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January 26, 2007

Comments

My favorite article on this topic can be found at http://www.drurywriting.com/keith/gay.evangelical.htm

Rather than tossing out the title perhaps we should reclaim it as it has been historically defined?

"Coppenger still calls himself evangelical "to distinguish myself from the more liberal mainline Christian groups." But, he adds, "I'm more inclined to call myself a 'Christian,' 'Bible believer,' 'Baptist,' or 'Southern Baptist.'"

Chris·tian (kr¹s“ch…n) adj. 1. Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus. 2. Relating to or derived from Jesus or Jesus's teachings. 3. Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike. 4. Relating to or characteristic of Christianity or its adherents. 5. Showing a loving concern for others; humane. --Chris·tian n. Abbr. Chr. 1. One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus. 2. One who lives according to the teachings of Jesus. [Middle English Cristen, from Old English cristen, from Latin Christi³nus, from Greek Khristianos, from Khristos, Christ. See CHRIST.] --Chris“tian·ly adj. & adv.

While Jesus said "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" he also directed his followers to to forth and to teach all nations etc. To do so requires Christians to be active in society and politics. If we refuse to do so then we guarantee a secular society which will eventually crush Christianity.

"The theological clarity of the term has gotten lost in the political activism it's come to represent."

Perhaps the political activism isn't a good fit and has poisoned more then our public square?

Labels have no meaning unless they are clearly defined. I can call myself a conservative Christian but this doesn't provide a huge amount of useful information.

The term fundamentalist has been particularly abused in recent history. The term evangelical seems also to be losing its clarity in common usage.

The terms left/right and liberal/conservative etc. also do not supply any real specific information unless a context/definition is provided.

It may be better to avoid using such terms if you cannot first clearly define their meaning. This would avoid misundestanding due to equivication.

I think Shane's suggestion to reclaim the original meaning would be difficult in the larger society. Certainly the original meeting has not been lost to a certain population.

I am reminded of the saying attributed, I believe, to A. Lincoln "If I call a dog's tail a leg, how many legs does the dog have? Five? No, four, because calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg."

The terms evangelical and fundamentalist have been slandered; but so what? That’s always going to be the case. Even the term Christian is mocked and criticized. Again, so what?

We don’t (as Christians) have to have this ‘prom date’ attitude towards the general public (mainly the media) of “I hope they like us. Please, let them like us!” The fact is, they don’t in general.

Christians could change words meanings all day long; it doesn’t matter; changing hearts does; and you don’t start with the media and the perception of words. We know this.

Wasn't the name "Christian" itself originally used in a pejorative manner? I, for one, am glad the first century church embraced the term even through it had a negative connotation with the culture.

Alan wrote: "Perhaps the political activism isn't a good fit and has poisoned more then our public square?"

So your views (as I understand them from this quote) are:

1) Christians shouldn't be involved in *any* public activism, which would include: feeding the poor, fighting for basic human rights, etc. Or is it they just shouldn't be involved in public activism you don't agree with?

2) Christians' involvement in issues in the "public square" is a poisoning element to that forum, and they should just leave that to the non-theists. In other words, Christians should not have the same say in the functioning of society as other citizens. Should we be allowed to vote?

It's a level playing field -- Christians don't have any special privileges written into the Constitution, but they also don't (and shouldn't have) any diminished privileges either. You don't complain when the ACLU exercises its power to impose its own moral viewpoint. I'd be a lot more respectful of your position if you just said, "the Christians are wrong in what they believe, but they have a right to have their ideas compete in the public forum." Hey, if our ideas are bad, then you should *encourage* them in the public square, so that their folly can be seen and dismissed by all.

Alan,
I think one of the problems people have with Evangelicals is that the notion that there is only one way of salvation which is the acceptance of Christ's life, death and resurrection that makes us righteous if we would only believe. Most people take this as Christians feeling that they are self righteous which is opposite of what we believe. We are all sinners and will continue to be sinners but we are forgiven and our obedience is not for God's acceptance but we are obedient because of our gratitude.

"Alan wrote: "Perhaps the political activism isn't a good fit and has poisoned more then our public square?"

So your views (as I understand them from this quote) are:

1) Christians shouldn't be involved in *any* public activism, which would include: feeding the poor, fighting for basic human rights, etc. Or is it they just shouldn't be involved in public activism you don't agree with?"

No Paul, its just that they shouldn't vote for fools and madmen for President and Vice President, or elect folks to Congress who are corrupt and don't understand the principle of congressional oversight.

"2) Christians' involvement in issues in the "public square" is a poisoning element to that forum, and they should just leave that to the non-theists. In other words, Christians should not have the same say in the functioning of society as other citizens. Should we be allowed to vote?"

Hey, I was just agreeing with Melinda. BTW, not all Christians are social conservatives or Christianists. You all should have the rights that other citizens enjoy. I just want to call it as I see it in the hope that some of those who have rejected republican virtue for Christianist authoritarianism will reflect and repent and come into the light.

"It's a level playing field -- Christians don't have any special privileges written into the Constitution, but they also don't (and shouldn't have) any diminished privileges either. You don't complain when the ACLU exercises its power to impose its own moral viewpoint. I'd be a lot more respectful of your position if you just said, "the Christians are wrong in what they believe, but they have a right to have their ideas compete in the public forum." Hey, if our ideas are bad, then you should *encourage* them in the public square, so that their folly can be seen and dismissed by all."

I complain when the ACLU does something stupid and praise them when they adhere to their purpose. Unfortunately the social conservative and Christianist record is mostly unmixed in its destructive effects on our Republic over the last few years. Fortunately your last sentence may be coming to pass. It began with the Schaivo shark jumping and followed through with stem cell research and the growing realization of the Iraqi fraud; hopefully last November's election is only the beginning.

Les, I have no problem with Christian exceptionalism as long as it doesn't lead to Christianism.

Christianist, Christianist authoritarianism, and Christianism mean what?

Alan,

Thanks for your last post and for being honest; you have issues with Republicans; Eureka.

Hi Kevin, I have 'issues" with anyone who seeks to undermine Constitutional governance.

Alan,

Of course you do; I’ll assume you feel the same about undermining the free market and capitalism? And undermining financial liberty?

“…undermine Constitutional governance.”

Because we all know; Government knows best.

This is from an interview with Chuck Hagel:

"A: Exactly right. And if you recall, the White House had announced that they didn’t need that authority from Congress.

Q: Which they seem to say about a lot of things.

A: That’s right. Mr. [Alberto] Gonzales was the president’s counsel at that time, and he wrote a memo to the president saying, “You have all the powers that you need.” So I called Andy Card, who was then the chief of staff, and said, “Andy, I don’t think you have a shred of ground to stand on, but more to the point, why would a president seriously consider taking a nation to war without Congress being with him?” So a few of us—Joe Biden, Dick Lugar, and I—were invited into discussions with the White House."

http://www.belgraviadispatch.com/2007/01/post_77.html

Now Kevin, read the whole thing and tell me we don't have a problem here.

"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society."

D. James Kennedy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._James_Kennedy#_ref-10

Self identified Christians are more accepting of institutionalized torture than secular folks.

http://ncronline.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2006a/032406/032406h.htm

The more one attends church, the more likely one is to vote Republican and that, unfortunately, has become a good indicator for ones willingness to tolerate corruption and subversion of the Constitution.

http://pewforum.org/docs/index.php?DocID=174

Sadly, Anonymous, some, not all, Christians have bought into the 'values" scam and seek to impose those "values" (or at least candidates who give lip service to those "values") on us regardless of their impact on Constitutional government.

See, Alan, now this is the problem;

My question: Where are these people? They aren’t posting on this site; so where are they?

I could generalize too and say secular Democrats want to redistribute wealth, hinder the free market, impose burdensome tax laws, keep kids in failing schools, snoop in our business (except to protect us), and finally, coerce us into saluting a living, breathing, and defecating Constitution. Of course that’s not the case for all Democrats; right Alan?

Say it ain’t so.

The fact is “Christians” get in the way of the ‘cause.’ Christians have always had a knack for getting in the way; getting in the way of the ever eluding ‘utopia’

>>"Sadly, Anonymous, some, not all, Christians have bought into the 'values" scam and seek to impose those "values" (or at least candidates who give lip service to those "values") on us regardless of their impact on Constitutional government."

Alan,

Yep; Democrats never impose values.

Alan, who says I should pay for those without jobs or those that don’t care to have one? Or that I should care for the poor at all; who says I should care about an ‘income gap?’ or that I should care about Iraq civilians or the war? Who says that I should care about Katrina victims or minorities, who says that I should care about people in Darfur, that I should care about the environment, that I should care about hourly workers (cause I’m not one), who says I should care about anything the government is concerned about at all?

Is that forcing morality? Are these not ‘values?’ And why are they being forced on me?


One of the most unfortunate creatures to result from the rise of religious conservatives is the easily offended secularist. Having had the good fortune of a virtual epistemological monopoly among the cognitive elite for some time, the offended secularist (OS) has to rely on the verbal jibes of Andrew Sullivan (who thought of the word "Christianist" all by himself) to combat actual arguments offered by the likes of Robert P. George. This is where we find ourselves: the former sophisticates are confronted by what they have been told simply cannot exist in a liberal democracy--real live, well-educated, thoughtful theists and social conservatives with actual arguments offered in a public setting without the benefit of special revelation. But here's where the bait and switch comes in. You see, in a liberal democracy, we are told, arguments, no matter how sound or strong, cannot be placed in the public square if their advocates are citizens motivated by their theological sensibilities.

Rather than putting us in literal internment camps, Alan has chosen a less expensive alternative: categorical internment campus. We don't even have to leave our homes! As long as we speak only when spoken to, and sit quietly in the back of the secular bus with our hands gently folded and saying "yessir Mr. Secularist, thank you very much," we will be fine.

Tolerance, ain't it grand!

--now THAT'S funny!!

I. "My question: Where are these people? They aren’t posting on this site; so where are they?"

Hi Kevin, I assume you are referring to the bottom of my post directly above yours, in which case I would refer you to the 2004 election. It is obviously a significant number of folks as Karl Rove built his 2004 strategy around capturing that vote.

Perhaps I was little imprecise, so rather than getting into the tall grass with your political generalizations and my political generalizations I will restate things.

I am not as concerned with social conservative values, even though I may disagree with most of them as with the proclivity of social conservatives to base their vote on those values as opposed to a more rational basis. I'm not as concerned about the values themselves as most Americans reject those values and where majorities exist they appear to be, demographically speaking on borrowed time.

What has prompted me to grump from time to time is the apparent indifference of "values voters" to the consequences of their 'value voting".

You regularly throw Democrat this and Democrat that at me but I can assure you that if a Democratic Administration attempted to institutionalize torture and arbitrary detention, wage unnecessary wars, subvert the Constitution and habeas corpus and establish a unitary executive all the while exhibiting a general incompetence in the day to day functions of government and while a Democratically controlled Congress failed to exercise its required oversight functions on the Executive Branch while manifesting unparalleled corruption, I, and everyone on the left that I know would be just as critical of the Dems then as we are of the Reps now. Meanwhile you all keep voting for your guys - no accountability and no apparent discernment.

II. Hi Dr. Beckwith, let me clarify a couple of things. First, I am not offended by things theological and I have never doubted that educated folks can be theists and social conservatives. I am sure you will agree that theists as well as secularists who are not social conservatives can also be educated,etc.

I understand you have seemingly sound arguments, some of which I may even agree with however I will admit I do take shortcuts.

I can agree with our Marxist friends on some things and I have been known to hum the Internationale from time to time but in general I consider Marxism to be a cancer on the societies in which it is a factor; much the same as I consider social conservatism to be a cancer on those societies in which it is a factor.

I don't need to do rigorous intellectual exercises, dealing with this argument (reading Marxist texts is akin to torture) and that assertion to figure this out, I need only to do some simple observing. Marxists seem to want to end constitutional government and institute all sorts of nasty things when opportunity allows. Social conservatives seem to be similarly inclined, directly as with the mullahs in Iran or the Taliban in Afghanistan or inadvertently through gullibility and indifference as in the present United States.

Constitutional government and the rule of law trump every other value. Bright and shiny ideas that will solve everything are best promoted by those who respect those basic values. I am not going to take arguments about "life" seriously from those who are supportive of ending basic Constitutional protections and are untroubled by torture, indeterminate imprisonment and wars of aggression.

Seeing who the Christian right is willing to vote for and what it is willing to tolerate makes opposition the only choice for those who wish to preserve our Republic. Learn to value our Constitution more than power and republican virtue more than the cult of personality and we will have the luxury of looking at issues.

Now for the Christianists who are a subset of the Christian Right. Based on Dr. Kennedy's statements, these folks are clearly subversives who would end our nation.

On the origin of the term. It predates Sullivan who did not invent it.

"In recent years, some authors have used the terms "Christianism" or "Christianist" in place of "Dominionism."

The term "Christianist" is referred to as early as 1992 in a book Europe. La voie romaine by Rémi Brague. In an essay from November, 2004 by Gianni Valente in the English version of the Italy based 30 Days in the Church and the world, Valente credits Professor Brague, Professor of Arabic philosophy at the Sorbonne with the terminology distinction.

"Christianist" was also used by Ruth Walker on May 20, 2005 Christian Science Monitor providing a separate term for political Christians in an article entitled "Onward, Christianist Soldiers".

According to Andrew Sullivan, "The term 'people of faith' has been co-opted almost entirely in our (political) discourse by those who see Christianity as compatible with only one political party, the Republicans, and believe that their religious doctrines should determine public policy for everyone. So let me suggest that we take back the word Christian while giving the religious right a new adjective: Christianist." [15] The word Christianism evolved in western media outlets, particularly liberal-oriented blogs, [16][17][18] as a counterpoint to the term "Islamist." As Andrew Sullivan said, "Christianism is an ideology, politics, an ism. The distinction between Christian and Christianist echoes the distinction we make between Muslim and Islamist. Muslims are those who follow Islam. Islamists are those who want to wield Islam as a political force and conflate state and mosque."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominionism#Christianism

"Rather than putting us in literal internment camps, Alan has chosen a less expensive alternative: categorical internment campus."

Your last paragraph has me somewhat puzzled. And no Mike, it's not funny. All I have done is disagree here and there and point out your willingness (IMHO) to sacrifice our Constitution and the rule of law out of fear and the hope of a Supreme Court decision next Tuesday. I believe I have explicitly stated that you all have the right to express your opinions (it's still more my America than yours), so why the all too common persecution paranoia your side often falls back on? Just to be clear. I am happy we have a nation where you can worship as you see fit and I consider it a sign of our strength that you are free to hold social views that, if implemented, would destroy that nation. I also am glad that I am still able to point that out.

Dr. Beckwith, talk of camps coming from someone with your political outlook to someone with mine is a little too special. After all, the people I voted for are not the ones firing up Soviet era prisons and sending folks like Mahar Ahar off to be tortured and its us liberals who fought and sometimes died to get rid of segregation and Jim Crow while conservatives were defending the same so the "camp" and "back of the bus" snark is way out of line.

Alan said: "Constitutional government and the rule of law trump every other value. Bright and shiny ideas that will solve everything are best promoted by those who respect those basic values. I am not going to take arguments about "life" seriously from those who are supportive of ending basic Constitutional protections and are untroubled by torture, indeterminate imprisonment and wars of aggression."

I suggest that constitutional government and the rule of law are not fundamental values. They are based on what the founders of this nation considered fundamental values. My impression is that they thought those values were grounded in a moral authority higher than themselves.

Debate ideas. Labeling someone, then knocking down the label is not productive in determining truth or encouraging understanding.

This is one of the major flaws in Jimmy Carter's book "Our Endangered Values". He creates a derogatory label "fundamentalist" and applies it to those he disagrees with, allowing him to avoid engaging their actual arguments.

Ignoring arguments about "life" because of some other issues doesn't make any logical sense. This seems like feelings overriding reason.

>>Alan said: “Constitutional government and the rule of law trump every other value.”

To the forum: This really says it all doesn’t it? Do we need anymore debate after this? My friends; this is madcap logic, and one does not have to muster much mental strength to see the flaws here.

Kevin, what do you consider higher then those things?

William, have I ever indicated that you or Kevin or anyone else didn't have a right to express your views?

I was responding to ad hominem , not engaging in it and I have pointed out elsewhere where we disagree many times, however there is a larger issue here.

Our recent national experience with bloc political activity by conservative Christians has not been a happy one and it is an issue on its own. I would hold that the damage done by this participation has been far greater then any benefit that might accrue from any individual issue.

This isn't a call to silence you or put you all in any kind of camp. It would be nice though if there was a little more responsibility and a lot less cheer-leading coming from your side.

Just found:
Another consequence of the Religious Right's takeover of the Republican party:

http://time.blogs.com/daily_dish/2007/01/the_libertarian.html

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/1/31/105956/465

and a book:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/01/monkey_girl.php#comments

http://www.amazon.com/Monkey-Girl-Evolution-Education-Religion/dp/0060885483

And yet another consequence of your voting your "values" (I am merciful - last one for today):

http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2007/01/this_slow_and_d.html#more

Alan,

Actually, trying to stay on topic, I don't think that you responded to the points I was trying to make and unless I was mentioned in the links you posted, (which I didn't check)then how do you know if I really fit your religious right label? How do you know my voting record?

I thought that you would agree that the use of labels in the fashion I described was not conducive to understanding.

I think Kevin has lost patience, which is easy to do, so he dismisses you. I make no claim to any exceptional mental strength myself.

I am glad that you recognise the use of ad hominem as problematic but you cannot honestly deny that you have not used it often yourself, in many threads on this site.

William,

The problem here is that Alan interprets Constitutional Law as an essential ‘How To’ guide. We know this is false. One does not consult Constitutional law when he or she wishes to make correct decisions regarding integrity, ethics, and values in their lives; this of course transcends government and politics.

Read Constitutional Law books ad nausea and you will begin to see; your character will flourish; compassion will develop; your morals will reveal themselves; and an inner fire of righteousness will ignite.

And finally; after all this; after this journey; after this searching, your true virtues and politics will be revealed to you, ‘for you were once blind and now you can see.’

"After all, the people I voted for are not the ones firing up Soviet era prisons.."

No, they were the apologists for the actual Soviet prisons. Remember that those who said that the Soviet Union empire was evil were laughed at by most
American liberals. Remember that now liberals talk of the evil of "blackstlisting" those who gave aid and comfort to those who made those real camps where thousands died by a regime that starved millions. Now the evil is useful if it can be used to tar George Bush for what you call torture, but would not even qualify for an abortion if used on a fetus.

"...and sending folks like Mahar Ahar off to be tortured and its us liberals who fought and sometimes died to get rid of segregation and Jim Crow while conservatives were defending the same so the "camp" and "back of the bus" snark is way out of line."

Wow, you really are a bigot. You have no idea who I am, my personal intellectual pilgrimage, my beliefs, my ethnic heritage, or how I acquired my political views.

Here's an excerpt from my forthcoming book, Is Statecraft Soulcraft? (pardon the typos; I have not proofread it yet):


My parents, Harold (“Pat”) and Elizabeth Beckwith, exposed me to the importance of politics and citizenship at an early age. And for that, I am so thankful. In the mid-1960s, they had my brother James and me watch important political events and speeches. In 1968, when I was 7-years old, I distinctly remember watching and listening to Robert F. Kennedy on the evening he was assassinated in Los Angeles, and seeing my parents cry when his death was announced on our television hours later. Only months earlier, Martin Luther King, Jr. had been murdered in Memphis. My parents supported the Civil Rights Movement and were diligent in making sure that my brother and I knew of Dr. King and the tragedy of his death.

Although I was too young to remember the presidency of John F. Kennedy, my father made sure we listened to the late president’s 1961 inaugural address, one of the great political speeches in American history. On several occasions, my father played the recording of Kennedy’s speech on our old family turntable. Thus, it is not a coincidence that I have had my Baylor graduate students, in a class I teach, American Civil Religion, read Kennedy’s address along with the important speeches of Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald W. Reagan, and George W. Bush. My father also had a sense of humor about politics. When I was 8 years old I asked him to explain to me the difference between communism and capitalism. He answered, “Well, son, in America, a capitalist country, some people own Cadillacs and some people don’t. But in communist countries like the Soviet Union, everyone is treated equally, no one owns a Cadillac.”

During a time in my middle school years I returned home every afternoon to see my mother watching the Watergate Hearings, chaired by one of her heroes, Senator Sam Ervin (D-SC). She always invited me to join her, which I did almost always. I was fascinated by the hearings, the issues surrounding it, and the historical importance of all the figures that were participating. As I grew older, and began to develop my own political opinions, my parents exhibited a level of tolerance and openness that was exemplary. To be sure, there was at times vigorous debate, but there was passionate agreement as well, as we learned from each other in a context of respect and understanding.

My parents also provided me with a wonderful Catholic school education that put me in contact with some of the best teachers I have ever had in my life. Among these instructors was Mrs. Roos, my high school government teacher at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. She taught me about the philosophy, structure, history, and dynamic of the United States government that explained, with unmatched clarity, why the project of liberal constitutional democracy is worth protecting and propagating.


"And no Mike, it's not funny..."

on the contrary, Alan, I thought the Dr. was very funny. You hold sway over most subjects here and are quite well read and what I call a "superblogger". You remind me of HAL from 2001--and like that formidable intellect, humor is not your strong suit.

William and Kevin first: William you seem to a Christian conservative, I wouldn't term you a Christianist based on what I recall of your posting. If you are not a social conservative, political conservative, or a Christian, I apologize.

I believe the truth to be a defense for using terms that if used falsely or imprecisely would constitute an ad hominem attack.

For example, when I referred to the Veep as deranged, I was thinking of his recent interview on MTP which showed him to be totally disconnected from reality. "Incompetence" simply isn't an ad hominem when used in reference to the Bush Administration; it's an accurate descriptor and I get no pleasure in using the term.

Help me if you wish and list the things you find problematic and I'll either defend or agree. My objection to the good Doctor's use of AH was that it was off target.

Kevin, I believe the Constitution and the rule of law set a level playing field within which we may seek to accomplish the good. All human endeavor needs limits or our passions will consume us. The Founders understood this and that is why we have checks and balances.

Not all good can be accomplished with state action. Even if such action is useful it needs to be implemented skillfully. History and limits are useful in these things.

I guess I don't have anything more to say on this tread at this time since it seems to be devolving into off topic discussions of the character of the various posters.

"Wow, you really are a bigot. You have no idea who I am, my personal intellectual pilgrimage, my beliefs, my ethnic heritage, or how I acquired my political views."

Whoa, reeling here at the harshness, but I lean into the wind and carry on. Dr. Beckwith, I believe I imputed social conservatism and a rightwing political orientation to you and you seem to be objecting by calling me a bigot, yet you open your reply with a fairly standard recitation of hard right, anti-liberal mythology.

Just for the record let me remind you that the strategy that defeated the Soviet Union, containment, was devised by liberals and moderates. Reagan's strength wasn't his invocation of the standard conservative pieties re: the Soviet Union (I did find the "bombing begins" line funny, but I have a dark, dark sense of humor) but his willingness to negotiate when openings presented themselves. Had Eisenhower/Kennedy/Johnson/Nixon/Ford/Carter/Reagan had the mentality of our current Administration, we all would have been radioactive cinders long ago.

I don't know what your ethnic heritage has to do with anything and your personal intellectual journey is, well, personal. Where you presently stand is all I care about.

I assumed you were conservative because you proudly stated that you were on the January 15, 2006 broadcast of Stand to Reason on KBRT. Also you blog for Southern Appeal, a conservative blog, and you clearly were pro Bush as well a being a Republican delegate. You seem to be pro ID and anti choice.

Dr. Beckwith, why, when you are a public person with a web page chock full of personal and professional information and have been a regular subject/participant on this blog, would you object to my quite fair characterization of you as a rightwinger - both socially and politically? If you are going to vote and actively endorse, as well as give what appears to be uncritical support to folks who re-open Soviet prisons and employ the same methods of torture that the Soviets used, then, like it or not, you are buying part ownership of that.

If you believe that institutionalized torture shames America and rendition and denial of due process are wrong, let us know, as your reply combines avoidance with bad history.

I'm not sure what the Kennedy - King references are about. Kennedy was a New Deal, Cold War liberal. MLK was a liberal, period and as he was opposed to the Vietnam War I can't imagine he would favor the current fiasco (using Tom Ricks terminology) ot support the folks who got us into it. I still remember a speech in which he indicated his opposition to Goldwater in 1964 and while JFK and Barry were good friends, they disagreed politically. Why the invocation of JFK/MLK, when your chosen party and personal ideology are far to the right of the 1960s Republican Party and totally at odds with 1960s conservatism which ? Given your support of Bush in 2004 and your support for the Swift Boat Liars, it would seem all you learned from Watergate is that one should take better pains not to get caught.

I wish we could treat all this as academic but that is a little difficult when we are up to our knees in blood and rising. In the 1930s and 1940s too many well meaning intellectuals started out with good intentions and wound up as Stalinists. Today that seems to be happening again, just this time on the political right.

Hi William, sorry if I have contributed to anything that has made you uncomfortable. I really would be interested in any characterizations that you consider unfair.

I'm a conservative, which means I believe there are first principles worth conserving. The same principles that told the Republican Party of 1860 that both slavery and polygamy are wrongs are the same principles that tell me that abortion is wrong. My point is that the patrimony of my principles judges, and does not confort, the confederacy. I called Alan a bigot because he accepts, uncritically, the well-ingrained liberal prejudice that contemporary conservatives are somehow connected to the confederacy. That's why I cited my own narrative as evidence of the falsity of this claim. And I know I speak for others as well who have taken a similar journey.

For anyone to tie contemporary conservativism to the agragrian liberalism that was once the deep south is complete madness. I am conservative because I am a liberal, one who believes that the scaffolding of liberty cannot be sustained by the willfulness of states or enuncumbered individuals.

I must say; well said.

The labels fly fast and furious.

It should be apparent the the usefulness of any label is the care with which it is defined.

As I said, the posting is, in my opinion, running off topic. It may be intellectually stimulating or fun but it really should not be about whether Aronson is a bigot or Beckwith is a hard right, anti-liberal mythologiser!

I agree with you William. The Dr. was off point; personally it's no big deal and with his latest post I understand whence comes the error, about which more below.

That all liberals are/were Soviet apologists is a far right meme that was old when the likes of McCarthy and Gerald L. K. Smith used it.
If you cruise Southern Appeal, you will find I have a case - yes that's General Lee on the banner.

I find it hard to write this - it just hit me and I can't stop laughing. Dr. Beckwith invokes MLK, JFK and the 1860 Republican Party and he posts on a blog named Southern Appeal that has a pic of Robert E. Lee and Traveler (correction, the horse doesn't look like traveler). I couldn't make this stuff up. I must compose myself.

At any rate I do try to be accurate and labels that are accurate can be useful. i am always open to correction as to accuracy.

Hi Dr. Beckwith, I think I see the problem, you seem to be unaware that non-southern conservatives generally opposed the mid-Twentieth Century Civil Rights movement in the United States and, in general, were defenders of apartheid in South Africa.

I will allow as I have issues with Andy Jackson and Woodrow Wilson but I do have to point out that the Republican Party of 1860 became the Republican Party of Chauncey DePew and Joe Cannon by the turn of the century and is more so today.

The term Agrarian Liberal isn't useful here as voting records during the relevant period are more artifacts of the Depression and FDR's political skills then anything else. Using voting records from 1948 on we find Southern Democrats voting more conservative as time rolls on and many of them becoming Republican as a result of the 60's civil right's bills. Southern Democratic disaffection from the Democratic Party mainstream was formalized in the late 1940s with Truman's order integrating the Armed Forces and Liberals like Hubert Humphrey forcing a civil rights plank on the 1948 party platform. Strom Thurmond was a Dixiecrat before he was a Republican. Democrats like Harry Byrd were always conservative.

"I am conservative because I am a liberal, one who believes that the scaffolding of liberty cannot be sustained by the willfulness of states or enuncumbered individuals."

Fine, by that measure I'm a conservative, but do you have a problem with institutionalized torture, arbitrary detention, violations of the Fourth Amendment, rendition, institutionalized corruption, tampering with Habeas Corpus, and denial of due process?

Why do Christian conservatives find it so hard to admit mistakes and to hold the leaders they voted for accountable?

Sheridan: "You wanted to see me?"

Kosh: "You wanted to see me."

"Well, I guess everybody does. See what you really are, inside that encounter suit."

"They are not ready. They would not understand."

"Am I ready?"

"No. You do not even understand yourself."

"Could you help me to understand you?"

"Can you help me to understand you?"

"Well, I can try. Is that what you want? An exchange of information? I tell you something about me, you tell me something about you?"

"No. You do not understand. Go."

"Dammit, what do you want? What do you want from me? You know, ever since I got here I've had the feeling that... that you've been watching me. The records show you hardly ever went to council meetings until I showed up. When I was captured... it was you who reached out and touched my mind. Now you call me here... why? Just to throw me out? Are we just toys to you? Huh? What do you want?"

Kosh spins around to face Sheridan again. "Never ask that question."

"At least I got a response out of you. So what'll it be, Ambassador?"

"I will teach you."

"About yourself?"

"About you. Until you are ready."

"For what?"

"To fight legends."

Hi Alan,

(I guess I shouldn't have been away so long.)
"No Paul, its just that they shouldn't vote for fools and madmen for President and Vice President, or elect folks to Congress who are corrupt and don't understand the principle of congressional oversight."

So should the non-theists get to approve my vote before I make it? I read your whole post, and I couldn't find what your point was -- how what the Christian is doing is wrong, when they seek to impose moral rules on society (which is what ALL law-makers and political action groups do). By the way, name-calling and loaded words don't impress nor persuade me, so it might be best to drop them.

"...vote Republican and that, unfortunately, has become a good indicator for ones willingness to tolerate corruption and subversion of the Constitution."

Oh, I forgot, those Democrats are just squeaky clean, eh? As for the Constitution, it is the Democrats that are trying to jam through a bill to essentially nullify the Electoral College -- not via a constitutional amendment (the right way), but through some bill that stipulates how our electoral votes should be split according to the popular vote. Again, Alan, you make lots of assertions and call lots of names, but you rarely turn the same critical eye toward politicians with whom you generally agree.

Since I am not a bigot, I don't hold it against my southern friends because they like General Lee. They were kind enough to invite me to contribute to their blog, even though I part ways with some of them on a variety of issues. Sounds like a pretty tolerant bunch to me.

If guilt-by-association is your thing, I have a boat load of connections that will make your head spin: I earned my PhD from a Jesuit university (Jack Chick can confirm that!), I published two books with Prometheus Books (which also publishes the X-rated movie guide and a number of atheist apologetics texts), my late uncle is mentioned in the book "Casino" (on which the Dinero, Stone, Pesci movie is based), and my sister was interviewed in Penthouse.

I am against torture, but I'm also against defining torture down.
I am for due process, when the process is due. I am for habeas corpus, but I also understand that the Constitution permits it to be lifted, as Lincoln correctly did, much to the chagrin of the friends of General Lee. So perhaps Alan should be posting on Southern Appeal, if guilt by association is the right method of analysis.

Having said that, I would never want a partial-birth abortion performed on a member of Al-Qaeda unless he has had due process. I think we can at least agree on that.

Dude, it was a joke that apparently hit too close to home. Lighten up already.

"I am against torture, but I'm also against defining torture down.
I am for due process, when the process is due. I am for habeas corpus, but I also understand that the Constitution permits it to be lifted, as Lincoln correctly did, much to the chagrin of the friends of General Lee. So perhaps Alan should be posting on Southern Appeal, if guilt by association is the right method of analysis."

I could point out the misinformation and profound evil in that quote but it seems that GBA is the Doctor's chosen method of evasion on this thread and I tire of correcting bad history and Constitutional "misunderstandings", so why not?

In homage to the recently departed Molly Ivins let me point out that the quote probably sounds better in the original German and leave you with a song and a poem.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT84h4H0xwQ

Lewis allen

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_Fruit

Alan - how are you able to hold down a job and post on this site all day long?

Lisa Nowak thinks you are obsessed.

Hi Jim and Paul, I type fast and this is an occasional distraction from often tedious research. You may be getting a break as I may be in the field more often soon.

I guess I just don't get it. You argue the same points over and over with the same people. No one ever changes their mind. What's the point?

Golly Jim,some folks actually do change their minds, sometimes, a seed here, a little doubt there, who knows? Besides, come glory and folks are called to account, "I didn't know" won't wash as an excuse.

Or I could be right and nothing happens.

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