My Iowa caucus predictions

I predict that Mike Huckabee will win the Iowa caucuses, thanks to committed homeschoolers who are more likely to brave the cold than anyone else. Whereupon the media and punditry universe will shift its attention to John McCain.

Among the Democrats, I predict that Barack Obama will win, thanks again to his followers being more zealous than any of the other’s and, again, willing to show up at the meetings. This will lead to a win in Iowa and to a momentum that Hilary Clinton will find hard to stop. Rank and file Democrats WANT to vote for Obama and are supporting the others for other reasons that they would be glad to surrender if they think Obama can win.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce

    That’s quite a stereotype of homeschoolers, eh? Are there really enough of them to make any impact at all? I had rather thought they were like salt.

    As for this homeschooler, we won’t be voting for Huckabee any time soon. Not this year, in any event.

    The other possibility in this race is that Iowa will become irrelevant in the race for the primaries, when seen in retrospect.

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce

    That’s quite a stereotype of homeschoolers, eh? Are there really enough of them to make any impact at all? I had rather thought they were like salt.

    As for this homeschooler, we won’t be voting for Huckabee any time soon. Not this year, in any event.

    The other possibility in this race is that Iowa will become irrelevant in the race for the primaries, when seen in retrospect.

  • Joe

    Iowa serves the purpose of getting the second tier folks out of the race.

    I predict Romney and Edwards.

    Romney because he has an organization that can actually go pick folks up and drive them to the caucus. Huckabee is relying on the home school and church organizations that have come to support him – in other words he is forced to hope that other people will do his grunt work for him because he can not afford to run an organization like Romney’s.

    Edwards for the same reason. His organization is largely made up of Labor Unions and they are old hats at creating high turn out. He had the best network in 2004 and it is pretty much still intact. The polls have him in second behind Obama this am with Hillary in third place. I think he just beats Obama and Hillary comes in third.

    Also remember that the Democratic caucus has a 15% viability threshold. If in the first round you don’t get at least 15% of the support from those present you are out of the game and your supporters must join another candidate or go home. Hillary’s numbers show that she is not anyone’s second choice. So it is unlikely that she will pick up displaced voters in the second round. Edwards is generally liked by many Dems even if he is not their first choice. I think he could pick up a lot of folks in round two.

  • Joe

    Iowa serves the purpose of getting the second tier folks out of the race.

    I predict Romney and Edwards.

    Romney because he has an organization that can actually go pick folks up and drive them to the caucus. Huckabee is relying on the home school and church organizations that have come to support him – in other words he is forced to hope that other people will do his grunt work for him because he can not afford to run an organization like Romney’s.

    Edwards for the same reason. His organization is largely made up of Labor Unions and they are old hats at creating high turn out. He had the best network in 2004 and it is pretty much still intact. The polls have him in second behind Obama this am with Hillary in third place. I think he just beats Obama and Hillary comes in third.

    Also remember that the Democratic caucus has a 15% viability threshold. If in the first round you don’t get at least 15% of the support from those present you are out of the game and your supporters must join another candidate or go home. Hillary’s numbers show that she is not anyone’s second choice. So it is unlikely that she will pick up displaced voters in the second round. Edwards is generally liked by many Dems even if he is not their first choice. I think he could pick up a lot of folks in round two.

  • fw

    I would love to see McCain vs Barack Obama in the general election. I could live with either of them as president very well. not so with romney, clinton, huckabee. Edwards would be a distant yet viable second choice for me. I can´t see one among republicans past McCain that any democrat could favor.

    I label myself a Moderate Democrat.

    I look for candidates who pay attention more to honoring the process than trying to manipulate a desired outcome out of the system ala Bush/Cheney. Who don´t see ends justifying means no matter how noble or urgent the ends are. I look for gentility and good manners.

    I favor a republican government (constitutional rule of law that protects the unpopular/unpowerful 1% against the will of the majority), and so I favor government by consensus paradoxically, but under rule of law.

    I think that democracy is a dictatorship of the ficle 51%. It is a terrible idea that is assumed by most to be fair. Why is that?

    I am willing to preserve the FDR brand of socialism in favor of slow deliberate change. This part actually makes me a conserve-ative doesn´t it?

    I think do nothing congresses are the best.

    Obama and McCain both favor cleaning up the government by passing transparency laws. “Do what you want with porkbarrell and lobbying etc, but it needs to be FULLY disclosed. Both parties seem hopelessly addicted to pokrbarrel, so transparency is maybe our only hope…

    I like that Obama is a brilliant public speaker with content, a professor of constitutional law, someone who is polite and deferential and seems to be the most non-partisan.

    I resonate profoundly to McCains position on undocumented immigrants. It shows his good character wins out over a good soundbite. His experience is the good kind. He will probably be a Goldwater style republican. I could vote for a man like that.

    I think I probably represent the non-vocal Democratic mainstream.

  • fw

    I would love to see McCain vs Barack Obama in the general election. I could live with either of them as president very well. not so with romney, clinton, huckabee. Edwards would be a distant yet viable second choice for me. I can´t see one among republicans past McCain that any democrat could favor.

    I label myself a Moderate Democrat.

    I look for candidates who pay attention more to honoring the process than trying to manipulate a desired outcome out of the system ala Bush/Cheney. Who don´t see ends justifying means no matter how noble or urgent the ends are. I look for gentility and good manners.

    I favor a republican government (constitutional rule of law that protects the unpopular/unpowerful 1% against the will of the majority), and so I favor government by consensus paradoxically, but under rule of law.

    I think that democracy is a dictatorship of the ficle 51%. It is a terrible idea that is assumed by most to be fair. Why is that?

    I am willing to preserve the FDR brand of socialism in favor of slow deliberate change. This part actually makes me a conserve-ative doesn´t it?

    I think do nothing congresses are the best.

    Obama and McCain both favor cleaning up the government by passing transparency laws. “Do what you want with porkbarrell and lobbying etc, but it needs to be FULLY disclosed. Both parties seem hopelessly addicted to pokrbarrel, so transparency is maybe our only hope…

    I like that Obama is a brilliant public speaker with content, a professor of constitutional law, someone who is polite and deferential and seems to be the most non-partisan.

    I resonate profoundly to McCains position on undocumented immigrants. It shows his good character wins out over a good soundbite. His experience is the good kind. He will probably be a Goldwater style republican. I could vote for a man like that.

    I think I probably represent the non-vocal Democratic mainstream.

  • Eric

    Romney and Huckabee within 3 points of each other. McCain will come in a distant but respectable #3.

    Hillery, Edwards, Obama within a 7 point spread of each other.

    306 days until this frenzy is over. yeah!

    307 days until we can start the frenzy over 2010. uugh!

  • Eric

    Romney and Huckabee within 3 points of each other. McCain will come in a distant but respectable #3.

    Hillery, Edwards, Obama within a 7 point spread of each other.

    306 days until this frenzy is over. yeah!

    307 days until we can start the frenzy over 2010. uugh!

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Bruce, I dare suggest that in a caucus system, homeschoolers could be make or break. Not all like Huckabee, but enough do to make a difference.

    Well said, Eric.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Bruce, I dare suggest that in a caucus system, homeschoolers could be make or break. Not all like Huckabee, but enough do to make a difference.

    Well said, Eric.

  • http://watersblogged.blogspot.com Bob Waters

    You’re right, Dr. Veith. Good weather in Iowa today minimizes the advantage of Romney’s organization, and the last three polls- all taken since the New Year- all show Huck leading by five or six points.

    And then McCain becomes the story.

  • http://watersblogged.blogspot.com Bob Waters

    You’re right, Dr. Veith. Good weather in Iowa today minimizes the advantage of Romney’s organization, and the last three polls- all taken since the New Year- all show Huck leading by five or six points.

    And then McCain becomes the story.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Bruce, it isn’t the number of homeschoolers, as if this were a primary election. I suspect there are more homeschoolers in Iowa than Mitt Romney has paid operatives, and it is in the organizational infrastructure that Huckabee’s homeschooler army will make a big difference.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Bruce, it isn’t the number of homeschoolers, as if this were a primary election. I suspect there are more homeschoolers in Iowa than Mitt Romney has paid operatives, and it is in the organizational infrastructure that Huckabee’s homeschooler army will make a big difference.

  • http://www.reformationucc.org Charles

    I read the post on Fascism first. Interestingly cutting out smoking was one of their plans. Isn’t that one of Huckabee’s proposals as well?

    I just can’t see Huckabee as a conservative and, based on your post, tend to think he has a strong fascist streak as well!

    Unfortunately, I think all the Republicans except Paul would hop on this or other fascist agenda’s to get elected.

    As I tell the RNC solicitors who call I see no essential difference between the two parties candidates most of the time.

    I won’t be surprised if Huckabee wins in Iowa. I’m having trouble reconciling his Christian claims with his fascist streak!

  • http://www.reformationucc.org Charles

    I read the post on Fascism first. Interestingly cutting out smoking was one of their plans. Isn’t that one of Huckabee’s proposals as well?

    I just can’t see Huckabee as a conservative and, based on your post, tend to think he has a strong fascist streak as well!

    Unfortunately, I think all the Republicans except Paul would hop on this or other fascist agenda’s to get elected.

    As I tell the RNC solicitors who call I see no essential difference between the two parties candidates most of the time.

    I won’t be surprised if Huckabee wins in Iowa. I’m having trouble reconciling his Christian claims with his fascist streak!

  • S. Bauer

    I predict Obama and Huckabee.

  • S. Bauer

    I predict Obama and Huckabee.

  • fw

    Listen carefully to the 3 democrats…

    Clinton: “Thanks for supporting ME”

    Edwards: “I will fight against THEM” (looks like Bush?)

    Obama: “You….we..united…principles..not about me…”

    Who do YOU think deserved to win and would make the best president should the Reps lose?

  • fw

    Listen carefully to the 3 democrats…

    Clinton: “Thanks for supporting ME”

    Edwards: “I will fight against THEM” (looks like Bush?)

    Obama: “You….we..united…principles..not about me…”

    Who do YOU think deserved to win and would make the best president should the Reps lose?

  • fw

    As a democrat AND a christian, I am hoping for the republican candidate that would be most suitable for the job of president.

    I can´t indulge in the nihilism that has me root for the republican candidate that would be most likely to lose to my favored democrat. How evil and unpatriotic would that be after all?

    McCain looks good to me. I would cross over for him if Obama were not running. I could not say this for any other Republican candidate.

    He is not where I am on the issue of abortion or several other issues. but he is fair, and respects the rule of law and civil (as in polite or civil-ized) processes of government.

  • fw

    As a democrat AND a christian, I am hoping for the republican candidate that would be most suitable for the job of president.

    I can´t indulge in the nihilism that has me root for the republican candidate that would be most likely to lose to my favored democrat. How evil and unpatriotic would that be after all?

    McCain looks good to me. I would cross over for him if Obama were not running. I could not say this for any other Republican candidate.

    He is not where I am on the issue of abortion or several other issues. but he is fair, and respects the rule of law and civil (as in polite or civil-ized) processes of government.

  • Joe

    fw – I am interested where you are on abortion. I am not looking to pick a fight but I read your post as meaning that you are pro-choice (I am I reading that correctly?) and I know you are a professing Christian. This seems to me to be in conflict and I would like to understand your point of view.

  • Joe

    fw – I am interested where you are on abortion. I am not looking to pick a fight but I read your post as meaning that you are pro-choice (I am I reading that correctly?) and I know you are a professing Christian. This seems to me to be in conflict and I would like to understand your point of view.

  • fw

    #12 Joe

    I believe that Jesus was CONCEIVED of the virgin Mary. My mind goes exactly there when someone brings up the subject of abortion.

    My mind also goes to the slaughter of the innocents by Herod.

    So what to do practically to save as many innocent lives as possible? And is it personally given to me by God to take this up in view of my responsibility to vote?

    I do not really believe that anyone really believes that abortion is really a cool idea. as in “wow i think every woman should experience at least one!” This is hopeful. I do not see americans as polarized as some assume. (Yes there are those “pro-choice” people who insist on illogical extremes. Just as there are those who think blowing up abortion clinics or killing abortion doctors is required by God.)

    I think I can work with all that. Remembering that when dealing with non-christians, I am limited to dialog and pure logic and not a conversation-ending declaration of the sanctity of life in view of God. Logic happens to be fully on my side! So is God.

    I am not persuaded that the logical step of making abortion a capital crime with no exception for rape or incest can be done. I know of no candidate who advocates this and is therefore truly 100% “pro-life.” So whoever you vote for, you vote for half a loaf yes?

    Up until recent times, the governmental unit that had power of life and death over a family member was the patriarchal one. At the time of the holy apostles, not just abortion, but also infanticide (usually unwanted girl babies left to die of “exposure”) was extremely common and common place. Our law has placed this power, once again, even though inconsistently, at this level of society.

    I am saddened and alarmed, but not surprised, that society seems to be returning to that. The patriarchal unit in this case seems to be the mother. But then maybe this is where it should naturally reside, but maybe with the nuclear family, and consistently so.

    I would suggest that this frame of the issue is part of the exact same legal tension that exists in governmental intrusion of parental rights that alarms so many conservatives. I would suggest that legally, at least these issues must be conceptualized and worked out jointly.

    In this context, I am not sure I am responsible for interfering with these laws any more than i am to expect my country to interfere with the governance of a country who murders or tortures their citizens. Regime change is not for us to do normally. Paul told christians to pray for Nero. He did not tell christians to take up arms against those committing infanticide. I am not persuaded that christians MUST or even should in conscience use the power of the sword of government against the majority who seem persuaded that life and death power should rest with parents over their children´s lives.

    It took a couple of hundred years, but christianity decisively changed the social norm of their time. This happened with nothing said in the writings of the apostles directly to this topic, which rather surprises me actually.

    I hope this makes sense to you Joe. If you see a contradiction in my thinking, I would be especially solicitous of your thoughts.

  • fw

    #12 Joe

    I believe that Jesus was CONCEIVED of the virgin Mary. My mind goes exactly there when someone brings up the subject of abortion.

    My mind also goes to the slaughter of the innocents by Herod.

    So what to do practically to save as many innocent lives as possible? And is it personally given to me by God to take this up in view of my responsibility to vote?

    I do not really believe that anyone really believes that abortion is really a cool idea. as in “wow i think every woman should experience at least one!” This is hopeful. I do not see americans as polarized as some assume. (Yes there are those “pro-choice” people who insist on illogical extremes. Just as there are those who think blowing up abortion clinics or killing abortion doctors is required by God.)

    I think I can work with all that. Remembering that when dealing with non-christians, I am limited to dialog and pure logic and not a conversation-ending declaration of the sanctity of life in view of God. Logic happens to be fully on my side! So is God.

    I am not persuaded that the logical step of making abortion a capital crime with no exception for rape or incest can be done. I know of no candidate who advocates this and is therefore truly 100% “pro-life.” So whoever you vote for, you vote for half a loaf yes?

    Up until recent times, the governmental unit that had power of life and death over a family member was the patriarchal one. At the time of the holy apostles, not just abortion, but also infanticide (usually unwanted girl babies left to die of “exposure”) was extremely common and common place. Our law has placed this power, once again, even though inconsistently, at this level of society.

    I am saddened and alarmed, but not surprised, that society seems to be returning to that. The patriarchal unit in this case seems to be the mother. But then maybe this is where it should naturally reside, but maybe with the nuclear family, and consistently so.

    I would suggest that this frame of the issue is part of the exact same legal tension that exists in governmental intrusion of parental rights that alarms so many conservatives. I would suggest that legally, at least these issues must be conceptualized and worked out jointly.

    In this context, I am not sure I am responsible for interfering with these laws any more than i am to expect my country to interfere with the governance of a country who murders or tortures their citizens. Regime change is not for us to do normally. Paul told christians to pray for Nero. He did not tell christians to take up arms against those committing infanticide. I am not persuaded that christians MUST or even should in conscience use the power of the sword of government against the majority who seem persuaded that life and death power should rest with parents over their children´s lives.

    It took a couple of hundred years, but christianity decisively changed the social norm of their time. This happened with nothing said in the writings of the apostles directly to this topic, which rather surprises me actually.

    I hope this makes sense to you Joe. If you see a contradiction in my thinking, I would be especially solicitous of your thoughts.

  • fw

    #12 Joe

    In short I am saying I find it useful to reframe this issue: Where does parental authority begin and end? Stay with me joe!

    In old and new testament times, the answer would have been that this authority resided in the family patriarch, not with the government.

    So then. At what point would it be right for the government to interfere with this relationship? Spanking your children? Child abuse? Defined as? What would be the legally consistent framework for all of this? At what points would we want the government to step in and separate child from parent? Why?

    In OUR social context, murder or attempted murder would be clearly one of those points… Do fathers have the power of the sword that St Paul mentions? In St Paul´s time and certainly in OT times, the answer would be a clear yes. So today our society seems to be returning to this way. but inconsistently so. If I am right here, I am not sure I see a moral imperative for me to act and perhaps can see in fact, a moral imperative NOT to act in certain ways.

    In Paul´s time, christians became quickly known as those who did not practice abortion or infanticide. They took in those abandoned children and mothers I am supposing….. They changed the world by their own pious example, not by forcing others to follow their example.

    I suggest that christians are arguing this issue inconsistently by ignoring the larger framework.

    I am merely not convinced that it is up to me to invoke or use the power of the sword to oppose these great evils through my vote and force the 49% to do things my way through threat of law. What happens when things change and I am in that 49% or 5%? Can force effectively ever really conquer evil?

    Of COURSE I will use my vote wisely. But I might use it to vote for a candidate who might, through persuasion, encourage society to do those things that might minimize the number of abortions. This might even mean a certain amount of socialism in the form of adoption services or even financial assistence to help mom raise her child. ok. Not sure. not the optimal solution, but then politics is never about optimal solutions… it is about making sausage…

    If for example, our motive to invade iraq was to overthrow an evil dictator, then we were wrong because we believe that God himself placed Hussein in power, just as He did Nero in St Paul´s day. Do I approve of his murder or torture? no. Is it given to me by God to do something about it? no.

    If you disagree, then why would it be wrong in your opinion to bomb abortion clinics or assasinate abortion doctors and nurses?

  • fw

    #12 Joe

    In short I am saying I find it useful to reframe this issue: Where does parental authority begin and end? Stay with me joe!

    In old and new testament times, the answer would have been that this authority resided in the family patriarch, not with the government.

    So then. At what point would it be right for the government to interfere with this relationship? Spanking your children? Child abuse? Defined as? What would be the legally consistent framework for all of this? At what points would we want the government to step in and separate child from parent? Why?

    In OUR social context, murder or attempted murder would be clearly one of those points… Do fathers have the power of the sword that St Paul mentions? In St Paul´s time and certainly in OT times, the answer would be a clear yes. So today our society seems to be returning to this way. but inconsistently so. If I am right here, I am not sure I see a moral imperative for me to act and perhaps can see in fact, a moral imperative NOT to act in certain ways.

    In Paul´s time, christians became quickly known as those who did not practice abortion or infanticide. They took in those abandoned children and mothers I am supposing….. They changed the world by their own pious example, not by forcing others to follow their example.

    I suggest that christians are arguing this issue inconsistently by ignoring the larger framework.

    I am merely not convinced that it is up to me to invoke or use the power of the sword to oppose these great evils through my vote and force the 49% to do things my way through threat of law. What happens when things change and I am in that 49% or 5%? Can force effectively ever really conquer evil?

    Of COURSE I will use my vote wisely. But I might use it to vote for a candidate who might, through persuasion, encourage society to do those things that might minimize the number of abortions. This might even mean a certain amount of socialism in the form of adoption services or even financial assistence to help mom raise her child. ok. Not sure. not the optimal solution, but then politics is never about optimal solutions… it is about making sausage…

    If for example, our motive to invade iraq was to overthrow an evil dictator, then we were wrong because we believe that God himself placed Hussein in power, just as He did Nero in St Paul´s day. Do I approve of his murder or torture? no. Is it given to me by God to do something about it? no.

    If you disagree, then why would it be wrong in your opinion to bomb abortion clinics or assasinate abortion doctors and nurses?

  • Joe

    But we live in a constitutional republic that uses democratic principles to elect leaders. In other words, we are Nero. God has put us in charge of our Gov’t. I think that carries with it a responsibility to govern in a Christian manner. So I think that God has given this to you (and me and everyone else) to do. Even within the Church we have Law along side the Gospel. But, making abortion illegal does not mean the same thing as arresting and putting mothers in jail. I have not heard any candidate advocate for the jailing of these women. Have you?

    That said, I agree that the rights of the parents are paramount and you ask a very logical question: “At what point would it be right for the government to interfere with this relationship?” I also think the question has a very logical and simple answer: at murder.

    And I ask you do you feel the same way about child molestation by a parent? Has God given you anything to do about that? Should gov’t intervien in that instance?

  • Joe

    But we live in a constitutional republic that uses democratic principles to elect leaders. In other words, we are Nero. God has put us in charge of our Gov’t. I think that carries with it a responsibility to govern in a Christian manner. So I think that God has given this to you (and me and everyone else) to do. Even within the Church we have Law along side the Gospel. But, making abortion illegal does not mean the same thing as arresting and putting mothers in jail. I have not heard any candidate advocate for the jailing of these women. Have you?

    That said, I agree that the rights of the parents are paramount and you ask a very logical question: “At what point would it be right for the government to interfere with this relationship?” I also think the question has a very logical and simple answer: at murder.

    And I ask you do you feel the same way about child molestation by a parent? Has God given you anything to do about that? Should gov’t intervien in that instance?

  • Joe

    fw – as I read my post, I see that it can be read as agressive and sarcastic. That is not by intention. It is only a result of fast typing. Please take no offense.

  • Joe

    fw – as I read my post, I see that it can be read as agressive and sarcastic. That is not by intention. It is only a result of fast typing. Please take no offense.

  • fw

    #16 Joe:

    Please let me answer in two parts. The easy part first. The second part when I have more time.

    “In other words, we are Nero. God has put us in charge of our Gov’t.”

    “And I ask you do you feel the same way about child molestation by a parent? Has God given you anything to do about that? Should gov’t intervien in that instance?”

    You are very perceptive Joe. No offense at your comments and I think we are locked into the core issues. I was wondering how you would come back.

    I am pleased to see that you carefully saw that our disagreement is one of rule of law and that we DO agree that abortion is murder.

    Wouldn´t it be great if the general public discourse could be so polite and nuanced?

    I feel there is a confusion on the part of conservative christians as to what the right to vote truly means in terms of both the (1) limits of our responsibility and (2)our rightful power over others in our society to force them to do what we see is right using the lawful power of the threats of death, loss of possessions, social status, or complete removal from society(governmental authority is nothing short of this and it is nothing trivial to be debated on talk radio).

    I believe, as I am sure you do, that God has “ordered” each of us in society. This is NOT about power, but in our culture it is always made to seem so.

    I follow the catechism where Dr Luther says “consider your station in life according to the ten commandments” and again in the table of duties where he quotes bible passages on the “Holy Orders”. Here I see where what it means to be “ordered.” not in the constitution, although that is literally God´s law and ordering as well. The ordering there is a worldly ordering, and so one of power. Can you see the difference I am feebly making Joe?

    I always ask in social situations close to me and in larger society this question: “Is it given to me by God to be responsible for [fill in the blank].” If there is any doubt at all as to the answer, I do nothing at all. I trust God to make the answer apparent to me and for him to resolve through other means the problem I see if it is not given to me to be the one responsible.

    Sometimes this is very painful. I hate to see those I love in pain and making ruinous decisions. And do nothing. It is often a source of suffering for me.

    To do nothing in the face of great evil is one of the very hardest things for me to accept as a christian. !!!Especially when it seems that I have the power to do something about that evil. Think of Peter in the garden of Gethsemane for how confusing and awful this seems.

    But God´s Kingdom is not of this world.

    I do not suggest by this that you and I should become anabaptists and not fully use and engage rule of law God himself has placed in society for us to use. I plan to go to law school in fact to learn to use those very laws in my society. So you should know that I am not saying that.

    This is the theory. The next response to you will deal with the situational application.

  • fw

    #16 Joe:

    Please let me answer in two parts. The easy part first. The second part when I have more time.

    “In other words, we are Nero. God has put us in charge of our Gov’t.”

    “And I ask you do you feel the same way about child molestation by a parent? Has God given you anything to do about that? Should gov’t intervien in that instance?”

    You are very perceptive Joe. No offense at your comments and I think we are locked into the core issues. I was wondering how you would come back.

    I am pleased to see that you carefully saw that our disagreement is one of rule of law and that we DO agree that abortion is murder.

    Wouldn´t it be great if the general public discourse could be so polite and nuanced?

    I feel there is a confusion on the part of conservative christians as to what the right to vote truly means in terms of both the (1) limits of our responsibility and (2)our rightful power over others in our society to force them to do what we see is right using the lawful power of the threats of death, loss of possessions, social status, or complete removal from society(governmental authority is nothing short of this and it is nothing trivial to be debated on talk radio).

    I believe, as I am sure you do, that God has “ordered” each of us in society. This is NOT about power, but in our culture it is always made to seem so.

    I follow the catechism where Dr Luther says “consider your station in life according to the ten commandments” and again in the table of duties where he quotes bible passages on the “Holy Orders”. Here I see where what it means to be “ordered.” not in the constitution, although that is literally God´s law and ordering as well. The ordering there is a worldly ordering, and so one of power. Can you see the difference I am feebly making Joe?

    I always ask in social situations close to me and in larger society this question: “Is it given to me by God to be responsible for [fill in the blank].” If there is any doubt at all as to the answer, I do nothing at all. I trust God to make the answer apparent to me and for him to resolve through other means the problem I see if it is not given to me to be the one responsible.

    Sometimes this is very painful. I hate to see those I love in pain and making ruinous decisions. And do nothing. It is often a source of suffering for me.

    To do nothing in the face of great evil is one of the very hardest things for me to accept as a christian. !!!Especially when it seems that I have the power to do something about that evil. Think of Peter in the garden of Gethsemane for how confusing and awful this seems.

    But God´s Kingdom is not of this world.

    I do not suggest by this that you and I should become anabaptists and not fully use and engage rule of law God himself has placed in society for us to use. I plan to go to law school in fact to learn to use those very laws in my society. So you should know that I am not saying that.

    This is the theory. The next response to you will deal with the situational application.

  • fw

    #15 Joe

    “In other words, we are Nero. God has put us in charge of our Gov’t.”

    “And I ask you do you feel the same way about child molestation by a parent? Has God given you anything to do about that? Should gov’t intervien in that instance?”

    I know you don´t mean this exactly the way you put it.

    This would be anarchy or vigilanteism. It would be taking the law into your own hands. You would not do this.

    You would look to who has the authority to intervene.

    Your question has two parts.

    For an adult to have sexual relations with a small child is heinous. I assume this is the scenario you present. And you present it in a way that you understand we both agree on this. That is the first and easy part.

    To answer your question about child molestation I would , of course need to know more. But then would it be for me to investigate for those facts. A child comes and says something happened. What would it be appropriate for me to do? call the authorities? talk to the parents? who am I for that child? parent? teacher? social worker?

    Imagine we are in afganistan and not the usa or sweden. What then? what government? who is supposed to deal with it and how? How would I know what part of that was my personal responsibility and to what extent? How would I find that out?

    We live in a republican (constitutionally) country where we vote. But most, including you I guess, feel it is right for the 51% to use their vote to dictate to the 49%. So we look more like a democracy now I guess. Not a people who elect representatives based on their wisdom, experience and qualifications, and then entrust them with the moral burden of making the right choices.

    If this is NOT what you propose, then NO I am not Nero. Neither are you. And if I am in the 25%, then even less so. Christians are maybe usually in the 10%.

    So I would focus on promoting rule of law. I will accept that I will be martyred if that law says that I personally must do something that is wrong. So far our country is not forcing families to abort. So far. They are not forcing you to marry another man. Like that will ever happen….

    I will use all of my persuasive powers of logic (not the bible) to persuade my neighbor to see things my way.

    I will vote for candidates that try to govern by consensus and slow change, and not by polarization and righteous-end-justifies-any-means-necessary. I will look for those who demonstrate that they respect due process and the processes necessary to have the rule of law. This protects me and future generations after me. I will look for politicians who engage the arguments respectfully and honestly of those they oppose. I look for those who will compromise in a principled way (which is a whole other worthy topic).

    I may disagree with them as to ends. I find it sufficient to agree with them as to proper means.

    As in my personal life, I try to stay in the process of my order, and out of the results leaving those to God.

    It is these proper means that I look for candidates to be paying attention to. Or at least expect them to be oriented in that direction.

    Barack Obama and MCain seem to fit this bill so far.

    Roe v. Wade is symptomatic of a far more problematic condition of the erosion of fundamental legal premises. Focusing on overturning that ruling will not resolve this larger problem. And besides, I am no expert in law. My assuming it is personally given to me to decide these more complex issues might be unwise. The cure might be worse than the disease. I therefore cannot justify this as a single issue upon which to vote…. I won´t become a busybody intruding into the responsibilities of others assuming that I know better than they.

    …. even though I do consider abortion at any stage to be murder.

  • fw

    #15 Joe

    “In other words, we are Nero. God has put us in charge of our Gov’t.”

    “And I ask you do you feel the same way about child molestation by a parent? Has God given you anything to do about that? Should gov’t intervien in that instance?”

    I know you don´t mean this exactly the way you put it.

    This would be anarchy or vigilanteism. It would be taking the law into your own hands. You would not do this.

    You would look to who has the authority to intervene.

    Your question has two parts.

    For an adult to have sexual relations with a small child is heinous. I assume this is the scenario you present. And you present it in a way that you understand we both agree on this. That is the first and easy part.

    To answer your question about child molestation I would , of course need to know more. But then would it be for me to investigate for those facts. A child comes and says something happened. What would it be appropriate for me to do? call the authorities? talk to the parents? who am I for that child? parent? teacher? social worker?

    Imagine we are in afganistan and not the usa or sweden. What then? what government? who is supposed to deal with it and how? How would I know what part of that was my personal responsibility and to what extent? How would I find that out?

    We live in a republican (constitutionally) country where we vote. But most, including you I guess, feel it is right for the 51% to use their vote to dictate to the 49%. So we look more like a democracy now I guess. Not a people who elect representatives based on their wisdom, experience and qualifications, and then entrust them with the moral burden of making the right choices.

    If this is NOT what you propose, then NO I am not Nero. Neither are you. And if I am in the 25%, then even less so. Christians are maybe usually in the 10%.

    So I would focus on promoting rule of law. I will accept that I will be martyred if that law says that I personally must do something that is wrong. So far our country is not forcing families to abort. So far. They are not forcing you to marry another man. Like that will ever happen….

    I will use all of my persuasive powers of logic (not the bible) to persuade my neighbor to see things my way.

    I will vote for candidates that try to govern by consensus and slow change, and not by polarization and righteous-end-justifies-any-means-necessary. I will look for those who demonstrate that they respect due process and the processes necessary to have the rule of law. This protects me and future generations after me. I will look for politicians who engage the arguments respectfully and honestly of those they oppose. I look for those who will compromise in a principled way (which is a whole other worthy topic).

    I may disagree with them as to ends. I find it sufficient to agree with them as to proper means.

    As in my personal life, I try to stay in the process of my order, and out of the results leaving those to God.

    It is these proper means that I look for candidates to be paying attention to. Or at least expect them to be oriented in that direction.

    Barack Obama and MCain seem to fit this bill so far.

    Roe v. Wade is symptomatic of a far more problematic condition of the erosion of fundamental legal premises. Focusing on overturning that ruling will not resolve this larger problem. And besides, I am no expert in law. My assuming it is personally given to me to decide these more complex issues might be unwise. The cure might be worse than the disease. I therefore cannot justify this as a single issue upon which to vote…. I won´t become a busybody intruding into the responsibilities of others assuming that I know better than they.

    …. even though I do consider abortion at any stage to be murder.

  • Joe

    fw – Thanks for your thoughtful response. I need to think about them for a while but I will respond soon.

  • Joe

    fw – Thanks for your thoughtful response. I need to think about them for a while but I will respond soon.

  • Joe

    We both agree that abortion at any stage is murder. That is very good! Thanks God for that.

    But I see a few differences in how you and I are looking at things. I introduced the hypothetical of child molestation to attempt to illustrate a point. I turned your phrase around and asked has God given you anything to do about that? It is your response that I think highlights the different ways we are looking at things.

    You responded that you would need to know more, including what your relationship to the child is, what the facts are, etc. I meant the question in a global policy way. I thought we were discussing whether it is right for a representative gov’t to set a policy making abortion illegal. So my question really was, considering your view that it is not our place, working through, the gov’t to make abortion illegal, is it our place, working through our gov’t to make child molestation by a parent illegal?

    Doesn’t this interfere with the same parental authority that gives you pause to ban abortions? That was the point I was trying to make.

    Also, I do not think our government is simply a majority takes all proposition. And outlawing abortion is consistent with the principles of a limited gov’t with an articulated bill of rights. What can be more republican (notice the small r as in representative gov’t with minority protections built in) than protecting an unborn child’s right to life.

    You also say that we are not Nero; perhaps it is better stated that we get to pick our Nero. That carries with it a large responsibility to pick the best Nero we can. It is highlighted in your statement that you “would focus on promoting rule of law.” That is my point. In a constitutional republic with representative democracy as the selection mechanism we have a role in creating the rule of law. It is not enough to sit back and say well that is the law and I am to follow it. We are not ruled by kings – we, collectively, get to pick our kings and by extension shape our own rule of law.

    So I think that it is ours to do, whether it be abortion policy, tax policy, welfare policy or the fundamental question of whether the topic is rightfully subject to any gov’t policy. This is the point, I was trying to make.

    But as this relates to the candidates and this election, for me their is only one proper federal gov’t position on abortion: overturn Roe v. Wade. You stated “Focusing on overturning that ruling will not resolve this larger problem.” I disagree. Overturning Roe will not make abortion illegal and really should not a polarizing effect anywhere near the polarizing effect that Roe v. Wade itself had. Instead, what overturning Roe does is allow the public and the leaders to engage in the very debates, relying on logic and empathy, that you seek to have. As it stands now you can’t debate abortion any more than you can debate the right to vote. It is, according to our Supreme Court, a constitutional right that every woman is entitled to, with a few exceptions based on the justice’s then (30 years ago) understanding of viability? I want States to be able to debate it as policy. I want the citizens of this country to reach a new rule of law that is the product of open public debate. It is in this process of debate and through our selection of the men and women who will stand as our surrogates in this debate that we are Nero.

  • Joe

    We both agree that abortion at any stage is murder. That is very good! Thanks God for that.

    But I see a few differences in how you and I are looking at things. I introduced the hypothetical of child molestation to attempt to illustrate a point. I turned your phrase around and asked has God given you anything to do about that? It is your response that I think highlights the different ways we are looking at things.

    You responded that you would need to know more, including what your relationship to the child is, what the facts are, etc. I meant the question in a global policy way. I thought we were discussing whether it is right for a representative gov’t to set a policy making abortion illegal. So my question really was, considering your view that it is not our place, working through, the gov’t to make abortion illegal, is it our place, working through our gov’t to make child molestation by a parent illegal?

    Doesn’t this interfere with the same parental authority that gives you pause to ban abortions? That was the point I was trying to make.

    Also, I do not think our government is simply a majority takes all proposition. And outlawing abortion is consistent with the principles of a limited gov’t with an articulated bill of rights. What can be more republican (notice the small r as in representative gov’t with minority protections built in) than protecting an unborn child’s right to life.

    You also say that we are not Nero; perhaps it is better stated that we get to pick our Nero. That carries with it a large responsibility to pick the best Nero we can. It is highlighted in your statement that you “would focus on promoting rule of law.” That is my point. In a constitutional republic with representative democracy as the selection mechanism we have a role in creating the rule of law. It is not enough to sit back and say well that is the law and I am to follow it. We are not ruled by kings – we, collectively, get to pick our kings and by extension shape our own rule of law.

    So I think that it is ours to do, whether it be abortion policy, tax policy, welfare policy or the fundamental question of whether the topic is rightfully subject to any gov’t policy. This is the point, I was trying to make.

    But as this relates to the candidates and this election, for me their is only one proper federal gov’t position on abortion: overturn Roe v. Wade. You stated “Focusing on overturning that ruling will not resolve this larger problem.” I disagree. Overturning Roe will not make abortion illegal and really should not a polarizing effect anywhere near the polarizing effect that Roe v. Wade itself had. Instead, what overturning Roe does is allow the public and the leaders to engage in the very debates, relying on logic and empathy, that you seek to have. As it stands now you can’t debate abortion any more than you can debate the right to vote. It is, according to our Supreme Court, a constitutional right that every woman is entitled to, with a few exceptions based on the justice’s then (30 years ago) understanding of viability? I want States to be able to debate it as policy. I want the citizens of this country to reach a new rule of law that is the product of open public debate. It is in this process of debate and through our selection of the men and women who will stand as our surrogates in this debate that we are Nero.

  • fw

    #20 Joe

    that was worthy. Now it is MY turn to think. ;)

  • fw

    #20 Joe

    that was worthy. Now it is MY turn to think. ;)

  • fw

    “I thought we were discussing whether it is right for a representative gov’t to set a policy making abortion illegal…. Also, I do not think our government is simply a majority takes all proposition…. You also say that we are not Nero; perhaps it is better stated that we get to pick our Nero….”

    This really is majority rule then. Only the majority gets to pick. The majority is Nero. Even dictators ultimately have to have the consent of the majority to govern. Often that majority wants murder. Christians will not take up sword even defensively in that case. They will be martyred.

    “…based on the justice’s then (30 years ago) understanding of viability? I want States to be able to debate it as policy.”

    Ok. for you and me the issue is taking of human life (murder), which exists at conception independent of the issue of viability.

    For the other side it is a privacy issue about improper government interference over a mother´s choice.

    Argument on viability does not prove your own or dissuade others. This is a great example of just how much heat vs. light adversarialism is going to produce Joe. Roe v Wade does not frame the true argument.

    Let´s get down to where our difference here truly is:

    I am saying that the means are MORE important morally for us than the ends. God holds us accountable only for means. We leave ends and results in his hands. We must do this even as a judge or congressman or nero. I not saying that the ends are trumped ever by means. I AM saying that we are obligated absolutely to obedience to right means faith-fully, regardless of outcome. Faith is not blind to it´s object, but realizes the object cannot be wrested by force. I am saying that we must accept the suffering that inevitably will come from this moral position.

    You are saying the exact opposite yes?
    You are saying that in certain righteous cases, following God´s absolute dictates, the ends absolutely trump means. ends do justify sometimes, whatever means necessary.

    do I understand you correctly?

  • fw

    “I thought we were discussing whether it is right for a representative gov’t to set a policy making abortion illegal…. Also, I do not think our government is simply a majority takes all proposition…. You also say that we are not Nero; perhaps it is better stated that we get to pick our Nero….”

    This really is majority rule then. Only the majority gets to pick. The majority is Nero. Even dictators ultimately have to have the consent of the majority to govern. Often that majority wants murder. Christians will not take up sword even defensively in that case. They will be martyred.

    “…based on the justice’s then (30 years ago) understanding of viability? I want States to be able to debate it as policy.”

    Ok. for you and me the issue is taking of human life (murder), which exists at conception independent of the issue of viability.

    For the other side it is a privacy issue about improper government interference over a mother´s choice.

    Argument on viability does not prove your own or dissuade others. This is a great example of just how much heat vs. light adversarialism is going to produce Joe. Roe v Wade does not frame the true argument.

    Let´s get down to where our difference here truly is:

    I am saying that the means are MORE important morally for us than the ends. God holds us accountable only for means. We leave ends and results in his hands. We must do this even as a judge or congressman or nero. I not saying that the ends are trumped ever by means. I AM saying that we are obligated absolutely to obedience to right means faith-fully, regardless of outcome. Faith is not blind to it´s object, but realizes the object cannot be wrested by force. I am saying that we must accept the suffering that inevitably will come from this moral position.

    You are saying the exact opposite yes?
    You are saying that in certain righteous cases, following God´s absolute dictates, the ends absolutely trump means. ends do justify sometimes, whatever means necessary.

    do I understand you correctly?

  • fw

    we should probably take this offline to continue. fwsonnek@gmail.com

  • fw

    we should probably take this offline to continue. fwsonnek@gmail.com