Elections, Part 3: Qualified McCain advocacy

by SDG

in Government

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

SDG here (not Jimmy).

John McCain supports embryonic stem-cell research.

Although his support appears to be somewhat qualified and conflicted, and there are signs that he may be moving away from supporting ESCR, his history of consistent support for an intrinsic evil remains a grave concern in his candidacy.

No, I won’t paper it over with a euphemism. In my last post I argued that "A candidate who advocates legalized abortion, euthanasia, ESCR or human cloning gravely disqualifies himself for public service, not just for what he or she may do but for what he or she stands for." By that standard, McCain gravely disqualifies himself for public service on at least one of those four counts.

That Obama gravely disqualifies himself on all four of those four counts certainly makes McCain the less problematic and thus preferable candidate. In my next post I hope to deal with the ethics of voting for the least problematic viable candidate, which is, I contend, always permissible. For now, I want to focus a bit more on potential consequences of a McCain–Palin administration vs. an Obama–Biden administration.

As I’ve said, I’m deeply skeptical of all four candidates, and uneasy about all possible outcomes. I have no strong feelings regarding which side is better equipped to lead on the economy, health care and other crucial issues.

I do suspect that McCain is better equipped than Obama to lead on foreign policy. That’s not necessarily what they’re calling a game-changer, though, since (a) I could be wrong (I am a political knucklehead) and (b) it is not wildly unlikely that McCain’s health could impair his ability to serve.

McCain’s temperament is a legitimate subject of concern. His penchant for fast and risky decisions can make him look decisive and knowledgeable and bold, as when he responded to the conflict in Chechnya; but it can also lead to mistakes.

Obama is clearly smart. Any questions I had on that front were settled on Friday night. He’s also articulate and charismatic, a combination we haven’t seen in a presidential race since Clinton, and before that since Reagan. (In terms of articulateness and charisma, I mean; I’m not putting Reagan in Clinton’s or Obama’s league intellectually.)

Obama is also inexperienced. I suspect that’s not as big a deal as some might think. It may be embarrassing for a candidate to suggest that Iraq is not a serious threat, or that Chavez came to power during the Bush administration rather than the Clinton administration, or that unconditional presidential-level meetings with rogue dictators is a good idea; but hey, your advisors clue you in and you move on. I’m sure Palin would be making some of these gaffes if she were on the grid as much as Obama. The "It’s all about judgment" line is neither the whole truth nor completely wrong.

Here is something that is a game-changer for me.

Among serious concerns in our society today are power grabs by different elements within government. Several concerns in this regard have been raised in recent years regarding the executive branch, most recently in connection with the bailout effort.

Arguably the most sustained, influential and successful power grabs in recent U.S. history, as far as I can tell, is that of the judiciary.

The judicial system seems to me to concentrate a great deal of power, particularly at the top, in the hands of a small number of people who are unelected and unaccountable, who can hold their positions essentially for life and whose decisions have far more lasting impact than that of many public officials. Subsequent justices are expected, on principle, to respect previous verdicts in a way that other officials are not. There is no stare decisis for presidential executive orders, for instance.

As far as I know, recourse for abuses of power at this level, or for addressing flaws in the system in any way, are dauntingly remote. Practically speaking, about the only readily available course of action I know of is to promote judicial self-restraint over judicial activism by nominating candidates who espouse judicial restraint, i.e., originalism or strict constructionism. This is a very limited and problematic approach, but I don’t see that there is any other immediately available option.

So much is this the case that a president’s Supreme Court nominations may well be his most far-reaching act in office. What did Gerald Ford do in office that had rivaled the long-term impact of nominating John Paul Stevens?

The issue is especially crucial because the judiciary has been instrumental in subverting both the judicial and the democratic process in imposing the fiction of an anti-life "right to choose." Other grave evils highly damaging to society, such as same-sex "marriage," are highly likely to be imposed by judicial fiat given a judiciary with sufficient political will and lack of self-restraint.

In general, left-leaning Democratic presidents reliably nominate candidates for the Supreme Court who are reliably evil–activist. The record of right-leaning Republican presidents and the nominees thereof is, unfortunately, more mixed. We do seem to have gone three for three now, and the one before that was a seemingly unavoidable wild card. There almost seems to be a kind of corrupting influence inside the Beltway that sucks justices to the dark side. We can only do what we can do.

McCain has taken a lot of flak from conservatives for his leading role in the "Gang of 14." This is a complex issue and I’m not sure what I think about it. I’m not sure nuking the filibuster would have been the best outcome. And it does seem that some of Bush’s lower-court nominees can reasonably be accused of conservative activism no less blatant than that of many liberal activist judges.

I oppose judicial activism in principle, not just based on of how it is used. I don’t want activist conservative judges any more than activist liberal ones. I want judges who know their job description, who stick to interpreting the law and leave emanations and penumbras to the psychic readers. Give me nine liberal Supreme Court justices who support abortion rights, same-sex marriage, euthanasia and so on, but who also know how to read the words on the page, and who believe that these rights should be advanced by the legislative and democratic process rather than by judicial fiat, and I’ll be happy.

Certainly McCain says just exactly the right things about what kind of justices he likes and what kind of nominees he would put forward. Better still, I think McCain probably gets the principle of judicial restraint vs. activism better than Bush, who I think was more likely to go on personal trust rather than qualifications (Harriet Myers anyone?).

So I find this comparatively reassuring, though it’s impossible to be entirely reassured. Knowing how much McCain loves to reach across the aisle, etc., who knows what the heck he’ll actually do in office? And that’s prescinding from the potential disparity between how candidates may say they’ll judge and what they actually do on the bench.

On the other hand, I have absolutely no doubts what kind of candidates Obama will put forward, and get, and what kind of verdicts we will get from them.

This is the single most important issue that I think can be most confidently held in advance to represent a clear difference in outcomes based on who wins the election. It is a decisive issue for me, if not the decisive issue. I don’t quite want to reduce it to "It’s The Supreme Court, Stupid," but that wouldn’t be wholly wrong either. At any rate, along with the substantial differences between the candidates on the life issues, it is a decisive reason for rejecting Obama and for regarding McCain as preferable candidate.

But what about the claim that we can’t or shouldn’t support a candidate who supports any intrinsic evil, even if the other candidate is worse on every fundamental issue? That will be the subject of my next post.

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{ 125 comments }

labrialumn October 1, 2008 at 10:33 am

Apart from the solitary, stupid, chilling comment on rights for POWs, what gives you grave concerns about Sarah Palin that doesn’t come from the Democrat MSM?
Her example, and the example of her husband would be good for America, I think.
(it doesn’t look like we are going to get a fair debate tomorrow, the moderator is a very strong, committed Obama supporter who stands to make a lot of money if he wins)

Dan Hunter October 1, 2008 at 11:10 am

“Obama is clearly smart.”
I would not call supporting infanticide, “smart”.
I detest both Obama and McCains support for baby murder, but I do not find Obamas style of speaking as charismatic and smooth.
He exudes lies and deceit and without a teleprompter there are a lot of ummss and stutters.
Whenever he opens his mouth he is completely unconvincing in his manner of speech.
SDG,
You failed to mention Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, who condemns, along with His Holiness, all of the nonegotiable intrinsic evils.
He is the only pro-life candidate.
I realize that unless there is an Lepanto level miracle, Baldwin will never win the Oval Office, but I, in my well formed Catholic conscience can never vote for McAIN or Osama without committing an objective grave mortal sin.
And this is something that a Catholic has to take very seriously.
Do I want to meet Christ the Judge on that dread day with this kind of a mortal sin on my soul?
No I do not.
Chuck Baldwin it is.
It comes down to my immortal soul.
A vote for McAin is an anti-Catholic vote since he supports child murder.

Jordanes October 1, 2008 at 11:53 am

I, in my well formed Catholic conscience can never vote for McAIN or Osama without committing an objective grave mortal sin.
As SDG has shown, a well-formed Catholic conscience knows that in these circumstances it is not an objective grave mortal sin to vote for McCain. The Church is very clear on that, as the Holy Father explained a few years ago prior to his election as Roman Pontiff.
Your vote for Baldwin will not be a mortal sin, but it will be seriously imprudent. In practical terms, though not moral terms, it will have the same effect as a vote for Obama or staying home on election day: it will ensure that all pro-life ground gained since 1980 will be lost and probably not regained for years, even decades to come.

SDG October 1, 2008 at 11:56 am

labrialumn: Apart from the solitary, stupid, chilling comment on rights for POWs, what gives you grave concerns about Sarah Palin that doesn’t come from the Democrat MSM? Her example, and the example of her husband would be good for America, I think.

I definitely agree with that last, however, this does not a VP make. I loved her convention speech, but subsequent interviews have raised questions about just how ready she is.
I’m still willing to be convinced, but it will be an uphill battle.

Dan Hunter: I would not call supporting infanticide, “smart”.

Non sequitur. Brain power (or lack thereof) is one thing; goodness or evil is another. Take it from a pretty smart, not very holy guy. :‑) Just as intellectually challenged people can be very good and holy and virtuous, smart people can be very evil and duplicitious. Satan is smarter than any of us (not that I am comparing Obama to Satan, just illustrating a principle).

Dan Hunter: You failed to mention Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, who condemns, along with His Holiness, all of the nonegotiable intrinsic evils. He is the only pro-life candidate. I realize that unless there is an Lepanto level miracle, Baldwin will never win the Oval Office, but I, in my well formed Catholic conscience can never vote for McAIN or Osama without committing an objective grave mortal sin.

Yes, you can. It is always morally permissible to support and vote for the least problematic viable candidate. Catholic moral teaching will not support the proposition that it is not permissible to vote for a candidate who supports some intrinsically evil policy when the only other viable alternative(s) support the same intrinsic evil and much more besides. Watch this space for more soon.

Dan Hunter October 1, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Obama does not have much in the way of brain power.
He is nothing but a stuffed shirt.
Now, Karl Marx and Jung were intelligent but bad.
Baldwin is a viable candidate
Websters defines viable as: “capable of surviving and growing.”
If enough Catholics got off their keesters and voted for the ONLY pro-life candidate running for The Executive Office, Baldwin would win.
He will only continue to survive and grow as the Constitution gains momentum as the only pro-life party now extant.
Nowhere does the Holy Father say that if there is a candidate out there who is pro-life that we have moral permission to vote for one of the other candidates who is pro-death.
He never, and will never, say anything like this.
As Judy Brown of the American Life League, frequently says: “Voting for the “lesser” of two evils is still voting for evil.”
God bless you.

Dan Hunter October 1, 2008 at 1:19 pm

That is,
As the Constitution Party gains momentum…

The Masked Chicken October 1, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Judge Bork (yes, that judge Bork) wrote a book a few years ago called, Slouching Towards Gomorrah. In it he contends that one flaw in the Constitution is that there is no mechanism for overturning a Supreme Court ruling (short of re-writing the Constitution). If such a veto had existed (say, both Congress and the President had to agree), then Roe vs. Wade almost certainly would have been overturned at the time it was decided.
One problem with re-writing the Constitution (via amendments) is the amount of time it takes and the possibility that the Supreme Court might still find justification for their position in spite of the added amendment.
Having lived outside of D .c. for a short while, I can only say that it is an extremely dangerous and loony town, in my opinion. I really wish that the three branches of government could be separated, geographically. Concentrating that much power in one town was necessary in 1787, but not today, with modern means of communication. I think it would slow down the government (in a good way) and force them to get back in touch with their constituents.
What do I know? I will do a chicken dance if Obama loses the election, but I think that this is about as likely as a black hole forming in the LHC (or even a Bose supernova). Of course, if that happens (the LHC), I won’t care, anyway :)
The Chicken

SDG October 1, 2008 at 2:05 pm

If enough Catholics got off their keesters and voted for the ONLY pro-life candidate running for The Executive Office, Baldwin would win.

Unfortunately, that is not true. Not if every pro-life Catholic in the US voted for him. Catholics generally are a crucial swing vote, but there aren’t enough pro-life Catholics to carry a whole election by ourselves, even if we all voted in lock-step. (But we’re working on it — one large homeschooling family at a time…)
Not to mention the fact that there are other non-viable quixotic candidates out there besides your boy Baldwin, so there is no compelling reason why all pro-life Catholics should or would flock to this one.

Nowhere does the Holy Father say that if there is a candidate out there who is pro-life that we have moral permission to vote for one of the other candidates who is pro-death.

For practical purposes, a non-viable candidate is a non-candidate. It may be licit to vote for a non-candidate, but the option of doing so does not invalidate the legitimacy of voting for the least problematic viable candidate.

As Judy Brown of the American Life League, frequently says: “Voting for the “lesser” of two evils is still voting for evil.”

Judy is wrong. Her stance is not upheld by Catholic moral teaching. I will explain why. Watch this space.

As the Constitution Party gains momentum…

That is potentially a legitimate good that may validate voting for a non-viable candidate in a particular election. It does not invalidate the legitimacy of voting for the least problematic viable candidate.

David B. October 1, 2008 at 2:11 pm

What I’d like to know is whether red state Catholics have a proportionate reason to vote for McCain. I’m in a 60/40 red state that has gone Dem. for a good while.

SDG October 1, 2008 at 2:14 pm

What I’d like to know is whether red state Catholics have a proportionate reason to vote for McCain. I’m in a 60/40 red state that has gone Dem. for a good while.

The answer is yes — again, not that you have to vote for McCain, but you certainly can. It is morally licit. Anyone who says it isn’t and you can’t is mistaken. Watch this space!

labrialumn October 1, 2008 at 2:38 pm

The interviews she has had have been hostile inquisitions designed to make her look bad, considering that, she did rather well.
The chief fear that the Left has of her is that she reads C. S. Lewis. And that she is pro-life and loves her husband. This disturbs them a great deal. A woman succeeding to high office with those beliefs would undermine the whole ideological feminist metanarrative.
Surely it is morally -illicit- to vote for Obama/Biden.

Dan Hunter October 1, 2008 at 2:53 pm

SDG,
I am referring to real Catholics, not catholics in name only.
Anyone who claims to be Catholic and supports infanticide has forfeited his right to be a Catholic.
Surely it is morally-illicit-to vote for McCain/Palin.
I just saw a youboob where Sarah Palin said that she supports abortion in the case of the life of the mother.
Palin is pro-abortion.
God bless you.

Jordanes October 1, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Surely it is morally -illicit- to vote for Obama/Biden.
Yep. Under present circumstances there is no way that a vote for Obama can be morally justifiable. Almost every other candidate out there (I make an exception for guys like Nader, and for all the little non-viable candidates, since I have no way to knowing their stance on the issues and haven’t the slightest interest in finding out) is a better moral choice than Obama. Anyone who claims to be steadfastly opposed to abortion but who supports Obama is either lying to us or to himself (that is, he’s hopelessly muddled in his thinking).
The Constitution Party sounds mighty good, at least on paper – I voted for their candidate for Illinois governor last time around, since both of the major parties’ candidates were exactly equally unacceptable morally – and I’d rather like it if they could become a politically viable party and replace the Republicans. But at this time they’re not even as viable as the Libertarians or Greens.

The Masled Chicken October 1, 2008 at 3:13 pm

How can we ever go about getting a morally “pure” candidate to be a viable candidate? The people who control the money and the two major parties will not allow it.
Any suggestions? The sad fact is that some people who should be voting for candidates of Catholic principles don’t even know what those Catholic principles are; some disagree with them; some don’t care. We need priests to talk about the responsibility of voting.
The Chicken

Jordanes October 1, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Surely it is morally-illicit-to vote for McCain/Palin.
On the contrary, it is surely licit to vote for McCain/Palin, despite the strikes against them. As the head of the CDF, now Roman Pontiff, wrote to the U.S. Bishops in June 2004: “When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.” If that can be permitted, then it is impossible that a vote for McCain/Palin to prevent Barack Obama’s election could be morally illicit.
I just saw a youboob where Sarah Palin said that she supports abortion in the case of the life of the mother.
Palin is pro-abortion.

Is the Catholic Church pro-abortion for allowing surgery in the case of tubal pregnancies that will result in the death of the unborn baby? How do we know that wasn’t the sort of scenario Palin was referring to? Until we have that clarified, it is unacceptable to describe her as pro-abortion just because she agrees that “abortion” can be allowed in the mother’s life is in danger.
Anyway, even if she is “pro-only-one-very-rare-kind-of-abortion-and-wants-to-ban-it-in-all-other-cases,” the alternative is the election of the ardently, rabidly pro-abortion ticket of Obama/Biden. They’re so confident of victory that they’re bolding using their support for slaughtering babies as a reason for people to vote for them, whereas in past campaigns they tended to downplay that or hoped it wouldn’t be focused on so much.
How can we ever go about getting a morally “pure” candidate to be a viable candidate?
By evangelising the U.S. and converting all of her citizens to Catholicism, thereby instituting a de facto “test” that would make it practically impossible for candidates like Obama ever to see the light of day, let alone end up on a major party’s ticket.

David B, October 1, 2008 at 3:26 pm

The answer is yes — again, not that you have to vote for McCain, but you certainly can. It is morally licit. Anyone who says it isn’t and you can’t is mistaken. Watch this space!
Thanks for the swift response, SDG, but I have to make a correction: When I said “I’m in a 60/40 red state that has gone Dem. for a good while.“, I meant “I’m in a 60/40 red state that has gone for the republicans for a good while.”
Anywho, thanks for answering.

David B. October 1, 2008 at 3:27 pm

opps

Jordanes October 1, 2008 at 4:05 pm

David, personally I would only feel good about voting third party this year if I lived in such as state as yours: as long as I could be not too many others thought the same way and also went third party, thus unintentionally swinging the state to Obama.

Mary October 1, 2008 at 6:39 pm

By evangelising the U.S. and converting all of her citizens to Catholicism, thereby instituting a de facto “test” that would make it practically impossible for candidates like Obama ever to see the light of day, let alone end up on a major party’s ticket

Advice on how to do it!

David B. October 1, 2008 at 7:42 pm

Jordanes,
I understand, but if I were to vote for McCain, it would be to show Obama that I reject him completely as POTUS.

Tim October 1, 2008 at 8:01 pm

SDG,
Actually, if you read Reagan in His Own Hand and a few other books published in the last 10 years, I think you will find that President Reagan was quite intelligent. Just because he was a jolly sort of fellow and didn’t have the policy wonk public persona doesn’t mean he wasn’t very smart.
Just as a for instance, all his radio addresses before and after becoming President were written by him and on simple yellow legal pads. You can see the above mentioned books copies of the actual texts with the edits and such.
Anyway, just want to put to bed the notion that President Reagan was not smart.
Fric

J.R. Stoodley October 1, 2008 at 8:06 pm

I’m eagerly awaiting the fourth installment of this series, since I’ve been struggling myself with really not wanting Obama to win but at the same time really not wanting to vote for McCain.
Regarding Palin, my big thing is that from what I hear she’s a Young Earth Creationist. Yes, I know that has almost no bearing on politics and isn’t a direct measure of intelligence, but it make me uncomfortable about her grounding in reality and the image it would send to the rest of the world about our country. It’s like if we elected a high level leader who beleived the earth was flat.

Sleeping Beastly October 1, 2008 at 8:39 pm

The concerns I posted in response to the first part of this series still stand. If four years of Obama is what it takes to either make a third party “viable” or make the Republicans start taking the pro-life cause seriously, will it really be that much different from a McCain presidency?
As for the power of the Supreme Court- I say it only looks so broad because the other branches have been busy ignoring or outsourcing their own powers. Last time I checked, the powers of constitutional amendment and executive order were still intact; it speaks volumes to me that neither mainstream party has deemed abortion a worthy subject of those powers. 35 years of this nonsense, and we’re still trying to talk ourselves into feeling good about voting for a Republican?

labrialumn October 1, 2008 at 9:55 pm

Stoodley, unless of course the Bible is really God’s Word and God is right and evolution is wrong. I’m amazed that you would claim that someone would be living in unreality just because they don’t agree with you on speculation about the unobserved (except by God) past.
Sure, support the Constitution Party, especially on the local level, build it up, get it momentum, experience, and base, but when it comes to election day, consider what your vote will do to the -outcome- of your actions, and how many millions of babies for how many generations will be brutally murdered by your contributing to a Baraq Hussein Obama win and Supreme Court packing.

labrialumn October 1, 2008 at 9:57 pm

SB, executive orders only have lawful authority over those federal agencies which answer to the President as the chief executive. The President may not lawfully make abortion legal or illegal by decree. He can keep federal monies from being used to pay for abortions on military bases, as indeed Reagan did almost immediately in his Presidency.

CT October 2, 2008 at 1:29 am

I’m not sure that McCain’s position on abortion is not gravely disqualified per SDG’s own standards anyway since McCain-Palin — though not necessarily Palin individually — (1) support legalized abortion, including “direct” abortion, for cases where the life of the mother is in any significant jeopardy as well as for cases of rape and incest and (2) McCain-Pain support States in making their own decisions on abortion and law, wanting these decisions to be made, per Palin’s Couric interview on a “State” and “local” level … so they would honor a State’s decision to have abortion on demand, I presume, seemingly contradicting a desire to have federal laws on abortion in certain areas not having to do with inter-state issues.
On cloning, I’m not sure that McCain’s position is 100% in line with the Church either. Ditto for euthanasia. On euthanasia, Palin seems to in the Couric interview express general support for each State making its own decision; so she would presumably be for, for instance, Oregon’s law governing physician assisted dying.
Palin also made no “pro-life” moves as governor, even declining to call the legislature into session to consider a pro-life bill, at one point.
In terms of appointees to SCOTUS, McCain has praised J. Kennedy and J. O’Connor, the latter of whom was especially critical in preserving for the most part the Roe v. Wade status quo. He has also said he emphatically does not have a litmus test on Roe. So whatever his own personal views on Roe, it is doubtful that they would have any impact on his selections. Besides, the Senate is expected to maintain its Democratic majority with virtual certainty throughout a McCain presidency and would vote down any justice that is intent on overturning Roe.
J. Allen has a noteworthy article on Kmiec, and possibly improved Vatican-US relations under Obama
During the conference call, Kmiec repeated what has become his standard pitch to Catholics on the campaign trail: While abortion is a grave moral evil, there are alternative ways to promote the right to life beyond efforts to reverse Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
“McCain represents the old view that hasn’t succeeded, of promoting life as an abstract proposition through the criminal law, pointing the finger of condemnation,” Kmiec said. Obama, he said, represents the view that “the way forward is not debates over law or philosophy, but extending a hand of compassion” to women dealing with unexpected or unwanted pregnancies.
“By addressing the circumstances in which women often find themselves, especially those who are poor or without a spouse, offering them resources and an ethic of personal concern, you have a greater chance of life being chosen and a culture of life being honored,” Kmiec said.
Conceding that Obama does not have “a perfect Catholic position on abortion,” Kmiec nonetheless insisted that voting for the Democrat is “not inconsistent with the teaching of the church.”
“I have no grievance with the hierarchy,” Kmiec said, “but with some of my fellow Republicans.” Kmiec charged that “some partisan Republicans think the Catholic vote is permanently indentured to the Republican Party” because of the abortion issue, which he called a “misstatement of the faith.”

“relations between Benedict XVI and the Holy See under an Obama administration would be very, very positive.”
I myself go back again to trying to refute the notion that moral values involving issues of human life — be it loss of life due to murder or the good of future generations of life unobtained — need not be paramount. No one in America proposes this today and probably no one ever will, but suppose an America where there was a movement to require the Catholic Church to donate one host from each batch of wafers that is consecrated to some paranormal science investigation program, and that this would be enforced with the use of the military if need be under an exception to laws forbidding such use of the military. Suppose this took the form of a constitutional amendment to skirt constitutional issues. Suppose also that all that remained for it to be ratified was the election of one state legislator. Now in this race, one is opposed to the amendment and the other is for it, but is pro-life. SDG’s values it would seem would dictate that we vote for the pro-life person. But I think it reasonable for a Catholic to consider the violation of the sanctity of the mass, the rights of the church as a supposed divinely constituted institution, and the sacrilege to be effected by law against wafers, worthy of worship, to be of greater or equal moral significance as the loss of thousands or millions of human lives to murder. After all, during the PZM crisis, we had some comparing PZM to Nazi perpetrators of the holocaust and if IIRC, even SDG seemed to suggest that the sacrilege against Jesus there was a greater moral violation than the burning of a whole village (I believe SDG suggested this over on PZM’s blog, but if not I apologize in advance to him; there was someone who suggested it though, presuming I understood him correctly).
BTW, I have not seen any Catholic or pro-life Democrats criticize Kmiec. So I think Kmiec is onto something (and don’t tell me that all pro-life Dems would reflexively support Obama; a pro-life Dem was once barred from speaking at the DNC precisely b/c he refused to commit to endorsing the nominee should he be pro-choice)

CT October 2, 2008 at 2:48 am

The gravity of geopolitics, given both the benefits and unimaginable risks involved, is of a far greater weight than an internal issue such as abortion, and radical Islam in particular is an existential threat to the United States as a corporate entity.
Another issue of greater gravity than abortion is the environment such as global warming; efforts to avoid collisions with objects from outerspace; the rapid extinction of species and other disruptions to the ecosystem, including junk and toxic material that in many cases, like space junk that now is rapidly becoming a serious issue for space flight, accumulates over time and would eventually pose serious problems, some which cannot be foreseen.
This is why as some have suggested a science debate would have been a great idea. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.
Electing someone who has religious views that don’t square with reality and takes those views seriously is a bad idea. For example, Catholics maintain that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were intrinsically evil. So presumably a Catholic POTUS would never order such things, even if necessary for the good or national security of the country. I have no idea what Palin’s view on that matter would be, but her religious outlook which permeates her whole life, seems to be open to the idea of praying to God that an object on a potential collision course with the earth be steered away by him. She probably won’t rely exclusively on prayer but then (1) she may underestimate the danger it could pose by denying the possibility it could be an existential threat to the human species due to her biblical belief regarding the promise of God to never again destroy the earth in a wholesale manner and her biblical belief that the human species must continue to exist past the time of the would be collision since certain prophecies are yet to be fulfilled (2) she may devote time to prayer that would be better spent doing something constructive.
As Bill Maher has noted, in the case of McCain and Obama, their flirtations with religion are probably nothing to worry about. But in the case of Palin, she is as noted below “the real McCoy”. Someone who might a la the Pentecostals/charismatics/evangelicals/bible-believers with which she is associated with, receive a “word” from God in prayer and then act based on that “word”, is not someone you want a heart beat away from the presidency. She also styles herself a prophet. Even if by good luck, McCain should serve out his term, Palin would still be strategically placed to run in 2012. Let me give you a citation on the religious attitudes I’ve ascribed to Palin in this paragraph:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=94332540
During the service, she addressed a group of young missionaries and said she had a “word” from the Lord for them. She prayed that Jesus would give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation.
“That spirit of revelation also including the spirit of prophecy that God’s going to tell you what is going on, and what is going to go on, and you guys are going to have that within you, and it’s just going to bubble up and bubble over and it’s going to pour out throughout the state of Alaska,” Palin said at the time.

I want a VP or POTUS to rely on things like a National Intelligence Estimate to tell them “what is going on and what is going to go on”, not on “revelation” and “prophecy” and “words” from the Lord.
Several other reasons for concern are in the article. Whatever feelings one may rightly have regarding Obama versus McCain, the Palin factor should say any scientific-minded patriotic American to cast those partisan concerns aside and reject McCain-Palin and vote for Obama-Biden or (preferably) a third party ticket such as the libertarian party. An error in law can be corrected with relative ease compared to an error that a Palin presidency may produce as outlined above. A geopolitical error for instance may last many generations or even centuries. An environmental error may have its effects felt for millenia, or in some cases, literally forever. We must not be parochial in our concerns or partisan* in our efforts, when seeking the good of the United States and the world with which it is inextricable linked, broadly speaking, the environment.
*partisan here, as always, does not have a meaning which restricts itself to partisanship involving political parties. Partisanship need not even be political in nature.

CT October 2, 2008 at 2:51 am

“factor should say any”
should be
“factor should cause any”

Mary Ellen October 2, 2008 at 6:31 am

Sounds like you’re looking for a reason to vote for Obama–Mr. Slick. Even his wife/kids aren’t fond of him, That should tell you something. (body language)
If you think you’re going to find a perfect candidate, well, our Lord isn’t running for office this year and He never will be. McCain/Palin are as close as you’re going to get. Sigh. I know. It’s sad.

Pat October 2, 2008 at 6:34 am

Hey JR,
You said: “It’s like if we elected a high level leader who beleived the earth was flat.”
Hopefully you realize that much of Obama’s liberal democratic views are the eqiuvalent of “flat-earth” politics.

Tim J. October 2, 2008 at 7:01 am

“the Palin factor should say any scientific-minded patriotic American to cast those partisan concerns aside and reject McCain-Palin and vote for Obama-Biden or (preferably) a third party ticket such as the libertarian party.”
I don’t know…
Which would be worse, a President who thinks God speaks to her, or a President who thinks he IS God?
Obama would be a disaster for the country.

Mr Flapatap October 2, 2008 at 7:10 am

“but hey, your advisors clue you in and you move on.”
That is the scariest line of all. When you consider who BHO has associated with (Saul Alinsky, William Ayers, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Tony Resko, etc.) I don’t even want to think what kind of advice he’d be following.

Sleeping Beastly October 2, 2008 at 7:17 am

CT,
Wow. In case there was any doubt whatsoever as to how poorly you understand Christians…

Tim J. October 2, 2008 at 7:38 am

I’ll second Sleeping Beastly’s observation that CT is doing a poor job of translating a language (and culture) with which he/she clearly is not familiar.
Whether this ignorance is willful or not remains to be seen. Perhaps CT does not really wish to understand Christians. CT certainly seems willing enough to put the worst possible spin on her words.
Palin’s speech to the missionaries is pretty standard, boiler-plate Evangelicalism. It does not mean – by any stretch – that she thinks all her decisions are ratified by God, that she has some unique pipeline to God, or that she thinks prayer makes study and good counsel less necessary.

Anonymous October 2, 2008 at 8:12 am

“But in the case of Palin, she is as noted below “the real McCoy”. Someone who might a la the Pentecostals/charismatics/evangelicals/bible-believers with which she is associated with, receive a “word” from God in prayer and then act based on that “word”, is not someone you want a heart beat away from the presidency.”
Translation: Palin prays for guidance, and people who pray should never hold elected office (or at least not those silly folk who think prayer actually works).
So, CT has in effect made true religious conviction a disqualifier for elected office. That is a very sad, and scary, starting point.

vox borealis October 2, 2008 at 8:13 am

Oops, that was my anonymous post above, at Oct. 2, 2008 8:12:01 AM.

SDG October 2, 2008 at 9:03 am

More clarity from the New York bishops.

It is the rare candidate who will agree with the Church on every issue. But as the U.S. Bishops’ recent document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship makes clear, not every issue is of equal moral gravity. The inalienable right to life of every innocent human person outweighs other concerns where Catholics may use prudential judgment, such as how best to meet the needs of the poor or to increase access to health care for all.

Kmiec, Morning’s Minion, are y’all listening?

Florentius October 2, 2008 at 11:16 am

This election should be a no-brainer for Catholics. McCain, with all his warts, is light-years better than Obama on abortion. Indeed, Obama may be the MOST pro-abortion candidate for president in American history, given that he suppots partial-birth abortion and even infanticide for those poor souls who manage to survive the abortionist’s knife and are born alive.
Make no mistake. So-called Catholics like Doug Kmiec and Sidney Callahan will have much to answer for on the Day of Reckoning. They are leading others into sin and doing so proudly.
May Almighty God have mercy on them.
A video every Catholic should see before election day

Jordanes October 2, 2008 at 11:43 am

Stoodley said: Regarding Palin, my big thing is that from what I hear she’s a Young Earth Creationist.
Probably most American president have been young earth creationists. But it has no bearing on politics that I can see, and as you said, it isn’t a measure of intelligence per se, so I couldn’t care less if she thinks the earth is young (it isn’t) and that God created the earth (He did) in seven literal days (He probably didn’t).
Sleeping Beastly said: If four years of Obama is what it takes to either make a third party “viable” or make the Republicans start taking the pro-life cause seriously, will it really be that much different from a McCain presidency?
If that’s what it takes . . . but I can’t read the future and won’t gamble on it that way. All I know is Obama is committed to destroying unborn children and the institution of marriage, and I have to do what little I can, making moral choices, to stop him from getting elected. The viable option, and it’s not a morally illicit choice, is to try to get McCain in there to counterbalance the Democrats in Congress and the buffoonery of the Supreme Court which hopefully will slow our slide further into the mire of moral degradation. I don’t expect it’ll do any good, and we’re probably going to see Obama elected and have to endure decades of one party misrule by a party committed to turning right and wrong on their heads. In time we’ll see the good that God in His omnipotence will bring out of that evil, but I can’t use that as a justification for my taking no action in this election.
CT claimed: So whatever his own personal views on Roe, it is doubtful that they would have any impact on his selections.
Maybe, maybe not. All we know is that Obama definitely will choose bad judges, whereas McCain might choose good ones. With such a consideration, it’s a no-brainer who would be the better choice.
I have not seen any Catholic or pro-life Democrats criticize Kmiec.
Catholic Democrats are usually pro-abortion and almost all pro-Obama, so of course they wouldn’t criticise Kmiec’s stumping for Obama. Pro-life Democrats are rarer than hens’ teeth and have absolutely no power or influence, so it’s not surprising we haven’t seen any of them criticising Kmiec. As for Kmiec’s arguments, I think that about all we need to know about whether they’re intellectually coherent is to remember that he went immediately from being a Romney supporter to being an Obama supporter. Kmiec’s intellect is malfunctioning, or he has disengaged it. Maybe he too has a tingle running up his leg.
Another issue of greater gravity than abortion is the environment such as global warming; efforts to avoid collisions with objects from outerspace; the rapid extinction of species and other disruptions to the ecosystem, including junk and toxic material that in many cases, like space junk that now is rapidly becoming a serious issue for space flight, accumulates over time and would eventually pose serious problems, some which cannot be foreseen.
Yep. Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Obama promises to do something about the weather. So does McCain. Pretty good reasons to question whether either of them should be elected.
So you really think it’s more important that we have good weather than stopping unborn babies from being torn limb from limb? And are you suggesting that voting for Obama is going to enable the earth to avoid being hit by the next big asteroid? You Obamaites really do think he’s a god, don’t you.
No, you just think that if we’re faced with an asteroid collision, Palin might pray about it and fatalistically do nothing, rather than do the sensible thing, which is pray about it, notice that there is absolutely nothing we can do to stop an asteroid, and hope the damage and loss of life from the impact is as minimal as possible.
What do you think a president faced with such a situation could do? Fire nuclear missiles? Launch a fleet of Bruce Willis-piloted space shuttles to zoom in there and plant a bomb? Don’t you know that we do not have the capability of generating enough energy even merely to divert, let alone destroy, a several-mile-long asteroid? You regret that there won’t be a science debate, but it seems you really want a science fiction debate. Wake up and rejoin the real world, CT: we can’t cause earthquakes by having everybody in California simultaneously jump from their chairs to their kitchen floors, we can’t change the weather, we can’t change the climate, and we can’t move asteroids.
So let’s just ignore the slaughter of the innocents this election year and worry that a future president someday might say a prayer if an asteroid comes hurtling our way. That’s the practical, sensible, moral thing to do.
Right.

CT October 2, 2008 at 11:46 am

I did not say Palin thought prayer made “study” and “good counsel” unnecessary. I said only that if she receives a “word from the Lord” that that “word” may have an influence on her decisions. This introduces an element of unreliability. A “word from the Lord” should have zero influence. It should not have any evidential value for the politician whatsoever.
I don’t think you all understand what a “word from the Lord” is for these “bible-believing” “pentecostal” “evangelical” type Christians. Not all “evangelicals” are so, but many, and in particular pentecostals, seem to exhibit signs of a psychological disorder by claiming to hear some “word from the Lord” that is either in some manner audible to them or is somehow otherwise discerned by them through some emotional feeling or “spirit of prophecy” which causes them to blurt something out as a “word from the Lord.” This may take the divine first person form where the speaker of the “word” speaks as though she were God in the first person, or it may take the no less disturbing third person form where the speaker says, “I hear the Lord saying that we are going to experience more turmoil in the Middle East and greater persecution of Christians.” or “I think the Lord is telling me that we are going to have division in the midst of our ministry” or, even more strikingly in the first person, “I, the Lord, tell you that a demon of jealousy is coming.”
Searching with the key words (i.e. no “‘s) ‘the word of the lord’, google’s first result leads to this example of a word of the lord:
http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/devotions/noebel_wordofthelord.aspx
On September 25, 1976, Pat Robertson shared a prophecy the Lord gave him for CBN. Many times I have read portions of this prophecy and felt it speak to my heart. I would like to share parts of this prophecy with you.
Do not be afraid of the places that I will take you, for I AM a mighty God. My ways are not your ways, and MY thoughts are not your thoughts. But My people, I have called you for this moment.
Walk boldly into the future, for I hold the future, and I AM the future. Fear not what will happen, for I will provide, and I will provide beyond your wildest dreams. I have called you to a ministry beyond anything that you can conceive, and even as you begin to conceive, your thoughts cannot comprehend what I have called you to do, so do not try to think ahead of Me, but only walk with My plans and My purposes, and I will reveal My plans step by step. But you need not be afraid. You can walk confidently, for I the Lord your God have enfolded you with love
Walk in holiness before Me now, for I have called you for a great and mighty task. Do not look back, and do not fear. Be strong, and be courageous, and do it, saith the Lord your God

This is the kind of thing that Palin’s variant of Christianity espouses as part of her spiritual life. It is also exhibited in some adherents of the equally disturbing Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
http://www.columbusccr.org/
Electing Palin as VP or POTUS would be akin to say electing someone who claims to on a semi-regular or semi-frequent basis receive unreliable private revelation as VP or POTUS. It would be like electing that priest around whom the Marian Movement of Priests revolves around pope. The thing is that the “words of the Lord” in these variants of Christianity, in particular in the variants associated with Palin, and indeed in Palin’s own expressions, are not limited to spiritual aphorisms; they relate to actual current events or even predictions regarding the future.
BTW, this has nothing to do with controversies raised by the mainstream media regarding whether Palin said the Iraq war had God on its side — though the scholar in the article did note that it would be fair to assume Palin thought it was a holy war. So you all who construed my comments in that manner or in the other erroneous manner as noted above or in others are violating your own principle — the principle of charitable interpretation which you demand be given to Palin.

CT October 2, 2008 at 12:03 pm

The comment from the NY bishops, if accurate, is striking. However there was an Eastern Catholic bishop who during the Iraq war made a similar minority comment condemning the Iraq war and arguing that as a bishop, what the catechism may say about the province of the laity notwithstanding, it rests with him to authentical teach faith and morals in their application to this arena. I believe the term “mortal sin” was used by the bishop too. IIRC, JA commented on the matter, if not here on this blog then on the radio.
BTW, something a Protestant caller once said on the CAL radio show and the response to it, is for me one of the many things that comprise evidence against Catholicism. The Protestant caller remarked how the CAL program seemed to be exclusively about technicalities, rules, legalities, and intellectual issues as opposed to the heart of Christianity. It seems that Catholics — I am speaking not of apologists or those with that interest but Catholics who describe themselves as seeking to draw closer to God — seek to study whereas evangelicals seek to grow in their personal relationship with God. It is striking that on this blog there seems to be no posts and no discussion of personal friendship with God. If this were a blog about another intimate reality such as marriage, I assume the personal nature of marriage would be accented. I think perhaps the reason for the evangelical-Catholic difference is that in Catholicism, the means of approaching God is not in a relationship founded in personal thoughts and feelings and a relationship akin to what one might have with a pen pal with songs of worship and prayer taking the place of letters, but rather in the mediation of priests and sacraments. One does religion not by being in personal relation to God but by ritual action which produces results like absolution or reception of grace … so there is a natural curiousity about the mechanics of that, with historical disputes about which phrase truly or aptly describes the efficacy of the sacraments and so forth — a dispute that seems to be about something about as related to any personal relationship with God as, say, mathematical questions are related to it.
Perhaps CAL is different now. In any event, one of these days, I think I may give it a listen again.

Tim J. October 2, 2008 at 12:11 pm

“Electing someone who has religious views that don’t square with reality…”
Who’s reality… yours?
“…and takes those views seriously…”
Yes, I can see where a hypocrite would be much more reliable…
“(1) she may underestimate the danger it could pose by denying the possibility it could be an existential threat to the human species due to her biblical belief regarding the promise of God… (2) she may devote time to prayer that would be better spent doing something constructive.”
This just in! Barack Obama MAY be a shape-shifting turnip-like space alien that will eat your dogs and cats!! There’s no telling what he might do!

The Masked Chicken October 2, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Dear CT,
How much more “personal” relationship can one have with God than to be permitted to eat his flesh and drink his blood? It is the Protestants who are using emotions and the like to define their relationship with God. On the road to Emmaus, the disciples listened to Jesus preach from Scripture for three hours (roughly), but they still did not recognize who he was. It was only with the breaking of the bread at the celebration of the first post-Resurrection proto-Mass (when they asked Jesus to stay with them for supper because the day was spent) that their eyes were opened.
The Chicken

Tim J. October 2, 2008 at 12:36 pm

“It is striking that on this blog there seems to be no posts and no discussion of personal friendship with God. If this were a blog about another intimate reality such as marriage, I assume the personal nature of marriage would be accented.”
CT, if you hadn’t noticed, JA.O is an apologetics blog, not a personal devotional blog. The whole focus of CA is defending the whole Catholic faith, not talking about how great it *feels*.
If some ignorant person were to repeatedly question whether my wife and I were really married, it wouldn’t do any good to keep going on about how much I *loved* her. It would be irrelevant to talk about the nice date we had last week.
If not for the sheer volume of ignorant and malicious sophistry directed against the Church – based often on “technicalities, rules, legalities, and intellectual issues”, Catholic Answers and JA.O might not be so vitally necessary.
If you want some devotional sites, though, I’ll be glad to give them to you.
Catholics have both relationship and ritual, just like real married people. You present an easily falsifiable “either/or”. It’s not a question of “either real relationship or ritual and dogma”… it is quite clearly both.

SDG October 2, 2008 at 12:58 pm

What Tim J. said.

CT October 2, 2008 at 1:05 pm

Tim, it is well known that her religious beliefs correspond with the scenario in (1) as Pat Buchanan has himself stated on MSNBC, characterizing her in the Left Behind etc. crowd. On (2), her own statements of faith make it clear that she considers it indispensible to pray on a daily basis, including in seeking guidance from God in political issues as well as all issues in her life — she stated this to Hugh Hewitt’s radio show for example and she said that some mock this simplicity of her faith. So when faced with a crisis situation she may waste say 30 minutes a day praying when every spare moment of her time should be devoted to addressing the crisis at hand. If the House fails to pass the bailout bill, would you want Bush or other leaders of relevance to waste valuable time in prayer, time that could have been spent to restart negotiations or to draw up plans to prevent market panic? The Christian Joe Scarborough made a good point on MSNBC’s Morning Joe recently questioning whether the House should have been on vacation for a religious holiday. He noted he worked on Good Friday while in Congress and also claimed that if it were Christmas Day and he were in Congress during this time of crisis, he would be willing to work. I presume he would be one who would not waste time in prayer.
Take a look at Bush. He himself admits that he prayed for God’s guidance before making his decision to go to war against Iraq. Look where that got us. I think Bush is less extreme than Palin though as her “words from the Lord” are a semi-frequent occurrence whereas Bush seems to rely on more warm and fuzzy gut feelings … kind of like how Mormons confirm things as from God.
I fully expect that under a Palin presidency if for some reason nuclear missiles were headed America’s way that instead of responding in a decisive manner following the advice of military leaders, she would pause at least momentarily for prayer. A few seconds wasted in that case may be disastrous and in the case of the present economic crisis, an hour each day wasted in prayer may be disastrous. The problem is that Palin would consider prayer — if not in the nuclear scenario then at least in the current scenario — something that is all the more necessary in a time of crisis.
Palin also sees defending Israel as a divine calling as opposed to something justified merely on geopolitical grounds. She also — as noted by Newt Gingrich IIRC — indeed believes that there is a divine plan, including a plan that doesn’t exclude matters such as the Iraq war. And, as Gingrich noted, it is traditional Christian doctrine, including hers, that Christians should seek to discover that divine plan, including the divine plan for Iraq. That is troubling. Perhaps if this doctrine and seeking to discover were operationally indistinguishable from a-theistic geopolitical calculation in methodology and result, then there’d be not so much a problem …. just as there isn’t for religious scientists who operate under methodological naturalism, whatever intellectual inconsistencies that may pose for them. However Palin has not demonstrated such methodological atheism when it comes to politics. She has worked to accomplish political tasks by asking people to have God intervene … and presented this as a word from the Lord, that she hears the Lord telling her and wanting her to convey to the church. When a politician believes God can and moreover often does intervene in political affairs, she will naturally try to effect that intervention.
Giving lip service to a religious American public is necessary for the politican of today. Do you seriously think for example that when a unanimous Congress stood outside IIRC and recited the pledge of allegiance, with an accent on the phrase “under God”, in the midst of the recent legal controversy, that the vast majority of them were not engaging in political pandering or political theater? I think the number of politicans for whom that was an exercise of personal religious devotion to God can be counted on 1 or 2 hands, especially since some of these same politicians have insisted that the phrase is NOT a religious activity.
O and I wanted to correct a myth perpetuated by someone above. The notion of diverting the course of objects on a potential collision course with earth is not the stuff of science fiction. It is something that the federal govt is actively pursuing. First, the federal govt tracks objects and second the federal govt is researching and developing means by which such objects would be diverted from their course. There are different proposals and the govt seems more skeptical of some than others. One proposal is to simply aim a nuke at the object itself, with the danger being that it may split into pieces that still impact the earth in perhaps even more dangerous ways. Another proposal is to have the nuke detonate near the object to throw it slightly off course. And there are a few other proposals. Federal money is being spent on this.

CT October 2, 2008 at 1:18 pm

In case anyone wants to look it up, Pat Buchanan’s characterization was on IIRC, the inaugural Rachel Maddow Show. A transcript may be available online.

Tim J. October 2, 2008 at 1:27 pm

“her own statements of faith make it clear that she considers it indispensible to pray on a daily basis”
The horror!!
“when faced with a crisis situation she may waste say 30 minutes a day praying when every spare moment of her time should be devoted to addressing the crisis at hand.”
Unless God exists and hears our prayers… then your case sorta falls apart.
If God exists – if in fact all of Catholicism is true – then you are wasting your days NOT praying.
I’ve had enough of political theater, thanks.

SDG October 2, 2008 at 1:30 pm

So when faced with a crisis situation she may waste say 30 minutes a day praying when every spare moment of her time should be devoted to addressing the crisis at hand. … Take a look at Bush. He himself admits that he prayed for God’s guidance before making his decision to go to war against Iraq. Look where that got us.

CT, this is just trollery. There is no point even in responding. You produce more than enough output that the rest of us have the luxury of picking through your output for the bits worth responding to. This isn’t it.

Tim J. October 2, 2008 at 1:30 pm

And, as it is well known that the Catholic faith IS true, it would be most irresponsible not to ask for God’s help in the event of a nuclear attack.

CT October 2, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Respected journalists or commentators have criticized Bush for precisely the thing that SDG characterizes as “trollery.” I could list columnists for respected publications such as Newsweek for example who criticize Bush for relying on guidance from God in such decisions … it’s only “trollery” from your warped religious perspective. It apparently is worthy of publication of Newsweek and worthy of airing on NBC News on Cable, i.e. MSNBC.

Tim J. October 2, 2008 at 2:00 pm

“Respected journalists or commentators”
Respected by whom?
According to a recent Harris Interactive poll, “A 62 to 22 percent (almost 3-to-1) majority of Americans did not trust “the press”.
http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=534

vox borealis October 2, 2008 at 2:07 pm

“Respected journalists or commentators have criticized Bush for precisely the thing that SDG characterizes as “trollery.” I could list columnists for respected publications such as Newsweek for example who criticize Bush for relying on guidance from God in such decisions … it’s only “trollery” from your warped religious perspective. It apparently is worthy of publication of Newsweek and worthy of airing on NBC News on Cable, i.e. MSNBC.”
Secular publications and their employees, who loathe religiosity in anything but its most closeted form, criticize leaders who, gasp, admit that they pray for guidance. So what?
To come on to a Catholic site (or any religious web site) and trot out the same sort of criticism is either trollery or an act of profound ignorance. Do you expect readers here to say “wow, you’re right CT, all that prayer is such a waste of time. I had always suspected it was, but now that you point out Newsweek doesn’t approve of prayer, you’ve convinced me.”
I am intrigued by your efforts to complicate the moral calculus in this presidential election, but with each post your arguments become become more tortured (“if a candidate ran on a platform of submitting to alien overlords…”), or betray starting assumptions (“prayer is ok, but not for making important decisions”) that I simply do not share.

CT October 2, 2008 at 2:20 pm

If it is the mental health aspect that SDG did not refer he thinks is “trollery”, then I would note that the mental health of political figures has been questioned in respected publications also, such as, Newsweek, with psychiatrists and psychologists marshalled as authorities:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/34765/output/print
If it is my claim that politicians are often only giving lip service to religion that is “trollery”, then I would note that respected publications, such as, Newsweek, also make similar though usually less sweeping claims:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/63518/output/print
The above article also comments on the fact that Bush’s religiousity “deeply influences his presidency” as well as what are IMO other troubling things … but my use of Bush was an example and I didn’t even know that SDG was a fan of Bush or his Iraq policy.
Catholics or in particular Catholics who take their faith seriously have IMHO, a parochiality to their vision that makes it difficult to see how those who are not of their world view would perceive and interpret things. It is inconceivable to a Catholic for example, that morality could exist without God (per Aquinas natural law is itself intrinsically tied up with God) just as it might be inconceivable to a man from the Dark Ages that a book could exist without being in hard copy form. When I studied philosophy under Catholic teachers as a Catholic, it was striking how parochial the philosophy was in terms of coming from the perspective of a Catholic who was learning about what he already knew was the truth and learning about opposing views in terms of how best to identify the errors and refute them. It is a very “defensive” academic orientation as opposed to an exploratory, open-ended and, pun intended, catholic academic orientation. IMHO a, if you will, “root” defensive and parochial orientation of a broad character is present in the Catholic mentality in general, including in terms of for example how Catholicism views cultures disparate with christian values … witness the Chinese ancestor worship controversy … and I think this “root” parochiality and defensiveness is exhibited in all your dumbfoundedness and other reactions.
Step back from the Catholic world view for just one second and consider this. When two groups corresponding to two different world views clash, the likelihood that the nature of the clash or the attitude behind it would be misapprehended increases in proportion to the disparity of the world views in question and the coincidence of inherent conflict between them. Nothing could be more threatening an idea as Catholicism as atheism (that there is nothing for which worship is objectively obligatory) … indeed Catholics describe atheism as “evil” … it is no wonder then that you would, to varying degrees, attribute evil to atheists when perhaps, there is none.

bill912 October 2, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Perhaps he’s trying to convince himself that what his own conscience is telling him is true really isn’t.

Jordanes October 2, 2008 at 2:23 pm

The notion of diverting the course of objects on a potential collision course with earth is not the stuff of science fiction.
Sure it is. Unless we’re talking about small objects, diverting or destroying an incoming asteroid is as impossible as changing the earth’s orbit.
It is something that the federal govt is actively pursuing.
That doesn’t mean a thing. The federal government wastes money on nonsense all the time.
The federal government has also granted millions of dollars to help Planned Parenthood kill babies and sterilise people. Look up at the sky, CT. See any asteroids hurtling our way? No? Now go down the street. See any innocent human lives being snuffed out? Why yes, several million of them. So which would you say is the more pressing concern at the moment?
By the way, I’m sure I’m not that only person to notice that none of your comments in this discussion have the slightest thing to do with whether or not Catholic moral teaching would allow one to vote for McCain. But then you’re not even a Christian, so you wouldn’t have anything relevant to say about that. Instead you are here to provide arguments against voting for McCain/Palin — and none of your arguments establish that it would be morally illicit to vote for McCain/Palin. SDG is right: you’re engaging in trollery, not pertinent discourse.

CT October 2, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Respected by whom?
By their peers.
@vox,
I already explained why hypothetical situations can be important to consider in the previous thread. It seemed there that SDG for instance agreed with my point, in that context. In this context, it is, admittedly a little different, as IIRC, here my hypotheticals involved not so much the testing of a principle but the service of a prudential calculus.
However one should not make the mistake of discarding hypothetical situations as a tool in clarifying morality; it’s the standard tool of moral philosophy and situations of a hypothetical character are used in Catholic moral theology as well, not to mention in Catholic theology generally such as in the Franciscan claim that had there been no sin, the Incarnation would still have occurred. This is a theological claim about a non-actual possible world; but still a very relevant and even would be inspiring one for reasons I won’t get into.

Tim J. October 2, 2008 at 2:52 pm

“Nothing could be more threatening an idea as Catholicism as atheism”
And vice versa.
Judging from the actions of some well-known atheists of late, I’d say they are the ones laboring under a cramped parochial mindset.
Read G.K. Chesterton’s “The Everlasting Man” and see how generously – even reverently – a Catholic may treat other philosophies, while yet revealing how they all come short of the whole Truth.
Not that Catholics can congratulate themselves for inventing Catholicism. We didn’t invent it. We didn’t discover it.
In the Christian faith, man does not find God. God finds man.

vox borealis October 2, 2008 at 2:53 pm

CT,
I saw your justifications for using reductio ad absurdum in the previous threads, but chose not to respond at the time. I understand fully their use when discussing moral absolutes and/or fundamental principles. I would even be willing to cede (for the sake of argument) all of the reductios that you brought up.
My problem is that your arguments seem to rest almost entirely on reductio. So yes, I will concede that if a candidate ran on a platform of submitting to alien overlords, or for self-nuking, or any other extreme (and entirely implausible) scenario, then your position becomes viable. But you have entirely failed to demonstrate how, in a real world scenario, your position is applicable.
Moreover, your posts on *this* thread, to which I have decided to respond, have argued essentially that prayer doesn’t work. If that is what you believe, then fine. But the starting assumption is entirely at odds with my own (and probably most everyone who reads this site), and thus any argument you present based on that assumption is untenable a priori.

CT October 2, 2008 at 3:04 pm

(quote from the cite above is below)
Jordanes,
In previous discussions I put on a Catholic’s hat and argued under the assumption that Catholicism was true. I’ve done that several times in other discussions also.
My comments in this thread were at times more foot loose and fancy free in that regard but they can be appropriately modified to reflect an assumption of Catholicism. (BTW, one need not be Catholic to discover what Catholicism entails anymore than one need “believe in” Euclidean geometry to discover what it entails)
Palin’s peculiar theological views are not Catholicism, so Tim J’s rejoinder is something of a non-sequitur as it applies to Palin’s Left Behind-like views as noted (with respect) by Pat Buchanan as a I cited above. IIRC, at least one Catholic on this very blog was reluctant to say the least to support Huckabee for precisely this kind of reason — a reference to Huckabees views on the end times and its import for his ability to conduct geopolitical affairs. I didn’t see anyone then calling that CATHOLIC a troll for doing that … why the double standard? It’s quite IMO obvious why. Aside from personal acrimony it is the parochiality and defensive posture that I referred to above.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26626118/
BUCHANAN: (…) And the fact is, do you know how many Assembly of God folks there are out there? Do you know how many Pentecostals there are out there? Do you know who many pre-millennialists who are out there? Tim LaHaye’s book[the Left Behind series]sold 40 million copies.
MADDOW: Sure.
BUCHANAN: Now, you go on national television and you go trashing that religion because of what they believe about the end times
MADDOW: Nobody’s trashing anybody’s religion.
BUCHANAN: Well, you go back over the two shows we just had.

Notice the disagreement as to fact between Buchanan and Maddow over whether anyone “trashed” anyone’s “religion”; Maddow didn’t see it that way and Buchanan did. I don’t think anyone, including Buchanan, would doubt that Maddow sincerely believed she did not trash anyone’s religion. Yet they see things differently. There is a reason why and it is the same reason why the young girl allergic to wheat who was denied Communion several years ago and not accomodated with a rice wafer, and her mother, and the gracious host, Keith Obermann, were of one opinion as to the injustice and ridiculousness of the church’s position (Obermann noting that in some matters of this nature it is a grey area or an area in which reasonable people can disagree but that in this case the answer seems clear), and some traditional Catholics were of another, considering the young girl and her family’s action unjust and considering their request theologically ridiculous. Some traditional Catholics even attributed evil motives to the family even though Obermann and the family attributed no such evil motives — only intransigence — to the church. The “stubbornness” of one’s “parochiality” is in my view correspondent with the degree of one’s religiousity. Passion blinds and religious passion blinds furiously.

Paul October 2, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Read G.K. Chesterton’s “The Everlasting Man” and see how generously – even reverently – a Catholic may treat other philosophies, while yet revealing how they all come short of the whole Truth.
As this is supposed to be a Catholic apologetics forum, shouldn’t we be able to see it right here on this forum without having to resort to reading a book of fiction?
In the Christian faith, man does not find God. God finds man.
Quite a task for an omniscient, omnipotent being.
McCain-Pain support States in making their own decisions on abortion and law
If it’s ok to split the decision 50 ways, why isn’t it ok to split it 300 million ways?

CT October 2, 2008 at 3:14 pm

vox, I explained fully why it is of real world evidence in the other thread. Some of they hypothetical examples in this thread, as I tried and apparently failed to communicate to you are of a different nature and are open to all sorts of criticisms.
The reasons why some of the examples in a previous thread are not open to your kind of criticism is because if someone uses a principle A, claimed to be of applicability to all situations including hypothetical ones, as a basis for making a real world decision B, then if I am able to present a hypothetical situation that disproves A, then A cannot serve as a basis for B.
So for example, if someone claims that adultery is intrinsically wrong, then that would involve a claim that it is wrong for humans in all possible worlds. So if there is a possible world — a possible world, in case you don’t know, is anything that is metaphysically possible, so a world without the planet earth would be a possible world — in which adultery is in at least one case not wrong, then adultery cannot be intrinsically wrong not only in that possible world, but in the actual world. And so one could not use the intrinsic evil of adultery as a basis for some real world decision or as a basis for anything else since falsehood cannot be a legitimate basis for anything.
Now, IF OTOH, one didn’t claim adultery is intrinsically wrong and only claimed that adultery just happens to be wrong in all cases in the actual world, then the fact that adultery is not wrong in some possible world in at least one case would not contradict that weaker claim and not remove it as a basis for some argument.
Hypothetical examples raised in this thread included ones of an entirely different nature — ones that involve not the disproving of some claim as such, but as illustrations of my own principles and/or components of a prudential calculus. One can legitimately criticise them on either of those grounds, but none such criticisms would be applicable in the other thread. I don’t think I can really explain it further. If you read my explanation there and here and I have still failed to communicate then I ask only that you trust that I have failed to communicate to you successfully.

CT October 2, 2008 at 3:15 pm

“why it is of real world relevance

vox borealis October 2, 2008 at 3:34 pm

CT,
You didn’t need to explain again the use of reductio ad absurdum. I get it. But you still fail to apply your reductio in any meaningful way, at least to me, to real life situations. I fully admit that Obama, for example, is likely the better president to deal with alien overlords. I’m not sure that means a whole lot.
Moreover, your arguments on this thread, as I have pointed out repeatedly, are rooted in starting assumptions that I think are bogus: namely that prayer is not efficacious, so that praying for guidance is a disqualifier for high office.
I reject this position, and thus reject all subsequent arguments.
In addition, to posit such an argument on a CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS website is either trolling, or an act of profound ignorance.
I will not reply to another of your enormous and wordy posts, because unless you move from this position we are not speaking the same language.

CT October 2, 2008 at 4:10 pm

vox, my reductios had nothing to do with whether Obama was able to better deal with alien overlords so you did not “get it.”
If one argues:
1. A.
2. Ergo, B.
Where B is “It is wrong to vote for Obama.”
And I argue:
1′ P.
2′ Ergo, not-A
Then the arguments serves to disprove the soundness of the former argument. It does *not* disprove B. But that is not the point. The point is to disprove the soundness of the argument MADE for B. Now if you want to not MAKE any such argument for B and make an argument which relies not on A, but on something else, C, then the latter argument would have no relevance. What I think is confusing you is that the P involved involves a situation which has features similar in certain ways to the situation involved of which B is speaking to. But what P involves is totally irrelevant. P could be about the best flavor of ice cream or be the proposition that 1+1=2 …. the content of P is irrelevant in terms of the purpose which the argument in which P is contained serves. Your mistake is in inferring — despite my repeated attempts to clarify this for you — a purpose to the argument which includes P, that the argument emphatically does not have. The argument is NOT attempting to show that there are situations in which it could be better to vote for Obama — the argument may use a fact of that nature in an *incidental* way, but it is not the purpose of the argument. The purpose of the argument is solely and nothing other than to show that not-A and thereby refute the premise used in the former argument … the means to get there is incidental.
BTW, some of my arguments here assume Catholicism true. And I was not aware that my posts here had to assume Catholicism be true. If so you might as well just limit discussion to Catholics. “apologetics” is about defending a view against the views of opponents … not something you can really do in an admirable way by limiting the views under discussion to Catholic views.
I repeat some of my criticism of Palin in this thread has *nothing* to do with the efficacy of prayer. So please do not engage in what appears to be wilful ignorance. It is hypocritical also for some to demand a principle of charitable interpretation for Palin but then to malign me. Note my comments on the Buchanan-Maddow exchange above and related comments. Acerbic chatter is something I am going to assume is something which is in Catholicism’s view a reflection of the Trinitarian life. SDG commented once that he considered it the most beautiful thing in the world ibn response to my comment that it was not so beautiful … I see now perhaps why our opinions differ, we have a different idea of beauty … for me anything that is moral must also be beautiful and that is indeed the historic position of Catholic philosophy, which sees all moral virtues as instances of beauty … if acerbic chatter is beautiful on Catholicism, then I’m guessing that it is a beauty that is not meant for me, just as apparently the notion of a chocolate sculpture of man is not beautiful to SDG … but I think the difference is that I do not question the sincereity of someone who holds heavy metal to be beautiful, yet SDG questioned mine as to the savory use of chocolate … I’d like to comment on that since the issue of my sincerity has come up, that the examples of savory use I was referring to include “chocolate” that has zero sugar and zero sweetner … I am also someone who with rare exceptions never eats candy, and never feasted on Halloween spoils … I am also someone who finds every dessert too sweet … I cannot prove to SDG that I was sincere then nor that I am sincere now, and I will refrain from commenting on whether in my opinion some Catholic individuals here, such as SDG, engage in trolling on a sub-conscious level, since doing so, would even if such an opinion be held and if it be morally certain as to assertion, is not in any case morally certain as to the wisdom of assertion … which is what moral certainty actually means … something I think Catholics generally do not know. Moral certainty is not some fixed level of certainty, but the certainty on which it is wise to act in a particular way.

vox borealis October 2, 2008 at 4:18 pm

“I repeat some of my criticism of Palin in this thread has *nothing* to do with the efficacy of prayer.”
“But in the case of Palin, she is as noted below “the real McCoy”. Someone who might a la the Pentecostals/charismatics/evangelicals/bible-believers with which she is associated with, receive a “word” from God in prayer and then act based on that “word”, is not someone you want a heart beat away from the presidency.”
Again, you argue that we do not want someone who bases their actions on word from God through prayer in high office. You deny, therefore, the efficacy of prayer, at least in so far as prayer as a means to receive guidance.
I respond only what you write, no more.

CT October 2, 2008 at 4:30 pm

This is to counter the comment SDG made …. I’ve made general references to publications and specifically to Newsweek and MSNBC, with citations. Now here is The Washington Post, as well as respected scholar-professor, and in particular the London Times (the actual citations can be found in the link with URL links). This portion appears to have wikipedia editing consensus
asserted that “God’s will” was responsible for the Alaskan national gas pipeline project.[41][42]
In her talk at the Pentecostal Assembly of God Church, she stated, “Believe me,” she said, “I know what I am saying — where God has sent me, from underneath the umbrella of this church, throughout the state.”[43] In light of these comments, a Washington Post opinion writer asked, “Palin, given her public comments, should answer a few reasonable questions: Does she believe in the separation of church and state? Is she comfortable with a government that remains entirely neutral on matters of faith?”[44] Rob Boston, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, lamented, “The United States is increasingly diverse religiously. The job of a president is to unify all those different people and bring them together around policy goals, not to act as a kind of national pastor and bring people to God.”[45]
According to Steven Waldman of BibleNet, Palin signed a Christian Heritage Week resolution which “plucked Founding Fathers quotes way out of context to misleadingly imply they were devout Christians” a technique which he says in many other cases has been used “to promote the argument that America was created to be a Christian nation, and separation of church and state is a myth.” Juan Cole calls Palin a theocrat and says that her values “more resemble those of Muslim fundamentalists than they do those of the Founding Fathers.”[46] Palin has suggested that her work as governor would be hampered “if the people of Alaska’s heart isn’t right with God,” which Waldman says ascribes religious explanations for policy outcomes, and “makes assessing her performance nearly impossible. If she stumbles, it’s our fault.”[47]
The London Times has called attention to her former pastor’s apocalyptic religious perspective, and the Miami Herald cited a recent sermon attended by Palin in which she nodded in agreement with her former pastor’s statement, “I believe Alaska is one of the ‘refuge states’ — come on, you guys — in the Last Days…And hundreds of thousands of people are going to come to this state to seek refuge. And the church has to be ready to minister to them.”[48][49]

Note also that some of these religious criticisms of Palin apply even assuming the truth of Catholicism. For instance, the criticism the London Times makes applies assuming the truth of Catholicism. So this business of not assuming the truth of Catholicism is a red herring of sorts in some cases, as noted already above.

CT October 2, 2008 at 4:34 pm

vox, I am not sure that all Catholics would agree that Palin’s views on “words from the Lord” are in alignment with Catholicism. But, you dodged the point I’ve raised on Palin’s view of the end times which unless you belong to a fringe element of Catholicism that subscribes to things deemed by the magisterium as not able to be safely taught, is a view you would be in disagreement with. And as to the relevance of such non-Catholic, i.e. non-reality based views … a Catholic here on this blog made the point on how it is relevant in the case of Huckabees end time views … so maybe you should criticize that Catholic then …. er wait .. that would be as illogical as supporting McCain-Palin would be.

vox borealis October 2, 2008 at 4:46 pm

CT,
I do not agree with Palin’s (or Obama’ or Biden’s) version of Christianity. However, I am not bothered ipso facto that she receives (or claims to receive) God’s guidance through prayer, which seemed to be the main point that you were making.
Indeed, I have so far supported (or opposed) no individual in my posts. Rather, I point out that (in my opinion) your own positions are 1] consistently detached from reality and are, therefore, of little practical value in evaluating the moral calculus of this election; and 2] based apparently on starting assumptions that are so foreign from my own that all subsequent points are rendered irrelevant.
In other words, I am not defending Palin–which you want me to be doing. Rather, I am pointing out your own troubling (from my perspective) assumptions.

The Masked Chicken October 2, 2008 at 5:37 pm

I think the MSM should be fairly circumspect in pushing the idea that a candidate’s supposedly receiving “words from God,” should make their candidacy problematic.
To begin with, the whole theology of personalist revelation of this sort is not very well developed and I strongly doubt that either the people receiving the “revelations” or the writers of the articles about them are that familiar with anything other than the barest essentials. That may seem like it is not necessarily significant, but it can be very much so.
The use of the term, “word of knowledge,” is not found in Scripture (at least, not in this context) and is a later Protestant Pentecostal development. There are no strict guidelines among the Protestants to really determine if what one person calls a word of knowledge is the same as what someone else calls a word of knowledge.
This is further complicated by the doctrine of actual grace.
It is perfectly possible for (say) Palin to have a really good idea for solving a problem and ascribe it to a “word from God.” The question is, if it is a good idea, is she not free to act on it, even if she doesn’t really understand what actually happened? She may claim it is a word of knowledge, whereas others may see it as a good idea that her subconscious dreamed up, whereas others may see it as actual grace temporarily enlightening the intellect. How to discern what the actual cause was may be very difficult and take a long time and may not be practical in every circumstance.
There is a place for inspiration in the political process.
The MSM certainly cannot claim to understand the process and so, at most can say that if she begins to exhibit really goofy ideas in the political sphere (I mean like bombing Iraq with toothpaste), then there is cause for concern, but ultimately, if Palin adheres to the Biblical idea of testing all things and retaining what is good, then her “revelations” can be tested in the public sphere (as they should). At best, she may then say, “oops, false alarm,” and abandon an idea when it has no merit or is impractical as being a mistake on presenting the idea as a word from God – she simply misunderstood what was happening. If the idea has merit and it has been properly vetted, then she is no longer alone in the matter and it ceases to become a personalist issue.
The only real danger I see is if she were to surround herself with such like-minded people that the ideas were not properly vetted. If this can be avoided, then even if she decides to call her idea a word from God, others are not so required and may proceed with the idea on its merits.
If proper safe-guards are taken, I do not see any problem with Palin’s exercise of her religion, even if it involves receiving,”words of knowledge.”
I do not know much about Bill Mauher, except as a late-night host, so I will be tentative in my comments, but he seems rather against religion, on principle. This is my impression, based on watching him on tv in years past (I no longer watch broadcast tv).
As for the comments by Newsweek and MSNBC, they have no special qualifications to speak about Pentecostalism of which I am aware. I certainly would never use their opinions in a doctoral dissertation, although I know they have been cited in popular literature (although, why, I do not know).
The Chicken

CT October 2, 2008 at 6:00 pm

TMC,
I admire your forthrightness and, if I may so characterize, gallant defense of the matter which you addressed. I will only note that one of the articles I cited above, from NPR, quotes a qualified academic scholar on pentecostalism:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=94332540
I disagree still with your conclusion (given the truth of say Catholicism I would incline more to the skepticism of say John of the Cross or of Ratzinger on Fatima). I would also incidentally be more inclined to aphophatic theology as I think it is the only kind that has inherent worth as well as escaping atheistic arguments … if God’s definition is sufficiently vague, of course it may not be possible to disprove Her existence.
Good luck.

Jeb Protestant October 2, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Palin’s spokesman has said she does not consider herself a Pentecostal. That’s good. The Pentecostal/Charismatic movements are false and of the Evil One.
Look, McCain is better than Obama. Does anyone want a president who follows the anti-Christian teachings of James Cone and Jeremiah Wright?
If nothing else, McCain/Palin buys this country time.
–J. Prot.

CT October 2, 2008 at 8:01 pm

Jeb, she has pentecostal views. She just doesn’t have any denominational and in that sense creedal views. She is that breed of Christian that when asked says I am just a Christian, even though she subscribes to all the things that have been mentioned including the pre-millenial Left Behind stuff that Catholic Pat Buchanan as quoted above said is true of her.

Jordanes October 2, 2008 at 9:02 pm

And still the ex-Christian CT has failed to establish that voting for McCain/Palin would be objectively evil according to Catholic moral doctrine. (Not surprising since he’s not interested in that question.)
Don’t feed the troll, folks.

CT October 2, 2008 at 9:36 pm

I don’t believe it would be. I am contending that either choice is acceptable, within the realm of a reasonable prudential calculus. I am defending Kmiec, not defending the straw man view that voting for Palin is unreasonable on Catholicism. In my view, quite candidly, you are a troll … and you contradict yourself in your very post. You cannot say: Let’s not respond to CT; while, at the same time responding to me in many posts, including one concurrent with the one above in another thread.

Jordanes October 2, 2008 at 10:35 pm

Hey, CT made a pertinent comment!
I don’t believe it would be.
Then you agree with SDG — and you’re right.
I am contending that either choice is acceptable, within the realm of a reasonable prudential calculus.
That’s another subject, though — and it begs the question of whether or not a non-Catholic moral calculus can rightly be called reasonable.
I am defending Kmiec, not defending the straw man view that voting for Palin is unreasonable on Catholicism.
It’s not a straw man: there are actually Catholics who claim that voting for McCain/Palin is objectively sinful and not justifiable in Catholic moral doctrine.
In my view, quite candidly, you are a troll …
Disagreeing with you and objecting to your changing the subject and stumping for Obama does not make someone a troll.
and you contradict yourself in your very post. You cannot say: Let’s not respond to CT; while, at the same time responding to me in many posts, including one concurrent with the one above in another thread.
I didn’t say let’s not respond to CT, I said let’s not feed the troll: let’s stop encouraging or assisting you in your penchant for carrying discussions far afield. Anyway, how is rebutting some of your comments *prior* to my saying we should stop enabling you responding to you *at the same time*?

CT October 3, 2008 at 4:45 am

Jordanes, what made your comment trolling in my view was that it was designed to get an emotional rise out of someone. That is how I personally define “trolling” … but however it is labelled, I do not feel it is a wise thing to do, even as a means to a good end. None of my comments here have been designed to do that, at least none that I recollect. OTOH, I think the comments of many Catholics here are designed to do that. Perhaps yours was not and if so I do apologize without qualification. But to give an example, I think the suggestive comments regarding my being a customer of prostitutes was trolling … but I am hoping to move beyond discourse about discourse, and get back to the original subject of discourse. I hope you will join me in that.
Jordanes, you also mischaracterize my comments. I was not claiming that there are not Catholics who claimed that voting for Palin is unreasonable on Catholicism. I was claiming that *I* was not claiming that voting for Palin is unreasonable on Catholicism. BTW, that is different from claiming that I was not claiming that voting for Palin is objectively not justified on Catholicism. I agree with Zippy Catholic on the broad issue that invokes, namely, if I were to formulate it in my own terms, that an opinion is justified ultimately in its conformity to the truth — objectively, primarily in the truth of the content of the opinion, but can also said to be justified in a subjective sense in terms of the rightness of the process by which the opinion is formed. So while I may quibble slightly with Zippy’s zippy and sweeping rhetoric, I do think he made a good point, which he again, formulated slightly differently and which you can read on his blog. So it may be as it turns out due to the facts of principle and the facts to which principle might apply that it is is indeed objectively speaking not justified to vote for McCain. But that doesn’t mean that there is not some manner of subjective justification that objectively exists, nor does it mean that the opinion that it is justified — an opinion held in objective error — is nevertheless reasonably held and reasonably held by a reasonable person.
As I’ve noted before, reasonable persons can disagree not only matters in which it is in fact reasonable to disagree but may disagree on what matters are in fact reasonable to disagree on.
BTW, you also mischaracterize me as “stumping for Obama.” My opinion of Obama is rather law. As I have expressed a couple times here, I recommend a vote for a third party and as I’ve indicated as to my own preference, I prefer Bob Barr. Your prejudice, operative here, is in my opinion, a reflection of the fact that passion blinds and religious passion blinds furiously.

Sleeping Beastly October 3, 2008 at 8:43 am

CT wrote:
I did not say Palin thought prayer made “study” and “good counsel” unnecessary. I said only that if she receives a “word from the Lord” that that “word” may have an influence on her decisions. This introduces an element of unreliability.
This is not an unreasonable concern for an atheist. It doesn’t especially bother me, and it doesn’t seem to bother most of the other commentors here.
A “word from the Lord” should have zero influence. It should not have any evidential value for the politician whatsoever.
…for you to vote for them. As I said, others don’t share your discomfort.
I don’t think you all understand what a “word from the Lord” is for these “bible-believing” “pentecostal” “evangelical” type Christians.
I’d venture to say that you don’t either.
BTW, this has nothing to do with controversies raised by the mainstream media regarding whether Palin said the Iraq war had God on its side — though the scholar in the article did note that it would be fair to assume Palin thought it was a holy war. So you all who construed my comments in that manner or in the other erroneous manner as noted above or in others are violating your own principle — the principle of charitable interpretation which you demand be given to Palin.
Huh? Who insisted on such an interpretation for Palin?
The comment from the NY bishops, if accurate, is striking. However there was an Eastern Catholic bishop who during the Iraq war made a similar minority comment condemning the Iraq war and arguing that as a bishop, what the catechism may say about the province of the laity notwithstanding, it rests with him to authentical teach faith and morals in their application to this arena. I believe the term “mortal sin” was used by the bishop too. IIRC, JA commented on the matter, if not here on this blog then on the radio.
I happen to agree with the bishop you mention, although I’m not convinced his opinion was in the minority. I think most Catholic clergy opposed the invasion of Iraq as an unjust war; certainly HH BXVI made such an objection before the invasion was launched.
BTW, something a Protestant caller once said on the CAL radio show and the response to it, is for me one of the many things that comprise evidence against Catholicism. The Protestant caller remarked how the CAL program seemed to be exclusively about technicalities, rules, legalities, and intellectual issues as opposed to the heart of Christianity.
If that was the one hosted by John Martignoni, then I heard it too. I’m not terribly fond of him. No, it’s not just his voice; I think he’s unnecessarily antagonistic.
To be fair, though, there’s not much to discuss in public about a private personal relationship. It’s possible to speak logically about technicalities, rules, legalities, and intellectual issues. Speaking about your personal love for someone… after awhile, there’s not a whole lot more you can say.
As for your example about marriage: if I were discussing marriage in the abstract, I would likely never bring up my own marriage or my own feelings for my wife, and if I did, you would no doubt accuse me of trying to use anecdotal evidence to support my claims. I can tell you about my own feelings for God, and my own personal experiences with him, but they won’t be terribly meaningful to you, and many of them are… well, personal and intimate.
First, you talk about how scary it is that someone may think she gets personal revelations from God, and then you criticize Catholics for focusing more on abstract argument than on their personal relationship with God. You are disturbed by the charismatic renewal, but think we should all speak more like charismatics in this combox. The fact is that the Church has both elements in spades. You’re more likely to come across abstract arguments in the combox of an apologetics blog than you are in a healing mass at your local charismatic parish. That’s just the nature of this kind of online discussion.
[Palin] considers it indispensible to pray on a daily basis, including in seeking guidance from God in political issues as well as all issues in her life — she stated this to Hugh Hewitt’s radio show for example and she said that some mock this simplicity of her faith. So when faced with a crisis situation she may waste say 30 minutes a day praying when every spare moment of her time should be devoted to addressing the crisis at hand.
I’d have no problem with her taking some time out for prayer. If she’s anything like me, her prayer will improve the quality of her decisions. Incidentally, I’d want her to eat and sleep too.
If the House fails to pass the bailout bill, would you want Bush or other leaders of relevance to waste valuable time in prayer, time that could have been spent to restart negotiations or to draw up plans to prevent market panic?
Absolutely. Not to the exclusion of taking action, but I don’t think you’re really suggesting that this is a real danger, are you?
The Christian Joe Scarborough made a good point on MSNBC’s Morning Joe recently questioning whether the House should have been on vacation for a religious holiday. He noted he worked on Good Friday while in Congress and also claimed that if it were Christmas Day and he were in Congress during this time of crisis, he would be willing to work. I presume he would be one who would not waste time in prayer.
You really don’t see the difference between taking a few minutes out to pray and taking a long weekend away for vacation?
Take a look at Bush. He himself admits that he prayed for God’s guidance before making his decision to go to war against Iraq. Look where that got us.
In my own opinion, his decision to go to war in Iraq had more to do with taking instruction from his handlers than divine guidance. As far as I can tell, his statements about his prayer life are what you would call religious pandering.
I fully expect that under a Palin presidency if for some reason nuclear missiles were headed America’s way that instead of responding in a decisive manner following the advice of military leaders, she would pause at least momentarily for prayer. A few seconds wasted in that case may be disastrous and in the case of the present economic crisis, an hour each day wasted in prayer may be disastrous.
…and this shows to me that you really don’t understand Christians. I suppose you think that if she were driving, rather than veering aside from an obstacle, she would take a few minutes to pray before responding to the crisis. Your supposition that religion makes people idiots is incorrect.
The problem is that Palin would consider prayer — if not in the nuclear scenario then at least in the current scenario — something that is all the more necessary in a time of crisis.
Again, not something that bothers me. I still trust that she’d be perfectly able to respond to evaluate how much time she actually has for prayer.
Palin also sees defending Israel as a divine calling as opposed to something justified merely on geopolitical grounds.
Yes, this is actually the thing that scares me the most about Palin. Unfortunately, Obama isn’t any better on this count. None of the mainstream candidates have anything approaching a reasonable position on Israel, Iran, or Pakistan.
When a politician believes God can and moreover often does intervene in political affairs, she will naturally try to effect that intervention.
Again, this doesn’t bother me. The fact that she prays doesn’t mean she’s incapable of action.
Giving lip service to a religious American public is necessary for the politican of today. … I think the number of politicans for whom that was an exercise of personal religious devotion to God can be counted on 1 or 2 hands, especially since some of these same politicians have insisted that the phrase is NOT a religious activity.
Agreed.
The notion of diverting the course of objects on a potential collision course with earth is not the stuff of science fiction. It is something that the federal govt is actively pursuing. First, the federal govt tracks objects and second the federal govt is researching and developing means by which such objects would be diverted from their course. There are different proposals and the govt seems more skeptical of some than others…. Federal money is being spent on this.
Cool. Certainly a much better use of my tax money than condoms for Africans, abortions for Americans, or wars of aggression.
Catholics or in particular Catholics who take their faith seriously have IMHO, a parochiality to their vision that makes it difficult to see how those who are not of their world view would perceive and interpret things.
Atheists or in particular atheists who take their nonfaith seriously have, IMHO an elitism to their vision that makes it difficult to see how those who are not of their world view would perceive and interpret things.
It is inconceivable to a Catholic for example, that morality could exist without God (per Aquinas natural law is itself intrinsically tied up with God) just as it might be inconceivable to a man from the Dark Ages that a book could exist without being in hard copy form.
Really? What makes you so certain I’m incapable of conceiving of such a thing? I’ve known many, many moral atheists. Heck, I’ve been one. Just because absolute morality is logically inconsistent with materialistic atheism doesn’t mean I can’t conceive of a moral materialist.
IMHO a, if you will, “root” defensive and parochial orientation of a broad character is present in the Catholic mentality in general, including in terms of for example how Catholicism views cultures disparate with christian values … witness the Chinese ancestor worship controversy … and I think this “root” parochiality and defensiveness is exhibited in all your dumbfoundedness and other reactions.
If you’re going to make claims like this, you might at least drop the “H” from your “IMHO.”
Step back from the Catholic world view for just one second and consider this. When two groups corresponding to two different world views clash, the likelihood that the nature of the clash or the attitude behind it would be misapprehended increases in proportion to the disparity of the world views in question and the coincidence of inherent conflict between them.
Isn’t that kind of a truism? What about such an obvious statement makes it difficult for a Catholic to comprehend?
(BTW, one need not be Catholic to discover what Catholicism entails anymore than one need “believe in” Euclidean geometry to discover what it entails)
There are some things an anthropologist will never understand about his subjects.
Aside from personal acrimony it is the parochiality and defensive posture that I referred to above.

It is hypocritical also for some to demand a principle of charitable interpretation for Palin but then to malign me.

o_O
Passion blinds and religious passion blinds furiously.
Might this statement also apply to atheists?
And I was not aware that my posts here had to assume Catholicism be true.
They don’t. But don’t expect to get too much mileage out of the “She prays- isn’t that scary?” argument here.
Acerbic chatter is something I am going to assume is something which is in Catholicism’s view a reflection of the Trinitarian life.
o_O
Moral certainty is not some fixed level of certainty, but the certainty on which it is wise to act in a particular way.
Mind clarifying? I’m not sure I understand.
Note also that some of these religious criticisms of Palin apply even assuming the truth of Catholicism. For instance, the criticism the London Times makes applies assuming the truth of Catholicism. So this business of not assuming the truth of Catholicism is a red herring of sorts in some cases, as noted already above.
No, it’s a straw man- one you constructed yourself.
I don’t believe [voting for McCain/Palin] would be [objectively evil]. I am contending that either choice is acceptable, within the realm of a reasonable prudential calculus. I am defending Kmiec, not defending the straw man view that voting for Palin is unreasonable on Catholicism.
Agreed.

Sleeping Beastly October 3, 2008 at 8:45 am

paul wrote:
If it’s ok to split the [abortion] decision 50 ways, why isn’t it ok to split it 300 million ways?
The man has a point.

CT October 3, 2008 at 9:30 am

SB,
You make some good points and also use some internet slang that I am unfamiliar with which I assume is just frivolity I can safely ignore. I appreciate your expressed agreement with me on some points which is a good sign that the constraints of parochiality, defensiveness, blinding passion, and partisanship are not insurmountable ones. Let me just make a few responses:
I suppose you think that if she were driving, rather than veering aside from an obstacle, she would take a few minutes to pray before responding to the crisis. Your supposition that religion makes people idiots is incorrect.
When I said that I expect she would pause “momentarily” in the case of nuclear crisis, I was speaking not of a “few minutes” necessarily, but had in mind something more along the lines of 10 seconds to a minute. I thought actually I had used “seconds” above, but I guess in my editing, I chose instead the term “momentarily” which I thought was sufficiently clear. As for driving, maybe you are not acquainted with those Catholics who pray the Rosary while driving. I wouldn’t mind if that were outlawed along with cell phone use. So assuming it was not your intent to argue against a strawmen, as indeed I do assume, it seems we talked past each other on this minor point.
Let me also clarify that I am not saying that voting for McCain-Palin is not objectively evil or even not objectively evil under Catholicism; I am only saying it is reasonable under Catholicism, i.e. that a reasonable person can reasonably come to the conclusion that it is a good thing to do under Catholicism. But since you brought it up, as for my own opinion, I do not believe voting for McCain or for that matter anyone else of the four major candidates (Obama, Barr, Nader), is objectively evil. This is because I view morality as founded in this case partially in the object chosen or the object which constitutes the act prescinding from the person performing it, but also partially in the person performing the act. This view, broadly speaking, is actually the view, with appropriate terminological translation, of Catholic theory on natural law which postulates that what is right and wrong is constituted by the subjective nature of man, not always in relevant ways universal (ex. sex) — by how man, a subject, the moral agent in question, is constituted in himself. In the Catholic theory, any moral subject has certain facts which are true of it to which facts can be applied certain eternal moral principles which are grounded ultimately in the simplicity which is God — God is not merely the source of moral law; God literally is the ultimate ontological reality which constitutes moral life at its maximum or perfection. So the values of morality fall from the sky if you will even though they will of course interact with the “facts on the ground”, the nature of moral subjects, in forming the principles of natural law. In my view, in contrast, the values of morality are not fixed in some heavenly constellation, but are themselves grounded in the nature of a moral subject, the deepest desires of a person. Because, the deepest desires of a person are beautiful … a point btw that Fr. Benedict Groeschel made when I used to listen to him … the true expression of those will likewise be in extension, beautiful. So I see morality as being subsumed under aesthetics … and with the historic Catholic position in philosophy and contrary to the present academic orthodoxy, I reject the notion that beauty, be it physical or spiritual, is something non-inherent in the object to which beauty is ascribed. The attraction to the object is non-inherent but the fittingness of the attraction is inherent in the objective relationship between the object found beautiful and the subject which finds it so. So, in short, this subsummation does not constitute a moral anti-realism as I am committed to realism in aesthetics, as historically Catholic philosophy is … and as CAL guest Fr Dubai is.
I don’t think you addressed my point on Palin’s end time views and the Catholic criticism of Huckabee for similar end time views. Your hero Buchanan attributed Left Behind end time views to Palin. I quoted him above with a link to the transcript. Buchanan is a Catholic. ….

CT October 3, 2008 at 9:37 am

I believe I mispelled the priest’s name. His first name IIRC is Thomas and last name IIRC is spelled with a y on the end. My apologies for any untoward associations it may have resulted in.

Tim J. October 3, 2008 at 9:50 am

“You make some good points and also use some internet slang that I am unfamiliar with which I assume is just frivolity I can safely ignore. I appreciate your expressed agreement with me on some points which is a good sign that the constraints of parochiality, defensiveness, blinding passion, and partisanship are not insurmountable ones. Let me just make a few responses:”
Anyone who still disagrees with CT is being parochial and defensive and is blinded by passion and partisanship. Just so everyone is clear on that.
“Because, the deepest desires of a person are beautiful”
Except when they have been warped by original sin, which they have.
“If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat. ”
G.K. Chesterton – Orthodoxy

Inocencio October 3, 2008 at 10:01 am

CT,

In my view, in contrast, the values of morality are not fixed in some heavenly constellation, but are themselves grounded in the nature of a moral subject, the deepest desires of a person. Because, the deepest desires of a person are beautiful …

You worship yourself and believe you have the ability, no, the responsibility to declare right and wrong. How convenient to decide things like pornography, prostitution and abortion aren’t wrong unless, of course, you say they are wrong.
Of, course you would never worship God you are to busy worshipping yourself in the looking glass…
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

CT October 3, 2008 at 10:18 am

SB, I apologize; I forgot to answer one of your questions.
Mind clarifying? I’m not sure I understand.
Moral certainty is always relative to a particular belief(s) as it relates to a particular act in a particular situation by a particular person. It is the certainty in that belief(s) needed for the act to be moral.
So for instance, if one knew that your friend used to be an alcoholic and you were absolutely certain of this having witnessed it yourself, there would — barring bizarre cases — never be a case where you would have moral certainty to assert to another person that your friend is an alcoholic, since doing so would be the “sin” of detraction.
Let’s look at three cases, x, y, and z:
If an assertion to a friend about the weather forecast is only of minor consequence (perhaps he is planning a picnic but perhaps he is sad and you don’t want to needlessly make him sadder), then one may need to be say certain to a degree x that the forecast is for thunder, in order to assert it (to your friend, as below, but you can replace it with any other constant, such as a mutual friend or a stranger or what have you)
If you believe your friend slept with your wife, then you may need to be certain to a degree y, that is true, before asserting it
If you believe your friend slept with your ex-girlfriend but now you are happily married to another woman, then you may need to be certain to a degree z, that is true, before asserting it.
Now the varying circumstances and issues involved would likely make x, y, and z not equal. In most cases, z would be greater than y and y, greater than x.
So moral certainty is a fluid concept. It is the certainty needed to act. It isn’t the certainty needed for a belief to be assented to or expressed by a man who is an island, but a belief to be acted upon (including perhaps acted upon by being asserted) by man in his social environment.
Moral certainty as a fixed level of certainty is not something I think the magisterium would support.

Eileen R October 3, 2008 at 10:52 am

CT:
Jordanes, what made your comment trolling in my view was that it was designed to get an emotional rise out of someone. That is how I personally define “trolling” … but however it is labelled, I do not feel it is a wise thing to do, even as a means to a good end. None of my comments here have been designed to do that, at least none that I recollect.
Well, I can’t judge your heart and see if you’re “trolling” but you’re definitely threadjacking. That seems to be your main problem here. Tim or Jimmy or SDG propose a subject for discussion, and you propose your own, which is only tangentially related to the thread topic. I suppose it’s enjoyable and interesting for you, but it’s nauseous for those of us who would have liked to discuss the actual post at hand, and have to wade through threads where 90% of the posts are devoted to you and your critics sparring.
Admittedly, the problem could be solved by the other posters ignoring your attempts to threadjack, but shame on you for starting the process.
To the Powers That be: Tim, SDG, Jimmy
I really think something needs to be done to head off this constant threadjacking. This blog has gone from a great place for discussion to the park Soap Box, and I really miss the old blog.

Tim J. October 3, 2008 at 11:23 am

Eileen, I’m not in a position to do much about it, but I see your point.
CT has his/her own blog and can spin off great reels of ascii just as freely there.
As I have noted, CT’s posts seem reflexively contrarian, at least regarding all things Catholic. They have only one common theme, and that is to undermine the faith of Catholics, seemingly by any means at hand.
God exists, CT. He has revealed His will, and He knows what is beautiful and what is ugly in your life (and mine) infinitely better than you do.
The universe is his project… his art. We can join him in that work, or not. We can work in harmony with the theme, or work against it. But the work will be completed, and the flashing and the sprues will be cut away (that’s a bit of sculptor talk – metal casting lingo). I can’t wait to see how it all comes out.

CT October 3, 2008 at 7:46 pm

Tim, I do not deny the possibility that there is a person who knows what is beautiful for me or beautiful objectively as it relates to me better than I do. My claim was regarding not knowledge of beauty, but regarding what grounds morality.
I do not seek to undermine Catholicism anymore than Catholics seek to undermine non-Catholic world views. Catholics or those involved in apologetics seek to “undermine” Protestantism insofar as it differs with Catholicism, atheism likewise insofar as it differs with Catholicism, and so forth. Using the word “undermine” is introducing a negative connotative spin to it. I think part of the problem some have is that they understand “Catholic apologetics” to be about Catholic-Protestant or intra-Christian debates. Some in the pop culture of Catholic apologetics have actually expressed that view, but I think that is an erroneous one. In any event, when appropriate I have assumed the truth of Catholicism in some discussions, even though that was not always recognized by certain persons who are in your words “reflexively contrarian.” For example in the permapost on the abortion “holocaust.” There, if you note, someone did not realize I had assumed in a particular post that abortion was wrong and I pointed out that error. That same person, later, not in that thread but in another, acknowledged that error. This double standard on the evaluation of Catholicism versus atheism is what I was getting at as what I termed the “bigotry” against atheism. I think some didn’t understand what I meant due to the denotative and connotative associations that word has in modern politicized discourse.
At the risk of being accused of “thread jacking” something I frankly don’t think I do any more than some Catholics … whose names I will leave unmentioned, only noting that they themselves — a few of them — have acknowledged their own thread jacking behavior …. I would like to clarify some things since someone above has attributed things to me that I do not believe.
First on “atheism.” I do not believe there is a being to whom worship is owed on an objective basis by any other moral subject. Nor do I believe there is a person or any collection of persons in whom is constituted a state of maximal possession of perfection such that there is no thing of inherent desirability that is absent in that constitution (the reason is that I deny the compossibility of such perfections). However I do believe there are persons whose perfection is incommensurate relative to other perfections, such that no degree of the latter kind of perfection is equal to or greater than the perfection in fact possessed. I likewise believe there are persons whose perfection is of indefinite extension as to degree. It may be morally permissible to worship such persons, but I do not find it morally obligatory in an objective way.
Second, someone above, claimed I was “materialist.” I am not. I believe that every concrete object is in part constituted in some “tangible” form, but I do not deny that they may in some cases or even in all cases be constituted in some intangible form. So for instance “thoughts” are in part constituted in bioneural activity even though they may be in part constituted in other ways — but these other ways of constitution are never independent of the tangible constitution. This is why as I’ve expressed before, Mormon theology in this respect is more attractive to me than classical theism.

Mary Kay October 4, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Dan Hunter, your post would make sense in primary season, but we’re one month from the election. Perhaps you’ve forgotten that the presidential election is not a popular vote but by the electoral college which at this point means McCain or Obama.
Obama said that the first thing he would do if elected was to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would make abortion untouchable. It would shut down any activity that does not support abortion. Not to mention the Supreme Court judge positions that will be appointed by the next president.
That makes it essential that he not be elected. Baldwin does not – for this election – have electoral delegates. But he can take away support from McCain, which as Jordanes described, will essentially be a vote for Obama.
As SDG said, voting for McCain is not an objective mortal sin. When the other candidate has a totally morally objectionable voting history, it’s not a sin to for a candidate that you wouldn’t normally vote for.
If Obama is elected because prolifers withold their votes from McCain, IMO those prolifers will be responsible for whatever Obama pushes through.
The Anchoress has suggested prayer and fasting between now and Election Day and I heartily agree with her.

CT October 4, 2008 at 11:06 pm

Obama, as has been acknowledged by McCain partisans in this discussion, does not interpet FOCA in the way that Mary Kay or others do. I think it is safe to assume that should he become POTUS and his own confidence in his own opinion as constitutional scholar on FOCA is not sufficient, then he would before signing rely on the opinion of others and then act accordingly by either negotiating a change in the language to make it more clear that the abortion restrictions of the kind he favors and has worked for are not disallowed by FOCA or by, in the tradition of his predecessor, signing the bill only with a “signing statement.”

msb October 6, 2008 at 8:29 pm

It’s irrational to say Obama doesn’t think, and won’t act to make sure, that FOCA will strike down all pro-life laws and mandate state, federal, and international abortion funding. First, he has specifically favored each of these particular goals individually, opposing all those pro-life laws. Second, he has pledged his allegience to Planned Parenthood, who supports these things. Third, PP and the rest of the bill’s sponsrs openly support the idea that FOCA will do these things, and they already removed the exception that would have allowed pro-life laws to remain, and all the pro-life legal analyses think the same–everyone but the people who are telling Catholics that Obama is really pro-life. Fourth, he has pledged to appoint, and Democrats have only ever appointed, judges like Justice Ginsburg who believe that the CConstitution without FOCA mandates all these things–and it is his justices who will be interpreting FOCA. Fifth, Obama’s support for FOCA is enthusiastic and totally, absolutely unqualified–it is patently insane to say “well really he will make sure that FOCA is pro-life before he signs it.” It is hard to consider that proposition as being anything but intentionally aimed at confusion and deception. It is essentially interpreting Obama’s enthusiasm for FOCA as really opposition to FOCA. If your powers of reasoning can accomplish such a task, I can just as validly claim that John McCain will end embryonic stem cell research and war and poverty and the heat death of the sun, and we are outside the realm of rational argumentation.

Sleeping Beastly October 6, 2008 at 10:02 pm

CT wrote:
You make some good points and also use some internet slang that I am unfamiliar with which I assume is just frivolity I can safely ignore.
Sorry about that. I used an emoticon more in use in Japan than in the States. o_O is a picture of me with my eyes bulging out and my mind boggling. It was the only response I could think of to some of the things you wrote. In particular, I don’t quite understand why you are so quick to take offense, and at the same time so quick to insist that others give your statements the most charitable possible interpretation.
I appreciate your expressed agreement with me on some points which is a good sign that the constraints of parochiality, defensiveness, blinding passion, and partisanship are not insurmountable ones.
Not at all. This is a simple matter of two human beings sharing some views and not others. For the record, I find your characterization of my views and mindset extremely obnoxious.
When I said that I expect she would pause “momentarily” in the case of nuclear crisis, I was speaking not of a “few minutes” necessarily, but had in mind something more along the lines of 10 seconds to a minute.
I think you may be the only person in the country who sees this as a genuine concern. I can understand many objections to Sarah Palin: her lack of experience, her beliefs about Israel and the end times, and even her stance on abortion for those who don’t regard a fetus as a person. But afraid that she’ll pause to pray rather than to respond to an emergency? If that’s something that really, truly concerns you, then I feel safe in saying that you really, truly don’t understand religious people.
As for driving, maybe you are not acquainted with those Catholics who pray the Rosary while driving.
Not so far as I know. Seems like a bad division of attention to me.
So assuming it was not your intent to argue against a strawmen, as indeed I do assume, it seems we talked past each other on this minor point.
Not so. My point was that just because someone is inclined to pray in times of crisis doesn’t mean that they’re incapable of responding to urgent situations. Sane Christians take time to pray, but they don’t do it when it’s clearly time to do something else.
This is because I view morality as founded in this case partially in the object chosen or the object which constitutes the act prescinding from the person performing it, but also partially in the person performing the act.
I’m sorry; I’m having a very hard time understanding this. Are you saying that you think the morality of a person’s vote depends as much on the voter’s reasons as the candidate’s platform?
This view, broadly speaking, is actually the view, with appropriate terminological translation, of Catholic theory on natural law which postulates that what is right and wrong is constituted by the subjective nature of man, not always in relevant ways universal (ex. sex) — by how man, a subject, the moral agent in question, is constituted in himself. In the Catholic theory, any moral subject has certain facts which are true of it to which facts can be applied certain eternal moral principles which are grounded ultimately in the simplicity which is God — God is not merely the source of moral law; God literally is the ultimate ontological reality which constitutes moral life at its maximum or perfection. So the values of morality fall from the sky if you will even though they will of course interact with the “facts on the ground”, the nature of moral subjects, in forming the principles of natural law. In my view, in contrast, the values of morality are not fixed in some heavenly constellation, but are themselves grounded in the nature of a moral subject, the deepest desires of a person.
I am not quite sure how to respond to this, because I’m not quite sure what you mean by “the deepest desires of a person.” If the deepest desires of a person are the alpha and omega of morality, you run into the problem of determining what, exactly, those deepest desires really are. Does a person get to determine those desires for himself? Were Ted Bundy’s murders beautiful because he desired them?
Because, the deepest desires of a person are beautiful … a point btw that Fr. Benedict Groeschel made when I used to listen to him …
No doubt Fr. Groeschel would disagree with you about what many people’s actual deep desires are. I suspect that he would tell you, for instance, that the deep desire for love is beautiful, even when the personal desire for sex is often ugly.
the true expression of those will likewise be in extension, beautiful.
So who determines the true expression of those desires?
So I see morality as being subsumed under aesthetics … and with the historic Catholic position in philosophy and contrary to the present academic orthodoxy, I reject the notion that beauty, be it physical or spiritual, is something non-inherent in the object to which beauty is ascribed. The attraction to the object is non-inherent but the fittingness of the attraction is inherent in the objective relationship between the object found beautiful and the subject which finds it so.
So… is beauty inherent in an object or in the relationship between an object and an observer? Or is there even a real difference?
I don’t think you addressed my point on Palin’s end time views and the Catholic criticism of Huckabee for similar end time views.
I thought I more or less had, when I said that I was (and am) troubled by her views on Israel. The thought of a president who thinks of war on behalf of Israel as something of a holy calling is highly disturbing. Her views on the rapture don’t bother me as much; I don’t think they’re good theology, but I also don’t see them leading to any bad decisions in office.
Your hero Buchanan attributed Left Behind end time views to Palin. I quoted him above with a link to the transcript. Buchanan is a Catholic. ….
He’s a Catholic, but not my hero. I agree with him on some points (usually about war and foreign policy) and disagree with him on others (such as immigration and American culture.) I haven’t read everything he’s written, but I’ve read enough to regard him as intelligent and honest.
I appreciate your clarification of your statement on the fluidity of moral certainty; I don’t see it as a particularly interesting, controversial, or even relevant point; perhaps I missed something.

CW October 6, 2008 at 10:10 pm

So… is beauty inherent in an object or in the relationship between an object and an observer? Or is there even a real difference?
As I stated, the beauty is inherent in the object, but the fittingness of the attraction to that beauty is inherent in the relationship between the object and the subject, inherent due to things inherent in both the object and subject, and the objective relationship that thus arises between the two.
The objective character of beauty is considered important in Catholic philosophy. Attraction and beauty are not the same thing. The beauty is that quality which is apprehended in the intellect to which our heart is attracted to and delights in. So, off the top of my head, beauty is to attraction, as mass is to gravitational pull

Vince October 6, 2008 at 10:19 pm

beauty is to attraction, as mass is to gravitational pull
Is that like, as idol is to idolatry?

CW October 6, 2008 at 10:33 pm

no. In Catholic philosophy, there is something inherent in beauty that makes the attraction fitting just as in science there is something inherent in mass (or more precisely that which underlies mass, assuming a realist take on science) that makes the gravitational pull lawful. There is however, IMHO, nothing inherent in a god, visible (like the statue that Moses desecreated) or invisible (like the judaic or christian deity) that makes it fitting, lawful, or otherwise in consonance for it to be worshipped (or from the value judgment of a particular faith against another, idolized)

CW October 6, 2008 at 10:54 pm

I do not know much about Bill Mauher, except as a late-night host, so I will be tentative in my comments, but he seems rather against religion, on principle. This is my impression, based on watching him on tv in years past (I no longer watch broadcast tv).
Chicken, he has a new movie given a thumbs up by 2/3 of critics that seems to demonstrate his ability to be fair and “inspire conversation” as opposed to being preachy propaganda. It is a documentary. Apparently he filmed part of it in the Vatican. It’s gotten thumbs up from some Christian reviewers too. Whether in theaters or in video, I heartily recommend it to you. It is rated R for “language and sexual material”, however.

Sleeping Beastly October 6, 2008 at 10:57 pm

CW wrote:
In Catholic philosophy, there is something inherent in beauty that makes the attraction fitting just as in science there is something inherent in mass (or more precisely that which underlies mass, assuming a realist take on science) that makes the gravitational pull lawful. There is however, IMHO, nothing inherent in a god, visible (like the statue that Moses desecreated) or invisible (like the judaic or christian deity) that makes it fitting, lawful, or otherwise in consonance for it to be worshipped (or from the value judgment of a particular faith against another, idolized)
There is something inherent in mass that attracts other massive bodies. Likewise, there is something inherent in man that makes worship of our creator, sustainer, and redeemer right and appropriate.

Vince October 6, 2008 at 11:02 pm

In Catholic philosophy, there is something inherent in beauty that makes the attraction fitting
In Catholic philosophy, God is the author of beauty, and beauty reflects the infinite perfection of God.
he has a new movie given a thumbs up by 2/3 of critics that seems to demonstrate his ability to be fair and “inspire conversation” as opposed to being preachy propaganda. It is a documentary.
I saw it. It is a preachy propaganda movie which exhorts his view that religion is for stupid people. The movie has its points and no shortage of failures in making them.

CW October 6, 2008 at 11:56 pm

SB,
What would you do if you died, went to meet your deity and you proceeded to worship him and he responded by saying, “There’s no need to do that. We are all friends here”? Would you be (1) disappointed or (2) glad or (3) puzzled or (4) think that he wasn’t the true deity or (5) have some other reaction?
I don’t think anyone would be disappointed. That tells me that worship is something done out of coercion or sense of obligation as opposed to something one finds inherently desirable to do that one is just aching to do. If such things were not so, it’d make no sense for them to be prescribed as a penance.
It is true that many Catholics pray the Rosary while driving. Since you won’t take my word for it, you’ll have to wait for any Catholic here to confirm it …
In the document, the Vatican also recommends praying vocally, and taking turns if there are any passengers, as when reciting the Rosary, which because of its repetition and rhythm, does not distract the driver. “It is very pleasant to recite the Rosary, especially when there is a lot of traffic,” said Deacon Arias.
http://www.icatholic.org/indstory/2008/200835p16.html
It is a very traditional practice — but in my opinion totally inadvisable and perhaps making you legally liable in the event of an accident — that persons who are typical of the Catholic apologetics crowd (younger cradle Catholics or without respect to age converts to Catholicism) or perhaps not as familiar with.
You’ll also have to take my word that Catholic philosophy maintains that beauty, including in physical form, is objective in character … or you can write Fr. Thomas Dubay as he has affirmed this on a CAL program I once listened to. … btw, in Catholic philosophy God is beauty itself just as God is truth itself. Beauty is (either reductively or in its own right depending on the individual Catholic philosopher-theologian) a “transcendental” alone with truth, unity, thing-ness, goodness, etc such that everything that is, insofar as it is is beautiful, true, one, thing-y, good, etc. It’s a little clearer in the Latin as some of the terms don’t translate well and I’m giving a loose. In classic Catholic philosophy, these transcendentals also, including in God, correspond not to real variance but only notional variance … which is why the arguments Catholics oft make, “God is not only loving, but just” that some made here previously, are really inadequate from the standpoint of Catholic theology and philosophy as any attribute properly attributed to God is considered only notionally different from another, not corresponding to any real difference … this of course is glaringly obvious from the doctrine of divine simplicity … which when mentioned most Catholics interpret to be an insult against God … such is the state of Catholic catechesis and education today. Coming from a Catholic or bishop, such criticism is received well and praised by some conservative Catholics or neo-traditional Catholics … but when it is observed by an ex-Catholic, it is met with a different reaction. It reminds of some species of jellyfish … but I’ll refrain from specifying the analogy I have in mind.

Sleeping Beastly October 7, 2008 at 12:47 am

CW wrote:
What would you do if you died, went to meet your deity and you proceeded to worship him and he responded by saying, “There’s no need to do that. We are all friends here”? Would you be (1) disappointed or (2) glad or (3) puzzled or (4) think that he wasn’t the true deity or (5) have some other reaction?
I suppose I would first be puzzled.
I don’t think anyone would be disappointed. That tells me that worship is something done out of coercion or sense of obligation as opposed to something one finds inherently desirable to do that one is just aching to do.
That may be true for you; it is quite preposterous for you to assert it to be true for others, especially in the face of so much personal testimony to the contrary. Read the psalms if you’re having trouble finding such testimony. If they (and the thousands of devotional hymns and poems and musical compositions written AMDG) aren’t sufficient, you have my personal testimony that I ache to worship my creator and redeemer.
If such things were not so, it’d make no sense for them to be prescribed as a penance.
What makes you think penance must always be unpleasant? And even if it is, why do you assume that makes it unnatural and unfitting for a human being? Exercise and good diet can be unpleasant, but are not for that reason unnatural or unhealthy, and I don’t think you’d dispute that there is something inherent in human beings that makes exercise and good diet right and appropriate.
It is true that many Catholics pray the Rosary while driving. Since you won’t take my word for it, you’ll have to wait for any Catholic here to confirm it …
I didn’t say you were wrong, just that I wasn’t aware that I knew any Catholics who did so. I don’t object to the practice as strongly as you do, but it still seems like a bad idea to me. Not only would it make for half-baked driving, but it seems that it would make for half-baked prayer as well.
You’ll also have to take my word that Catholic philosophy maintains that beauty, including in physical form, is objective in character …
I didn’t dispute this. If I ask for clarification from you, it will be because I wonder what you think on a subject. If I want an authoritative Catholic answer, I will go to a Catholic authority.
… which is why the arguments Catholics oft make, “God is not only loving, but just” that some made here previously, are really inadequate from the standpoint of Catholic theology and philosophy as any attribute properly attributed to God is considered only notionally different from another, not corresponding to any real difference … this of course is glaringly obvious from the doctrine of divine simplicity … which when mentioned most Catholics interpret to be an insult against God
I think you waste a lot of time splitting hairs and misinterpreting people. The fact that justice and mercy are both aspects of God’s love can be expressed perfectly well by stating that God is both merciful and just.
… such is the state of Catholic catechesis and education today. Coming from a Catholic or bishop, such criticism is received well and praised by some conservative Catholics or neo-traditional Catholics … but when it is observed by an ex-Catholic, it is met with a different reaction. It reminds of some species of jellyfish … but I’ll refrain from specifying the analogy I have in mind.
Why bring it up then?

msb October 7, 2008 at 5:20 am

Thank you Doug Johnson, for showing that Kmiec is full of hot air when he waffles about FOCA:
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OGM5YzIzYTExNjIyZmExODY0MzQyZDUxNmRmNmU1NmM=&w=Mg==

SDG October 7, 2008 at 6:17 am

What would you do if you died, went to meet your deity and you proceeded to worship him and he responded by saying, “There’s no need to do that. We are all friends here”? Would you be (1) disappointed or (2) glad or (3) puzzled or (4) think that he wasn’t the true deity or (5) have some other reaction?

I find this the most perverse line of thought I have encountered in quite some time. (No offense, I hope.)
When I try to think about where you go wrong, I think it is the words “proceeded to worship him.” They are something of a non sequitur coming after the words “went to meet your deity.” I cannot accept such a meeting as you propose except in the context of a Monty Python sketch or a nightmare from hell. Your list of possible reactions doesn’t seem to include that.

Tim J. October 7, 2008 at 7:13 am

“What would you do if you died, went to meet your deity and you proceeded to worship him and he responded by saying, “There’s no need to do that. We are all friends here”? Would you be (1) disappointed or (2) glad or (3) puzzled or (4) think that he wasn’t the true deity or (5) have some other reaction?
I don’t think anyone would be disappointed. That tells me that worship is something done out of coercion or sense of obligation as opposed to something one finds inherently desirable to do that one is just aching to do. If such things were not so, it’d make no sense for them to be prescribed as a penance.”
CW, you are just quite wrong, here, I’m afraid. 180 degrees wrong.
Try and look at it this way; At the end of the day (or the year or whatever measure of time you prefer), I have always had the unshakable sense that life is lopsidedly benevolent. My deepest response, then, is and has been one of profound gratitude.
I’ve had the same kind of struggles that most people have (so don’t try and tell me I’ve lived a pampered existence and don’t understand “real life”), but all in all I’m simply grateful to be here, to be part of things.
The only thing better than living in a universe that held all these things I was grateful for was the confirmation that there was someone I could be grateful TO. This was not the slightest bit a mental stretch. Far from being a puzzle and a problem, the idea of the Creator God seemed like a matter of course. I’ve always found the idea of a Creator God to be so obvious that it hardly needed arguing. On the other hand, picturing a godless universe requires great imaginative effort for me, and can’t be sustained for very long.
I have always been an artist. I have always understood that the world is a work of art, that it means something, and if it means something, then there must be someone to mean it.
(I know I’m paraphrasing Chesterton here and there)
The worship of God – due praise to the artist – is not only something I don’t find AT ALL to be a dreary duty, but is something that can hardly be helped. It wants to leap out on its own, like a laugh or the “Oooohs and Aaahhhs” you hear at a fireworks show. They won’t be able to shut me up in heaven.
———-
Suffice to say that if I meet “my deity” in heaven, he wouldn’t say anything like what you imagine or he wouldn’t be my deity, so it seems a rather pointless exercise. Indeed, it’s hard to believe you would try to build any kind of argument on such gelatinous ground.
Given that the Creator God does exist, he should be worshiped because any other response would be disordered. In children they call it “oppositional/defiant disorder”.
Such a child doesn’t say to their parents and teachers “You are not worthy of your authority”, or “You misuse your authority, so I reject it”… he says in his mind simply “I will have no authority over me”.
The psychologists rightly diagnose this as a disorder in the child and work to address its root causes, rather than trying to convince the child with logic and evidence that his parents are really pretty decent and reasonable or that his teachers are duly licensed by the state and are qualified to instruct him.
The child’s problem is not a lack of evidence or a genuine concern for the proper use of authority, it is a rejection of the idea of authority as such.

CW October 7, 2008 at 9:53 am

SDG, SB
The question of what one would do upon meeting one’s deity is actually brought up in a Christian song. So though you can rest assured that no offense was taken at your characterization of my thought as perverse, I do take a mischievous pleasure in your unwitting like characterization if it is to be a consistent principle of application, of a popular Christian song, that posits the same question of what would transpire upon meeting one’s deity in terms of how one would react — whether in proceeding to “dance with you Jesus” or “to my knees will I fall” or be non-responsive etc. Perhaps the word “proceeded” to threw you off. I’m not sure what you mean there by “non sequitur”; perhaps you mean that anyone who went to meet his deity would naturally and inevitably worship him — true, but that fact is irrelevant. If you prefer, just replace amend my remarks to “and proceeded to as would be natural and inevitable for someone who was meeting what was in his mind his deity, worship Him.”
Here are the lyrics to the popular Christian song I alluded to. I suppose many Catholics may be unaware of it, but it is — unless this too has been barred by the Vatican — used in some Catholic circles at both masses and at other Catholic events of a less official nature such as I suppose a Youtube video:
Catholic video of the song
(I sincerely recommend this video to you all; I believe in no god but I find the music and the literary beauty despite what people say about CCM, to be beautiful and evocative of the beauty we need not seek in any far away god, but in the ever present universe before us today)
“I can only imagine what it will be like, when I walk by Your side…
I can only imagine, what my eyes will see, when Your Face is before me!
I can only imagine. I can only imagine.
Surrounded by Your Glory, what will my heart feel?
so there appears to be doubt as to what her heart will feel, her inner disposition, versus the certainty some here might have
Will I dance for you, Jesus? Or in awe of You, be still?
Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing ‘Hallelujah!’? Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine! I can only imagine!
likewise there seems to be the related doubt as to what external action if any would be undertaken, and that the christian here has no idea on these questions and is only able to hazard a guess within the limits of her imagination
I can only imagine, when that day comes, when I find myself standing in the Son!
I can only imagine, when all I will do, is forever, forever worship You!
I can only imagine! I can only imagine!
but there is nevertheless the certainty apparently that worship will continue forever … though I wonder how any of the above constitutes worship since one can dance for another individual without worshipping her and one can do likewise with kneeling such as before a queen or hoped fiancee … and being awe I have no quarrel with but I am in awe at the marvel which is the universe; I am in awe at the ingenuity of man; I am in awe at the beauty of a tree… likewise the phrase “hallelujah” means “praise to Yah” (strange that this is permitted in Mass when it is veiled in Hebrew, but the same word Yahweh is now forbidden)… but praise is not constitutive of worship, else you would be comitted to worshipping created beings based on the Catholic liturgy and even the bible … and we engage in praise all the time, such as for instance, praising the choice that a political candidate exercised to keep her child or praising the valor of a soldier or praising someone as a “great” person.
If engaging in constant non-stop worship is so deliciously exciting, one wonders why christians or Catholics clearly do find it tiresome to do (allowing for their physical needs of eating, exercise, and work to satisfy those needs, etc.). Why is it for example that on Super Bowl Sunday, that mass attendance and for that matter christian church attendance in general, drops? Why is it that even those commended to catholic Christians as “saints” by the magisterium, themselves admit that much of the time they just didn’t want to pray or worship? That they found no delight in it, no consolation in it, etc. Here is the classic Catholic response:
Humans have distinct desires or appetites. Humans have a desire for God in terms of what they apprehend of him in a mediate way in such things as their understanding of justice. Humans also have a desire for other things which are truly and intrinsically good things like pleasure, the objective beauty of one’s own body, companionship with social peers (i.e. humans as opposed to God) and so forth. But these are goods finite such that when they are in conflict with the good that is God, mediated through our apprehension of those goods which correspond imperfectly with God, we are morally obliged to choose the good that is God. But since the good that is God is not itself apprehended in but a mediate way, we are at times more attracted to a lesser good and feel it more desirable, even if in some theoretical way we might concede it less desirable. In heaven, due to the beatific vision, the good that is God is apprehended in an immediate way, making us rapturously desire that good without temptation to other goods, thus making worship there always non-dreary.
But this response still raises the same questions I asked since the motive of passion seems to be a sense of obligation, grounded theoretically by a cognizance in the intellect of the truth of that obligation. There is no cognizance in the intellect nor any corresponding motive of passion corresponding to an actual delight in the inherent features of the object act of worship. Delight is undoubtedly felt by various people at various times, but that is not a delight as I just outlined, but an incidental delight, that psychologically arises out of the act, a delight which traditionally, is cautioned against as a reliable indicator of spiritual health, let alone commended as to be a motive for worship.

Tim J. October 7, 2008 at 10:07 am

Wow. Just wow.

Inocencio October 7, 2008 at 10:10 am

Charel,
Just admit that you only choose to worship yourself and be done with it. Be secure in the knowledge that God will not force you to worship or love Him and you can spend eternity with yourself completely separated from God.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

CW October 7, 2008 at 10:21 am

typo
“of the object act of worship”
should read
“of the objective act of worship”

Sleeping Beastly October 7, 2008 at 10:39 am

CW wrote:
But this response still raises the same questions I asked…
Perhaps you can restate those questions, clearly and succinctly? I thought you’d been answered quite adequately. I said that worship of God is appropriate to human nature. You asked why then people frequently found worship tedious. I answered that people don’t always desire what’s good and right for them. Your song quotations seemed completely irrelevant to the questions being discussed. What did I miss?

Rotten Orange October 7, 2008 at 11:59 am

ZZZ…

1. …I don’t mind disagreement. I do mind rudeness…Commenters whose interaction on the blog consists principally of discussions of the same subject over and over…are being rude. Conversation involves an ability to talk about more than one thing, not an obsessive harping on one subject. Say your piece and move on, per Rule 2.
2. …I ask that folks say their piece and then let the subject go (for now, knowing that it will likely surface again in the future). This rule also may be invoked on discussions that, in the opinion of the blogmaster, are getting overly repetitious or unproductively long.
3. Also because of the format restrictions, everyone must be concise. Don’t go on at length about things.
4. Comments violating the first three rules will be deleted.
5. Readers who repeatedly violate the first three rules will be banned.

(SOURCE)
ZZZ…

The Masked Chicken October 7, 2008 at 4:55 pm

I don’t know what to say, except that I am sorry for my breaking of Da Rulz.
I am confused, however, because, according to rule 2, people are to say their piece and move on. If that is the case, how can there, by definition, be a conversation about anything? This would lead to a series of disparate postings.
I ask this as a serious question, because I have not observed this rule being enforced, except, rarely. I appreciate the give-and-take in the comboxes. Sometimes, some of the conversations need to be policed and sometimes they do get uncharitable, but they, for the most part, cause me to think.
Not to be overly long (yikes!), but sometimes it is hard to be concise. A statement/counter-statement was made a few months ago about musical instruments in Church. I wrote a long reply because I wanted to be clear and because I am a scholar in this area. How often do we get knowledgeable people writing about a topic (that didn’t come out right – you know what I mean)? Sometimes, in matters of law, when he drops in, Mike Petrik has to write a long post, simply to clarify the issues (not that his posts are usually long, nor are Ed Peters).
I suppose the matter comes down to one of how germane the post is and how important it is to write a long post. Most of the time, its not that necessary. I am guiltier than most. I write longer posts than the average. My class notes are often longer than the chapters in the book (much to my student’s dismay). I know I have this problem. I should enroll in speakers anonymous. I do try to edit before I post. If I try to be too short, I can sometimes wind up sounding mean.
Still, its just so nice to be able to talk to people about these subjects in the comboxes. It is very hard being in a secular environment all day.
In my defense, I do post short bursts, as well, so not all of my posts are long.
I have thought about starting a blog, but that might just be feeding a bad habit.
Anyway, I will try harder. Some people are born terse; some are born long-winded. Guess which genes I have? Oh, I’m part Irish. Does that allow me ten more lines than most people :)
The Chicken

Tim J. October 7, 2008 at 5:12 pm

Chicken, I don’t think Rotten Orange was referring to you.
I could be wrong, of course, but…

Rotten Orange October 7, 2008 at 5:59 pm

Chicken, I don’t think Rotten Orange was referring to you.
I could be wrong, of course, but…

You’re right, Tim J. Thanks.
Dear TMC
Have you read the two or three “big” comments just above mine? You gotta be kidding if you think I was mentioning the rules because of you.

SDG October 7, 2008 at 8:06 pm

FWIW, Rotten Orange is ostensibly talking to CT/CW, but really, I think, he is talking to me.
I admit my laxity in enforcing the succinctness rule. It does seem reasonable to me at a time when blog activity is way down to give people more leeway in that department, and in any case anyone who abuses the verbosity rules as much as I do is in no position to talk.
I have asked CT/CW to try to bear in the value of keeping discussion focused, ideally generally around the subject of the post. The present line of thought regarding the value of worship does seem to be contrary to that general norm.
For the moment, I am not inclined to go beyond Tim J’s succinct response (“Wow. Just wow”). CT/CW is not just barking up the wrong tree, he’s running frantically into deserts where trees have never grown, making sounds that make you wonder if he’s ever even heard barking.
I would generally be inclined, with a newbie, to run out into the desert gesticulating in the general direction of the nearest trees… and, even now, reading over his comments, various thoughts and potential responses flicker across my mind — theological and liturgical commentary on the song in question, exposition on the meaning of worship and the relationship to all of life, reflection on the beatific vision.
I’m sure it would make edifying reading. It is bracing to engage first principles. And part of me thinks that part of CT/CW is looking for a reason not to continue on further and further into the desert.
But I can’t keep up. I’ve got too many other demands I’ve been neglecting for too long. I’d like to try to spend some more of what little time I can on this blog where I belong in the forest, rather than pointing to it from the desert. Perhaps instead of pointing to it, we can try to show what it’s actually like.

The Masked Chicken October 8, 2008 at 5:23 am

Dear SDG,
Instead of trying to run after people in the desert, may I suggest a helicopter and a bullhorn :)
The Chicken
[Ha! 3 1/2 lines :)]

The Masked Chicken October 8, 2008 at 5:23 am

Dear SDG,
Instead of trying to run after people in the desert, may I suggest a helicopter and a bullhorn :)
The Chicken
[Ha! 3 1/2 lines :)]

The Masked Chicken October 8, 2008 at 5:23 am

Dear SDG,
Instead of trying to run after people in the desert, may I suggest a helicopter and a bullhorn :)
The Chicken
[Ha! 3 1/2 lines :)]

The Masked Chicken October 8, 2008 at 5:40 am

I think I did a bad thing…I wrote my apology for long posting, partially because I am guilty, but also, strongly suspecting that the criticism was not addressed specifically at me, I realized that in order to tell me this, the actual guilt party would probably have to be outed. This is what happened.
That was uncharitable and even, possibly, Machiavellian on my part. It might have been better to let Rotten Orange’s comment remain general, hoping that the offending parties would take it to heart, or ask him to be more specific. I should have kept my mouth closed. I am sorry, since CW/CT seems to have left the building (see his comments on the sacrilege post). I am not the cause of his leaving, but I should have not added to his feeling of not being welcome. I, as SDG, hoped that the desert/forest issues could have gotten worked out. I fear that his leaving will cause him to build a concrete bunker in the desert, now.
You know how we all admire the saints who can love even those who annoy them? How are we doing with that, today?
The Masked Chicken

Rotten Orange October 8, 2008 at 6:09 am

Dear SDG
Wow! Just wow.
Dear TMC
Chill, man.

Tim J. October 8, 2008 at 6:10 am

“I am not the cause of his leaving, but I should have not added to his feeling of not being welcome.”
Chicken – respectfully, CW has engaged in this kind of breast-beating “injured party” role perhaps once too often. Everyone is welcome here, but CW’s lengthy post above doesn’t hold the character of real good faith participation in an argument, but rather feels much more like he/she is throwing handfuls of, well anything, in hopes some of it will stick. Nor is this anything new.
Yes, we should be welcoming, but we have already had blog regulars voicing dissatisfaction with CW’s continued domination of combox discussions, which has been going on for some weeks.
To be clear, CW or anybody else is welcome here, but what I called “reflexive contrarianism” or what Micheal Palin called “automatic gainsaying” is not. Most of CW’s work here strikes me as well dressed trollery.

Rotten Orange October 8, 2008 at 6:15 am

It might have been better to let Rotten Orange’s comment remain general, hoping that the offending parties would take it to heart, or ask him to be more specific.

TMC understood what SDG didn’t.

Rotten Orange October 8, 2008 at 6:25 am

Everyone is welcome here, but CW’s lengthy post above doesn’t hold the character of real good faith participation in an argument

…CW or anybody else is welcome here…

Most of CW’s work here strikes me as well dressed trollery.

And Tim J. understood everything.
Thanks again.

SDG October 8, 2008 at 6:53 am

TMC: It might have been better to let Rotten Orange’s comment remain general, hoping that the offending parties would take it to heart, or ask him to be more specific.

RO: TMC understood what SDG didn’t.

For my part, I didn’t, and don’t, see the point in not naming names, including my own. As moderator, I had already unofficially engaged CT/CW on the subject of his lengthy and off-topic posting. RO’s post directly addressed this same issue — and RO has already been pointed in his criticism of my uneven attempts at moderation. (In fact, “Rotten Orange”‘s new handle was coined within the context of a critique of my moderation, as an expression of Matheus’s assessment of my opinion of him.)
Add TMC’s self-accusation to the mix, and there was sufficient reason for me to wade into the mix and try to tie up the loose ends.
Oh gentlemen. Who else is weary? Of any whom I have wronged I humbly ask forgiveness, and if any have wronged me I forgive them right readily. For each of you as well as for myself I ask: Christ with and in me, before, behind, beneath and above me, on my right and my left, in every heart that thinks of me and every mouth that speaks of me, in every eye that sees me and every ear that hears me.
Let us put all else aside and love one another.

Tim J. October 8, 2008 at 12:48 pm

SDG, your next post in this series can’t come soon enough.
No pressure, though.

SDG October 8, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Thanks, Tim J. Alas, (a) I fear it’s a moot point, and (b) other priorities continue to thwart me. It won’t be till next week.

Dave Mueller October 8, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Ahhhh….SDG….on point (a), don’t despair yet. Just a short month ago, it looked like McCain was on his way to victory. There’s still ample time for a shift. It would help if McCain brought his “A” game to the debates, and went after Obama more strongly for his many radical left associations.
However, the actual voting usually comes out 2-3 points more for the GOP than what polls say. I’m not giving up….you can really help too…and so can the Bishops if they’ll clarify voting principles for Catholics.
We have, admittedly, an uphill climb, though….I’ll be fasting as best I can, and offering my arthritis pains up all the way from now until Election Day. I do think it’s mostly spiritual warfare, like everything else….

John October 13, 2008 at 6:00 pm

Chuck Baldwin is the 2008 presidential candidate of the Constitution Party. The platform of the Constitution Party contains the following statement:
“We favor the right of states and localities to execute criminals convicted of capital crimes and to require restitution for the victims of criminals”

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