthew 5, 6 and 7, for the failure to love your enemy.
There’s a whole list of those who aren’t able to inherit the Kingdom due to various sins – and you know, they’re made up of both the sins favored and disfavored by both the left and right.
Wow. How about that. Pot, kettle, black.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 4, 2007 at 11:09 pm


I see plenty of reasons for us to be disgusted with you, and to feel that you misinterpret the Bible and ignore the Great Commission. You withhold from those who need it the saving power of Christ, while instead trusting in the power of Big Government.
Frankly, that’s plain, total ignorance, and let me say that the disgust is mutual. Far be it from me to “ignore the Great Commission,” but even Bill Bright said to Jim Wallis that “caring for the poor is part of the Great Commission!” — what Jim Wallis had been saying all along. That has nothing at all to do with “big government,” despite what you might say. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, if you haven’t heard, was not and never about “morality”; it’s about reconciliation, with God and then with others. And conservatives following Scripture? Puh-leeze! A lot of conservatives I know reject Christ (even though they may be “religious”). And what do you do with Martin Luther King Jr., who was clearly a liberal but whom God was clearly with during the civil-rights movement? You need to rethink some things.



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Payshun

posted October 4, 2007 at 11:58 pm


Actually John,
This liberal understands that Paul’s condemnation of homosexuality has larger implications. Those are don’t judge them because chances are we are all hypocrites. His condemnation of homosexual acts was not nearly as strong as you suggest. He never advocated killing them. But either way he says that they are not followers of Jesus and by the old and new testament only God can judge so I would just leave the issue alone.
p



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JamesMartin

posted October 5, 2007 at 6:20 am


” Liberals often claim that Jesus said nothing about either one, but neither was practiced in Israel”
How can you be so sure? Were you there? That is almost on par with the Iranian President saying that there are no homosexuals in Iran.



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John G. Pierce

posted October 5, 2007 at 7:04 am


Homosexuality is a sin, as is gossiping, as is
lying, as are so many others. But the homosexual
lobby wants their sin to be legitimized and propagated, so that’s why conservatives are up in
arms over it. * The Babylonian Captivity caused
Israel to turn away from worshiping other gods and
trying to emulate their neighbors. They had other
problems by the time Jesus was on earth, such as
Pharisaism and others. If there were homosexuals
in Israel at the time, they would have kept quiet
about it, or risk being stoned to death. But if
homosexuality had had any real presence in Israel,
Jesus would have addressed it. It DID have a presence in the Greco-Roman world, which is why
Paul (whom some try to put in opposition to Jesus)
did address it. But of course he never advocated killing them. I don’t, either! By the way, the sin of Sodom was clearly homosexuality, not economic injustice. Please cite book, chapter &
verse. * Conservatives who reject Christ? Yes, if we’re talking only political conservatives. (That’s where these discussions get a bit confusing.) * Dr. King did much good — but he might also have done that had he been more conservative.* “Creation care” is not a bad thing, except when it ends up (as it often does)
advocating junk science such as global warming,
and proposing draconian measures which have the net effect of harming humans to help “nature.” *
C. S. Lewis, I think, wrote that a truly Christian society would look like a confusing mixture of Left and Right.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 5, 2007 at 10:16 am


Homosexuality is a sin, as is gossiping, as is
lying, as are so many others. But the homosexual
lobby wants their sin to be legitimized and propagated, so that’s why conservatives are up in
arms over it.

Remember, the American South once had racism codified into law, and almost every white church down there supported it and probably still would today had social change not been forced. So don’t even go there.
If there were homosexuals in Israel at the time, they would have kept quiet about it, or risk being stoned to death.
Again, not so simple. To put someone to death according to Mosaic law required at least two witnesses, plus the person making the accusation would have had to “cast the first stone” (see Deuteronomy 17:6 and 7). That should be a clue as to why the “woman caught in adultery” in Mark 8 was let go — the Pharisees broke the law in three places in accusing her anyway. A friend of mine talked to a friend of his who was Jewish, and he mentioned that in that culture if you presided over two executions in a year you were considered a “hanging judge.”
By the way, the sin of Sodom was clearly homosexuality, not economic injustice. Please cite book, chapter & verse.
Specifically, Ezekiel 16:49 and 50. As such, no, it wasn’t — the carefree, indulgent lifestyle that its citizens led to homosexual conduct. (And here’s something that I didn’t realize until about a year ago: Other cities in that vicinity were also targeted.)
Conservatives who reject Christ? Yes, if we’re talking only political conservatives. (That’s where these discussions get a bit confusing.) Dr. King did much good — but he might also have done that had he been more conservative.
It’s good that you recognize the difference between theological conservatives (which I am), social conservatives (which I also lean toward) and political conservatives (which I certainly am not). I somewhat disagree concerning what you say about King; remember that because of racism he could never have even gotten into a “conservative” seminary, which may have hampered his ministry in the long run because social action in those days was never a part of the “Gospel.”



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John G. Pierce

posted October 5, 2007 at 10:31 am


Rick, the problem is that racism was wrong, and so
eradicating it was a good thing to do. But being
against homosexuality is not wrong; rather, that is
the biblical position. Homosexuality is a chosen
behavior, not something anyone is born with. So
comparisons with racism don’t work. * To those who
are theologically and socially conservative but
politically liberal, I might say, “Work with us on
getting rid of abortion and stopping the homosexual
lobby, and then we can talk about other issues.” But until the killing of babies stops,
and until children can grow up without the spectre
of militant homosexuality trying to recruit them,
it seems pointless to address the issues liberals
want. But always remember that the Great Commission
is first and foremost our calling as Christians,
rather than political reform of any kind.



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Payshun

posted October 5, 2007 at 10:44 am


Just so we are clear all human sexuality is sinful. All of it leads to death so let’s not try and pretend that there is not enough brokeness in heterosexuality to make homosexuality the issue. You do realize your comments are condemning right?
As for Sodom Rick is right.
Ezekiel 16:49-50
49″Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.
50″Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me Therefore I removed them when I saw it.
Let’s get our facts straight shall we? The sin of homosexual rape (not homosexuality) was the issue in Sodom. Do you honestly believe that no other nation before or since has practiced homosexual sex? If the “sin” of homosexuality was the issue for which Sodom was destroyed then why does God keep sparing nations, especially when they do far worse than have sex w/ the same sex?
But let’s say your point is right. Here is something from Jude that supports your argument.
Jude 1:7
7just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.
Let’s add a little more.
Jeremiah 23:13-15
Among the prophets of Samaria
I saw this repulsive thing:
They prophesied by Baal
and led my people Israel astray.
14 And among the prophets of Jerusalem
I have seen something horrible:
They commit adultery and live a lie.
They strengthen the hands of evildoers,
so that no one turns from his wickedness.
They are all like Sodom to me;
the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.”
15 Therefore, this is what the LORD Almighty says concerning the prophets:
“I will make them eat bitter food
and drink poisoned water,
because from the prophets of Jerusalem
ungodliness has spread throughout the land.”
My point is that sexual immorality is not the central issue it’s a heart that worships it. It’s a heart that finds it’s identity in it’s heart defined by everything but God. That is sin to him.
When a nation chooses that and acts on it they committ sins like gang rape…
p



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 5, 2007 at 11:08 am


To those who are theologically and socially conservative but politically liberal, I might say, “Work with us on getting rid of abortion and stopping the homosexual lobby, and then we can talk about other issues.”
Uh-uh — we have to get rid of the sin in our own camp first, or else we will not have the moral authority to deal the other stuff. As I alluded to before, the “pro-life” movement in the 1980s neutralized a lot of Christian witness because it did not — indeed, could not — reflect the character of Christ. Back then I challenged Keith Green’s “Last Days Ministries” about its own obsession with the abortion issue, and one of its staffers wrote to me something about to the effect that when I got to heaven God would ask me, “How could you let those babies die?”. I responded, “I’d rather hear that question than ‘Why did you not reflect Me?’” That ended the correspondence.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 5, 2007 at 12:37 pm


It’s a heart that finds its identity in it’s heart defined by everything but God. That is sin to him.
That’s the ultimate issue — idolatry.



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neuro_nurse

posted October 5, 2007 at 12:43 pm


“Just so we are clear all human sexuality is sinful.”
Geez Payshun, I love you, but since I couldn’t find any qualifiers to that statement in your post, the Church and I are going to have to disagree with you on that one.
While the Church has been criticized for exclusively linking sex not only to marriage but also to procreation (an objection with which I am in agreement), in his first encyclical letter, Benedict XVI discusses at length the relationship between eros, agape, Christ’s sacrifice for us, and God’s love for us.
If all you know about Deus Caritas Est is what has been reported in the popular press, you might think that the only issue discussed was the exclusiveness of sex to married, heterosexual relationship. Benedict has been sold very short!
I know you’re not Catholic, but from reading some of your previous posts, I believe you have an interest in mysticism. I think you would find Deus Caritas Est very interesting. (www.)vatican.va, search ‘Deus Caritas Est.’
I think it’s one of the most beautiful statements about love ever written – outside of the Bible, of course.
Seek peace and pursue it.



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Payshun

posted October 5, 2007 at 12:57 pm


Neuro,
I understand. But my stance still stands all human sexuality is sinful even in the marriage covenant. the only difference is that God covers the sin of being human and two broken humans connecting through the covenant of marraige. it’s a grace. It doesn’t and cannot make anything perfect and that’s my point.
Oh and I love ya too.
p



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Bill Samuel

posted October 5, 2007 at 5:54 pm


The answer to some Christians acting as if the Republicans are the Christian Party is not to act as if the Democrats are the Christian Party. I wish Sojourners would go back to being a real Christian organization instead of a shill for establishment Democrats who don’t represent Christian values no matter how much they talk about “faith” when it seems politically expedient.
The Democratic candidates cited by Bass all recently refused to commit to getting American troops out of Iraq before the end of their first terms (2013) if elected. All of them have official campaign positions for larger military spending and an increase in the size of the U.S. active duty military forces. All of them support the war in Afghanistan and all of them are hawkish on Iran. All pledge to stand ready to send U.S. troops into yet other countries.
And they are consistently pro-death. All support the death penalty and all support abortion under all circumstances.
None of them will do much about poverty despite nice rhetoric for two reasons: 1) their budget priorities are so much for war and preparations for war that there simply won’t be much left over to fight poverty; and 2) all are beholden to monied special interests, which is why they are breaking records in raising campaign funds.
My concern is not whether candidates talk about faith or whether they are affiliated with a Christian church. My concern is whether they represent Christian values. None of these do.
We should refuse to choose between the two war parties. If everyone who opposed their priorities (about 2/3 of the American people, according to the best study) would not hold their noses and vote for one of the pro-death candidates, it would make a real difference. Vote for someone who does represent Christian values, like Joe Schriner – http://www.voteforjoe.com/



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John G. Pierce

posted October 7, 2007 at 4:02 pm


1. Thank you for the Biblical citations about
Sodom and Gomorrah. I stand (partially) corrected. I certainly agree with the point
(implicit in some of these discussions) that sins
(homosexuality, abortion, or whatever) do not exist in a vacuum; all are merely symptomatic of
rebellion against God, and that is the key issue
which must be addressed.
2. Human sexuality is not sinful in marriage because it is only there that the two have been made one flesh, as plainly stated in Genesis 1: 22-25. Which is all the more reason to support marriage as one man plus one woman, and nothing else. (This is a side note, but I grievously
lament my self-centered attitudes of years ago, which caused me to disdain the gift of children
and thus to refrain from having any.)
3. How can opposing abortion not be reflective of
Christ? Was the Ten Boom family in World War II
Holland not reflecting Christ when they hid Jews
from the Nazis? Now, granted, some may carry out
their opposition in ways some of the rest of us may find uncomfortable. I doubt that I myself would ever join a protest or a rescue operation, per se, but it seems better to be doing something about the problem rather than nothing. As I said
in #1 above, human sin is the key issue. (Mr. Wallis, please take note: Poverty is not the
issue. Poor people are just as sinful as rich
people, only in different ways.) And that is what
we as evangelical Christians must address, first and foremost. But meanwhile, let’s strive to keep
babies alive and marriages intact as best we can.
4. To get back to DBB’s comments, which started
this whole thing, while I certainly never have
agreed with Dobson, Falwell and D. James Kennedy
on everything, I feel that, on the whole, their
positive contributions to the cause of Christ
outweigh the negatives. They were willing to stand up as champions for Christ, and to go counter to the culture. But for as much as Sojourners prides itself on being “countercultural,” I don’t see that with them. I see Sojo as being consumed by, not running counter to, the culture. I agree with the poster who said it would be great if they could return to standing apart from both major parties.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 7, 2007 at 11:50 pm


How can opposing abortion not be reflective of
Christ? Was the Ten Boom family in World War II
Holland not reflecting Christ when they hid Jews
from the Nazis? Now, granted, some may carry out
their opposition in ways some of the rest of us may find uncomfortable.

The problem is that the “religious right” divorced abortion from other “pro-life” concerns when it began in 1978, using the issue primarily as a battering ram for the sake of power. Secular conservatives, primarily the economic types, for the most part couldn’t care less about the “sanctity of human life” in a general sense and have consistently sold out the cultural conservatives — and ironically, had evangelicals were not so wealthy today they might not be so conservative.
Poverty is not the issue. Poor people are just as sinful as rich people, only in different ways. And that is what we as evangelical Christians must address, first and foremost. But meanwhile, let’s strive to keep babies alive and marriages intact as best we can.
But to do that we need to work toward justice for all of God’s creation. It makes absolutely no sense to me to oppose abortion but not be concerned with the person who suffers from discrimination because of his/her color, class or culture, to give examples. In the African-American community, for example, that directly leads to abortion and the breakdown of marriage.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 7, 2007 at 11:52 pm


They were willing to stand up as champions for Christ, and to go counter to the culture.
Counter-cultural living was never their thing — they wanted to dominate the culture, as do most conservatives.



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Bruce Petersen

posted October 8, 2007 at 9:25 am


My daughter and I attended Sojourner’s Pentacost 2005. We heard a profound speech by Obama, in which he discussed his coming to Christian faith. He spoke with true intimacy and wisdom.
Then we went up to Capital Hill to lobby for Sojourner’s antipoverty platform. Afterwards, a number of members of congress came and spoke to the Sojourner’s group. Hillary positioned herself to speak last. She heard none of what the others said. Her only references to faith were sarcastic one liners. “Don’t trust someone, just because they can quote some scripture.” “I don’t remember any Sunday School class I ever went to that said it was okay to cut funding for the poor.”
Hillary has found her “faith voice” because it’s expedient for her to do so. Both Obama and Edwards speak of their faith much more naturally. For Diane Butler Bass to fawn over Hillary’s newly found expressions of faith betrays a real bias on her part.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 8, 2007 at 11:09 am


Hillary has found her “faith voice” because it’s expedient for her to do so. Both Obama and Edwards speak of their faith much more naturally. For Diane Butler Bass to fawn over Hillary’s newly found expressions of faith betrays a real bias on her part.
You haven’t been looking at the news over the last decade and a half — Hillary Clinton’s faith is hardly news to those in the know. In fact, during the early ’90s, when Bill was officially in the White House, she attended a Bible study with a number of politician’s wives, most notably Susan Baker (wife of James Baker).



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 8, 2007 at 7:27 pm


Mick,
I don’t really understand everything you wrote could you explain all of it? Thanks.
p
It was a slam against Rod , Not well written . I lost my temper . Someone kept asking if abortion was made illegal , what should shold the penalty be for women who did have one . I always saw abortion as destroying life , a life made by God .
But I took the bait , which is what the question was I guess and not meant to have a dialouge over . But being talked about in a third person and then stereotyped because I believe the penalty system should have been like illegal imigration , penalize the eneabler , not the victim. I see women who have abortions as victims , not someone who should be punished . I can’t give scripture to defend that position , but I believe it is not opposing Bibical Understanding either .
Rod is the the man who says he lives by the best sermon of all time In Matthew . Justs ticked me off , Self Righeousness gets to me , not only boring , but serves no one , not even the self righteousness one .
I did not think a women should be “punished” I thought if the law was ever was , the punishement should be for the abortionsist . Was an interesting question , I am not sure what was the penalty before , I am sure their is a history of different penaltys .
I really don’t think abortion will ever never be made illegal , maybe possibly one day states and voters may have a greater say in it , but say in my state we are so live and let live , and has a in power a very liberal elected majority in power , it would always be legal in this state .
Till the Lord comes back the abortion issue will be here , but standing up for loosing causes are sometimes worth standing up for . In the mean time , helping the poor, providing ways out of poverty , and the church committing itself to families and the strenghtening of them , “I know you think that part is crap” is the best way to go . Amazing people who are so full of the power of love and Christ , can ridicule a person for wanting life to be rspected . I don’t get it .



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 8, 2007 at 10:49 pm


Amazing people who are so full of the power of love and Christ, can ridicule a person for wanting life to be respected. I don’t get it.
It’s not that we don’t respect life, only that we don’t think abortion should be used as a battering ram for the sake of political power, which no one here will deny has happened over the past 30-some years. I consider abortion on a par with racism, “creation care” and economic injustice; trouble is, conservatives have irresponsibly separated abortion from these other “pro-life” issues, and that to me is outright hypcrisy.



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 9, 2007 at 1:21 am


Rick your belief life needs to defended only if others respond to your beliefs is situational ethics from my perspective . It is in material to who protects and who does not life . Who believes it is worth protecting and who considers it worth protecting if a litmus of other rights are protected .
Life comes from God , allowing others to determine your importance of it is not hypocrisy , it is not justice , its denial of God’s greatest gift to us .
Political power ? More important things then if republicans or democrats gain or loose on this issue .



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 9, 2007 at 8:53 am


Rick your belief life needs to defended only if others respond to your beliefs is situational ethics from my perspective. It is in material to who protects and who does not life. Who believes it is worth protecting and who considers it worth protecting if a litmus of other rights are protected.
This statement doesn’t make any sense at all.



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CJ

posted October 9, 2007 at 10:13 am


The problem is that while Edwards, Obama, and Clinton claim to be Christian, (Obama I feel is genuine in his faith, Clinton I really don’t buy it and I don’t know enough about Edwards to really know if he is being genuine) all three are pro choice and my self being a Christian can not and will not vote for any canidate who is pro choice no matter how much they talk about being a Christian or how good their ideas on other moral issues may be. Besides, I don’t feel that it’s only the Democrats that have good ideas about the other great moral issues of our time. Also, as far as Wallis and what he is trying to do through Sojourners, while it is noble and I do agree that poverty and social injusctice are issues that need to be addressed by all politicians, most of everything I read from him as well as others through Sojourners, is not so much “progressive” as he claims, but Liberal and I feel that his agenda is to push the Dems into office, no matter how much he tries to be Bipartisian.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 9, 2007 at 10:55 am


Also, as far as Wallis and what he is trying to do through Sojourners, while it is noble and I do agree that poverty and social injusctice are issues that need to be addressed by all politicians, most of everything I read from him as well as others through Sojourners, is not so much “progressive” as he claims, but Liberal and I feel that his agenda is to push the Dems into office, no matter how much he tries to be Bipartisian.
With all due respect, that is wholly the fault of the conservatives for trying to push everyone else out. The truth be told, the “religious right” sold itself out to the secular right long ago and thus forfeited the moral authority to speak out against poverty, injustice and the like. That’s why we need this “new conversation” from a fresh pespective. That may offend you personally, but that’s where we are today.
Remember that many, if not most, Republican congressional candidates ran away from Bush last year because of the war in Iraq, and “religious right” figures such as Dobson said little, if anything, about the K Street influence scandal that consumed, among others, Tom DeLay. Today, of course, Rudy Giuliani, who is certainly not a conservative, will likely win the presidential nomination. Long story short, “moral issues” no longer represent a winning agenda.



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 9, 2007 at 5:49 pm


Rick
Many people at my church are non political , they are pro life because of the scriptures . You rely on anothers politics for you to consider it important ? Then its just not important to you is it . Instead of using excuses that conservative politics force you to defend or not care about protecting what God has created , just say so , Its alright , its only God you have to answer to . If you believe your conscience is clear , good for you .
The religious right sold out ? Oh no , the religious left joining with the pagan left sold out long ago .



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 9, 2007 at 10:34 pm


Many people at my church are non political, they are pro-life because of the scriptures.
You forget that I too am pro-life — but in the broader sense of the word. Anti-abortionists (the more accurate term), on the other hand, often will vote for a candidate only because he or she opposes legal abortion, never mind that the policies he or she supports may cause abortions, directly or indirectly. Such a candidate is not “pro-life,” even by a Biblical standard.



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 10, 2007 at 6:31 pm


That is how one rationalizes sin , blaming oppression and hatred by others to make up for your own . . Someone else is forcing me to do it , You need to come to the understanding you support people who kill the unborn , that your policy of justice is a policy of death and injuestice . Those polices are right in front of you , and you hide from them . When your confronted , you blame others .
Shame on you



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 10, 2007 at 8:38 pm


No, Mick, shame on you. You remind me of what Jesus said about the Pharisees — “You lay heavy burdens on people but don’t lift a finger to help them.” See, when it comes to abortion you sure talk a good game, but I remember people, also “pro-life,” who confronted protesters at abortion clinics and asked them how many of them would take one of those children.
I would go even further than that — will you teach people how to build healthy relationships so that women and girls aren’t getting pregnant in the first place? I’ve been doing that for years and advocating for the same in the “pro-life” ministry we’re trying to build at my church.



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