The Conscience of a (Christian) Conservative:
Why I’m a Reluctant Republican

Republicans — By on May 16, 2005 at 1:36 am

While it initially began in the early 1980’s, for the past several years there has been an increasing concern in America that the term evangelical has become synonymous with being a Republican. I’ve tried to understand why some people have formed this impression. I’ve listened to their worries and given serious thought to how they could have developed this misperception. I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason many people believe that being a conservative Christian means marching in lockstep with the GOP is that many conservative Christians march in lockstep with the GOP.
Mark Byron has found a particularly egregious example of this mindset. In a recent interview on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Pat Robertson, the voice of evangelicalism, was asked to represent our views on the next presidential election:

Stephanopoulos: If the party chooses a moderate like John McCain or Rudy Giuliani, do you think religious conservatives will split off and form a third-party movement?”
Robertson: “I don’t think so. Rudy’s a very good friend of mine, and he did a super job running the City of New York. And I think he’d make a good president. I like him a lot. Although he doesn’t share all of my particular points of view on social issues, he’s a very dedicated Catholic. And he’s a great guy. McCain, I’d vote against under any circumstance”

While I wish we could simple dismiss this as another of Rev. Robertson’s pearls of wisdom, some people actually believe that he’s a serious representative of evangelical politics. Take, for instance, Jon Avlon, a columnist for the New York Sun and blogger at Real Clear Politics, who writes:

This character endorsement is an important green light to a possible presidential run that some social-conservative political operatives were overconfidently whispering was dead on arrival�. Rev. Robertson’s warm comments about Mr. Giuliani this Sunday send a powerful message to millions of religious conservatives not to judge their party’s early front-runner on a narrow litmus test, but to instead look at the full record to gain a picture of the president he might make.

Mr. Avlon is mistaken. The powerful message being sent to religious conservatives is not that we should reconsider a Giuliani candidacy but that we really have to do more to get the message out that Pat Robertson does not speak for us. Personally, I respect the leadership abilities of Mr. Giuliani and am impressed by the way that he helped transform New York City from a crime-ridden metropolis into a safe, livable city. But as an evangelical whose political views are derived from the Bible rather than from a party platform, I could no more support the candidacy of Giuliani than I could have for John Kerry.
As Dr. Byron wryly notes, “Is McCain more liberal than Giuliani? Not last I checked. If anything, he’s more conservative on the moral issues that Robertson supposedly champions. However, McCain’s less of a loyal Republican, willing to buck the party leadership. You can be a libertine, but as long as you’re a loyal Republican, Rev-run Pat’s got your back.”
Unfortunately, I don’t think the good reverend will be the only conservative Christian to support Giuliani. Robertson may be speaking for a broader constituency but that does not mean that others will not come to the same conclusion on their own. Too many evangelicals have taken the position that supporting an electable Republican candidate is the default political posture for a “good conservative Christian.”
Robertson, however, is not the only one who appears to be confused about the differences between being an evangelical and being a Republican. When speaking on political issues, many prominent evangelical leaders are sounding more like Rush Limbaugh than Francis Schaeffer. Too often there appears to be little Biblical warrant for the positions that are taken. Issues that concern the protection of the poor or the defense of the innocent are obvious causes that evangelicals should champion. But is the limiting of Congressional filibusters or partisan budget-reform proposals matters for which there is a specific “conservative Christian” position? Some evangelicals certainly give that impression.
The Democratic Party has certainly made it easy for evangelicals to embrace the GOP. Since the end of the Carter presidency, the Democrats have shown a disdain for any religious people who do not share their acceptance of abortion, sexual libertinism, and nanny statism. Former Democratic Senator Zell Miller, for example, was treated as a pariah by his own party for failing to adopt to the post-1973 definition of what it means to be a Democrat.
After being ostracized by the Democrats it is not surprising that many evangelicals would seek shelter with the Republican Party. To their credit, the Republicans have been more open and accepting of the agenda of social conservatives. Whether it’s a true conversion or merely due to political expediency, the Republican Party has made room under the Big Tent for conservative evangelicals. But that does not mean that our political visions are in complete alignment. I believe the model that evangelicals should use when aligning with Republicans should be similar to the way we work together on social issues with our Catholic brothers and sisters.
Over the past twenty-five years, Evangelicals and Catholics have learned to set aside our theological differences in order to become “co-belligerents” in a shared struggle to prevent secularism from becoming the dominant religion. The disagreements between our camps, however, are deep-rooted and likely to remain — at least on this side of eternity – irresolvable. My being a catholic Evangelical does not mean that I will ever become an evangelical Catholic. The two groups may share similarities but our differences are profound.
This same is true of my relationship with the Republican Party. I share a common cause with the GOP on most moral issues (i.e., abortion, same-sex marriage), on several foreign policy matters (e.g., the war on terrorism), and on some economic matters (welfare reform, for example). But because my neocalvinist views on policy are rooted in the Bible and Reformed theology, they will often differ, sometimes profoundly, from the standard party line. As a fellow traveler of the GOP, I find myself walking side by side with the party toward the same goals. But at other times our paths will diverge and I must follow where my conscience as a Christian conservative leads me. After all, to stand with Christ means that I can’t always stand with the Republican Party.



  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    As Byron adds after noting that Focus on the Family has taken this stance, the radio segment Family News in Focus broadcast should be re-titled

  • Tim

    I recently discovered that I am a liberal.
    Boy was I shocked!
    You see, I actually care about the poor, the unfed, the unclothed. That apparantly makes me a liberal.
    True, I vote mostly Republican. But that is because some in the party actually have better ideas. Welfare reform, efficient government, supporting religious and non-religious agencies that seek to help the disadvantaged, a new and better solution to social security and then there is the war on terrorism.
    Currently, democrats could not possibly get my vote. Every problem needs a govt. solution according to them. How is the 10 year old boy down the street that is without a father and has a mother that makes poor social and environmental choices going to be helped by a faceless, non caring, bureacratic government? Democrats do not “care” more, they care less. Their attitude is let’s take the rich people’s money, give it to the poor so I (because its all about me) don’t have to deal with it. The bigger the government the better! If I were to be a democrat, i could attend rallies, protests about government inaction (or in the case of the military too much action) and think that I am special. On top of that I get to think I am special, caring etcetera without any actual individual challenge, growth or discomfort.
    Isn’t the better option for us to get to know our neighbor? To go into neighborhoods that need assistance and actually provide assistance. To deliver food to our elderly neighbor during the winter so that he/she can stay home instead of needing to get government assistance. To be a big brother.
    Unlike democrats, republicans (especially evangelical republicans) do all these thi……..
    Wait a minute, not too many do help in these areas. Do they? Well at least evangelicals are known to show compassion, love, forgiveness and non-judgmentalism like Christ di…..
    Hmmm, that’s not true either.
    The sad truth is that neither party (as a group of people) has it right. If the old republican attitude of “fend for yourselfism” returns, then I would be reluctantly voting democrat despite the differences in social issues that I have. If anybody like Patrick Buchanan represented the majority opinion of the party, I’m gone until it changes.
    We need to realize that we as a country can make a difference collectively. We need to make decisions based on compassion for the poor, not judging them as lazy. But the system need to help an active you and me as opposed to a slow-acting, impersonal bureacracy.
    It is my opinion that Jesus would be high unimpressed with either party.
    And I am highly umimpressed with how poorly I was able to express myself here. I don’t write that well and am rather tired. I thank you for the opportunity to post and reading my thoughts about this.
    Have a nice day.

  • Tim

    Wow, the grammar in my post was awful.
    Sorry,
    Good Night!

  • http://inkan.blogspot.com pgepps

    Useful clarification, Joe, especially concerning that embarrassment Robertson. He speaks for us? Sure, and Dopey the dwarf speaks for the Disney Empire. Good grief.
    I disagree slightly with the way something *sounded* in your post, though I’m not sure you meant it this way. Helping the poor and other outflowings of the love of Christ shouldn’t be political issues at all. They should be the concern of the Christian, and especially of the church–first for its own, then for anyone they see that they can help. Teaching that, and practicing it, should be our focus.
    As for social change, it’s not our job to do it through politics either way–progressive or conservative. It’s our job to teach the Gospel in love to the hearts of all humanity, and then help our fellow believers as we are together transformed into Christ’s image. Where the Body is more “progressive” than the world, it can serve as an example; likewise where it’s more “conservative” then the world. First and last, though, we are the partisans of another King, awaiting the establishment of another kingdom, than those of this earth.
    Our relationships to our political institutions in the here-and-now should be pragmatic, based on the need to avoid entanglements which weigh us down as we head toward the End, and never stuck in any sort of “identity politics”–whether those of the Religious Right or those of the Religious Left.
    Take care,
    PGE

  • http://markbyron.typepad.com/ Mark Byron

    Tim, you’re one of the reasons why the “Compassionate Conservatism” of Bush works. It might tick off the dynamists in the GOP camp, but it brings swing voters who are moral conservatives but not hard-core free-marketeers. It might not flow off the pages of Russell Kirk, but it is a combination that is a net plus.

  • http://jimgilbertatlarge.blogspot.com/ Jim

    PGEpps said:
    As for social change, it’s not our job to do it through politics either way–progressive or conservative. It’s our job to teach the Gospel in love to the hearts of all humanity, and then help our fellow believers as we are together transformed into Christ’s image
    We probably agree here, but a distinction is worth making. The conservative Christian agenda originally was not for social change to come through politics, but was to stop the Left from using politics to achieve social change. The only way to do that is to oppose them in the political arena.
    That said, we obviously need to be active as Christian citizens, better known for what we do as individuals than what we oppose as political participants.
    Joe, as long as we’re defined more as opposing evil than doing good, MSM will keep painting us with the same clumpy brush of bigotry: We all look alike.

  • http://razorskiss.net/wp/ RazorsKiss

    As a small point, I want to note that the reason many Christians are weighing in on the filibuster issue is because it is a fight for the abortion issue on the Supreme Court, and the lower courts. If it was just the filibuster issue, and there wasn’t something larger at stake, it wouldn’t even be on our radar.
    The Supreme Court, and it’s stance on abortion, is a serious issue – and the Democratic filibuster is a serious obstacle to a (even slight) reprieve from a judicial fiat on an issue we should all be deeply concerned about.
    Given that you are concentrating on bioethics, that comment just seemed… odd. It’s all about the abortion issue, and who is allowed to serve on the courts. The courts are who are deciding the issues. We want justices who will retain legislative power in the legislative branch – not assume it themselves, in addition to the judical powers they already have.
    That’s the issue. Not “filibuster rules”. Simple up or down vote. Using a loophole to avoid the vote entirely is a serious problem, when the stakes are who gets to determine who gets to make the laws. You know? Don’t fall into the hype about “it’s about policy”. It’s not. It’s about the Constitution, and returning lawmaking (and law establishing) power to the legislature, and removing it from the courts.
    The fact that the “abortion litmus test” is yet another factor puts it squarely in your ballpark, Joe. Don’t skip on it :D

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Mr. Avlon is mistaken. The powerful message being sent to religious conservatives is not that we should reconsider a Giulliani candidacy but that we really have to do more to get the message out that Pat Robertson does not speak for us.
    Yet Robertson and Falwell are almost always given prime speaking time at the Republican National Conventions. They don’t speak for you yet it certainly seems like the Republican Party thinks they do.

  • http://blogotional.blogspot.com/2005/05/christianity-as-brand.html Blogotional

    Christianity As A Brand

    This underlies why I think it is vitally important that churches, as opposed to individual Christians, cannot become politically active. That very political activity co-opts the brand the church has, which should be about GOD. The brand we have shoul…

  • http://sddc.blogspot.com corrie

    Boonton, you are correct. And Sharpton and Jackson get a lot of mike time as mouthpieces for the Democrats. render unto Ceasar, as the Man said.
    Back in 1997 I wrote this:

    Christianity and right-wing politics (RWP) may be mutually exclusive.
    Christianity teaches that people have a basic human failing, and that left to their own devices, without Divine grace, they will abuse and exploit one another.
    RWP says that people are basically altruistic. We can do away with government programs like welfare and food stamps and let communities look after their own.
    Christianity teaches that you cannot earn your heavenly reward; salvation is a gift from God and you can either accept it or reject it. RWP posits that a handout is debilitating, and there is something wrong with you if you accept it.
    Jesus himself associated with gluttons, drunkards, prostitutes and tax collectors – Hardly the Moral Majority of his day. His actions in the Temple were decidedly anti-business. And the bit with with the loaves and fishes – from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs – sounds downright Marxist.

    “Reluctant Republican” puts it very well, Joe.

  • http://www.leanleft.com Kevin T. Keith

    I think you have it backwards. The concern is not that right-wing Christians are following the GOP line, but that the GOP has become the captive party of right-wing Christians. On all but its top brokers’ bread-and-butter issues, the GOP has adopted the most conservative and exclusively Christian lines about every issue, in many cases appointing far-right Christians to make policy along Christian lines. The problem is not that too many Christians vote one way or another, but that one of the major political parties has decided to create a quasi-religious state in keeping with far-right Christians’ wishes.
    As for Falwell and Robertson, Boonton is right: they are considered Christian leaders and GOP insiders because millions of Christians watch their TV shows, read their writings, and give them money, and they are constantly on hand at GOP and White House events and strategy sessions. We won’t regard them as emblematic of you when you stop giving them credence, time, money, visibility, and influence. But if these are the people you choose to follow and elevate to power, we have a right to believe you mean what you say.

  • http://www.chrismangum.blogspot.com/ cdm

    “His actions in the Temple were decidedly anti-business.”
    Don’t you mean he was decidedly anti-thief, defiling his Father’s house?
    “And the bit with with the loaves and fishes – from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs – sounds downright Marxist.”
    To a Marxist’s ear, I guess it does.
    Christ, the Good Shepard came to save his sheep. Not to give the goats a better political system.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Actually, CS Lewis said a christian nation would look remarkably socialist in many ways, and remarkably conservative and old-fashioned in others.
    I am a registered Republican. Its interesting – I am probably the only person in my 1000 person church who voted for Kerry. I will out myself here:
    Why. Four issues were central to my decision (winnner on point in () ):
    1. Abortion: (Bush of course). There are democrats in next election I could support: Bayh, Reid, and Lieberman all voted for the ban on intact D&X’s, and Reid for one is pro-life. Understand, Roe v Wade violated the separation doctrine and was wrong – but it was not for a court to decide. The division in this country will not be healed by another COURT decision – it must be political. We are winning hearts and minds and in 5-10 years we will be able to stop abortion by law or constitutional amendment. We need to be consistant and leave the courts our of this.
    2. Iraq: (Kerry, or more accurately, anti-Bush) Sorry, we were led astray and the bucked stopped on President Bush’s desk. If he was lied to, not enough heads rolled. I think it is terribly un-Biblical to be rabidly pro-war; you should have to grieve deeply to say those words. I think Kerry was right – there was a time when the US entered wars when it had to: Vietnam was and now Iraq II may be poster children for his position. I supported Iraq 1991 and Afganistan – Not Iraq II. Incidentally, must have been my Vietnam War experience; but it was my feeling from the beginning that no WMD’s would be found – and they weren’t.
    We cant leave. We have destabilized (hard to call a brutal dictatorship stable) their government and must “stay the course” and see that their country is re-constructed and politically stable. That is, I believe, a Biblical duty. For a Democrat to get a look, they must agree (which I think my be hard for them) in a way that convinces me they really agree.
    [My 24 year old (who joined the Navy after saying the following) hit me with an impossible to answer view of President Bush: She did not feel he was sincerely Christian, or at least consistantly pro-life. Sure he viewed abortion that way, but she could not jibe that with his position on the death penalty in Texas – where she believes he allowed as Governor the execution of a man with a substantial possibility of innocence (with the comment that it might be true he was innocent, but the jury had spoken); or his actions in Iraq. She asked if living beings were as worthy of life as ones that hadn’t been born yet. I stuttered]
    3. Gay Marriage (Kerry): Not his belief in them, but his contention that a Constitutional amendment was wrong. I think Bush was stirring up the troops with this one. It is a state matter, and the states already have the right not to recognize another states marriages. Pure politics. Now if the Supreme Court pulls another Roe, and legislates on a national level in this matter, then all bets will be off.
    I admit to hesitating to vote for the Oregon Marriage Act. You cannot legislate morality; but I do believe marriage is God’s turf (and worthy of defense). I am wishy-washy here.
    4. Fiscal Conservatism (Kerry): The Republicans Reagan and after have lost it on the budget. Continuing to fund the rich at the expense of the deficit just doesn’t fly. Cutting taxes his first term in the face of mounting deficits, while he was raising spending – was purely absurd. President Clinton had balanced the budget; and I actually believed Kerry would try to achieve that again. I would rather have “Tax and spend” than “Not tax and spend”; but I would really rather have “Spend what you make”.
    I obviously am a christian, and an evangelical; but equally obviously I am not owned by the Republicans who didn’t deserve my vote for President in the last election.

  • Joel Thomas

    I am a reluctant Democrat because of:
    Tax cuts skewed to the wealthy.
    Republican support for usury and predatory lending practices.
    Republican support for the death penalty.
    Insufficient support among Republicans for environmental concerns.
    Republican indifference to corporate greed and dishonesty.
    Republican opposition to minimum wage.
    Republican opposition to gays in military.
    Republican dishonest war planning.
    Republican opposition to affirmative action.
    Republican indifference to racial discrimination in lending practices.
    Republican opposition to gay civil unions.
    Republican opposition to meaningful prison and jail reform to reduce rapes, murders and assaults within the system and to promote education and rehabilitation.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Joel Thomas
    With all due respect, some of the things on your list might be more republican than democratic positions – but most have had broad support in the country.
    Ask this: the filibuster has always existed. Why didn’t the Democrats in the Senate muster 41 votes to block some of these things you consider important to Democrates? Start with Gay’s in the military – do you really think there is any meaningful Democratic Party opposition to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. How about tax cuts to the wealthy? Good talking point but pick a few bills and look at how folks voted.

  • Scott Renner

    I’d like to point people to a pair of articles in First Things, by one of my favorite authors, J. Budziszewski. Have a look at The Problem With Liberalism, and The Problem With Conservatism. If you’ve read this far in the thread, these articles will be worth your trouble.

  • AndyS

    Scott, thanks for the links. I particularly liked this paragraph:

    Christians, then, may certainly commend a law as good or condemn it as evil. They may declare it consistent or inconsistent with the faith. But not even a good law may be simply identified with the faith; Christians must not speak of a tax code, marriage ordinance, or welfare policy as Christian no matter how much, or even how rightly, they desire its enactment or preservation. That predicate has been preempted by the law of God. The civil law will be Christian-if it still exists at all- only when Christ himself has returned to rule: not when a coalition of religious conservatives has got itself elected.

  • Rob Ryan

    “Christ, the Good Shepard came to save his sheep. Not to give the goats a better political system.”
    And the Republicans came to fleece the poor while pulling the wool over their eyes and to milk the religious for all they’re worth!

  • JCHFleetguy

    Rob
    The arrogance of assuming that the 15% of the country that are secular are less likely to be fleeced, or lacking in kneejerk reactions, is actually one of those underlying reasons Republicans are winning – “us hicks dont like them there words of y’all”.
    Pull the wool about abortion off your own eyes – then come talk to me about my being led around by the nose. You have been fleeced into believing embryos and fetuses with a future like yours are unworthy of your notice or protection – and instantly vote against anyone who questions that dogma.

  • Harris

    As one involved with local Democratic politics, I share your reluctance, Joe. I think that any Christian who looks carefully at politics gets uncomfortable; we are all reluctant.
    I do not like to see the easy indentification between the Republican Party and Evangelicals, if for no other reason than it seems to erect barriers with those whom we want to reach — those men and women who need to hear the Gospel. For that reason, I am thankful for those Christian leaders in my community who have taken an a-political course, notably the Rev. Ed Dobson (Calvary Church, Grand Rapids).
    That said, it does seem to me that the linkage between faith and party arises in part because the Republican wing owns the megaphone, as it were. The Evangelical-as-Republican is the one who is heard; moreover, if one were to listen to the internal political conversation among Evangelicals there is often a drowning out of those who disagree. We celebrate Principle, but then forget that Principle can often lead to a variety of policies, and one of the tasks of politics is how we weigh those various options.
    What we miss in the echo chamber are those other Evangelicals who are not Republican — who are even Democrats. They certainly exist. Some are lesser known, such as Ed Kilgore at New Donkey, or Ayelish McGarvey (in the current Nation; a Wheaton grad). Some are prominent: think of how the conservative blogosphere treats Jim Wallis and Ron Sider. That too, gets noted by outside observers.
    Or listen to how we demonize, how we’ve mastered contempt of real or imagined foes (do the initials HC suggest someone?). We are far from a Gospel graciousness.
    Now mix in the tribal aspect of politics –most of us vote by sociological groupings as much as by any conviction — and there is another reason Evagelicals can look Republican. This is not that different from African Americans when you think about it. For a variety of reasons, cultural as well as by conviction, they vote Democratic, even though we may know plenty who are conservative or even –gasp!!– Republican.
    I think the path away from this too-easy identification lies with a greater encounter with Grace, that we might listen more, speak wisely, and carry great hope for our opponents. This does go well with partisanship, but it does seem to mark the path of Christian politics.

  • http://johncoleman.typepad.com John

    Neat, Joe. Neat. Maybe we can get you ont he air instead of Robertson soon.

  • http://jimgilbertatlarge.blogspot.com/ Jim

    Joel Thomas, your post generally troubles me so greatly I’ll probably either blog or dream about it. But for now, here are point-by-point responses. They are not all rebuttals, and do not pretend to be exhaustive, because I have neither the time nor talent to be so thorough. Nonetheless, here’s a frank but friendly shot across your bow:
    Tax cuts skewed to the wealthy.
    If wealthy man A pays higher taxes than middle-class man B, then giving an equal-percentage tax cut is obviously going to mean a bigger tax cut for A. Why shouldn’t people get tax breaks proportionate to amounts they pay?
    Republican support for usury and predatory lending practices.
    Why Republican support? Have such practices only existed since 1994? Both parties should be ashamed of letting dishonest “weights and measures” go unpunished.
    Republican support for the death penalty.
    There’s this idea that it’s inconsistent to be pro-death penalty and anti-abortion. If one means inconsistent with the “sanctity of life,” then that’s correct. But following a Biblical approach means believing in the sanctity of God’s Word, and Scripture, taken as a whole, approves capital punishment as a legal remedy while disapproving abortion.
    I’ll get flamed by the Bible haters for that one, but I don’t give a pig’s snout.
    Insufficient support among Republicans for environmental concerns.
    I agree with you (finally) in principle, but would hate to see us adopt current Green policies, which I see as socialism wearing a coat of a new color.
    Republican indifference to corporate greed and dishonesty.
    Agreed. But lefties from D.C. to Brussels (yeah, I lump them together) are incredibly hypocritical about this issue. And the “greed and dishonesty” banner easily becomes an excuse for government raiders every bit as savage as corporate ones.
    Republican opposition to minimum wage.
    Minimum wage laws, IMO, are a cure worse than the disease. Sure, corporations use them to underpay people. But such laws also prevent massive job creation for beginners who would work for lower pay.
    Republican opposition to gays in military.
    The concern here, as I understand it, is similar to that of women in combat, i.e., the element of sexual attraction interfering with military duties and morale. The additional concern (on the part of the brass) is that gay men, as men, would be more pre-occupied with sex than straight women, in a military that wants its soldiers pre-occupied with military matters.
    Republican dishonest war planning.
    I don’t even care to argue this one with you, since I can’t prove the President’s honesty anymore than you can disprove it. The fact is, neither of us was there, nor were we privy to the intelligence (faulty or not) he had to rely on. And I still prefer what Bush did with the military to Clinton’s aspirin factory bombing and the debacle in Somalia. In other words, I think incompetent war planning is even worse than possibly dishonest war planning.
    Republican opposition to affirmative action.
    You might give Thomas Sowell a read on this subject, Joel. I agree with him, and Republicans in general, that affirmative action doesn’t level the playing field, Instead it tells people they’re inferior on a level playing field. As with minimum wage laws, I think this cure suffocates the patient. It’s a noble, but misguided intention in an area where Christians especially should shine so brightly as to silence our critics.
    Republican indifference to racial discrimination in lending practices.
    This phrase looks loaded. No doubt such discrimination exists, but no doubt it’s also a card to be played by people whose credit doesn’t measure up to a lender’s standard.
    Republican opposition to gay civil unions.
    We probably flat out disagree on this one, since I consider gay civil unions as reprehensible as legalized pedophilia.
    Republican opposition to meaningful prison and jail reform to reduce rapes, murders and assaults within the system and to promote education and rehabilitation.
    “Meaningful prison and jail reform…” As long as education and rehabilitation are seen as salvific, prisons will be houses of horror. How about speedier execution for rapists, murderers, and incorrigible recidivists?
    Ah, yes, we’re miles apart aren’t we. (Not even a question mark needed there.)
    Joel, the big disagreement I have with you is that your list repeatedly calls for civil government as the solution in areas where Republicans see government action as complicating, not solving problems. They are problems, to be sure.
    You’d probably enjoy the work of Ronald Sider, a brother in the faith whose politics I consider somewhere to the left of Boris Yeltsin. As for me, well I voted for the best dang Democrat in Washington, George W. Bush, but wish there had been a true conservative alternative.
    Now excuse me; I have to go beat my daughter with a big, thick Bible;-o

  • AndyS

    Joe wrote with rhetorical florish:

    Since the end of the Carter presidency, the Democrats have shown a disdain for any religious people who do not share their acceptance of abortion, sexual libertinism, and nanny statism.

    Just how are Dems accepting sexual libertinism? Is it by accepting the conservative view (in that the state should not inject itself into people’s personal lives) that consenting adults can do what they please sexuality? This is not a promotion of being sexual libertine, only the acknowledgment that a society that values freedom and liberty must also allow its citizens to do things social conservatives might find distasteful. Legislating behavior in this area seems like the very height of nanny statism.

    Former Democratic Senator Zell Miller, for example, was treated as a pariah by his own party for failing to adopt to the post-1973 definition of what it means to be a Democrat.

    Perhaps the Dems felt reasonable distaste for Miller when he appeared at the other party’s nomination convention and ranted like a mad man. Interesting to note that Zell recently appeared on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and pretty much acknowledged as much.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Andy

    Is it by accepting the conservative view (in that the state should not inject itself into people’s personal lives) that consenting adults can do what they please sexuality?

    This wasn’t, in my limited world, a problem until I had to decide whether gay’s met my definition of marriage; or that I couldn’t refuse to rent my house to a gay couple; or that my daughter’s education crossed the line from undertanding and accepting that Susie had two fathers; to accepting that that was just as good as having a father and a mother (the schools inserting themselves into my daughter’s personal life).
    My brother-in-law was gay and died of AIDS – my daughter is encouraged to remember and love him. He is her favorite uncle. My sister is gay – she is not ostracized or criticized. She and I have had some very interesting discussions about it; and again she is one of my daughter’s favortite aunts.
    Our problems began when one of my mother-in-law’s grandchildren had a “marriage ceremony” (she’s gay) here in Oregon – do we go? (We didn’t); and then had sex with a male not her married partner so she could be pregnant. She is, and mom got invited to the baby shower (Mom went – my wife and I sent a gift).
    So our issues have never been with what consenting adults do in the personal life – but what we are required to accept and deal with in ours. Those who want gay marriages are trying to insert the courts and the state into private matters – there has never been any societal support for this in any society worldwide ever.

  • http://www.leanleft.com tgirsch

    Jim:

    If wealthy man A pays higher taxes than middle-class man B, then giving an equal-percentage tax cut is obviously going to mean a bigger tax cut for A. Why shouldn’t people get tax breaks proportionate to amounts they pay?

    I assume you’re speaking hypothetically, because that’s not even remotely how the last couple rounds of tax cuts actually worked. But to the meat of your question: why not give proportionate tax breaks? Because some need the cuts more than others. If Bush could be taken at his word, the tax cuts were supposed to be targeted to stimulate the economy. That should mean giving the money to the people most likely to turn around and spend it in the economy, which would be the people at the low end of the spectrum.
    But the phrasing of your question shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how marginal tax brackets work. If you cut the marginal rate on the bottom bracket by 5%, then everyone who pays income taxes gets that break, including the wealthiest taxpayers. However, if you make a similar cut on the top bracket, only the wealthiest taxpayers get that cut.

    Both parties should be ashamed of letting dishonest “weights and measures” go unpunished.

    Agreed, and the new bankruptcy “reform” bill that just passed — with some Democratic support — is excellent evidence of this. That said, however, it doesn’t mean that one party isn’t even worse than the other.

    But following a Biblical approach means believing in the sanctity of God’s Word, and Scripture, taken as a whole, approves capital punishment as a legal remedy while disapproving abortion.

    Show me where the Bible ever directly addresses abortion. It does not. And a Christian would have to take a very narrow reading of John 8 to think that execution is still acceptable post-Jesus.
    Truth is, the Bible speaks both for and against capital punishment (with Jesus speaking against it), and doesn’t address abortion at all. So to argue that scripture is somehow pro-execution and anti-abortion is ignorant at best, and disingenuous at worst.

    I agree with you (finally) in principle, but would hate to see us adopt current Green policies, which I see as socialism wearing a coat of a new color.

    If by “Green,” you mean Green Party, I’m inclined to agree. However, I don’t think it’s necessarily socialistic for the government to protect certain natural resources by regulating such things as emissions and road construction, and even if it is, I fail to see any other effective way to actually protect the environment (although I’m open to suggestions).

    But lefties from D.C. to Brussels (yeah, I lump them together) are incredibly hypocritical about this issue.

    Once again, the fact that both parties are bad doesn’t make them equally bad. Without knowing for sure, I’d be willing to bet that corrupt CEOs are far more likely to vote Republican than Democrat. :)

    But such laws also prevent massive job creation for beginners who would work for lower pay.

    Got evidence of this? I’m undecided on minimum wage laws myself, but I can’t imagine revoking them would make things any better for anyone. In a good economy, nobody would even be willing to work for minimum wage, IMO. I think the effects of the minimum wage law are probably grossly exaggerated by both its proponents and its opponents.

    In other words, I think incompetent war planning is even worse than possibly dishonest war planning.

    In retrospect, I find it hard to believe that anyone can describe the Bush Administration’s war planning (or lack thereof) as “competent” with a straight face.

    …where Republicans see government action as complicating, not solving problems.

    Umm, have you even been paying attention to the current government’s actions? The government is getting both bigger and more involved than ever before. Maybe you don’t think the current government is really “Republican,” but that’s just the “No true Scotsman” thing.

  • http://www.leanleft.com tgirsch

    JCHFleetGuy:

    So our issues have never been with what consenting adults do in the personal life – but what we are required to accept and deal with in ours.

    That sounds less like opposition to government sanctioning of gay marriage, and more like opposition to government sanctioning of any marriage. Really, if you take your logic and run with it, the government should never sanction any practice that anyone anywhere may ever find even mildly offensive. Surely this isn’t what you want. So why the special case for gay marriage? Note, too, that you had to deal with all those issues even though the state does NOT sanction gay marriage. So what hypothetical difference would it make if the state did sanction it?

    Those who want gay marriages are trying to insert the courts and the state into private matters – there has never been any societal support for this in any society worldwide ever.

    Umm, have you looked around the rest of the world lately? Here’s a hint: look North.

  • http://www.leanleft.com tgirsch

    or that I couldn’t refuse to rent my house to a gay couple

    Scratch out “gay” and substitute “Jewish,” and please explain why the logic is now fundamentally different.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    Those who want gay marriages are trying to insert the courts and the state into private matters – there has never been any societal support for this in any society worldwide ever.

    Your statement is a contradiction in terms. In the first part you say they are trying to insert courts and states into “private matters”. By definition an intimate, personal agreement. Then you justify this statement by saying there is no support in any society worldwide which by definition is the actions of a vast number of people in the most impersonal way possible. Incidentally you are factually incorrect as well.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Umm, have you looked around the rest of the world lately? Here’s a hint: look North.

    You know when I said it I was almost going to hedge – but considering these examples are less than 10 years old in a human history of however long – I passed. You are arguing the cutting edge of a moral/ethical question for puralistic society that is not so easy to discount simply as the ignorant infringing on the rights of gays. Cultural change is slow and the institutions do not change until the culture does – and gays are no where close to changing the culture when it comes to gay marriage.
    My actual argument is not that the state cannot be involved; but that involvement needs to be political – not legal. Now, if you all are satisfied that every (might be off by 1 or 2) state that has voted on this has refused gay marriage; and accept that as a testimony that folk do not buy it (at least yet) – great. You will stop trying in interfere in the culture’s definition of marriage. [You didn’t mean that did you].
    No, the hope now is the supreme court will interfere and thereby turn this into a national issue rightly. Do you see that Massachusetts, Eugene OR; San Francisco and a few other places ignited a backlash now etched in law that will now be harder to educate around? Probably not. It is only the gay’s unable to “marry” whose rights are at issue here – right?

    Scratch out “gay” and substitute “Jewish,”

    You get anywhere near 50% of the population to view this as an equal substitution I will analyze it politically.
    In the meantime, I suggest a serious education campaign on the supporter’s of gay marriages part – because they got their political butt’s kicked using your “right to private life” argument when it comes to gay marriage

  • James

    “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Kingdom of God” Insert that into any politician’s ideas and they will win my vote. I agree that God is not happy with any of our parties because all our parties are fueled by money…..oh yeah that reminds me: “Man cannot serve two masters……..”. The problem with most “Christians” in this country (world) is that they don’t read/understand/eat/devour/internalize The Word and that’s why they become sheets in the wind when it comes to politics…..oh yeah, reminds me of another parable that our Savior spoke of: houses built on sans or The Rock.
    We will be in this dilemma until the day God calls enough! Politics these days demand money….Jesus demands obedience. Sadly, money makes a man lose sense. It is really sad, but then again Jesus said: Narrow is the gate and wide is the path to destruction.
    Personally, I don’t know if I am a Republican or Democrat, but I know I love Jesus and He tells me to vote and to pay my dues to Caesar. I am glad to see so many cool bloggers who love the Lord. Follow Him first!!

  • http://made4theinternet.blogspot.com/ Steven J. Kelso Sr.

    Just a few, unconnected comments:
    I could vote for Rudi, but only if I had little other choice. Yea, I disagree on the social issues. But the Dem would be worse and Rudi would kill a lot of terrorists.
    Only “conservative” judges will stop the ACLU types from destroying religious liberty.
    If a rich guy gives to the poor out of conviction then he shall be rewarded in heaven. If he’s taxed – he’s been robbed. He gains nothing.

  • John Mendenhall

    I have 2 comments. One is, though I am not a Pat Robertson fan, I wouldn’t vote for John McCain for any office higher than city manager–he’s a lightweight, and way narcissistic.
    Second, to respond to the (tiresome) riposte by tgrish or whoever said:
    “Scratch out “gay” and substitute “Jewish,” and please explain why the logic is now fundamentally different.”
    No, that’s not an appropriate analogy, once we pass our sophomore years. One might scratch out “gay” and substitute “drunk,” or “ballroom dancing,” or “rugby playing,” because the operative concern considers behavior, not ethnicity. A “gay couple” represents a behavior some people do not want to subsidize, support, or even tolerate on their property. A “Jewish couple” does not.

  • jd

    Joe:
    I hate to say it, but I think this was the most inconsequential post you’ve ever written (that I’ve read). You’ve basically said that you’re a reluctant Republican because you can’t support everything they stand for. Well, duh. It seems to me that your stance could be better stated as that of a reluctant Republican, who would probably never vote Democrat. You write as if it wouldn’t take much for you to vote Democrat sometime, but it’s hard for me to imagine a time when you would. Democrats generally oppose everything you support, and generally support everything you are against. This is not rocket science. Many times it’s the choice between the lesser of two evils–or you abstain. I have to admit that the way the Republicans have been spending, I have felt like abstaining.
    But there’s the problem isn’t it? I hate the way the Repubs are spending, but what reasonable person could trust Dems to be fiscally responsible? After all, it’s the Repubs who are willing to take from the poor and give to the rich, right?
    You also say that Robertson supports Guiliani over McCain and that makes Robertson’s stature even less appealing. First, have you forgotten the nasty stuff McCain said about Robertson in the 2000 campaign? Second, why would anyone trust McCain? I don’t think he has behaved with integrity ever since he found out that he can get air time any time he trashes his own party. I think McCain is still trying to atone for being the lone Republican in the Keating 5 scandal. Remember that?
    Guiliani? Well, yes, he’s not a social conservative, but if it’s between him and Kerry or Hillary? It’s Guiliani or you don’t vote, right? And at least with Rudy you know what you’re getting.
    You object to Focus on the Family saying that there is a “conservative Christian” stance on issues like judicial filibusters and budget reform. (Did they really say that?) Well, that’s their opinion. I happen to agree that we need more conservative judges and HUGE budget reform. And I don’t understand you placing judicial filibusters and budget reform in opposition to “protection of the poor” and “defense of the innocent.” We think that conservative judges will defend the innocent. We think that budget reform will protect the poor. We’ve certainly seen how the other side performs and it’s not a pretty sight.
    I am a reluctant Republican as well, but the point is that right now, most of the time, for the foreseeable future, until Zell Miller runs against John McCain, I will not vote for Democrat.

  • AndyS

    I mentioned “the conservative view (in that the state should not inject itself into people’s personal lives) that consenting adults can do what they please sexuality”
    JCHFleetguy replied:

    This wasn’t, in my limited world, a problem until I had to decide whether gays met my definition of marriage; or that I couldn’t refuse to rent my house to a gay couple; or that my daughter’s education crossed the line from undertanding and accepting that Susie had two fathers; to accepting that that was just as good as having a father and a mother (the schools inserting themselves into my daughter’s personal life).

    Then tgirsch said:

    Scratch out “gay” and substitute “Jewish,” and please explain why the logic is now fundamentally different.

    And JCHFleetguy responded:

    You get anywhere near 50% of the population to view this as an equal substitution I will analyze it politically.

    The implication that is all too easy to take away from this, JCHFleetguy, is a tough one. Something like “The moral correctness of a position is dependent on the percentage of people who support it.” From reading your comments over the last few weeks that’s not a position I think you would advocate, but it does speak to what I see as one of the central problems most of us wrestle with when it comes to morality.
    Many people kind of go with the flow within their community of like-minded believers when it comes to right and wrong. We all take lofty positions about morality when pressed on the issue, but in our day-to-day lives I think we mostly parrot what we are hearing. I catch myself over and over again when listening to liberal rhetoric, kind of just going along with the music before asking, “Wait a minute, just why is that right? What’s the reasoning behind that position?”
    That you have a gay sister and other gay relations and have to grapple with issues like going to the baby shower in person or just sending a gift makes your position all the more stunning.
    I grew up in a tiny, rural, midwestern kind of town where everyone was white; Jews, Catholics, and Italians (who were also Catholic but seemed to rate a special designation of there own) were the minorities that stood out. I remember quite clearly being warned about the “known homosexual” when I was an adolescent. So I understand the sort of imprinting of unsupported belief (that is, of prejudice) that happens in that context.
    What I don’t understand is how someone like yourself who seems quite able and self-sufficient can not see that there is nothing to fear from allowing gays to marry. It’s not like they are going to out-breed the rest of us.
    My guess is that those opposed to gay marriage are fearful that their children will be more likely to “become gay” if there is no state prohibition on gay marriage. Maybe they are concerned too that discontinuing the prohibition would somehow allow gays to be “content in their gayness” hoping rather that gays should “feel the guilt of their choice” and possibly “see the light.” How is this different than the prohibition against interracial marriage that only relatively recently was removed?

  • AndyS

    John Mendenhall, repsonding to tgrish, wrote:

    “Scratch out “gay” and substitute “Jewish,” and please explain why the logic is now fundamentally different.”
    No, that’s not an appropriate analogy, once we pass our sophomore years. One might scratch out “gay” and substitute “drunk,” or “ballroom dancing,” or “rugby playing,” because the operative concern considers behavior, not ethnicity. A “gay couple” represents a behavior some people do not want to subsidize, support, or even tolerate on their property. A “Jewish couple” does not.

    But it is an appropriate analogy, especially for those of us no longer sophomoric. Jewishness is not about ethnicity, but about membership in a system of religious belief. Perhaps you are too young to remember Sammy Davis, Jr. or you not aware that Jews and Muslims from the Middle East are ethnically the same.
    Surely you are not claiming one should have the right to deny a rental to a couple because they like ballroom dancing?

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    John Mendenhall:
    A “gay couple” represents a behavior some people do not want to subsidize, support, or even tolerate on their property. A “Jewish couple” does not.
    That’s a bit disingenuous considering that in order to get their coffers full, Tony Perkins had to buy David Duke’s mailing list.
    AndyS
    Legistlating morality is the problem.

  • http://www.pseudopolymath..com/ Mark Olson

    AndyS,
    Can you deny rental to a couple because they have kids? Communities can, we call them retirement villages. Can you deny rental to a couple because the have pets? Hmm, some condo associations do that too? How about only singles renting? Only married? How about “married student housing” on campuses? Is that unfair to the single population? Can we have diversity in our formation of rental communities? Or not? It seems to me, it might be ok to have a rental community restricted to left handed people of Baltic descent or whatever else you choose. It seems to me it might just as un-Constitutional to restrict such things as not. What principle makes some restrictions “ok” and others not, besides of course your personal prejudices?

  • Drexel

    Andy S.
    You asked why conservatives are concerned about gay marriage, implying it will have no impact on us. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s how gay marriage will impact society, and each family that opposes it:
    1) It communicates to the rest of society that homosexuality is normal and acceptable. I don

  • JCHFleetguy

    You get anywhere near 50% of the population to view this as an equal substitution I will analyze it politically.

    Your right I wouldnt make a majority argument – it was lame, I copped out. Thank you for correcting me.
    I do not think these two classes are equal either morally or under the law – therefore substitution is not possible.
    I do not fear gay marriage (or gays in fact). Obviously I haven’t worried about my daughter’s influence from gay’s in my family. I admit I am wishy-washy on this issue – I grapple with it constantly. So, read CS Lewis on Christian Marriage in Mere Christianity. Maybe some insight about how I view the institution. Certainly has nothing to do with legal rights.
    Marriage is the MOST IMPORTANT EARTHLY INSTITUTION FOR CHRISTIANS. More important than church (buildings), or denomination, or any number of other things. So, I will have to think about it long, hard, and prayerfully before I let it be legally messed with. That is why I recommended some education – cause the case was obviously not made.
    There have been those who have recommended two classes of marriage – a “higher” church recognized one; and a “lower” secular one. In that might be a solution. Really do not know.
    Perhaps the focus should be on insurance, and wills, and inheritance laws. Might be more profitable.
    The overall point is the culture has not changed enough for the law to change

  • Tim

    “or that I couldn’t refuse to rent my house to a gay couple
    Scratch out “gay” and substitute “Jewish,” and please explain why the logic is now fundamentally different”.
    The statement is sophmoric and the logic is fundamentally different. I do not and should not have to rent my house out to a gay couple any more than I would have to rent it out to a skinhead, nazi or a KKK member. Not that I am comparing skinheads or nazi’s to people that are gay. Just a representation that I can deny based on behavior I disagree with.
    Now maybe I shouldn’t deny people based on their sexual orientation (actually its not the orientation that I have a problem with just the behaviors associated with the orientation. Thus a christian who is gay and agrees not to participate in certain behaviors in my house would be welcome in the same way that a straight college girl or boy would be welcome if not having premarital sex in my house). Uh, what was my point. Oh, I was saying that maybe I shouldn’t deny it based on orientation, but I do and should have the right too!
    I can also deny rent based on the fact that a person is a smoker. Or is that also ethically challenging to you?

  • Larry Lord

    Tim
    “I do not and should not have to rent my house out to a gay couple any more than I would have to rent it out to a skinhead, nazi or a KKK member. Not that I am comparing skinheads or nazi’s to people that are gay.”
    Can we put this on a wall and frame it?

  • Larry Lord

    Or maybe the other way around.
    Oy. I’m rusty.

  • Larry Lord

    Joe Carter
    “This same is true of my relationship with the Republican Party. I share a common cause with the GOP on most moral issues (i.e., abortion, same-sex marriage), on several foreign policy matters (e.g., the war on terrorism), and on some economic matters (welfare reform, for example). But because my neocalvinist views on policy are rooted in the Bible and Reformed theology, they will often differ, sometimes profoundly, from the standard party line.”
    Where do your policy views differ profoundly? Social security?

  • Captain Video

    Would Jesus cut medicaid?

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick


    I do not and should not have to rent my house out to a gay couple any more than I would have to rent it out to a skinhead, Nazi or a KKK member.


    I don’t have a problem with this. Just so long as I don’t have to rent to heterosexuals or Christians we can get along fine. Oh wait, Religion is a protected class isn’t it. And it’s (gasp!) based on someone’s chosen “preference” or lifestyle. Well I don’t see why I should have to be forced to put up with such immoral nasty sicko hetero behavior under my roof. Repent or go to hell sinner!
    -Nuff Said! Back to Half-Life 2.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Would Jesus cut medicaid?

    Actually, the question might be would Jesus have spoke on the issue at all; and if he did wouldn’t he expect the city, town, children, friends, church to take care of their sick or elderly and not the government?

  • Joel Thomas

    Jim,
    If I wrote what I first thought on your comment comparing gays to pedophiles, my own comment would have been deleted and I might have risked being banned.
    So, instead, I’ll just quote some Scripture, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” For right now, any source of grace I have toward you must come from above because it is not coming from within me at the moment.

  • Elwood

    If you care about the pro-life issue, take a look at this scorecard from Democrats for Life.
    http://www.democratsforlife.org/restore/democra2/scorecard.htm
    It only looks at Democrats’ votes on pro-life bills and gives them a thumbs-up or down on how they voted. I was surprised to see the high number of lower-level Democrats that consistently vote pro-life. These people are committed to the issue, as it certainly doesn’t help their political career in the national Democratic party. Unlike Howard Dean, who says they only need to “talk differently about abortion”, these Democrats actually vote pro-life. I don’t know if I’ve ever had the chance to vote for a Democrat, but if one of these people is in your district, give them all the support you can. (I realize you may choose to vote against them if another pro-life candidate runs against them that has other positions that you line up with more closely, but in the mean time, maybe some send some kudos their way.)

  • AndyS

    Mark Olson wrote:

    What principle makes some restrictions “ok” and others not, besides of course your personal prejudices?

    The principle of civil rights. Perhaps on this blog it might be okay to mention Jesus’ commandment to love your neighbor and his instruction to first take the log out of your own eye….
    Drexel:
    In your 4 points about “how gay marriage will impact society, and each family that opposes it” I see nothing that says how a negative effect on anyone will actually occur. From this statement:

    …I don

  • AndyS

    JCHFleetguy, I appreciate your response and the fact that you “struggle with it constantly.” It’s a worthwhile struggle.
    Andy

  • AndyS

    JCHFleetguy wrote:

    Actually, the question [Would Jesus cut medicaid?] might be would Jesus have spoke on the issue at all; and if he did wouldn’t he expect the city, town, children, friends, church to take care of their sick or elderly and not the government?

    So would He also expect “city, town, children, friends, church” to fund roads, pay for the FAA, TSA, FDA, the army, navy, etc.?
    How does the Christian right or just the conservative Republican thinking go on this? I see the distinction being made all the time and it baffles me. General federal (public) funds are okay to use for funding so many things (from national parks to nuclear subs) but somehow it’s not right to spend them on, say, some poor kid who is severely disabled. When I read something like that I have to wonder about the “culture of life.”
    Can anyone help me out here? Surely there must be a principle of some kind involved.

  • Eric & Lisa

    AndyS,
    The answer is pretty simple. Our Lord wouldn’t be involved in politics at all. He would expect the government to do whatever the government wanted to do and he would go about his business as Savior.
    It’s a lie to think that you can apply “What would Jesus do” in every situation just because someone thought up a clever marketing scheme. Jesus wouldn’t be President of the United States, so he wouldn’t go to war with Iraq and he wouldn’t not go to war with Iraq. Nor would the Lord be a congressman, a senator, or a registered republican.
    As far as me being a republican is concerned, I want to pay the absolute least taxes I can possibly pay and keep the money in my own pocket. If that means less funding for roads, hospitals, the poor, the sick, the needy, however, fine by me.
    It should not be in the power of the government to redistribute wealth. If i’m concerned about the poor, the needy, the hungry, the sick, then I can go and take care of them. Feed them, clothe them, help them get well. If I alone am not enough to do this for someone, then I can donate to my local Church which can then take care of these things.
    Maybe that’s more of a libertarian viewpoint than an republican one. Fact is, the less money/power the government has the happier I am.
    And as far as that comment about Jews goes, I believe citizens ought to have the right to discriminate. If someone wants to be a bigot and not allow a certain race or religion or sexual preference to rent from them then i’m for allowing that. If a business wants to discriminate based on color, height, weight, sex, religion, i’m for allowing that too. More power to the individual and less power to government.
    Of course, if any business did discriminate against jews, or blacks, or people-who-like-wear-red, then they shouldn’t expect me to spend my hard earned dollar there. But I still believe they should have the right to do it.

  • Eric & Lisa

    AndyS,
    The answer is pretty simple. Our Lord wouldn’t be involved in politics at all. He would expect the government to do whatever the government wanted to do and he would go about his business as Savior.
    It’s a lie to think that you can apply “What would Jesus do” in every situation just because someone thought up a clever marketing scheme. Jesus wouldn’t be President of the United States, so he wouldn’t go to war with Iraq and he wouldn’t not go to war with Iraq. Nor would the Lord be a congressman, a senator, or a registered republican.
    As far as me being a republican is concerned, I want to pay the absolute least taxes I can possibly pay and keep the money in my own pocket. If that means less funding for roads, hospitals, the poor, the sick, the needy, however, fine by me.
    It should not be in the power of the government to redistribute wealth. If i’m concerned about the poor, the needy, the hungry, the sick, then I can go and take care of them. Feed them, clothe them, help them get well. If I alone am not enough to do this for someone, then I can donate to my local Church which can then take care of these things.
    Maybe that’s more of a libertarian viewpoint than an republican one. Fact is, the less money/power the government has the happier I am.
    And as far as that comment about Jews goes, I believe citizens ought to have the right to discriminate. If someone wants to be a bigot and not allow a certain race or religion or sexual preference to rent from them then i’m for allowing that. If a business wants to discriminate based on color, height, weight, sex, religion, i’m for allowing that too. More power to the individual and less power to government.
    Of course, if any business did discriminate against jews, or blacks, or people-who-like-wear-red, then they shouldn’t expect me to spend my hard earned dollar there. But I still believe they should have the right to do it.

  • JRI

    “”Why I

  • http://captainclergy.blogspot.com Steve

    This has been on my mind lately. Has a book called “Finding my Theology/Politics” been written yet?
    I love Fred Craddock and Charles Spurgeon, Donald McKim and D.A. Carson, Russell Moore (Southern baptist semianry) and Gene March (PCUSA seminary)
    What’s an aspiring pastor to do? Will churches need a clergy’s theology to be more clearly defined? More black and white?

  • Nick

    Eric & Lisa,
    The answer is pretty simple. Our Lord wouldn’t be involved in politics at all. He would expect the government to do whatever the government wanted to do and he would go about his business as Savior.
    And that raises an interesting question:
    To what extent should Christians’ involvement with the state be modeled on our Lord’s involvement with the state?
    Paul in Romans 13 describes some of the roles of the State, which might include capital punishment and waging war, but he doesn’t say whether Christians are permitted to function as agents of the state to perform those roles. Jesus said to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but he didn’t say whether we should act as Caesar’s right hand, if it contradicts the behavioral instructions he gave in the Sermon on the Mount.
    As far as me being a republican is concerned, I want to pay the absolute least taxes I can possibly pay and keep the money in my own pocket. If that means less funding for roads, hospitals, the poor, the sick, the needy, however, fine by me.
    Yeah, but then the republicans turn around and spend huge amounts on other things that they apparently think are more important than roads, hospitals, the poor, the sick, the needy, etc. And if they’re not willing to take directly out of your pocket in taxes, they run up debts so that it can come out of your grandchildren’s pockets. I mean, we don’t still believe that republicans in Washington are fiscal conservatives, do we?
    Hey, this suggests a possible compromise! If Christians who vote democratic agree to support less government spending on social programs, perhaps Christians who vote republican would support the Peace Tax Fund (http://www.peacetaxfund.org/). Then no one would have to see their taxes spent on things they find morally objectionable.

  • Rob Ryan

    “Only “conservative” judges will stop the ACLU types from destroying religious liberty.”
    Care to support this ridiculous statement, Mr. Kelso? Please tell me how the ACLU is doing this. Don’t you mean “Only ‘conservative’ judges will allow us theists to continue to impose our beliefs on others”?

  • http://www.batesline.com Michael Bates

    Boonton, I was a delegate to last year’s Republican National Convention and neither Falwell nor Robertson spoke to the convention. In fact, I can’t think of a time that Falwell EVER spoke to the RNC, and if Robertson did, it may have been back when he ran for President in 1988.
    Joe, I had a problem with this point: “To their credit, the Republicans have been more open and accepting of the agenda of social conservatives. Whether it

  • Litz

    Gee fellas I dunno, but THIS might have something to do with it:
    http://www.bushfish.org/

  • Litz

    I work in Christian music and trust me, the Republican = Christian and Christian = Republican mantra is all-pervasive and the generally accepted ideology. Heck, the entertainment director of last year’s RNC Convention was the former head of the Gospel Music Assn.
    The reason Pat Robertson and James Dobson and those guys don’t speak at the RNC Convention is because when the cameras are rolling, the Republicans know to present a more secular, moderate face so as not to scare off non-Christian conservatives. Out come John McCain and Arnold Schwarzenegger, moderates who were quickly shoved back in their boxes once the election was over. Now we have Bill Frist speaking at “Justice Sunday” and a Baptist preacher telling his congregation that if you voted for Kerry you have to repent or find another church. I mean, please.

  • jd

    Andy S.
    For many of us conservative Christian Republicans, the problem is not that we shouldn’t spend money on “severely disabled kids.” The problem is how that money is spent on those kids. The government has been shown to be an ineffective and inefficient way to help those who need it. In fact, government programs have been shown to do more harm than good by encouraging a whole culture of dependency.
    Have you never been a deacon in a church? We make these kinds of decisions all the time. We decide to cut off funds to people who are abusing our system just to get help. We consider it unGodly to continue giving financial help to people if it encourages them to be irresponsible. And we make mistakes. Imagine how gross the mistakes are on the federal level. Think about the history of generations of dependency.
    It is truly maddening that people think conservatives are cold and heartless because we don’t want our money wasted by bureaucrats. We can do a much better job ensuring that the money is used effectively. After all, it’s those evil Republicans who make all that money, right? Can’t you understand the resentfulness of those who have created wealth being told how to spend it by bureaucrats who have little conception of how money works?
    Second, given the above, we wouldn’t be nearly so concerned if the tax rates stayed at a reasonable number like, say, 20 percent. Above that taxation discourages productivity and people start to feel that the government is stealing. It’s the law of diminishing returns.
    You know, people bring Jesus into this picture all the time, assuming he would just break down and give money to all who need it. Jesus never gave anyone any money. He believed there were things more important than money. He believed there were things worse than death (like dependency, maybe?). Jesus didn’t heal everyone. I guess that means he had some of those mean evil Republican tendencies, right? He didn’t really care. If he did, he would have cured all ills, taken the money from the rich, distributed it to all to make it fair and all would be, well, fair.

  • AlanDownunder

    Republican support for the death penalty.
    There’s this idea that it’s inconsistent to be pro-death penalty and anti-abortion. If one means inconsistent with the “sanctity of life,” then that’s correct. But following a Biblical approach means believing in the sanctity of God’s Word, and Scripture, taken as a whole, approves capital punishment as a legal remedy while disapproving abortion.
    I’ll let that interpretation of scripture “as a whole” pass and simply note that it is a matter of record that innocent people are occasionally convicted. We can free the wrongfully jailed, but we can’t raise the innocent dead. Nor have we the right to risk killing them.
    Support for capital punishment and other primarily Republican forms of death-dealing is the biggest problem with the mobilization of the “Christian” right in the USA today.
    As the Schiavo affair illustrated, the GOP will woo the religious with ostentatious concern for pre-sentient and post-sentient life. As the Schiavo senate memo proved, they seek political benefit by doing so. As GOP capital punishment and “defence” policies demonstrate, GOP concern for sentient life doesn’t measure up. Is this US Christians warping GOP policy? I prefer to believe that it is the unChristian warp of the GOP.
    Has it not occurred to US Christians that a lot of “born again” people in and around the GOP are using those two weighty words very lightly – and very implausibly?

  • Nick

    After all, it’s those evil Republicans who make all that money, right?
    Hey, what about those scary liberal elites that the religious right is always warning us about? Don’t they make money, too?

  • Gone At Last

    “For many of us conservative Christian Republicans, the problem is not that we shouldn’t spend money on “severely disabled kids.” The problem is how that money is spent on those kids. The government has been shown to be an ineffective and inefficient way to help those who need it. In fact, government programs have been shown to do more harm than good by encouraging a whole culture of dependency.”
    My father became the first man in his family to go to college because of a harmful, terrible government program called the GI Bill. That degree made him dependent on the government for a job: he spent the next 35 years as a public high school teacher for mentally retarded kids. There are several dozen retarded adults out on the streets today who would surely have been permanent wards of the state — but who are instead living independent, economically productive lives, because my dad taught them to drive, tell time, make change, hold down a job, cook, pay bills, and get by on their own.
    That cycle of dependency corrupted me, too. I grew up in houses financed by VA and FHA loans — programs that helped build the American middle class. I got through college on state scholarships, federal Pell Grants, and low-interest federally-guaranteed loans. And the subsidizies continued right through my 40s: I’ve been shamelessly dependent on mortgage interest deductions to help support my upper-class lifestyle. In fact, all this sucking at the government teat has demotivated me so thoroughly that I’m now eligible for those sweet tax breaks for the upper 2% that y’all insisted we rich folks had to have. Thanks.
    As for disabled kids: Federal law requires that they be furnished with a full public education. Most districts can’t fund this. (My dad and his colleagues all retired 20 years ago; nobody bothered to replace them.) So, my husband and I have personally spent over $50K out-of-pocket on treatment for my dyslexic son — money that, by law, should have been paid by the state.
    The majority of LD kids who don’t get appropriate education end up *extremely* dependent on the government. They have about three times the rate of delinquency of non-LD kids, and very few of them ever live up to their economic potential. They comprise about 2/3 of our prison population nationally, and this lifelong supervision costs taxpayers somewhere between $25K-70K per year. My own brother, who has the same disability my son does, has spent most of the last 25 years just this way.
    I guess Jesus would rather have taxpayers pay hundreds of thousands to prison guards later, than pony up now for the teachers and treatments that would enable my son to become a productive, taxpaying citizen for the rest of his life.
    On this issue, as with many others, your fear of “dependency” is completely and totally misplaced. It’s the kids you DON’T help who you’ll be paying the bills for from now until they die. You may think otherwise — but there are decades of data that say you’re wrong. (However, since that’s all just secular science, unsubtantiated by any credible faith-based sources, you’re free to ignore it in favor of your own ill-informed opinion.)
    And you wonder why the rest of us think Christianists are a menace. Sheesh.

  • David V

    Actually, the question might be would Jesus have spoke on the issue at all; and if he did wouldn’t he expect the city, town, children, friends, church to take care of their sick or elderly and not the government?
    I’m certain that Jesus would have spoken on the issue, given his concern with helping the blind and the sick and the halt. I also expect he would have called upon the city, town, children, friends and church before calling upon the government.
    And if the city, town, children, friends and church were listening to Jesus, would we even need Medicaid? Government social programs exist where Christians have failed to live up to their beliefs.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Litz

    Now we have Bill Frist speaking at “Justice Sunday” and a Baptist preacher telling his congregation that if you voted for Kerry you have to repent or find another church.

    First, Frist spoke to 5000 folk (pretty small turnout for such hype) and said very little. He is a politician – he talks to crowds to get them to support his position. As an old anti-war liberal, I think it is pathetic the way the left has forgotten how to organize. Getting a lawyer to run to the nearest liberal judge for a restraining order is not political organization. And yet they complain because their competition defines, organizes, and wields their base – thats what you do in politics
    And it is disingenious to talk about this preacher: He was a fool, and he lost his job over it.
    AndyS:

    So would He also expect “city, town, children, friends, church” to fund roads, pay for the FAA, TSA, FDA, the army, navy, etc.?

    The growth of federal bureauracy is a post WWII event – how did most of this stuff happen before then? My personal opinion is that there is infrastructure that must be national in scope (FAA,FDA,Army,Navy) and stuff that can be handled at the state level, county, city, individual. The truth is that the closer you get to the local level, the more efficient and less wasteful programs become – and the more those programs can reflect the values of the community they are in. Programs the public defines as necessary should be handled on the lowest level possible – as close to the problem as possible.
    There are “opponents” I like talking to because it is obvious that they are not only stating their position and trying to “win” (I have no problem with that); but they are obviously listening and seeking answers. You are one of those for me. But, we have no common view of the philosophical issues involved (the forest) while we argue over the placement of the trees. So:
    The Problem With Conservatism, and
    The Problem With Liberalism
    Rob Ryan

    Care to support this ridiculous statement, Mr. Kelso? Please tell me how the ACLU is doing this. Don’t you mean “Only ‘conservative’ judges will allow us theists to continue to impose our beliefs on others”?

    Where to start? 1st read the two “problem with” essays above. 2nd: The “culture wars” can be traced back to two closely parallel events: Roe v Wade – which violated the separation doctrine of the Constitution and set up the “central” division in our country; and a general thrust (all ACLU and ilk driven – in the courts) to re-define Religious Freedom as Freedom from Religion. Christians have been on the defensive for 30-40 years. Now the problem is: the VAST majority of the country view themselves as christian; and secular folk couldn’t just stop with half the pie – they kept nibbling away until they bit into a lot of people’s pieces. Along come some capable organizers (and some demagogues) and the hornet’s nest has been stirred up – but we did not start this boss.

  • http://simianbrain.atlblogs.com/archives/004266.html Simianbrain

    Interesting Read on Evangelism and the GOP

    While it initially began in the early 1980

  • JCHFleetguy

    Gone at Last

    As for disabled kids: Federal law requires that they be furnished with a full public education. Most districts can’t fund this

    This is the point: the feds pass a law they dont fund; your local system could get more local tax dollars to fund it if federal taxes didnt take so much; and if your taxes were lower you could have replaced the $50k yourself.
    Honestly, what do you think the solution to this is?

  • jd

    Gone at last
    I’m so happy for you. You are probably the exception to the rule of the cycle of dependency–either that or you married well.
    You accuse me of ignoring decades of data showing the success of government programs. Yet the first thing out of your mouth is that we need more money for education. If it’s been so successful, why do we constantly need more? We have spent over 6 trillion dollars transferring wealth, and yet our schools have gotten worse and the poor in our country have a poverty of spirit that no poor person in Calcutta would understand. We spend over $13,000 per year for students in Washington DC, yet they perform at the bottom of all students in the country. You have missed the point of all the uproar for the last 20 years!! After all the spending, our schools are worse than ever! Throwing our money at failing government schools doesn’t work!!
    Or are you ignoring the fact that our schools are failing in favor of your own ill-informed opinion?

  • Gone At Last

    Um, I think I mentioned that I DID replace that $50K myself. I could do that, because all those years of soul-sucking government dependency have made me a high-tech millioinaire.
    But I also know a lot of families with kids in similar situations who don’t have that kind of money, and didn’t get the help my son did. Their kids are in their early teens, and you can already see more than a few of them starting to spiral down the drain. Hope you’re up to paying their bills for the next 60+ years.
    Federal law is appropriate in any area where a consistent national policy is necessary. Civil rights, environmental protection, and educational standards are three such essential areas. That said, it’s not the feds who are shortchanging my son; it’s the state of California, which used to have no problem paying father’s salary. California schools were hit hard by Prop 13 in 1978. The state will also be recovering for years from the Enron scam, which left it tens of billions in debt. After the rich folks got their tax rebates, and Ken Lay and his criminal cronies got their loot, there wasn’t much left over to do right by my kid.
    The first step in solving the problem is realizing that giving these kids a proper education is not “encouraging dependency” or other such ideological drivel. It’s a sound investment in keeping them off the public books (and in the taxpayer pool) for the rest of their days. Once y’all figure that out, it should become an obvious investment for governments at *all* levels to want to make.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Gone at Last
    I do not necessarily see any problem with those areas you consider national in scope (the only one being education actually). You should give some thought to the taxpayer revolt that drove Prop 13; and think about the “what if” of the Federal government not bleeding so much out of the taxpayers pockets before that – would the revolt even have occurred. You should think about direct (most state tax codes allow deduction of Federal income taxes paid – hence less income for state) and indirect result of lower Federal taxes on the ability of California to raise more money in taxes (not just property) to fund programs. And think about your ability to affect change at the state level compared with your ability to affect change at the national.

  • Gone At Last

    “I’m so happy for you. You are probably the exception to the rule of the cycle of dependency…”
    In fact, no. I’m not the exception: I’m the rule. Most of the 1960s-era working-class kids who came out of well-funded public schools, and went on to get subsidized diplomas from major universities, have ended up giving much more back to society than we ever took out. There are tens of millions of us — we are your doctors, nurses, teachers, accountants, and scientists. We are also the core of this country’s taxpaying middle and upper-middle class. You couldn’t run this country without us.
    My experience has been that most people who foment about government creating dependency usually have their own personal stories about getting ahead with government help. If you got a decent public education, have been cared for in a public hospital, drive on public roads, take a mortgage interest deduction on your house, went to college after military service, or get farming, ranching or SBA help, you are also a beneficiary of government handouts. Take the mote out of your own eye before you start criticizing others, please.
    “–either that or you married well.”
    As a matter of fact, I did. Because I was well-educated and productive, I was able to attract a husband whose family is in the oil business. If you want to talk about people with a debilitating dependence on government welfare — oh, please, let’s start with the oil industry.
    “You accuse me of ignoring decades of data showing the success of government programs. Yet the first thing out of your mouth is that we need more money for education.”
    Um, no, actually. I did not say that. (It helps if you actually *read* the posts before responding to them.)
    20% of all school kids are dyslexic. We know how to remediate their problems, and enable them to achieve their economic potential. We know it costs a total of $30-50K per kid to do this. We also know, conclusively, what happens when we don’t — and that we could close 2/3 of our jails if we did. What’s so difficult about this?
    And, while we’re at it, how does it serve “family values” to ask a working-class couple to scrounge up that kind of money — which, for most American families, is more than their life savings — to provide the needed treatment on their own? Should Mom leave the other kids at home, and go back to work to pay for it? Maybe Dad should just take a third job. Or perhaps they could move out of the house, live in the city park, and save on the rent. I’m sure Jesus would agree that it’s all worth it if it keeps their souls pure from the taint of “dependency.” We are not, after all, our brother’s keepers.
    Everybody knows our schools are screwed up. They sure as heck abandoned my kid. But sentencing up to one-fifth of the nation’s children to a life in the justice system because they might wind up as “dependent” is just stupid.

  • jd

    gone at last
    two-thirds of our jails are filled because of unremediated dyslexia? I will read your posts more carefully if you promise to read them, too.
    Absolutely incredible.

  • baby jane

    I think it’s interesting that to so many of you Christian and secular are mutually exclusive.
    Is it not possible to be a Christian but believe that the government should be secular– meaning expressing no faith and showing no favortism for one faith over another? Or imposing a particular faith’s view on everyone? What if this were a predominantly Muslim country? or Jewish? Would you still want religion and government to be so cozy with one another?
    Same goes for government schools. If you want Christian education, that’s great, but don’t expect public schools to provide religious education or a Christian perspective, that is your job. As for what public schools teach, they should teach about what exists in our society, like it or not. If a public school health class acknowledges that there are different kinds of families in the world, including gay couples, living together in monogamous relationships, raising children, married in some states and in several countries, how can you object to the teaching of this fact? It is your responsibility as parents to teach your children your beliefs, to say what is wrong/right because your religious beliefs dicate so. It is your job at home to guide your children’s beliefs, it is the school’s job to educate and inform them about reality.
    What I find silly is the idea that banning any mention of gay people somehow makes them disappear, makes it so your kids will never know about them. The truth is the gays are gaining acceptance. Why? Because they are fighting for traditional values now– marriage, family, they want the same responsibilities as heterosexuals. You might not like the way their family looks or think they will ever be equal to yours, but they’ve changed from fighting for free sex to marriage and family rights. How is that not better for our society? healthier? safer?

  • Gone At Last

    I know what I wrote, And I meant it.
    Most dyslexia is the result of neurological glitches, often in the eyes or ears, that also interferes with ability to process verbal and non-verbal social cues. As a result, unremediated dyslexics are often uncomfortable around people, frustrate very easily, have no sense of self-worth, and may not bond solidly with society. By their teens, many of them are self-medicating with alcohol and drugs to numb the effects of all of this. Beyond that, their disabilities also make them unemployable, which makes crime a living of last resort.
    It took me .012 second to Google up about a dozen studies that put the rate of LD-related illiteracy in prison populations anywhere from 40% (Texas) to 70% (the UK). In juvenile system, the numbers run from 75%-90%, which suggests that juvenile delinquency could be all but eliminated by an investment in universal remediation. People who can’t read, write, or handle numbers can’t function, and usually end up in jail.
    20 years ago, we didn’t know what causes dyslexia, let alone how to fix it. Now, thanks to 15 years of solid government (NIH and NIMH, in this case) research investments, we understand the causes and cures very well — so well that Congress decided to pass a law ensuring that every kid who needs this help gets it.
    You’re absolutely right that they should have ensured the funding, too. Because it’s the only way we’re going to see the full benefits of that research — and save the hundreds of billions it will cost us to warehouse another generation of LD kids.
    I suspect that if you look at the Congress people who consistently choose not to make this investment, you’ll find a disproportionate number of Republicans — many of whom are getting fat donations from the private prison industry, which knows where its future lies.

  • http://www.leanleft.com tgirsch

    JCHFleetguy:

    You will stop trying in interfere in the culture’s definition of marriage.

    I frankly don’t give a rat’s ass about culture’s definition. What I care about is equal protection. A majority has no right to withhold a right from a minority that it allows to itself, without good cause. And don’t feed me that “homosexuals can marry people of the opposite sex, just like heterosexuals can” crap, because it’s the exact same logic as “blacks can marry their own kind, just like whites can marry their own kind.”
    So what people voted for or against doesn’t concern me much at all. If you start talking about what “the majority” voted for or against, you can throw out the vast majority of civil rights advancement in this country, particularly in the South.
    Maybe you think mob rule is okay, but I don’t.

    You get anywhere near 50% of the population to view this as an equal substitution I will analyze it politically.

    It doesn’t matter how the population views it. What matters is whether or not the substitution is roughly equivalent, and why that is so.

    I suggest a serious education campaign on the supporter’s [sic] of gay marriages part – because they got their political butt’s [sic] kicked

    Just like people who fought for civil rights got their political butts kicked. Clearly, you do support mob rule.
    Funny, however, how your attitude towards what “the majority wants” changes when the subject shifts to abortion, where better than half of Americans pretty consistently say they want it legal in “most or all cases,” and 50%-59% of Americans (depending on the poll) say they would uphold Roe v. Wade (versus only 31%-34% to overturn).

  • Larry Lord

    FleetGuy
    “Actually, the question might be would Jesus have spoke on the issue at all; and if he did wouldn’t he expect the city, town, children, friends, church to take care of their sick or elderly and not the government?”
    Or the question might be: “Would Jesus cut medicaid,” as was originally asked.
    Then dissemblers like FleetGuy can pretend that there are fundamental differences between entities like “cities” (all of which have local governments last time I checked) and the term “government.”
    Dissemble. Lie. Dissemble. Evade. All for Jesus. What a superb example you set, FleetGuy.

  • Larry Lord

    Eric/Lisa — a certifiable wingnut, spews forth a cry for “freedom”:
    “Of course, if any business did discriminate against jews, or blacks, or people-who-like-wear-red, then they shouldn’t expect me to spend my hard earned dollar there. But I still believe they should have the right to do it.”
    What about doctors? Firemen? Policemen? Pharmacists? Should they have the right to discriminate and refuse service based on whatever they feel like at the time? What about a township?

  • Larry Lord

    FleetGuy
    “You will stop trying in interfere in the culture’s definition of marriage.”
    What is “the culture” FleetGuy?
    Are you referring to your anti-science ignorance-loving bigoted hypocritical 3rd century “Christian” extremist culture? Or the culture of the western civilized world (that old thing called “reality” that I constantly need to remind you of)?

  • jd

    Gone at last:
    I stand corrected. The way to fix crime in this country is fix the dyslexics. The way to fix dyslexics is to get rid of the Republicans who block funding for fixing dyslexics because Republican cronies get rich building prisons. You are so right. It’s so simple. Your federally-funded education has definitely paid off. Not only do you care more for the poor and down-trodden than us “Christianists”, but you are also “a high-tech millionaire” who still cares for the poor and down-trodden. Not like those greedy Republicans. I wish I were you.

  • http://www.leanleft.com tgirsch

    Kelso Sr.:

    Rudi would kill a lot of terrorists.

    How very Christian of you.

    Only “conservative” judges will stop the ACLU types from destroying religious liberty.

    If by “religious liberty” you mean “the ‘right’ of conservative Christians to plaster their particular variety of Christianity all over anything they please,” then you’re probably right. If, however, you mean “the right of individuals to worship (or not)in accordance with their conscience,” then you couldn’t be more wrong.
    John Mendenhall:

    No, that’s not an appropriate analogy, once we pass our sophomore years. One might scratch out “gay” and substitute “drunk,” or “ballroom dancing,” or “rugby playing,” because the operative concern considers behavior, not ethnicity.

    I didn’t realize that one’s religion was innate, like race. I also didn’t realize that the nature-vs.-nurture debate on the origins of homosexuality had been conclusively resolved in favor of “lifestyle choice.” Thanks for clearing that up for me.
    jd:

    I hate the way the Repubs are spending, but what reasonable person could trust Dems to be fiscally responsible?

    I don’t trust either party to be fiscally responsible, and I say this as a partisan Democrat. The only way we’ll ever achieve anything approaching fiscal responsibility is by having split power, with one chamber of Congerss controlled by each party.
    Of course, we did have a president a few decades ago who acted in a fiscally responsible manner despite the fact that his party controlled Congress. His name was Jimmy Carter, and we all remember how well that worked out.
    Mark Olson:

    What principle makes some restrictions “ok” and others not, besides of course your personal prejudices?

    The ability of those people eliminated by the restrcitions (e.g., people with children and/or pets, singles, etc.) to go somewhere else and get the same thing. They can’t rent a condo here, but they can rent the one half a mile down the street. Homosexuals can’t get married here or anywhere else.

  • Larry Lord

    jd
    “Throwing our money at failing government schools doesn’t work!!”
    Oh, two exclamation points even. Wow.
    Fixing things requires money, jd.
    Enough said. If you have a funcioning brain, you’ll figure out the rest.
    If not, just keep praying.

  • Larry Lord

    jd
    “Not only do you care more for the poor and down-trodden than us “Christianists”, but you are also “a high-tech millionaire” who still cares for the poor and down-trodden. Not like those greedy Republicans. I wish I were you.”
    Ah yes, the old Sarcasm for Jesus routine.
    So jd, were you one of those people that believed that Saddam had nukes? Did you buy Condi Rice and the aluminum tubes garbage?
    Don’t be ashamed to admit it. You’re not alone. Especially around here.

  • Larry Lord

    Michael
    “Here in Oklahoma, and in many other sunbelt states, conservative evangelicals ARE the Republican Party.”
    Ah, so that’s why Oklahoma sucks so hard. I knew there had to be a good reason.

  • Larry Lord

    tgirsch
    “From reading your [FleetGuy’s] comments over the last few weeks that’s not a position I think you would advocate, but it does speak to what I see as one of the central problems most of us wrestle with when it comes to morality.”
    Well, it is a position that I’d exect FleetGuy to advocate because he’s proven over the last few weeks that he’s a freaking hypocrite of, um, Biblical proportions.

  • Larry Lord

    FleetGuy
    “You have been fleeced into believing embryos and fetuses with a future like yours are unworthy of your notice or protection – and instantly vote against anyone who questions that dogma.”
    Baloney. On the contrary, we know that embryos and fetuses are protected and worthy of notice. Indeed, the Supreme Court has held that to be the case.
    So much for your “dogma” FleetGuy. Your tattered script smells like doo doo. Get a new one.

  • Larry Lord

    Minor correction: embyros? No.

  • Gone At Last

    “Gone at last:
    I stand corrected. The way to fix crime in this country is fix the dyslexics. The way to fix dyslexics is to get rid of the Republicans who block funding for fixing dyslexics because Republican cronies get rich building prisons. You are so right.”
    There you go again, not reading the posts. I set out the dyslexia argument to make the point that not all government intervention is a bad thing — nor does it universally lead to dependency. This is only one example among a great many I could have cited.
    Since you can no longer refute my main point, you resort to sarcasm — the last refuge of the sore loser. You can’t simply admit that you were bested in an argument. Or, perhaps, you can’t stand losing to a woman.
    It must suck being you.
    “You are so right. It’s so simple. Your federally-funded education has definitely paid off. Not only do you care more for the poor and down-trodden than us “Christianists”, but you are also “a high-tech millionaire” who still cares for the poor and down-trodden. Not like those greedy Republicans. I wish I were you.”
    Jealous, are we?
    Don’t be. A little education, a little persistence, and a little more exposure to the reality-based world…and maybe you’ll get there someday.
    After all, this is still America, the land of opportunity, right? And it will continue to be — as long as liberals like me keep insisting that it’s wrong to climb up the opportunity ladder…and then pull it up on those coming up behind me.

  • peter

    jesus would be in some dirt hamlet in southern india holding the hand of a lonely woman dying of leprosy. one at a time.remember love.

  • Rob Ryan

    JCHF: “Where to start? 1st read the two “problem with” essays above.”
    Can’t you give me ONE example of infringement upon religion before you assign reading?
    JCHF: 2nd: The “culture wars” can be traced back to two closely parallel events: Roe v Wade – which violated the separation doctrine of the Constitution and set up the “central” division in our country; and a general thrust (all ACLU and ilk driven – in the courts) to re-define Religious Freedom as Freedom from Religion. Christians have been on the defensive for 30-40 years. Now the problem is: the VAST majority of the country view themselves as christian; and secular folk couldn’t just stop with half the pie – they kept nibbling away until they bit into a lot of people’s pieces.
    Hello! How does Roe v. Wade infringe? Because it keeps you from making others conform to your belief? Please…someone…tell how the nasty ACLU inhibits YOUR freedom of religion. How are you on the defensive? Whether you like it or not, freedom of religion for secularists IS freedom FROM religion. Worship as you please, but please leave me out of it. I don’t want your god on my money, in my child’s school, or on my child’s lips. In your home, church, or public space within municipal and federal guidelines, knock yourselves out! I just don’t want to walk into Roy Moore’s courtroom and feel like a second-class citizen. Church and State: separate for the good of both.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    “Ah, so that’s why Oklahoma sucks so hard. I knew there had to be a good reason.”
    That and the wolf spiders.

    The “culture wars” can be traced back to two closely parallel events: Roe v Wade – which violated the separation doctrine of the Constitution and set up the “central” division in our country; and a general thrust (all ACLU and ilk driven – in the courts) to re-define Religious Freedom as Freedom from Religion. Christians have been on the defensive for 30-40 years.”

    Rubbish. Abolute rubbish.
    The “culture wars” have been in the USA since it’s founding. The founding fathers of our country were arguing about the separation of Church and State from the very beginning. Madison for example, thought that Churches should be taxed, that there should be no military or congressional chaplains, and that the government should make no official notice of any religious holidays, such as Christmas. Even I disagree with most of his point of view, save on taxes.
    The most recent conflicts did not arise from Roe V Wade, they are a natural outgrowth of the Civil Rights movement, especially with women and gays and lesbians, many of whom participated in the Civil Rights movement and then brought the skills they learned into their own causes and communities.

  • AndyS

    Gone At Last, my story appears similar to your own, from modest beginnings to Silicon Valley financial rewards. A tiny PELL grant, student loans, government funded schools and universities, public libraries, etc. all contributed to my education to say nothing of such things as the polio vaccine and other public health programs that kept me healthy. The list goes on and on. It’s worth noting especially on a blog that the Internet is a creation of the government using public funds.
    What struck me was your insight into the high correlation between learning disablities and crime and the claim that treating the former would ameliorate the latter, both improving lives and saving a huge sum of money. Sadly, I think your view gets discounted as “another liberal, nanny-state idea.” Apparently the conservative thinking is along the lines of “while we’ve all benefited in the past from government spending, enough is enough, the private sector will take care of it. Besides, all those prisons are a great symbol of what happens when you break the law. Nothing like the fear of being sodomized by your cellmate to keep our kids scared straight.”

  • http://www.leanleft.com tgirsch

    Eric & Lisa:

    As far as me being a republican is concerned, I want to pay the absolute least taxes I can possibly pay and keep the money in my own pocket. If that means less funding for roads, hospitals, the poor, the sick, the needy, however, fine by me. It should not be in the power of the government to redistribute wealth.

    Man, I’m really getting tired of this “taxation as wealth redistribution” meme. We don’t forcibly take money from some people and give it to others, which is what that meme implies. Instead we expect (and yes, require) everyone to chip in to pay for those things that serve the greater good (such as pretty much everything you listed, plus the military). There’s a big difference. It amazes me how conservatives go on and on about how America is the greatest place in the world, but complain when they have to pay the admission fees.

    Maybe that’s more of a libertarian viewpoint than an republican one. Fact is, the less money/power the government has the happier I am.

    “Maybe?” How about “absolutely?”

    I believe citizens ought to have the right to discriminate. If someone wants to be a bigot and not allow a certain race or religion or sexual preference to rent from them then i’m for allowing that. If a business wants to discriminate based on color, height, weight, sex, religion, i’m for allowing that too. More power to the individual and less power to government.

    Which is why I’m glad you’re not in power.
    jd:

    For many of us conservative Christian Republicans, the problem is not that we shouldn’t spend money on “severely disabled kids.” The problem is how that money is spent on those kids. The government has been shown to be an ineffective and inefficient way to help those who need it.

    Not as ineffective as what existed before (pretty much nothing).

    In fact, government programs have been shown to do more harm than good by encouraging a whole culture of dependency.

    I don’t suppose you have any evidence to back this up?

    Second, given the above, we wouldn’t be nearly so concerned if the tax rates stayed at a reasonable number like, say, 20 percent. Above that taxation discourages productivity and people start to feel that the government is stealing.

    Umm, a married couple with two children making $89,000 per year and taking no deductions other than the standard deduction allowed for on the 2004 Form 1040 would pay $17,008.50 in federal taxes; an effective tax rate of 19.1% — and that’s including the FICA taxes that pay for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. If you disregard those payroll taxes, that family’s taxes are $10,200; an effective tax rate of less than 11.5%.
    In truth, that’s almost certainly an unrealistic scenario, since a family like this is likely to have more deductions than just the standard deduction. Bottom line: if you’re paying an effective tax rate that’s greater than 20%, you’re probably doing very, very well for yourself.
    JCHFleetguy:

    The “culture wars” can be traced back to two closely parallel events: Roe v Wade – which violated the separation doctrine of the Constitution and set up the “central” division in our country;

    While I agree that the Roe v. Wade ruling remains controversial, I don’t think there was anything particularly groundbreaking about it, particularly with respect to the “separation doctrine.” What “power” did the Supreme Court take in this case that it had not previously taken? Judicial review (the ability of the courts to declare laws unconstitutional) was established 170 years earlier in Marbury v. Madison.

    … and a general thrust (all ACLU and ilk driven – in the courts) to re-define Religious Freedom as Freedom from Religion.

    Umm, that’s not a redefinition, that goes all the way back to this nation’s founding. This is why we have a completely secular constitution. And while the idea of a secular republic was far from unanimous, it’s what was ultimately agreed upon. Madison put it nicely in Memorial and Remonstrance when he said “Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?”
    You keep posting stuff that people should read. Based on your dim view of Church-State separation, I suggest you read this.

    This is the point: the feds pass a law they dont fund; your local system could get more local tax dollars to fund it if federal taxes didnt take so much; and if your taxes were lower you could have replaced the $50k yourself.

    Of course, the federal government used to give block grants to cities and states to pay for just this sort of program, but current leadership decided that tax cuts for the wealthy were more important. [/demagogue]
    jd:

    We spend over $13,000 per year for students in Washington DC, yet they perform at the bottom of all students in the country.

    And yet the GOP “solution” to this problem is to stop funding these schools. How, then, would these children perform? (It’s also worth noting that the GOP solution would still “redistribute” this wealth, it would just send it to private, sectarian institutions instead of to public, secular ones. And to date, there has been no evidence that voucher schools actually work.)
    baby jane:

    Is it not possible to be a Christian but believe that the government should be secular– meaning expressing no faith and showing no favortism for one faith over another?

    Of course it’s possible. In fact, most of our founders felt precisely this way.

  • Kevin W

    I wonder how many “Reluctant Democrats” there are, whose professed religious faith doesn’t square with their voting preferences? The party seems full of John Kerry’s, at least at the national level, who vote contrary to their supposed religious teaching.
    And I’ll let pass the presumption that killing terrorists is anti-Christian, as in the post above. Hard to see how Jesus would have a problem with a free society rousing itself to pursue people who crash planes into buildings or blow up school buses. For that matter, that “Allah” would, if there was such a thing. But, hey, the Left’s views of Christianity and Just War are so hopelessly screwed up, not worth arguing about.

  • http://hansmast.com/index.php?title=quick_link_and_thoughts The (not so) Daily Me

    Quick Link and Thoughts

    ** Amen! Couldn’t have said it better myself!
    While it initially began in the early 1980

  • Scott

    Robertson and Falwell don’t sound any different than Ted Haggard. Anyone tossing out enough red meat to get enough evangelical support to become a media celebrity will sound just like them. Don’t scapegoat your mouthpieces (what, exactly do you disagree with Roberson, Falwell, or Haggard on that is of any real importance politically?) when they start to reflect your unpopularity.
    BTW, the world according to Ted:

    …..When I walked in an hour late, [members of Colorado Springs’s Evangelical population] were talking about . . . the tsunami and wondered with concern whether any of the city’s preachers would try to score points off it. When I mentioned that Pastor Ted [America’s most powerful Evangelical leader, and who speaks with President Bush every Monday] already had, they cringed. I told them that at the previous Sunday’s full-immersion baptism service, pastor Ted had noted that the waves hit the “number-one exporter of radical Islam,” Indonesia. “That’s not a judgment,” he’d announced. “It’s an opportunity.”…

  • Gone At Last

    “Gone At Last, my story appears similar to your own…It’s worth noting especially on a blog that the Internet is a creation of the government using public funds…Sadly, I think your view gets discounted as “another liberal, nanny-state idea.”
    This is precisely why we have to start telling these stories again. The right wing has done a hell of a PR job over the past 30 years convincing Americans that our government — which is to say, Us, working for our own collective good — is totally incompetent.
    At this point, two entire generations have swallowed this bulls**t whole. Given that when this disinformation campaign got rolling, Americans and their government had just bested Hitler, conquered polio, built the interstate highway system, and put a man on the moon, you gotta admire the propagation of this Big Lie. It’s a remarkable propaganda achievement.
    The only way to reverse this perversion of history is for those of us who remember what it was like when our government worked — and worked well — to start telling our stories, and refuse to be silenced by silly accusations like “nanny-statist.”
    Such epithets are especially precious coming from folks who are using the government to intrude on people’s bedroom activities, enter our homes and spy on us without warning or warrant, and install the machinery for a national ID database that looks remarkably like John’s description of the Mark of The Beast.
    And *I’m* the nanny-statist for thinking that it’s better to invest in people’s futures now than put them all in jail later?
    No. What I am is a savvy investor who knows a good deal when she sees one.

  • jd

    Gone at last:
    Well, you’re right. I was being sarcastic. But, I’m sorry, you need to read your post again. You said: “In juvenile system, the numbers run from 75%-90%, which suggests that juvenile delinquency could be all but eliminated by an investment in universal remediation. People who can’t read, write, or handle numbers can’t function, and usually end up in jail.” You make an outrageous claim, and then say you were merely setting out the “dyslexia argument to make the point that not all government intervention is a bad thing — nor does it universally lead to dependency…” Well, which is it–not all government intervention is a bad thing, or, we can empty two-thirds of our prisons by fixing dyslexics?
    Further, I never said or implied anywhere in any of my posting that “all government intervention is a bad thing” nor did I say that it “universally” leads to dependency. You need to read MY posts a little better. For a certain part of our population, certain parts of our government have been a bad thing and have led to dependency. The GI bill was a great thing. It came out of the military. The internet was a great idea. It also came out of the military (not Algore.) The Great Society was a horrible idea and has been a dismal failure and has created a whole subculture of dependency. If you can’t admit that, there’s no discussion to be had here.
    The constitution only specifically mandates that the government spend money on the military. I believe the “general welfare” part of the constitution has been “expanded” to include things that shouldn’t be included.
    So you’re a liberal. It’s so rare to hear one admit it these days. They always want to call themselves progressives. You wouldn’t want to be really honest and admit that there has been a liberal bias in the press, would you? I didn’t think so.

  • Kevin W

    Go ahead and start telling your stories about “how well government worked before”. I love history.

  • esmense

    “the Democrats have shown a disdain for any religious people who do not share their acceptance of abortion, sexual libertinism, and nanny statism. Former Democratic Senator Zell Miller, for example, was treated as a pariah by his own party for failing to adopt to the post-1973 definition of what it means to be a Democrat.”
    Wrong. Zell Miller offended Democrats by voting time and time again to support conservative economic measures and tax policies that encouraged dangerous and growing economic disparity, that have siphoned off public wealth and resources to serve limited (wealthy and well-connected) private interests rather than the common good, and, have undermined worker rights, have further weakened our already weak social safety net, have been harmful to the poor, the vulnerable and the working class.
    Furthermore, ready to retire and cash in on K Street, Mr. Miller viciously renounced his party out of self interest — knowing full well that, under the leadership of “The Hammer,” the GOP has threatened retaliation against the clients of firms that hire Democrats. (Miller joined McKenna Long & Aldridge, a firm of 350 lawyers and policy advisers, with offices in Atlanta, the District and elsewhere, as a “senior policy adviser” in the firm’s government affairs practice.)
    Claiming that voting for one political party over another makes one a supporter of “sexual libertinism” is an expression of the deepest disdain. It is exactly this kind of knee-jerk, probably as unconcious as it is constant, disdain — and unwillingness to ever concede moral values and good intentions to those with different political views — that makes religious people on the other side of the political fence doubt the religious sincerity of those on your side.
    As for abortion — I am a Catholic who is in perfect agreement with my Church on the theology of this issue. But, I do not agree with conservative Catholics on the politics of the issue.
    As someone who worked in the health care field pre-Roe v. Wade, I know that re-criminalizing abortion while aggressively pursuing conservative economic policies that especially penalize young earners and make stable family formation more and more difficult for the working class and the poor will only make abortion more dangerous, not more rare. Criminalization is a recipe for, once again, sweeping the abortion issue under the rug, out of sight, out of mind. But, without addressing the underlying pressures and conditions that lead, or force, young and desperate women to abortion, it will neither end it nor diminish it by much.
    Equally important, I don’t believe, based on performance, that Republicans will EVER do anything on this issue that would limit access to abortion for their most important, primarily upper middle class and affluent, and more libertarian, constituencies. They’ve been stringing religious conservatives along on this issue for a quarter of a century. The best abortion opponents have ever got or will ever get from them are limited measures that only limit access to abortion for the poor and desperate.
    Republican economic policies combined with abortion policy that only affects the poor give us the worst of all worlds on this issue. A world in which poor women and families with less and less access to stable jobs and other resources to support and care for their children are forced into unwanted abortions under desperate and dangerous circumstances, while the affluent have no limits on their ability to indulge in abortions of “choice.”
    I vote the way I do because I am pro-life. And I believe that the best way to reduce abortions is to do what has demonstrably worked in other countries — strengthen community support for families and the economic power of the working and middle class.
    I vote the way I do because while neither party has come close in recent years to addressing the real issues that women and families face in the modern world, the Democrats, in my view, come a lot closer than the Republicans.

  • Larry Lord

    jd
    “I believe the “general welfare” part of the constitution has been “expanded” to include things that shouldn’t be included.”
    That’s nice.
    “You wouldn’t want to be really honest and admit that there has been a liberal bias in the press, would you? I didn’t think so.”
    I’ll admit it. Who could deny a claim as vague inarticulate and worthless as that one?
    It’s self-serving garbage. The funniest part is when conservatives admit it! But of course jd wouldn’t know about that until he rises from the bottom of the kool-aid pond where he sleeps.

  • Larry Lord

    AAAHAHHAHAHHAAHHAHA!!!!!!!!
    http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2005_05_15_digbysblog_archive.html#111635568665888792
    In Ohio, the Rev. Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church said at a gathering of 1,000 Patriot Pastors last week that the issues underscoring the filibuster fight transcend partisan politics.
    “We’re not Democrats. We’re not Republicans. We’re Christocrats,” he declared.
    Christocrats tend to vote exclusively Republican, however, because Jesus was very much against the capital gains tax.

  • jd

    tgirsch:
    “And yet the GOP “solution” to this problem is to stop funding these schools. How, then, would these children perform? (It’s also worth noting that the GOP solution would still “redistribute” this wealth, it would just send it to private, sectarian institutions instead of to public, secular ones. And to date, there has been no evidence that voucher schools actually work.)”
    I can’t pretend to know the solution for the schools. But what you say makes no sense:
    A. Continue to throw money at failing schools. I can’t think of any response to that.
    B. There has been no evidence that voucher schools actually work. I can’t think of any response to that either, except that I think they do.

  • AndyS

    jd wrote:

    The Great Society was a horrible idea and has been a dismal failure and has created a whole subculture of dependency. If you can’t admit that, there’s no discussion to be had here.

    I wonder which of these Great Society progams you think was a horrible idea: Head Start,Job Corps, Work-Study program for university students, VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) – a domestic version of the Peace Corps, Neighborhood Youth Corps, basic education and adult job training.
    Or perhaps you don’t like Medicare or clean air and water regulations or voting rights.
    Are you aware that in 1964 “LBJ shepherded another Kennedy plan through Congress: a $10 billion tax cut. This policy was largely a success. Over the next several quarters, consumer spending rose $45 billion, the GNP soared, and the federal government actually increased its revenue.”
    That was the same year he got the Civil Rights Act passed which barred discrimination on the basis of race in public accommodations, authorized the Justice Department to bring suit against states that discriminated against women and minorities, and guaranteed equal opportunities in the work place.
    LBJ won in ’64 with 61% of the popular vote, a far greater margin than GWB.
    I’m nearly convinced of your “no discussion to be had” point, but it’s worth trying to establish one. Simply mentioning a conservative talking point as if it is fact is no way to begin.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Tgrisch
    Probably my fault for not just going deeper in the 1st place. I do not think the US is a christian (or ever was )nation, and I think Madison is correct. If you had read either article (particularly whats the problem with conservatism) you would see it makes the same argument. Now, just as an aside – you know that the Supreme Court in Marbury took judicial review upon themselves and Jefferson raged against it for the next 20 years (he makes Pat Robertson sound reasonable):

    It is a misnomer to call a government republican, in which a branch of the supreme power is independent of the nation. (To Pleasants, 1821.) . . . The judiciary of the United States is the subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working under ground to undermine the foundations of our confederated fabric . . . A judiciary independent of a king or executive alone, is a good thing; but independence of the will of the nation is a solecism, at least in a republican government. (To Ritchie, 1820.) . . . To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy…The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal. (To W.C. Jarvis, 1820.) . . . The great object of my fear is the Federal Judiciary. That body, like gravity, ever acting, with noiseless foot, and unalarming advance…, is engulfing insidiously the special governments into the jaws of that which feeds them. (To Judge Roane, 1821.) . . . But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are contitutional, and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and executive also, in their spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic branch. (To Abigail Adams, 1804.) . . . Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction (to Wilson Nicholas, 1803)

    The article you quoted makes it clear that the outgoing administration played lame duck judicial games with judges after appointing Marshall as Chief Justice – so what the heck, Judge wars have always been with us. But remember, Marbury was the 1st major legislation by the Supreme Court – and they gave themselves power that at least Jefferson argued they were not intended to have – since they are unelected, lifetime officials.
    But my problem with the Supreme Court in Roe v Wade is not their right to judicial review. First, we will look at Jefferson’s (and Madison’s) Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom generally agreed to be the basis of the Constitution:

    Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as it was in his Almighty power to do; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world . . .

    This, as all secular folk agree, is the contention that state religion is wrong because instead of God inspiring each person on what to believe – the state is telling them what is right and cannot possibly be correct.[You love me so far]

    that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own;

    Oops. Courts should stay out of questions of principle and opinion because the judge will act on his private opinion

    that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them

    So the civil government (not courts) can intervene in the battle of ideas if things get out of hand – otherwise free, unobstructed debate is what is needed. This was preamble – now the act:

    . . . that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

    This is clear statement that government officials should not be constrained from freely arguing and stating their religious opinions – only that the state can not make one religion right. Not all religions mute, but all religions freely able to express their opinions in any forum. Religious Freedom not Freedom From Religion. And not judges deciding between religions to see whats right.
    Oooh, now Roe: In Roe the Supreme Court first extended the right of privacy (I have no problem with a right of privacy existing in the 9th amendment) to cover a women during her pregnancy. Unrestricted 1st trimester; open to state control 2nd trimester; non-existant third. To do this, they had to diminish the right to life of the fetus to the extent they gave right to abortion to the mother. [We are all still together here right]
    How did they decide when a protectable life began: by examining the religious views historically. They talked that some religions viewed life at conception; some religions at birth; some at quickening. They then “intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency” by deciding that quickening was the test. Ah, the state deciding which religious opinion was correct. [Notice that until 1970 the AMA (along with the Hippocratic Oath) held abortion wrong – and took no position on when life began in 1973]
    Now before you yell about Common Law (which they looked at, and which used quickening) remember your point is that these folks fled state religions on the continent and therefore didn’t want it here (agreed); but you cannot separate English Common Law from the state religions of the Church of England, and the Catholic Church before that. Do you think any English abortion law was separate from the clergy?
    Roe violated the separation doctrine. This principle should have been decided by the civil authorities (outside the courts) – which it was by various state laws – if there was a problem against order.
    As to abortion polls, look at these”>http://www.pollingreport.com/abortion.htm”>these. Look at polls where it is asked in the rape, incest, life of mother format – most are in the 55% or higher being opposed completely, or only allowed in these cases. This shows that the numbers are moving pro-life. And this shows (from a pro-choice group) that women alone are now 51% pro-life for the first time since Roe. [The pro-life person in this article says she is looking forward to abortion being “unthinkable” (hearts and minds); not illegal – I like that]
    Understand that I think overturning Roe would be equally wrong constitutionally (but with a more moral outcome) – so I am content to wait until a Constitutional Amendment can be passed (I give it 10-15 years).

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    “Understand that I think overturning Roe would be equally wrong constitutionally (but with a more moral outcome) – so I am content to wait until a Constitutional Amendment can be passed (I give it 10-15 years).”
    Why haven’t they already? And why concentrate on an anti-gay amendment instead of an anti-abortion amendment that would actually save lives? Shouldn’t that be a higher order of moral importance for Christians than gay marriage ? Or is limiting the rights of a few more important than saving the lives of babies?
    What could possibly cause Christian conservatives to distort their own sense of morality enough to ignore abortion in favor of outlawing recognition of “gay marriage”? Is it possible that Christian Conservatives have an emotionally stronger negative reaction to gays than even to abortion? While they might say no, their actions and the priorities of their major political organizations are clearly more skewed toward stopping “gay marriage” than they are to stopping abortion. But how could gay marriage possibly be more important than saving babies? Could that stronger emotional reaction be a symptom of the true nature of their issues with gays and lesbians? Namely an irrational emotional prejudice? How honest are Christians willing to be with themselves about the issue?

  • Larry Lord

    “Now, just as an aside – you know that the Supreme Court in Marbury took judicial review upon themselves and Jefferson raged against it for the next 20 years (he makes Pat Robertson sound reasonable”
    Was he raging against it when he was fornicating with his slaves, FleetGuy?
    I’m so not impressed by your li’l history “reminder”. Let me remind you of something: Marbury is the precedent which has formed the foundational basis for the system of justice in this country for the past 2 centuries — allegedly the best system in the world.
    History has shown Jefferson to be an idiot with respect to Marbury. And now you wish to roll with Jefferson in the stable hay?
    Why am I not surprised?

  • Larry Lord

    FleetGuy
    “Understand that I think overturning Roe would be equally wrong constitutionally (but with a more moral outcome) – so I am content to wait until a Constitutional Amendment can be passed (I give it 10-15 years).”
    Try “never” bro. I’ll be you $10,000 dollars no such amendment is passed. Put your money where your mouth is, if you are intelligent enough to have actually earned any.

  • Larry Lord

    “First, we will look at Jefferson’s (and Madison’s) Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom generally agreed to be the basis of the Constitution:”
    Ah yes. Was Virginia one of those slave-holding states? Wasn’t it allowed in Virginia to buy and sell human beings as property?

  • Larry Lord

    Virginia Statute
    December 1662 – 14th Charles II, 2:170, Act XII.
    Negro womens children to serve according to the condition of the mother.
    WHEREAS some doubts have arrisen whether children got by any Englishman upon a negro woman should be slave or ffree, Be it therefore enacted and declared by this present grand assembly, that all children borne in this country shalbe held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother, And that if any christian shall committ fornication with a negro man or woman, hee or shee so offending shall pay double the fines imposed by the former act.
    ———————
    Huh, looks like someone thought it was really a bad idea for a Christian to fornicate with a Negro. In Virginia, no less, that enlightened state where the “basis” of our Constitution was birthed.
    How interesting. How unsurprising. And how hypocritical for Christians to be lecturing us on the Constitution and its moral underpinnings.
    Let me guess FleetGuy — you live in the Southern US. Am I right?

  • JCHFleetguy

    Tgrisch
    Civil rights come in two varieties. Those given to you as an individual; and those given to protected groups (over and above their individual status) by law. Contrary to what you said above, every extention in the 2nd case has occurred because the majority in fact gave those rights to a minority – sometimes after long and bitter CULTURAL and political struggle.
    Gays have all the individual rights I do as a heterosexual – except the ones associated with the special class of marriage and family law. Marriage and family law will again only change when the majority agree to give the rights of to a minority – and again only after CULTURAL and political struggle. If you think you can avoid the majority opinion in this matter – well you are not thinking very politically or accurately. Or like the civil rights activists.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Patrick

    What could possibly cause Christian conservatives to distort their own sense of morality enough to ignore abortion in favor of outlawing recognition of “gay marriage

    Got me. We are years away from 2/3 of the congress; and 3/4 of the states on abortion – so thats why not there. Abortion is really an education issue right now – not political.
    As to the Marriage Amendment – as I said above that was a political ploy that died horribly (and justifiably). Stupid law, stupid politics.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Larry,
    What did I say about cultural change? Oh, and the 14th and 15th amendment; and mulitiple civil rights acts – because of social and cultural change. Hmmm, our country grows by political, social, and cultural change – not by judicial fiat.
    And no, I am not from the South

  • Larry Lord

    “Hmmm, our country grows by political, social, and cultural change – not by judicial fiat.”
    The population grows. The country changes. Part of the changes are changes in laws. Some laws are unconstitutional and are never passed. Some unconstitutional laws are passed and they are overturned by courts.
    That’s all there is to it. “Judicial fiat”? That’s a joke — especially if you want to pretend that the Supreme Court is biased towards overturning laws written by conservatives.
    Come back to planet earth, FleetGuy. You really shouldn’t spend too much of your time in Wingnuttia.
    “Gays have all the individual rights I do as a heterosexual – except the ones associated with the special class of marriage and family law.”
    Do you recall what the Supreme Court has said about those particular rights, FleetGuy? C’mon history major, don’t let me down!

  • JCHFleetguy

    Do you recall what the Supreme Court has said about those particular rights, FleetGuy? C’mon history major, don’t let me down!

    No, I dont – so why dont you post something educational rather than malicious. I await your insight.

  • jd

    Andy S
    I misspoke when I said the Great Society. What I meant specifically was the War on Poverty. That has been a disaster for a certain part of society: one tenth of the black population otherwise known as the underclass.
    The Civil Rights Act made discrimination illegal and opened the door for most blacks. But after 1964, the War on Poverty encouraged a new dependent class which made itself much more visible than its small numbers warranted. Crime, the jobless rate, and out-of-wedlock births soared in ways that could not be explained by racism. After all, the lot of most blacks improved steadily after the Civil Rights Act. It was and is this underclass that so skews the crime numbers and incarceration rates for black men as well as the out-of-wedlock births for black women. Johnson’s War on Poverty (started by Kennedy) told poor blacks that they were victims and that everyone else, “the system,” was at fault for their poverty.
    I can’t talk about the other programs you mentioned, Head Start, etc. because I don’t know how successful they have been. They have certainly succeeded at gaining sacred cow status.
    And, yes, I was aware of the huge tax cut during the Kennedy years, though I didn’t know there was one pushed through by Johnson. I’m surprised to hear you mention it. I’ll bet you think those tax cuts helped everyone but the rich, right?

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick


    If you think you can avoid the majority opinion in this matter – well you are not thinking very politically or accurately. Or like the civil rights activists.


    No one thinks majority opinion can be ignored. But bringing legal action is part of the conversation. In many cases it’s the only action a minority CAN take, other than terrorism, in order to bring attention to injustice. MLK marched on Atlanta and DC. But at the same time legal action and pressure was continually applied to the legal system on behalf of black Americans. Gays and Lesbians are simply using the same model of civil activism. So the charge that I often hear that we are asking for special rights or that we are trying to sneak around the majority are unfounded.
    Lincoln freeing the slaves didn’t actually really free the slaves did it? Discrimination toward black Americans continues to this day. Look at how many years it has taken for our country to get just this far on that issue alone. So a marriage in MA isn’t going to grant gay and lesbian people respect from the majority. But it is a way a bringing up the issue for debate.
    And as I said above, sometimes its the only way it can be brought up. Gay and lesbian people are always going to be small in numbers. So when we march on DC we simply don’t have the leverage that MLK had. So if you are smaller, you have to be louder.
    Another thing is simply that we have families and we need to take care of them. The lack of legal recognition and respect for our families hurts our children and we need to fight on their behalf. This is about, and for, our families. We would, and will do anything to protect them. Wouldn’t you do the same for yours?

  • tommythecat

    you are all sheep.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Patrick
    I would do exactly the same. My argument has been that this has to be a political process. Civil rights came in the legislatures, not the courts. It was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which gave the courts something to bite on – a law to enforce. Roe shows what happens when something is made legal before it is politically acceptable. We certainly need more abortion-type debates – not
    Legal, civil, insurance, etc rights can be won – much more easily than marriage will. That should be apparent from the backlash. Many companies already allow domestic partners to participate in insurance, etc. Wills can allow many things, etc.
    My argument has been that gay marriage touched off a firestorm – a firestorm that came because the political and social work that leads up to political change wasn’t done. I might also argue that gaining Massachusetts, and losing 14 others might have been one step forward and more than two backwards.
    My opinion truly doesn’t matter – so what the heck.

  • Elwood

    esmense,
    Interesting post. Unlike John Kerry’s attempts on the abortion issue, I actually believe you when you describe why you vote the way you do. I’ve heard others say what you say, and a few of them I believe because I know them well enough personally to trust their sincerity, but with politicians who say it I guess I’m too cynical to believe them. Something in how you explained it causes me to believe you. However…
    Was it B. Clinton who popularized the slogan, “Abortions should be safe, legal, and rare.”? I can’t buy this because the sentence itself betrays the fact that the speaker knows abortion is wrong. If there is not fundamental injustice happening, then why the instinct to make it rare? If it’s just tissue, and not really a human life, then why should it be any different than going to the salon for a haircut, or having a mole removed?
    On this issue, I believe I have a better shot at influencing the laws to be just by throwing in with the Repubs. However, there are other issues where the Dems are closer to what I think would be the right thing to do. Since I believed you, believe me when I say that if John Kerry was pro-life, I would have voted for him. In fact, I really believe he would have won handily. I hope more Democrats will wake up to that reality and start voting more mainstream on the issue, instead of just trying to ‘change the way we talk about abortion’ as Howard Dean and H. Clinton have said.
    Here’s a proposal you, Kerry, and pro-lifers on the other side like myself should all agree on. If Kerry was unwilling to be against taxpayer funded abortions, then let’s say that anyone without pre-natal insurance coverage can be 100% covered by the government to pay for the pregnancy care, delivery, recovery, etc. If I must be forced to pay for an abortion with my taxes, then let’s make sure an equal financial opportunity exists for that woman to have the child.

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Kevin W:

    The party seems full of John Kerry’s, at least at the national level, who vote contrary to their supposed religious teaching.

    One can only assume that you’re talking about his position on abortion as opposed to that of the Catholic church. But the Catholic Church also opposes war and capital punishment, and oddly nobody made any sort of stink about Catholics voting for those particular policies. This is because conservatives only pay attention to those disconnects where it suits them, and ignore them when they don’t. They’re far from alone in this, but they’re the ones with the “hoiler-than-thou” attitude concerning it, so they (and you) deserve to be called on the carpet for it.

    Hard to see how Jesus would have a problem with a free society rousing itself to pursue people who crash planes into buildings or blow up school buses.

    No, it’s not hard at all. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
    jd:

    The constitution only specifically mandates that the government spend money on the military.

    Perhaps you should read it again, specifically Article I, Section 8. It doesn’t mandate that money be spent, it allows it, and actually limits the term of any such appropriation to two years. There are several other expenditures authorized within that section, including post offices and post roads, funding the capital, etc.

    Continue to throw money at failing schools. I can’t think of any response to that.

    How about responding with a better idea? Actually, I think the solution starts with giving schools more power to remove the distractions and enforce academic standards. That means if your kid is acting up in class, he or she can be removed, and if he or she is a repeat offender, the removal can be made permanent. It also means that if your kid is failing, it’s not because the teacher isn’t fair or doesn’t like your kid, but because your kid isn’t getting it done. There’s more, of course, including providing adequate resources at all schools, not just the wealthiest ones.

    I can’t think of any response to that either, except that I think they do.

    How’s about citing some evidence to support that belief? Here’s some evidence to the contrary:

    However, efficiency gains from voucher programs appear modest. Voucher programs yield only small positive achievement gains for participating students (Howell & Peterson, 2002). The pressures from competition between schools induce some efficiency gains, but again the effects are modest (Belfield & Levin, 2002). Alternatives to the traditional public school–i.e., charter, for-profit, and private schools–do not show clearly either greater effectiveness or greater cost effectiveness. Charter schools, even where regulation is lighter, are no more efficient than traditional public schools (Miron & Nelson, 2002). For-profit schools often face financial difficulties, particularly with high marketing costs and difficulties in establishing brand loyalty. The evidence on private schools suggests that they serve to raise attainment (the amount of schooling) by modest amounts, but have little effect on test scores. Even where these schools show modest improvements over public schools in effectiveness (e.g., test scores), there is no clear evidence of greater efficiency (e.g., test scores per dollar). Finally, vouchers may promote innovation or invention or encourage the diffusion of best-practice management, but the evidence of this is not widespread. Critically, any efficiency gains must be set against the adjustment costs needed to finance and administer a large voucher program (see Levin & Driver, 1997).

    JCHFleetguy:

    [VSoRF] … that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

    [You] This is clear statement that government officials should not be constrained from freely arguing and stating their religious opinions – only that the state can not make one religion right. Not all religions mute, but all religions freely able to express their opinions in any forum.

    You clearly read the Virginia Statutes quite a bit differently than I do. In no way does this allow government to endorse religion, nor does it allow government to prefer religion to non-religion.

    Religious Freedom not Freedom From Religion.

    As the song goes, you can’t have one without the other. Unless the government remains scrupulously neutral on religious matters, there can be no true religious liberty.
    Of course, this depends on how you define freedom from religion, too. I define it as my not being required to practice or acknowledge any particular religion. It doesn’t mean that I have a right to avoid any exposure to religion; it does mean that any exposure I do get shouldn’t come from my government.
    As to Roe v. Wade, I’ve never argued that the logic used in the ruling was particularly good (frankly, it wasn’t). In this forum, I merely pointed out that there was nothing particularly groundbreaking about how the justices came about their ruling or the power they exercised (there wasn’t). My point was that the “culture war” has nothing at all to do with the way in which the decision was reached, and everything to do with the fact that a vocal minority simply didn’t like the decision. It wouldn’t have mattered if the logic were completely bulletproof, many religious people would still take exception to the ruling.

    Roe violated the separation doctrine.

    What separation doctrine? The one from VSoRF? That’s not binding on the nation, the Constitution is.
    Concerning abortion, I’m looking at the same polls you are. Look at the ABC News/Washington Post Poll most recently conducted in April 2005. Only once (8/2001) since 1996 has support for abortion being legal in “most or all cases” dropped below 50% (49% in that case, against 48% illegal in “most or all cases”). Or the Quinnipac University poll (from 53% to 57% “always or usually legal”). Or the NBC News poll (53-60% think abortion should be solely between a woman and her doctor). The LA Times poll is the only one that seems to contradict this trend, and given the number of other polls (and repetitions taken), I think it’s safe to assume that the LA Times poll is the aberration.
    The disparity in the polls comes from how the questions are asked. The only polls that seem to back your assertion are (in my opinion) flawed, because they generally don’t give an option in between “always legal” and “legal only for rape/incest/health of woman.” Same goes for the polls that talk about “sometimes legal”; it’s too vague, and the poll doesn’t tell you much, other than what common sense would tell you: relatively few people believe that abortion should be either unconditionally legal or unconditionally illegal. The polls that show people supporting “stricter limits” for abortions don’t define what those limits should be, but they probably reflect an opposition to “partial birth abortions,” which only make up a small fraction of the total. If these were banned, that would indeed by “stricter limits,” and abortion would still be legal in most cases. So without more details on what specifically “stricter limits” means, you can’t claim that these polls contradict my point, either.
    One last note: the Washington Times is a naked partisan rag. I’d give it about as much credibility as you’d give something I sent you from YellowTimes.org. And though the poll is sourced to a pro-choice organization, it’s one poll of 1,000 women. By itself, hardly a solid indicator of what nationwide opinion looks like. If most polls reflected those same trends, then you’d have something. As it is, a single poll is even less useful than a single study showing that the Atkins Diet (or whatever) is effective.

    Contrary to what you said above, every extention in the 2nd case has occurred because the majority in fact gave those rights to a minority – sometimes after long and bitter CULTURAL and political struggle.

    Really? Does this include Brown v. Board of Education? Here’s a hint: if the majority had “given” the rights, then the court ruling would have been unnecessary. Instead, those evil judicial activists had to step in. :)
    Patrick:

    No one thinks majority opinion can be ignored. But bringing legal action is part of the conversation. In many cases it’s the only action a minority CAN take, other than terrorism, in order to bring attention to injustice.

    Well said.

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    JCHFleetguy:

    Roe shows what happens when something is made legal before it is politically acceptable.

    I really don’t think this is what Roe shows. What you have in Roe is a case in which no matter how the court ruled, there were going to be a lot of people upset by the ruling. If Roe had come down the other way, there would be every bit as much bitterness, anger, and continued heated rhetoric as there is today.
    In fact, conservatives should probably be happy that abortion is legal. It gives them an easy drum to beat. Because if you take away “moral issues” like abortion and gay marriage, Americans generally support liberal positions (on issues such as the environment, education, civil rights, and even taxation) by a pretty fair margin.
    Elwood:

    Was it B. Clinton who popularized the slogan, “Abortions should be safe, legal, and rare.”? I can’t buy this because the sentence itself betrays the fact that the speaker knows abortion is wrong.

    No, what it implies is that the speaker thinks that abortion is unfortunate, not wrong. I think appendectomies should be safe, legal, and rare, too; that doesn’t mean I think they’re wrong. Just that I wish they weren’t necessary. It means that I acknowledge that if I could prevent someone from needing an abortion/appendectomy in the first place, that would be preferable to them needing and having one.

    I hope more Democrats will wake up to that reality and start voting more mainstream on the issue, instead of just trying to ‘change the way we talk about abortion’ as Howard Dean and H. Clinton have said.

    That’s the rub. “More mainstream” on the issue would basically mean supporting a late-term abortion ban, with exceptions given for rape/incest/health of mother (no such ban has yet been passed, although the Democrats proposed one a few years ago that was shot down by Republicans), and leaving abortion legal during the first and second trimesters with few or no restrictions. The “mainstream” position is that of the pro-choide moderate, allowing early term abortions in most or all cases, and banning late-term abortions in some cases (but I would argue neither most nor all — though I don’t have the statistics to back it up, I suspect most late-term abortions are performed for one of the exempted reasons anyway).

    If Kerry was unwilling to be against taxpayer funded abortions, then let’s say that anyone without pre-natal insurance coverage can be 100% covered by the government to pay for the pregnancy care, delivery, recovery, etc. If I must be forced to pay for an abortion with my taxes, then let’s make sure an equal financial opportunity exists for that woman to have the child.

    I’d be agreeable to this. I expect, however, that most Republicans would not be.

  • Elwood

    GoneAtLast,
    I am also the beneficiary of government help (Pell, student loans, a public university, the most obvious forms). I favor education funding being funnelled through students in order to create competition, which is exactly what Pell grants and subsidized loans do. Open enrollment (which we have in MN not sure about other states) and vouchers are attempts to create that same type of competition in K-12.
    I don’t think that government is inherently bad. It does much good. It’s a privelege to pay taxes that I think everyone should have a chance to do (up to a certain threshold).
    I agree with you that “giving these kids a proper education is not “encouraging dependency” “. I don’t mind our taxes paying for things that are long-run winners for all. For example, in MN there is an insurance pgm for low income qualifiers. A budget battle is on to determine if it will have cuts or be fully funded. I’m all for funding this because it encourages preventive medicine and cuts down on future higher cost health-care needs for the uninsured that have to be absorbed somewhere.
    But, I do believe there are elements in gov. that do create dependency. I can’t give numbers right now, but I remember Dole and Gingerich being painted as heartless greedy evil men during the welfare reform debates. Apparently, they wanted to cut off welfare to any able-bodied people with no dependents after 2 years. This was at a time of near full employment. Being on the government dole without a disability or responsibility to care for someone else sounds like encouraging dependency to me. I know Clinton eventually signed the bill and that’s great, I don’t know all the details, just telling you what has formed some of my opinions.
    2. I help out with the youth group at our church. We invited a woman who worked with a charitable/outreach to the poor agency to talk about the plight of the poor in our city and help our students grow in compassion and action to help the poor. It was a failure, in my opinion. She talked mainly of the need to lobby the government for more low-income housing. She said NOTHING about how to get personally involved. She cited statistics about what pct. of a typical income usually goes for housing, then gave an average cost of rent/month, and used that to extrapolate what a livable income level was. Then listed a bunch of pretty-well paid professions that supposedly can’t support decent housing. These were technical jobs that would require a 2-yr degree, not fast-food jobs. Here is where she lost me and most of the astute students in the room. She said that a MINIMUM it would cost in rent to get a decent place to live was $1100/month. In my metro area, that is a very spendy apt. with a master bath attached to a huge master bedroom, at least one other large bdrm, another bathrm, a den, a dishwasher, and your own washer and dryer right in your apt (no walking down the hall and no pumping quarters), underground parking, pool, workout rm, etc. I asked her if the figures were national, since in our metro it must be much lower. She said no. Well, just a couple years earlier, I lived in a nice apt. in a good neighborhood and our rent was $850. I would have never dreamed of paying the prices she quoted, but the rental properties I chose were probably in the middle of the pack for amenities, quality, and location. So, I tuned out everything else she had to say, as did most of the students. I also felt less compassion for the so-called poor. The incomes she was calling poor that needed help were higher than what I made out of college a few years earlier. I had since passed those incomes, but I never came close to thinking about asking the gov. for help after college when I was making less. Are these poor really poor? I want to help the truly poor in this country and around the world. But I want those so-called poor to lower their standards and live like the rest of us. Come down to earth. Maybe you don’t need a dishwasher and can actually wash the dishes by hand and park your car on the street. Come and live on my street or down the hall from this “rich” Republican-voting slug. I’ll see you when we’re both scraping the windshield on those winter mornings heading off to work.
    3. My brother and his wife have 1 child. She had some eating problems early on, nothing serious. Eventually an iron-free formula and some other diet adjustments helped the baby out. My sister-in-law is young (early 20’s) and a little lacking in confidence in her abilities as a first-time mom. But they are surrounded by support from my family and my sister-in-law’s family with tons of experience with babies. The doctor suggested the county nurse come out and check on them if that would make them feel better. Fine. One visit won’t hurt. But, they got on some list and now they can’t keep the social workers and government busy-bodies off their property! One day they counted no less than 6 cars of government employees that had driven an hour to offer their expertise. A dietician, a speech therapist, a ‘toy-lady’. All they’ve done is reduce my sis-in-law’s confidence in her ability to be a good mom. They need to create a need for their own jobs, so they create insecurity in their clients whether they intend to or not. They didn’t want all these people coming out and didn’t need them. As my mom said, at the end of the day, they don’t recommend anything different than what other family members had already suggested.
    Cut, cut, cut some of the funding to those programs. They’re obviously overstaffed. Send that money to some other better gov. pgm so you don’t need to raise my taxes! Simple, right?

  • Elwood

    tgirsh:
    “I’d be agreeable to this. I expect, however, that most Republicans would not be.”
    You’re probably right. It would take more convincing of the Republicans, since Dems generally support more government covered health care anyway. But, it’s a bit of common ground I’d hope we could start from.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Tgrisch,

    Really? Does this include Brown v. Board of Education?

    Brown was necessary to get rid of another great piece of “activist” (for Jim Crow) court history – Plessy v Fergussen. But both were based on the 14th and 15th amendment (legislative – done by a majority). And neither meant squat until the 1964 Civil Rights Act – other than some great chances for racists to stand on school steps. Again, those that made the greatest impact were those thing done by political struggle (im an old radical – what can i say)
    On the polls: I agree most likely wording of a law replacing Roe would be “except for the health of mother, rape, incest” – and any other poll wording is pretty lame. I only found two with “life,rape,incest” wording: 53% (none plus yes for life of mother, etc) and Time/CNN: 57%. Trend in almost every poll with history is toward pro-life (my major point – im looking at 10 years from now). Only “when does life begin poll” = 55% for conception (you cant consider that good for prochoice). I stand by my position – prolife gets the lean now and the “mo”
    Again, the almost universal position is that Virginia was the parent of the Constitutional Separation doctrine – and that this is the logic of the Constitution in more detail. I never said it “allow(ed) government to endorse religion, or allow(ed) government to prefer religion to non-religion.” I said government was to stand aside and allow free flow of ideas (including religion) unless it harmed the public; and then the legislatures, not the courts, should handle it.
    I have heard the Washington Times stuff before – which is why I made sure it was a poll from a pro-choice organization (and most of the polls in the other list were based on 1000 people). its confirmed at the Center for the Advancement of Women website. Notice that women were growing more religious and more conservative too. [I wont do liberal bias thang but why wasn’t this picked up in the Wash Post and NY Times?]
    The Supreme Court should have passed on Roe, it was an issue for individual states – and you are right people would have been pissed either way. I actually agree with you about it as an organizing tool for conservatives – it may be looked back on in history as liberalism’s worse defeat in this time period. I will certainly argue that in an already close election, Kerry might be President but for his support for intact D&X (partial birth) abortions. Talk about silly politics: only 600 a year; and there were two other procedures available to cover life of the mother when this would be used.
    Well, its actually always a pleasure talking to you. You are rational, argue well, and believe what you say.

  • AndyS

    jd:

    And, yes, I was aware of the huge tax cut during the Kennedy years, though I didn’t know there was one pushed through by Johnson. I’m surprised to hear you mention it. I’ll bet you think those tax cuts helped everyone but the rich, right?

    Why the surprise at my mentioning of it? After the historical levels of deficit spending by Regan and GW and the continuing trashing of Dems as the tax-and-spend party, I’m happy to do my part to set the record straight.
    Why would I think “those tax cuts helped everyone but the rich”? Because I’m a liberal?
    Here’s a link to an analysis of income and tax trends from 1979 to 2000. “(All figures in this analysis are adjusted for inflation and expressed in their dollar value in 2000.)”

    …, between 1979 and 2000, the average after-tax income of the middle fifth of the population rose 15 percent — or $5,500 — to $41,900. The average after-tax income of the bottom fifth rose 9 percent, or $1,100, to $13,700.

    Just where is this terrible tax burden so many of you are complaining about? Everyone is getting richer.
    Of course there’s this:

    Average after-tax income for the top one percent rose from $286,000 in 1979 to $507,000 in 1989 and then to $863,000 in 2000, an increase of 201 percent over the 1979-2000 period.

    And this:

    Among the top one percent of taxpayers, the percentage of income paid in federal taxes fell sharply in the 1980s and then rose part of the way back during the 1990s. Still in 2000, this high-income group paid a smaller share of its income in federal taxes than it did in 1979, amounting to a reduction of about $50,000 in the average tax bill of these upper-income households.

    All before the GW tax cuts.
    I worked like the devil to hire Americans onto my engineering team in 2000. The few who where qualified turned me down in spite of $100,000 + offers with bonuses averaging 20 to 40% and stock options. My only choice was to hire people from other parts of the world. Made for a wonderful team of Israelis, Hindus, Muslims, atheists from the PRC and Taiwan, gays and straights, women and men, young and old, liberal and conservative. We accomplished a lot and had fun doing it. But I still feel bad that the prospects for more Americans participating in such a culturely diverse, skilled team are aren’t being made better.
    Government spending in education would help. So would the promotion of science and cultural diversity. Social conservatives are, I think, holding Americans back.

  • Elwood

    tgirsh:
    “I suspect most late-term abortions are performed for one of the exempted reasons”…rape/incest/health of the mother.
    I don’t know why people choose late-term abortions, but I don’t think it would be because of rape or incest. Wouldn’t they choose to abort immediately? As for health of the mothe, This should be distinguished between physical and psychological health. The psychological health reason would likely again be something you’d think would come up early in pregnancy. Physical health then, should be the only reason still around by the 3rd tri. (cancer shows up, you need chemo or radiation, blood pressure problems, or any other number or real physical dangers) Yet, in many of these cases, an emergency C-section would alleviate the danger to the mother.
    The Repub. version exempted for the life of the mother. Maybe physical (not psychological) health of the mother (if a C-section would not be possible) would be the right compromise to get the partial birth abortion ban passed and held up in court?

  • Elwood

    tgirsh:
    “No, what it implies is that the speaker thinks that abortion is unfortunate, not wrong. I think appendectomies should be safe, legal, and rare, too; that doesn’t mean I think they’re wrong. Just that I wish they weren’t necessary. It means that I acknowledge that if I could prevent someone from needing an abortion/appendectomy in the first place, that would be preferable to them needing and having one.”
    I understand why you think needing an appendectomy is unfortunate, it’s the solution to a sickness that can kill you. But why is an abortion unfortunate? A normal pregnancy doesn’t kill you.
    I grant that your logic WOULD be a reason to support the physical health exemption from the previous post.

  • Elwood

    AndyS:
    Good numbers. As an aside, thanks for dispelling the myth that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. What these numbers show is that in the U.S. the rich get richer AND the poor get richer, but not nearly as fast as the rich. The good news for the poor is that someone just starting out today is in a better position than someone just starting out in 1979.
    I’m not going to discount all of the CBO’s work, it’s undeniable that the gap between the top 1% and the bottom has exploded. I’d love to see the numbers after the recession. Maybe the gap got smaller again. But a couple of caveats:
    The top will always be pulled upward, there is no limit. The bottom will always be held down by those just entering the job market. The ladder keeps getting more rungs, but the bottom rung always stays there. In addition, a single-owner business, like a farm my dad owned, can have a year where they prepare their taxes and it comes out that they only made $1000. That farm still supported our family just as well as the previous year when it made $30,000. The difference may have been a $29,000 piece of equipment with all the depreciation taken in one year.
    The CBO states that because the top 1% incomes grew faster in the 90’s than in the 80’s even though taxes were raised in the 90’s, this hurts the theory that overtaxing the rich hurts the economy. This discounts too many other factors such as the IT boom of the 90’s. Why not also compare the growth in income to the 70’s, before Reagan’s tax cuts?
    Also CBO says:
    “Of further interest, although those at the top of the income scale experienced rapid income growth in both the 1980s and 1990s, income growth was more widespread in the 1990s than in the 1980s, with low- and middle-income households faring better

  • esmense

    To appease the Religious Right, access to abortion may be made more and more difficult for the poor, but abortion, for those who can afford it, won’t be made illegal in this country.
    And even if by some fluke it is (although between the objections of the medical profession and middle class parents that’s extremely unlkely), it will be a hypocritical sham — because abortion will nonetheless continue to be, through a variety of dodges and accomodations, extremely common for those who can afford it (as it was pre-Roe v Wade).
    The reason for that is deeply ingrained cultural attitudes about male sexuality. In the most conservative parts of the country, a double standard may apply — one that expects chasity of girls, but encourages sexual adventurism for boys — but there is no part of the country where male chasity is (honestly) valued.
    (As a conservative Republican male co-worker quipped while watching a news report on a “virginity circle” — a group of about 6 teenage girls and 1 teenage boy pledging abstinance in a conservative Southern church — “Now there’s a young man who’s hoping to get laid.”)
    Middle class and affluent parents simply will not support social policy that limits their son’s sexuality and/or forces them into early marriage or parental responsibilities that will limit their economic futures.
    For the most part, the militant pro-life movement is dishonest, or very deluded, about what America’s “traditional” sexual mores really are.

  • jd

    tgirsch:
    Obviously, throwing more money at the public schools is not the answer, yet that is all we hear from the other side. You ask for different solutions, yet whenever our side comes with up some solutions, you say they don’t work, quoting statistics. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who can quote statistics to the contrary, even if I can’t. But supposing your statistics are correct, that voucher programs have not worked, we apparently have no hope. Public schools don’t work and alternatives don’t work.
    So i guess your solution is to keep throwing good money after bad.
    You write that maybe schools should be willing to get rid of the “distractions”, and “enforce academic standards”. First, you can’t kick kids out in a politically correct climate. Second, the biggest deterrence to enforcing academic standards is the teacher’s union, which makes it extremely difficult to kick out the substandard teachers. The statistics for actual firing of teachers is off the charts compared to firings in any other sector of the population.
    Last, you quote statistics showing that vouchers don’t work. I’m not going to argue the statistics with statistics of my own.
    But there is something a little unsettling about your argument against voucher schools. You seem to be implying that there aren’t any schools that can do a better job than public schools. Or is it just that we’re sending the vouchers to the wrong private schools? The first notion I reject out of hand. The second can certainly be fixed, can’t it?

  • Larry Lord

    FleetGuy stupidly remarked
    “”Gays have all the individual rights I do as a heterosexual – except the ones associated with the special class of marriage and family law.”
    and I asked FleetGuy — Mr. History himself — if he recalled what the Supremes said about those family-associated rights.
    Mr. FleetGuys said: “No I Don’t!”
    Well, let’s revisit Troxel v. Granville (2000):
    The liberty interest at issue in this case–the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children–is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court. More than 75 years ago, in Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399, 401, 67 L. Ed. 1042, 43 S. Ct. 625 (1923), we held that the “liberty” protected by the Due Process Clause includes the right of parents to “establish a home and bring up children” and “to control the education of their own.” Two years later, in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-535, 69 L. Ed. 1070, 45 S. Ct. 571 (1925), we again held that the “liberty of parents and guardians” includes the right “to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.” We explained in Pierce that “the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” 268 U.S. at 535. We returned to the subject in Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 88 L. Ed. 645, 64 S. Ct. 438 (1944), and again confirmed that there is a constitutional dimension to the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. “It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder.” 321 U.S. at 166.
    In subsequent cases also, we have recognized the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children. See, e.g., Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 651, 31 L. Ed. 2d 551, 92 S. Ct. 1208 (1972) (“It is plain that the interest of a parent in the companionship, care, custody, and management of his or her children ‘comes to this Court with a momentum for respect lacking when appeal is made to liberties which derive merely from shifting economic arrangements'” (citation omitted)); Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205, 232, 32 L. Ed. 2d 15, 92 S. Ct. 1526 (1972) (“The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition”); Quilloin v. Walcott, 434 U.S. 246, 255, 54 L. Ed. 2d 511, 98 S. Ct. 549 (1978) (“We have recognized on numerous occasions that the relationship between parent and child is constitutionally protected”); Parham v. J. R., 442 U.S. 584, 602, 61 L. Ed. 2d 101, 99 S. Ct. 2493 (1979) (“Our jurisprudence historically has reflected Western civilization concepts of the family as a unit with broad parental authority over minor children. Our cases have consistently followed that course”); Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 753, 71 L. Ed. 2d 599, 102 S. Ct. 1388 (1982) (discussing “the fundamental liberty interest of natural parents in the care, custody, and management of their child”); Glucksberg, supra, at 720 (“In a long line of cases, we have held that, in addition to the specific freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, the ‘liberty’ specially protected by the Due Process Clause includes the right … to direct the education and upbringing of one’s children” (citing Meyer and Pierce)). In light of this extensive precedent, it cannot now be doubted that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.
    ————————–
    The above language and the indisputable fact that gay people are “fit” parents is precisely why — absent a Constitutional amendment — states will ultimately not be permitted to discriminate against gay families.
    This history lesson free of charge (how could I charge for teaching something so freaking obvious???).

  • Larry Lord

    jd
    “Obviously, throwing more money at the public schools is not the answer, yet that is all we hear from the other side.”
    Please provide one example of someone who supports public schools saying that “the answer” to the poor performance of American schoolchildren is to “throw money” at public schools.
    Just one.
    If you can’t oblige us, jd, then cut the dissembling.
    As has already been pointed out to you, money is needed to fix things. Even if the “answer” is simply reorganization of the administrative paradigm currently in place, that will require money.
    Understand?
    Thanks.
    P.S. In case you’re also drinking Bush Co.’s koolaid with respect to privatizing social security, the same issues exist there but you’ll note that Bushies don’t like to talk about it much.

  • http://www.leanleft.com tgirsch

    JCHFleetguy:

    Brown was necessary to get rid of another great piece of “activist” (for Jim Crow) court history – Plessy v Fergussen [sic].

    How was Plessy v. Ferguson activist? As I understand it simply allowed a leglislatively-created institution (“separate but equal”) to stand. What’s “activist” about that?

    But both were based on the 14th and 15th amendment (legislative – done by a majority).

    Actually, Plessy was based on the 13th and 14th Amendments, and Brown was based solely on the 14th Amendment. Further, amendments are constitutional, not legislative, in nature. They’re done not by a majority, but by a supermajority. You need two-thirds of both houses of Congress, plus the approval of three-fourths of the states. To call an amendment “legislative” is misleading at best. Yes, you need a supermajority to get an amendment passed, but once it has been passed, it must be honored, even over the objections of a majority of Americans.

    I agree most likely wording of a law replacing Roe would be “except for the health of mother, rape, incest” – and any other poll wording is pretty lame.

    I’m not quite sure what you mean here. Can you clarify?

    I only found two with “life,rape,incest” wording: 53% (none plus yes for life of mother, etc) and Time/CNN: 57%

    You missed an NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll (44% for your cause). The Time/CNN poll dates back to 2003, and is contradicted somewhat by that NBC News poll. For polls taken this year, that leaves just the LA Times poll from January.
    I think one of the best indicators, however, of the pro-life/pro-choice mindset is the ABC News/Washington Post poll. Although it doesn’t use your “rape/incest/life” wording, it does the best breakdown into categories (always legal / usually legal / usually illegal / always illegal). It also has results dating back to 1996, so you can see trends. If you take the first two categories as “pro-choice” and the last two as “pro-life,” it’s hard to argue that the pro-life movement is gaining any real momentum. In 1996, 56-58% of Americans were “pro-choice.” By 2005, that number is still 56%. Any difference is within the margin of error. The lowest it ever was in that poll, as I said, was 49% (twice in 2001), and the next lowest was 53% (once in 2001, and once in late 2000).
    Further, in the Fox News poll taken nine times from 1999 to the present, people who considered themselves “pro-life” outnumbered their pro-choice counterparts only three times, and only once since 2000. The most recent poll in this case shows a 5% drop in people who self-identify as pro-life, coupled with a 3% gain in those who consider themselves pro-choice.
    Similarly, in a Gallup poll most recently taken early this month, and taken 19 times dating back to 1996, people who self-identified as “pro-life” never outnumbered their “pro-choice” counterparts. “Pro-choice” won out on average by 6.6% (4% over the last three years).
    Summation: You have to take a highly selective reading of the polls to think that anything approaching a majority of Americans is “pro-life” (even moderately), or that the pro-life movement is gaining any momentum in the court of public opinion.

    I said government was to stand aside and allow free flow of ideas (including religion) unless it harmed the public; and then the legislatures, not the courts, should handle it.

    Well, a couple of things here. First, we’re obviously going to disagree on what “harms the public.” Second, what happens if the legislature simply fails to “handle it?” If the courts don’t have the ability to enforce the guarantees made by the constitution, then those guarantees ultimately become toothless. This is why Jefferson was so wrong in his ranting against Marbury. The judiciary is needed as a check on the legislative and executive, especially when both are controlled by the same party. And the judiciary is ideally suited to be that check, since their appointments are permanent and they are thus more immune to short-term political winds.

    The Supreme Court should have passed on Roe

    How would this have helped? The district court by then had already ruled Texas’ laws unconstitutional. Passing on the case would have allowed that ruling to stand, still angering anti-abortion folks. Anyway, constitutionality isn’t supposed to be of varying interpretation from one state to the next.

    I will certainly argue that in an already close election, Kerry might be President but for his support for intact D&X (partial birth) abortions.

    Here I disagree. The abortion issue didn’t sink Kerry, the gay marriage issue did. And there was likely no position Kerry could have taken that would have prevented this. Rove’s strategy of getting anti-gay-marriage referenda on the ballots in swing states paid off brilliantly — it brought the ultra-conservative base to the polls in disproportionate numbers. And actually, if you look at Rove’s history, he’s been far more likely to beat the anti-gay drum to great effect than the anti-abortion drum. The anti-gay drum was instrumental in unseating Ann Richards in Texas in 1994, it helped derail John McCain in South Carolina in 2000, and it helped W in 2004.

    You are rational, argue well, and believe what you say.

    Thank you. And likewise, you don’t get too hot-headed or let insults poison the well of debate, and I appreciate that, even if we often disagree about conclusions.

  • Gone At Last

    A few things:
    1) The loophole through which most affluent women got abortions pre-Roe was right there in the provision that they could only be done “to preserve the health of the mother.” Typically, this determination was made by some hospital board, or by finding two or more doctors willing to sign off that this was the case.
    If you had a little money, it was easy to pay the right doctors, or make a modest donation to the hospital’s endowment fund, and get the proper approvals for a “therapeutic abortion.” Happened all the time — several times a week, in fact, in the small rural hospital where I volunteered as a teen. Those without the money were at the mercy of their doctors — who would occasionally take pity on them, but more usually force them to “lie in the bed they made.” The hypocrisy and moralizing were staggering.
    2) Clinton’s statement about making abortion “rare” was a direct jab at the religious authoritarians who not only oppose abortion, but also want to restrict access to contraception as well. Where women can’t get contraception, abortion becomes a frequent (and desperate) necessity. If you want to keep it “rare,” you have to give them the means to prevent the pregnancies in the first place. “You can’t have it both ways” was the subtext of his message.
    3) Abortion has never been successfully banned anywhere in the world by any culture since Babylonia. It’s extreme hubris to for the authoritarian right to think they’re going to ban it now. How are you going to enforce this ban? Have the police monitor our periods? Inspect the contents of our toilets and “approve” our miscarriages? Arrest women who are suspected of losing their pregnancies on purpose? Get real.
    It’s interesting that anti-choicers are quick to call it “murder,” but have yet to seriously suggest that women be jailed or executed for this crime. It shows that they don’t really believe what they’re saying, either.
    Which is a good thing, because one in three American women will have an abortion in her lifetime. The odds are overwhelming that someone in your own family has made, or will make, this decision. Given the sheer ubiquity of the procedure, anyone looking ahead to a permanent federal ban on it is dreaming — at least, as long as there’s even a shred of democratic process left.

  • http://www.leanleft.com tgirsch

    Elwood:

    I don’t know why people choose late-term abortions, but I don’t think it would be because of rape or incest.

    I’d agree. I suspect that probably 75% or more of late-term abortions (which themselves only make up about 1% of all abortions in America, depending on how you define “late-term”) are obtained because of risks to the physical health of the woman, or because of problems with the fetus (e.g., serious deformities, unlikely to survive, etc.). That’s just a gut feeling, because I don’t have any numbers, so I could be way wrong. I actually wish someone would come up with some, so we could have a more informed debate. I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to banning abortions after 20 weeks, given appropriate exceptions for the life/health of the woman and/or fetus.

    The psychological health reason would likely again be something you’d think would come up early in pregnancy.

    Not necessarily. Why do you think this?

    The Repub. version exempted for the life of the mother.

    Life, but not health. Also, the ban technically didn’t prohibit late-term abortions; it banned a specific procedure often used for those abortions. Late-term abortions performed using a different procedure would have remained legal.

    Maybe physical (not psychological) health of the mother (if a C-section would not be possible) would be the right compromise to get the partial birth abortion ban passed and held up in court?

    Maybe so, although I think you’d still have to allow it in cases of extremely deformed fetuses. An example case.

    I understand why you think needing an appendectomy is unfortunate, it’s the solution to a sickness that can kill you.

    Fine. Substitute having your tonsils removed, or having to have surgery to repair a broken bone. Neither of these is likely to threaten your life, but you’d rather not have either.

    But why is an abortion unfortunate?

    Because it means that someone who does not wish to be pregnant has become pregnant; or that someone who wants to have a baby seriously risks injury or death by carrying one. Why wouldn’t one view these as unfortunate circumstances?

    What these numbers show is that in the U.S. the rich get richer AND the poor get richer, but not nearly as fast as the rich.

    They don’t show this at all. You’d have to index those numbers against increases in cost-of-living to figure out if that’s true. From 1979-2000, the average after-tax income of the bottom fifth (let’s call them “the poor” for these purposes, although that’s not entirely accurate) increased by 8.7%. Sounds nice. But just from 1995 (the oldest numbers I could find) to 2000, the price of gasoline went up by almost 14%. White bread went up over 18%. Chicken also 18%. Eggs over 10%. From 1995 to 1997 (also the only numbers I could find), the cost of a gallon of milk increased by nearly 16%. (source) Electricity and natural gas were the only areas I found where the gains in bottom-fifth income weren’t outpaced by the increase in consumer prices.
    So even though people with lower incomes have more after-tax income in terms of absolute dollars, those dollars don’t go anywhere near as far as they used to.
    The other thing that the numbers show is that lower-income people are getting a smaller and smaller share of the total wealth of the country. In 1979, the bottom 40% of Americans had 19.1% of the income. By 2000, that was down to 14.6%, a decrease of about 30%.

    If the poor WERE getting poorer, then the widening gap would be a much bigger concern to me.

    Actually, they are. You’re just reading the numbers wrong. :)
    jd:

    Obviously, throwing more money at the public schools is not the answer, yet that is all we hear from the other side.

    I’m not so sure that’s so obvious. By and large, improving education can be accomplished by throwing more money at it. You just have to throw enough. :) In 2002-03 (latest numbers I could find), the top five states in terms of per-pupil education spending were New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Delaware. They currently rank 6th, 2nd, 4th, 1st, and 27th, respectively, on the smart state rankings. Utah , Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi made up the bottom five in per-pupil spending, and ranked 28th, 48th, 44th, 36th, and 47th on the smart state rankings. The correlation between spending and results seems pretty strong. (To be fair, the results are skewed somewhat, because the per-pupil spending is one of 21 factors considered in the smart state rankings.)
    Also, it’s not like the United States spends gobs of money on education. The US ranks 47th in education spending as a percentage of GDP.
    Of course, it also doesn’t help when you have conservatives trying to chase well-established science (e.g. evolution) out of the science classroom.

    But there is something a little unsettling about your argument against voucher schools. You seem to be implying that there aren’t any schools that can do a better job than public schools.

    No, what I’m implying (stating, in fact) is that “broken schools” aren’t really the problem. Private schools generally have better average GPAs and SAT scores than public schools, but that’s not necessarily because they’re doing a “better job” educating students. It’s because they can pick and choose their students. Of course, they’re going to have good scores, when they can reject anyone who’s unlikely to get such scores. It’s not that the teachers are better, or the schools are better, it’s that the students are better, and they’re better coming in.
    The big problem I see in the public school debate is that the worst public schools are routinely held up as if they’re typical, but that’s simply not the case. One of the great conservative “wins” of the last couple of decades is successfully propagating the myth that the public schools are “failing.” It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because if people believe the schools are failing, they’re less willing to spend money on them (“why throw good money after bad”) and as less money is spent on schools, they actually do start to decline.
    Except that the schools aren’t failing. From 1991 to 2002, college readiness among public high school graduates improved from 25% to 34% (overall graduation rates remained flat during the same period). And something like 90% of Harvard attendess were educated in public schools (wish I could find the numbers).
    This isn’t to say that the public education system isn’t without problems. It has many, and a lot of them are born of faulty perceptions about the schools themselves. Most of them have to do with schools in poorer cities/states/neighborhoods, and there’s very little that I can see that privatization can do to help improve the situation there.

  • Larry Lord

    Gone At Last attempts to bring the fundamentalists back down to planet earth. Will he/she succeed?
    Not likely.
    But I appreciate the effort.

  • JCHFleetguy

    tgirsch,
    Let me say that rather than standing very close (and politely) next to a fence we are on opposite sides of – I really dont disagree with much of what you said: A couple of touchups

    How was Plessy v. Ferguson activist? As I understand it simply allowed a leglislatively-created institution (“separate but equal”) to stand.

    We come through reconstruction (blacks voting, elected to southern legislatures, some talk about actual land reform) and a deal is cut (remember I am ex-radical) to remove federal troops, and support, for reconstruction – and allow the ex-slaveholders to retake the south (tenant farming, poll taxes, etc). The counter-revolution was fairly severe (KKK, lynchings, separate facilities). Part of what they had to get around was equal protection guaranteed by the post-civil war amendments (BTW – i meant legislative in the since of passed by elected representatives at state and federal level, not enacted by judges). I’ll call Plessy “activist” (or “reactivist” maybe) because I do not believe the court for an instance believed “separate” could ever be “equal” in the post-reconstruction south. They put the final stamp on reaction. If they wished to support the Constitution, they would have said this violated equal protection – separate but equal was pure construction by the court.
    Poll wording: Thought I was agreeing with you. Down the road no abortion law is going to fail to take into account risk to the mother (self-defense) for sure; and probably rape and incest (500 per year in US – it would be foolish to argue over ultimately). Even health of the child (downs etc) would only leave 80,000 abortions a year instead of 1,300,000. All of this would jibe with my moral undercurrent on this issue. I think you are right: “more restrictive, less restrictive, etc” are all too fuzzy to mean anything. So the polls that said made it clear what abortions would be allowed seem best. As to trends, we will see in 10 years I guess.
    Roe v Wade: Constitutionality may vary from state to state – for instance marriage is ruled by the states. Only in offering the constitutional coverage of privacy did they make it a federal issue. They could have told the district court that abortion, like marriage, was controlled by the states and their constitutions.
    Kerry: I think it is hard in that close of an election not to allow that a number of “hot” issues could have swung the election. Oregon, for one, backed Kerry and voted for a Marriage Amendment at the same time. My perception after his waffle on partial birth was that he caved to pro-choice movement on something he had serious reservations about. I was so anti-Bush because of Iraq that this wasn’t enough to push me over any edges (and again I agreed with Kerry that the national Marriage amendment was just wrong). There are many folks in my circle who consider it impossible to vote democratic as long as they appear to “not have met an abortion they didn’t like”, and Kerry’s support for Partial Birth certainly made it seem like that again. Now Reid has shown leadership in the Senate, and he’s pro-life – so a Democrat I might vote for in a heartbeat is probably DOA at the Democratic Convention.
    Gone at Last
    Any problem for you that 47% of abortions are for women who have had one before?
    Larry
    Thanks I appreciate the light with a minimum of heat. I agree – there will be no problem with gay couples taking care of their families constitutionally. Whether they are married or not.

  • jd

    tgirsch:
    Whoa!! Isn’t that kind of a major news flash–our public schools are not failing? I can hear the left now: “…shhhh, don’t say that. How can we continue to ask for more money if we say our schools are not failing?”
    Really. I think many people would be surprised at your discovery. Especially the rest of the world that claims that the US is so far behind in reading and math skills.
    There’s some inconsistency here. We constantly need to spend more money. Bush and Ted Kennedy put through the biggest education bill in history, and that was still not enough. Our schools are failing because we’re not spending enough, but yet our schools are not really failing…AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!
    I don’t understand.
    And now you’ve also confirmed that when adjusted for statistical anomalies, private schools don’t really do a better job of education. You are full of news. I’m just not sure how much common sense you have.
    Actually, your assessment of public schools sounds quite reasonable. Really. So why are we constantly hearing about our education system being in crisis? And if you blame this on conservative media I’m going to ban you from my reading list.

  • AndyS

    tgirsch, you said, “So even though people with lower incomes have more after-tax income in terms of absolute dollars, those dollars don’t go anywhere near as far as they used to.”
    Actually, no. Those are constant, inflation-adjusted figures, as I tried to highlight: “(All figures in this analysis are adjusted for inflation and expressed in their dollar value in 2000.)”
    But I agree with you here: “The other thing that the numbers show is that lower-income people are getting a smaller and smaller share of the total wealth of the country.”
    And I think everyone else sees this too. One distinction between liberals and conservatives is that liberals responsed to this fact by saying it’s not a good thing while conservatives’ opinions range from “don’t care” to “this is the way it’s supposed to work.” I think the conservative views are short sighted when not just plain mean-spirited.
    Poverty, disparate poverty, remains a reality in spite of the overall increase in wealth.
    The well-used case of the financially poor 14 year old who gets pregnant is no less important for being repeatedly mentioned. The child of that girl has little chance to complete on a level-playing field with the child of the middle class let alone the upper. I cannot understand how providing public assistance to someone in these circumstance can be painted as “maintaining the cycle of poverty.” Can we improve government progams? Of course. Show me any program in business, industry, or government that cannot be improved.
    The notion that “redistribution of wealth” is somehow inherently bad or even a liberal idea makes no sense — wealth is created and changes hands constantly. Liberals and conservatives simply advocate different rule sets. By pushing not just the status quo but even less progressive taxation, conservatives encourage the growing disparity of income (and with the huge increase in public debt under their watch roundly violate one of their historical principles).
    Some liberals like me see not only a moral crime in not addressing the needs of the less fortunate when so many others have so much wealth, but many practical reasons to do so. As a nation we will all be better off with a healthier, smarter, more skilled population. Businesses will benefit, we will be more able to compete in the world. No one wants to eliminate the upper class. I would, however, like to see more public spending on cops and education where they are needed than to see someone purchase another 8,000 sq ft mansion or buy their 5th car or 2nd private plane.
    Of course it is not wealth but the disparity wealth that correlates with political power. The increasing concentration of political power in fewer and fewer hands should worry everyone whether liberal or conservative.

  • Larry Lord

    FleetGuy
    “I agree – there will be no problem with gay couples taking care of their families constitutionally. Whether they are married or not.”
    Who are agreeing with? Not me, obviously. But you go right ahead and say so — not exactly honest of you, is it?
    There is a problem with married gay couples taking care of their families which is that these couples are denied rights given to to the families of married heterosexuals. Or, if you want to play li’l word games like so many so-called Christians are taught to do, substitute “civil unions” in lieu of marriage. The same objections apply.
    You’ll see. There’s only one way solution to the inequity and the Supremes will get there if the Constitution isn’t amended first. And there isn’t a chance of the latter happening.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Larry,
    I do not think the status of marriage gives me any advantages that cannot be had some other way.
    You are welcome to list what rights and benefits you believe I have because I’m married (as opposed to having my wife be my domestic partner) – and we can look at whether those benefits are readily available elsewhere. Maybe I am unaware of what marriage does for me.
    It is interesting that in the 1st test of the Marriage Acts – the supremes dumped it for the reason you said. It barred gays from equal access, and the right to get equal access in the future. They didn’t dump it because they couldn’t say they were married.
    So, at this point you are far from proving I am being dishonest.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Larry
    Since most of these issues are governed by state law – I live in Oregon. That should help your research.

  • Gone At Last

    This is a very basic and partial list of rights conferred by marriage in almost all states. There are plenty of others (I’ve seen lists that ran to 200+ items), but many of those items are variable by state (and there are some large general differences between common-law and community property states).
    Marriage entails many rights and benefits. In most states, spouses are accorded the right to:
    — file joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities
    –create a “family partnership” under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members (this will often lower the total tax on the income)
    –create a marital life estate trust
    –receive spouse’s and dependents’ Social Security, disability, unemployment, veterans’, pension and public assistance benefits
    receive a share of your deceased spouse’s estate under intestate succession laws
    –claim an estate tax marital deduction
    –sue a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium
    –sue a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these lawsuits are available in only a few states)
    –receive family rates for insurance
    –avoid the deportation of a non-citizen spouse
    –enter hospital intensive care units, jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family
    –live in neighborhoods zoned for “families only”
    –make medical decisions about your spouse in the event of disability, and
    –claim the marital communications privilege, which means a court can’t force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
    How does it threaten marriage for gay couples to have any of these same rights?

  • Larry Lord

    FleetGuy
    “So, at this point you are far from proving I am being dishonest.”
    On the contrary, you’ve just dug your hole deeper. We do not agree.
    You seem to be making some sort of “separate but equal” argument. Is that accurate? You believe that gay married couples can contract for every right and benefit that is granted so what’s the problem? Is that how it goes?
    And let’s be clear just in case you are being an idiot about this: gay people can get married. I can marry my cat. I can marry two gay people. Heck, I can marry two gay people and three heterosexuals to each other. As a matter of fact — BOINGLABOING!!! I just married you to Joe Carter. God bless you — you two make a great same-sex couple. You are forever enjoined by my decree.
    The issue is government recognition and granting of equal rights to married people.
    On what rational basis (the minimum standard) should gay families be denied these rights — primary fundamental rights according to the Supremes?
    No one on this blog has ever provided a serious answer to this simple question.
    Go ahead, FleetGuy — make my day.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Gone at Last,
    I have no problem with unmarried couples (gay or straight) having any of these rights. Do you have a problem with them having them if they are not called married i.e. domestic partnerships?

  • Gone At Last

    Personally, I prefer “civil unions,” since that is in effect what all U.S. marriages legally are. Even for heterosexuals, marriage is, at its root, a civil contract. It legally begins when you file the completed license at the county courthouse — and ends at that same courthouse with a judge’s decree that the contract is dissolved.
    The religious part is a whole separate issue. I don’t believe anybody’s suggesting that all churches be required to bless unions that they don’t approve of. Freedom of religion should always ensure the right of churches to choose whom they will and will not grant wedding services to. This freedom to discriminate is a direct consequence of the fact that wedding vows, in and of themselves, are not legally binding. (If they were, it would open a very ugly can of worms indeed.)
    I happen to live in a jurisdiction where gay marriage is completely legal — and attend a church that marries several gay couples a week. This has been going on for nearly a year now. Still, the minister confirms for me that our support for gay couples has not, to her knowledge, put undue strain on even a single straight marriage among the 300 or so in our community. Nor has the rate of bestiality or incest been noticeably higher.
    If the link between gay marriage and the End Of The World As We Know It was as clear as some evangelicals seem to think it is, you’d think we’d be noticing the negative effects by now. But so far, so good, I guess…

  • JCHFleetguy

    On what rational basis (the minimum standard) should gay families be denied these rights — primary fundamental rights according to the Supremes?

    Marriage isnt a primary fundamental right yet according to the Supremes – marriage has always been exclusively governed by state constitution. The case you quoted was about parental/guardian rights – not marriage. There is no bar in Oregon (at least) to me naming a male as the joint guardian of my child. My step-daughter’s biological father (they were never married) would have absolute rights over my step-daughter should my wife die (despite never having been married) – unless I adopted her.
    And, at least in those areas governed by the state, the legal work is done here:

    Lambda Legal Defense . . .said Thursday that an Oregon appellate court decision ordering that employment benefits be given to both married and same-sex couples is historic, and has great potential to advance a big array of lesbian and gay civil rights in the state . . . The court said that the state discriminates against gay people when it uses marital status to determine which workers are entitled to government-controlled protections and benefits . . . This ruling should help us stop anti-gay discrimination in other contexts — from family law to the right to make medical decisions for a partner who is incapacitated . . . We now have an important new tool to challenge the state any time its use of marital status puts lesbians and gay men at a disadvantage . . .Court of Appeals of the State of Oregon ruled . . . that extending important employment benefits like health coverage only to married state employees is unfair to lesbian and gay workers who cannot legally marry and violates the Oregon Constitution’s “equal privileges and immunities” clause.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Gone, and Larry
    I have no problem with civil unions. CS Lewis said this:

    . . .the other is the quite different question-how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mahommedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not

    This is about divorce; but I have no problem extending this logic. Churches today are establishing “covenant marriages” to distinguish this way. However it works, the political/social solution may be two-tiered.

  • Larry Lord

    FleetGuy
    “Do you have a problem with them having them if they are not called married i.e. domestic partnerships?”
    What are you proposing? Making it illegal to refer to gay marriages as such?
    I’ll call it whatever I want. So will gay people. So will everyone else. Get it?

  • Larry Lord

    FG
    “Marriage isnt a primary fundamental right yet according to the Supremes – marriage has always been exclusively governed by state constitution.”
    What is governed by the state is recognition of the marriage and granting of benefits to married people.
    Can a state ban all of its citizens from getting married, constitutionally? According to your statement above, that would seem theoretically possible.
    That’s because your statement is wrong.
    I can marry whoever I want, like my cat and my wife. But the state grants the benefits only to the relationship between myself and my wife.
    Some churches place added restrictions on the marriage — so much for exclusive governance by the state constitution.
    Let’s be articulate.
    “The case you quoted was about parental/guardian rights – not marriage.”
    Are both persons in a hetero marriage automatically the legal guardians of their children when their children are born? What about gay people?

  • JCHFleetguy

    Larry
    Who’s everyone? (its so hard taking to you wingnuts). 2/3 of this state (one of the few that voted for Kerry – one of the most liberal in the country) are opposed to Gay Marriage – and voted that way. What will they call a Civil Union? Get it?

  • Gone At Last

    Great Lewis quote — made all the greater by the fact that this is *precisely* the system that obtains in the U.S. right now.
    I tried to make the distinction between the civil contract of marriage and the religious bond of matrimony in the above post, but obviously did not do it with the clarity Lewis did. Yet that’s what I was getting at.
    Gay folk seem to be asking for the right to go down to the county courthouse and take out the same civil marriage license we hets get, and thus gain all the legal, economic, medical, and social benefits that accrue to all holders of those licenses.
    All over the country, courts are looking at this demand for civil parity, and finding no good reason to deny it.
    Gay folk do NOT seem to be asking for the right to stand up in your very own fundie church, descrate your altar, and insist that your pastor administer the vows, whether he wants to or not. In Lewis’ metaphor, that would be forcing you to drink the wine. I think everyone who thinks two minutes about this issue understands that — with the possible exception of most evanglicals. You will (and should) always retain for yourself the right to define what “marriage” means to members of your congregation.
    Thanks to the free marketplace of ideas, the world is already full of people who would be happy to hear vows and sign licenses for gay couples, even if your church won’t. Liberal ministers like mine, maybe. Or the groom’s Aunt Edna, who happens to be a notary down at the bank. They can take a cruise, and ask the sea captain; or head to Reno and find the wedding chapel with the Elvis impersonators.
    It’s a simple matter to give these people the legal protections they deserve — and still leave you, your church, and your definition of marriage intact and well out of the way.

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  • Larry Lord

    FleetGuy
    “Who’s everyone? (its so hard taking to you wingnuts). 2/3 of this state (one of the few that voted for Kerry – one of the most liberal in the country) are opposed to Gay Marriage – and voted that way. What will they call a Civil Union? Get it?”
    FleetGuy, wake up. When gays are allowed to marry (oops, I mean when gays who are married are granted civil union status which are equivalent legally marriage — as they must be in order to be constitutional) people will refer to them as “married”.
    Just like people already do. I refer to my unmarried gay friends who have been living together for years as married! Same with my heterosexual friends who have lived together forever and are not married.
    Does that offend you? I suppose it must. Do I care? Not a bit. Your problem.
    You see, FleetGuy, time marches forward. And people who stand in the way are trampled. People who insist that gay people are abnormal and undeserving of society’s graces are going to be trampled.
    Sure, you can always join the skinheads or wear a sheet if that makes you happy. But you’ll be treated with contempt.
    Do you doubt me? Well, you’re in good company with the bigots who believed that blacks and whites shouldn’t have sex with each other (scroll up for the interesting Christian laws re this subject).

  • Larry Lord

    We can always dovetail your bogus “redefining marriage” argument with the fact that members of an extreme Christian cult are working very hard to redefine “science” as it is taught to schoolchildren.
    Can you articulate a distinction between the terms “marriage” and “science” which shows why the attempt to “redefine” the latter term is doomed to failure?
    Just as a “devil’s advocate.” Can you do that, FleetGuy? I’m guessing not.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Larry,
    I am not the legal guardian of a child I am not the biological parent of unless I am made that. And the biological parents always have rights until taken away. And a straight couple who adopts are not both guardians because they are married – they both must sign papers separately. Are both members of a gay couple the biological parents? I think this is a problem for medical science, not the courts. Silly
    Do you really want to bring the cat thing into this discussion? REALLY TACKY CONSIDERING SOME OF THE STUFF THAT HAS BEEN SAID ON THIS ISSUE NATIONALLY. But if you want to say your married to your cat, or your exercise bike – go ahead. I think legal recognition and protection is the ONLY ISSUE AT HAND. [Watch out for gays with ropes now Larry]. Real silly
    The “nobody can get married” strawman – well,we will wait to see what the Supreme Court does when a state outlaws marriage. Silly
    Gone at Last (shouldnt put this second cause Larry hardly deserved an answer)
    We agree. I have said all along (or at least implied) that the issue is the word “Marriage” – not the civil rights associated. I would like to be able to get my medical benefits to cover my dependent mother-in-law living with me. I cant. I have never met a gay couple who wouldn’t consider a civil union that awarded the same protection an issue. I think that will rapidly come to a large number of states. The Supreme’s have already said that cannot be blocked.
    Regretfully, I do not think Larry and his cat will get far though – I think they specified consenting adult humans.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Larry,
    Remember – you and I are done on ID/Evolution. I think your cat reference finishes us here for legal rights for different sexual orientations. Oh, and the “do gay couples automatically have same rights as biological parents?” – (wow so weird) finishs us on parental rights. (But you can call yourself the parent of your cat if you want)
    To recap we are done on Gay Marriage, Parental rights, and ID/Evolution. Next topic. [I have to start a list]

  • JCHFleetguy

    Oh Larry sorry
    Best of luck to you and Fluffy

  • Larry Lord

    FleetGuy
    Ah, another coward. What a surprise.
    Keep running — maybe you’ll catch up to Mr. Ed and some of the other dissemblers.
    “And a straight couple who adopts are not both guardians because they are married – they both must sign papers separately.”
    Do you suppose that legally married couples are given greater preference for adoption than unmarried couples, FleetGuy? Take a guess. Take a guess as to the situation in, say, Florida or Alabama.
    “Regretfully, I do not think Larry and his cat will get far though”
    Did I say that I wanted legal recognition of my marriage to my cat? Or that I deserved it?
    Nope.
    I just wanted to let you know that your attempts to dictate who we refer to as “married” or not are pointless and doomed to failure (because they’re pointless).
    I just married my jar of peanut butter. I guess that’s another terrible blow to your own “marriage.” Too bad you feel that way. Perhaps you should find a new preacher that won’t get you so hung up on petty baloney.
    Are you still upset that we refer to test-tube “babies” as “children”? What a terrible affront to traditional families and their traditional children everywhere. The entire family unit has been under assault ever since the first test tube so-called “baby” was born. We should call them “artificials”. They can some of the same rights as traditional children but we need to protect the sanctity of traditional insemination.
    Sounds stupid, doesn’t it FleetGuy?
    You know it but you ain’t grown up enough to admit it.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Larry,
    Slightly different subject so I’ll comment:

    What a terrible affront to traditional families and their traditional children everywhere. The entire family unit has been under assault ever since the first test tube so-called “baby” was born. We should call them “artificials”. They can some of the same rights as traditional children but we need to protect the sanctity of traditional insemination.

    I am surprised you would take this position. Do you have any evidence of the decline in family values since artificial insemination began? I have already posted that I have no problem with this – but again I am really surprised you do. Have you been campaigning on this for long?

  • Kevin W

    JCH et al,
    You’re wasting your time with LL, mumon and others. When will you realize that? How many quotes from him do you need? We’re all just a bunch of uneducated, unenlightened, unscientific, 3rd century, hypocritical, racist, homophobic non-people who are going to get “trampled”, so we may as well put on white sheets. Those from this thread alone.
    What kind of rational discourse do you expect from people like that?

  • JCHFleetguy

    Kevin,
    I think putting Larry Load and mumon in the same class is so unfair to mumon. Can you imagine a blog Larry would run?
    I ignore 80% (and rising) of what Larry says – but I have actually gotten him to post real information once.
    And you have to love a guy so open about his bestiality

  • windbag

    “You’re wasting your time with LL, mumon and others. ”
    “What kind of rational discourse do you expect from people like that?”
    All I’ve ever seen here from evangelicals is the dissembling use of terms like “rationalism” and “naturalism” and a bunch of other Orwellian concocted crap, to dismantle all reasoned understanding that is presumed to threaten faith, with the ultimate aim of implementing that faith as public policy imperatives. Plain and simple. Yet no evangelical here has the honesty to A) admit that, rountinely, and B)subject this underlying motivation to any sort of honest scrutiny. Like wringing water from a stone, it ain’t going to happen, no matter how much patience and time is spent. You all are on a mission, and I sense that any kindness or feigned “consensus” is no more than a ruse to soften up the “secularist,” “naturalists,” or whatever other labelled individual wastes his or her time trying to honestly question the motivations and implications of contemporary evangelical christianity’s impacts on the world.
    So, I, for one, am done with this protracted exercise in futility that passes for “conversation” here. It consistently reads like a hopelessly mis-informed home-schooling session and is an embarassment to the enlightenment.
    I’ll see you all in court, and at the ballot box.

  • Kevin W

    Thanks for making my point for me. And, funny how the liberals so reflexively run to the courts.
    Then again, given their consistently dreadful showing at the ballot box, who can blame them?

  • JCHFleetguy

    Windbag
    That is really so much crap:

    with the ultimate aim of implementing that faith as public policy imperatives.

    A)admit that, rountinely: In what sense: personally I (like you – if you have nothing you would call “faith”, then your view of right and wrong) am attempting to implement my faith in public policy. If you mean I want a theocracy – I posted this in this thread:

    . . .the other is the quite different question-how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mahommedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not

    This is about divorce; but I have no problem extending this logic. Churches today are establishing “covenant marriages” to distinguish this way. However it works, the political/social solution may be two-tiered.

    I, and many others, have said we have no desire to institute a theocracy – and if you have some belief that we are keeping that a secret I cannot help your paranoia.
    B)subject this underlying motivation to any sort of honest scrutiny.a)The personal one, no. It is incumbant upon responsible citizens in a democracy to clearly voice their opinions and vote their conscience. The theocracy motivation doesn’t exist with me – so I cannot open that to your honest scrutiny.
    As to all that underlying philosophical “stuff” -religion is about philosophy; and generally speaking this is a philosophy blog – not a political blog. We talk ourselves in circles politically if we do not understand where we stand on the role of government, religion, science. These are all general philosophical questions that help posit the questions correctly before asking “What should happen in Kansas?”(I never could have cared less); “What about the nuclear option?”(Again, political showboating on both sides). You probably are indeed in the wrong place if you want to take the “Christian Right” to task.

  • Elwood

    Larry & Gone (and Patrick if you’re out there):
    To be honest, this IS about more than just hetero vs. same-sex marriage. Yes, we have discriminated in favor of traditional marrieds and against every other person in America, whether gay or straight, all along now. The real secular arena question might be, why have we done that and should we continue?
    I was single once and I felt it. In addition to the things you listed that favor married couples over gay couples or unmarried hetero couples, single people are discriminated against in everything from car insurance rates to the cost of the fish fry at the VFW. Now, singles groups are forming to work against this discrimination. http://www.unmarriedamerica.org is a pretty moderate one that I’ve seen. There are other more extreme cases that want to strip away all the tax benefits, Social Security death benefits, etc. that exist for marrieds today.
    Larry brought up his cat, so I’ll mention that ineffective argument too. I think it’s stupid to for traditional marriage advocates to bring up beastiality because it’s so easy to dismiss the person as being unreasonable.
    I agree that most SSM advocates do NOT have ulterior motives of bringing on polygamy and of course not beastiality. But I worry about unintended consequences.
    You can’t deny that there ARE people out there who want polygamy to be okay. I’ve seen ABC news programs report on polygamy (unsanctioned) in America around Nevada and Utah. These people would likely love to stop being hassled by the fuzz.
    Once you defeat every argument against gay marriage and for keeping it as it has always been 1 man 1 woman (religious reasons, societal reasons, majority is against it, etc.), then what argument will you use to deny the polygamist? You’ve shot down every reason against it except for the number 2. Why is 2 the magic number? Who decided that? Even in the Bible, Hebrew kings had multiple wives. Why should it be illegal?
    I could make the argument that polygamy would be good for the institution of marriage and would reduce divorces: why force a man to choose between his wife and his mistress? Why not let him marry both? The movie Casablanca could be remade with an alternate ending.
    There is no reason to go beyond human relationships in the argument. But unless you can tell me what argument you make to the Utah fellow who wants the government to sanction his arrangement, then the slippery slope argument holds water on this issue.
    I have posed this to other SSM advocates and never gotten an answer, just a dismissal that it’s not what they are after. Okay, I believe you. You, like me, want to discriminate against polygamists. How are we going to justify it?

  • Elwood

    GoneAtLast: “If the link between gay marriage and the End Of The World As We Know It was as clear as some evangelicals seem to think it is, you’d think we’d be noticing the negative effects by now. But so far, so good, I guess…”
    Why do pro-SSM people say this? I would think it would be rather obvious that the detriment to marriage that opponents to SSM talk about is not to our individual marriages and not something you see instantly. It’s a generational thing whose full effects won’t be seen for decades. However, if the singles advocacy groups that I mentioned have their way, then it WILL affect my own marriage in terms of what benefits we currently enjoy being taken away. Do you doubt those people will use new gay benefits in their argument? They already do. See the website in the previous post. One of their beefs is that companies give health benefits to gay couples, even though they’re not married, but a single person doesn’t get those same fringe benefits. They are right. Marrieds do get a better deal in many ways. Is that right or wrong?
    Does that begin to give you a picture of why we fear the ‘assault’ on marriage?

  • Larry Lord

    FleetGuy
    “I am surprised you would take this position. Do you have any evidence of the decline in family values since artificial insemination began?”
    Family values? Why don’t you define what “family values” are — in plain unambiguous articulate English with evidence supporting your position — and then I can begin answering your strange question.
    I’ll look forward to hearing you explain how any other definition of marriage besides The One That FleetGuy approves impacts “family values”. That is the obvious implication of your question, FleetGuy (in case you’re so stupid that you don’t realize that).
    Or is your question a non-sequitur, FleetGuy? An attempt to change the subject?
    That would be a reasonable reaction of a coward who is getting called on his garbage.
    In any event, you are hardly qualified to teach me about “family values”. You can’t even tell the difference between a lying crank trying to peddle religion in public schools and universally recognized scientific facts!!
    If your judgment about such straightforward issues is that poor, who really cares what you think about a nebulous and vague concept such as “family values”?
    If you have kids, I pity them because they’ll have to learn the hard way that their dad was reciting garbage to them when he pretended that “ID theory” was science. What do I mean by the “hard way”? I mean when they get booted out of my office because I don’t want to waste any more time interviewing them for a job that requires that they understand the difference between reality and their religious beliefs.

  • Larry Lord

    FLeetGuy
    “We talk ourselves in circles politically if we do not understand where we stand on the role of government, religion, science. ”
    Where do you stand on gravity, FleetGuy? Do you really believe that nonsense?
    I think it must be Ghanesh’s trunk sucking us down to earth.
    Seriously, going around in “circles” is just what religious extremists want everyone to be doing. Then they’ll step in and say “Are you tired of going around in circles? Why, all you need to do is accept Jesus into your heart and start reciting these scripts and you never need to question your bigoted backwards views about gay people, embryoes, or science again!”
    Just lovely.

  • Larry Lord

    Elmwood
    “I could make the argument that polygamy would be good for the institution of marriage and would reduce divorces: why force a man to choose between his wife and his mistress? Why not let him marry both? The movie Casablanca could be remade with an alternate ending.”
    That may be the lamest argument I ever heard, Elmwood.
    The facts show that evangelicals don’t have a magic bullet for ending divorce. So why would evangelicals pretend that they do?
    Will more heterosexual people get divorced if gay people get married?
    That is an absurd proposition. Only a moron would make such a bizarre claim. Are there more divorces in Massachusetts versus other states?
    Perhaps FleetGuy, Mr. History himself, would like to do some research and educate himself.
    Re polygamy: I personally could care less. We’ve educated you folks before re the differences between arguing that government non-recognition of gay marriage is discriminatory and arguing that government non-recognition of polygamy is discriminatory.
    The slippery slope is simply not as slippery as you might wish.
    It is, however, more slippery than the Christians who wanted to deny interracial marriage wished! Hahahaahhah!!!!

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    It is incumbent upon responsible citizens in a democracy to clearly voice their opinions and vote their conscience. The theocracy motivation doesn’t exist with me – so I cannot open that to your honest scrutiny.
    I don’t believe the tremendous support of anti-gay measures and rhetoric in the last election stems primarily from religion.
    The prejudice toward gays and lesbians is ingrained deeply in our culture as a whole. I honestly think that the majority of those that comment negatively toward gay and lesbian people in this blog would feel exactly the same way even if they had never read a single word of the Bible.
    I do fault Christians however for refusing to recognize that truth. Much of the rhetoric that I hear on this blog seems to me to be an attempt after the fact to rationalize or justify a previously existing belief or “feeling” that gay is “wrong”. They never started from any point of neutrality on the subject in the first place. And not because they read it in the Bible. They often are emotionally invested in the issue way out of proportion to it’s actual impact on their lives.
    Even Joe has commented from time to time that Christians place undue importance on the “sin” of homosexuality, ignoring other things such as the high rate of Christians getting divorced, etc.
    The reason that Christians get so whacked out over homosexuality has little to do with them being Christians. It has more to do them with being prejudiced on the issue from the start.
    But then they work out complicated political and theological arguments as to why they feel the way they do when the fact is that they would feel that way regardless of whether they believed even their own arguments or not.
    I guess my bottom-line point here is that when Christians use the Bible to justify their ill feelings toward gay and lesbian people, or even just toward just homosexuality in general, it is a dishonest misuse of the Bible and Christian principles. The Bible and Christianity may be in agreement with them on those issue, but that is almost beside the point. They would feel the same way regardless.
    And that is something I think that Christians and non-Christians alike should search their hearts about quite a bit more before they say another word on the subject of homosexuality.

  • Larry Lord

    Elmwood
    “Larry brought up his cat, so I’ll mention that ineffective argument too.”
    I wasn’t making a slippery slope argument or even trying to rebut one with my cat comment.
    My point with my cat (and this is plain as paint if you read my comments above) is that I can marry my cat if want to. Also my venus fly traps. I can marry my cat to my venus fly trap. And your cat, too. And your dog.
    In fact, BOINGLABOING! I just did so. God bless you all.
    Am I contributing to the divorce rates? Am I destroying “family values”?
    No.
    The question is: why would anyone think so? How much Rush Limbaugh do you have to listen to before you start reciting FleetGuy’s script with a straight face?

  • Larry Lord

    “The reason that Christians get so whacked out over homosexuality has little to do with them being Christians. It has more to do them with being prejudiced on the issue from the start.”
    Patrick is right about this but I fear that he may be less right in saying so today than he would be if he said so in 1980 or 1960.
    I grew up surrounded by religious dogma, just like many of us did. But no one ever took me aside when I was five and told me that homosexuality was a sin, like lying, stealing, cheating and swearing, etc.
    I probably became aware of “faggots” and “gayboys” around the same time that I became aware of “retards”, “niggers,” “cripples”, and (among the very worst) “Polacks”. I am pretty sure that “lezbos” came later.
    And then I recall learning at church, among other places, that it was wrong to engage in discrimination. And then I remember learning that in spite of what Jesus taught, there are these people who call themselves Christians who claim to have found justification for discriminating against people in the Bible!!!!
    And that’s about the time when I realized that the whole religious thing is a bunch of garbage aimed at dividing people and controlling them and securing power for the “chosen ones.”
    I’ve since learned that it needn’t necessarily be that way — that some Christians see their religion as a way of sharing and re-affirming the most obvious and clear teachings of Jesus with respect to “how to live” — but it’s rather irrelevant now. I get along great with the latter group of folks (you sort of have to — they’re everwhere).

  • Oakwood

    Larry,
    “I wasn’t making a slippery slope argument or even trying to rebut one with my cat comment.”
    Yes, I understood your comment and it was a good point. Civil marriage and religious marriages are two different things. When I mentioned the ineffective argument, I should have expanded that I meant when other people (on my side) make that ineffective argument. But I know I usually use too many words and try to be more brief when I can.

  • Larry Lord

    Message for Reluctant Republicans who just happen to belong to the Dobsonite Christian Cult!!!
    Holocaust in South Korea!
    When do we get to start bombing the bejeezus out of these heathens so we can stop the baby killing factories???
    http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/05/19/stem.cells.embryo.ap/index.html
    The Korean research “will be a tremendous boon to the investigation of the nature and biology of human disease,” he said.
    It’s also sure to revive international controversy over whether to ban all forms of human cloning, as the Bush administration wants — or to allow cloning for medical research, so-called therapeutic cloning that South Korea has committed by law to pursue.
    Culling stem cells destroys the days-old embryo harboring them, regardless of whether that embryo was cloned or left over in a fertility clinic. Because opponents argue that is the same as destroying life, President Bush has banned federally funded research on all but a handful of old embryonic stem-cell lines and the South Korean work spotlights the frustration many U.S. scientists felt at being left behind.
    “It’s just going to highlight the tragedy of our current situation in America where there are technologies that are promising that are not being pursued by talented American scientists because of ideologic constraints,” Rowley said.
    ————————–
    As I predicted here long ago, conservative evangelical Christians are on the losing side of this battle, as they are on nearly every battle. Time will march forward, trampling them and silencing their whiny protests.
    But white sheets are still available, only $19.99 plus tax! All the space you need for celebrations of ignorance available in rural Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Mississippi — CHEAP!

  • JCHFleetguy

    Patrick,
    The assumption in your argument is that one must have “ill-feelings” towards gays to oppose marriage being defined outside 1 man and 1 women. Some who oppose broadening the definition may indeed have “ill-feelings” and perhaps even a “phobia” – it is hardly required. I voted for the Oregon Marriage Act without either.
    It is certainly not Biblical to have “ill-feelings” toward gays or a phobia.

  • Elwood

    E:”I could make the argument that polygamy would be good for the institution of marriage and would reduce divorces: why force a man to choose between his wife and his mistress? Why not let him marry both? The movie Casablanca could be remade with an alternate ending.”
    LL: That may be the lamest argument I ever heard, Elmwood.
    E: Just to be clear, I only made this comment as a hypothetical argument a polygamist might make in favor of polygamy. It’s not an argument I myself make in favor or against anything. So, it may be a lame attempt at humor, but not my lame argument. Although I agree with you that it’s a lame argument if you understand that it’s a hypothetical lame argument in favor of polygamy.
    LL: The facts show that evangelicals don’t have a magic bullet for ending divorce. So why would evangelicals pretend that they do?
    E: Correct. Divorce itself is bad for the institution of marriage, and may very well do just as much damage to marriage (the institution) than gay marriage would. But a trend toward more divorce in our country, among all groups including Catholics like me and Evangelicals, doesn’t apply to whether or not gay marriage is a good idea, imo. Seperate issues.
    LL: Will more heterosexual people get divorced if gay people get married?
    E: No, I don’t believe so, at least not anyone of marrying age today. (Future generations, I don’t know.) My concerns are more along the lines of what I said above. Should we discriminate in favor of traditional marriage to the exclusion of ALL other relationships, not just gay/lesbian couples… or should we level the playing field for all? SSM advocates say we should now change the rules to discriminate in favor of traditional marriage and SSM, but against every other type of relationship. That seems like a tougher stance to take than the status quo.
    LL: That is an absurd proposition. Only a moron would make such a bizarre claim. Are there more divorces in Massachusetts versus other states?
    E: As I’ve said before, it’s silly and simplistic to imply that anything measurable would change or not change in one year. That’s like saying you’re testing for the effect of a high cholesterol vs low cholesterol diet on a given population’s heart attack risk. So you have 200 people in their 20’s in your test population. 100 eat a h.c. diet, 100 l.c. After one year, the number of heart attacks in both groups are equal. Oh, look at that, cholesterol in your diet has no effect! Of course, anyone can see it would take decades to see the ultimate effect.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Larry
    For your concerns over stem-cell research (from TalkLeft):

    Colorado Congresswoman Diana DeGette is co-sponsor of H.R. 810 the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, that would expand federal government oversight of stem cell research. She issued this press release today
    “I appreciate the hard work by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and the Republican Main Street Partnership to help pass the Castle-DeGette stem cell bill. This just reinforces the fact that embryonic stem cell research is backed by a wide and deep coalition of pro-choice and pro-life Republicans and Democrats,” said Rep. DeGette. “In my eight years in Congress, the only other legislation that received such broad and bipartisan support was the Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform plan. Today, similar support appears to be building in Congress for stem cells.”

    Here’s what the bill would do:

    The bill would require NIH to fund research utilizing human embryonic stem cells regardless of the date such cells were derived. NIH would be required to publish implementing guidelines within 60 days of enactment. H.R. 810 had 150 cosponsors upon introduction, and was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

    Once again life as we know it has not ended.

  • Elwood

    RE: Larry’s post at 3:11.
    I could identify having the same experience as Larry up until the point he decided religion was a “bunch of garbage aimed at dividing people and controlling them and securing power ”
    I did have that theory introduced to me by a world religions professor in college. And certainly, people have used religion for that very purpose. I believe they’ll be judged more harshly by God. But I can’t buy that the people that wrote the Bible were that brilliant to have pulled off such a magnificent feat. Most conspiracy theories (ie. illuminati, Clinton and Bush and every other president are really all handpicked by the same powerful group and are really buds behind closed doors) are looked at with rightful skeptism by educated people. However, the conspiracy theory about those who wrote the Bible or founded any other religion doesn’t get the same skepticism.

  • Elwood

    “…ban all forms of human cloning….or to allow cloning for medical research, so-called therapeutic cloning”
    Therapeutic cloning is worse than regular old cloning for the same reason that experimenting on or stealing organs from a newborn baby is worse than letting that newborn live.
    Therapeutic cloning is worse than regular old cloning for the same reason that embryonic stem cell research is worse than letting one of those embryos be implanted in the womb and grow to 9-months and be born.
    Americans are being fooled by their aversion to science fiction tales about human cloning. Therapeutic cloning sounds so innocuous in comparision to visions of a cloned Michael Jordan. But really, a cloned Michael Jordan is more akin in moral terms to an identical twin of MJ.
    If I had a choice between allowing someone to clone themselves and allowing therapeutic cloning, I’d stop the therapeutic cloning first.
    In reality, I’m against all of the above (except God/nature/whatever you believe it is causing a twin to be born.)

  • Elwood

    Larry,
    You almost distracted me by getting me off track on divorces, but back to my original question:
    “I have posed this to other SSM advocates and never gotten an answer, just a dismissal that it’s not what they are after. Okay, I believe you. You, like me, want to discriminate against polygamists. How are we going to justify it? ”
    And don’t use any arguments that you’ve shot down when we’ve argued against SSM.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Elwood
    Actually, the AMA and National Bioethics Advisory Committee came down against cloning.

  • Elwood

    Right JCHF, I agree that cloning is bad. But the fact that regular cloning is banned doesn’t make me feel any better about therapeutic cloning.
    To quote the link:
    “Besides the public outrage that would accompany human cloning failures would in turn hinder science and genetics, research in areas such as embryonic stem cells for the repair of organs and tissues could be negatively impacted. …… The potential benefits of therapeutic cell cloning are enormous, and this research should not be jeopardized with human cloning activities.”
    Banning regular old human cloning has the affect of people saying “oh, you just want to do therapeutic cloning? Oh fine, just don’t do regular cloning.” All the while, many people don’t really understand what therapeutic cloning is. It’s got all the evil of regular old human cloning, plus the added evil of experimenting on a human. If one believes that an embryo is human.
    I’m saying ban all forms of human cloning and don’t be fooled by the consoling assurance that they don’t want to do regular cloning….yet.
    Of course, what therapeutic cloning really does is sidestep the question of whether a cloned human baby has the same rights as a normal baby. I’d argue that they would, since they would be like an identical twin.

  • Larry Lord

    Elwood
    “How are we going to justify it”
    You mean how are you going to justify it.
    I don’t really care, although I’d prefer that my tax dollars not be spent on it.
    And I guess that would be argument number 2: polygamists aren’t being discriminated against by existing marriage laws because marriage laws are written to accomodate two people.
    Polygamists can get married. The government will recognize marriage number 1. Where’s the discrimination?
    Polygamists want to get married again? Well, nobody can do that. Are polygamists discriminated because the goverment won’t set up a new system to accomodate their special desires? Doesn’t seem right.
    Also, the evidence is irrefutable at this point that there is a strong hereditary component to being gay. Gay people do not choose their sexual orientation any more than heteros choose their sexual orientation.
    Are polygamists genetically inclined to be polygamists? If they are, my guess is that we all are, gays and heteros included. THis is an important distinction, in my mind.
    Elmwood wrote
    “SSM advocates say we should now change the rules to discriminate in favor of traditional marriage and SSM, but against every other type of relationship. That seems like a tougher stance to take than the status quo.”
    Again, this sort argument was not compelling when Christians were arguing that blacks and whites should not be married. And it’s not compelling now.
    It’s just saying “tradition good, change bad.” Well, guess what: change inevitable, bigotry bad.
    Gay people are here to stay. People can say all kinds of stuff about how “I have no problem with gay people blah blah blah” and then follow up with “but that still don’t means I approve of redefining marriage.”
    It’s just double-speak. There is a problem.
    This isn’t like some woman demanding that she be allowed to try out for the Oakland Raiders. Arguments about tradition hold more water in that case because the only merit to football lies in the tradition of playing it.
    That’s not at all true of the benefits that are provided to married people by the US government. There is very little that is traditional about those benefits. And that is what is at issue.
    If you want to argue that the government should get out of the marriage benefit business entirely, that’s fine. It’d be a pain in the ass for most people to deal with that change, but I don’t think society would suffer as a result.
    Of course, religious folks are going to complain because it’ll be one less rubber stamp by the government that their beliefs are somehow “more equal” than others.
    Personally, I’d like to get the “In God We Trust” garbage removed from coins first. And the ridiculous and offensive “invocations” before congressional sessions and supreme court hearings.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    Elm wood wrote
    “SSM advocates say we should now change the rules to discriminate in favor of traditional marriage and SSM, but against every other type of relationship. That seems like a tougher stance to take than the status quo.”
    I have never argued that society does not have the right to place limits on the kinds of relationships that are valid. Whether you think they do or not does not matter as they will make those judgments anyways. What I argue is that a gay or lesbian marriage is equivalent in value to society as a straight one is, provided they stay married. Otherwise it’s kaput for both. If polygamists etc. can make the same argument then more power to them. There is already a large population of Christians that believe that polygamy is not only permissible but ordained.
    And JCHFLeet, the only way that you can say that they are not of equal worth is to dismiss the underlying human dignity and value of one or the other. I ask you this, how do you judge whether your straight friends have a valid and good marriage? What is the actual evidence that you, personally can see in front of you? Are you applying the same standards when considering whether gays or lesbians have valid marriages? Or are you going with a gut “feeling”.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Patrick,
    I guess I lost the thread. What did I say that you are responding to? Are you talking about valid in a civil, social or spiritual sense? Obviously, they are not valid in a civil sense if they are not recognized by the state they are in. Larry is actually right – if you do not care about the civil trappings that come with recognition by the state – then they are socially valid if you and your partner recognize it as such. The Bible actually says you are married in God’s eyes to everyone you’ve had sex with – with the attendent difficulties coming from that [but the Bible talked about civil/social marriage and rules of divorce also]. Finally, what do I think marriage means – read this (and realize I do not think “one flesh” possible for gays).
    That should complicate the discussion some.

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Elwood:

    keeping it as it has always been 1 man 1 woman

    Marriage has not always been one man, one woman. Several prominent Biblical figures, favorites of God, were polygamists. Samuel, for example. And polygamy was legal in Utah prior to its statehood, which in the grand scheme of things wasn’t all that long ago.
    Further, marriage used to be a lot more restrictive than “one man, one woman.” Not so long ago, it had to be one man and one woman of the same race.

    You, like me, want to discriminate against polygamists. How are we going to justify it?

    Because the third person in the relationship introduces tremendous complications. In a two-person marriage, if one of the persons becomes incapacitated or dies, the transfer of decisionmaking power, assets, etc. are obvious. Introduce the third party, and it’s a huge mess. Does wife A get to make the medical decisions, or wife B. Who gets the house, wife A, B, or C? Are the assets split evenly or is there a heirarchy to be honored? These complications comprise a real, secular case against allowing state-sanctioned polygamy.

    It’s a generational thing whose full effects won’t be seen for decades.

    Rather like the effect of giving “the blacks” the vote?
    JCHFleetguy/Elwood:
    On the cloning issue, have a look at this. The issue is a lot more complicated than people on either side generally recognize.

  • JCHFleetguy

    tgirsch
    The polls we looked at had nothing to do with 1st or 2nd trimester – so depending on what you want to look at 44%-57% of the population believes the only abortions that should be allowed in any trimester is for health, rape, incest – (back to 1,300,000 – 80,000 if I toss in health of child). That is “some” public sentiment by any standard (thats why there is a “culture war”). And that is what future national legislation to reverse Roe will be aimed at if it occurs.
    My point is that the law of the land after the post-civil war amendments was equal protection. Southern states invented “separate but equal” to create Jim Crow. The Supreme Court “legislated” this into the Constitution as opinion (constructed it as you will) in order to acquiesce to removing equal protection for blacks in the South. Still activist. Do you really believe the Supreme Court thought there was equality in “separate but equal”, or could be? I do not believe that any more than I think President Bush really thought there were WMD’s in Iraq when he invaded.
    Civil unions as separate from marriage may or may not create “separate but unequal”. I do not think that gay and straight marriages are “spiritually” equal; so my only attempt is to create “civil” recognition of a “social” reality in a way a majority of the society might accept.
    On the public/private schools – you are right. Ask any private school teacher whether they have advantage because they do not have to deal (primarily) with the behavior issues public teachers must contend with. Thats why private school teachers are willing to take lower pay to teach – less insanity. This issue isn’t conservatives – its our attitude that everyone must stay in school even if they make it hard for everyone else to learn. I do not have a solution for that, but mandatory education is a huge part of the public school issue (and please do not think I am opposed to mandatory education – just recognize its cost)

  • JCHFleetguy

    Tgrisch
    I actually agree with stem cell research – but not because of the “personhood” argument. Or the “biology” argument. Both are lame philosophically. For instance, the house is burning and he has to choose between his newborn and his 6 year old. Or his 6 year old paraplegic and his 12 year old. The one who dies is less of a person? The essay Joe ran by Marquis is the key to me.

  • Elwood

    tgirsh:
    RE: Inflation vs. Cost of Living.
    You make a good point here. To see if I understand you let me restate. Inflation includes the cost of everything, including yachts. Cost of living is a subset figure, based on necessities. This is a key point that would certainly influence which politician’s tax plans I would support. If the poor are truly losing ground, not simply increasing their standard of living at a slower rate than the rich, that changes things for me.
    T: “Secondly, the inflation adjustment is begin done to yesterday’s dollars, not today’s dollars. Today’s dollars remain untouched by the adjustment, which makes yesterday’s dollars look artificially large. If not for this inflation adjustment, the disparity between absolute dollars and buying power would look even more significant.”
    This I don’t follow. Are you saying that general inflation rose more quickly than cost of living? That would cause the 1979 numbers to be artificially high. But that would mean they were really worse off in 1979, today’s numbers would stay the same, and therefore the effect would be an appearance that they didn’t gain as much over 20 years than they really did.
    If it’s the other way around, that cost of living rose more quickly than inflation, then the 1979 numbers would be artificially low.
    Either way, yesterday’s dollars being artificially high, correcting that figure down would make today’s income look even better.

  • Elwood

    T: “Marriage has not always been one man, one woman. Several prominent Biblical figures, favorites of God, were polygamists. Samuel, for example. And polygamy was legal in Utah prior to its statehood, which in the grand scheme of things wasn’t all that long ago.”
    All right, I meant my comment in regard to the U.S., not including Utah. I also do acknowledge polygamy existing in the Bible, however, I think you mean King Solomon. I don’t know if the Bible mentions any details about Samuel’s wife, although it does discuss his sons.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    JCHFleet says:

    “…Finally, what do I think marriage means – read this (and realize I do not think “one flesh” possible for gays).”

    I actually agree with the conclusion that marriage is “one-flesh”. However as it’s currently defined, it is incomplete, even for heterosexuals. Its underlying assumption is factually incorrect. It assumes that women and men are entirely two different species. They are not, and they have elements of each other within their physical bodies, minds, and spirits. This is basic biology, and it also can be found in the Bible as well. Adam’s Rib, remember? Therefore the one-flesh is not a single male to female joining, it’s a double male-female, female-male joining. Why do you think men and women are able to understand each other even as little as they do? They each recognize something of themselves in the other. We may joke about men getting in touch with their “feminine” side, but if they did not have that capacity in some respect they would never have been able to find and understand their partner. A gay or lesbian couple IS different than a straight one. however, the male to female, female to male joining of spirit still takes place. It is still one-flesh.
    My full spiel is at the link below:
    http://www.gryphmon.com/2005/01/the_blood_of_ed.html

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    Fleet says:

    Patrick,
    Are you talking about valid in a civil, social or spiritual sense? Obviously, they are not valid in a civil sense if they are not recognized by the state they are in. Larry is actually right – if you do not care about the civil trappings that come with recognition by the state – then they are socially valid if you and your partner recognize it as such.

    My understanding of civil marriage is the same as the Catholic Church. They recognize neither a marriage or divorce in the civil arena. It is a civil contract not a sacrament.
    However, the political opponents of gay marriage have been clever in the way they have framed the debate by never making the distinction. Instead of saying that the Bible doesn’t sanction such a marriage, they make vague references to “thousands of years of tradition”. I think the majority of the American people reject gay marriage as a sacrament, but not necessarily as a civil agreement.
    My question remains: how do you know on a practicle in-front-of-your-nose way, that your friends and family have “good” marriages. How do they behave on a daily basis that distinguishes them as “married” instead of single. How do gay or lesbian couples differ? Or do they?

  • Elwood

    tgirsch, Larry, Patrick:
    You surprised me, you’re the first ones to answer my question. And you make some good arguments.
    Quick scorecard:
    Larry: doesn’t mind if polygamy comes along
    Patrick: doesn’t mind if polygamy happens if they can prove equivalency in value to society.
    tgirsch: Provides ” a real, secular case against allowing state-sanctioned polygamy.”
    So, although Larry goes on to provide other hypothetical arguments against polygamy, 2 out of 3 responses acknowledge that other options are on the table, not just SSM. I grant that pro-SSM people do not have the responsibility to speak for or against polygamists, but I hope you can understand from this why conservatives have a fear that SSM will negatively affect traditional marriage in the long run, because if it gets redefined and redefined and redefined then the exclusive preferred place a 1man/1woman marriage now occupies will be gone (also factor in the discrimination against singles that they want to do away with I mentioned above). The net effect will be the civil supports and constructs offered to the institution of traditional marriage will be gone. This isn’t the only reason, but I figure it’s the one you all could most have some grudging understanding of.
    I also acknowledge that I DO want to legislate morality on the issue, just like I do with abortion. I know you don’t like that, but I can try. Nearly all laws are a matter of legislating morality.
    tgirsch offered the strongest argument about a difference in polygamy and SSM. The other two of you, I’ll object…
    Patrick: “What I argue is that a gay or lesbian marriage is equivalent in value to society as a straight one is”
    There are good and bad heterosexual parent couples, just as there are good and bad samesex parent couples. I’d agree that a kid being raised by Rosie O’Donnell and her partner is better off than a kid being raised by 2 drug-addicted wacked out hetero’s. But that’s not the fair comparison that should be made. I’d argue that the best heterosexual couple is a better situation for the kid than the best samesex parent couple.
    Larry: “Polygamists can get married. The government will recognize marriage number 1. Where’s the discrimination?
    Polygamists want to get married again? Well, nobody can do that. Are polygamists discriminated because the goverment won’t set up a new system to accomodate their special desires? Doesn’t seem right.”
    Too close to the argument that we make that homosexuals can get married today, just not to the same sex. I’m heterosexual and I can’t get married to the same sex either. Equal. Well, you reject that. Fine. But then the polygamist will say, how can I help it that I’m attracted to more than one person? You get to marry who you want to under the law, why can’t I? Bi-sexuals also claim that they do not choose their attractions. So, say you’ve got 2 bi-sexual women and a heterosexual man that want to all marry each other?
    By the way, I don’t think most people choose their orientation. I don’t know how much is nature vs. nurture. But I do reject the idea that it is 100% nature. Homosexuals always say to a hetero: “I didn’t choose to like the same sex anymore than you chose to be straight.” Well, I can buy that, but what about what we were taught and reinforced as we grew up. I remember in Kindergarten, if a boy hung out with a girl …’is she your girlfriend?’ so from early on we were all taught that boys like girls. So when I got older, I liked girls. I believe that’s the normal course of how I was born, but also re-inforced by conditioning through the years. Seeing it demonstrated every where I looked.
    Take some extreme examples: Say there is a hereditary component to it. If you took a boy who somehow you knew was ‘born’ straight and you put him in every imaginable situation you could think of to encourage homosexual attraction. Say you could control their environment to the extent that 95% of all relationships they witnessed were homosexual. Teased them in a positive way that he liked another boy in a puppy love romantic way. Is it possible that despite ALL of this, they still like girls when they hit puberty? Sure, that’s possible. Does it also seem very possible that they’d be conditioned to like boys? It does to me.
    Now take the reverse extreme which is reality for many people. If it’s possible to be ‘born’ homosexual, they witness 95% of all relationships as hetero, encouraged in that direction as they grow, yet when they hit puberty they like boys. Is it possible that some who were ‘born’ gay would like girls? I think just as likely as the first scenario above.
    IF there IS a hereditary component, I don’t think it’s an on/off switch or a ‘gay gene’. It’s probably more of a continuum between extremely straight and extremely gay and different levels of hormones, etc. The nurture element acts to the degree that it can on everything in between the two extremes.
    I wish I could remember the author’s name or the book, but I heard a psychologist on Michael Medved’s show one day share what he believed. He was a multiple PhD from Harvard/Princeton type guy, he used to believe that homosexuality has a hereditary component. He cited a recent study that showed followed a group of high school aged boys in an all-boys school who self-identified as gay at age 16. The majority of these boys by age 21 no longer self-identified as gay, without ever having done any ‘corrective counseling’, (please excuse the term, what I want to convey is that they spontaneously had a change in their orientation). Of course you can make the argument that they really were gay but suppressed those feelings because of society’s rejection. But the numbers to begin with were much higher than the average rate of other boys who self-identified outside of that school. I wish I could quote the exact figures or give the name of the book. I’ll search for it and try to post it here later.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Patrick
    What is a good marriage? Kindness, care, love, self-sacrifice for your partner. The real truth is you do not know unless you are fly on the wall about anybody’s relationship. Gay or straight.
    As to whether gays and straights couples can both exhibit the social aspects of a good marriage – there will be folks who argue with me but I will say they equally can. If for no other reason than not to have a large discussion about what a “good” marriage is. Can the best of gay couples and the best of straight couples be equal parenting sets? I have more of a problem with that. I think the real differences between men and women gives balance to the parenting set (assuming the parents understand and use it). Does that exclude gays from parenting. Socially and civilly, no. Should adoption by the best of gay couples be examined more accutely than that by the best of straight couples – yes. You need to make sure that the sets of skills that come from “maleness” and “femaleness” come into the parenting equation – at least by design if not nature.
    I am not a rule orientated person by nature. The Catholic Church is probably the last choice to bring up to me. If it is useful for us to have a discussion about why I do not think homosexual relationships are “one-flesh” in God’s eyes we can – but we will not agree in the end; and God will have the final say and perhaps surprise us both. You decide whether that is useful.
    I opposed gay “Marriage” in Oregon – I would not oppose civil unions. I am willing to recognize a social reality (permanent gay partnerships) in a civil context (recognition by the state); but I am not at this point willing to share the “marriage” turf. May be silly, may be semantical – but it is certainly the political solution which I believe a majority of the country will accept. The civil union bill is already working its way through the Oregon legislature. It will pass, and even if it doesnt the Oregon courts have already ruled you cannot deny state benefits and rights based on married status to gays because they are not allowed to be married.
    I have many gay relationships in my sphere of influence – and the thing I am least interested in discussing in that context is whether being gay is right or not, sin or not, etc. And since in one of those relationships one partner committed adultery in order to have a child – which I get to be the uncle of (and will be) – this is more than a theoritical issue. If they have not accepted Christ – being gay is of no importance.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Oh
    I think it is the catch-all “sexual orientation” which is the large loophole. If you are going to recognize rights for gays- it should be expressly “homosexuality” not under a catch-all “sexual orientation”.
    People are sexually-orientated to all sorts of things neither gays or straights want put in a law book.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    “The net effect will be the civil supports and constructs offered to the institution of traditional marriage will be gone. This isn’t the only reason, but I figure it’s the one you all could most have some grudging understanding of.”
    Ironically I actually think that calling gay marriages “civil unions” has more of a chance of accomplishing what you are proposing above than granting gay marriage. Because civil unions are in fact quasi-marriages they actually blur the lines more than gay marriages would. There would exist a vague state between being single and being married. I think many straight couples would opt for this kind of arrangement. Remember that civil unions as current presented, do NOT have the same rights a full legal marriage, especially when it comes to taxes etc. If they did, I would say fine, call it a peanut butter sandwich if you want so long as it’s the same thing.
    The primary characteristic of an American-style marriage is:……..(drumroll)… Monogamy! That even more than gender defines what a marriage is. Commit to one person, forever.
    It’s that commitment that a family is based on, a declaration of permanence in a chaotic world. It’s the example of that commitment that provides stability and the proper environment for raising responsible-minded children.
    Every good quality and benefit that society gets from marriage comes from monogamy. Even Children,. Why? Because people have children all the time without being married. But if you have already made a commitment to form a family, then you are also forming a stable entity that can take care of children. This opposed to say someone who has a baby and leaves it at a Fire station for someone else to take care of. Children without parents providing for them are burdens on society, those in marriages usually are not.
    In fact, in some of those Native American cultures that actually had gay marriage it was considered hand to have a few such possibly childless couples around. A family may starve trying to feed 9 children, but can live well feeding 6. Send the 3 to live with Uncle Bob and Uncle Ted.
    And there is a difference between sexual orientation and homosexuality. One is an identity, they other is an action. Straight men and women can, and do have same-gender sexual relations on occasion. Just as gay people have occasionally the opposite. But it’s a different matter when comes to whom you are capable of relating to as a spouse. Whether I have sex or not and with whom has not changed my sexual identity. With me at least it’s fixed and has been for as long as I can literally remember.

  • Larry Lord

    FleetGuy
    “I do not think that gay and straight marriages are “spiritually” equal”
    That’s nice but guess what? It’s meaningless on planet earth. For example, as a legal argument, it’s pure crap. Remember planet earth? Where facts and reality matter?
    You’ll never be able to explain what you mean by “spiritually equal” in a way that is compelling in a secular society such as ours.
    But in a theocracy such vapid arguments would be convincing, for sure!
    But you don’t want a theocracy. You’ve been very clear about that.
    So your entire argument about marriage boils down to your own personal problems with gay people getting married and nothing more.
    Gee, what a surprise.

  • Larry Lord

    “I am not at this point willing to share the “marriage” turf. May be silly, may be semantical”
    It is silly and it is semantical. We’ve demonstrated that to you already.
    The question is: why can’t you get over it? You know, with your brain.
    Many people who felt the same way about white and blacks getting married got over their silly prejudices. They did so with their brains.
    Use your brain. It’s an important organ. That’s why your deity allegedly provided you with one.

  • Larry Lord

    Elmwood
    “If you took a boy who somehow you knew was ‘born’ straight and you put him in every imaginable situation you could think of to encourage homosexual attraction.”
    Like a unisex military or religious school?

  • Larry Lord

    Elmwood
    “You get to marry who you want to under the law, why can’t I?”
    No you get to marry one other consenting adult, not whoever you want or whatever you want.
    No irrational discrimination there.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Patrick
    Its so nice with Larry comes by. Anyway, what is the tax advantage of marriage. Last I knew, the marriage penalty, while reduced, was still with us. All the tax advantages of children do not rest on marriage.
    In the old hippy days, we “shacked up” with our “old ladies” and didn’t need a paper “from the man” approving our relationships – “just a piece of paper” anyway right. I think your right – civil unions may attract the unmarried straight couples as well as gays.
    In Oregon, at least, civil unions would give all the rights of marriage if the bill passes as proposed – so the only issue would be federal benefits or programs based on marriage. And as I said, the Oregon courts trashed the distinction for gays anyway.
    The orientation thing was meant from a different perspective. There is a problem folks (including me) have with assigning civil protections to “sexual orientation” in general. To vague, and it opens the door to some of the things talked about above. I do not want Larry and Fluffy crawling through that hole.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Patrick
    Oh, everything you said about monogamy is absolutely correct.

  • windbag

    I love it. Two brilliant posts by Lord:
    ————–
    FleetGuy
    “I do not think that gay and straight marriages are “spiritually” equal”
    That’s nice but guess what? It’s meaningless on planet earth. For example, as a legal argument, it’s pure crap. Remember planet earth? Where facts and reality matter?
    You’ll never be able to explain what you mean by “spiritually equal” in a way that is compelling in a secular society such as ours.
    But in a theocracy such vapid arguments would be convincing, for sure!
    But you don’t want a theocracy. You’ve been very clear about that.
    So your entire argument about marriage boils down to your own personal problems with gay people getting married and nothing more.
    Gee, what a surprise.
    AND
    “I am not at this point willing to share the “marriage” turf. May be silly, may be semantical”
    It is silly and it is semantical. We’ve demonstrated that to you already.
    The question is: why can’t you get over it? You know, with your brain.
    Many people who felt the same way about white and blacks getting married got over their silly prejudices. They did so with their brains.
    Use your brain. It’s an important organ. That’s why your deity allegedly provided you with one.
    ———————-
    To which see only convenient dismissal from the current burgermeister-meisterburger of the EO, JCHFleetguy. What happened to Mr. Ed, anyway? I miss his particular form of evasiveness, it was a bit more genuine, more abrasive.
    Despite storming off above, I can’t stop reading when it’s this good. God bless Larry Lord.

  • JCHFleetguy

    windbag
    Im hardly evasive – Larry is just a foolish troll – and doesn’t need much feeding. You however haven’t struck me as such.
    What is it you are confused about in my positions? Why should I discuss how I think God views gay marriage with someone who doesn’t believe God (or do you?). Larry certainly doesn’t, and disdains the majority of the country who do – chiding “me” to come back to earth and reality. Really. I’m standing in the center – he’s the wingnut.
    So what can we discuss without the Larry tirades(BECAUSE WE ARE NOT GOING TO AGREE ON THE ISSUE SPIRITUALLY/RELIGIOUSLY): Only the social and political/civil issues around gay marriage and how civil rights can be given to gays in a situation where every state that has voted on the issue of Gay Marriage has trashed it – and more are coming.
    So who needs to find planet earth?

  • Larry Lord

    FleetGuy
    “Why should I discuss how I think God views gay marriage”
    That’s not the issue FleetGuy. The issue is that you have argued above that it’s okay to discriminate against gays in the marriage context. And for a while you pretended that this was a position based on evidence and rational principles.
    But at the end of the day we find Emperor FleetGuy stripped naked, mumbling about how “God thinks about gay marriage.”
    You really think God wants gay families to be discriminated against?
    That’s nice. I don’t know what “God” thinks and I have no reason to believe that this particular deity even exists.
    But I do believe that discrimination against gay people is unconstitutional, as do many other intelligent human beings. And we’ve argued why without invoking deities and we will continue to do so.
    So how should OUR Supreme Court decide whether OUR government (“we, the people” — remember) gets to discriminate against gay people, FleetGuy? Should the Supremes poll religious people and see how many of them claim to know what “God thinks”? Or they should look at the facts?

  • windbag

    JCHFleetguy-
    Regardless of whether or not you agree with him, Larry Lord has just cleaned your clock. My “confusion,” JCHFleetguy, surrounds the hypocrisy of your stated “view of right and wrong”– which you admitted above you’d like to see instituted as public policy– on the deficiency of gay marriage, its lack of “spiritual equality”….. and your avowed aversion to theocracy. Given your gloating over the recent homophobic state referenda votes (“more to come! yippee!”), perhaps you could get behind a ‘representative’ theocracy.
    “Why should I discuss how I think God views gay marriage with someone who doesn’t believe God (or do you?).”
    You need to discuss this and have it subjected to the scrutiny and ridicule it warrants, because you have admitted elsewhere that you would like to see your “faith,” your “views of right and wrong,” instituted as public policy.
    “Really. I’m standing in the center – he’s the wingnut.”
    You’re standing in the center alright, of a stinking pile of deeply-rationalized, gingerly-presented homophobia and discrimination, all apparently sanctioned for you by your religious views, and a growing popular homophobic sentiment that is also based in religion.
    “Only the social and political/civil issues around gay marriage and how civil rights can be given to gays in a situation where every state that has voted on the issue of Gay Marriage has trashed it – and more are coming.”
    Huh? While some sort of typo surely occurred, this seems to sum up the doublespeak nicely. You’re not unfriendly to gay people– after all, you’re “least interested in discussing… whether being gay is right or not, sin or not” (wonder why?), but you are cool with (and voted for!) the very legislation which denied them all the tangible benefits of hetero married couples in your state. But you’re still for civil union legislation. Thanks for clearing that up.
    In the words of the troll, because he said it oh-so well the first time:
    “your entire argument about marriage boils down to your own personal problems with gay people getting married and nothing more.”
    and furthermore:
    “It is silly and it is semantical. We’ve demonstrated that to you already. The question is: why can’t you get over it? You know, with your brain. Many people who felt the same way about white and blacks getting married got over their silly prejudices. They did so with their brains. Use your brain. It’s an important organ. That’s why your deity allegedly provided you with one.”

  • Larry Lord

    “Larry certainly doesn’t [believe in God], and disdains the majority of the country who do”
    Ah, there’s that pleasing lie again.
    No, Larry doesn’t disdain the majority of the country who believes in God. On the contrary, the majority of the people in this country who believe in God do not belong to the selfish and self-absorbed sort of “faith” that is often on display here, the sort of “faith” which rests — when convenient to do so — on a strange framework of logic and scientific evidence, and which depends on lies and legislation and coddling by the government to maintain its continued growth.
    The majority of the country does not want any part of these folks. I do not disdain the majority of religious people in this country. I disdain what that majority disdains: the hijacking of discourse by charlatans who are addicted to money and power.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Larry,
    The problem is you just dont pay attention to what Ive said. And your “many other people” is not near a majority of that “We the People” you go on about (Majority clearly yes on rights, clearly no on marriage). So rant, or find political solutions – which I have tried to discuss to the exclusion of the “gays are bad” crap.
    The Supremes already had the chance to kill all of the Gay Marriage Amendments – they passed. So now it is up to state constitutions and legislatures to deal with. I live in one where the state courts have already spoken in a national precedent for gay rights – and will soon have a civil unions law to give gay couples a way to show their lifelong commitment. So I have no political issues in my world do I?
    Now I can go on and discuss some of the deeper Biblical issues around homosexuality with my gay brother in Christ Patrick – and maybe he can show me a better theological way to look at this.
    But you offer me nothing – so tell me why I should waste my time on this subject with you?

  • JCHFleetguy

    Windbag
    The only thing different from my comment to you than Larry is that the “more to come” was a statement of fact. You and you alone added the “Yippee”.

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    JCHFleetGuy:

    The polls we looked at had nothing to do with 1st or 2nd trimester – so depending on what you want to look at 44%-57% of the population believes the only abortions that should be allowed in any trimester is for health, rape, incest

    I seriously doubt that those numbers would consistently bear out if you specifically asked the question that way.

    The Supreme Court “legislated” this into the Constitution as opinion

    The Supreme Court didn’t “legislate” anything. The legislature did. The courts merely upheld that. Wrongly, in my opinion, but that doesn’t mean they “legislated” it, unless you’re to divorce the term “legislate” from its traditional meaning. To “legislate” is to create a law that didn’t previously exist. That simply is not what the court did here.

    I do not believe that any more than I think President Bush really thought there were WMD’s in Iraq when he invaded.

    Actually, I think he really did believe that part. He exaggerated the threat he thought they posed, but I think he firmly believed they were there. Most of us thought that. The al-Qaeda stuff, on the other hand, was completely fabricated.

    I do not think that gay and straight marriages are “spiritually” equal; so my only attempt is to create “civil” recognition of a “social” reality in a way a majority of the society might accept.

    The state doesn’t (or shouldn’t) concern itself with the “spiritual” for any marriage, even heterosexual marriage. So if you want to go the “civil union” route, you have to make all state-sanctioned marriages “civil unions,” even the “traditional” marriages.

    Anyway, what is the tax advantage of marriage. Last I knew, the marriage penalty, while reduced, was still with us.

    If my wife and I were unmarried and filing separately, our tax bill would have been about $5,500 more that it was filing married. And we don’t even have any children to use as deductions. The “marriage penalty” generally effected couples where both worked, and where their incomes were roughly equivalent.

    Now I can go on and discuss some of the deeper Biblical issues around homosexuality

    Apart from a few poorly-translated Pauline epistles, the Bible doesn’t really have much to say about homosexuality one way or the other.
    Elwood:

    This is a key point that would certainly influence which politician’s tax plans I would support. If the poor are truly losing ground, not simply increasing their standard of living at a slower rate than the rich, that changes things for me.

    Unfortunately, it’s really hard to get decent numbers on this; even harder to get ones that aren’t tainted by someone’s particular spin.
    Let’s approach it by anecdote for a moment. How many people could comfortably support a family of four on a single income 30 years ago? Now compare that to how many can do so now. And we’re not even just talking about the poor here, we’re even talking about the lower end of the middle class. Health care alone for two children could easily bankrupt a family making under $30K per year.

    Are you saying that general inflation rose more quickly than cost of living? That would cause the 1979 numbers to be artificially high.

    Not that they’re necessarily artificially high, just that they’re an approximation and not necessarily accurate. To be quite honest, I’m not sure I completely understand it myself. :)
    Solomon, Samuel, definitely an “S” name. I’m not even sure polygamy was unique to Utah, but the point remains: what we call “traditional” marriage really hasn’t been traditional for all that long.

  • JCHFleetguy

    Tgrisch,
    Well, its been a pleasure. The polls were stated absent the trimester issue – who knows what responders thought – time will tell
    I am using “legislate” for construction which is probably the accurate judicial term. The Supremes knew they were violating equal protection – so they amended by decision. We both agree it was wrong, and it made Brown necessary. (Brown should have happened at the time of Plessy)
    Why on civil unions? Supreme’s have already made it clear they will allow this to be two-tiered – civil unions and marriages within same state. The question is whether rights are covered. (And how the IRS will change the check box on the tax returns).

  • Larry Lord

    FleetGuy
    “The Supremes already had the chance to kill all of the Gay Marriage Amendments – they passed.”
    When was that?

  • http://www.thenarrow.org/archives/2005/05/evangelicals_ro.html The Narrow

    Evangelicals Role

    A few weeks ago I blogged about The Great Category Mistake and then I saw this from Joe Carter on The Evangelical Outpost. Now it is getting coverage from MSNBC here. Evangelical leaders are re-examining whether American evangelicalism has suffered…