Ron Paul Hate vs. Ron Paul Zealotry

A reader writes:

I see that YOUR boy RON PAUL is also in favor of killing women in the womb.

Cant wait to see how you explain that one away… Or maybe you’ll finally come to your senses and realize RP is a fruitcake.

Ah! Feel the Christian love suffusing and transforming conservative politics! No corruption of the gospel happening here.

In answer to your accusation question: Not a mystery. I disagree with his vote. My guess (and it’s just a guess) is that he thought it to be unenforceable grandstanding that in fact harms the prolife cause, for which a case can, in fact, be made–and has been, by a conservative Catholic. Still I would prefer as many roadblocks as possible to abortion and think he should have supported it. I do think it matters rather a lot *why* somebody voted against it. If they did so because they thought it harmed the prolife cause while not actually protecting anybody, that’s honorable. If they did so because they want no restriction whatever on murdering babies, that’s contemptible. Since Paul is on record as opposing abortion, I charitably assume his vote was motivated by the former reason. You uncharitably assume it’s because he wants to kill women. You should ask yourself why you let your political allegiances poison your words with rash judgment and calumny like that.

Beyond, that my angry reader needs to be aware that I’m already aware of Paul’s kookiness and that I hold no belief in his infallibility, nor do I share his religious faith in libertarianism and the Constitution. I support him because he does not ask me to embrace grave moral evil, unlike the two major candidates. I’m perfectly aware he does not have and never did have a prayer of getting nominated, much less winning. But he brings to the national conversation things that nobody else is saying that must be heard.

After I wrote the above, I got a Facebook question from somebody else, asking the same question with civility:

What say you about Ron Paul voting against the sex selection abortion bill? And no I am not in any way a republican or democrat and I certainly do not support Romney or Obama for president.

My reply: “I will have a little post on my Patheos blog on Monday about this. Short answer: I disagree with his vote but think there can be an honorable case made for it.”

At which point a Ron Paul zealot interjected:

Please make sure you know what you’re talking about before you post what you plan to. Under the American Constitution, the *federal* government has no jurisdiction over questions such as these.

American legislators take solemn oaths before God to uphold the Constitution.

This proposed law was unconstitutional.

Violating an oath to God is the mortal sin of sacrilege.

Given Paul’s knowledge of the Constitution, his vote for this legislation would have been an act of sacrilege.

Do you disagree with politicians not committing sacrilege?

My reply: “Oh brother. Chill. If it isn’t zealots insisting I have to condemn Paul or face charges of supporting the murder of women, it’s Paul zealots demanding I support him or face charges of supporting sacrilege.

I’m sure Paul acted out of principle. He always does. I was unclear what principle he was acting on, and if that’s the one, I can believe it. I still tend to disagree since I don’t regard the Constitiution as holy writ and therefore think that speaking of sacrilege against it is, well, sacrilegious. But I have no doubt he acted from conscience. He always acts from conscience.”

To which my Paul Zealot replied:

Does the Church no longer teach that oaths to God mean anything? When a man assumes public office, and takes an oath to God to follow that nation’s Constitution, doesn’t he necessarily commit the sin of sacrilege by violating that oath?

My reply: “You can’t seem to take yes for an answer. What part of ‘I’m sure he acted out of conscience’ was unclear to you? Lighten up, dude!”

Oy!

  • Tominellay

    Good answers, Mark…
    It seems to me that a “win” for the proposed federal ban on gender-selection abortion would be a Pyrrhic victory; it would result in exceedingly few, albeit desirable, convictions for crimes of abortion that must prove to be cases of gender-selection, while ignoring, or even abetting, the holocaust of abortion which would continue with the federal “right” to abortion. Would a federal investigation, then, determine “bad” abortions of gender-selection and “approved” abortions of handicap-selection and mother’s health-selection and so on? Would there be another federal czar or department to handle the caseload? Would enforcement increase the costs, thereby “necessitating” increased federal funding for abortions that do qualify under a federal program?
    I think, all in all, Paul is right to seek removal of all this from federal jurisdiction, and that’s the better way to go.
    Finally, this is a wedge dividing good, Christian, conservative people who all abhor abortion. Under this proposed legislation banning gender-selective abortion it would be next to impossible to convict anyone. The most brilliant pro-abort couldn’t have devised a better plan and with less downside consequence for the pro-abort cause, while seeming to appease the pro-life side and dividing us at the same time.

    • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

      While it’s good to ban as many abortions as possible, since abortion for ANY reason is legal, then who is going to admit that their reason for wanting an abortion is sex selection? Still, for purely instructional purposes, it might have been good to vote for the law.

      • Michael

        My understanding is that despite the long existence of the Roe v. Wade there is not a federal codification of an abortion right. By trying to ban the small number of sex selection abortions that may occur this ill-considered law would have had the counter effect of creating a legal basis at the federal law level for non-sex selection abortions. It was bad law and a bad idea.

  • Kirt Higdon

    As a Ron Paul supporter, I disagree with this vote even though the proposal is merely of minor symbolic value. In voting against partial birth abortion, Paul in effect conceded that the right to life should trump federalism and he should have done the same in this instance. I already voted for Paul in the Texas primary but now his political career has reached its end. It is simply a question of whether the GOP will allow him a minor appearance at the Romney coronation or shut him out completely. For those of us who have supported him, the question is what do we do now, starting with whom we vote for (if anyone) in November.

  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

    I had no doubt that Ron Paul supporters would approach this issue in a way that Ron Paul supporters always approach such issues. So far, they haven’t disappointed.

    • ivan_the_mad

      I had no doubt that Ron Paul haters would approach this issue in a way that Ron Paul haters always approach such issues. So far, they haven’t disappointed.

      • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

        Here’s my thing, I have no problem Paul actually had reasons for voting the way he did that didn’t involve ‘I don’t care about aborting babies!’, or ‘pro-life doesn’t really interest me.’ I’m fine with that. The part that bothers me, and something that seems to define Paul supporters, is when other politicians do things for similar reasons, and they’re simply labeled as ‘ha! told you the GOP doesn’t care about aborted babies!’ Even if the politician explains the reason, it’s ‘Mammon worshipper/baby killer’ all the way. And that goes with politicians on both sides of the aisle. I’m all for giving Paul the benefit of the doubt, but I’m all for giving folks in Washington the benefit of the doubt across the board, not just Paul.

        • Mark Shea

          Documentation please?

  • Tim

    I have seen it argued that federal legislation restricting abortion would be Constitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment which guarantees that no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

    Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment grants Congress the power to enforce the other sections of the Amendment through legislation, which would apply against the states. So a member of Congress could vote for such legislation without violating his or her oath to uphold the Constitution (in fact, it could be said that oath compels voting for such legislation).

    Of course, in order to justify such legislation via the Fourteenth Amendment, one would have to define the fetus as a “person” within the protections of the 14th. Obviously Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are obstacles for including fetuses within the term “person”.

    But it is arguable that federal legislation restricting abortion would be Constitutional, though it’s also arguable that deference to current Supreme Court opinion, no matter how badly reasoned, requires us to oppose such legislation.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/276303/abortion-and-14th-amendment-michael-j-new

  • http://gloriaromanorum.blogspot.com/ Florentius

    My biggest problems with Ron Paul are:

    1.) Some of his minions are downright scary. They are cult-like in their devotion to him and are all too happy to savage Catholics if one of them dares to utter a word in defense of Catholic moral teaching on a Ron Paul forum. If you don’t believe me, try it sometime. Libertarians can not abide believing Catholics in general. They’d prefer we were Unitarians.

    2.) I don’t think Ron Paul is honest. His practice of loading bills with earmarks then voting against them when he’s certain they will pass anyway reeks of duplicity. Then, there’s his bizarre position on abortion (as evinced by this bill and others) and advancing homosexual issues (his vote to repeal DADT to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military). He speaks with forked tongue on such issues, claiming to be against them but never actually doing anything to advance the cause. For Paul, the states rights cop-out means he never has to take an actual stand on a moral issue.

    • Sean O

      Ron Paul has been a quite consistent Pro-Life supporter. The bill in question seems highly problematic per some of the comments here.

      Putting Abortion off as a State rather than a Federal issue is a dodge. Abortion is simply wrong because it is the taking of an innocent human life. I don’t think Ron Paul dodges the issue in the fashion you suggest, but conservative Supreme Court Justice Scalia is guilty of this dodge. Disappointing.

    • http://austrolibertariancatholic.wordpress.com Martial Artist

      @Florentius,

      You write:

      Libertarians can not abide believing Catholics in general.

      You need to be a bit more careful in your generalizations. There are quite a few libertarians who are believing, and faithfully practicing, Catholics, yours truly included. So you are making a generalization that does not stand up to any sort of scrutiny. Those of us who fit the description of being faithfully practicing Catholics only differ with the Bishops on some matters of what the Bishops themselves define as requiring “prudential judgment.” Based on that, it would seem to me that you have a moral problem to deal with in terms of bearing false witness against some of your brother and sister Catholics. Please feel free to come back and discuss with me the mote in my eye when you have removed the beam in yours.
      Pax et bonum,
      Keith Töpfer

  • Joannie

    I agree with Mark that this was the reason he voted the way he did on this issue (although his views on homosexuality and marriage confuse me. How would Mitt Romney vote on these issue? He is already known to have endorsed someone who supports Plan B. He is the lesser of two evils to me. As far as him (Paul) not having a chance of winning we have to stop listening to the mainstream media because the Delegates have not all been counted and many Paul supporters have been shut out and there was and still is massive fraud going on. Mitt cannot win without the Ron Paul supporters.

  • ivan_the_mad

    I’m a long-time Ron Paul supporter (in fact, I’m one of his constituents). That being said, in the name of all that’s right and sensible, wherever did this idea come from that if you support a candidate, you have to align yourself with him in every way? Believe it or not, you can disagree with your candidate of choice! Really, I promise, it’s ok!

    Here’s the Pope again, because apparently some of us did not get the memo the first time around:

    “A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”

    • Mark Shea

      That being said, in the name of all that’s right and sensible, wherever did this idea come from that if you support a candidate, you have to align yourself with him in every way?

      From the degeneration of conservative politics into the mirror image of leftist ideological thinking. The Thing that Used to be Conservatism is now the thing it despises.

    • http://ecben.wordpress.com Will

      Not to mention the idea that if you say something nice about a candidate, he/she is “YOUR BOY/GIRL!” and you are morally responsible for any lapse, real or imagined or fabricated by the “news” media that he/she is accused of.

    • Ted Seeber

      My problem with that is that I don’t have any proportionate reasons to vote for any politician- and lots of lesser reasons to vote against.

    • ds

      So were you OK with the nutcase/racist newsletter pieces back in the ’90s when he still was saying he wrote them?

      • ivan_the_mad

        No, but I rank it as less of an issue than drone strikes killing innocent Muslims and assassinating an American citizen overseas without due process of law, or salivating over a war with Iran <3

  • Andy, Bad Person

    Uh, if upholding your “sacred oath” means violating God’s law, doesn’t that make the oath meaningless to begin with? An unjust law is no law at all.

  • Mark

    Rep. Justin Amash (the new Ron Paul) voted against the bill under the reasoning that it implies a legitimization of abortions for reasons other than sex-selection and that it will not stop any abortions. So there’s that argument.

  • Jason

    The commentariat…reasons why I have neither a blog nor a facebook page (while swiftly ducking the hypocracty of saying this IN THE COMBOX!)

  • Telemachus

    I agree with everything Mark has said in this post. I’m disappointed with RP’s vote, but (a) I don’t know all the details about the bill and (b) I don’t know RP’s reasons for voting against it.

    To the haters, RP believes in restoring the jurisdiction of the abortion question back to the states. Period. You may disagree with him for thinking this is the best route to go, but you can’t say the man is “pro-abortion” or anything. Criticize him, but at least respect him enough to admit that he’s being sensible and is not motivated by evil intentions.

    To the zealots, the Constitution is not a sacred document, and oaths regarding civil matters are always breakable if there is a good, moral reason to break it. I realize that the oath to “protect the Constitution” is made in God’s name, but quite frankly from His perspective the Constitution is just one of many human efforts at ordering society and I’m sure He sees all the flaws in the Constitution that would warrant not following it to the letter. Thus, if an honest man sees that following the Constitution to the letter will not produce a moral result in a given case, then it is certainly possible to “break the oath.”

    I’m willing to give Paul a break on this because I think he is a good-intentioned man, which is different from many other politicians who are clearly pro-abortion but who lace their speeches with talk about “discernment” and “prudence.”

    To Joannie: http://www.ronpaul.com/2012-05-09/ron-paul-on-gay-marriage-none-of-the-states-business/. Paul’s a libertarian, and he doesn’t think that the state as an institution should play a role in marriage. There is some precedence for this, because for most of the history of the west the state did not play hardly any role in marriage.

    However, I think he’s wrong in this case, and I think it is because he hasn’t given it that much thought (he’s focused on other issues). I agree with Dr. Morse’s analyses of the question, where she argues that the state must be involved in recognizing marriage simply for the sake of knowing where it cannot tread. If the state doesn’t legally recognize a marriage, the relationship is exposed to illicit interference by the state. So, for purely negative reasons, the state should be recognizing marriage. We have no choice but to fight against the attempts to redefine the institution in the civil sphere.

    God bless,
    Tele

    • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

      Ron Paul also supports a federal amendment to define life as beginning at conception, one of very very few issues that he supports federal action.

      • http://austrolibertariancatholic.wordpress.com Martial Artist

        @Dave,

        The adoption of which, to point out the obvious to those unwilling or unable to think past a single sentence, would remove the Courts from the issue entirely, because that would redress the omission by the drafters which was likely based on the assumption that everyone was quite sure that what a pregnant woman was carrying was a human person, thereby simultaneously removing the question from the jurisdiction of the individual states. And those founders didn’t think it necessary to belabor the obvious, an oversight from having too high an opinion of their fellow men, but an understandable one for all that.

        Pax et bonum,
        Keith Töpfer

    • http://ecben.wordpress.com Will

      Playing Devil’s advocate in this case: if abortion is none of the federal government’s business now, it was none of the federal government’s business when FEDERAL judges issued the Roe ukase, and we should not object to Congress exercising the power that THEY handed it.

      • pomofo

        Roe v. Wade was a usurpation of authority on the part of the Supreme Court. The federal government has no authority under the Constitution over cases of murder, that is purely reserved to states and localities. Please see Dr. Paul’s Sanctity of Life Act (HR 1096 in the 112th Congress) which he introduces every Congress. It would strip federal courts of appellate jurisdiction over abortion cases, which would have the effect of immediately nullifying the Roe v. Wade precedent and allowing states once again to ban abortion without federal interference. Not surprisingly, the bill never received the support of the Republican Congress or the Republican Administration from 2000-2006.

  • http://www.theleenmachine.blogspot.com KML

    I looked suspiciously at this bill from the beginning. Although limiting abortion in general is a good thing, once we as pro-life people begin down a path of selecting under which circumstances abortion is criminalized and which it is not, we are on a dangerous path. Abortion is wrong because it is the killing of a human being. Period, full stop. It is not more wrong because it is a girl, or it is handicapped, or any other reason one chooses to abort. Passing this would have stated that there are certain reasons it is wrong and certain reasons (implicitly) that it’s not. While it may have been a short-term gain and a moral victory, I doubt very much that it would have provided anything to the pro-life movement in the long-term beyond cause for division. And given the real-life implications that most of these probably few cases would be prosecuted after the fact, and that there would be no obligation for a pregnant mother to state truthfully why she was choosing to abort, this certainly would not have saved any babies.

    • http://austrolibertariancatholic.wordpress.com Martial Artist

      To quote a rather well known Priest blogger, “Do I hear an Amen?”

      Keith Töpfer

  • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

    “It is not more wrong because it is a girl, or it is handicapped, or any other reason one chooses to abort.”

    As much as I am inclined to agree with the sentiment, I’m not sure that’s true. Some people call for more protection merely based on who and what they are. Hence, killing them is a worse crime than killing someone who does not deserve such protection. Which is not to say it’s not murder in both cases, just that it’s not necessarily exactly morally equivalent.

  • Ted Seeber

    I would have respected PRENDA more if it had been a true liberal NDA- preventing abortion for reasons of race, gender, disability, poverty, criminality, parental deeds and rights, etc.

    So I went ahead and sent my very liberal representative, whom I didn’t vote for, a letter about it. I got back a form letter saying that she’ll write me a response when she has time. I’m not holding my breath.

  • LaVallette

    If a “sacred oath” to uphold the Consitution means that one can do nothing against or contrary to the Constitution, the reductio ad absurdum is that there is no right to constitutional amendment and the entire bill of Bill of Right and other amendments are illegal and a sin against God!. The same thing would apply to anybody “reinterpreting” any provisions of the Consitution, e.g the judiciary, the Supreme Court in particualr, because at the time one takes the oath to uphold the Constitution, the oath is to the Constituion as interpreted at the time.

    Besides one cannot in good conscience take or rely upon an oath to uphold a law which is against the law of God. After Hitler insisted upon an oath of loyalty to him personally, the defence of the “Sacred Oath to God”, was what Hitler relied upon and unfortunately a lot of basically good and decent Germans stood by in contuing to support him despite the obvious atrocities and military failures. Indeed it was the defence of the German General Staff and the Senior Military heirarchy for their failure to take action to remove Hitler from power, even when it was obvious the war was lost and prolonging it only meant the further distruction of Germany and the suffering of its people. It is what props the principle of “befhel is befhel”.

    PS Godwin’s Law does not apply: the reference is factual and relevant to the issue at hand.

  • pomofo

    The bill was designed to fail. The bill was brought up under suspension, which requires a 2/3 supermajority (290 votes) in order to suspend the rules and pass the bill. It only got 246 votes. This means that this was a purely political stunt. The Republicans easily could have brought the bill up under a closed rule or a structured rule (limiting which amendments are made in order) and the bill would have passed the House with a simple majority. But leadership didn’t want that to happen. They knew that it would never get 290 votes, so they brought it up under suspension so that the bill would fail so that they could posture politically and 1.) blame the Democrats for waging a war on women, and 2.) get pro-lifers riled up against the Democrats before the election. And so many pro-lifers swallowed the Republican plot, hook, line, and sinker. This bill made it clear to them that the Republican party is 100% pro-life (just forget about aggressive war and torture of prisoners) and 100% pro-woman (just forget about Fatima, Zainab, Nawal, and any other woman living in a terrorist, a.k.a. non-US, country.)

    • Mark Shea

      As I suspected.


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