Abortion: Different Moral Positions

By William Ellis Hill

Cross posted from Faithful Democrats' discussion on abortion

"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the great pumpkin." These are the wise words of the great philosopher Linus, in Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin.  The issue of abortion involves two out of the three and in most cases should be excluded from the norms of conversation. And, as a male, who can neither get pregnant nor attempt birth, I am hesitant to wade into these forbidding waters as I cannot possibly understand what the female gender must endure with this particular choice. However, as a Christian and as a Democrat, I am compelled to draw the distinctions between the moral and political.

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Scripture on the Budget: What the Bible Says About National Priorities

by Eric Sapp

Back in 2006, the budget debate followed immediately on the heels of Congressional consideration of the Marriage Amendment. As a result, there was a desire by a number of Democratic leaders for a reference guide that would more easily allow Democrats to authentically speak out against the extreme and selective use of scripture by the Republicans and their allies on the Right. The first "Guide to Scripture and the Budget" that included scriptural references and simple talking points to help equip Christian Democrats in their response to Republican budget arguments was distributed shortly before the 2006 budget debate.

My underlying assumption in writing and continuing to
update this document is that Democrats should not cede the prophetic language of scripture and its ability to inspire and frame issues in a moral context to the other side. Many traditional Democratic positions are rooted in the teachings of scripture, and it is time Democrats stopped losing on the Bible.

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Just get it out of your systems already

I was an Obama supporter from the start.  But that didn't mean I didn't respect John Edwards.  I believe that just as Hillary Clinton made Obama a better campaigner, Edwards made both of them step up to the plate back in the early days when the front-runners were content to tread water.  Obama was content to speak in grand, vague terms, and while Clinton's speeches were more concrete, she was just saying the same thing every Democrat says when gunning for the big job (the economy, healthcare, education, etc.)  Edwards however, he decided to talk about poverty.  Yeah, Democrats are always there for the middle class, but what about the poor?  What have we done as a nation for the most vulnerable recently?  This is a man who kicked off his campaign in New Orleans, a city ravaged not just by a hurricane, but by government indifference.

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Hillary and the Banality of Evil

Hillary and the Banality of Evil.

As we contemplate honestly Hillary's invocation of assassination as the rationale for her continued candidacy, we must ask both how and why she is incapable of seeing how horrible her statement was, and how telling.  To me the answer is found in Arendt's concept of the banality of evil, the notion that the evil most scorn-worthy is that committed unknowingly, committed without any sense of its implication or effect.  

At this point, it is plain that Obama has ceased to be a real person to Hillary; he is mere obstacle, an object in her way.  Obama is himself (itself) a cold, implacable, faceless foe who blocks the path to her destiny, her salvation.  And so why it might be tempting to say that the battle has become personal, in fact, for Hillary, it is impersonal--indeed, it has become entirely abstract, like a chess game.  When one topples the King in chess, there is no need to wince.  It is not a real regicide; you just won a game.

In considering Eichmann's role in the Holocaust, "Arendt concluded that Eichmann was constitutively incapable of exercising the kind of judgment that would have made his victims' suffering real or apparent for him. It was not the presence of hatred that enabled Eichmann to perpetrate the genocide, but the absence of the imaginative capacities that would have made the human and moral dimensions of his activities tangible for him. Eichmann failed to exercise his capacity of thinking, of having an internal dialogue with himself, which would have permitted self-awareness of the evil nature of his deeds. This amounted to a failure to use self-reflection as a basis for judgment, the faculty that would have required Eichmann to exercise his imagination so as to contemplate the nature of his deeds from the experiential standpoint of his victims."

To me, this best explains the dark and tragic place that Hillary has gone to; she has lost the capacity to see herself, and her actions, in any way other than as part of a game she is playing and is intent on winning.  How many times in life have we said, "I want to kill that guy"?  But we say it knowing the difference between really wanting to kill the person, and saying we want to as a way of expressing our frustration.  And we know to that the person we say we want to "kill" is a real person, and the person's death would have wide-ranging and real effect.  For Hillary, the countless times she has thought about Barack's figurative death have caused her to lose the ability to see the death as real.  She simply wants him out of the way, to be gone, so she can get on with her own goals.  

So often those seeking to denigrate Hillary have resorted to calling her "the Terminator," or some other sort of murderous foe who has no limit on the lengths she will go to destroy her enemies.  But now we look at the residue of her long campaign, of the effect it has had on her ethics and morality, and how it has brought her to a place where I look at her and can no longer recognize her humanity.  She has made a Faustian bargain, and it shows.  The banality of evil indeed.

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Ignorance, Sheet Sniffing and Racism

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about my experience at the BlogWorldExpo political panels, and noted the alarming moral degeneracy among the conservative attendees. I was helped in this by the notes taken by K T Cat. He made my point for me by condensing several examples of this government's behavior (warrantless wiretapping, shredding the Constitution, going to war on lies, etc.) that I find more offensive than words for sex and body parts into the dismissive phrase "Bush administration policies," then promptly declaring that sexual attitudes should be the top priority of society.

Right. Because when your fellow citizens are being made homeless by the perfidy of our banks and financial institutions or remaining homeless because the Bush administration abandoned the poor of the Gulf Coast, or are living in debt peonage, or when police violence and impunity continues to escalate across the nation, or while the country is being bled dry to feed Halliburton, Bechtel, CH2M, Lockheed Martin and Blackwater, that's the time to rail against the horrors of one of our species' most basic biological urges. Unless it's time to rail against the horror of knowing that you helped pay for a kid's bone marrow transplant, which ought to make you mad, for some reason.

That's the sort of problem you get when your ideological peers are grimly ignorant, and proud of it. You end up saying racist things, then claiming that you didn't mean it that way, which doesn't mean by a long shot that it wasn't a racist thing to say. Or, you might end up saying stupid things, like that people would stop having sex if they had fewer rights and no government assistance.  And that might be embarassing once you step outside your usual circles.

Which is no better than the ignorance displayed by someone in the audience at a Friday panel at Blog World, from the near unnavigable site Democast, who insisted that the Tamil Tigers were just another example of a dangerous Muslim group bringing fascism to the world, after I mentioned that they were the original suicide bombers. But as I'd said, the Tamil Tigers are a nationalist movement, spurred by the racist policies of a Sinhalese government instead of religion, and they happen also to be Hindu. Not Muslim. Not Arab. Tamil Hindus. Kind of puts a damper on blaming all the ills of the world on the Scary Islamic Jihadis.

Wingnuts. They'd almost be cute if their leaders hadn't seized control of the government by means of vote fraud and a corrupt court. Also, if they weren't so racist. Really dampens the charisma potential.

So, on to this quote that Ron at Centerface* rescued from a previous version of K T Cat's original posting:

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