Thursday, July 14, 2011

Michele Bachmann: Anti-Catholic?

Apparently, this is a big discussion now online. See, e.g., Michele Bachmann Should Not 'Get a Pass' on Past Membership in Anti-Catholic Church, by Keith A. Fournier; posted on 14 July 2011 at Catholic Online. Here is my initial response:

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I don't see this as any big deal at all. Almost all Protestants have official anti-Catholicism in their background, because it was so central to the so-called "Reformation." It doesn't follow that individuals subscribe to it. I used to fellowship and worship with many anti-Catholics in the churches I used to attend as a Protestant. I never was anti-Catholic, myself, and my association with them didn't prove otherwise.

When I met my wife in a youth group [Assemblies of God] in Nov. 1982, I defended her from aggressive folks in the group who wanted to make an issue out of her being Catholic.

The official Lutheran confessions describe the Mass as "Baal-worship" (as I have noted in the past). Yet very few Lutherans today would hold to that. The large group of Missouri Synod Lutherans didn't sign on to the ecumenical agreements, either. They were signed by the same Lutherans who are officially pro-abortion (which the conservative Lutheran denominations are not).

I'm infinitely more concerned about compromised Catholics like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi than I am about obscure statements in confessions like these. It tells me next to nothing about what Bachmann herself believes. Anyone can look that up . . .


Certainly many Baptists in the South of the US are anti-Catholics. Does it follow that we deem Presidents Carter and Clinton to both be anti-Catholics? It's guilt-by-association. The media is desperate to slander her in any way they can, since she is the Most Hated Person in America now: a great honor, to be sure.

I like what Catholic writer Matt C. Abbot wrote:

I love it when liberals who normally don't care a wit about Catholicism suddenly voice concern about a conservative politician's alleged anti-Catholicism — even if their concern is somewhat tongue-in-cheek or just a political ploy. Never mind all the abortion- and unnatural vice-supporting "Catholic" politicians out there; we practicing Catholics should really be concerned about the likes of Bachmann and Sarah Palin. (I addressed Palin's alleged anti-Catholicism in my Dec. 7, 2010 column.)

Yeah, sure.

Interestingly, Bachmann gave a talk last year at a conference organized by the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation. I didn't attend the conference, but I think it's safe to say that had she said anything even remotely anti-Catholic, the CMF wouldn't have made the audio CD of her talk available for purchase.

I asked William A. Borst, Ph.D., Catholic author and feature editor to the CMF, to comment on the Salon article. Dr. Borst replied in an email (slightly edited):

'Nowhere in the article did I find any substantive quote from Rep. Bachmann. I think it is shoddy journalism to try to create a paper trail of quotes from second-, third- and fourth-hand sources and attribute belief to their target by mere association. What may appear as exhaustive research on the surface often is nothing more than a writer desperately grasping for straws.

'To compare her [associations] to Barack Obama's relationship with the Rev. Wright is specious reasoning at best. Bachmann seems like a 'seeker' who is still searching for the religious truth. Obama spent 20 years listening to Wright's racialist rants and even had his kids baptized by this poor excuse of a minister. There is no comparison, unless apples can be confused with asparagus. So we really know even less about her views than we did before reading the article. If they give Pulitzers for misdirection, obfuscation and innuendo, Alex Pareene would be a strong contender.'

My friend Lisa Graas defended Bachmann as well, and notes a direct disavowal of anti-Catholicism from Rep. Bachmann herself. If this continues, I'll be following it and providing more information as I find it.

Bill Donohue, of  The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, commented in that group's press release:


The Catholic League finds it regrettable that there are still strains of anti-Catholicism in some Protestant circles, but we find no evidence of any bigotry on the part of Rep. Michele Bachmann. Indeed, she has condemned anti-Catholicism. Just as President Barack Obama is not responsible for the views of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Rep. Bachmann must be judged on the basis of her own record. 

However, just as Sen. John McCain had to answer questions about his affiliation with Pastor John Hagee (who quickly cleared his record), and Sen. Barack Obama had to answer questions about his affiliation with Rev. Wright, it is not inappropriate to ask some pointed questions of Rep. Bachmann and her religion’s tenets. 

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39 comments:

williamthegreat said...

To my mind, if Bachmann were shown to harbour Anti-Catholic views as part of religious worldview, it would hardly be surprising. She's not exactly the most critical thinker, and is given to conspiratorial leanings, both of which are pre-requisites in the development of a typical Protestant Fundamentalist mindset. Amid the many inane ramblings of hers I've witnessed in amusement however, I haven't noticed anything explicit in this regard.

That said, I inevitably find myself restating this in discussion whenever an election cycle comes 'round: In general, I really don't care what a candidates religious affiliation is. My main consideration when approaching the ballot box is whether they possess the necessary competency to effectively function in their desired office.

Now, there are exceptions where one's faith speaks to this point. For example, leaving aside everything else in a candidate's platform, if they can arrive at middle age, and still be a Mormon... well, it requires a special degree of ignorance and credulity. All religions, from a purely rational standpoint can attract criticism, but something so obviously arrant as LDS theology stands apart. I happen to believe a 1st century Jewish carpenter was God in the flesh, for example. On the face of it, that may seem ludicrous, but it can be supported by reason. The same can not be said for any peculiar facet of Mormon belief.

In any case, this is all theoretical, as I would never cast a vote for either Bachman, or anyone like her, purely for the reason that during X-Rays I've received in the past, it has been observed that I have a brain. Yet, as I said, a person's religion should only be taken in consideration of their ability to reason.

Marie said...

From a political perspective, I agree that Bachmann's former membership in the WELS is not really an issue.

From the perspective as one who was raised in the WELS and is now Catholic, I find it very interesting, though.

The WELS is a bit different from other Lutherans in that those Lutheran Confessions are still held in pretty high regard. (The ones that teach that the papacy is the anti-christ.) And an extremely big deal is made over the supposed fact that everyone in the WELS is in 100% doctrinal agreement. Lack of doctrinal agreement is what makes or breaks "fellowship." I had Lutheran education through the undergraduate level, and there were even discussions on whether it was licit to say a table prayer with a relative who belonged to the LC-MS. (The conclusion was "no," as long as it was the other party leading the prayer.) So it is interesting to me that Bachmann emphatically made a claim against the WELS' teaching in the last election cycle. She was either misinformed or misinforming. I hope she was misinformed, did her research, and decided WELS doctrine had problems and therefore officially left it. Or perhaps she just felt the need to spin in public something she didn't want to defend.

A Lutheran in politics who touts religious affiliation as a selling card is very, very weird, too. Then again, so is Luther's teaching about the "two kingdoms."

The WELS hardly ever gets any press of any sort, so this news story caught my attention because of that novelty. I'd much rather hear about whether she believes we should further our national debt by continuing/extending our military presence all over the world than these issues, though.

williamthegreat said...

Indirectly, you raise a rather important point: That personal experience as an adherent of particular religious group, yields insight into how our former coreligionists think which can not otherwise be attained. Throughout the years I have met many converts to the Faith whose journey was out of forms of Protestantism far more ecumenical and level-headed than the camp I had come from. In each instance they tend both to be surprised at how mad the distinctive beliefs of Anti-Catholics are, and not a little naive in their underestimation of how pervasive that particular form of bigotry is in the Anti-Catholic's entire scope of thought.

There's something I neglected to mention in my previous comment though, which speaks to your second point. However one regards it, religion is a generally divisive issue within politics. Those who make the biggest show of their own beliefs, usually do so for the principle purpose of courting the favour of a particular group of voters. I suspect Bachmann is no different in this regard.

Many people, I'm sure, voted for Bush simply on the basis of their view that "He believes in Jesus!" In which case, specific aspects of his politics were either ignored, excused, or accepted in consequence of the fact that "after all, he's one of us."

So, as for what military action Bachmann will or won't support, I suspect that will have much to do with whatever is politically expedient for her at the moment. If it's action undertaken by a Democrat, she'll likely oppose it for some ostensible reason other than the actual merits of the case. But if it's a Republican initiated conflict, she'll probably stand behind it 100%, because that's what the "Founding Fathers" would do!... if she can actually decide who the founders were.

Jon said...

Yeah, I think the more important issue is that she would wreck the country by imposing failed Reagan style economic policies, which are what Latin America, Haiti, and Africa have been subjected to over the last 30 years, with disastrous results (though in the short term it is preferred by wealthy plutocrats).

She also has a very ignorant position on violence in the Middle East. These wars are bankrupting our country and making it less safe by engaging in the very activities that motivate violence against Americans in the first place.

If you really are interested in reducing terrorism there's an easy way to make a huge difference. Stop participating in it. If she would work to bring terrorism that's run out of Washington to a close that would end the bulk of it.

Dave Armstrong said...

I would never cast a vote for either Bachman, or anyone like her, purely for the reason that during X-Rays I've received in the past, it has been observed that I have a brain.

That's odd. X-Rays have also revealed (perhaps shockingly to some) that I have a brain as well, and I would be absolutely delighted to cast a vote for Bachmann. Different strokes, huh? No pun intended . . .

williamthegreat said...

Jon - "These wars are bankrupting our country and making it less safe by engaging in the very activities that motivate violence against Americans in the first place."

I agree with you that the Iraq War specifically, is undoubtedly a principle cause of the economic turmoil the United States has been going through for the past few years. However, I have always considered opposition to the war on the basis that it incurs further acts of terrorism to be a somewhat weak line of argumentation on its own. That the war has exacerbated feelings hostility toward the West, and served as a cause celebre for various organisations intent on enacting terrorist plots throughout Europe and North America, is certainly true. The same however may be said of any military action within the region (including the war in Afghanistan, which I have always supported, but believe should be drawn to a close); so other factors should be taken into consideration when opposing it, for such opposition to have any intellectual validity.

My own opposition to that war is in agreement with the Holy Father's view of the matter, which he expressed several years back: "[R]easons sufficient for unleashing a war against Iraq did not exist." Rather, I think it quite obvious that the desire to go to war in that country was an amalgam of cultural and historical ignorance, and political opportunism (with any subsequently negative effects being simply more sauce for the goose). I regard the latter of these as the primary motivation for those politicians, like Bachmann, who utilise what are stylisticaly the same cloyingly nationalistic arguments, dripping with emotive language, that were employed in the build-up to the Iraq War as a means of achieving their own political goals. Certain Democrats make use of much the same tactics, albeit of a different colour, just as some Republicans abstain from them; it's hardly a fault peculiar to any one party. So one can't reasonably expect them to seek any actual resolution of a conflict or controversy which they may capably employ as a cudgle to bash their opponents with in the battle for elective office; and this applies to various other issues aside from the wars this country is presently engaged in.

Jon - "I think the more important issue is that she would wreck the country by imposing failed Reagan style economic policies..."

Again, I quite agree. Yet, Reagan was a mere link in the chain, as far as modern American political conservatism goes. At its roots, is basically a desire to legislate according to Objectivist principles. There can be no doubt that the concept of Reagan himself (for he has been idealised a thousand times over in the minds of those who wish to take up his banner for their own) exercises a great deal of force over the thoughts of those who would be his successors. Spending the majority of one's time focussing on the 40th President's political faults though, is rather like trying to adequately critique Jimmy White without having read anything from Calvin. It can be done, but it's better to speak to the source and causative elements of a particular worldview.

williamthegreat said...

Dave - "That's odd. X-Rays have also revealed (perhaps shockingly to some) that I have a brain as well, and I would be absolutely delighted to cast a vote for Bachmann. Different strokes, huh? No pun intended."

Haha, most especially shocking to the likes of John Q. Doe, et al. But it comes as no surprise to me, as someone who's had the pleasure of reading your work for the past decade.

The sources of my own opposition to politicians of Bachman's persuasion and style, are many and varied. To be honest, these may constitute most of the few areas in which you and I would disagree. Nevertheless, we still have the unity of Faith, and unwavering love of the Beatles in common ;)

macd144 said...

Dave,

Excellent post. It seems to me that the left is afraid of a conservative woman becoming the first woman to be president that they will do everything possible to destroy her. The left knows that the Catholic vote this time around will be much more orthodox and conservative than in 2008 when many uninformed Catholics voted for the most pro-abortion friendly president ever. How does the left make sure they do not put Bachmann in office....put a divide between her and the anticpated large Catholic vote this time. Look at the big picture of just how the media and left will go to any lenght to destroy a Christian, conservative woman.

Dave Armstrong said...

I say, let them fire all their toy pistols at her: the more the merrier. That will merely create sympathy for her and make folks realize that she is the right candidate, to be so hated by our Liberal Overlords.

Dave Armstrong said...

Well, I give anyone a pass who loves the Beatles, even for political naivete. I'm goin' to see McCartney in nine days (first time)!

Jon said...

William - However, I have always considered opposition to the war on the basis that it incurs further acts of terrorism to be a somewhat weak line of argumentation on its own.

If the reason for bringing war to Iraq was to reduce the threat of terrorism, then it's worth noting that the terrorism was a consequence of the violence imposed on the region. It's also worth noting that the experts (like the CIA and Bush's advisers) expected that the invasion of Iraq would exacerbate the terrorist problem. That's precisely what it did do.

The war in Afghanistan was also extremely immoral. Let's recall that aid agencies claimed at the time that a bombing campaign would put 2.5 million people at the risk of starvation, since aid agencies would have to pull out. Let's also recall that at the time we had no idea OBL was the culprit. He did deny he was responsible after all. I think US officials regarded his denials as plausible. The Taliban offered to hand OBL over to a third party on multiple occasions. They did initially ask for evidence. That's normal. You're supposed to ask for evidence if you are going to extradite. Those offers weren't even considered by the Bush administration.

So our government had peaceful alternatives and didn't pursue them. Our government killed tens of thousands, created millions of refugees, and put millions at risk of starvation (though thankfully the worst fears did not materialize). All to topple a government that did not attack us and was not a threat to us (which naturally is why the UN would not authorize violence against them). To me it's pretty bizarre.

But you're right about Reagan. I just use his name as a place holder to refer to the ascendance of neoliberal economic policies, which have become so prominent since 1980 worldwide, culminating in the disaster that was the 2008 banking crisis. Bauchmann wants more of the same.

williamthegreat said...

macd144 - "It seems to me that the left is afraid of a conservative woman becoming the first woman to be president that they will do everything possible to destroy her."

The prospect of Bachmann making a successful run for the White House is, I'm sure, something which would find many people of a liberal persuasion reaching for their passports. But I don't observe any genuine fear of this scenario materialising on their part. Quite the contrary, as a simple matter of naked, dispassionate political anlysis, Democrats would gladly welcome Bachmann as the Republican nominee. Why? Because it's basically a coin-toss as to whether she or Pawlenty would make for the most one-sided election since Walter Mondale tossed his hat into the ring almost three decades ago.

Naturally, there are those whose ideological disagreements with her extend even into the area of her religious beliefs. For some, this may even serve as their primary motivation for opposing her; but this is by no means true across the board. I personally pay no attention to her Christian faith, except to whatever degree she abuses it in my estimation. To be frank though, again purely as a matter of politics, none of her opponents have to strive terribly hard to destroy her. With her gaffe-prone rhetorical style, deliberately misleading statements, and inexpert understanding of history, she puts in most of the hard work herself. Just as Sarah Palin did.

Dave - "Well, I give anyone a pass who loves the Beatles, even for political naivete. I'm goin' to see McCartney in nine days (first time)!"

I would maintain it's sophistication ;) Nevermind that though, you're a very fortunate man indeed! And you have my envy. Sadly, I have yet to see either Macca or Jimmy Page at a live venue, which would be my two greatest wishes. As a songwriter and a guitarist myself, they are my greatest idols. I was actually in the running for a ticket to the '07 Led Zeppelin reunion, but alas, that failed to go my way.

Jon - "If the reason for bringing war to Iraq was to reduce the threat of terrorism, then it's worth noting that the terrorism was a consequence of the violence imposed on the region."

True. I find that irony permeates every tragically flawed undertaking, whatever the matters in play may be.

Jon - "The war in Afghanistan was also extremely immoral. Let's recall that aid agencies claimed at the time that a bombing campaign would put 2.5 million people at the risk of starvation, since aid agencies would have to pull out."

In my previous comment I was speaking more to the rationale behind going to war in the first place, not the execution of the wars themselves.

Dave Armstrong said...

Obama couldn't beat a fencepost in 2012: he's lost or has far less support from almost every important group that determines elections: college-age, those with a college degree, women, white men, moderates, the elderly, libertarians, even some of the Latino vote.

You really think states like Ohio, Florida, and Virginia will vote Democrat this time? The electoral college is determining this thing before it even begins. People remember Carter (the only Democrat President I ever voted for, as I was uninformed in those days). Obama is Carter II x 100.

Dave Armstrong said...

I meant to mention independents in there. They're gone for Obama, and they alone would cost him the election, since all national elections are determined by the 20% "mushy middle."

Dave Armstrong said...

Even leftist Jon wouldn't be silly enough, I don't think (??), to vote for Obama in 2012. :-)

Jon said...

I'm torn. We're going to have a President that runs secret prisons and tortures people no matter what. Goes to war wherever they want no matter what. Obama is trying to assassinate multiple US citizens with no due process whatsoever. A Republican would do the same at this point (though Bush to his credit didn't go that far, merely imprisoning US citizens with no judicial oversight). They're going to violate our privacy, prosecute whistle blowers while letting the criminals exposed go free (assuming they are powerful), etc.

On the other hand Obama will throw the left a bone occasionally. Might ask the super wealthy to contribute a little instead of balancing the budget completely on the backs of the poor, elderly, etc. That can make a huge difference in the lives of suffering people.

But on the other hand of Democrats feel that they can ignore the base completely, as Obama does, with no consequences, then we should expect that to continue. So I have to decide if the short term pain (cutting the checks to the poor and elderly) is worth long term gain (Democrats finally realize that they have to at least give US citizens access to courts, instead of just being a dictator and assassinating whoever they want).

If the election were today I'd take the long term approach, but that may change. Even small differences make a big difference for a lot of people when you are talking about a country as powerful as the US.

Dave Armstrong said...

O, you're to the left of Obama? That's quite a feat! :-)

Ben said...

Obama couldn't beat a fencepost in 2012...

Not so sure about that, but his support's gotta be down when even these guys are upset with him! ;) A B

Ben said...

Lib hypocrisy, (right about the 2:50 mark - not the real Michael Moore of course; see the vid description.) Other sources for this vid.

Alas, how many other misguided souls there are like this young man - more often than not, "proud" liberal Democrats, endless feigning "concern" for "the poor," "the homeless", "the little guy," the this, the that, the something else.

Yet their concern and "compassion" always seems to end right about where their carnality begins, for they will determine who lives and who dies, who has a right to be born and who doesn't, whose "human life is sacred" and whose isn't, and - not to forget - whose money will be used to help the unfortunate of their particular choosing!

Interestingly, on this last point, even someone as unlikely as John Lennon (with all his idiot notions) seemed to have glimsed the futility of this fraud!

In any event, I think the author of this book was on to something after all!

williamthegreat said...

Ben - "...liberal Democrats, endless feigning "concern" for "the poor," "the homeless", "the little guy," the this, the that, the something else. Yet their concern and "compassion" always seems to end right about where their carnality begins."

So it is with all men. This is why ethical understanding and conformity to the mind of Christ is something each person must strive for throughout his life, to the very end.

Every individual, regardless of whatever political attire he may wish to clothe himself in, has some limit on his action determined by carnality. The differences among us lie in which "carnal desires" exercise the most influence; and it is here that we encounter the general tone of hypocrisy and rationalisation, sounding at various times throughout the whole of human behaviour. We may say that a person who decides to have an abortion, does so because they consider the birth of a child to be of less worth than the realisation of their personal aspirations to a successful career, or a youth untroubled by the burdensome responsibilities of parenthood. While the consequences of the decision in this case are far more grave on an individual level, than those of a man who who gives greater consideration to affects on his wallet, rather than how his actions may effect the lives of children who are already born and living in a part of town he'd never visit, the root motivations in both cases are essentialy the same. The error, however, would lie in proposing that one or the other doesn't really matter very much. Because as a question of moral philosophy, they both matter.

Ben - "In any event, I think the author of this book was on to something after all!"

I happened to read this book in my early twenties. With regard to his criticism of religious views that are ultimately derived from the inherant flaws of Protestant epistemology, I found it to be quite on the point for the most part. Much the same is true when it comes to the missteps of excessive rationalism. On the other hand, with respect to his criticism of Liberalism within the political sphere, it only succeeds if one accepts that the term itself may only properly be used of the system he thereby describes, which simply isn't the case. Moreover, it does well to grasp the nature of the political environment in late 19th century Spain.

One of the reasons I've always eschewed political labels is because in casual discourse they easily lose whatever meaning I may wish to convey by employing them, depending on how they have come to be misunderstood by someone else. They lend themselves to assumption and faulty generalisation, especially in a society as immersed in mass media as our own. Depending on how they are used, they can be far too superficial in offering a real picture of the political or philosophical system of thought they're meant to designate. For these reasons I've frequently found myself being called a conservative, a liberal, and a socialist by several people in the same room, depending on which point each finds himself disagreeing with me.

Our religion and philosophy ought to inform our ethics, which then should consider each issue on the basis of its own qualities; and this, insofar as we can manage, devoid of any emotional or cultural prejudice, whereby we conscript the Faith as a means of legitimising a priori points of view.

williamthegreat said...

Ben - "Interestingly, on this last point, even someone as unlikely as John Lennon (with all his idiot notions) seemed to have glimsed the futility of this fraud!"

Ah, another book I happen to own, as indeed I own many about the Beatles, and John in particular. As Shakespeare wrote, he was a man, take him for all in all. I idolise him of course, insofar as I'm a musician (along with the other Beatles and Jimmy Page as I've said previously), but I'm by no means hagiographic about him. That said, on the whole he had more sound opinions than "idiotic" ones, and was generally very insightful about a good many issues on which he opined. That said, with respect to this particular quote I don't really see how it falls in line with the political perspective you seem to imply. By the latter half of the 70s John was generally dissatisfied with the music business in general (not that he was ever very happy with it to begin with), particularly with respect to how his efforts at achieving some genuine social good by means of his art, had been spun into yet another means of profit by people whose only interest was monetary gain. This issue is touched on several times throughout this very book.

Ben said...

williamthegreat,

So it is with all men. This is why ethical understanding and conformity to the mind of Christ is something each person must strive for throughout his life, to the very end.

Yes, against our carnality we all (myself included) ought to strive constantly. But when was the last time you heard a liberal talk that way?

Rather, it seems to me that (speaking generally now) a true liberal’s struggle is not so much against carnality as it is to liberate it! He is a rebel - always a rebel - but not against the flesh, nor really, even against the oppression of the downtrodden, but against authority - you know, against ”the man” - as embodied in the most sacred traditions of church and state.

This same proud, defiant spirit of liberalism manifested itself in the so-called Reformation, a spirit which in many ways has shaped our modern misguided form of liberalism. Yet even the Reformers themselves (to give the devil a cautious degree of credit), even they came to see the folly of their teaching and example, though their pride would not allow them to return to the peace of the Church.

As Shakespeare wrote, he was a man, take him for all in all.

Alas.

I idolize [John Lennon] of course, insofar as I'm a musician (along with the other Beatles and Jimmy Page as I've said previously)

Idolatry! Now where’s a good old Calvinist when ya need one? ;)

Seriously though, I too am a huge fan of the Beatles music (to a lesster degree Page et al). I grew up on them. The Beatles’ music in particular was, in many ways, close to genius. Dave is fortunate to be be seeing McCartney live!

As for their politics and thier lifestyles, well... I guess no one's perfect...

But I must draw the line at their shameless plaigerizing of St. Bernard... Beatles Bernard ;)

Ben said...

Continued.

That said, on the whole he [Lennon] had more sound opinions than "idiotic" ones, and was generally very insightful about a good many issues on which he opined.

Well, I guess I could give him credit for this one. ;

That said, with respect to this particular quote I don't really see how it falls in line with the political perspective you seem to imply.

Just that he saw that taking money from the "rich" and mindlessly throwing it at the "poor" is a waste, waste, waste. A perfect example: look at the so-called "war on poverty." Not millions, not billions, but trillions of dollars down the drain ! I have a friend of many years, very intelligent, very liberal, very political, very democrat, pro abortion - the whole thing- yet who actually conceded this point! We are also in agreement that both the Republicans and the Democrats are just at sea vis a vis health care reform. And for this reason.

There's a huge technological revolution occuring in medicine, one that will certainly change everything - "big time" as the saying goes! Really, the whole medical paradigm is shifting. Failed models are being displaced by the enourmous pace of innovation. The age of personalized, targeted, inexpensive (relatively) and truly progressive medicine is dawning. Yet try telling this to our oblivious politicians, even those who syle themselves as "progressive." Why, far from being progressive, their thinking and policies remain frozen in the mid 20th century paradigm (at best)! It's really bizarre. Who advises these people?

One things for sure, whether our leaders know it or not, and for better or for worse, "the times they are a-changin".

But this is a whole 'nother topic...

williamthegreat said...

Ben - "But when was the last time you heard a liberal talk that way?"

Well, I suppose to the extent that I am considered by some to be a liberal, you just have. That said, I'm fortunate to have a fair number of friends who would so identify themselves, Catholic and Protestant alike, and share the same view as the one I expressed. While operationaly I am a liberal, philosophicaly I am quite happy with the designation of realist, accepting the general principles of Scholasticism, from which my political considerations tend to flow.


Ben - "Rather, it seems to me that (speaking generally now) a true liberal’s struggle is not so much against carnality as it is to liberate it! He is a rebel... [against] the most sacred traditions of church and state."

I'll use this opportunity to touch upon certain criticisms where Religion and Politics intersect, which I merely alluded to in my earlier comments.

When that attitude is expressed with regard to the Church, where most individuals are concerned I would say it's due to an associative fallacy more than anything else. Leaving aside the distinctive Catholic teaching on sexual matters (which meets almost universal disagreement outside of Catholicism itself to varying degrees), a great many people dislike Christianity due to a quite rational opposition to things which falsely come to be identified with it. Being able to so easily topple the shoddily constructed worldviews of people like Ray Comfort, Ken Ham, or (sadly) the Prophet Bob, that just seemingly makes Christian moral arguments seem all the less authoritative. It's much easier in the short term to do as we please anyway. We see this sort of nonsense all the time where fringe beliefs are infused into the wider political discussion, under the guise of authentic Christian fidelity. When the candidates in a Republican debate are pilloried for espousing Creationist views by those on the Left, they have my utmost approval.

Then there's that special sort of intellectual insult which only arrant dishonesty can incur. For example, there have been many laws enacted since the ruling of Roe vs. Wade, intended to limit one's ease of access to an elective abortion. These are laws which I personally favour, as I'm sure you do - but then, we're honest about that. When your intent in supporting a piece of legislation is obvious, and I intend to oppose regardless of whatever rhetoric you wish to cloak it in, what is the point in lying about it? Yet, spokespersons of the "religious right" so-called, do just that; and still more in casual conversation. The same for proponents of Intelligent Design (like Mrs.Bachmann here) saying that they only wish to present students with both sides of the issue... of course that's your desire.

As for the sacred traditions of the state, I would only classify them as such in those instances where they enshrine some general principle of natural law. Otherwise, they come and go through the course of history like sand beneath the waves. Otherwise, to whatever degree they may be beneficial, their rejection or retention doesn't concern me very much. Yet, this has more to do with my absolute disdain for that particular brand of ceaseropapism which permiates certain areas of American politics.

williamthegreat said...

Ben - "...not against the flesh, nor really, even against the oppression of the downtrodden, but against authority..."

This is a dialogical misstep in my opinion. Either of us may have our disagreements with self-styled Liberals on particular ethical issues. But to extrapolate from their errors in this regard that the individual has no moral compass at all, and really isn't concerned with the oppression of others is a mistake. I could just as easily say that people on the right, wrap themselves in moralistic garb for a more craven political purpose, and in the case of people like the late Jerry Falwell, I think I would be right. My approach to evangelism, has always been to acknowledge and seize upon the presence of truth and goodness in another's position, and show how it is necessarily incompatible with the errors they simultaneously espouse. (I should note, that I am of course speaking of non-Christian Liberals, since that is who we seem to be discussing). The Liberal's concern for social justice, which would be my own, in no way leads to the moral evil of Abortion, etc. Rather, it is incompatible with it, and that is the point from which a discussion should proceed. Instead, we all too often find some Christians extending their support for a candidate on the right, to the whole of his political philosophy, simply because he is Anti-Abortion, and might succeed at legislating their morality. It's an approach which has succeeded so well over the past thirty years...

Now, am I annoyed with Catholic politicians who legislate contrary to the natural law, as expounded by the Church? Most assuredly. Yet at the same time, I'm far more incensed with candidates who tout their fidelity to the Faith as a guarantor of the rightness of their entire platform. This is what I mean by abuse of the Faith within the political forum.

Ben - "This same proud, defiant spirit of liberalism manifested itself in the so-called Reformation..."

The Reformation did contribute a great deal to the socially and intellectualy stultifying aspects of the Enlightenment, I quite agree. But in modern terms the Reformer's approach to epistemology has far more in common with the "Bible & Flags" crowd in the US, insofar as they exhibit a remarkable ignorance of history and science, which they have no interest in ammending, and a peurile concept of how government and religion should interact. I've known many people (indeed, I come from a family of them) who consider any criticism of the United States, conveniently depending on who is in power, as almost blasphemous. The same is true when it comes to Fundamentalist opinions of Israel. This really should come as no surprise to any serious student of history, as the success of Protestantism throughout Europe, depended less on the supposed orthodoxy of its teaching, and more to the appeal it had for governments that could gain further power and advantages by embracing it.

williamthegreat said...

Ben - "Idolatry! Now where’s a good old Calvinist when ya need one? ;)"

Haha. Probably off having an argument with an Arminian somewhere. They can't really be blamed though, they're not at liberty to do otherwise ;) (Alas, theological jokes can be so amusing for the initiated, eh? lol)

Ben - "Seriously though, I too am a huge fan of the Beatles music (to a lesster degree Page et al). I grew up on them. The Beatles’ music in particular was, in many ways, close to genius. Dave is fortunate to be be seeing McCartney live!"

I would say that the vast majority of their catalogue is genius, to the same degree as that may be said of music which came before. They stand apart in a class all their own within Rock music, which very few have come near. Dave is indeed fortunate, I think we both know he's dying to find some way back stage ;)

Ben - "As for their politics and thier lifestyles, well... I guess no one's perfect... But I must draw the line at their shameless plaigerizing of St. Bernard... ;)"

True, the artist's perfection lies in his creation. That said, they were all four exceptional and very interesting individuals. Personally, I haven't too many disagreements with their politics. As for whatever moral failings they had, that would be their own concern. I'm in no position to cast stones. Haha, the St.Bernard association is very clever indeed!

williamthegreat said...

Ben - "Just that he saw that taking money from the "rich" and mindlessly throwing it at the "poor" is a waste, waste, waste."

Yes, I know that's what you were implying. Within the context of the interview however, that isn't what he meant at all; I own the book. As I said in my earlier comment, John was very bitter towards certain people in the music industry, who had invariably hijacked his previous charitable efforts for monetary gain. It was on this basis, that when a Beatles reunion was suggested for the umpteenth time within the interview, this time with the sweetener that it could be a charity gig, John smacked the notion down in his usual cynical fashion. If the other countries were pouring cash into impoverished places, to very little effect, what good would a Beatles concert do? That's what he was saying. Lest we forget, in Getting Better it was John who wrote the refrain "It couldn't get no worse."

Ben - "Look at the so-called "war on poverty." Not millions, not billions, but trillions of dollars down the drain !"

In certain aspects, Johnson's war on poverty has had its failures, which no one is denying. It has also been successful in many respects as well, principally on an individual level. Initially, it was hampered by the catastrophy that was the Vietnam war. Various blows have been dealt to it since, by administrations that were openly hostile to its objective, and failures to adequately impliment its goals. Did your friend happen to be one of those people who benefited from the various government programs which issued forth from the great society? Because I happen to know a very great deal of them; indeed, I was raised around them, growing up as I did in my parent's church in the inner city. Can things be done more effectively? Definitely. But the programs have not been a waste, and I shan't be jumping aboard the Ayn Rand express at any point, I have too great a rememberence of the indictives present in the Gospels.

Ben said...

williamthegreat,

Well, I suppose to the extent that I am considered by some to be a liberal, you just have. That said, I'm fortunate to have a fair number of friends who would so identify themselves, Catholic and Protestant alike, and share the same view as the one I expressed.

If you regard yourself as a liberal, how then would you define a conservative?

When the candidates in a Republican debate are pilloried for espousing Creationist views by those on the Left, they have my utmost approval

Do you consider “the Left” here to be liberal?

As for the sacred traditions of the state, I would only classify them as such in those instances where they enshrine some general principle of natural law.

Of course! These traditions must enshrine some element of the natural law – that is, after all, what makes them sacred, as opposed to absurd and profane tragedies like Roe v Wade which, must forever excluded.

This is a dialogical misstep in my opinion.

Story of my life, William! ;)

Either of us may have our disagreements with self-styled Liberals on particular ethical issues. But to extrapolate from their errors in this regard that the individual has no moral compass at all, and really isn't concerned with the oppression of others is a mistake.

It would be a rare bird indeed who had absolutely no moral compass! I didn’t mean to imply that.

No one, I'm sure, denies that liberals have a certain natural understanding of, and capacity for, basic ethics and morality, but the liberal's self-righteousness and rebellious nature all but necessitates ethics and morality be on their terms. Liberals refuse ascent to absolutes. The young man in the video above is a (sad) case in point. For him, human life is sacred only if, when, and to the extent he deems it so! Yet I have no doubt he saw himself as at the forefront of social justice issues. Surely this is hypocrisy.

I could just as easily say that people on the right, wrap themselves in moralistic garb for a more craven political purpose, and in the case of people like the late Jerry Falwell, I think I would be right.

People on all sides do that! We all can be hypocritical, and fall short of our standards. But the point is whether one actually has standards, boundaries, and absolutes to begin with, not how perfectly one lives up to them.

Genuine conservatives do have absolutes (else they would not really be conservatives). Liberals, on the other hand, again because of their underlying rebellion to sacred order of things, reject absolutes. Hence for them hypocrisy is simply a matter of expedience, much as it was for their forerunners, the self-styled Reformers, along with lying.

As for Jerry Falwell, what evil did he ever do? Based on what little I knew of him, he seemed a very decent and honorable man (even if misguided in his theology). The Left of course despised him.

The Liberal's concern for social justice, which would be my own, in no way leads to the moral evil of Abortion, etc. Rather, it is incompatible with it…

Liberals just don’t talk like that. Virtually all the liberals I’ve ever known or interacted with have boasted their concern for "social justice,” yet under the cover of that convenient slogan I've heard almost every conceivable abomination rationalized!

too often find some Christians extending their support for a candidate on the right, to the whole of his political philosophy, simply because he is Anti-Abortion, and might succeed at legislating their morality.

Or, as I like to call it, God’s morality! ;)

Ben said...

Continued.

Now, am I annoyed with Catholic politicians who legislate contrary to the natural law, as expounded by the Church? Most assuredly. Yet at the same time, I'm far more incensed with candidates who tout their fidelity to the Faith as a guarantor of the rightness of their entire platform. This is what I mean by abuse of the Faith within the political forum.

But why “far more incensed”? I should think the phony Catholic politician more worthy of contempt. After all, the one who seeks power disingenuously is still far less vile than the one who fills the cattle cars!

the success of Protestantism throughout Europe, depended less on the supposed orthodoxy of its teaching, and more to the appeal it had for governments that could gain further power and advantages by embracing it.

Precisely! That’s the sad legacy.

John [Lennon] was very bitter towards certain people in the music industry, who had invariably hijacked his previous charitable efforts for monetary gain.

But his unhappy experience did have the effect of opening his eyes to a broader understanding of the ways of the world vis a vis social welfare causes. Wouldn’t you agree?

In certain aspects, Johnson's war on poverty has had its failures, which no one is denying. It has also been successful in many respects as well, principally on an individual level.

Given the unprecedented waste involved, I'd say it's been a colossal flop.

Did your friend happen to be one of those people who benefited from the various government programs which issued forth from the great society?

No, not to my knowledge. And are you thinking of a particular program?

williamthegreat said...

Ben - "If you regard yourself as a liberal, how then would you define a conservative?"

It would depend on the group of individuals so identifying themselves. The broadest definition one might offer within American politics, is that of a position which promotes neoliberal economic policies. After all, this is American conservatism's essential element and unifying factor, whatever those who regard ethical matters as the supreme issue of their position may wish to think. For the purpose of our exchange however, I think it's rather apparent that the subject of my criticsm thusfar, has been those who use and politicise the Christian faith as a causative justification for being socially conservative beyond the requirements of objective morality, fanatically patriotic, and anti-intellectual on the whole. Such people are usually neoliberals as well, regarding the lot as a package deal.

Ben - "Do you consider “the Left” here to be liberal?"

That's generally what the term Left tends to denote within American politics. I should apologise for the sentance which led to your question, as it was poorly worded. If it wasn't clear, I meant those on the Left have my support when they deride the psuedo-scientific notions espoused by certain Republican candidates (our lovely Mrs.Bachman here, being one of them).

Ben - "Of course! These traditions must enshrine some element of the natural law – that is, after all, what makes them sacred, as opposed to absurd and profane tragedies like Roe v Wade which, must forever excluded."

I agree. Yet there is a tendancy in some areas on the right, to assert a divine significance or origin for nearly every facet of American culture or history which they highly regard.

Ben - "It would be a rare bird indeed who had absolutely no moral compass! I didn’t mean to imply that."

They aren't so very rare, Calvinists know them as the totally depraved, which as Catholics we would be among (at least for the more extreme variety of Johnny's spiritual progeny).

Ben - "No one, I'm sure, denies that liberals have a certain natural understanding of, and capacity for, basic ethics and morality"

Especially when they also happen to be orthodox Catholics and traditional Protestants.

williamthegreat said...

Ben - "... but the liberal's self-righteousness and rebellious nature all but necessitates ethics and morality be on their terms."

You assume that self-righteousness and rebellion are traits peculiar to Liberals, and that the latter is necessarily negative. Whenever a person actively opposes something they feel to be unjust or otherwise incorrect, especially with respect to political policies or general opinion, they may be said to be in rebellion against it. Whether they are correct in adopting this stance, is relative to the nature of that which they object to, on a case-by-case basis. The entire history of positive cultural, scientific, and political development has as its primary catalyst the rebellion of a few, often against the many and the powerful, for the eventual embetterment of all. As for self-righteousness, it's almost a meaningless term. The ease with which one may bring an accusation of self-righteousness, depends largely on how much he esteems another's point of view. Anyone may be called self-righteous by those who disagree with them. Coupled with arrogance for example, it's one of the pet charges leveled against Catholic apologists, as I know quite well from having been on both sides of the Tiber. People on the right are frequently called self-righteous, especially if they happen to be so unfortunate as to have their personal immoralities brought to light. It's little more than a rhetorical sweetener.

Ben - "Liberals refuse ascent to absolutes."

And we prey upon small children as well, when they're in season. I admit, things would be much easier on the whole if we could divide varying political ideologies up into perfectly neat little partitions, and admit nothing sound as being present in the overal mode of thought exercised by those we disagree with. The reality of life however, is not so simple.

Ben - "The young man in the video above is a (sad) case in point. For him, human life is sacred only if, when, and to the extent he deems it so!"

He was just a young kid who failed to realise the conflict present in his own position. On the one hand, he asserted it would be wrong for a corporation to sell a product, having known beforehand of its potentially fatal defects, and having declined to ammend the design due to financial considerations. The general framework of his argument is quite correct. Why? Because the value of human life outweighs any monetary reward to be gained by intentionally endangering it. His failure lies in not realising how the principle present in this particular case, is a general one to be applied elsewhere. Now, calling back to my previous post, which argument is more well-rounded and persuasive in the case of someone like that kid? The one I just presented (albeit in brief fashion), or letting him know that he and all his other amoral leftie comrades have no sense of moral absolutes? I'm fairly certain someone of his political persuasion would regard the second of these as just more self-righteous preaching from someone who thinks he has everything figured out.

williamthegreat said...

Ben - "Yet I have no doubt he saw himself as at the forefront of social justice issues. Surely this is hypocrisy."

No, it's ignorance. Hypocrisy is far more enetertaining on the whole. Just as an example, let's say you're campaigning to religious conservatives touting that you're Pro-Life, and allowing your political operatives and spokespersons to insinuate that on the basis of this issue alone, conservative Christians have a moral obligation to effectively vote against the Pro-Choice candidate. Then, a few years after you've won the election, you campaign for and support a Pro-Choice candidate in your party's primary, over and against someone who is Pro-Life, because you want his support on other issues. That's precisely what George Bush did with regard to the race between Arlen Spectre and Pat Toomey in 2004.

Ben - "Genuine conservatives do have absolutes..."

Which begs the question as to what renders a conservative genuine. Be that as it may, you're labouring against a phantom premise. I never alleged (as you have) that those with whom I might disagree politically, are without any sense of absolutes, moral or otherwise. Both sides adhere to absolute principles. Error arises not from the entire absence of such principles, but from a failure to apply them in every instance where reason dictates we should.

Ben - " Liberals, on the other hand, again because of their underlying rebellion to sacred order of things, reject absolutes. Hence for them hypocrisy is simply a matter of expedience, much as it was for their forerunners, the self-styled Reformers, along with lying."

This is more of the same, my comments above offer an adequate response.

Ben - "As for Jerry Falwell, what evil did he ever do?"

Apart from his lifelong perpetuation of historical, scientific, and religious ignorance, an impressive back catalogue of racist remarks, the public infusion of his eschatalogical views into matters of foreign policy... nothing that really springs to mind.

williamthegreat said...

Ben - "Liberals just don’t talk like that."

I want you to read these words very carefully, twice if needs be: I just did.

It's at this point where you really ought to start questioning how you view the politics. Because when I clearly express my position in a manner which your political theory vis-a-vis Liberalism and Conservatism, there's something wrong with your theory. When I made the decision to become a Catholic, my entire family was less than pleased, and many an argument ensued. As I would explain the Faith, especially in areas of especial contention with Fundamentalists, such as soteriology or Mariology, one of their common responses was "That's not what Catholics believe!" So convinced were they that their misconceptions were an accurate understanding of Catholicism. Another tendancy they had was...

Ben - "Virtually all the liberals I’ve ever known or interacted with have boasted their concern for "social justice,” yet under the cover of that convenient slogan I've heard almost every conceivable abomination rationalized!"

...yes, that's it. The endless number of Catholic friends who believed the Blessed Mother was a goddess, or who merrily sinned all week long, before going to confession on Saturday and repeating their vices the following week with equal disregard. Then there were the Priests who my family would happen to catch on television, in which case the usual attribution of malicious intentions or deliberate misinformation was soon to follow. Now, that was religion, and we're discussing politics; but whether the matter is theological or philosophical, the errors in reasoning which lead to simplistic distillations of complex realities are quite the same.

The truth is the vast majority of people who identify themselves as either Liberal or Conservative, do so in consideration of a meager quantity of issues, which they only half understand in the first place, being largely influenced by emotive reasoning. If a person isn't particularly fond of religion, he's likely to call himself a Liberal, since he percieves all theists as occupying the seats on the other side of the house. He's wrong of course, but the general perception is good enough for him. Along the way he'll pick up a few terms which he finds himself adept at tossing out in polite conversation, though he has only a slight notion of why they came to be or what their true import is. So what? This is life. The unfortunate reality is that one is likely to find a good deal more 40 watt bulbs in the social chandalier than 120s.

Ben - "But why “far more incensed”? I should think the phony Catholic politician more worthy of contempt."

The term "phony" implies intentional deception, and insofar as we're discussing politicians I can hardly rule that out. On the other hand, in most cases where Catholic politicians deviate from the teaching of the Church, it's due to inadequate catechesis. Many baptised Catholics, due to having receieved a poor instruction in the Faith, believe they are free to hold opinions which the Church has excluded from the issue in question, whatever that may be. I would say though, generally these people do not present their catholicism as the centerpiece of their political platform, for the purpose of attracting votes, neither do they infuse it into every question of policy, which is a tactic people like Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, or Sarah Palin would be politically lost at sea without.

williamthegreat said...

Ben - "After all, the one who seeks power disingenuously is still far less vile than the one who fills the cattle cars!"

And so we have the first instance of Godwin's Law in this discussion, lovely. As members of my family (none of which I knew, obviously) did die in the Holocaust, I'm well aware of what Nazi transport trains looked like, without the need for a superfluous link to a Wikipedia article, which contributes nothing to the discussion at hand.

Ben - "But his unhappy experience did have the effect of opening his eyes to a broader understanding of the ways of the world vis a vis social welfare causes. Wouldn’t you agree?"

No, I wouldn't. Which is why on two previous occasions I stated that I didn't. So let me say for the third time, I own the book, and you are transferring your own political views onto what John was saying in that particular interview, without a sufficient appreciation for the circumstances surrounding it, or his manner of speaking. It's like a Jehovah's Witness saying it's obvious Jesus isn't Almighty God from reading St.Luke 18:19.

Ben - "Given the unprecedented waste involved, I'd say it's been a colossal flop."

Naturally, it was the product of a depraved Liberal worldview.

Ben said...

williamthegreat,

Will: ... the subject of my criticsm thus far, has been those who use and politicise the Christian faith as a causative justification for being socially conservative beyond the requirements of objective morality, fanatically patriotic, and anti-intellectual on the whole.

Ben: Fanatically patriotic? Anti-intellectual? How do you come by such a conclusion? Would Michelle Bachman or Sarah Palin qualify as such in your opinion?

Will: They aren't so very rare, Calvinists know them as the totally depraved, which as Catholics we would be among (at least for the more extreme variety of Johnny's spiritual progeny).

Ben: Good heavens, don’t get me started on Calvin and Calvinism... ;) All you can do for Calvinists is love and pray for them, and hope they'll hate you less and then maybe, just mayby, they'll someday return to sanity! ;)

Will: You assume that self-righteousness and rebellion are traits peculiar to Liberals, and that the latter is necessarily negative.

Ben: Not at all. But here I’m focusing on the kind of hypocritical rebellion as exemplified by that young man in the above video.

Will: The entire history of positive cultural, scientific, and political development has as its primary catalyst the rebellion of a few, often against the many and the powerful, for the eventual embetterment of all.

Ben: Agreed. And I do understand Jeffersons’s “a little rebellion now and then…” and all that – but just so it is indeed rebellion against evil.

Will: He was just a young kid who failed to realise the conflict present in his own position. On the one hand, he asserted it would be wrong for a corporation to sell a product, having known beforehand of its potentially fatal defects, and having declined to ammend the design due to financial considerations. The general framework of his argument is quite correct. Why? Because the value of human life outweighs any monetary reward to be gained by intentionally endangering it. His failure lies in not realising how the principle present in this particular case, is a general one to be applied elsewhere.

Ben: I’m suspect he realized it alright – just that it wasn’t convenient. He made a deliberate, knowing, bad moral choice. I know the type well. I grew up with kids like that. Had countless discussions. All knew exactly what they were espousing.

Now this young man was just being faithful to his left-wing abortionist ideology when he callously declared that human life was not always sacred. Imagine saying such a thing! I think it would be very naive to suppose that he just sorta bumbled into his position, having given little or no thought to what he was espousing, or to the contrary position. Or that he’d never encountered or debated a pro-lifer, or had the slightest awareness of their arguments. Extremely unlikely.

Will: No, it's ignorance. Hypocrisy is far more entertaining on the whole. Just as an example, let's say you're campaigning to religious conservatives touting that you're Pro-Life, and allowing your political operatives and spokespersons to insinuate that on the basis of this issue alone, conservative Christians have a moral obligation to effectively vote against the Pro-Choice candidate. Then, a few years after you've won the election, you campaign for and support a Pro-Choice candidate in your party's primary, over and against someone who is Pro-Life, because you want his support on other issues. That's precisely what George Bush did with regard to the race between Arlen Spectre and Pat Toomey in 2004.

Ben: Sadly, Bush was a disappointment in many ways. But I've come to understand that politians are what they are, no matter how well they may package themselves. Caveat emptor!

Nevertheless, is it not always wrong to knowingly vote for an openly pro-abortion politician? Do you ever vote for pro-abortion candidates?

Ben said...

Continued...

Will: Apart from [Jerry Falwell’s] lifelong perpetuation of historical, scientific, and religious ignorance, an impressive back catalogue of racist remarks, the public infusion of his eschatalogical views into matters of foreign policy... nothing that really springs to mind.

Ben: “Lifelong perpetuation of historical, scientific, and religious ignorance...” Wow! You’ve just described the liberals I've interacted with over the years perfectly! LOL

But Falwell was a product of his times. Yet by God’s grace he seemed to have overcome the worst of his prejudices , and repented of his past sins. Certainly he progressed to a more enlightened understanding of many issues, such as segregation. see this. And really, what are his “sins” in comparison with those of the liberal Democrat party, which has merited for itself the unenviable appellation of the “party of death” for its stance on abortion?

Will: As I would explain the Faith, especially in areas of especial contention with Fundamentalists, such as soteriology or Mariology, one of their common responses was "That's not what Catholics believe!" So convinced were they that their misconceptions were an accurate understanding of Catholicism.

Ben: Well, that’s very unfortunate. But that's hardly me! For my part, I’m not so naive as to not grasp that subtleties, nuances and shades of meaning attach both to individuals and to thier various political and religious systems. And what have I done but state what large numbers of self-professed liberals themselves state – loudly and proudly - vis a vis abortion and the value of human life? And followed by an opinion as to the underlying reasons for these unfortunate beliefs. But what got your attention was my comment about liberal Democrats, endless feigning "concern" for "the poor...". You jumped on that and, well, here we are. I guess I struck a nerve, though I didn't set out to deliberately offend.

Will: And so we have the first instance of Godwin's Law in this discussion, lovely.

Ben: Recall that I began this discussion with an example of a particular kind of liberal, a committed defender of abortion, who generally typifies, I believe, the mindset of the dominant left-wing liberalism current on the political landscape. Now abortion and the Holocaust have been justifiably linked. Liberalism too and abortion are justifiably linked. So the reference to cattle cars (with all its horrors) is appropriate given the Holocaust's relation to and with the topic of abortion vis a vis liberalism.

Will: ... you are transferring your own political views onto what John was saying in that particular interview, without a sufficient appreciation for the circumstances surrounding it, or his manner of speaking.

Ben: If I am, I’m not alone ! Imagine! ;)

Will: Naturally, [Johnson's war on poverty] was the product of a depraved Liberal worldview.

Ben: Naturally! ;)

Neil Parille said...

If you are a Lutheran and do not want to join a modernist church, there is really no option except to join one that believes as WELS does.

In any event, as Dave notes the Catholic Church has strong ties to ultra-liberal "Lutheran" outfits that make of the Lutheran World Federation which, among other things, support abortion, homosexuality and women ministers. Does Fournier object to the Pope's high regard for such liberal organizations?

Neil Parille said...

Dave,

I think Obama has a good choice of being re-elected. The minority and immigrant population, in particular Hispanics, vote overwhelmingly Democratic. It's just a matter of time before the Dems establish a lock on the electoral college.

Dave Armstrong said...

Virtually all Protestant groups espouse and sanction some form of mortal sin, whether it is abortion or contraception or divorce or various practices like sterilization or artificial insemination, or homosexual unions.

So what choice do we have as Catholics? If we wish to have good ecumenical relations with Protestants, then in almost all cases we will have to accept the fact that we are dealing with groups that don't know how to identify and condemn some very serious sins.

What is the WELS stand on contraception, for instance? That is a mortal sin, too. It is calling evil good.