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#32217 - 11/24/09 07:24 PM Abortion and Catholic Ineptitude
Octavius Offline
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 561
Loc: just visiting
Anyone else catch this interview? I found it interesting...

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#32218 - 11/24/09 07:37 PM Re: Abortion and Catholic Ineptitude [Re: Octavius]
Jake999 Offline
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Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
Caught it last night on Hardball. Blurs the hell out of the line between church and state for sure. Matthews was tough and kept pressing for answers, but the priest was obvious in his message. If you're a Catholic in office, the Church and its laws come first.

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#32221 - 11/24/09 08:50 PM Re: Abortion and Catholic Ineptitude [Re: Jake999]
FriendlyS Offline
stranger


Registered: 10/05/09
Posts: 39
Loc: Toronto, Canada
That was a good interview by Matthews, thanks for posting.

Rev. Tobin ruins his argument early when he says, "Any Catholic in public office, his first commitment has to be to his faith." As soon as he tries to bring religion and government together, his argument becomes invalid, especially when he can't back it up with any suggestions for what the laws should be.

Mathews does well in telling him that religions should not rely on the laws to have people follow their beliefs and moral code. If a person has faith in the church and the church has faith in its followers, the laws in the religion should suffice for the followers. The laws must serve the people as individuals, not any organization or collective group.

Once again, good video.

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#32233 - 11/25/09 03:11 PM Re: Abortion and Catholic Ineptitude [Re: FriendlyS]
ballbreaker Offline
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Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 134
Loc: Toronto, Canada
I actually think the priest did a better job; Matthews just kept bulldogging him unnecessarily. The priest is working from an abstract level..."murder is wrong, abortion is murder, therefore abortion is wrong...so don't let it happen good Catholic politicians"; how these politicians work things out on the messy, practical, non-abstract level is for them to figure out.

I don't see how this is contradictory; the priest is coming from his position as a moral theorist...we don't grill Rawls or other political theorists because they don't tell us how exactly they'd like the technical details of legislation to be worked out, and I use Rawls' name because he only differs from the priest in his content, not his form.

We single out the priest because he belongs to a concrete institution with a well known set of ethics...but
any one of us taking a look at what's actually happening at the practical level of politics is implicitly applying a normative standard to judge...the priest is obvious and boring, liberals are subtle and (seemingly!) relativistic...but it doesn't change the priest only differs in degree from Matthews.

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#32240 - 11/25/09 07:50 PM Re: Abortion and Catholic Ineptitude [Re: ballbreaker]
FriendlyS Offline
stranger


Registered: 10/05/09
Posts: 39
Loc: Toronto, Canada
 Originally Posted By: ballbreaker
The priest is working from an abstract level..."murder is wrong, abortion is murder, therefore abortion is wrong...so don't let it happen good Catholic politicians"; how these politicians work things out on the messy, practical, non-abstract level is for them to figure out.

So what? The law shouldn't have to be figured out to by him but if he doesn't have an idea of what laws should be, he shouldn't be suggesting which laws shouldn't be. By telling Catholic politicians that they are going against the church if they don't promote a nation governed by Catholic morals, he is making religious politicians afraid to vote against something which should be a personal choice for every individual to make. He is also telling all Catholic/Christian voters that they should vote for the politician who is most likely to follow religious doctrine rather than for the better candidate, fearing that they will be punished for going against God as he puts it. And yes, I know this would only affect how Christians vote but they obviously have some voting power or else politicians wouldn't try to appeal to them so much.

Aside from suggesting how politicians and citizens should vote, by arguing that the law should reflect Catholic morals he is suggesting that state and religion be united. We all know why this shouldn't be but he makes it a little worse. He never gives an answer as to what the law should be as for what the punishment should be for people who perform abortions if they are illegal, and actually says he doesn't know what they should be. Fine, he shouldn't because he's not a politician, which is exactly why he should stay out of politics all together. Telling people to vote against something without telling them what to vote for instead is useless.

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#32270 - 11/26/09 12:49 PM Re: Abortion and Catholic Ineptitude [Re: FriendlyS]
ballbreaker Offline
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Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 134
Loc: Toronto, Canada
 Originally Posted By: FriendlyS
By telling Catholic politicians that they are going against the church if they don't promote a nation governed by Catholic morals, he is making religious politicians afraid to vote against something which should be a personal choice for every individual to make.


Aha! This is the crux of it...

You think abortion should be a personal choice for every individual to make. Catholic orthodoxy thinks it's murder. Do you see the dilemma here?

Insofar as this is a moral concern for the Catholic Church concerning the 'sanctity of life', don't you find your response to be a preposterous one? Of course, you're at the same time spot on...the 'sanctity of life' can only really have deep meaning for transcendentalists and theists, and is an empty phrase...but from a Catholic perspective, abortion=murder. When you tell them it's a "personal thing", you're effectively speaking a different language.

Is this a roundabout way of regurgitating how stupid xtians are? Not quite...what's really happening is that two different philosophical languages are running up against one another, and there's no possibility for communication.

 Quote:
He is also telling all Catholic/Christian voters that they should vote for the politician who is most likely to follow religious doctrine rather than for the better candidate,


But...there is no such thing as a neutral definition of a "better" candidate...however you frame this "better candidate", you're still unable to move beyond the particular framework you're implicitly or explicitly/consciously working from. For the Catholic orthodoxy, the better candidate is the good Catholic! What else could a 'better' candidate possibly mean?

 Quote:
Aside from suggesting how politicians and citizens should vote, by arguing that the law should reflect Catholic morals he is suggesting that state and religion be united.


While the Church has at various times exercised a great degree of influence over states, there has never really been a genuine case of theocracy in the Western world; it's always slightly more nuanced than, "Look, that Pope forced that Holy Roman Emperor to beg forgiveness...", etc etc.

Despite the official, obvious, separation between the institutions of 'the Church' and 'the state', Western states largely derive their practices and are informed by Judeo-xtian norms and principles. Not only that, but we are always legislating our morals...sometimes this is more brazen and obvious, as it is for the evangelical right. At other times it is more 'insidious', in the case of, say, libertarians...the belief that a vast amount of liberty is normatively preferable is not an "un-belief", it falls w/in the same parameters of the xtian who's bitter about homos and wants something done about it.

My point is that there's no neutral way to judge this...

I mentioned Rawls as an example because he is a secular, liberal political theorist...who never tells us what precisely our laws should look like. Does this mean we should Matthews-mushroom slap the old cunt? Well no...Rawls is providing a theory that we might consider analogous to some Platonic Idea (or however we want to frame it): we probably (and this 'probably' means that 'theory' is not purely ideal) can never have the ideal Rawlsian society, but we can more or less struggle towards it. This struggle takes place on the practical, nitty gritty political level...Rawls doesn't know the intricate details of law making, but his theory provides some normative framework that politicians can work from.

And like it or not, everyone is implicitly or explicitly working from some framework...the Catholics are just more obvious and ugly from our perspective. As far as I'm concerned, the priest did no more and no less than the role he stipulated for himself: provide a moral theory/framework from which good Catholic politicians should work towards.

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#32297 - 11/27/09 07:59 AM Re: Abortion and Catholic Ineptitude [Re: ballbreaker]
Room 101 Offline
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Registered: 10/17/09
Posts: 262
Loc: Scotland
Religion seems to play such a large part in the way that American laws and policies are made. Britain does have its own issues regarding policie creation/enforcement etc in regards to faith, but really, you guys take it to a new level.
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#32365 - 11/29/09 04:22 AM Re: Abortion and Catholic Ineptitude [Re: FriendlyS]
fakepropht Moderator Offline
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Registered: 08/29/07
Posts: 990
Loc: Texas
America was founded on Christian doctrine. You will find evidence of this in the constitution, court rulings, established laws, political thinking, etc.

Why do you think our money bears the statement "In God We Trust"? What about the displays of the Ten Commandments in State owned buildings? The Pledge of Allegience? One nation, under God?

Seperation of church and state does not mean that the government cannot be influenced by religion. It only means that the government cannot enforce a mandatory religion. IE...you have to be X or you cannot live here, have rights, be put to death, etc. History 101. We learned that in 6th grade.

Somehow the liberals would have you believe that it means the government can't involve religion....period. That way they can push through their agenda. The conservatives have held the line that the founding fathers intended....we are a nation founded on religion. Face the facts. Read some history.

Pitchforks and torches only worked in Frankenstien movies.
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#32366 - 11/29/09 04:40 AM Re: Abortion and Catholic Ineptitude [Re: fakepropht]
Asmedious Moderator Offline
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Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 1753
Loc: New York
I read the entire constitution last week, because a coworker and I got into a discussion (I discussed, she yelled) regarding the idea that the country was founded on xtian ideals.

The only thing that I read in the Constitution that might may imply xtian principles by the founding fathers was in the date "In the year of our Lord..."

Even when they talk about politicians being sworn into office, it states "Either sworn to, or affirmed" which frankly surprised me that they would use the word "affirmed."

I can't argue against the idea that there are xtian influences in much of politics today, but from the Biographies of some of the founding fathers, I suspect that they used religion as a guard against their true feelings.

Benjamim Franklin for instance did many things that were unchristian, even going as far as joining one of the Hell Fire Clubs. (Or so it is said.)

I will admit that it is likely that I bring some of my personal "wishes" into this, and they might have been religous, but I don't think many of them were truly so.
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#32374 - 11/29/09 12:45 PM Re: Abortion and Catholic Ineptitude [Re: Asmedious]
CJB Offline
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Registered: 10/12/09
Posts: 125
Loc: Virginia Beach, VA
Re: fakepropht

America was founded on Christian doctrine only so much as enforcing those universal no-nos that happen to be in the bible. (You know...don't murder, don't steal, that kinda thing). A lot of people in the country were Christians, some of the founders were Christian, even, but the founding principles of the country are deistic, at worst. (It is kinda hard to come up with "natural rights" if there was nobody there to give them to you)

As for court rulings: some of them probably have been influenced by the judge's religion, but others certainly have not (i.e. Roe vs. Wade, to think of probably the most famous one...). And as for the display of the ten commandments...as far as I know, they got banned from public buildings? I may be mistaken in that, though...I honestly didn't pay too much attention to the case aside from laughing at it.

Some of the laws at the beginning of America were definitely Christian oriented, but over time, the majority of those laws got challenged and thrown out.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in the late 1800s and didn't have "Under God" included in it until the 1950s (a time of intense religious fervor in the country, and that's probably the most far-reaching effect they had...). Even in reciting the pledge, several people I know (including me) just skip that part anyway.

Considering a vast majority of Americans are Christians, it should come as no surprise that a lot of Christian stuff happens from the citizens themselves...but there are very few "pro-religious" laws on the books.

As for the Constitutional amendment..

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

You're about right...this portion says that there can be no established church (re: Church of England), and no law can be passed saying it's illegal to be of a certain religion.

Separation of church and state isn't even in the constitution...that was in one of Jefferson's letters saying that there needed to be a "wall of separation of church and state" in order to preserve freedom. And Jefferson, one of the founding fathers, was a deist...which was about as close to socially acceptable to "Atheist" as you could get back then, and even he got called a heretic in his presidential campaign.

History 101 is good enough for a sixth grader, I suppose, but it does leave out so much of the good, juicy bits.
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~~CJ
"To say 'I love you' one must know first how to say the 'I.'"
-Ayn Rand

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#32427 - 12/01/09 01:27 AM Re: Abortion and Catholic Ineptitude [Re: fakepropht]
FriendlyS Offline
stranger


Registered: 10/05/09
Posts: 39
Loc: Toronto, Canada
 Originally Posted By: fakepropht
Seperation of church and state does not mean that the government cannot be influenced by religion.

I'm not saying that religion shouldn't influence the government. At least to a certain extent. Once a religion causes the government to enforce something that takes away the right of a person who doesn't want to follow that religion's doctrine is going too far. Printing "In God We Trust" on the money or having "One nation, under God" in the pledge of allegiance doesn't take away anyone's rights. Creating laws based on what the Bible says is right, does take away a person's freedom.

There's a reason that every religion has a set of rules or laws. They are so that followers of the religion know how to behave. Good followers will follow the rules regardless of if they are or aren't the law in the country/state. Religious laws belong to their religion and should not influence any other type of law or person outside of whichever religion it comes from.

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#32430 - 12/01/09 03:20 AM Re: Abortion and Catholic Ineptitude [Re: CJB]
Meq Offline
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
From what I've seen, the American founding fathers were heavily influenced by Enlightenment Deism (as CJB said) such as the writings of John Locke (an Englishman).

This form of deism was, as Richard Dawkins pointed out, a highly watered down form of theism. This concept of God was of course influenced by Judeo-Christian tradition (and could perhaps be called neo-Christian), but had lost many of his more funky attributes like a human-like personality and penchant for miracles, and remained the creating principle which endows all humans with their "inalienable natural rights" (particularly liberty), ideas which quickly took root in politics.

This was of course before Charles Darwin (and Alfred Russel Wallace) had articulated a truly naturalistic account of human origins, although thinkers such as David Hume had already cast doubt on such a deity and especially its moral attributes (though without much of an alternative).

However, the United States also had a history of pilgrims bringing hardcore Christian dogma. Combine this with the founding principles of enlightenment Deism, and you have a malleable concept of God interpreted differently by the growing majority of Christians and by the more secular Deists, which can easily lead to a variety of interpretations of the Constitution and other texts.

For instance, while to a Deist "Under God" might mean that a nation is obligated to grant the natural right of liberty to its citizens, to a Christian it is more likely to imply the primacy of the moral code of the Bible. A deist would reject the divine inspiration of such a book, however, and turn to human reason for guidance.

Unfortunately, when you create a democracy (although that status is disputable) based on secular principles, and hand over the power to a nation of hardcore Abrahamists, you do run the risk of creating a theocracy if it's what the public may want. We've seen this in differing degrees in the Middle East as well as in the United States.

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#32637 - 12/07/09 09:31 PM Re: Abortion and Catholic Ineptitude [Re: Octavius]
BFranklin Offline
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Registered: 11/27/09
Posts: 33
Loc: Boston
Nice interview, but I wasn’t impressed with the interviewer. It would have been better if he didn’t constantly hector and interrupt “Monsignor”. I think an interviewer has to be impassionate - partisan, okay, but not so passionate that you don’t even allow the guest to breathe. (…although, typing that does invoke a vivid fantasy.)

I am in favour of a woman’s complete liberty to decide whether to have an abortion or not. Like the bumper sticker says: “Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one.” However, abortion raises a spectre in my mind, as a LaVey Satanist, vis a vis the Satanic Rules of the Earth. At what age is someone a child? If a baby is needlessly aborted the day before it would have been born, does this qualify as harming a child? A month before? I have not yet found anything written by LaVey or others specifying an age at which human life becomes a child. Is this an open question for us?

(Quoting Ballbreaker) “...what's really happening is that two different philosophical languages are running up against one another, and there's no possibility for communication.”

-Michael Oakeshott’s “Epistemological Crisis”. The same thing happens when Christians try to argue with us over the existence of god. Oakeshott was a brilliant man, one worth everyone’s time reading.

(Quoting Meq) “Combine this with the founding principles of enlightenment Deism, and you have a malleable concept of God … which can easily lead to a variety of interpretations of the Constitution and other texts.”

Related to that, it’s also important to note that state religious legal traditions have had a huge impact on the federal separation issue. Let me give my 2c as a U.S. history teacher: The U.S.A. was not thought of as “one nation,” in the antebellum age. The original premise was that each state was a sovereign nation, in association with each other for nothing other than mutual defense (of course this belief was matter of degree, somewhat). Colonies were established on different religious principles. When they became states, they were given the liberty to write whatever religious crap they wanted into their state constitutions. By the time the “loose confederation” concept faded away (and the end of reconstruction as the coup de gras), most Americans started seeing themselves as truly one nation in principle, but these pre-existing STATE religious traditions and laws were entrenched and adored. I believe this has actually made it hard, not easy, to keep federal politics separate from religion - It has fueled the idea that government (in general) does have a role in religion, and it created numerous federal-state conflicts over whether state religious laws are constitutional or not, which in turn has rallied the public to defend religion laws.
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"Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb deciding what to eat. Liberty is a well-armed lamb"
-B Franklin

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#32644 - 12/08/09 04:39 AM Re: Abortion and Catholic Ineptitude [Re: BFranklin]
6Satan6Archist6 Offline
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Registered: 10/16/08
Posts: 2509
 Originally Posted By: BFranklin
Nice interview, but I wasn’t impressed with the interviewer. It would have been better if he didn’t constantly hector and interrupt “Monsignor”. I think an interviewer has to be impassionate - partisan, okay, but not so passionate that you don’t even allow the guest to breathe. (…although, typing that does invoke a vivid fantasy.)


*Sigh* there is a reason it is called Hardball with Chris Matthews. There is a method behind the madness. Suspense, ratings, controversy.
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