What Mardi Gras Has for Breakfast

This is happening in lots of different areas, so I don’t want to pick on Rand Paul. But for the sake of convenience, let us start with him. He recently called for a “truce” within the Republican Party on “social issues,” but what such a truce would actually amount to is total capitulation on the part of social conservatives.

To agree to a truce on such issues is to acknowledge in some fundamental way that the issue is not what you have been claiming for it all these years. Principled incrementalism would never use the word truce. Face-saving surrenders do. If abortion is murder, you don’t go halvsies on it. If you had been fighting the Nazi genocide for years, and they suddenly offered you a truce, wherein they agreed to stop killing the Feingolds and so on through the end of the alphabet, and you agreed to such a deal, would this not reveal that you had no earthly clue what position you had actually been advocating?

Also, it should be said, to agree to a truce on these issues, in this political climate, argues an intelligence that might be competitive with a somewhat backward oyster. Are you kidding me? When have the secularists ever honored a truce like this? Pro-lifers would be like the Ukraine, abandoning nukes in exchanges for guaranteed borders. Didn’t happen? Oops. Well, that was years ago anyways.

Now that the new pomosexual order is moving into a full court press, and given the fact that a lot of Christians haven’t found their epistemological backbones yet (which would be admittedly a difficult task for them), what this means that is that numerous Christians whose conservatism was on auto-pilot are going to be looking for a face-saving way out. Back when they could raise money on the homosexual threat with underlined screechings, they would do so. But now that doing this might actually take some courage, and such money might actually be well-spent, they will move on to another cash cow. Look for them to start raising money to fight the threat of child brides under twelve in Dearborn. Child brides who are thirteen and over were covered by the truce.

What is needed in the meantime, they think, is for someone to provide a plausible-sounding reason for the capitulation. We need for somebody to appeal to “principle,” with the scare quotes airbrushed out.

Rand Paul is offering us this kind of lame and rancid deal in politics. It is really too bad, because — in my view — he had a lot to offer in a number of other areas. Notice the past tense had. But ain’t it the way? “Leaving it up to the states” at the very moment when the state of Leviathan, the mass-culture of Rahab, and the crony corporations of Molech are jackhammering the states into conformity? Yeah, right. The only states rights issue involved here will the right of a state to be a patsy. Arizona’s right to the Super Bowl will be as secure as Ukraine’s eastern border.

Rand Paul comes by his libertarian convictions honestly — I don’t think he is an opportunist, in other words. But anybody who thinks that the size of the modern state can be shrunk by a coalition of potheads and poofters is not, as  the liberals like to say, on the right side of history. A constitutionally-limited state is absolutely dependent upon public virtue. Otherwise, forget about it.

We had better get used to all this, because there will be other offerings just like it in other areas. One person will argue that the two-kingdoms theology means that we should be totally cool with same sex mirage outside the church, because, after all, is it not, at the end of the day, another realm entirely? Someone else will argue that God’s design for human sexuality is only pertinent inside the bounds of liturgical worship, and once we are outside the sanctuary, we don’t have to live by what the Bible teaches about human thriving, sexuality, and the variegated roles of men and women.

It turns out we only come up with things like Lent so that Mardi Gras can have something to eat for breakfast.

Cornelius Van Til once said that if the unbelieving heart is allowed one place on the radio dial where he could tune in and not hear the Word of God, then, he said, every unbelieving heart would have his radio tuned to that place of silent relief every day, all day. Who wants to hear about the glory of God all the time? Not anyone who has a kink in his sexual hose. Every false-hearted compromise will share this in common — it will offer a zone where the authority of Jesus can be disregarded, and it will offer us a haven where we can go and still be cool. Every lie we must deal with will in some fashion offer us a silent place on that dial.

We will be told that if we just agree to “these terms” then the controversy will cease. We will be able to build bridges. We will be able to strike up conversations with unbelievers — which will be quite the bummer, because after all the compromises, we will have nothing to say. We will stare across the table at the lost soul we were reaching out to, and a thought will flit across our mind — “I gave up everything so that I might get in a position to offer you the words of life, and now I am across the table from you, and I no longer have any words of life to give.” Call it an opportunity cost. That thought will do no more than flit because anything more might start to look like repentance.

Look. The fix is already in. This means the next step will be to apply all the pressure in the world, and to do so by means of various arguments. The arguments, the proffered rationales, can be rice paper thin because the real force of the argument will be found in the pressure — legal pressure, financial pressure, political pressure, respectability pressure, and accreditation pressure. Some groups of Christians are probably lame enough already to give in to the atmospheric pressure. And a host of evangelical scholars will seek out plausible and footnoted excuses for doing so, like so many eager dogs sniffing at a series of rat holes.

There will be pragmatic arguments. We need to do this in order to win elections. But who cares about winning elections if nothing changes?

We “need to make it clear” to the secularists that these are the “core values of our faith community,” inside the four walls of our little liturgical ghetto, and that we wouldn’t dream of exporting what the Bible says about sexual roles outside the sanctuary. That way, they will leave our sanctuary as the very last morsel before coming in and demanding that — in the name of diversity — the pastor and the entire session will have to agree to kiss Aphrodite’s ass. And a bunch of them will send the stated clerk to do it too, claiming that none of this was covered in seminary really. It is starting to look like Meredith Kline’s glory cloud is good for covering up any number of things.

But that was back in the day, back before America was in tatters. Those were the years of the seven fat kline. Now these are the years of the seven lean kline. And we are the generation that knew not Joseph.

Don’t doubt in the dark what you knew in the light. And don’t ready yourself in the light to start doubting in the dark what you knew in the light. They are going to try to make this all very complicated, when it reality it is very, very simple. Boys and boys don’t go together, and neither do girls and girls, and chopping up babies is bad. What the post-structuralists might say about this is largely irrelevant.

But, the protest will come, if we don’t stop harping on all that, then we are going to continue to lose elections. Well, then, if that is true — and it isn’t, by the way — then it sounds to me like Jesus wants us to lose the damn election.

Postscript: to be filed in the Gnats and Camels folder. There will be many evangelical Christians who will be more offended that this post contained the words “ass” and “damn” than they are offended at the wholesale rejection of biblical authority by the evangelical church. It is worse, in their book, to say damned than to be damned. But I am using such words advisedly, and am being careful to follow the apostle’s injunctions on how salty edifying speech should be (Col. 4:6).

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Don Smith
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Don Smith

Great Post and certainly appropriately salty!

carole
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carole

Please don’t ever stop telling us what we absolutely need to hear!

Mitch Turner
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Mitch Turner

“But who cares about winning elections if nothing changes?”  Totally agree.  Of course, this article applies to the Bush-Dole-Bush-McCain-Romney supporters (and whoever the establishment serves us up for 2016).  A “host of evangelical scholars [have already sought] out plausible and footnoted excuses for” compromising with people who everyone knows are not going to move the ball towards the moral side a single yard.  The “plausible-sounding reason[s] for the capitulation” are already better known than any catechism by 99% of the members of every “Bible-believing” church.  They can recite them in their sleep.  Frankly, I’d love to see Paul get the… Read more »

Rebecca
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Rebecca

Nail on the head.  Thank you.

Lawrence
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Lawrence

As a Kentucky resident, I’ve been supporter of Rand, however, I’ve always had my doubts in precisely this area. 

Eric the Red
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Eric the Red

The practical problem with the GOP is that it’s four parties under one tent.  There’s the Wall Street GOP, the Libertarian GOP, the war mongering/world domination GOP, and the Christian conservative GOP.  Those wings at best don’t care about each other’s issues, and at worst often have issues in conflict.  None of those wings has enough political muscle to win an election all by itself.  The purely pragmatic choice for all four wings is this:  Do you continue to vote GOP knowing that you’ll get some of what you want some of the time, or do you stand on principle… Read more »

Rick Davis
Guest

I think C.S. Lewis absolutely nailed this in his speech on “The Inner Ring”. Words that are incredibly relevant today.     “And the prophecy I make is this. To nine out of ten of you the choice which could lead to scoundrelism will come, when it does come, in no very dramatic colours. Obviously bad men, obviously threatening or bribing, will almost certainly not appear. Over a drink, or a cup of coffee, disguised as triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better… Read more »

Ben
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Ben

Doug, do you think it’s possible that state incentivization of traditional marriage (or gay mirage, or singleness, etc.)  could potentially be misallocating human activity away from its most efficient/productive ends, in the same way that incentivizing certain types of labor and production through subsidies misallocates labor and capital?  It seems like a lot of Christian leaders like yourself will say that  the government has a stake in promoting traditional marriage, as it is foundational to any society, yet what if there are people who could better serve society by remaining single, yet choose to get married because of government incentives?… Read more »

Eric the Red
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Eric the Red

Ben, what’s the extent to which you think government incentives influence people’s decision to marry or not marry?  

Ellen
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Ellen

“While this is fire and brimstone, what got him into career-ending trouble in the army was his run-in with the gay community within the military. In early last year, Gaynor criticised a law that would prevent Christian schools from barring gay teachers. He lodged a formal complaint about ADF personnel being allowed to take part in uniform in the Sydney Mardi Gras. He cited the military’s ban on engaging in political activity while in uniform. He quoted references to political activism in the constitution of the Mardi Gras. He referred to a tradition of ”religious and political vilification” at the… Read more »

Ben
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Ben

Eric, I was just saying that for the most part, people don’t decide to get married because the government gives tax breaks and other benefits to married couples. In other words, the state is not usually a factor in a couple’s decision to get married; the institution of marriage would exist without government incentivization. So that’s why I’m puzzled by the the evangelicals’ argument that the government should endorse traditional marriage to the exclusion of all other “marriages” because traditional marriage is “foundational to society.” If the government stopped endorsing marriage entirely, traditional marriage would still be the norm. 

Nick E.
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Nick E.

Amen! I’m tired of getting lip service frofor irk tongued republicans. How do you feel about huckabee?

Matt
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Matt

If abortion is murder, you don’t go halvsies on it. Sure you do, because crimes like murder have mitigating factors all the time.  What’s telling is that you compare it to the Holocaust, which abortion is nothing like.  Perhaps you should rethink your approach here.  Also note that abortion is by far the most serious of social conservative causes, and this argument can’t be made for others (like gay marriage).  True, conservatives have hinted for years that something vaguely bad somehow is going to happen in some unspecified way at some point in the possibly distant future if the government… Read more »

wtrsims
Member

Matt said: If abortion is murder, you don’t go halvsies on it. Sure you do, because crimes like murder have mitigating factors all the time.  What’s telling is that you compare it to the Holocaust, which abortion is nothing like.  Perhaps you should rethink your approach here. Matt, perhaps Doug’s stance on murder is one where you don’t go settle with it.  I would postulate that you and Doug would not be in agreement on your premise.  I would then think that he could move on to say that abortion is like the Holocaust as both are cases of murder, with… Read more »

wtrsims
Member

don’t go settle with it.

*don’t settle with it.

Matt
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Matt

Abortion is unlike the holocaust because the holocaust was a case of a government single-mindedly murdering a large number of people in pursuit of an ideological goal, whereas abortion is multiple unrelated cases of a single person (with accessory) having their own child murdered in pursuit of some practical advantage.  If the Holocaust had gone on indefinitely, there could very well have been no more Jews to kill, but the same cannot happen with abortion wrt babies, because there is no top down initiative to kill all the children.  Abortion can be a bad thing that shouldn’t exist without being… Read more »

David
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David

Matt, I do not think abortion is identical to the Holocaust in all respects, though it is a holocaust (with a miniscule “h”) to be certain. On the scale of the millions of children who have been killed with no just cause, simply because the portion of the normal human life cycle they were at was considered to not afford them the same rights as other people, I do not know of a more fitting word than genocide. And when a patient and a doctor get together and conspire to end the life of an unborn child in the most… Read more »

Matt
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Matt

But that’s just it: “genocide” is entirely the wrong term, unless one takes it to just mean generically “a lot of people getting killed”.  Genocide is a deliberate attempt to destroy some subset of the populace.  Even a decentralized effort, like that in Rwanda in the 90s, has this factor, where the Hutus just decided to up and kill all the Tutsis.  There is no corresponding initiative to kill all the babies present with abortion.

Arwenb
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Arwenb

“Genocide is a deliberate attempt to destroy some subset of the populace. ”

It can be argued that, since abortuaries are overwhelmingly placed near low-income urban areas, which are predominantly populated by non-white persons, there is a deliberate attempt to reduce the numbers of poor, non-white children (and thereby the numbers of future non-white adults).

Whether the voluntary aspect of the the whole bloody business somehow mitigates the potential racial genocide aspect is a matter for debate.

Moor
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Moor

matt: if abortion is unlike the Holocaust and genocide, then what word would you use to describe the death/murder of 50+ million babies (and if your stance is that they are not “babies”, then we can probably just leave it there, as it would seem a hijacking of the thread to try and pinpoint your definition of viability and so on).  Thanks, in advance, for your response.

Jill Smith
Member

Matt, I agree we make distinctions about murders, and I certainly make distinctions between the culpability of a desperate, untaught young mother-to-be and that of a Tiller or a Gosnell.  I don’t know if I think genocide is entirely the appropriate word, but if it is, it is because this holocaust is done with the complicity and cooperation of the government.  But I do think ArwenB has a good point, and statistics about the ethnicity of women having abortions supports his conclusions.  To my horror, I read on a rightwing discussion board something to the effect that it is stupid… Read more »

Ryan TX
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Ryan TX

From Eric the Red’s first comment.
I think that the Repubs could win if they go with a strong Christian right candidate.  All the other three “parties” will get in line because of the “R” after the name.   As the last few elections prove, if the Christian right doesn’t approve, they won’t come out to vote, and the R loses.
Funny part is, the Three R subparties will compromise with the left, but they don’t want to compromise with the Christian right, even though when they do, they win.

Eric the Red
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Eric the Red

I disagree with Christian conservatives that abortion is murder, but that’s not the point.  The point is that Christian conservatives do believe that abortion is murder.  If abortion actually is murder, then an abortion clinic occupies the same moral plane as Auschwitz, whether genocide is technically the right word or not, and it strikes me as unreasonable to expect Christian conservatives to simultaneously say (1) it’s murder, but (2) we’ll find a way to accommodate it.  This one time I agree with Doug’s conclusion, even if not his original premise, that some issues just shouldn’t be compromised, and mass murder… Read more »

Eric the Red
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Eric the Red

Now, that doesn’t mean that people who disagree that abortion is murder should be expected to agree with Doug’s premise that it is; I don’t want to hijack this thread so I’ll just say briefly that if we were having a conversation on the merits about abortion, my position would be that it’s not murder and the law shouldn’t pretend that it is.  But once the premise has been selected — it is, or it is not, murder — then people should draw the appropriate conclusions from the premise they’ve chosen.  Even if it means that you’re going to lose… Read more »

Eric the Red
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Eric the Red

As a matter of cold, hard political pragmatism, I agree that at the national level, the Republican Party is fairly useless from a right to life perspective.  That is not true, however, at the state level.  Several states with Republican legislatures — Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, North Dakota, South Dakota — have actually passed fairly restrictive abortion laws.  To the extent that those laws aren’t struck by the courts, they probably will actually prevent some abortions from happening, or at least make it more difficult in those states to get one.  And Matt, I think your demographics are true at the… Read more »

Matt
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Matt

what word would you use to describe the death/murder of 50+ million babies Isn’t “mass murder” exactly what you’re describing?  Is that not potent or negative enough?  Maybe not, as abortion is actually a mother killing her child, which is worse than someone killing a random stranger.  But the terms for this, filicide or prolicide, aren’t well known. [abortion and minorities] You could try to make this case, but the best that could come of it is charging liberals with a kind of callous indifference to the trends.  They’re obviously not guilty of engineering a deliberate policy of exterminating nonwhites… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Matt’s interest in semantics seems misplaced, but I suggest a compromise.  We will agree to stop using the terms holocaust and genocide when the left starts properly referring to abortion as, murder of the unborn.  Deal?

David
Guest
David

Matt,
I do not want to cause undue offense to you, but honestly, what is driving this on your part, really? In the face of millions of dead babies, murdered, this is your contribution to the blog? Worldwide in “civilized countries” we have aborted many millions more unloved and judicially innocent children than Hitler and Stalin sent into the afterlife.
It is like someone breaks into my home and stabs me, and I say to you “Oh man, he stabbed me, call 911 quick!” and you say blithely “Well, technically, that was an aggravated assault”.
 

Matt
Guest
Matt

If you look back at my first comment, I made three basic points.  One, that current social conservative rhetoric is reactionary and alienating, or overblown and apocalyptic (which sparked the whole genocide tangent).  Two, that social conservatives are a shrinking faction even within the conservative camp, and certainly within the Republican camp.  Three, that social conservatives currently have nothing but invective and denunciation to offer anyone that doesn’t already agree with them.  The main idea is that social conservatives don’t know how to do anything other than preach to the choir anymore, and if they are to have any future… Read more »

David
Guest
David

Matt,   There are so many fallacies in what you just wrote, it is really difficult to untangle it in a blog comment. You offer sweeping generalizations about “conservatives”, but more to the point, there are, world-wide, in the last four decades, literally at least tens of millions of infants who have been murdered for hire by doctors paid to do so by their mothers.  I am not sure that genocide is a strong enough word to describe this. It is a transnational, transcontinental, world wide disregard for the most innocent and helpless in our societies,  and whether social conservatives… Read more »

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

“The problem, Matt, is that more conservative are worried about their tax rates than the kiddos.”  Well, which scenario do you find easier to believe:  That those conservatives deep down inside don’t really believe abortion is murder, or that those conservatives do believe it’s murder but care more about their tax rates?  If it’s the former, then you’ve lost the argument before it even got started because they disagree with your foundational premise.  If it’s the latter, then those conservatives really are a cold, selfish bunch.  (I’d say evil, but then katecho would sidetrack us again with a discussion about… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

Matt, the reason why Christian conservatives, as well as pro-life liberals, can’t dial down the rhetoric is that we feel a visceral horror at the realization that we are all more or less complicit in killing the most defenseless among us.  People try to distance themselves from this horror by quibbling about when human life begins, or by imagining that respecting a pregnant woman’s privacy rights is more important than protecting a baby’s right not to be suctioned or shredded or poisoned.  But, if you accept that abortion is killing unborn children (and I accept that many people choose not to believe… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Eric the Red wrote:

“(I’d say evil, but then katecho would sidetrack us again with a discussion about whether I’m allowed to use the word evil.)”

I’ve never tried to tell Eric what words he can’t use.  However, I have pointed out that Eric’s use of the word evil has no rational account or referent within his materialism.  It’s just an arbitrary emotional reaction that he has from time to time, much like gas, or indigestion.  As we have learned, there are no expectations in Eric’s accidental universe.  None.

Katecho
Member

Well said David and Jill Smith.  It seems that Matt’s advice is similar to the advice that the GOP listened to when they decided to run candidates like McCain on their presidential ticket.  They somehow figured that leftist-lite would win against the real deal.  I think that Eric is correct if he is saying that moving to the left is what causes the GOP to lose elections because religious conservatives don’t play along.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 In any case, Matt seems to be offering that if we just play the game according to the rules of politics, then we can reap the… Read more »

carole
Guest
carole

“The thief broke in and told us that our bullets didn’t work against him, and we believed him rather than God.”
Katecho, I need to remember this always.  Thank you.  And I agree, Jill and David: well said! 

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

I’m not sure what I said that katecho interpreted as meaning that I think the GOP loses elections because it moves to the left.  I think it’s a bit more complicated than that.  Had the GOP nominated Rick Santorum in 2012, I think Obama would have won anyway; nominating a conservative would have energized conservatives, but in that case it would have been the moderates who stayed home on election day.  The real problem for both parties is that on election day, the left and the right basically cancel each other out, so it’s the moderates who decide the election, and… Read more »

David
Guest
David

Eric, It is more complicated than even what you wrote. There are social conservatives who are not fiscally conservative (Santorum), there are “conservatives” who are actually neither in terms of social or fiscal policy (let alone foreign policy), there is the Tea Party which is not a monolith but is comprised of a number of different ideologies, none of which seem very well thought out, leaving no social and fiscal conservatives on the national stage who are contenders. There are also voters who think “Well, the ship is sinking, so let’s jettison the stuff that is less important, like social… Read more »

David
Guest
David

So in the end, Eric, these conservatives who want to be pragmatic (read wicked sell-outs) and pretend that something good will come from doing something evil, they will end up without their precious money, and with the blood of innocents on their hands.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

OK, David, you’ve identified a huge problem, which is that there is no agreed-upon definition as to what is, and is not, a conservative.  The word has basically become meaningless because everyone defines it for themselves.  Further, in some cases, positions that were considered liberal or conservative a generation ago have now switched sides.  And all of this harks back to the problem I raised earlier, which is that there really are four different Republican parties that have little to do with each other.  All of that, however, is largely beside Doug’s original point, which is that if you believe… Read more »

David
Guest
David

Eric,
The definition of conservative is primarily muddied by the presence of neoconservatives who have now become the largest ideology in the GOP. Paleoconservatives have been relegated to the back seats.

Matt
Guest
Matt

I think your asking people to avoid words like genocide and holocaust makes them wonder–probably unfairly–if you have let yourself visualize exactly what this horror really means. You’re probably right, and I haven’t helped matters by speaking about both social conservatism in general and abortion in particular without being clear about which one I’m talking about at any given moment.  Actually, upon thinking more, I’m not sure this kind of thing matters as much as I’ve been implying.  Abortion as holocaust doesn’t seem to have caused any significant backlash.  For that matter, liberals are no strangers to hyperbole, which is… Read more »

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

David, I think your last comment comes pretty close to “no true Scotsman” territory if it doesn’t actually cross the line.  You may not care for the neoconservatives — and I pretty much despise them myself — but compared to liberals, they’re conservative.  And the more I think about it, the more I think that what it comes down to is that “liberal” and “conservative” are not objective points on a line; rather, they are descriptions of where people are relative to one another.  The question is not whether you or I are liberal and conservative so much as it… Read more »

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Matt, the reason conservatives are failing is that until recently they never had to do any real work to win.  Conservative Christianity was the dominant religion in most of the country.  Laws against abortion and homosexuality were a given, and there was deep and abiding social prejudice and ostracism toward homosexuals.  Social conservatism was deeply steeped in the culture.  Military service for males was a given.  There was strong social pressure for women to be homemakers rather than career women.  Religion was considered respectable.  Now, for the first time, conservatives are in the position of having to defend what they… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Clearly Eric the Red measures success politically.  When one apostatizes from the Christian faith, a vacuum is created, but it doesn’t remain a vacuum for long.  There are few things that can plausibly attempt to fill this void.  The most obvious one is the State.  Religion is not abandoned, but transformed into the religion of Statism.  The collective achievements of man become the foundation for a proud new tower of Babel.  Eric supposes that conservatism is the only threat to the reigning political machine, but he seems to be oblivious to the cracks that are already forming because the foundation… Read more »

Robert
Guest
Robert

Jill was spot on about people who walk by abortion clinics. Let us also remember that Japanese did war atrocities as well? Ask the people of Korea, Vietnam and Nanking.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Actually, Eric measures political success politically, and this thread has diverged into two separate conversations:  What is the principled thing for social conservatives to do, and how do social conservatives start winning elections (if they can).  Those are two very different conversations.  My comments that katecho responded to, were directed to the “how to win elections” segment of the thread.  As far as principles, I’ve already said that social conservatives should do what they think is right whether it wins elections or not, so I’m not really sure what katecho is finding objectionable about anything I’ve said.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

But here’s the thing:  All empires come to an end eventually.  If we stick around long enough, we’ll see the demise of the American empire.  As an American I would like to see that day postponed as far as possible, but in truth neither individuals nor nations live forever.  I suspect that, as with the British empire, things will end, not with a bang but a whimper.  And another empire will rise up somewhere else to take its place as the dominant world power.  God’s judgment has nothing to do with it; that’s just the regular ebb and flow of… Read more »