Sunday, August 24, 2008

Litmus Test?

This Kathleen Parker article appeared in my local newspaper, but the link is to, which is good since my local paper's website doesn't reprint everything it printed in the paper. But anyway, Parker is considered a conservative pundit and I have found fault with her reasoning, which might cause heart palpitations in some of my liberal visitors.

Parker's concern is with the Saddleback event hosted by Rick Warren. She believes it constitutes a religious litmus test that is unAmerican. My problem with this is that this is one of those things from which the federal government is restricted, but not us. We are perfectly free to judge the worthiness of a candidate based on our own prejudices and guidelines. It is not unAmerican in the least. That is what voting is all about: voting for the candidate that we feel is the best for our nation. And in the deciding, we are free to use any "test" we so choose to satisfy our desire or anxiety regarding the course and future of the United States of America.

For myself, I enjoy knowing what shapes a candidate's world view. Upon what is it based? And if the candidate is a man/woman of faith, what faith and how does he/she understand it? Any insights into this are as important for me as their stances on the issues themselves.

It's all part of the pecking order of stats and minutia that help me determine which candidate gets my support. During the primaries, Romney's Mormonism was a mark against him. Not a big mark, because I've known a Mormon or two in my life and found them to be very Christian-like. And as it appeared he had a real shot at winning the nomination (at least for a while), I knew that his faith was not something that would be prohibitive in the face of an Obama, Clinton, Edwards, or any of the other Democratic jokers he might face in the general.

But it is a factor. I would prefer my president to be as typical of a true Bible-believing Christian as possible. I would prefer he be the type of Christian I myself strive to be. I know this probably scares some people. They might refer to Bush and make some crack about his quality (as if they were accurate in their assessment).

But the point is that we, as voters, have the right to judge candidates on their religious position as well as anything else. We, in fact, would be remiss as citizens if we ignored such things should we judge them important.


Democracy Lover said...

I agree, you have every right to judge candidates on whatever basis you like. I had no big problem with the Rick Warren event, and I would hope that if the American Humanist Association held a similar event, both candidates would show up and answer their questions as well.

That said, there are serious limits to using a religious test to choose a candidate. For example, you say you want to understand a candidate's faith and how it shapes their world view, then you support McCain. It is patently obvious that of the two Obama has a much stronger Christian faith (as evidenced by church attendance, work on church-sponsored projects, and in how he talks about the issues). So you should support him.

You want a candidate that appears to believe as you do - at least one that gives lip service to the key ideological positions held by "true Bible-believing Christians". So you vote for a candidate whose entire life story is one of deceit and opportunism and whose campaign is owned and run by corporate lobbyists because he sucks up to the evangelical leadership and flip-flops in their direction on key issues so he can get their votes.

In the last 2 elections, "true B-BC's" have voted for the Republican and ignored the fact that American jobs have been shipped overseas at an alarming rate, that our banking system is near collapse, that America is dead last among rich nations in health care, life expectancy, and first in infant mortality, and that most of the Bill of Rights is gone.

I'm sure Jesus is proud of you. I'm sure He is glad all those innocent Iraqis and Afghans died needlessly because you voted Republican. I'm sure Jesus is happy that America has more people in prison than Communist China and tortures people besides - hey, He knows a little something about torture, old Pontius P. had enhanced interrogation techniques too.

Yes, Jesus thanks you for remembering all those great teachings of His like "Love yourself and let your neighbor pound salt." and "Do unto others in case they might decide to do unto you in the future." and "Blessed are the warmakers, for they shall inherit the oil." Amen, Brother Marshall, vote Republican again!

Anonymous said...

You want to talk about infant mortality rate and then vote for a guy that has no love for them in the womb? That's what I call hypocrisy. mom2

Jim said...

um, there are no "infants in the womb."

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Ah, Jim, you labor under the false idea that the pre-born aren't fully human, with the right to life, liberty, and property. Also the vote, drinking, the right to straight marriage, full health-care benefits, and free lottery tickets.

Once that umbilical cord is cut - screw 'em, they're on their own.

Anonymous said...

jim, you can get technical about the term infant if you want. If that salves your conscience, but an infant started out in the womb and it has been people like Obama that have made it dangerous for them. Swallow a few camels and gag on knats if you want, but there will be a day of reckoning. mom2

Jim said...

Mom, I'm shakin' in my boots. You have no clue what Senator Obama feels about fetuses. You only spew suppositions based on your own bias.

Marshall Art said...


The current candidates have nothing to do with the topic. They and the Saddleback event only provoked it. If the AHA, if there is such a thing, held such an event, it wouldn't bother me in the least if the candidates showed up. In fact, it would be quite interesting to see who's answers aligned with those given at Saddleback. My money would be on McCain.

Regarding Obama's faith, it was developed under the tutelege of a racist who preaches a Black Liberation Theology that does not reflect traditional Christianity that well. The more I read about it, the less stock I put in Obama's "faith". He has expressed such goofy things akin to equal value amongst other religious traditions, which contradicts Christian teaching.

You want a candidate that appears to believe as you do...

Who doesn't? You make great assumptions about the hearts of either candidate in the rest of this paragraph. As one who is not a fan of McCain, I'm only voting for the less crappy. He is that.

There are a lot of factors involved with why jobs are shipped overseas, why our banking system is troubled. I dispute the parts about health care and infant mortality, and I absolutely reject the notion that most of our rights have vanished. That's just goofy lefty rhetoric with no substance behind it.

Innocent Iraqis and Afghanis died needlessly due to assholes in their own country, not us. You conveniently ignore that they were dying before we got there, and would have continued dying had we never gone. Don't forget the innocent French who died when we invaded Normandy. Please, for the love of all that's holy, put that lameass line to rest for good.

I'm sure Jesus is happy that America has more people in prison than Communist China and tortures people besides...

I doubt it. China likely kills more criminals than we do without real trials. China likely has more people living to fearfully to break their laws and likely have more officials with guns ready to take them out. China likely doesn't publicize accurately their internal embarassments. China likely actually tortures as standard operating procedure. China likely actually tortures, rather than the ambiguous forms about which the left will not describe but whine incessantly.

The rest of your comment suggests you got your education where Dan Trabue did, Ole' Miss. That's not the University of Mississippi, but the Universtity of Misrepresentation and Misunderstanding. That sheepskin's worthless.

Marshall Art said...

"You want to talk about infant mortality rate and then vote for a guy that has no love for them in the womb?"

Very good point, Mom. When the 50 million surgical abortions and the unknown millions chemically aborted are thrown in, our infant mortality rate is indeed staggering.

Marshall Art said...


"Once that umbilical cord is cut - screw 'em, they're on their own."

Ah, the old line. It's bullshit, but I know how much you love it. You pretend we don't care once they are born. Two very different issues, Geoffrey, and you damned well know it. Tons of money goes out to help unfortunate children. Tons of money comes from pro-lifers. But you keep running that lie, Geoffrey. It fits well with the lie regarding not knowing when life begins.

Anonymous said...

"Once that umbilical cord is cut - screw 'em, they're on their own."

Yep, that old lie, which fails miserably on several levels.

1. You don't have to take ownership of a situation to protest an immoral act. You can't protest wife-beating or child / animal abuse unless you're willing to marry the woman and adopt the kids and the pets, right?

2. Pro-lifers fund more crisis pregnancy centers with their own time and money than pro-abortionists fund abortion clinics. Ever hear of PP giving free abortions to the poor? How much help does PP give to women who decide to keep their babies? Do they give car seats and training, parenting courses, maternity and baby clothes, formula, etc.?

3. That argument proves to much. Using that "logic," you couldn't protest infanticide unless you were willing to adopt the infants (or even the toddlers or teens).

P.S. Obama doesn't even care if the cord has been cut. He is a task completer, I'll grant him that. If the mom wanted that baby dead then by golly she should be dead.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

How is it a lie, when the candidates you support consistently refuse to support serious programs for children's health care, serious education reform, day care, paid maternity/paternity leave, or mandatory flex time legislation so that working families can keep their jobs and stay at home with their children? How is it a lie when all the talk is about fetuses, and yet when the topic of actually born children and all they suffer - crickets chirp? I will consider it a lie when as much effort goes in to working for candidates who help actual children as is expended on the Holy fetus.

Anonymous said...

"How is it a lie"

For the reasons I listed. Re-read them.

Then, instead of changing the subject, try explaining why one must be willing to take ownership of a situation before protesting its immorality. Do I have to marry a woman before protesting that her husband shouldn't beat her?

Then, explain what the pro-aborts do with their OWN money to help women in crisis pregnancies.

And unless you are solely focused on the 1% children that are the product of rapes, you get bonus points for explaining why anyone, anywhere should have to pay for the children you or someone else produces.

Again, pro-lifers do more for the children after they are born, and they use their own money instead of taking it from others at the point of a gun.

P.S. Your other points such as "education reform" were a joke (I'm all for education reform - support home schooling and school choice, yet the libs and their unions hate reform), but let's save those for after you answer the above.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, didn't mean to sound so snippy.

My guess is that the root cause of this once again is the pro-abortion question begging about the unborn. They are living human beings. That is a scientific fact. Living human beings are worthy of protection. It is hard to help feed them if they have been crushed and dismembered.

Marshall Art said...


I recall your alarm during a previous discussion over abortion regarding the S-CHIPS program and found that Bush's objections were good ones of which you were unaware or avoiding. There is also the debate over whether or not the job for caring as you demand is one for the feds or the states (I feel it's for the states, as well as we, the people as individuals).

Ben said...

"Very good point, Mom. When the 50 million surgical abortions and the unknown millions chemically aborted are thrown in, our infant mortality rate is indeed staggering."

Dont forget all the abandoned children from those deadbeat men masturbating.

Oh, the humanity!!

Marshall Art said...


While you keep your personal life to yourself, remember that sperm is not a human being. Pick up any basic biology book and learn something.

Ben said...

psst.. Marshall, it was a joke. Kind of like the idea of you reading anything science related.

Marshall Art said...

psst, Ben. See my comment about futile attempts at being clever.

Ben said...

Ok.. ok.. you got me. Now I'm curious. Have you ever read a science book before?

Marshall Art said...

I have gone to school in my life. Science was unavoidable. Biology, sex ed, both support my position. Have you ever understood any science books you may have read?

Ben said...

"I have gone to school in my life."
They had schools back then?

"Science was unavoidable."
The pain it must have caused.

"Biology, sex ed, both support my position."
The missionary position?

Oh.. you're talking about the position where the govt. forces people to have children.

"Have you ever understood any science books you may have read?"
Hmm.. lets see... Just the Bible! Thats where all my science book facts come from.

That and I've taken to reading journals, not so much books of late. I hope that helps.

Marshall Art said...

"They had schools back then?"

Yes. They had only one room and all ages learned together. But first I had to milk the cows.

"The pain it must have caused."

Only because we experimented on each other.

"The missionary position?"

No. The Mrs.Mary position. Don't ask.

"Oh.. you're talking about the position where the govt. forces people to have children."

No. I'm talking about the position where the government holds accountable those who take the life of another human being. Not required of people who are disciplined enough to control themselves rather than pretend sexual gratification is either a need or an expression of love.

"Just the Bible! Thats where all my science book facts come from."

Explains a lot.

Ron said...

"You conveniently ignore that they were dying before we got there, and would have continued dying had we never gone."

Ya why should we miss out on the fun!!! Guilty conscience? No freakin way, they deserved it!

Dude, you and I are on a different planet.

Marshall Art said...


You and I are on the same planet. I'm referring to the reality. They were dying without a chance at freeing themselves from the oppression. Upon our arrival, they began dying due to the scumbags trying to beat us. Look at them now. A lot closer to dying from defending their own selves than ever before. Put yourself in their shoes and think about their plight.

You get up in the morning and find out your neighbors went missing. No one knows where they are and there's no reason to believe they simply moved. It's a common event and such people are never seen or heard from again. Others have been killed outright. You know that your life isn't worth a plugged nickel because you aren't a member of the same party or circle of people connected to those suspected of causing the suffering, the country's leaders. You wonder when your time will come.

One day, an invasion occurs and the oppressors are overthrown. Hope begins to well up but there continues to be destruction and death, but liberation has occurred. More friends die as a result of the "insurgents" who seek to turn back the liberators. You wonder if it will happen to you.

In time, your new government forms and army and police force that eventually is able to secure your country's security. Still, there are deaths occurring as those at one time calling themselves insurgents are trying to re-assert themselves and re-create an environment similar in tone to that which has been overthrown by the liberators and replaced by the new government.

Three different situations threatening your existence. Are they the same? The fact that you might die is, but the reason for your death isn't. You, personally can't change any of it. In which situation would you prefer to be? Right now, you actually live in the third in that your own people protect you from scumbags. You might die there in NM, but not from an oppressor, unless it's a drug lord or something like that in your neighborhood.

I think the common Iraqi is indeed in a better state right now than they were before we came and that the average Iraqi would confirm it.