July 5, 2020

Saturday Ramblings, July 25, 2014

Hello imonks, and welcome to the weekend. Ready to Ramble?nash-rambler-03

Good thing he doesn’t have to run for re-election. Pope Francis’s approval rating in America has plummeted in the last year. The drop-off has been especially sharp among American conservatives: “This decline may be attributable to the pope’s denouncing of ‘the idolatry of money’ and attributing climate change partially to human activity, along with his passionate focus on income inequality — all issues that are at odds with many conservatives’ beliefs,” Gallup analyst Art Swift wrote Wednesday when the survey was published. But he’s also down 14 percent among liberals.4ocrj5a4c0affsj7wvpklg

After hearing the news, Pope Francis sought to shore up his support among Americans by showing off some sick new dance moves while his homie dropped some beat-boxing.

And his homie, the prez of Italy, drops a phat back-beat

And that homie is the president of Italy, by the way. “His Holy Homie”?

If you’ve ever gone to a movie based on a board game (Battleship) or a child’s toy (Legos, G.I Joe), and caught yourself saying, “ya know, I wish they could make some movies based on even less narrative source material”, then you’re in luck. In a deal near seven figures, Sony Pictures Animation won a three-studio auction for an animated movie pitch centering on the Emoji. Why????emoji-1

I am really trying not to mention Donald Trump every week. I am really, really trying. But how can I pass up on his answers to questions of faith at the Family Leadership Summit last weekend?

“People are so shocked when they find … out I am Protestant. I am Presbyterian. And I go to church and I love God and I love my church,” he said.

Moderator Frank Luntz asked Trump whether he has ever asked God for forgiveness for his actions. “I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so,” he said. “I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”

Trump said that while he hasn’t asked God for forgiveness, he does participate in Holy Communion. “When I drink my little wine — which is about the only wine I drink — and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed,” he said. “I think in terms of ‘let’s go on and let’s make it right.'”

Soooooo many questions. Why does The Donald not bring God into the forgiveness picture? Is it because The Donald doesn’t ask for favors from God,  but negotiates with Him?  Is “my little cracker” really how they describe the communion elements in his church? And don’t Presbys use grape juice in their communion, not wine? Or does The Donald ferment it the moment he touches it? Is this what he thinks transubstantiation is? The imagination staggers…

UPDATE: After I wrote the above, I came across this interview where Anderson Cooper asked Trump about his rather cavalier attitude towards repentance. Trump’s response: “Why do I have to repent or ask for forgiveness, if I am not making mistakes? I work hard, I’m an honorable person. I employ thousands of persons.” Okay, I think I understand now…

So, it has come to this…


Did you hear there is a lion loose in Milwaukee? Well, maybe at least.  Hard evidence has been hard to find — no hair, paw prints, feces or Tin Man-type accomplices — but police say they have received two dozen calls from residents who claim to have seen the big cat. And On Monday a woman took blurry cellphone video of a large feline on E. Garfield Ave. Sadly one resident shot a white pit bull Wednesday, thinking it was the lion. “It’s ludicrous. It’s not tall and not anywhere near the size of a lion,” said Karen Sparapani, director of the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission. Fortunately, the dog is expected to make a full recovery.

As you may have noticed, Hillary Clinton is a woman. But lest you labor under the misapprehension that her presidential campaign is based on her gender, rather than her policies or character or decisions as a public figure, prepare to be set straight: “Clearly, I’m not asking people to vote for me simply because I’m a woman. I’m asking people to vote for me on the merits. And I think one of the merits is: I am a woman, and can bring those views and perspectives to the White House.” Okay, then.

For some reason, this makes me giddy:

Our good friend Pat Robertson has some advice for President Obama. The prez is visiting Kenya this weekend.  Reflecting on Kenya’s criminalization of homosexual sex (with up to 14 years in the slammer), and the warnings from an Kenyan Bishop that “Obama has an agenda against God”, Robertson said, “One wishes that the president of the United States would listen to some of his fellow Africans, cousins, to what they have to say because they speak truth and they speak wisdom.”

Weekly “tweaking Chaplain Mike pic”: download (21)

Ben Carson was asked this week about Obama’s support of Planned Parenthood. “You wonder if he actually knows the history of Planned Parenthood and Margaret Sanger, who was trying to eliminate black people,” Carson replied. “That was the whole purpose of it.” That is obviously political hyperbole. But founder Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist, who constantly talked about the need to keep “inferior” types from breeding, even if she did not specify the nature of their inferiority. “[We should] apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.” “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.” And then there’s this:

She even presented at a Ku Klux Klan rally in 1926 in Silver Lake, N.J. She recounted this event in her autobiography: “I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan … I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses … I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak … In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered” (Margaret Sanger, “An Autobiography,” Page 366). That she generated enthusiasm among some of America’s leading racists says something about the content and tone of her remarks.

So here is a question worthy of discussion: is it hypocritical to decry the Confederate legacy and demand its flag be removed while many on the left, including Hillary, give accolades to Margaret Sanger?

You know, it’s so sad when religious leaders cash in:


David Barton has not always been kindly received at InternetMonk. Jeff Dunn gave him a dressing-down here. But credit where credit is due:

On his “WallBuilders Live” radio program today, Barton took a question from a listener on the controversy over the Confederate flag and the idea that the Civil War was really fought over the principle of states’ rights and not the issue of slavery.

“It was not about states’ rights,” Barton said. “It was about slavery.” As Barton explained, the documents written and speeches given by those who supported secession regularly cited the preservation of slavery as the primary factor. The idea that the Civil War was fought to protect states’ rights, Barton said, is absurd considering that the Confederate constitution explicitly prohibited states from abolishing slavery.

Barton went on to liken Confederate prisoner of war camps for Union soldiers to Nazi death camps as he revealed that of all the official prayer proclamations that he collects for this library, he will not accept any Confederate proclamations from the likes of Jefferson Davis “because what they were praying for to God is like ISIS praying.”

“Look at the pictures, read the accounts,” Barton said. “Read what happened to blacks, read the hearings in Congress on the various things that were done to blacks. It’s not human. It’s what Germans did to Jews, saying ‘Well, they aren’t human, we can do this to them.'”

Spotted this week: download (5)

Hafvsbard, Norway, has a pooper problem. At least, it’s a problem if you’re a golfer. Kenneth Tennfjord, groundskeeper at the Stavanger Golf Club, said he has been finding human feces and toilet paper in course holes since 2005. “He has a couple of favorite holes,” Tennfjord told the Rogaland Avis newspaper. “And we know it is a man because the poos are too massive to be from a woman.” Well, that narrows it down.


Hey Sven, sure you want that to go in?

On Sunday, Australian champion surfer Mick Fanning was competing in the finals of the J-Bay Open tournament in South Africa when a shark surfaced next to him. Fanning fought the shark until it swam away.

A boat came by and picked Fanning up, unharmed. The whole incident left the shark feeling sad and misunderstood.


Ashley Madison is a website dedicated to promoting adultery. Their slogan: “Life is short. Have an affair”. They also boast they have “over 37 million anonymous users.” Well, scratch the anonymous part. A hacker broke into their database and has started to out those users. download (15)

Well, that’s it for this week. Let’s end with a video. This week Theodore Bikel, who played Teyve in the broadway version of Fiddler on the Roof , died. In his honor, here is the opening number from the movie version. Enjoy.


  1. Vega Magnus says

    Off-topic, but I’m in an interesting situation. My parents have really gotten interested in a pastor named J.D. Farag who thinks that the end times will come in September. I haven’t bothered to listen to his stuff, but what snippets I’ve heard from one sermon they had playing while I was doing something else indicates that he’s pretty much the standard “link every event going on in the world into a conspiracy that indicates the end times” sort of guy that I’ve seen plenty of times before. I’m typically fiercely non-confrontational, but for some reason, I’ve reached the point where I don’t care anymore and am ready to respond to it. I’ve prepared a series of thoughts on the end times in general that I’ve saved as images to post on Pinterest, which is where my mom first found this Farag guy. My parents are great people and I heavily doubt that they will get upset with me for having differing views, but it is still an odd feeling to be doing this. I would have been comfortable with ignoring this discussion altogether, but I don’t think I should anymore. Anyway, I was planning on posting the images to Pinterest later tonight. Hopefully, this will result in a useful discussion about these topics.

    • Marcus Johnson says

      I would remind them that the narrative of the gospel centers itself on the resurrection of Jesus, not the end of the world, so anyone who develops a following based on anything else (e.g., social ills, end of the world, young earth creationism, etc.), regardless of their charisma, is not preaching the gospel.

    • Clay Crouch says

      You could just wait until October to discuss it with them. ?

    • Vera, what do your parents believe about astrology, horoscopes, divination, tarot cards? Most of this end-times “theology” is no different from other old-time idolatries—except that it uses bible verses instead of other media.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        As a bit of a warning – people frequently have stealth beliefs about these things. People I’ve known for decades have stunned me with revelations about their beliefs in occultic issues, often with beliefs in wild contrast to other openely prefessed beliefs. If you are going to go there with someone it is best to be prepared to be suprised.

        • This comment is so very true. My in-laws, died in the wool evangelicals by their own estimation, avail themselves of “Tibetan healing salts”, New Age-ish self-healing diets, and a host of other bizarre practices that all have one thing in common: disdain for science, and for conventional medical science.

    • Robert F says

      Unless they are planning some hugely life-altering change, like selling their home or quitting their jobs in anticipation of the imminent Parousia, I would more or less leave them. I mean there’s no harm in registering your disagreement in a gentle and preferably non-programmatic way, but they are adults allowed to make their own religious choices, right or wrong. And, as you’ve said in your comment, they are great people who are tolerant of you having different views; go and do the same.

      • Robert F says

        …I would more or less leave them alone….

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        +1 Unless something creates urgency going up against apocolyptic beliefs is rarely, if ever, fruitful. Pray that this fervor will burn itself out, and if it does forget it ever happened.

        • Plus, in my experience, people who are fascinated with these things do so mostly because it is just plain fun. Even the serious ones seem to get a fix out of it like watching the powerball numbers.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            Yep, these is an elements of a game and play to end-of-the-world theology.

      • Vega Magnus says

        I ended up not posting the images on Pinterest. I personally don’t quite get what is appealing about end times stuff to them. They are very successful, happy, normal people. Now, my aunt, who introduced my mom to this stuff, has been in a bad marriage for years, so I can understand why she might find this sort of thing appealing, but my parents getting into it puzzles me. Regardless, everything seems to be fine with them now, so I’ll tkae your advice and do nothing at the moment.

        • Robert F says

          Who knows? Maybe it entertains them, a way to pass the time and feel like their part of a drama bigger than their humdrum, happy, successful, normal life together. Never underestimate the desire that people often feel for their lives to be more, or other, than just boring normal. Maybe it was choice between this or becoming swingers (Insert Smiley Face HERE).

        • Rick Ro. says

          A traveling singing group once visited our church. When I approached the bus driver to strike up a conversation, the first words out of his mouth were all about end-times and the apocalypse. I just nodded for a while, offered a few counter-points, then drifted away. I don’t understand people who are so fascinated or obsessed with this kind of stuff.

    • Vega, unless you’re fifteen years old, getting into a sideways confrontation with your parents at this point could be counter-productive, unless they’re selling their house and buying white robes, and even then they’re allowed to run their lives as best they see fit. Nothing wrong with stating your views on their own rather than as a knee jerk to something outside your comfort zone. I never heard of this Farag guy myself, but glad to note him appearing on the radar. It’s all grist for the mill.

      You might want to wait until after September 13 or so. That is the next roll around of the sabbatical year that gave us 9-11 and the Great Recession the last two times, unless we are dealing with very large coincidence or fudged numbers, and hardly end of the world in any case. No guarantee it will be that large this time but I’m quite curious to see what, if anything, happens. If I were jumping in a betting pool, I think the New Madrid is overdue for a major adjustment, which would be literally earth-shaking, but that’s a wild guess. Could be a giant fizzle. Stay tuned.

      • and even then they’re allowed to run their lives as best they see fit.

        We have had this with my mother and mother in law. Both were/are making really bad decisions about various things that impacted both my wife and I as at the end of it we get to pick up the pieces.

        My mother died leaving her sons with 1000 hours or so of out time just to figure out the state of her affairs. This was what was required just to start the probate process.

        My mother in law is now in our care. Ever though she refuses to admit it emotionally no matter that we have to basically take care of her life. Creates a lot of stress for both of us.

        Staying out of it IS an option but watch for what will happen down the road. Are you prepared to “walk away” if they wreak their lives? Can you afford to take them in if they totally blow their financial situation?

        Tread lightly but carefully.

  2. turnsalso says

    Hey, at least Pat only said “cousins,” not “childhood friends and neighbors…”

    • turnsalso says

      Come to think of it, if Barack Obama Sr. had any brothers or sisters, the President might actually have cousins in Kenya after all!

  3. Ahh! ”Fiddler On The Roof! My personal cure for insomnia. I’ve never been able to make it through the movie without falling asleep. And who the heck would ever name their daughter Tzietel anyway?

  4. Pope Francis is just espousing the same leftist views he has held for years, and that is just fine. After all, Catholics worldwide have ignored the Pontifical blatherings for generations. Why should this generation be any different?

    • turnsalso says

      I say if that many American Catholics can’t tell the teachings of their Church from those of the Republican Party, them let them leave.

      • It doesn’t matter what the pope says, Catholics of ANY political bent will ignore what he says, and they always have! I was Catholic for many years so I know what I am speaking about.

        Notice that I said nothing about Republicans or ”conservative” yet you jumped right in there anyway. Are you denying that he has ”leftist” views, or are you saying that there is something wrong with the term ”leftist”?

        • Yes, the Pope has some “leftist” views. He also has some “rightist” views too. No political platform totally conforms to Christian theology, and vice versa (no matter what Jim Dobson or Ron Sider would have you believe). As C. S. Lewis, said, if there’s at least SOME part of Christian ethics that doesn’t make you uncomfortable, you haven’t been paying attention.

        • Clay Crouch says

          Hey Oscar, eat a Snickers Bar.

    • Richard Hershberger says

      “Pope Francis is just espousing the same leftist views he has held for years”

      Yup: Just like Jesus.

    • Oscar, I don’t think it makes sense to use political terms to talk about religious matters. They are not perfectly intersecting sets, regardless of how Americans see them. Pope Francis is an orthodox Catholic, which means his beliefs are a mix of what seem like “left” and “right.” In fact, I’m encouraged that he offends everyone, because that’s proof that he is not in any one political group’s pocket.

  5. Our surfer hero is no doubt whole and alive because that is no shark. That dorsal fin appears to be an orca . But no less startling.

  6. Christiane says

    I think I can solve the mystery of the Stavanger Golf Club Poopetrator: TROLLS

    . . . the main clue is the giant-sized turds . . . extremely large ‘deposits’ have been found, and Stavanger is in the heart of Norway which everyone knows is troll country.

    Yep. It’s trolls. The real thing: Norwegian trolls. (Of course they’re real: Norway is loaded with warning signs for ‘moose’ and ‘trolls’ . . . It couldn’t have been moose . . . they don’t use toilet paper.)

    Nothing more mischievous than a Norwegian troll. . . . I wouldn’t put it past one of them to unload on a golf course.

  7. Robert F says

    Kenya’s criminalization of homosexual sexual acts is horrific; Pat Robertson’s moral depravity in supporting Kenya’s move is horrific. While some Christians in the US whine about losing their control over the definition of marriage, Kenya’s homosexuals face the life-destroying, tangible consequences of a government policy, one spearheaded by Christians, that refuses to recognize their humanity. Here is an example of what real oppression looks like, and it is oppression designed by professing Christians. Shame.

  8. Robert F says

    What should the Republican Party do about Donal Trump? Well, what exactly did Frankenstein do about his monster?

    And someone should tell Trump that Jesus wasn’t one of “the ones that didn’t get caught”.

    • It’s kind of fun to watch all this, until you realize, Trump could actually get elected, and then the fun stops. Cold.

      • Robert F says

        Yes, that does scare me. The support Trump’s gotten from large segments of the American populace is frightening; and if Hilary Clinton (who I’m no fan of) gets scuttled by the growing e-mail issue, who knows? All bets are off. That’s why Trump is very much like Frankenstein’s uncontrollable creature, except that it was easier to be sympathetic to the Frankenstein creature.

        • Clay Crouch says

          I wonder if Republicans are responding to Trump simply because he has ignited the conversation on immigration reform, not because they take his “solutions” seriously (though a certain segment does). We are in desperate need of reform in our immigration policy. What we are doing now is not working and is unsustainable.

          • Robert F says

            I work among working-class people in a warehouse environment. They are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, multinational and multicultural. They all get along well with each other, as well as human beings can, and are friends across these cultural, racial and ethnic/national boundaries.

            But I can tell you that many of the whites are identifying with Trump in a frightening way. They seem him as someone who says what they are thinking and afraid to say. Do they know what his “solution” would be (does he have “solutions”?; I haven’t heard any yet)? No, but, truthfully, they identify more with the persona a candidate projects than with with their political prescriptions; and they identify with Trump the way many whites identified with Dirty Harry (who also didn’t have any solutions) in the early 1970s.

            Interestingly, I also work with a black man originally from Trinidad who, while claiming not to be political in any way, likes Trump because he thinks he speaks honestly in a nation where the political class sugar coats things for an American populace that would rather not hear the truth spoken plainly.

            Go figure.

          • Clay Crouch says

            Robert, as you know, in politics as in religion people crave control and certainty even though deep down we know there is neither. History is replete with decent, educated people following individuals and movements that have an uncanny ability to tap into that craving. God help us if Trump is one of those. By the way, the only “solution” I’ve heard him offer has something to do with a fence.

            On another note, I appreciated your engagement with ET the other day.

          • Yes, decency, education, intelligence and sophistication are not guarantees against making monstrous moral mistakes, and I didn’t mean to insinuate that they are. I think the people I work with are, for the most part, not morally different from those higher above them in the middle-class, though the moral mistakes they make in the political realm may be different from the ones their better educated and paid neighbors make.

            Re: ET (aka Faulty, aka Wexel?): I think he (I will refer to this person as “he” until this person corrects me, if I’m mistaken) is more than just a troll, though he has strong trollish tendencies. I think he has been terribly hurt by Christian religion, meaning he has been hurt by Christian people. That’s why he is often here at iMonk. If that is so, I think it’s an important thing to remember.

      • Rick Ro. says

        If it gets too far, Trump’s campaign will go off the rails as soon as he announces a VP candidate. Remember Ross Perot’s pick of Admiral Stockdale? (Good grief, if he’d picked someone normal he might’ve had a chance.)

        Anyway, I’m thinking Trump will do himself in at some point, if not sooner then later. I mean, who in the heck will he pick as a running mate??

        • Klasie Kraalogies says

          Both Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee seem to be playing a game that could end in that. Of course, I wouldn’t call either normal…

      • Christiane says

        suppose Trump does actually WIN the nomination . . . it might have one really good outcome, this: a whole lot of good people will realize that those religious leaders who tell them they MUST vote Republican in order to be a ‘real’ Christian . . . those good people will ‘wake up’ and see through the nonsense . . .

        I wouldn’t worry, though. Trump will likely soon be his own worst enemy. He couldn’t keep his mouth shut long enough to stay out of trouble before the convention anyway. Hype, entertainment, bluster, and just plain bad-mouthing innocent folks garners a lot of attention, and the media has played along. But the GOP has some billionaires supporting it who might try to buy The Donald off, and money talks in his world. Who knows?

        I predict it will be Bush. Oh, he likely won’t be president, Hillary will win of course. But he won’t disgrace the GOP by Trump tactics. If Bush tried that, his good mother Barbara would put the kibosh on the whole mess. And EVERYONE respects Barbara Bush. She won’t let us down. 🙂

  9. Robert F says

    Margaret Sanger’s opinions on racial eugenics were morally reprehensible, which makes her an unsavory character. Founders are sometimes unsavory characters.

    But the discussion today about the merits and demerits of Planned Parenthood are not really about Sanger’s serious moral flaws, and to make it seem so for political purposes, as Ben Carson does, is disingenuous.

    • Robert, you okay with P.P. selling the organs of the preborn?

      • Robert F says

        No. But that doesn’t mean I want them shut down completely. All or nothing thinking screws everything up. That’s the problem with fundamentalism.

        • Amen again, Robert.

        • flatrocker says

          So Robert, you’re ok with PP just as long as the organs are itsy bitsy? That way they’re not really anything anyway.

          • Robert F says

            PP provides literally life-saving reproductive health-care to women in many places around the world. Are you willing to let these women die for the moral triumph of destroying PP?

          • Robert F says

            And, fyi, I am in favor of making PP follow the laws of the US concerning the sale of organs, and I’m in favor of legislation against late-term abortions.

          • flatrocker says

            But remember they’re not organs. The fetus does not share in the same legal limitations.

            So what’s the big deal?

          • flatrocker, your statement RE: U.S. law is incorrect. It is illegal to sell the organs of fetuses for any material gain.

          • flatrocker says

            Technically correct Dr. F. However federal law does allow for financial compensation for the transportation and handling of fetal parts. The compensation only has to be deemed “reasonable.” This allows for a broad interpretation of the renumeration amount and the accompanying moral relativism that let’s us sleep at night.. As long as there is a supplier and a market, the practice will continue just under a different name. Makes it all alot cleaner that way doesn’t it.

          • I, and the majority of Americans, do not believe that a just fertilized ovum is a human person; I, along with the majority of Americans, do believe that before the actual time of birth, that fetus is in fact a human person. Most of us believe that somewhere along the way, after the first trimester, society has more and more interest in protecting the developing fetus as it comes into human personhood. We support laws that do that, and we oppose treating the remains of aborted, developed fetuses as non-human meat. Change the laws in ways that reflect this underlying moral sentiment, and we are more than happy to sign on.

            Otoh, speaking in either the language of abortion rights absolutism or anti-abortion absolutism alienates us. We know that a nearly fully developed fetus a month before birth is not a mere field for organ harvesting, no matter what the fanatical abortion rights advocates say. We also know that those who insist on the full personhood of the fetus at every step from the moment of conception through delivery, and who insist that this fetus needs full legal protection all along the way, but then lose interest in protecting this baby the moment it’s born, thereafter committing it to the tender mercies of the free-market, are handing us a line of power-manipulating propaganda.

            And yes, I’m daring to speak for the American people, because this mediating position is actually where American opinion sits, and I agree with it.

          • flatrocker says

            Ah yes… invoking the wisdom of the majority. Sleep well tonight.

          • It is a logical fallacy to claim verification for one’s beliefs due to the numbers of others who share that belief, either large (50 million Frenchmen fallacy) or small (voice in the wilderness fallacy).

          • I happen to believe the majority are correct on this issue. I haven’t always held this position; I used to agree with your position. Now, it thing I was, and you are, wrong.

            I notice you never answered my question above. Avoidance?

          • Eeyore,
            Agreed. I merely stated that I concur with the majority in this case, and I threw out a couple of reasons why I occupy this mediating position along with them, reasons which I think are probably quite common among those who agree with me. And in this issue, change can only occur when you speak to the existing social conscience and perceptions among the majority of people, unless you choose the option of violent revolution.

          • flatrocker says

            I assume this is the question I am avoiding?
            >”Are you willing to let these women die for the moral triumph of destroying PP?”

            Simple answer I am not willing to let anyone die for the moral triumph of destroying PP. It also doesn’t interest me in any moral triumph for the sake of the morality alone – especially destroying an entity that is geniunely interested in the health of women. Either your question seems to imply that abortion is in all cases a life-saving act or you are allowing hyperbole to conflate and deflect from the core issue of organ harvesting.

            Now if you would please expand on where you garner the knowledge that sets the precise moment when a fetus actually becomes a human person – other than popular opinion?

          • Robert F says

            PP provides other services besides abortion. Information about reproductive health is essential to saving the lives of poor women all over the planet; who else is providing this information to them?

            I don’t have any knowledge of that precise moment. Tell me where you get the knowledge that establishes the full humanity of the ovum in the first moments after fertilization, such that it would warrant curtailing the liberty of an adult woman–other than from ancient superstitions?

          • flatrocker says

            I don’t have the knowledge and that is precisely the point. Erring on the side of the possibility of personhood from the get go is a bet I’m willing to take.
            If I lose, so what.
            If you lose, the implications become eternal.

          • Robert F says

            Oh, you may lose nothing. But a poor woman who loses control of her reproductive health runs the risk of losing her health and/or life for the sake of a few cells that are not a human being. If you are wrong, and you prohibit this woman from controlling her own reproduction, and she loses her general health, or even her life, due to your prohibition, you have moral culpability. Your position has moral risks involving the health, well-being and life of women, in particular poor women, because reproduction impacts health. If you are wrong, it will has dire moral implications.

          • Robert F says

            …it will have dire implications.

          • Robert F says

            If you want to pretend that your position does not have serious moral risks, no one can stop you. But it does have such risks, whether you acknowledge them or not, and no threat of eternal damnation pointed at others for their differing viewpoint neutralizes those risks.

          • flatrocker says

            Robert, there was no threat of eternal damnation pointed at others. The eternal implications I refer to concerns the trajectory of the life of the unborn. Attaching or disassociating whatever personal implications you seemingly want to infer is not the point.

            And there is no pretending. It all has serious moral risks. If it didn’t we would be talking about the weather instead.

          • I acknowledge that I do find myself feeling queasy about the subject, no matter what side I imagine myself on. The health and longevity, or early mortality, of women is important; the moment at which the embryo/fetus becomes a human person is important. I’ve stood on both sides of this moral issue, having changed sides in the last five years. I’m not really settled in my opinion, though I speak sometimes as if I were. The revelations in the video made by the anti-abortion group are very disturbing to me. I wonder, though, what difference my opinion makes in any case…

            Thanks engaging with me on this issue, flatrocker. I will not lightly dismiss what you’ve said.

          • flatrocker says

            May we all draw from a deeper well.

        • I can’t imagine anything that P.P. does that can’t better be done by other, less corrupt organizations and health care providers.

          Seriously. Prove me wrong. One thing.

          • Robert F says

            Is it being done by them? Where? Show me.

          • Robert F says

            I mean, for poor women, here in the US, and around the world. Control of reproduction is essential to the health and longevity of women, and poor women are especially at risk of serious impairment of health and early death as a result of lack of that control. What other organizations and health care providers have stepped into that breach, here and around the world?

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

            In theory, you are right Miguel. In practice, there are no such organizations. Unfortunately, the incestuous relationship between the US government and PP will continue to eliminate competition and improvements.

      • Within the confines of the law, medical science, and consent…why not? Cadavers of all types are needed in many medical professional fields, and instead of being placed in a box in the ground or burned, incredibly valuable knowledge and experience is gained that can help hundreds then thousands then millions of people over decades to come.


        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

          But on the other hand it is completely normal to suspect “moral hazard” in this case. Insurance companies understand this principle, and most folks do as well by mere intuition. I think the problem in this case is that PP would be irresponsible and foolish to not use fetal tissue for these purposes – but since the majority of their revenue comes from abortion, we end up with the suspicion that they are promoting abortion for gain, which in a decision this serious would be reprehensible to anyone with reasonably developed ethics. While reason and civility ask us to suspend judgment apart from knowledge, it is a good thing for people to have and investigate these kinds of suspicions. A fundamentalist loyalty to PP or abortion is just as detrimental to the development of society as the opposite (and their are few things I despise more than self-proclaimed progressives who are really just fundamentalists that have switched teams).

          • It would be odd for them to give out contraceptives if they secretly want more fetuses to sell…lol

      • Are Christians taking a brave new lets make tissue and organ donations illegal stance.

        • Rick Ro. says

          That’s not the case at all. This is a fetus issue. Can you see the troubling possibility of people getting pregnant in order to sell off their fetus’ tissue and organs?

          • Robert F says

            I certainly can see that troubling likelihood. It would be a sure thing, in fact.

          • Most definitely.

          • And that’s an error where the church needs to step up, since it wouldn’t be the government’s job to discuss the morality of that. Merely control/contain the practice.

          • People illegally profiting from tissue donations is a thing that could happen under any possible donation regime. In practice I imagine that it is going to be the medical providers that are getting the kickbacks though, not the patients. The idea that women are going to get pregnant, to illegally make money, selling tissue seems to just be a fantasy though, has this ever happened? If women were going to make money getting pregnant they’d presumably either do it through surrogacy (legal) or kick-backs from adoption agency’s where massively more money exchanges hands.

          • So let’s take Christianity out of the equation for the moment. Where do you stand on the issue, Witten, just as a human being?

          • People. Should be allowed to donate tissues and organs for medical or research purposes.

        • Patrick Kyle says

          Hey, what the hell… They’re not babies, but their organ are great for transplants into real people and human medical research..

          No one buys that argument.

          It’s obscene. They are chopping up babies and getting ‘reimbursement.’ for the spare parts.

    • Richard Hershberger says

      This. Notice how discussion about “support for Planned Parenthood” morphed into “support for everything Margaret Sanger believed in” with no transition explaining the logic.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Exactly. Eugenic and racist statements were VERY common in that era – from every stripe, from the Left and the Right. Lets not forget about American Hero Henry Ford. Attacking hsitoric figures is just hollow rhetoric.

      • Ford didn’t create vehicles with the purpose of running over Jews with his new cars. There’s a direct connection between Sanger’s philosophy and the founding of Planned Parenthood.

        About every month or so someone brings up the Southern Baptist’s shameful origins, yet they have actively apologized. All we hear about the ugly connections of eugenics and founding of the modern abortion movement is “No fair, that doesn’t count!”

        • Can you name one person in a position of authority, one person in PP, who is currently advocating for Sanger’s eugenic views?

        • http://www.ncregister.com/blog/matthew-archbold/7-beloved-famous-people-who-were-wildly-pro-eugenics


          I mean, those are just two links you get immediately. But they don’t fit the narrative against PP. Blacks, KKK, baby killing, abortion mills, murders, Holocaust.

          blah blah meh

          • Also could add Tesla to that list.

            As someone on twitter pointed out, it was kind of the “in” think in science at the time. Everyone had a part of it.

            And why not? The fundamental idea of improving the human race through science is sound and perfectly biblical. There will always be pitfalls and evil people who twist it around, however.

            • Robert F says

              As far as I know, eugenics and racism have always gone hand in hand; you can tell the moral quality of eugenics by the company it keeps. I think the human race should have no part of it.

          • Robert F says

            Let’s put it this way: unless eugenics can be practiced without any connection to the concept of racial superiority, it should be avoided entirely.

          • Robert F says

            If we’re not careful, the entire human race could end up like these subjects of a secret eugenics experiment performed in the 1970s:


          • Oh absolutely. And forced sterilization is horrific.

            But at it’s base idea, it’s most pure…it’s not a bad idea. Mankind can improve itself. We can find and identify the parts of the genome that create the most problems. etc.

          • flatrocker says

            Sounds like a splendid idea as long as I’m on the standards committee.

          • Patrick Kyle says

            It’s OK that they believed that back then because everyone did? I guess that ‘s ok for eugenics, but not racists and southerners.

  10. Re: David Barton – Hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day!

    • Historical revisionism in the service of “Southern culture and heritage” is bad. But historical revisionism in the service of “America as God’s Chosen Nation” is OK.

      There’s so much irony here I could melt his statement down and forge steel out of it. :-/

      • Well, the history of American slavery and its aftermath is one of the two great national, founding sins of this country, and he’s at least addressed that one correctly, at least in this area of the Confederacy and its battle flag.

        How has he done with America’s history of genocidal suppression of the native, tribal peoples?

    • “Even the losers get luck sometimes.”

      • turnsalso says

        “All the freaks got a winning streak, shout it all around the world, ’cause the geeks get the girls!”

  11. And then there’s this side to Tradtion (at least in the workplace).


  12. The government WILL be investigating the organization that exposed the dark underbelly of P.P.


    • They actually may have broken the law, you know. Acts of civil disobedience, however valuable they may or may not be (and I do think this one is valuable), have no right to claim immunity from the law. The government has an obligation to enforce the law, and this is part of the price that activists must be willing to pay to act in ways designed to change the laws and society, if that’s their intention.

      • Brianthedad says

        “An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”-ML King

        The two go together. The act, and the consequence. Too many people do the act, and then are shocked, shocked! when the piper must be paid. The former without the latter is just anarchism.

        • in the same vein is the uproar over county clerks refusing to issue same sex marriage licenses. If they are truly following their consciences, then they should quit. That’s how it works. I had a decent job once that suddenly required mandatory Sunday overtime. I worship on Sunday morning but they would not let me out of it. So I quit. It was their choice to demand I miss church for work and it was my choice to say, no. I won’t.

          Standing up for one’s beliefs are not always without painful consequences.

          • Christiane says

            When the rules changed, and ‘the public’ began to include those with whom certain Christians have a problem, then it becomes necessary to live according to conscience and to leave a job that requires one to serve those whom they have formerly set apart from ‘the public’.

            Yes, I agree . . . resignation is best in such cases. There are other jobs out there where ‘the public’ will not offend one’s conscience and, if your choices are more restricted job wise, think about those for whom you would not want to have to ‘serve’ in some way they needed help . . . they have been struggling all this time with restrictions in their lives, and they too have suffered . . . what goes round, comes round . . . sadly, people of conscience who feel they must practice marginalizing others in some way publicly should no longer seek those jobs where such marginalizing is no longer lawful. It’s a moral thing. And it is a kind of justice also in a way that those who would discriminate and call it ‘truth in love’ now will come to understand what experiencing restrictions in their own lives can feel like. The justice is in knowing which may lead to a compassion not previously felt, rather than the ‘whining’ and complaints that currently rule in the right-wing media. Some thoughts, strung together without logic obviously, but yet there is some truth in my words, I think. . . at least some truth in my intent to remove people of faith from situations where they are asked by their moral teachers to discriminate on those who are different, a ‘choice’ of conscience before the laws changed . . . but no longer a legal choice these days.

  13. Speaking of founders of companies with horrific views, I can’t look at corn flakes without being reminded of their founder.


    • Religion: check. Fundamentalism: check. Disdain for science: check. Puritanism: check. Unchecked wealth and power: check.


      • Patrick Kyle says

        But Kellog’s beliefs did not result in millions of innocent deaths. Please compare apples to apples.

    • Patrick Kyle says

      It’s OK that they believed that back then because everyone did? I guess that ‘s ok for eugenics, but not racists and southerners.

      • Patrick Kyle says

        Sorry, comment is in wrong discussion.

        • And totally irrelevant, ungracious, and facetious.

          • Patrick Kyle says

            No, it’s exactly what you argued in the previous conversation. That just because the founders of PP promulgated eugenics and racism (which many did, according to you) it in no way taints the mission of PP now. Don’t hear you making that argument concerning the Confederate flag, now do we?

            We call this hypocrisy.

  14. I have lately been noticing what I would call station wagons as featured regularly here on Saturday. Finally figured out that they are Ford Flexes, which are still called SUV’s, but they sure look like station wagons to me, nice looking ones. And this morning I saw a black GMC Denali, which may also be called a SUV, but it sure looked like an old time hearse to me except new and shiny. Young couple with young kids got in it. Both that and the Flex are status vehicles and take an arm and a leg to buy. Ramblers were not exactly status vehicles back in the day but I sure wish I had one today.

  15. Rick Ro. says

    Good ramblings today, Daniel. Good balance of the silly and the serious, the liberal and the conservative, etc. etc.