Friday, September 29, 2006

Jack Danforth

Former Senator, former UN Ambassador, former Missouri Attorney General spoke yesterday evening over at the Village Presbyterian Church. He drew a large and mostly liberal crowd (judging from the questions they asked, and from the fact that they looked and behaved like nice people). He's out promoting his book, Faith and Politics: How the "Moral Values" Debate Divides America and How to Move Forward Together.

I've always like Jack Danforth, to such an extent that I have even forgiven him for backing Clarence Thomas. He's a Republican from before the Republicans went crazy - he believes that the party should stand for pro-business policies, an engaged foreigh policy, and small government. He was moved to write his book after the Terry Schiavo affair, which he felt showed that the Republican Party had been completely taken over by the Religious Right.

I may post more about it after I've read the book, but I hope his message against divisiveness takes hold among those right-wing, Bible-thumping bigots in the Republican party.

(Update: I've been told my humor above is too subtle. Hmmm. Maybe things are as bad as Danforth thinks . . .)


Anonymous travelingal said...

Oh don't worry. We catch your subtle in "Bible thumping bigots" and Kris "K" (didn't miss that one either) Kobach and "Baby Blunt". We know you're just poking fun.

9/29/2006 9:46 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Great minds think alike Dan. I saw Jack Danforth at a luncheon yesterday and blogged about it. He makes some very good points. I saw a lot of nodding heads. Maybe there is hope.

9/29/2006 12:39 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

I haven't read his book nor heard him speak on this issue; however, please think about what got the religious right involved in politics in the first place. What changed? Hmmm...Let's start with Roe v. Wade and then lets expand that to late term abortions, parental rights, etc. Those were laws that passed or are currently being debated. The religious right didn't ask for the change. They were on the defensive. Then, let's talk about homosexual marriage. What changed? Since the founding of this country, marriage was recognized as between a man and a woman, and then, the laws were challenged. By whom? The religious conservatives? No. So, once again they went on the defensive. Then comes Terry Schiavo. She wasn't the first forced euthanasia case, but she was high profile because her parents begged and fought to keep her alive. Once again, the religous right didn't ask for this to happen and so they were on the defensive. Then comes stem cell research. It was never illegal. It was legal; however federal funding was limited. Did you hear a squawk? No, until that was challenged as well.

I know the left feels like the religious right has hijacked the legal system in this country, but just for a minute look at the other side. Look at the ACLU attacking small communities all across this country that happen to have a cross on public property...a cross that has stood for 100 years..What do you think happens...people are put on the defensive.

We are not Bible thumping bigots. We are American citizens who have seen the rug jerked out from under us on multiple occasions and we, naturally, fight back.

I, for one, look at the future and see abortion on demand, euthanasia of nursing home patients who are deemed no longer an asset to society, etc.

You play fair and I'll play fair. I'm not a bigot, but I have morals and I will not put up with activist judges dictating how I should live or die.

I will say that I think we need to be very very careful about how religion is integrated into our political system. Look what has happened in the Muslim countries. I sure don't want that to happen here.

I guess the beauty of the whole thing is that we have the right to debate the issues and vote our conscience. Let's respect one another's opinions. That's all I ask.

9/29/2006 5:02 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

travelingal - "please think about what got the religious right involved in politics in the first place. What changed? Hmmm...Let's start with Roe v. Wade"

You have to go back farther than that. The Religous Right first started getting their knickers in a twist over rock and roll, promiscuous sex, anti-war protests and ultimately Watergate. They've been foaming at the mouth ever since.

The idea that people were having REALLY GREAT recreational sex outside of marriage and without having babies (thanks to the birth control pill), questioning Authority instead of blindly saluting the flag, and generally enjoying life instead of working really hard for some corporation and supressing their natural desires because of religious restrictions until they died an untimely death really seemed to bug the shit out of them.

"Then, let's talk about homosexual marriage." Okay. Let talk about it. WHO CARES? The fact that same sex couples want to marry doesn't have any impact whatsoever on the ability of hetrosexual couples to marry. It's not a threat to anyone. In fact, marriage as an institution has been on the decline for decades. More and more heterosexual couple are choosing to just live with each other rather than go through the legal and religious hurdles of signing a legally binding contract. If gay couples want to pick up the torch and strengthen the institution of marriage by embracing the concept, I see that as a plus. It is an endorsement of marriage. The Right should welcome it!

"Then comes Terry Schiavo. She wasn't the first forced euthanasia case..." Now, hold on just a minute. YOU say it was forced. Her parents tried to make the case that it was forced. But there is some evidence, presented by her husband, that she stated that she did not want to be kept alive by extraordinary means. We don't know all the facts. Hence the controversy.

But I'll make this point.

Why is it considered just and humane to put an animal (such as a race horse or a beloved family "companion") "out of its misery" through euthanasia, but it is considered (by some on The Right) murder to do the same for a suffering human?

I'll tell you this right now. Let this be my legally binding word on the matter. If I am comatose, hooked up to feeding tubes, a respirator, a catheter and have to have my shitty ass wiped by some nurse who's repeating the mantra "I hate my job" (or even worse, one who's chanting "I Love My Job!"), just fucking kill me. You don't even have to do it humanely. Use a brick if you have to. I don't want to live like that. I shouldn't be forced to by a bunch of religious, right-wing zealots who think they know better than me. It's my life! STFU!

"Then comes stem cell research"

Thank GOD for stem cell research!

The Religious Right believes that life begins at conception and that embryonic stem cell research involve killing a human being.


The stage at which this so-called "embryonic stem cell" research takes place is actually the blastula phase; after the zygote (a fertilized egg) has divided at least once. Here is a picture of a blastula phase embryo:

Arguments against stem cell research are heavy on emotion and VERY light on actual fact.

"I, for one, look at the future and see abortion on demand, euthanasia of nursing home patients who are deemed no longer an asset to society, etc"

We have always had so-called "abortion on demand". Women will always do what they choose with their own bodies and they should be allowed to do so. The only question is whether it will be legal and medically safe.

Do you really want your (hypothetical) daughter getting an abortion illegally from an unlicensed "whatever" and then suffereing the added indignanty of being prosecuted in public court for breaking the law?

Or, all things being equal, would you like her to have the option (should she choose to exercise it) of having a safe and legal medical procedure performed that would not endanger her life or her ability to have future children under more favorable circumstances?

No one is arguing for killing off old people in nursing homes. But people should be able to say "This is how I want to die". or "I don't want to live like this."

You can argue that life is a "gift from God".


If you give someone a gift for Christmas or their birthday, do you retain the right to dictate to them what they do with that gift?

Or is it a gift? For them to do with what they please?

God, I'm a verbose bastard.


9/29/2006 7:16 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Just so you know, Travelingal, this post was meant to be a little self-deprecating, and I acknowledge that I use some rhetoric that is not totally polite sometimes. And I have no real intention to change that - though I may be a little more careful. As for your historical account of the rise of the religious right, it includes its own share of misleading language. What "activist judge" has told you how to live or die? "Activist judges" are a figment of the right's imagination.

It looks like XO has done his usual great work in addressing a bunch of your issues, so I'll stop there.

The issue of inflammatory language on blogs is really an interesting one. We have a local rightwing blog that used a death threat against someone she considered an "activist judge". We have some leftwing bloggers, like XO, who, IMHO, are at their best and funniest when on a double-barrelled rant. It's funny when some of the corporate media try enterring the blogworld, and are shocked, shocked, that people express themselves in strong terms.

Commenters such as you and RM and some others tend to correct and even prevent some of my own excesses. I love the Rude Pundit, but I don't want to be him. I even try to avoid using four letter words on this blog, because my mother reads it on occasion. But she won't mind if I use the term "Baby Blunt" to refer to the corrupt son of a corrupt congressman.

9/30/2006 10:14 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

ok ok both of you. What would you do if you didn't have me to spar with? lol

O/T I just read the most disturbing thing. India is rapidly running out of water. Can you imagine a country of 1 billion people without food or water??

9/30/2006 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Rhymes With Right said...

I'm always suspicious of clergymen who argue that religious people who disagree with them have no place in politics. Strikes me as a bit hypocritical.

Ultimately, Danforth is arguing that HIS theological views are the right ones to enact into public policy.

But then again, I don't know anyone (outside of a few raging atheists) who really want religion out of the political and moral issues of any day or age. Abolition was a faith-based movement in large part (look at how many churches split over it), as was the civil rights movement (remember, it was REV. Martin Luther King). Much of the anti-war movement during Vietnam was faith based, and so is at least one segment of it today (though much of today's movement seems to be based on pathological hatred of Bush and the GOP). Would you really want to see those religious folks out of politics?

9/30/2006 3:56 PM  
Blogger MarieP said...

George W says God speaks to him. And looks what is happening under his governance. Yes, I believe that God speaks to George W, just like God speaks to all of us. Is the president doing what God wants and tells him to do? I don't think so. Just read the Bible. I won't quote verses for you. But you know the don't kill parts, the forgive parts, care for the widow & orphan parts, what about the poor? And George W has gone against all that, here in the USA. If he doesn't care for his own people, what hope do Iraq or other countries have? And the death penalties rage on. How christian! Yes, God speaks to the president. But the president doesn't speak for God! I bet God is as tired of death & war as I am. Especially when it's said to be in His name. Hypocrisy, pride,lying, murder, hatred, torture, our christian government's family values.

9/30/2006 5:19 PM  
Blogger Dan said...


Would I want religious people out of politics? Of course not, and it takes an imaginative misunderstanding of Jack Danforth to believe he stands for any such thing.

9/30/2006 5:53 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

I don't want to get "religious people" out of politics. But I desperately want to get religion out of public policy.

Religion is a matter of Faith.

Faith is belief without evidence.

I don't want to see our laws and our foreign policy based on things that someone in power BELIEVES to be true, but cannot prove.

That's just crazy.

Believe whatever you want in the privacy of your own home or place of worship.

But Public Policy, Laws, and Foreign Policy should be based on empirical, independantly verifiable, facts. Not belief without evidence.

So sayeth XO.

10/03/2006 6:02 PM  
Anonymous MarieP said...

And the choir says: Amen!

10/04/2006 4:39 PM  

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