Lovely thinker, graceful writer


I first heard of Peggy Noonan as a speechwriter, credited with Bush the First’s "thousand points of light." Since that phrase didn’t seem particularly remarkable to me, I wasn’t particularly impressed, and didn’t think any more of her.Bush_ford_funeral

Then, sometime around 15 years
ago, give or take a couple, I was channel surfing and paused on a documentary, my eye caught by a fine-featured, red-headed woman who spoke with great dignity and intelligence. I don’t remember what she was saying; I was just struck by the overall gestalten impression. Cate Blanchett — whom we knew not at that time — sometimes tries to portray this combination of ageless beauty, intelligence and grace, and does pretty well. But this was someone who lives that way. Who is that? I thought. They showed her name. Oh. This time, I was impressed. She presented herself and her ideas better than the man for whom she had written.

Finally, I came to know her better through her columns on the OpinionJournal of the WSJ. Her latest is a good example of her work. It’s about the importance of ceremony to the life we live in common, about how we live together when we are at our best, our enmities set aside, when we actually become each other’s points of light, as it were.

Of course, I can’t help being struck by the amount of time she always seems to have on her hands. Imagine being able to sit and watch Gerald Ford’s funeral on the tube — the Times Square thing, or Nancy Pelosi’s swearing-in. Who’s got that kind of time? Obviously, she does. So do a lot of people she knows, since they’re writing to share their observations.

Actually, come to think of it, so do a lot of commenters on this blog (judging by appearances), since they seem to sit around reading blogs and watching the tube and getting whipped up over this or that partisan non-issue of the moment.

Peggy Noonan make far better use of that same time — and better than I would, too. If my life ever slowed down a bit. (To use something from the popular culture, picture me as one of those characters — Cary Grant, if you’re inclined to be generous, someone else if you’re not — in a fast-talking screwball comedy about newspaper life in Ben Hecht‘s day. I may rip the latest bulletin off the teletype machine as I pass by, long-ashed cigarette flipping up and down out of one side of my mouth as I yell at a copy boy out of the other, and see that Gerald Ford has indeed died — but sit still for his funeral? When?) If I had that time, I’d probably cram a DVD into the machine, anything to take my mind from work for a moment.

Because she watches, she’s able to see the truth and beauty, say, in the way Mrs. Pelosi assumed power — something of which the actual opinion page of the Journal itself is incapable. They were busy castigating her for taking a page from Tom Delay. It’s what you might call political opinion as usual. Ms. Noonan’s writing, at its best, has a graciousness that takes us beyond that.

It calms me down a bit, when I find time to look at it, and I am vicariously thoughtful, dignified and full of proper thoughts toward humanity. (I don’t necessarily mean I hold the same thoughts, but she transmits the same calm attitude.) It doesn’t last long, but while it lasts, it’s good.


88 thoughts on “Lovely thinker, graceful writer

  1. Mary Rosh

    “Actually, come to think of it, so do a lot of commenters on this blog (judging by appearances), since they seem to sit around reading blogs and watching the tube and getting whipped up over this or that partisan non-issue of the moment.
    Peggy Noonan make far better use of that same time — and better than I would, too. If my life ever slowed down a bit.”
    But don’t you understand that if you spent some time “sitting around reading blogs and watching the tube” you would be more efficient at your job? You would spend less time doing it, and you would do it better. I spent a few minutes reading blogs and watching Olbermann, and I knew all about the Saddam Huseein execution, and about John McCain’s dishonest pandering.
    You spent however much time you spent thinking about and writing about the Saddam Hussein execution, but you were too “busy” to “sit around reading blogs and watching the tube”, so you didn’t know what happened, and so you screwed it up. EVERY BIT OF TIME you spent thinking about it and writing about it was wasted, because you scorned the simple techniques that would have yielded important information that vitiated your conclusions.
    What’s shocking, though, is that you evidently didn’t read the VERY ARTICLE that you used to draw your conclusions about John McCain. You referred to and quoted the article in order to support a conclusion that was the direct opposite of any conclusion that could be drawn from the facts recited in the article.
    You’re engaged in so much activity because you approach your job in the wrong way. Don’t you understand that understanding the facts is the most important thing that a commentator can do? WHY do you sneer at others for spending time learning what’s going on?
    The general proposition that an open trial of a dictator, conducted under accepted law is a good thing is reasonable, and it’s a reasonable thing to talk about. But don’t you understand that if you’re going to talk about Saddam Hussein’s execution, you have to take into account WHAT ACTUALLY OCCURRED? It is sad, but Saddam Hussein was NOT executed as a result of a procedure conducted under accepted law; he was evidently handed over to the Mahdi Army so that they could conduct a sectarian lynching. THAT’S IMPORTANT. It would have been well worth the 3 or 4 minutes it would have taken to familiarize yourself with those facts, because it would have kept you from humiliating yourself by writing what you did.
    I have an idea for something you could do that would save you some time, which you could then spend finding out facts. Why not quit spending so much time pretending you’re not a partisan Republican? How much time do you spend pretending to be nonpartisan, for example, decrying the time spent on “the latest partisan non-issue”? How long did that phrase take you to write? At least 3 or 4 seconds, right? That’s 3 or 4 seconds you could have spent finding out facts.
    And I don’t know what you mean by “partisan non-issue”. The latest issue on which there’s something of a partisan divide is the McCain Doctrine, which I estimate will endanger more of our soldiers, to no purpose. I know that you were safe at home during the Vietnam war, and you’re safe at home now, and you may therefore be able to think of the safety of our soliders as a “partisan non-issue”, but I feel that it’s an issue of vital importance to the United States.

  2. Mark Whittington

    Young says it best:
    We got a thousand points of light
    For the homeless man
    We got a kinder, gentler,
    Machine gun hand
    We got department stores
    and toilet paper
    Got styrofoam boxes
    for the ozone layer
    Got a man of the people,
    says keep hope alive
    Got fuel to burn,
    got roads to drive.

  3. Ready to Hurl

    Mary, Brad is too busy to keep up with current events; too busy to personally support the war that he hungers to escalate.
    He’s obviously not too busy volunteering at VA hospitals. As a sympathetic parent, I’d cut him some slack– if his ignorance didn’t pre-date his daughter’s illness by many months.
    You’d think that the editor of the editorial page would find the time to stay informed on the most important issue facing our country.
    But, you’d be wrong.

  4. Dave

    Pelosi is trying to project the image of the loving grandmother from Baltimore, and a Catholic to boot. The reality is she is an abortion loving homo supporter. But back to Noonan, who recently on a C-Span panel on abortion literally devastated EJ Dionne when she so articulately noted that the Democrats continually pronounce themselves as the part of the little people, and Peggy then went on to ask how they could not protect and support the littlest of the little people waiting to come out of the womb. Very powerful.

  5. bud

    Ok Dave since you brought it up, articulate your position on abortion? Do you imprison a 16 year old girl if she seeks an abortion? How about the doctor? Do you make any exceptions for rape or incest? The problem with pro lifers, like most conservative positions, is they rant and rave about the problems with the liberal position without actually saying what they would do. Well here’s your chance.

  6. Steve

    While any illness of one’s children is stressful, Brad’s daughter’s dehydration from a stomach bug doesn’t seem to be the life threatening drama his original post from the ER seemed to imply. But, then, if an editoral writer couldn’t spin an event to match his pontification, what good would he be?

  7. Dave

    Bud, there you go again with the citing of very infrequent exceptions to the norm. But I will try to answer. The 16 year old, if not forcibly raped, must have the child, and it can be adopted. In a case of rape or incest, I would permit an abortion but discourage it. If incest is involved, the incestor (?) would be castrated if the DNA matched. Rapists, after they are caught, would be required to pay for the child for the rest of the child’s and their life. If they cannot afford to pay support, they go to prison and pound rocks for a living. Abortion doctors who perform illegal abortions lose their license to practice and get a 5 year mandatory prison sentence for each abortion.

  8. Mary Rosh

    “But, then, if an editoral writer couldn’t spin an event to match his pontification, what good would he be?”
    Wouldn’t such an editorial writer be one of the greatest editorial writers of all time?

  9. Lily

    “The reality is she is an abortion loving homo supporter.”
    “Bud, there you go again with the citing of very infrequent exceptions to the norm. But I will try to answer. The 16 year old, if not forcibly raped, must have the child, and it can be adopted. In a case of rape or incest, I would permit an abortion but discourage it. If incest is involved, the incestor (?) would be castrated if the DNA matched. Rapists, after they are caught, would be required to pay for the child for the rest of the child’s and their life. If they cannot afford to pay support, they go to prison and pound rocks for a living. Abortion doctors who perform illegal abortions lose their license to practice and get a 5 year mandatory prison sentence for each abortion.”
    Lovely… crude with just the right touch of bigotry. This particular troglodyte certainly lingers on the palate.

  10. bud

    Dave, you still haven’t answered the big question. What penalty does the 16 year old receive if she breaks the law and gets an abortion anyway? Is this murder and hence subject to the death penalty. If it’s some lessor crime, why? If we accept that abortion is a pre-meditated taking of a human life the taking of that life should result in the same consequences.
    Furthermore, you still allow exceptions, though grudgingly, for rape and incest. Are babies created from rapes just as human as other babies? If so the same “sanctity of life” arguments still apply. In that case the crime of abortion, along with the penalty, should be the same as if the baby was created through concensual means. And if you allow for the rape exception who makes this determination?
    If you believe in both the death penalty and are pro-life wouldn’t the logical conclusion is to put to death any women who has an abortion? If you invoke any lessor penalty then you are tacitly admitting that an unborn child is not in the same category of human as one who is already born. Once you take that step then the only logical position to take is pro-choice. You really can’t have it both ways. Either you’re pro-life or you’re not.

  11. Brad Warthen

    Lily, hi. Welcome back. I thought your name was familiar, so I went back to check. Your only previous comment was to ask, “why wouldn’t you draft women?” I’m sorry I’ve never come back and done a separate post on that subject; I meant to. I’ll try to get to it soon. Obviously, it’s not a simple answer.
    On another subject — actually, back to the original one — look at the Peggy Noonan piece in question. Then look at the tone of many of the comments above. Do you see why I admire and respect the way she writes — particularly, the way she deals with people with whom she disagrees?
    It’s an important distinction. And if I’m going to keep doing this blog, it’s really important that folks appreciate that particular quality. We really need to learn to converse as grownups; the Blogosphere definitely does not need one more playground brawl.

  12. Steve

    You appreciate Peggy Noonan because she is a speech writer, not someone who actually does something meaningful.
    Style over substance… rhetoric over reality… vocabulary over vocation…
    I’m wondering if you intended your blog to simply be a place where you could post your latest big government screed and wait for the hosannas to accumulate? Did you ever stop to consider how few of the people who actually take the time to read what you write agree with you? Do you think that’s an anomaly of the blogosphere?

  13. Lily

    Brad, hello back to you, and thanks for responding to my earlier question. I look forward to hearing what you have to say on the subject.
    I re-read the Noonan piece with your comment in mind. And I agree with you – if this blog is going to succeed it will have to mature into an real discussion of different points of view rather than the slugfest I often read. It truly is difficult to keep from snarling back in kind when you feel your personal ethics have been spat upon… anyone who is able to respond with grace under those circumstances, such as Ms. Noonan, deserves the respect of those who agree and those who disagree. We do seem to live in a culture that increasingly celebrates both disrespect and anger… why our society rewards this behavior is maybe a topic for another post. But I pledge to you that, if I continue to participate in your blog, I will do so with civility and not insolence; name-calling never really solved anything.

  14. Steve

    Some facts about Peggy Noonan:
    Speechwriter for Reagan and Bush Sr. (not partisan, no, not at all)
    Divorced Catholic (guess those rules don’t apply to everyone)
    Coined the phrases “kinder, gentler nation” and “a thousand points of light”, and the famous “read my lips, no new taxes” (three of the least believable utterances of the 1990’s)…
    Worked as a consultant for Bush Jr.’s 2004 campaign (was that the kinder, gentler one??)
    Oh, and Brad will love this quote from a recent Peggy Noonan piece:
    “Free speech means hearing things you like and agree with, and it means allowing others to speak whose views you do not like or agree with. This–listening to the other person with respect and forbearance, and with an acceptance of human diversity–is the price we pay for living in a great democracy. And it is a really low price for such a great thing.”
    Guess Peggy gets it, huh, Brad?

  15. Dave

    Lily, I am glad you are committing to the civility thing and all. If you are true to your word, you won’t have to worry about Festus, or was that Gabby Hayes, tossing you out of this high classed saloon. And, I laughed when I saw the bit about the troglodyte. I can tell you this, if this nation would adopt and enforce the laws I want, our crime rate would soon be that of maybe Switzerland’s, and pregnant teenagers would become the rare event that it should be. But, I am realistic, and this society wants to categorize even rapists as victims (after all, because their mothers or sisters were probably mean to them, they rape) and life isnt respected, so the liberal media worries about Saddam’s hanging and its cruelty, but cares nothing about an 8 and a half month old fetus having its head crushed by a pair of metal tongs so it won’t survive a delivery. So, yes, some of the wording is brutal and crude, but that is life in the big city nowadays. But let’s be civil about it.

    And Bud, the least guilty in the whole abortion racket is the 16 year old girl. I would propose no punishment for her, as she will suffer a lifelong punishment of guilt and sorrow over the killing of an offspring. That is punishment enough and if anything she needs prayer and counseling for a long time.

  16. Preston

    Dave, you preaching to others about civility is awesome. I am going to start selling T-shirts with the slogan “Irony is not a Crime”. You can be my first customer.
    Reading your post on what to do about punishing abortions, I threw up in my mouth, and then actually physically felt my soul die a little. People like you, while entitled to their thoughts, ought only be able to share them with their State Hospital Psychiatrist.
    Oh yeah, 1838 called, and it wants its midset back. Just go crawl back under that unused copy of the “Book of Mormon” that you came out from under.

  17. Dave

    Preston, so you have a personal State Hospital Psych. – hmmmmmmmmmmmm – they’re comin to take you away, ho ho, comin to take you away, hee hee, ho ho, hee hee

    Now, instead of posting personal criticism, how about posting what is actually in that partially dead little brain on this subject. Try it.

  18. Ready to Hurl

    the least guilty in the whole abortion racket is the 16 year old girl. I would propose no punishment for her, as she will suffer a lifelong punishment of guilt and sorrow over the killing of an offspring. That is punishment enough and if anything she needs prayer and counseling for a long time.

    So, Dave, I guess that you think Susan Smith shouldn’t have been prosecuted for murder?

  19. Ready to Hurl

    Let’s explore Dave’s World.
    Any girl who is impregnated will be forced to carry the zygote/embryo until it can viably survive outside the womb.
    Then what, Dave? Does the gubmint force this teenager to keep the baby and go to school? Are you willing to pay higher taxes for daycare centers in high schools? Does the gubmint expand the welfare system to ensure the safety and welfare of the baby?
    Wait! Is your answer capitalism? Should we sell off the unwanted babies? What kind of demand do you predict for HIV positive babies or babies impaired due to the mom’s acvtivities during pregnancy?
    Maybe we should turn the unwanted babies over to faith-based children’s homes. Naturally, these institutions will require tax expenditures while indoctrinating the kids. Would a Muslim children’s home qualify, Dave? Would you like to pay more taxes for little girls to learn to wear a burqa a worship Mohammed?
    Perhaps you’d volunteer to adopt one of these babies, Dave. How many dark skinned foster kids would you agree to raise?
    Nevermind, Dave. Your refusal to volunteer for Iraq tells us all we need to know about the Republican Party’s “personal responsibility” mantra.

  20. Preston

    “Now, instead of posting personal criticism, how about posting what is actually in that partially dead little brain on this subject.”
    “I can tell you this, if this nation would adopt and enforce the laws I want, our crime rate would soon be that of maybe Switzerland’s, and pregnant teenagers would become the rare event that it should be.”
    Two beautiful sentences. Did you really tell me to refrain from personal criticism, and then wait only until after the comma to personally attack me and my intelligence? Awesome.
    Your delusional “if I were king” rant rivals only Lee for Circus Clown Supremacy on this blog. Keep ’em coming.

  21. bud

    The abortion issue is one that I’m very uncomfortable with. I personally, believe or not Lee and Dave, find it reprehensible that someone could voluntarily destroy the life of an unborn child. Yet crafting an intellectually defensible law that would actually curb the number of abortions is virtually impossible. Dave’s awkward, rambling defense of the pro-life position demonstrates this much better than I ever could.
    Bill Clinton has the best philosophy on this issue. He believes that public policy should keep abortions legal, safe and rare. The pro-life position, when examined in detail, does none of the three. The actual merits of pro-life arguments are nonexistent but they do make great bumper stickers.

  22. bud

    The pro-life position is yet another conservative dogma that works only in the very limited context of appearances. Everything seems so simple to the conservative. The best way to battle the terrorists it to kill them. The most effective way to reduce crime is to kill the criminals. The sanctity of life must be protected by a government ban on abortion. What is interesting about all this is how many conservative positions require a substantial use of government resources. Government must raise huge armies and force soldiers to go 6,000 miles to fight the terrorists. The government must kill convicted murderers. Government must pass and enforce laws regarding women’s use of their bodies. Heck, conservatives force the government down our throats at every turn. Yet they have the audacity to claim it’s the liberals who want to interfere in people’s lives. If nothing else today’s conservative has no shortage of moxy.

  23. Dave

    Bud, what is more simple than right vs wrong? Liberals as I can see, and I mean the leftist progressive types, not pure liberals, cannot distinguish when someone does something wrong. Every activity is justified or rationalized as someone else’s fault. That is a fundamental difference between right and left. And the right wants women and men to control their OWN bodies, not create a baby and kill it because they could not control biological hormonal urges. The Bible spells it all out for those interested enough to read it and understand it. Calling Herb, over and out.

  24. Brad Warthen

    bud, to my knowledge, the current state of affairs has done little to make abortion safe or rare; it’s mostly just made it legal. The rest is rhetoric from people who simply want to maintain the status quo.

    I will stand corrected if anyone has credible evidence to the contrary, but from what I’ve seen, this is a largely unexamined area. What does legality really do to keep abortions "safe" (for one of the people involved, anyway)? You hear about docs who get in trouble for prescribing steroids for jocks, or who are just a little too generous with their prescription pads in general, but how often do you hear of a sloppy abortionist being shut down by regulators?

    You ever meet anyone who regulates abortion clinics for a living? I haven’t, although I’ve known a number of regulators of day cares, to name but one of many areas of human endeavor that the government has a legitimate interest in.

    FYI, the last time I remember anybody in South Carolina even raising the issue was this story
    by Diane Lore of The State back in 1992. Here are the first few paragraphs, in case you have trouble with the link:


    Published on: 07/19/1992
    Section: METRO/REGION
    Edition: FINAL
    Page: 1A
    By DIANE LORE, Medical Writer

        Although one in five pregnant South Carolinians has an abortion, the state
    doesn’t regulate the 13 clinics that perform almost all of those procedures.

        No government agency regularly inspects those clinics, which performed 98
    percent of the state’s abortions in 1991. Doctors are monitored by their
    medical board, but the facilities aren’t accountable to anyone unless they
    choose to be.

           "It’s really a difficult dilemma," said Kara Anderson of the Planned
    Parenthood Federation in New York City. "You don’t want places to be
    overregulated, and yet, you’re a very trusting soul to go to a clinic without
    some sort of regulation in place."

           It’s also a national dilemma. The National Abortion Federation, for
    example, has drafted model abortion regulations in response to about a dozen
    states’ inquiries for help.

           And while South Carolina clinics report they have a clean slate, critics
    say that’s because no government agency has kept data on them or been
    designated to help patients who complain….

  25. Brad Warthen

    Thanks, Lily. If I don’t get back to your women-and-the-draft question, call me on it. I tried answering it in a reply to your comment, but after a couple of hundred words that hardly got me started on the topic, I realized I’d better come back and make it a separate.
    And Steve, it’s no surprise that Peggy Noonan is a Republican. I mentioned that. Surely you don’t think that’s some sort of “gotcha” on your part. Nobody was trying to hide it from you.
    Her virtue is her civility, whether people agree with her or not.
    Oh, and I don’t respect her because she’s a speechwriter, but because of the way she writes speeches — and columns.

  26. bud

    Brad, you made a great argument for regulating abortion clinics but didn’t touch on the fundemantal issue of legality.
    Dave, I don’t disagree with you about the basic right and wrong of abortion. It is definitely wrong to use abortion as birth control. But many activitives are wrong and legal. Take smoking. Blowing smoke in someone elses face is clearly wrong, but should it be illegal? My only point here is to demonstrate how untenable it is to actually craft a law making abortion illegal. And you helped me make my point.

  27. bud

    Brad, you make a great argument for regulating abortion clinics, not for outlawing the practice. If the democrats had been in charge the last 6 years maybe Bill Clinton’s objectives would have been obtained.

  28. Lily

    This discussion began with an example of one who believes in remaining respectful when engaged in a discussion with someone on the opposite side of the ideological fence… I’m not surprised that it gravitated to the subject of abortion, quite possibly the most divisive issue of our times. So here we have debate on abortion, or not, in cases of rape or incest… what about to protect the life of the mother? If a medical determination is made that carrying a fetus to viability endangers a woman’s life, is she entitled to terminate her pregnancy, and therefore preserve her own life? If she is unable to make the decision – perhaps she is unconscious – should her physician or her next of kin be allowed to make it for her? If your response is, of course, abortion should be allowed to save the life of the mother, then where should that line should be drawn when there is grave possibility, but not certainty, that the life or quality of life of the mother is threatened? When does the pregnancy become so dangerous that it takes abortion out of the realm of evil and into the realm of right? And, if the opportunity to make that decision is denied, if the possibility of the abortion is completely disallowed, does that then indicate that the potential life of the fetus is more valuable than the life of the mother?
    Forgive me for rambling on, but this blogging thing kid of lends itself to it…under Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court found that the right to privacy encompassed a woman’s right to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy, using the same reasoning that guarantees the right to refuse medical treatment and the freedom to resist government search and seizure. Roe established that a fetus is not a “person” under the 14th Amendment, nor may the state justify restrictions on abortions based on one theory of when life begins. And that, even after viability, the state must allow abortions necessary to protect a woman’s life or health. But if Roe is overturned, as it could be, the regulation of abortion procedures will most likely pass to the states. Many already have pre-Roe laws on the books that were never overturned that prohibit all abortion; others have passed similar laws that are waiting in the wings for Roe to fall. It is interesting to think that there is the possibility that the states may one day have to answer the question posed above: who is worth more – the woman or her baby?

  29. Mary Rosh

    Steve, nicely done. You dangled the bait in front of Warthen – a passage from La Noonan extolling free speech – and he hit the hook so hard it lodged in his gut. You were confident that his automatic belief in the virtue of those who agree with his political views, and hiz laziness, would combine to keep him from investigating further and finding that La Noonan’s paean to “free speech” was simply an uncivil denigration of her political opponents.
    Here is a bit more of La Noonan’s October 13 screed.
    “We all know this, at least in the abstract. Why are so many forgetting it in the particular?
    Let us be more pointed. Students, stars, media movers, academics: They are always saying they want debate, but they don’t. They want their vision imposed. They want to win. And if the win doesn’t come quickly, they’ll rush the stage, curse you out, attempt to intimidate.
    And they don’t always recognize themselves to be bullying. So full of their righteousness are they that they have lost the ability to judge themselves and their manner.
    And all this continues to come more from the left than the right in America.
    Which is, at least in terms of timing, strange. The left in America–Democrats, liberals, Bush haters, skeptics of many sorts–seems to be poised for a significant electoral victory. Do they understand that if it comes it will be not because of Columbia, Streisand, O’Donnell, et al., but in spite of them?
    What is most missing from the left in America is an element of grace–of civic grace, democratic grace, the kind that assumes disagreements are part of the fabric, but we can make the fabric hold together. The Democratic Party hasn’t had enough of this kind of thing since Bobby Kennedy died. What also seems missing is the courage to ask a question. Conservatives these days are asking themselves very many questions, but I wonder if the left could tolerate asking itself even a few. Such as: Why are we producing so many adherents who defy the old liberal virtues of free and open inquiry, free and open speech? Why are we producing so many bullies? And dim dullard ones, at that.”
    Or, in fewer words, why are my political oppenents such horrible people?
    Glenn Greenwald read the piece too, and raises a couple of salient points:
    Remember that all of these sweeping, melodramatic sermons are based on the examples of some Columbia college kids, unnamed CBS employees, Barbra Streisand and Rosie O’Donnell.
    Peggy Noonan is part of a political movement whose most influential leaders routinely accuse their political opponents of being allies of The Terrorist. Ask Michael Reagan what should be done with Howard Dean (he “should be hung for treason or put in a hole until the end of the Iraq war!”). Or ask the graceful, dissent-loving John Hinderaker what he thinks of Jimmy Carter (he “isn’t just misguided or ill-informed. He’s on the other side”). Ask the civil, graceful Mark Levin about Bill Clinton’s mental health (“Bill Clinton is nuttier than a pecan pie”). Or listen to Byron York reference anti-anxiety medications and wonder about the “emotionally volatile” Howard “Dean’s emotional intensity and whether such intensity should be a disqualifying characteristic for a potential president.”
    In fact, virtually every leading Democratic political figure at one point or another has been accused of not just merely being a terrorist sympathizer, but mentally ill. Ask Charles Krauthammer about what psychological medications Al Gore needs to be taking, repeated by graceful, dissent-loving John Podhoretz (“It is now clear that Al Gore is insane . . . There is every reason to believe that Albert Gore Jr., desperately needs help. I think he needs medication, and I think that if he is already on medication, his doctors need to adjust it or change it entirely”), or Oliver North (“Somebody needs to check this guy’s medication. This guy has got a problem”), or David Frum (“a National Psychological Council would be a good idea after all — and maybe it could start by advising [Al Gore] ought to seek out for his own good a cool and quiet darkened room”), or the graceful, civil Sean Hannity (“He’s [Al Gore’s] really nuts”).
    As wind sweeps through your hair, just behold the civil grace and the love of political disagreement that is so tragically missing on “the left” but that is in such abundant, ample, graceful display over there on “the right.” It’s so moving. And none of that even digs as low as one could to the graceful, dissent-worshipping likes of Michelle “Liberals-are-Unhinged” Malkin, Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann “Liberals-are-Treasonous-and-Godless” Coulter.
    Warthen claims to value civility, but what he values is deference. His favorite pose is to shake his head in sorrow about the incivility of those who point out his mistakes, and the weakness of his arguments – that is, when he isn’t civilly exhorting his political opponents to stop showing their disloyalty to America by disagreeing with him. To Warthen, “civility” means one thing and one thing only, and that is allowing his viewpoint to go unchallenged.

  30. Mary Rosh

    Lily, take a look at the October 13 2006, or whenever it was, piece by La Noonan and see if you don’t think that she, far from being someone who believes in remaining respectful when engaged in dialogue with someone on the opposite side of the political fense, is simply someone who decries the disrepectful behavior of those on the opposite side of the ideological fense from her.

  31. Lily

    Hi Mary. I read the piece from the 13th, and while I agree that she is, as you say, decrying the disrespectful behavior of those on the opposite side, I think it’s because that’s the point of the column. Now, don’t misread me here… I must most emphatically disagree with the idea that it is only the “left” – define that as you will – who indulge themselves in screaming denunciation of the opposite side. Want to talk about self-righteousness? Drive five miles in any direction in South Carolina… you’ll find plenty of examples. Shoot, all I need to do these days is open my mailbox; South Carolinians for Responsible Government make sure I get all the exposure I need… bless their hearts.
    My earliest political and moral philosophies emerged in self-defense as I grew up in a racially stratified small SC town dominated by overbearing religious ideology and a nineteenth-century class structure. Make no mistake about it – the easiest way to push my buttons is still with a dogmatic, “I am right and you are wrong and what’s more you are going to hell because you are wrong” kind of doctrine. Forever burned into my memory are red-faced preachers screaming about damnation from the pulpit and a Sunday school teacher who told me stillborn babies went to hell because they hadn’t been baptized. I don’t see where too much of that has changed, except to become even more intense. The “right” – again, define that as you will – is no less convince of the superiority of their virtue than those on the left.
    So, while I’m probably a good bit to the “left” of Ms. Noonan, at least she’s not some female Rush Limbaugh shrieking herself into idiocy. “What is most missing from the left in America is an element of grace–of civic grace, democratic grace, the kind that assumes disagreements are part of the fabric…” She’s right. Personally, I’m sick of being surrounded by smugly moralistic and intolerant individuals who become enraged when they can’t pound everyone around them into submission, be they from the left, right or middle. And it’s hard – really, really, hard – not to fall into playing that game. Because I’m mad, too… mad at a lot of things. And it feels good to blow up and let some of the pressure off… maybe even feel for a little while like you’ve won. But as long as we can’t hear one another there won’t be any winners, because none of us has the whole answer.

  32. Lily

    Oh yes, Brad – I won’t let you forget that column! (Harrumph!!)
    BTW – can’t some of you other guys ease up on him a bit?? He CAN’T be all that bad.

  33. Herb Brasher

    Dave, Bud has made a very good point. As I’ve tried to point out several times, the issue of how much to legislate righteous and loving behavior is a complex one, and quite frankly, although we share some presuppositions, I don’t share necessarily the way you would apply them. True, there are some limits. I briefly read through the life-story of a woman who is apparently going to be one of the speakers at the pro-life rally this Saturday in Columbia (and now I can’t find the paper or her name). If it’s true, and I have no reason not to believe her story, she was aborted at 36-37 weeks, and left to die, but rescued by a hospital worker. I’m open to input, but for the life of me I can’t see how a civilized society that won’t let me kill my grandmother, can allow the killing of a baby in the third trimester.
    I think I’ve got some grasp of the issues. At the Bible college in Germany that I was principal of years ago, I had someone speak on the subject, one group from a staunchly Catholic perspective, and, on the other hand, a Protestant student who had been a counselor in a state-run counseling clinic in Stuttgart. The complexities are enormous, and often where there is an abortion, there is a male pushing his wife/girl friend to get it. Under those circumstances, we don’t have a whole lot of room to maneuver–the very people who make the laws are often the ones anxious to cover up their sins.
    For my part, I’d like to thank Lily for her input. It saddens me that “red-faced preachers” have done so much damage to the message of Christ, when Jesus himself primarily got red-faced when dealing with Pharisees and religious leaders, and not the general public. All of us could take a lesson from that, especially those who insist on “pound[ing] everyone around them into submission.”

  34. Dave

    I’m not sure whether I am hearing the “everyone does it” argument or is this the “all actions are morally equivalent” argument. The left won’t be able to cite any examples where the right has physically tried to stop open free speech. The right may condemn some of the speech, from Dean, Gore, and many others, but where are those on the right storming stages to stop a public speaker? Where are lefty speakers being attacked on stage (re: Coulter and the pie throwers)? More and more, the left, especially the youngest, are emulating the brown shirts of the 1930’s. The loss of civility is highly evident from the left, and I discount the shrill words of pundits (not elected officials) who get paid to build up ratings and entertain. So who cares what Rosie says, she can be as dumb and goofy as she likes. But when political officials like Dean, Durbin, Kennedy, Kucinich, McKinney et. al. spout hate speech, that is dangerous. That is the lack of civility we should all worry about.

    Even Ginzberg admitted that the Roe decision is sitting on vapor, not solid ground. The word privacy is NOT EVER mentioned in the Constitution, and this decision was based on some illusion of privacy. So step 1 is to get it overturned at the federal level, and then the states can adjudicate it.

    And its interesting that the uncivil attacks on Brad are coming nearly entirely from those leaning left on this blog. Is that a microcosm of the above discussion? Even his family has been denigrated on this blog. So I ask everyone to try to remain civil, including myself.

  35. bud

    Damn Mary, that was great! A while back Brad did a column on John Kerry’s botched joke that unintentionally branded our troops in Iraq as dumb. The intent of the joke was clear, Kerry was trying to rib the president in a good natured way. Any measure of balance would have included a strong condemnation of the president’s pre-meditated insulting joke about WMD that he presented to the national press corp. I asked Brad if had ever written anything about that dispicable act and his lack of an answer spoke volumes about his real beliefs. Effectively Brad believes anyone who opposes the war is both uncivil and anti-American. Conversely if you support the war you’re a true statesman. Sorry Brad, but Mary has it right on this one. You could cite endless examples of right-wing incivility but choose only to cite examples about the left.

  36. Brad Warthen

    Lily, I like you. You should stick around; I think you have something to contribute. And I was about to type that BEFORE I read your last comment. I’m basing this on the two before that, about abortion and civility.
    You and I disagree on abortion, but you’re willing to enter a place where we can talk about it. Good.
    The fact is, when it’s the mother’s life against the child’s, you have a true moral dilemma. In other cases, however awful the situation may be, life trumps other considerations. But life considered against life — this is where horrific, no-win decisions have to be made. There is no formula once can set in advance. And the decisions should not be made just by the mother. There needs to be a consensus process involving her, her family (especially the father, assuming he is there and cares) and any medical personnel involved. A woman might be willing to sacrifice herself for the child; those around her may not. There needs to be a discernment process involving all.
    One of the most offensive things about Roe v. Wade (aside from the ridiculous notion of a constitutional right to privacy, for which we must blame an earlier ruling), is that it places the power to define reality in the hands of a single individual, with life and death in the balance. Worse, it is the most interested of individuals, rather than an impartial judge. No one whose personal interests were so obviously and profoundly involved would be allowed to sit on a jury in a capital case, even to be one-twelfth of the process. And yet in this case, we let the person who brought the case be the judge and jury.
    Worse, this person has a power under the law that no judge has: The power to bring human life into being at a whim. It works like this: If she wants it, it’s a “baby” from day one, and she’ll move heaven and earth to protect it. If she doesn’t want it, it’s a “fetus,” most assuredly not human — a bunch of cells that she can cast off as she chooses.
    The truth is, it is what it is, regardless of what the mother or anyone else thinks of it. Law that denies such an obvious fact is indeed bad law, and demands to be reconsidered.

  37. Ready to Hurl

    Back to the “civility” discussion again!
    It’s little wonder that Brad admires Noonan so heartily. She displays his brand of subtle incivility so skillfully.
    Whenever Brad wishes to apologize for smearing people who oppose our disastrous and incompetent invasion of Iraq, THEN I’ll consider his appeal for “civility.” Until then, I’ll consider any such appeals as the height of hypocrisy.
    BTW, I see that another pundit has expressed similar opinions. (ie. Those who oppose the Iraq invasion are unpatriotic America/Bush haters.) Maybe you and Joe Klein should start a “Dissent is Treasonous” club, Brad.
    I could care less whether Brad, Dave, Klein and Noonan bleat hypocritically about “uncivil behaviour.” Liberals– yes, even moderates– have endured at least 14 years of uncivil attacks, smears, villifications, demonizations and dehumanizations.
    Brad and the rest just turn a blind eye to that bit of current events.
    Almost daily Brad, Dave and Lee remind me of why I chose my pseudonym. It takes a strong stomach to tolerate rank, self-righteous hypocrisy and deliberate, ignorant self-delusion. While I usually can stifle my gag reflex at Brad’s latest pontifications about the sacrifices that he requires of everyone else, I see no reason to sugar coat my disgust with him or his positions.
    Once upon a time, I ignored the spewed hatred from such wingnuts as Ann Coulter, Rush, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage. Then I noticed that they just pushed the envelope of public hate so that even the President could feel comfortable questioning the patriotism of U.S. Senators from the other party. Almost daily we see the hatred, disinformation, and lies parroted on this blog.
    I see no reason to “civilly” respond to people who either dumbly or knowingly seek to marginalize, trivialize and demonize patriotic Americans because we dissent from policies which clearly aren’t in the tradition or best interests of Americans.

  38. bud

    Need I remind you Brad, it was the Vice President who publicly asked Senator Pat Leahy to: “go **** yourself”. Now how civil is that? And let’s not forget the Decider himself flipping the bird to the press corp when leaving a press conference a year or two ago. Brad you’ve really sunk to a new low praising this obviously partisan hack (Noonan).

  39. Mary Rosh

    The law gives pregnant women the power to make their own reproductive decisions because the law sees them as human beings and not passive containers. The law denies Warthen the power to make reproductive decisions for pregnant women because the law sees pregnant women as human beings and not passive containers.
    “It works like this: If she wants it, it’s a “baby” from day one, and she’ll move heaven and earth to protect it. If she doesn’t want it, it’s a “fetus,” most assuredly not human — a bunch of cells that she can cast off as she chooses.”
    I can’t believe that Warthen sees this as some kind of insigbt. One way to look at it is that calling it a “baby” is to use a metaphor.
    But perhaps the best way to look at it is that tthe women calls it whatever she wants to call it, rather than what Warthen wants her to call it, because it’s her business what she calls it, and it’s not any of Warthen’s business what she calls it.
    “The fact is, when it’s the mother’s life against the child’s, you have a true moral dilemma.”
    No you don’t.
    “In other cases, however awful the situation may be, life trumps other considerations. But life considered against life — this is where horrific, no-win decisions have to be made.”
    No it isn’t.
    “There is no formula once can set in advance.”
    Yeah there is.
    “And the decisions should not be made just by the mother.”
    Yeah they should.
    “There needs to be a consensus process involving her, her family (especially the father, assuming he is there and cares) and any medical personnel involved.”
    No there doesn’t.
    “A woman might be willing to sacrifice herself for the child; those around her may not. There needs to be a discernment process involving all.”
    No there doesn’t.
    We can tell whether or not Warthen really believes that life begins at the monent of conception, or whether he simply seeks the power to punish women for their sexual choices, by asking him the following question:
    Suppose you’re in a fertility clinic. In one corner is a Petri dish containing 5 blastocysts. In the other corner is a 2-year-old child. The room is on fire. You’re in the center of the room. You have time to get to one corner and get out before the fire engulfs the room. What do you do? Do you save the life of the 2-year-old child? Or do you save the 5 “lives” in the Petri dish?

  40. Dave

    Bud, Cheney told Leahy to “Go hunt yourself” because he knew Leahy wouldnt let him hunt Leahy. But really, you are going to compare an off the record private comment to the content of planned public speeches? Nice try.

    Mary, we can only hope you aren’t breeding.

  41. Herb Brasher

    But perhaps the best way to look at it is that tthe women calls it whatever she wants to call it, rather than what Warthen wants her to call it, because it’s her business what she calls it . . . .

    No it isn’t.
    I guess my pontificating is just as good as Mary’s. Anyone can claim ultimate authority for themselves.
    And Dave, this illustrates my point. I’m not advocating “everyone does it” so it’s OK approach. You and I want to look at human life as God’s life, and our bodies are not our own. But how far do you legislate that on people who don’t care what God thinks? You’re very limited–true, we still have the responsibility to limit the worst, but you can’t end up trying to “make disciples” of people who don’t want to be disciples. Forcing morality down people’s throats is a very precarious exercise. Martin Luther’s distinction between the Kingdom of God and the role of government, even though he overstated his case, is key here.

  42. Mary Rosh

    “But perhaps the best way to look at it is that tthe women calls it whatever she wants to call it, rather than what Warthen wants her to call it, because it’s her business what she calls it . . . .
    No it isn’t.”
    Yeah it is.
    Whose else could it be?
    Don’t make me laugh.

  43. Herb Brasher

    God’s Mary, Human life is God’s. That is why it is never just a matter of “I determine myself what I do with my belly.” Nobody has that right. Not you, not me, not nobody. And nations that adopt a “I do what I want with my body” philosophy probably won’t last long.
    That being the case, how far does government come into it? Not at all? Not according to the Scripture, which for some of us, has a certain degree of authority. Government is a God-given institution to hold back evil practices. So, there is a sense in which government has to tell people what to do with their bodies. But how far to go with it? That’s the critical question. Not easy to answer. But one thing history has taught us, the church, as a church, should stay out of it. The church should stay out of political power, period. But individual Christians working toward common good, involved in government? Yes.

  44. bud

    Brad, you’ve got a fantastic ability to use a maximum number of words to say less than any human being on earth. All this pontificating about bringing everyone involved into the decision making process with regard to abortion leads nowhere. In the end it’s either the (1) pregnant woman or (2) government, by legislative fiat, that will be granted the authority to decide the fate of an unborn child. If we decide pro-choice then the woman can choose whoever she wants to help her make this difficult, ethical decision. But in the end, under a pro-choice environment, the mother makes the final decision.
    On the other hand, if we go the pro-life route then we must craft rules that establish, by law, which babies are allowed to live and which can be killed. Many folks on the right, including Dave, would allow pregnant women the right to kill their child based on the means of conception. If it’s considered a rape, again a determination that must be decided by some form of government intervention, then the mother is allowed to kill the child. If the conception is ruled not a rape then the mother is prohibited from killing the child. Unless, according to many, the pregnancy is the result of an incestual act. In that case, once again, some government entity must decide if the incident is incest. Where do we draw the line. Siblings? Half siblings? First cousins? Second cousins? Do we perform a paternity test to establish fatherhood? Does it matter how far along in the pregnancy for rape or incest? All these rules must be established in advance.
    And then what happens when the mother has an abortion anyway? According to Dave the mother walks. What kind of law is that? Pro-lifers consider this murder yet the killer goes free! If you have a penalty for the mother what is it? 10 years? Death?
    It is virtually impossible to deal with all these moral delimmas. The only rational course of action is to allow the mother and the mother alone to make the final decision. In the end we should discourage abortion the way we discourage cigarette smoking and try to make the practice safe. Hopefully then Bill Clinton’s goals on this issue can be achieved.
    Of course those on the right will rant and rave that liberals just don’t understand the difference between right and wrong. But given the fact that many pro-life-with-exceptions folk allow the right of some women to kill babies(those that have been raped) while others are denied this right shows just how wishy washy the pro-life crowd really is.

  45. Dave

    To Mary the fetus is nothing, a blob of cells. To the amoral like her (it), only the female has something to say. Why not, in her world, where two females can marry, go buy some sperm, and make an it. The abortion issue has many complications, but basically it comes down to killing a baby. So it should be extremely rare, even in the case of rape, as Bud noted, the rape would need to be proven before abortion could be approved. Look at one of Mary’s favorite victims, the stripper in NC who falsely accused the Duke Lacrosse players of rape. Let’s say she claimed that that rape caused the abortion. First, the abortion would be denied, then the baby is born, it is put up for adoption, and this liar gets a ten year mandatory sentence for this hoax. I would put Nifong in prison in the cell with her so they could console each other about how their scheme went awry. Maybe Mary could join them. But Bud should be aware that crying rape would not and should not be an easy out. It has to be proven. And again, the rapists would pay a much more serious lifelong cost.

    The gift of life is a gift from God and it all starts from there.

  46. bud

    Dave, I haven’t even begun to talk about the complications in the abortion issue. Yet you fail to address even these modest issues. You’ve taken the grayest of all possible issues and attempted to make it black and white. This demonstrates the intellectual bankrupsy of modern conservatism. The best you can come up with is: “To Mary the fetus is nothing, a blob of cells.”
    There is an old saying that goes something like this: all complex problems have a simple solution which is always wrong. Modern conservatism proves this maxim. The pro-lifers intent is good, to reduce the number of abortions, yet the discussion ends at the bumper sticker level. Invariably any law cannot take into account all the factors involved and ultimatley is doomed to failure in accomplishing it’s main objective. In the end all pro-life does is doom many young women to death and criminalization.

  47. Mary Rosh

    Herb, God has informed me that women are human beings and not passive containers, and that since a pregnant woman is most fundamentally affected by the decision about whether to continue a pregnancy to term, she is the one entitled to make the decision.

  48. bud

    Mary, Brad disagrees with you on this. He maintains that whoever is most affected by something should actually have the least amount of say in what to do. It doesn’t make any sense to me but that’s essentially what he said earlier. Here’s the excerpt:
    ” …it places the power to define reality in the hands of a single individual, with life and death in the balance. Worse, it is the most interested of individuals, rather than an impartial judge. No one whose personal interests were so obviously and profoundly involved would be allowed to sit on a jury in a capital case, even to be one-twelfth of the process. And yet in this case, we let the person who brought the case be the judge and jury.”
    Let’s explore this a bit. What Brad is essentially saying is that the person most affected by a situation, in this case pregnancy, is the least qualified to make decisions regarding that situation. He offers the jury trial as a comparison. In a trial situation we have two equally affected parties, the plaintiff and the defendent. In Brad’s logic the fetus would be the defendent and the mother the plaintiff. But the question then becomes who should the jury be? According to Brad and Dave the government through the power of legislation acts serves as the Judge and Jury. Government determines whether a baby lives or dies. If exceptions are to be made the government spells out these exceptions. Brad believes this is best because the mother is affected too much by the ultimate outcome and is therefore incapable of rendering a rational decision.
    This logic completely eludes me. If all decisions were made this way we’d end up with communism. Since people who are most involved in a given situation cannot decide the issues rationally then the government must make all decisions. This would include eating, sleeping, drinking, marriage and all other decisions that require a choice. Taken to it’s logical extremes the position taken by Dave is actually communism. Hmm, Dave the communist. Who would have thunk it.

  49. Lily

    It seems to me that all of the arguments against abortion that we have here incorporate the element of a belief in God… at least that’s what I’m inferring. Does this then mean that one cannot make an argument against abortion that is not somehow founded on a religious belief?

  50. Herb Brasher

    Good question, Lily. I imagine that you can. A couple of years ago I read a very interesting book, called The Seven Deadly Sins, by Stanford Lyman, a sociologist. He makes arguments for incorporating the “seven deadly sins,” apart from reference to God, for example that uncontrolled lust ultimately keeps the lovebirds too involved with each other, to the detriment of the whole of society, so governments have to regulate it. The same thing here, I would suspect, though I won’t speculate at this point under which of the seven deadly sins this one would fall–a combination of lust and sloth, perhaps? (I’m talking about those who don’t want to be inconvenienced by a baby). Just the fact of a lower birthrate is a detriment–from the point of view of social security. But then there’s the hardening of society as well–as someone has said, the safest place for the unborn ought to be the mother’s womb, but it isn’t. What happens to a society that becomes callous in this regard?
    Of course, belief in a Creator makes a huge difference. Mankind’s value really hinges, ultimately, upon a reference point outside of itself. Bring Psalm 139, for example, into it, and killing the unborn for any reason becomes a serious issue to struggle with.
    Can’t we at least say that government ought to seek to stop abortions in the 3rd trimester, when medical science is now keeping premies alive? It seems a horrible situation–killing the unborn who would live outside the womb,and at the same time spending enormous cost (and for good reason) in order to give premature babies life. And then there’s the number of parents who would like to adopt, and there’s no children available? Am I right about that?

  51. Herb Brasher

    Interesting, Mary. I have a couple of sincere questions:
    1) How God spoke to you and told you this. That’s not the main issue of course, but it does interest me.
    2) Whether any action that an individual takes, should be limited in any sense because of its affect on others. In this case, the baby. And perhaps also the ultimate effect on a society of people where killing the unborn is an easy, acceptable practice.
    3) Assuming that you would say that the effect on the baby doesn’t matter, then why do we make a distinction between a baby that is, say, one month from birth, and one that is just born? Or does it matter? If a baby is born with birth defects, should the mother be able to kill it then? And at what age is it wrong, and should killing be regulated?
    And Bud, why should government regulate ethical actions at all? I mean, if I have a kid that is really hard to raise, a real twit, should I be able to kill it? After all, the mother who is staying at home with the urchin is the most affected by it. If she is going nuts and can’t cope, should she be able to beat the kid to death?
    I’m not advocating an absolute ethical control by governement, run perhaps in cahoots with a high-handed church, or whatever. But aren’t there some boundaries, somewhere? And if you are going to argue, “once outside the womb, a separate individual,” well, doesn’t ring true to me. Babies are dependent on their mothers for quite awhile for life.

  52. Dave

    Using Mary’s logic, the aged are in real danger. For example, once an elderly person develops severe Alzheimers and cannot function alone, if that person is an inconvenience to the family, why not abort that person? The same Mary principle applies to a fetus (baby). It is not wanted, cant speak for him or herself, and thus can be terminated. Now, does everyone see where disrespect for the gift of life leads us. Fetuses today, the aged tommorow, and why not throw in some quadriplegics, the blind, mentally ill ( oops, that’s Mary), and then eventually fat or short people. Some may find this laughable, but this is where Europe is headed, and the left wants to take us for the same ride.

  53. Mary Rosh

    Herb, one way God told me that women are human beings and not passive containers was through one of his intermediaries. A. D. Hope:
    Advice to Young Ladies
    A.U.C. 334: about this date,
    For a sexual misdemeanour which she denied, The vestal virgin Postumia was tried;
    Livy records it among affairs of state.
    They let her off: it seems she was perfectly pure;
    The charge arose because some thought her talk
    Too witty for a young girl, her eyes, her walk
    Too lively, her clothes too smart to be demure.
    The Pontifex Maximus, summing up the case, Warned her in future to abstain from jokes, To wear less modish and more pious frocks. She left the court reprieved, but in disgrace.
    What then? With her the annalist is less Concerned than what the men achieved that year:
    Plots, quarrels, crimes, with oratory to spare-
    I see Postumia with her dowdy dress,
    Stiff mouth and listless step; I see her strive
    To give dull answers. She had to knuckle down.
    A vestal virgin who scandalized that town Had fair trial, then they buried her alive;
    Alive, bricked up in suffocating dark;
    A ration of bread, a pitcher if she was dry,
    Preserved the body they did not wish to die Until her mind was quenched to the last spark.
    How many the black maw has swallowed in its time!
    Spirited girls who would not know their place,
    Talented girls who found that the disgrace Of being a woman made genius a crime.
    How many others, who would not kiss the rod,
    Domestic bullying broke or public shame? Pagan or Christian, it was much the same: Husbands, St. Paul declared, rank next to God.
    Livy and Paul, it may be, never knew
    That Rome was doomed; each spoke of her with pride.
    Tacitus, writing after both had died, Showed that whole fabric rotten, through and through.
    Historians spend their lives and lavish ink Explaining how great commonwealths collapse From great defects of policy – perhaps
    The cause is sometimes simpler than they think.
    It may not seem so grave an act to break Postumia’s spirit as Galileo’s, to gag Hypatia as crush Socrates, or drag
    Joan as Giordano Bruno to the stake.
    Can we be sure? Have more states perished, then,
    For having shackled the enquiring mind, Than those who, in their folly not less blind,
    Trusted the servile womb to breed free men?

  54. Lily

    Why it is that poverty and destitution and the death and depravation that accompany them doesn’t ignite the same kind of fury that the idea of abortion does? For that matter, if all life is a sacred gift, why is capital punishment right? It seems to me that many people are very selective about the degree of sanctity that they afford different kinds of “life”.

  55. Dave

    Mary, The current day Muslim radicals think and act exactly like those in your poem from times long ago. Yet, you cannot bring yourself to understand that is one of the reasons we have to crush this plague on the world. You are either against Islamofascism or for it. Where are you?

  56. bud

    Herb, if we make absolutely no exceptions for abortion and simply regard this is murder then your example with the unruly teenager is valid. But once we start making exceptions, especially for rape and incenst, then the pro-life arguments collapse like a house of cards.

  57. Mary Rosh

    Lily, it’s because the “pro-life” advocates don’t really care about protecting life; instead, they see restricting access to birth control and abortion as mechanisms to punish women for making sexual choices they don’t approve of. For example, from Herb, above:
    “The same thing here, I would suspect, though I won’t speculate at this point under which of the seven deadly sins this one would fall–a combination of lust and sloth, perhaps? (I’m talking about those who don’t want to be inconvenienced by a baby).”
    To Herb, unwanted pregnancy is a mechanism to punish women for “lust” – that is, making sexual choices Herb doesn’t approve of – and access to abortion removes an important mechanism of punishment.

  58. Herb Brasher

    Did I say anything about restricting access to birth control? I don’t remember writing any such thing. Please don’t put words in my comments for me; I try not to put them in yours. And I don’t understand where this “punishing women” came from. Nor do I understand Bud’s “house of cards.” Making exceptions is going to be a necessity on any issue in a pluralistic society, especially on an issue as hot as this one. Why is making exceptions that big of a problem? Why is it all or nothing?
    Plus, I didn’t say anything about an unruly teenager; I was talking about a very young child. I was hoping to get some real answers to my questions, but nobody seems to be reading them. Are we even capable of discussion on these points, or do we just assume that we know what the other person is thinking, perhaps because we have images of red-faced people yelling at each other? I don’t know, but I’ll try again.
    1) Do we not at least have an interest in limiting somehow abortions in the third trimester, when medical science is quite capable of keeping a “premie” alive? Does this not bother anyone?
    2) Mary, are a person’s personal choices ever limited by the fact that they may affect someone else? That’s not a trick question.
    3) I still don’t understand why a child is a child the moment it is born, and a “fetus” with no rights up until a second before that. That was the point of my “unruly child” bit. Can someone please enlighten me on what makes a child a child–in your opinion–and why we shouldn’t kill a one-year old, and we can kill an 8-month old “fetus”? Where and why do you draw the lines you do. I’m honestly trying to understand your positions, but I’m not getting much help here.
    For the record, I’m not interested in “punishing women.” I might well be interested in a law that went after those who did abortions (i.e., physicians) in the third trimester–that would seem to be the way to handle that, maybe, but I’m open to input.
    And Lily, you’re absolutely right. The sanctity of life includes the death penalty, and it also ought to slow down those who are too quick to commit us to wars and send young men to fight in them. And yes, the underlying causes of poverty ought to be a major concern as well. But does that preclude a concern for the unborn? Again, I’m asking.

  59. Herb Brasher

    I probably didn’t make my point about the “seven deadly sins” too well. But I recommend that people read Stanford Lyman. He’s not a Christian, at least as far as I can tell, and he’s not remotely interested in promoting religion. What he’s interested in is analyzing things that make a healthy society, and what tends to tear it down.
    Does anyone believe that personal choices can affect others–I mean, besides the obvious, when I kill my grandmother? Any enlightenment?

  60. Dave

    Herb, the Pro-choicers believe in choice except for a choice by the baby. Pregnancy by rape or incest is probably about 1 tenth of 1 percent of all pregnancies. But the talking point on the House of Cards is right from the NARAL handbook. I only wish we could sterilize those who have abortions for convenience sake. They would make rotten mothers anyway and I don’t have to explain that.

  61. Mary Rosh

    Herb, you didn’t make your point well if you wanted to express the feelings you want us to believe you have, but as for expressing the feelings you really have, well, you made your point just great.
    I notice that you want to push the analysis to the most extreme end, well, there’s not much dispute that at some point in the pregnancy there may be some justification for getting involved. But the scenario you postulate happens rarely, and usually comes up in cases where the pregnant woman’s health is threatened. There have been a number of attempts to pass laws regulating late term abortions, and the pro-choice people don’t usually object to the general principle, but when they want to inject provisions dealing with threats to the pregnant woman’s life or health, the “pro-life” advocates do everything they can to prevent such provisions from being put into the law. That’s because they see women not as human beings, but as passive containers, and their intent, as you inadvertently revealed above, is use unwanted pregnancy as a mechanism to define women as “sinful”, for example indulging “lust” and “sloth”.
    Your claim that you would not punish the pregnant woman for having an abortion is disingenuous. The punishment you seek isn’t a punishment for seeking an abortion. You seek to impose unwanted pregnancy on a woman as a punishment for “lust”, and access to abortion removes the threat of such punishment.
    At what point would you prohibit abortion? If you limit restrictions to the third trimester and include provisions protecting the life and health of the pregnant woman, I don’t think you’ll get a lot of objection. But is that all you really want? If you had your way, would you prohibit abortion of an embryo that consisted of 200 undifferentiated cells?

  62. Herb Brasher

    Mary, I don’t have much time, but I’ll just write this:
    1) When I mentioned “lust” and “sloth,” I wasn’t really thinking of the woman. I was thinking of the man who started the pregnancy, and who pushes for an abortion, because he doesn’t want to be inconvenienced. The man wanted to have sex, and then abdicate responsibility. I’ve had enough to do with this issue to know that this is a key problem. What goes for “pro-choice” often isn’t that at all. A woman who is being pressured to get an abortion because the man who started it “will leave you if you don’t” is being coerced. That’s not much choice, at least that I can see. She may make a choice, but it wasn’t really hers.
    2) I never said anything about “imposing unwanted pregnancy on a woman as a punishment.” You put those words in.
    There’s no doubt that you and I are coming at this from two totally different positions. I’m not sure where I am with your “200 cells,” but something about human life tells me that it is more than just a clump of tissue. But regardless, in a democratic, pluralistic society, we’ve got to find compromises. I’m not going to get what I want (and I’m not sure what that is, especially with embryos as you mentioned) and hopefully, neither are you (at least if I’m understanding what you want, and I can’t say for certain that I do).
    So, yes, making abortions illegal in the third trimester might be all we can reach, so in that sense, it’s all I want. As Bud and others have already pointed out, I can’t impose the implications of my view on human life on those who don’t share it. And maybe there are so-called “safe-guards” that are needed for the life of the mother, even in the third trimester. I’m not medical, so I can’t say, but I would have thought that such would be unnecessary by then, particularly because medical science is then capable of keeping a “premie” alive, should the situation for the mother become acute.
    Government regulation, it seems to me, should prevent callous extremes, and that’s what I’m arguing for.

  63. bud

    What this whole discussion makes crystal clear is just how incredibly complex this issue is. Personally I’m morally opposed to all abortions. But it shouldn’t be my decission to make. Nor Dave’s, Herb’s, Brad’s or Mary’s.
    The cards logic begins with the premise that a fetus, at whatever stage of development, is a human being subject to the full rights and protections afforded any other human being. You then construct laws that punish those who have a role in ending that life. Once any exception is made (perhaps excluding a clear threat to the mother’s life) the initial premise is violated and the logic of pro-life collapses.
    When dealing with a person who is already born we don’t face this delima. The only exception we make for killing is self-defence. If we start making additional exceptions then we face the same quandry that we do with abortion. But clearly no one makes such exceptions. The most disturbing exception for me is rape. It is intellectually impossible to craft a viable argument for abortion bans based on the sanctitiy of life argument that make this exception.

  64. Lily

    Well said, bud. I think a thing to contemplate might be at what point does “life” become “personhood”, and when are the rights, privileges and protections imparted to people outside of the womb provided to those within the womb. I think that the issue of viability must be considered in order to make a reasonable assumption of when personhood begins… Herb, if a baby can live outside of the womb, my instinctive response is that it is indeed a person. Considering cases where the mother’s life is at risk, Brad, you’re right – it is a horrific, no-win situation and there is no formula, much less statute, that could possibly be defined in advance. But when you start talking about a consensus process, well, that just scares me. No one other than the person whose life is at stake (assuming that they are of sound mind) should be able to determine whether or not they should remain at risk. And if you force a deliberative process upon the mother where people who may not have her best interests at heart are allowed to be involved (what if her family and the father don’t care if she lives or dies… or even hate her?) then the rights of the mother are further compromised and her life further endangered.
    And Mary makes a very valid point: last summer the Louisiana state legislature passed a bill banning abortions at all stages of pregnancy, including cases of rape and incest, with no exception for the health of the mother. It will go into effect immediately if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. It passed in the Louisiana House by a vote of 85 to 17; an amendment to add exceptions in the case of rape or incest was defeated by a vote of 66 to 37. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat. In March of 2006 South Dakota passed a similar bill. After several pro-choice groups successfully lobbied to have it placed on the ballot, voters refused it by a margin of 56-44%. There are many other states that have placed this kind of legislation into law, or are considering doing so, just in case Roe is overturned.
    Discussing exceptions in the case of rape, bud nails it when he argues that it’s irrational to ban abortion because life begins at conception, then turn around and say that it’s ok to terminate that life if it issued from a forcible violation. Now at some point I guess I’ve got to pony up and state outright my personal position on the whole idea of abortion. Here goes: I believe that no one should be forced to become pregnant, be pregnant, or deliver a child if they choose not to do so and should have the option of abortion prior to viability and after if the mother’s life is at high risk. I also believe that the reasoning behind a decision to terminate a pregnancy can be abhorrent and contemptible, as well as justifiable, understandable and ethical. Sounds a lot like making a decision to go to war.

  65. bud

    Lily, your plan leaves only the issue of deciding viability. There are probably very few cases where there would be a need to establish this. The vast majority would either be clearly viable or clearly unviable. There might be a need for a small beauracracy to evaluate those few cases that fall in the gray area but other than that your idea is pretty straight forward. If overturning Roe leads to the adoption of this type of environment I’ll be ok.

  66. Lily

    bud: should Roe be overturned, control over access to abortion and reproductive services will pass to the states. Decisions about viability may also fall under state legislation as individual states decide under what circumstances abortion can or cannot take place. Ultimately, a fight that for three decades has focused on nine members of the Supreme Court would be waged instead among more than 7,000 legislators in 50 state capitals, and an issue that is already labyrinthine may well become a snake pit of law where it is not inconcievable that a baby in Ohio is a group of cells in Hawaii, and murder in South Carolina is a routine medical procedure in Oregon. Sadly, bud, I don’t have a plan… just a quagmire.

  67. Dave

    When the USSC legalized abortion, it was commonly accepted that fetuses are a blob of cells until perhaps the last 2 months of pregnancy. Now science and technology are showing direct sign of human-ness about at the union of the egg and sperm. Watch the Nat’l Geo. special on Sunday to see the incredible “in the womb” technology. NOW and NARAL will not be pleased with that show. Public opinion, in the majority, is against unrestricted abortion so at some point Roe-Wade will be rescinded. Hopefully soon. In the meantime, very simply, people need to stop screwing around, and we won’t have this issue, will we?

  68. Mary Rosh

    “When I mentioned “lust” and “sloth,” I wasn’t really thinking of the woman. I was thinking of the man who started the pregnancy, and who pushes for an abortion, because he doesn’t want to be inconvenienced.”
    That’s a scenario you just made up, because you don’t want to admit your real position, which is that you see women as passive incubators. So you create this imaginary scenario so that you can say “see, under this scenario that I made up, a woman’s choice might be restricted, so we can best preserve her freedom of action by taking it away.”
    “2) I never said anything about “imposing unwanted pregnancy on a woman as a punishment.” You put those words in.”
    Yes, you didn’t admit your real line of thought because it’s repugnant, so you disguised it. (Although, once you started throwing around words like “lust” and “sloth” the disguise got pretty transparent. I just used words that tore the disguise away so that we could see your position for what it is, and could see you for what you are.
    “There’s no doubt that you and I are coming at this from two totally different positions. I’m not sure where I am with your “200 cells,” but something about human life tells me that it is more than just a clump of tissue.”
    In other words, you would impose restrictions on pregnant women in order to protect an embryo consisting of 200 undifferentiated cells, meaning that to you, what’s important is the 200 undifferentiated cells, with the woman just a passive incubator.

  69. Herb Brasher

    Mary, you do me wrong. I will freely admit that I am not the best at expressing myself; plus I am still learning, and want to learn. But you twist my words, in order to put me in the worst light possible. But I will lay the discussion aside now, rather than giving you more opportunity to do the same.

  70. Annee

    Having counseled with many women who have had abortions I come at it from the practical standpoint – not one single time did I ever hear: “I was glad I had the abortion.” Every time I heard: “noone told me that was what it was going to be like. Noone told me how depressed I would be. Noone told me about the emptiness in my heart.” I got to see what the “aftermath” looks like and it solidified in my mind that these women were heartbroken – because noone had told them the truth up front – deep down inside they knew they had lost the child.
    I was chased down after a speaking engagement in the hallway by a woman who just “had to tell SOMEONE” about the emptiness and the pain she had been living with for years – the “secret” of her abortion. I say that to say that the church has done a poor job in reaching out and helping those who are suffering from post-partum depression as a result of abortion. I say that to say that the abortion clinics and the pro-choice radicals are not being truthful in not speaking of the painful aftermath and not providing the support groups these women need (but of course they cannot – they would have to admit that what goes on there is not right) and I say that to say that from a purely psychological perspective, abortion causes pain. Not once did I see it bring ultimate long-term relief. Herb your points are well-made. Brad, your points are excellent. Mary Rosh – writing as a woman, as a mother, as a counselor: your words make me angry and they are either dripping with ignorance and heartlessness or spoken out of the pain you are hiding in your own heart and if that is the case then I am very sorry for you.

  71. bud

    Annee, I can only speak for myself. If I were pregnant, no matter how it was conceived (fat chance), I would not have an abortion for all the reasons you just cited. If you and others provide the information you just related then perhaps fewer women would get abortions. And that would be fine with me. But this doesn’t explain second and even third abortions? Some women must believe it’s the right thing to do.
    But why attack Mary? She’s not promoting abortion, she’s just advocating for the right to do so. And that’s very different.

  72. Lily

    For what it’s worth, I am able to say with absolute certainty that it is highly possible for a woman to have an abortion and not be afflicted with guilt, depression and dispair afterward. She doesn’t even have to be a monster to accomplish this.

  73. Mary Rosh

    Yeah, Lily, Annee is basically making an argument from authority, with herself as the authority, but the claims she makes are contrary to what I have heard, and you provide additional information contrary to her claims, so how reliable is she as an authority?
    She pretends to be concerned about the welfare of pregnant women, but her solution is – surprise, surprise – using the law to prevent women from acting in ways she doesn’t approve of.
    I say nothing about whether or not having an abortion is the best choice in any particular case, because — no one asked me. I leave it to the person most deeply affected by the decision, trusting her human judgment to make the right choice for the circumstances in which she finds herself.
    Oh, and do you think that the incidence of postabortion guilt might be reduced if anti-choice advocates would quit haranguing women about how awful it is?

  74. Dave

    Annee, right on with your comments. The atheists who own and run the abortion clinics don’t really care about the expectant mother’s post-abortion reaction. After all, there’s money to be made, so keep the assembly line of abortions running at all costs. The proof of the pudding is that 99% of these abortioners are ashamed to let their own neighbors know how they are making a living. That says it all about the medical procedure itself. I have found that almost without exception the radical pro-abortion supporters are man-haters and that shows some pyschological sickness in itself. Mary’s posts drip with man-hatred.

  75. Ready to Hurl

    Oh, Dave, you’re killing me. Really, I’m having a hard time typing between laughing and wiping the tears away.
    The above post really should go in your Bizarro Hall of Fame.
    Where’s you proof that abortion clinics are owned by atheists?
    If the abortion business was so profitable isn’t it strange that the number of abortion clinics has dropped significantly in recent years?
    Do you think that the non-stop harrassment and random bombings might have something to do with the anonymity of abortion clinics.
    Many of those whom I’m sure you would consider “radical pro-abortion supporters” are actually men. (Including, I suspect, “Mary.” If you had a clue then you’d know what “Mary’s” psuedonym refers to.)
    I doubt that “Mary” hates herself/himself, but she/he is perfectly capable of explaining for herself/himself.
    Anyway, thanks for the laughs.

  76. Dave

    Hurl, do you have a little bit of common sense? In nearly every single denomination or faith, abortions are considered the worst of sins. Jew, Mormon, Catholic, most Protestants, Muslim followers believe this. So you think that that somehow the owners of these clinics are your average person of faith. You are unreal. Here is an excerpt form a “former” owner of several abortion clinics. Carol Everett, now speaks against abortion.

    Selling Abortion to Confused Young Women
    I’m sure you’ve seen those numbers advertised that say “Problem Pregnancy,” “Abortion Information,” or “Pregnant?”. When a young girl finds out she is pregnant, she may not want an abortion, she may just want information.
    But when she calls that number that’s paid for by abortion money, what kind of information do you think she is going to get? Remember, they sell abortions. They don’t sell keeping the baby. They don’t sell giving the baby up. They don’t sell delivering the baby in any form. They only sell abortions.
    The counselor that the girl speaks to on the telephone is paid to be her friend. She is supposed to seduce her into a friendship of sorts to sell her the abortion.
    I cannot tell you one thing that happens in an abortion clinic that is not a lie.
    There are usually two questions the girls ask. The first is: Does it hurt? “Oh, no. Your uterus is a muscle. It’s a cramp to open it: a cramp to close it; it’s a slight cramping sensation. Everybody’s had cramps – every woman in the world.”
    Then they ask: Is it a baby? “No, it’s product of conception; it’s a blood clot; it’s a piece of tissue.”
    When the girl goes in for the abortion she pays up front then goes into a room for counseling. They give her a 6 to 12 page form. This form is written by an abortion attorney to confuse the girl to death. It works and she doesn’t ask any questions. She goes back to the two questions: Does it hurt? Is it a baby?
    I cannot tell you one thing that happens in an abortion clinic that is not a lie.

  77. Ready to Hurl

    That’s your “evidence?”
    You make some sweeping statement that you decline to support whatsoever about religionists in America and then you quote a “reformed” abortionist.
    Perhaps Herb could offer some rational support for your statements but, really, I think that he would have a difficult time. Where in the Christian Bible, for example, does it designate abortion as the ultimate sin?
    As to your former abortionist’s quote, she without a doubt slants the facts– just as you might find a converted smoker or alcoholic slanting facts against their personal nemesis.
    No, you don’t find abortion clinics spending time making women feel guilty about an abortion. No, abortion clinics don’t spout the anti-abortion party-line. What a surprise!
    Actually those “come-ons” that Everett cites remind me more of the advertising that anti-abortion “clinics” circulate. Sometimes they even pretend to be abortion clinics in order to convince women NOT to have an abortion.
    Any time you want to try to take on the rest of my points, feel free.

  78. Dave

    Hurl, My guess is you wouldnt be caught dead near a church so don’t expect me or even Herb to teach you the Ten Commandments. People that think like you need to be prayed for but like all of us in due time, when your day comes, you can explain your support for abortion to your maker. Your know-it-all thinking won’t help you much on that day.

  79. Steve Gordy

    I’m with Herb on this one. Abortion is such a combustible topic that it’s easy to slip into making broad-brush statements (both Mary and Dave have done this), and not easy to shed much light on the topic.

  80. Ready to Hurl

    Which Ten Commandments, Dave?
    Does your Ten Commandments, for instance, give an exception for killing innocent Iraqis?
    Sounds like you and your “kind” will have to do some fast talking in the “Meet Your Maker” scenario.

  81. Dave

    Well, Ready-to-Murtha-Kerry-Hurl, be aware that the US Military does not intentionally kill innocents. But the enemy does. But when you think like Murtha or Kerry, which side is the enemy? That is why you must be confused on this.

  82. Ready to Hurl

    C’mon, Dave, you’re really not as stupid as you pretend on here, are you?
    How many tons of ordinance have we dropped on Iraq? Did each smart bomb stop and determine who was innocent?
    Pick whatever number you like of Iraqis killed after “mission accomplished.” Are you telling me that ever one of those tens of thousands were combatants?
    And, then there are the Marines currently on trial charged with murder.
    BTW, does your copy of the Ten Commandments have an asterisk absolving any American soldier for killing anyone– even combatants?

  83. Dave

    Hurl – as far as I’m concerned, the American soldiers are absolved if the killing occurred in the battle zone. If a soldier is “off-duty” and rapes or kills, that’s different. On a mission, they are absolved. Is that clear enough…

  84. Herb Brasher

    You won’t like this one, Dave, but in reading this book, Evil and the Justice of God, by N.T. Wright, Bishop of Durham, I was struck by the following paragraph:

    We ignore evil except when it hits us in the face. We are surprised by evil when it hits us in the face. As a result, we react in immature and dangerous ways. One of the most obvious and worrying instances of this phenomenon was the reactio to the events of September 11, 2001, in the United States (and to a degree in the United Kingdom as well). That appalling day rightly provoked horror and anger. But the official response was exactly the kind of knee-jerk, unthinking, immature lashing out which gets us nowhere. Let me not be misunderstood. Thousands of innocent victims met, of course, a tragic, horrible and totally undeserved death. The terrorist actions of Al-Qqeda were and are unmitigatedly evil. But the astonishing naivety which decreed that the United States as a whole was a pure, innocent victim, so that the world could be neatly divided up into evil people (particularly Arabs) and good people (particularly Americans and Israelis), and that the latter had a responsibility now to punish the former, is a large-scale example of what I’m talking about–just as it is immature and naive to suggest the mirror image of this view, namely that the Western world is guilty in all respects, and that all protesters and terrorists are therefore completely justified in what they do. In the same way, to suggest that all who possess guns should be locked up or that everyone should carry guns so that good people can shoot bad ones before they get to their tricks is simply a failure to think deeply about what’s going on.

    So, my suggestion is that we hold off a bit on the cowboy “shoot ’em up” approach that assumes we are all OK, and the enemy is all over there. As Wright says, we need a more comprehensive approach, and to stop thinking that the evil is always “over there.”

  85. Ready to Hurl

    So, Dave, do you really only subscribe to the Nine Commandments?

    Time magazine, which broke the story about Haditha in March, interviewed Eman Waleed, 9, who lived near to the site of the roadside bomb which killed a marine. She said: “We heard a big noise that woke us all up. Then we did what we always do when there’s an explosion: my father goes into his room with the Qur’an and prays that the family will be spared any harm.”
    She said the rest of the family gathered in the living room. Eman says she “heard a lot of shooting, so none of us went outside. Besides, it was very early, and we were all wearing our nightclothes.” When the marines entered the house, they were shouting in English. “First, they went into my father’s room, where he was reading the Qur’an,” she claims, “and we heard shots.”
    According to Eman, the marines then entered the living room. “I couldn’t see their faces very well – only their guns sticking into the doorway. I watched them shoot my grandfather, first in the chest and then in the head. Then they killed my granny.”
    She claims the troops started firing toward the corner of the room where she and her younger brother, Abdul Rahman, 8, were hiding; the other adults shielded the children from the bullets but died in the process. Eman says her leg was hit by a piece of metal and Abdul Rahman was shot near his shoulder.
    “We were lying there, bleeding, and it hurt so much. Afterward, some Iraqi soldiers came. They carried us in their arms. I was crying, shouting, ‘Why did you do this to our family?’ And one Iraqi soldier tells me, ‘We didn’t do it. The Americans did.'”

    I hope that you’re polishing up your speech about commandment-free “battle zones,” Dave.

  86. Dave

    Hurl – you are naive if you think Al Qaeda would not stage a civilian killing by Americans to inflame hatred toward us. Let the facts come out and then we will see. I can cite many examples where the Palestinians faked “massacres” with the help of the compliant anti-war liberal media. It’s happening in Iraq too. Get over it.

  87. Ready to Hurl

    In nearly every single denomination or faith, abortions are considered the worst of sins. Jew, Mormon, Catholic, most Protestants, Muslim followers believe this.

    Dave, I know that you consider yourself a follower of Jesus so I thought that you might want to see which commandments that Jesus thought most important, according to the Bible.
    Matthew 22
    34Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:
    36″Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'[c] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

  88. Dave

    Hurl, you are making my points here. If you reject and kill God’s gift of life, then you are violating the 1st Commandment. Then, that unborn baby is your own flesh and blood, let alone a neighbor, so #2 is violated also. It is all logical as to why abortion is a sin.

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