Monday, March 7, 2011

Maybe this will clear things up

I don't do fisks often. Don't much like doing them, in fact. But there was quite a bit of misunderstanding about what I wrote re: Pat Archbold's piece castigating what he called "armchair pro-life" that I thought that fisking Pat's piece was probably the best way for me to be clear.

My comments are in red. Spelling or other errors are due to the migraine that won't quit.

The fisk:

It should not surprise that I hold in low esteem a particular breed of man who, while claiming the name Catholic, supports openly and actively that wretched party of death. They fret over a folly, which they basely baptize as “social justice”, which inexplicably counsels the right of broadband internet access and condoms for the poor, while innocent life is extinguished by the millions at the cruel hands of the federally subsidized. In so doing, they weave for themselves a seamless garment as a shroud, befitting the whitewashed tombs they gaily inhabit. [The “seamless garment” notion did, actually, include opposition to abortion. But one should never let a fact get in the way of a good metaphor.]

Still, another breed of man occupies a rung on my ladder of loathing barely an amoeba’s head above the aforementioned—the armchair pro-life. [Because we’re supposed to loathe people, as good Christians, of course--alas, that the great hymn “Christians, Let us Loathe One Another” has fallen so sadly out of favor.]

The armchair pro-life oppose abortion much in the same way that I oppose cannibalism in Papua New Guinea—in theory. Their active opposition to abortion, usually restricted to tut-tutting the occasional article on African-American abortion rates, underwhelms. [I must take Mr. Archbold’s word for it that there are such people in such sufficient number as to make this article burningly necessary. I have not, myself, encountered people who are sort of mildly in favor of ending abortion but only when statistics involving African-American abortion rates come up in conversation.]

But the moral lethargy of the armchair pro-life does not raise my ire so, rather it’s my conclusion that their disdain for abortion barely eclipses their evident contempt for the activist pro-life. […person? I assume there’s a word missing. Anyway, again, I’ve not met too many people who say, “I am really, truly pro-life! However, I’m deeply personally opposed to actually doing anything about it.” Mr. Archbold’s circle of acquaintances must be a great deal wider than mine.]

We find ourselves at the commencement of perhaps the great pro-life battle of this generation, de-funding the racist eugenics organization Planned Parenthood. [Certainly a worthy battle. Also, as certainly, not a new one. It has been tried, as the article at the link mentions, at various times over the last 25 years. Mentioning this fact may remove a little gloss from the “We’ve never made it this far before!” narrative, but it’s true, for all that.]

Yet, in even the skirmishes leading to the looming battle, the armchair pro-life have attempted to cede the moral high-ground while excitedly preparing their “I told you so” speeches anticipating, perhaps even hoping for, defeat. [I utterly reject the notion that anyone who is actually pro-life is hoping for defeat. Anticipating it might be another thing--it could, for instance, be the result of an awareness of history, an appreciation of the present dynamics, and a strongly realistic assessment of our chances just now. But that sort of thing produces no excitement, believe me.]

Much of this armchair defeatism stems from the choice of political bedfellows by the activist pro-life, Republicans. [This sentence confuses me. I think what it means to say is that the fact that activist pro-life people are working with Republicans is causing the armchair defeatism, but that would seem not to follow from, well, what follows.]

In a two-party system, legislative advances require activists to sometimes pick sides. Given that the Democrat party sold its soul years ago and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of big abortion, we are left with the Republicans. Pro-life advocates have for years tried to work with and through the mechanisms of the Republican Party. While they have had moderate successes on the local level, little has been accomplished on the federal level, but momentum is on their side. [This would certainly be nice, if it proves true.]

Just in the last year there has been a sea change thanks to Republicans elected to State houses and Governorships nationwide and a young woman who didn’t take no for answer.
In Virginia, state legislators have passed one of the most sweeping reforms of the abortion industry ever voting to regulate abortion clinics the same way as hospitals. This may very well shut down abortion clinics around the state. You know who did that? Republicans did that. [Good for Virginia Republicans!]

A young woman by the name of Lila Rose took on the abortion behemoth Planned Parenthood in a continuing video series exposing the organization for what it is. This young woman has almost single-handedly has brought Planned Parenthood to its knees. All the while, the armchair pro-life sniffed at her tactics and offered ex cathedra pronouncements from the comfort of their la-z-boys decrying the unseemliness of it all. [Ah, now. Are these the same armchair pro-life people who never get interested unless statistics about African-American abortion rates come up? Seems interesting that such people would care so much about the morality of lying, which was the issue being discussed. And why should the truly-true pro-life people care about this discussion, anyway? They’ve already decided that Lila Rose did not lie at all and is, in fact, a shining example of honesty and truth. Which is fine--but if they decided, instead, that there’s such a thing as a noble and virtuous lie and that the Church is wrong to think otherwise, the problem may not really be with the armchair people…]

And while the armchair pro-life argued about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, the Republican governor of New Jersey, armed with a fiscal crisis and the embarrassing sting videos, vetoed funding for Planned Parenthood. Who? The Republican governor, that’s who. [Good for him!]

And now the Republican House put forth a plan to defund Planned Parenthood as well, setting up the looming battle with the Democrat Senate and the promised veto of the Democrat President. [Good for them, too--I admire lost causes, so long as we’re clear about their value, which is to send a message and rally troops, not actually to achieve a specific victory.]

Yet, the armchair pro-life continue to gripe. They point to the two-week continuing resolution, which did not defund Planned Parenthood, as all the evidence they need that alliance with Republicans gains us nothing. That the Republicans have already turned their backs on the pro-life movement and they retreat to their default position of “a pox on both their houses”. [No, it’s mostly “a pox on the Senate,” since the Senate’s 47 Republicans include at least five or six who tend to vote for abortion, and possibly a handful of others who will defect because they aren’t against contraception and will wish PP clinics to keep operating on the federal dime for that purpose.]

The wonderful SBA List spoke out against that continuing resolution, but does not mistake a battle for the war. The real war is on the long-term budget, not the short term continuing resolutions. But the armchair pro-life throw up their hands in feigned exasperation when politics shockingly involves politicians. These tactics are certainly debatable, but the debate on tactics is better left to those engaged in battle. Those shouting from the cheap seats don’t have much to offer. [In other words: don’t say anything negative unless you are working in politics or with politicians; however, unless you are working in politics or with politicians you are not truly pro-life. And if you point out the reality that this battle is shaping up like dozens of others, you are just defeatist and a loathsome enemy for not pinning all your faith on the strategy of working closely with the GOP, whatever the outcome.]

The battle lines have been drawn setting up the potential for one of the greatest pro-life victories ever, but the armchair pro-life have already given up. They are not calling their Congressman or Senator, they are preparing five thousand word missives to say, “I told you the Republicans were no good” in case the effort fails. [Again: if you aren’t calling your Congressman or Senator, you’re not working for life. It doesn’t matter if one of your senators is so rabidly pro-abortion that she has served on the advisory board of the WISH list which exists to elect pro-abort Republican women to the House and Senate, and that she is not seeking re-election so really doesn’t give a damn about what pro-life people think. If you’re not dialing her from your armchair, you’re the real problem.]

They sit idly by, preferring not to soil themselves by working with and for Republicans, smugly claiming some imaginary purist position. “I don’t support either party,” they claim “because neither party is as pure as me.” A pox on both their houses, they say. There is no difference between the parties, they contend. [Sure. Because people who point out that neither party really aligns in any significant way with Catholic moral teachings in a number of gravely important areas, and that too much cheerleading for either party is a bit unseemly in people who are supposed to be working for a Kingdom that is not of this world, is the exact same thing as smugly claiming to be so pure that the dirty voting booth is an impossible violation of one’s personal standards. Yep, that’s it: Archbold has people like me pegged.]

When was the last time a Democrat Governor defunded Planned Parenthood or a Democrat controlled legislature enacted a game-changing reform that might be the death blow to the abortion industry in that State? The answer is never. [When was the last time Republicans successfully removed all federal funding from Planned Parenthood? The strategy has been attempted at various times for twenty-five years now, remember.]

Being a broad-based political party, Republicans have and will often disappoint, but in order to win political victories you need to be involved in politics. In a two-party system, Republicans are all we have. You don’t have to like it, but there is no avoiding it. [Okay. But in order to win political victories you also have to accept victory in political terms. Like having the House vote to defund PP, but then the Senate fail to do so. Or having the House and Senate vote to defund PP, but having the President veto the legislation. Or having the whole thing pass, just to have the next House and Senate undo it all, or the Supreme Court declare the defunding an undue burden on women’s rights as per Roe v. Wade. So it’s fine to call the House vote a victory, so long as by “victory” we don’t mean that we expect actual real-world results in any near future.]

But the armchair pro-life, mistaking tepidness for wisdom, steadfastly maintain that there is no difference between the parties. Instead of getting in the game, they sit on the sidelines complaining about how muddy the players get. [No. We’re just a bit more cognizant of the actual rules of this particular game.]

With limited compassion and unlimited hubris, the armchair pro-life swell with repellent pride over their self-supposed Solomonic wisdom, blithely nattering on while the baby is cleaved in half. [And the phone-bank pro-life activist writes articles with Christlike humility, practicing the long-established Christian art of character assassination, no doubt.]


Chris-2-4 said...

"But there was quite a bit of misunderstanding about what I wrote"

Ah! The close cousin of the non-apology apology. "People disagree with what I wrote in the previous post, therefore, they are misunderstanding me."

Because misunderstandings are always the fault of the reader and never the author. Except, you aren't possibly misunderstanding Pat, right?

Quite frankly, I don't think your fisk provides any more clarity than your first post. It is not a whiff closer to trying to understand what Pat is saying and engage thoughtfully. It is simply a different form of attack.

But I do so look forward to your fisk of the next piece Mark writes that contains similar sweeping generalizations and imprecise language. For that you will want to copy and paste this gem:

"I must take Mr. Archbold’s word for it that there are such people in such sufficient number as to make this article burningly necessary"

Darwin said...

Perhaps, just perhaps, the group of people that Mr. Archibald was so original as to criticize might be referred to by a friend of your as "the debate club as Auschwitz". Just a thought...

Such people do exist. Believe me.

Red Cardigan said...

Oh, trust me, Chris. If I decide to issue an apology you'll know it.

What part of what Pat is saying am I not getting? Where am I misrepresenting? Be specific--because the whole point of a fisk is to address what the person is actually saying.

Red Cardigan said...

Darwin, has the Debate Club at Auschwitz been engaging in discussions about the morality of what Lila Rose was doing?

I don't read Vox Nova, so I wouldn't know.

But even so--I still reject the notion that to prove one's pro-life creds one must be putting one's all into GOP activism, and avoiding any naysaying about the chances of actually making the dream of defunding PP come true after two and a half decades.

Chris-2-4 said...

I think an important part of Pat's point is that there is a huge. HUGE, contingent of people. Many, many of them Catholics and other Christians who are in their hearts pro-life. But they are not "fighting folk". They don't want to cause waves. They don't enjoy a vigorous debate. They think if two people are having a disagreement, they are "fighting". I know lots of these people.

So when these people see certain tactics used in the pro-life cause, they think to themselves, "That is just divisive. I don't really want to be associated with that kind of argumentative behavior. I DISAVOW that." And they don't want to support politicians associated with it. For some of them, as Pat alludes to in his article, it is ALMOST more offensive to them that abortion is "discriminatory" in that African-American babies are aborted disproportionately, than the presence of abortion itself. (It ISN'T more offensive to them, but they are conditioned to be more sensitive to the discrimination than the abortion aspect)

Into this come the writers. They feed these people's laxity by pointing out the imperfections in the good side. And here is the real shame. The greatest sin. There is only one tool in that arsenal and it is some form of detraction. There is no building up, there is no light. It is all destruction and heat. It is NEVER, "well both sides make points", it is ALWAYS, "both sides are equally bad people". It is utterly cynical, utterly defamatory. It does not see the good in both sides and work toward the truth, it sees the evil in both sides and provides (for lack of a better term) Fog. And into the fog, slip the arm chair pro-life[rs]. Because all that disagreeable stuff is just so disagreeable. I am absolutely convinced that if Screwtape were to write a letter on this issue, it would instruct just what Pat finds wrong in these writers. Make it seem like there is not a dime's bit of difference in the Pro-life movement between Democrats and Republicans and achieve perfect status quo.

Paul Zummo said...

When was the last time Republicans successfully defunded Planned Parenthood?

Yes, you have to go all the way back to Chris Christie administration. I know - it happened like a whole two months ago so it's difficult to remember.

Red Cardigan said...

Fair enough, Paul, but I was talking about federal funding. Will add the word in to make it clear.

Red Cardigan said...

I just posted this comment in the thread below, but will also post it here for clarity's sake:

Oh, and Pat Archbold has now said in the 80-somethingth comment under his article that he didn't mean Mark Shea or any of the various Catholics who were criticizing Lila Rose.

So, apparently, there is some huge group of Catholics quite well known to Pat Archbold who only care about abortion when you mention statistics involving African-Americans, but then just barely; who are personally opposed to all pro-life activities; and who are disdainful of Republicans and will not vote for them even if such a vote would directly and materially aid pro-lifers--but who are also deeply concerned about the morality of lying as it pertains to Lila Rose's activities.

I have never encountered such a Catholic, and can only pity Mr. Archbold that he is so surrounded by them that he aimed a whole Register piece at them. Still, he assures Mark Shea that Mark Shea was not even remotely a target of his, and that those who thought so, both his supporters and his opponents, were mistaken.

As one of his opponents on this particular piece, I thus apologize for believing that Pat Archbold was aiming the piece at Mark Shea. I do not, however, apologize for my vehement disagreement with Mr. Archbold's article, its points, its tone, and its implications, which I retain.

Dan said...

"There is only one tool in that arsenal and it is some form of detraction. There is no building up, there is no light. It is all destruction and heat."

Yes. Yes. Yes. This is the thing I find most disappointing about both Erin and Mark. With intellects like theirs they could do so much good if they would just embrace a bit of humility and charity and stop tearing people apart with such unrestrained zeal.

Charlotte said...

Careful with the fisking. Don't want it to become a habit like a certain high-profile blogger.....

Red Cardigan said...

No worries, Charlotte. ;) I ordinarily avoid it--not my style.

Dan, I've never seen you comment here before. If you're a regular reader, can you please point me to all those posts where I tear people apart with unrestrained zeal? I realize that I probably did a bit of that back during the '08 election season--but my targets back then were Democrats, so surely they don't count?

Paul Zummo said...

But Pat specifically mentioned governors. So responding to the question about governors by citing federal action is a complete non sequiter.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

In all fairness to Pat Archbold, there may be some pro-life people who find common ground with me that Roe v. Wade is a jurisdictional, value-neutral decision, which properly assigns to the pregnant woman concerned, not The State, the decision as to whether to carry a pregnancy to term. These pro-life people would be avidly, sincerely, and zealously reaching out to young women to win their hearts and minds to "Choose Life," without wasting energy bashing their heads against a woman's constitutional right to make that decision. Their slogan would be one I have seen on this site, Gerard Nadal's, or both: "What if they built an abortion clinic and nobody came?"

On a different tack, what states with Republican majorities in the legislature can do is to tighten regulations within the constitutional framework allowed by Roe v. Wade. NARAL and Planned Parenthood's current "business model" leadership may moan and groan, but it is neither victory for Archbold's dearest cause, nor does it concern me much. Last time a Republican majority tried to pass a law intended to set up a direct review of Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court, 55% of the voters of South Dakota promptly repealed it by referendum. Voters have their reasons for electing Republicans, but Republicans don't always have a good finger on the pulse of what those reasons are.

As to funding Planned Parenthood, I think it would be good for a wide variety of nonprofits, and all of those who have become "so-called nonprofits" to be weaned off the federal funds. They will be stronger for it in the long run. Let those concerned upper middle class feminists chip in a good bit of their own dime to subsidize women who can't afford an abortion but really want one.

As to party loyalty, I am reminded that John L. Lewis endorsed Wendell Willkie in 1940, because he was wary of organized labor becoming dependent on, and taken for granted by, a single political party. Speaking from a dispassionate distance of a pro-life movement I do not support, but know many fine people who do, it may not be wise to put all bets on the Republicans. For myself, in any district where voter sentiment is pro-life, I would support an uncompromising pro-life candidate who supports strong labor protective laws and a $10/hour minimum wage, over an equally uncompromising pro-life candidate who wants the little brats to work for gruel once the slut carries them to term. (That closing language is not characteristic of Erin Manning, and I don't know that it is characteristic of Archbold, but it is characteristic of far too many Republicans in office).

Dan said...

I'm not a regular reader but I do stop by from time to time.

Unrestrained zeal probably wasn't fair. My apologies. I do think you underestimate the effect your criticisms have on writers though.

You've said before that it isn't personal but actually it is. Whenever someone writes something, it's personal. They often put their heart into it and in doing so they make themselves vulnerable to the world. You may not experience these feeling of vulnerability but I can tell you for a fact that most writers do. In the interest of respecting human dignity we absolutely must remember that. Clearly, if the person in question thought enough of their topic to write about it, it's important to them.

This is not to say that we must agree with them or even that we shouldn't debate the issues from time to time. I have two objections to the way you go about this, though.

First, on several occasions I've seen you criticize articles that were talking about very benign issues. That's unnecessary and makes you look mean-spirited. If someone has a passion for something and decides to share it with the world, even if you don't totally agree with them, just let it be. Is it really worth it to you to insult their work (and possibly hurt the author's feelings) over a relatively mild issue? I'd like to think you weigh these things. To call someone out publicly should be done only in response to grave error, in my opinion.

Now sometimes we are faced with the obligation to correct and counsel when confronted with grave error. My objection to the way you handle this is that so often there's no kindness in your words. It seems like you're just out to win an argument and emerge victorious. There are ways to defend truth AND protect the authors dignity. Sometimes that simply means saying something kind about the person you are challenging or sending them your best wishes.

I guess that's all I have to say on this topic. I think you're a very smart lady and an excellent writer. You have a reputation for being merciless and somewhat heartless, though, and I think that's unfortunate.

God bless.

Phillip said...

"I still reject the notion that to prove one's pro-life creds one must be putting one's all into GOP activism..."

That's a strawman of course, because Mr. Archbold never said it.

"Yes, you have to go all the way back to Chris Christie administration. I know - it happened like a whole two months ago so it's difficult to remember."

"Fair enough, Paul, but I was talking about federal funding. Will add the word in to make it clear."

But this is part of the reason people get upset. You say a pox on both their houses. When was the last time a Democratic house (or Senate) voted to defund PP?

In reality there are significant differences though it is not perfect. But saying there are no differences is in fact a lie.

Charlotte said...

Boy, Dan, if you feel that way about Erin's blog, then you don't get around the Catholic blogosphere very much. She's as charitable and Christian as they come without becoming a boring "Let's make St. Therese feast day cupcakes!" mommy blog.

You oughta spend some time over my place for awhile. I actually meet all the criteria you accuse Erin of, and probably 10 times that!

Dan said...

I don't know what kind of blogs you read, Charlotte, but that has not been my experience at all.

Besides, we ought to be continually holding ourselves to high standards regardless of what others are doing. Do you go into the confessional and say, "Well, I did insult someone but my insult wasn't as mean as the next guy's so it's not really a sin"?

So, do you disagree with what I said (in terms of how we should treat one another on the Internet) are you just unwilling to put forth the effort?

Bathilda said...

All I know is that Siarlys is a genius, and I would read anything he would write.

As for the Catholic Blogosphere, I've done a lot of informal polling of my local parish just to not leave the Church over it. I have never experienced such judgement, scrutiny over every word, and name calling as on these "Christian" blogs. Militant and Radical come to mind way sooner than Christian. Chris 2-3-4, Dan, and others seem downright mean. Erin isn't perfect. She has her fire stoked for burning heretics at the stake. She and others, I'm sure, long for the good old days. No, not pre-Vatican II...I mean the Inquisition....

But, it's her blog, so if you don't like it, go away, or be civil at least. You won't change her mind. You can only hope to get your own point across. and two words for most all of you: lighten up.

Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Erin, I'm not getting the goal of these two recent posts.

You feel that you've been attacked and are firing back? That's the Catholic Christian way?

Because that was not my perception of what Pat wrote at all.

Pat, it seemed to me, was reacting to the tendency by some on the Catholic left to claim to be pro-life, but then to link that vague and mild claim to impassioned condemnations of pro-life activists and Republicans. Vox Nova's most active bloggers are an easy example, but I'm sure there are others in many walks of life.

I think that Pat is trying to rally pro-life people -- that is, those who are really pro-life -- to become active in the fight. And if there is anything we should have learned in American politics in the last two years, it's that people can become active and vocal in large numbers and make an amazing difference.

You can't really oppose that idea, can you?

So your senator KBH isn't pro-life? I'll trade you! I have Catholic Dick Durbin and gay Mark Kirk. At least Kirk might vote right on fiscal grounds (unlikely). So might KBH. How much does a phone call cost, anyway?

I read your blog because you're a good writer. But these posts are not an example of that. They've been filled with mischaracterizations, strawman arguments, and non sequiturs.

Of course neither political party is a truly Catholic party. Neither is America a truly Catholic nations. But it is a great place to be Catholic.

Notably, a majority of Catholics vote Democrat, and a very large number of Catholic officeholders, at every level, are pro-abortion Democrats.

Whose fault is that? The Republicans? I don't think so. I blame the Catholic Church. There is no consequence for anyone to stand up in public, as for example John Kerry did and does, and proclaim, I am Catholic and I support abortion rights. To me that's heresy. But Pope Benedict gave John Kerry communion. Doesn't that mean it's OK for him to do that?

The GOP is not a perfect party. It's a human party, and not even divinely protected. It needs more good people. Not because it deserves them, but because America deserves to have at least one party of good pro-life people.

That was my big political lesson, and what led me into electoral politics: The political parties are not like Wal-Mart, trying to win your vote by nominating the right candidate. They are instead the sum of a large number of competing forces, and if good people don't get involved and push them in good directions, the parties will not improve in order to appeal to the good people. They will just try to marginalize and degrade good people. Perhaps you've noticed that happening.

If you want a truly pro-life political party, you can either found one, find one, or take one over. I'm working on the latter method.

Tony said...

My problem with this whole thing has been your apparent desire to sit at the "catholic cool kids' table" with the likes of Mark Shea.

So you attack Lila Rose, debating on whether her lying about being an underaged prostitute in the defense of unborn life is a sin or not.


She is uncovering on a weekly basis the maggoty underbelly of Planned Parenthood making it much easier to rally public opinion to our side, and encourage cowardly politicians to take up our banner and do what needs to be done.

This is the "hearts and minds" battlefield on which the abortion battle will be won. Lila is changing hearts and minds, and as such deserves our support, not our holier-than-thou condemnation.

There are currently two parties fighting for control of the U.S. government, the Democrats and the Republicans. Your milage may vary, but as a rule, the Democrats support death and debauchery, and the Repbulicans do not. When we have a primary, I am boots on the ground for the pro-life candidate. But during the general election (as in 2010) when I have a choice between a pro-choice Republican and a pro-choice Republican, I'll have to go with the Republican. Not the least of which is that a majority determines the leadership of Congress. I would rather have a weak, ineffective Speaker Boehner, than a malignant, scheming Nancy Pelosi.

So if that makes me a "shill" for the Republican party so be it. I've been mocked by the "cool kids" for so long it doesn't bother me any more.

tony said...

That should read "Pro-choice Republican and pro-choice Democrat"

Anonymous said...

Let me just go on Anonymous record and state that none of you are cool.

SherryTex said...

Still shaking with laughter over the Saint Therese Cupcakes although I think they must be tasty.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Paul, the USA is a great place to be Catholic. It is also a great place to be Jewish, in some ways, perhaps, a better place than Israel. Thanks to some assiduous work by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, it is a great place to practice ANY faith, and no, it will never be "a Catholic nation" or "a _____ nation" (fill in the blank).

As for John Kerry, I said many times 2005-2007 that if I had been his speech writer, he would have been president. At risk of repeating what I said above, what he should have said, and should have meant, is that as a practicing Roman Catholic, he will do anything within his power to prevent abortion, but as a public office holder, he respects that the powers of his office do not legitimately include legislating that choice for the woman concerned. On the same ground, I would prefer that Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden shut up about Church teaching in public, since their office is NOT a church office, and limit themselves to educating the public on the limits of the powers delegated to the federal government, and the civil liberties the states must respect.

Perhaps Pope Benedict XVI, on some level, understands the difference, even though he gives the public impression he would like canon law written into every nation's constitution.

Patrick said...

Archibold's assertion that pro-life Catholics who don't generally vote GOP/skip races think they are "above the fray" is essentially accusing orthodox Catholics of not believing they are fallen. (“I don’t support either party,” they claim “because neither party is as pure as me.”) Even Archibold fans could see why that would "rub someone the wrong way", as it were.

His assertion that orthodox Catholics are "perhaps hoping for" defeat so they can say "I told you so" means that he thinks our opposition to abortion is merely a cover for our "real priority", which is, I guess, besting Pat Archibold in an argument. I can honestly say I've never thought of Pat Archibold when I fill out my ballot, but anyway: you could see why that, again, would "rub some people the wrong way."

Further, it's interesting that Red is being accused simultaneously of being "too above the fray" to sully herself with the GOP *and* being "too mean and nasty" in her response. Does she disdain the fray or enjoy the fray too much?

Finally, there probably isn't a dime's worth of difference between the political leanings of anyone reading this blog - which is just sort of funny.

Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

@Siarlys, why should Kerry say that? He doesn't see anything wrong with abortion that would make anyone want to reduce the number of them. He said as much in a speech to Planned Parenthood.

Do you see any such thing wrong with abortion? If you, as you indicated earlier, approve of Roe v. Wade placing the "choice" to have an abortion where it belongs, would you likewise approve of a ruling that placed the choice to rob a convenience store with the perpetrator, rather than with the legislature?

Your position is in opposition to Catholic teaching, which holds that the innocent life should be protected in law, and not left up to the whims of the powerful.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Paul, Siarlys isn't Catholic.
Also, there are many Catholics who don't care to live in a theocracy of any type.

Your "choice of robbing a convenience store" analogy is pointless and silly.

I, like many, would like for Pro-lifers to concentrate on offering support to women to not have abortions rather than fruitlessly focusing on getting it legislated.

Chris-2-4 said...

"Hey, Paul, Siarlys isn't Catholic."

Clearly. But abortion is not just against "Catholic Teaching". It is an offense against the natural law. It doesn't take any particularly religious belief whatsoever to discern that mother's killing their children within their whom is just wrong.

"I, like many, would like for Pro-lifers to concentrate on offering support to women to not have abortions rather than fruitlessly focusing on getting it legislated."

This is an absurd canard, but one does get the impression that you really don't care if pro-lifer's offer support or not, you just want them to shut up about it. But even if you do, why should they? If that's a Catholic position, why should non-catholics agree? If it's not a Catholic position why should Catholics agree?

Beginning to see the absurdity of your logic yet?

Phillip said...

Another difference between Repubs and Dems on life issues. At the Federal level even. Please explain why this is a token or otherwise meaningless. Otherwise stop the lies:

Red Cardigan said...

Philip, please point to where I have said that everything Republicans ever do is a token or otherwise meaningless.

See the danger of partisanship? Phillip thinks its fine to accuse me of "lies" against the GOP, just because I don't think they are in line with Church teaching so much so that every Catholic ought to give them unqualified support all of the time.

Phillip said...

"This is not to say that the two parties are identical. Democrats, for the most part, exclude pro-life Americans, while Republicans merely treat them with disdain and contempt until just before each major election."

"Philip, please point to where I have said that everything Republicans ever do is a token or otherwise meaningless."

How do you reconcile these comments?

Red Cardigan said...

Philip, I also said that the two parties' mottoes were, "Yes, America is Going to Hell in a Handbasket--But Our Handbasket is Better for America's Defense, Will Cost You Less, And Is Fashioned From Environmentally-Friendly Twigs, While Their Handbasket Will Kill You, Or At Least Beat You Up And Steal Your Lunch Money."

In other words, the post I excerpted that section from was political humor.

Phillip said...

Then you don't believe that Republicans treat pro-lifers with disdain and contempt until just election time?

Siarlys Jenkins said...

As between Phillip and Red, I can offer no comment, because I don't rest my vote on whether a candidate for office is "pro-life." Erin has restated her position with eloquence and compassion.

Paul, I said "what Kerry SHOULD mean" as well as what he should have said. If, as he has said, he is a practicing Catholic, then he SHOULD mean that in his individual, personal, capacity, he would do anything in his power to prevent an abortion. It is, nonetheless, correct that he may not exercise powers of an office of public trust to that end, when the powers of that office do not include jurisdiction to pass criminal penalties for abortion.

Do I see anything wrong with abortion? There are many circumstances in which I would consider abortion an appropriate decision. Being male, I have also said that IF a woman I had married was pregnant (or even if we weren't married, but I know the difference), I would offer my advice and opinion, but would have to respect AND SUPPORT her decision. Not only is she the one who would have to carry the pregnancy - I can't do that for her - she is also the one who would run the risk of depression, remorse, etc. over an abortion she really had reservations over. So either way, its up to her.

The convenience store analogy fails because I don't believe that there is a live human baby, an independent person, until there is both mentation and ability to survive outside the womb. This is a very fundamental difference, and it makes courteous discussion very difficult. But look around you - we lack the overwhelming consensus that it IS a baby, whereas our culture has an overwhelming consensus that the owner of the grocery store has property rights which must be respected.

Bottom line for me: as long as ONLY the pregnant woman can carry the pregnancy, nobody else may coerce her decision.

Natural law may inspire you, but it does not automatically translate into law enforceable by the police powers of the state. Catholic teaching MAY NOT be enforced by the police powers of the state -- unless those inspired by it can convince an overwhelming percentage of their non-Catholic fellow citizens to amend the constitution. No matter how much you want it, no matter how fiercely the church teaches it, its not the law, and its not going to be. Sorry Torquemada.

Anonymous is actually the most effective pro-lifer here, because s/he is focused on what a pro-life can EFFECTIVELY do to prevent abortion. Many others are mesmerized with tilting at windmills and feeling righteously indignant while abortions continue unabated.

Phillip said...

"Anonymous is actually the most effective pro-lifer here, because s/he is focused on what a pro-life can EFFECTIVELY do to prevent abortion."


Except that there's no clear correlation between social policies and eliminating abortion. A quick example is Canada. There are numerous social programs in place there. Is the abortion rate significantly lower? No.


I know you are busy but in this case I'll take silence as agreement. That is that Republicans do not treat pro-lifers with contempt and disdain until election time. I know this also from the fact that you find good those Republican efforts at the state level to limit abortion. This particularly since they are taking place now, two years from an election.

Red Cardigan said...

Philip, I have been busy, and you should never take my silence as consent--usually it means I've moved on to focus on the four or five posts at the top of the page!

I think SOME Republicans treat pro-lifers with disdain and contempt until election season. Sadly, some of these end up being the movers and shakers, the nominees, the kingmakers, and the big donors. Perhaps the Tea Party influence will change some of that--I don't know. But come on--John McCain was the most pro-life candidate they could come up with last time around? I voted for him with extreme reluctance and a strong desire to sit the whole thing out--but I had no illusions about how weak his committment to the unborn was, and wrote about his pro-ESCR stance.

Our last Republican president may have been more pro-life--yet his wife and daughters are pro-choice. That seems to be a common theme for the GOP: even if the man we elect is pro-life, the rest of his family, especially his female relatives, are all in favor of abortion. Which means that even our pro-life leaders in the GOP can't convince their own families that human life is sacred.

This is my last word in this thread--but that doesn't mean I'm agreeing with any rabid partisanship from either side.

Phillip said...

"This is my last word in this thread--but that doesn't mean I'm agreeing with any rabid partisanship from either side."

Good thing as I am not advocating rabid partisanship. Merely the reality that, as you admit, the Republicans are not perfect, but that as Archbold points out quite well, we can work with them.

As Paul the other guy noted, I work with Republicans not out of a rabid partisanship (a distortion of the reason of most of us who do so) but because I believe I can do more with the Republican Party and as a result evangelize more there. Even evangelize the families of those who don't agree with their solid political family members.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Phillip, where did I say anything about "social programs"??? What do you take me for, some kind of Wilsonian faux progressive nanny-state liberal, who places my trust in "experts" to make all the real decisions?

I referred to pro-lifers who reach out, on an individual basis, to pregnant women who might be considering abortion, and personally offer whatever patient advocacy, explanation, respectful but firm exhortation, or first hand assistance with real necessities, the woman may need, to make what every pro-life person agrees is the right choice. Individuals, personal contact and commitment, not social programs and safety nets.

Rev. Greg Boyd, a pro-life Protestant, in a series of sermons on the myth of a Christian nation, recites at length the story of a woman named Dorothy whose best friend's teen daughter was pregnant out of wedlock. The good Christian parents threw her out of the house. Dorothy took her in. Dorothy said, you need to get complete information, and then make an informed decision. With Dorothy's support, and after checking out all the options, she decided to carry the pregnancy to term. Dorothy's friendship with the girl's mother was frozen, but Dorothy stuck by the young lady. Boyd adds "I would say that Dorothy is more pro-life than I am, and Dorothy votes pro-choice."

Now to keep this completely honest, I should reiterate that I am NOT part of the pro-life movement, there are conditions where, in my seldom humble opinion, abortion is justified. If I were involved in a situation where I believed abortion to be the right choice, neither you nor Anonymous would sway me -- although, not being a woman, the final decision would not be mine, if, e.g., Anonymous did sway the woman concerned.

Phillip said...

Well I'm glad your not subject to the myth that increases in social programs decrease abortion.

I would also agree with you that personal conversion is needed. Society has become only nominally Christian. As Red points out, even family members of solidly pro-life Republicans are pro-abortion. This is part of the reason I believe merely stating "a pox on both their houses" is not only invalid (as I believe there is real difference between the parties) but also un-Christian. That is, in failing to evangelize the culture.

Laws do make a difference. When I have access to my other computer I will link a study that shows abortion rates decrease when restrictions are placed upon their availability.

Thanks for the continued civil, and truthful discussion.

Phillip said...

Here's the study: