A Philosopher's Blog

A Modest Challenge

Posted in Politics, Religion by Michael LaBossiere on December 1, 2011
Republican Party (United States)

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Republicans tend to make a point of claiming that they are people of faith-typically Christians. However, they often seem to take positions that directly contradict key parts of Christianity.

As an intellectual exercise reconcile Exodus 22:21( “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt”) with the views of most of the Republican party.

Bonus points for reconciling Herman Cain’s view of the poor with Luke 6:20: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”

Additional points for reconciling  Exodus 22:25 (“If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest”) with the capitalist banking system.

Even more bonus points if you can explain why the media folks seem to never raise the point that there appears to be a serious inconsistency between certain espoused Republican values and actual Christianity.

Since Democrats are supposed to godless atheists, they get a pass on this one. :)

 

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88 Responses

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  1. magus71 said, on December 1, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    You’ve done what any good fundamentalist would do: Cherry-picked the bible.

    • dhammett said, on December 1, 2011 at 9:51 pm

      I always thought only bad fundamentalists did that.
      Of greater importance is what those bad fundamentalists do with those cherry-picked passages.

      And, of course, all the professor is doing is picking at the cherry-picked portions.

      • magus71 said, on December 1, 2011 at 10:16 pm

        “And, of course, all the professor is doing is picking at the cherry-picked portions.”

        Why?

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 2, 2011 at 11:28 am

          Because I think people should be consistent in their principles. None of us are morally flawless, but if someone makes a point of being a Christian and claims that is the basis of his/her ethics, then s/he should certainly try to follow those principles. You know, like loving thy neighbor and so on. Christ was, as I read his works, primarily about compassion. God is, after all, love. God is not money.

          • ajmacdonaldjr said, on December 2, 2011 at 7:55 pm

            The fact is Christians believe caring for our neighbors is a personal responsibility, and the responsibility of the church community, not responsibility of the state (government).

            • dhammett said, on December 2, 2011 at 11:59 pm

              The fact is, there’s only so much the church can do.

              Local churches all contribute to the food bank in our little town. They manage to pull that off—barely. If the churches would have to undertake the personal responsibility of caring for every aspect of their needy neighbor’s lives without the state, I’m reasonably certain they couldn’t do it.

              We’ve already got plenty of bitching about whose fair share is in which pocketbook. Without some of the weight of the state (laws) that bitching would disappear. Why? Because people would have the choice of giving or not giving at their churches. What percentage of the adult residents of your city are of strong enough faith that they voluntarily attend church on a regular basis? How many of that number tithe their 10%? Is a measly 10% nearly enough to deal with the needs of the poor, disabled, elderly?

              Do you believe that, if Uncle Sam didn’t require a payment, that everyone—even poor, misguided agnostics , atheists, and Christians-In-Name-Only—would voluntarily pony up the money needed to truly care for our neighbors?

              I don’t.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 3, 2011 at 7:54 pm

              Churches often do a lot of good. I run quite a few charity races for churches and religious groups because they are good causes. However, as you note, there are serious limits to the resources of such churches.

              Sadly, some of the richest “churches” have turned out to be aimed at enriching those in charge (such as Jim Bakker). This is not a fault of religion, but a fault of those who run the show.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 3, 2011 at 7:50 pm

              That is a reasonable point-the function of the state might not include such things. However, someone like Locke would argue that the state exists for the good of the people and should act in accord with that principle.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 2, 2011 at 11:19 am

      But what parts of the bible count and which are mere cherries whose picking matters not?

  2. magus71 said, on December 1, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Mike’s getting scared. He senses an impending Republican victory.

    • dhammett said, on December 1, 2011 at 10:02 pm

      Is he using his crystal balls or yours? I just saw a piece on the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactor in Japan:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/simulation-shows-deeper-meltdown-at-tsunami-hit-japan-nuclear-reactor-than-previously-thought/2011/11/30/gIQAljMMCO_story.html

      Remind me. This was all going to more or less fade away in how many weeks?

      • magus71 said, on December 1, 2011 at 10:15 pm

        You’re really carrying on about this.

        I was right, you were wrong, dhammett. Chernobyl was a bad meltdown. Fukushima was not. The most devastating aspect was the Tsunami. Every day that goes by lessens the effects of the meltdown, which have been fairly mild already.

        • dhammett said, on December 1, 2011 at 11:40 pm

          “The government estimates it will take 30 years or more to safely decommission Fukushima Dai-ichi.”
          Such statements don’t give the public a lot of faith in nuclear reactors. And ^that’s^ why the story isn’t going away any time soon. That’s why the story is not “all but over”.

          Wikipedia article on Fukushima Disaster: “the largest nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.[”
          Your March 18 2011, 12:58 post in the March 17″Nuclear Power” article here you said:” In 3 weeks it’ll be all but over and the news will move on to something else.”

          As I stated April 20, 9:28 am :
          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13050228

          “It should be noted that the Chernobyl info includes all data from 1986 to the present. Fukushima info runs from March 12 2011 to April 12 2011. So we won’t know the accuracy of the prediction “This will not be Chernobyl” until sometime far into the distant future. Those are the safest predictions to make.”

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 2, 2011 at 11:21 am

      I don’t scare easily and the Republican candidates don’t fill me with fear. I do admit that I would be worried if Cain, Bachmann or Perry got to be President. Newt, I think, would be his usual self-conservative, self-serving, but fairly moderate overall. Romney…well, it depends which Romney is in charge of the body. :)

  3. magus71 said, on December 1, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    “Since Democrats are supposed to godless atheists, they get a pass on this one.” But you said they’re not godless atheists. So do they still get a pass. Obama bailed all the banks out. He loves banks and he’s a Christian, right?

    First–the alien issue.

    New English translation: “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.”

    So, how is an alien being done wrong when he is breaking the law and is arrested for that? When he is making money, untaxed, and entered the country against the law? How is this unjust? Can I walk into Mexico without a visa?

    Now, Herman Cain’s statement on the poor. He doesn’t condemn the poor. He says in America they are responsible for their situation. He doesn’t say they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. He’s responding to the people who either complain about being poor and having no opportunity or those like yourself who complain for them. I think I’ve been poorer than most people who post here. I’m not against helping the poor and I don’t think Newt Gingrich is either. It’s the give a fish/teach to fish cliche’ that is true.

    Next, banks: In medieval times, Christians outlawed the charging of interest. Interestingly, the Jews still charged interest which is what established the Jews as powerful bankers, even to this day. Christian kings still relied on Jews to supply money to them. Essentially, the medieval Christians were probably wrong in their interpretation of the Old Testament here, as they were interpreting this Jewish law in a completely different way than the Jews themselves–experts in Jewish law–interpreted them. In fact, the Old Testament is quite clear: It is not wrong for Jews to charge interest to non-Jews. As scripture states: “To a foreigner you may charge interest, but to your brother you shall not charge interest, that the LORD your God may bless you in all to which you set your hand in the land which you are entering to possess.” A “foreigner” was a non-Jew, someone not of the 12 tribes.

    By the way–this is “Moses” Law.

    As you can see, many Republicans carry on in private life in very Christian ways: George Bush gave over $75,000 to charity in 2005. He claimed over $600,000 on his taxes and gave away 1/7th of it. Quite a bit more than a 1/10 tithe…

    http://www.freakonomics.com/2006/11/22/it-turns-out-conservatives-really-are-compassionate/

    Al Gore gave away $353 in 1998. Does he get a pass?

    http://www.freakonomics.com/2006/11/22/it-turns-out-conservatives-really-are-compassionate/

    Next–bonus points. Most alter boys know more about the bible than any journalist. It’s difficult to find talking points when the best most journalists can do is misquote the bible.

    Liberal policies don’t do what they’re supposed to. That’s the biggest issue. Many liberal politicians hold their views to get elections, not to help people. Many of those policies severely hurt people.

    By the way, the bible says we should work six days a week and get only one day off. are poor people up for that? I mean, anyone can grab a shovel or do some sort of work, regardless of pay.

    • dhammett said, on December 2, 2011 at 12:26 am

      Apply the same sort of thinking to the subject of homosexuality:
      Three–count’em–three points of view on the subject.

      http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibg2.htm

      Read all three views. Try to see the issue from more than one side . . .
      Same applies to the passages Mike provided.
      Remember the passages from Leviticus rules against wearing cloth made of two kinds of material and sowing a field with two kinds of seeds. Such silly things can be easily argued away.
      “So, how is an alien being done wrong when he is breaking the law and is arrested for that? When he is making money, untaxed, and entered the country against the law? How is this unjust? Can I walk into Mexico without a visa? ” I don’t consider arresting someone for breaking the law “mistreatment” or “oppression”
      I do however, consider it mistreatment and oppression when a religious group is marginalized (yes, even hated) because they want to build a mosque on land they own simply because the property is relatively near what we consider sacred ground.

    • anon said, on December 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm

      “So, how is an alien being done wrong when he is breaking the law and is arrested for that? When he is making money, untaxed, and entered the country against the law? How is this unjust? Can I walk into Mexico without a visa? ”
      – Congrats on trying to justify being a hypocrite. “Mexico doesn’t allow it so why should we.” Waah, I’m a giant baby.

      “It’s the give a fish/teach to fish cliche’ that is true.”
      – and then the rich charge the (poor) man to fish even if he doesn’t catch anything

      “claimed over $600,000 on his taxes”
      – you need to put “taxable income”. When you are president you get many benefits that are not income nor are they taxable. Also, contrats for having a SINGLE YEAR of data when the guy is over 60 years old. One year of charity doesn’t make one “special”.

      “Most alter boys know more about the bible than any journalist. ”
      – Probably not, they are just given cherry picked (see what I did there) parts to memorize

      “Liberal policies don’t do what they’re supposed to. That’s the biggest issue. Many liberal politicians hold their views to get elections, not to help people. Many of those policies severely hurt people. ”
      – great opinion based on beliefs, not facts

      “By the way, the bible says we should work six days a week and get only one day off. are poor people up for that? I mean, anyone can grab a shovel or do some sort of work, regardless of pay.”
      – so you agree they are hypocrites?

  4. magus71 said, on December 1, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Having kids is a great way to learn the difference between liberal agendas and conservative ones.

    I will, of course, not allow my kids to starve or freeze to death. But I will not allow them to lay in bed all day, to have only cookies for supper, or refuse to go to school.

    The kids will get their needs met, but my job as a parent is to make them, day by day, *LESS* dependent on me, not more dependent. If a year from now, if my child is not more independent, something is wrong.

    A parent is a mentor, a safety net, and a protector. A parent is not an enabler of bad behavior, a coward, or a fear monger. Moreover, it takes wisdom to be a good parent. I must know the true needs of the child. The child will constantly try to get over, constantly try to make things easy by cutting corners, lying, or whining. It is my job to make those habits unprofitable, and to make telling the truth, hard work, toughness, and kindness profitable and endearing.

    And so it is with governments.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 2, 2011 at 11:25 am

      My parents are both Democrats and they did not allow me to do any of those things. I’m often cast as a liberal, yet I am up by 6:00 am to run, I have a balanced meal for supper, and I always go to school.

      I’m fine with the state not coddling the lazy or the parasitical. That is why I have been against things like the support of corporations with public money (such as the “secret bailout” that netted corporations billions).

      • magus71 said, on December 2, 2011 at 11:48 am

        Then hold the dems’ feet to the fire, too. Why does everyone reading your blog believe it has a liberal slant? The readers who are liberals like the fact that it has a liberal slant. The people who are not libs, such as myself, only want you to admit that you are present a liberal view here and that liberal view causes you to ignore what is wrong with Democrat thinking and policy, because in your mind, the Dems “mean well.”

        I stand by the idea, lie TJ, that Democrat agenda and policy is more damaging in aggregate than Republican policy.

        Your reams of strawmen about Republican=money over humans is getting annoying.

        • anon said, on December 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm

          “Why does everyone reading your blog believe it has a liberal slant?”
          – facts seem to usually go against American conservative views

          “I stand by the idea, lie TJ, that Democrat agenda and policy is more damaging in aggregate than Republican policy. ”
          – point proven

          • magus71 said, on December 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm

            “facts seem to usually go against American conservative views”

            Such as?

            “point proven”

            huh?

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 3, 2011 at 7:37 pm

          I suppose my blog has liberal content because I have some views that would be cast as liberal (social justice, equal rights, financial aid for students, and so on).

          However, I also have views that would probably be classified as conservative, such as being for gun rights, being for an effective military, being willing to accept that military operations can be morally correct, and for believing in a limited government with a balanced budget.

          Interestingly, I have been bashed for being “too conservative” for some of my views.

          I suppose that all this shows that I am probably a moderate on many things.

  5. T. J. Babson said, on December 2, 2011 at 9:11 am

    As an intellectual exercise reconcile Exodus 22:21( “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt”) with the views of most of the Republican party.

    I seem to remember that Reagan achieved immigration reform, including amnesty for those who had lived in the U.S. for many years.

    Exactly what have the Dems done along these lines?

    • dhammett said, on December 2, 2011 at 9:46 am

      “Romano L. Mazzoli was a Democratic representative from Kentucky and Alan K. Simpson was a Republican senator from Wyoming who chaired their respective immigration subcommittees in Congress. Their effort was assisted by the recommendations of the bipartisan Commission on Immigration Reform, chaired by Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, then President of the University of Notre Dame.” From a brief but informative Wikipedia article on the subject.

      Neither party has done much since . Reagan signed a bill that was, in part, the result of a ^bipartisan^ commission’s suggestions. If “achieving” means “signing”, then your recollections of Reagan’s achievement are correct.

    • magus71 said, on December 2, 2011 at 10:09 am

      TJ, I was thinking the same thing this morning. What is the difference between how Republicans and Democrats handle immigration? Recently, there’s almost no difference. So, strawman.

      Also, Mike’s statement that: “they often seem to take positions that directly contradict key parts of Christianity.”

      None of the three things Mike put before us are key aspects of Christianity. The key aspect of Christianity is this:

      “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.~John 3:16

      We all suck and cannot meet God’s standard alone. Though some suck more than others. That’s it. I literally could spend hours showing the Apostle Paul’s ideas that would horrify liberals. Paul said that homosexuals deserve death. I believe the Apostle Paul would have endorsed illegal immigrants obeying the law of the country. The thief hanging from the cross beside Jesus told Jesus that he (the thief) deserved death for his wrongdoing. Jesus did not disagree with him (though I admit it wasn’t a very good time for political debate).

      Mike should stay out of the business of using the bible to conveniently support his political views, because it seems there are things in the bible which, if Republicans did support, would outrage Mike. But per usual, the minutiae gains great importance when it supports certain views.

      Oh by the way Mike. Here’s John Kerry’s (multi-multi millionaire) charitable contributions from 91-95: $0; $820; $175; $2039; $0. Here’s Bush’s, 91-93: $28,236, $31,914, $31,292. Kerry, less than one half of one percent of his income. Bush, 15 percent of his income.

      Biden gives an average of around $360 per year for the last decade to charity. Dick Cheney in 2005–ok, wait for this–nearly $7 million dollars to charity. Over 70% of his income. You’re confused about the issues. The argument is about the role of government and what really helps people, not if people should be helped at all.

      It must be so easy to be a modern Democrat. If you have no standards it’s difficult to fail in any measurable way. I think that as platoon sergeant I’ll run my platoon that way. Instead of having standards for all the soldiers in the platoon and running the risk of less than 100% compliance, I’ll merely take away all standards and tell the 1st Sergeant that every one of my soldiers met all expectations (none) and therefore I deserve a high rating on my annual review for leading the most compliant platoon in the brigade.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 2, 2011 at 11:43 am

        They are key aspects.

        John 15:12 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

        Certainly-I am against, for example, stoning children for being disobedient. I am also okay with eating pork and lobster.

        • magus71 said, on December 2, 2011 at 1:57 pm

          Allow every bum on the street to move into your living room, otherwise you aren’t being loving, Mike. Surely God allows for some human discretion here. People in the Netherlands get free health care and a lot of free other stuff. Maybe I should expect they just let me walk in and just take what they have to offer. No questions asked. Otherwise they’re being very un-Christian.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 2, 2011 at 11:33 am

      He did indeed.

      Both parties need to step up and address this issue seriously and rationally. Newt, though he might be appealing to moderates and Hispanics, is willing to grasp the nettle of immigration. That is, I think, to his credit. Perry even showed decency here.

      • magus71 said, on December 2, 2011 at 1:58 pm

        You need to clarify your expectations on immigration. Otherwise you can just do your shifty eye thing,

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 3, 2011 at 7:44 pm

          Immigration is complex, but here are my main talking points:
          1. People who are here illegally are breaking the law.
          2. Those who are here illegally should be “processed” through the legal system and given a chance to establish legal status. This should be extended, as Newt says, to people who became established during the Reagan amnesty. We are, I think, obligated to do this because of what Reagan did.
          3. Those who wish to come here to work must be processed through a legal system and must become taxpayers. This process needs to be steam lined but the monitoring must be improved so that a) workers are not abused or even enslaved and b) the workers pay their taxes.
          4. We should establish offices in other countries to facilitate this processing.

          We can render unto Caesar while not oppressing the stranger.

  6. T. J. Babson said, on December 2, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Bonus points for reconciling Herman Cain’s view of the poor with Luke 6:20: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”

    Do we even know Cain’s view of the poor? I though he was talking about the MacBook toting, latte-sipping, hippie types at the OWS protests.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 2, 2011 at 11:35 am

      He said that if people are poor and do not have jobs, it is their fault.

      “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,for they will be filled.”

  7. magus71 said, on December 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Welfare harms kids.

    http://www.policyarchive.org/handle/10207/bitstreams/8337.pdf

    This exactly corresponds to what I saw as a cop.

  8. ajmacdonaldjr said, on December 2, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    It’s mainly the antiabortion position that takes Christians into the Republican party, since the Democrats are proabortion. There’s only the two parties to choose from and most Christians can’t vote Democrat, since the Democrats are proabortion.

    If the Democrats would make abortion an issue of justice and human rights concerning the baby, and adopt an antiabortion position, the Christians would abandon the country club Republican Party. Then the Democrats would be in a good position to increase focus on social justice issues. As it is now, the Republicans are winning, and dismantling social justice programs, simply because the Democrats cling to an immoral and unjust policy: abortion on demand, because they think it is irrevocably tied to women’s rights, which it’s not.

    Human rights are fundamental. We have certain rights by virtue of our humanity. No one – male or female – has the right to unjustly slaughter an innocent child.

    Until the issue of abortion, most Christians, Catholics especially, voted Democrat. Catholics don’t believe in exploiting the poor or oppressing and killing people, like the Republicans do, but abortion, a dreadful practice for both women and children, which is intentionally killing an innocent child, they certainly cannot support.

    Many Christians don’t vote, because both parties are made up of murderous thugs and thieves. The rhetoric notwithstanding.

    Suffice it to say, our political parties are morally bankrupt.

    • magus71 said, on December 2, 2011 at 10:37 pm

      “It’s mainly the antiabortion position that takes Christians into the Republican party, since the Democrats are proabortion.”

      That’s true.

    • dhammett said, on December 2, 2011 at 11:43 pm

      Does anyone or any entity have the right to force a victim to carry the product of rape or incest inside her body for nine months? Anti-abortion activists are still pushing that agenda.

      You assert that “Catholics don’t believe in exploiting the poor or oppressing and killing people. . .” True. Yet it’s undeniable that The Church, as an institution, has in its history oppressed and killed people. And in light of certain scandals within the church involving priests and some above them in the Church hierarchy and the scandal at Penn State, not believing in something and actually not doing it are evidently, at the religious level, two different things.

      So, just use your imagination for a moment.
      Imagine that Jerry Sandusky or those errant priests had been raping girls instead of boys. Where would you, if you were a Catholic father, stand on the issue of having ^your^ daughter (not someone else’s daughter) carry the product of Sandusky’s or a priest’s semen to term? What if, because of medical factors, the pregnancy would be life-threatening to your daughter? Honestly? Who’s the “innocent child” being led to slaughter?

      We need to get off the ‘no abortions are acceptable’ vs. ‘all abortions are acceptable’ bandwagons that politicians have been driving for nearly 40 years. But we’ve known politicians generally are “morally bankrupt” since long before this republic was formed, but to paraphrase what one poster said here recently on another subject, they’re part of a system that’s better than any other in the world. The people need to be morally realistic. Consistent, but humane. Without both consistency and humanity we’re either robots or shapeless blobs of sentiment.

      • T. J. Babson said, on December 3, 2011 at 1:08 am

        “Does anyone or any entity have the right to force a victim to carry the product of rape or incest inside her body for nine months? ”

        So your considered view, dhammett, is that if the mother doesn’t love it it deserves to die?

        • magus71 said, on December 3, 2011 at 6:43 am

          If we’re going to execute anyone on the case of rape, let’s execute the rapist and let the child live.

          • dhammett said, on December 3, 2011 at 8:34 am

            “let’s execute the rapist and let the child live.”

            Many on here carp about the legal system. How slow it is. How ineffective it is at doing things it should do well. Like identifying and punishing rapists and incestuous parents. I’ve got some ideas. . .
            Let’s fry the incestuous father, too.

            If you can figure a way to bring the product of rape or incest to term without forcing a woman to carry said product inside her body, if she doesn’t want to, go for it. If the child can live on its own after birth, without the raped mother having to be the caregiver, that may be a plus.

            It ^ may^ make this ugly situation much more attractive to the woman, if the state pays for the best pre-natal care and long term post-natal care and provides the best psychological and financial assistance before and long after birth first for the mother and then for mother and child. If the woman doesn’t want the child after having carried it for nine months and surviving childbirth, the state or some other well-meaning institution could step in and handle the responsibility. Every woman who has been raped should be free to go out and get raped by someone else, right?

            I’m always struck by how easily the woman is lost in all these equations. Her rights, her life, her will be damned. She is, after all, just a human being, a piece of meat—right? Has she no freedom of choice?

            Give the raped woman the respect she deserves. Give her choice.

            *

        • dhammett said, on December 3, 2011 at 8:09 am

          Where the hell did you read that? You do see that my statement says nothing about “love” (Is that where rape or incest comes from?) or what the product of rape or incest “deserves”, right?

          My considered view is that the victim of rape or incest should not be forced by any institution, governmental, religious, or other, “to carry the product” of that act to term. But, if she loves the rape or incest product , or she just feels guilted by her religious background, or whatever, she should be free to carry a dozen or two dozen of ‘em. If daddy can get away with it, or the rapist is a successful repeater and she likes mothering, I say “You go girl!”! She can populate a small town with daddy’s progeny for all I care.

          The girl/woman should have the choice.

          • T. J. Babson said, on December 3, 2011 at 10:21 am

            “The girl/woman should have the choice.”

            I see. Convenience of the woman trumps all.

            • dhammett said, on December 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm

              I must say that you define “convenience” in a very different and oddly specific way. :)

            • magus71 said, on December 3, 2011 at 3:54 pm

              Does a father have an option about abortion? Funny, he has no option as to if his child is butchered in the womb, and should the child escape death, he has no option but to support it even when the mother is comfortably married and supported by another man. Even if the father wanted to take the child instead of the child being aborted, he would have no choice at all.

              In any case, rape and the mother’s life being in danger make up about 2% of abortions. And yet abortion on demand is the rule. See, they take the only case which may conceivably be justified, and use it to justify 50 million dead babies since 1973.

              Dostoevsky stated that the degree of civilization in a society may be measured by the conditions of its prisons. I would also consider abortion to be a barometer. At least we haven’t caught up to Russia, another dying culture, which aborts 60% percent of pregnancies.

              But really this is only the natural and logical conclusion to Darwin’s theory. We are merely a mistake, a somewhat odd mass of biological cells and liquids, nothing more. The only difference between the abortion industry and the ovens of Auschwitz is the Jews had more of a chance to fight back than the unborn. Abortion is the post-modern version of the Final Solution.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm

              That is an important moral point. After all, as you note, the father has legal obligations to the child and this would make him an interested party. However, he does not have to actually go through the pregnancy, which makes his stake in the matter less.

              Also, I would assume that a rapist would not have any rights against the woman at all.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 3, 2011 at 8:03 pm

              Not convenience. I think you will find that the vast majority of pro-choice people would be horrified at the idea of a woman aborting her child simply for the convenience of being able to continue to wear her skinny jeans.

              Most people who have abortions seem to take the matter fairly seriously-you do not typically see women and girls joyfully skipping to the clinic whistling a happy tune because they are going to have an abortion. While my experience is rather limited (I have never been directly involved in someone having an abortion), this seems to be a rather sad and serious experience for the people involved.

            • magus71 said, on December 3, 2011 at 9:29 pm

              Planned Parethood pushes abortion, Mike. Who can reasonably eviscerate oil companies for profit margins when abortion is a profit driven murder spree? What kind of person would do this work? Adolph Eichmann would be proud. At least he was hunted to the ends of the Earth.

              Actually, women do have abortions for horribly bad reasons. There is no defending it. 78% of women who had abortion, polled in 2004, stated they had abortions because the baby would “dramatically change their life” (38% said it would effect their education; 38% said it would interfere with job; 32% said they had other children to worry about).

              http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3711005.pdf

              No one’s saying the women skip out cheerfully. They should be warned of the deep wound they’ll cause their own psyche by having an abortion.

              Yet we can blithely sit back and criticize past nations for accepting atrocities in their midst. The abortion industry (and that’s what it is–it exists to make money) has committed the greatest atrocity in the history of mankind.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 4, 2011 at 8:07 pm

              As far as Planned Parenthood pushing abortion, only a very small percentage of their operations involves abortion. While there might well be people associated with the organization that “push abortion”, that generally does not seem to be the case.

              Those women can, and have been defended. In fact, I have argued that the same principles that can be used to justify killing people in war or for national interest can be used to justify abortion based on the interest of the woman. After all, innocent children are killed in war but those deaths are justified on the grounds of the interests of those conducting the war.

              Now, if you want to adopt a principle that killing any innocent person is always wrong and can never be justified for anything less than clear self-defense, then that would be a consistent approach. This would, of course, mean that we could not wage war if it put any innocents at risk of death.

            • dhammett said, on December 3, 2011 at 10:07 pm

              Let’s compare the father’s role in creation with the mother’s role. Each contributes at the beginning: sperm and egg. From that point on, the mother carries the embryo for nine months. For one reason or another related to the pregnancy, she may have to give up her job—either temporarily or permanently. The father (and this has happened, yes it has!) can go out with other women during that period. He may or may not bring home a paycheck. In this Bushobama economy (7.3% end of ’08, 8.6& now) he may be unemployed and near suicidal. While mom keeps getting bigger.
              “Even if the father wanted to take the child instead of the child being aborted, he would have no choice at all.”
              So assume the woman’s a victim of spousal rape.The husband should have the ^choice^ of ^forcing^ the woman to carry an embryo that is the result of the husband’s (ex-husband’s) violence? Trying to look at it from a different angle here. To me that sounds a lot like a very sick way of expanding an abusive sicko’s abuse over a much longer period.

              You write ” which may conceivably be justified” to apply to rape and concerns for the mother’s life, but you don’t apply that to incest? Well, at least the concession “may conceivably be justified” is a step in the right direction. But the incest omission is intriguing.

              “The only difference between the abortion industry and the ovens of Auschwitz is the Jews had more of a chance to fight back than the unborn.”
              Really?
              Part of a monologue you may recall from “The Merchant of Venice”. Shakespeare was not talking about embryos here, but many of his observations would be spot on if applied to the subject.*# “I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes. . .affections, passions. . .? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge.”
              This is a shortened version of Shakespeare’s brief allusion to a few of the similarities that exist between Jews and Christians. But the similarities I’ve extracted here are clearly ^differences^ that exist between the embryo in early stages of development and the embryo in later stages of its development.—or even not until it is born. When does an embryo see?When can it laugh?Show humility? Seek revenge? Feel love? In the first trimester? Third? When it’s no longer an embryo?

              The Jewish embryo in Auschwitz would have been— up to a certain point in its development—a ^potential” Jewish person. Embryos in some later stage in development perhaps, the children, and adult Jews who were gassed in Auschwitz were Jewish persons. Again, you’re willing to fully erase one side of the equation (the mother, raped by a relative, a stranger, or in some other way endangered by the presence of the embryo) and give all the weight to the other side. That’s your prerogative. But don’t expect everyone to follow lock step behind you. If anti-abortion activists demand all or nothing on this issue, I’m afraid they’ll never get all. If pro-choicers seek all or nothing, guess what they’ll get. . .It won’t be all.

              Somehow we should be able to involve the Nazis in the Catholic Church’s problem with priests and the hierarchy that covered up their actions. Nazis are so convenient that way. *# Surely at some point they’ve been linked with UFOs. Nah. That’s silly. But wait. . .just Google Nazis and UFOs. Psst! I’m pretty sure Nazis are poisoning my breakfast cereal.

              *# And you opened the door with the Auschwitz ref,

          • magus71 said, on December 4, 2011 at 9:20 pm

            Mike said “based on the interest of the woman.”

            And the statistics show that convenience is the primary interest.

            Your war comparison borders on the absurd. Does America target babies? The only target in an abortion is a baby. Our law clearly shows the difference between accidentally killing someone and intentionally doing so. There are many cases in which the American military has not attacked very high level al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters because women and children were around. In fact, the enemy knows this so they make it a point to keep women and children around. 50 million since 73. That’s a number no army in history can match. And comprised of babies only.

            You say that even pro-choice people would “horrified” at abortion for convenience. Really? Where is their outrage at the numbers? It’s moral cowardice and you’re displaying a bit of it here as well. The PC world has actually made it easier to argue that people who enter the country illegally should not be sent home than it is to argue that the abortion numbers are a blight on America.

            Part of the Dem plan to help the poor is to keep abortion on demand legal. No thanks.

            I’m not even talking about the cases where a woman’s life is in danger. As I stated, that constitutes only about 2% of abortions.

            • dhammett said, on December 4, 2011 at 11:20 pm

              “I’m not even talking about the cases where a woman’s life is in danger. As I stated, that constitutes only about 2% of abortions”

              Oh, please, do let us talk about them. I think the number, even as cited on pro-life sites is higher. And add women raped by strangers and family members while we’re at it. That might raise the percentage to a point where you give a damn about ^their^ rights. At least enough of a damn to consider showing just a bit of compassion for full grown women in pain and consider moderating somewhat your position on the subject.

            • dhammett said, on December 4, 2011 at 11:49 pm

              This from a major pro-life site:

              http://www.abortionno.org/Resources/fastfacts.html

              “1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient).”

              I refer you to my 12/4 11:53 am video below. A ten year old girl was raped and gave birth. Prohibiting an abortion in that case would be justice? Prohibiting an abortion in that case would be moral?
              Is there ever a magic cut off point where these children and women matter more than the combination of sperm and egg in the early days post insemination? One or two percent isn’t enough?

              6% is not 2%. Six percent is six women out of a hundred women. 2 percent is two women out of a hundred women.
              From the same article: “Number of abortions per day: Approximately 3,700″ That would be over 81000 real women per year that some elements of the pro-life movement (perhaps even you) are willing to ignore.

              There’s are very good reasons why 58% of voters in Mississippi rejected a personhood amendment recently.

              To add some fuel to a smoldering discussion:
              http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/30/on-abortion-and-defining-a-person/

            • ajmacdonaldjr said, on December 5, 2011 at 9:34 am

              You are correct: “Abortion on demand” has always been “abortion for convenience”, or “for any reason whatsoever”. And the baby is, in fact, the target. The mind, it is said, is never harder at work than when we are trying to justify our sins (= proabort “philosophy”).

            • dhammett said, on December 5, 2011 at 11:12 am

              ajm:”‘Abortion on demand’ has always been ‘abortion for convenience’, or ‘for any reason whatsoever’. And the baby is, in fact, the target.”

              Even this article: http://www.christiananswers.net/q-sum/q-life002.html adds the qualifier “practically”.
              “The fact is that the current law does not restrict a woman from getting an abortion for practically any reason she deems fit during the entire nine months of pregnancy. ” That wording is a move toward the voice of reason that’s needed if this already prolonged national debates is ever to reach a successful solution.

              I have a 5-inch thick Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1981) that, in its definition of “baby” never includes any pre-birth form (embryo, fetus, etc.)
              Most, but not all current online dictionaries accept “fetus” as a definition (but not the primary definition) of “baby”. A fetus (‘baby’, perhaps) according to most definitions, is preceded, in the first 8 weeks, by the embryo (not a baby—yet) .So your use of the word “baby” is, even with all the new understandings arising from our scientific advances , misleading. Loaded.

              The results in Mississippi results would seem to indicate the public thinks so as well. Though a minority of the general public nationwide favor abortion, about 40% , about 55% in Miss. voted against the idea of personhood. They would seem to know, in the majority, that a sperm and an egg connecting is not,at that point a ‘baby’.
              http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/30/on-abortion-and-defining-a-person/

              So. It took 16 years to repeal the 18th Amendment. Pro-choice groups have made inroads in limiting certain procedures late in a pregnancy without going through the amendment process (which would be extremely prolonged if not impossible in today’s overheated political climate#*). I’m sure there will be more changes that will mollify the pro-life crowd and anger the pro-abortion activists before an amendment passes.

              #* Did you know that amendments can take anywhere from just short of a year to five or more years to progress from introduction to ratification?

      • T. J. Babson said, on December 3, 2011 at 1:11 am

        I guess we are back to the “unloved” girls in China. I guess you have no problem with mothers aborting girls because they want boys instead. Mother doesn’t want a girl = deserves to die.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 3, 2011 at 7:58 pm

          As dhammett noted, a person can be consistently against some types of abortion while also accepting others. To use an analogy, just because a person finds self-defense acceptable it does not mean that s/he must endorse all forms of violence.

          When considering the morality of a specific abortion, such factors as the reason must be considered. An abortion that occurs because a 13 year old girl was raped is morally different from a couple electing aborting a girl because they want a boy.

          • T. J. Babson said, on December 4, 2011 at 1:16 am

            So what is your standard beyond the whim of the mother?

            • magus71 said, on December 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm

              As the law goes, her whim trumps all in the first 6 months.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 4, 2011 at 8:11 pm

              The term “whim” implies that women make decisions about abortion at the same level of seriousness that they might decide to try a new shade of lipstick or try out a new app on a smartphone. That does not seem to be the case.

              As far as the standards, one approach is utilitarianism-one that is generally used in many situations involving death (such as war). Just as killing in war can be justified or criticized based on the consequences, so too can abortions. People are, sadly, killed fairly often and deaths are also often taken as justified-even the death of innocents (how many wars have simply ended because one side or both sides decided that no innocents are to ever be put at risk?).

            • dhammett said, on December 4, 2011 at 8:50 pm

              Would your standard be that a mother’s safety and well-being don’t trump anything at any point, or do you make more subtle distinctions than that?

              Perhaps you and I and magus and others will pass someday through a bright portal into a world where reasoned judgment could trump the tenets of faith *# and mutually consider changes in Roe that would take into compassionate consideration the health and well-being of the mother at all stages of the development of the embryo. . .

              *# Are they ever misinterpreted or misapplied?

            • T. J. Babson said, on December 5, 2011 at 8:41 am

              I am still waiting to hear a standard that would prohibit abortions based on the sex of the baby. Can we all agree that this is morally abhorrent?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm

              There is already a stock standard, namely that the action must be justified by a morally sufficient reason. Having an abortion from a preference about gender does not seem to be a compelling reason. In contrast, a 13 year old rape victim would seem to be able to provide a compelling moral reason as to why she should not be forced to go through the pregnancy. Cases could also be made for women who would be forced to sacrifice their chances of having a better future. After all, we engage in war and kill innocents to advance our interests and not merely for self-defense. If that can be justified, abortion can be justified as well.

            • magus71 said, on December 5, 2011 at 9:33 am

              Mike said: “The term “whim” implies that women make decisions about abortion at the same level of seriousness that they might decide to try a new shade of lipstick”

              The law allows for this level of necessity. And it should not.

            • dhammett said, on December 5, 2011 at 10:06 am

              “I am still waiting to hear a standard that would prohibit abortions based on the sex of the baby.Can we all agree that this is morally abhorrent?”

              Has anyone on here said it wasn’t? I know I didn’t. There may be a few women in America who use sex as the reason, but likely that’s far less than magus’ magic 2% limit. So who cares about them, right?
              Take that case to the Chinese leadership, where it’s relevant.

          • ajmacdonaldjr said, on December 5, 2011 at 9:12 am

            You say “An abortion that occurs because a 13 year old girl was raped is morally different from a couple electing aborting a girl because they want a boy.” but, from the standpoint of natural law, there is no difference. In the case of rape, the baby is innocent, and there is no legitimacy for killing the child. Should we allow the innocent baby to be killed simply 1) because the father was a rapist; or 2) because the mother doesn’t want to bear the child of the man who raped her? What does any of this have to do with the baby? Nothing. Whose death are we discussing? The baby’s. It’s the baby’s legal standing we are discussing, not the parents. If the baby is less important than the parents, then we may as well allow parents to rid themselves of their offspring at any time and for any reason. Otherwise we are just splitting hairs. Sometimes it okay for parents to kill their offspring and sometimes not. All of the reasons being given for this “parental right to kill” being very arbitrary and not at all based upon human dignity, inalienable human rights, and natural law.

            • dhammett said, on December 5, 2011 at 9:37 am

              “there is no difference”
              I think there is a big one. In the first instance the girl has been RAPED. In the second instance,the couple is making a choice. Big difference. The rape involved a violent act against the 13-year-old and ^forcing^ her to carry the product of that violent act is a continuation of that violence against ^her^ innocence. Why, oh why is it seemingly so easy for some to ignore that fact?

              Thus, I say no to your #1. I would change it to ‘1/ because the girl was violently raped ‘ and I would enthusiastically answer “yes”. I would say no to #2. I would change it to ‘2/ The innocent 13 year old doesn’t want to carry the product of a monster and a monstrous act within her for 9 months’, and I would answer “yes”. Oh. In this instance I also object to the word “simply” in the passage “Should we allow the innocent baby to be killed simply 1) because. . .” There’s nothing simple about the act of rape and its long-lasting effects on that girl. Nothing at all.

              “If the baby is less important than the parents, then we may as well allow parents to rid themselves of their offspring at any time and for any reason.” There are many things wrong with this statement, but the one I’d like to point out is the word ‘parent’. A rapist is a lot of things, but, if you think he’s a “parent” ^simply^ because he inseminates the girl, you have a twisted sense of the role of a true parent.

  9. wtp said, on December 3, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Just because…

    • magus71 said, on December 4, 2011 at 7:22 am

      See my Heritage Foundation link about welfare and children. Also see my rants about societal breakdown.

  10. dhammett said, on December 4, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Just because . . .

  11. magus71 said, on December 4, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    “People are, sadly, killed fairly often and deaths are also often taken as justified-even the death of innocents (how many wars have simply ended because one side or both sides decided that no innocents are to ever be put at risk?).”

    What the hell is this nihilistic drivel? This is utter moral cowardice. A simple shoulder shrug at babies dying here in America and a “well, people die all the time” argument. What does this have to do with the specific cases of each abortion which are primarily driven by not wanting to take care of a baby? Mike, honestly, this is the type of thing that makes me think philosophy is evil, since it short circuits what humans know and have known for 10,000 years.

    If you defend all abortions based on 2% of abortions (mother’s safety), every argument you’ve ever made against the War on Terror goes out the door and you still make no case for why the other 98% should be killed.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm

      If I was a nihilist I would say “all this talk about ethics is talk about nothing, on par with discussing the color of the wings of faeries or the tooth length of vampires.” After all, moral nihilism is the view that moral claims have no truth value because they refer to nothing.

      My actual argument is that if we have a principle that forbids abortion, then that same principle would seem to forbid taking actions that can kill innocents in war. If the death of innocents is morally tolerable in war, then the same would seem to apply to abortions as well. After all, the children who get caught up in war are generally not combatants and hence we can generally not claim that we killed them in self defense. Rather we say that it is regrettable they died, but that is part of the cost of war and we are justified in advancing our interests. That is, I am insisting on moral consistency based on the view that morality is objective. That is almost as far from nihilism as one can get.

  12. magus71 said, on December 5, 2011 at 9:24 am

    You Choose–Time Delivers
    A short story written by Douglas Moore
    November, 27, 2007; Tallahassee, Florida

    “I support a woman’s right to choose. It’s as simple as that. It’s her body.” Linda repeated the statement as mantra, just as she’d heard it said to her so many times by her classmates at Stanford.

    “But it’s a baby, or it could be,” said Neil. He sipped his coffee and leaned back in his chair. He smashed down a rising anger within.

    “It’s the mother’s body,” she repeated.

    That evening, Linda went to bed with the normal and human expectation of waking the next morning. She had no terminal disease of which she was aware.

    But aliens from the planet Halmatrus decided that they wanted to experiment with human ethical reasoning. How far could the Halmatrusians stretch the ethos of any given human being? Linda happened to be one of the subjects chosen for the alien’s scientific experiment which consisted of this: A person was chosen who held strong opinions on a given subject. The human was then transported back in time, and placed in a situation that challenged the person’s ability to remain faithful to his or her professed beliefs.

    “You will be sent back in time, Linda Higgins,” the chief scientist explained to her. “and there, you will make some very important choices that could change the future.”

    Linda thought that this was a grand opportunity. How many people get the chance to change the future? She had several things in mind. Several ways in which she could make the time to come much better than it had turned out in the future.

    One day, in the past, Linda found a young woman, about the same age as Linda herself, crying at a bus stop. It took Linda several minutes to calm the lady down.

    “What’s wrong? Can I help?” Linda loved to feel as though she were helping those who couldn’t help themselves.

    “I just found out I’m pregnant,” said the young woman. “I can’t bring up a baby alone. My parents will disown me.”

    “There are options you know.” Linda reassuringly ran her hand over the crying woman’s hair. “There’s a family planning clinic down the street. Have you considered it?”

    “I couldn’t.” The woman looked up at Linda, searching for Linda’s argument. It was then that Linda delivered the most beautiful, succinct speech on a woman’s right to choose if she gave birth or not. The speech was soft, yet strong; she gave all of the reasons that a woman should only have babies that they felt were fated for a good life. “This is a bad world, a tough world,” Linda said. “why bring a life to it that has less than it will need to thrive?”

    When Linda was done talking, the woman felt better. She wiped the tears from her cheeks. Only a rose colored glow gave evidence that she had been crying. She was convinced and relieved. The woman knew, now and thanks to Linda, that she would not have to live with the burden of an unwanted baby.

    Two weeks later, the woman scheduled an appointment with a doctor at the family planning clinic. And two weeks after that, she went in to have a procedure done. A procedure that guaranteed that the fetus growing in her womb would not grow too large and become what we call a baby, and that baby would not have to deal with the pains of life. That was how the woman made herself feel better about what she’d done. She’d spared the child unnecessary pain.

    Guilt may have taken root in the woman if she had known the effects of her actions. Just as the doctor completed the procedure, Linda blinked from existence. She simply disappeared, leaving a void in space for a nano second. The void closed with a crack, leaving no evidence that Linda had ever existed.

    If only Linda would have asked the young woman her last name. If only. She may have recognized the name as her mother’s maiden name. And then, Linda may have considered the metaphysical aspects of her actions, that she had endorsed her own wiping from history.

    Back on the planet Halmatrus, the scientists there were awed by humanity’s ability to stand up for what it believed in.

  13. dhammett said, on December 5, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Here’s a different approach to dealing with a woman who has been raped and impregnated. Perhaps we should try it here to prevent rape-related abortions. . .

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2011/12/jailed-afghan-rape-victim-wins-pardon-after-agreeing-to-marry-attacker.html

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 5, 2011 at 9:47 pm

      The policy of jailing rape victims is morally horrifying. Such brutal sexism is not only detrimental to the direct victims, but is also harmful to the society as a whole. In addition to the moral damage of tolerating and participating in such practices, the society also perpetuates the terrible waste of human potential.

    • dhammett said, on December 5, 2011 at 11:04 pm

      “. . . woman [will] be pardoned and freed — ‘taking into consideration the consent of both sides for a conditional wedlock.'” So she was forced to bear the rapist’s child (having few alternatives in her Afghan cell) and she can only be released if she agrees to marry her rapist.

      But wait. This BBC article tells us how international attention has changed the course of this case:
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16003305

      We have yet to witness what happens to the woman and her family at the hands of the Taliban and their hyper-fundamentalist followers. We have yet to see how the limits of Karzai’s power manifest themselves in this case.

  14. WTP said, on December 6, 2011 at 11:22 am

    So an already biased straw-man argument about Republicans and Christianity degenerates via some magical fallacy mystery tour into a discussion about an Afghan rape victim being forced to marry her rapist. At long last, have you no sense of decency?

    • dhammett said, on December 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm

      I’m certain you can follow the tour though the Afghan experience. If not, here’s the connection: If we can force a woman to carry the product of a violent rape for nine months with little or no regard for her well-being, we’re not too far from forcing the woman to apologize to her rapist and marry him (or suffer imprisonment). But we’d never do that here—would we? We’re too civilized.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm

        Unlikely. But Rick Santorum might be inclined to ban birth control (“One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be”) and would certainly try to get rid of abortion. As far as taking care of all the babies that would result, Santorum has warned us about the danger of single mothers staying single to get those big welfare dollars (http://www.mediaite.com/tv/rick-santorum-single-moms-are-avoiding-marriage-in-order-to-collect-welfare/).

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm

      Description of Straw Man

      The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person’s actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position. This sort of “reasoning” has the following pattern:

      Person A has position X.
      Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X).
      Person B attacks position Y.
      Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.
      This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because attacking a distorted version of a position simply does not constitute an attack on the position itself. One might as well expect an attack on a poor drawing of a person to hurt the person.

      So how am I presenting a straw man by asking people to reconcile Christian principles with positions held by avowed Christians?

  15. WTP said, on December 6, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    strawman

    noun
    1. a person used as a cover for some questionable activity [syn: front man]
    2. a weak or sham argument set up to be easily refuted [syn: straw man]
    3. an effigy in the shape of a man to frighten birds away from seeds [syn: scarecrow]

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm

      To repeat, so how am I presenting a straw man? Defining the term does not, obviously, show that I am making that error. As far as I can recall, while you regularly accuse me of committing fallacies, you never actually get around to showing that I have done so.

  16. wtp said, on December 6, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    The original article is nothing more than an attack piece on Republicans, emphasizing their weakest arguments in the context of your words and perspectives, using simplistic reasoning worthy of a high school student. All the while ignoring the obvious reality that the Republican party, like any political party of serious consideration, is made up of many different factions each with their own pet issues that will obviously conflict with each other. Just look at your Luke 6:20 point. No effort to draw a line, as many Christians Republican or Democrat would do, between the deserving/working poor who are trying to climb out of poverty and those who simply ask to be taken care of by society. Of course then it’s just a hop, skip, and jump to a discussion of rape victims being forced to marry their attackers.

    But of course you are always the best judge of your own objectivity.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 7, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      Ah, if I focus on the weakest arguments of the Republicans I am not making a straw man. After all, I would not be distorting their arguments, but presenting them.

      Also, what I wrote about Republicans was

      “As an intellectual exercise reconcile Exodus 22:21( “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt”) with the views of most of the Republican party.”

      You’ll note that I said “most” and also put this as a challenge-reconciling the two. This hardly seems to be a straw man sort of situation.

      To straw man them, I would need to present a view that is a distortion rather than an actual position. I could, of course, be accused of generalizing to most Republicans from those that seem to hold views that are inconsistent with Exodus.

      • WTP said, on December 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm

        They are not arguments of even most Republicans. They are somewhat weak from my perspective and I only used that term in regard to my not being interested in defending these positions in the context you present them. Yet, even as I wrote that post, I knew you were going to fall back on your weasel words of “tend to” and “seem”. But you narrow your perspective in regard to “needy” or “alien”.

        Again, you are always the best judge of your own objectivity.

  17. dhammett said, on December 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    It shouldn’t be a surprise that Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Independent (et al) Christians might have difficulty reconciling their actions: Contrast the following.

    Matthew 6:1 “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
    Matthew 6:5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

    vs

    King James 2000 Bible
    Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

    You can back up or go forward a verse or two and find a few passages that might be interpreted differently by the reader. For example, those familiar with college and pro football may have heard of Tim Tebow. He’s having a pretty impressive debut season with Denver. He makes a point to pray after his major successes on field .Some other Christians object to that:
    http://www.christianpost.com/news/tim-tebow-urged-by-kurt-warner-to-tone-down-religious-references-in-games-video-63328/
    or
    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/tim-tebow-and-christianism.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+andrewsullivan%2FrApM+%28The+Daily+Dish%29
    Google “tim tebow religion” for more than a handful more

    Clearly, Tebow has his personal interpretation that satisfies his needs. He interprets “his light” to mean any positive accomplishment that he thinks will glorify God. And he obviously doesn’t consider kneeling in prayer in public –or elsewhere?— an act of righteousness. “The second act of righteousness was prayer.” (You’ll have to Google “Rewards for Righteous Acts” (PDF) for this one.

    The point here is that , clearly, that some Christians (of any political persuasion) would likely have more than a little difficulty reconciling passages from the Bible with their actions in the real world because sometimes the passages can’t be fully reconciled with each other.


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