Smart people saying smart things

Smart people saying smart things April 19, 2013

Morgan Guyton: “How did Jesus come to love guns and hate sex?”

If I were a non-Christian looking from the outside in, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to think that American Christians’ two highest priorities right now are keeping the government from taking away our guns and stopping gay people from getting married. And I don’t think it would be too far-fetched to assume that Jesus sure must love guns and hate sex. But should these really be our priorities as Christians? And if not, how did they rise to the place of prominence they have?

Gabrielle Giffords: “A Senate in the Gun Lobby’s Grip”

Some of the senators who voted against the background-check amendments have met with grieving parents whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook, in Newtown. Some of the senators who voted no have also looked into my eyes as I talked about my experience being shot in the head at point-blank range in suburban Tucson two years ago, and expressed sympathy for the 18 other people shot besides me, six of whom died. These senators have heard from their constituents — who polls show overwhelmingly favored expanding background checks. And still these senators decided to do nothing. Shame on them.

… If we cannot make our communities safer with the Congress we have now, we will use every means available to make sure we have a different Congress, one that puts communities’ interests ahead of the gun lobby’s.

Sarah Posner: “‘People of Faith’ Want … Guns?”

Five years ago, [Arkansas Sen. Mark] Pryor was trotted out by Democratic activists as a great supporter of what was then a new effort: a political action committee named for a Bible verse, specifically Matthew 25. You know, the the one about caring for the least of these? Because with the families of the slaughtered children at Newtown on hand, Pryor voted to protect his own hide, so his constituents who fall for NRA lies won’t drive him out of office.

Just in case I’ve never made this clear before, legislation shouldn’t be based on the Bible. But if you’re going to co-chair the National Prayer Breakfast, and give a big speech about how pious and wonderful you and your praying Congressional colleagues are, you can’t also run around acting like a bought and paid for coward without people reaching for their Bibles to search for where you might have found the scriptural basis for your self-serving gutlessness.

William D. Lindsey: “Catholic Rhetoric About Abortion and Serving the Common Good”

Many of us who are Catholics have long since departed from the realm of rationality when the topic of abortion comes up. We now imagine that simply brandishing the word “abortion” and the phrase “baby killer” in the face of opponents is morally self-justifying discourse that ought to stop any and all rational interchange about the complex issues regarding the topic of abortion.

What we’re interested in, quite simply, is stopping conversation, not facilitating it. We’re not interested in convincing others of the rightness of our position. We’re interested, instead, in ramming that position down their throats, in bullying and coercing them — and in calling this pre-moral or outright immoral behavior “the” moral position.

We behave this way, in part, because we really don’t have a sound moral basis for our position. We haven’t given much thought at all to it. We haven’t studied the issues. We haven’t listened carefully to a variety of well-grounded positions about the issues.

Why would we have to do this, when it’s about killing babies, for God’s sake?! How can anyone begin to imagine that killing babies is worth discussing?! What’s wrong with you people?! It’s about killing babies! It’s about abortion!

Elizabeth Kaeton: “Plan A: Pay Attention”

Plan B is an emergency contraceptive. It is used to prevent pregnancy.

It does not “abort” a fetus because, 72 hours after unprotected, unplanned sexual intercourse, there is yet no fetus to abort. Plan B prevents pregnancy from happening in much the same way that other oral contraceptives do.

… It’s not rocket science. It’s biology. It’s the way the reproductive system has worked since the beginning.

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  • Carstonio

    Guyton characterizes the “total depravity of everyone else” doctrine (good term!) as a product of suburban white flight. Accurate to a point, but not deep enough. The doctrine is exactly what I would expect if plantation owners in the antebellum South set out to create a religion. Not merely fear of bad people but fear of slave revolts specifically, arising from the knowledge that a slaveowner could maintain his wealth and power only by force.

    Likewise, the self-justification that Guyton decries is more than just claiming membership in the Good People Club. The slaveowners were likely attempting to soothe their consciences so they could continue profiting from the suffering of others. They were trying to prove to themselves that they were good and deserving people. This mindset is obviously typical of any feudalistic society, but it was so intense in this country that it persisted after slavery and Jim Crow, like a fabric stain.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Hey now, a literal reading of the Bible requires us to believe that while Jesus may have had a problem with swords, he didn’t have any problems with guns.

  • Carstonio

    Or he didn’t have a problem with metal guns, only with love guns. The Gospel According to Paul Stanley.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Good point, tho’ I prefer KJV’s translation “sex pistol.”

  • VMink

    Amourous Flintlockke.

  • JustoneK

    love musket?

  • Lori

    I am shamelessly stealing this. Amourous Flintlockke is going to be the name of the heroine of the Puritan romance that I have just now decided to write.

    What? The market for Amish romances must be about to reach the saturation point. I’m going to jump in ahead of the next big wave and strike it rich.

  • Jessica_R

    And the winner of “Christ, what an asshole” today is…

  • JustoneK

    no, that’s my swashbuckling halfling ranger.

    affection cannon!

  • Magic_Cracker

    Can her it-can-never-be love interest be a French Catholic furrier named Harquebus D’Amour?

  • Lori

    Don’t be so hasty. It’s not even noon yet and the suspects in the Boston bombing are Muslim immigrants*. I think it’s a pretty sure thing that someone will say something worse than that before the day is over.

    *My best guess that the bomber would turn out to be homegrown was apparently wrong. Unlike some people I can own that. I’m not going to lie though, I wish that I had been right. Not because I hate our homegrown terrorists more than the imported variety, but because if it has been some good Christian, born in the USA white guy the whole thing would have been over within 48 hours of his arrest or death. He would have been declared la one wolf whether he had ties to any larger groups or not, and that would have been that.

    Since the bombers were Those People we’re virtually certainly going to be treated to derailing of immigration reform and all kinds of anti-Muslim BS and obviously a bunch of pro-gun nonsense. The quality of punditry is sure to be even more dismal than usual since we have almost no actual experts on security issues in the North Caucuses. When the networks’ security experts do their song and dance they’ll be talking out their asses even more than they usually are. Sigh.

  • Carstonio

    I’ve seen those books in tourist shops in the Lancaster area. I wonder if the stories romanticize not just the relationship between the leads but also the Plain People culture.

  • Lori

    They do.

  • Lori

    I think I can work with that.

  • Daniel

    Buckles offer easier access than hooks-and-eyes.

  • Mrs Grimble

    While it’s true that most Chechens are *nominally* Muslim (in the same way that the majority of Americans are nominally Christian), we don’t yet know if these two are, or what their motivation was.
    Happily, though, it should grind the gears of at least a few racists that the suspects are actual, honest-to-god Caucasians – that is, from the Caucasus region.

  • JustoneK

    I already have the urge to fanart the book cover for this.

  • Lori

    My point was that as far as obnoxious commentary goes I don’t think it matters what their real motivations are. We care about that, but plenty of other people either don’t or can’t conceive that it would be anything other than Muslims Bad. And in the popular imagination these guys are going to be Muslims even if they’ve never set foot in a mosque.

    There will almost certainly be a certain morbid amusement in watching folks try to distinguish between Caucasians and Real True White people. The fact that it’s pretty much bound to come down to some version of Muslims Bad will suck any real fun out of it though.

  • Lori

    If you do it you have to post. I’m sure it will be glorious.

  • Jessica_R

    Someone made the bitingly accurate observation that we’re about to witness the creation of “off-white” as a racial category.

  • Lori

    LOL, in that “if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry” way.

  • Lori

    I’m aiming to at the demographic that reads Amish romances. Nobody is going to be accessing anything, so it’s not an issue. It’s all longing glances and seeking God’s Will For Your Life.

  • JustoneK

    Plain Love and Blunders? The Gun and the Restless? Carts and Cartridges? Luddites in Love?

  • Lori

    I don’t think it can be that last one since the Luddites came much later and I don’t want to get dinged for lack of historical accuracy :)

    I think we have to go with some horrible play on “pure”, but I’m not sure what it should be. It has to should unintentionally smutty, like a church sign epic fail, and I can only do intentional smut.

  • It does not “abort” a fetus because, 72 hours after unprotected, unplanned sexual intercourse, there is yet no fetus to abort.

    Assuming I remember my Umineko logic right, if everybody believes there’s a fetus, then there’s a fetus.

  • JustoneK

    Mennonite Nights? Amish Ya Already. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (wait that’s taken). Flintlockke’s Fire. L’Amour d’Lady Amourous. Starcrossfire. Trigger Happy. Lock, Stock, and Ballroom. Push and Pull: A Gripping Tale. The Catholic Cannon. Shot in the Heart. A Shot in the Dark. Crossed Barrels. Amourous Ammunition. Buckshot. Cupid’s Blunderbuss.


  • Lori

    Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (wait that’s taken)

    Not a problem. Titles are copywritable.

  • P J Evans

    Not even recent immigrants – they’ve been here at least ten years. one was naturalized. So, AFAICT, they’re also homegrown.

  • Lori

    I fact which mean bupkis to a certain very bigoted, very mouthy segment of our population.

    Case in point:

  • fredgiblet

    Are you:

    Native American

  • reynard61

    “Amourous Flintlockke is going to be the name of the heroine of the Puritan romance that I have just now decided to write.”

    It would also be a great name for an Early-music group specializing in Restoration-era bawdy songs.

  • Lori

    Someone should mention that to Senator Lindsey Graham. South Carolina Republicans, an embarrassment to the nation pretty much since forever*.

    *Yes, I know about the Democrat/Republican name switch. The sort of folks who are now self-identified as Republicans in SC have gone by other names, but they’ve never not been an embarrassment.

  • Lori

    That would be good. Someone else is going to have to get on that though, because I have no musical talent.

  • reynard61


    “Ecru”? “Eggshell”?

  • Lori

    Griege if you’re not feeling well.

  • banancat

    You mean like Irish and Italians used to be?

  • I have to say I’m kind of annoyed with Guyton being quick to blame teen pregnancies on sexy advertising, while saying nothing about the lack of proper sex education.

  • Daniel

    They have buckles on their hats- that’s how they kept their brains in. God needs to open those buckles, without loosening the buckles on their hearts. Any way, puritans are kinky- what with the whole cross gartered yellow stockings business.

  • Hanna

    So Fred keeps stressing that Plan B isn’t an abortifacient and technically he’s right, but the reasons that so many Christians don’t like it is that it may prevent a fertilised egg from embedding itself in the lining of the womb. Sure, it only counts as a pregnancy after the egg is attachment to the womb, but a fertilised egg is still a potential human life, and preventing its attachment amounts to killing it.

    Growing up (in Europe!) I heard exactly the same argument on why normal oral contraceptives were kind of bad, so at least the message was consistent. Still, in practice, I know tons of Christian women who use the pill as their main contraceptive and no one bats an eyelash. Same with IVF – technically it’s sort of wrong because of the fetuses that get destroyed, and there are people who probably wouldn’t do it for that reason, but most people seem to be OK with the fact that there are many Christian couples who do. It all falls into the same very light grey area of ‘technically-sort-of-wrong-but-oh-well’.

  • Christians don’t like it is that it may prevent a fertilised egg from embedding itself in the lining of the womb.

    No. It does not. There were some early theories that it might, but scientific investigation showed that this does not happen. Plan B does not prevent implantation; if fertilization has already happened, Plan B won’t work.

    People who refuse to believe this aren’t holding an opinion, they are insisting that others accept as fact statements contrary to reality

  • We need a Muslim regi—WHAT?

    I’m sorry, is this Apartheid-era South Africa?

  • P J Evans

    Oh I know. Some of them sound like they’d *enjoy* planting bombs and blowing up people.

  • P J Evans

    FWIW, I was reading a newspaper comment section, and most of the comments were telling Graham (and McCain)where to get off. A lot of people still believe in the Bill of Rights.

  • P J Evans

    Yeah, I know about the name switch. My father’s father was a Democrat in the 40s. I don’t think he was quite as narrow-minded as the ones in the deep South, though. (He died in 1961, so we’ll never know.)

  • Carstonio

    While it may seem like a name switch, it was really one voting bloc (white Southerners) that left the Democratic coalition for the Republican one. The Southern Strategy of appealing to racial resentment seems Faustian in retrospect, with that bloc now dictating GOP policy. The polls I’ve seen on issues like gay marriage and gun control suggest a deepening divide between older white Southern evangelical men without college educations and the rest of the country – the gender divide on guns alone is astounding.

  • … It’s not rocket science. It’s biology. It’s the way the reproductive system has worked since the beginning.

    However, as long as some people stand to gain money by telling gullible people looking for an excuse to be self-righteous that Plan B causes abortion, those people will believe that Plan B causes abortion, no matter what the facts say.

    Against greed and indignation, facts are irrelevant.