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View Diary: Brad Carson speaks - and pens a brilliant TNR article (348 comments)

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  •  We ARE living in (4.00)
    the same country, of course! just with different priorities, if this is true:

    "[t]he voters aren't deluded or undeducated.  They simply reject the notion that matierial concerns are more real than spiritual or cultural ones."

    Isn't the flip-side: The 'Left' rejects the notion that spiritual or cultural concerns are more real than material ones?

    Where that leave us, I have no idea.

    •  If this continues there is only one solution (none)
      If this divide between the red and blue states continues I think we the blue states should form our own country. Think about it what do you have in common with a bunch of crazy gay hating anti abortion religious nuts in places like Alabama and Oklahoma. I feel like we already live in two different countries. We might as well make it official.
    •  Interesting (4.00)
      I understand those priorities, maybe as a result of my upbringing in a very red small town.  Pride and self-reliance matter more than material things, for instance - I'd have to almost starve before I'd look for government assistance, and in any case I'm not looking to the government to provide help for me, although I did take advantage of student loan programs and appreciate those.  

      But my sense of basic values, ethics, whatever you call them is really the most important thing to me, and frankly, it trumps party affiliation and economic messages and all else, at the end of the day.  Money comes and goes, but you've got to be true to yourself.  

      For instance, I hate to mention it again, but you remember when Kerry made the remark about Mary Cheney?  I realized the damage it did, as it looked transparently political and quite tasteless, even though (knowing Kerry was not like that) I think it was innocuous.  But my reaction upon seeing the useless statement the Dems put out via Elizabeth Edwards (i.e. "We don't understand what the problem is, is Lynne Cheney ashamed of her daughter?").. was to flip out completely and want to grab some senior strategist and scream at them, "Do you not get the problem here?  You don't mess with another man's family, in politics!  You don't drag them into the debate, it's not your right!  That's the problem!"  But they had no idea.

      I was so mad, I wrote to Josh Marshall saying dammit, if they don't understand what they just did, they deserve to lose this election.

      A day or two later I settled down, but the larger point is - as long as those clashes of values systems happen in the course of a campaign, and stick in your craw long afterward, you're going to be entirely deaf to all other issues even if in practical terms you'd be better off with the Democrats running the economy.  If you're not predisposed to support Democratic candidates and in your mind, Democrats become associated with a guy like Michael Moore who exhibits a profound disrespect for the President of the United States, you are so put off by this fundamental disrespect, that you're not going to pay attention to what the actual candidates saying.

      We must cultivate our garden.

      by daria g on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 10:34:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep (none)
        The Mary Cheney comment might have been the turning point in the campaign. It demonstrates the populace's latent homophobia (indeed, probably many who were strong Democrats and liberals), but people cringed (including myself and my girlfriend, both strong Kerry supporters) when he made that remark because of exactly what you said. He was messing in a private affair, another family's business. For many - probably a strong majority - what Kerry did would have been like Bush mentioning Kerry's divorce or candidate x mentioning candidate y's daughter's struggle with alcoholism. There are some places you don't go.

        Ben P

        The United States has a conservative political culture defending a liberal heritage. The modern Republican Party's problem is that it is neither.

        by Ben P on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 10:39:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  A-ha (none)
          Maybe, maybe not.  I don't want to overemphasize it because, well, I have my own sense of what is right and just to protect at all costs, and I simply cannot bear the thought that one innocuous comment may have done that much harm...

          But it was a fuckup, a major one - Kerry had done so much to construct a portrait of himself as statesmanlike and presidential, and the remark (if you didn't already have faith in Kerry) tossed a giant anvil right through it.  It breaks my heart to say it, but that's when I really saw doom closing in as far as our chances on Nov. 2.  Now, on the other hand, things shaped up and I was feeling quite optimistic a week or so later, so it may have passed with comparatively little effect.. but oh, those skittish swing voters.

          We must cultivate our garden.

          by daria g on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 11:04:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Skittish swingers (none)
            We must never under/over-estimate anything when it comes to their votes.  I don't particular want to court them anymore, frankly, but if we do, let's not expect them to be "thinking" voters, because they aren't. I read about one who had voted absentee for Kerry and then regretted it, wished she could take it back because Teresa said Laura hadn't had a real job.

            What truly bugs me is they will give all the benefit of the doubt for being human to one side, but become very unreasonable with the other.

            It's very maddening.  I must be more patient because I would lose the whole election for us all if I were ever in a room with these people and told them what I thought about that kind moronic behavior.

            See, I'm saying all the wrong words already.

            "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine

            by Cathy on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 11:13:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No you wouldn't (none)
              Fuck swing voters. We simply need to get our base out and grow the base.  How many kids who couldn't vote in the last election will be eligible by 2008, when Bush has implemented the all but inevitable draft?
      •  Interesting Daria (none)
        I can understand those priorities too -- but from a completely diffrent perspective --- as a 1st generation immigrant daughter of World War II refugees.

        My parents were very hard working and relied upon the community for the little help they did get, and they blossomed in America's soil.

        Coming from a totaliterian state, it would literally not have been conceivable for them to look to the government -- which was always 'the enemy' for any help.  It's that simple.  They were always grateful, though, to America, just for the opportunity to 'be', which is a priceless gift.

        And, Daria, I agree w/you re MaryCheneyGate  -- it was a blatant violation of, and a univeral emotion of parents:  'don't drag my child into this arena' -- which eluded too many on the Left.

        Michael Moore, et al, is something I"m still pondering -- lol --- and obviously they were preaching to the choir, BUT who did they turn-off by their association with the Dems, I don't know.

        •  But didn't Cheney drag his daughter into the mix (4.00)
          back in August on his own?

          Why does everybody forget that.  

          Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by LionelEHutz on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 06:21:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly (4.00)
            All of this analysis about Kerry mentioning Mary Cheney, and not one ounce of discussion about the fact that Dick brought her into the campaign whenever he felt it was politically expedient for him to do so.  Its not as if Mary wasn't already a part of the BC campaign - she had been actively working for their reelection, and working hard for the gay vote.

            Sure, Kerry seemed awkward when he brought MC into the debate - and it probably wasn't a great idea to do so.  But I just don't get the outrage over that one comment, with nary a mention of the many outrageous statements that came out the mouths of George and Dick during the debates.

            The GOP always gets a pass, and we're left to condemn our own whenever they feel like we've stepped over the line.


            •  Because they own the media!!!!! (none)
              The reason we get skewered and the right doesn't is that, for all the talk about a liberal media, the upper echelons of the media conglomerates are owned by Republicans!  Rupert Murdoch, Sunmner Redstone? Richard Parsons?

              I'm beginning to think that the media is far more controlled than I ever believed before this election.

              Where in hell were the real pictures of the war in Iraq?  The ones you can see on Canadian and European Television (never mind Al -Jazeera!)  Who makes the decision to "shield" us from those images? Who benefits from that decision?

      •  Uh, (none)
        except that the turds used it in a completely hypocritical way. They could give a shit about what Kerry said, they were just pandering to their base.
        •  And to whom (none)
          was Kerry pandering, or is Mary Cheney the only lesbian he knows?  Come 'on -- TWO played this game.
        •  That doesn't matter (3.66)
          If it works.  

          We all need to get over the idea that being smarter (since we fancy ourselves as such) and knowing more facts means we win.  No, the perception-based votes and the ignorant votes count just as much as our  votes, and there are more of them.  And then, when we lose, we compound the problem by bitching and complaining because we think we're smart and they're stupid, and that we should have won because of our special, different reality-based and well-informed votes.

          That's how I feel about it.  I spent some time in the elite ivory tower and even there, it doesn't matter if you're smarter than the next guy, it just matters how well you play the game.

          We must cultivate our garden.

          by daria g on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 11:36:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  you're setting yourself up to lose (3.50)
        and that's your choice.  don't set this party up to lose.

        are you saying the republicans respect the families of their opponents?

        they play more dirty than any dem, and violate the sacred in a way that shames us all.  what do you call smearing a veteran who risked his life for his country in defense of two cowards who wanted others to fight a war they used privilege to protect themselves from?

        kerry's mistake was not bringing up mary cheney from the day gay marriage was wielded as a weapon by the right.  he should have said, dick cheney is using his daughter as a political tool to recruit gays (the coors pr job) while seeking to repress their rights, and I think that's wrong.

        that he didn't take it up in strength is what killed him.  your acceptance of the republican staged party line shows 1) how effectively they responded, and 2) your lack of independent thought, or interest to consider another perspective.

        we don't need that hypocritical, super "self-critical" rhetoric--we all know that dems can be better at criticizing their own than properly taking down their opponents--because it's easier, takes less homework while making people feel good about being liberal.

        and you know what?  it's NOT going to get you your little two gold stars!!  

        I think carson's response shows that he had doubts about this party's (or his own) value system to begin with--and if that is the case it is just a little more understandable that he was not able to carry an insurgent victory over an incumbent.

        what insurgent has won who did not have complete belief in the wholeness and integrity of his value system?  this goes equally for carson, the democratic party as a whole and individuals..

        to all apologists:  your time is over.  put out or shut up.

        •  You're rude. (2.60)

          We must cultivate our garden.

          by daria g on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 01:02:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  democratic ideals with a republican point of view (none)
            I said nothing insulting in response.  I could have, but didn't.

            I think our largest problem in this election was having people with a truly republican point of view but admire democratic ideals speak as and for the democrats.  the criticism distracted from the real issues and further fueled republican attacks.

            you should be willing to look at your viewpoint from a critical standpoint and assess what your perspective contributes to the truth of a situation, not look for stroking from others--which is a lot of what I'm seeing in response to coburn's piece.

            you see the "heartland values" and overlook the far over-reaching "heartland hypocrisy".  you buy their own song and dance about themselves.

            I grew up in a conservative rightwing family too, and I think they are good people.  and yes, they got all bothered by the mary cheney comment.  but I saw the hypocrisy in it.

            I'm curious.  another comment asked what you thought of the swift boat ads?  

            what DID you think of the swift boat ads?

            He will never be a tough competitor. He doesn't know how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Lou Piniella

            by alivingston on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 07:40:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hah! (none)
              Your response was insulting.  

              your acceptance of the republican staged party line ... your lack of independent thought

              I am simply trying to understand people with whom I disagree.  Capiche?  It's your business if you prefer to think I have a "Republican point of view" or whatever.  I don't particularly care.  But don't insult my intelligence and critical thinking abilities in the process and then wonder why it offends me.

              Also, who are you to comment on the rightness or wrongness of anyone's point of view?  And the notion that I'm looking for, as you so politely put it,

              your little two gold stars!!

              was just the icing on the cake, as far as condescension and insults go.  So don't wag your finger at me and tell me what I think and how I ought to change it.

              We must cultivate our garden.

              by daria g on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 01:46:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Just for the record (none)
          Coburn wasn't an incumbent. They were running for the seat that became open when Don Nickles retired. It had been a Republican seat but not Coburn's. (In fact, Coburn wasn't the state party's choice--they wanted the much more middle-of-the-road mayor of OKC, Kirk Humphreys, who Coburn beat in the primary.)

          Remember one thing, the dream you can see /Pray to be, shake this land/We all do what we can /So we can do just one more thing -Cat Power, "Maybe Not"

          by sjcyoung on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:09:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  thx for clarification (none)
            realized I started saying coburn in last post when I meant carson...just feel that carson did a sudden switch with this piece, freudian slip.

            He will never be a tough competitor. He doesn't know how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Lou Piniella

            by alivingston on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:28:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely right (none)
        I grew up in Iowa.  I spent roughly the first 35 years of my life there.  And although I come from liberal Democratic parents, I acquired a very ingrained sense of what you're talking about.

        There are quite a few things about modern society I don't like, either.  For one, I'm sick to death of reality shows.  For another, I'm tired of seeing television that constantly panders to the shocking.  

        I'm just guessing here, but I would imagine a lot of people, faced by an ever-accelerating modern life, yearn for simplicity and certainty.

        The Republicans, of course, make clever use of these sensibilities to drive their "culture war" even as they offend them through the media empires they own.

        Modern life isn't the problem.  A lack of direction and perceived principles people can hold on to as the ride goes faster is the problem.

        Visit the Diary of the Lying Socialist Weasels, for commentary from the Original Progressive Web Warriors!

        by Jonathan on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 04:23:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah (none)
          I do hate the plain tackiness and cheapness of much modern popular culture.  Perhaps at the bottom of it is a moral objection.. I think it's lacking class & totally embarrassing for all involved.  I'd never be in a mad rush to humiliate myself just to be on TV.  And I can't stand reality shows, with the exception of The Apprentice, which at the end of the day is pretty darned conservative.

          Even as a student of literature in the, uh, ivory tower.. I'm a feminist and I like learning new things, but I found myself really frustrated with the turn toward all sorts of cultural studies & out-there theoretical approaches, while the real classics fell by the wayside.  Maybe it's reactionary, but there's a reason some works still have new things to teach us centuries later, and a reason others have a shelf life of barely a few decades, if that.

          And I sympathize with this yearning for simplicity.. the more stressed and overwhelmed I am with everything, the more I just want to go back to my parents' house and rake leaves and do yardwork, and then sit in front of the fireplace the rest of the afternoon with soup and a sandwich, watching the NFL.  Yeah, my team's got Joe Gibbs back now, but it just ain't the same..

          We must cultivate our garden.

          by daria g on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 02:16:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Hmm were you as upset about swift boat ads? (none)
        Why not just vote republican if you like the religious right and hate public assistence.  It's your party.
      •  I said it upthread, but didn't Cheney himself (none)
        bring his daughter into the mix by name in August?  Why won't the swing voters take that into consideration?

        If Cheney puts his family on the table, which it is anyway because people get all worked up by the 'first-lady/second-lady' bit every election, then voters need to grow up.  FYI - IMO the whole 'presidential family issue' is just so stupid since I'm not voting for the spouse, children, brother, or crazy uncle.

        Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. -- Robert F. Kennedy

        by LionelEHutz on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 06:27:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was still a mistake (none)
          Doesn't matter if Cheney brought her up, doesn't matter if she's been an out lesbian for years. For many of these folks it's an insult to call somebody a lesbian or reveal that they are homosexual. The Cheneys jumped all over it and acted offended, and that probably cost Kerry a million or two votes. The Theresa comment about Laura Bush not having a real job cost us another million or two, especially amongst married women.  Take out those two flubs and we might have won the election. If nothing else, Ohio could have flipped.

          It's maddening, I know, because neither Kerry nor Theresa meant anything bad. It was just poor judgement. Meanwhile Bush can lie about whether he was concerned about Bin Laden and no one makes a fuss over it. This is partly the media environment in which stupid gaffes get more play than high crimes and misdemeanors, but I bet Kerry wishes he could take back those two sentences.

            Why does this drive me so insane as a straight person?!!!

            It makes me want to puke that "being a lesbian" has been analogized above to divorce and alcoholism.

            Lets set the record straight on some things:

            1.  Cheney didn't "inject" his daughter.  He got asked about her pretty directly in the debate.  I know, becaUse I got called on the "Cheney injected it" argument and went back and checked the transcript.  If I'm wrong, I'll stand corrected on that one.

            2.  Kerry's motives were likely both benign and antagonisitc.  It was a political play, and as political plays go, it backfired.

            3.  Mary Cheney, on the other hand made her sexuality known to everyone, injected it not only into public discourse but into commerce as a representive of the gay community and liason to it for Coors.  Christ, not only was this woman at the gay pride parade, she was on the top of the fucking float!!!

            4.  I 100% categorically, and unconditionally support his right to say what he did and would encourage him to do it again and again, results of the election be damnned.

            Also, if all that is said on this score is that those people will take offense, then I say:  "good for John Kerry!!"  If he took the status of gays and lesbians one tiny iota closer to normalcy then his presidential bid wasn't in vain.

            The irony is that in pointing out to many who didn't know (what rock were they hiding under?), he put a human face on lesbians and gays.  He said:

            "Hey you!  Bush supporter?!  Anti-gay bigot?!  You are not immune!  It [having a gay child] can happen to you too.

            There but for the grace of god (pun intended) go you!!  SO STOP YOUR FUCKING BIGOTRY AND HATRED AGAINST THE CHILDREN OF PEOPLE THAT YOU LIKE AND RESPECT!!

            Re: some comments above:

            it was a blatant violation of, and a univeral emotion of parents:  'don't drag my child into this arena' -- which eluded too many on the Left

            Look, the principle isn't this broad, because everone knows that families and even discussion about families are "taboo" in politics, even by opponents.  The "rule" is that you can't go negative on a family memember.

            Imagine a topic about student loans and funding, etc. and John Kerry said:  well, George Bush knows this well becuase his daugher went to a state schoo (the Univ. of Texas?) There kids at those schools who are struggling because the cost of college tuition . . .."

            Now, are you saying that it is out of bounds to mention that a Bush daughter went to Univ. of Texas?  This is "bringing them into the campaign dialog."  But just going to Texas is not a negative in any real sense.  And neither is "being a lesiban."  And neither is "being straight."

            Guess what?  Either you thought that this was "negative" or you didn't.  If you don't believe that "lesbian" is per se bad, then you had very little problem with this.  If you have a problem with this, you believe (whether you are willing ot admit it or not) that there is something inherently bad in being a lesbian.

            You CANNOT support this feeling with the arugment that there are negative connotations attached because of the bigotry of others that results by "further outing" Mary Cheney because she was as "out" as they fucking come!

            . For many - probably a strong majority - what Kerry did would have been like Bush mentioning Kerry's divorce or candidate x mentioning candidate y's daughter's struggle with alcoholism.

            First, we have all probably read the comments here about when people make arguments based on the impact on others "well, those people would think . . ." -- well, maybe take a look in the mirror.

            Second, to even analogize (I dind't say equate, I said "analogize") sexual orientation to divorce and alcoholism is so patently offensive to me that I cannot even begin to describe it.

            If you say that sexual orientation is like divorce or is like alcoholism, you are also saying that being straight is like divorce or like alcoholism.  Do you really believe that?

            There is so much more to say on this, but I'm freaking fuming right now!!!

      •  Please.... (4.00)
        With all due respect, this is nonsense.  I understand that "theoretically" these small red towns value "self reliance" over "government handouts."  But it's pure hogwash.  Hypocrisy, hypocrisy, hypocrisy.  As long as they ignore what is behind the curtain, they can live up to their supposed "spiritual values."  My tax dollars support them(from Jersey), they don't mention that handout.  THEY have the highest divorce rates, THEY watch the garbage television spewed out by Murdoch and the like.  THEY follow the lead from hippocrits like William Bennett, Bill O'Reilly ..etc.(it's a long list).  THEY pick and choose passages from the bible to make the rest of us live up to(and they usually don't themselves).  I disagree with you totally on the Mary Cheyney issue.  Jim Demint and his like(yes, and the new Senator from OK as well-what a joke) disparage these people as less than human, and I don't understand their core values because my candidate makes an innocuous comment about Mary Cheyney?  Please. If you're talking about just winning an election and what we need to do to appeal to these people, fine.  But I WILL NOT comprimise my values, REAL values, to win an election.  And if we continue to lose because of this backward thought, then I weep for the end of my country and all it stands for, but I will be able to tell my grandchildren some day that I stood up for truth.  And, yes, I will be able to look at myself in the mirror everymorning and like what I see.  Someday, they will see who the "Wizard" behind the curtain really is.  I "pray" that day comes before it's too late.


        •  Hyprocisy (none)
          Conservative red values are almost all about appearances.   I have a friend who knows someone in a small Texas town who owns a porn shop.  There's a small movement in this town to shut the porn shop down.  What's ironic about it is that some of the very people in this movement are the same people who frequent the shop.   The hypocrisy is stunning.

          we will fan the flames of our anger and pain/til you feel the shame of what you do in God's name

          by Michi on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:17:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Except you do mess with family (none)
        People were all over THK. Do wives not count in this equation?

        First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. Mohandas Gandhi

        by boadicea on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 07:04:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Did Bush or Cheney (none)
          ever directly attack THK?  I don't recall that they did.  If they did, please remind me, because I don't remember it.  They used surrogates and their ugly media hounds and Drudge, et al.  They used their vicious ground troops while they appeared to be above the fray.  This is the way the Rethugs do things.  Bush/Cheney float above the seething masses, being all nice and sweet and utterly shocked that anyone could/would say anything so mean.  Look at the Swift Liar junk.  Bush stayed above that and let the attack dogs do their dirty work.  No one here bought it, but a lot of others did.
        •  Bush himself never said anything (none)
          Surrogates can talk shit all they want. But the candidate himself has to watch himself. I don't remember Bush saying anything at all about Theresa. He said some nice things about Kerry's daughters, and Kerry responded in kind. But mentioning that Mary Cheney is a lesbian a week after John Edwards did it is just too political. I didn't care because I'm in the modernity crowd where being homosexual is not something to be ashamed of. But there are millions of folks who think different and in a close election you can't piss them off with such a useless comment.

          Kerry should have kept his answer vague, without mentioning any names. MC was a huge gaffe and we all know it.

      •  "not looking to the government to help" (none)
        surely you understand that every road you drive on, every school you go to, every library you use, every bite of safe food, every breath of clean air, every park you play in.... etc etc etc.   are provided by the GOVERNMENT to help you.

        The "government" is US, not "them".

      •  Trap (4.00)
        This question of values, especially as it pertains to red and blue states is a trap that Republicans have brilliantly set up to ensnare us.  It seems to be working magnificently.

        You imply with your post, that folks from blue states are mired in material things and have no appreciation for values such as pride and self-reliance.  I grew up in a small BLUE town and I profess the same values as you.   However, in addition to my strong belief in pride and self-reliance I also add my belief in compasssion for others when they face difficult circumstances.   It's not my absence of pride and self-reliance, values which I DO have,  that makes me a Democrat, it's my understanding of the role of compassion in building strong societies that makes me espouse a Democratic agenda.  

        I've lived here in a bright red state, Texas, and I also completely reject the notion that values replace material goods as a measure of social worth in red states.  The concept of wealth and values is inextricably intertwined, at least here in the South. Does Prayer of Jabez ring a bell?  There's a constant drive to accumulate and accumulate, even if that drive is at odds with any moral blueprint.  Leading a good life isn't enough here; having the goods to prove you've led a good life is.  Folks in red states seem to believe like a credo that if you're poor or distressed it's because you've obviously done something to deserve the lack of blessings.  

        I agree with Carson that there is cultural war going on, but I see that it's a war based on disdain and mistrust rather than any profound divergence in thinking. Red States disdain Blue States and Blue States return the sentiment. That's not to say that cultural and regional differences don't exist -- they do-- but I don't seen any grave injury that would cause this war to be instigated in the first place.  What I see is a massive power struggle and with so many enemies these days -- poverty, terrorism -- why waste precious energy quibbling over points that really don't affect anything?

        we will fan the flames of our anger and pain/til you feel the shame of what you do in God's name

        by Michi on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:03:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Huh? (none)
          I didn't imply anything at all about blue towns or states.  

          What I'm learning from writing as I did is that simply by putting down a few thoughts about my own perspective growing up, a lot of people draw all sorts of conclusions that aren't really connected to the words I wrote.

          We must cultivate our garden.

          by daria g on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 02:01:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Spiritual and cultural concerns (4.00)

      The dichotomy between spiritual and material concerns is false.  

      The New Testament, Matthew 25:31-46 says that by feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned and welcoming the stranger, we do the same to the Son of Man.  While these are, in differing degrees, all material works, they carry spiritual consequences.  

      Last I checked, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism prescribe charity and almsgiving, and this is hardly a complete list.  

      For spiritual people, what is done in the material world has spiritual consequences.  

      The task for liberal Christianity is to show that concerns that may seem "materialistic" are have profound spiritual consequences.  Obviously questions of war and peace have spiritual consequences.  

      Now for the difficult questions, and solutions thereof...

      On abortion, we have to run on the Clinton record of abortion tumbling to 1974 levels and the Bush uptick:  would you prefer to punish women or to save babies?  

      For gay marriage/civil unions, a Biblical strategy would be difficult.  But you can ask who should the hospital call first when a gay accident victim is brought into the ER:  a partner in town or a sibling 1000 miles away?  Verging toward the homophobic, ask if they would want a gay man marrying their daughter, like Rock Hudson had to.    (Landover Baptist types may be reminded that Hudson died of AIDS.)

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