35 comments for “The Republicans are Coming! The Republicans are Coming!

  1. This is old hat, Kaimi. Republicans do this every election cycle, as do Democrats (just look at how liberal churches and African-American churches are “mobilized” by the Democrats). I really don’t think its a big deal. In the early days of the Republic, churches were prime modes of political communication and mobilization, and no one seems to have thought it was a problem. This whole idea of “churches stay out of politics” is actually of far more recent vintage, dating back to Lyndon Johnson’s attempts, starting in the 1950’s, to “silence” conservative churches. In other words, it originates with a direct assualt on Agency and the First Amendment. So, let’s junk it and drop the hypocrisy. We are a republic—I should be able to speak on politics wherever I want to, including church. Pastors and ministers are citizens too, and should be free to speak on whatever they want to. For goodness sakes, the Civil Rights movement was political in nature if it was anything, and centered on local churches.

  2. Gary: You think this is bad…wait until every other sector of society is polarized & mobilized. The conservative counter to Michael Moore will bring more whining than Gibson’s The Passion. Then Kaimi can pray for Seagulls to eat non-liberal moviemakers, hispanic candidates, black candidates, etc.

    Kaimi: Nothing personal. :) I actually thought your headline very very funny (if somewhat stretched for getting BCC more readers).

  3. Gary,

    I think the problem is tax status. I have no problem with Churches mobilizing their members. I would have a problem with every political group suddenly calling itself a religious organization in order to make political donations tax-free. The IRS has tried to draw the line so as to allow some of the first but avoid the second.

  4. Frank: I took a 501(c)(3) class from Jack Welch. The law is pretty vague…cuz the IRS doesn’t want to get involved, basically.

    Church’s can spend as long as it isn’t a “substantial” part of their budgets. This is the “balancing” test. Apparently there is also a brightline test that allows 5% or less of a Church’s resources to be spent on political purposes.

    In anycase…

    As far as I’m concerned, these are all _unconstitutional_ restrictions on the _free exercise of religion_ and _free speech_.

    As to why Church’s should be able to have tax exempt status…I’m willing to hang my hat on tradition & say “it’s always been that way…no reason to change it now,” which is weak…yet defensible.

  5. Lyle says: “The conservative counter to Michael Moore will bring more whining than Gibson’s The Passion.”

    I find it curious that you speak of Michael Moore’s “conservative counter” in the future tense, as if his work wasn’t a reaction to previous media trends.

  6. Jeremy: an eye for an eye will blind this country from truth.

    liberal tv/newspapers vs. fox/washington times…
    NPR vs hannity, limbo (no, I don’t like him)…
    moore vs ????

  7. Michael Moore, Michael Savage: If their individual breaths were to meet and mingle in the air it would produce an explosion rancid enough to debauch even the most virginal rainforest.

  8. Michael Moore vs. Michael Wilson

    see the website for the upcoming, to be released nationally movie “Michael Moore Hates America.”


    No endorsements here by me, but this was featured on Ain’t It Cool News, the arbitrater of all things cool in internet geekdom.

  9. I have to second Gary’s comments. What is new about this? Democrats have heavily used religion for years. They did it all the time even in white churches in the south until the south went Republican. They still do it in primarily African American churches which are far more political than anything I’d seen before. The so-called “Moral Majority” movement has died, so Bush is trying to shore it up by getting the same people excited and mobilizing their base.

    Exactly why this is news seems more a talking points of the Democrats who have played up Bush’s Christian faith as a negative the last year. But I think, as others have frequently mentioned, Clinton played the religion card far more strongly than Bush has. Perhaps I’m wrong in that. But it seems like Clinton was far more calculating in these matters.

    With Bush, for all his flaws in this regard, he seems far more sincere. (And I say that while deeply disagreeing with how he’s injected his religious beliefs into abstinence only sex-education, condom distribution in Africa, stem cell research, and many other such matters)

  10. Clark: What is wrong with the ABCs?

    A = abstinence
    b = be faithful in marriage
    c = condoms if you aren’t going to do A & B?

  11. You say that, Lyle, as if that had been the Bush administration’s position all along–when, in fact, it’s a rather recent turn; on the other hand, the ABC approach has long been a mantra for AIDS activists (especially those largely responsible for the impressive progress against AIDS in Uganda. I found Wonkette’s commentary on Bush’s recent decision to back condom distribution in Africa quite trenchant:

    “The White House takes a bold step forward, as noted in this NYT headline: “Bush Backs Condom Use to Prevent Spread of AIDS”

    In related news, the White House warned audiences that Darth Vader is actually Luke’s father and said that Homeland Security has many leads on who shot J.R. In closing, Bush asked the nation to pray for Baby Jessica, who has fallen down a well.”

  12. Jeremy: Hi. I have some condoms & a sex ed chat I’m going to give to your children; explain why they should use condoms to have sex…because we know that they need to ‘explore’ their bodies & others.

    A+B are far more important than C.
    If individuals followed A+B, there wouldn’t be an AIDS epidemic. Hm…in other news…

  13. Lyle, while that is certainly true, the issue is what to do with that subgroup who *won’t* wait until marriage. The science is fairly clear that abstinence only sex-ed doesn’t work as well as more expansive education. What happens is that the group who’ll have sex no matter what still has sex, but does so in a dangerous fashion that affects everyone – especially in our pocket book as insurance and the government has to deal with the diseases that are spread and the illegitimate children.

  14. Clark: Which is why “C” _can_ be a good message…but only for an afterthought…a la

    “we know some of you might choose to be stupid & have sex anyways…and if you do…use a condomn; or you’ll get AIDS, have to provide for a baby & ruin your lives”

    and if they then ignore that advice…and get a disease, sounds like accountability to me.

    teach correct principles…let the consequence follow.

  15. Lyle says,

    “Hi. I have some condoms & a sex ed chat I’m going to give to your children; explain why they should use condoms to have sex…”

    If you’re a trained teacher or counselor, great. I will have already taught my kids what I want them to know about sex, and will have explained to them the ways in which what the rest of the world thinks might be different than what we believe. So, if your little talk keeps one of my kids’ classmates from become a teen parent or getting an STD, fabulous.

    “If individuals followed A+B, there wouldn’t be an AIDS epidemic.”

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. If COUPLES followed A+B, there wouldn’t be an AIDS epidemic. In some parts of the world where AIDS is rampant, unfortunately, it is very common for one partner to be faithful while the other is highly promiscuous. We can do what we can to reverse this centuries-old state of affairs, but in the mean time lets see if we can at least get promiscuous husbands to not pass on their diseases to their wives and children.

  16. Or we could also work on the promiscuous wives. Political correctness works both ways–you can’t just assume that men have any bigger problem with this than women.

  17. John, you can’t *assume* that men have a bigger problem, but you can access countless studies that indicate that, in fact, men are far more likely than women to be non-monogamous in any culture, and particularly in the African cultures Jeremy was talking about. It has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with empirical observation.

  18. I agree with Kristine in re promiscuity. Which is not to say that I was in a horrible dudgeon that the administration was emphasizing fidelity and abstinence at the expense of condom use.

  19. Kristine must be right. After all, isnt’ that why FMG is such a big deal in Africa? Because FMG helps ensure that women are faithful because sex is made painful? Hm…

  20. Lyle! Are you suggesting that FGM is a reasoned or justifiable response to *women’s* behavior?? They deserve to have a disfiguring operation because otherwise they’d be unfaithful?

    You’ve got some explaining to do.

  21. Lyle, like Kristine I’m a little mystified by your comment. One problem in many nations (including our own) is that there is a double standard with respect to sexuality. Extra-marital sexuality is far more accepted amongst men than women. Now I think it should be equally treated as wrong – but it isn’t.

    The point is that your view that the only people who suffer consequences for adultery or fornication are those who participate in it is completely wrong. In many African nations the women bear the brunt of the consequences even if they themselves are chaste.

    Even in our nation, all people pay extra in insurance due to the high cost of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. We bear the cost to society of teenagers getting pregnant. It seems quite difficult to accept that somehow only the immediate actors suffer.

  22. Kristine: You have “western” studies to show men are less faithful. I’m simply pointint out that in other cultures, there are a different set of operating assumptions; i.e. women are less faithful & the culture has imposed FGM to regulate that lack of fidelity.

    I have no explaining to do…unless you are assuming/questioning me in the same way you to John to task for in the other thread.

    For the record, FGM is a rather controversial topic. I don’t think it is a good practice, but I’m not going to play cultural imperialist either. fyi…operation is probably the wrong word to use.

  23. Clark: I’m not justifying anything. I just got tired of Kristine’s anti-man kick & threw in a cultural example where women are less faithful.

  24. Lyle, one doesn’t need “operating assumptions” to count. And accepting or repeating the assertion that “women are less faithful & the culture has imposed FGM to regulate that lack of fidelity” is not an admirable lack of “cultural imperialism”–it’s an appalling demonstration of moral cowardice. (And yes, I did say the same to my left-leaning anthropology prof. in a graduate seminar on the practice of female genital cutting (which is the currently PC term, FYI). I don’t really need you to inform me about the controversy).

    Do you think that genital cutting is an acceptable way to control women’s sexuality, regardless of one’s cultural conditioning or “operating assumptions”?

  25. On second thought, you do need operating assumptions to count. I believe, however, that those assumptions are broadly shared across cultures.

  26. Lyle, you are making the assumption that female mutilation was because they were less faithful. This is incorrect. The reason is because the judgment of the significance of infidelity was different. If the wife is unfaithful your children may not be your own. If the husband is unfaithful he simply has more children. The disparity occurs not because women are less faithful (and almost certainly the opposite is the case) but because women are treated as property and producers purely for men’s desires.

    I think you’re digging yourself in a bit of a hole here, making Kristine’s point better than she did. However I believe in most cultures it is assumed that men are less faithful than women. There are not empirical studies for that in all cultures and I’m sure there are some cultures where this isn’t true. However it makes biological sense for men to be less faithful, given the way resources are allocated for offspring. Further the place women tend to be in most cultures (i.e. strongly devalued) also allows men greater opportunity for infidelity.

    I must agree with Kristine that it is fairly disturbing that you’d repeat some rather egregious myths about female mutilation. The problem is that your example also actually supported the opposite view you present. (That sexuality doesn’t always result in consequences for the sinners – after all the victims of female mutilation can in nowise be considered the sinners in all this)

  27. I agree with where Kristine was going–that no matter what operating assumptions exist it is appalling to engage in involuntary female genital cutting in order to control female sexuality. It is absurd, first of all, to think that men should “control” female sexuality at all, in any culture. They are as free as men are to be promiscuous. (My own personal preference is that both men and women would choose not to be promiscuous, but that is beside the point.)

    However, I have often wondered about the utility of the castration of rapists. That is altogether different from FGM. Rapists have arguably relinquished their right to sexuality by their violent acts of sexual assault. Why should castration not be considered as a viable option in the punishment of convicted rapists? It could be done in an extremely humane way, with all medical advantages. Wouldn’t that solve the problem of repeat offender rapists?

    I can only say that people looked at me like a monster when I suggested this once during law school in an ACS meeting that I attended.

  28. I think castration wouldn’t be helpful as it doesn’t necessarily remove sexual desire after you’ve made it through adolescence. Further a significant subset of rapists have power issues as much as simply seeking sexual gratification via violence. (Although I think many err by assuming all rape is about power) To those rapists castration wouldn’t make them better, it would make them worse.

    If castration doesn’t resolve the problem, then it seems clearly a cruel and unusual punishment. Afterall once castrated that is permanent. What if a person repents? Shouldn’t there be an end to the punishment? Is it constitution to remove a person’s ability to reproduce? What’s next, cutting off the hands of thieves?

    While rape is a horrible crime, I think that a descent into medieval justice would be worse than what we do now.

  29. What I am not so sure about is that castration would make rapists who rape for power worse. If they are castrated, they cannot physically commit the act of rape any more.

    Would the absence of testosterone that results from castration also reduce their propensity for violent behavior generally? Would it make them more docile? I don’t know the science on this, but I suppose that if it did not, then Clark’s point might be more persuasive to me. But if it did have this effect, then I think Clark’s comment misses the mark because in that case, castration would solve the problem. The sexual desire might still be there but the capacity and testosterone would be missing to continue that behavior.

    As to Clark’s point about the permanence of castration, would that not be a nice corollary to the theories that the propensity to rape is genetic and that the great majority of all rapists are repeat offenders? And repentance, even if the Gospel, cannot avoid the natural consequences of one’s actions.

    As to the constitutional question, the right to reproduce is indeed a constitutionally protected fundamental right. But that does not mean that the state can never in any circumstance regulate it. Subject to strict scrutiny, the state can regulate the right to procreate; that is, it may do so if the regulation is necessary to protect a vital government interest. Preventing rapists from ever destroying the lives of other women or young girls would arguably satisfy this strict scrutiny test (I would think).

    As to cruel and unusual punishment, that might be your strongest point, but only on the “unusual” prong, and only because of the weight of tradition and history. What I mean is, castration would not be cruel if done with the appropriate medical measures taken, including anesthesia. In our day and age, the rapist would feel no pain, or virtually none–so the punishment would not be cruel at all in that sense. But tradition indeed renders it unusual, I can’t really argue with that. I suppose I could make the positivist argument that if our Congress passed legislation allowing it and it became routine, then it wouldn’t be unusual anymore. But that is a long shot.

    Finally, I disagree that it would be comparable to cutting off someone’s hand. Although talionic, and thus poetically just, so to say, cutting off the hands seems out of proportion to the crime of stealing property. However, rape seems a much graver invasion of the person than does stealing property. Thus, it seems that castration in the case of rape is both talionic and proportionate.

    Maybe to ameliorate the gravity and permanence of castration that you mentioned, the punishment could be limited to repeat offenders. Of course, this would not protect that second woman (or man for that matter) that a convicted rapist decides to violate, but at least it would give the rapist the chance to repent that you appealed for and avoid the permanent change to their lives that castration would threaten.

  30. John, you realize castration removes the testicles and not the other part. So the “equipment” is still there. While I’m not positive, I believe an erection is still possible as well.

    As to the constitutional issues, I’d say it would be exceedingly remote that the supreme court would ever allow castration as a punishment.

  31. Gary,

    You’re talking in terms of the ulta-practical. I know that the Supreme Court wouldn’t go for it.

  32. Kristine: I suspect that we both personally disagree re: female circumcision (why don’t we use the term they do…instead of imposing our own?)…and differ only re: what, if anything, to do. If you don’t like my cultural cowardice & preference for making friends/focusing on education rather than hurling potential insults & alientating allies…fine. I’ll be a cultural coward. Frankly, I choose to stick up when the issue is over life…not just pain or inconvenience. When it comes to life & liberty…my cultural cowardice dies? And yours? :)

  33. Lyle,

    I think we’re confused. Or at least bewildered. You’re saying involuntary “female circumcision” is okay? Did I miss something, or did you inadvertantly leave out a negative modifier somewhere, or something? I mean, you’re really actually saying that?

    And your explanation is your “preference for making friends/focusing on education rather than hurling potential insults & alientating allies…”? I would suggest you return to the Republican talking point of “moral clarity” on this one.

  34. Kristine: Nix the suffix dis-. Hat tip to Jeremy for spotting the grammar error.

    Nuff said.

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