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Seven hard truths about America this July 4th weekend

"God Bless America," written in sand with an American flag.

It’s the July 4th weekend, when we celebrate American independence, watch baseball, fire up explosives, and eat a lot of grilled meat. I consider it the best time of the year for taking stock of how this country of ours is doing. It’s also, conveniently, exactly one year since the dreadful 2016 presidential campaign got going.

Here are seven hard truths I think we’ve learned about America this year:

America is more divided than ever.

Our divisions are ideological, religious, moral, political, economic, regional, and more. We are at least two different countries — a conservative, largely white, somewhat older, largely Christian country with a center of gravity in the South and Midwest and a progressive, multiracial, younger, increasingly secular and multifaith country with a  center of gravity on the coasts and in our big cities. These countries do not understand each other. Or like each other. At all.

American economic anxiety is profound, and millions are in crisis.

The rich and upper middle classes are doing quite well, while the middle class is shrinking and the lower middle and poor classes are struggling mightily. A notable decline of the white working class has rung the alarm bells this year as evidenced by all kinds of indicators, including rising rates of drug abuse and family breakdown, and even declining life expectancy.

American racism is alive and well.

Racism is the gift that keeps on giving. Anyone can be racially prejudiced, but American racism takes the particular pattern of people of European background (“white” people) exercising disproportionate social power, resenting any loss of such power, and sometimes having a very difficult time accepting the emerging reality of a multicultural, post-white-rule society in which we get places at the table, but not control of the whole table. This anxiety surfaces in a thousand different ways.

America is bruised from chronic, unsuccessful foreign wars.

“We don’t win anymore,” says Donald Trump, in perhaps his most successful and pointed slogan. Yes, it does often feel that way. On foreign battlefields, we haven’t had a clean, successful “win” in a very long time. Afghanistan and Iraq are still a mess, and terrorists are still finding ways to hit us and our friends whether here or abroad. It is dispiriting, and ripe for political exploitation — and real, fresh leadership, with new vision.

America’s political system is broken.

One of the great strengths of our country has always been our political system itself, with its division of powers, checks and balances, and all those other brilliantly designed features we study in school. But at least at the national level that brilliantly designed system appears to be staggering. The Supreme Court has eight members because Republican senators won’t give a hearing to President Obama’s nominee. Very little legislation can get through Congress. The floor of the House became a protest site because Democrats were so frustrated at their powerlessness in getting gun legislation considered. Partisan divisions are now so profound as to make governing nearly impossible. Something’s gotta give, soon.

America’s conservative religious leadership has a less attractive moral vision than big businesses like Coke and Delta — and they keep lining up on opposing sides.

The big-business sector has joined the progressive side of the culture wars, where it is gradually defeating conservative religionists. This is one of the year’s most interesting developments, and has been most visible in relation to the backlash-legislation attempted mainly in southern states related to gay rights. Here in Georgia, a fascinating place to watch these developments, big businesses like Coke, Delta, the movie industry and the banking sector strongly opposed the overreaching religious liberty legislation that passed here. They clearly influenced Governor Deal’s veto. It now seems that in any battle between Coke and Franklin Graham, between Delta and the Family Research Council, the corporate heavyweights will win.

The old Christian Right, despite everything, supports Donald Trump.

Not even the prospective nomination of Donald Trump can separate the reflexively Republican Christian Right leadership from their preferred party. There they go again, all the Ralph Reeds, Richard Lands, and James Dobsons, together with some especially egregious televangelists and others eager to get next to the latest GOP nominee. But the good news here is that evangelical support for this particularly problematic candidate is down significantly from the prior baseline. Christian moral discernment lives! Kudos to the Mormons, in particular, whose moral compass has proved especially sound this election year.

America: It’s a great country, and a resilient one. Let’s take good care of it. Okay?

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David Gushee

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  • You’ve also forgot that Democrats are doing everything in their power to make sure the slaughter of the unborn is not only legal, but easy and celebrated. “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you”, but Democrats seem to think that verse actually ends in “jk lol just kill it”. We also have a Democratic presidential candidate whose foundation accepts money from governments that will execute those for simply being a part of the LGBT community. This is something she is very proud of.
    Let’s not pretend this is a (R) issue. The blood is on the hands of both political parties.

  • I find the boo-hoos of so-called Christians about the treatment of gay people in other countries to be as morally bankrupt and revolting– but with far deadlier consequences– as I do their efforts in this country to keep gay people as second class citizens. Not to mention, the efforts and applause of the Christian right in places like Uganda, Malawi, Singapore, and russia to do exactly what you are allegedly decrying.

    Slaughter of the unborn is celebrated? More reviling and slandering. I have never known anyone who thinks that abortion is a good idea, let alone something to be celebrated. And the Christian right has fought every effort at responsible birth control, family planning, and responsible sex education, thereby insuring that rates of abortion remain high.

    And those themselves are what keeps the antiabortion industry afloat. Only if abortion rates remain high does the anti-abortion industry remain able to keep up the grift, as the have for the past 43 years. “We’ll fight abortion. any decade now, we’ll stop it. Just send us more money.”

    Very much like Brian Brown of the National Organization for (some people’s) Marriage and his recent fundraising appeals. What if they held a march for marriage, as they did this last weekend, demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars from their supporters, promising that thousands of people would show up to defend marriage from people getting married, and only 237 people showed up? That’s what happened. Brie then declared it was a raging success, please send more money, and we will fight for marriage for the next umpteen decades.

    Anyone beginning to see a pattern here?

  • Interesting truths with a “slant.” These “truths” could also be expressed with an opposite “slant.” It’s all in one’s perspective, background, and beliefs. I know it is unpopular, and considered extreme right wing, but a study of the Founders original writings (not contemporary rewrites), would be an enlightening experience irrespective of one’s political or cultural stance…

  • It would be enlightening if one remembers the severe flaws of the Founders and tries not to treat them like saints or their writings like scripture.

    The founders had some ideas which were not altogether great for their time or even now:
    1. The notion of a militia as a substitute for a standing military was a political move which did not serve the nation well. Militias did poorly during the Revolution but its former members had clout.
    2. The Third Amendment never really got much use
    3. Their notions of state’s rights allowed state and local governments to undermine the very notions of democratic liberties for all citizens. It would be nearly a century until that was corrected in a very tumultuous fashion
    4. They didn’t have a clear idea about how the judiciary should work until long after the fact.

  • But to you fundies are the only real Christians. 🙂

    Jews would probably steer clear of people like you. Most fundies are only one generation away from the Christian types who wanted to forcibly convert them or commit pogroms. They already know philosemitism is phony passive aggressive nonsense. Best described as “They just want us to keep the lights on for when their messiah comes”. Most Christians like yourself can’t really address them without treading into accidental anti-semitism.

  • Thanks for your opinion… That’s what I take it as, but I do appreciate it. Hope you have a good 4th Of July Holiday!

  • Sorry Alex, you lost that fight 40 years ago. No more pretending a fetus is a person, but a woman is not. You lost it again 20 years later, and you lost it yesterday. Now you can’t even get away with the phoney baloney backdoor de facto abortion bans. But you will continue to contribute money to fetus worshiper activist groups in forelorn hope on a lost cause. How pathetic. Keeping grifters employed is a regular hobby for some people.

    Frankly if so many of you fetus worshipers gave a flying sh1t about born people, then we wouldn’t be dealing abortion in the first place.

  • If you think the politics now are dysfunctional, wild and wooly, then just read about how things were done 150-200ish years ago. Modern Americans are amateurs in comparison.

    Happy 4th. 🙂

  • “Something’s gotta give, soon.”

    Change is coming; just look at the views of millennials. If they have rejected organized religion,
    then it has been born of our sin of self-righteousness.

    If we reflexively state that God is for Republicans and against Democrats; aren’t we the ones who have trivialized God rather than them? Believers should know better, they are simply rejecting our insufficient parody of God!

  • Thank you! I have read, actually studied original source documentation, and found that they did what was actually impossible (politically and otherwise) to create a new way of governance by establishing a Constitutional Republic. Sure, there was great struggle, and quite messy at times, but it created a great nation unprecedented in history. Let’s do the best we can in our day and age to continue the good, even while navigating the bad. Thanks again!

  • I consider the messiness, disunity and fractuous nature of our system its strength. We are too cranky to be united under a single dictator. Too argumentative not to keep pushing the limits of our liberties. Its when we are united that we should worry.

  • Very true… but this is not new… Did you ever read the account of the ratification of the Constitution? And for that matter, all the key decisions that had to be made (especially those early years of establishment)… There was much debate, argument, and as you said, “cranky folks,” so it is even more the amazing that we have our Constitutional Republic that we enjoy to this day…

  • I don’t know whether “God is for Republicans and against Democrats”, but I do know that Democrats are seriously against constitutional religious freedoms for Christians. I also know that Democrats tried to totally censor the word “God” out of their national Platform during their 2012 national convention. And the icing on their repression cake? Obama and Hillary, of course!

    I still don’t know if God is for Republicans and against Democrats. I don’t have an answer on that one. But if we turn it around and ask, “Are Republicans against God?” “Are Democrats against God?” then you CAN see a real measure of difference between the two political parties.

  • In the US, overall life expectancy is age 78. The overall life expectancy of the US poor has fallen to age 60. This is the result of what we call a “successful socioeconomic agenda.”

    This is what defines this generation.

  • The changes we have seen with millennials is no more than that of the changes seen with each generation, and is less than the changes we’re seen with some generations. Core human values remain as marginalized as they’ve been since at least the 1980s — empathy, compassion, etc. The dirty little secret is that age has increasingly become a poor standard in determining ideology. The main difference between the 1980s and today is that the young were enamored by the very well off (rich) in the 1980s, and are enamored by the better-off (middle class) today.

  • How many babies and children are slaughtered with each of our wars, pushed by the Republicans? How many fetuses are lost as a result of the extreme hardships that we’ve imposed on our poor? How many lives have been significantly shortened as a result of our economic policies against our own poor? The hands of the greedy right wing have dripped with blood throughout our history.

  • Need space for the rest of the country, such as the Christian left of all ages/races. In the grownup world, you can’t stamp your feet and walk away from the critical issues we all face, shouting, “I’m not playing with you anymore!” Mature adults learn to hash out their differences.

  • If you take some time to read the Gospels, you’ll see that what you depict is an attitude of superiority that is, in fact, anti-Christian.

  • Actually, a very interesting read. One must keep reality in mind, of course. The writings of the Founders were consistent with the culture that existed over 200 years ago, and I believe things have changed a bit. Regardless, as noted, it makes for some very interesting reading.

  • For the most part, people really weren’t involved. Government was an organization of the rich, with little relevance to the daily lives of ordinary people. They had far greater concerns.

  • Yes, democracy is always very messy, an ongoing, ever-changing, process. The mistake of the current era is that we had foolishly removed many of the restraints on the richest, greediest, most powerful of the nation, and we are now dealing with the consequences.

  • Not always the case… The Letters of Correspondence created town forums and the towns people were able to speak, debate, etc. People, though many agrarian, were quite outspoken… More so in the towns.

  • Culture has indeed changed… Principles though, are foundational if used. It takes an educational system to create a political culture, as does the family, faith, and community. If the same principles aren’t taught, the culture and subsequent political climate, including governance will be different. If we pivot from the original intention of the Constitution, we will lose the benefits of the original governing document. Thanks for sharing.

  • Secession Survey

    We’re sorry you’re leaving us. Before you go, would you mind taking a quick survey?
    Your feedback will help us improve the quality of life in these United States of America.

    —————————————————————————————————————

    I am seceding from the U.S. because I oppose the civil rights of (select all who apply):

    ( ) African-Americans
    ( ) Agnostics
    ( ) Asians
    ( ) Atheists
    ( ) Bisexuals
    ( ) Buddhists
    ( ) Democrats
    ( ) Elderly
    ( ) Gays
    ( ) Gender Nonconformists
    ( ) Hindus
    ( ) Hispanics
    ( ) Immigrants
    ( ) Intersexed
    ( ) Jewish
    ( ) Lesbians
    ( ) Liberals
    ( ) Mentally Ill
    ( ) Muslims
    ( ) Native Americans
    ( ) Physically Impaired
    ( ) Poor
    ( ) Respectful Able-Bodied
    ( ) Respectful Able-Minded
    ( ) Respectful Caucasians
    ( ) Respectful Christians
    ( ) Respectful Conservatives
    ( ) Respectful Descendants of Immigrants
    ( ) Respectful Gender-Conforming Heterosexuals
    ( ) Respectful Libertarians
    ( ) Respectful Men
    ( ) Respectful Middle-Aged
    ( ) Respectful Middle-Class
    ( ) Respectful Republicans
    ( ) Respectful Wealthy
    ( ) Respectful Young Adults
    ( ) Transgenders
    ( ) Voters
    ( ) Women
    ( ) Yankees
    ( ) everyone else I can’t bully anymore

    —————————————————————————————————————

    Thank you for your feedback. Please remember to take all of your baggage with you.

  • “The main difference between the 1980s and today is that the young were enamored by the very well off (rich) in the 1980s, and are enamored by the better-off (middle class) today.”

    That is more of a reflection of the economy young people are entering. In the 80’s a college education was far more attainable without entering debt peonage, healthcare was still widely provided by employers, as were pensions. If millenials idolize the middle class its because the basic benchmarks of middle class existence are becoming more difficult to get and hold on to.

  • You mean people who do not think their religion entitles them to decide for everyone?

    Minority beliefs with a long history of having their civil liberties curtailed?

    People who understand religious freedom needs to apply to all faiths, not just yours?

  • One of the true ironies of our attempt to live a faithful life might be revealed in your statement: “but I do know……”

    The political certainty you seek maybe incompatible with the required humility needed for a right relationship between infinite creator and dependent created.

    This is a real conundrum; shouldn’t our faithfulness lead to some type of earthly authority or immutable conviction?

    We presume to know God’s mind and, I fear, this very presumption may be sinful.

  • “The changes we have seen with millennials is no more than that of the changes seen with each generation”

    Within mainline churches it is a commonly held perception that millennials hold entirely different values than their predicessors regarding the need to associate with organized religious institutions (i.e., they do not see the need to join in communal spiritual activities).

    It is this aspect that I referenced. If you dispute this or that communal spiritual association has been a long-term societal trait, I’d appreciate a site.

  • I submit that millennials do not hold views that devalue membership in organized religion. I submit that they see organized religion as a place where “members” are hateful and rejecting of others, along with judgemental and uncaring. I believe you can find some indication of this in the Pew Research study on religion.

    It’s not so much they don’t want to associate, it’s that the churches have shown an ugly and exclusionary face to them…so why should they bother.

  • Sorry, let’s look at the Republican platform which we see lived out in places like North Carolina, Kansas and Texas. Reduce public education and transfer that money to their wealthy benefactors who run poorly performing schools for profit. Let’s see who demands closing the borders to strangers when the biblical teaching requires just the opposite. The sin of Soddom was that she was wealthy and greedy, but did not care for the widows and orphans, and today’s Republicans want to cut healthcare for the poor, cut food assistance, eliminate Social Security.

    Dude, I’m just gonna be frank, you are so full of crap you’re embarrassing yourself. You are absolutely free to be against helping the poor, elderly, sick, downtrodden and children. That is your right in this country…but, seriously, stop pretending that’s a Godly or Christian position.

  • This is my disagreement with Dr. Gushee’s article:
    “a conservative, largely white, somewhat older, largely Christian country with a center of gravity in the South and Midwest.”

    As a lifelong Midwesterner, I think you’re wrong on that. Several Midwestern states are purple or even blue. Minnesota is definitely blue, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin and sometimes Indiana are purple. Look to the Plains states – the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas are very red. Wyoming can be added to that group, as it’s much more Plains than Mountains.

    So I’d rewrite your sentence, Dr. Gushee, by replacing “Midwest” with “Plains States. ”

  • Nicely described, HenryWallace! That conundrum presents a serious temptation, both theologically and psychologically.
    From my perspective as an atheist who believes in respecting others’ boundaries and cares most about how people treat each other, the Bible seems to be an extraordinary test of personal character and moral values.

  • I was born in Tulsa, and moved to California as soon as I turned eighteen. As far as equality, respect, and empathy are concerned — with rare and precious exceptions — Oklahoma is a great place to be FROM. And its current state government represents its California-minus-sixty-years-and-counting social values with unparalleled integrity.

  • Everything was OK until Trump came along and spoiled the party. For the author’s buddies, yes. For Americans, no.

  • No one celebrates abortion. It is a sad event whenever it happens. It is not your decision. It’s a woman’s decision alone. How dare you tell women what to do. You’re never going to have to make the decision.

    Clinton has spoken up for women’s rights and LGBT communities’s rights wherever she goes.

    DH Fabian comment’s below are right too. You can’t talk about abortion if you are not willing fto make sure that the people who are already born are not hungry, poor and unable to get good medical care

  • I would add that the founders did not think women should vote. You had to be properly owner to vote originally so many poor people could not vote. Black people were slaves, but even the free Blacks did not have equal rights.

  • The denomination of Judaism I belong to allows Gays and Lesbians to marry. Allows Gays and Lesbians to become rabbis and cantors. What about my religious freedom? You don’t support my religious freedom When you talk about religious freedom, you only mean freedom for people who share your views and nobody else.

    My God tells me “Justice, Justice, you shall pursue.” My God tells me to be holy by helping the poor. There is no way charities can do that by themselves. The government has to be involved. The Democrats are the ones who are at least trying to help the poor. The Republicans who were also trying to that in their own way are mostly dead.

  • “Principles though, are foundational if used.”

    “If we pivot from the original intention of the Constitution, we will lose the benefits of the original governing document.”

    I don’t really buy any of that. It amounts to idolizing and deifying the work of politicians in a way which defeats the purpose of an amendable Constitution subject to interpretation under judicial review that we have.

    The drafters of the Constitution itself did not expect its words or their own intentions to be set in stone or treated with scripture-like reverence. The Constitution is called a “living document” because it was made in a way which encourages revision with the times. They wrote the Bill of Rights in such a way that its interpretations could change over time with different conditions.

    There is no set notion of “original intent” or “principles” because we are talking about the work of a committee. The net effect of differing intents, cross purposes and compromises. People invoking such things usually just want to make end runs around discussion of one of the Constitution’s most important revisions, the 14th Amendment.

    The 14th Amendment is the greatest “pivot” we had from what some people nowadays claim is the “original intent” of the Constitution. We are a far better nation for it. The Constitution itself benefits a greater good and is more effective.

  • “America is more divided than ever,” he says, as he then proceeds to go on a divisive rant attacking others.

  • In both religion and science it is important to attempt to falsify your assertions to separate fact from fiction and prophecy from false prophecy. So much for Gushee’s gushing assertions:

    1. America is more divided than ever. Even the Civil War?
    2. American economic anxiety is profound and millions are in crisis? Even beyond the Great Depression?
    3. American racism is alive and well. Yes, and oddly institutionalized in the White House.
    4. America is bruised from chronic, unsuccessful foreign wars. I guess Vietnam War is included which stopped the dominoes of Communism from falling on Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore which afterwards became our “Asian Tiger” trading partners and eventually led to the softening of China to embrace (crony) Capitalism lifting a billion out of poverty. Vietnam was a success in a war of containment. The current President has abandoned containment and now it is actually migrating into our population by policy.
    5. America’s political system is broken. Translated: Democrats don’t have unobstructed power. Yikes.
    6. America’s conservative religious leadership has a less attractive moral vision than big businesses like Coke and Delta – they keep lining up on opposing sides. Big business is amoral so I guess that makes them more moral than the moralistic? A sociological observation: the religious moral relativists like Gushee are more like the religious fundamentalists than they are with any transcendent moral vision.
    7. The old Christian Right, despite everything, supports Trump. Yes, the Old Business Class supports Trump just as the New Knowledge Class supports Clinton. And the New Knowledge Class sprang in part from the Social Gospel of Walter Rauschenbusch and the Labor Movements of the early 1900’s. But now free, non-unionized Labor is on the side of the Business Class. So the dichotomy of Old Christian Right doesn’t work anymore.

    Moral superiority is not on anyone’s side, let alone Gushee’s, Trump’s, or Hillary’s, and neither is God.

  • Why don’t you just move to England, where similar narrow mindedness just screwed the Country? If your side was the majority, we wouldn’t have elected and re-elected President Obama. Perhaps it’s not your call. If not England, you could move to the Red States which are so heavily dependent on Federal handouts, yet continue to vote for Congressmen who like to talk about small government.

  • We have always had differing opinions. Our greatest challenge today is our inability to compromise. Today’s capital is Washington DC, which was a compromise becasue Hamilton wanted it to be in New York, and for the Federal Government to assume the State’s war debt. Southerners wanted it in the South, but didn’t want the Feds to assume the debt. The compromise was the Feds assumed the debt, and the capital was in the South. Imagine how that would have gone today. The “My way or the highway” attitude (largely from GOTP obstructionists), perpetually fueled by Fox News and right wing radio, is what is destroying our county. Perhaps it’s Ruperty Murdoch’s plan to destroy the US so Australia can become leader of the free world.

  • My friend, thank you for your opinion… This is a common narrative today, unfortunately history does not support it. The notion of the Constitution being a living document, and original intent not being valid, is very trendy today.. The Constitution is actually a Legal Document designed to operate based upon Principles that are to be applied into contemporary circumstances. Hence a provision for Amendments based on new factors was also built into the document. The Framers knew they could not foresee every situation in the future, so the use of Foundational Principles was a key factor in how it was to work. This has been very effective for over 238 years, and continues to be so, as long as we apply its function according to its design. Have a great 4th!!

  • ” The Constitution is actually a Legal Document designed to operate based upon Principles that are to be applied into contemporary circumstances. ”

    That is kind of a circular reference and not entirely true. Principles a law operates on is an inference at best. But not really a binding argument. More of a persuasive one to try to parse a given law to something outside of a plain interpretation of the text. “Original intent” as applied by courts is a crock. Simply a way to avoid the developments of the Constitution which developed after foundation. As I stated previously, there were a lot of blindspots in the intentions (and alleged principles) of the Founders which would not be adequately addressed untll long after the fact. Plus given the fractuous nature of Constitutional drafting, any notion of a unified intention is a complete and utter fiction. Its a nonsense argument from a legal POV. It has people arguing about obscure 200+ year old life and culture and not the nature of the laws themselves and proper and equitable interpretation in a given conflict before a court.

    “This has been very effective for over 238 years, and continues to be so”

    Because we do not try to enshrine ways of life and culture from that age as if set in stone, but instead progress over time. Legal interpretation is not Bible study nor should ever be treated as such.

  • Can you make an anti abortion argument without a bible quote or a theological assertion? They are worthless in matters of law – the Bible is not a law book in America. Christian theology is not science.

    What I’m asking for is an argument that is indeed universal. Anyone not Fundamentalist or even Christian is going to say: “Did you have a point or are you just going to thump that Bible at me?”

    Your argument is unconvincing, inneffective. This is demonstrated by legal losses and the fact of available pre-viability abortion.

  • Thank you. Demonizing your opposition is utterly uncivil. It defines them as enemies at the start of the conversation. Where, precisely, is the intended goal from that start?

  • Where is God in the Constitution? Hint: it’s not there. It mentions religion broadly but mostly in forbidding religious tests for office and forbidding any attempt to legally raise one theology above the rest.

    Parties propose to rule a secular state. That republicans decided to mention a Protestant Christian God with room for the Catholic version just means the GOP is heading down the path of theocracy, not democracy. Tyranny and not freedom.

  • Do you believe life has intrinsic value? What belief system gives you this thought? How do you explain the beginning of life? Do you understand them immaterial world and the laws of logic? Answer those questions mister wizard and you will have all the answers you need.

  • Abortion rates (percentages vis-a-vis live births) fell during the Clinton and Obama administrations and are now down to levels last seen in the early 70s.

  • Thank you… We’ll have to respectfully disagree, but I appreciate your opinions! Now, I have to get on with my family for the 4th of July activities. Enjoy your weekend, my friend!

  • Life can have intrinsic value without resorting to a theological argument. Make it universal and you will see more success. Reason alone can show life can be unique, intelligent life even more so. One of my favorite movie quotes is from Clint Eastwood in the “Unforgiven”. “Terrible thing, killing a man. You take away all that he is, all that he will be.” I’ve been military since 2001. Killing is part of living. Have a good reason, don’t do it lightly, and live with the consequences. I value life more now than I did in 2001. I’m still pro choice, which includes both life and death.

    The beginning of life is a far larger question than you give it credit for. It’s by no means simple. My wife and I could not naturally have a child. At least 5 miscarriages. We have two via IVF. Out of 6 implanted blastocysts, we have 2 healthy children. Nature aborted a minimum of 9 blastocysts that my wife and I and doctors created. Chew on those odds for a bit.

    Demonstrate an immaterial world exits and I will try to understand it. Good luck: I need evidence not theology or trivial poetry.

    I study the laws of logic. You realize an unfounded assertion is logically worthless? Use arguments founded on logic and not theology or wishful thinking. Logic itself can be founded on the nature of the evolved human mind. No supernatural explanations are required: Occam’s razor.

    I’ve seen life and I’ve seen death. I’ve seen the genius of man take lives and give them back. My children exist only because genius men defied theology to understand reproduction and find a way to help it work better, through logic, reason, and fact ignoring all theology and the fear it encourages. Much human suffering is man made, but most human joy and health and progress has come from the study of fact through logic and reason and the willingness to discard the a priori (logically fallacious) conclusions that religion tempts us with.

    Your move.

  • “Do you believe life has intrinsic value?”

    You do not.

    You value the unborn but are completely indifferent to the lives of the born. You care more about when life begins than where life begins, nor care about life in the time after its beginnings.

    To people like yourself a fetus is a person, but a woman is not.

    As for the immaterial world, when you can provide evidence of its existence, we can discuss it. Quotes from a book are not evidence.

    The laws of logic do not apply to your arguments. You are just engaging in narcissistic arrogant preening. Declaring your moral stance entitles you to trespass upon the lives of others.

  • I think Dr. Gushee merely wants to show awareness of the people who helped create such success. America is not a finished product. We are constantly building it.

  • Unfit tamely, you don’t know me at all to make such statements. Second, you show your ignorance with regard to the immaterial – laws of logic, physics, thermodynamics, etc. are material. Sharper people that you – Dawkins, Hawkings, etc. can’t even answer this. So please come up with a rational argument for the immaterial or first cause. Go ahead we will wait…..

  • Oh please. I know exactly the POV you are espousing. You made it fairly clear. You are also not exactly burning up the screens with original ideas here either. Your arguments were well past their expiration date in the 19th Century.

    “So please come up with a rational argument for the immaterial or first cause.”
    The most rational argument is that it is not a rational argument. There is no assumption of the immaterial, nor first cause. Its in fact a fallacious argument. One rife with assumption. One easily punctured by the question a 5 year old would “If everything has a cause, who made God?” You end up with either the dodge of “God is eternal” and thus refuting the premise that everything has a “first cause” or you end up with infinite regression.

    Check out this video where Atheist speaker Matt Dillahunty skewers your Argument from Contingency.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2016/07/02/watch-matt-dillahunty-explain-the-problems-with-the-argument-from-contingency/

  • Reason alone can’t settle everything, otherwise there would be no atheists and no legalized gay marriage.

    Also there would be visibly fewer profit$ for Planned Parenthood (because of state-by-state abortion regulations being allowed to stand.)

    Reason is helpful, yes indeed, but on today’s hot-button moral issues it is not enough.

  • If you are content with the current abortion-on-demand situation being even partially justifiable because of any of the issues you listed, then you know that I’ll be making a similar accusation on YOU, along with your Democrat pals who, from Obama/Hillary on down, support the current culture of death.

  • I’m not God , and you’re not the Devil. But if you want me to start throwing some cutesy one-liners at you to that effect, just say so.

  • We can all be frank, John, and I can tell you that since you’re apparently a supporter of the current abortion-on-demand situation (and certain other situations) just like your Democrat pals Obama and Hillary, you are entirely NOT in position to make fecal accusations against others.

  • Here”s the deal Mike : We DO know that God “is in” the Declaration of Independence, so it’s clear that the founding fathers didn’t intend for government leaders to check their theism and spiritual principles at the door.

    Ben Franklin never really claimed to be a Christian, but the practice of Congressional invocations (prayers ) started with his plea for prayer.

    Franklin wasn’t doing a theocracy, but he knew from what he’d seen in the war, and in the Bible, that America better NOT “forget that Friend” if it wanted to survive. Neither theocracy NOR secularism, Mike.

  • Your group DOES have religious freedom Susan. But there’s been a big change. Your religion, just like mine, is supposed to have automatic religious freedom in America, because of the Bill of Rights.

    But fanatical Obama changed it. Now, your religion, just like my religion, ONLY has religious freedom if its members support legalized gay marriage and endorse gay relationships as acceptable and okay. Otherwise your members and my members can get viciously punished by the state, especially in more liberal states.

  • Tearing what down? Undue privilege?

    As far as I can see, many conservatives only have a passing familiarity and devotion to notions of liberty, democracy and moral values. They have heard of such things. But that is about it.

  • Obama is a moderate. He is not fanatical about anything. There are Jews who don’t support Gay marriage too, but your statement makes no sense. I don’t know what you mean. You are not free to discriminate in the public sphere. Clergy are free to choose whether to marry or not marry who ever they want, but that is not in the public sphere.

  • Mike is right, but he left out that this has been good for religion too. Compare Europe and the UK to America. Religion has flourished in America while it is about to disappear in Europe and the UK.

  • White working people are suffering, but its not because of liberals. Its because of the super-wealthy and the GOP that supports them. That don’t care about you. They care about getting more and more money. They are crony capitalists who want use the government to help the very rich. They don’t even care about the Middle Class.

  • It’s the GOP that is tearing it down. The GOP talks about “family values”, but the greatest threat to family values is unemployment and poverty. The GOP wants to help the rich. They don’t care about the Middle Class, the working class or the poor.

  • Who is the fanatic, here? Take a long look in the mirror! Nobody is forcing you to be homosexual and marry someone from the same sex. In fact, nobody is telling your religion that they have to perform these marriages. But under the law — not the bible, THE LAW! — everyone in the country must legally recognize gay marriage. This law has absolutely nothing to do with how you personally practice your religion nor does it impede your daily life or liberties.

    You simply can’t separate your religion from law or reality. That is the very definition of being a fanatic.

  • Yes one believes in the First Ammendment and one doesn’t. You are free to worship however you want but religion has no place in politics.

  • So California is the sixth largest economy on earth and provide a lot of the nation’s agriculture and you are willing to let it go? Why?

  • Good article. What have the Mormons done to receive your kudos? Living in NE Oregon, we are a microcosm of your points. Lots of conservative, white landholders with an increasing of younger multi-racial and cosmopolitan folks mixed with a lot of nature. The pot is stirring and the American soup is cooking here. Glad to be in the West. Happy 240th.

  • Racism is alive and well only because racism serves the Democrat Party and its creepy progs, which would never win another national election without a subjugated permanent racial underclass.

    Thus the racebaiting we see in articles like this one.

  • Because the fertilized egg/zygote/developing fetus is not a person, the woman hosting it, however, IS and has constitutional rights whether or not to loan her body to the 9 months necessary to develop another person.

    I’m curious how you feel about artificial insemination and the fact that millions upon millions of fertilized eggs are stored frozen in facilities all over the world. Many will end up destroyed after the parents have the desired number of children. Others will sit in frozen stasis indefinitely. Do you feel this inhuman? Or is it different because these little ‘babies’ are the product of people with money who might possibly ‘want’ them, someday. What about the rights of all those poor, frozen babies, trapped for decades? Or do you see them for what they are; frozen EGGS and nothing more?

  • How do you feel about gun regulations? Do you feel that people should have to go through waiting periods, education, therapy, etc. prior to owning a gun?

    For the argument; would you be okay with making the exact same regulations on a person purchasing a gun as for a person seeking an abortion?

  • You don’t get it. You get to live your life by whatever your heart and version of Christianity dictates. And now, so does a gay person. Nobody is forcing you to do anything you don’t want to do. You no longer get to force your neighbors to live by your interpretation of the bible.

    Your religious freedoms remain the exact same as they always were. Unless you felt like it was your right to stomp on the freedom of others. Just to be clear, you should NEVER have had that ‘right’. That is wrong that the Obama administration made RIGHT. You should have never had the freedom to dictate how other people lived their lives. Period.

  • Doc, you have told me that I am evil, my marriage is evil, that it is a false religion.

    But sure, pretend you haven’t.

  • I completely agree with you and Fast Eddie. He foes still have automatic relies freedom. He just wants everyone to live by his interpretation of religion.

  • No it is you who lacks a moral compass. Nor do you have any sense of propriety and understanding of the rights of people. It is hardly moral to interject yourself into the intimate and personal decisions of people, no matter how righteous you consider your stance.

    Let me correct you further. People, children are born. A fetus is not. The born have rights independent of any human being because their existence is autonomous from all others. Unlike a fetus, any born person can have people speak or act on their behalf without attacking the personal and intimate autonomy of another human being. Unlike any person, only one human being on the planet keeps a fetus alive, its mother. Anyone can keep a baby or grown person alive. Birth is a distinction of existence which cannot be ignored or handwaved.

    You are woefully dishonest in failing to recognize that “protecting a fetus” means attacking its mother. Unless you can take possession of a fetus from its mother, your opinion on the matter of her pregnancy is worthless. It is in her body, so it is her choice and hers alone.

    Your POV depends entirely on claiming that a woman is not a person in a legal sense. Who has no rights greater than a narcissistic controlling busybody such as yourself. That a woman is incapable of making decisions without your high and exaulted input. Well that is a load of bunk. It takes religion to maintain your POV because only religion can cough up the terrible excuses that individual rights are of no importance and someone invoking divine authority can dow whatever they want, to whomever they want.

    Your complete and utter indifference to the born, renders your self-righteous attitude immoral. Your insults are feeble. If people like yourself could be remotely concerned with human beings after gestation, we would not be having this conversation.

  • So you are pointing out the complete and utter insincerity of references to God by the founders. That it appeared to be more placating the crowd than a personal belief. The fact that all references were absent in the documents responsible for organizing our government and laws is far more telling.

    The Declaration of Independence is not a description of a basis of government. In fact in its most basic form it is merely a nastygram to the King of England.

  • Absurd reasoning. First, In reality nobody is “autonomous”. We all depend on each other in society. Second, a fetus is just an unborn child. The place where a child lives — in or outside the womb — doesn’t matter as to its basic nature as a human being. Third, on the basis of your own reasoning, why not permit infanticide after birth? If the mother doesn’t like it after birth, why would killing a child in the cradle be a bigger problem than killing it in the womb? A child in the cradle is not more “autonomous” than a child in the womb. It is completely dependent. But I would say that in both cases it is murder.

  • There is a human being as soon as there is a fetus, i.e. a fertiziled egg. All other criteria a purely arbitrary. On the basis of your argument one could defend the position that even children under the age of reason — i.e. under the age of six or seven years — should not count as human beings. Do you really think that the day before its birth a child is not a person, but the next day, after its birth, it is suddenly a person? How absurd and limitlessly cruel. Where is your sense of protecting the helpless? I would not trust you with my children!

  • “In reality nobody is “autonomous””

    Well that is just absolutely absurd. You cannot compare a born human being who is capable of their own life functions without depending on another human as the equivalent of a fetus. A being whose existence is entirely dependent on the will and bodily functions of a single individual. That umbilical cord and womb makes the life of a fetus of secondary importance at all times to its mother and her will. I don’t ever have to care whether you consider a fetus human. Personhood is not the same thing. A person is born. Has its own independent existence. As long as a fetus survives solely at its mother’s will, it is only the mother’s will that matters. Not some narcissistic self-righteous busybody who feels they are entitled to make decisions for the lives of others.

    ” why would killing a child in the cradle be a bigger problem than killing it in the womb?”

    Because one can intercede on behalf of a born child from the moment its born without ever having to attack the bodily autonomy of its mother. Its no longer attached to its mother and can exist on its own. Any responsible adult can keep a born baby alive. Only a mother keeps a fetus alive. Your inability to understand or acknowledge this concept makes your view dishonest.

    Your ridiculous conflation of the two renders your POV nothing more than an attack on women and their personal intimate lives. You cannot protect a fetus without attacking its mother’s personhood. You cannot handwave a woman’s life and existence away as immaterial or of no consideration. You cannot pretend born and unborn are entirely different factual situations.

    Your POV depends on attacking women, of making ridiculously factual misrepresentations and of elevating yourself on some alleged divine command to the point where all women must answer to your command. Absurd doesn’t describe your reasoning clearly enough. Absolute unmitigated bovine effluence comes close (while avoiding the profanity that is really called for here).

    Most importantly, the right to a safe abortion has already been granted 40 years ago. You are not offering anything which wasn’t already shot down by the courts as irrelevant to the situation. 20 years later they had a second shot at attacking abortion rights and failed yet again. As was last week. Its established law that a woman as a person has a right to make decisions concerning what goes on in her body and you do not. I don’t have to argue for the right of abortion. Its already a given. If you don’t like them, don’t have them.

  • It is exactly this concept of “personal intimate life” which is nonsense. In reality it is the height of unrighteousness and nothing else but a declaration that a person can do as it suits him. It is the principle: “My might is my right”, which is a kind of pseudo-intellectual fascism. It is a form of idolizing one’s own self.

    No, there is really no one who is “autonomous”. As human beings we all are extremely dependent, and cannot live a couple of days without a social infrastructure which provides us with food and water, &c. In this we are not essentially different from babies in the womb.

    The fact that abortions have been granted since 40 years cannot turn this evil into something good. We don’t derive our morality from the law of the land or the verdicts of the Supreme Court. Laws and Courts can be evil to the core as is well know from history.

    The only reason why the killing of babies in the womb goes unpunished is that they are powerless and cannot organize themselves. That’s the bitter truth. And this bitter truth reveals the villainy of modern morality, which is nothing else but power play, according to the principle: good is what you can get away with.

  • “this concept of “personal intimate life” which is nonsense”

    Unless it is your personal intimate life involved. Then you will be clamoring for your civil liberties. You are claiming a fetus somehow has a personal intimate life worth protecting at the expense of its mother.

    Hypocrisy is the cornerstone of your view. You don’t believe people have rights or should have an existence without your say so. Because God granted you this authority to make decisions for everyone else. I can’t even pretend you are making a cogent point here. You are all over the place with rampant nonsense.

    “The only reason why the killing of babies”

    Babies are born. A fetus is not. Your inability to distinguish between born and unborn makes your points dishonest garbage.

    “No, there is really no one who is “autonomous””

    Bullsh1t! No born human being is dependent on the physical existence of a single human being and their biological functions. They are capable of independent rights and existence from all other human beings. Your attempt to conflate the physical attachment of the umbilical cord with basic human interaction is laughable. No person is dependent on another in even the remotest way like a fetus and mother. You can’t simply pretend the obvious different between born and unborn does not exist.

    You have no morality. You consider a fetus a person, but a woman is not. You attack autonomy and individual rights but hypocritically want to apply them to the unborn. You have to make phony ridiculous and dishonest arguments to support your view. I simply have to refer to biology. A fetus is inside a womb and survives at its mother’s will. You can’t change that or pretend it does not matter. In her body, not your business. The bitter truth is you are a self-righteous narcissist who does not respect the rights and existence of women. You feel you have the power to force them to obey your command. Your position is not one of morality, religion or politics. Its a deep character flaw on your part.

  • Or the intended consequences of the right wing tendency to paint people as enemies or threats, to decry good government, to make up stuff no end, and the politics of division. We could start with Nixon’s Southern Strategy in the wake of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We could continue on to the demonization of gay people in the 70’s, and the current attacks on Muslims and those not deemed Christian enough by right wing politicized Christians.
    toleration? Really? Like gay people have been tolerated by right wing and right wing religious political, made into a threat to everything good and holy? And now you’re all complaining how tolerance means an attack on you.
    Please.

  • David Gushee has given America a valuable gift in writing this article. I’m particularly moved by his comments on how today’s Americans treat Americans.

    A few readers have directed comments at self-identified Christian Republican conservatives, citing the importance of helping the millions who live in poverty in our own country. (See the second of Mr. Gushee’s “Seven Hard Truths”.) I’m disturbed that those Christian Republican conservatives have reacted to mentions of their moral duties not by simply (let alone respectfully) acknowledging them, but by simply — and quite oddly, to me — changing the subject.

    For example, one reader wrote, “…You are absolutely free to be against helping the poor, elderly, sick, downtrodden and children. That is your right in this country…but, seriously, stop pretending that’s a Godly or Christian position.” The respondent replied, “…I can tell you that since you’re apparently a supporter of the current abortion-on-demand situation (and certain other situations) just like your Democrat pals Obama and Hillary, you are entirely NOT in position to make fecal accusations against others.”

    Regardless of who (emphasis) reminds these Christians of their responsibilities, the Bible is quite clear when it comes to the solemn obligations of the faithful to those in need.

    Here are 7 Old Testament verses about how to treat the poor:

    (1) ” ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God.’ ” — (Leviticus 23:22)

    (2) ” ‘For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, “You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.” ‘ ” — (Deuteronomy 15:10-11)

    (3) “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever; their horn will be lifted high in honor.” — (Psalms 112:9) …

    (4) “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” — (Proverbs 14:31)

    (5) “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” — Proverbs 19:17 (NIV)

    (6) “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.” — (Proverbs 28:27)

    (7) “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” — (Proverbs 29:7)

    And here are 7 New Testament verses about how to treat the poor:

    (1) “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” — (Matthew 5:42)

    (2) “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” — (Matthew 10:42)

    (3) “Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ ” — (Matthew 19:21)

    (4) ” ‘They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?” He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.’ ” — (Matthew 25:44-46) …

    (5) ” ‘In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” ‘ ” — (Acts 20:35)

    (6) “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” — (1 Timothy 6:17-18)

    (7) “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” — (Hebrews 13:16)

  • Who’s this “We”, Keemo Sabe?

    The “young, multi-ethnic” will have ALL of America, in time. ALL of it. [And one reason for that is that younger whites are/will have children with them!]

    The atheism part is trickier to predict. IMHO, atheism (as anti-theism) has been growing in direction REACTION to fundamentalist theism. But as fundamentalism dies off (both because of demographic losses of the declining white Evangelical group, and the assimilation of fundamentalist immigrant groups), there will be less of that strident reaction. Oh, there will still BE fundamentalism (theist AND anti-theist), but it will exist in smaller, more stable segments compared to a majority liberal theism and secular agnosticism. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” J Lennon

  • Ye gods, the comments here. I’m surprised there are so many, because the most logical reaction to this cogent little analysis is “Duh”: Gushee’s simply stating the facts.

    …but then those who oppose logic have to be all “You’re divisive! You’re slanted!” about it. Oy vey.

  • – “Reason alone can’t settle everything, otherwise there would be no atheists and no legalized gay marriage.”

    That’s not reason, that’s a beliefs-based non sequitur. People are different in their beliefs and in their sexualities. That’s a fact. The only issue is what we do with that fact. Given the choices of (a) elimination by death, (b) denial by suppression, or (c) life by coexistence — and given the additional facts that there is no evidence to support the idea that any of us are better than anyone else, or that any of us deserve more control over others’ lives than they do over ours — life by coexistence is the most reasonable choice. In other words, good fences make good neighbors.

    – “Also there would be visibly fewer profit$ for Planned Parenthood (because of state-by-state abortion regulations being allowed to stand.)”

    It may be your wish that “states’ rights” would legally supersede the U.S. Constitution and its Amendments in regard to the rights and freedoms of your equals, but again, it’s neither reason nor legal fact.

    – “Reason is helpful, yes indeed, but on today’s hot-button moral issues it is not enough.”

    Agreed. That is where coexistence reasonably demands social support for and legal protection of individuals’ personal boundaries, boundaries-respecting beliefs, belongings, bodies, bedrooms, lawful activities, privacy, freedoms, rights, and equality. And that is also where the moral virtues of learning, sharing, collaborating, and seeking win-win solutions can benefit all of us.

  • To make this discussion easier, explain to me the essential difference between a fetus and a baby. If the only difference is that the baby is born and the fetus not, then the fetus can be killed a couple of hours before its birth. Explain what essential change takes place at the moment of birth. So what is the essential difference at stake here? Why is a fetus which is yet unborn subject to arbitrary slaughter and why is the same thing a couple of hours later a born baby which should be done no harm? Why is the born baby suddenly a person, and the fetus not? And why does this distinction matter at all?

    If this distinction is in the degree of dependence, then anyone lying in intensive care in a hospital can be killed without qualms.

    The distinction between a fetus and and a born baby can only be accidental. Both share human nature. There is no change of nature at birth. It is a law of nature that when members of the species generate a new exemplar, both the generating parents and the generated new exemplar belong to the same species. and this specific nature remains intact from conception until death. Only conception and death imply a substantial change. Not birth.

    As to the modern notion of liberty, I maintain that this notion is deeply at odds with true human nature. Liberty, properly understood, isn’t the opportunity or capacity to do the things that I want to do according to my own will, but it is simply the moral responsibility for my own choices. These choices are not indifferent, not up to me, but bound by the moral law that is inscribed in human nature and can be explained by proper philosophical analysis. Modern self-will is nothing but the will to power, i.e. a manifestation of the “might is right” principle, which is a corruption of human nature.

    Although I always have the possibility of disobeying the moral law, this disobedience is never permitted. It is a transgression, a deviation from the purpose of human nature. The liberty of the will exists only in order that I be responsible for what I do and have the obligation to do the right thing. But I’m not morally free in order to make the wrong choices or all kinds of arbitrary moral decicions according to my own whims. I’m simply a member of the human species, subjected to objective and rational moral laws.

  • Which is why “Person” is a far more appropriate criteria. A person is born, has an autonomous existence and individual rights independent of the existence of others. A fetus can’t exist without its mother’s biological systems keeping it alive and her will to carry the pregnancy. So at no point can a fetus have greater rights than its mother.

    Birth is not an arbitrary demarcation but a bright line which separates the fundamental difference between being inside a person and being a person.

    “Do you really think that the day before its birth a child is not a person, but the next day, after its birth, it is suddenly a person?”

    Yes, exactly so. Once it can live outside the womb it has an independent existence from her. You can act on its behalf without attacking the bodily integrity of its mother. Your incredulity is just dishonest prattling. A refusal to accept simple biological fact.

  • I will make it even easier. You can’t honestly ignore the difference between born and unborn. Nor can you pretend a fetus has a right to bodily autonomy and individual rights but it’s mother does not. Your constant use of inflammatory and incorrect language shows how irrational ultra view is.

    “the fetus can be killed a couple of hours before its birth”

    The concept of viability eludes you. If it can survive outside the womb, it can be born. If it can’t, it lives solely at the mothers will. Your dishonest refusal to acknowledge this fact makes your argument complete garbage.

    “Explain what essential change takes place at the moment of birth.”

    It doesn’t require it’s mothers biological systems or will to stay alive. There, done.

    “And why does this distinction matter at all?”

    Because the moment it is,born, any other human being besides its mother can care for it. Your dishonest attempt to find equivalent situations is laughable. There is nothing among the born which compares to how a fetus is attached to its mother.

    “anyone lying in intensive care in a hospital can be killed without qualms.”

    BS analogy. Anyone in a hospital can have their interests represented. All done without affecting the rights of others.

    Your notions of liberty are hypocritical double talk. You want to pretend it doesn’t exist for people but must for a fetus. You want claim your self styled narcissistic moral view entitles you to trespass on the lives of anyone you want. A privilege of the self righteous over people they consider moral inferiors. That is pretty morally repugnant for a pov. You are not talking about “moral law” you are talking about personal privilege. You want the power to bend others to your will.

  • The point is that the criterion of being able to survive outside the womb in no real criterion at all. For not even a healthy born bay can surive outside the womb without others. It is completely helpless. Nor can it exercise any “individual rights” more than the yet unborn.

    Yes, anyone in a hospital can have their interests represented, except those who can’t and these can simply be killed, in the same manner that the unborn can be killed, according to your principle. This demonstrates my initial point that your principle is nothing else but the principle of brutal power. Those who have the power to survive, either by themselves or by having representatives who care for their interests, can survive. All the others are useless and fit to be killed.

  • “The point is that the criterion of being able to survive outside the womb in no real criterion at all.”

    Your nonsensical need to ignore such clear factual immutable condition makes everything you say dishonest garbage. You have nothing worth saying when you make such a material omission and conflation.

    “except those who can’t and these can simply be killed” Never heard of a living will, healthcare proxy or guardian? I guess so. Still a BS analogy

    It’s telling that at no point have you addressed the situation often mother. You have ignored her existence. Claimed she has no rights and liberties to life and demanded that they all must bend to your will. Your view depends on denigration, excluding and s1ut shaming women. Women who are disobey your all-powerful wishes. Yours is nothing more than autocratic principles. All people must do as I command. Nobody’s life has value unless you deem it so.

    A fetus is of value but people are not. Your care for humanity is only a thin veneer. You have no morality other than to claim all must obey you. You have no concern for life except during gestation.

    It is telling you don’t address a single reason why abortion is legal. Nor will you. It is obvious, you can’t do it. Not honestly anyway.

    .

  • In my philosophy the unborn and the born have equal dignity in matters of life and death. No person can have permission to kill another person at will. So from my perspective the life of the mother and the life of the unborn child are equally worthy of protection. Your slanderous accusations only demonstrate your lack of proper argument. You are simply unable to refute the position that no substantial change happens at birth, and thus you cannot deny that both the fetus and the born baby belong to the human species. Humans don’t generate beings of a different species, and at birth there occurs no sudden mutation of species. One and the same thing can only belong to one species. From this it necessarily follows that from conception until death we belong to the human species, and thus from conception until death are human individuals.

  • The DoI is not the Constitution. It might form, or not, an opinion of what the Constitution means, but we cannot base laws or policy on the DoI. It is not a legal document in our current nation, merely one of historical interest.

    It is true that Franklin was no Christian. Neither was Jefferson. At times I wonder about John Adams, who’s religion changed throughout his life. He died denying the Trinity, among other things. Advocating a Chaplin prayer to calm your colleagues and help them think more charitably is a far cry from belief. It might simply be Franklin pulling emotional strings, like all good diplomats and politicians do.

    God is not in the DoI anyway. The Creator is, but that term is incredibly broad, to include Vishnu and Zuul. It is also broad enough to include Pantheism, where nature itself is kinda a collective, pagan sort of God (Einstein might be a Pantheist). Even it does not establish Christianity or demonstrate a god even exists.

  • Why would reason alone not include atheists or gay marriage? I see an unsupported assertion there, ironically irrational.

    Why are moral issues not addressable through reason alone? What would you substitute?

    It is true that in addition to reason we have law, which is not always reasonable, especially with popular votes ruling some things. That is why we have a third branch, judiciary, to apply the law and at least some reason to check the whims of the majority. Yes, the judiciary is a direct check and balance on Congress. In law, all must be compatible with the Constitution. Since no theology can be allowed to dominate law, specifically forbidden by amendment I, then yes, gay marriage and atheism are fully compatible with the Framers’ intent. No gods or 20, no harm done, to paraphrase Jefferson.

  • So, I take it that the point of this partisan hackery was to prove that we’re divided?

  • Last first: secularism is not atheism, which I think is the dichotomy you were reaching for. Secularism simply means all faiths and none are equal, which is implied by the Constitution: congress shall pass no law… Which SCOTUS has repeatedly interpreted as applying to all branches, since all function in part on congressionally passed laws. The military functions under the UCMJ, which was written and now reviewed by Congress, I believe under title X, USC, but I’d have to check the specific part of law it is under. Military members are forbidden from placing personal faith above orders or above subordinates, etc.

    You cannot be asked to shed belief at the door as a government official. That is a common straw man argument (illogical, fallacious reasoning – irrational). You can be required to keep your beliefs as your own, forbidden from having them established in any way. If your faith informs your arguments, fine, but in law and regarding Americans who believe different things, you cannot favor one theology over another. If theology is your only basis for law, that is blatantly unconstitutional. If your theology can inform your leadership, but you can make a reasoned argument that people of all faiths and none can agree to, that is fine even though the kernel was your private faith. Law and religions often overlap: forbidding stealing, murder, and official lying are in every religion I’ve studied, usually adultery too as a matter of property/contract law.

    Make a rational argument that people who despise your faith can understand and accept, and I don’t care if it started in your faith. It was argued in the real world and you convinced people rationally.

  • First off, the Declaration of Independence isn’t the law of the land, nor does it establish our form of government. But that aside, where you do you find a reference to “God.” in the Declaration?

  • Isn’t this the easiest of questions; there seems to be an overwhelming Christian and biblical consensus.

    The problem is in implementing the principle. Should Christian speak with one voice; yes, do Christian speak with one voice; no.

    In some respects, this entire tread is concerned with the clarity of the biblical calls for justice and the politically tortured response of people of faith.

    My belief, is that the starting point should be humility…., rather than self-interest, or party, or race, or denomination, ……

  • If born is the criteria for granting rights to fetus/infants, then why is it okay to take a breathing, born fetus/infant and toss it to one side to die? And don’t tell me it doesn’t happen after a “failed” abortion, you know it does. It isn’t being born that matters any longer, it’s whether or not mommy dearest wants it to be a dying fetus or a living child. She is the final arbiter of whether that fetus/infant lives or dies. Since it is mommy who decides, the day is coming when throwing an unwanted just born fetus/infant into the trash will not only be lawful but acceptable because after all mommy said it was just a fetus, and they have no rights.

    http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160704-baby-animals-start-learning-before-they-are-even-born

  • “born fetus/infant and toss it to one side to die? ”

    A born fetus is like an oversexed virgin. A contradiction in terms. Conflating a fetus with an infant already means you are arguing a dishonest point and avoiding what I am saying. If it can’t live outside the womb, it only exists at the mother’s will and her body. So it has no separate existence like anyone born. Since you can’t advocate and protect a fetus without attacking a mother’s life and body in the process, your view is ridiculous. That is unless you feel that women aren’t actually people with their own lives. Your inability to distinguish the born with what can’t live outside the womb

    As for your article, let me be as crass as possible here since you really don’t get it. It doesn’t matter if a fetus knows 3 languages, can solve world hunger or is the next messiah to deliver us to world peace. As long as it lives in the womb and cannot survive outside of it, the mother and the mother alone gets to decide whether to carry it to birth. Most importantly of all, there isn’t a damn thing you can say or do about it. Its not your body, its not your business. It doesn’t matter how self-righteous and allegedly moral you think you are, your input is never required here, nor asked for.

  • Your philosophy is dishonest nonsense. Built upon ignoring material facts and people who are inconvenient to your self styled egotistical narrative. A fetus is not a person because it is not born. A woman is not a person to you, as you believe she has no rights or will of her own but yours.

    You don’t ever address the mother because you have no respect for her personhood. You don’t respect her dignity or existence. You argued against it with your pretend refutation of autonomy. If you don’t respect one’s intimate privacy and autonomy, you can’t respect their dignity. You don’t treat all life equally. The unborn gets consideration, the born gets bent for all you care.

    “You are simply unable to refute the position that no substantial change happens at birth” Already did from the outset. A fetus can’t live without its mother’s biological functions. A baby does. That is not only a substantial change, it is the most substantial. One which you have to ignore constantly.

    It has always a 1ie on your part that no such distinction existed. Simply you saying “no it isnt” rather than acknowledge simply biological facts.

    Your concept of morality leaves much to be desired. First is your idea that all people must follow your personal directions for their intimate matters. Second is the necessity for dishonest rhetoric and blatantly ignoring basic facts to sustain it.

    You are simply a busybody who has no respect for the lives of others. One who worships a fetus to the detriment of consideration of people.

  • No, birth is not a substantial change. You clearly don’t know what a substantial change is. A substantial change is a change by which the species , i.e. the specific nature, of a thing is changed. This implies always that the thing is corrupted and a new thing emerges. An example is when wood is destroyed by fire and a number of new substances result, or when an animal dies and is decomposed. At that moment there’s a substantial change. But nothing like this happens at the moment of human or animal birth.

    My morality is not a matter of personal directions. In fact my morality is simply based on philosophical considerations, and mostly in line with Scholasticism on an Aristotelian-Thomistic basis. Why would scholastic philosophy be dishonest nonsense? Have you ever studied it? How do you know? From the way you write your posts one would think you’re an ignoramus in all philosophical matters.

    That a fetus is unable to live without its mothers biological functions is for the greater part just a bogus argument, the counter-example is birth itself. At that moment the life-line of the fetus with the mother is cut through, and yet it goes on to live! But the substance of the fetus is not changed. Only some life-functions are changed. But it is the same thing that first lived within the mother, and is now alive outside the mother. If it is the same thing it is also the same individual substance. Nobody holds the position that the baby is not the same individual thing, before and after birth.

    The fact that the fetus as long as it is inside the mother cannot live without the biological functions of the mother, is clear. What would be the alternative? But this doesn’t imply that the life of the fetus is simply the life of the mother. For if that were the case, the mother and the fetus would be one and the same individual thing, which is clearly not true. For in cases when the fetus dies within the mother, the mother normally doesn’t die. And in cases where the mother dies during her pregnancy the baby can sometimes be saved. So it is obvious that there are two individual instantiations of life in a pregnant person, not just one.

    This demonstrates that the biological functions of the mother which are necessary for the fetus are not the same thing as the life of the fetus itself. The fetus’s dependency of the mother is comparable to other forms of dependency, for example the dependency of a patient in intensive care.

    And, as I already said, there’s no clear-cut distinction between this dependency before birth and the dependency after birth. The baby, once born, must be fed and be cared for in multiple ways, or else it will die. What is needed to keep it alive are also biological functions. And in most cases these biological functions are the biological functions of the mother, although a social infrastructure is actually necessary to provide for the life of the child. But this is also true before birth. Before birth the fetus is not only dependent on its mother. For the mother herself cannot exist without this social infrastructure.

    It is also not true that we don’t call the fetus a baby. When a woman is visibly pregnant and she has conversations with her friends about it, they all call it a ‘baby’. Nobody calls it a fetus. To do so, everyone knows, would be insulting and derogatory.

    As to your saying that I don’t ever address the mother because of my supposed disrespect for her personhood, or existence, how can you say this? As I already said, I have equal respect for the life and personhood of both the mother and the child. Actually I think that my position shows a far greater respect for the mother than you do. I respect the dignity of motherhood and believe this dignity should be supported by all means. To me the dignity of a person is not dependent on his or her own ‘autonomy’, his or her position in society. To me this dignity is founded in human nature and is simply a demand of the natural law for all human existence. We all belong to the same species.

    The unity of the species, the dependency and interdependency of human existence, and the social nature of man are the basic foundations for my rejection of modern individualism. To me, the philosophy of individualism is shallow, because it doesn’t recognize the real fabric of human existence, which is far more complicated and much richer than appears through modern humanistic lenses.

  • Now you are just being completely dishonest. You can’t tell the difference between one who can only survive because of the mothers biological systems and one whom any human being other than the mother can keep alive? You are full of it. Nothing more needs to be said here.

    Any human being can care for a baby. Only the mothers body keeps a fetus alive. Your refusal to acknowledge that makes your argument pure nonsense.
    your morality is nonexistent. You have to deliberately omit material facts and spin fictions to maintain it. You cannot build morals on a bed of untruth as you try.

    You don’t respect a mother at all. It’s why you never address her life as anything more than being subordinate to your belief of moral and physical superiority. That you have a right a duty to make decisions for her under all circumstances. It’s narcissism.

    Until you can represent facts in an honest manner, you have nothing of value to say here.

  • Your argument simply doesn’t work. You know quite well that a fetus can survive by means of technical support, from the 24th week of pregnancy. This is not principally different from the life-support of the mother. And it is to be expected that in the future it will be possible to keep fetuses alive even from an earlier time. Principally, there’s no technical limit here.

    The main point, however, is, that from the conception on the fetus is clearly recognized as an organism of its own, with its own genetic makeup and other substantial characteristics. It is genetically programmed and destined to become a full-grown human being from the conception on. That’s enough to conclude it is an individual human substance on its own.

    Your outbursts of ranting are really funny, but they mainly demonstrate your lack of argumentation. You seem to forget that basically it doesn’t matter who or what keeps the fetus alive. The fact itself that we distinguish the fetus as something living within in the mother is a sufficient indication that the fetus substantially has a life of its own. We wouldn’t make this distinctions if there would be only one organism. We clearly know that after conception there are two organisms, each with its own genetic program. That one of these organisms is dependent on the other doesn’t imply that it isn’t an organism on its own.

    A relation of dependency always presupposes that there exist two relata, i.e. two related things. That’s the whole point. An individual substance can be dependent of another individual substance in many ways. Its dependency of something else doesn’t prove that it is not a substance or thing on its own. Quite to the contrary. The relation cannot exist if the two relata don’t exist. A relation of dependency is not between one thing, it is between two things.

  • My argument doesn’t work? You flat out 1ie about obvious physical differences between born and unborn. If you can take possession of a fetus from its mother, you can care for its rights and existence. Until then, you are SOL. You are merely attacking women to please your self righteous ego.

    I never had to care whether you thought a fetus is a human being. I only had to care where it resided and how it existed.

    As long as it existed entirely due to the womans solitary body and will, she chose whether it gets born or not. Your points are an irrelevance to those simple biological facts. Facts you have mendaciously avoided.

    Let me add another part here you definitely don’t want to discuss. No anti abortion measure ever stopped abortion. Just stops safe ones. Everywhere abortion is either banned or there are onerous restrictions, thousands of women are injured or killed by unsafe abortions or self abortion techniques. But you couldn’t care less about women’s lives anyway. So why would you care. In your view they deserved it.

    You have been entirely dishonest from the get-go. You have no argument here. Now peddle your fetus worship elsewhere.

  • I already demonstrated that your line of reasoning is wrong, and if you would take time to read my demonstration carefully, you would come to the same conclusion. My argument isn’t based on flatting out the differences between the born and the unborn. But as I said, these differences are on the accidental level, not on the level of substantial being. There occurs no substantial change at the moment of birth. The fetus and the born baby are the same individual.

    Even if the fetus were exclusively dependent on the mother from the moment of conception until its birth, this wouldn’t in any way prove that the mother has the right to end the life of the fetus. For the situation would not be essentially different from the one described earlier. There still would be two organisms, each with their own genetic program. And this makes two human beings. And no one of these has the right to kill the other, except of course, according the “might is right” principle.

    But if you want to demonstrate that the mother has the right to kill the fetus because of the fetus’ total dependency then I suppose that you have no objection against killing anyone in other situations of total dependency. According to that line of reasoning, anyone in a situation of total dependency is fit to be killed at will. It doesn’t matter whether this dependency is organic or non-organic.

  • No you repeated the same dishonest nonsense in various iterations. You make phony claims that a fetus is indistinguishable in condition to the born. You make completely irrelevant statements about a fetus being human buy ignore the fact it exists entirely due to the mother’s body and will. You ignore the existence of the mother and her life.

    “There occurs no substantial change at the moment of birth. The fetus and the born baby are the same individual.”

    You are absolutely wrong the first time you said it, you continue to be wrong. You are just ignoring inconvenient facts. What changes is what I have said numerous times and you are too dishonest to admit to. At birth a baby survives without dependence on its mother’s biological systems. Any human being can care for it. Only the mother keeps a fetus alive. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT difference of the entire issue.

    “Even if the fetus were exclusively dependent on the mother from the moment of conception until its birth, this wouldn’t in any way prove that the mother has the right to end the life of the fetus. ”

    Of course it does! Her body makes it her rights. You have no right to be involved whatsoever. Nobody has to answer to you for their personal intimate decisions which affect their lives. Claiming mythical moral high ground doesn’t give you that authority, ever.

    Its in her body and survives entirely at her will. You are trying to say that you have a right to intervene and control what women do with their own bodies. That they are not people with their own autonomy, lives and rights beyond your say so. That all women must do as you command. You are trying to say a fetus is a person but a woman is not.

    “killing anyone in other situations of total dependency. ”

    NO SUCH CONDITIONS EVER EXIST FOR BORN PEOPLE. At no point is a born person entirely dependent on the bodily functions of another born person. Again dishonest conflation makes up your en tire argument.

    Your line of reasoning is that women cannot control what goes on in their body, because you say so. That your self-righteous ego, overrides any concept of privacy and intimate existence. You have no concept of the rights of the born. So your concern for the unborn is just irrational fetus worship. You sanctify a fetus above all sane consideration.

    Its interesting how you don’t want to address the women injured and killed by anti-abortion measures. Its part and parcel to your complete lack of respect for their lives. I guess they are simply “collateral damage” to your ego. What they get for disobeying your “moral” commands.

    You have been doing nothing but ignoring material facts and making ridiculous arguments. You are simply repeating the same untruths, omissions, and fact free analogies ad nauseum.

    Just to be entirely crass and end this ridiculous argument once and for all, I will say this:

    I never have to care whether you think a fetus is human. Whether it is the next messiah, knows 3 languages in vitro, or will bring about world peace. As long as it exists inside its mother and depends on her body as the sole form of survival, she gets to choose whether it gets born. You can’t do anything about that. Your input is not welcomed there, nor required. You don’t like that, GFYS. Its not your business ever.

    If you don’t like abortions, don’t have it. But you have no duty or right to prevent women from making decisions for what goes on in their bodies. It is immoral to even think you have a right to interject yourself in such things. we’ve said anything relevant to our positions days ago.

    Good bye.

  • I think that your remark about my iterations is just the story about the pot and the kettle. No, I do not say that a fetus is indistinguishable from a born baby. How stupid must one be even to suggest this? But my point is that the baby differs only in accidental features from the pre-born fetus. Not, however, qua substance. Substantially, the fetus and the born baby is one and the same thing. You are verging on complete absurdity if you suppose a substantial change here. The baby has numerically the same legs, the same head and brains, the same organs as the fetus has. All these things, and numerous others, remain individually the same before and after birth. And from the very process of birth it is clear that the movement from inside to outside the mother doesn’t destroy the fetus and re-create it into an entirely new individual thing. For that would be necessary if there were a substantial change and a numerical distinction between the fetus and the born baby.

    You don’t make clear why dependency in bodily functions would create a right to kill, and why other relations of complete physical or social dependency wouldn’t create the same right. Why is bodily dependency such a unique exception that it permits killing the dependent organism? You say: “Her body makes her rights”. That’s a new one I hadn’t heard yet. But perhaps you can demonstrate this “principle” instead of just screaming it around.

    Even it this “principle” would be true — which I deny — then in my opinion the mother still would have no authority to kill her fetus. For the fetus, despite its dependency, is not just a part of the mother’s body. The relation of dependency excludes such an identification. Considered as part of the mother’s body the fetus is just completely superfluous, which demonstrates that in reality is not a part of her body. Relations of dependency can only exist between two really distinct things.

    According to the philosophy of natural law nobody has the right even to destroy his own organs or limbs at will, e.g. by cutting off his own hand or foot. This would be an act contrary to reason and nature. There are exceptions to this, however, for instance when cutting off a limb is necessary to save one’s life.

    I never said that a woman is no person. According to the classic definition a person is the individual substance of a rational nature (naurae rationalis individua substantia). According to this definition each human being is a person. To accuse me of denying woman personhood is a baseless and absurd accusation, like so many of yours, since man and woman obviously share the same human nature. Who would deny this?

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