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Posts Tagged ‘abortion’

Richard Mourdock has gotten himself into a world of hurt over his comments that pregnancy as a result of rape is God’s will. I disagree with his position and I don’t think citing God’s will as a matter of public policy is appropriate. But do I find his comments at all surprising? I do not. I would say they are insensitive, but they accurately reflect the views of Christian pro-life folks and are pretty widely held. If you are pro-life then it doesn’t make sense to have exceptions as to which lives count. If you are Christian, then you believe that God is in control. Mourdock’s statement was just saying those two things out loud together. I disagree with him, but really all he told us was that he was simultaneously pro-life and Christian. It’s not a big deal.  

Of course liberals tend to disagree with the pro-life position, and so it should be no surprise that they are making hay over these statements. But you should also keep in mind that liberals are up in arms over this, I suspect, at least partially because they see a chance to knock off a senate candidate, which is a huge deal especially if Mitt Romney wins. This guy could be the difference between implementation or repeal for Obamacare, and so liberals are latching on to what they see as a winning issue to help protect the senate. 

My bottom line on this is that his statements were run of the mill for a pro-life Christian, and obviously disagreeable to liberals, but not worth all the coverage. Breaking News: conservatives and liberals disagree on abortion. Of course we’re two weeks away from an election, so everything is amplified to the point of absurdity. See Libya.

The Gravel Kraken has similar, more well-written, thoughts.

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This is part 2 of my thoughts on the GOP platform. Part 1 is here

The second part of the GOP platform is entitled We The People: A Restoration of Constitutional Government. It opens:

In the spirit of the Constitution, we consider discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, creed, disability, or national origin unacceptable and immoral.
Discrimination based on sexual orientation, however, is fair game. In fact, the rest of this particular plank makes clear that the GOP doesn’t actually believe a word of that. They start out early, appealing to racist fears that Barack Obama is going to impose Sharia Law, or the black people equivalent of it, or something like that. I don’t the hell know, they wrote this, not me:
As a matter of principle, we oppose the creation of any new race-based governments within the United States.
So there you go. Now let’s start the fun:
A serious threat to our country’s constitutional order, perhaps even more dangerous than presidential malfeasance, is an activist judiciary, in which some judges usurp the powers reserved to other branches of government. A blatant example has been the court-ordered redefinition of marriage in several States. This is more than a matter of warring legal concepts and ideals. It is an assault on the foundations of our society, challenging the institution which, for thousands of years in virtually every civilization, has been entrusted with the rearing of children and the transmission of cultural values.
Wow! Hear that, gay people? Your marriages constitute an existential threat to our society. Pretty impressive. Do I need to point out that the definition of marriage has changed many, many times? That it has not existed in its present form “for thousands of years in virtually every civilization”?
We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
 Of course you do.
The Republican Party, born in opposition to the denial of liberty, stands for the rights of individuals, families, faith communities, institutions – and of the States which are their instruments of self government.
…how do you square this with the above? You just can’t.
I’m going to skip the bit about the preserving the electoral college and preventing voter fraud because really it just boils down to “Voter ID is KICKASS!”
Now, on to the first amendment! This section makes me want to scream and throw things, its truly astounding. They open by quoting Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, citing it as evidence that religious belief should be used as the foundation of public policy! But in that document, Jefferson acknowledges:
that our civil rights have no dependance on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry
Jefferson further acknowledges:
that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; 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 falacy, 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
Jefferson is concerned here that “the civil magistrate” (ie the government) will extend his religious opinions into policy, thus forcing them on others. He argued for precisely the opposite of this platform! He would later write, in a letter to the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut:
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
And so originates the phrase. After using Jefferson as an excuse to talk about how awesome the Boy Scouts are for their gay bashing, the GOP gives us this:

We condemn the hate campaigns, threats of violence, and vandalism by proponents of same-sex marriage against advocates of traditional marriage and call for a federal investigation into attempts to deny religious believers their civil rights.

In what way does allowing a gay couple to marry violate the rights of “advocates of traditional marriage”? They would still be allowed to marry traditionally. They would remain married. Nothing at all would change! Thomas Jefferson, who I will continue to quote as this plank seems entirely based on an absurd twisting of his views, stated:

But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

This is directly applicable. A gay marriage has exactly zero impact on any other marriage! Not allowing the gay couple to marry, however, does actively deny them their rights. This is just purely an alternate reality. It is the most asshole-ish statement I have yet seen in a prepared document so far during this election. It reeks of bigotry, fear, resentment, and hatred. It has no place in this country, and certainly not in it’s government.

Moving right along, the GOP mentions briefly the fourth ammendment:

Affirming “the right of the people to be secure in their houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” we support pending legislation to prevent unwarranted or unreasonable governmental intrusion through the use of aerial surveillance or flyovers on U.S. soil, with the exception of patrolling our national borders. All security measures and police actions should be viewed through the lens of the Fourth Amendment; for if we trade liberty for security, we shall have neither.

This I very much agree with. I truly hope they actually believe it! If so, they could show that by proposing repeal of the PATRIOT act. I suppose I shouldn’t hold my breath. I also agree with the proposal, in the section on the fifth amendment, that seeks to ensure adequate compensation in the case that private property is taken “for a compelling public use”. I should state that I know very little about this issue, but I can foresee the devil being in the details as to what constitutes “compelling”.

Next, while discussing a constitutional amendment to define life as beginning at conception (and hence banning all abortions), they state:

We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.

But recall just a few pages earlier, and quoted above:

A serious threat to our country’s constitutional order, perhaps even more dangerous than presidential malfeasance, is an activist judiciary

So keep this in mind. An “activist judiciary” only refers to judges with whom you disagree. Speaking of activist judges:

The symbol of our constitutional unity, to which we all pledge allegiance, is the flag of the United States of America. By whatever legislative method is most feasible, Old Glory should be given legal protection against desecration. We condemn decisions by activist judges to deny children the opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance in its entirety, including “Under God,” in public schools and encourage States to promote the pledge.

So flag burning, which I would argue constitutes free speech, should be outlawed. How does that square with the section on freedom of speech?

we oppose governmental censorship of speech through the so-called Fairness Doctrine or by government enforcement of speech codes, free speech zones, or other forms of “political correctness” on campus.

How can you simultaneously oppose the “enforcement of political correctness” and support the banning of flag burning? This is just yet another example, much like the activist judges, of a principle applied only to those things with which the GOP agrees.

The GOP professes a reverence for the constitution and for the founding fathers. And yet, when it comes time to demonstrate those things, they fail utterly. They apply the constitution only in situations where it supports their views, and freely disregard it when it is no longer convenient. To show their reverence for the founders, they twist their words into the polar opposite of their originally intended meaning.

This platform isn’t a responsible set of governing philosophies and policy proposals, its a Christianist manifesto.

That’s all for Part 2. Energy, Agriculture, and The Environment is up next. Maybe tomorrow.

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The ACS national meeting was in town this week so I didn’t have time for blogging. This morning I figured I’d try to catch up on all the important events I missed and it turned out there weren’t any. Apparently, we spent the week discussing a reproductive issue that should have been made clear in highschool biology.

My favorite story of the week, though, was this one. Rush Limbaugh informs us that Barack Obama is a sorcerer and that hurricanes have a well known liberal bias. On the latter point, I have to say I’m surprised. I always thought hurricanes were, in fact, conservative, as they tend to spend the majority of their time punishing America for the gays.

But now I see that hurricanes have a split, divisive political system much like our own. And naturally, Rush is right. No self respecting conservative hurricane would find itself in an urban area like Tampa. Everyone knows the cities vote democrat.

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Ron Paul, birth control supporter:

“The morning-after pill is a birth control pill,” he said. “If people have reservations about abortion, the abortion is the issue, it isn’t the birth control pill. It isn’t the instrument. You don’t not allow surgical instruments if they’re used for certain things.”

This is exactly right, and one of the few areas in which Ron Paul and I agree on something.

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The Laurens County GOP in South Carolina has come out with a handy little pledge you have to sign before appearing on their ballot. According to The Clinton Chronicle, to run as a republican in this particular county, one must:

  1. Be 100% opposed to abortion
  2. Be 100% opposed to gun control of any kind
  3. Support balanced state and federal budgets
  4. Support abstinence before marriage
  5. Practice abstinence before marriage
  6. Not be homosexual
  7. Not support equal rights for homosexuals in any way
  8. Not view pornography
  9. Have “A compassionate and moral approach to Teen Pregnancy”
  10. Have “A commitment to Peace Through Strength in Foreign Policy”
  11. Have “A high regard for Unites States Sovereignty”

Now to be fair, the SC State GOP has since said that this kind of pledge is illegal, but let’s unpack these a bit.

Numbers 1 and 2 seem pretty standard fare for GOPers, as does 3, although how effective a county level politician will be in a fight for a balanced federal budget is unclear.

Numbers 4 through 8 are your standard Christianist party line, Rick Santorum would be proud. Although it should be noted that if you ban anyone who has had sex before marriage or viewed pornography, you will find that your candidate pool is rather limited.

I’m not entirely sure what number 9 means, but I think its republican for anti-abortion, which was covered in number 1.

Number 10 basically means “America, Fuck Yeah!”, as I suspect does 11.

Snarkiness aside, though, there actually is some real policy information between the lines of boilerplate. Number 10 would imply increased military spending, which would have to be offset via spending cuts or increased revenue to satisfy the requirements of number 3. I think its pretty obvious that revenue increases won’t factor into the equation, so spending cuts it is!

None of this is surprising information, to be sure, but I thought it was worth pointing out. I think it is also worth pointing out, as I did previously, that 40% of SC’s state budget comes from the federal government.

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Apparently so:

In 1979, McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal.

Sometime after that, it was decided that the Bible teaches that human life begins at conception.

Ask any American evangelical, today, what the Bible says about abortion and they will insist that this is what it says. (Many don’t actually believe this, but they know it is the only answer that won’t get them in trouble.) They’ll be a little fuzzy on where, exactly, the Bible says this, but they’ll insist that it does.

That’s new. If you had asked American evangelicals that same question the year I was born you would not have gotten the same answer.

That year, Christianity Today — edited by Harold Lindsell, champion of “inerrancy” and author of The Battle for the Bible — published a special issue devoted to the topics of contraception and abortion. That issue included many articles that today would get their authors, editors — probably even theirreaders — fired from almost any evangelical institution. For example, one article by a professor from Dallas Theological Seminary criticized the Roman Catholic position on abortion as unbiblical. Jonathan Dudley quotes from the article in his book Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics. Keep in mind that this is from a conservative evangelical seminary professor, writing in Billy Graham’s magazine for editor Harold Lindsell:

God does not regard the fetus as a soul, no matter how far gestation has progressed. The Law plainly exacts: “If a man kills any human life he will be put to death” (Lev. 24:17). But according to Exodus 21:22-24, the destruction of the fetus is not a capital offense. … Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul.

 

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