The fate of moral issues

The Republicans did not make a big deal of  moral or “cultural” issues during the last election.  Little was said about abortion.  Conservatives were well-behaved when it came to gay marriage.  Unlike previous elections, Republicans–including social conservatives who care a great deal about these issues–pretty much left them alone.

But the Democrats, in contrast, did run on moral and cultural issues.  They attacked conservatives for opposing abortion and gay marriage.  They went further, scaring the general public that the Republicans would outlaw birth control and enslave women.

And the Democrats won on these issues.  Their take on moral and social issues was, in fact, very important.  Single women voted overwhelmingly for Obama, largely, according to the exit polls, because of “women’s issues.”  Clumsy and unsophisticated treatment of the “rape exception” for abortion on the part of two pro-life candidates cost arguably cost Republicans the Senate.

So we have reached the point at which conservative moral issues are political losers and liberal moral issues–gay marriage, abortion on demand–are political winners.

So what now for social conservatives?

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://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    As a Christian, it doesn’t matter. What is sin as defined by God is still a sin, regardless of how popular it is in society. God does not define sin by majority vote.

    If this says anything, it says that we’re starting to see the wheat split from the chaff, as we will see who is putting faith in God vs. putting faith in society.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    As a Christian, it doesn’t matter. What is sin as defined by God is still a sin, regardless of how popular it is in society. God does not define sin by majority vote.

    If this says anything, it says that we’re starting to see the wheat split from the chaff, as we will see who is putting faith in God vs. putting faith in society.

  • Esh413

    It should have little effect on what social conservatives believe. Just because something is an unpopular view does not mean that it is right or wrong. This would be a bandwagon fallacy. It might however change the way that social conservatives posture themselves politically. If the Republican party chooses to abandon these issues as platform issues in order to win other voters, then social conservatives may be the new swing voters. Ironically, that could work more in their favor than their current position as a right-wing base.

  • Esh413

    It should have little effect on what social conservatives believe. Just because something is an unpopular view does not mean that it is right or wrong. This would be a bandwagon fallacy. It might however change the way that social conservatives posture themselves politically. If the Republican party chooses to abandon these issues as platform issues in order to win other voters, then social conservatives may be the new swing voters. Ironically, that could work more in their favor than their current position as a right-wing base.

  • Michael B.

    One thing that I’m surprised about is that you never hear any discussion about the issues at the local church level. According to the Guttmacher institute, almost 1 in 3 women will have had an abortion by age 45. And this is only counting surgical abortions, not chemical ones, which are probably much more common. Given this high incidence of abortion, it’s almost certain that you have a lot of women in your congregation that have had abortions. Have you ever heard of one ever getting excommunicated, or any kind of church discipline for that matter? It’s like you want congress to put people in jail over abortions, but you won’t even excommunicate one.

  • Michael B.

    One thing that I’m surprised about is that you never hear any discussion about the issues at the local church level. According to the Guttmacher institute, almost 1 in 3 women will have had an abortion by age 45. And this is only counting surgical abortions, not chemical ones, which are probably much more common. Given this high incidence of abortion, it’s almost certain that you have a lot of women in your congregation that have had abortions. Have you ever heard of one ever getting excommunicated, or any kind of church discipline for that matter? It’s like you want congress to put people in jail over abortions, but you won’t even excommunicate one.

  • Dennis

    Is it that our “conservative moral issues are political losers” or that we didn’t defend them? We wring our hands about the minority vote, yet a large number of them are conservative on moral issues. And one of the problems identified with the Romney loss was the inability of getting the vote out in swing states. Were these absent voters conservative moral issue folks who hadn’t had their issues mentioned?

    >>The Republicans did not make a big deal of moral or “cultural” issues during the last election. Little was said about abortion. Conservatives were well-behaved when it came to gay marriage. Unlike previous elections, Republicans–including social conservatives who care a great deal about these issues–pretty much left them alone.<<

  • Dennis

    Is it that our “conservative moral issues are political losers” or that we didn’t defend them? We wring our hands about the minority vote, yet a large number of them are conservative on moral issues. And one of the problems identified with the Romney loss was the inability of getting the vote out in swing states. Were these absent voters conservative moral issue folks who hadn’t had their issues mentioned?

    >>The Republicans did not make a big deal of moral or “cultural” issues during the last election. Little was said about abortion. Conservatives were well-behaved when it came to gay marriage. Unlike previous elections, Republicans–including social conservatives who care a great deal about these issues–pretty much left them alone.<<

  • Cincinnatus

    It really doesn’t leave social conservatives anywhere different than every other election of the past two decades. What it did was snap social conservatives “out of it,” as it were. “It” being the naive notion that Republicans were doing anything meaningful to represent their interests in anything other than rhetoric. At the national level, Republicans have done essentially nothing to stop abortion, prevent gay marriage, etc., etc. During this campaign, they simply stopped pretending they would even try.

  • Cincinnatus

    It really doesn’t leave social conservatives anywhere different than every other election of the past two decades. What it did was snap social conservatives “out of it,” as it were. “It” being the naive notion that Republicans were doing anything meaningful to represent their interests in anything other than rhetoric. At the national level, Republicans have done essentially nothing to stop abortion, prevent gay marriage, etc., etc. During this campaign, they simply stopped pretending they would even try.

  • Matt

    I think the democrats’ capitilization on the social issues to win the election is the start of a long term trend. Either they will continue win a good percentage of the vote this way, or the Republican party, in a bid to survive will sacrifice some of their current social platform to widen their voting base. Niether case is good for socially conservative Christians.

    I think this is happening for two reasons. First, the media and television are dominated by liberal ideas. While it’s been the case for years, maybe decades, my ancedotal experience suggests that it’s only becoming more pronounced. I don’t follow the top shows too much, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but when I think of a well crafted program that works hard to espouse it’s version of family values I think of Modern Family, a show in which gay marriage is portrayed as perfectly normal and healthy. When is the last time you’ve seen a family go to church on tv?

    Secondly, I think Christian based education isn’t even an option for many people. Especially with the economic struggles our nation has went through, people aren’t going to spend more to send their children to Christian schools when a free option so much more feasible. I know I have some relatives who want to send their child to a Lutheran high school, but have been counting on recieving some scholarship money to do so, because they lack the financial means to do so comfortably. And this is in a time when, because the larger culture has swung in an antagonistic direction, Christian schools are needed more than ever.

    These aren’t new issues – they’ve been discussed to death – but to my mind they are the primary issues. Church can provide an alternative view to the common culture, but that’s just an hour or so a week. For most of the rest of the time children are in school, online or watching tv, and even in households where faith is given a priority, that’s going to have an affect.

  • Matt

    I think the democrats’ capitilization on the social issues to win the election is the start of a long term trend. Either they will continue win a good percentage of the vote this way, or the Republican party, in a bid to survive will sacrifice some of their current social platform to widen their voting base. Niether case is good for socially conservative Christians.

    I think this is happening for two reasons. First, the media and television are dominated by liberal ideas. While it’s been the case for years, maybe decades, my ancedotal experience suggests that it’s only becoming more pronounced. I don’t follow the top shows too much, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but when I think of a well crafted program that works hard to espouse it’s version of family values I think of Modern Family, a show in which gay marriage is portrayed as perfectly normal and healthy. When is the last time you’ve seen a family go to church on tv?

    Secondly, I think Christian based education isn’t even an option for many people. Especially with the economic struggles our nation has went through, people aren’t going to spend more to send their children to Christian schools when a free option so much more feasible. I know I have some relatives who want to send their child to a Lutheran high school, but have been counting on recieving some scholarship money to do so, because they lack the financial means to do so comfortably. And this is in a time when, because the larger culture has swung in an antagonistic direction, Christian schools are needed more than ever.

    These aren’t new issues – they’ve been discussed to death – but to my mind they are the primary issues. Church can provide an alternative view to the common culture, but that’s just an hour or so a week. For most of the rest of the time children are in school, online or watching tv, and even in households where faith is given a priority, that’s going to have an affect.

  • Matt

    Another blog perceptively posted on how Republicans have decisively lost the Asian vote, a group that’s largely more conservative than the general culture and since many Asians are job producing entraprenuers they should have found a natural home in the Republican Party. Many reasons have been flung out there for why they haven’t, but the one that seems to make the most quantitative sense is that they’ve become less Christian (about 40% consider themselves Christian, compared to 60% in 1990), and therefore have become dismissive of a Republican Party in which Christianity (or at least lip service to it) has become an integral part of it’s identity. Asians have become less Christian as a group due to some of the reasons that our nation has, plus the influx of immigrants from areas in which there are few Christians (and of course the term Asian is bit of misnomer when we talk of a voting block, as they come from disparate cultures).

    This suggests that Republicans should tone down the rhetoric a bit when associating politics with Christianity. While I’m not suggesting we need to change the social issues, politics and religion make poor bedfellows, and we’re in such a culture that unabashedly courting the Christian vote means the Republicans will probably lose as many or more votes as they gain.

  • Matt

    Another blog perceptively posted on how Republicans have decisively lost the Asian vote, a group that’s largely more conservative than the general culture and since many Asians are job producing entraprenuers they should have found a natural home in the Republican Party. Many reasons have been flung out there for why they haven’t, but the one that seems to make the most quantitative sense is that they’ve become less Christian (about 40% consider themselves Christian, compared to 60% in 1990), and therefore have become dismissive of a Republican Party in which Christianity (or at least lip service to it) has become an integral part of it’s identity. Asians have become less Christian as a group due to some of the reasons that our nation has, plus the influx of immigrants from areas in which there are few Christians (and of course the term Asian is bit of misnomer when we talk of a voting block, as they come from disparate cultures).

    This suggests that Republicans should tone down the rhetoric a bit when associating politics with Christianity. While I’m not suggesting we need to change the social issues, politics and religion make poor bedfellows, and we’re in such a culture that unabashedly courting the Christian vote means the Republicans will probably lose as many or more votes as they gain.

  • Stone the Crows

    Now Republicans and social conservatives need to learn what it means to have the courage of their convictions.

  • Stone the Crows

    Now Republicans and social conservatives need to learn what it means to have the courage of their convictions.

  • rlewer

    Must all sins be illegal? If so, would we all be in prison?

  • rlewer

    Must all sins be illegal? If so, would we all be in prison?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus @ 5 – I’m not so sure that they’ve “snapped out of it”. Let’s see what happens 4 years from now…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus @ 5 – I’m not so sure that they’ve “snapped out of it”. Let’s see what happens 4 years from now…

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#3 Because in my experience, the women fall into one of two categories. They did everything they could to save the child but could not for various reasons and are absolutely distraught. Or they have come forward in repentance. Why would I as a pastor invoke church discipline on such women? Maybe you should try thinking sometimes before you type.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#3 Because in my experience, the women fall into one of two categories. They did everything they could to save the child but could not for various reasons and are absolutely distraught. Or they have come forward in repentance. Why would I as a pastor invoke church discipline on such women? Maybe you should try thinking sometimes before you type.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    The liberals charges against conservatives were so outrageous that I didn’t think anybody would take them seriously, and would actually work against the liberal cause, just because they were so silly.

    Maybe I was wrong to think that. Maybe I misoverestimated the intelligence of the general American population.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    The liberals charges against conservatives were so outrageous that I didn’t think anybody would take them seriously, and would actually work against the liberal cause, just because they were so silly.

    Maybe I was wrong to think that. Maybe I misoverestimated the intelligence of the general American population.

  • Lou G.

    I think I’m a bit of a lone ranger on this, but I don’t think that moral issues won or lost anything, per se. The extreme left (pro-abortion, pro-gay, etc.) was voting for Obama no matter what the Republicans said or did.

    The middle rung of Americans tend to be moderately conservative (don’t like abortion, don’t like gay rights being shoved down their throat, don’t like the welfare system that rewards lack of citizenship, etc).

    My family is mostly comprised of that “middle rung”of society. Dad and Mom are both from big families 9 kids and 10 kids respectively. Literally hundreds of cousins in the coal country of PA. They are hard-working, blue collar conservatives who don’t particularly like Obama, but are afraid of the party of “daddy warbucks/mr. burns” and the policies of the “moral majority”. They overwhelmingly (all but 1!) voted for Obama. This should never be.

    Middle Americans who voted for Obama did not do so because moral/social issues aren’t important to them or because they’re all liberal. Rather, it seems to be that they are just not engaged on a macro-level the way many religious activists are. A lot of the issues that we Christians get up in arms about make no sense to the regular Joe because it doesn’t personally effect them. (Nuclear family hispanics and poeple like my blue collar conservative family just don’t care about what gay people are doing in their homes somewhere in some big city or whether a promiscuous woman wants to get an abortion. They don’t like any of those things, but they don’t matter to them personally and they seem more like distant, non-priority topics.) These people just couldn’t see Romney as being able to help them with what matters to them.

    Someone mentioned the term “For the People, by the People”. Well, I think that’s what’s missing. Both parties have been highjacked by special interests on the left and right and are no long fit to govern the average American.
    And that’s my little opinion for what it’s worth….

  • Lou G.

    I think I’m a bit of a lone ranger on this, but I don’t think that moral issues won or lost anything, per se. The extreme left (pro-abortion, pro-gay, etc.) was voting for Obama no matter what the Republicans said or did.

    The middle rung of Americans tend to be moderately conservative (don’t like abortion, don’t like gay rights being shoved down their throat, don’t like the welfare system that rewards lack of citizenship, etc).

    My family is mostly comprised of that “middle rung”of society. Dad and Mom are both from big families 9 kids and 10 kids respectively. Literally hundreds of cousins in the coal country of PA. They are hard-working, blue collar conservatives who don’t particularly like Obama, but are afraid of the party of “daddy warbucks/mr. burns” and the policies of the “moral majority”. They overwhelmingly (all but 1!) voted for Obama. This should never be.

    Middle Americans who voted for Obama did not do so because moral/social issues aren’t important to them or because they’re all liberal. Rather, it seems to be that they are just not engaged on a macro-level the way many religious activists are. A lot of the issues that we Christians get up in arms about make no sense to the regular Joe because it doesn’t personally effect them. (Nuclear family hispanics and poeple like my blue collar conservative family just don’t care about what gay people are doing in their homes somewhere in some big city or whether a promiscuous woman wants to get an abortion. They don’t like any of those things, but they don’t matter to them personally and they seem more like distant, non-priority topics.) These people just couldn’t see Romney as being able to help them with what matters to them.

    Someone mentioned the term “For the People, by the People”. Well, I think that’s what’s missing. Both parties have been highjacked by special interests on the left and right and are no long fit to govern the average American.
    And that’s my little opinion for what it’s worth….

  • fjsteve

    Democrats can win on those issues because they’re running against their caricature of the Republican position. It’s easy to knock down a straw man and its an effective strategy when the voting public can’t recognize a straw man when they see one.

  • fjsteve

    Democrats can win on those issues because they’re running against their caricature of the Republican position. It’s easy to knock down a straw man and its an effective strategy when the voting public can’t recognize a straw man when they see one.

  • fjsteve

    Case in point: Michael B. in post #3.

  • fjsteve

    Case in point: Michael B. in post #3.

  • John Drake
  • John Drake
  • Cincinnatus

    fjsteve@14:

    That’s a very good point, actually. I mean, I know I’m usually here reminding everyone that campaign factors aren’t all that important, but Democrats did a really good job this year of framing the debate on social issues. Their platform in this respect was entirely oppositional: they did not promise to do x or y (e.g., make gay marriage the law of the land, expand abortion provisions, etc.). Rather, they constructed a rather elaborate straw man. Republicans are conducting a war on women, Republicans are bigoted against gays, Republicans don’t believe in rape, etc.

    Why is this a straw man? Quite simply because social issues were almost entirely absent from the actual Republican platform this year. Not a single national Republican candidate campaigned on ending abortion or prohibiting gay marriage or limiting access to contraception. Republicans were all about economics this year, and the failure of the Obama agenda. But the Democrats aggressively concocted the fiction that Republicans did (secretly?) intend to pursue these goals if elected–and in an “extremist” way, not moderate way (i.e., Republicans don’t just want to limit abortion, they want to redefine rape and put women back in the kitchen, preferably barefoot!).

    And the fiction was apparently sold.

  • Cincinnatus

    fjsteve@14:

    That’s a very good point, actually. I mean, I know I’m usually here reminding everyone that campaign factors aren’t all that important, but Democrats did a really good job this year of framing the debate on social issues. Their platform in this respect was entirely oppositional: they did not promise to do x or y (e.g., make gay marriage the law of the land, expand abortion provisions, etc.). Rather, they constructed a rather elaborate straw man. Republicans are conducting a war on women, Republicans are bigoted against gays, Republicans don’t believe in rape, etc.

    Why is this a straw man? Quite simply because social issues were almost entirely absent from the actual Republican platform this year. Not a single national Republican candidate campaigned on ending abortion or prohibiting gay marriage or limiting access to contraception. Republicans were all about economics this year, and the failure of the Obama agenda. But the Democrats aggressively concocted the fiction that Republicans did (secretly?) intend to pursue these goals if elected–and in an “extremist” way, not moderate way (i.e., Republicans don’t just want to limit abortion, they want to redefine rape and put women back in the kitchen, preferably barefoot!).

    And the fiction was apparently sold.

  • Jon H.

    “Little was said about abortion”? WT-?

    Regardless of your views, the GOP primary was rife with abortion argument, all of it tending toward criminalizing it in all instances. The GOP platform recognized no exceptions, giving the GOP license to talk about ‘legitimate rape.’

    Even though “Romneycare” has reduced the abortion rate in Massachusetts, the GOP promised to repeal the identical Obamacare and replace it with – nothing. In 2011-12, GOP state legislators introduced more bills requiring women to get vaginal ultrasounds than ever before. Romney pushed the ‘life begins at conception’ amendment to the US Constitution and promised to defund Planned Parenthood.

    He promised to have Roe v. Wade overturned, though his surrogate, Norm Coleman, speaking to some Republican women in Fla, said that Romney didn’t really mean it.

    Rush Limbaugh, titular head of the GOP, went on a profane tirade for several minutes about a woman who wanted to join an all-male panel that testified before Congress about GOP attempts to block access to birth control. Not one GOP leader, religious or otherwise, said a word in defense of that woman.

    Again, whatever you think about abortion and birth control, the GOP talked about it a lot during the campaign – always from the point of view of denying it and criminalizing it. People voted accordingly.

  • Jon H.

    “Little was said about abortion”? WT-?

    Regardless of your views, the GOP primary was rife with abortion argument, all of it tending toward criminalizing it in all instances. The GOP platform recognized no exceptions, giving the GOP license to talk about ‘legitimate rape.’

    Even though “Romneycare” has reduced the abortion rate in Massachusetts, the GOP promised to repeal the identical Obamacare and replace it with – nothing. In 2011-12, GOP state legislators introduced more bills requiring women to get vaginal ultrasounds than ever before. Romney pushed the ‘life begins at conception’ amendment to the US Constitution and promised to defund Planned Parenthood.

    He promised to have Roe v. Wade overturned, though his surrogate, Norm Coleman, speaking to some Republican women in Fla, said that Romney didn’t really mean it.

    Rush Limbaugh, titular head of the GOP, went on a profane tirade for several minutes about a woman who wanted to join an all-male panel that testified before Congress about GOP attempts to block access to birth control. Not one GOP leader, religious or otherwise, said a word in defense of that woman.

    Again, whatever you think about abortion and birth control, the GOP talked about it a lot during the campaign – always from the point of view of denying it and criminalizing it. People voted accordingly.

  • DonS

    I don’t think the social issues won this election for Democrats. They ran on them because they recognized this as a “base election”, and their primary motivation was to energize their base to vote. But I don’t think the radical abortion message was dispositive, and gay marriage was hardly mentioned by either party during the campaign, outside of the states were the issue itself was on the ballot.

    Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock addressed social issues in their debates, to devastating results. Akin did so in a stupid way (although he paid a far greater price than a Democrat making a similar gaffe would pay — see Joe Biden), but what Mourdock said was perfectly reasonable and biblical. Republicans want to win elections, and in the current media and establishment climate, social issues unpopular with those forces are dangerous to the goal of winning. These are, quite frankly, issues that need to be addressed more locally, and below the media radar, and fulfilled through broader governmental policies rooted in liberty rights for all individuals, including the unborn. Specifically with respect to the unborn, since the Supreme Court took the issue of abortion out of the political realm with its Roe v. Wade decision, the emphasis is on appointing justices who will see the issue in that light, and return it to the states, and on the continuing education of young people as to what abortion really is, in non-political circumstances. It need not be a primary issue, in and of itself, in federal campaigns. Of course, in view of Obama’s re-election, the opportunity to eventually overturn or seriously narrow Roe v. Wade took a serious hit, since he will likely get the opportunity to replace at least Ruth Bader Ginsberg with a much younger liberal.

    Bottom line — we are in a post-modern nation. The days of politicking on blatantly “Christian” or “religious” issues are long over. Our job, in the political world, is to focus on ensuring that the unique liberty rights we are guaranteed under the Constitution are preserved for all, and that our society continues to be a welcoming place for those of all faiths and a becomes a safe place for all people, including those unborn and also in the twilight of life.

  • DonS

    I don’t think the social issues won this election for Democrats. They ran on them because they recognized this as a “base election”, and their primary motivation was to energize their base to vote. But I don’t think the radical abortion message was dispositive, and gay marriage was hardly mentioned by either party during the campaign, outside of the states were the issue itself was on the ballot.

    Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock addressed social issues in their debates, to devastating results. Akin did so in a stupid way (although he paid a far greater price than a Democrat making a similar gaffe would pay — see Joe Biden), but what Mourdock said was perfectly reasonable and biblical. Republicans want to win elections, and in the current media and establishment climate, social issues unpopular with those forces are dangerous to the goal of winning. These are, quite frankly, issues that need to be addressed more locally, and below the media radar, and fulfilled through broader governmental policies rooted in liberty rights for all individuals, including the unborn. Specifically with respect to the unborn, since the Supreme Court took the issue of abortion out of the political realm with its Roe v. Wade decision, the emphasis is on appointing justices who will see the issue in that light, and return it to the states, and on the continuing education of young people as to what abortion really is, in non-political circumstances. It need not be a primary issue, in and of itself, in federal campaigns. Of course, in view of Obama’s re-election, the opportunity to eventually overturn or seriously narrow Roe v. Wade took a serious hit, since he will likely get the opportunity to replace at least Ruth Bader Ginsberg with a much younger liberal.

    Bottom line — we are in a post-modern nation. The days of politicking on blatantly “Christian” or “religious” issues are long over. Our job, in the political world, is to focus on ensuring that the unique liberty rights we are guaranteed under the Constitution are preserved for all, and that our society continues to be a welcoming place for those of all faiths and a becomes a safe place for all people, including those unborn and also in the twilight of life.

  • Cincinnatus

    John H.@18,

    Nope. Republicans were absent on the abortion issue–and moral issues in general–this year. The two senatorial candidates, Akin and Mourdock, who were caught saying objectionable things about abortion and rape were a) not campaigning from their platform, but (clumsily) answering interview questions that were simply devoured by the Democratic machine, and were b) immediately alienated by the Republican party. Republicans removed their endorsement from Akin, for example, and refused to provide him with funding.

    Second, GOP state legislators are irrelevant here. We’re talking about the 2012 Republican Presidential campaign. Romney did not run on a campaign against abortion or gay marriage. In fact, his campaign had nothing to do with so-called cultural/social issues. (And I’m not sure who Norm Coleman is, or what he has to do with anything–and I’m sure the average voter doesn’t either).

    Third, Rush Limbaugh is not the “titular head” of anything. He’s not a Republican politician or a Republican candidate. He’s a talk show host. Yes, lots of Republicans listen to his show–and, apparently, so do many progressives, as much as they talk about him in very specific terms. But Rush Limbaugh doesn’t set the official Republican agenda, and Romney certainly didn’t have anything to do with him.

    Try again. Social issues were absent from the 2012 Republican platform, for better or worse.

  • Cincinnatus

    John H.@18,

    Nope. Republicans were absent on the abortion issue–and moral issues in general–this year. The two senatorial candidates, Akin and Mourdock, who were caught saying objectionable things about abortion and rape were a) not campaigning from their platform, but (clumsily) answering interview questions that were simply devoured by the Democratic machine, and were b) immediately alienated by the Republican party. Republicans removed their endorsement from Akin, for example, and refused to provide him with funding.

    Second, GOP state legislators are irrelevant here. We’re talking about the 2012 Republican Presidential campaign. Romney did not run on a campaign against abortion or gay marriage. In fact, his campaign had nothing to do with so-called cultural/social issues. (And I’m not sure who Norm Coleman is, or what he has to do with anything–and I’m sure the average voter doesn’t either).

    Third, Rush Limbaugh is not the “titular head” of anything. He’s not a Republican politician or a Republican candidate. He’s a talk show host. Yes, lots of Republicans listen to his show–and, apparently, so do many progressives, as much as they talk about him in very specific terms. But Rush Limbaugh doesn’t set the official Republican agenda, and Romney certainly didn’t have anything to do with him.

    Try again. Social issues were absent from the 2012 Republican platform, for better or worse.

  • Abby

    This is an amazing video on life from conception to birth using the newest x-ray scanning technology, which won these guys the Nobel Peace Prize.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=fKyljukBE70

    This video should be viewed in every confirmation class, in my opinion.

  • Abby

    This is an amazing video on life from conception to birth using the newest x-ray scanning technology, which won these guys the Nobel Peace Prize.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=fKyljukBE70

    This video should be viewed in every confirmation class, in my opinion.

  • Jon H.

    Cinc @20, Not taking the bait.
    I’ll let you and DonS duke it out.

  • Jon H.

    Cinc @20, Not taking the bait.
    I’ll let you and DonS duke it out.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Rush Limbaugh as “titular head of the GOP” may be yet another straw man, but it sure beats having Nancy Pelosi as the actual head of the house Democrats.

    Pardon me for not putting the best construction on it, but how in the world did such a ditz get to be Speaker of the House? And even now remain the minority leader?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Rush Limbaugh as “titular head of the GOP” may be yet another straw man, but it sure beats having Nancy Pelosi as the actual head of the house Democrats.

    Pardon me for not putting the best construction on it, but how in the world did such a ditz get to be Speaker of the House? And even now remain the minority leader?

  • Cincinnatus

    Jon H.@22:

    It wasn’t bait. You were the one tossing out the trollbait, what with rehashing the old nonsense about Rush Limbaugh being the “head” of the G.O.P., etc.

    As you should know, I’m not a Republican. But it doesn’t take a partisan hack to recognize that the Republicans didn’t campaign on social issues this year. Almost all talk of culture wars was restricted to the Democrats this time around. Again, for better or worse. I don’t particularly care either way, but facts are facts.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jon H.@22:

    It wasn’t bait. You were the one tossing out the trollbait, what with rehashing the old nonsense about Rush Limbaugh being the “head” of the G.O.P., etc.

    As you should know, I’m not a Republican. But it doesn’t take a partisan hack to recognize that the Republicans didn’t campaign on social issues this year. Almost all talk of culture wars was restricted to the Democrats this time around. Again, for better or worse. I don’t particularly care either way, but facts are facts.

  • Cincinnatus

    Mike@23,

    It usually has something to do with seniority, which is the same reason the Republicans have a bridge-troll like John Boehner as Speaker of the House.

  • Cincinnatus

    Mike@23,

    It usually has something to do with seniority, which is the same reason the Republicans have a bridge-troll like John Boehner as Speaker of the House.

  • Abby

    The other link I posted appears to not work. This one is better:

  • Abby

    The other link I posted appears to not work. This one is better:

  • http://geneveith.com Dave Berger

    It is easy to lose sight of the fact that economic issues also have significant moral components.
    Is it moral to saddle our children with an overwhelming debt and worthless money? See link below for more thoughts on this.
    http://www.tothesource.org/11_7_2012/11_7_2012.htm
    Is it moral to take money from some, regardless of motive, and redistribute it to others, equating such action with biblical charity?
    In biblical terms, both may be classified as sins against the 7th Commandment. The fact that both major parties have engaged in these practices means that they are less likely to be dealt with through the political process. Our nation is also in need of repentance for economic sins.

  • http://geneveith.com Dave Berger

    It is easy to lose sight of the fact that economic issues also have significant moral components.
    Is it moral to saddle our children with an overwhelming debt and worthless money? See link below for more thoughts on this.
    http://www.tothesource.org/11_7_2012/11_7_2012.htm
    Is it moral to take money from some, regardless of motive, and redistribute it to others, equating such action with biblical charity?
    In biblical terms, both may be classified as sins against the 7th Commandment. The fact that both major parties have engaged in these practices means that they are less likely to be dealt with through the political process. Our nation is also in need of repentance for economic sins.

  • Lou G.

    DonS:
    Amen to your bottom line comment:
    “Bottom line — we are in a post-modern nation. The days of politicking on blatantly “Christian” or “religious” issues are long over. Our job, in the political world, is to focus on ensuring that the unique liberty rights we are guaranteed under the Constitution are preserved for all, and that our society continues to be a welcoming place for those of all faiths and a becomes a safe place for all people, including those unborn and also in the twilight of life.”

  • Lou G.

    DonS:
    Amen to your bottom line comment:
    “Bottom line — we are in a post-modern nation. The days of politicking on blatantly “Christian” or “religious” issues are long over. Our job, in the political world, is to focus on ensuring that the unique liberty rights we are guaranteed under the Constitution are preserved for all, and that our society continues to be a welcoming place for those of all faiths and a becomes a safe place for all people, including those unborn and also in the twilight of life.”

  • dust

    Thanks Abby@26…..truly AWEsome :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    Thanks Abby@26…..truly AWEsome :)

    cheers!

  • Grace

    Michael @3

    I doubt many women go about telling others they are getting an abortion, within their churches – either because they aren’t married, OR, they are married and do not want more children.

    All sorts of people attend churches, or even hold membership, and never disclose their lives and sin to anyone.

  • Grace

    Michael @3

    I doubt many women go about telling others they are getting an abortion, within their churches – either because they aren’t married, OR, they are married and do not want more children.

    All sorts of people attend churches, or even hold membership, and never disclose their lives and sin to anyone.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Veith said:

    Single women voted overwhelmingly for Obama, largely, according to the exit polls, because of “women’s issues.”

    Sure, but when was it ever different? Some hasty Googling led me to believe that exit polls indicate that Obama won single women by 36 points. Equally hasty searching also led me to believe that in pre-election polling, Kerry was leading single women by 20+ points. Perhaps Obama actually got more of their vote, but either way, they’re kind of a core constituent of the modern Democratic party, yeah?

    I actually think the abortion issue is not a foregone conclusion, mainly because of the advance of science and technology. The “point of viability” is the basis of most abortion laws, and has clearly shifted earlier even since Roe was passed. There is little reason to expect it won’t continue to shift earlier. And, of course, technology has had a major impact in how the average person (literally) perceives a fetus. Such arguments won’t win over, say, the single-woman vote (which is so predicated on fear that such arguments from science are ignored), but I do hold out hope that the public may yet be swayed, if somewhat. There is, after all, a third party involved.

    Gay marriage, on the other hand, yeah, not so much. That’s a purely social concern, and I really don’t see a reason for it to ever become less popular or more opposed. It’s very difficult to argue that a third party is harmed, and opposing it appears to run counter to Republican messaging about smaller government.

    Of course, even on the abortion point, I don’t hold out a lot of hope that social conservatives are capable of engaging in a winsome message. Social conservatism, that I’ve seen, largely consists of black-and-white judgmentalism, and isn’t terribly interested in where people actually are in their lives. Just “outlaw it and be done with it”. Maybe it’s just me?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Veith said:

    Single women voted overwhelmingly for Obama, largely, according to the exit polls, because of “women’s issues.”

    Sure, but when was it ever different? Some hasty Googling led me to believe that exit polls indicate that Obama won single women by 36 points. Equally hasty searching also led me to believe that in pre-election polling, Kerry was leading single women by 20+ points. Perhaps Obama actually got more of their vote, but either way, they’re kind of a core constituent of the modern Democratic party, yeah?

    I actually think the abortion issue is not a foregone conclusion, mainly because of the advance of science and technology. The “point of viability” is the basis of most abortion laws, and has clearly shifted earlier even since Roe was passed. There is little reason to expect it won’t continue to shift earlier. And, of course, technology has had a major impact in how the average person (literally) perceives a fetus. Such arguments won’t win over, say, the single-woman vote (which is so predicated on fear that such arguments from science are ignored), but I do hold out hope that the public may yet be swayed, if somewhat. There is, after all, a third party involved.

    Gay marriage, on the other hand, yeah, not so much. That’s a purely social concern, and I really don’t see a reason for it to ever become less popular or more opposed. It’s very difficult to argue that a third party is harmed, and opposing it appears to run counter to Republican messaging about smaller government.

    Of course, even on the abortion point, I don’t hold out a lot of hope that social conservatives are capable of engaging in a winsome message. Social conservatism, that I’ve seen, largely consists of black-and-white judgmentalism, and isn’t terribly interested in where people actually are in their lives. Just “outlaw it and be done with it”. Maybe it’s just me?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    how in the world did such a ditz get to be Speaker of the House? And even now remain the minority leader?

    Influence peddling?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    how in the world did such a ditz get to be Speaker of the House? And even now remain the minority leader?

    Influence peddling?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Gay marriage, on the other hand, yeah, not so much. That’s a purely social concern, and I really don’t see a reason for it to ever become less popular or more opposed. It’s very difficult to argue that a third party is harmed, and opposing it appears to run counter to Republican messaging about smaller government.

    I am not sure I follow this. Smaller gov’t is less licensing for everyone everywhere. So smaller government is only licensing/recognizing as few as possible. So, cohabiting couples can’t sue for divorce etc. because they didn’t file paperwork.. The government would be widening their involvement by extending licensing to gays, thereby making it possible for them to get divorced, etc.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Gay marriage, on the other hand, yeah, not so much. That’s a purely social concern, and I really don’t see a reason for it to ever become less popular or more opposed. It’s very difficult to argue that a third party is harmed, and opposing it appears to run counter to Republican messaging about smaller government.

    I am not sure I follow this. Smaller gov’t is less licensing for everyone everywhere. So smaller government is only licensing/recognizing as few as possible. So, cohabiting couples can’t sue for divorce etc. because they didn’t file paperwork.. The government would be widening their involvement by extending licensing to gays, thereby making it possible for them to get divorced, etc.

  • Grace

    I don’t believe the questions asked, are difficult to comprehend.

    Men and women who want to engage in homosexuality, and then take it further by demanding homosexual marriage is a given – they don’t care that they sin, and further more, take the Word of God and distort whatever passage a Christian Believer cites.

    As for abortion – Romney made it clear he wasn’t going to get into it, if he was elected president.

    ABC News
    Mitt Romney’s Abortion Evolution

    2012: ‘There’s No Legislation With Regards to Abortion That I’m Familiar With That Would Become Part of My Agenda’

    Less than two months after accepting the GOP nomination, Romney seemed to tack back toward the center on his abortion stance, telling the Des Moines Register this week that he would not make abortion legislation part of his agenda.

    “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” Romney told the Des Moines Register Tuesday.

    Such a stance seems to contradict the National Review Op-Ed Romney wrote in June 2011, when he named three pieces of legislation he would support if elected president.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/mitt-romneys-abortion-evolution/story?id=17443452

    So much for facing the issue, that has been most important since Roe vs. Wade was made law.

    The fate of moral issues is a given; the world doesn’t care. We who are Christian Believers are the minority, we always have been, and always will be.

  • Grace

    I don’t believe the questions asked, are difficult to comprehend.

    Men and women who want to engage in homosexuality, and then take it further by demanding homosexual marriage is a given – they don’t care that they sin, and further more, take the Word of God and distort whatever passage a Christian Believer cites.

    As for abortion – Romney made it clear he wasn’t going to get into it, if he was elected president.

    ABC News
    Mitt Romney’s Abortion Evolution

    2012: ‘There’s No Legislation With Regards to Abortion That I’m Familiar With That Would Become Part of My Agenda’

    Less than two months after accepting the GOP nomination, Romney seemed to tack back toward the center on his abortion stance, telling the Des Moines Register this week that he would not make abortion legislation part of his agenda.

    “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” Romney told the Des Moines Register Tuesday.

    Such a stance seems to contradict the National Review Op-Ed Romney wrote in June 2011, when he named three pieces of legislation he would support if elected president.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/mitt-romneys-abortion-evolution/story?id=17443452

    So much for facing the issue, that has been most important since Roe vs. Wade was made law.

    The fate of moral issues is a given; the world doesn’t care. We who are Christian Believers are the minority, we always have been, and always will be.

  • helen

    Dave Berger @ 27
    You wouldn’t be talking about Enron, Bain or other “venture capitalists”which bleed companies of money and pension funds and spit out the husks of the men who earned those things, or hedge fund managers who sold paper they knew was worthless (betting against their own product often as not).

    Nothing remotely charitable about any of those.
    But they certainly took one group’s money to enrich another!
    Funny how that is supposed to be alright if the money moves up!!

    [There are a few things said in the Bible about the rich who "grind the faces of the poor"; "devour widows' houses and for pretense make long prayers" (that one just this past Sunday) and admonitions that the laborer is worthy of his hire.]

  • helen

    Dave Berger @ 27
    You wouldn’t be talking about Enron, Bain or other “venture capitalists”which bleed companies of money and pension funds and spit out the husks of the men who earned those things, or hedge fund managers who sold paper they knew was worthless (betting against their own product often as not).

    Nothing remotely charitable about any of those.
    But they certainly took one group’s money to enrich another!
    Funny how that is supposed to be alright if the money moves up!!

    [There are a few things said in the Bible about the rich who "grind the faces of the poor"; "devour widows' houses and for pretense make long prayers" (that one just this past Sunday) and admonitions that the laborer is worthy of his hire.]

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@33), do you honestly believe your own argument?

    smaller government is only licensing/recognizing as few as possible.

    Ah, yes. So the true small-government conservative would then readily endorse restricting the pool even further for those who can legally get married. Say, by limiting marriages only to white Christians over the age of 35, with a combined income of $100,000 or greater. By restricting marriage like that, we’d truly get government out of the way!

    Again, are you serious?

    In what way is asking government to enforce a purely moral notion — one that does not affect other people, except inasmuch as they don’t like it — via existing structures a small-government principle?

    If you want to be consistent, you’d argue that government should get entirely out of the marriage business. But you’re not doing that, so I assume you don’t have a problem with it. What you do have a problem with is allowing marriage benefits to extend to certain kinds of couples.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@33), do you honestly believe your own argument?

    smaller government is only licensing/recognizing as few as possible.

    Ah, yes. So the true small-government conservative would then readily endorse restricting the pool even further for those who can legally get married. Say, by limiting marriages only to white Christians over the age of 35, with a combined income of $100,000 or greater. By restricting marriage like that, we’d truly get government out of the way!

    Again, are you serious?

    In what way is asking government to enforce a purely moral notion — one that does not affect other people, except inasmuch as they don’t like it — via existing structures a small-government principle?

    If you want to be consistent, you’d argue that government should get entirely out of the marriage business. But you’re not doing that, so I assume you don’t have a problem with it. What you do have a problem with is allowing marriage benefits to extend to certain kinds of couples.

  • dust

    An honest question….how can the government get out of the marriage business, when it’s the courts and police, if necessary, that enforce our contracts, help decide who gets what in a split, and also maintain records so folks can reasonably expect to be marrying someone who is not currently married, and all those little, sticky, legal details?

    So who is one to turn to when they are on the losing end of a marriage gone badly? The government would be my guess..

    thanks!

  • dust

    An honest question….how can the government get out of the marriage business, when it’s the courts and police, if necessary, that enforce our contracts, help decide who gets what in a split, and also maintain records so folks can reasonably expect to be marrying someone who is not currently married, and all those little, sticky, legal details?

    So who is one to turn to when they are on the losing end of a marriage gone badly? The government would be my guess..

    thanks!

  • Cincinnatus

    What you do have a problem with is allowing marriage benefits to extend to certain kinds of couples.

    Why yes I do. Thanks for assuming…heh.

    I used to be fairly libertarian on the issue of marriage in general: “Get the government out of the marriage business,” says I. Marriage is a critical but fragile point of intersection between an indispensable social institution and a legitimate government prerogative under the purview of its responsibility to help insure the public safety and welfare. And no, marriages shouldn’t be extended willy-nilly to everyone who wants one, or everyone who claims to be in love. Again, the governmental purpose of marriage–bracketing whatever purposes assigned to it by churches and the like–is to protect children. There needs to be some coercive element to ensure that parents look out for the welfare of their children via marital stability and legitimacy.

    Now, I’d rather that localized units of government oversee marriage. And I wouldn’t have a problem with “grandfathering in” existing gay marriages. And if gays, polygamists, and old ladies marrying their cats want an endorsement of their “love” feel free to find a church, internet preacher, or cult that will sign a certificate for you.

    But the public institution of marriage has a circumscribed, clear purpose, and everything else should be disallowed as a matter of law.

  • Cincinnatus

    What you do have a problem with is allowing marriage benefits to extend to certain kinds of couples.

    Why yes I do. Thanks for assuming…heh.

    I used to be fairly libertarian on the issue of marriage in general: “Get the government out of the marriage business,” says I. Marriage is a critical but fragile point of intersection between an indispensable social institution and a legitimate government prerogative under the purview of its responsibility to help insure the public safety and welfare. And no, marriages shouldn’t be extended willy-nilly to everyone who wants one, or everyone who claims to be in love. Again, the governmental purpose of marriage–bracketing whatever purposes assigned to it by churches and the like–is to protect children. There needs to be some coercive element to ensure that parents look out for the welfare of their children via marital stability and legitimacy.

    Now, I’d rather that localized units of government oversee marriage. And I wouldn’t have a problem with “grandfathering in” existing gay marriages. And if gays, polygamists, and old ladies marrying their cats want an endorsement of their “love” feel free to find a church, internet preacher, or cult that will sign a certificate for you.

    But the public institution of marriage has a circumscribed, clear purpose, and everything else should be disallowed as a matter of law.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Yup. What Cincy said @38.

    If government is going to extend benefits, license or regulate ANYthing, it needs to have a legitimate interest in doing so.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Yup. What Cincy said @38.

    If government is going to extend benefits, license or regulate ANYthing, it needs to have a legitimate interest in doing so.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@38):

    Again, the governmental purpose of marriage–bracketing whatever purposes assigned to it by churches and the like–is to protect children. … everything else should be disallowed as a matter of law.

    Oh, well, in that case, let’s also preclude old people from marrying, too. Certainly any women past the age of menopause. And infertile people, too. No marriage for them, either.

    Look how small our government is getting!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@38):

    Again, the governmental purpose of marriage–bracketing whatever purposes assigned to it by churches and the like–is to protect children. … everything else should be disallowed as a matter of law.

    Oh, well, in that case, let’s also preclude old people from marrying, too. Certainly any women past the age of menopause. And infertile people, too. No marriage for them, either.

    Look how small our government is getting!

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@40,

    I think we’ve had this discussion. First of all, I’m not the one who said anything about small government. And what does smallness mean to you, anyway? So the government is “bigger” if it restricts an already-existing licensing program to fewer people? Uh, ok.

    Anyway–again, since we had this discussion elsewhere, and I don’t feel like rehashing the arguments for while elderly or sterile people should still be allowed to get married under “my” regime (i.e., the one that already exists)–I’ll just reverse your argument:

    “Oh, well, in that case, let’s also allow polygamists to marry too. And polyamorous groups (e.g., two men and three women). Certainly anyone who wants to marry his first cousin. And siblings too. Legal marriage for them too.”

    Hey, on second thought, why not abolish marriage altogether? It apparently serves no meaningful purpose in your mind.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@40,

    I think we’ve had this discussion. First of all, I’m not the one who said anything about small government. And what does smallness mean to you, anyway? So the government is “bigger” if it restricts an already-existing licensing program to fewer people? Uh, ok.

    Anyway–again, since we had this discussion elsewhere, and I don’t feel like rehashing the arguments for while elderly or sterile people should still be allowed to get married under “my” regime (i.e., the one that already exists)–I’ll just reverse your argument:

    “Oh, well, in that case, let’s also allow polygamists to marry too. And polyamorous groups (e.g., two men and three women). Certainly anyone who wants to marry his first cousin. And siblings too. Legal marriage for them too.”

    Hey, on second thought, why not abolish marriage altogether? It apparently serves no meaningful purpose in your mind.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@41), you have an odd habit of thinking that I’m only talking to you. You can see that I was talking about “small government” with someone else, can’t you? The main reason I dropped your name (@40) was to cite the quote.

    So the government is “bigger” if it restricts an already-existing licensing program to fewer people?

    Well, yes, because the government is enforcing moral decisions in that manner. I’m taking the “licensing program” as a given in this argument. As such, an all-comers program is less restrictive than one in which only a select few are allowed. Again, if the government started restricting marriage from its current state, allowing only a subset of those currently allowed to marry, would you argue that government was therefore being less intrusive?

    Oh, well, in that case, let’s also allow polygamists to marry too. And polyamorous groups (e.g., two men and three women). Certainly anyone who wants to marry his first cousin. And siblings too.

    You appear to be making an emotional appeal here. Yes, polygamy only appears in the Wrong Cultures. And siblings having sex is gross. If only there was some way to legislate the equation of sex and marriage! But there isn’t!

    I think marriage serves purposes in our society, but they are largely financial in nature. You know, property rights. That’s hardly a radical notion — arguably, it’s downright traditional. So while siblings having sex might be repulsive (and genetically inadvisable), is there a strong argument against it from a property-rights point of view? Not that leaps to mind. As for first cousins, um, that’s already allowed in several states. Like, half of them. And polygamy also has quite a claim on tradition, too, if not so much at the current place and time. It has also been noted that, with our liberal divorce laws, we basically already allow polygamy of a sort with respect to child support, though only one spouse can be alive at any given time.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@41), you have an odd habit of thinking that I’m only talking to you. You can see that I was talking about “small government” with someone else, can’t you? The main reason I dropped your name (@40) was to cite the quote.

    So the government is “bigger” if it restricts an already-existing licensing program to fewer people?

    Well, yes, because the government is enforcing moral decisions in that manner. I’m taking the “licensing program” as a given in this argument. As such, an all-comers program is less restrictive than one in which only a select few are allowed. Again, if the government started restricting marriage from its current state, allowing only a subset of those currently allowed to marry, would you argue that government was therefore being less intrusive?

    Oh, well, in that case, let’s also allow polygamists to marry too. And polyamorous groups (e.g., two men and three women). Certainly anyone who wants to marry his first cousin. And siblings too.

    You appear to be making an emotional appeal here. Yes, polygamy only appears in the Wrong Cultures. And siblings having sex is gross. If only there was some way to legislate the equation of sex and marriage! But there isn’t!

    I think marriage serves purposes in our society, but they are largely financial in nature. You know, property rights. That’s hardly a radical notion — arguably, it’s downright traditional. So while siblings having sex might be repulsive (and genetically inadvisable), is there a strong argument against it from a property-rights point of view? Not that leaps to mind. As for first cousins, um, that’s already allowed in several states. Like, half of them. And polygamy also has quite a claim on tradition, too, if not so much at the current place and time. It has also been noted that, with our liberal divorce laws, we basically already allow polygamy of a sort with respect to child support, though only one spouse can be alive at any given time.

  • Joe

    I think this is actually a good thing. If social issue become losing political issues, then the church will be forced to get back in the business of being the church as opposed to its current fascination with being the state.

    Government is coercion, nothing else. Reducing moral issues to gov’t laws is not the proclamation of the gospel and it won’t save a single soul.

  • Joe

    I think this is actually a good thing. If social issue become losing political issues, then the church will be forced to get back in the business of being the church as opposed to its current fascination with being the state.

    Government is coercion, nothing else. Reducing moral issues to gov’t laws is not the proclamation of the gospel and it won’t save a single soul.

  • Trey

    @ Joe #43 I suppose you may be right, but the purpose of the state is to curb sinfulness and to promote social order. The current moral relativism is antagonistic towards that goal.

    @ Michael B. #3 Others have already touched on your crass comments, but again you demonstrate a lack of understanding of Christians’ beliefs and morality. First, if a woman was proud of an abortion she had and flaunted it, then yeah she would be excommunicated until she repented (contrition and trust in Christ). So yeah we would address that in the church. Again as I have replied many times to your posts, but you consistently apply fallacious logic. Just because someone can do something or omits to something does not mean it is right. You cannot get an ought-ness from an is-ness. This is the naturalistic fallacy. Pro-lifers, not necessarily just Christians, concern is simply that the life of the weakest and unrepresented child who has a natural right to life.

    The problem as I see is that you think that man is an island unto himself, yet support policies that are to the contrary. You assume the unborn is nothing, but property or an organ. Until you and your side can cogently demonstrate with observation (i.e. science) that a unique human being is not formed at conception then, pro-lifers will continue to defend the weakest and most dependent in our world.

  • Trey

    @ Joe #43 I suppose you may be right, but the purpose of the state is to curb sinfulness and to promote social order. The current moral relativism is antagonistic towards that goal.

    @ Michael B. #3 Others have already touched on your crass comments, but again you demonstrate a lack of understanding of Christians’ beliefs and morality. First, if a woman was proud of an abortion she had and flaunted it, then yeah she would be excommunicated until she repented (contrition and trust in Christ). So yeah we would address that in the church. Again as I have replied many times to your posts, but you consistently apply fallacious logic. Just because someone can do something or omits to something does not mean it is right. You cannot get an ought-ness from an is-ness. This is the naturalistic fallacy. Pro-lifers, not necessarily just Christians, concern is simply that the life of the weakest and unrepresented child who has a natural right to life.

    The problem as I see is that you think that man is an island unto himself, yet support policies that are to the contrary. You assume the unborn is nothing, but property or an organ. Until you and your side can cogently demonstrate with observation (i.e. science) that a unique human being is not formed at conception then, pro-lifers will continue to defend the weakest and most dependent in our world.

  • David Palmer

    Well, the church should be the church teaching the twofold grace of God found in union with Christ: justification through the imputed (alien) righteousness of Christ and regeneration/sanctification which is the grace into which we grow the rest of our lives thereby necessitating teaching backed up by discipline as required for the benefit of our own marriages, family and church life. There is something enormously attractive about functioning Christian family life to hopefully make those who do not enjoy it, jealous to secure it for themselves.

    But that still leaves us with the issue that we are also citizens of the state and as such we must do the best we can politically. Over the past year Christians in Australian engaged in a very extensive and determined political grassroots campaign with strong support at a church leader level to defeat on the floor of Parliament the push for the definition of marriage to be extended to same sex couples , despite a left leaning Government being in control of Parliament. With few exceptions every Parliamentarian discovered through emails, letters, personal appointments that amongst their respective electorates those opposed to same sex marriage outnumbered those in favour despite what the media, academics, celebrities and opinion polls were saying. This is not to say we will win next time but we did win this time – comprehensively so.

    Abortion is a very tough issue to make any headway on. Despite what might be our views on abortion as the taking of a human life, I think we understand that abortion, at least in part acts as a safety valve for a society that since the 1960’s has rejected the notion that mutual love and commitment within the bonds of marriage was the necessary requirement to engage in sexual activity.

  • David Palmer

    Well, the church should be the church teaching the twofold grace of God found in union with Christ: justification through the imputed (alien) righteousness of Christ and regeneration/sanctification which is the grace into which we grow the rest of our lives thereby necessitating teaching backed up by discipline as required for the benefit of our own marriages, family and church life. There is something enormously attractive about functioning Christian family life to hopefully make those who do not enjoy it, jealous to secure it for themselves.

    But that still leaves us with the issue that we are also citizens of the state and as such we must do the best we can politically. Over the past year Christians in Australian engaged in a very extensive and determined political grassroots campaign with strong support at a church leader level to defeat on the floor of Parliament the push for the definition of marriage to be extended to same sex couples , despite a left leaning Government being in control of Parliament. With few exceptions every Parliamentarian discovered through emails, letters, personal appointments that amongst their respective electorates those opposed to same sex marriage outnumbered those in favour despite what the media, academics, celebrities and opinion polls were saying. This is not to say we will win next time but we did win this time – comprehensively so.

    Abortion is a very tough issue to make any headway on. Despite what might be our views on abortion as the taking of a human life, I think we understand that abortion, at least in part acts as a safety valve for a society that since the 1960’s has rejected the notion that mutual love and commitment within the bonds of marriage was the necessary requirement to engage in sexual activity.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    Government gains its legitimacy through legislating morality. The alternative is law that is capricious or immoral. Those sorts of government’s rule based entirely on fear and force, not on moral authority.

    Wisdom demands a limited government though that carefully chooses where and how to enforce morality constrained by the boundaries, traditions and customs of the people (which persist for good reason).

    You can make arguments for permitting many immoral things on the idea of the infeasibility of enforcing some laws on people based on their customs and culture.

    The problem with an America governed by the regulatory arm of the executive branch of the central government, is that we have too much diversity of culture and moral background to wisely govern a majority of the people under the same set of laws.

    If we’re not going to have a decentralized federation then we ought to seriously consider breaking up the nation into more manageable chunks with less internal diversity.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    Government gains its legitimacy through legislating morality. The alternative is law that is capricious or immoral. Those sorts of government’s rule based entirely on fear and force, not on moral authority.

    Wisdom demands a limited government though that carefully chooses where and how to enforce morality constrained by the boundaries, traditions and customs of the people (which persist for good reason).

    You can make arguments for permitting many immoral things on the idea of the infeasibility of enforcing some laws on people based on their customs and culture.

    The problem with an America governed by the regulatory arm of the executive branch of the central government, is that we have too much diversity of culture and moral background to wisely govern a majority of the people under the same set of laws.

    If we’re not going to have a decentralized federation then we ought to seriously consider breaking up the nation into more manageable chunks with less internal diversity.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SAL (@46):

    The problem with an America governed by the regulatory arm of the executive branch of the central government, is that we have too much diversity of culture and moral background to wisely govern a majority of the people under the same set of laws.

    Is that so? And when, exactly, did we become too diverse? In the past week or so?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SAL (@46):

    The problem with an America governed by the regulatory arm of the executive branch of the central government, is that we have too much diversity of culture and moral background to wisely govern a majority of the people under the same set of laws.

    Is that so? And when, exactly, did we become too diverse? In the past week or so?

  • http://www.intrepidlutherans.com Douglas Lindee

    I wanted to reply to this post when I first read it yesterday morning, but haven’t been able to get to it until now. I’m not really conversing on the topic, but more like “preaching.” More like diarrhea of the pen, again, too. Sorry about that. Dr. Veith characterizes the “fate of moral issues” as a “political dilemma.” I see it as something much more severe than that.

    In a popular culture where language is loosing its objectivity, along with facts and truth, it seems to me that regard for moral issues will similarly devolve, that there will be a higher tolerance in society for what was formerly considered “immoral” and a greater willingness to hold as “equivalent opinions” what would formerly have been considered “inconsistent conclusions”. This devolution will impact our body of Law; not only the laws themselves and the terms used to express them, but more importantly, it will impact its character. In a democracy like ours, Law is not imperial edict so it does not reflect the morality of a nation’s “leadership figures” at a given point in time; rather, it is a reflection of the aggregate morality of the people over time. Currently in America, our body of Law has a character reflecting what our people have valued over the time that the average law has been in existence, that has, in that time, been influenced by previous laws and has itself influenced other laws. In my observation, the character of our body of Law is reasonable and transcendent; that is, (a) it reflects a popular philosophy, held throughout our nation’s history up until recent times, that, given objective facts, human reason can reliably narrow the field of legitimate moral conclusions, and given sufficient facts, even to a single just conclusion; and, (b) it reflects the recognition, also held throughout our nation’s history until recent times, that flawed man cannot be the source of moral truth but that it must be revealed to humanity from the outside – by God directly in Divine Revelation or indirectly through observations of Natural Law – and that moral truth must therefore be objective and thus carry authority over all people equally. Materialistic Rationalism of the early Twentieth Century infected Western society with a denial of the latter (and rewarded us with the dominance of legal positivism); late Twentieth Century post-Modernism infected America with an abject denial of the former, while re-introducing the transcendent – not an objective transcendence in an Authoritative deity, but a subjective transcendence of personal spirituality, having authority only over the individual and perhaps a narrow social group sharing a similar “narrative.” In my opinion, the turn that American culture has taken, with regard to popular social ideology, is at war with the very character of the Law in our nation, and threatens to change it dramatically.

    This has nothing whatsoever to do with politics or political parties. The Democrat Party “wins” on social issues these days, not because they effectively and persuasively articulate a defense for their social positions, but primarily because a growing majority of Americans already resonate with those positions. They share in some way the “narrative” demonstrated by the Democrat Party, and intuitively understand and approve of what they are all about. Thus, there is no need to discuss or debate moral issues at any length or to any depth or with any rigour, the Party just declares its position and the post-Modern majority in America agrees enough to vote accordingly.

    (Continued next comment…)

  • http://www.intrepidlutherans.com Douglas Lindee

    I wanted to reply to this post when I first read it yesterday morning, but haven’t been able to get to it until now. I’m not really conversing on the topic, but more like “preaching.” More like diarrhea of the pen, again, too. Sorry about that. Dr. Veith characterizes the “fate of moral issues” as a “political dilemma.” I see it as something much more severe than that.

    In a popular culture where language is loosing its objectivity, along with facts and truth, it seems to me that regard for moral issues will similarly devolve, that there will be a higher tolerance in society for what was formerly considered “immoral” and a greater willingness to hold as “equivalent opinions” what would formerly have been considered “inconsistent conclusions”. This devolution will impact our body of Law; not only the laws themselves and the terms used to express them, but more importantly, it will impact its character. In a democracy like ours, Law is not imperial edict so it does not reflect the morality of a nation’s “leadership figures” at a given point in time; rather, it is a reflection of the aggregate morality of the people over time. Currently in America, our body of Law has a character reflecting what our people have valued over the time that the average law has been in existence, that has, in that time, been influenced by previous laws and has itself influenced other laws. In my observation, the character of our body of Law is reasonable and transcendent; that is, (a) it reflects a popular philosophy, held throughout our nation’s history up until recent times, that, given objective facts, human reason can reliably narrow the field of legitimate moral conclusions, and given sufficient facts, even to a single just conclusion; and, (b) it reflects the recognition, also held throughout our nation’s history until recent times, that flawed man cannot be the source of moral truth but that it must be revealed to humanity from the outside – by God directly in Divine Revelation or indirectly through observations of Natural Law – and that moral truth must therefore be objective and thus carry authority over all people equally. Materialistic Rationalism of the early Twentieth Century infected Western society with a denial of the latter (and rewarded us with the dominance of legal positivism); late Twentieth Century post-Modernism infected America with an abject denial of the former, while re-introducing the transcendent – not an objective transcendence in an Authoritative deity, but a subjective transcendence of personal spirituality, having authority only over the individual and perhaps a narrow social group sharing a similar “narrative.” In my opinion, the turn that American culture has taken, with regard to popular social ideology, is at war with the very character of the Law in our nation, and threatens to change it dramatically.

    This has nothing whatsoever to do with politics or political parties. The Democrat Party “wins” on social issues these days, not because they effectively and persuasively articulate a defense for their social positions, but primarily because a growing majority of Americans already resonate with those positions. They share in some way the “narrative” demonstrated by the Democrat Party, and intuitively understand and approve of what they are all about. Thus, there is no need to discuss or debate moral issues at any length or to any depth or with any rigour, the Party just declares its position and the post-Modern majority in America agrees enough to vote accordingly.

    (Continued next comment…)

  • http://www.intrepidlutherans.com Douglas Lindee

    (…continued from previous comment)

    There is nothing that Conservative or Libertarian political parties can do about this. Nothing. There is no manner of political maneuvering, speachifying, video creating, or fact disseminating that these political parties can engage in to meaningfully “win” on social issues, as if to take the head of culture and turn it in their direction – certainly not without objective language, objective facts, objective truth and a transcendent God, which the majority in American culture seems to be rejecting. So they were silent. What could they say? And having nothing to say, they will remain silent. This is a culture war now, it is no longer a political war. Conservative politicians, compounding compromise on moral issues with further compromise over the decades, have long abdicated any meaningful role they might otherwise have today. This war can only be fought, and must be won, by the people themselves, who are, unlike the politicians ever were, the one’s actually on the ground making the nation work and impacting society by their daily words and actions.

    If conservative and/or libertarian people in America (not the politicians, because they can’t help anymore) are concerned about the turn that American culture has taken, the most important and effective thing they can do is this: take their children out of the progressivist/constructivist godless schools. If they are unwilling to do this, en masse, then game over. It’s the public schools (along with many private schools) that have created a new generation of young adults who implicitly understand and appreciate collectivist rhetoric, who reject objective truth and transcendent morality, and who are at home with a subjective (and quite meaningless) personal spirituality. Take your children out of these environments! Put them in private Christian schools, or educate them at home. If there seems to be no viable alternative, petition your congregations to start day schools – not for the purpose of “educating the community” (generating profit and maybe increasing congregational membership in the process), but with the simple goal and modest program of educating the children of the congregation. If reason is the handmaiden of Scripture, then providing a sound Christian education to their own children ought to be among the highest endeavors of every local congregation.

    Secondly, Christian churches must abandon the shallow “religion as entertainment” programmes of the Church Growth Movement, and return to the timeless and transcendent realities of an incarnational and sacramental God; and in the process, they must return to rigorous catechesis of their youth. Mass manipulation always exploits and reinforces the lowest common denominator among the masses, and succeeding at this very thing over the past generation, CGM has affected a decline in the integrity of American Christianity that is simply appalling. American Christianity has become a hollow shell. It is a virtual no-show in society among our youth, and as our aged pass away, so will the influence of Christianity in our society and in the character of our body of Law.

    It’s not a political war anymore. Conservative politicians were outwitted, lulled into irreversible compromises, and lost that war. Now it is a cultural war. And we fight that war today through next generation’s adults – by preparing our children to lead in the future according the definite convictions of Christian conscience. Havin’ any of it? I am.

    My Opinion (for what little it’s worth anymore).

  • http://www.intrepidlutherans.com Douglas Lindee

    (…continued from previous comment)

    There is nothing that Conservative or Libertarian political parties can do about this. Nothing. There is no manner of political maneuvering, speachifying, video creating, or fact disseminating that these political parties can engage in to meaningfully “win” on social issues, as if to take the head of culture and turn it in their direction – certainly not without objective language, objective facts, objective truth and a transcendent God, which the majority in American culture seems to be rejecting. So they were silent. What could they say? And having nothing to say, they will remain silent. This is a culture war now, it is no longer a political war. Conservative politicians, compounding compromise on moral issues with further compromise over the decades, have long abdicated any meaningful role they might otherwise have today. This war can only be fought, and must be won, by the people themselves, who are, unlike the politicians ever were, the one’s actually on the ground making the nation work and impacting society by their daily words and actions.

    If conservative and/or libertarian people in America (not the politicians, because they can’t help anymore) are concerned about the turn that American culture has taken, the most important and effective thing they can do is this: take their children out of the progressivist/constructivist godless schools. If they are unwilling to do this, en masse, then game over. It’s the public schools (along with many private schools) that have created a new generation of young adults who implicitly understand and appreciate collectivist rhetoric, who reject objective truth and transcendent morality, and who are at home with a subjective (and quite meaningless) personal spirituality. Take your children out of these environments! Put them in private Christian schools, or educate them at home. If there seems to be no viable alternative, petition your congregations to start day schools – not for the purpose of “educating the community” (generating profit and maybe increasing congregational membership in the process), but with the simple goal and modest program of educating the children of the congregation. If reason is the handmaiden of Scripture, then providing a sound Christian education to their own children ought to be among the highest endeavors of every local congregation.

    Secondly, Christian churches must abandon the shallow “religion as entertainment” programmes of the Church Growth Movement, and return to the timeless and transcendent realities of an incarnational and sacramental God; and in the process, they must return to rigorous catechesis of their youth. Mass manipulation always exploits and reinforces the lowest common denominator among the masses, and succeeding at this very thing over the past generation, CGM has affected a decline in the integrity of American Christianity that is simply appalling. American Christianity has become a hollow shell. It is a virtual no-show in society among our youth, and as our aged pass away, so will the influence of Christianity in our society and in the character of our body of Law.

    It’s not a political war anymore. Conservative politicians were outwitted, lulled into irreversible compromises, and lost that war. Now it is a cultural war. And we fight that war today through next generation’s adults – by preparing our children to lead in the future according the definite convictions of Christian conscience. Havin’ any of it? I am.

    My Opinion (for what little it’s worth anymore).

  • Michael B.

    @Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    ” Because in my experience, the women fall into one of two categories. They did everything they could to save the child but could not for various reasons and are absolutely distraught. Or they have come forward in repentance.”

    This definitely could be the case in your church. I don’t know. But if your church is like most churches, I suspect you are completely wrong. We see a very high rate of abortion in society, and I ask the question, “Does this also extend into the church?” I’d say that’s very likely. I suspect that in your average church, many women have had abortions, and they aren’t for the “life of the mother” and they don’t regret it. And I suspect that the pastors either don’t care, or they are pro-life, but want to remain ignorant, because if they found out then they’d have to do something.

  • Michael B.

    @Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    ” Because in my experience, the women fall into one of two categories. They did everything they could to save the child but could not for various reasons and are absolutely distraught. Or they have come forward in repentance.”

    This definitely could be the case in your church. I don’t know. But if your church is like most churches, I suspect you are completely wrong. We see a very high rate of abortion in society, and I ask the question, “Does this also extend into the church?” I’d say that’s very likely. I suspect that in your average church, many women have had abortions, and they aren’t for the “life of the mother” and they don’t regret it. And I suspect that the pastors either don’t care, or they are pro-life, but want to remain ignorant, because if they found out then they’d have to do something.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Oh Michael B (@50), will you always refuse to learn? I mean, literally, refuse to learn? Seriously, dude, your brain is protected by a reality-distortion field thicker than any I’ve ever seen.

    Keep in mind, DLit2C, that this is the same Michael B who once told a female medical student:

    I doubt your claim that you’re in medical school. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s not typical that bright people such as medical students believe that women shouldn’t have control over their reproductive decisions.

    You see how he does it? He has his predetermined position on abortion, to which he adds some very weak speculation with the appearance of being based in probability, and then nothing — nothing — is allowed to assail that. Not your experience, or anybody else’s. It’s apparently far easier to assume that everyone else is ignorant than to begin to suspect that he is.

    Anyhow, the problem — okay, one of many problems — with your speculation, Michael B, is that it necessarily assumes that there is no self-selection in churches. That women who’ve had abortions are necessarily evenly distributed. Which is mind-boggling.

    Of course, neither I nor DLit2C are denying that there are women who’ve had abortions in our, or any, churches. I’m not even denying that there aren’t unrepentant women like that in our churches. But if there are, I’m pretty certain that they’re keeping quiet about it, choosing to remain hypocrites, which still makes your original point (@3) kind of moot. There are, of course, all sorts of unrepentant sins in our churches, and hypocrites who don’t care about them.

    Anyhow, is it just coincidence that your comment could be selectively quoted like this: “I suspect … I suspect .. but want to remain ignorant”?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Oh Michael B (@50), will you always refuse to learn? I mean, literally, refuse to learn? Seriously, dude, your brain is protected by a reality-distortion field thicker than any I’ve ever seen.

    Keep in mind, DLit2C, that this is the same Michael B who once told a female medical student:

    I doubt your claim that you’re in medical school. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s not typical that bright people such as medical students believe that women shouldn’t have control over their reproductive decisions.

    You see how he does it? He has his predetermined position on abortion, to which he adds some very weak speculation with the appearance of being based in probability, and then nothing — nothing — is allowed to assail that. Not your experience, or anybody else’s. It’s apparently far easier to assume that everyone else is ignorant than to begin to suspect that he is.

    Anyhow, the problem — okay, one of many problems — with your speculation, Michael B, is that it necessarily assumes that there is no self-selection in churches. That women who’ve had abortions are necessarily evenly distributed. Which is mind-boggling.

    Of course, neither I nor DLit2C are denying that there are women who’ve had abortions in our, or any, churches. I’m not even denying that there aren’t unrepentant women like that in our churches. But if there are, I’m pretty certain that they’re keeping quiet about it, choosing to remain hypocrites, which still makes your original point (@3) kind of moot. There are, of course, all sorts of unrepentant sins in our churches, and hypocrites who don’t care about them.

    Anyhow, is it just coincidence that your comment could be selectively quoted like this: “I suspect … I suspect .. but want to remain ignorant”?

  • SKPeterson

    There may be a relatively high rate of abortion in the population, but I suspect (having read it somewhere, like from the Guttmacher Institute) that about half (~47% or so) of all women who have abortions, have more than one with a significant number having 3 or more (I couldn’t actually find the breakout for higher-order repeat abortions on a quick glance through, but the stats are in there somewhere but maybe not published). This would indicate that there is definite clustering of abortions in the female population as Todd’s response @ 51 would indicate, and less probability of a uniform distribution as advocated by Michael B.

    Here’s the study: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2006/11/21/or29.pdf

  • SKPeterson

    There may be a relatively high rate of abortion in the population, but I suspect (having read it somewhere, like from the Guttmacher Institute) that about half (~47% or so) of all women who have abortions, have more than one with a significant number having 3 or more (I couldn’t actually find the breakout for higher-order repeat abortions on a quick glance through, but the stats are in there somewhere but maybe not published). This would indicate that there is definite clustering of abortions in the female population as Todd’s response @ 51 would indicate, and less probability of a uniform distribution as advocated by Michael B.

    Here’s the study: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2006/11/21/or29.pdf

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    SK (@52), there’s that, but my point was more that a woman who’s had an abortion would be more likely to attend a liberal church of the sort Michael B envisions (and apparently attends, and has only ever experienced), where such things are not condemned, rather than one like where DLit2C is pastor.

    I don’t think this is necessarily a good thing. Anti-abortion rhetoric has reached such a height that we’ve made it very difficult for such women to hear the gospel. Same with gays. We’ve placed them into bizarre SuperSin categories, so it’s not surprising when they walk away to the local gay- or abortion- friendly church down the street.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    SK (@52), there’s that, but my point was more that a woman who’s had an abortion would be more likely to attend a liberal church of the sort Michael B envisions (and apparently attends, and has only ever experienced), where such things are not condemned, rather than one like where DLit2C is pastor.

    I don’t think this is necessarily a good thing. Anti-abortion rhetoric has reached such a height that we’ve made it very difficult for such women to hear the gospel. Same with gays. We’ve placed them into bizarre SuperSin categories, so it’s not surprising when they walk away to the local gay- or abortion- friendly church down the street.

  • Abby

    “In her widely read piece How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement, atheist blogger Libby Anne tells of her deconversion from an evangelical student leader intent on “saving unborn babies from being murdered” to a devout pro-choice feminist passionate about abortion rights. . .

    . . . statement from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute:

    Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. For example, the abortion rate is 29 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Africa and 32 per 1,000 in Latin America—regions in which abortion is illegal under most circumstances in the majority of countries. The rate is 12 per 1,000 in Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds. . .

    The Guttmacher summary falls flat because it compares apples to oranges. To see how Africa compares to Europe tells us very little because the medical conditions, legal systems, and economic prosperity are so different. There are too many variables in play to conclude anything about Africa’s abortion rate compared to the West.

    . . . Russ Douthat explains:

    Instead of looking at otherwise-similar countries that have variations in abortion law, the study compares rich regions (like Western Europe and North America) to poorer regions (like Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa). This makes it extremely difficult to tell whether the trend toward lower abortion rates in Western democracies really reflects the success of “safe, legal and rare,” as Saletan would have it, or whether it’s mainly a consequence of the enormous gap in wealth and development that still separates the West from the rest. (Many social ills tend to diminish with economic growth, and many pro-lifers would agree that a general increase in prosperity and human flourishing can do as much to reduce the abortion rate as any law or custom.) America is not analogous to Chad or Vietnam, to put it mildly, and if what we care about is reducing the American abortion rate, surely it makes more sense to look at the consequences of abortion restrictions in developed countries that already have widespread contraceptive access, rather than just comparing the developed world to developing countries and leaving it at that.

    . . . If we want to see what pro-life policies do or don’t do, the best case study is to compare individual states within our own country. Even a cursory look at state-by-state abortion rates casts doubt on a number of dubious assertions. . .

    If pro-life policies were largely ineffective, the Guttmacher Institute would not write about the “troubling trend” that more states are becoming “hostile to abortion rights.” Indeed, the map included in the article shows that the states with more restrictive abortion laws tend to be those with lower abortion rates. Again, when dealing with statistics we must be careful not to assume causation just because we find correlation. . .

    The pro-life movement isn’t perfect, pro-life politicians even less so. But good can be done and has been done. Pro-life legislation reduces the number of abortions and saves lives. Cynics on both sides should take note.”

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/11/13/do-pro-life-policies-even-matter/

  • Abby

    “In her widely read piece How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement, atheist blogger Libby Anne tells of her deconversion from an evangelical student leader intent on “saving unborn babies from being murdered” to a devout pro-choice feminist passionate about abortion rights. . .

    . . . statement from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute:

    Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. For example, the abortion rate is 29 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Africa and 32 per 1,000 in Latin America—regions in which abortion is illegal under most circumstances in the majority of countries. The rate is 12 per 1,000 in Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds. . .

    The Guttmacher summary falls flat because it compares apples to oranges. To see how Africa compares to Europe tells us very little because the medical conditions, legal systems, and economic prosperity are so different. There are too many variables in play to conclude anything about Africa’s abortion rate compared to the West.

    . . . Russ Douthat explains:

    Instead of looking at otherwise-similar countries that have variations in abortion law, the study compares rich regions (like Western Europe and North America) to poorer regions (like Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa). This makes it extremely difficult to tell whether the trend toward lower abortion rates in Western democracies really reflects the success of “safe, legal and rare,” as Saletan would have it, or whether it’s mainly a consequence of the enormous gap in wealth and development that still separates the West from the rest. (Many social ills tend to diminish with economic growth, and many pro-lifers would agree that a general increase in prosperity and human flourishing can do as much to reduce the abortion rate as any law or custom.) America is not analogous to Chad or Vietnam, to put it mildly, and if what we care about is reducing the American abortion rate, surely it makes more sense to look at the consequences of abortion restrictions in developed countries that already have widespread contraceptive access, rather than just comparing the developed world to developing countries and leaving it at that.

    . . . If we want to see what pro-life policies do or don’t do, the best case study is to compare individual states within our own country. Even a cursory look at state-by-state abortion rates casts doubt on a number of dubious assertions. . .

    If pro-life policies were largely ineffective, the Guttmacher Institute would not write about the “troubling trend” that more states are becoming “hostile to abortion rights.” Indeed, the map included in the article shows that the states with more restrictive abortion laws tend to be those with lower abortion rates. Again, when dealing with statistics we must be careful not to assume causation just because we find correlation. . .

    The pro-life movement isn’t perfect, pro-life politicians even less so. But good can be done and has been done. Pro-life legislation reduces the number of abortions and saves lives. Cynics on both sides should take note.”

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/11/13/do-pro-life-policies-even-matter/

  • SKPeterson

    Todd – Gotcha. Yes, it’s that old temptation to beat people up with the Law and then deny them the Gospel because their sins are somehow out of bounds or beyond the pale. Should women who have had abortions be welcomed into our congregations? Absolutely. But will they? I hope so.

    The key to Law/Gospel preaching is to use the Law to cut everyone to the quick, and to provide the Gospel reassurance to that same everyone. Whether that everyone has had an abortion, has lied, has committed adultery, has engaged in homosexual activity, has yelled at the kids or the spouse, or stolen, etc., etc. What women who have had an abortion need to hear is that they are not alone, we’re all stuck in our own concupiscence.

  • SKPeterson

    Todd – Gotcha. Yes, it’s that old temptation to beat people up with the Law and then deny them the Gospel because their sins are somehow out of bounds or beyond the pale. Should women who have had abortions be welcomed into our congregations? Absolutely. But will they? I hope so.

    The key to Law/Gospel preaching is to use the Law to cut everyone to the quick, and to provide the Gospel reassurance to that same everyone. Whether that everyone has had an abortion, has lied, has committed adultery, has engaged in homosexual activity, has yelled at the kids or the spouse, or stolen, etc., etc. What women who have had an abortion need to hear is that they are not alone, we’re all stuck in our own concupiscence.

  • George

    Todd and others, don’t shoot the messenger. During studies they show sins such as divorce and premarital sex are just are prevalent in the “church” as outside it. If ever a study were done on abortion, the more naive of us would be shocked. I blame weak theology and cowardly pastors. They aren’t simple and unsuspecting like you. They know, but refuse to act. Woe to them.

  • George

    Todd and others, don’t shoot the messenger. During studies they show sins such as divorce and premarital sex are just are prevalent in the “church” as outside it. If ever a study were done on abortion, the more naive of us would be shocked. I blame weak theology and cowardly pastors. They aren’t simple and unsuspecting like you. They know, but refuse to act. Woe to them.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    George (@56), if you have actual facts you’d like to introduce to the discussion, then please do so. You’ll understand if I won’t spend a lot of time considering non-existant numbers from hypothetical studies, though.

    That said, you’re still missing the point. The question isn’t whether there are women in this or that church who’ve had an abortion. No one’s denying that.

    The question is whether there are, in Michael B’s words (@50), “many women” who’ve had abortions that “aren’t for the ‘life of the mother’” and who “don’t regret” such abortions. Furthermore, there is the added speculation that, not only do these “many women” exist, but their pastors either “don’t care” (@50) or “refuse to act” (@56).

    Further to Michael’s original point (@3), I’ve already said (@51) that I’m not even denying that one could find women who don’t regret having an abortion, even in churches that preach against abortion. There are hypocrites in every church; but, of course, they tend to conceal their hypocrisy, or else move to a church that will tolerate their error. But I still see no reason to believe that there are even odds of finding such an (openly) unrepentant woman in a church that is openly pro-choice, compared with one that is openly pro-life.

    Following that same kind of logic, one would have to conclude that one would be no more likely to find an unrepentant gay person at a Metropolitan Community Church than at any other church, since self-selection apparently does not occur in congregations. Is that an argument you’d make?

    As to pastors who are allegedly “cowards” or “don’t care”, all I see here is rampant speculation.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    George (@56), if you have actual facts you’d like to introduce to the discussion, then please do so. You’ll understand if I won’t spend a lot of time considering non-existant numbers from hypothetical studies, though.

    That said, you’re still missing the point. The question isn’t whether there are women in this or that church who’ve had an abortion. No one’s denying that.

    The question is whether there are, in Michael B’s words (@50), “many women” who’ve had abortions that “aren’t for the ‘life of the mother’” and who “don’t regret” such abortions. Furthermore, there is the added speculation that, not only do these “many women” exist, but their pastors either “don’t care” (@50) or “refuse to act” (@56).

    Further to Michael’s original point (@3), I’ve already said (@51) that I’m not even denying that one could find women who don’t regret having an abortion, even in churches that preach against abortion. There are hypocrites in every church; but, of course, they tend to conceal their hypocrisy, or else move to a church that will tolerate their error. But I still see no reason to believe that there are even odds of finding such an (openly) unrepentant woman in a church that is openly pro-choice, compared with one that is openly pro-life.

    Following that same kind of logic, one would have to conclude that one would be no more likely to find an unrepentant gay person at a Metropolitan Community Church than at any other church, since self-selection apparently does not occur in congregations. Is that an argument you’d make?

    As to pastors who are allegedly “cowards” or “don’t care”, all I see here is rampant speculation.

  • SAL

    #47

    We have had two things shift in the last few decades.

    1) The federal regulatory state has grown tremendously and now intrudes in greater detail into personal life and small business. This has accelerated in the last few years. As expected this results in one-size fits all rules that are arbitrarily applied according to politics.

    2) America has a weaker sense of common or shared culture and values in comparison to most other time periods.

    Both of these factors cause more friction and discord as we have a government that intrudes more while people have less in common. Obviously we’ve not suddenly become more diverse but the executive branch has repeatedly thrust its regulatory arm into more spheres of American life.

  • SAL

    #47

    We have had two things shift in the last few decades.

    1) The federal regulatory state has grown tremendously and now intrudes in greater detail into personal life and small business. This has accelerated in the last few years. As expected this results in one-size fits all rules that are arbitrarily applied according to politics.

    2) America has a weaker sense of common or shared culture and values in comparison to most other time periods.

    Both of these factors cause more friction and discord as we have a government that intrudes more while people have less in common. Obviously we’ve not suddenly become more diverse but the executive branch has repeatedly thrust its regulatory arm into more spheres of American life.

  • Cincinnatus

    KK:

    Insofar as social conservatives are still likely to vote for someone who will advance their causes and thus are more likely to remain in the Republican camp, you may very well be right. But my point was that Republicans made exactly no effort this year to mobilize the social conservative base–at least not to the extent that we saw in 2000 and 2004 (and in the 1980s). Maybe social conservatives are blind to that dereliction of their issues. They certainly were blind prior to November 6th: observe Billy Graham’s impassioned newspaper ads and refusal to acknowledge Mormonism as a cult.

    I think Republican leaders, though, have basically recognized that “social issues” don’t have the same cachet among voters that they had only a few years ago–that appealing to rigid pro-lifers, for example, loses more voters than it wins (when the reverse was true in 2004). In other words, there is no there there–no social conservative base worth appealing to any longer, not at the expense of moderates, increasingly liberal young people, and, in general, the vast media juggernaught that has managed to label social conservatism as “bigotry.”

  • Cincinnatus

    KK:

    Insofar as social conservatives are still likely to vote for someone who will advance their causes and thus are more likely to remain in the Republican camp, you may very well be right. But my point was that Republicans made exactly no effort this year to mobilize the social conservative base–at least not to the extent that we saw in 2000 and 2004 (and in the 1980s). Maybe social conservatives are blind to that dereliction of their issues. They certainly were blind prior to November 6th: observe Billy Graham’s impassioned newspaper ads and refusal to acknowledge Mormonism as a cult.

    I think Republican leaders, though, have basically recognized that “social issues” don’t have the same cachet among voters that they had only a few years ago–that appealing to rigid pro-lifers, for example, loses more voters than it wins (when the reverse was true in 2004). In other words, there is no there there–no social conservative base worth appealing to any longer, not at the expense of moderates, increasingly liberal young people, and, in general, the vast media juggernaught that has managed to label social conservatism as “bigotry.”

  • Stephen

    But then Romney did do a 180 on abortion early on to please the social conservatives. It seems to me that at least in the beginning, social issues were up front. It’s practically all they talked about as I recall when Santorum was moving up. Evne Ron Paul backe doff the classic libertarian stance on abortion. If Rick Perry hadn’t botched the debates, we would have continued to hear a lot about social issues I’d guess as a lot of hay was made about who the evangelicals would back between him and the Catholic Santorum. The Cain Train crashed on the issue of infidelity.

    My sense is that Romney’s campaign is responsible for setting those social issues aside. Their strategy was to attack the president where they believed they could hurt him the most – the economy. Some effort (rather than “exactly no effort”) was made to continue to articulate on social issues, but screwed up with things like rape comments. I heard a stat on NPR last week that more evangelicals turned out for Romney than GW Bush as a percent of those who voted Republican. Hard to believe, and if I find it, I’ll post it.

  • Stephen

    But then Romney did do a 180 on abortion early on to please the social conservatives. It seems to me that at least in the beginning, social issues were up front. It’s practically all they talked about as I recall when Santorum was moving up. Evne Ron Paul backe doff the classic libertarian stance on abortion. If Rick Perry hadn’t botched the debates, we would have continued to hear a lot about social issues I’d guess as a lot of hay was made about who the evangelicals would back between him and the Catholic Santorum. The Cain Train crashed on the issue of infidelity.

    My sense is that Romney’s campaign is responsible for setting those social issues aside. Their strategy was to attack the president where they believed they could hurt him the most – the economy. Some effort (rather than “exactly no effort”) was made to continue to articulate on social issues, but screwed up with things like rape comments. I heard a stat on NPR last week that more evangelicals turned out for Romney than GW Bush as a percent of those who voted Republican. Hard to believe, and if I find it, I’ll post it.

  • Michael B.

    @George@56

    After I read what you wrote and re-read what I wrote, I kind of understood why Todd through a tantrum. He’s basically like a guy who states his 22-year old daughter in college is still a virgin, and you’re responding “are you sure about that?” That being said, I think it’s important that we don’t paint with too broad a brush. One can certainly find churches and even entire colleges where they basically divorce themselves from the culture at large. There are churches where premarital sex can get you excommunicated, and that’s not just some rule on the books that’s never enforced.

  • Michael B.

    @George@56

    After I read what you wrote and re-read what I wrote, I kind of understood why Todd through a tantrum. He’s basically like a guy who states his 22-year old daughter in college is still a virgin, and you’re responding “are you sure about that?” That being said, I think it’s important that we don’t paint with too broad a brush. One can certainly find churches and even entire colleges where they basically divorce themselves from the culture at large. There are churches where premarital sex can get you excommunicated, and that’s not just some rule on the books that’s never enforced.

  • Abby

    Todd @ 53: “Anti-abortion rhetoric has reached such a height that we’ve made it very difficult for such women to hear the gospel. Same with gays. We’ve placed them into bizarre SuperSin categories, so it’s not surprising when they walk away to the local gay- or abortion- friendly church down the street.”

    Todd, I’ve always admired how you have been an adamant defender of Martin Luther. Here is what he says:

    “The fatuous idea that a person can be holy by himself denies God the pleasure of saving sinners. God must therefore first take the sledge-hammer of the Law in His fists and smash the beast of self-righteousness and its brood of self-confidence, self wisdom, and self-help. When the conscience has been thoroughly frightened by the Law it welcomes the Gospel of grace with its message of a Savior Who came–not to break the bruised reed nor to quench the smoking flax–but to preach glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted, and to grant forgiveness of sins to all the captives.” Martin Luther

    Law and Gospel, my friend. All sin is SuperSin. Jesus said all the Law and the Prophets were about Him. He comes with great Mercy. We must come in repentance. And then the Church should not act like the “elder brother” to the sinner come home. But come to the party and celebrate. THAT is what we need to learn to do better.

    Luke 7:36-50
    Luke 15:11-32

  • Abby

    Todd @ 53: “Anti-abortion rhetoric has reached such a height that we’ve made it very difficult for such women to hear the gospel. Same with gays. We’ve placed them into bizarre SuperSin categories, so it’s not surprising when they walk away to the local gay- or abortion- friendly church down the street.”

    Todd, I’ve always admired how you have been an adamant defender of Martin Luther. Here is what he says:

    “The fatuous idea that a person can be holy by himself denies God the pleasure of saving sinners. God must therefore first take the sledge-hammer of the Law in His fists and smash the beast of self-righteousness and its brood of self-confidence, self wisdom, and self-help. When the conscience has been thoroughly frightened by the Law it welcomes the Gospel of grace with its message of a Savior Who came–not to break the bruised reed nor to quench the smoking flax–but to preach glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted, and to grant forgiveness of sins to all the captives.” Martin Luther

    Law and Gospel, my friend. All sin is SuperSin. Jesus said all the Law and the Prophets were about Him. He comes with great Mercy. We must come in repentance. And then the Church should not act like the “elder brother” to the sinner come home. But come to the party and celebrate. THAT is what we need to learn to do better.

    Luke 7:36-50
    Luke 15:11-32

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Michael (@61): ಠ_ಠ

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Michael (@61): ಠ_ಠ

  • http://jdueck.net Joel D.

    Why should the Republicans make a big deal about abortion? We had control of the House and Senate and a born-again Christian in the White House for six years and nothing was done about it. Doesn’t seem to me it’s ever been much of a GOP priority except to attract votes.

  • http://jdueck.net Joel D.

    Why should the Republicans make a big deal about abortion? We had control of the House and Senate and a born-again Christian in the White House for six years and nothing was done about it. Doesn’t seem to me it’s ever been much of a GOP priority except to attract votes.


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