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October 05, 2007

Comments

This is certainly sending a warning message to the Republican party, the campaign of Rudy Giuliani and the public that may be listening. In this sense, I think that the announcement is a good thing.

I think in the longer term your strategy is the wrong one. Conservatives voting fot a pro-lifer also sends a message and saying that it's the lesser of 2 evils will probably not be conveyed accurately to the public and the politicians. Whenever we compromise a core value, we weaken the foundation and appear to not be true to what we preach.

As to the pro-life position being part of the Rebublican platform, how strictly do presidents adhere to their parties platform? I ask because I have no idea of the answer.

Sorry. I meant to say "pro-choice" not "pro-lifer"

Fletch,
I respectfully disagree. You beg the question when you say that voting for a pro-abortion candidate is necessarily "compromising". We also send a message when we vote for a candidate with no chance of winning.

We face the very real prospect of choosing between Hillary, Rudy, a third party, and not voting. Options 3 and 4 render your vote irrelevant. I cringe at the thought of a Rudy presidency, but much moreso at the thought of a Hillary presidency.

Ultimately, this is a question of stewardship...and thoughtful people can disagree. I've come to believe that supporting a third party is poor stewardship, because it is a vote for Hillary. Voting third party allows us to say at the end of the day that it's not our fault...but the reality is that we were in position to prevent it.

Presidents impact the life issue only indirectly. Which candidate is more likely to appoint a textualist judge to the Supreme Court? Which candidate is most likely to sign legislation that is at least moderately pro-life? I think there is a fundamental difference between the two candidates. (of course all of this assumes a Rudy v. Hillary election)

Well said Melinda.

JJ

I've got to disagree with you and Greg on this one. When it comes to politics, actually engaging the political system means voting your scruples. The only reason why third party candidates are not viable candidates are because people think that third party candidates are not viable candidates. It's circular reasoning. Changing this fundamental conception means that as an individual you recognize your power to change the political structure of this nation. The founders based this country off of the idea that individuals can make all the difference.

Ben Franklin when asked after the Constitutional convention what type of government we had said to the person asking him, "A republic if you'll have it." Voting your scruples means being willing to vote for a third party candidate if they best represent your ideology. The more people begin to do this the more the third party candidate becomes viable. Don't you want real choices when it comes to who runs your country? Do two "viable" parties cut it for you? To the real point of the matter, as a Christian especially, doesn't it just make sense not to compromise on such a big issue as the right to life? Moreover are you really willing to write off an intelligent, articulate, candidate with real integrity just because they're not willing to compromise in going to the Democratic party or the Republican party?

Basically you can boil down my whole post to this one idea. A vote for a third party is not ineffective because although it may not be immediately effective, the vote carries with it increased legitimacy for the future of that party, and therefore one day you or your children might not have to settle for the worst of two evils, they might just be able to vote for a candidate which they feel would do some real good. Call me a dreamer if you will, but it's the American dream I'm dreaming (the real one not the materialistic one).

"Bottom line: Which vote is more likely to save unborn children?"

To the exclusion of everyone else and every other value?

"Bottom line: Which vote is more likely to save unborn children?"

To the exclusion of everyone else and every other value?
---------

Alan A. I think you know reasonably the answer to this must be no, but you can't deny that the amount of unborn children being aborted in this country amounts to nothing less than an massive and widespread infanticide. It's a huge issue to Christians, and ought to be. It's a turning point for many believers on who they're willing to vote for, and I can't necessarily blame them for making it a priority.

Hi Alan, there is a difference in making something a priority and having no other values. the unwillingness of those in the "pro-life" movement to hold the folks they have voted for accountable for their mis-deeds is indicative of a certain moral blindness. All I see is a willingness to sell out every other value in exchange for whatever "pro-life" gains can be achieved.

This unwillingness to criticize the Republicans you all vote for on other issues as long as you get a "pro-life" bone from time to time is paying some dividends:

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2007/10/losing-a-genera.html

I have to respectfully disagree with Greg, Melinda, and JJ.
Voting for a third-party candidate does not render one's vote useless in regards to winning an election. Abraham Lincoln was a third-party candidate.

http://www.gop.com/About/AboutRead.aspx?AboutType=3

(see second paragraph)

The only thing that renders one's vote useless is voting in such a way that is contrary to one's beliefs. For even if your candidate wins, you still lose.

In any situation, if one insists that the only option is the "lesser of two evils", it will still result in evil. The idea that the only sensible way to make an impact is to go along with the masses, I think is erroneous and somewhat defeatist.

Luther's stand against the established Roman Church of his day might not have had much of an immediate impact, but it certainly had a long-term one. Thankfully he didn't reason that the better means of impacting the future was to go along with the status quo in hopes of influencing those in power.

Your vote is your message to the nation, "This is what I believe and support". Will your message please God?

I agree with other comments that the question is one of immediate benefits vs. long-term ones. There is a very real danger of social conservatives being marginalized within the Republican Party, largely due to our willingness to play politics and support those who don't share our convictions. If we vote for pro-choice candidates, I believe we will hasten this marginalization. If we want our votes to be valued, then they cannot be so cheaply bought. I am not willing to trade my vote for occasional grudging support from someone who has fundamental differences of viewpoint.

The immediate political ends do not justify the means. As followers of Jesus Christ, I believe we should be known as people who eschew political gamesmanship and consistently vote for what we know to be right. Whether we win the immediate election or not.

I am not interested in winning a battle at the expense of the war. My convictions are not for sale.

Alan writes

“…there is a difference in making something a priority and having no other values.”

What a gross falsehood from Mr. Aronson. “No other values.” Amazing; there are many values I, for example, care about in addition to pro-life ones.

Alan, assuming this is the case, (which it’s not). I’ll assume that you and many other Democrats would vote for a candidate that lines up with every belief you hold except on Iraq.

Maybe I just ask Joe Lieberman. Amazing.

Alan also wrote:

“All I see is a willingness to sell out every other value in exchange for whatever "pro-life" gains can be achieved.”

Which values exactly Alan? Let me guess…liberal values?

The life issues (abortion, ESCR, euthanasia, genetic engineering etc.) are or should be, in my opinion, very important to Christians. The impact of all these practices is shaping our society now and would continue to do so in a radical way should the left take control of our government.

I believe the Republicans can offer a strong candidate that has a coherent pro-life position. If they choose not to do so, I don't see why I should feel obligated to vote for them just because they are good on the war in Iraq or something else.

What does it benefit us if we gain the world but lose our soul? Some, like Alan A. see the life issues as relatively trivial. I do not. I believe the commodification and devaluation of human life will be a far reaching disaster for our society. I believe we will be judged for it.

I doubt a Republican can win without the conservative Christian vote so I think it is appropriate for the Christian leaders mentioned to give fair warning to the party that their support is contingent on certain basic principles. To withdraw support is certainly a way to hold the Republican party accountable!

In the end I belive the Lord has a plan in human history, He is in control. It is impossible for us to know how history will play out. We do not have that kind of knowledge. So perhaps Curt is right or perhaps Alan P. is right.

I can see thoughtful Christians coming down on both sides of this question. I have great confidence though that all will work out as Romans 8 teaches.

"I think even a pro-choice Republican is better than a pro-choice Democrat because the Republican party platform remains pro-life and that candidate still must represent the party platform and maintain their constituency, which requires keeping pro-lifers in the fold."

I don't think this is a well reasoned statement. If a group comes to include those who do not agree with a status quo policy or stance, then the importance of that policy or stance is undermined. With enough members in opposition to a traditional policy or stance in question --and the membership may not necessarily present a majority-- an issue which may once have been divisive between political parties may cease to be important within the one party which finds itself ideologically infiltrated. Public discourse may fade and a new consensus may come to stand with something like bipartisanism being touted as the great virtue.

A vote for a dissenting member of a political party would still be a vote for a member of that political party. The act may much more likely send a message of brand loyalty than an almost subliminal message that voters actually want an individual politician to be just another cog in his chosen political party. To vote for a politician who is not in keeping with one’s ideology says that one is willing to compromise on one’s ideals; at least, the only leverage one might have at striking up a bargain will have already been forfeited.


What, by the way, is required for entry to a political party? Why should that be the basis for admittance/inclusion? Do the chosen criteria represent what is most important?

More specifically, how long can the Republican platform remain pro-life if pro-choice Republicans are elected?

“I don't think this is a well reasoned statement.”

How about this: what if the ‘pro-choice’ Republican puts Conservative judges on the Supreme Court?

I’d compromise my ideals if that was the alternative to a Liberal for abortion on demand.

I don’t think the election is a good time to become all high and mighty about ideals just to send a message that will end up costing lives.

"I don’t think the election is a good time to become all high and mighty about ideals just to send a message that will end up costing lives."

The election is the perfect time to become high and mighty about ideals. If we vote for a pro-choice Republican now and he wins, what is to deter the next Republican from being pro-choice? This could lead to a slippery slope which would end up costing more lives in the long run.

I'd rather vote third party and have the Republicans lose the election so the next nominee is pro-life. I believe this strategy would save more lives over the long run.

"I'd rather vote third party and have the Republicans lose the election so the next nominee is pro-life. I believe this strategy would save more lives over the long run."

The slippery slope isn't just if Republicans lose without Pro Lifers, it's if Rudy wins without us. The Pro Life movement would lose the influence of this large voting block and we would be relegated to sit on the sidelines with our lovely, impotent, 3rd party Alan Keyes sideliner. That's what your victory looks like. What ever happened to being shrewd as serpents?

If you are so willing to remain blinded to real statistics and polling then you are not pro-life in my book. You're pro-megaphone.
Being pro-life puts the lives the unborn above punishing the Republican party for electing Rudy. The correct question to the Pro-Lifer must be, "Which vote will save more babies...including over the lifetime of the next 4 Supreme Court judges appointed by either Hillary or Rudy?"

Here's what I mean by being principled: I believe this move by Dobson is one of the most insipid, foolish, naive things he has ever done. It completely goes against my Pro Life principles...so why would I still fund his ministry even though his absolutist efforts will end up killing more babies?
Because his ministry is STILL the best thing going for the unborn in OTHER areas and defunding him would make a great statement but would be bad for unborn babies.

So I will still fund right-minded baby harmers like Dobson and I will vote for right-judge-picking baby harmers like Rudy...because to remove support of either will only strengthen those who want to do damage to the unborn.

Politics is about winning elections. The sure fire way to get your opinion erased from the discussion is to lose elections.

"there is a difference in making something a priority and having no other values."

Gotta love those assumptions/generalizations from Alan A. Oh, those horrible Christianists are at it again!

Ahh. I see. So the way to win t he pro-life battle is to vote pro-choice. That makes perfect sense.


I have considered this question for many years and many elections have passed as I voted with a pro life stance as the highest priority in my decision making. The one time I yielded, I regretted it and felt God's displeasure with me. So now, which ever candidate is the more pro life gets my vote. A pro life person will likely be in line with Christian views on other important issues also but, if not, the other issues take a back seat.

Here's the thing. If those people who are God's will be faithful, and obedient, the Lord will convince the minds of the unbelieving world. Being faithful and obedient wont always look like being wise in the world's eyes, but in God's economy that is often the case. Abortion on demand is a judgement against mankind, and anyone with eyes to see it knows it. That the Lord has not restrained this wickedness in our land and in our day speaks badly for us--we are responsible. If we really cared enough, this practice would end now.

In the end, I'll not likely yield ever again to logic against my conscience. I'd rather be clean in this issue before God than hold my breath and close my eyes for some perceived gain that goes against what I know the Lord wants of me.

Brad B

Seven of the current Supreme Court justices were appointed by Republican presidents. Precisely from where did the liberal wing of the court come? Should we really gamble on the possibility that Rudy will appoint solid pro-life justices, especially considering the need for ambiguity regarding abortion views in the last two confirmation processes?

One could argue that if he doesn't, conservatives will hold his feet to the fire. But the more we vote for pro-choice candidates, the more this becomes a hollow threat. How long are we supposed to wait before we actually hold a political party accountable? When Republican pundits are suggesting that conservative Christians will fall in line and support the party regardless because we have nowhere else to go, should we simply play along?

"What ever happened to being shrewd as serpents?"

This is a misuse of scripture. Jesus sent his apostles out so that they might sincerely represent him. He did not send his apostles so that they might pretend to be against what they were supposed to stand for.

The statement makes the assumption candidate will know who did or did not vote for him.

If we are going to speak of principals in voting while complaining that we must share a sad state of affairs with those who are morally reprehensible (i.e. being pro-life and living in a country where abortion is legal), then a question that readily comes to mind is: "Why should we be forced to suffer in this corrupt world along with those who are wicked?"

This is a question answered by Augustine in City of God book 1 chapters 8 & 9. He writes "And so, although the good dislike the the way of life of the wicked, and therefore do not fall into the condemnation which is in store for the wicked after this life, nevertheless, because they are tender towards the damnable sins of the wicked... they are justly chastised with afflictions in this world." If we give approval (or votes if you will) to those who stand for the legality of abortion, then we should suffer the consequences.

How does every individual in America suffer even if not having taken part in an abortion?

Think about this, or the pro-choice crowd may say abortion doesn't affect anyone other than the limited group with first hand involvement thereby making it no one else's concern.

"In the end, I'll not likely yield ever again to logic against my conscience. I'd rather be clean in this issue before God than hold my breath and close my eyes for some perceived gain that goes against what I know the Lord wants of me."

Brad, this is exactly why I have to vote for Rudy (if nominated) over a 3rd party we all know will lose...because my conscience won't let me vote in such a way that helps more babies die.

We allied with Stalin to beat HItler. That wasn't endorsement of Stalin, it was being shrewd as serpents. We could have found some purist form of a better allie that had no weapons, like some unga bunga tribe, but that's being so heavenly minded that we're no Earthly good.

While you vote for the most pro-life candidate, I hope you'll avoid choosing just those who gainded enough of a following to get on the ballot. To find the truly most pro-life candidate you should scower the web for some guy who has the perfect values and write him in with your crayon. If you are the one with the best pro-life values then you are obligated to write in yourself. And you having no intention of running or being completely unlikely to win cannot influence your decision, since logic needs to be extracted from your conscience.

...and thanks for giving Hillary something to smile about today. She's thrilled all of these Christians can't vote for Rudy. Sometimes your biggest enemy can tell you how much damage your actions are actually doing in the kingdom of Babylon. Who is my friend? My enemy's enemy.

Hi Alvin, nice point. It reminds me of this scripture:"2Pe 2:6 and {if} He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing {them} to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly {lives} thereafter;
2Pe 2:7 and {if} He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men 2Pe 2:8 for by what he saw and heard {that} righteous man, while living among them, felt {his} righteous soul tormented day after day by {their} lawless deeds, 2Pe 2:9 {then} the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment".


So Doug t, your statement above copied here "Brad, this is exactly why I have to vote for Rudy (if nominated) over a 3rd party we all know will lose...because my conscience won't let me vote in such a way that helps more babies die.", says two things that trouble me. The first is that you seem to be saying that you will vote against what you believe God wants of you for some perceived gain, and the second thing is that you will co-sign the killing of some babies hoping to save some others. Please explain.

Brad B

Dont forget, the United States of America operates as a representative republic. We elect a representative to do our bidding in the execution of the process of governing. By voting, you endorse your representative, your agent in your stead to speak for you. Do you want a pro abortion agent speaking for you? I do not.

Brad B

Brad said:
"says two things that trouble me. The first is that you seem to be saying that you will vote against what you believe God wants of you for some perceived gain,"

No, I don't vote against what I believe God wants, I think God wants less dead babies, not more bumper-sticker wearing demagogues jacking elections by running 3rd party.

The gain of less dead babies isn't a percieved gain, it's in fact, a gain. Instilling more conservative judges than Hillary isn't a hypothetical gain, it's an absolute gain. Rudy has promised constructinist judges.

"and the second thing is that you will co-sign the killing of some babies hoping to save some others. Please explain."

I will cosign killing less babies by voting for Rudy than Alan Keyes. If God cares about the number of babies killed, then voting third party is a principle with no audience to influence.

"Dont forget, the United States of America operates as a representative republic. We elect a representative to do our bidding in the execution of the process of governing."

'we elect' is the key phrase. If your candidate loses he will not represent you to the government. He gets NO influence. If he causes a majority party to lose he gets even LESS influence.

So your rep cannot do your bidding unless he wins. Winning is the grease that runs the engine of ideas. No win, no grease, your engine freezes until you win some other day. To look at polls and deliberately lose by voting for a candidate that we can KNOW can't win is to participate in the freezing of the engine. So no, you don't get to vote perfectly, take your blocks and go home and say, "Don't blame me, I wrote in Jesus Chirst." I would blame you. And yes, Jesus Christ would come back and win the election before Alan Keyes would win. Alan Keyes winning would probably be the bigger miracle and at least Jesus Christ wouldn't be a carpet-bagger supporting repairations.

"By voting, you endorse your representative, your agent in your stead to speak for you. Do you want a pro abortion agent speaking for you? I do not."

They can't speak for you if they don't win. Winning is first. The candidate with the best values that is most likely to win is the only wise vote. By voting for a 3rd party to speak for you, you are taking a vote away from a pro abortionist to speak for you and giving that vote to a partial birth abortionists to represent you. Yes, you, Brad are enabling a partial birth abortionist not by being pro-life, but by being without tactic. You must win first.

Hi Doug t, quite a convoluted reply in your attempt to justify your position. In fact most of everything you've posted on this topic seems equally convoluted to me. [everyting from the wise as serpents to the Stalin reference are stretches]. See the posts from Curt, Jake, and Alvin, not all of us think the evidence that you rely on is worth our trust.


What you HAVE made clear is that you are willing to put your stamp of approval on your representative even if your agent has not the sense to protect life. So, Doug t and Rudy his representative are yoked and if he acts like a pro-abortionist, as he's stated he is, you have endorsed him.

There is another fact that has seemed to have escaped your perception. A third party or even one of the major 2 COULD win with a staunch pro lifer IF everyone who believes in protecting life held to their principles when voting. The problem is that there are too many that are willing to give their approval, their personal approval to representatives who'll violate the highest form of love and duty to protect life, so they can win and hope to be fed a crumb later. We wouldn't even be having this conversation if the people who call themselves Christian in this country [still over 80%] would obey the Christian principle to protect life!

I wont make the trade off that you and so many others are willing to make. I dont think it's an obedient, faithful act.

Brad B

Anonymous wrote

>>“The election is the perfect time to become high and mighty about ideals. If we vote for a pro-choice Republican now and he wins, what is to deter the next Republican from being pro-choice?”

Look at history. This is an anomaly. A vote for a third party in 2008 to preserve these so-called ‘ideals’ is blatant recklessness for a pro-life voter. We need judges that interpret the Constitution. We’ll worry about 2012 and 2016 when they come. (Remember, I’m not advocating Rudy in the primaries.)

>>”This could lead to a slippery slope which would end up costing more lives in the long run.”

Again, history and current pro-life progress should lead one to believe otherwise.

>>“I'd rather vote third party and have the Republicans lose the election so the next nominee is pro-life. I believe this strategy would save more lives over the long run.”

This is awfully speculative and strategic thinking with so many lives on the line in a long 4-year period. You seriously need to think this through.

Brad -

I respect your heart and Dr. Dobson's heart in this matter. However, I vehemently disagree with the tactics.

First, I think it is a short sighted error to frame this issue as an "either/or" proposition. As I understand your position - we're either being faithful to God by voting for the most pro-life candidate in the land, and ignoring the political realities or we're not being faithful to God if we vote for anyone less. To be sure, this is the same logic our Jehovah's Witness friends use when denying their loved ones medical procedures that can save their lives.

If DougT and I are "not faithful" as you put it, and we vote for Rudy, are we putting God in a box and not allowing Him to perform the miracle that would be the victory of a pro-life third party? Forgive me if I am miscasting your position here, but I assume this is what you mean. If that is the case, consider that God is going to do what God is going to do. Neither you or I or DougT will thwart the sovereign Will of God, so I don't think we have to fear doing such a thing. Our concern should be - are we using our individual talents and opportunities in harmony with God's moral will? As citizen's we are each given one vote and (1) vote only. We must use that vote wisely and make it count. I'm sure you'd agree that while a vote for a third party candidate, would be in strict alignment with your ideals - it would be a vote cast on the longest of long shots. In other words, it would be an unwise vote, given the foreseeable outcome.

God's word is clear about the main things. The things that are most important to Him, he has revealed to us repeatedly in Scripture. We need to trust Him in that regard. And were teaching is not explicit, we must apply our best principles, thinking and tactics. While Scripture clearly does not allow a Christian to be FOR the murder of the unborn, it does afford us the liberty to use our best thinking in combating this gross evil.

In my opinion, the best way to combat this evil is in dismantling the legal machinery that allows this horrible evil to exist in our country.

To that end, I assume we strongly agree.

Given this point of agreement, the question is not one of faithfulness or not - clearly we both want to be faithful. The question becomes - "What is the most expedient way of moving towards the end of dismantling the legal machinery that allows the murder of unborn children?"

Again - this is a tactical question - not a question of faithfulness. We agree on the moral issue.

John

Jake wrote:
>>“Ahh. I see. So the way to win t he pro-life battle is to vote pro-choice. That makes perfect sense.”

Jake, sometimes things don’t make ‘perfect sense’ because of course, this isn’t a ‘perfect world.’ I’d rather have a ‘pro-choice’ Republican president that takes policy action that helps the ‘pro-life’ cause than a Democratic one that doesn’t. It’s that simple to me.

Why is this so hard to understand? Rudy Giuliani wouldn’t be heartbroken if Roe was overturned.

I could just as easily say, “Ahh. So the way to win the pro-life battle is to direct pro-life votes to a hopeless candidate and give the election to ‘pro-choicers. That makes perfect sense.”

I could say that - but It doesn’t work that way.

Curt wrote:

>>Should we really gamble on the possibility that Rudy will appoint solid pro-life justices, especially considering the need for ambiguity regarding abortion views in the last two confirmation processes?

So you’d rather gamble with a Democrat for 4 years and their appointments? At least Rudy will be under ‘pro-life’ pressure. This just doesn’t make sense.

Brad wrote:

>>”The first is that you seem to be saying that you will vote against what you believe God wants of you for some perceived gain, and the second thing is that you will co-sign the killing of some babies hoping to save some others.”

What “preconceived gain.” Doug thinks Rudy would do better than a Democrat or a third party ghost regarding abortion. He’s right.

>>” Do you want a pro abortion agent speaking for you? I do not.”

But this is exactly what you’ll get for at least 4 years maybe 8 – ‘pro-choice’ and proud - no angry constituents or donors.

Brad is confusing action versus inaction. Substance over form - It’s that simple.

I think this debate illustrates why the Republican party would be well advised not to nominate Giuliani.

Some people of good faith will not support him.

Kevin,

It’s great that we are on the same side. We both agree that we need to support pro-life candidates in the primaries so that we don't have to deal with this dilemma.

"I’d rather have a ‘pro-choice’ Republican president that takes policy action that helps the ‘pro-life’ cause than a Democratic one that doesn’t."

You are speculating that Giuliani will betray his principles and take pro-life action or at least non-prochoice action. I'm not convinced that will happen. I'm also not sure that I want a President willing to betray is principles.

“Ahh. So the way to win the pro-life battle is to direct pro-life votes to a hopeless candidate and give the election to ‘pro-choicers. That makes perfect sense.”

I'm not ready to adopt the defeatist attitude that a third party candidate would have no chance of winning. The simple fact that this person would be the alternative to two pro-choice candidates already makes him stronger than any recent third party candidate.

I will never vote for a pro-choice candidate. If I cannot trust them on the most basic of moral issues I will not trust them at all. If this means that Rudy is unelectable, so be it. The Republican Party needs to know that if they don't represent my values they will not get my vote and will not be placed in positions of power. An additional strength of this position is that it may avoid the dilemma in the first place.

Jake

Duncan Hunter '08

"Dont forget, the United States of America operates as a representative republic."

No, it isn't. It is a Constitutional Democracy with a separation of powers and two major political parties. This means that when you vote you don't just vote for the guy you're voting for, you vote for a whole party and you take into consideration that party and its ideals play in committee appointments, legislation, judicial selections, etc.

"By voting, you endorse your representative, your agent in your stead to speak for you. Do you want a pro abortion agent speaking for you? I do not."

And yet you accept a Constitution developed and put in place by some slave owners. So by accepting the Constitution as legitimate are you thereby approving of slavery?

I address the points Melinda defends in an article I published in Christian Research Journal in 2004:
homepage.mac.com/francis.beckwith/WiseAsSerpents.html

It is entitled, "Wise as Serpents: Christians, Politics, and Strategic Voting"

Kevin W touted "history and current pot-life progress" as evidence that voting for a pro-choice presidential candidate is not a slippery slope. I'm sorry, Kevin, but it is your analysis that is flawed. If you are referring to the willingness of many legislators to seek incremental improvement in abortion laws, I too would applaud that. But these are pro-life legislators, not pro-choice ones. And their work is legislative, not executive. You're comparing apples with oranges---and still not ending up with any evidence for your conclusion.

If we look at presidential politics, we still don't find your precedent. All of the conservative justices currently serving on the court are there because of pro-life presidents. Exactly what history and current pro-life progress supports the partnering with pro-choice presidential candidates? Please elaborate.

You later ask: "So you’d rather gamble with a Democrat for 4 years and their appointments? At least Rudy will be under ‘pro-life’ pressure. This just doesn’t make sense." You question makes me wonder whether you read the rest of my post, but let me reiterate. When even a pro-life president has to resort to appointing justices that appear ambiguous enough to squeak through congress, I have absolutely no reason to believe that Rudy will pay the political price to stand with us on this issue. He doesn't stand with us now, why should he suffer for us later?

No, I don't expect anything from a Democrat. But I do want to do my little part to let the powers that be know that I am a Christian and I vote only for candidates that I can, in good conscience, support---no matter with what party they are affiliated. I tend to vote Republican because they tend to better support my values. But when they begin to abandon those values, then I owe them no allegiance.

Everyone took notice when conservative evangelicals made such an impact in the last two elections, even the Democrats. If we hold true to our convictions, we may lose this immediate election, but we will show that our support must be won authentically, and we will lay the groundwork for true significance in future elections.

In Scripture, we see that God turned His people over to poor leadership or harsh circumstances to teach them the consequences of their sin and that they should return to Him. He looked past the immediate situation and saw the long-term results. We need to get past the myopia of looking at only the immediate election, and look at the next twenty.

And someone please show me in Scripture where 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' or 'the end justifies the means.'

Blessings,
Curt

Well said, Curt.

Jake and Curt,

Who is the last ‘pro-choice’ Republican president since 1980?

This is the history I speak of. The political world understands already that ‘pro-life’ America is a force to be reckoned with. Your views seem to emphasize force for the sake of force; or power for the sake of power; and your posts all but say it explicitly. This is what I don’t understand.

You both have deep pro-life values that I hold myself; and it speaks to our concern about this issue that we can have such rigorous debate. However, you both are willing to put up with a proud ‘pro-choice’ Democrat just so your vote can go into some imaginary 'pro-life' savings account for later. News Flash: “Pro-Lifer’s Mean Business” - Can I ask you Jake and Curt; would this be a victory?

Rudy will (and has said so) that he will appoint conservative judges if given the chance. Rudy explicitly said he thought overturning Roe wouldn’t be a ‘bad’ thing. This already is better than the alternative. You’ve admitted as much.

The Democratic Party is a parody and will set this country back if elected. As for me, give me a Republican that will protect my family and America from terrorists if nothing else. Give me a president that cares about what will happen in Iraq if we leave if nothing else.

You both speak of voicing your opinions to be heard. Well, to me the only thing that is coming through loud and clear is this attitude of power. We already have it; The ‘pro-life’ movement will be set back more because of Democrat than a 'pro-choice' Republican.

Please excuse the typos in my last post. I had to step out for a minute, but I should have waited and not written quite so fast!

Kevin, I appreciate your passion and there is obviously much upon which we would agree. But the issue for me is not power, but conviction and integrity. I don't say that to impugn you or your motives, but to explain mine. I would argue that I am not willing to sacrifice my convictions for political power. I want to consistently follow my convictions, so that if I do accomplish anything---in politics or anything else---it will be authentic, real, and lasting.

Politics, by necessity, involves compromise and cobelligerency. But there are limits to both. We are going to draw the lines in different places. But I think Berger's warning is apropos when we consider who to partner with in politics: "He who sups with the devil had better have a long spoon."

I am committed to being a good steward of our political opportunities and seeking legal protection for all innocent human life. But I also believe our real power lies in weapons which are not of this world. We shouldn't give up on the political process, but I believe change will only be real and permanent if we also work to change hearts and minds. If we fight through laws, we will achieve good, but that good can be easily reversed by a succeeding administration/congress. But if we change hearts and minds, the laws---and candidates---must follow.

And while we're working to change those hearts and minds, if there is a solid candidate that has the moral courage to stand for what is right even if it costs him a nomination, I will have the moral courage to support him---even if it costs an election.

And one final thought: Remember how the Republican party began? If the GOP began as a third party to counter slavery, maybe there is some historical precedent for seeking an alternative.

Francis,

I don't think that Brad stands corrected by you. Brad chooses the phrase "representative republic" which might be something of a redundant way of saying "republic." You choose "constitutional democracy" and elaborate a bit on the structure stipulated in the constitution of the US. The phrase that most social studies teachers give their students by which to describe the US is "constitutional republic." "Democracy," though a favorite catch word of politicians, is not a term social scientists throw around loosely; they often prefer to reserve "democracy" for the type of government where law is ratified exclusively by what we would call "referendum." The emphasis on a constitution is, of course, important because a government, whether a republic or democracy, may be structured differently. You must however be careful to not make the two party situation to be some official part of the constitution.

The comment you make about slavery I think you must explain, otherwise it seems to me that you are badly confusing types. Slavery was a problem and it has since been addressed. Abortion laws are a problem and one day we hope to speak of these as in the past. We can take the constitution and use it with hardly a thanks or approval to the people who framed it; they long preceded us and we had nothing to do with their exercise of power.

"So, Doug t and Rudy his representative are yoked and if he acts like a pro-abortionist, as he's stated he is, you have endorsed him."

I endorse the least abortionist among candidtates that can win. I live in reality like that.

"A third party or even one of the major 2 COULD win with a staunch pro lifer IF everyone who believes in protecting life held to their principles when voting."

Yes, and just as the rules of space and time would have to collapse in your hypothetical Rudy could win IF he was converted to be a staunch pro lifer the hour before the ballot box closed. However, reality dictates something different, which you admit below.

"The problem is that there are too many that are willing to give their approval, their personal approval to representatives who'll violate the highest form of love and duty to protect life, so they can win and hope to be fed a crumb later."

I agree, that's exactly what you're doing by voting 3rd party. I'm not willing to give my personal approval to candidates who have to violate the rules of space and time to win.

"We wouldn't even be having this conversation if the people who call themselves Christian in this country [still over 80%] would obey the Christian principle to protect life!"

I am absolutely obeying the principle to protect life. I wish you and Dobson would too. But you're going to commit an act that all indicators tells us will hurt more unborn.

"I wont make the trade off that you and so many others are willing to make. I dont think it's an obedient, faithful act."

Yes, I'd rather save babies than be right. We're pro lifers, not pro-lifers of no political value.

"homepage.mac.com/francis.beckwith/WiseAsSerpents.html"

Frank, Brad is gonna get on your for taking Wise As Serpents out of context. Though, if he was wise a serpent he probably wouldn't.

"In Scripture, we see that God turned His people over to poor leadership or harsh circumstances to teach them the consequences of their sin and that they should return to Him. "

God seems to turn his people over to poor leadership when they vote for the third party fringe. He'll teach you a lesson by you causing Hillary to appoint four judges instead of Rudy.

Go ask a Nader supporter if they would rather have had 8 years of Bush or 8 years of Gore because they had to have Nader the perfect Greenie over Al Gore the less than perfect candidate.

Don't Nader Rudy or you'll get Clintoned.

Curt said,
" I would argue that I am not willing to sacrifice my convictions for political power."

...or the unborn.

"Slavery was a problem and it has since been addressed."

That's the understatement of the year. "Slavery was a problem"? I think "wicked injustice" captures it much better. 2 + 2 = 4 is a problem; southern California traffic is a problem; Frank Pastore's hairline is a problem; and the geckos in my mailbox is a problem. To call slavery a problem is like calling 9/11 a security breach.

And how did the government address the problem? The Civil War.

If that's "addressing a problem," I'd like to see what not addressing a problem would look like.

BTW, my point of citing the slave owning habits of some of the Founders is not to denigrate the genius of their project. My point was to show that if one is looking for perfect policies administered by saints, then the very system we take for granted must be abandoned on those grounds.

For the record, I'm a Mitt Romney kinda guy: he's the only Mormon among the Republican front runners and yet has had only one wife. That's priceless.

"Slavery was a problem and it has since been addressed."

That's the understatement of the year. "Slavery was a problem"? I think "wicked injustice" captures it much better. 2 + 2 = 4 is a problem; southern California traffic is a problem; Frank Pastore's hairline is a problem; and the geckos in my mailbox is a problem. To call slavery a problem is like calling 9/11 a security breach.

And how did the government address the problem? The Civil War.

If that's "addressing a problem," I'd like to see what not addressing a problem would look like.

BTW, my point of citing the slave owning habits of some of the Founders is not to denigrate the genius of their project. My point was to show that if one is looking for perfect policies administered by saints, then the very system we take for granted must be abandoned on those grounds.

For the record, I'm a Mitt Romney kinda guy: he's the only Mormon among the Republican front runners and yet has had only one wife. That's priceless.

doug t said: "Yes, I'd rather save babies than be right. We're pro lifers, not pro-lifers of no political value."

Would you go so far as to advocate the killing of abortion providers to save babies? I don't think you would be willing to go that far. Some Christians are not willing to go so far as to support a pro-choice candidate.

It is not clear to me that we can know for sure what the actual historical consequences of either of these actions would be. Would the killing of abortion providers save babies in the short term but increase abortion over the long term? Would refusing support to a pro-choice candidate result in more dead babies in the short term but save many more in the long term. Maybe, maybe not. How does someone with a Christian worldview sort out the morality of these actions not knowing the outcome?

Many Christians went to their deaths rather than call Caesar god, yet the number of Christians increased.

How do we know that making a moral statement doesn't have a moral impact?

If a candidate advocated the killing of all adults over 65 years old and one candidate advocated killing only those over 80 are we making a better moral choice to vote for the the candidate that will kill the fewest? Greg's quote of the Pope indicates that this would be a moral choice but it that the only moral choice available?

I must admit that I don't see anything necessarily Christian about the political calculations concerning who can win and who can't. It a judgement on the balence between practical vs. principle. Are the mechanics of the political process such that Christians should be indistinguishable from anyone else in the way they make these judgements? I'll check the link to Frank's article.

Does Frank Beckwith really have geckos in his mailbox?

I tend to agree with Curt. I don't really trust Giuliani's character so I can't have Kevin's confidence that he will be an advocate for the type of policies that I hope to see.

I think that there is a portion of the Republican party (and the general public)that see the life issues as very secondary behind the war, the economy, taxes, etc. etc. These concerns will always be with us in this life. I received a fundraising mailing from the Republicans (I am independent) including the questionaire on issues. Abortion was one question toward the end. There are many who do not share this priority, putting the life questions first.

If we believe God intervenes and is active in history does that change how Christians should view their priorities in the political process?

I have heard all the arguments against third parties before, having been a third party candidate. They are not necessarily invalid and should be seriously considered as you would any important decision.

>>“Would you go so far as to advocate the killing of abortion providers to save babies? I don't think you would be willing to go that far. Some Christians are not willing to go so far as to support a pro-choice candidate.”

Obviously, some Christians are willing to allow a Democrat to be elected by de facto. Some Christians are not willing to go that far.

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