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Friday, July 28, 2006

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Another Steve

I'm delighted to see somebody at last writing a 'new' book about an 'old' religion - materialism - and hanging it out to dry. Good piece Fr Schall, please keep 'em coming.

Les

As a Canadian in an increasingly Godless nation I understand and generally agree with Coulter's premise about the left. I haven't read the book so I can only comment on the interviews I've heard on Sirius, on Hannity and Hannity and Colmes.
I find she is an irritating person and would have difficulty carrying on a conversation with her. And she seemed only interested in goading the left into a fight. That's her, that's her personality I suppose.
For me, as a Catholic and a former union vice-president, a contract negotiator and shop steward, I find that the whole thing is cause for mourning. We have a political party here in Canada, the New Democrats, that at one time held high moral standards, was started by a Protestant Christian and was populist, with an emphasis on representing the rights of farmers (echoes of Gaudium et Spes) and other workers. But like the Democrats in the U.S. it has been taken over by every manner of Godless special interest to the point that it is unrecognizable. The party that my Grandfather proudly voted for I would not be associated with publically.
I am still a member of a large union, one of the largest private sector unions, but I cannot belong to the leadership because the national union promotes the same list of Godless causes.
I'm no radical socialist and now generally vote right of centre but I find it sad that I have no option that can conform more to my faith and its social teaching.
I think there are a lot of Catholic Democrats in the U.S. with the same dilemma.

Augustine

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." -Dom Helder Camara

Unfortunately, with of course some exceptions, the two major parties have evolved into one party, the Democrats, being godless and materialist, and the other, the Republicans, following the false god of elitism. This country was founded on the good parts of classical liberalism and Protestantism. Unfortunately, today, we see the parties reflecting the worst parts of those ideas. The Democrats have taken classical liberalism in the direction that the French did in the revolution, divorcing natural rights from God and imbuing them with an ideology of emancipation from religion. The Republicans took the worst part of Protestantism, specifically Calvinism, namely the idea that material wealth is a reflection of God's blessing of certain people.

I can't say that I particularly endorse either party. I registered as a Democrat primarily so that I can vote in the primaries since Democrats tend to have a little more variety than Republicans, at least in the issues that matter to me. I tend to vote Democrat, except in the case of judges, where I will usually vote Right To Life or Conservative across the board.

My reasoning is that millions of people are going to suffer and die either way. The Democrats will allow babies to be slaughtered, while the Republicans will allow the poor to die of starvation and exposure and conquer the world and prop up murderous regimes across the globe to serve their own interests. It really is a lose-lose proposition. However, I feel that education and evangelism can go a long way towards abating the Democrats' evil, but is not particularly effective in combatting Republican evil since it would take vastly more resources and need to happen on a global scale. So, I pick my poison and side with the Democrat more times than not. To me, it is easier to reason with people and try to convince them that abortion and homosexuality are wrong and that there is a God that cares for them than it is to spend the millions of dollars to feed every hungry person, shelter every homeless person, provide medical care for all who need it and then on top of that stop every military excursion intended to "promote democracy" and secure oil around the world. And there are other Republican policies I find just as deplorable. My main gripe with the Democrats is the materialistic worldview, their inability to see the Divine and respond to Him. They may have the wrong motives, and it may have other ramifications like their positions on religion, sexuality, and life issues, but they go a long way towards at least attempting to help the most vulnerable of society and pursue social justice. We may not have the same motives, but if they help people who can't find employment keep food on the table and provide medical care for people who can neither afford care or insurance, then that's better than what the Republicans would bring about.

So, it's not that I would call myself "liberal" or subscribe to that school of thought, but I do care that people who need help have at least a chance of getting some. We all pay taxes, and it's nice if the government can serve as some kind of benefit to its citizens rather than being just a burden. I've been homeless, I've been jobless. It's not fun. And it's not always anything I have control over, and you'd be surprised how asinine the criteria and paperwork for qualifying for government aid can be sometimes. There have been times where myself, my wife, and my newborn have had to budget $5 a week on food. This should never be in a country with as much wealth as ours. Everybody deserves a fighting chance to live at a reasonable standard. And while liberals may be dead wrong in their reasoning and some of their conclusions, in a lot of areas, they do end up in the right place, and I may not be entirely comfortable voting for them, but I find it far less objectionable than voting for neo-cons and libertarians.

Jackson

To quote Dylan:

"I think politics is an instrument of the Devil. Just that clear. I think politics is what kills; it doesn't bring anything alive."

BillyHW

Wow, it's really incredible what people will tell themselves to justify voting for the baby killers.

Les

Jackson,

Dylan has a point, but there never is and never will be an ideological vacuum. Someone always steps in, for good or ill.

Jackson

Have you seen the latest issue of First Things? It has an excellent article on Dylan arguing that he is not at all the liberal that many of his devotees hold him to be. It's not on their website yet, but I went ahead and typed it up and posted it at rec.music.dylan:

http://tinyurl.com/lnbly

Augustine

Billy,

If one is consistently pro-life, then one should be pro-life for everyone, not just infants. I was very much involved in campus pro-life groups in college. I used to donate to Birthright when I had the means. There is no question in my mind that abortion is murder and ought to be outlawed. But I also have to consider the lives of those who do make it to birth and have to deal with sickness, poverty, war, and opportunity-- with raising families, dealing with catastrophes, urban decay, racial inequality. All too often, I find that Republicans are on the wrong side of these issues. And what about "pro-life" candidates who are outspoken in their support of capital punishment? I don't deny the state has the right to execute criminals, but I would advocate restraint in its applciation. Yet, there seem to be a lot of good "pro-life" Republicans who are exceedingly enthusiastic about putting convicted criminals to death, sometimes even for crimes that are not homicidal like rape and narcotics trafficking. Doesn't that disturb you, or is abortion the *only* issue that matters? I guess it's okay to vote to keep AK-47s legal as long as a candidate supports a ban on abortion. Or to go off fighting wars of conquest, putting the lives of our soldiers (of which I was one) and untold foreigners, both combatant and non-combatants, in jeopardy to secure tomorrow's trans-continental oil pipeline? But it's OK as long as they don't kill any babies. Anyone over the age of birth, though, is fair game to kill. Some pro-life position!

BillyHW

Wow. It's really incredible how some will persist and persist in their rationalizations for voting for baby killers.

Augustine

OK. Let's try it this way:

Wow. It's really incredible what people will tell themselves to justify voting for the kill anyone but the babies crowd.

Sean_H

Augustine,

I appreciate your concerns, but I think you need to consider facts rather than perceptions. First, despite the rhetoric, real spending for social programs at the fereral level have increased under every single Republican administration. They continue to go up even now when the Republicans control both political branches.

That being said, I, and many conservatives and libertarians oppose social programs not because we don't care about the poor, but because they are wasteful and don't work. You complain about the criteria and paperwork that are involved in government assistance, but there is no way to avoid it. Less than 50 cents on the dollar of taxpayer supported programs actually goes to the people who need it. Private charity, and better yet investment help poor people out far more than the dole. Aside from the purely practical aspects, much of this assistance spiritually and psychologically cripples generations of families.

Taking your comparison of gun control and abortion, I can easily explain why you should always vote for the anti-abortion candidate if you care about life at any stage. I propose to you that the streets could be littered with machine guns in a world that values life, and there would be no violence. Modern and historic societies where there is a lawful respect for life have been armed to the teeth without having the kind of violence we have in the US. Moreover, I would go so far as to say the policies you praise, such as an extensive social welfare state, do more to cause gun violence than the NRA ever has.

Brian John Schuettler

BillyHW: Wow. It's really incredible how some will persist and persist in their rationalizations for voting for baby killers.

You certainly have the right to disagree with the positions that Augustine has asserted but it would be interesting for me to hear any actual statements of fact, evidence or, at the very least, any basis whatsoever for your disagreement. A debate only has value if both sides express their views in a mature, intelligent manner. Why don't you give it a try? How about it, Billy?

Augustine

Sean,

Fair enough. But in a society that truly values life, there would be no abortions either. Abortion is a big issue for me, but I can't let it be the *only* issue in determining which candidate to vote for. All too often, the candidate who supports a ban on abortion, is on the wrong side of most other issues that I consider to be important- issues which do have life or death consequences. More often than not, I vote *against* a candidate rather than *for* one. Here's a good example. Peter King is a staunch opponent of abortion and I used to live in his district. I voted against Pete King because he does not support even limits on assault weapons sales and supports the IRA. I could not, in good conscience, vote for someone who sees no problem with the unrestricted sale of military weapons to civilians and advocates on the part of a terrorist organization in a foreign country. His stance on abortion notwithstanding, I'd be horrified to vote for someone who values life after birth so little.

Anyway, the whole point was that it is actually possible to vote for "liberals" and not subscribe to their very wrong worldview.

Timothy Mulligan

Ann Coulter consistently communicates in an uncharitable and vicious manner. Even "truths" conveyed in that way become false.

I'm shocked -- and nearly scandalized -- that Fr. Schall has reviewed this woman's book so approvingly. I will be unsubscribing from the Ignatius Insight mailing list, because it is becoming clear that its denizens have confused the Gospel with neo-conservatism. One is about dying. The other is too often about killing, in word and in deed.

"You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire." Matthew 5:17-22.

Ms. Coulter, in her book and in her public discourse, routinely and viciously insults others. (She recently called Al Gore "a fag" on national television.) This is not the Gospel, Fr. Schall. Not at all.

To put it simply, I'm shocked at your approbation of Ms. Coulter.

Timothy Mulligan

Timothy Mulligan

Ann Coulter consistently communicates in an uncharitable and vicious manner. Even "truths" conveyed in that way become false.

I'm shocked -- and nearly scandalized -- that Fr. Schall has reviewed this woman's book so approvingly. I will be unsubscribing from the Ignatius Insight mailing list, because it is becoming clear that its denizens have confused the Gospel with neo-conservatism. One is about dying. The other is too often about killing, in word and in deed.

"You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire." Matthew 5:17-22.

Ms. Coulter, in her book and in her public discourse, routinely and viciously insults others. (She recently called Al Gore "a fag" on national television.) This is not the Gospel, Fr. Schall. Not at all.

To put it simply, I'm shocked at your approbation of Ms. Coulter.

Timothy Mulligan

Dan Crawford

I found myself more than a little unsettled by Fr. Schall's comparison of Coulter with Chesterton. Fr. Schall may think Coulter's in the same class, but many would beg to differ. It's not simply her viciousness to which several have referred, it's also the anger, the vitriol, and the absolute refusal to concede that anyone who might not share her ideas deserves some respect. Having seen her media performances, I consider her just another one of the yellers, screamers, moaners, whiners and ideologues who populate the various talk shows. I do notice that her the length of her skirts on such shows suggests she has some trouble defining modesty for herself, but the cameras do love the leggy angles.

Fr. Schall's review suggests his critical faculties may have lost some of their sharpness.

Dan Crawford

I found myself more than a little unsettled by Fr. Schall's comparison of Coulter with Chesterton. Fr. Schall may think Coulter's in the same class, but many would beg to differ. It's not simply her viciousness to which several have referred, it's also the anger, the vitriol, and the absolute refusal to concede that anyone who might not share her ideas deserves some respect. Having seen her media performances, I consider her just another one of the yellers, screamers, moaners, whiners and ideologues who populate the various talk shows. I do notice that her the length of her skirts on such shows suggests she has some trouble defining modesty for herself, but the cameras do love the leggy angles.

Fr. Schall's review suggests his critical faculties may have lost some of their sharpness.

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