Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Don Quixote Declaration


The busybodies are tripping over themselves to endorse the latest "declaration." Ostentatiously called the Manhattan Declaration, it is yet another attempt by the superstitious right wing to fight at windmills. Fundamentalists of various sects including a few Presbyterian notables such as Carmen "The Millstone" Fowler of the LayMAN have endorsed it.

What are they endorsing? What is this courageous Satan-smiting witness to the glory of the Triune God? What are those things that Jesus talked about most and cared about most? What are the key challenges we are facing in our nation and around our world?

I think you know.

These faithful heroes who "care about the future of the Christian witness in the public discourse of our nation"

are standing firm, bearing the standard, cupping the grail of holiness, and bravely waving their lances at the gravest threat we have yet to address...


...Gays getting marriage licenses.

Oh, and uppity women who insist on making their own informed decisions regarding their own reproduction.

And they call what they are doing protecting religious freedom.

OK.

This should keep them busy for a few weeks. Then it will go the same way all their other self-important declarations have gone (remember the Confessing Church Movement, anyone?)

Meanwhile other actual challenges to our nation's welfare like healthcare, the increasing gap between the wealthy and the poor, militarism, and energy and ecology, are still there.

65 comments:

  1. As you say, "Meanwhile . . ."

    God help us all.

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  2. What hypocrites. Here they endorse a statement that places Scripture and human reason as co-equal, when not even a week ago, Carmen "The Millstone" Fowler was suggesting we toss people into the sea for not even going that far.

    (How does she still have a job? She botches the health care issues in the Layman and even it's own readers revolt. She suggests killing a Presbyterian Minister. Now she's endorsing a useless declaration that puts Scripture co-equal to human reason and was written with *gasp* the Catholics. She's like the Joe Biden of right wing Presbyterian politics.)

    "This should keep them busy for a few weeks. Then it will go the same way all their other self-important declarations have gone (remember the Confessing Church Movement, anyone?)"

    Heh. Exactly. Remember "The Reformed Resistance?" I think that lasted a week or so. Then there were a few more declarations of something or another that no one remembers. Oh, and don't forget that declaration that Beaver-Butler passed a few months ago that has since become irrelevant.

    As long as they busybodies, fusspots, tattletales, and scolds are busy reading and signing worthless pieces of paper at least they're not sticking their noses into other people's business.

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  3. I forgot about the reformed resistance and the beaver. Then there was that time when the LayMAN posted theses of some sort or another on the PCUSA building at Louisville.

    Good times.

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  4. I had intended to reply, because this really got me going. Then I realized that, as much as it got me going, I had nothing to write.

    It takes a lot to render me speechless. I've been told that I'd have a bigger following on my own blog if I found a way to make my posts shorter. My comments on other blogs are frequently nearly the length of posts on some blogs. If I have a problem it is too much verbosity, not the other way around.

    This leaves me with nothing to write. It just makes me so upset the responses fall over themselves and nothing comes out.

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  5. @eclectic : )

    You are experiencing what I have noted before regarding the religious right in its various incarnations:

    One cannot understand the busybody. One can only marvel.

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  6. What really bothers me about the NY Times Headline is that it says, "Christian Leaders." Obviously, not all Christian leaders endorse such BS, and I am soooo tired of the media choosing statements of the right wing-nuts to represent Christianity.

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  7. @john

    I can usually manage to throw a pretty good verbal Molotov cocktail at the religious right. This one just slipped away from me somehow. :)

    @must ask

    I share your feeling here. Whenever people talk about reaching out to 'religious voters' or 'people of faith' they always reach out to the far religious right. Whenever someone talks about 'Christian leaders' they always appear to be talking about someone who doesn't even strike me as being all that Christian from my reading of the Bible.

    The media builds these people up, and gives them far more credibility and power than they would otherwise possess.

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  8. I'm all for fiscally responsible health care but since when is the right to choose to kill an unborn child considered 'healthcare'? I'm not superstitious or right wing. I just believe that God creates life.
    Question: if a woman didn't
    choose to terminate a pregnancy, would not the result be birth and life?
    So the choice you are advocating is the choice to commit murder. How come that fits your moral code but people supporting a document speaking to God's moral code is abhorrent to you?
    I just don't understand this kind of neutrality on life in the name of Christ.
    And vile repugnance of any and all who want to have a voice in the public arena against the killing of unborn life.
    Makes absolutely no sense to me at all.

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  9. For commentary check:

    Gene TeSelle of Witherspoon.

    Robert Parham of Ethics Daily.

    Parham wrote:

    Yet again, the Christian Right bypassed the Nazareth Manifesto, Sermon on the Mount, the Great Commandment and the Great Judgment passage. While they did cite Jesus from John 10:10 and Matthew 22:21, they made Jesus a secondary moral guide to their political agenda of criticizing President Obama and shrinking the Bible's moral vision.

    Also, check out Aric Clark of Two Friars and a Fool.

    The Manhattan Declaration is not unlike Sarah Palin's political platform. Signed by a bunch f pretend populists who supposedly are fighting for the rights of the little ones, the faith Christians, these signers are duping them once again.

    Christopher Hitchens in his latest Newsweek column writes about Sarah Palin what I think also applies to the seminary professors and religious leaders who drafted the Manhattan Declaration:

    The Palin problem, then, might be that she cynically incites a crowd that she has no real intention of pleasing. If she were ever to get herself to the nation's capital, the teabaggers would be just as much on the outside as they are now, and would simply have been the instruments that helped get her elected. In my own not-all-that-humble opinion, duping the hicks is a degree or two worse than condescending to them. It's also much more dangerous, because it meanwhile involves giving a sort of respectability to ideas that were discredited when William Jennings Bryan was last on the stump. The Weekly Standard (itself not exactly a prairie-based publication) might want to think twice before flirting with popular delusions and resentments that are as impossible to satisfy as the demand for a silver standard or a ban on the teaching of Darwin, and are for that very reason hard to tamp down.

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  10. I think Kelley is a good example of what Hitchens is talking about. A bunch elites draft a document (in Manhattan!) that is designed to incite and enrage.

    It is an appeal to urgency and black and white thinking. Sign this now to stand for Christianity!

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  11. Oh and thanks to Doug King for linking to this post from Witherspoon.

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  12. 'So the choice you are advocating is the choice to commit murder. How come that fits your moral code but people supporting a document speaking to God's moral code is abhorrent to you?'

    Actually, the Bible says something very different about this entirely. It says that if a woman is injured and her child is born prematurely or dies but the woman survives and heals with no permanent injury then no murder has been committed and it is a family matter.

    This one of the things that has always made my grind my teeth... sure, there is some anti-gay rhetoric in the Bible. However, there is nothing at all anti-abortion in the Bible. Indeed, parents have the legal right to execute their children.

    I am not saying this right or that we should enforce all of this as law... personally I have some issues with abortion myself, I don't think it's something anyone feels good about even on the most radically pro-choice side of the argument.

    However, the modern position on abortion on the religious right is in opposition to what little the Bible says about the unborn.

    As for what abortion might have to do with health care... pregnancy is one of the most dangerous female health risks there is. Before modern medicine, women died during childbirth as often as they lived and stillborn children or children with serious birth defects that caused them to die soon after birth were as common as healthy children. Even with modern medicine, women die in childbirth and birth defects have not been eliminated.

    There is a real medical risk of a complication with a pregnancy that would lead to a stillborn child and a mother incapable of becoming pregnant again... and this could be prevented by an abortion if diagnosed soon enough.

    Under the Stupak-Pitts amendment, however, such a treatment (as long as the mother's actual life was not in danger) would only be available for those able to pay cash on the barrelhead.

    Who else can see why this is dangerous?

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  13. Kelley's argument is also another example of "rider logic" - the argument that you cannot address the inequities of society individually. You must attach an unrelated rider to every issue.

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  14. "We ...have worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family."

    Seems to me the best way to strengthen such a vital institution as the family would be to remove ALL governmental interference that would restrict the existence or growth of such an institution. In other words, whether it is the church or the state defining what I can call "family", such rules restrict, rather than strengthen, families.

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  15. ""We ...have worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family.""

    Not mine they haven't

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  16. Alan -

    Nor mine, really. Other than being hetero, my husband and I don't really fit any of their definitions of family - but then again, their definition is so restrictive that I wonder how many families really do fit it.

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  17. I don't usually stop by, but I have to comment and say that I'm grateful for the comparison you've made.

    Don Quixote is one of my favorite literary heroes. Going into a world of filth, he saw the best, fought the worst and transformed those around him by his fight and his witness.

    That'll preach.

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  18. There you go, Toby! Welcome! Glad it is a good fit.

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  19. I am personally neither incited or enraged. I have lived both sides of the question of life; born to parents who didn't want me, neglected and abused me with horrible, unspeakable evils. Then adopted by Christian parents.
    Then while a graduate student attacked, raped and facing the dilemma of a pregnancy from that. And the very real threat of contracting AIDS.
    I value life and want to speak for the unborn because God creates all life. Even when the result of a rape.
    The Bible certainly does speak to the issue of life if not using the term abortion...

    Yes pregnancy is sometimes dangerous and risky for women and health care is necessary and thankfully we have the best in the world here in the US.

    I want all to have health care and I don't sit in judgment of whom people love or call family.

    I just don't understand why others would expect me to help pay for the abortion they are choosing. Just as I would not expect others to help pay for mine.

    Sometimes declarations are needed and are helpful and they are not elitist unless they are used to prop up others in power--or to maintain power over others.
    I don't read this tenor in the declaration at all. I read people genuinely concerned and grieved over their own falleness and conscience before God.

    If you don't agree with it then don't sign it. But why the hate towards those who do agree?

    In fact I have many 'gay' friends and I love them.
    I know my own sin is worse than anything anyone has ever done to harm or hurt me.

    That's why I trust God because He gives more grace than I deserve or ever fully appreciate.

    And so, I want to follow His Word...and I don't want to stand before Him one day and be called to explain why I never spoke up for the defenseless in our society.

    And as a sidenote, I don't personally care for Sarah Palin at all and find it ridiculous to make any comparison between her and signing a declaration because of a personal choice to have my conscience captive to God and not men.

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  20. Sorry, Kelley, but the very fact that you put quotes around the word gay says it all for me.

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  21. My apologies Susan, but I don't understand the offense. Certainly none meant and if implied it is from my ignorance I suppose.
    Am I to take offense at the other posts using quotations about Christians?
    I didn't.

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  22. In fact I have many 'gay' friends and I love them.

    That one is a classic.

    I do find it amusing how people care so much how they are perceived. I want you all to know how much I love gay people, even though I am going to engage in civil disobedience if I have to just to make sure they don't get equal rights.

    No one is fooled by the "I love them but..." crap. Be a bigot and be proud.

    Then there is the healthcare business. If you don't want to pay taxes to help out others regarding health care, fine. But making up stupid reasons such as it will fund abortions or it is socialism or whatever, again fools no one.

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  23. Let's see in this post and comments because I agree with the sanctity of all life, I have been called a hypocrite, right wing,superstitious, busy body, Pharisee, fusspot, spouting BS,crazy, nutcase,biblically illiterate, duped hick,delusional,elitist,fear monger,etc.
    I'm sure I've missed a few others. But to say that because I put gay in quotations and affirm that I love my gay friends (and those in my family whom are gay) is really over the top.
    Wow.
    Funny how tolerance isn't extended to some of us who have deeply held faith beliefs and who have really lived life with all of its evils and inconsistencies and want nothing more than to know God and make Him known. Imperfectly for sure but passionately.
    How dare you tell me that I hate people I truly love?
    Or question my integrity about my passion for LIFE.
    When you've been abused, neglected, raped, stabbed, left for dead bleeding in an alley...

    then maybe you have moral standing to accuse me of not caring or loving others. Or of not being a true Christian or one who forgives and works for the betterment of others.

    What arrogance.

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  24. "If you don't agree with it then don't sign it. But why the hate towards those who do agree?"

    Heh. Yes, we're so hateful! LOL

    Sorry, Kelley, but I don't see any hate coming from us. Joking, yes. Humor, yes. Sarcasm, yes. Pointing out their obvious hypocrisy, yes. But hate? Nope, that would be their department, not ours. They're the experts in hate, not us. If you can't tell the difference between love and hate then I question your "love" for your "gay" friends.

    "In fact I have many 'gay' friends and I love them."

    LOL. One of my favorite lines too. (Interestingly enough when I've had the opportunity to meet the "gay" "friends" of people who say such things, they generally have few complimentary things to say and deny any real friendship.)

    My latest response to that silliness is, "I don't care if you call it "love" or "hate", just take it somewhere else please and stop trying to inflict it on me."

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  25. Oh get off your high horse.

    You sign some declaration that seeks to

    1) deny the dignity and freedom of women to make intimate and profound choices about their lives with their doctors and even seek to deny healthcare resources at a time in which they are most vulnerable all under an abstract umbrella term "life"

    2) deny equal rights for gay and lesbian couples again under the cover of a sanctimonious abstraction about some hypothetical superstitious godly marriage

    then you come here to lecture me?

    You said it, except it is for you.

    What arrogance.

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  26. I think Kelley's on page 99 of the FSBT playbook. She should be done soon.

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  27. In case Toby is still lurking, this is about the character, Don Quixote:
    "Alonso Quixano, a retired country gentleman in his fifties, lives in an unnamed section of La Mancha with his niece and a housekeeper. He has become obsessed with books of chivalry, and believes their every word to be true, despite the fact that many of the events in them are clearly impossible. Quixano eventually appears to other people to have lost his mind from little sleep and food and because of so much reading."

    It's also conjectured that the name "Don Quixote" is a pun meaning "great horse's ass".

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  28. Kelley, give up on this blog site. They can't see their own hate. Instead, they see hate in your love, logic, and courage. No matter what you say, it will be greeted the way it has already been greeted. It's no use saying a thing to these people because their responses are predictable, and it's not worth spending your time here. Pray for them, yes, but try to reason with them, no.

    I admire what you said; your courage and faith through all you have endured are wonderful! May all God's blessings go with you.

    I usually don't stop by here, and I fully expect that I will now also be reviled just for commenting here.

    In Christ's deep love,

    Debbie Berkley

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  29. Welcome, Debbie! We love you. We just hate your sin.

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  30. I respect the position that abortion is wrong because it violates the sanctity of life.

    People who believe in the sanctity of life challenge the taking of human life in all circumstances, and fight long and hard to provide all human beings the dignity that the sanctity of their lives demands. They work hard to get rid of world hunger, to give health-care and shelter to those that have none, and they are are tireless in their campaign against capital punishment and poor incarceration standards. They fight for human rights in all arenas, including the rights of gays to marry as they please.

    If that is where Kelly is coming from, God bless her, more power to her.

    But a document that condemns abortion and equal rights for gays in the same breath is not about the sanctity of human life.

    It is only about the sanctity of right wing ideology.

    The 80 million killed and 800 million injured, not to mentioned the unborn victims of right wing ideology in the middle of the 20th Century alone have something to say about what right wing ideology is really about.

    It is about anything BUT the sanctity of life.

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  31. I knew this Manhattan Declaration had a stink to it and I can't help but think of the timing issue.

    In the midst of the healthcare debate the right wing goes ballistic over "taxpayer funded abortions."

    The intention here is what exactly? I think it is to derail healthcare reform with a contentious wedge issue.

    Insurance companies have got to be loving it.

    And it just so happens that I received an email from my congressperson, Phil Roe, who writes:

    I believe one of the more disturbing aspects of the health care reform overhaul being considered right now is its potential impact on the rights of the unborn....

    ...Under H.R. 3962 – the health care legislation that passed through the House this month – virtually every individual will be required to have health care coverage that meets “minimum benefits standards” established by the administration. Those minimum benefits will include abortion unless Congress acts to explicitly exclude abortion from any government mandated coverage or taxpayer funded health plan.


    On his website you can "vote":

    Do you support a government health care plan that pays for abortions?

    Yes, I believe taxpayer dollars should fund abortions.

    No, I do not believe taxpayer dollars should fund abortions.

    I am unsure at this time.


    Yup, insurance companies are loving this.

    In case folks don't know, terminating pregnancies is legal.

    I don't like my tax dollars funding all kinds of things (including the killing of prisoners on death row, killing people in Iraq and Afghanistan, and on and on).

    For that matter, I am not so keen on abortion. But it is legal.

    Change policies if you want and can. Derailing healthcare reform because of this religious wedge issue is not the way to make change.

    Roe is wrong (again).

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  32. To clear the air, I respond to what people actually say about the issues, not how they bring their past experiences into the issue at hand.

    To Kelly,

    Apologies for not being sensitive to your personal story. I came back strong. I trust you are a fine Christian and come by your position honestly.

    As Jodie says:

    People who believe in the sanctity of life challenge the taking of human life in all circumstances, and fight long and hard to provide all human beings the dignity that the sanctity of their lives demands. They work hard to get rid of world hunger, to give health-care and shelter to those that have none, and they are are tireless in their campaign against capital punishment and poor incarceration standards. They fight for human rights in all arenas, including the rights of gays to marry as they please.

    If that is where Kelly is coming from, God bless her, more power to her.


    I agree.

    I am not so convinced about the integrity of the drafters of this document. I think they are opportunists.

    The PCUSA has been debating the ethics of terminating a pregnancy for nearly 40 years now. As black and white and right and wrong and God vs. Satan as some would like it to be, it isn't.

    Here is a summary of how the PCUSA has discussed, debated, and voted.

    I personally don't find this easy, simple, or clear.

    I find the simplistic "choice to commit murder" rhetoric reprehensible.

    Using this volatile wedge issue to derail the healthcare debate is below the belt.

    Then the "rider" issue. What does "sanctity of life" have anything to do with gays getting marriage licenses?

    Yeah, I am suspicious.

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  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  34. John, if you meant what you said to me sincerely, I would be utterly fine with it.

    Debbie Berkley

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  35. Debbie,

    I do mean that sincerely.

    I love you. I hate your sin.

    The truth is, I don't know what your sin is.

    That is the difference in how you use it with glbts and how I use it with you.

    You claim to know their sin, something only God knows.

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  36. This might not be the right forum for what I am about to say but what the heck.

    Put aside the rest of the Manhattan Declaration. Kelley raises the issue of abortion. Long time readers of John's blog know that I believe that abortion is wrong in most circumstances. John suggests that abortion is not a simple or clear issue. I think there are situations in which we would all say that abortion is wrong. we might not agree that there should be laws in all the situations I'm about to list but I think, at least at the beginning of the list, we would agree that abortion is wrong.

    1. In China a family is allowed one child. If a woman becomes pregnant a second time she is forced to have an abortion. Abortion aside forced medical treatment is wrong. But forced abortion as a forced "medical treatment" is wrong.

    2. In both India and China today some families get tests to discover is a child is male or female. If the child is female some families will abort the child. I understand that this takes place in other countries too though with less frequency. Aborting because the child is female is wrong, yes?

    3. This on is a bit more futuristic but: aborting a child because the child does not have certain required genetic characteristics like intelligence, blond hair, musical talent or whatever.

    4. This will be a problematic area: abortion because of genetic abnormality. Let's start at one end of the scale and go to the other. A child has Downs Syndrome. Abort? Yet folks with Downs Syndrome are the most loving people I know. But raising a child with Downs is exhausting and expensive. Spina Bifida? At the other end of the scale a child who will die almost immediately when s/he is born like a child with anacephalia (no brain).

    I'm going to stop the list there because I think if I go farther we will reach areas in which there will be definite disagreement.

    I suspect we all agree that #1 should be illegal. Along with that is the forced sterilization conducted here in America in the past.

    I think we will agree that aborting a child because the child is female is immoral. Should it be illegal?

    I know #3 turns my stomach. It raises images for me of trying to create a super race (and has the problems of not knowing what other genetic traits one will bring to the fore.) I do not know of anyone having an abortion for this reason but I know that people are trying to select genes (by choice of parent through sperm donors) to produce a child with specific characteristics.

    When we go to #4 I suspect we are going to disagree.

    I hope we all can agree that pregnant women and infants and children should receive health care and other benefits so that the question of abortion does not arise because there will be no money to feed the child or no health care after a child is born. And that all should work together to try and prevent pregnancies where they are not wanted. It would be very nice to have a discussion about how we can all work together to make sure that pregnancy is a choice.

    John this is kind of long and off point. If you want me to delete it and take it to my blog I will.

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  37. Jodie

    I'm not sure that National Socialism was right wing. I'm also not sure that the forms of Marxist Leninism we saw at the end of the 20th Century were left wing. Both were about power. Both in their earlier and sometimes in their later stages were atheistic religions. Some Nazis went beyond that to connect their political beliefs with Norse religion.

    The specific reference in the Manhattan Declaration to Nazis is to the eugenics movement of the early 20th century. It was used in America in racist ways as well as ways to promote the idea that the poor should not have children. Curiously those who promoted the idea wanted more children born who were much like themselves. Or maybe not so curiously.

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  38. Pastor Bob,

    I find you refreshing.

    Thank you for the list. I think there are other ethical considerations then trying to determine when terminating a pregnancy is wrong such as education, resources, etc.

    Maybe a scale of
    poor
    fair
    better
    best
    is a way to think about it.

    We could vote with colored beads like they do at the Jesus Seminar! : )

    1) Saying that abortion is "murder." (poor)

    2) Lack of accessibility for thorough sexual education including access to birth control, health care, confidential counseling, etc. (poor)

    3) Adoption alternatives to terminating a pregnancy. (better to best)

    4) Abstinence-only sexual education. (poor)

    5) Placing with the mother final ethical decision-making power regarding her own reproductive options. (best)

    6) Terminating pregnancy for vanity reasons or gender selection. (poor) I agree with your points 1-3.

    7) Terminating pregnancy because of genetic abnormality. (fair to better)

    8) Every child should be a wanted child. (best)

    9) Terminating a pregnancy because a child is unwanted. (poor to fair)

    10) Late term abortion of a healthy, normal fetus, and mother's health not threatened. (poor)

    Those are just my views. I have not said in what of those situations if any the state should enforce something by law.

    You mentioned futuristic ideas and you mentioned China and India. We do need to talk about population. China didn't make their policies because they loved killing babies.

    The future (which is getting closer) is going to require some tough decisions.

    Six and half billion and rising. What is more ethical: family planning, or war, famine, disease, euthanasia, massive die-off?

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  39. Bob!

    "I'm not sure that National Socialism was right wing."

    What??!!! Is that some kind of opposite side of the coin of questioning whether the Holocaust ever happened? OMG!

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  40. Jodie

    First I don't like the single line from right wing to left wing. When people use such scales in the PCUSA I cringe. Jack Rogers suggested at Fuller that we need at the very least a 2 dimensional graph.

    I think it depends on what particular issue we talk about. If the capitalism of Smith is right wing and evolutionary capitalism of the late 19th century is more right wing then National Socialism is not right wing. Corrupt certainly but it was a form of nationalizing industries.

    If Monarchism is right wing then the divinization of Adolph Hitler (and Stalin and Mao for that matter) is right wing.

    If racism and murdering people because of their ethnicity, political positions, sexual orientation, etc. is right wing then National Socialism is right wing. Then so was the Soviet Union, modern Russia and Communist and the not so Communist modern China. And America both in the past and today. (Attempts at closing borders I think are racism and foolish economic policy.)

    If attempts to create a more genetically pure society is right wing then the eugenics movement in the USA and many countries in Europe is also right wing. At the time it was considered progressive.

    Was interning Japanese Americans (or calling it by the right name putting them in concentration camps right wing? Roosevelt was not exactly right wing.

    Maybe a better way of putting it is that the various forms of absolutism of the 20th Century do not fall into easy categories.

    And yes I believe the Holocaust happened. I would prefer that we also go beyond 6 million Jews (who I agree were the primary focus of the Nazis) to the Polish elite, the Russian prisoners of war, the gypsies, homosexuals, communists, those who helped Jews and other groups who add up to 13 million.

    I suggest that if you take Nazi policies one by one and put them on a one dimensional scale from left to right some polices will be right wing, others more toward the left and still others difficult to categorize.

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  41. " They can't see their own hate. Instead, they see hate in your love, logic, and courage. No matter what you say, it will be greeted the way it has already been greeted. It's no use saying a thing to these people because their responses are predictable, and it's not worth spending your time here."

    Really? You're pulling out the "I'm rubber, you're glue" defense? Wow.

    Like I said, you can call whatever you think you've got going "love" or "hate". While I find it amazing that, with your patronizing attitude you could ever justify it as "love", I don't really care. Just feel free to leave me out of it entirely. How many times do I have to say that? What is so difficult to understand about "Mind Your Own Business?"

    And yet you do stop by here, Debbie, which leads one to wonder why you post if it's such a waste of time? Self-agrandizement perhaps? Or perhaps the busybodies simply can't help themselves? Perhaps it's genetic? Just because you were born a busybody Debbie, doesn't mean you have to act on it. LOL

    That's OK, I would amend what John said to, "we love you, and we'll let God worry about your sin" because, when it comes to being a busybody, fusspot, tattletale and scold, I know when I'm outmatched. ;)

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  42. BTW, there's good news in your email box, John, from the Presbytery of Detroit. We just passed Northside's overture to GA to amend G-6.0106b!

    221 days to GA. Time to saddle up and get to work.

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  43. John

    Again beyond the sphere of this post but since you responded to me . . .

    I think we in the church need to get ahead of the scientific curve and argue that all human clones the results messing with human genetics to create different shapes or powers are all human and deserve human rights.

    Claiming that human genetic manipulation can be patented and the results are possesions fills me will horror and fear. Claiming that the results of human genetic manipulation are not really human fills me with the same horror.

    My greatest fear is that some parts of the Church will say that humans who are the result of human genetic manipulation are of the devil.

    I started thinking about this because of the fiction of Robert Heinlein. And I don't think such manipulation is all that far down the road.

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  44. Alan, great news! Just posted it!

    Bob, OK. Just finished reading Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go which is a novel along the lines you are talking about.

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  45. "we love you, and we'll let God worry about your sin"

    Yeah, I like that better, too. Amendment to motion accepted and seconded.

    Ready to vote?

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  46. Heinlein's book that dealt with the subject is called "Friday"

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  47. BTW, a bit of a tanget, but since we're talking eugenics, abortion, and gay rights, it does lead me to wonder what would happen if a prenatal test for "gayness" were discovered.

    My guess: Evangelical Christians would suddenly be in favor of abortion and/or genetic manipulation in order to eliminate the "public shame of having a gay child."*

    Of course that's only a guess, but it's based on 1) The polls that show anti-abortion evangelical Christians are just as pro-abortion as the rest of the population when they get knocked up, and 2) it would be in line with the opinions of one of their grand high potentates, Al Mohler, a signer of this declaration. And we know that one cannot disagree with the grand high potentates, otherwise they'll start fitting you for your very own millstone.

    So if you're keeping score of the hypocrisy from people signing this declaration, we've got Carmen "The Millstone" Fowler who signs a statement which puts Scripture and human reason on an equal footing, and we've got Eugenicist Al Mohler, who signs onto a statement that is against eugenics.

    http://tinyurl.com/d3q3lw

    *Choice quote from Al Mohler, one of many.

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  48. Alan

    I thought of mentioning abortion of homosexuals. I oppose abortion for that purpose too. I think some people would abort their children if they could find out of they were gay.

    I wouldn't. Of course it's easy for me to say that since my wife and I are past childbearing age.

    I'm also against any advanced use of genetics to prevent make sure sperm and eggs that if combined would produce homosexuals won't selected for combination.

    I think such would lead us down the very short road back to death camps. It would suggest that gays and lesbians aren't really human. That was the message in Nazi Germany wasn't it?

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  49. Well, I can say without fear of successful contradiction that my husband and I will never have an abortion.

    Abortion of gay babies isn't why I oppose abortion, but it isn't a bad reason if I needed one given what hypocrites many on the right are.

    If there's one thing I know for sure about the right, it's that many, many of them never mean what they say. So the fact that they say they're against abortion doesn't mean much when their rates of abortion are just as high as everyone else's in this country. Combine that with their remarkable hatred of all things gay and you've got a scary combination should some sort of prenatal test for sexual orientation one day be invented.

    After all, they're already against gay adoption, which could reduce the number of abortions of unwanted pregnancies. But being against the queers is more important than being for the lives of babies.

    But hey! They went to all the trouble to type their names on a web page declaration, so I guess all our problems are solved! I'm glad for all the millions of lives saved by these good people signing their names on a web form in order to, like sheep, join the rest of the crowd in order to feel like they've actually done something important and worthwhile. You know, because they could have been out there in the world actually doing ... well .... something.

    Nah, spending time on this declaration which will be forgotten in a month was a *much* better idea.

    *insert sarcastic clapping here*

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  50. After all, they're already against gay adoption, which could reduce the number of abortions of unwanted pregnancies. But being against the queers is more important than being for the lives of babies.

    I have been trying (without success) to argue that these folks. Supporting marriage would support families of gay and lesbian parents to adopt unwanted children. What a great help to the unwanted pregnancy problem.

    So, Bob, what do you think about that?

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  51. One of our TN state legislators introduced legislation to prevent gay couples from adopting even as he is "pro-life" (snark).

    He was also pro-nookie.

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  52. "Pro-nookie". Ha! Just another way for a hypocrite to show he is pro-life?

    Really, the hypocrisy is brought to the fore with this contradiction. I don't think any minority group can be said to be more "pro-life" than LGBT folks. They raise children because they really, really, really want to, and they have to go through significant trials to do so. That's pretty darned pro-life.

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  53. John

    My answer to that question is really really long. I've been thinking about writing a series of blogs on the Manhattan Declaration. If I do so adoption will be near the top of my list.

    I want to talk about revelation and reason first. :)

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  54. Bob,

    I would like to read what you write about that. I appreciate your comments regarding abortion.

    I am glad our denomination struggles over this question because it is not one that is simply choice vs. life. The role of the state and of the church and of individual informed conscience is all part of it.

    There is hypocrisy on all sides but Alan is right about those who say they are against abortion and then go out and get abortions for themselves or for their teenagers who get pregnant because no one helps them with birth control!

    I see that where I live.

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  55. John

    It's not just not helping teens with birth control. What I am about to say is also not just seen among evangelicals. I see it more as a middle class thing than anything else. Some parents tell pregnant daughters if they don't get abortions they will be kicked out of the house.

    We parents don't always approve of what our children do (understatement of the year) but love and support in times of trouble is a parent's job. So "I will love you and accept you if you get an abortion" is one of the most horrifying parental acts I can think of. I guess we can't hurt the parent's standing in the community or slow down the daughter's trip to a top notch college.

    And then there is the boyfriend who is more than happy to pay for the abortion but says he won't stay with the mother of his child unless she gets an abortion. So she gets the abortion and he abandons her.

    And yes, it is just as bad to abandon a child who comes out to you.

    There are times for tough love but they are for situations like the crack addicted child has stolen from the parents for the nth time(or beat up a parent for some money). Then when all else fails a child may be told not to come home.

    Pregnant or gay just don't make the cut.

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  56. Some parents tell pregnant daughters if they don't get abortions they will be kicked out of the house.

    Yes, and there are ones who will kick their child out if she become pregnant at all. I had an employee who hid her pregnancy from her father because he told her he would kill her. When the baby was stillborn (most likely due to lack of pre-natal care of the mother), she and her brother buried it in the back yard. An abortion would have been kinder, I think.

    One has to ask how much of a role religion plays in these sorts of demands parents put on their children, as you say. So much of it is about how society (friends, neighbors, the church) will react "if they find out".

    The church could do much to eliminate the need for abortion if it:
    1) got over itself regarding birth control and sex education;
    2) got over itself as judge and jury;
    3) spent its resources to eliminate economic disparity instead of fighting to maintain GLBT and other minority rights disparities.

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  57. Snad

    There was a very interesting article in Christianity Today a while back. The author argued that Christians expecting their children to wait until they are out of school, have paid off their loans and bought a house to get married is ridiculous. People start having sex because their bodies tell them it's the right time. And since our culture encourages postponing marriage it's no wonder people have sex outside of marriage.

    I got married at 22. I was in seminary and my wife was working. We had almost nothing. Sometimes we went to my parents because we didn't have any food and she didn't get paid until Monday. And in some ways they were the best years of our lives.

    The author argued that we need to somehow recreate a culture in which families support their married children until they are able to pay to support themselves.

    So this may surprise you. When working with High School kids I will encourage them to not have sex. But I make sure they know about birth control, sexually transmitted diseases and how to protect themselves if they are going to have sex. The folks at Planned Parenthood I was working with were shocked. I was just as shocked that they encouraged abstinence.

    One of my big concerns for conservative Christian kids is that they lie to themselves. They aren't going to have sex, not them. Even though in the back of their minds they know they had sex last Wednesday and probably will this Wednesday too. But if they can tell themselves they don't plan to have sex then they feel minor guilt when they do. Planning to have sex would mean they were planning to sin and that would bring big guilt. This is particularly true among the girls.

    So I tell them yes, intercourse outside of marriage is sin. But getting a sexually transmitted disease or pregnant is not a good way to avoid sin. In fact I tell them that under those circumstances getting pregnant is also a sin: the sin of stupidity.

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  58. No agenda. No playbook. No horse--high or low.
    No name calling.
    No condemnation.
    Thank you John for your apology and I accept it as being sincere. And thanks Debbie for your kindness.
    I visited this sight because the 'gay' friend I referenced in one of my earlier posts sent me a tweet to check it out. He regrets doing so after reading the discourse after I voiced my stand opposing abortion. Yes, he read it along with me and he personally took no offense at my use of italics. Actually he said that's it's lame and a smoke screen when for they don't want to talk about the real issues you raised.
    But, I've learned a lot from this visit to your sight and am no longer as ignorant as I was yesterday. I am astonished though to find brothers and sisters in Christ so quick to judge and name call and show not one ounce of compassion or willingness to hear a disagreement without intellectual honesty.
    In the spirit of Thanksgiving I wish you all the best. And leave your blog with a couple of quotes that my same friend just sent me that he finds relevant:

    "I do not support gay marriage. Marriage has religious and social connotations, and I consider marriage to be between a man and a woman."
    "This is an issue that I think helps to describe who we are...[Marriage] connotes to so many people a religious and not just civil element, and that includes me."
    Barack Obama (President of the United States of America)

    “We acknowledge that, from conception, the fetus is a human being entitled to basic rights, including the right to life. We hold that abortion denies that right and destroys that human being. We know firsthand, from homophobia, what it is to have our rights denied...Like homophobia, abortion tries to get rid of the persons who are considered undesirable...We volunteer time and energy to pro-life pregnancy centers and pro-life agencies...” Gays Against Abortion (now known as PLAGAL)

    I hope we all will find our ways to help others in need and not be quick to jump on the first person who disagrees, particularly knowing nothing about that person. A little honest reflection and discourse goes a long way in the real world.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

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  59. Kelley,

    Thank you for the scolding. Always appreciated.

    You wrote:

    I hope we all will find our ways to help others in need and not be quick to jump on the first person who disagrees, particularly knowing nothing about that person.

    Are you in need?

    No one knows anything about you. We know nothing except that you have a handle "kelley" and you like a blog called "pure church."

    For all I know you could be making it all up including your "gay" friend. I am not saying you are, just don't know.

    We don't know anything more about you now than we have before.

    As I recall your rhetoric was a bit harsh as well.

    You wrote:

    So the choice you are advocating is the choice to commit murder.

    Murder.

    Also, you wrote that we called you all kinds of names that we didn't.

    The deal is you reveal a somewhat personal story to strangers. But no one knows you so we can't know if it is true. I am not saying it isn't, just don't know.

    Because of that, we are not supposed to take issue with other things you say?

    It doesn't work like that.

    This is a public forum. We debate things, sometimes passionately, especially when the issues are controversial.

    If you are truly in need, I suggest you find a way to get whatever it is you do need.

    Making anonymous statements on a public blog is probably not going to get you what you need.

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  60. Bob -

    You mentioned a Robert Heinlein book in this post, recently. One of my favorite quotes is from Heinlein; it has been a long time since I looked at its source, so forgive me if I paraphrase slightly, but here it is:

    "The only sin lies in hurting others unnecessarily. By the way, hurting yourself isn't sin - just stupid."

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, Bob!

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  61. Thanks Snad

    And two of my favorite quotes from Heinlein are:

    "I sent a lie into the air and it's still going everywhere."

    And

    (This is on a page with a sketch of a desert and a cows skull)

    On November 20, 1842 Nothing important happened here.

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  62. Bob wrote, "One of my big concerns for conservative Christian kids is that they lie to themselves. They aren't going to have sex, not them. Even though in the back of their minds they know they had sex last Wednesday and probably will this Wednesday too."

    Heh. As you may know, I'm an alum of one of the most conservative colleges in the country. A small Dutch Reformed college, Calvin College. I may be one of the few people I know who graduated from that college with his virtue intact. I was a very naive kid and was really shocked with what went on there. (Not only sex, but drugs, etc.)

    Those same folks haven't spoken to me since I came out.

    You're right. Kids will have sex. I believe they shouldn't. But to expect that they're going to get accurate information by osmosis is ridiculous. Some people simply can't handle the notion that there are levels of harm. Premarital sex may be harmful for kids, but abortion is certainly worse than harmful. Those sorts of choices are too tough for them so they just plug their ears and close their eyes and hope it'll all work out ok. Then they lose their minds when it doesn't. Sad, really.

    Kelley:

    I don't get the Obama quote. What's that about? That is, I don't understand what it has to do with what we're talking about.

    You wrote, "I am astonished though to find brothers and sisters in Christ so quick to judge and name call and show not one ounce of compassion or willingness to hear a disagreement without intellectual honesty."

    Ask your gay friend. I'm sure he can tell you all about brothers and sisters in Christ so quick to judge and name call and show not one ounce of compassion or willingness to hear a disagreement without intellectual honesty.

    That, in a nutshell, describes Christ's church for most gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.

    Just FYI.

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  63. Well this has been a fun post. Laughter, tears, anger, politics, intrigue, controversy, and sin.

    Tell your friends, Shuck and Jive is better than Desperate Housewives.

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  64. John Shuck wrote: "Welcome, Debbie! We love you. We just hate your sin."

    I hope she gets that. It is powerful.

    Sometimes it does take a little sarcasm, irony, parody, etc. to get through to "those people."

    love,
    love,
    John A Wilde
    Whitesboro NY + The John A Wilde Blog + “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” – Mohandas Gandhi

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  65. No, she doesn't get it.

    Neither does Viola. They are completely deaf and blind to the inherent contradictions and reflexive nature of their claims.

    Bigotry, hatred, and prejudice usually are. All that religious talk masking such anti-christian values...

    Typical of Fundamentalist Right Wing "Christianity", but still, the unanswered question is 'why?'. Where does it come from?! Religion at the service of right wing extremism? Useful idiots? Or could it even be the progenitor of right wing extremism?

    Is it Satan up to his old Trickster antics, is it just an aspect of the inherently xenophobic human mind?

    Either way, left unchecked, it has been shown to cause indescribable human pain, death and destruction.

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