Friday, September 12, 2008

How a Devout Mormon Can Vote for a Pro-Choice Candidate

So, several hardline Mormon friends have been sometimes not-so-politely questioning how I can vote for Barack Obama given his stance as being Pro-Choice. I'll try and explain this in a language that everyone can understand, so that there is precious little room for doubt.

First, let me say that I think abortion is wrong, sinfully wrong. It is a selfish act that probably kills a fetus with feelings (I'm not sure when life begins, nor has my church clarified its position on when life begins). There are so many people out there who would like to adopt, and abortion slaughters the hopes of these countless couples. I would definitely actively try and encourage anyone I knew to not have an abortion, and to look at adoption alternatives. If I knew someone who had an abortion, I would never give any sort of approval (not that they would be looking for it necessarily), aid them financially in having one, or be okay with it. I hold it as greivous a sin as adultery. This (abortion or adultery) would probably end any friendship I had with them until they repented, probably (I know I used it twice).

Second, I think abortion in the case of rape or incest should be legal. I think that if the mother's life is in jeopardy, it should definitely be legal. If I have to choose between an unborn infant and my wife, the child dies--every time.

Third, I believe that our Nation was founded, firmly, upon a separation of Church and State. While the religious practices of the populous have changed over the course of 232 years, the government has remained secular. This is a good thing. No one religion should dominate, a lesson that Mormons should know well after their persecutions in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. We actually fled the United States for what was then Mexico when we settled Utah in 1847. When religious discrimination is allowed to affect the law, then it leads to civil rights violations.

Since I hold firmly that the government should not have an official religion, and that the 1st Amendment holds that we have freedom of religion, this means that people can believe or not believe whatever they want. Right now, a Christian, or at-least a Christian-enculturated majority has the cultural say in what constitutes acceptable behavior in society. Our laws protect us from the fear of religious prosecution in a legal setting. Criminal codes exist to protect people's rights. Even though many of us view certain sins as criminal, the law and its interpreters do not always agree, based on our Constitution. Therefore, for example, even though I think pre-marital sex is a sin, the law would view this as consensual, and therefore, not criminal. Even though I don't want people having pre-marital sex, using the legal system to punish people for a spiritual flaw is not what our Constitution is about. Obedience should be done of volition, not of fear of temporal consequences. You can't use the law to push a religious agenda, in spite of the consequences...that is unless you want your religion to dominate, because what would happen if suddenly through immigration or massive conversion, a religion that you did not agree with were to become the majority in this country? Would you then want that religion's beliefs dictating what you could and could not do? No, of course not. These protections of and from religion are one of the reasons that America is great.

Fourth, so with an understanding of my position on Church and State, I cannot force my religious beliefs on someone else. Stecher may counter that this transcends mere issues of religion, that it constitutes a humanitarian issue, that we are murdering people. I cannot buy that; his (and my) religion color our perspectives. People don't believe what I do. I find comparisons of abortion with slavery troubling. While both are heinous, slavery will forevermore be the worse of the two. I would venture that the death toll from abortions in the U.S. since its founding are less than one year's toll from the Middle Passage trade. And there are so many other issues. Why get so indignant over abortion and yet not mind going to war and the death penalty (I am in favor of the death penalty, for the record)? I just don't get that worked up over the issue to give myself tunnel vision that it's the only one that matters.

Fifth, while you can certainly argue that abortion is the most important issue in this election, it is not the only one. I will not base my election decision off this one stance. I don't feel it's important enough. Yes, I have children, and again, I state that I hate abortion and I wish people wouldn't do it, but it isn't the only thing informing (that's for you, Norman baby) my vote. Our nation needs leaders who consider all options of an issue, leaders who don't make snap-decisions based on gut reactions. The greater the issue, the more time should be spent in contemplation of the repercussions and consequences of an action. Having studied the positions of both sides, and finding things that I liked and disliked about both platforms, I feel that Obama more closely represents the ideas I think our country (notice I didn't say, "I") needs. To let McCain/Palin have power to continue certain programs and projects, and try and legislate certain things, including the Right's morality (which I share), is something that I cannot stomach.

Sixth, I think rather than fighting and name calling, both sides should work together to try and reduce the total number of abortions.

Seventh, whether or not abortions are illegal, people will still have them. People are selfish. Their lust leads them to create children that they don't want (Certainly many wives have children that they didn't want, but that their husbands unrighteously forced them to have). For people who don't want children because they don't "have time" and "don't want kids" or "can't stand the disruption," I have no sympathy; someone raised you. Given that abortions will always happen, I don't want people dying from back-alley medical procedures.

Eighth, from a religious perspective, would you rather have someone die having an illegal abortion, and die in their sins, or have them live, and possibly feel contrite and repent some day?

Ninth, I am opposed to abortion, but I don't think my opposition stems from something other than my religious beliefs, therefore, I cannot hold that it should be illegal. I don't want any religion, even my own, shaping the laws of all three-hundred million Americans.

26 comments:

Paul Dunn said...

Mac, it saddens me that you had to write all this to justify who you are voting for president. I too do not support abortion; however, as you mention, the Constitution was written to allow us certain unalienable rights. The Supreme Court (albeit sometimes misguided, but always using our Constitution as a guide) does not turn to the Bible, Book of Mormon, the Quran, or any other text for guidance.

I know your reasons for voting for Obama... and although I do not agree with them, I still respect you and your reasons. Your life situation is truly very different from my own. I expect (and do not expect) certain things from our government, as you also expect and do not expect things from our government.

Your economical situation is different.

Your health care situation is different.

Your needs as an educator and having three children that need to be educated are different.

Yes, there are more issues than that, but the abortion issue is something that really should be over by now. No amount of campaigning or mud-slinging will overturn Roe v. Wade. The divide is still deep and rigid, but as Americans we need to accept the fact that if the Constitution allows it or speaks in reference to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then we all need to show the same respect that you have shown here.

Mac said...

Paul,

In spite of our political differences, somos y siempre seremos hermanos.

Matt the Treehugger said...

Mac,

I located five justifications in your blog for your support of a pro-choice candidate: (1) abortion should be allowed when the life of the mother is at stake, and that somehow makes it more palatable to vote for a pro-choice candidate; (2) abortion is merely a religious right issue that, in light of the principle of separation of church and state, should not be imposed upon those who are not a part of the religious right; (3) there are other issues at play, such as the war in Iraq, (4) people will have abortions whether they are legal or not, and (5) people could die while undergoing illegal abortions.

First, I agree that abortion should be allowed when the life of the mother is at stake. This issue, however, is a red herring in the abortion fray. According to the stats I’ve seen, only 3% of abortions are performed to protect the health of the mother. Standing on that issue alone leaves no justification for the remaining 97% of abortions. The life of the mother argument is much like the argument that we should not allow offshore drilling because offshore drilling is only a temporary solution to a long term problem. So what? What does that have to do with the issue at hand?

Second, your separation of church and state argument is the underlying argument made by all abortion rights advocates. The reason abortion is legal in America is because the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court determined that a woman’s right to privacy trumps an unborn baby’s right to life. Your separation of church and state argument merely restates that 1973 Supreme Court logic. Essentially, your argument is that a person’s right to believe what he wants to believe trumps an unborn baby’s right to life. I doubt that you truly believe that, but that’s where the logic flows. Moreover, just about every law in our country is based upon the moral views of the majority. Murder of persons who are already born is illegal because the majority finds murder to be morally reprehensible. Stealing, robbing, and flashing are illegal for the same reason—because of the morality of the majority.

Third, the fact that other issues are at play should not persuade a pro-life voter to vote pro-choice, as I explained in my blog. This fact holds true if you look only at the numbers. The number of people (American and others) killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since September 11, 2001 equals approximately 100,000, according to the anti-Iraq-war website I found that provides such a number. Compared to 1,000,000+ abortions performed in American last year, that number pales in comparison. The number pales even more when compare with the number of abortions performed in America since 1973, which is approximately 50,000,000. (I would guess that this number even surpasses the number of slaves killed in the total middle passage trade. In fact, given that about one third of all abortions are performed on African-American women, I would guess that more African-Americans have been aborted than were killed via the slave trade.)

Moreover, in Obama’s case, what issues are at play that could possibly trump abortion? Do you like his position on gay marriage? Do you want a larger, more intrusive government? (Given the unfortunate steps Bush has taken on this front, I can only imagine what Obama would do.) Perhaps it is Obama’s robust executive experience that impresses you? (Please don’t compare Obama with Palin. We haven’t had a president die in office since Roosevelt, and I actually think Truman was one of our better presidents, even though he had a common man, country boy background. You should read “Truman” by David McCullough if you haven’t already.)

Fourth, the argument that people will have abortions whether they are legal or not is (no offense) nonsensical. That is a slippery slope down which I would not dare go. People murder every day, even though it is not legal. People steal every day, even though it is not legal. Further, people get hurt performing these illegal activities. The fact that people will violate the law and be harmed thereby is not a justification for opposing that law.

By the way, I ride the fence on the death penalty issue. As a lawyer, I don’t have enough faith in our legal system to suppose that only guilty persons are subject to the death penalty. Should we allow the death penalty if even only 1 in a 1000 who is actually not guilty gets put to death? I don’t know. The jury is still out in my mind on that one.

Mac said...

Matt,

You didn't read my argument well. I am not arguing Roe v. Wade. I am stating that religion and goverment are separate and should be, for good reason. I see my belief against abortion as stemming from my closely held religious beliefs. Who's to say when life begins? Conception? The Quickening? Birth? These are answers that science cannot supply, and if I get mine from the Brethren, then it's colored by my religious perspective, which clashes with my defense of secularism.

Calling something a slippery slope is tired old rhetoric. It can be applied to anything.

McCain's party has expanded our government more than anyone since elBJ. The Medicare prescription benefit is a key example of the government building. See my other posts about Obama to know why I support him.

So, keeping in mind that we both agree that abortion is wrong, I plan to vote for Obama (I voted for Edwards in the primary). And, if Hillary had won the nomination, I would've voted for McCain. I don't hate him, I just think we need a change, and he's not the guy to do it, given the alternative Obama presents. If he fucks it up, we'll get someone else in four years.

As far as appointments go, if you really want to see civil unrest, nay, civil war, just appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court and have them repeal Roe v. Wade. There's a shitstorm like we've never seen.

As a parent, when I hear of someone murdering a child, I always want the death penalty. It's not used enough, but there are several problems with its application, but none so bad that it makes me want to end it.

For the record, Truman was a decent guy, as are you,, but I'm not sure of how tight Truman's leash on the CIA was.

And one more thing, in Doctrines of Salvation Joseph Fielding Smith, concerning stillborn (conceivably full term) children, writes, "these little ones will receive a resurrection and then belong to us. Stillborn children should not be reported nor recorded as births and deaths on the records of the Church," he said, "but it is suggested that parents record in their own family records a name of each such stillborn child." (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, pp. 280-281.)

Mac said...

Writing comments in this little box isn't conducive to good orthography.....pardon the spelling errors.

Matt the Treehugger said...

I think we can agree to disagree. In an ideal world, Obama will get elected and then proceed to screw things up. Then, Romney will get elected in four years. Then, our economy will experience wonderful things it has not experienced in a long time. I likely will not be in the highest tax bracket in the next four years, so I can stomach Obama for the short-term. I would, however, feel bad for my more affluent friends who will be subsidizing me with an extra 16 or 17% of their income during that time.

As to political firestorms, nothing drastic would happen if Roe v. Wade were overturned. It would merely place the issue back with the states and the general political processes (where it belongs), and everyone would flock to New Jersey, Mass. and California for their abortions.

chattypatra said...

I'm just glad I finally be an American who is allowed to vote for a Presidential candidate. It's good to graduate from the Second Class Citizen status!


En mi islita dicen los jíbaros que "Los pueblos tienen los gobiernos que se merecen." Veremos que pasa en noviembre. Después que nadie se robe las elecciones, yo aceptaré el resultado como el deseo legítimo de este pueblo.

brent said...

"I'm not sure when life begins."

Most people use this as justification for allowing abortions, but I actually think it's the strongest argument against abortion. That is, nobody knows when life begins, so we run the risk with any abortion of destroying "life." And that's a sad thing.

As to the remainder of the post, I find most of your justifications fairly unpersuasive except maybe the fifth, and my take is probably more of a variation on your point, rather than an approbation of it.

In particular, I think abortion is here to stay. Period. It now exists as an institution, and I don't think there are any realistic chances of turning its tidal wade back. As a reminder, even if Roe/Carhart is overturned, all that means is that the states get to decide, and at least some of the states are going to choose to allow abortion.

So, with that in mind, I tend to not pay much attention to what a candidate says about abortion, because I think he or she is largely powerless to do much about it. Then I go from there.

swampbaby said...

I have never considered the issue of abortion as a making/breaking point in any election, and it is hard to imagine that anyone else boils it down to just that either.

Bill said...

Well, I guess we're just throwing around the word "devout" these days. Mac, the fact that you seem anxious to vote for Obama isn't really that big an issue with me. The fact that someone can gain a position as an educator while demonstrating such an extreme sense of self importance is far more alarming to me.

The reason nobody should vote for Obama is because he has absolutely no experience. At which "actual" job for a profit seeking entity has he ever been succesful? He has no real world experience. He grew up a rich kid in blessed circumstances. He has never worked an actual day in his life. Not even a weak, milquetoast, pantywaist job like assistant collegiate professor of Spanish. Much less man's work like a laborer or craftsman.

Likewise, he has friendships with very questionable people like Bill Ayers, a communist terrorist (and college professor), and various Chicago thugs. McCain is not much better but if he dies we at least have a conservative in office to take his place.

First, abortion is wrong. Euthenasia is wrong. A "death penalty" is wrong. State sponsored executions are necessary. Our Armed Forces are volunteers. A child is not to blame for the criminality of his conception. Doctors are far from perfect. Human life is far too precious. We all have the agency to offer our lives, but should never seek to take away another's excepting self defense.

Second, the 1st Ammendment was given to protect religion from the government, not the people from religion. The Constitution was only an augmentation to natural rights which require no documenting or proclaiming. They are granted by God to man, not assumed from the great and odorless void of the athiest.

Third, your assertion that slavery is worse that abortion is laughable. If I were to be sold into forced servitude but still hold onto my life long enough to risk it to win my freedom, I would be elated. So long as I choose when my life is forfeited, not someone else.

Fourth, the position to appoint the next misinterpreters of the Constitution is the key. Obama would certainly appoint those who would retard the spreading of the Gospel and support adversarial policies.

Fifth, I hope that McCain/Palin do everything they can to promote legislation favoring the morality I share because it is the will of God that all men aspire to that morality. I aspire to obey God at all costs. What do you aspire to?

Sixth, America will one day become so corrupted that only the Saints and Israel will not bow down before the Anti-Christ "Our America" will be cast away like an unwanted fetus. I would sooner see a woman seeking a back alley abortion, mainly becasue she is so selfish and shortsighted she would risk her own life for her desired convenience, die before an innocent child who has barely begun an opportunity for life. We all have the right to live. It is not granted on a first come, first served basis.

Finally, I am a Mormon first and an American second. Where do your allegiances lie?

(P.S. I'm not Mormon yet, but I'm getting baptized this week. I know many devout Saints. I don't think I would count you among them.)

chattypatra said...

Bill, congratulations on your upcoming baptism. It takes great courage to decide to obey that commandment. I only have one picture from my baptism day, which took place 24 yrs. ago. One of the Elders who taught me the Gospel took it, and I cherish it dearly, since back then nobody thought to tell me it would be a good idea to bring my camera that night. You will face strong opposition from the adversary so that you change your mind, up to that very day, but it will still be a great day. Again, my congratulations!

Mac said...

Bill,

I'm done defending my reasons for voting for a pro-choice candidate. I reiterate that I think abortion is wrong, damned wrong, but it's not the only issue.

One phenomenon that I see, far too often, in members of the Church is that people presume to "know," without having investigated thoroughly, exactly what the Church leadership has officially said about politics and political questions. I would invite you to read Elder Nelson's and Elder Wickman's interview with the PEW Research Center in May of 2007 about politics.

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/478/mormonism-in-america

Some quotes are:
"One of the misconceptions that ought to be speared is that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is institutionally affiliated with one party or political agenda more than another; it is not."

and,

"The [church's] First Presidency has issued repeated statements over the years to church members to involve themselves in the issues of a forthcoming election and to make their judgments on who they vote for based on who they think is best qualified. If that means that some Latter-day Saints support a candidate who happens to favor civil unions, I think that is an individual decision for them to make."

Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) are both active and devout members of the church. On October 9th of last year, Harry Reid gave an invited lecture at BYU about how Democratic values about social responsibility more closely mirror Mormon values than Republican dogma. BYU's president, Elder Christopherson, who presided, did not stand up and correct any points that Senator Reid made.

You made an ad hominem attack on my manhood when you wrote:
Not even a weak, milquetoast, pantywaist job like assistant collegiate professor of Spanish. Much less man's work like a laborer or craftsman.

Your thinly veiled "compliment" is the stuff of weak debate. It springs from those too inarticulate to hold a cogent debate without resorting to personal attacks and it's a cowardly chicken-shit way to prove a point. (that was my ad hominem response, Bill).

Your attack on my choice of professions shows your obvious bias against professions you don't deem "manly." That seems rather "Marxist" of you, calling certain professions "milquetoast." It also shows your prejudice against academia, because you think I've never worked a day in my life. How do you think I paid for my mission and college (all 12 years of college, bucko)? I cut grass, bagged groceries, sanded and stained decks, worked for the Atlanta Housing Authority's IT department, five years at McDonald's, six years at Pizza Hut, 2 years in retail at Media Play, sold mortgage refinancing, had my own businesses (baseball card dealer and clothing sales), and labored gutting houses after Hurricane Katrina (for free). Just because I don't toil under the sun (anymore) for my daily bread, doesn't make me any less of a man that you. You might notice that my labor doesn't add up to just 12 years; that's because I worked up to three different jobs at the same time while going to college and making the Dean's List. I also had a family for most of the time.

I work hard every day, so do not sit at your little computer and presume to know what kind of man I am. I'm the kind that doesn't huck rocks at people because of their jobs.

What do I aspire to? I strive and struggle to keep the commandments, "love thy neighbor as thyself and love the Lord, thy God, above all else." Everything else is subscript to those two. I hold a temple recommend; I'm elders quorum president; I've been in three branch presidencies or bishoprics over the last five years (so I think I'm at least somewhat worthy). I aspire to raise my family according to the teachings of the Gospel, and I will, even though it might be hard to watch, let them govern themselves. I would much rather my children kept the commandments because they love God, rather than the law forcing them to do so.

Baptism is an important step on the road to bettering yourself. One of the covenants you'll make is to take upon yourself the Name of Christ. I've made this same covenant, and I do my damndest to keep it.

chattypatra said...

Mac, cualquier persona con sentido común debe entender las razones por las cuales la Iglesia jamás endosará a partido político alguno. Obviamente, ese no es el trabajo de los profetas. Además, las personas tienen su albedrío, como bien hemos comprendido. Me parece que nadie está diciendo que eres indigno de tu recomendación de Templo por ser demócrata. Eso es completamente absurdo.

El profeta José Smith, hablando de los asuntos políticos de su época, dijo lo siguiente:

"El gobierno no quiere recibir ningún consejo que proceda de mí; sus funcionarios confían demasiado en sí mismos. Pero tendrán que ir al infierno, y labrar su propia salvación con temor y temblor."

Ahora te pregunto, ¿te imaginas la reacción de la prensa actual si esta declaración se publicara, o si la Primera Presidencia hiciera aseveraciones similares? Uff. La respuesta sería rápida y violenta. Sin embargo, José Smith tiene las llaves de esta dispensación, asi que hablaba con la verdad.

Entonces, ¿por qué la Iglesia no hace ese tipo de declaración? Por la misma razón que no se anuncia todas las veces que líderes de la Iglesia han robado dinero de los cofres del Señor, etc.: la obra misional se atrasaría por décadas.

Hablando de mis 10 años en ese trabajo, si una cosa aprendí es que hay un buen número de autoridades generales de la Iglesia (específicamente Setentas) cuyos corazones están llenos de autoestima excesiva, y bastante arrogantes que son en su trato a los demás cuando no se encuentran en un foro público.

Jamás te daría detalles, pero te aseguro que es cierto que en muchas ocasiones ni tan siquiera se nos daba un saludo al llegar a las oficinas...entre otras cosas.

Por lo tanto, a mi me importa un comino lo que diga ninguno de ellos fuera del contexto de la Conferencia General u otro evento igual de sagrado.

Menos aún me importa la opinión de los políticos que son miembros de la Iglesia. No me hagas hablar del hermano Hatch, quien en más de una ocasión a ofendido a mi gente puertorriqueña; es un racista.

Lo que diga ninguno de ellos es irrelevante comparado con lo que diga cualquier profeta Presidente de la Iglesia. Estos hombres, hablen o no en BYU, no tienen las llaves ni la mayordomía para comunicarnos cuál es la voluntad del Señor para nosotros. El hecho de que el presidente de la universidad no se paró a corregirlos no significa nada, Mac. Eso no sucedería jamás. No solamente sería una grosería, y de muy mal gusto, sino que - más importante aún - no sería correcto políticamente. ¡La prensa se daría un gran banquete armando un lío a nivel internacional! Ni locos.

En cuanto a las recomendaciones de Templo (y NO me refiero a ti), la vida me ha enseñado que hay quién tiene una y en secreto comete pecados abominables. Tuve una compañera de misión cuyo abuelo, que servía como obrero en un Templo, llevaba años abusando sexualmente de sus nietas. Cuando explotó el escándalo y el padre de mi amiga supo lo que había hecho su propio padre, el pobre fue a parar a intensivo por un mes a consecuencia de un ataque masivo al corazón. Una gran tragedia.

A mí no me gusta la política. (¡Cómo es posible que una puertorriqueña diga eso!) La sigo porque es mi deber, pero creo firmemente que la gran mayoría de los candidatos y oficiales son unos mentirosos, en parte porque es la naturaleza de la bestia, y en parte porque las tentaciones que trae el poder y el dinero son muchas. Como dice Al Franken, son mentirosos que mienten.

No confío en ninguno de ellos, no importa el partido a que pertenezcan. Las leyes de probabilidad y estadísticas dictan que debe haber hombres y mujeres honestos en el gobierno, pero no creo que sean muchos. (¡Oh, no! ¿Me estaré poniendo cínica en mi vejez? ¡Horror!, dijo la gallina.)

Me precupa mucho las cosas que enseñaba y advertía el Pres. Benson, cuando mencionaba que en los últimos días estaría en las manos de las personas buenas (mormones o no) el salvar la Constitución. Ojalá y podamos entre todos mejorar las cosas en este país. Ciertamente, son muchos los asuntos serios que nos afectan.

Bueno, perdona lo largo de este comentario. Estoy nerviosa, esperando a Ike, y muy triste también. Si vas a mi blog sabrás el por qué.

Que pases un buen fin de semana.

Mac said...

chattypatra,

La cita de Joseph Smith fue en cuanto al tratamiento de los santos y la persecución que enfrentaron, no en las leyes que querían pasar los políticos, sólo la execución de ellas. Odio las citas usadas fuera de contexto.

No estoy de acuerdo contigo sobre la entrevista con los dos hermanos. El Elder Wickman es la portavoz oficial de la iglesia, aprobado por el Coro de los Doce y la Primera Presidencia de hablar por ellos en su ausencia. Y estuvo a su lado, en su capcidad oficial, el Elder Nelson. Si esto no cuenta como oficial entonces tu me tendrás creer que solamente son videntes dos fines de semana del año en la conferencia general.

Y fuiste tú el otro día en mi blog que pusiste algo sugeriendo que quieres "keep my temple recommend," que me hizo inferir que crees que si alguien vote por un demócrata es indigno de entrar en el santo templo, que es pura bobagem.

Yo tambien soy cínico en cuanto a los políticos; todos venden el mismo producto, menos Obama, que habla diferentemente de los demás. Por eso me gusta, y estoy dispuesto de brindarle cuatro años para ver si es hombre o mentiroso como los otros.

Acabas de decirme que no crees en lo que la hermandad no diga en la conferencia y luego me citas al Ezra Taft Benson y sus escritos, hechos, no en su capacidad como autoridad general, sino como Secretaria de Agricultura (sé que fue apóstol a la vez). Esas creencias famosas de "The Constitution will hang by a thread" son de él. Veáse la casa editorial del texto.

Te invito a comentar siempre en mi blog, queda muy bienvenida y apreciada, pero esta vez, no estamos de acuerdo, y nada menos que Dios mismo me va a cambiar.

chattypatra said...

Hermano, siento mucho haberte ofendido. Quienes me conocen personalmente saben que yo nunca pretendo cambiar la opinión de nadie; solo estaba dando la mía.

Estamos de acuerdo en cuanto a nuestras opiniones del aborto. Yo fui abusada sexualmente cuando niña y tampoco creo que NPC desea que los niños vengan al mundo en esa situación. Lo que me choca de Obama es que haya expresado que está de acuerdo con los "late term abortions". Ese punto de vista ni lo entiendo ni lo voy a entender nunca. Mis comentarios eran una crítica a él, no a ti. Soy incapaz de pensar que eres un mal hombre o un que no eres digna. Ahora, como a mi personalmente me horrorizan esos tipos de aborto, me sentiría YO mal de estar de acuerdo con él. Repito, estaba hablando de mí, no de ti. Si yo de verdad creyera que todos los demócratas son malos y todos los repúblicanos son buenos entonces sería una loca. No sé si es porque por tu trabajo siempre estás acostumbrado a debatir y por eso percibes mis comentarios como un ataque personal. Como no tengo el privilegio de ser amiga personal tuya, entonces no tengo manera de analizar tu forma de ser. Si dejo comentarios aquí es porque te respeto y aprecio tu deseo de tener conversaciones inteligentes. Además, he visto que amas a tu familia y a tus amigos, y esa es una medida más efectiva de tu carácter que saber por quién vas a votar. Te reitero que en ningún momento ha sido mi intención faltarte el respeto, y que no soy el tipo de persona que se cree moralmente superior a nadie. (Excepto de los que abusan sexualmente de la gente, y de los asesinos en serie, pero no creo que eso muestre orgullo, ¿no?).
Espero que me perdones. Confieso que nunca leí la respuesta que escribiste a mi comentario del otro día, porque temí que ibas a insultarme, y soy muy sentimental. A veces se me hace difícil expresar lo que siento, porque no me gustan las confrontaciones. Creo que eso es consecuencia de haber sido abusada por tanto tiempo. Habrá que preguntarle a un psicólogo.

Bill said...

Well, I thought I went on for quite a time after my one and only sentence making light of your profession. You spent a paragraph rebutting me and ignored my actual argument of the other 6 or so paragraphs.

Perhaps I should invite you to read 2 Nephi 9:28. “When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish”.

I am also no longer a laborer. (Marxist? it was Engels who made that assertion in his rant on proletarian predispositions.)I worked my way through my MBA. While researching the doctrines of the Church I learned to put aside all of my temporal conditioning and hearken to the will of God rather than presuppose that my education elevates me to a point of immunity from sin or hubris. I just don't feel obliged to continuously prove my intellect. I am quite capable of debating without casting offensive aspersions.

I have no qualms with education, but I mistrust professional educators due to the amount of Liberal brainwashing forced upon me while earning my degrees. Aside from the fact that the educational system in the United States is quickly becoming a laughing stock compared to the rest of the world.

The Church leadership does not support one party or another because the contents of either party can change quickly. Zell Miller is a Democrat, Larry Craig is a Republican. Obviously the parties shift quickly and all abandon the principles of Mormonism for the cause of Partisanship.

The main points of my arguments remain those you ignored in your rebuttal. How can anyone vote for Obama when the man is an obvious socialist? He befriends and draws his spiritual guidance from anti-Americans (Ayers and Wright respectively) and has no desire to support core family values. Rather, he would bring us lock step into the USSA. (United Socialist States of Ameximericanada)

He is a horrible candidate. Inexperienced, naive, and has the salesmanship of a carp. I think we could easily do better. Romney was the only qualified candidate. McCain is at least enough of a lobbyist whore to maintain the status quo.

I know this is your blog but if you allow us to comment, do you think you could concentrate on the argument and not mince over light hearted banter and my petty insults. If I had known you would ignore my entire argument, I would have dropped that whole bit. I thought you might have a sense of humor about yourself. I don't take myself quite so seriously.

Mac said...

Bill,

I did not ignore your argument. I said, "I am done defending my reasons for voting for Obama." I’m not wasting any more of my time, after this response, explaining myself; my opinions will not change, and your dogmatism holds no sway over me.

I can counter your use of scripture with Matthew 4:5-6, and no, I’m not calling you Satan, what I’m saying is, every time a Mormon has a political debate with me, they pull out that 2 Nephi scripture, as if suddenly having an education were a sin, or an impediment to salvation, or allowed them to disregard anything I've said, because I'm educated.

You claim that I think my education gives me immunity from sin. Did you not read what I wrote? Were you blinded by the scales of intolerance that cover your eyes? I stated, clearly, that I strive and struggle to keep the commandments, but you would condemn me merely for my vote, casting aside the rest of my life. I can have no discussion with men like you. You have no interest in hearing my side, you take no notice that I never try and persuade anyone to actually take my point of view, and you assume that my point of view equals my spiritual perishing; you condemn me, unrighteoulsy. So, f**k you, man. F**k you! You are the imbodiment of everything that's wrong with politics in America.

I didn’t say you sounded like Marx, I said you sounded Marxist. Marx and Engels’ philosophies have been synthesized in terminology to use his name. No one calls people Engelsists.

When do I ever claim to be immune from sin? NEVER! You are the worst kind of debater, all your attacks are ad hominem or straw man, all the while you deny that that’s exactly what you’re doing. You claim you're not attacking me, when that's the bulk of your argument. You imply "Mac, you're going to hell because you're voting for Obama." That's the gist of it; that's what you want to say, what you want me to hear. You can try and couch your argument in little asides you make to deflect your attack, but you hate me for what I believe, and it shines through in every line of what you say, and that makes you just, well, an evil man.

I don’t feel obliged to continuously prove my intellect and I don’t need any validation from anyone. And, you are completely incapable of debating without casting aspersions. Indeed, I doubt you could ever talk to me without saying something insulting or asinine.

Who says that the educational system in quickly becoming a laughing stock? Where’s their evidence? Their proof? Don’t believe the hype. Don’t be intellectually incurious; go and investigate and research and then decide for yourself. You’ll find most of what the media tells us, the liberal and the conservative, is full of half-truths, misquoted data or data taken out of context, or just plain falsehood.

I grew up without religion. When I turned 17, I had a spiritual awakening and began to modify my behavior accordingly. I quit drinking alcohol completely. I gave up iced tea and coffee, which in the Southeastern United States is akin to giving up water. I decided to be chaste (not that I had any experience otherwise). I also began to see the world in very black and white ways. Suddenly, I felt that anyone that didn’t want to live the same standards as myself was wrong. I judged people. When I was 19, I decided to become a missionary, and I was called to serve in Costa Rica for two years (1993-1995). During this time, as a lay volunteer, all I did, all day every day, was go around and talk to people about my beliefs. This experience had the effect of allowing me to see the world in something besides black and white, or shades of gray. I saw the world in color, and realized that there was more than one way of doing something--that many people, most people in fact, were able to be moral and ethical without identifying with a certain religion, or any religion for that matter--what Kant might have called an autonomous morality.

This awakened me to the realization, that in trying to live my life according to the teachings of Jesus Christ, I was doing the exact opposite, and essentially ignoring his warning in John, Chapter 8, that the first stone be cast by one who was spotless. I was judging unrighteously, blissfully ignoring my own sins. And also, while a missionary, I realized that I might be wrong, that my spiritual awakening might be a farce, that this is all there is to our existence. I do not believe that it is the case, but I have no way of proving that it isn’t. I believe in God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and modern-day revelation by prophets. I cannot prove that they are right, but it is what I believe; it is my hope and faith. All I could do, as a missionary, was share what I believed, bare and bear my testimony of what I believed, and then invite others to pray about my testimony. If they felt the same as I did, great. If not, then they have every right to not live according to the same precepts that I hold dear.

I am in a small minority however. I’m not claiming to be enlightened, but I do realize that tolerance of others culture, practices, and habits come from peeling back the layers of ignorance that we allow to crust over our eyes when we cling to a belief that we have not fully examined. I still believe in my religion; I always will, and I also believe that each and every person has the right to live their life according to the dictates of his/her conscience. I feel that most people who claim to follow Christ, do not feel this way, especially in the United States. This causes problems.

And, I get the feeling (to overuse that word), with the increase in Protestant private secondary schools, homeschooling, and the like, many people are trying to shield their children from the world. I find this most disturbing. Children need to be taught correct principles, and then be allowed to govern themselves, provided there are consequences for poor behavior. Part of this is allowing them to experience the diversity of the world. And a huge part of this is the experience of a rigorous liberal arts education.

How boring would it be to grow up and never have any of your beliefs and ideals questioned? You would be woefully unprepared for the 21st Century. So, when I hear politicians and pundits rail against the liberal, nay leftist, and by association in the United States, “godless pinko Communists,” in higher education, I think to myself, “How scared do you have to be in your own influence over your child, that some professor might make them abandon all they’ve ever known.” I’d hope that conservative parents would want their children to have their beliefs questioned, that much like the Amish allowing their children to go out into the “lone and dreary world” that they would see the value in questioning their own values to make them stronger and more refined. How do you know if you really believe in something until after the trial of your faith?

There is no liberal bias in higher education. What does bias even mean in that context anyway? Higher education is a process by which we turn children into adults, capable of thinking for themselves, and not just parroting back what their parents have told them. To use conservative religious terminology, Adam and Eve had to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil so that they might know the bad from the good (with “bad” and “good” left up to interpretation).

The most important thing to remember in all of this, is that as much as another’s beliefs might annoy us, maturity and civility demand that we respect them and recognize their right to hold them as dearly as we hold our own. I hate politics in the US right now. It’s all “if you’re not with us, you’re against” rhetoric engendered by egg-headed politicians stumping for votes, and pundits desperate for ratings.

I mean someone actually published a book called Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder. Seriously, how does that help? Both sides need to just calm their asses down. To all right-wing Christians, what Jesus said in Mark 12:31-33 wasn’t a suggestion; it was a commandment.

I am not a conservative. I am not a liberal. I am rational moderate that wishes we could all just get along, but if someone condemns me, I am not Christ-like enough to just let it go, I will respond with venom.

This is so uninformed that it merits no response. Gordon B. Hinckley associated with and called Mike Wallace his friend. He has renounced and denounced Wright. Bill Ayers is a vile disgusting man, but politicians some times have to sit down with vile disgusting people. Obama was on the board of an anti-poverty foundation with him, went to his home once for a democratic party event. That hardly constitutes friends, or that Ayers has any influence over the man. Indeed Obama’s campaign has said this of Ayers, “Senator Obama strongly condemns the violent actions of the Weathermen group, as he does all acts of violence. But he was an eight-year-old child when Ayers and the Weathermen were active, and any attempt to connect Obama with events of almost forty years ago is ridiculous.”

Think for yourself. How much have you even read that was written by the Obama campaign? Have you listened to any complete speeches by him? Or do you just get reviews of his ideas from news sources like Fox and Drudge?

Romney was a wishy-washy right-wing ass-kisser who changed platforms more times than I can count. I would’ve voted for 1994-Mitt Romney, but the 2008 model was broken.

Dude, you take yourself very seriously, too seriously. People like you talk to hear themselves because they think they’ve got it all figured out. You’ll notice I never tried to persuade someone to vote along with me, I was only explaining WHY I plan to vote the way I do. Be gone from my blog unless you can dialog without attacking my spirituality, thou cur.

SpyderDoc said...

It sure took a long time to read this blog and posts. Since I don't speak or read the Spanish(I think that is what it is(I only speak and read the english(Althought I can curse in several languages))), i was able to skip those comments.

last citizen said...

hey mac, i'm not going to justify my congratulations for your choice, you probably know me well enough to understand. i am glad you'll vote for obama. once one gets all the white noise out of the way, it's quite clear. i've always thought of you as an unashamed independent thinker, as such you qualify as a bellwether voter. gives me hope.
un abrazo

last citizen said...

p.s. took time to read some of the comments above, must confess, some are kind of scary and even creepy (not all, so don't all gang up on me). don't justify yourself anymore, you've said your piece, no need to be apologetic. too many words from a couple commentators sounding more like falwell, than any lds person or christian person for that matter (for the books don't consider falwell or his discourse to be christ-like, thus not christian). enough evil has been done in the guise of religious self-righteousness. fine if someone wants to vote republican, good for them (like your friend paul, who makes his point in a rational and civilized manner), but what pisses me off is when some try to manipulate your spiritual beliefs to guilt you into voting like them. pathetic.

Tim said...

Bill:

You've crossed the line between debate and personal attack. Mac posted his own opinion on his own blog. If you have a problem with his opinion, either stay away from his blog or disagree respectfully. Since you've done neither, don't be surprised if you're not treated with respect in reply.

And for heaven's sake, take a class on social grace!

Tim

Mickelle's Minute said...

Matt,

We can agree to disagree, though I hope you'll remember that I am not pro-choice.

Brent & Matt,

While the issue would be "sent back to the states," I really feel that the ensuing culture wars and legislative (federal) attempts to ban all abortions would rip us apart as a nation. The whole neighbor against neighbor thing could quickly become more than just a dusty old prophecy.

Mike,

Mi hermano; thank you for your show of solidarity with me. I know we think alike; si más mormones fuéramos así cóme sería el mundo mormón? Mejor, apuesto. And for the record, my friend Paul is a class act.

Tim,

Mi carnal; te esperaba y no llegabas....oh yeah, you were too distracted by BYU football.

SpyderDoc,

Sorry it's so long, and yes that was Spanish. Always welcome to read and comment on the blog.

swampbaby said...

I think you've stated your views well and whether people agree/disagree is beside the point because you need to follow in your heart what you think is right. So I wouldn't waste anymore time or take anymore offense on this issue. Because, I mean honestly, do you really even care what someone says in the comment box on your blog? As for me, I still am undecided for this election.

I really don't understand why so many people get so defensive if someone sees things differently.
There is a big difference between standing up for what you believe in and in stepping over the line of not allowing people to have the same right as you do to think, worship, etc. in the way they see fit- and that is why debates on politics and religion get nasty. I like to hear all the sides because I think it makes you see things you may not automatically look at from your own perspective. That's not scary - that's being smart.

Matt the Treehugger said...

I'm sorry, Mac. I still consider you a friend (even though I haven't seen you in a few years); therefore, I was offended by Bill's comments. The intent of my first comment was not to say that you must be stupid to vote for a pro-choice candidate. Instead, I intended only to say that I don't understand how you could vote for a pro-choice candidate. The logic did not flow in my head (which is not an uncommon phenomenon). Even though I disagree with you, I understand and respect your arguments.

Go Phillies! That's right. We're gonna sweep the Braves. Think of me in game three on Thursday, when Atlanta is 19 games back. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

thewmes said...

I think it frustrating for me to feel the pressure to defend policies I don't agree with, just because I align with one party over another. I am pro life but feel people force me defend pro choice policies because I self identify as a democrat. When I look at all the issues I find that I personaly agree with more "liberal" ideas than current conservative policy.

It is my goal to be able walk away from the arguement when I feel I am being pushed in that direction. I will consider it good enough to tell you why I support a candidate.

Anonymous said...

Mac, I just stumbled across your blog and I want to let you know that I love what you have wrote. You have put into words how I feel exactly. Thanks!