November 30, 2020

Pro-life and Anti-Trump?

I recently ran across a Facebook argument, in which two people I respect (I will call them Mrs. A and Mr. B) took very different positions on voting. Both are thoughtful, intelligent Christians, yet the issue that primarily divided them was on whether abortion was an absolute deal-breaker when it came to voting for the Democratic candidate. To put it in rather stark terms, the question was whether ANY prolife candidate should ALWAYS command the vote of prolife people, regardless of other factors.

Mr. B seemed to answer that question in the affirmative while Mrs. A thought otherwise.

I did not chime in, for I think Facebook fosters division instead of constructive dialogue. But perhaps this forum will be different.

I will make it a little more personal and direct. I am prolife. Does this mean I need to vote for Donald Trump? Can I be prolife without being pro-Trump?

 

Let’s first define our terms a bit. To be prolife means I agree with two propositions:

First, that a human fetus becomes a human life at some point before birth.

Second, that society has a legitimate interest in protecting human life, even through legislation when necessary.

I am not going to argue these points right now. I am simply stating what I mean when I use the term prolife.

What does it mean to be anti-Trump?  For my purposes it means to refuse to vote for him as a presidential candidate. This can mean either voting for the Democratic ticket, voting for a third party, voting for a write-in candidate, or pointedly refraining from voting for the presidential race at all.

 

At face value, the prolife position has received much help from the current president, especially in his judicial appointments. Though Trump has kept less than half of his campaign promises from 2016, in the area of court picks he has delivered.

This fact, from what I can tell, is what will lead many conservative Christians to vote for him, though they may disapprove, or even abhor, his personal life and his divisive and dishonest rhetoric.

But I can think at least three reasons for religious conservatives like myself to not make this bargain.

First, it is not at all clear that the prolife goal will be helped by legislative or judicial action.

What is the goal of the prolife movement? Surely it is to decrease the amount of abortions that occur in our society. Good news: This has actually been accomplished.

The abortion rate has gone down consistently for almost twenty years now. In 2013 it actually dipped lower than the abortion rate before the Roe v. Wade decision (in 1973), and has continued to decline since then.

Let’s ponder this point: The abortion rate today, in 2020, is lower than it was when abortion was not legal nationwide.  And this trend has continued for 20 years, through Democratic and Republican presidents, through Democratic and Republican congresses, and through various iterations of the supreme court.

Why has it gone down? Many factors are in play, not just one. More couples using birth control. The hard work of crisis pregnancy centers. Changes in societal views on abortion, influenced by the prolife movement and better fetal imaging. A declining pregnancy rate among teenagers. Morning after pills. Restricted abortion options in some local communities.

Of these factors, the last is the only one directly controlled by judicial or legislative action. And this factor is the least weighty of the ones I mention.

In other words, the goal of the prolife movement has occurred and is occurring: to reduce the abortion rate in our society. And this has happened regardless of who is in the White House or whom they pick for federal judgeships.

Second, the Supreme Court is unlikely to reverse Roe v Wade anyway, and it is unclear what other abortion-related decisions they would choose to accept to adjudicate, nor how they would decide those cases.

Roe v Wade now has almost 50 years of legal standing. Anyone who keeps an eye on the judicial philosophy of the current court (even if ACB is added) would deem it doubtful that the court would reverse that decision. After all, in the early 90’s eight of the nine justices were Republican appointees, but there was no movement regarding Roe at all.

It’s just not going to happen.

Even if they did reverse Roe v Wade that would not outlaw abortion. Abortion legality would be decided at the state level, as it was before Roe.

Third, it is my opinion that the election of  Donald Trump will actually be a net negative for the pro-life position in the long run, despite his judicial picks.

This is because the prolife movement is about so much more than simply making more laws restricting abortion. It is about helping to create a society that values life more, especially vulnerable human lives, including the unborn. You cannot legislate that. You can only help create it.

How do you do that? By arguing a coherent and consistent prolife viewpoint. By exemplifying the kind of care and compassion for the weak and vulnerable that you are advocating for. By thoughtfully and compassionately caring for the women that may be in difficult situations. By displaying a concern for the weak and vulnerable in other situations than the unborn. And by prayer.

At its best, the prolife movement has done some of these much better than our opponents want to give us credit for. I have seen, and participated in, crisis pregnancy centers ministering to women (and men) in diverse ways. And this is, I think, part of the reason the abortion rate has fallen.

But look at those five things now. To which of those has Donald Trump contributed? Would not a dispassionate observer sense that his effect has been the exact opposite on several of these?

My concern is not primarily about him. It is about the prolife movement and how he affects it.

How can we maintain any kind of moral consistency about biblical values, or even traditional family values, when so many of us vote for a man who has cheated on all three of his wives, and who said that sleeping around while avoiding STD’s was his “personal Vietnam”? And without that moral consistency, how can we have any ability to argue in the areas of personal morality, or help create the kind of worldview in our society that takes the morality of abortion seriously?

How can we pretend our concern for the unborn is part of a holistic concern for the dignity of all human life, when we vote for a man who mocks the disabled, and called reportedly soldiers who died for their country “suckers” and “losers”?

How can we say we care about the value of women, all women, and object to their objectification when we vote for a man who boasts about sexually assaulting women, and refers to 15 year old girls as “a piece of ass”? And who, by the way, does not repent of these things.

I could go on. But why? Let me just ask you to give an honest answer to this question: Do you sense the prolife movement has been more prayerful, more compassionate, more consistent, more morally persuasive…than it was four years ago?

And…perhaps more to the point…how would society at large answer that question?

Politics, including the politics of abortion, is downstream from culture. Any legislative victories the prolife movement does achieves in the next few years will be short-lived indeed if the culture does not become increasingly prolife as well.

So, to wrap up, the president’s judicial picks are not likely to significantly change how many women get abortions, both because the court will not overturn Roe, and because the abortion rate is already decreasing dramatically without judicial action. But a prolife movement without a moral compass is lost.

Does this mean we should all vote for Joe Biden? Of course not. There are many issues and many options. What it means, if I am right, is that we should vote for our president not solely on the grounds of his judicial picks. It is certainly possible to be prolife and not be pro-Trump.

Comments

  1. I’m pro-choice so I don ‘t suppose I have much to contribute to this conversation other than to hope the pro-lifers among address Daniel’s actual question and not let this become another long argument over abortion rights. I look forward to the conversation.

  2. I think if we’re talking pro-all-life, the fact that he hasn’t started any new wars counts in his favour.
    Of course, it’s very low praise, but the bar is not set high with US presidents.

    Also, I suspect that Kamala Harris is plenty more right-wing than Trump.

    But I’m not in the US, so you’ll have to sort it out for yourselves 🙂

    • Re: Trump hasn’t started any new wars: He’s trying real hard to start one here in the U.S.

      • Our country’s deep divisions existed long before Donald Trump ran for office. Barring a miraculous intervention form the Lord, I suspect they will be around long after President Trump leaves office, whether that takes place in January 2021 or January 2025.

        I recently read a history book which examined conditions between 1859 and 1863, concentrating on one county in Pennsylvania and one county in Virginia. I saw a number of disturbing parallels between the pre-Civil War period and what is happening today, although our current division is over much different issues and circumstances. The book, by the way, is In the Presence of Mine Enemies: The Civil War in the Heart of America, 1859-1863 by Edward L. Ayers. It’s a long but worthwhile read. (Ayers is a former history professor and dean at the University of Virginia who later served as president of the University of Richmond.)

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > Our country’s deep divisions existed long before

          Serious Question: Why do “we” expect a nation of 310 millions souls, spanning multiple climactic zones, regions of wildly differing economics, composed from myriad histories, NOT to be deeply divided?

          Second Question: Why does a particular demographic slice of the population have such a strong PERCEPTION that at some point in recent history “we” were NOT deeply divided? [*1]

          [*1] the whole “once upon a time we all read the same newspapers and watched Walter Cronkite on the TV networks…. but now SOCIAL MEDIA!”, blah blah yada yada yawn.

        • thatotherjean says

          Thank you for the book recommendation! There is now a copy on my Kindle Fire.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          What makes you think it’ll be in Jan 2021 or 2025?

          “President for Life… We really need to try that here.”
          — Donald J Trump (PHHN), referring to Xi of China

          And/or passing the Oval Office to Don Junior or Ivanka as an inheritance.

    • It’s not for lack of trying. At one point, planes were on their way to bomb Iran before he changed his mind. I think we may learn in the future how many times cooler heads prevailed over his impulsive tantrums.

      • Well then maybe his incompetence is a plus here, because they sure didn’t stop Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and so on down the line.

    • That Trump lacks the knee-jerk impulse to invade random countries is his one redeeming feature. And yes, Democrats sometimes invade random countries. But the biggest example by far in recent decades came under Bush the Younger.

      • Who was also motivated by evangelical (in this case foreign) policy concerns.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          And “Evangelical foreign policy concerns” are exclusively motivated by End Times Prophecy Fulfillment.

          i.e. Jump-Start Armageddon.

          • Jump-Start Armageddon.
            Yep. It’s at the heart of so much of what has happened in this country since the 70s.

            And when I bring this up to people, more times than not, I get strange looks. I know they think I’ve gone off the deep end.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              They have never experienced Christians For Nuclear War.
              “It’s Prophesied! It’s Prophesied!”

      • To be fair to Bush II, there was 9/11. I suspect that was the jump-start, not any particular religious considerations.;

        • This would be a better argument had Iraq anything to do with 9/11. Or, for that matter, if it had WMDs. Neither was in fact the case, as was well known to anyone paying attention and having no ideological compulsion to believe otherwise.

          • Back then I trusted the government more. The Iraq war is one thing among many that has made me very cynical toward the government, no matter who’s in power. I know we need one, I just don’t trust it much.

  3. Sorry, Trump will get in
    He holds all the cards and knows how to play them

    I have no time for him and his mania
    I hope the polls are right and Biden is elected

    His presidency will be for the good of the whole world
    I see Trump just wanting to secure his and maybe his family’s future.
    B……. the rest of us
    I think it is beyond prayers
    Just vote for Biden
    Susan

    • Christiane says

      yes, there is a chance T will win, so people are prepared for that outcome

      but he will go on a rampage of attacking those who opposed him in a way that is much worse than what is now seen because he will think he has a mandate to do it

      the covid will rise, people will continue to die, the economy will fail and there is talk of the removal of affordable health care as well as the eventual removal of Social Security and Medicare under Trump rule (he will have the Senate and the SCOTUS in his corner, so there will be no ‘checks and balances’ on his destruction of our norms and our ‘safety nets’

      that’s the forecast if he wins;

      but if Biden wins, there will be ‘changes’ depending on whether or not the Senate changes to democratic majority
      but the light will come out again on peoples’ faces and there will be no more ‘hate rallies’ to witness 🙂

      two weeks, Susan, and yes I voted Biden proudly as my dear husband would have done if he had not passed away

      good news: lines are very long weeks before the Nov 3rd deadline to vote and this bodes well for Biden, you bet

      pray for us, Susan, it’s hard to believe what has happened to us under trump

      His ‘send your kids to school’ proves to me he has no conscience about preserving innocent life

      we still don’t have enough tests for covid available, and our first responders and medical people are still overwhelmed – please pray for us and thanks for thinking about us – you take care for your own health also

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Sorry, Trump will get in
      He holds all the cards and knows how to play them

      And the Christians will Rejoice.
      “AAAAAAAA-MENNNNN!!!! HE IS LOOOOOORD!!!!! AND HIS KINGDOM SHALL HAVE NO END!!!!!”

      • As I’ve previously said, I suspect much of the evangelical support for Donald Trump in 2016 was based on “lesser of the evils,” so to speak. I expect this will be the case again in 2020. Sure, there are some high-profile evangelicals and charismatics who sing Mr. Trump’s praises, but for rank-and-file evangelicals it’s another choice between two deeply flawed major party candidates.

  4. Susan Dumbrell says

    We in Australia get a full insight each morning itemising the latest possible probables of each party and I go in quick search of strong coffee.
    The third debate will be broadcast live to us on Thursday.
    I may live thousands of miles away from the US
    But we feel your pain and apprehension.
    OK, I will pray
    Susan

    • At least this time the moderators will have a functional mute switch. :-/

      • Let’s hope that they use it. Although a cone of silence may be more functional.

      • I think they should not use it. And Biden should sit back and smirk at DT while he rants and raves.

        But not sure Biden could pull it off.

        • thatotherjean says

          If I understand tonight’s news, the mute switch will only be used for two minutes for each candidate, while the other is answering the question for that segment, posed by the moderator. The other eleven minutes of the segment will still be a free-for-all, which will mean Trump yelling and talking over Biden, like last time.

  5. Just yesterday a pro-life Pentecostal coworker of mine who voted for Trump the last time said, in response to the possibility that Trump’s Supreme Court might undo Obamacare, “That’s why I voted for Trump.” I believe many American Christian Trump supporters have the same attitude; if so, then so much for a consistent pro-life ethic being the motivation to not vote for Trump this time. Add to that the expressed concern about “religious liberty” — i.e., Christian privilege/Christian culture war — being curtailed by a Democratic victory, and you’ll see roughly the same percentage of Christians supporting Trump in this election.

    Also: the morning after pill is considered to be morally equivalent to abortion by those who insist that life begins at conception, and that seems to be the position of the “pro-life” movement as a whole; that its use has reduced the rate of abortion will not make any difference to their support for Trump.

    • Btw, many pro-lifers also consider some oral contraceptives to be abortifacients, and so morally equivalent to surgical abortion; hence, any decrease in the rate of abortion due to the use of those oral contraceptives would be considered to be as morally unacceptable as abortion.

      • I knew we were in for a ride when I started hearing random right-wingers who typically balk at words of three syllables talking about “abortifacients.” Riddle me this: Have they really made an informed, considered, and coherent assessment of these methods of contraception? Or was it really about sex all along, punishing those slutty sluts for their slutty sluttiness?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          It was. As someone with a strong case of Virgin/Whore Dichotomy, I recognize the pattern. WIth or WIthout the Leviticus Quotes.

        • These terms are created by people who have less medical training and knowledge than me. (My training was in electrical engineering.)

          But I read enough enough to know that most of these tenets are nonsense. They just totally ignore the biological facts.

          And don’t get me started on how many fertilized eggs “give up” within a few weeks. Many of the laws these folks propose would allow for prosecution of women for going on a run or just leading a strenuous life. You had sex then the next week did too much laundry and miscarried. Please appear for arraignment and a medical at 2:00pm Thursday.

          As one female doctor wrote in an opinion piece in the Washington Post a couple of years ago, are they really going to start examining menstrual pads to see if there’s a fertilized egg hiding there or not? Because that would be the only way to enforce some of these laws.

        • “Riddle me this: Have they really made an informed, considered, and coherent assessment of these methods of contraception?”
          No. I can tell you, no. Almost any contraceptive is considered an abortifacient. Frozen embryos are considered the same as you or me and to destroy those that are not used is considered murder.

          I was with a group of very pro-life women a few years ago when, imagine, the topic of heartbeat laws came up. They were 100% in favor. I posited that great care needed to be taken in writing these types of laws so that every woman who miscarries doesn’t end up under investigation. “Oh, that won’t happen! Nobody would do that!” was the reaction.
          So, no. They don’t often make an informed, considered, and coherent assessment of any of it.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            “Oh, that won’t happen! Nobody would do that!” was the reaction.

            “First they came for the Jews…”

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > …so much for a consistent pro-life ethic…

      Exactly this. The “pro-life movement” is nakedly disingenuous. Politically, at this point, they are their own worst enemy.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        They’ve been that since they hit the big time during the Reagan Years.

        I was on the fringe of the movement back then, and I noticed every pro-life group had their own One True Way of stopping THEM from murdering pre-born BABIES.
        * National Right To Life Committee — Elect a REPUBLICAN President who WILL appoint a Supreme Court that WILL Overturn Roe v Wade. (The GOP picked up on this and strung the Christians along with this promise for 40 years. If Trump (PHHN) hadn’t actually jumped the gun and done it, they could have strung them along for 100+ years.)
        * American Life League — NRLC on Crystal Meth and Steroids. I remember their telemarketers threatening me with Eternal Hell during the Bork Confirmation Circus. That if I didn’t fork over the $$$$$ to Get Bork Confirmed, “GOD WILL HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE FOR EVERY PRE-BORN CHILD MURDERED!!!!!” That was when I broke contact with The Movement.
        * Operation Rescue — “IF YOU DON’T GO TO JAIL WITH US FOR BLOCKING ABORTUARIES,
        YOU’RE ONE OF THEM!!!!!

        And all these groups were fighting each other over Who Was REALLY Pro-Life. The Universe cannot have Two Centers (or Two ONE TRUE WAYS).

        There was only one consistency across the movement. COERCION. All of them were to Stop Abortion by Force. “hard power” Force of LAW or “soft power” of Intimidation. All of them demanded Total Commitment to The Cause. And several had other Culture War Issues piggybacking on the main event. (Back then it was The Satanic Panic — a Vast Cabal of Satanists who controlled EVERYTHING and were after Our Christian Children for Ritual Sex Abuse and Human Sacrifice — Just like WITCHCRAFT during the Burning Times! Just Ask Mike Warnke!)

        I remember a radio editorial by Tony Campolo that posed the question “And If We Win? After we’ve Stopped Abortion by Force; After we’ve Crushed the Homosexuals; After we’ve Forced Prayer Back In Schools, After we’ve Established Our CHRISTIAN Nation by coercion; then what happens when we try to Witness for Christ to those we’ve smacked down?”

        • there is ONE OTHER ‘consistency’ to the whole ‘stop abortion’ political movement a la right-wing evangelical fundamentalist leadership, this:

          ‘it won’t cost the tax payers money . . . . abortion doctors will be prosecuted, so it will be ‘controlled’ in that way, and for the women who seek abortions illegally, well THEY will each have to pay their own way and the butchery tables that await them will be their punishment for sure. We ‘tax-payers’ will get off without any costs.’

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            “And the Christian Taxpayers can point fingers and go “WE THANK THEE, LOOOOOOOORD, THAT WE ARE NOTHING LIKE THOSE FILTHY BABY-MURDERING SLUTTY SLUTS OVER THERE…”

    • > Also: the morning after pill is considered to be morally equivalent to abortion by those who insist that life begins at conception

      For what it’s worth, the scientific consensus seems to be that the morning after pill actually prevents conception rather than terminating an already-fertilized ovum. Or more precisely, the consensus is that there is no good evidence beyond “speculation” that the morning after pill could be considered an abortifacient:

      https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/may/does-plan-b-cause-abortion.html

      But then again, if what pro-lifers cared about was preventing termination of a pregnancy, they’d be in favor of contraceptives that prevent that pregnancy in the first place. The fact that they aren’t shows that their agenda is somewhat different…

      • white supremacy?
        ‘OUR’ people?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          CHRISTIANS(TM).

          I have noticed that all the strategy and tactics come down to BY FORCE. Take POWER and Shove Righteousness Down Their Heathen Throats. PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH!

          In the name of a God of Wrath who’s also obsessed with SMITE! SMITE! SMITE! PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH!

        • ‘lebensborn’ babies of ‘pure blood’

    • How cruel of your fellow worker IMO.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        That is a BIG part of Trumpism’s appeal.
        “STICK IT TO ‘EM! STICK IT TO ‘EM!”

        And the cruelty is part of the appeal. Trump’s example gives sanction from On High to do what is normally forbidden, act out what is normally taboo.

        In the first chapter of his The Violence Within, Swiss psychologist Paul Tournier illustrated how Fascism gave permission to do what is normally forbidden — be violent — for Il Duce and The Cause.

        When Extra Sci-Fi presented Dune, they called it “Rule by Vice” in relation to House Harkonnen’s power base. Besides the stick of harsh PUNISHments, the carrot of giving the OK to breaking such normal cultural taboos.

        Sex and Violence are usually opposites; where you are pro-one you are anti-the other. The sanction for cruelty mentioned above is anti-sex (those slutty sluts acting slutty) but is a mirror reflection of the pro-SEX (Do It! Do It! Do It till you’re Satisfied!) of The Enemy.

        • i honestly never knew “Christians” could be as openly cruel or supportive of cruelty as they have been the last four years. I feel very deceived by them. i used to consider myself evangelical but not any more.

          • The spirit of the anti-christ that has duped them is now thriving in that community. Awful to see. Christ has left some of their hearts and souls, at least temporarily. Pray for them.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            i honestly never knew “Christians” could be as openly cruel or supportive of cruelty as they have been the last four years.

            It’s called RIGHTeousness.

    • thatotherjean says

      Robert F., your Pentecostal worker wants higher healthcare costs that don’t cover pre-existing conditions? Why?

      • He says it’s a matter of personal responsibility. He says people have to take responsibility for themselves, fo their own health and welfare, and depending on the government makes the government more powerful and the individual weaker and more dependent. He says…

        • thatotherjean says

          I suspect he would be saying something very different if he or a member of his family came down with a nasty case of COVID-19 and spent a few weeks in the ICU, with a substantial amount of time on a ventilator. Along with what medications are available for the general public (Trump got several that are not), the costs of a hospital stay like that can run well over $100,000. I can’t imagine trying to pay for that without either insurance or universal health care. And not just that, but any complications that lasted from COVID-19 would be counted as a “pre-existing condition” for the rest of his life and not covered.

          I don’t think your co-worker has thought his stand on personal responsibility through very well. One of the reasons the government exists is to help people in situations where they find themselves unable to help themselves. I think a pandemic should count as one of those.

  6. Adam Tauno Williams says

    > Do you sense the prolife movement has been more prayerful …
    > than it was four years ago?

    No. Myself, and the great majority of my peers, dismiss the “pro-life movement” as disingenuous; the “pro-life movement” uses their “anti-aborition” rhetoric as a cover for their White Supremacy. Polling of Evangelicals show that “The Economy” and “Immigration” out-rank “Abortion” as their political priorities. And then there are the types of candidates the “pro-life movement” chooses to affiliate itself with.

    > how would society at large answer that question?

    The data speaks for itself (61% support “abortion should be legal in all or most cases”). There isn’t really a question here – this is a topic which is polled and researched in an endless loop. The “pro-life movement” is not winning.

    > Any legislative victories the prolife movement does achieves in the
    > next few years will be short-lived indeed if the culture does not
    > become increasingly prolife as well.

    The culture CURRENTLY is very pro-life – – – see the data presented right here in this post.

    There is no “pro-abortion movement”, however desperately the “pro-life movement”‘s fever dreams wishes that there were.

  7. Burro (Mule) says

    My position is pro-life, anti-war, anti-unlimited immigration, yet I voted for Joe Biden, at considerable cost to my marital peace. I posted this late on Sunday, but I’ll embellish it a bit for today.

    My wife is one of those “Trump people”. I voted for the other idiot.

    Last week, I voted against a weak and vain man with whom I hold many policy positions in common. I loathe foreign adventuring, our current ally-ally-in-come-free immigration policy. The Democratic party , as far as I can see, is the party of Black people and the Sexual Revolution. How responsive it has been to the concerns of Black people I am not able to discern. My guess is not very. However, the Democrats have leaned over backward to distance themselves from anything resembling the sexual constitution ante 1973. For this reason alone it can never be a party I will feel at home in. There are now more single and divorced people in America than married, and they vote Democratic. Their married cohorts; Republican. There was no “gender gap” in 2016. It was a marriage gap. There may be one now. Anyway, I didn’t vote for Trump because, bluntly, he isn’t a good President. He isn’t good at the job. He doesn’t know how to ‘play the game’ He doesn’t set a good example, and he spends money like a drunken sailor.

    The man for whom I actually cast my vote is an amiable, mediocre sort of guy who has been in politics all my adult life. He has never had to meet a payroll. He is tied deeply to two existential threats to the American body politic; the pharmaceutical industry and credit card companies. He appears to have let one of his entitled, pampered kids loose in a part of the world I have an intense interest in, a part of the world that has already suffered deeply by coming between a ruthless dictator (with whom I share a communion cup) and a vampiric plutocracy slavering to capitalize its resources, and those of its neighbor, the dictator’s country.

    He will prove incapable of bringing America together. He is the epitome, the incarnation, of Democratic establishment politics. 2024 America will be browner, but not more “rainbow”. It will be as Balkanized as south Florida, Diversity Heaven if you can afford your own security, cabrones.

    I already regret my vote, but I’m glad Trump listened to somebody with sense and nominated Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court. I have been watching her confirmation hearings and I am duly impressed, more than I was by Gorsuch and far more than I was by Kavanaugh. She exhibits incredible grace and presence under fire. I wish she was running for President. Maybe. following Thomas Brooks here, we won’t need the randy old buffoon once we have her.

    Also, sometimes I think that the lot of you are really lazy, sentimental post-Christians in the sense that Richard Beck A href=https://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2020/08/human-dignity-beyond-sentiment-part-1.html> so masterfully laid out a couple of months ago. It’s one thing to go all gooey about ‘kids in cages’, its another when that “family” has been paroled to your neighborhood and that same kid is scratching around the perimeter of your house looking for entry.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > pro-life, anti-war, anti-unlimited immigration, yet I voted for Joe Biden

      “Yet”? I’d consider all three of those to be Biden’s positions.

      • Also, contra Burro, Biden shows no signs of being an idiot.

        • thatotherjean says

          +10

        • He might not show signs of being an idiot, but there are some signs that, if elected, he might not have full cognizance four years from now.

          Lord have mercy.

          • This was true of Reagan, in his second term. So how, granting the premise for the sake of discussion, would this play out? In a functional administration there are adults in the room, gently guiding the process along, wherever on the continuum of senior moments to outright dementia the case might be. But this requires a functional administration. Only one party is equipped to provide that.

            • Agreed! And with Biden, at least I can have SOME optimism that he’ll surround himself with staff who are capable and won’t be fired every other week because Biden didn’t like something they said or suggested!

      • thatotherjean says

        +1

    • I commend you Muley. Your vote was principled and thoroughly thought out out. No one can accuse you of anything other. Not even your dear wife. If the entire electorate voted with the deliberation you engaged in the election would be a landslide for the Democrat but the tenor of the thing would not be obnoxious would but rather sober.

  8. Burro (Mule) says

    My position is pro-life, anti-war, anti-unlimited immigration, yet I voted for Joe Biden, at considerable cost to my marital peace. I posted this late on Sunday, but I’ll embellish it a bit for today.

    My wife is one of those “Trump people”. I voted for the other idiot.

    Last week, I voted against a weak and vain man with whom I hold many policy positions in common. I loathe foreign adventuring, our current ally-ally-in-come-free immigration policy. The Democratic party , as far as I can see, is the party of Black people and the Sexual Revolution. How responsive it has been to the concerns of Black people I am not able to discern. My guess is not very. However, the Democrats have leaned over backward to distance themselves from anything resembling the sexual constitution ante 1973. For this reason alone it can never be a party I will feel at home in. There are now more single and divorced people in America than married, and they vote Democratic. Their married cohorts; Republican. There was no “gender gap” in 2016. It was a marriage gap. There may be one now. Anyway, I didn’t vote for Trump because, bluntly, he isn’t a good President. He isn’t good at the job. He doesn’t know how to ‘play the game’ He doesn’t set a good example, and he spends money like a drunken sailor.

    The man for whom I actually cast my vote is an amiable, mediocre sort of guy who has been in politics all my adult life. He has never had to meet a payroll. He is tied deeply to two existential threats to the American body politic; the pharmaceutical industry and credit card companies. He appears to have let one of his entitled, pampered kids loose in a part of the world I have an intense interest in, a part of the world that has already suffered deeply by coming between a ruthless dictator (with whom I share a communion cup) and a vampiric plutocracy slavering to capitalize its resources, and those of its neighbor, the dictator’s country.

    He will prove incapable of bringing America together. He is the epitome, the incarnation, of Democratic establishment politics. 2024 America will be browner, but not more “rainbow”. It will be as Balkanized as south Florida, Diversity Heaven if you can afford your own security, cabrones.

    I already regret my vote, but I’m glad Trump listened to somebody with sense and nominated Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court. I have been watching her confirmation hearings and I am duly impressed, more than I was by Gorsuch and far more than I was by Kavanaugh. She exhibits incredible grace and presence under fire. I wish she was running for President. Maybe. following Thomas Brooks here, we won’t need the randy old buffoon once we have her.

    Also, sometimes I think that the lot of you are really lazy, sentimental post-Christians in the sense that Richard Beck so masterfully laid out a couple of months ago. It’s one thing to go all gooey about ‘kids in cages’, its another when that “family” has been paroled to your neighborhood and that same kid is scratching around the perimeter of your house looking for entry.

    • “He will prove incapable of bringing America together. He is the epitome, the incarnation, of Democratic establishment politics. 2024 America will be browner, but not more “rainbow”. It will be as Balkanized as south Florida”

      Perhaps, but the lions share of the blame will fall on white Christians for that. We have neither worked for reconciliation nor been willing to yield our privileges. The outcome of that, from a biblical prophetic perspective, was never in doubt.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Instead, we have Thrown Our Weight Around when Trump handed us the chance to Be On Top, to be The Court Favorites of The King. “WE. WIN.”

        Here Ahuramazda, There Ahriman, To The Death.

    • > There are now more single and divorced people in America than married, and they vote Democratic

      You’re actually completely wrong about that; the divorce rate is much *higher* in red states than blue ones:

      https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/674703

      Seriously, how can you believe that conservatives are champions of family values and purity? Have you *looked* at their poster boy recently?

      • Also:

        > It’s one thing to go all gooey about ‘kids in cages’, its another when that “family” has been paroled to your neighborhood and that same kid is scratching around the perimeter of your house looking for entry.

        Can someone please MODERATE out this sentence? This kind of racist and xenophobic language painting kids as criminals just because of their race or origin is completely unacceptable.

        It’s worth noting that immigrants in general, and illegal immigrants in particular, actually commit a lot *fewer* crimes than natural-born citizens, for reasons that would be pretty obvious if you thought about it – breaking the law carries much higher risks for them than for the average white person.

        • Burro (Mule) says

          Yet it wasn’t a white person, nor an African American, on my security camera, nor my neighbor’s

          I know policy isn’t the plural of anecdote, but actually…

        • Agreed. There is absolutely no need for this kind of speculative inflammatory nonsense. It is out of order.

        • Mule has freely thrown around racist slurs in reference to Black people several times over the last few weeks here at iMonk; he’s exploring his license.

      • Burro (Mule) says

        Practically nobody these days is the champion of family values and purity these days by my lights, so don’t shake ‘conservatives’ in my face. Yelling ‘boo’ at me about patriarchy and traditional sex roles is like threatening Br’er Rabbit with the briar patch.

        I’m really kind of a kinder, gentler Gilead. If I could rule by ukase, everybody would be free to pursue their own eros, but all of the carrots would go to traditional, male-led, heterosexual, child-producing families.

        • Believe me, we *know* you are a patriarchal traditionalist. What we’re trying to tell you is that God is NOT, and therefore it’s no big deal if society isn’t either.

          • Burro (Mule) says

            You all aren’t very persuasive, then. Should I not be allowed my preferences?

            • If your preferences negatively impact others, no. Government and Jesus say so. Which reminds me… I attempt to ground my positions on Scripture, and especially the Gospels. I rarely hear any substantive reasons for *your* preferences, other than “I like them” and “We’ve always done it this way.” So you are, in general, far *less* persuasive.

              • Burro (Mule) says

                Oh, there’s plenty of Scripture. You call them ‘clobber verses’ and euchre them away with sophistries. They are well known to just about everybody here, since they’ve been a Verdun salient for the past 40 years.

                1 Timothy 2:12 – But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

                Colossians 3:18 – Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

                1 Corinthians 11:12 – For as the woman [is] of the man, even so [is] the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

                1 Peter 3:1 – Likewise, ye wives, [be] in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

                Ephesians 5:22-33 – Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

                1 Corinthians 14:34-35 – Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law. (Read More…)

                Genesis 3:16 – Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

                1 Peter 3:7 – Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

                Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

                Luke 8:1-3 – And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve [were] with him,

                Ephesians 5:23 – For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

                I live in a hierarchical universe. Scripture is going to mean different things to me than they do to you, because we put them into different containers.

                • Hey, I got you to quote Scripture! Progress!

                  NOW we can discuss why those verses don’t mean what you think they mean. Culture, language, axiom of hermeneutics, progressive (,pun intended) revelation, etc.

                  Up for it? 🙂

                  • Burro (Mule) says

                    This requires a year of response or none, and I would have to be paid for it.

                    If you can do it quickly…

                  • Patriciamc says

                    Funny how Ephesians 5:21(submit to one another), Galatians 3:28 (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”) nor any of the examples of women praying and prophesying conveniently didn’t make his list. Nor is there any discussion of how Paul can’t create doctrine, just explain it, like how the Ephesian verses are examples of Christ’s command to love one another.

                    It never fails, ever. The most manly man who advocates for sole male leadership always has a wife who wears the pants at home. Always. The more they deny, the more certain it is.

                    • It’s often happens when an incel somehow gets married.

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                      It never fails, ever. The most manly man who advocates for sole male leadership always has a wife who wears the pants at home.

                      And they lash out against anything without a dick or Y chromosome, since they dare not lift a finger against She Who Must Be Obeyed. “ME MAN! RAWR!”

                      Now THAT is one sicko dynamic.

                      Like that one serial killer (I think his name was Kemper) who was brutally abused by his Mommy Dearest. He took it all out on all those Santa Cruz coeds he targeted.

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                      It never fails, ever. The most manly man who advocates for sole male leadership always has a wife who wears the pants at home. Always. The more they deny, the more certain it is.

                      John Norman, author of all those “GOR” books.
                      (Male Supremacist WIsh-fulfillment sword-and-planet fantasy novels – “The Gor series repeatedly depicts men abducting and physically and sexually brutalizing women, who grow to enjoy their submissive state.”.)
                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gor

                      Oral History about John Normain SF litfandom:
                      The one time I heard of him attending a litcon to meet his adoring fans, he was the classic cartoon mousy henpecked husband of a battleaxe. “Yes, Dear.. Yes, Dear… Anything you say, Dear,,, Yes, Dear…”

                • Is that hierarchical universe a construct of your own mind?

                  • Burro (Mule) says

                    To quote Randy Newman’s theme to the ‘Monk’ series:

                    “I could be wrong, but I don’t think so”

                • I’ve learned that Paul’s epistles are best read COMPLETELY to get the complete context of their entirety, rather than picking one line or two and holding them aloft like some sort of revelation.

                • Patriciamc says

                  Hey Manly Man, you forgot Ephesians 6:5:

                  Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.

                  I hope your wife wears a headcovering.

        • The “marriage gap” you’re talking about isn’t because of liberalism. It’s (largely) because of men who have failed to grow up into men, and who instead are stuck in a “boys will be boys” adolescent masculinity that makes them incapable of succeeding in adult relationships, workplaces, or communities. And that phenomenon is *much* more pronounced among conservative men than progressive men, as the Trump era has made painfully clear.

          • Burro (Mule) says

            The man problem, and I admit there is a very grave and serious one, will not be solved by women.

          • I would add the evisceration of the middle class from our country as a primary driver of divorce and family dysfunction.

            • Burro (Mule) says

              That’s a very interesting point, but one has to ask which is cause and which is effect, or whether it is coincidence.

              I don’t know enough about family dynamics during the 1930s to pontificate. I had heard that the Great Depression took a real toll on family life.

          • It’s (largely) because of men who have failed to grow up into men, and who instead are stuck in a “boys will be boys” adolescent masculinity that makes them incapable of succeeding in adult relationships, workplaces, or communities.

            While that may be true for some young men, there are plenty of others who’d like to settle down and marry but are burdened by a lack of decent-paying jobs and/or significant student loan debt. By the way, plenty of young women also face similar burdens.

      • Tom Parker says

        That they can even say he is the focal person for family values and purity shows how off they are IMO.

        • Burro (Mule) says

          Trump is no conservative.

          I knew I shoulda pushed harder for Ted Cruz or even Marco Rubio. These past four years have been a Via Dolorosa for conservatives.

          My dear wife is no conservative. She has no problem with using coercive government power to make people behave the ‘right way’. I have more sympathy with this approach than the current zeitgeist that lets people do whatever comes into their fool heads. However, a government that’s strong enough to enforce my preferred behavior is strong enough to do some real damage when the ‘other guys’ get in power as they inevitably will. Being from South America, where they change constitutions like underwear, she is used to this. I understand her. Government exists to make bad people suffer.

          Maybe a massive rebuke of Trump from the electoral college will give us the space we need to frame a genuine, principled conservative party on the ashes of the old GOP.

          • the GOP laid down and died before Trump who bent the knee to Putin our arch enemy

            any resurrection of the GOP that folded under Trump might not be worth having

            now in my father’s day, there were honorable men in the GOP and although McCain might have been the last of them, they existed, they were real and they wouldn’t have followed Putin’s puppet no way

            That’s the GOP our country could use – McCain’s sort – but they don’t make ’em anymore, do they?

            • The GOP can never again be Grand. They are a bunch of brain eaten zombies. Good riddance.

              I would love to see our political Duopoly busted up. A multiplicity of parties requires coalition building and that takes communication and compromise.

          • thatotherjean says

            As usual, Mule, I disagree with just about every word you write–except that last sentence. At least we agree on that. The present Republican party is wholly taken over by Trump, and needs to be burned to the ground. Perhaps something more principled, and willing to work for the country instead of for the continuation of its own power, can rise from the ashes.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              Jesus Christ became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the GOP, which then became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Trump Family. And its Paterfamilias.

              Trump has done what no Caesar was able to do — even the Nazarenes bend the knee and burn the pinch of incense to His Divine Genius!

      • thatotherjean says

        Indeed.

    • The Democratic party , as far as I can see, is the party of Black people and the Sexual Revolution. How responsive it has been to the concerns of Black people I am not able to discern.

      The Democratic Party has also, at one time or another, supported slavery, grandfather clauses, poll taxes, Jim Crow laws and Massive Resistance. (I ought to know; I grew up in the South.) As for what they’ve done for blacks, take a good look at cities like Baltimore, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia, all run by Democrats for generations with little evidence that blacks living in those cities are in better shape today than they were prior to the Civil Rights era.

      As far as the sexual revolution, I’m not sure that produced such great fruit. Take it from someone who learned more about sex from folks like Hugh Hefner than he did from the fashionably liberal mainline Protestant church in which he grew up. Then again, evangelicalism gave us Purity Culture, which has done far more harm than good, and a number of leaders who failed to live up to the standards they imposed on their respective flocks. But that’s a discussion for another time.

      • “evangelicalism gave us Purity Culture, which has done far more harm than good, and a number of leaders who failed to live up to the standards they imposed on their respective flocks. But that’s a discussion for another time.”

        Is it? If you’re going to decry the “sexual revolution”‘s results, then the results yielded by the solution of the folks criticising it is very germaine to the discussion. As I pointed out below, their stance on abortion is joined at the hip to their stance on sexuality in general.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Purity Culture is just the funhouse-mirror reflection of the Sexual Revolution.
          Communism begets Objectivism — total opposites on the surface, identical beneath, equally Fanatical.

          And guys like me get caught in the middle.

      • “The Democratic Party has also, at one time or another, supported slavery, grandfather clauses, poll taxes, Jim Crow laws and Massive Resistance.”

        I have trouble taking seriously any discussion of American political history that is based on pretending not to know that parties change over time.

        • Burro (Mule) says

          Wasn’t it you who said that the same people who were doing this in the Democratic party 70 years ago are doing it in the Republican party today, and they’re like a hot potato being thrown back and forth that neither party really wanted?

          Best description yet.

          • No, I don’t think that was me. For one thing, I don’t agree with the history. The “Southern strategy” begun by Nixon and completed by Reagan was the active courting of these people.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              And resulted in a total one-eighty flip.
              White Southerners went from solid Dixiecrat to solid straight-ticket Republican.
              Blacks went from suppressed Republican to solid straight-ticket Democrat.

          • Well, Nixon welcomed that hot potato, conservative and evangelical media heated it to critical mass, and the Republican Party machinery welcomed it for decades. Now thay superhot potato rules the roost, and the Republicans are getting roasted by it.

            • And I think Mitch McConnell is delighted with the hot potato of Donald Trump. Trump is the id of the Republican Party for the last twenty years unleashed. They get to go home and act like civilized people while the barbarian does their dirty work, eviscerating whatever institutional democratic tendencies exist in our republic. Yep, McConnell is so happy he might soil himself.

        • Yes, parties change over time. I remember when Republicans stood for fiscal responsibility, for example. Those days are long gone. I would also argue that the Southern segregationists who were still in power when I was a youngster pretty much died out rather than switching to the GOP. Also, don’t forget that some old segregationists, like the late George Wallace, underwent a drastic change in their racial views as they aged.

          • Burro (Mule) says

            Wallace’s ‘softening’ on race came about as the result of deep personal tragedy, and a maturing of his Christian faith.

            The kind of racial dysfunction that he represented is better camouflaged these days, but it still around. There is a visceral, irrational nature to melanophobia that makes me think there is a component, possibly sexual, that we whiet people are terrified to face.

            I think white people project their sexual misconduct onto black people, for a starter. That scares me, since my experience has been that black people are more sexually conservative than white people, taken in aggregates.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              There is a visceral, irrational nature to melanophobia that makes me think there is a component, possibly sexual, that we white people are terrified to face.

              Can you elaborate?

              I remember the KKK’s obsession with “Protecting White Womanhood”. (What was the number-one accusation in all those lynchings?) Struck me more as a dog breeder protecting his purebred breeding stock than any concern for women.

              “Where de White Wimmen at?”
              Blazing Saddles

          • –> “Yes, parties change over time. I remember when Republicans stood for fiscal responsibility, for example. Those days are long gone.”

            I used to always vote Republican, but the more and more they fought the culture wars and planted the flag against ANYTHING that stunk of Democrat, the more and more I drifted away from them. They’ve lost their way, gotten away from some of the values (such as fiscal responsibility) that attracted me to them in the first place.

    • He has never had to meet a payroll.

      But the other guy has spent 40 years trying to avoid paying staff, contractors, investors, and lenders.

      In the most gracious reading it’s a wash. In detail, not even close.

  9. I think it’s valid to loath the morality of Donald Trump. I think it’s equally valid to loath the morality of Joe Biden

  10. Ultimately, it’s an argument between an ethic of judgment, law and authority (and ultimately one grounded in patriarchy) vs an ethic of wider mercy and circumstances.That’s why most Evangelical pro-lifers don’t have anything against war and the death penalty – if the state kills criminals and terrorists that’s just fine be because they “deserve it”. But “unborn babies” don’t deserve it, and women and doctors don’t have the authority to make that decision anyways in their eyes. And of course, it also hinges on when and to what extent an embryo should be considered a full human with full rights. The maximal definition (from conception onward) is very convenient for those seeking to enforce traditional sex roles, even if it is problematic on medical and philosophical grounds

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > Ultimately, it’s an argument between an ethic of judgment, law and authority

      Or, as with most things, there is no underlying philosophical mooring.
      More likely they are using this issue for deflection; an elementary but often effective tactic.

      > The maximal definition (from conception onward) is very convenient …

      And constructing such a loudly confident and detailed take from ancient Scripture is laughable.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Look how Medieval theologians developed an obsessively-detailed, incredibly-complex Angelology and Demonology from passing mentions in less than a dozen Verses.

        (Of course it took several generations, each generation’s Angelologists/Demonologists mistaking the previous gen’s speculations as solid FACT and erecting their own gen’s speculations on that FACTUAL Foundation…)

    • My question then for evangelicals who take that view is where is their biblical backing for it. There is nothing in the OT law and nothing in the NT either. Miscarriage as a result of a pregnant woman being injured is covered but the death penalty is not the punishment. The death of a foetus is not made equivalent to the death of a child or adult.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > My question then for evangelicals who take that view is where is their biblical backing for it.

        From the post: “””First, that a human fetus becomes a human life at some point before birth. Second, that society has a legitimate interest in protecting human life, even through legislation when necessary. I am not going to argue these points right now”””

        And I for one, having sat through too many of those “debates” [exercises in absurdity, IMO], will be grateful if I never hear or read one again.

      • Almost the entire case is inferential. Psalm 139 “you knit me in my mother’s womb” is as close as they get to a clobber verse.

        • That’s my take on it too. It seems clear that the OT does not regard the life of a foetus as equivalent to that of someone who has been born.

          • “It seems clear that the OT does not regard the life of a foetus as equivalent to that of someone who has been born.”

            Actually, most Evangelicals who study the Ex. 21 text maintain that if the foetus is miscarried and is at or near-term then the person responsible for the injury is guilty of murder. Burro’s APB Septuagint text would support that interpretation. However, none of the English versions are clear on the issue except the REB and The Message, both of which read nearly identically;

            When, in the course of a brawl, a man knocks against a pregnant woman so that she has a miscarriage but suffers no further injury, then the offender must pay whatever fine the woman’s husband demands after assessment. 23 But where injury ensues, you are to give life for life…

            (REB)

            That translation directly contradicts Mule’s APB. Not unusual given the different text sources.

            Also worth mentioning is the “miscarry from injury” code is found in the midst of other code about property, namely slaves, daughters, etc. Wives and their “fruit” were treated as property.

            It is easier to text-proof a support of slavery from the Bible than it is to tp an argument against abortion.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        My question then for evangelicals who take that view is where is their biblical backing for it.

        They have a lot of QUOTE! QUOTE! QUOTE! QUOTE! QUOTE! Verses.

        But when the Demon Locust Plague from Revelation (a book of seriously trippy imagery) are actually helicopter gunships with chemical “stingers” piloted by long-haired bearded hippies, all bets are off when it comes to Biblical Backing.

    • And of course, it also hinges on when and to what extent an embryo should be considered a full human with full rights. The maximal definition (from conception onward) is very convenient for those seeking to enforce traditional sex roles, even if it is problematic on medical and philosophical grounds

      I don’t pretend that this is all straightforward, but in my view (your) “maximal definition” is the LEAST arbitrary answer to the question of when human life begins.

      • Is it? Anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of all conceived zygotes don’t implant and develop into embryos, let alone babies. We’re they ever human in any real sense?

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          Also many many things impact that data point.

          Is having unprotected intercourse after ingesting caffeine – which impedes implantation – potentially negligent homicide?

          If we are going to be Absolute about this it rapidly becomes a rabbit hole of immeasurable depth.

        • Then there is the matter of identical twins. If a zygote is a person with a soul, it follows that a person and a soul can, under some circumstances, split into two people and two souls. Then for serious weirdness, they sometimes merge back together.

          If the “life begins at conception” crowd were serious, this would be a big topic of discussion, both among serious philosophers and on the popular “weird stuff that happens!” level. That it isn’t is telling.

          • It’s all quite complex, isn’t it? Thus my assertion that conception is the LEAST arbitrary answer to the question of when human life begins. None of the above “BUT WHAT ABOUT….” responses rebut that point or propose an operationally definable, less arbitrary alternative.

            Now the questions of how we assign value, rights, protections, recognition of sentience, etc. to that life are difficult, indeed, but the starting point of life at conception would seem to be a necessary backdrop for those discussions.

            • Actually, they do. As the H. L. Mencken”s saying goes, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” Any real solution should cover as many contingencies of the problem as possible. If you’re drowning in special cases and snarled explanations to prop up your solution, it may not really be a solution no matter how simple it appears on paper.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            If reading Stephen Jay Gould essay collections could tell you anything, it would be that natural systems do NOT break down into clean legal categories.

    • thatotherjean says

      Got it in one, Eeyore. The current “human life begins at conception” concept is more about controlling women than is is about concern for babies.

  11. If you believe that abortion is murder, I don’t know how you could vote for someone that supports abortion, no matter what the trends have been. Support for murdering babies should be enough to disqualify any candidate. If you believe that abortion is wrong, but not quite the same as murder, then I can understand not being a one issue voter over the matter.
    But what about on the pro-choice side? If you agreed with a candidate in most other areas, but he was adamant about outlawing abortion, would that one issue be enough for you not to vote for him?

    • “But what about on the pro-choice side? If you agreed with a candidate in most other areas, but he was adamant about outlawing abortion, would that one issue be enough for you not to vote for him?”

      Probably not, but then again I am not a woman. :-/

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      What about other equivalencies of “If you believe that ______ is murder”?

      One has to ask why Abortion is the one-and-only accepted Murder-Equivalent?

      Highway Funding is the nearest direct equivalent to Murder I can think of.

      “””If you agreed with a candidate in most other areas, but he was adamant about outlawing abortion, would that one issue be enough for you not to vote for him?”””

      Nope, I would be EXCITED to vote for such a candidate. As, as this article makes clear, anti-abortion positions are operationally irrelevant at scale.

      However, no such thing has ever existed in American politics AFAIK. That would be an Abortion-Is-Murder Anti-Single-Family-Zoning Raise-The-Fuel-Tax Land-Use-Deregulation Agricultural-Land-Banking Pro-Green-Belting Equalize-Educational-Funding candidate. See the problem?

    • If you believe that abortion is murder, wouldn’t you want to vote for the person whose policies actually reduce the abortion rate, not the person who talks a big talk about abortion while implementing policies that increase abortions?

      But the truth is, conservatives who vote “pro-life” don’t actually care about murder. If they did, they’d also be 100% behind the Black Lives Matter movement. And gun control. And ending the death sentence. And government support services for kids *after* they’ve been born. The fact that conservative “pro-lifers” don’t embrace the rest of the “pro-life” agenda is proof that they *don’t* care about the value of human life – they are, in fact, shameless promoters of the “culture of death.”

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > But the truth is, conservatives who vote “pro-life” don’t actually care about murder

        No, I do not believe all that follows.

        Once you have framed something as is-or-is-not-murder it is not about Prevention, the focus is the Criminality.

        The principle concern is Justice, which in a Conservative frame means Punishment.

        The American Conservative frame doesn’t care much for Prevention in any case, Abortion or otherwise.

        The American Conservative frame views Prevention via Policy as Ineffective as Government Policy is always anticipated to be Ineffective [that’s what makes one a Conservative in America – a fundamental belief that Government is Incompetent].

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        If you believe that abortion is murder, wouldn’t you want to vote for the person whose policies actually reduce the abortion rate, not the person who talks a big talk about abortion while implementing policies that increase abortions?

        Problem is, those “policies that actually reduce the abortion rate” have Nobody to PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH!

        It’s getting to be the ones Holding the Whip that is the appeal; the erstwhile cause is just to justify The Razor-Wire Whip.

    • IF ‘someone’ wants you to pay his taxes while he cheats with lawyers his way out of responsibility,
      IF ‘someone’ votes to take away the food stamp program from a poor woman who falls pregnant,
      IF ‘someone’ makes sure that his ‘followers’ know of his personal contempt for women,
      IF . . . . .

      THEN the likelihood is that ‘someone’ could give a rats a$$ for the life of an unborn child,

      so get over it – your annointed savior is just another money-grubbing, draft-dodging con artist out to better his own prospects and the heck with the rest of us ‘suckers’ and ‘losers’

  12. I’m pro-life, both in the narrow sense (wanting to reduce abortion) and in the comprehensive sense of believing that all human life has value, whether that’s unborn children, or children after they’re born, or black kids getting gunned down by police, or soldiers dying in stupid wars, or (too often innocent) prisoners on death row.

    Even if you’re just defining “pro-life” in the narrow sense, Democratic policies do far more to reduce abortion than Republican ones. A very good example is the “Mexico City policy” that supposedly “pro-life” presidents have implemented, cutting government funding to NGOs that provide women’s health services and also provide abortions. There’s good evidence that this policy actually *increased* abortion rates by about 40%, because it reduced access to other services that make abortion less necessary:

    https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2019/06/27/736574110/study-u-s-ban-on-aid-to-foreign-clinics-that-promote-abortion-upped-abortion-rat

    Even if you’re just anti-abortion and not pro-life in the full sense, there’s a very good argument to be made for voting Democratic.

    • And if their actual concern was to practically reduce abortions, that would be the case. But their (in many cases) opposition to birth control and non-abstinence sex education as well shows there’s another set of priorities at work – maintaining traditional gender roles by making the alternatives as difficult as possible for women to attain.

      • Well, yes, that’s painfully obvious. But I do wish the people who have hijacked the “pro-life” moniker (which originally applied to a bipartisan but leftward-leaning coalition) would either stop using that term or actually start trying to live up to it.

        • not a penny for a born child if they can help it

          whatkinda prolife is that?

          • Tom Parker says

            To H E L L with the child after it is born. The child is on its own to make it or not. They are not pro-life. They just use it to rile people up and to get them to vote Republican.

          • thatotherjean says

            I have often wondered, how it is possible to be “pro-life” up to the point of birth, but not after–not for a child, the mother, or the family of that child.

            • Adam Tauno Williams says

              It is not complicated at all.

              As a “Conservative” you support Punative Regulation [law + punishment] of personal behavior BUT oppose Collective Action [aid + incentive].

              Therefore making something Illegal is the ONLY tool in the toolbox.

              When all you have is a hammer….

              Accusations that Conservatives are inconsistent is not fair; it is failing to consider the scope of what American Conservatism is saying.

              One cannot outlaw hunger, suicide, disease, etc…. so those things are simply, entirely, outside the scope of what Conservatives consider legitimate issues.

              • thatotherjean says

                How then, do those Conservatives, many of whom are Evangelical Christians of one stripe or another, justify spurning a newborn baby and that baby’s family, if they are in need? Because they do.

  13. From information on line regarding the history of birth control; “In 1965 when Planned Parenthood of Connecticut
    won the the Supreme Court Victory, Griswold Versus Connecticut, that finally and completely rolled back state and local laws outlawing the use of contraception by married couples.” By that time I had given birth 6 times in 8 years.
    and had reached a point where my obstetrician prescribed the pill for use until the required hysterectomy could be
    be done. In those days my husband and I were Catholic, and I felt guilty about using it, even though my life was at risk! The Church had made it plain that artificial contraception was sin. My husband left to procreate elsewhere, but being healthy I went on as a single mom, and now at 86 I am in pretty good shape, and thankful for my very large family which continues to grow. Women have had abortions from the beginning of history, have always had to wear the red letter on their foreheads, while men go on their merry way.
    This is not about the Catholic or any other church, but about women’s rights toward their own bodies. I am sure that abortion is mostly always a hard choice, and I thank you for pointing out the decrease over the years..but this should not be an issue for deciding who will be President. I have voted for Biden..if Trump wins we will survive, there is
    Light at the end of the tunnel.

  14. It is significant that Daniel gives two definitions of pro-life. The first:

    “To be prolife means I agree with two propositions: First, that a human fetus becomes a human life at some point before birth. Second, that society has a legitimate interest in protecting human life, even through legislation when necessary.”

    And the second:

    “the prolife movement is about so much more than simply making more laws restricting abortion. It is about helping to create a society that values life more, especially vulnerable human lives, including the unborn. You cannot legislate that. You can only help create it.”

    These are not the same thing. In practice, the conservative movement is “pro-life” in the first, but not the second sense. I have read several articles the past few years by “pro-life” conservatives that come out and say this, openly admitting that they are single-issue voters. I have two responses. One is that they should stop claiming to be “pro-life.” They are anti-abortion. If they are perfectly comfortable supporting policies that result in unnecessary deaths (just not before birth) then they are in no principles sense pro-life. So stop lying about it. Second is that they should cut out the hypocrisy of pretending to care about anything else. Remember back in the Clinton administration when religious conservatives said that Clinton’s inability to keep his pants zipped didn’t matter, and that the only real issue was abortion? No? You don’t remember that? Me neither. They were only too happy to criticize Clinton’s sexual immorality. Now it turns out that they were lying all along. Who knew?

    So here we end up with “pro-life” supporters actively working to promote Covid-19 deaths. This is “pro-life” as a weird death cult.

    • “These are not the same thing. In practice, the conservative movement is “pro-life” in the first, but not the second sense.”

      Which is why I think the contrast I posited above “justice vs mercy” is the better explanation of their overall stances.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      Richard, you are right that these two are not the same thing. I recognized the contradiction after I wrote this, but decided to keep it in the post because it reflects my own trouble in being consistent regarding making abortion illegal.

      On the one hand, I view abortion as at least a possible taking of human life in some scenarios. I think it ridiculous to argue that a human personhood is somehow conferred only by travelling 12 inches down the birth canal.

      On the other hand I recognize that making abortion illegal is always going to be problematic, both practically and philosophically.

      I am still working on this.

      • “On the one hand, I view abortion as at least a possible taking of human life in some scenarios. I think it ridiculous to argue that a human personhood is somehow conferred only by travelling 12 inches down the birth canal.”

        Yabbut, this seems to presume that there is no middle ground between banning all abortions and allowing whacking the kid on the way down the birth canal. In the real world, even in blue states the banning the abortion of a viable fetus is commonplace. To the extent that it is controversial among the left, it is due more to a slippery slope argument (a bad argument, as such usually are) than to the law itself. https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/state-policies-later-abortions#

        • Daniel Jepsen says

          Not sure why my statement would imply there is no middle ground, especially it was in the context of a statement of me working through the issues.

          Of course there is middle ground. I do not consider a chemical abortion at 2 weeks to be morally equivalent to “whacking a kid on the way down the birth canal”.

          The question is whether society has a legitimate right to prohibit the abortion of a viable fetus, and, if so, when, exactly that prohibition should start. That is what I am working through.

          • I took it that way because only the two extremes are included in “On the one hand, I view abortion as at least a possible taking of human life in some scenarios. I think it ridiculous to argue that a human personhood is somehow conferred only by travelling 12 inches down the birth canal.”

            “The question is whether society has a legitimate right to prohibit the abortion of a viable fetus, and, if so, when, exactly that prohibition should start. That is what I am working through.”

            What do you call someone who thinks the abortion of a viable fetus should be illegal, but should be legal before then? A Democrat.

            Although upon reflection, we may be using “viable” differently. In abortion discussions it usually means “the baby could survive if it were born today.” You may be using it to mean “the baby will live of the pregnancy is allowed to come to term.”

            • Daniel Jepsen says

              “What do you call someone who thinks the abortion of a viable fetus should be illegal, but should be legal before then? A Democrat.”

              Not sure I would agree with you here, as much as I would like to. For one thing, there is no agreed upon standard for viability. According to studies between 2003 and 2005, 20 to 35 percent of babies born at 24 weeks of gestation survived, while 50 to 70 percent of babies born at 25 weeks, and more than 90 percent born at 26 to 27 weeks, survived.

              Can we really say that most democratic candidates think abortion should be illegal at 25 or 27 weeks? WaPo disagrees: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/11/demcorats-leftward-shift-third-trimester-abortion/#comments-wrapper

              • Sure, this is more complicated than is easily expressed in a tweet. But the notion that abortion should be freely available up to the point of fetal viability is an entirely mainstream unremarkable stance within the Democratic Party. Now try to imagine a Republican politician who is being primaried taking this position.

                Did you click on that link I posted? You will find a bunch of deep blue states where that is the law.

  15. I can in good conscienceand upon honor vote FOR Biden and do this freely as a believing Cathoiic.

    • I’m sure you can and I respect that. Likewise, there are other Christians of the same or of different traditions who, in good conscience, will cast their votes for Donald Trump or perhaps Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen.

      • The fact that “good conscionces” can yield such drastically different results would indicate a problem. As Abraham Lincoln said of both the North and South claiming divine favor in the Civil War, “Both *may* be, but one *must* be, wrong.”

      • There are other third party candidates out there. Libertarian policies scare me as much as those of the radicals of both Left and Right.

        Dana

  16. I agree with Daniel, and I agree with Richard at 10:27. However, I was one of those who did think that Clinton’s inability to keep his pants zipped mattered – it was and is about trustworthiness, no matter your policy preferences. The reason I voted for Obama was that he seemed to be as good as his word, and I was willing to give him the chance to do constructive things for the country; some were and some weren’t, but that’s how it is with every presidential administration. I live in a very blue state, so I’m leaning toward a conscience vote; I did not nor will I ever vote for DT, and Biden’s no worse than any other candidate they could have put forth, but I’m not convinced that those who are currently running the Democratic Party have the best interests of ALL the citizens of this country at heart.

    Dana

    • I’ll be happy if they have the best interests of the majority/most needy at heart. We rich white folks can go hang AFAIC.

      • I’m not rich.

      • We can hang? What do mean by that? And who are the “rich white folks” included in this we?

        • What I’m saying (with a bit of frustration and hyperbole) is that we whites have ruled the roost for so long and to such benefit to ourselves that our perceived needs shouldn’t be the primary driver of what solutions are considered. We can either humble ourselves voluntarily, or God will do it for/to us.

  17. Folks keep talking about Biden. If he wins, which is a big possibility, I would be shocked if he makes it four years. I’d even be surprised if he makes it through one. You ought to be evaluating Harris, and I don’t see anything good from her.

    • Is it your experience that generally healthy 77 year old men with access to the best health care typically drop dead a year later?

      • Personally I believe his mind is slipping. Physically he may be fine, but mentally not so much. Just my opinion. They should have had him on the ticket four years ago, not Hillary.

        • Michael Bell says

          Did you realize that he has had a stutter historically (as have I), and that much of what people attribute to “mind slipping” could easily be attributable to a stutter.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            +1

          • I’m not referring to Jon, but a stutter is a weakness to ridicule for Trump and many of his supporters.

          • I am aware. But if you watch videos of Biden from a few years ago and watch him today, he’s not the same. He’s slipping. If Trump was slipping as bad as Biden is it would be all the media would talk about.

            • thatotherjean says

              Much of the media does exactly that, Jon, because Trump is markedly slipping from where his cognitive abilities were a decade ago. He used to be able to speak in paragraphs; now he struggles with producing sentences of more than a few words His father Fred developed Alzheimer’s Disease at about the ago Donald is now. There is also much speculation that he is a malignant narcissist.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          They should have had him on the ticket four years ago, not Hillary.

          It’s normal for a Veep to make a bid for the nomination, and any Dem other than Hillary would have beaten Trump by a landslide.

          However, 2016 Dem nomination was Triumph of the [Clinton Machine’s] Will, and both major parties ended up with their WORST possible candidate.

      • Maybe Jon has some hard evidence to prove his statement. Harris bad as compared to Trump. No one in my opinion is worse than Trump. He is the absolute worst!

    • Jon you are a strange one. Now you are predicting deaths??

    • Burro (Mule) says

      While Sen. Harris was not whom I would have chosen as my running mate if I were Joe Biden, I have no doubt she would be a capable, energetic President should something happen to Vice President Biden. I would probably agree less with her agenda than with his, but the Republicans would have their chance again in 2024.

      But I can lament the Paths Not Taken; Amy Klochubar, Tulsi Gabbard, Tammy Duckworth.

      …and that’s just the women.

    • Do you really see Trump as healthier than Biden? And if you’re going to start talking about those whose minds are slipping…well…

      • The thing is, I would rather have Pence as president anyway. So I don’t wish death on Trump, but I’m not worried about the presidency if he does die. Now maybe you feel the same about Harris. I don’t like Biden as president, but I worry more about Harris.

        • “The thing is, I would rather have Pence as president anyway.”

          So, I suspect, would Pence. :-/

  18. I have long considered myself pro-life, but the Trump era and COVID-19 have soured me completely on the Pro-life movement. Organizations like the National Right to Life scream from the rooftops about the evils of abortion and claim it’s a horrific loss of life, but remain utterly silent when people trying to cross the Southern border die alone in the desert,children die in detainment camps, or when politicians advocate that there is an acceptable level of death from COVID because the victims are mostly sick and old and we need to keep the economy going.
    The pro-life community clearly cares only about certain, politically expedient lives. I have been born and I am no spring chicken, so I am not one of those lives. Immigrants, people of color, and LGBT fare even worse than me.
    Being pro-life seems to have become, like so much of evangelical Christianity, simply a marketing tool.

    • thatotherjean says

      I have never been “pro-life” in its current usage, but I agree with every word you wrote.

    • +1. Well stated, Suzanne, especially in showing the angst some of us have over this issue!

  19. Where will we go in January for this kind of mature discussion?

    • thatotherjean says

      I wish I knew. I’d see a lot of you there. If you find such a place, mention it, please?

    • I vote that we lobby CM hard in keeping this site going, even if it’s only one post a week!

      • Burro (Mule) says

        Let him rest. He’s earned it.

      • A highly visible site like this one needs care and feeding if comments and posts are allowed. And multiple times per day if you want to catch “bad” things before they go totally off the rails.

        You’re asking CM for an hour per day plus a few or more hours per month in software housekeeping. By archiving it he can cut that down to a hour or few per month. Just to have it idle.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      Well, for what it’s worth, I am planning on re-starting my blog soon. Been thinking about it for several months now, but I’m lazy. Obviously, I can’t match the quality or quantity that CM has put out, but I plan on doing a Saturday post like the brunch, plus 2 or 3 other posts a week.

  20. Susanne:

    You said:”Being pro-life seems to have become, like so much of evangelical Christianity, simply a marketing tool.”
    I agree that is all that it is.

  21. Klasie Kraalogies says

    I am strongly pro-choice. I do not believe life begins at conception, and a host of other things most here will likely disagree with me on. But that aside.

    I have just been listening to a historic account of prohibition. How it became a single issue voting cause. And its absolutely abysmal failure. Why?

    Massive unrealistic promises and frankly speaking, magical thinking. Zero pragmatism. And flirtation with lots of unsavoury ideas, including (and wow, does this seem familiar), xenophobia, white nationalism and anti-worker, anti-socialism.

    The “pro-life” side today are completely unwilling to address the (likely) causes of abortion – lack of effective sexual education, lack of maternal support, poverty, patriarchal culture, etc etc etc. Instead, they have happily aligned themselves with the dirtiest, most criminal, most racist, most appalling politician these here shores have seen in many a decade. It is almost as if they only care about a single idea, irrespective of reality, irrespective of humanity, with zero compassion and no decency whatsoever. Scoundrels, the lot of them.

    • They hide behind the Bible and follow a man who has never seen the need to repent.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        But who will SMITE all their Enemies for them.
        And raise them up to sit at his right hand.
        In Ritual Magick, it’s the Dark Powers (Black Magick) who have the reputation for Getting Things Done.

        “O GREAT CHEMOSH! O GREAT BAAL! RAIN DEATH AND DESTRUCTION DOWN UPON THESE MY ENEMIES!”

    • “It is almost as if they only care about a single idea, irrespective of reality, irrespective of humanity, with zero compassion and no decency whatsoever.”

      Which is the easiest way to turn a principled person into a monster.

    • Just to state the obvious: it’s possible to be “pro-life” in the sense of supporting measures that reduce the abortion rate, while also being “pro-choice” in the sense of wanting abortion to remain safe, legal, and available to all – because making abortion illegal is not an effective way to reduce it.

      In economic terms, demand for abortion is extremely inelastic – making it ten times harder to get will have very little effect on how many people try. So, “supply-side” anti-abortion efforts that only focus on making it less available are doomed to failure. The only effective way to reduce abortion is to reduce the demand, which means 1) universal access to contraceptives and comprehensive sex ed, and 2) increased social services for mothers and children.

      So, there *are* pragmatic ways to reduce abortion, but you’re correct that the way conservatives go about it is nothing but magical thinking.

    • thatotherjean says

      It is something I will never understand. If a group wants to reduce abortion, promote the things that will make them less necessary, from sex education, contraception, anti-poverty measures, and support for mothers. The current push to ban abortion will only make them illegal and unsafe, not eliminate the conditions that make them look like the only alternative for some pregnant women.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > The current push to ban abortion will only make them illegal

        To a Conservative that is: Job Done! “the conditions” are a result of personal choices; not a concern of the The State.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > The “pro-life” side today are completely unwilling to address

      Conservatism leaves one without any means to address those issues. Their answer is “those aren’t the governments problem”.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Massive unrealistic promises and frankly speaking, magical thinking.

      One of my writing partners (the self-educated son of a steelworker) phones me every Friday night for two hours just to have someone to talk to. He often tips me off to the latest books he’s read (we’re both bibliophiles).

      Last year he was telling me about this history book about the history of Prohibition (don’t remember the title). The Drys actually believed if you shut down all the bars, saloons, and restaurants that served Demon Rum, all their customers would Go To Church instead.

    • I am sure they no longer consider it relevant since the Resolution was against a Democratic President, not a Republican one. They are mighty quiet in condemning anything he does-they must agree with all he does.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Hmmm, tells one the value of Statements doesn’t it?

      • Tom Parker says

        Yes, statements are usually self-serving. You have to be a Republican and always vote Republican to be in good standing if you are a Southern Baptist. Kidding, but not totally kidding. I believe my statement holds true in many instances. For a lot of my 44 years as a Southern Baptist I was never told that my political affiliation determined whether I went to heaven or not. It looks like I now do not get to go to their heaven.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          And I’ve been on the board of a ‘statement group’; a group that got into issuing statements. It was not a religious group – but I suspect the dynamic is consistent. When your approach/philosophy doesn’t allow you the latitude to ‘do’ anything – or you are just out of ideas – Issue statements! Make sure the world is aware of your position! As, for some reason, I guess, the world should care?

          I resigned from that board. And I felt so much better.

          Statements are a sign of a moribund, dying, organization.

  22. Let’s face it… without Trump supporting the anti-abortion side of things, the right and Evangelicals would be left having to find something else of “value” in the man in order to justify their continued pro-Trump stance. And… there ain’t much else there that would justify it that would supersede his poor qualities/characteristics.

    • Even a lot of Evangelicals don’t mention abortion first and foremost when they indicate support for Trump. A lot of it echoes the general theme of resentment and restoration of “greatness” and “law and order” that you hear from less overtly religious supporters of him. All of which is to say, I’m pretty sure they’d figure out something.

      • Yeah, I guess there’s that “Make America Great Again” rally cry. (As if the guy who formulated that rally cry is at all trying to make America great again, with his utter divisiveness and lack of statesmanship.)

      • Someone I considered a friend, and who considered herself a very dedicated Christian, but now I have my doubts, said she had to vote for Trump due to his economic policies. That had to override anything else.

        I keep thinking of 30 pieces of silver.

        • I often use the term “self-identified Christian.” It leaves unstated any assessment of the validity of the claim.

        • thatotherjean says

          Trump has economic policies? Beyond making the rich richer, I mean. Well, I guess there’s also doing what benefits Donald John Trump to keep up the facade of an ultra-rich man, despite what his financial records look like.

    • Norma Cenva says

      In all honesty, I cannot see what the draw is for conservative white Evangelicals.
      I’ve not seen such devotion to a President, not even during the Reagan years.

      • His casual cruelty, the way he doesn’t think twice about demeaning and insulting others, seems to endear him to his base, and I’m afraid I have to say that includes to many American Christians. He seems to express and embody the repressed cruelty and sadism in them, to give it permission, and then they feel they can even participate in it without inhibition or apology. It must feel very freeing to them, though it’s actually the opposite of freeing.

        • Very often it seems that the cruelty is the point, the objective, not a byproduct or side-effect.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          He seems to express and embody the repressed cruelty and sadism in them, to give it permission, and then they feel they can even participate in it without inhibition or apology.

          What Extra Sci-Fi’s coverage of Dune called “House Harkonnen’s Rule through Vice”, setting an example of What You Can Get Away With.

          What Paul Tournier’s The VIolence Within called “Official sanction to do what is normally Forbidden.”

  23. Greetings Rick

  24. Chaplin Mike. Can’t stand my post you deleted. Good move from someone who claims he’s fair. Shame on you for the sell out

  25. Trump wins IMonk ends. Perfect ending

    • I thought you quit…

    • Andrew Zook says

      Hello friend… 🙂 You sound like someone I know! Imonk may go, but we center, center-left, post-evangelical, post cultural-warrior Christians and non will still be around to shine Jesus’s light or just plain reality to expose the trumpist darkness. And there’s lot’s of other blogs and comment sections that’ll pick up the torch that IMonk passes on! And the young’ns… they’re leaving your camp by the droves…and discovering those sources of encouragement and wisdom that they didn’t or can’t receive in their evangelical-turning-trumpist churches these last 10-20 yrs. Kind of inevitable when before Trump, it was all “character matters” and then on a dime turn 180deg and seem to say “character doesn’t matter!” That kind of thing is usually pretty disillusioning, and is a surefire way to turn one away from where they’ve come from… but hey, your choice. Keep chasing them our way. We’ve got open arms.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Kind of inevitable when before Trump, it was all “character matters” and then on a dime turn 180deg and seem to say “character doesn’t matter!”

        oceania has always been at peace with eurasia, comrades.
        to remember anything otherwise is doublepluscrimethink!

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      Very classy “St”. B

      As the token atheist around here, let me say that I find your behaviour to these good people absolutely disgusting. I hope you arelproud of yourself. Chaplain Mike is one of the most decent, guileless people I know.

  26. Biden is pro-war. Trump is bringing troops home.
    Trump is a jerk. Biden is corrupt.
    Pick your poison.
    I choose to abstain.

    • Trump is calling on the Attorney General to investigate his political opponent’s son two weeks before Election Day; that’s about as corrupt as it gets.

      • thatotherjean says

        And the Attorney General, every bit as corrupt as Trump himself, is likely to start one. Exactly what Hunter Biden has to do with his father’s presidency, I don’t know. I don’t see Joe Biden carrying on about Junior or Eric, and I’m very sure there’s plenty of material there for anybody who wanted to look.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          I remember Jimmy Carter during Billygate:
          “You can choose your friends. You can’t choose your relatives.”

    • But it would be wasted effort if Barr does his master’s bidding, because even if an investigation produced conclusive evidence before the election that Hunter Biden shot somebody on the streets of the US or Ukraine, we would still vote for his father.

  27. Most Christians are not consistently pro-life.
    They are against abortion.
    They are for the death penalty.
    They are pro-war.
    They abhor foreign refugees fleeing from poverty and oppression, and refuse sanctuary to said refugees.

    I paint with a big brush, I know. Just some things I’ve observed. Most of my Christian friends are only pro-life on the subject of abortion.

    I want to be consistently pro-life.