J Walking

J Walking


Dobson whacks McCain

posted by David Kuo

Dr. James Dobson has released a statement whacking John McCain. Here it is in full and here are the substantial points:

I am deeply disappointed the Republican Party seems poised to select a nominee who did not support a Constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage, voted for embryonic stem-cell research to kill nascent human beings, opposed tax cuts that ended the marriage penalty, has little regard for freedom of speech, organized the Gang of 14 to preserve filibusters in judicial hearings, and has a legendary temper and often uses foul and obscene language.

And there, in a nutshell, is the Christian worldview as James Dobson pronounces it:
– cutting taxes
– a Constitutional amendment “protecting” marriage
– elimination of embryonic stem-cell research
– a US Senate stripped of the very powers that the Founders gave it
– not cursing.
Damn. Is there a more succinct and stunning summation of the reason why evangelical voters are throwing off self-appointed evangelical mullahs like James Dobson? And why, according to a new Barna study, 40% of evangelicals would vote for the Democratic candidate if the election were held today (versus 28% for the Republican candidate).
Evangelical voters are saying that they think a Christian worldview should include tackling issues like poverty and health care. They are saying that perhaps Jesus would oppose the wanton torture of other human beings. They are saying that perhaps obeying God’s first command – to care for His creation – matters. And they are saying that the idea of deporting 12 million illegal immigrants sounds cruel and frightening.
By putting himself out there so forcefully, Dr. Dobson risks playing the role of Dr. Kevorkian in ushering in the end of the old-line religious right.



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Bob M

posted February 5, 2008 at 3:46 pm


I am an Obama backer, but I have enormous respect for Sen. McCain, because he is not a kool-aid drinking right-wingnut, but is a thoughtful man of integrity, who is willing to consider oter points of view. He is the only Republican I would consider voting for, But the Republican Party sees me as unworthy of their consideration because I am not ideologically pure enough.
I don’t happen to agree with Sen. Obama on everything, but I see in him a man who is willing to listen to people of opposing views and concede the possibility that they just might be right..and not just right wing.
It is precisely people like Dobson who have driven me away from the Republican Party with their “holier than thou, my way or the highway” absolutism. I really don’t care to be told how to think by haridans like Anne Coulter or pompous gas bags like Rush Limbaugh.
If the party wants to marginalize itself, then they can go ahead implode. So much the better for the gy I want to win.



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mom4vr61

posted February 5, 2008 at 3:50 pm


Ann Coulter, Rush, Dr. Dobson & Pat Robertson (to name a few) have a huge hand in weakening the republican party. They are like cancers. They just don’t understand that they are as horrible as the “liberals” that they hate. Fortunately, people are waking up & paying attention.
At least he can go home to his own huge organization & since he has become quite a wealthy man he shouldn’t have too much to worry about because if you think for one moment it isn’t/wasn’t all about a power trip for him then I’ll eat my hat.



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Bill

posted February 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm


The author’s characterization of Dr. Dobson is an example of the bias against conservatives that also happen to be evangelicals,. Dobson’s belief in the Bible has shaped his worldview, which is why he stated his opinion as such. His issue with the tax cut was that it weakened marriage, not so much the tax itself. He dislikes the filibuster rule as a way of de-railing debate (what Senators are PAID by us to do), not the rest of the powers of the Senate. His passion is LIFE, thus the stem-cell mention. And the comment about cursing is about character of the person, not about language rules. The author’s blanket statement about Dobson is part of the problem. I’m sure that he hasn’t realized that he contradicts himself when decrying torture, while wanting to continue to torture/kill innocents with abortion and embryonic stem cell research. So cruelty is ranked? You get the point, I hope. J’s blanket statements are dangerous. The other issues mentioned COULD be the reason for the shift in voting intentions, or the COULD just be his opinion. Read with caution, and get the whole story, not a blanket statement from a blogger. Thanks.



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David Kuo

posted February 5, 2008 at 4:40 pm


Bill – thanks for your thoughtful comments (seriously). I agree with you in many areas. For instance, I believe the focus on eliminating the marriage penalty is good public policy. However, if you look at Dr. Dobson’s comments about President Bush’s tax cuts in 2001, they were blanket endorsements – including a blanket endorsement of the choice not to include charitable tax relief.
The filibuster is part of the Senate’s culture. Jefferson said, “we pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.” To try and change the Senate’s nature for political end is to try and subvert the very Constitutional process conservatives say they are there to defend.
If Dr. Dobson’s passion is “LIFE” as you say, why is it there has been absolute and utter silence about the life of HIV/AIDS patients in Africa? And silence about poverty? And silence about the lives of inner city kids caught in a cycle of death and destruction? And silence about genocide in Darfur? But he is damn popped up about stem cells.
You are right that defending life – being pro-life ought to be about protecting the most innocent and helpless of life – life in the womb, life in the end of days. But you must also admit, I hope, that being pro-life means caring for life as Jesus did… caring even for the poor.



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JAMES CURTIS

posted February 5, 2008 at 4:40 pm


What about the neocons who commit acts of clerical violence from the pulpit, inciting “christians” to kill, mistreat, abuse, and marginalize those whom science has proven to be genetically different, thus “created” by God. They still believe the world is flat, is the center of the universe, and that women who cheat must be stoned to death (its biblically ok for a man to cheat, even rape a woman as long as he marries her in the old testament). These are the old testament “christian pharisees” repudiated by the acts and the words of our Lord Jesus who commanded us only to love one another, saying nothing about homosexuality while healing Jonathon’s(single man living with single man) “beloved manservant”.
Jesus did speak of Hippocrites. Jesus did speak of caring for one another and helping the poor, and not using one another for only base physical desires. Pedophiles use boys and girls for base physical desires=sin, which contrasts greatly with homosexuals involved in loving monogamous relationships, not getting AIDS, which saves the rest of us health care and other social costs/money. We should be encouraging that behavior, not forcing them into secret bathrooms to fornicate with REPUBLICAN Senator Craig.



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JAMES CURTIS

posted February 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm


ps., anyone 1) Dobson(preacher of clerical violence), 2) Rush(drug addict), or 3) that nasty homophobic Blond Republican bimbette(the one that the White fat old republican men listen to only because they want to mount a pretty blonde chick) speaks against is the one to vote FOR, because that candidate stands for what the GOP (Now grand old pulpit)used to stand for—MODERATION & CIVIL LIBERTY.
They are now the Republican Taliban



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Doug

posted February 5, 2008 at 5:30 pm


This post and two recent ones here about opposition to McCain reminded me of this quote:
“When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him.” -Jonathan Swift



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Algy

posted February 5, 2008 at 5:31 pm


David, you seem to be falling (as you often do) into the classic trap of the Christian liberal. That is to follow a two-step process: (1) see a problem, (2) vote Democrat because they make more noise about the problem than Republicans. This skips the following steps which should be between them (I’ll use fighting poverty as my example): (2) whose responsibility (practically and biblically) is it to solve the problem? (3) if it is the government’s, is it the US government’s? (4) if so, is it the government’s job to do it by taking money from some people and giving it to other people (which James Madison called tyranny)? (5) if so, is the welfare state (a) the most efficient, (b) most constitutional and (c) most moral way of accomplishing the goal? (6) if so, is our particular application of the welfare state idea the best way to go? (7) are Democrats the people with the best and most applicable ideas about how to administer the welfare state?
Off the top of my head, I count a minimum of seven questions you just plain skip in thinking about political questions (or at least did this time), questions you should consider if you wish to approach politics like a Christian instead of a statist. James Dobson is not a political expert, so it’s a little straw mannish to take him as an example of conservative Christian political thought, but he does consider these questions, all of which are logical and some of which are also biblical. He recognizes that in the biblical understanding, it is the role of the family and the church to help the poor, with (at best) the government only as a last resort. That is why conservatives fight so hard to try to restore healthy families and churches (hence positions like pro-life, anti-gay marriage, etc.)–because a healthy society is one that is built on religion and the family, not the secular state (ask the Russians). Focus on the Family puts a lot of work and a lot of money into building healthy families and communities in places like the inner cities, into spreading Christianity, and into addressing poverty extensively in both its practical work and its coordinating of efforts through Citizen magazine and Focus on the Family Action (not sure how you missed these facts).
But it, and Dobson, have not commented on every issue you mentioned. Why? For the same reason they do not come out with public statements condemning every sin that occurs in the world, but have commented on some issues like embryonic stem cell research funding: that they, unlike ESCR, are not issues of U.S. legislation at this point. Consequently, there is nothing to say about, say, Darfur, except “this is bad”–which nobody disputes.
Approaching politics Christianly means more than taking an issue, getting upset about it and making angry rants like your post, and voting for the people who sound just as upset as you. It means being involved as a citizen and building strong Christian communities that function the way they are supposed to–and as far as politics are concerned, voting for people who have concrete ideas for how to strengthen the civil institutions that cut down on poverty, rather than hoping the government will do it. As Thomas Sowell has famously said, people do not want to be helped–they want to have a fuss made over them. And that is the difference between James Dobson and Barack Obama. Dobson may not make a fuss about your favorite issues, but he, unlike Obama, is doing something about them.



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Darren

posted February 5, 2008 at 5:57 pm


Rush,
Talent on loan from God.
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in Vain…
Rush just move to Salt Lake and be done with it…



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Doc Washburn

posted February 5, 2008 at 6:57 pm


In the interest of trying to understand rather than being understood, two questions: Where does He say that we are supposed to force others to care for His creation by taxing them? How is it that trying to preevent the wanton slaughter of little boys and girls is not “caring for His creation”? Thanks. I’ll hang up and listen for the answer…



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Anonymous

posted February 5, 2008 at 6:58 pm


I would consider protecting life from conception to death a biblical issue and not using the Lord’s name in vain but in all honesty we all on the religious side should start studying Abraham Kuyper. He was a strong Christian Dutch Reformed Calvinist genius who was one of Christianity’s greatest theologians and politician. He was the primeminister of the Netherlands and inorder to accomplish his agenda he had to form alliances with non-religious parties. Also just for Dr. Dobson’s info John Calvin would be considered a socialist by him b/c in Geneva everybody ate, had shelter and had work. The government was expected to help the poor.



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j

posted February 5, 2008 at 7:03 pm


David,
Sloppy work. You should know better. The Barna poll said “born again” not “Evangelicals.” Barna defines those two totally differently. He defines Evangelicals as roughly 8% of the population while born againers are 40% plus.
I trust this was an honest mistake on your part, but if you’re going to do this for a living you need to be more careful.
J
Damn. Is there a more succinct and stunning summation of the reason why evangelical voters are throwing off self-appointed evangelical mullahs like James Dobson? And why, according to a new Barna study, 40% of evangelicals would vote for the Democratic candidate if the election were held today (versus 28% for the Republican candidate).



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Phil

posted February 5, 2008 at 7:06 pm


David,
Although I’m not as big a fan of Dobson as Algy, you would do well to heed the wisdom in his post.
For you to portray Mr. Dobson’s critique of Senator McCain’s views as the sum of Mr. Dobson’s “Christian” world view is patently dishonest but not surprising. That type of bait and switch is a common tool of leftists everywhere.
It’s even more dishonest for you to paint Mr. Dobson as unconcerned with poverty, healthcare, the environment, etc. simply because he doesn’t subscribe to your socialist crisis mongering.
The plain truth is that free markets and your favorite bogeyman, capitalism, have fed, clothed, cured, and raised out of poverty more people than your morally bankrupt philosophies ever have and ever will.
The welcome news for you (and bad news for the planet) is that you’re correct. It’s fellow Christians like you who are on the verge of handing you your socialist paradise; further proof that from Abel to Joseph to Jesus, the penultimate betrayal always comes at the hand of your brother.
Enjoy your day in the sun, it will be brief. The truth always finds its way into the light.



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Joyce

posted February 5, 2008 at 7:46 pm


“Evangelical voters are saying that they think a Christian worldview should include tackling issues like poverty and health care. They are saying that perhaps Jesus would oppose the wanton torture of other human beings. They are saying that perhaps obeying God’s first command – to care for His creation – matters. And they are saying that the idea of deporting 12 million illegal immigrants sounds cruel and frightening.”
David, this paragraph makes me proud to be an evangelical, and that has been a real challenge these past seven years. Thank you for your voice, thank you for your work. Please don’t let the Pharisees get you down. We need you.



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Cornellian

posted February 5, 2008 at 8:07 pm


‘The plain truth is that free markets and your favorite bogeyman, capitalism, have fed, clothed, cured, and raised out of poverty more people than your morally bankrupt philosophies ever have and ever will.”
And of course, Jesus was a Chicago school laissez faire capitalist – Dobson told me so it must be in the Bible somewhere.
I’m a fan of free markets as much as the next libertarian, but I don’t go around talking like they’re Biblically mandated.



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Phil

posted February 5, 2008 at 8:53 pm


And of course, Jesus was a Chicago school laissez faire capitalist – Dobson told me so it must be in the Bible somewhere.
I’m a fan of free markets as much as the next libertarian, but I don’t go around talking like they’re Biblically mandated.

But the truth is biblically mandated, not only in word but in thought.
Socialism is based on a lie, a lie hatched in the Garden of Eden. It paints a false picture of God, a false picture of His creation (especially man), a false picture of the hierarchy God has ordained for creation’s benefit, and – most insidious of all – a false picture of charity, our highest calling.
The power of freedom (liberty if you will) as expressed in free markets and, yes, capitalism need not be mandated by religious fiat for it is expressly and self-evidently mandated by the reality that man was created to be profitable in all his endeavors.
The fact that, as believers, we are instructed to seek spiritual profits that are eternal as opposed to earthly profits that will pass away, does not change the shape of our God-given nature.
Any philosophy that claims that man, by nature, is a consumer (rather than a producer) and that wealth (of any kind) is a zero sum game and that one man’s gain is inevitably another man’s loss, is based on a lie. Socialism, at its foundation, is based on this lie, which makes socialism unbiblical.



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Mike

posted February 5, 2008 at 9:04 pm


I guess I don’t really understand the blog game. It seems that sarcasm and rudeness are the imperatives, rather than an upright discussion of issues and truth. David and guests, I’m not impressed with your ability to put other people down, or win arguments if they are not presented with the same kind of love of God and neighbor that Jesus mandated. I see this in all the blogs I’ve read and it grieves me that good ideas and potentially helpful discussions are lost in the process. In family counseling it’s this type of “dialogue” that brings down marriages. Win the battle, loose the war. Grow up in the Lord folks.



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Bill

posted February 5, 2008 at 9:15 pm


David,
Point taken on the filibuster, but you must admit that its abuse by liberals gives cause to wonder. As for the life issue, many evangelicals (Dobson included, if I’m not mistaken) believe that we should start at the top of the slippery slope of choice – abortion. Were it not for abortion, and the attitudes it brought to society about ending life, would we be facing these other debates like euthenasia, Terry Schaivo and stem cells? I don’t think evangelicals have a lack of concern for the poor or the sick, but that is not the issue that seperates them from the mainstream. Therefore it is not the issue in the spotlight, by media from either side (agreement isn’t newsworthy for very long). We talk about our passions – what makes us cry and what makes us angry – but we must talk about them intelligently and in context, not in bullet-point bashing. Otherwise, nobody listens, because it’s not worth the time or the trouble. Dobson has consistently done that- that’s why he has become a voice for many (and they chose him, as a co-laborer, not as pawns to a king). Thanks for your thoughtful comments, and for reading mine.



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PatientWitness

posted February 5, 2008 at 11:00 pm


Phil and others make the argument that capitalism is biblically sound? It appears to me to be little more than a Social Darwinistic argument for ignoring the plight of the poor while lining their own pockets, and is completely opposite of how Jesus and the early Christians lived.
Acts 4:32-35: The whole company of believers was united in heart and soul. Not one of them claimed any of his possessions as his own; everything was held in common. With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and all were held in high esteem. There was never a needy person among them, because those who had property in land or houses would sell it, bring the proceeds of the sale, and lay them at the feet of the apostles, to be distributed to any who were in need.
Socialism is a lie hatched in the Garden of Eden? You’d better think again, for you will one day have to explain yourself.



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Denise

posted February 6, 2008 at 1:05 am


Thank you David for having the courage to bring to the fore the things that you do… with clarity that is much needed.
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity”



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jonathan: The Sanctuary Faith Community

posted February 6, 2008 at 1:45 am


I want to comment on the passionate debate I see unfolding on this blog. David I certainly agree that many, not all, but a growing number of evangelicals are not following the words of leaders like Dr. Dobson. But the reason for this seems to be lost in previous comments about socialism, free markets, and what is Biblical.
Not once do I know of Jesus saying that we should pray for a free market society. I also do not know of Jesus’ comments on the sanctity of life, only in the application of abortion. I am fairly certain he referred to all life. Those lost in war, abortion, crime, poverty, starvation and genocide. I do know He died for all mankind, that includes America’s “enemies”, internal and external.
I agree with the comment that this type of rhetoric lacks the single most important thing; love. As christians we are called to serve others through sacrifice, and to love our enemies. But the more salient and seemingly lost point more and more, is that we are called to propagate God’s Kingdom “on earth as it is in Heaven” MATTHEW 6:9. Not to create a religious version of the worldly kingdom.
Maybe we should focus on God’s kingdom, and the realization of that on earth, thus making these earthly kingdom concerns less significant, and ultimately changing people’s hearts, minds, and saving their souls.
I think a healthy interest in politics is great, even fascinating, much like football or Law and Order, but we must be very careful not to make this our overriding focus and lose site of which Kingdom we are called to serve.
Blessings,



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Phil

posted February 6, 2008 at 6:44 am


Phil and others make the argument that capitalism is biblically sound? It appears to me to be little more than a Social Darwinistic argument for ignoring the plight of the poor while lining their own pockets, and is completely opposite of how Jesus and the early Christians lived.
Of course, when I said that our highest calling, as believers, is Charity; I meant the kind of Charity that ignores the plight of the poor. And since you know me personally, you’re totally justified in accusing me of being a selfish pocket liner.
The passage of scripture you cite in Acts refers to a totally voluntary situation. It is not presented as a model for the entire church. In fact, most of the church did not follow that model. Hence why Paul, for instance, worked as tent maker in order to provide for his own necessities and not burden his brothers and sisters in Christ.
More importantly, as you well know, capitalism doesn’t prevent you from living such a lifestyle. You’re free to start or join a commune any time you like. And that’s where your demagoguery is exposed. Being free to choose your own lifestyle isn’t good enough for you, you want to be able to legislate everyone elses lifestyle too.
In order to justify your legislative coup, you promote a host of lies.
1. Wealth is not created, it’s only transferred.
2. Since wealth is not created, there is no moral or legal justification for personal property rights. Ultimately, all property belongs to the collective.
3. Since wealth is not created and all property belongs to the collective, one man’s profit is inevitably another man’s loss.
4. Hence all property is morally and legally subject to re-distribution in order to ensure fairness.
That’s just a few of the lies used to justify Socialism, which is the vain attempt to legislate fairness. There are many variations of these lies but they all rest, ultimately, on a flawed notion of reality. Namely that man is only a consumer and is incapable of producing a profit. Indeed the lie is that the notion of profit is a cruel hoax and all man’s efforts to multiply simply end up consuming more and more of the earth’s precious, dwindling resources and spreading more misery to the underclasses.
The simple truth that too many stumble over is that the situation outlined in Acts 32-35 was a result of free will, not legislative fiat, and that has absolutely nothing to do with Socialism, which is powered by legislation. Charity cannot be legislated. It is powered by free will and any attempt to legislate it robs it of its power and efficacy.
As far as those who claim that Jesus has nothing to say about capitalism:
Matthew 25:14-30
For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. [15] And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. [16] Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. [17] And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. [18] But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. [19] After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. [20] And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. [21] His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. [22] He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. [23] His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. [24] Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: [25] And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. [26] His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: [27] Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. [28] Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. [29] For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. [30] And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
God is all about profits. He created man to be profitable in all his endeavors, which is why he commanded Adam & Eve to be fruitful and multiply. Notice the hierarchy that God has ordained in the preceding passage. Those who are good at turning a profit accrue more and more while those who are not profitable lose even what they started with.
What was the unprofitable servant’s downfall? He treated his talents as a finite resource that needed to be preserved rather than a boundless gift that could be creatively multiplied. Socialists call this “sustainable development.”
Of course, Jesus is describing His spiritual kingdom but the same principles apply in this natural world because it was made in the image of the spirit. Socialism denies this simple reality, which is why it never has worked and never will work. It’s a foolish attempt to re-shape this world based on a false perception of reality.
I’ll say it again, capitalism has clothed, fed, cured, and raised out of poverty more people than socialism ever has or ever will. If you truly care about the poor, you should be embracing it not trying to destroy it.



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Donny (Psalm 51, me too.)

posted February 6, 2008 at 8:12 am


Love does not mean anything goes!
To a Democrat-Liberal-Progressive-Humanist though, it does.
James Dobson speaks to the very heart of Love and to the heart of the Christian community. It is just that there are too many people that do not want to hear the truth any longer. Abortion legalized caused the perversion and filth that is sponsered by and supported by Liberals and Progressives, to take root in this country. All manner of immoral sickness is now in vogue in America. This did not happen by the good and decent words and works of men like James Dobson. Evil abounds from those on The Left.
That is just a fact.
Well done Mr. Dobson.



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T Jordan

posted February 6, 2008 at 9:28 am


One thing I need to add to this discussion is that there can be a happy medium. We are very far away from a true socialist system in this country. We’re not talking about wealth redistribution as much as we are talking about providing basic needs for some people who can’t afford it. It’s not that we have to denounce capitalism in order to do this.
No one is saying that capitalism is not working, just that no system is 100% perfect, and there are people slipping through the cracks. Socialism is not the answer, but I don’t believe anyone thinks that it is. Furthermore, the Republicans don’t seem to care about the domestic issues in this country as much as they care about sinking money into this country’s defense. All I’m saying is, there is a happy medium. You can take care of your own people as well as have a strong system of defense. The Republicans are having a hard time doing this as of late. The Democrats have some ideas. Let’s see if they work. Does this mean we are saying that socialism is the answer? Hardly. But we are saying that ignoring the problems in this country is not working.
Spare me the biblical arguments. The Bible teaches in Proverbs that we must work in order to eat, and in the New Testament to pay our taxes. The Bible falls squarely in the middle of this debate; you can make arguments for either side.Americans take the issue of self-reliance to an extreme; this is completely a cultural issue. The bottom line is, we need to take care of people who have nothing, of people who have less than us. If that means eating out a little bit less or not driving brand new cars, then the Republicans cry “socialism”!



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Dan

posted February 6, 2008 at 10:35 am


David, please be careful with terms and labels when discussing the Barna study. The study differentiates between “born again” voters and “evangelicals,” and neither is determined by self-identification, as almost all other polls are.
The 40/29 Dem/GOP split is among Barna-defined born-agains, whereas Barna-defined evangelicals go 45/11 GOP/Dem.
This poll’s findings are a lot murkier than people seem to be acknowledging.



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Susie

posted February 6, 2008 at 10:36 am


In 2000 and 2004, I viewed the world as a “hard line” conservative, and had very little patience for any other view. I thought that anything to do with Christian values was limited to traditional marriage, pro-life and anti-gay initiatives. For reasons I cannot really explain, except that it has become part of my own spiritual journey as a Christian, I now see the world in an entirely different way. I am tired of the ‘angry conservative,’ or worse, the ‘angry Christian,’ worldview. I think we do need to help those who are struggling. As a healthcare professional, I see it as critical for our nation to truly deal with the uninsured problem. I have been one of the uninsured (for a season), and I have been one of those with incredibly good insurance. There is NO question that those without good insurance go without the healthcare services that they need, and in fact, that may mean life or death. This is a moral issue, and as Christians, we really need to broaden our understanding of what it means to care about Christian values. Yes, being pro-life is important, as is traditional marriage – but this isn’t the whole story. I found James Dobson’s speech about McCain to be pretty revolting, and diminished whatever respect I have had for him over the years.



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Larry Parker

posted February 6, 2008 at 11:02 am


Any “minister” who brags about their own animal abuse is a fraud and a charlatan.



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discokvn

posted February 6, 2008 at 2:03 pm


wait, didn’t he support rudy giuliani?



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Phil

posted February 6, 2008 at 3:13 pm


Spare me the biblical arguments. The Bible teaches in Proverbs that we must work in order to eat, and in the New Testament to pay our taxes. The Bible falls squarely in the middle of this debate; you can make arguments for either side.Americans take the issue of self-reliance to an extreme; this is completely a cultural issue. The bottom line is, we need to take care of people who have nothing, of people who have less than us. If that means eating out a little bit less or not driving brand new cars, then the Republicans cry “socialism”!
I know plenty of Republicans that eat a little bit less and don’t drive brand new cars and not one of them is crying about it. They are, however, faithful servants to the needy. The reason you might not have heard of their exploits is because they don’t spend all their time talking about how much they care for the poor and how much other people don’t. They care more about getting the job done than making a public spectacle of their compassion.
You keep on saying that we need to do more to help the needy. I agree. What exactly is preventing us from doing more? We’re free to use our money any way we like. We can start giving more and doing more right now, this very day.
I know what you’re thinking. If we simply allow people to choose to do the right thing, many of them won’t. No, we need legislation to ensure that nobody “falls through the cracks” and everybody contributes to the welfare of our most vulnerable citizens.
That is re-distribution so don’t delude yourself. You’re not talking about a “happy medium,” you’re talking about aocialism.
Using one of your examples, there are many people who are in need of healthcare services that they can’t afford. Some because they can’t afford insurance and some because their insurance has co-pays that they can’t afford. So we know that they need healthcare. The question is, are they entitled to healthcare?
You see, a need can be met as a matter of charity. An entitlement, however, is met as a matter of justice. It is a legal compulsion that turns an act of charity into a debtor’s obligation.
Now I want you to carefully consider the spiritual ramifications of turning a need into an entitlement. By this logic, when Jesus sacrificed His life for us at Calvary; He was not paying a debt that we owed for us, He was a paying a debt that He owed to us. After all, we desperately needed life and had no ability to obtain it ourselves. He, on the other hand, had plenty of life to spare. He was rich, we were poor. He was a have, we were have nots. If we follow the calculus of entitlement to its inevitable end; Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin was not a free gift of grace because it was not we who owed a debt to God but rather God who owed a debt to us.
So salvation really has nothing to do with grace, which is a matter of charity. Salvation, it turns out, is really all about justice, which is a matter of the law. The problem is that God’s word tells us that the law cannot set us free from the debt of sin and the law is incapable of giving life. Jesus died to set us free from the death sentence of the law and the justice it requires. Only grace, an act of charity, can give us life. That’s why, if you look up “grace” in your concordance, you’ll find that it means “unmerited favor” (a charitable gift) as opposed to “merited favor” (a legal obligation).
So listen carefully because here is why socialism cannot work. When we, through legislation, misidentify a need as an entitlement; we are nullifying the life-giving power of charity and setting in motion the death-dealing power of the law. We are inadvertantly bringing the needy under the law by turning a charitable gift (that can be given without repentance) into a legal contract that they will NEVER be able to live up to.
How does this play out in the real world? Let’s look at universal healthcare in England. Here’s a recent news story for you:
Don’t treat the old and unhealthy, say doctors
By Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent
Doctors are calling for NHS treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or who lead unhealthy lives.
Smokers, heavy drinkers, the obese and the elderly should be barred from receiving some operations, according to doctors, with most saying the health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone.
£1.7 billion is spent treating diseases caused by smoking, such as lung cancer and emphysema
Fertility treatment and “social” abortions are also on the list of procedures that many doctors say should not be funded by the state.
The findings of a survey conducted by Doctor magazine sparked a fierce row last night, with the British Medical Association and campaign groups describing the recommendations from family and hospital doctors as “out¬≠rageous” and “disgraceful”.
About one in 10 hospitals already deny some surgery to obese patients and smokers, with restrictions most common in hospitals battling debt.
Managers defend the policies because of the higher risk of complications on the operating table for unfit patients. But critics believe that patients are being denied care simply to save money.

You can read the whole story here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/01/27/nhs127.xml
Her are some more headlines:
‘NHS should not treat those with unhealthy lifestyles’ say Tories
Smokers, drinkers and the obese beware: keep fit or risk losing NHS care
So you see, universal healthcare, which is touted by socialists as necessary to protect the most vulnerable among us, ends up failing the very people it promises to help.
Who is more vulnerable and needy than the old and unhealthy? Yet their “entitlement” to universal healthcare is failing them. Why? because when their “need for healthcare” (a matter of charity) was turned into an “entitlement to healthcare” (a matter of justice), they became parties to a legal contract that they could not live up to. When their healthcare became a matter of justice, so did their lifestyle. So they were inadvertantly made subject to a legal contract that has condemned them for not being healthy enough.
Some might say that it’s totally acceptable to make people accountable for their lifestyle choices. After all, why should someone who lives a devastatingly unhealthy lifestyle be allowed to consume so much healthcare resources that it compromises the healthcare of people who live responsibly?
That’s a fair enough question. But if you’re one of the people asking it, then you must admit that you really don’t believe that universal healthcare is an entitlement. If you don’t believe it, why are you clamoring for it? More importantly, why are you accusing anyone who’s against it of being a cold hearted, selfish, profit monger?
If an unhealthy lifestyle is enough to limit one’s access to free healthcare, why isn’t a lack of personal fiscal responsibility? After all, there are millions of people who prefer to spend their money on new cars and ipods and big screen tv’s, who are more than capable of cutting back on all the stuff they buy and putting that money aside for healthcare costs. Instead, they spend like drunken sailors and then complain when they can’t afford their 20% co-pay. Aren’t they living an unhealthy lifestyle? Why shouldn’t their access to free healthcare be limited? What about people who abuse druga and alcohol? Talk about an unhealthy lifestyle. What about people who knowingly bring profoundly disabled children into this world who will need a lifetime of outrageously expensive medical care and still have a low quality of life? Is that really fair to the rest of us?
Do you see the point I’m making here? When we create an entitlement, we create a legal contract that virtually none of us can live up to. This is why socialism has never and will never work. It is based on a lie, a deceptive fantasy that conflates needs with entitlements, charity with justice. Once the reality kicks in (it always does) and we start weeding out the people who aren’t really entitled to our entitlements, we’re worse off than when we started because we based our worldview on a lie. If you want to see this “weeding out” process in action, keep an eye on Venezuela; it’s happening as we speak. Socialists call it “rationing.”
Socialism is not the cure for want and need, it’s a progression of the disease. If you truly care about the poor and needy, you need to adjust your worldview to take account of this self-evident truth.



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Ande

posted February 6, 2008 at 3:31 pm


Apparently Phil likes to cherry-pick Biblical references to suit his personal beliefs. Jesus said more about the evils of mammon (wealth) than any other subject. So, Phil, in your gushing about the greatness of capitalism, maybe you should look at what Jesus had to say about the rich man, as well as the treatment of Lazarus by the rich man in the parable. Anyone see the similarities between America and the the developing world in the parable?
As to how capitalism has clothed and fed more people than any other system, I can only say that it’s not the system it’s the goodwill of the people. And at what expense has capitalism undermined the poor of the world, so that a few rich can prosper?
I would suggest to Phil that he take a trip to Africa, Southeast Asia or Latin America sometime and get a better feel for those blessed one who Jesus and the prophets talked so much about.



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Sam Andress

posted February 6, 2008 at 3:52 pm


I’m a bit mystified as to which Bible, which Gospels, and which Jesus James Dobson has encountered to form his extremely anemic understanding of the good news. This is far from a robust gospel world view that roots itself in the Jubilee economics of Leviticus, which are good friend Jesus quotes in the biblical gospels. Jesus had not intention of nation building or making sure a nation was on his side. Jesus started a church as a counter model, not a government. I guess when people like Dobson don’t get that you cannot legislate Jesus, espeically, a malformed one you end up fighting a silly “culture war”–sadly on the worlds terms.



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Phil

posted February 6, 2008 at 4:51 pm


Apparently Phil likes to cherry-pick Biblical references to suit his personal beliefs. Jesus said more about the evils of mammon (wealth) than any other subject.
Absolutely untrue. He did, however, say that you can’t serve mammon and God. I agree with him 100%.
.So, Phil, in your gushing about the greatness of capitalism, maybe you should look at what Jesus had to say about the rich man, as well as the treatment of Lazarus by the rich man in the parable.
I know the passage well and, unlike you, actually understand what Jesus is talking about. Lazarus represents the Gentiles and the rich man represents those Jews who would continue to deny the Gentiles repentance unto life because they weren’t circumcised. Nonetheless, even considering your take on the parable, the rich man was not condemned for having wealth, he was condemned for not being willing to share his good fortune (the blessing of life everlasting). Capitalism in no way requires selfishness.
Anyone see the similarities between America and the the developing world in the parable?
The fact that you do is a testament to your moral bankruptcy. America is an overwhelmingly positive force in this world and by far the most generous nation on the face of the earth, not only in raw numbers but in the percentage that Americans give in relation to their income. Private giving alone, in the USA, outstrips all governmental aid of the entire EU.
Your accusations are baseless, defamatory, and strikingly similar to the cynical misery mongering of the “Saul Alinsky” crowd.
As to how capitalism has clothed and fed more people than any other system, I can only say that it’s not the system it’s the goodwill of the people.
Oh, but it’s precisely the system that allows people to direct their “goodwill” as they so please as opposed to having their goodwill legislated and co-opted by a power hungry statist.
And at what expense has capitalism undermined the poor of the world, so that a few rich can prosper?
And so the lie rears its ugly head. One man’s gain is another man’s loss. If you would take the time to think it through, you’d realize that your philosophy is devoid of hope. If profit really is a zero sum game, there is no cure for our condition and socialism is nothing more than re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
I would suggest to Phil that he take a trip to Africa, Southeast Asia or Latin America sometime and get a better feel for those blessed one who Jesus and the prophets talked so much about.
Interesting that the locales you’ve cited are all hotbeds of socialism. An intellectually honest person might start to recognize a pattern.



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Ande

posted February 6, 2008 at 5:42 pm


Phil, thank you for defaming my character and my faith. Apparently, the only way for you to debate is cut down the other person. Makes one ponder the future of democracy in the US. BTW-I’m an independent and not a socialist, but an advocate of a mixed economy.



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aquaman

posted February 6, 2008 at 5:54 pm


Phil,
Perhaps “America is an overwhelmingly positive force in this world,” but I think most of our Christian sisters and brothers in Iraq and Palestine would disagree. Humility requires us to consider the possibility that their point of view is at least partly correct.
As a country, we are far too certain of our own righteousness, and the selflessness of our own motives.
Peace.



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Thinker

posted February 6, 2008 at 5:58 pm


Guys, guys – anyone who wants things to be a little more of a level playing field is a socialist and anyone who makes lots of money is a capitalist. Not exactly nuanced.
Economic theories were created in a much smaller, less complex world. Theories don’t work. Problems are solved for the greater good hopefully. The problem of health care – didn’t used to be an issue. You get sick – you either get better or die. You didn’t live along time and many women died in childbirth. Little kids often died before the age of 5 – a world we cannot even comprehend. Now – at least in this “first world” we see life as something we have a right to live and that interventions to keep us alive are a moral necessity.
now – what happens if we simply go to a simpler way of looking a sickness and death – more of a eighteenth century fatalism? How about big boxes in front of hospitals for the bodies of those who would be turned away? Or how about training vast numbers of doctors and making sure we keep everyone alive – no matter what – using all the resources we have to do so? We have to think about this in new ways. We have to go way beyond the models of socialism and free market capitalism. New language and ideas that can be a means of remaining civilized and giving humans the dignity they deserve as God’s creation.



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Phil

posted February 6, 2008 at 6:01 pm


Phil, thank you for defaming my character and my faith. Apparently, the only way for you to debate is cut down the other person.
From your previous post:
Apparently Phil likes to cherry-pick Biblical references to suit his personal beliefs
Pot meet kettle.
More from your previous post:
I would suggest to Phil that he take a trip to Africa, Southeast Asia or Latin America sometime and get a better feel for those blessed one who Jesus and the prophets talked so much about.
That’s not an insinuation that I neither know of nor care for the poor?
You would probably respond that I condemned myself with my own words. Again, I say pot meet kettle.
My rebuke was strong, it was also honest and accurate. And, quite frankly, you earned it.



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PatientWitness

posted February 6, 2008 at 6:24 pm


Phil, your harsh tone and arrogance is ugly. Furthermore, your interpretation of the Lazarus parable is not only historically inaccurate but patently revisionist to suit your agenda. However, to allow your revisionist interpretation to be valid is to also allow the validity of other interpretations without insulting the writer as being morally bankrupt.
As previous posts have noted, it seems that the best model likely involves a mix of both regulated capitalism and some measure of what you call socialism. To deny the socialistic aspects of policy would be to deny such things as Medicare, Medicaid, VA hospitals, public schools, police and fire protection, public libraries and, of course, tax breaks for corporations and tax cuts for the wealthy.
I’m thinking of doing a painting in honor of Phil in which God is a monocled, top-hatted Monopoly man, Jesus is a slick-haired, Rolex-and-diamond-adorned hawker of get-rich-quick schemes, and the Holy Spirit would have to be the wave of unabashed greed enveloping the “God wants you to be wealthy” seminar audience. I’ll call it “The Republican Trinity.”
You may commence firing, Phil. Do try to be accurate and factual.



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Phil

posted February 6, 2008 at 6:32 pm


You may commence firing, Phil. Do try to be accurate and factual.
No worries, this is the only thing you’ve written worth responding to.



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canucklehead

posted February 6, 2008 at 7:43 pm


“US…by far the most generous nation on the face of the earth…” Phil
As illustrated by the following example:
*donor rank by dispersements for AIDS per U.S. $1M in GDP, 2006
Netherlands M$521.2
Sweden 461.6
Ireland 408.2
U.K. 328.6
U.S. 120.0
France 92.7
Germany 59.7
*Source: UNAIDS and Kaiser Family Foundation



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Phil

posted February 6, 2008 at 8:31 pm


*donor rank by dispersements for AIDS per U.S. $1M in GDP, 2006
Netherlands M$521.2
Sweden 461.6
Ireland 408.2
U.K. 328.6
U.S. 120.0
France 92.7
Germany 59.7
*Source: UNAIDS and Kaiser Family Foundation

Of course, you conveniently left out private giving which accounts for 72% of all U.S. aid.
By any measure, the U.S. is the most generous nation on the face of the earth, especially when it comes to donations from individuals.



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canucklehead

posted February 7, 2008 at 11:37 am


Private giving is, by definition, somewhat difficult to measure; hence your claim is, at best, debateable. A simple assertion does not create a fact.



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Phil

posted February 7, 2008 at 3:20 pm


A simple assertion does not create a fact.
Unless, of course, it comes from UNAIDS which was just caught red-handedly inflating the number of AIDS cases worldwide and by a significant margin.
I doubt you would be able to find any major charitable organization (outside the sycophants at the U.N. who’ve never met a tyrant they didn’t like) that would dispute my assertion.
If you choose to dispute the obvious truth, that’s your damage not mine. It’s telling, though, that when I suggested the U.S. was the most generous country on the face of the earth, your first instinct was to point to government spending as if that should be the barometer of generosity. Simply another nasty side effect of a statist mindset.



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c kitty

posted February 7, 2008 at 6:29 pm


Phil
All you are doing is attacking other people’s facts without providing any source for your assertions. You lose.



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Phil

posted February 7, 2008 at 7:13 pm


All you are doing is attacking other people’s facts without providing any source for your assertions. You lose.
No. I’m making the salient point that it makes little sense to judge the generosity of the U.S. (a private enterprise/free market society) using only government spending statistics and, I should add, only in relation to one charitable sector (i.e. AIDS).
The figures I cited are widely available from numerous sources to anyone who has 30 seconds to do an internet search.



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c kitty

posted February 7, 2008 at 11:27 pm


Still, no facts.



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canucklehead

posted February 8, 2008 at 12:20 am


Phil, do you accept government authorized tax receipts for your private donations? If you don’t, millions of Americans do, so don’t try and make it sound like Americans are just tripping all over yourselves to give your money away out of the simple goodness of your hearts.
“The figures I cited are widely available from numerous sources to anyone who has 30 seconds to do an internet search.”
Utter nonsense, making one internet search for such info from scratch would require AT LEAST 30 seconds. But if I recall, you criticized me for only citing one source.
Kitty’s point is well taken – apparently you don’t have the 30 seconds to cite those numerous sources from the net.



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canucklehead

posted February 8, 2008 at 12:23 am


P.S. Check out World Vision’s website as one Christian charity that doesn’t entirely buy the spin that the UN “sycophants’s” stats are completely askew.



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Phil

posted February 8, 2008 at 3:27 am


Phil, do you accept government authorized tax receipts for your private donations? If you don’t, millions of Americans do, so don’t try and make it sound like Americans are just tripping all over yourselves to give your money away out of the simple goodness of your hearts.
First of all, I know plenty of people (like myself) who’ve never bothered to deduct our charitable giving on our tax forms (not that I’m against it). That being said, it sounds like you don’t have a firm grasp on how tax deductions work. If you think Americans are donating to charity because it’s financially rewarding, well, you’re just plain wrong.
However, America’s generosity is aided by the fact that our total tax burden and regulatory burden is lower than most developed countries (the majority of which are steeped in socialism). Further proof that socialism does not create a more just or charitable society but rather stifles the individual’s capacity for generosity.
Kitty’s point is well taken – apparently you don’t have the 30 seconds to cite those numerous sources from the net.
I’m mystified that we’re even having this debate because this truly is a no-brainer for anybody who cares to be informed.
Nonetheless, if you insist that you’re incapable of doing the simple research it takes to confirm my assertion that America is the most generous nation on the face of the earth (by any measure); allow me to present you with some web links that will jump start the process for you:
We’ll start with an exhaustive comparison compiled by “Charities Aid Foundation,” an organization based in the UK (www.cafonline.org). They’ve gathered data from all the available surveys and have published a pdf that breaks down charitable giving among the developed nations. Here’s a link to the pdf:
http://tinyurl.com/26rbnh
Be sure to check out page 6 for a comparison of charitable giving levels as a percentage of GDP. You’ll see that America more than doubles any other nation on the list. The entire document is an excellent read with some very interesting insights.
Here’s a link to an article that first appeared in the WSJ Europe:
http://tinyurl.com/2jje6f
I highly recommend the whole article but here are some highlights:
“Statistics have long shown that the amount of charitable giving in Europe lags far behind that in the United States. But the reason probably has more to do with discouraging tax rules than innate differences in generosity of spirit.”
“While giving totals have moved sharply upwards in America, to a point where philanthropic donations now account for 2% of GDP, the British trend has gone in the opposite direction. The proportion of households donating to charity has actually decreased by 10% since 1978.”
“As for the corporate world, approximately one percent of all US company profits before taxation go to charity. The corresponding figure in Britain is 0.2%.”
Again we see that high tax and regulatory burdens, that are a staple of socialist economies, lead to less charitable societies rather than more charitable societies.
Here’s a couple of links from the AFP to round out our primer:
http://tinyurl.com/359gjn
http://tinyurl.com/33edzo
That should be enough to get you started. BTW, you’re right, it did take me longer than 30 seconds to assemble these references; it took me about 15 minutes.



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Phil

posted February 8, 2008 at 3:40 am


Kitty’s point is well taken – apparently you don’t have the 30 seconds to cite those numerous sources from the net.
I have replied to your post but due to the fact that it has web links in it, David has to approve it before it will show up.



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canucklehead

posted February 8, 2008 at 12:21 pm

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