3 Democratic candidates talk of their faith

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a rare public discussion of her husband's infidelity, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that she probably could not have gotten through her marital troubles without relying on her faith in God.

Clinton stood by her actions in the aftermath of former President Clinton's admission that he had an affair, including presumably her decision to stay in the marriage.

"I am very grateful that I had a grounding in faith that gave me the courage and the strength to do what I thought was right, regardless of what the world thought," Clinton said during a forum where the three leading Democratic presidential candidates talked about faith and values.

"I'm not sure I would have gotten through it without my faith," she said.

The forum, sponsored by the liberal Sojourners/Call to Renewal evangelical organization, provided an uncommon glimpse into the most personal beliefs of Clinton and rivals John Edwards and Barack Obama. The most intimate question came about the Clintons' relationship, one of the world's most debated marriages but one that the husband and wife rarely speak openly about.

Clinton said she's "been tested in ways that are both publicly known and those that are not so well known or not known at all." She said it's those times when her personal faith and the prayers of others sustain her.

"At those moments in time when you are tested, it is absolutely essential that you be grounded in your faith," she said.

Edwards revealed that he prays -- and sins -- every day. The crowd gasped loudly when moderator Soledad O'Brien asked Edwards to name the biggest sin he ever committed, and he won their applause when he said he would have a hard time naming one thing.

"I sin every single day," said Edwards, the 2004 vice presidential nominee. "We are all sinners and we all fall short."

Read it all and there is more here.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsUS Presidential Election 2008

53 Comments
Posted June 6, 2007 at 6:36 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Newbie Anglican wrote:

Any “faith” that knowingly supports open season on the unborn isn’t worth a damn.  And I include Sojourners in that.  They are long time enablers of such evil.

June 6, 8:18 am | [comment link]
2. Words Matter wrote:

The correct answer to “what is the greatest sin you have ever committed” is “none of your business”.  I also respect Mrs. Clinton’s reticence regarding her marraige. That’s one policy on which she and I are in agreement.

A lot of money is made in the entertainment and news business. So I expect we will continue to be a voyeuristic society.

June 6, 8:35 am | [comment link]
3. Newbie Anglican wrote:

Before this gets further, I want to apologize for my needless use of the d-word above.  Pro-abortion politicians who play the “I’m a Christian, too!” game are an obscenity in my book.  And Sojourners are indeed longtime enablers of evil.  I remember back when they enabled the Soviet Union’s foreign policy aims.
Thus I got rather provoked.  But I should have been more creative and polite in my choice of words.  I apologize to anyone who was offended.

June 6, 8:47 am | [comment link]
4. Scott K wrote:

When I was in college, I was part of a large (and fluid) student-led bible study.  Whenever we had a a new face, we would start with: “We usually go around the room and introduce ourselves, and tell the group about our biggest sin this week.  Since you are new, why don’t you go first?”  (usually they recognized the joke right away, but sometimes there was a look of stunned fear).

Words Matter is right, the correct answer is “none of your business,” even if the responder is running for office.

June 6, 8:55 am | [comment link]
5. Daniel Muth wrote:

Mr. Thompson (#6), I appreciate your passion, but must strongly disagree.  Christians have always considered abortion a form of homicide the willful commission of which is a grave sin.  The utter unwillingness of the Democratic Party to even consider acknowledging that this is a this form of homicide is, well, damnable.  One can find unscrupulousness and “single-issue” extremism wherever one looks in the realm of secular politics.  This does not change the reasonableness of those Christians who (like myself and, apparently, “Newbie Anglican”) conclude that they cannot in good conscience vote for politicians who, no doubt with good intentions and in all sincerity, personally oppose this form of homicide while granting it virtually unlimited legal license.  Hand-wringing is no substitute for acion to correct gross injustice (and it doesn’t get grosser than abortion).  This is not a matter, as with the Iraq War or minimum wage policy, of what the more prudent course is in pursuing shared goals of international stability or aiding the disadvantaged.  It is a fundamental matter of accepting an clear and age-old understanding of who is and is not a human person.

June 6, 9:48 am | [comment link]
6. libraryjim wrote:

No, not the only reason, but it is a big one, in the top 2. The other reason I would never vote for any of these Democrats is that I am fervently anti-Socialsit governmental systems and pro-Republic form of government.  Since these three have openly expressed that they want to do away with the current form of government and replace it with high taxes and redistribution of wealth (except theirs), I’m not voting for any of them.

June 6, 9:53 am | [comment link]
7. libraryjim wrote:

I’m also in favor of teaching spelling in the schools:
anti-Socialsit = anti-Socialist

sheesh! It’s too early. Where’s my coffee?

June 6, 9:55 am | [comment link]
8. Newbie Anglican wrote:

Thanks, Matt (#6).  Be assured I’m far from a single issue voter.  But also know that the “personally opposed to abortion BUT” tactic among liberal politicos is an old one I see right through.

June 6, 10:11 am | [comment link]
9. phil swain wrote:

I’m personally opposed to killing democrats, but I don’t think there should be a law against it.

June 6, 10:26 am | [comment link]
10. Katherine wrote:

It is a pleasure to agree with Matt about something.  I objected to the Christian Coalition, and I object to this.  On the vast majority of public policy issues, there is no “Christian” position.  There are only individual Christians, with opinions based on their best judgment.  Jim Wallis doesn’t necessarily speak for God, any more than Ralph Reed did.

Unfortunately for our new-found agreement, I can’t agree on abortion.  The uniqueness of each created human, bearing the image of God, is a fundamental belief.  “Thou shalt do no murder” is one of the Big Ten.  In the U.S., all states prohibit murder, including some forms which would be tolerated in other cultures (“honor” killing of women, for instance).  How can we agree to allow the murder of infants still growing their mothers’ wombs while disallowing the murder of anyone who has managed to exit the womb?

June 6, 10:26 am | [comment link]
11. PadreWayne wrote:

NA, 2 and 4 above, I am assuming that since you are against abortion as the means of taking a human life, you are also against the war in Iraq. You also do all that you can to support adoption agencies and have adopted yourself.

NB I am not pro-abortion; I think our abortion rate is tragic. But I can also understand some circumstances where it is the last resort. I can also sympathize with a politician who is against abortion personally yet acknowledges its legality.

June 6, 10:29 am | [comment link]
12. talithajd wrote:

Wow!  I think its cool how we get to condemn a person’s faith because, while they agree with us on the religious aspect of a particular action, they disagree with what the secular political response should be.  Now that’s sound theology!  Part of the problem of the modern church is that we have ceded our moral authority to the secular government.  Moral = Legal; Immoral = Illegal.  We should hold ourselves to a higher standard than the world legislates, rather than trying to hold the world to a standard in which it does not believe.

June 6, 10:33 am | [comment link]
13. libraryjim wrote:

How is removing a dictator who has engineered genocide and supported terrorism in conflict with protecting the life of unborn human beings?

June 6, 10:49 am | [comment link]
14. Philip Snyder wrote:

Abortion is only a symptom of a much larger problem.  We, as a society, are limiting the definition of “person” to be a function, not a being.  We see the effects of this on both ends of life - the beginning (abortion) and the end (right - soon to be duty - to die).  It seems that the only time we are interested in individuals is if they can contribute to society in some way.  We refuse to see the image of God in other people and we have started even to remove the Personal from God - with statements such as “God revealing Godself” or “Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier” or other non-personal images.

If people can get others to stop thinking of themselves or their neighbors as persons who bear the image of God and are worth dying for, then the populace can be much more easily led.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

June 6, 11:22 am | [comment link]
15. Newbie Anglican wrote:

Apology accepted, Matt.  But “pro-abortion” is a very fair label for Senators Clinton and Obama at least.  Hillary voted against the Partial Birth Abortion Ban in 2003.  And Obama attacked the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding it.  One can hardly be any more pro-abortion.  Edwards?  Well he was “not voting” back in 2003.  How convenient.

June 6, 11:35 am | [comment link]
16. Tegularius wrote:

Jim says: “How is removing a dictator who has engineered genocide and supported terrorism in conflict with protecting the life of unborn human beings?”

There are plenty of innocents who died in the process of removing that dictator; if you support the war because the net effect of removing the dictator outweighs those losses, you’re making the exact same kind of value judgement as those who decide that the advantages of having an abortion outweighs the loss of the life of the fetus.

June 6, 12:20 pm | [comment link]
17. libraryjim wrote:

Ah, so you would be against the US entering WWII for the same reason?
Just asking.

June 6, 12:43 pm | [comment link]
18. Daniel Muth wrote:

Mr. Snyder (#18) - Excellent point.  Philosophical error cannot avoid expression in the Church as theological error (using God’s name as a pronoun is, I’m sure, a violation of the third commandment).  Following the abandonment of Cartesian rationalism (I am a thing that thinks) for Utilitarian consumerism (I am a thing that wants - with the necessary corollary that wanting is sufficient reason for having), we now see the thing-in-itself being replaced entirely by the raw function of desire.  Perhaps it is a by-product of the consumerism’s cult of the eternal adolescent (averred in C. S. Lewis’ The Last Battle when Queen Susan is “no longer a friend of Narnia), or more likely, its progenitor.  Of this we can be sure, this philosophical error is no respector of political party.  And, whether from within (the homosexual movement) or without (secularism in either political party), it is a threat to the Church.

June 6, 12:54 pm | [comment link]
19. Tegularius wrote:

I did not say I was against the Iraq war—I said that if you start from the premise that there is no such thing as a defensible reason to take innocent life, then you can’t defend the entry into the Iraq war.  Conversely, if you support the Iraq war, then you have accepted that there are cases in which a cost-benefit analysis dictates that a price denominated in innocent lives is worth paying—and this is the same sort of logic behind the decision to have an abortion.

One could possibly make the same claim about WWII, although in that case there might be a secondary claim that the US staying out would in the medium or long run have cost more innocent lives than did the US entry. It is hard to convincingly make such an argument about Iraq.

There are two possibilities: one must believe either that taking innocent life is never justifiable or that it is sometimes justifiable.  If you support the Iraq war, you place yourself in the “sometimes justifiable” class, and cannot then reasonably argue from the “never justifiable” position.

June 6, 12:55 pm | [comment link]
20. Jim the Puritan wrote:

As I’ve said before, “this dog don’t hunt.”  The candidates came across as obvious phonies, no more convincing than Republicans who try the same thing.  I soon expect Hillary to be seen in photo ops conspicuously carrying her Bible, just like Bill used to do.

June 6, 1:13 pm | [comment link]
21. libraryjim wrote:

There is a BIG difference in going to war to stop a killer (and thus a move to SAVE lives in the long run) and supporting the taking of innocent lives in abortion where there is only one outcome—the death of an innocent.

<i>True morality is derived from scripture.</i>

June 6, 1:18 pm | [comment link]
22. libraryjim wrote:

I should have said:
supporting ... abortion where there is only one intended outcome—the death of an innocent baby.

Or as the old saying goes:
Only half the people who go in for an abortion come out alive!

June 6, 1:31 pm | [comment link]
23. BillS wrote:

Equating pro life with being against the Iraq War is a complete non sequitur. An unborn baby has done nothing to the mother to deserve death. The mother is choosing death for her child because the child will create an inconvenience in her life.

Saddam Hussein used WMD’s against his own people, killing hundreds of thousands of his own people, and millions of Iranians in an 8 year war. He raped, murdered, tortured, terrorized, and stole. He attempted to acquire nuclear weapons, but was prevented by the Israelis in 1982 when they bombed the Osirak reactors in 1982. The world is better off and we are safer as a nation with him dead and gone.

He brought about his own demise as a result of his own actions. This has nothing in common with killing a child in the womb who has done nothing to anyone, and who deserves the chance to be born and live, just like the rest of us.

June 6, 3:12 pm | [comment link]
24. Tegularius wrote:

“He brought about his own demise as a result of his own actions. This has nothing in common with killing a child in the womb who has done nothing to anyone, and who deserves the chance to be born and live, just like the rest of us. “

I was not referring to Saddam Hussein.  I was referring to the tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of other Iraqis and the thousands of American and coalition soldiers whose lives we decided were—in aggregate—worth less than the cost of allowing him to remain in power.

June 6, 3:18 pm | [comment link]
25. talithajd wrote:

So BillS, I assume that you would allow for abortion in those situations where continuing a pregnancy presents a risk to the life of the mother and is not contemplated solely for the “convenience” of the woman.  Once again we have arrived at a place that is not black and white.  For if you would not defend that abortion, then the mother’s innocent life will be lost.  Hmmm.  I fear that we have entered the realm of making life and death decisions where words like “always” and “never” should not be thrown around lightly.

June 6, 3:39 pm | [comment link]
26. libraryjim wrote:

The number of dead as a result of the justified invasion is hardly in the ‘tens of thousands’.  Look it up.

June 6, 4:16 pm | [comment link]
27. Tegularius wrote:

The compilation based on media reports at http://www.iraqbodycount.org comes up with a lower value of 64,000 which is “tens of thousands”; they have a database which sites their sources for the incidents they count.  They are often condemned by the left for far understating the death toll, but I’ve never heard an accusation that they were overstating it or a reasonable methodological explanation of why their numbers would be too small.

June 6, 4:28 pm | [comment link]
28. Tegularius wrote:

I mean “cites”.

June 6, 4:34 pm | [comment link]
29. libraryjim wrote:

you are correct, I just ‘googled’ it myself, and I must stand corrected.

The Iraq Body Count (IBC) project’s figure of 63,929 to 70,023 civilian deaths reported in English-language media (including Arabic media translated into English) up to 20 May 2007 includes civilian deaths due to coalition and insurgent military action, sectarian violence and increased criminal violence.

June 6, 4:35 pm | [comment link]
30. The_Elves wrote:

Please return to discussing the original post.   -Elf Lady

June 6, 4:51 pm | [comment link]
31. Ad Orientem wrote:

I took ZERO offense from “damn”, but I do get irritated by tired political rhetoric that does little to illuminate actual political positions. To be accurate, none of these candidates can rightly be called “pro-abortion.” Each has expressed their private opposition to the practice, while stating clearly that it shouldn’t be made illegal. That’s a far cry from being a proponent of the practice, or from explicitly encouraging people to get abortions. If one is unable to accurately state the opposition’s position, then what’s the point of participating in debate?

Do you feel the same way about racial segregation or other forms of overt discrimination?  Surely you would not outlaw such practices since it is after all a matter of private choice even if you are personally opposed to discrimination and segregation.  </sarcasm off>

June 6, 5:10 pm | [comment link]
32. Ad Orientem wrote:

There are plenty of innocents who died in the process of removing that dictator; if you support the war because the net effect of removing the dictator outweighs those losses, you’re making the exact same kind of value judgement as those who decide that the advantages of having an abortion outweighs the loss of the life of the fetus.

Based on the above logic may we assume you are an absolute pacifist and oppose all wars?  May we reasonably assume that you also feel our involvement in World War II was unjust since many innocent people were killed? 

War is not the same thing as abortion.  One is an absolute moral evil.  The other is something generally to be deplored but which is permissible in dire circumstances.  Efforts by the defenders of the right to kill children, to link abortion with other issues which are not on the same moral plane is a long standing and offensive tactic.

June 6, 5:18 pm | [comment link]
33. Words Matter wrote:

Following along behind AO, “privately opposed, but…” always falls apart when you get to some topic they are really opposed to. The story goes that Mario Cuomo just couldn’t impose his personal beliefs on the people of New York wrt abortion, but had no such scruples when it came to the death penalty, for which polls showed majority support in the state.

Wayne: so not being in a position to adopt disqualifies me from opposing the murder of babies?

June 6, 9:11 pm | [comment link]
34. Katherine wrote:

Thanks, Matt.  I suppose people get labeled “pro-abortion” in the same way that the other side is called “anti-choice.”  But to return to the original post, on tax policy, on foreign policy, on economic policy (contra the arguments above) there really is no required “Christian” position.  On the other hand, traditionally, Christians have had a policy on abortion and infanticide, decidedly against both, and this tradition goes right back to the roots of the faith, both theologically and historically.

June 6, 10:48 pm | [comment link]
35. Katherine wrote:

I would be happy if the U.S. were to adopt the more-restrictive European abortion policies, and I welcome Matt’s recognition that supposedly more liberal Europe is in fact more “conservative” on abortion than the U.S.  I wish more Democratic voters and candidates were aware of this fact.  If Roe v. Wade were reversed, states would be able to pass laws to change our current practices to be consistent with the feelings of the majority, which polls show Matt’s ideas represent.

I also welcome Matt’s honest acknowledgment that the belief that a first-trimester baby isn’t really a human being is based on feelings, and not on science.  Science clearly shows that a baby is genetically distinct from her mother and is alive separately from her mother, although she is of course totally dependent, as she will continue to be for many months following birth.  At a bare minimum, the “brain death” criterion accepted at the other end of life should should tell us that a “brain-live” baby is a living human being.

I really am not particularly familiar with Sen. Edwards’ specific beliefs on this subject, other than that I know he has spoken to NARAL and other gatherings in strong support of the current court-imposed policy.  As to Sen. Obama, when he was in the Illinois legislature he voted against a bill requiring medical care for infants born alive after unexpectedly surviving abortion attempts.

I vote for conservative economic policies because I genuinely believe that they work better for the well-being of the whole society.  (And yes, we donate generously to local food banks and so on.) I realize that many, like Matt, want to vote for more collectivist policies because they think they will work better.  Until the Democratic party is at least willing to bend in the direction of the more-restrictive European abortion approach, we’re going to have a lot of collectivist-economy-minded Christians agonizing over whether they can vote Democratic.

June 7, 2:18 am | [comment link]
36. PadreWayne wrote:

#37 Words Matter: “Wayne: so not being in a position to adopt disqualifies me from opposing the murder of babies?” Good heavens, no. My comment was more generalized—and more in line, as well, with Matt Thompson’s #39 argument. That is, our concern for the well-being of infants seems to stop at birth. We say that we want to eliminate abortion—and I am certainly in favor of reducing the number of abortions to as close to zero as possible but without making them illegal, which won’t do the trick anyway—and yet we’re not willing to pick up the tab of caring for infants and children who are the result of poor education, negligence, or unviable options. As a society we are more ready to cast blame on irresponsible mothers (not so much fathers, alas) and then transfer that blame onto the very children we say we are trying to protect.

And perhaps straying from the Elves’ injunction, libraryjim and Bill S, you might remember that the reasons cited for going into the war with Iraq have proved bogus. The removal of Hussein, a terrible, wicked representation of evil, was not why GWB told us we should enter the war—and therefore the entry into the war was immoral (according to the theory of just war).

June 7, 9:48 am | [comment link]
37. Katherine wrote:

Yes it was, Padre.  I watched his speeches.  Did you?

June 7, 10:28 am | [comment link]
38. libraryjim wrote:

PW,
Even the great Mrs. Bill Clinton said (most notably at a ‘CodePink’ rally) that she voted FOR the invasion of Iraq NOT based on GWB’s speeches, but on her own research based on the intel data, much of which was gathered while her husband was president of the United States.  If there was any doubt as to the legitimacy of the invasion, why didn’t she raise doubts then? However in her public speeches after the invasion, she re-emphasized the point that the invasion and removal of S.H. was JUSTIFIED based on her own investigation of the situation, absent of political agendas.

Now she says that her vote was a mistake, and blames it on the President.  What does this say about her own research methods, and if they were that faulty, can she be trusted now in her claims?

June 7, 11:49 am | [comment link]
39. libraryjim wrote:

Here’s her quotes from the CodePink meeting in March 2003:

There is a very easy way to prevent anyone from being put into harm’s way, that is for Saddam Hussein to disarm. And I have absolutely no belief that he will. I have to say that this is something I’ve followed for more than a decade. If he were serious about disarming, he would have been much more forthcoming. I ended up voting for the resolution after carefully reviewing the information, intelligence that I had available, talking with people whose opinions I trusted, tried to discount the political or other factors that I didn’t believe should be in any way a part of this decision. I would love to agree with you, but I can’t based on my own understanding and assessment of the situation.

and

With respect to whose responsibility it is to disarm Saddam Hussein, I just do not believe that, given the attitudes of many people in the world community today, that there would be a willingness to take on very difficult problems, were it not for the United States leadership, and I’m talking specifically about what had to be done in Bosnia and Kosovo where my husband could not get a Security Council resolution to save the Kosovar Albanians from ethnic cleansing. And we did it alone as the United States, and we had to do it alone. And so I see it somewhat differently. So forgive me for my experience and perspective.

Quite different from what she says during the campaign what her reasons were for voting for the invasion, eh?

I understand the video of this transcript is on youtube.

June 7, 11:55 am | [comment link]
40. Newbie Anglican wrote:

Matt Thompson wrote:

To summarize: I am personally horrified by abortion, but it’s bad policy to ban it completely. When I hear Edwards or Clinton or Obama echo approximately the same sentiment, I feel that they are speaking to me, that they understand the struggle that I have gone through to find this position, a position that I don’t find totally comfortable, but which is the best I can do.

Matt, did you not read my post 19 above?  Clinton and Obama oppose banning Partial Birth Abortion. And when it came time to vote, Edwards was nowhere to be found.  How can you praise them for their PROabortion stance?

June 7, 12:07 pm | [comment link]
41. Newbie Anglican wrote:

Matt, that’s a fig leaf if there ever was one. PBA never has anything to do with saving a life.  And the procedure most definitely does (or did) exist.
Your hand-wringing has now lost all credibility with me.

June 7, 2:35 pm | [comment link]
42. Ex-Catholic wrote:

I had to skim through a lot of the posts.  Back to the topic at hand!

Growing up in a dictatorship, my views on politicians and government officials were almost on the same level os ordinary criminals: not to be trusted, only in for the money, corrupt and immoral.  The U.S. is very fortunate to have an open, and free system where you can elect those who would govern over you, legislate laws and in some states, promulgate justice.
As evidenced by the heated discussion here, the big question facing Christians everywhere is this: What criteria do we use to decide who to vote for?  What part do “moral” positions play? 

We say we shouldn’t be single-issue voters.  But do we really act this way?  I doubt if we take time to seriously study a candidate’s position on foreign policy, economic development, environmental management, energy polices, tax reforms. Do we care what a candidate has to say about Darfur?  And how much media time is alloted for these issues?  All we hear about are hot-button issues, like abortion. 

I suggest we dig deeper, do our homework and vote, less with our emotions, but balance it with our minds.

June 7, 6:04 pm | [comment link]
43. Words Matter wrote:

That is, our concern for the well-being of infants seems to stop at birth.

Ah! Not far from what John Wilkins wrote recently.

I would also add that it is easy to talk about dead babies, while we refuse to look at the number of children who die in the rest of the world due to preventable diseases. 

To which I replied:

Red herring’s on the menu, I see. Do you have something rational to say, Mr. Wilkins, or do you simply prefer slander.

You see, as a member of the largest pro-life organization in the world (the Catholic Church), I am aware of a legacy of education, health care, and pre-natal care offered to unwed mothers across time and place by tens of thousands of nuns, priests, and lay folk. I am aware of medical missions in poor places, and food distribution projects.  I am aware of parish food pantries, help with prescriptions, co-operative efforts to help the homeless, and so on.  I am aware that Christians (Catholics and non-Catholics as well) have historically and today done actual missions.

To this I would add that I have myself spent my career (some 35 years now) in various social service activities, most recently in a law enforcement related field where (among other things) I protect children from molesters. Without going into numbers, let’s say I could have made a lot more money as an Episcopal priest, had I pursued that course when I could have done so.  Whatever charitable activities I may support are actually none of your business, but suffice it to say I am grateful to do something.So perhaps you will understand that I am not interested in some preacher rambling along about the well-being of born infants, as an excuse for failing to protect the lives of unborn infants.

It’s interesting to compare making abortion illegal versus other topics. For example, I noted a bus bench today that asked: Are you the victim of housing discrimination? Contact [some agency] and protect your rights. Well, you can’t really make moral (accepting of other races) by enacting a law. And people are going to discriminate anyway. We should educate people on the virtues of accepting others. That’ll do the trick, eh!

June 7, 8:44 pm | [comment link]
44. Katherine wrote:

Matt, you write:  “It is, in my opinion, the rigidity of left and right on this issue, as well as our inability to separate morality from policy, which makes it insoluble.” 

My position is that on most issues, “morality” doesn’t speak directly to the question, and we have to use our judgment.  You and I disagree on some of these, which is fine.  But to hold that morality cannot play a part at all in the formation of public policy denies our history and our form of government.  The people have the right to say, through elected legislatures, what practices they choose to view as legal and what ones they regard as criminal, being destructive to individuals and to society.  The realms of marriage law and life-and-death law are squarely in this category.  Christian tradition and long societal habit require American men to have only one wife at a time, for instance (for most of our history, only one wife living).  Are we going to surrender this tradition to Muslim immigrants who want to have four at a time, and will we give all the wives public benefits (Social Security, etc.)?  This is a live issue.  Are we going to begin turning our heads to honor killings, which Muslim and some Latin cultures allow but we don’t?  And if science tells us, which I believe it does, that a baby is a live member of our species, even while still in the womb, then our moral tradition calls for his protection.

June 8, 4:59 am | [comment link]
45. Katherine wrote:

Matt, it is a pleasure to agree with you on so much.  It really is.  I do wish that opposing sides could deal with differences with respect more often.

May I suggest that, in addition to refraining from name-calling, what would go a long way towards healing this particular wound in the body politic—the abortion issue—would be the repeal of Roe V. Wade and the ensuing political battles to establish in the time-honored American way the compromises that would satisfy most of us and leave the remainder focused on trying to convince their fellow citizens to change their minds.  That’s how it’s supposed to work, and if the Court would get out of the way, that’s how I think it would work.  Probably the compromises would end up looking more like your point of view than mine, because that’s where public opinion is right now.  I’ll keep trying to convince people, though!

June 8, 10:10 am | [comment link]
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