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Christian Republican


DCJ
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There was a question in the other forum asking how a Christian could vote Republican. As one who did so, I figured I could offer my thoughts (in the Debate forum, so I won't pollute the other one :)

 

Three issues were brought up that I recall: abortion, gay marriage, and poverty. When deciding how to deal with these issues, you not only have to ask how you "fix" them, but who should do it. i.e. is it the role of the private sector or the public sector. Take those three issues. Since abortion is the taking of a human life, that falls under the responsibility of the government since the government is charged with protecting the live's of its citizens. (That doesn't mean that there aren't things that society can do to minimize abortions.) Since the institution of marriage preceedes the state, the state doesn't have the authority to fundamentally change it. With regards to poverty, the government can't fix it since the government has no money. All the government can do is take money from one person (who earned it), and give it to someone else (who didn't earn it). The only way to lift people out of poverty is through wealth creation, i.e. capitalism, the free market. When government interferes with this voluntary exchange of goods (as it does with wealth transfer), it harms everyone, including the poor. So the only role the government (public sector) should have in this is to stay out of the way of the private sector while protecting people's property rights. Hence, poverty is a problem to be solved by the market and society, not government.

 

And Jesus would most certainly NOT advocate socialist ideas. He never advocated the state taking money from one person and giving it to another. This violates the 8th commandment, thou shalt not steal. Being forced to give your money to the poor (via the government) is not virtuous. Virtue results from voluntary actions, which is what Jesus demands. Not coercion. Jesus would see that capitalism not only gives us wealth creation, but gives us the ability to freely exchange goods with one another, as well as give to the poor, which is what Jesus called for.

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DCJ

 

1. IMO, Jesus would not have favored unregulated capitalism - it too easily lets people worship the false god of money and appeals to their baser selfishness.

 

2. The early Christians, while not socialists, did practice voluntary communitarianism.

 

3. The early Christians were citizens of two realms - the Kingdom of God and the nation that they resided in. They had no problem paying taxes to the government and also sharing their resources with each other and persons in need.

 

4. Jesus affirmed the right of governments to raise taxes and Jesus said NOTHING about such monies NOT being used to help poor persons.

 

5. (Making a few assumptions here) Why to you oppose abortion but not capital punishment or warfare? Why do you support George Jr's illegal, immoral, and unjust preemptive war with Iraq which has led to the deaths of over 100,000 innocent civilians? Why do you favor cutting the taxes of the rich and raising them for the middle class and the poor? Why do you favor allowing farmers to suck off of the public teat (via subsidiess) but not poor people?

 

6. IMO, the problems of poverty are so severe that it requires the efforts of both Church AND State to address them. Churches can't do much to provide adequate levels of low income housing stock; ensuring a livable minimum wage; etc.

 

7. Why is it that the average American Church goer 1) votes Republican supporting their desire to reduce taxes, and yet 2) contributes only 2.4% of their income to their church? They want their cake and to eat it too! Damn such selfish people I tell you. Damn them.

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Well since the majority of money is NOT spent on the poor but on the military, and the Republican party in the person of GWB has changed a budget surplus to a budget deficit, (the deficit steals from one generation to give to another) perhaps that argument of not stealing applies more to Republicans than Democrats. But then since we live in a democracy, I don't consider that usual taxation is theivery.

 

However, I am one to feel that while religion can inform political decisions that God is not Republican OR Democrat (or any other political party like Green etc.)

 

I would also argue that a few more things:

 

Programs for the poor when applied properly (and there are many that aren't) but when they are, like Head Start or Job corps, have helped people get out of poverty. (There are some dramatic statistics on Head Start).

 

The poor really can't be helped by private charity alone (ie churches)-- a fact evidenced by GWB's program of Faith Based initiatives where federal money goes to churches. If private, faith based charity is so good why do they need federal money? (I'm not knocking private charity though). Do you think the relief efforts for Tsunami victims was stealing?

Can private charity cover the medical system? Heck, the government isnt' even doing that-- at least in the US.

 

Environmental regulation, which many conservatives (both religiously and politically) seem to oppose has dramatically cleaned up the air and water. Do you think these things could be done privately? How would they be accomplished privately?

 

Jesus did not say taxation was wrong. In fact, he said to "render onto Ceasar". I realize it was a trick question and all, and more to it than taxatioin.

 

I would argue that the world is infinitely more complex than in Jesus' time. Captialism in Jesus' day amounted to people selling goods on street corners and in small shops. Today Capitalism is large multinational corporations that go to poor countries and set up sweat shops, pollute other countries, etc. These companies make billions of dollars a year. I'm not arguing against capitialism, as I think the other systems are really worse. But to say that Jesus was some kind of grand capitalist (or any other economic system advocate) isnt' at all warranted. I can't recall where Jesus even advocates the capitialism of those times. Or says anything against it.

 

I resent my money being "stolen" from me to go to an illegal pre-emptive war in Iraq which includes torture as one of its methods. As for money "stolen" from citizens via taxation, what about money stolen from poor people in the way of terrible wages, sweat shops, child labor, etc? And do you think that the salary of a day laborer that works many and varied difficult hours should be less than a corporate middle manager? What about a teacher?

 

I don't think all these topics are covered in the Bible.

 

I could understand a Christian voting Republican. I don't think the Bible says anywhere what party you should be. BTW, you seem to be equating Democrat with Socialist. I think the Democrats in the US are actually quite conservative compared to their European counterparts. (I've heard it said that in Europe there are no Republicans. And in the US there are no liberals, at least as a party. There's a little truth to that.)

 

--des

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I could understand a Christian voting Republican. I don't think the Bible says anywhere what party you should be. BTW, you seem to be equating Democrat with Socialist.

 

Hi Des,

 

It was my comment in another thread that made mention of Democrat versus Republican. I wasn't stating that the Bible said to vote one way or another. I just wondered WHY a Christian would vote Republican instead of Democrat.

 

I agree that American Democrats are quite conservative as compared to European standards. I used the term socialist to stir the pot a little. :)

 

Aletheia

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I think the following may have been posted somewhere on this board. I saved it to a Word file. I thought it was applicable to the discussion on taxes being stealing. It's exageration, but it makes the point quite nicely.

 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE REPUBLICAN

- author unknown

 

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.

 

With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

 

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.

 

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

 

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

 

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

 

He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

 

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

 

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

 

It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

 

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university.

 

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads.

 

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.

 

The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

 

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

 

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

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I tend to agree that the "moral issues" advocated by GWB tend to be pretty limited to two issues-- abortion and gay marriage. But his views aren't necessarily shared by all Republicans. True the GOP tends to be taken over now by very conservative influences at the moment. I wouldn't have a problem voting for John McCain who I see as trying to get the influence of big money and influence out of politics (good luck though).

 

I think I might have responded (if polled) that I saw moral issues as a big part of my vote this time, but they were the war in (I almost wrote Vietnam!) Iraq and the extreme weakening of environmental laws and regulations. (BTW, the EPA was started in the Nixon administration.) I also feel the following are moral issues: unregulated mulitinational growth that is more than a little on the backs of poor people around the world; the dividing of countries having a couple countries on your side (Great Britain, Japan) and others who might disagree with you as almost moral enemies (current anti-French sentiment).; etc.

 

I feel some people did not trust John Kerry and some of it was based on misinformation that the GOP was most effective in spreading (flip flopper, etc.). I personally know a couple people who voted against John Kerry based on that. I also think that 9-11 created a fear that only the current regime could possibly defend us against it, even though it has arguably raised terriorism in the world. I don't believe that Democrats always do a very good job of framing their arguments in terms of morality and the GOP has done a very good job of separating out the good moral voters against the Godless, etc. (BTW, I don't think that atheists are necessarily immoral either. Some of my best friends... :-)). And they have positioned their arguments in black and white moral terms that are highly appealing to some. It's just that the moral highground isn't exclusively GOP-- never was.

 

I think to win elections, Democrats are going to have to be careful that Republicans aren't stealing the term morality for themselves. I think the term red and blue states is highly devisive. In fact, my state (NM) just won for GWB by very few votes and won for AG by a very few votes the last time around. So was it a red state in 2004 and a blue state in 2000?

How about Ohio? Ridiculous.

 

 

--des

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Jesus primarily appealed to man's free will when he talked about giving to the poor, etc. It's up to us to use our God-given free will for good rather than evil. That's the cost of free will. He didn't comment too much on the government since it wasn't his primary audience, and he knew governments would always be around, whether they were tyrannical or benevolent. He didn't talk about slavery much either, but that doesn't mean he didn't have an opinion of it.

 

In telling people to give their personal property to the poor, Jesus affirmed the dignity of the fruits of one's labor. To give something away, you have to own it. To give it away voluntarily is to be virtuous. To tax a person before he has the opportunity to give it away voluntarily is to rob him of the opportunity (and duty) to be virtuous. We still have an obligation to give to the poor regardless of our level of taxation, but shouldn't the government help us out with this?

 

The Democratic party has a fundamentally different view of property rights. Take the income tax. Under our current income tax system, we don't have the rights to our income. We get to keep what ever Congress doesn't want, which changes with every tax bill. With the Democratic party, it seems like every issue is a problem for the government to solve. As long as the "will of the people" approve, no thought is given to property rights or if there is a better non-government solution. This is profoundly different from what the founders wanted and what the language of the Constitution reflects. True, the Republicans aren't much better, but at least they *attempt* to talk about property rights and the free market, and there are a few real conservatives left in the party. If Bush gets his "Ownership Society" off the ground (making the tax system fairer and resolving the Social Security crisis) that will be the greatest thing he does in his second term.

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In telling people to give their personal property to the poor, Jesus affirmed the dignity of the fruits of one's labor.  To give something away, you have to own it.  To give it away voluntarily is to be virtuous.  To tax a person before he has the opportunity to give it away voluntarily is to rob him of the opportunity (and duty) to be virtuous.  We still have an obligation to give to the poor regardless of our level of taxation, but shouldn't the government help us out with this?

 

Well imo, the government of late has helped a LOT by giving tax breaks to the wealthiest percentage of the population. I think the actual rate of giving has actually been less thru the Bush years. (I don't blame Bush for this, it's merely a statement of fact.) The tax cuts have NOT been fair, but have mainly been given to richer people.

 

This is a strange concept of taxation as "robbery". It is one I have never heard before. What about the fact that MOST of the money is NOT going to the poor at all (actually it is a tiny percentage), most of it goes to military spending. I don't hear you talk of military spending as robbery. Why not have churches that like the role of the military do bake sales to raise money? :-) (I am paraphrasing something here.) Income taxes fund things like military buildup but also things like infrastructure, tax breaks to multinationals, farm subsididies to industrial farms, etc. Although Democrats have the *reputation* of spending more money, actually it is Republicans who have spent money we don't have and basically charged it to later generations. That's robbing another generation instead. If you look at the actual percentage spent on poverty programs and education, etc. it is tiny. The idea of a flat tax as some have suggested (interestingly Forbes who is a billionaire is one big advocate), is highly regressive (without modification) taxing low income people at a higher rate than high income people, or at least the EFFECT is at higher level. Bush's plan to privatize social security doesn't take into account that the payments to people today is paid for by the people paying into the system today. The costs are exceedingly high, I have heard in the

trillions. The current efforts by GWB have not made taxation MORE fair, they have made it less fair.

 

The effect of no taxation would be the end of government. I know that some neocons actually want this, but I don't think it is at all appropos given the complexity of our society.

No one enjoys paying taxes. It's just the cost of having a government.

 

Another thing is healthcare. Since it is run by market forces, medical costs are sky high, creating a system where people are turned away from hospitals or only seek medical care when have an emergency (many largely preventable). Lately the FDA which is supposedly the drug watchdog has allowed some dangerous (and unnecessary drugs) into the supply, largely due to being paid by drug companies/ I don't see how private charity can even begin to handle this problem. Back in Jesus' day there really wasn't much in the treatment of the sick (witness the handling of leprosy). And the average life span was prob. in the 40s.

 

The idea that progressive taxation robs the wealthy does not take into account how the poor are robbed all the time in the political/ economic system. Wealthy companies set up multinationals, lay off lower class Americans and put the jobs in third world nations which often have terrible workign conditions and often worse environmental ones. Poor neighborhoods often have the lowest air quality. Poor neighborhoods have the worst schools, because they are funded unfairly by property taxes which raise less. (There is a dollar to dollar correlation between good schools and poor, contrary to conservative talk and occassional success stories.) Poor people get the worse jobs, they don't have insurance, and most of the poor are working full-time but at such meager incomes that they cant' get out of poverty. Wealthy people indirectly benefit from this system of inequity, since wealthy corporations can say, spend less in salaries, and can work on their bottomline.

 

 

--des

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I used to be a very conservative Republican. I didn't have very much compassion for others because all I did was gripe about was how the government wanted to take away what was rightfully mine. "Everyone in the U.S. has the same opportunities. If someone is poor, it is their own fault...blah, blah, blah." I also felt that capitalism was the best thing for the world. However, this viewpoint made me even less compassionate for others. Capitalism requires each individual in society to look out for his own best interest. The result is plenty for everyone. While this may make a society wealthy overall (like the U.S.), it results in a narcicistic one. Take a look around - conservative evangelicals are just as selfish and greedy as everyone else. (I know I am speaking very generally here. I know that there are compassionate conservatives that go out of their way to help others, but I believe that this generalization is basically true.)

 

I know that the statement that Jesus is neither Republican or Democrat is a cliche now, but I believe that it is a true one. IMO we must all try to evaluate our own selfishness and learn to think of others before ourselves, rather than the capitalistic other way around. This is hard in America. Putting too much of our trust in politicians is very dangerous because - well, because they're politicians.

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And lo, a Canadian was seen, and he had an opinion about US politics....

 

 

 

I'm not really here to write an apologetic for either the Democrats or the Republicans, but maybe I can offer a slightly outsider perspective.

 

There was a question posed about voting for GWB on his moral issues (ie: abortion and redefinition of marriage) and how those moral issues were related to the current Iraq war and so on. It seems to me that a person can be for the limited use of capital punishment if it can be shown to be necessary in protecting society and the person can be shown to be truly guilty. I'm not saying that these standards are often met, but they can exist. This is a position which the Catholic Church has always taken and even under Pope John Paul II (in many ways a liberal Pope economically etc.) this has been continued. Secondly, in capital punishment, were it to meet the above requirements, you would have a person receving a punishment based on something THEY DID. That is to say, all acts have consequences (temporal or eternal) and we suffer these consequences according to our actions. Abortion on the other hand is the taking of a human life for something that SOMEONE ELSE DID. This is fundamentally injust. There are very few who would say that you can take the life of one person for the convenience of another, or that one person's life was less worthy of existence based on another's actions. Thus it is not an analogy which can be batted about as easily as I've seen it done.

 

I don't really want to get into the marriage as DCJ did a good, concise job of explaining why the state cannot alter an institution which existed before it. But it should also be noted that there are no cultures (that I am aware of) that have ever recognized the right (or validity) of same-sex marriage.

 

One little thing about war. War is always a terrible thing. It is always regrettable. It is sometimes necessary. As the Catechism notes (par 2309)

 

The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

there must be serious prospects of success;

the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.

 

An example of a just war (although not always fought in a just manner by either side) would be the Second World War. Allowing the Nazi regime to rage unchecked would have been a greater evil than to take up arms to oppose it. In that particular instance they war saved more lives than would have been lost had Naziism taken over the world. Is the Iraq war just? I'm not sure, I don't have access to all the information that legitamate government does and so it isn't really my place to speak, besides they are the ones entrusted with securing the common good so the final decision is theirs (whether we agree with it or not)

 

As far as economic arguments. I think that a case could be made for either solution and there is nothing within the Gospel that would swing a person's vote, after all I think everyone envisions the same ends but the disagreement is about the means. Therefore it would be a legitamate topic for debate.

 

However, while the Republicans are not perfect on life issues (fetal stem-cells being a particular ugly point) they are closer in line with the constant teachings of the Church and the history of Christian thought. And frankly, those are the issues that make it possible to argue about economics. A baby murdered in it's mother's womb cannot enter the argument about education funding, pollution control or the influence of market forces. It is the right to life which makes any debate on the other issues possible. Thus, if one party fails to secure the right to be born, the rest of their arguments become moot.

 

Peace in the Sacred Heart of Christ, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary

jamesAMDG

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RE: Capital punishment. Your argument would be fine maybe *if* the state did not make mistakes. In Illinois (when I lived there) 11-13 people were found to be not guilty. No, it was not due to the wonderful justice system, but due to the work of some law students. The Governor ended up halting the use of the death penalty in IL. Many other states are doing the same, or effectively have done it anyway. There have been several dubious cases of people that were actually put to death, and Texas under GWB was the fryingist state of all.

There was a retarded guy put to death who had something like a 65 IQ. I see you did qualify your statements, but I dont' see anyway that states will NOT make mistakes. Scott Peterson not withstanding the majority of people on death row are poor and minority with sometimes incompetent DAs.

 

The comparison someone made between capital punishment and abortion isn't quite right.

I think abortion is a bit more complex, because there is the whole question of when the zygote, embryo, fetus becomes a human person. Some people view this quite strictly, as after implantation (or even before). I think late term abortions, except to save the life of the mother are not moral. How late that is, I'm not really sure, but I'd say for sure if the fetus is viable. But what about abortions after say a failed contraceptive, say one day after intercourse. Is this an abortion at all? What about the fertility proceedure where the clinic fertilizes many eggs in the assumption that some won't make it and then chooses the most viable ones to implant. Are the ones not used considered "aborted"? And if you do implant them all, the chance for miscarriage is very high.

 

I think this is quite a complex matter and any amount of reading the Bible or the Catechism (as I am not Catholic) wouldn't convince me otherwise.

 

I also feel that if "pro-lifers" weren't so extreme in their positions, that there could be moderations of the current policies to say make late term (say 3rd trimester abortions) illegal. But I think many people are afraid that if we go back a little that people will be going back to using coat hangers and drano. I think there are all sorts of liberals who are opposed to late term abortions.

 

I agree that war is sometimes necessary. I dont' agree that as a citizen I have no understanding or ability to say whether a war is necessary or not. THis has been GWB's argument (or that this is a time of war so it is unpatriotic to question the Commander and Chief-- well actually since the reasons for the war have constantly shifted... No WMD, ok we just wanted Husein out of there. He was a very bad guy, but there are other bad guys and bad governments. I understand now that Iraq is a breeding ground for terriorists who come there to learn. I think the use of torture is wrong. The Bush administration thru the new Sec of State has redefined torture to mean only something that could kill the prisoner.

We are told these are different times...

 

I don't feel things like pollution are secondary. First of all, we aren't just talking about "living conditions for humans" we are talking about life of the planet itself and all other creatures.

I think environment is as worthy a moral topic as any.

 

--des

Edited by des
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My view on the death penalty is absolutely not!

 

We as the citizens of a state are the state. The state has no more right to take a life than I do. By allowing capital punishment we all become murderers.

 

As far as the capitalism vs socialism thing goes, I think that having some idealogical fixation on the way resources are distributed is silly. I think we need to decide what kind of society we wish to live in and then figure out how to get there. Free markets or redistribution of resouces are some of the tools we can use to accomplish our goals. As soon as people get fixated on economic systems they seem to lose all sense.

 

For most of history people have not look at economics as the focus of their lives. (I refer you to "The Great Transformation" by Karl Polanyi.) I think Jesus would like us to build a just and caring society. I think we need to focus on that and be pragmatic about how we go about it.

 

Sorry about the rant.

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The comparison someone made between capital punishment and abortion isn't quite right.

I think abortion is a bit more complex, because there is the whole question of when the zygote, embryo, fetus becomes a human person.

The zygote, embryo, and fetus are already human persons and have all the DNA to make that assertion. You didn't come from an adolescent, you were an adolescent. You didn't come from a child, you were a child. You didn't come from an embryo, you were an embryo. It's all part of the stages of being human.

 

I also feel that if "pro-lifers" weren't so extreme in their positions, that there could be moderations of the current policies to say make late term (say 3rd trimester abortions) illegal. But I think many people are afraid that if we go back a little that people will be going back to using coat hangers and drano.

I think we can all agree that outlawing partial birth abortions is a reasonable measure and not "extreme". Still, many in Congress voted against the ban, supposedly for the reason you stated. They're afraid that when people start examining the issue with more scrutiny, and go beyond the rhetoric, the "right to choose" argument will start to evaporate. I say put all the arguments on the table, and let the chips fall where they may.

 

We as the citizens of a state are the state. The state has no more right to take a life than I do. By allowing capital punishment we all become murderers.

Citizens can hold public office with our form of government, so in a sense citizens are the state. At the same time, the state is a separate institution, and God has certainly invested the state with the authority to "take a life": the state is allowed to go to war to defend itself when deemed necessary. For the state to NOT protect its citizens in the face of attack is to indirectly commit "murder" on them. (The criteria of when to go to war is irrelevant to this point.)

 

As far as the capitalism vs socialism thing goes, I think that having some idealogical fixation on the way resources are distributed is silly. I think we need to decide what kind of society we wish to live in and then figure out how to get there. Free markets or redistribution of resouces are some of the tools we can use to accomplish our goals. As soon as people get fixated on economic systems they seem to lose all sense.

Interesting... the means we use to attain the society we want don't matter, as long as we get there. If I believe executing all criminals will accomplish that, I suppose that's ok. Of course we all want to live in a just society. But you can't say we need to "figure out how to get there" and then decry one way being chosen over another. That's precisely how we're "figuring it out". We believe that one way is "right" and another way is "wrong".

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At the same time, the state is a separate institution, and God has certainly invested the state with the authority to "take a life": the state is allowed to go to war to defend itself when deemed necessary. For the state to NOT protect its citizens in the face of attack is to indirectly commit "murder" on them. (The criteria of when to go to war is irrelevant to this point.)

 

I do not see the state as a separate institution. The state is no more than the sum total of its parts (ie the citizens). I do not see that killing criminals is the best way to protect society. Revenge only hurts the one dishing it out. A society which kills people destroys its own collective morality.

 

Interesting... the means we use to attain the society we want don't matter, as long as we get there. If I believe executing all criminals will accomplish that, I suppose that's ok. Of course we all want to live in a just society. But you can't say we need to "figure out how to get there" and then decry one way being chosen over another. That's precisely how we're "figuring it out". We believe that one way is "right" and another way is "wrong".

 

If the way you choose as the "right way" does not work it is the wrong way no matter how you justify it idealogically. God calls upon us to feed the hungry, to heal the sick and to love one another. If the society we live in does not accomplish this it is "we the people" who have failed, not some mythical entity called a state.

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My view on the death penalty is absolutely not!

 

We as the citizens of a state are the state.  The state has no more right to take a life than I do.  By allowing capital punishment we all become murderers.

 

I wasn't commenting on your views but on James'.

I tend to agree with you, as well as the feeling that we have/are executing innocent people. And that we always will, unless justice were made to be somehow perfect, which it can't be.

 

I won't continue debating either that nor abortion, because it ends up as an "is so", "is not" sort of thing. We could go on and on. I will just say that I think BOTH sides have tended not to want to try to reach common ground as it is a highly divisive type issue. Conservatives are afraid that to give at all means to lose their side and liberals see it the same way. I feel that in our political atmosphere, it will be hard to reach any consensus.

I think that might be the case on this board in some cases.

 

>As far as the capitalism vs socialism thing goes, I think that having some idealogical fixation on the way resources are distributed is silly. I think we need to decide what kind of society we wish to live in and then figure out how to get there. Free markets or redistribution of resouces are some of the tools we can use to accomplish our goals. As soon as people get fixated on economic systems they seem to lose all sense.

 

I think that's the case, that there is some kind of "higher economics" is kind of far fetched.

Both socialism and capitalism have some points in their favor, and other detracting points. But they are both human systems. Both use, in practice, cynical systems to get to their goals. Capitalism uses the unrestrained market to "allow" questionable practices like sweat shops and going off shore where environmental laws are weakest. Socialism in practice allows government to take powers away from people (although we should distinguish socialism in Russia with socialism in Sweden, say).

 

 

 

--des

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Socialism is not a bad word, it came about way before Carl Marx. Christians practise socialism and make the world a better place.

 

 

Luke 3:11

11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.

Jesus and his disciples completely shared their material possessions.

Matthew 19:21,24

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

...

24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

 

The common good is considered honorable and more divine than the selfish attitude of every man for himself that Conservatives profess.

 

Today, over a billion people live in abject poverty in the world.

 

"Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself" Does not mean imperalism or capitalizing on others misfortunes.

 

If we let all believers interpret the Bible for themselves, it could lead to democratic thoughts, countering the conservative view that clergy only can interpret. Any person can understand the Scriptures as well as (or better than) many learned clerics. The Bible in English has helped men and women to think about society, to criticise its institutions, and to question some of today's values. The consevative clerics today know all the prices, but not the value. They are mean minded and do not lead by example.

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Soma, I disagree. Socialism did NOT exist in the ancient world. Rather, the early followers of Jesus (esp. as described in the Book of Acts) practiced Communitarianism. The differences are as follows;

1) The early followers of Jesus were citizens of two realms, i.e. of the Kingdom of God (and the Church); and of whatever nation they resided in and the Roman Empire. So, they paid taxes to the powers that be AND they paid money into their local church and to the Mother Church in Jerusalem.

 

2) Socialism - as commonly understood - is an economic system whereby all citizens of a nation are FORCED to pay into a certain economic system. Communitarianism, on the other hand, is a spiritual system voluntary association whereby people freely choose to pay into a common fund in order to help meet the essential needs of the community (church - voluntary association).

 

Moreover, with Socialism, one pays according to whatever scheme the powers that be tell you to based upon your income, whereas with Christian Communitarianism, one pays into the fund based upon their awareness of God's blessings in their life.

 

I agree that socialism is "more Biblical" than capitalism, but I don't agree that it is described in the Bible or in the teachings of the early Church.

 

The Amish practice communitarianism as do the Bruederhof's etc. I think you'd agree that what they do is NOT socialism.

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  • 6 months later...
I also feel that if "pro-lifers" weren't so extreme in their positions, that there could be moderations of the current policies to say make late term (say 3rd trimester abortions) illegal. But I think many people are afraid that if we go back a little that people will be going back to using coat hangers and drano.

I think we can all agree that outlawing partial birth abortions is a reasonable measure and not "extreme". Still, many in Congress voted against the ban, supposedly for the reason you stated. They're afraid that when people start examining the issue with more scrutiny, and go beyond the rhetoric, the "right to choose" argument will start to evaporate. I say put all the arguments on the table, and let the chips fall where they may.

 

 

 

There is no such thing as a "partial birth abortion." It is a lie made up by those who don't know what they are talking about. The procedure is a dialation and extraction which is only used in extreme cases when a normal abortion procedure would put the woman's life at risk. Don't believe the rhetoric of the right wing politians.

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  • 3 weeks later...
There is no such thing as a "partial birth abortion."  It is a lie made up by those who don't know what they are talking about.  The procedure is a dialation and extraction which is only used in extreme cases when a normal abortion procedure would put the woman's life at risk.  Don't believe the rhetoric of the right wing politians.

 

While I'm not terribly inclined to argue whether or not the lay term of "partial birth abortion" is in fact, a medical term. After all, when someone speaks of a "partial birth abortion" others know what they mean. So I would argue it does in fact exist, something recognized under that name as a real procedure.

 

I was more curious about your last bit, does that mean I should only believe the rhetoric of the left?

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