The GOP in Limbo: How Low Can You Go?

by Jeff Taylor on January 26, 2012 · 76 comments <span>Print this article</span> Print this article

in Philosophers & Saints,Politics & Power

gop jpg

Sioux Center, Iowa.    The Republican Party managed to accomplish three amazing things last week, in the course of two debates and one election.  It revealed a bloodlust that easily trumps concern for personal character and social morality.  It scorned a fundamental teaching of Jesus Christ.  It showed that the only thing that really matters to the party is the perceived ability to beat Barack Obama in the November election.  At least those were the messages sent by South Carolina Republicans.  Not by all, but by many if not most.  We can hope they are unrepresentative of the party as a whole.

The South Carolina primary was on the eve of National Sanctity of Human Life Day, commemorating the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.  Ron Paul is the only pro-life candidate running for president this year.  Mitt Romney’s flip-flops on the issue of abortion are common knowledge.  Newt Gingrich had an anti-abortion voting record in the House, but, like Romney, his roots are in the pro-abortion Nelson Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party in the 1960s and he was considered a liberal Republican as late as the mid 1970s.  There’s no reason to believe he cares about the social evil of abortion any more than did Dick Cheney during his eight years as the power behind the George II throne—which is to say, not at all.  (If he’s elected, we can be certain it’s all pretense when Mrs. Gingrich reveals in an interview that she’s pro-choice.  That’s the way powerful Republicans send the requisite mixed signals regarding Roe.)

Rick Santorum is sincere in his anti-abortion stance, but he’s not pro-life.  He’s pro-death on most issues involving the sanctity of life, most notably war.  His embrace of the bipartisan American Empire, his fealty to the military-industrial complex, and his hatred of Muslims and/or his willingness to cater to the Likud lobby (as a Roman Catholic rather than an evangelical Protestant, his Israel First foreign policy is probably motivated more by politics than theology) add up to an enthusiasm for war which trumps his opposition to abortion.  Protecting unborn American life is important to him.  Protecting Iraqi life, Afghani life, Iranian life (born and unborn) . . . not so much.  Santorum is a good Catholic except when he declines to follow the church in its Just War teachings.  Then he becomes a cafeteria Catholic.

I have a soft spot for Santorum up to a point.  I like much of what he says on the campaign trail when it comes to domestic policy, including moral issues and blue-collar economics.  He brings strong logic to issues that are often clouded by mushy-headed sentiments.  He agrees with Ron Paul in his criticism of the NDAA provision allowing for unlimited imprisonment of U.S.citizens accused of aiding terrorism.  But then there’s foreign policy.  Santorum goes off the rails with a crazy foreign policy that tries to out-do George W. Bush’s Wilsonian liberalism.  It’s hyper-militarism and hyper-imperialism, gilded with God-talk.  It’s the same old s*** we’ve had for seven decades: what C. Wright Mills termed crackpot realism.  Ron Paul knows it can’t last.  The trajectory of empires is pretty standard.  We’re overextended and going broke.  We’re crumbling at home.  We’re morally bankrupt.  But, as one front man among many for the crackpot realists who administer our foreign policy, Santorum condescendingly smirks and shakes his hand while Paul tells the truth during debates.  Santorum’s thoroughly conventional and wrongheaded foreign policy eliminated any chance that I could support him for president in 2012.

Most of the audience at the Fox debate who cheered the Gingrich-Romney-Santorum glorification of killing and booed Paul’s call for a foreign policy based on the golden rule of Christ are “good Christians,” which says a lot about the debased nature of Christianity in the United States today.  It also helps us understand how the pious Pharisees stirred up the mob to cry “Crucify Him!” when Pilate inquired about the relative merits of Jesus and Barabbas.  Sanctimony is not sanctification.  In moments such as these, the Southern Baptists (and others) in South Carolina are far better Americans (in the corrupt, imperial sense of the word) than they are Christians.  They may be Christians in a personal, ticket-to-Heaven sense, but they are far removed from Christianity as preached and practiced by Christ.  To hear their hooting and see their high-fiveing, one would think that Jesus said, “Blessed are the war makers.”  He did not.

Yes, the crowd actually booed the golden rule of Jesus Christ.  You could argue they were booing Ron Paul, but it was Paul’s proposal that U.S.foreign policy be guided by the golden rule that elicited the booing.  The apostle Paul, archangel Michael, or Jesus himself could have been on the stage and they would have gotten the same reaction.  It was the message, not the messenger, that outraged the audience.  The crowd reaction to the militaristic, hateful pandering of a group of  chicken hawks was shameful in the extreme.  Sadly, it’s the norm for purportedly Bible-believing Christians so it barely raised an eyebrow.

There’s something inherently vile and violent about Fox News Channel so perhaps the tone of that debate should not surprise.  Rebutting Paul, Gingrich claimed to have “a pretty clear-cut idea about America’s enemies: Kill them.”  (APPLAUSE)  I don’t remember that line in my Red Letter edition of the New Testament.  Maybe it’s in the Red Meat for Red States version.  Actually, Gingrich was trying to channel Jackson, not Jesus.  Ever the panderer, Gingrich claimed the mantle of the Carolina native, but Paul is a closer equivalent to the seventh president. Jackson was a Jeffersonian, a populist, a constitutionalist, an enemy of central banking, a proponent of balanced budgets, a man who loved his one wife, and a nationalist and military veteran who initiated no foreign wars.  Gingrich is closer to Jackson’s opponent Henry Clay—a plutocratic, wheeling-dealing, big-government politician.  Obviously, figures like Andrew Jackson and Ron Paul are imperfect.  They have sins, blind spots, and shortcomings.  Still, they represent something important and often-neglected.

The compromising and mendacious leaders of the Religious Right are one thing (think Ralph Reed).  The rank-and-file who sit in the pew are another.  Laurence Vance and Bill Anderson over at LewRockwell.com do their best to coax fellow evangelicals into a more biblical and rational approach to politics, but such voices seem to have little effect.  I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no group more naive in U.S. politics than Christians.  The more sincere the Christian, the more naive.  This is true for whites and blacks, evangelicals and modernists, charismatics and fundamentalists, Protestants and Catholics.  It doesn’t matter.  Committed Christians did not enter politics in an organized, self-conscious way until the 1970s and our inexperience shows.  Our gullibility is gigantic.  Both major parties take their most loyal voters—white Christians for the Republicans and black Christians for the Democrats—for granted because their votes can always be counted on, regardless of how little policy action they receive in return. The parties actively court and repay swing voters, not the loyal base.  Just as black Democrats are lucky to get a few crumbs from the table of power under a Democratic president, evangelical Republicans receive promises on the campaign trail and are then ignored for the next four years when a Republican is in the White House.

If we want to understand how politics and government really work, we need to stop listening to the flattery of politicians who want our vote and instead read Machiavelli.  In The Prince, he describes how power really works.  Nothing much has changed during the past 500 years because human nature has not changed.  Jesus told his disciples that he was sending them out like sheep in the midst of wolves so they should be “as innocent as doves and as wise as serpents.”  In other words, morally pure but politically savvy.  Today, most politically-engaged Christians are the exact opposite: worldly but naive, spiritually compromised yet politically gullible.  It’s the worst possible combination.

I like aspects of both the Religious Right and the Religious Left but both tend to place their faith in faithless politicians who cynically exploit our idealism, make promises they have no intention of keeping, and take Christian support for granted because they know true believers won’t vote for the other party—no matter how disappointed they become—because the other party has been successfully demonized.  It’s the boogeyman approach.  Vote Republican or the Democrats will get you!  And vice versa.  Last week, 78,000 South Carolinians (Christian and not) rose above the politics-as-usual theater of illusion.  They recognized quality, and an echo of God’s truth, in Ron Paul.  That’s something.  But not enough to win an election.

Let’s turn to the winner of the latest election.  The new darling of the Religious Right is the thrice-married bloviator and million-dollar Freddie Mac historian Newt Gingrich.  An unlikely pairing in some ways, but quite likely in others.

Gingrich is a bully.  Someone needs to give him a smackdown in the upcoming debates—fair but firm.  The equivalent of the excoriation Christ gave to the Pharisees, or, to take a less divine but more recent example, the hard-hitting “serial hypocrite” ad used by the Paul campaign to deflate Gingrich in Iowa.  Romney is too much of a milquetoast to do it.  Despite his passionate views, Paul is too much of a gentleman to aggressively go after an opponent in person.  Santorum could do it.  He’s a bit of an a-hole and bully himself—this likeability deficit accounts for part of his campaign’s weakness—but he may not be around too much longer since he couldn’t place higher than a distant third in S.C.  Also, Santorum’s own background as a lobbyist for crony capitalism and as a compromising politician make him vulnerable to push-back by Gingrich.  (It’s a common problem for candidates, most of whom live in very glassy houses.)  Mainstream journalists take their beating from Gingrich with little more than a peep, partly because the weak often envy the strong.  So who will hold Gingrich accountable and pop his bubble of self-aggrandizing deceit?

Exploiting the unfocused rage held by Republicans against the mainstream media, which is seen as being in the corner of the hated Obama, Gingrich has given the media talking heads repeated pokes in the eye during the debates.  Gingrich does it with ease and it has yielded rich dividends in cheers and votes.  But it’s contentless.  It neglects to mention that the ostensibly “liberal” media has never met a war it hasn’t liked and that it shares the foundational economic and foreign policies of every Republican president.  It ignores Fox News’ comparable propaganda and manipulation on behalf of the Republican establishment.  It also overlooks the fact that Gingrich, as president, would not be much different from Obama (based on his record).  So we have the opportunity to exchange Pepsi for Coke.  That tiny difference is enough to get many Republicans worked into a frenzy.  They can see Romney’s centrist opportunism for what it is.  They can’t see the presence of the exact same thing in Gingrich because he speaks conservative platitudes with such force and bashes Obama and his media friends with such aplomb.  It’s all style, no substance.  Just like Obama.  Ironically enough.  (If GOP voters really want to stick it to the corporate press, they should vote for Congressman Paul, who is ignored/ridiculed/attacked by the entire lot, from MSNBC to Fox, from AP to CBS.)

Gingrich is a master of righteous indignation although he’s far better at being indignant than being righteous.  Like his political twin Bill Clinton, Gingrich is a good liar because he’s shameless.  There are few politicians who can lie with more vigor.  It’s a trait that convinces the clueless.  Clinton is a more likeable man from a distance—a charming scoundrel while Gingrich is more easily recognized as an egomaniacal blowhard—but I think both are sociopaths.  Sociopathy (a.k.a. psychopathy) is labeled Antisocial Personality Disorder by the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM.  Its pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others reminds me of both Clinton and Gingrich: failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors; deceitfulness; impulsivity or failure to plan ahead; irritability and aggressiveness; reckless disregard for the safety of self or others; consistent irresponsibility; and lack of remorse.

Gingrich is a dangerous man.  I have little respect for Romney, but, on a personal level, he’s a doofus at worst.  Gingrich is in a whole different category, which is why he makes the GOP establishment nervous.  They have no policy differences with him, and they recognize that his anti-Bain rhetoric is just demagoguery, but they know that the reckless Gingrich could self-destruct at any moment, bringing a rockslide down on himself and, by extension, closing the path by which they can return to power.  This explains the wariness of Karl Rove, the elected party hacks, and their ilk.  It’s not about principle.

What would Gingrich do as president?  Anything is possible.  We can be confident it would be neither conservative nor Christian (as defined by Kirk and Christ, respectively).  He might well wreak havoc on a national scale like his heroes Wilson and FDR or perhaps on a global scale like Hitler (a fellow intellectual with a gravely-deficient moral compass).  I hesitate to mention Hitler because it’s such an over-the-top comparison—although casually used by establishment figures to describe every fourth-rate dictator who has the misfortune of transitioning from useful-ally to new-enemy of the U.S. government—but it has some relevance here.  Gingrich and other power elitists describe Paul’s foreign policy as “dangerous” because he favors defense at home and peace abroad.  To me, it’s far more dangerous when unbridled arrogance and ambition are combined with immense power.  That is what you would have with President Gingrich.  When you’re convinced that you’re the smartest person in the room and that you’re not subject to the rules that apply to others, you embody great danger.

Gingrich is in a position to say anything and everything.  When you’re not constrained by truth or conscience, all bets are off.  Nothing is too absurd.  This is why the debate crowds gave him standing ovations. Watching his performance in crushing John King’s opening question at the CNN debate, fueled by fake outrage, and watching the audience’s pavlovian response, was surreal.  Both elements seemed staged in some way—not only Gingrich’s theatrics but also the crowd’s hysterical enthusiasm.  It reminded me of Orwell’s two minutes hate and the final episode of The Prisoner.  Wild emotion which seemed to stop as quickly as it started.  Strange.  Gingrich is a serial adulterer but South Carolina Republicans don’t care.  He gets a pass because he feigns conversion and notes that he’s a grandfather.  It’s all very convenient.

Dear Religious Right, From here on out, please spare us the prattle about family values and the unborn. Just as Gingrich’s fellow draft-dodger Dick Cheney had “other priorities” that precluded a stint in the jungles of Vietnam, you have other priorities when it comes to politics.  Dobson and Bauer have endorsed Rick Santorum, for the time being, but when Santorum drops out, is there is any reason to think that the grand poobahs of Republican evangelicalism won’t endorse Newt Gingrich over Ron Paul?  If Gingrich flops, eventually they’ll end up supporting Romney over Paul.  Paul is too dangerous.  He’s been married to the same woman for over half-a-century, he sincerely opposes Roe v. Wade, he supports the Defense of Marriage Act, and he’s the only evangelical Christian still in the race.  But he’s pro-peace!  That’s the unpardonable sin for this group of Christians.

Don’t forget the example of Pat Robertson.  I’m thinking of Robertson’s classic endorsement of Rudolph Giuliani in 2008.  That’s the very same pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality, pro-womanizing Giuliani.  Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  The treasure of such Christians is not found in sanctity of life or upholding of marriage.  It’s found in the idolatrous doctrine of American exceptionalism with its attendant saber-rattling, blood-letting, and Israel-fawning.  With a dash of old-fashioned Republican power-mongering thrown in for bad measure (“electability”).  Rudy and Newt warm such hearts.  Ron does not.

Gingrich is a convert.  All is forgiven.  Or so he says.  I don’t believe Gingrich’s conversion-to-God story.  He doesn’t bear the marks of repentance.  First and foremost, and most obviously, he’s stuffed full of pride.  Pride is the original sin, the very sin of Lucifer that pre-dates the fall of Adam.  With Gingrich, there’s no recognizable humility, no meekness of spirit, no sense of common humanity.  Instead, there’s a continued and continuous display of braggadocio, coupled with dishonesty and thuggishness.  A failed professor (denied tenure) and failed leader of the House (forced out of office when caught committing adultery with a young staffer and when his GOP colleagues tired of his self-promoting/party-injuring shtick), Gingrich retains his inflated self-image.  Impervious to reality and possessing the snake oil salesman’s ability to convince the simple, he routinely compares himself to Churchill and other iconic figures.  He is sure he has a rendezvous with destiny as the transformative agent of our age.  We often deceive ourselves before we deceive others.

Maybe Newt Gingrich has convinced himself that God has now tapped him to lead the world, but I suspect he sees his true god each time he looks into the mirror.  (I’ll admit this may be uncharitable of me but I’ll own my suspicion.)  It reminds me of the religion of Obama, who defines sin as “Being out of alignment with my values.”  There’s a self-absorbed messiah complex discernible with both Obama and Gingrich.  Maybe Gingrich’s proposal for a series of seven three-hour “Lincoln-Douglas debates” between himself and Obama isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds.  As narcissists who enjoy the sound of their own voice and the look of their own pose, both might be willing to inflict such pain on the rest of us.

When I went to bed at the end of South Carolina primary day, I was depressed.  I wondered, with Jeremiah, “Why do the wicked prosper?”  Of course, the answer is no secret.  It is as old as Paradise Lost.  If Christians are going to participate in politics, we should not only pray the Lord’s prayer but mean it.  We should avoid temptations concocted by the unscrupulous, ameliorate the effects of sin, and practice Kingdom principles on earth.  If we’re not up to the challenge, let’s stick to our pews and prayer closets—and stay away from debates and voting booths.

{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar John Haas January 26, 2012 at 10:13 am

A good, if long, piece, much of which I agree with. A couple quibbles, however:

“Jackson was a Jeffersonian, a populist, a constitutionalist, an enemy of central banking, a proponent of balanced budgets, a man who loved his one wife, and a nationalist and military veteran who initiated no foreign wars.”

Not as president, perhaps, but he had earlier invaded Spanish Florida (without consulting his commander-in-chief), and he waged wars on Indian tribes who were, at the time, defined as “nations.” His later policy of forced Indian removal hardly speaks to the kind of truly Christian politics you’re advocating. He was also, of course, like Clay, a vigorous supporter and participant in the War of 1812.

If you’re looking for a significant difference between the Jeffersonian-Jacksonians and the Whigs, you’re not going to find it in their degrees of excitement over expansion and war-making. It was Jefferson who spoke, eg, of “an Empire of Liberty,” and who set the policy of expansion to the West, taking land along the way from whoever was on it; this had its terminus you could say in Polk’s Mexican War–a very Democratic project. The Whigs–much like today’s opposition parties–criticized Jackson and Polk and then proceeded to nominate veteran generals of the Indian and Mexican Wars, and generally behaved much like the Democrats when they were in power.

The fact is, “The norm of American national life is war. … there has not been one generation in America’s colonial or national history that has not known substantial wars of conquest and dominion.” Harry Stout, “Religion, War, and the Meaning of America,” RELIGION & AMERICAN CULTURE, 2009.

avatar Charlton January 26, 2012 at 10:19 am

Amen. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

avatar Brandon January 26, 2012 at 10:24 am

Go Jeff Taylor! You delivered a knockout punch here. I’m forwarding this to all of my newt supporting friends and acquaintences.

avatar Bill Kauffman January 26, 2012 at 10:25 am

Amen, Brother Taylor. Hard to imagine a lower moment this election year than the South Carolina crowd booing Ron Paul’s invocation of the Golden Rule–but hey, we’ve got nine months to go!

avatar LK January 26, 2012 at 11:27 am

Excellent…thank you, I was beginning to think just my husband and I were the only Christians who were grieved by the what transpired.

Satan was laughing with delight at the winning of this spiritual battle but thankfully we know Who wins the war.

avatar LK January 26, 2012 at 11:44 am

I was sent this regarding R. Santorum:
*** Rick Santorum voted for Title X funding, which gives hundreds of millions in taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood – the nation’s largest abortion provider.
*** Rick Santorum endorsed pro-abortion liberals like Arlen Specter over pro-life conservatives multiple times.
*** Santorum’s own PAC raised funds from grassroots pro-lifers all over the country and handedthem to pro-abortion candidates.

avatar harumpf January 26, 2012 at 11:45 am

1) Supporting Democrat electioneering propaganda
2) Regurgitating Left-Wing revisionist cant
3) Doing the above while posing as some sort of vaguely right of center, “reasonable Moderate”

Can you go any lower?

Why don’t you just be honest and admit you true beliefs.

And, of course, they were not “booing the golden rule”, they were booing his silly, loopy, loony notion that “the world” are the smae as “or neighbors”, and that his prosperous notions around this would do anything else but cause deep harm to this country.

BTW, to cast this in terms of theology of faith is just intellectually dishonest. Stop putting words in people’s mouths. It is as childish and it is obtuse.

What a loony, confused mishmash of cliches and bromides pass for thought hereabouts.

avatar Jason Rink January 26, 2012 at 11:50 am

Excellent piece. When Christian Conservatives look into the mirror, they see Gingrich, and he’s about as far as you can get from the image of Christ.

avatar harumpf needs a clue January 26, 2012 at 12:37 pm

@harumpf – there is no left-wing revisionism in his article. The world IS the same as your neighbor – the Pharisees asked, “Well, who is my neighbor,” and Christ deftly answered with the Good Samaritan parable. Christ knew that the Pharisees were looking out an ‘out’ to treat those who were considered socially unsavory (poor, diseased, prostitutes, non-Jews, etc), but He would have none of it. For you to draw any distinction between a ‘neighbor’ and ‘the world’ exposes you as completely naive, if not ignorant, if further not devisive and o’erwrought with faux-spiritual pomposity.

To discuss the hypocritical relationship between a anti-abortion Santorum and a pro-war Santorum is completely justified. The guy smirks and is glad that an Iranian scientists was assassinated. The SC crowd booed the notion of th Golden Rule, and cheered the notion of, ‘Kill our enemies.’ Show me the Biblical text that supports that ideology.

Ironically, the only time Christ showed anger was when dealing with the moneychangers – the biblical precursor to the Federal Reserve…

Next time, if you wanna criticiz an article, please do your homework.

avatar DAVE KILPATRICK January 26, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Jeff Taylor,
Thank you for your excellent essay. Well done. Accurate, specific and insightful. You have exposed many contradictions very clearly.
EVERYONE in this universe is locked in to the law of identity and the law of non contradiction whether they are cognizant of it or not.
“Declare the thing as it is..” Job 26:3 Truth, like reality, exists independant of perception.
Highest regards,
DAVE

avatar K. Lynch January 26, 2012 at 12:42 pm

As is always true, a compelling piece from Mr. Taylor.

The only premise I would challenge is in talking about Rick Santorum, Taylor’s statement that “His embrace of the bipartisan American Empire, his fealty to the military-industrial complex, … add up to an enthusiasm for war which trumps his opposition to abortion.” I would point out that since the Roe v. Wade decision struck down the bans on abortion which existed in 30 states in 1973, there have been somewhere between 30 and 50 million abortions in the U.S. On the other hand, the most liberal estimate of deaths in both the Iraq and Afghanistan war, including soldiers and innocents alike, come in around 2 – 4 percent of that number. (Of course: there are lies, damn lies, and statistics; the point is that the scales tip unequivocally in favor of the War on Fetuses as a more prolific killer than the War on Terror.)

I am not contesting the assertion that mainstream GOP thinking on “life” is hypocritical, nor I am I suggesting that the Iraq/ Afghanistan wars accord with just war theory. Even further, I am not proposing a utilitarian or efficiency measurement of “X deaths” compared to “50 times X deaths.” The intentional ending of a life is wrong regardless of the circumstances. However, Mr. Taylor either greatly downplays the vastness of the injustice perpetrated by Roe, or greatly exaggerates the injustice of the GWB wars in order that they will outweigh Roe in comparison. This is a ham-fisted analysis on that particular point.

avatar Texas Redneck January 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm

harumpf – - – There are, in fact, real evangelical Christians who don’t buy into the drivel being panned by the establishment GOP. There ARE such things as plants, but Jeff is not one of them. Christianity thrives in a decentralized non-coercive environment, while socialism only does so in a political one governed by force, coercion and the threat of violence. Thus, RP’s campaign to dismantle the ‘infrastructure of imposition’ that exists in our current tyranny potentially benefits US more than THEM. Christians who think RP is their enemy because he votes against the bones the establishment throws our way, and the liberals who think he is their friend for the same reason, are both wrong.

avatar HAHAHAHAH January 26, 2012 at 12:48 pm

@ harumpf

Sounds good. As long as you are the first bloodletting sycophant to sign up for and die fighting in Iran, we will honor you oh noble proprietor of insanity.

avatar Sharon Dunivin January 26, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Excellent article. You expressed my feelings and thoughts perfectly. I was so sickened by the booing of a truly Christian gentleman. How low have we fallen to justify such behavior? If Gingrich gets the nomination it will be the last straw for me and I will gladly leave my party, as it will have left me.

avatar jenkinsbrigade January 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Excellent essay, Jeff! The problem with Mr. harumpf and his contention that “…they were not “booing the golden rule”, they were booing his silly, loopy, loony notion that “the world” are the smae as “or neighbors” (sic)…” is that by using a Samaritan as his example in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus taught that “our neighbors” encompasses even those we would otherwise hold in the lowest esteem (Muslims, anybody?). As you suggested, the fact that so few evangelicals practice true neighborliness points to a rather shallow degree of discipleship on their part.

avatar George January 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Wow! Strong stuff, but nevertheless, so true . Christians need to wake up–or maybe I should say grow up. Neoconservatism and all this belligerence that is by now standard fair for Republican candidates for President isn’t Christian (neoconservatism’s intellectual origins actually are on the left), and it is fairly straightforward that it’s inherent militancy is contrary to mainstream, traditional Christian theology. On foreign policy, abortion, and the death penalty Ron Paul is the only clear Christian and pro-life candidate. As noted, Santorum is confused on matters outside of abortion (he is more neoconservative than Christian), and he is too much of a politician in general to be considered the Christian candidate . Gingrich–forget it. Romney just says whatever he needs to get elected.

Catholics to their credit never really fell for the idea that neoconservativism. with all of its militancy, is consistent with Christianity and the pro-life position, but I hope they won’t fall for the fact that Santorum and Gingrich are Catholics and support them, while ignoring Ron Paul, who is actually much closer to their views, in particular with the application of Just War theory to foreign policy and the articulation of the pro-life position broadly in regard to abortion, foreign policy, and the death penalty.

avatar Bruce January 26, 2012 at 2:05 pm

What about Mt.5:44?
“But I say to you, love your enemies…”

“The world,” which Scripture tells Christians not to love, 1Jn.2:15, is neither geographical nor ethnic/national. “The world” is the contrary system–not of the American political machine–but of a kingdom that “is not of *this* world at all.

harumpf sounds, sadly, like a statist-American first, and a Christian second. He’s more than willing to bomb thousands of Iranian Christians to their heavenly-home, since the dead Muslims will be going… wherever. “Small price to pay” so that those with harumpf’s expressions at heart can keep their creature-comforts here.

This is because harumpfs of this world have more in common with their irreligious next-door neighbor than a God-fearing Christian in a mud hut half-way around the world.

Mat 12:34-37 ” O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

avatar Marchmaine January 26, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Well, I don’t want to speak for all Catholics… but this Catholic doesn’t have a horse in this race.

Just living the life of a disenfranchised Distributist.

On an unrelated note, criticizing Empire as uneconomical is potentially dangerous. There are very good ways to make Empires pay-off if you are willing to exploit the gains. Rather, a better critique is probably to point out that the risk/cost of Empire is public, but the current gains of Empire are private… which is much closer to the mark for many of our ills.

avatar John January 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm

“The more sincere the Christian, the more naive.” If they weren’t naive and gullible, they wouldn’t be theists at all.

avatar Mark Humphrey January 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm

I like your comments and I sympathize with much of your outlook.

I’m not sure if religious people tend to be most naive about politics and history, but if they are I think I know why. Before I offer my insight, please don’t interrpet my comment as rude or disparaging.

The one policy of thinking common to every religious person is devotion to faith. Faith is belief in a phenomenon in the absence of good evidence, or even contrary to evidence.

Belief in God requires faith, since proof requires good evidence logically intergrated. There is no proof that God exists; moreover, “God” is indefineable. It can mean anything to anyone.

Given this policy of mind, that faith is an appropriate means of identifying and understanding the universe, the faithful can easily believe whatever they feel comfortable believing. Contradictions won’t disturb the Faithful if they feel strongly about their false idea. For their most fundamental outlook upholds the virtue of discarding unpleasant facts and ignoring contradictions for the sake of devotion to an idea.

The reason that I do not believe that religious people are the most naive, is that lack of respect for reason is not limited to the religious. It is characteristic of our age of nihilism. Secular “agnostics” (people who believe that no one can know anything with reasonable certainty) are incredibly naive. They believe in the scientific dogma about global warming, in the efficacy and virtue of socialism, in profound wisdom of central bankers and other central planners, in the wisdom of the so-called collective unconscious. They believe simply, and without questioning, that if they assign to the state the unpleasant task of robbing Paul to enrich themselves, that this activity is “good”. Above all else, they believe with naive certainty that facts do not accurately reflect reality. Rather, facts are utterances by a certain class of people; who are prominent, well known, often in possession of coercive power, and “conventional”. Facts are “what everyone knows to be true.”

What makes people naive and stupid is the renunciation of reason, which comes in a variety of philsophical hues. People like yourself and Lew Rockwell are not naive about politics, although religious. Obviously, you bring heightened consciousness with close attention to facts of evidence and logic to politics.

But Faith still trumps facts/logic in issues close to the heart of any believer. I would not attempt to persuade you or Mr. Rockwell of the rational explanation for the issue of abortion (the fetus developes the defining physical aspect of human-ness, the cerebral cortex, at about 5 or 6 months). If one believes on faith that only God can create life, and that this is business about which it is sinful to question and think, then good arguments will fall on deaf ears.

I sympathize with religious people, in a limited sense, because they seek answers to difficult philosophical questions. I think the answers can be identified and understood, but not through religious devotion. Best of luck to you.

avatar martha babson January 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Mr. Taylor: This was the best written article I have read, in my opinion, in YEARS! Thank you for your astute analysis….

avatar Johnathan January 26, 2012 at 7:33 pm

This is an excellent essay! I find myself increasingly frustrated with my fellow evangelicals that seem to have more loyalty to the American empire and Republican party than to the teachings of Jesus Christ. I also appreciate the mentions of LewRockwell.com, Laurence Vance, and Bill Anderson. I wish more Christians would really study these men’s writings.

avatar Frank in Spokane January 26, 2012 at 8:26 pm

” … one would think that Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the war makers.’ He did not.”

That does remind me, however, of a couple of new manuscript fragments, possibly from Matthew 5, that were discovered near Jerusalem in mid-2003 (shortly after we invaded Iraq):

“Cursed are the proud, for they shall inherit the quagmire.
Cursed are the war makers, for they shall be called sons of bitches.”

Veracity? I have serious doubts.

But the wisdom is undeniable …

avatar JonF January 26, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Re: he supports the Defense of Marriage Act

By which he reveals himself no less a hypocrite than the rest. Far from being neither a libertarian nor a federalist, he too will use the powers of the federal govermment to trample on the traditional prerogatives of the states. A truly consistent federalist would support neither Roe vs Wade nor a federal marriage law (whether in the Constitution or the DOMA). A devotion to states rights means letting states do things one disagrees with.

avatar Anti - Libertarian January 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm

I am so sick and tired of this Ron Paul mania. I do not like any of the other candidates in the race but how the hell is Ron Paul a “christian candidate”? His economic and social visions are about the polar opposite of Christian teaching.

avatar Marion Miner January 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm

You’re ludicrously off-base in your criticisms of Santorum.

That is all.

avatar Frank in Spokane January 26, 2012 at 10:12 pm

@ Anti-Libertarian: “Ron Paul a ‘christian candidate’? His economic and social visions are about the polar opposite of Christian teaching.”

Care to offer a few examples?

avatar Jason Calley January 26, 2012 at 10:14 pm

I have a friend who considers himself a devout Christian. He told me that nine out of the ten members of his church’s “Men’s Breakfast Group” had agreed with him that the US should drop nuclear bombs on Afghanistan and kill every man, woman and child there. When I asked him, “How’s that whole ‘Prince of Peace’ thing coming along for you?” he got angry and told me that I had no idea about what Jesus would recommend.

In retrospect, I am grateful that at least one person in his group, that tenth person, had disagreed.

avatar Jason Calley January 26, 2012 at 10:21 pm

@ Anti-Libertarian
“His economic and social visions are about the polar opposite of Christian teaching.”

I think maybe you misunderstand what he says. Dr. Paul very much approves of Christian charity — but with his OWN money, not with money taken from others. He just does not think that the role of government is to force people to give up what belongs to them, even if the end is a desirable social goal. If YOU or ME or Dr. Paul, as an individual wish to do acts in accordance with Christian beliefs, that is good, but to have the government steal your money for those same acts is not good.

avatar Ann Davis January 26, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Very good article! Just one correction. Ron Paul DOES NOT agree with a federal defense of marriage act. He believes that it should be left to the states to decide. It is not a function of the federal government to decide this issue.

And Marion Miner, I hope you research Rick Santorum’s record. It shows that he is Not a conservative at all. He knows what he needs to say to make people believe he is, but his record proves where his loyalties lie.

avatar John Gorentz January 26, 2012 at 10:53 pm

That is a very good article. It’s a fair analysis of my hero, Newt. I would still vote for any of those Republicans except Romney, with Gingrich at the top of my list and Paul second. I’m kinda hoping for a Newt-Ron ticket. I find both of those to be very likeable people and a pleasure to listen to, even though likeability isn’t all that important in my book. If it were to be decided on the basis of foreign policy alone, Ron Paul would probably be at the top of my list. I also think Ron Paul’s brand of individualism makes him the most communitarian candidate of the bunch.

avatar Anymouse January 27, 2012 at 1:34 am

I could not stand to vote for Gingrich or Romney at this point.

avatar Rob G January 27, 2012 at 6:58 am

Funny how the same people who were willing almost to bring the government down over Clinton’s adventures in the Oral Office are able to wink at Gingrich’s sad amoral history. Shows what ideology can do to one’s moral sense.

Three right-liberals and a libertarian — what a choice. They don’t call us the stupid party for nothing.

Incitatus 2012! Or maybe White & Pinkman?

avatar John Gorentz January 27, 2012 at 8:29 am

“Funny how the same people who were willing almost to bring the government down over Clinton’s adventures in the Oral Office are able to wink at Gingrich’s sad amoral history.”

I question whether this group of the “same people” consists of even a single individual.

avatar Sam Watts January 27, 2012 at 9:41 am

I couldn’t agree with this more. Thank you, Dr. Taylor, for a very insightful piece!

avatar Robb January 27, 2012 at 11:20 am

Hunter’s “To Change the World” provides a useful explanation for what is afoot among “believers” (right and left) and, to me, a very useful alternative way of thinking about the place of followers of Jesus in the world. (Of course John Howard Yoder was writing similar things long ago in “The Christian Witness to the State”).

avatar RMW Stanford January 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Santorum has a really bad record as an economic conservative. He has supported ear marks on a number of occasions. He also has a terrible record on trade. He has supported a number of tariffs that would raise cost on consumers. He sponsored a bill that would raise tariffs and then given those tariff revenues to a special interest group. So I guess to Senator Santorum Blue collar economics means seeing to it that blue collar works pay more from many of the goods they purchase. That in some case that extra money goes to special interest groups
http://www.examiner.com/bloomington-economic-policy-in-springfield/why-rick-santorum-worries-me-on-trade

avatar Rob G January 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm

~~I question whether this group of the “same people” consists of even a single individual.~~

Seriously? You don’t think there’s anyone who wanted Clinton’s head back in the 90′s who’s drinking the Gingrich kool-aid now?

avatar John Gorentz January 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Rob G, now you’ve changed your story.

avatar D.W. Sabin January 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Personally, I am planning on voting for Newt because I simply cannot wait to move to the Moon and Vote for Statehood and bring paper debt to that rock as well as our own.

Otherwise, I shall revert to my previously professed notion of writing in any of a half dozen of the stray dogs that terrorize the locals in Yelapa, Mexico. They seem preternaturally suited to the feral behavior of our Babylon on the Potomac.

Looking at our politicians is looking in a mirror, get used to it.

avatar Eric B. January 27, 2012 at 10:43 pm

The attempt to equate pro-life beliefs with opposition to rulers bearing the sword is just downright silly, and it’s certainly not biblical. (Granted, Santorum’s foreign policy statements are equally silly.)

avatar Siarlys Jenkins January 27, 2012 at 11:19 pm

I probably agree with 85 percent of the political criteria presented here, notably excluding my oft-repeated appreciation for Roe v. Wade. What is truly abominable is calling upon Christians, of any description to participate as a bloc in representative government. That is entirely contrary to both the letter and the spirit of the First Amendment. Also, it merely leads to corruption of “Christian” institutions in politics, as both the German and Italian Christian Democratic parties exemplify.

Christians can and should be guided by their individual Christian consciences when they enter the privacy of the voting booth to cast a secret ballot. It is certainly legitimate to critique the un-Christian sentiments expressed by a supposedly Christian audience during a political debate. Christian fellowship may well include an exchange of political views, including how a common faith might guide a citizen in exercising their responsibilities in a representative republic. But an organized Christian party line is anathema.

JonF makes a common error in equating DOMA with Roe v. Wade. DOMA is congressional legislation that intrudes upon a jurisdiction retained by the states when the federal government was empowered to come into being, and not transferred to federal jurisdiction by any constitutional amendment ratified by three fourths of the state legislatures. Roe v. Wade was a judicial expoundment of a constitutional restraint on the exercise of the police powers of the states. Apples and oranges does not begin to exemplify the distinction: the difference is at least as great as apples and soap.

As for the feasibility of running a nation in the world according to the Beatitudes, a wise contributor to the late lamented Witteburg Door (not one of mine) observed ‘I’m not saying it’s feasible, I’m just saying, that’s what the man said to do.’ So if its not feasible to be Christian in practice, don’t pretend that we are a Christian nation.

avatar JLP January 28, 2012 at 5:09 am

i feel like yelling here, but that doesn’t work in a comment box…call me old-fashioned, but pro-life refers EXCLUSIVELY to abortion politically. it does not refer to the death penalty, what type of healthcare system is the best, going to war (were conservatives in WWII “pro-death?”) or anything else. if you want to make arguments about those, do it on their own (de)merits.

personally i despise these sorts of rhetorical tricks cuz they can be used for anything. not for homosexual marriage? why are you anti-family. not a feminist? why do you hate women. not for free contraception? you just want a permanent single mother poor underclass aren’t you you unconservative! it’s the Andrew Sullivan style of argument, where any personal opinions you have that’re at odds with conservative views mean not that you should just make your case for why you differ, but contort the meaning of the ideology to your own views.

with the GOP and abortion, all that matters is appointing justices that are anti-”Roe.” that’s it. that’s all they can do right now. so Romney could be an infanticide and euthanasia enthusiast for all i care, so long as the pro-life movement turns on him if he pulls an O’Connor or Souter on us.

avatar JLP January 28, 2012 at 5:18 am

also, with Paul it’s not that he’s “pro-peace,” it’s that he has an incredibly reductionist view of why the Middle East hates us that leads him to vastly overestimate the rationality of groups like Hamas in an Israeli-Palestinian solution. you don’t have to be a Likudnik to realize that there is no possibility for a two-state solution, no matter how non-aggressive Israel is, as long as these are the people in power. of course that’s a result of Bush’s naive democratization policy but i’m not into trying one naive foreign policy for another.

there’s also the fact that because of his Israeli disengagement views, he attracts supporters that despise Israel out of a conspiratorial animus toward liberal American Jews as the masterminds behind every left-wing innovation in history. read any paleo-right blog’s comments and you see this constantly. do i think he’s anti-Semitic? no, but his “neutrality’s” a sham considering he sounds like a leftist whenever he talks about Muslims and how we and Israel’d all be best friends with them if we just stopped provoking them.

avatar John Gorentz January 28, 2012 at 10:33 am

JLP,

The pro-life people are no more pro-life than the other side is pro-choice. For example, they aren’t in favor of the lives of all pathogens. And on the other side, with a few exceptions the pro-choice people are mostly devoted to the cause of stamping out individual choice. I’m anti-abortion, but that doesn’t mean I’m pro-life. And even anti-abortion is an over-general term, in that I’m not against natural abortions. But the term anti-abortion is not nearly as misleading as pro-life. The so-called pro-lifers are asking for rhetorical trouble and misunderstanding when they wrap themselves in a term like that. Same for the so-called pro-choicers.

And just because I’m anti-this or that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m in favor of the government regulating against it. Usually I’m not.

As for Ron Paul’s stance on Israel, I find it more useful to listen to what he actually says than to what his supporters or opponents tell us he says. And from what I’ve heard so far, I think I could support him. I still do have some lingering concerns as to whether he would let his ideology drive us over a cliff, but just listening to what he actually says has allayed a lot of them. (It’s only recently that I have started to do this, so maybe I’ve missed something important.)

You’re right that a lot of anti-Semites have attached themselves to Roy Paul’s candidacy. Those things happen. In 1964 a lot of southern racists attached themselves to Barry Goldwater’s candidacy, even though Goldwater and his politics was as far from racist as you can get. I was aware of it, and didn’t particularly like it, but it didn’t keep me from doing the right thing and doing some door-to-door work for Goldwater. (Maybe it even did some good. He carried our small Minnesota town, even though our high-school vote was overwhelmingly against him.) What I thought was really slimy and reprehensible was the way George Romney refused to support his party’s choice because Barry Goldwater didn’t say all the right shibboleths. It was a smear job on Barry. And from what I’ve read, Junior Romney supported that behavior and still does.

avatar Rob G January 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm

“Rob G, now you’ve changed your story”

No I haven’t. I have a close relative who falls into exactly this category — thought that Clinton was reprehensible, and should be taken out of office because he had no character, yada, yada, yada, but makes all sorts of excuses for Newt. And you can’t tell me that this person is the only one out there. There are loads of them.

avatar JLP January 28, 2012 at 2:34 pm

“And just because I’m anti-this or that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m in favor of the government regulating against it. Usually I’m not.”

then why even say you’re against it in a political context? this is the Mario Cuomo argument, and it’s only ever used for “divisive” issues. you never hear silliness like “well i’m personally against high taxes, but i’m not gonna impose my will on you.” i get why the “personally against” cliche is used for these specific issues but that doesn’t make it any less a copout

avatar Anymouse January 28, 2012 at 10:39 pm

“with the GOP and abortion, all that matters is appointing justices that are anti-”Roe.” that’s it. that’s all they can do right now.”
I think they could do a whole lot more. Just follow Andrew Jackson’s policy: The supreme court has made it’s ruling. Now, let them enforce it.

An executive order should be sufficient to over turn a ruling as false and deranged as Roe v Wade.

avatar Siarlys Jenkins January 28, 2012 at 10:46 pm

“When I used a word” said Humpty-Dumpty, “it means exactly what I choose it to mean.”

I count myself one of those who is pro-choice, not pro-abortion. I sustain that by advocating vigorously for the free speech rights of those who call themselves pro-life, rather than counting it a loss every time some poor deluded female has the temerity to CHOOSE to carry her pregnancy to term. She has a right to that choice. Her right is established by… Roe v. Wade. In many instances, it is the best choice she could make.

I see a contradiction in the expressions of many who call themselves pro-life. Jeff is quite consistent. So is Erin Manning at Red Cardigan. If we parsed out what exactly JLP believes, I would probably find a good deal of contradiction from what I would expect “pro-life” to mean. But, those who oppose abortion have called themselves pro-life, and I accept that, generally without quotation marks. If JLP believes that pro-life has nothing to do with protecting the lives of men, women and children who have already been born, I won’t argue with him that he’s NOT pro-life. If Gorentz wants to say he is anti-abortion, but not pro-life, OK, he is speaking for himself. If anyone tries to speak for an entire movement or demographic, I will ask for their credentials to speak on behalf of anyone.

Goldwater could make a valid claim to not be a racist in his heart, in his personal life, and in the hiring practices of his family business. But, he carefully and deliberately pandered to the most virulently racist streak among the southern electorate, knowing full well that when he talked about principled, constitutional reasons to oppose the Civil Rights bill, they understood that this was their best shot to keep the n*****s in their place. His hands were not clean.

Up until that time, a large portion of the newspapers published by and for Americans of African descent, which had far more influence, quality and depth of coverage, and experienced writers, than we see today, remained either Republican in sympathy or determined to avoid being taken for granted by either party. Many had supported Thomas Dewey, some had supported Dwight Eisenhower. Goldwater was the man who confirmed that “the black vote” would be locked up by the Democratic Party once and for all.

avatar John Gorentz January 28, 2012 at 10:56 pm

“No I haven’t.”

Yes, you have. For one thing, you said people wanted to take down the government. Taking Clinton out through impeachment was working within the government, not taking it down, no matter that the hate media were working overtime to try to spin it as one and the same.

avatar John Gorentz January 28, 2012 at 11:07 pm

“But, he carefully and deliberately pandered to the most virulently racist streak among the southern electorate, knowing full well that when he talked about principled, constitutional reasons to oppose the Civil Rights bill, they understood that this was their best shot to keep the n*****s in their place. ”

Yes, and when some of us were opposing PIPA and SOPA, we knew that some people on our side really didn’t care about the constitutional issues, they just didn’t think there should be private intellectual property. Does this mean our hands aren’t clean? Maybe, but if we abandoned the constitutional fight on account of it being used by some of the creeps for other purposes, that would be pandering, too. I’d say Goldwater’s hands were clean.

What did you expect him to do? Abandon the constitutional issue?

Years after the 1964 election I came to the conclusion that there were too many prominent conservatives who didn’t really care about the constitutional issues after all. They were just racists. That and Watergate turned me into a McGovernite liberal for a while. But I would never put Barry Goldwater into the category of those conservatives who were just using the constitutional issues as a cover.

avatar John Gorentz January 28, 2012 at 11:18 pm

“then why even say you’re against it in a political context?”

For one thing, I said usually. There are times when I favor government imposing moral standards on people. In fact, all legislation is a matter of government imposing moral standards on people.

For another, there are too many people on both sides of the abortion issue who can’t conceive of one’s view point on the right or wrong of it without thinking it requires government coercion. Our current president is one of those people. So it’s necessary to make the distinction.

And besides, I thought this was a blog about society and community rather than politics. It does seem that some of the contributors can’t help but moosh them all together. So I’m going to help unmoosh them.

avatar Kate Dalton January 29, 2012 at 11:31 am

I’m late to this party/argument but wish to add simply: well and temperately argued, Mr. Taylor. And I don’t normally say that when there’s a Hitler comparison included. I would agree with what you and Mr. Sabin both imply: that as unattractive as the candidates are, it is the crowds who are heart-breaking to watch.

avatar Rob G January 29, 2012 at 12:40 pm

“For one thing, you said people wanted to take down the government. Taking Clinton out through impeachment was working within the government, not taking it down”

Time to replace the batteries in your hyperbole detector.

avatar Siarlys Jenkins January 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Getting back to Goldwater…

First, his hands were not clean because be PANDERED to the racists he knew would respond to what he said. It was a calculated campaign decision. They were the most available bloc of votes to take from the Democrats, and he went for it. His hands, therefore, were not clean. The current debate about Paul seems to turn on whether a bunch of racists happened to support him, or whether he allowed overtly racist commentary in his publications for the purpose to bringing them along.

Second, the constitutional arguments Goldwater raised, which have also been raised by “Ayn” Rand Paul, although he ducked fast after he said it, are flawed. Both slavery and Jim Crow were promulgated and sustained by massive government action. They didn’t just spontaneously happen. They were pushed, by statute, by judicial rulings, and consequently took on the trappings of “our way of life.”

The Abolitionist movement began IN THE SOUTH! The most active leadership MOVED north for refuge, because they were persecuted by law, statute, and judiciary, as well as by judicially-tolerated extra-legal persecution. They weren’t exactly welcomed in the north either.

The Supreme Court of Mississippi, in 1818, recognized that “Slavery is condemned by reason and the laws of nature. It exists, and can only exist, through municipal legislation.” A later ruling in Louisiana affirmed that a slave owner can expect the courts to enforce any property rights to his chattel explicitly provided by statute, but may not appeal to the common law to enhance his property rights, for the same reason.

So, having put the weight of government in so many ways behind CREATING the culture as well as the law of Jim Crow, it was more than appropriate to put equal government weight behind ending it. I will grant you that because the arguments at the time were much sloppier than this, a lot of dubious talking points were created, which underlies, among other things, the false equation of the “gay marriage” campaign, PETA, and all kinds of other causes with the civil rights movement. I can easily distinguish between a duty to serve all customers without regard to race, and the attempt to create a duty to provide photographic services at the marriage ceremony of a same-sex couple. Can’t you?

Further, in the common law it has been true for centuries that all who “serve the road” in public transportation, inns, hotels, restaurants, etc. do indeed have a duty to serve all travellers (absent some gross breach of the peace such as assaulting other customers or destruction of the host’s property). So, enforcing that duty as to the specific instance of racial discrimination was entirely sound.

Finally, the civil rights laws were based not only on regulation of interstate commerce, but upon provisions of the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the constitution. A constitutional amendment is, by definition, constitutional. The civil rights laws were a belated effort to give effect to those amendments, after a century of judicial activism pretending that they didn’t exist.

avatar John Gorentz January 29, 2012 at 4:17 pm

“It was a calculated campaign decision. ”

That’s the standard story we’ve gotten from the left. It has been asserted many times, but I haven’t seen any evidence to support it.

As to the constitutional arguments being flawed, all arguments are flawed. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good.

avatar John Gorentz January 29, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Hey, gang! You read it here first (and hopefully not last). Neutron 2012! How is that for a bumper sticker?

Newt + Ron = Neutron

avatar ExAX2 January 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I tend to tune out people who use terms like “chickenhawk” to describe those that they disagree with on matters of war and peace, but the op has made such poorly constructed an thought out arguments in his essay that they deserve to be refuted.

First, equating the killing of those who wish to slaughter innocents in the name of Allah with those who murder the unborn in the womb is one of the dumbest arguments I have heard put forth by the Ron Paul supporters. Further, the neither the Bible nor Jesus advocate pacifism in the face of violence against the innocent. Nor does either one proscribe war for followers of Christanity.

Second, the fact that many of our foreign policy goals happen to coincide with that of Israel does not mean that somehow there is a Jewish conspiracy to control our foreign policy. It actually means that liberal democracies tend to have the same national security goals, especially when faced with a fanatic enemy which at it’s core finds such liberal democracies the biggest threat to it’s existence and expansion.

avatar Jake Lukas January 30, 2012 at 10:55 pm

@ExAX2

First, equating the killing of those who wish to slaughter innocents in the name of Allah with those who murder the unborn in the womb is one of the dumbest arguments I have heard put forth by the Ron Paul supporters.

No one has ever done this. Ever. The problem with bombing places or engaging in embargoes, however, is that it isn’t just the murderous who die. To ignore this is wrong. Sometimes it is still necessary to bomb or embargo, but we mustn’t forget to count the loss of innocent life when we consider these options.

Further, the neither the Bible nor Jesus advocate pacifism in the face of violence against the innocent.

Who’s talking about pacifism. Saying that we shouldn’t enter upon unnecessary wars is not the same as saying all wars are to be rejected.

Nor does either one proscribe war for followers of Christanity.

No, but the Christian tradition does have some standards for the execution of a just war. Without these standards, how are we any different from the murderous?

avatar ExAX2 January 31, 2012 at 11:54 am

@Jake Lukas

No one has ever done this. Ever.

Are you reading the same editorial as me? Have you been listening to the rhetoric coming out of the Paul camp? Of course they are trying to equate abortion with waging war.

From above:
Rick Santorum is sincere in his anti-abortion stance, but he’s not pro-life. He’s pro-death on most issues involving the sanctity of life, most notably war.

I don’t know how you parse the above to say otherwise.

The problem with bombing places or engaging in embargoes, however, is that it isn’t just the murderous who die. To ignore this is wrong. Sometimes it is still necessary to bomb or embargo, but we mustn’t forget to count the loss of innocent life when we consider these options.

Do you really think that any of the major players who took us to war in that last 80 years were really that flippant about doing so? Do you really think that they had no regard for human lives, whether ours or those of our foes? I live in a reality based world, and don’t believe in some vast military/ industrial complex conspiracy theory which others claim as the motivations for our wars, as the op does.

Our rules of engagement, in both Iraq and Afghanistan, were the most stringent in history. Attacks which would result in the killing of innocents were sent up as far as the Sec of Def before being allowed to proceed.

Are innocents still going to be killed? Yes, but that is a tragic byproduct of war. That doesn’t make the cause immoral, or the equivalent of deliberately killing the innocent.

No, but the Christian tradition does have some standards for the execution of a just war. Without these standards, how are we any different from the murderous?

Actually, the standards for Christianity apply to whether a war should be waged, not really how it should be waged. In the Christian tradition, it should be waged to right a grevious wrong and to ultimately bring peace.

Of course, a state has it’s own criteria also. As a Christian, I am able to understand the difference and realize that the “Render unto Ceasar” parable exists for a reason.

Ultimately, though, how are we different? How about looking at our actions, and how we comport ourselves during combat. Firebombing Dresden or the atomic bombing of Hiroshima did not make us the same as the Nazis or the fascists runing Japan. What we did was meant to bring a quicker end to the killing. Actions of a few at Abu Ghraib did not mean we were the same as those who beheaded and murdered prisoners.

Finally, look at the goals and outcomes. Iraq is a freer and more representative government than it would be had it been left to Saddam or Islamic extremists. The same goes for Afganistan.

The problem with bombing places or engaging in embargoes, however, is that it isn’t just the murderous who die. To ignore this is wrong. Sometimes it is still necessary to bomb or embargo, but we mustn’t forget to count the loss of innocent life when we consider these options.

avatar Siarlys Jenkins January 31, 2012 at 1:56 pm

“I live in a reality based world, and don’t believe in some vast military/ industrial complex conspiracy theory which others claim as the motivations for our wars, as the op does.”

Many of your fellow citizens would suspect that you have your head buried very deep in the sand if you think denying the existence of a military-industrial complex is “reality based.” It is indeed a bit more complex than nefarious capitalists leading us into war to improve their sales figures… although there is plenty of that, too. So many American communities, so much of our employment, is dependent upon military spending that when the Pentagon attempted to close some bases, that leading conservative war hawk, Cong. Ron Dellums, was motivated to intervene because so many jobs in his district were generated by some of the military bases slated to be closed. Yes, that Ron Dellums, who came straight out of Berkeley. The grasp of this complex is both extensive and insidious!

It took a considerable amount of direct government intervention to gear up industrial production for World War II, and although there was some initial attempt to disarm and wind down in 1945, by 1946 it was ramping back up again. Have we forgotten that the term “military industrial complex” was first offered to the world by that well-known commie socialist liberal Big State elitist, Dwight D. Eisenhower of Aberdeen, Kansas???

I also don’t quite follow the logic of the comments about comparing the slaughter of innocents by jihadi terrorists to killing the unborn in the womb. I’m trying to look at this from a pro-life perspective. I fully respect the constitutional framework of Roe v. Wade. But, if you consider abortion to be a slaughter of innocent human beings, and if you consider al Qaeda style terrorism to be slaughter of innocent human beings, how is it “dumb” to equate the two?

avatar D.W. Sabin January 31, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Come now “ExAX2″, with your kind of certitude, it would appear you might have wandered in from some Weaponeering Conclave on K Street. A statement like:

“Iraq is a freer and more representative government than it would be had it been left to Saddam or Islamist Extremists. The same goes for Afghanistan”.

….well, its entirely too premature to suppose that our hamfisted nation-building deficit romp in either country will turn out well or otherwise free of the kinds of despots America has shown such a shine for in the past when our bidding is obliged. Already, our friends , the Egyptian Generals, groomed by the Pentagon and likely schooled in our lovely little chop shop of dirty work called the “School of the Americas” are pushing back hard in Egypt.

Murder of innocents, particularly in the blithely described “collateral damage” on the one hand or the equally clinical “pro-choice” form, remains, in the end….murder. Parse it as you like but murder, well, its murder. On a scale of 1-10 is some despot machine-gunning a clutch of protestors worse than a woman who decides she does not wish to take her baby to term because it will be difficult ? Perhaps , but when we begin to parse life in such a manner, we might as well cash out and join the carnage.

This, incidentally, seems to be the M.O.

avatar John Gorentz February 1, 2012 at 1:51 am

“Of course they are trying to equate abortion with waging war. ”

Lord Acton’s line, “power corrupts,” applies to both.

avatar ExAX2 February 2, 2012 at 9:33 am

@D.W. Sabin

….well, its entirely too premature to suppose that our hamfisted nation-building deficit romp in either country will turn out well or otherwise free of the kinds of despots America has shown such a shine for in the past when our bidding is obliged. Already, our friends , the Egyptian Generals, groomed by the Pentagon and likely schooled in our lovely little chop shop of dirty work called the “School of the Americas” are pushing back hard in Egypt.

I agree that history will be the judge of whether the Iraq and Afghanistan actions will be a success. But, at least in the case of Iraq, we left them with the right tools and institutions in place to be able to succeed. It will now be up to the Iraqi people to do so. Of course, it would have been easier for them to do so had they had a permanent US presence in the country providing a backstop to a slide back in tyranny. Instead, our churlish current President chose to remove all of our troops without thinking of the impact it would cause on the country they left behind.

As for Egypt, it isn’t “our Generals” that should be a concern to us, but the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and it’s assumption of power.

By the way, I love that you had to get a plug in for the left’s favorite bogeyman, the School of the Americas, which is but a footnote when it comes to the real instigators of the terror which gripped South America throughout the last half of the 20th Century. Your real ire should be focused on those who aided and abetted the expansion of Marxism, socialism, liberation theology, and other crackpot ideas to the southern hemisphere. Those ideas were the wells from which sprung most of the poverty inducing programs which caused the discontent which lead to the years of civil strife and murder throughout the Cold War. Those ideas were championed by many on the left in the real American schools and bastions of higher learning.

Murder of innocents, particularly in the blithely described “collateral damage” on the one hand or the equally clinical “pro-choice” form, remains, in the end….murder. Parse it as you like but murder, well, its murder.

The difference, of course, is that we don’t specifically target the innocent in our wars. So, no, your poor attempt at an analogy doesn’t hold up. Further, if you look at my original post, and what I was responding to, you would understand that I was talking about the op and his attempts to equate our actions during war as a deliberate murder of the defenseless in the womb.

On a scale of 1-10 is some despot machine-gunning a clutch of protestors worse than a woman who decides she does not wish to take her baby to term because it will be difficult ? Perhaps , but when we begin to parse life in such a manner, we might as well cash out and join the carnage.

I agree, some despot machine gunning a clutch of protesters is no better than aborting a baby. Which is why I, unlike many on the left, supported removing such despots in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

avatar Jordan Smith February 3, 2012 at 12:51 am

WOW. A fantastic rant by Jeff Taylor followed by an even more fantastic comment dialogue!

I’m hoisting a beverage to the fall of Empire!

avatar JLP February 3, 2012 at 6:43 pm

SJ, you seem like a smart guy but it’s extremely obvious that the pro-life movement has always been exclusively concerned with abortion, and related issues like embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia. actually that last one may not seem so related but the common theme between people who’ve lost consciousness/”clumps of cells” is an argument over whether they constitute life in a meaningful way. that’s the term being argued and that’s where the “pro-life” phrasing comes in.

now of course there is a Catholic consistent life ethic that people subscribe to that includes unjust war, and i’m not criticizing that necessarily, despite the fact that i think select bloggers such as Mark Shea have used the problems of the Iraq War and the torturing of three people who were undisputed top al Qaeda leaders to go off the deep end beyond harsh criticism and engage in paranoid rantings about how we now live in a police state. but to say that “pro-life” has this more expansive theme among the activists who make up the movement is obviously factually incorrect, and generally more used as a trope among pro-abortion leftists to argue how conservatives supposedly only care about “tadpole life” (George Carlin,) which is what a fetus is apparently.

and sorry but i generally reject the idea of neutrality for political issues. you wanting to weave this “moderate pro-choice” web is a sham. if you’re pro-choice, you think abortion’s OK in certain circumstances, but then why isn’t it OK in all circumstances? if it’s a nothing with no memories and nothing to fear as it’s gotten rid of, why should we care? OK so maybe men and women should be discouraged from being irresponsible, but what gives us the right to use tadpole life as a bargaining chip to encourage more responsibility.

i can obviously see (and agree) the argument that abortion is necessary in the extremely rare cases where the mother’s life is legitimately in danger. however all the other, “pro-choice, BUT” arguments when it comes to how the vast majority of pregnanices occur are worthless hair-splitting, there’s no way for society the regulate the “right” and “wrong” kinds of abortion (“oh sorry babe, this is your third pregnancy, we have a “no slut” abortion policy) and “moderate” pro-choicers should just own up to the fact they’re pro-abortion, instead of acting as though that term applies to a nonexistent argument for under-21 government-mandated abortion. it’s like Obama’s “some say this, some say this” faux-moderate BS.

avatar JLP February 3, 2012 at 6:49 pm

that goes extra for “Roe v. Wade was conservative” crap. i’m sick of conservatism being watered down to generic anti-state, utilitarian, libertarian, generic inertia, whateverarianism while this is NEVER done with liberalism. i guess most people have just internalized too many liberal assumptions so that they don’t view them as liberal any more.

avatar Anymouse February 3, 2012 at 9:23 pm

“most people have just internalized too many liberal assumptions so that they don’t view them as liberal any more”
That basically describes things.

avatar JonF February 4, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Re: this is NEVER done with liberalism.

Of course it is. Liberalism is watered down to “Be nice to everyone. Different strokes for different folks. Be concerned about the poor, the oppressed, the environment and whatever cause du jour parades on down the pike.” Indeed. liberalism lost any sense of intellectual rigor or consistency long before the dry rot affected conservatism.

avatar Dave Dutcher February 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm

First off, use of the terms “Likud Lobby” and “Israel first” are incredibly charged terms that border on being antisemitic. Commentators both the left and right decry their usage, so can we please not let FPR fall into that particular morass? I refuse to see how that kind of rhetoric applies to a localist, distributivist philosophy, and if I wanted to read that, I’d go to Adbusters.

Second, I don’t really see how being pro-life means you must also be a Quaker. The question of violence in war is of a different moral quality than that of abortion for most Christians, and throughout history the idea of a just war is constantly being debated. If you want to argue that to be consistent you must, that’s one thing. But I see no argument, just a triumphalist proclamation of how bad the religious right are for supporting an unpopular war.

Third, you savage them for endorsing Gingrich over Romney or Santorum, and wonder why they don’t back Ron Paul. I honestly wonder how the sort of hyper-libertarianism that Paul supports is related to a localist philosophy except that a fringe of both overlaps. I can’t see his policies making for strong local communities, or even be any more religious-friendly than any of the others you decry. I also don’t see the point in excoriating them over it-NONE of the candidates has anything to offer a localist, distributivist philosophy, apart from validating the identity politics of a particular tribe.

Finally, you need to put forward a coherent idea of what “Voting the Lord’s Prayer” and Kingdom ideas even mean. Apparently it means whatever Ron Paul says except for the things like legalizing drugs or anything else that might stand in the way of a libertarian (and possibly libertine) fringe Christianity that dangerously rides close to Know-nothingsism.

Joe Carter in his many arguments here mentioned the danger that unless FPR had a well-defined center and idea of what they stand for, just like other movements extreme views would rush in to fill the void. It looks like with this post, the void-filling has begun. Can we please talk more about what localism means, or on the nuts and bolts of how distributive or other economic philosophies can be established to benefit people, and less on the same old adbusters-ish manic fringe philosophies that seem to be cropping up left and right these days?

avatar D.W. Sabin February 6, 2012 at 2:23 pm

ExAx2
The best thing about Marxist Ideologies wherever they occur is that they do not ultimately require our efforts to bring them down. They self destruct and quixotically, they seem to be strengthened for a period whenever we think it prudent to stick our noses where they do not belong . Our pimping for authoritarian governments, whether marxist or fascist always brings us woe. Always is the key term.

Just so we are clear here, both left and right governments have operated our School of the Americas . Both Left and Right think we can embrace authoritarian governments abroad with no cost. The chickens come home to roost and see know difference between our right and left.

That you are certain we benevolently left Iraq with the “right tools to succeed” is a perfect demonstration of the authoritarian, nation-building, Big government Conservative thinking that seems to survive despite ample failure. What we left Iraq is a wreck, easy prey for fanatic Iranian mischief.

avatar Anymouse February 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm

“Can we please talk more about what localism means, or on the nuts and bolts of how distributive or other economic philosophies can be established to benefit people, and less on the same old adbusters-ish manic fringe philosophies that seem to be cropping up left and right these days?”
I would love to. And I am not fond of an excessive fascination with politics either.

avatar Jeff McAlister February 6, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Well, let me say that I’m not entirely happy with the choices we have this year.
Paul has raised some important concerns, but of course his uber-libertarian
approach attracts a lot of oddballs. On balance, Santorum is the only candidate
I feel comfortable with, though I will readily grant he’s far from perfect. (Who isn’t?) Romney and Gingrich, well, they just depress me. On the other hand, I
would still vote for them over Obama, though it would be very painful. Sic transit
gloria mundi…

avatar Anymouse February 7, 2012 at 1:22 am

I have full agreement.

avatar Jeff Taylor February 7, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Thank you for the comments. I’m glad some of you found the article interesting or helpful. I appreciate the feedback. A few responses:

John H. – I was thinking of Jackson’s Indian policy when I added “foreign” to “wars.” I don’t approve of what Jackson did in that regard. It was terrible. Unfortunately, it tended to be the norm in his day. Jefferson’s use of the phrase “empire for liberty,” in his April 27, 1809 letter to Madison, is commonly misunderstood. The context shows it to be less martial and imperialistic than it sounds. But I agree with you that Jefferson, Jackson, and other Democrats were not consistent in this regard. I think my point is still valid, although I don’t want to push it too far: Jackson was more like Paul than Gingrich in regard to enthusiasm for foreign wars. For the most part, Jackson concentrated on domestic affairs.

I understand the distinctions between war and abortion, and I realize most Christians do not believe that we are called to be pacifists. I stand by what I wrote, though. It’s a cheap cliche to sum up Senator Santorum as simply “pro-death” because there’s more to him than that and I don’t think that’s his intent. At the same time, I don’t think he’s pro-life. At some point, the culture of death which most Christians in our society not only tolerate but glorify–in regard to war–needs to be exposed for what it is. It’s a betrayal of Christ’s life and message, for starters.

The distinction between killing through abortion and killing through war is not as big as some imagine. The killing of civilians, whether intentional or not (and who’s to say, since governments rarely admit to such targeting?), is a component of every war. The killing of soldiers or suspected soldiers in an unjust war is also wrong. If you’re interested in more debate about war, you can follow the comment thread here: http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2009/12/christmas-wish-%e2%80%9909-repelling-the-martian-invasion/ .

ExAX2, JLP, and Dave D. – You’re right that Ron Paul attracts a few anti-semites to his cause because of his opposition to U.S. government aid to the Israeli government. Of course, he also opposes aid to every other foreign government. So there’s a slight convergence between Paul’s position and that of anti-semites but it’s slight and you can’t blame him for the beliefs of every supporter. I’m sure there’s some Romney supporters with weird or vile thoughts (perhaps of a more respectable nature) but that doesn’t mean we can hold Romney responsible for those. If Jew haters are slightly linked to Paul, it’s because they’re voting for him, not because he’s voting for them.

My own references to the Likud lobby and an Israel First foreign policy have nothing to do with anti-semitism. They are an acknowledgement of an obsessive interest with a foreign nation by many American politicians. Such an obsession–replete with taboos against an open, rational discussion of cost/benefit–would seem strange if we didn’t understand the geopolitical, domestic-political, and theological pressures that account for the obsession. These pressures are, for the most part, public and well-documented. They have nothing to do with “conspiracy.” They are no reflection upon Jews as a group. Ironically, this sort of defensive reaction makes the same mistake that anti-semites make: you equate Israel with Jews, and vice-versa. You also equate criticism of the Israeli government, and more specifically the hawkish Likud Party of the government, with criticism of the Israeli people. This is a mistake.

When I write “Israel First,” I mean the Israeli government because that’s the way “Israel” is commonly used in political discourse. Not all Israelis favor the policies of their current government. Even those who do may not be correct in thinking that their government is doing what’s best for the people of Israel. But that’s their business, not our’s . . . and our government’s policies ought to be our business, not their’s. Like Paul, I favor an America First foreign policy. By “America,” I mean the American people as a whole, not the elite segment that dominates the U.S. political and economic systems. I also believe this more-nationalistic/realpolitik approach ought to be tempered by values of the Kingdom that call us to move beyond self-interest, state glory, militarism, etc.

By the way, the tendency to equate any criticism of our government’s policies toward the Israeli state with “anti-semitism” does a disservice to the reputed cause. It devalues the word and makes identification and condemnation of real anti-semitism more difficult. A pattern of false cries eventually discredits the boy and may lead fair-minded people toward disbelief or apathy when a real wolf appears. It’s a tiresome and unhelpful game.

Dave has a point about my lack of specificity in regard to practical application of the Lord’s Prayer and what Kingdom values I have in mind. But a writer can only do so much with one article. It was long enough as it was. Some of that content is implied by what I wrote earlier in the piece.

Mark – You won’t be surprised to hear that I don’t agree with your assertion that Christians renounce reason. I disagree with your definition of faith (believing in the absence of good evidence or even contrary to such). Faith is an acknowledgement of reality, a trust in someone or something that has been proved trustworthy. It’s not a “close your eyes and cross your fingers” kind of thing. At least not the faith described in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. When it comes to abortion, or any other subject, I don’t think it’s sinful to question or think. God gave us reason for a reason. Thanks for your interesting thoughts and I appreciate your tone. If theists and non-theists could be respectful and calm when discussing such matters, we’d all be better off.

Ann D. and JonF – Ron Paul does agree with the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). His campaign literature makes this clear and links it to his support for states’ rights (technically, state responsibilities, since he acknowledges only individuals have rights). DOMA does not violate states’ rights. It was intended to give states the right to refuse to acknowledge same-sex unions as an exception to the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution. In other words, contrary to the implication of FF&C, if Kentucky did not want to recognize the Massachusetts “marriage” of two men, DOMA allowed Kentucky to decline. This is different from a constitutional amendment defining marriage at the federal level. Paul opposes a constitutional amendment on federalism grounds. So there’s no inconsistency in his support for DOMA (he had not yet re-entered Congress when it passed in 1996). Ideally, in his opinion, government–at every level–should be out of the marriage business and it should something left up to individuals and religious organizations. This is one area that I’m not in complete agreement with Paul.

Anti-Libertarian – Liberty and peace are genuine elements of the Christian tradition, beginning with the gift of free will to human beings and culminating in the restoration of peace to earth. I agree that we don’t need a “mania” for Paul or for any other candidate, but his visions are not the opposite of Christian teaching. They’re not the whole story, however. He has a lopsided message. Individualism must be balanced by community, rights by responsibilities.

Siarlys – I like what you write about the feasibility of being a Christian in practice. What does it mean to be a Christian if we don’t actually practice it? Is it just doctrines and rituals? That’s not what I (mainly) see in the New Testament. I don’t agree that a Christian political party would violate the letter or spirit of the First Amendment. To the contrary, it would be an example of the Free Exercise of religion. For Christians to organize or vote–as Christians–is a right they retain. That’s not the same as the constitutional prohibition on a religious test for office holding. I have no problem with Christians voting in a certain way based on their faith . . . I just hope they’re doing it in a manner informed by scripture, reason, and wisdom. I also have no problem with Christians voting for non-Christian candidates. The USA is not the KOG.

Finally, I’m always mystified by readers who complain that there’s too much politics on the Front Porch. Actually, there’s very little with a focus on electoral politics. When the occasional article appears, if you don’t have much interest in politics, don’t read it. Why read it and then complain?

I’m glad that many readers didn’t mind the subject matter, whether you agreed with everything or not. Like it or not, we live in a political world. (To quote Dylan.) Government is related to first principles and to God. Government affects place, limits, and liberty. Elections affect government. That’s why the Republican Party primary season matters to some of us.

Next topic: Should we colonize the moon and turn it into the 51st state?

avatar Siarlys Jenkins February 8, 2012 at 11:05 pm

DOMA does not violate states’ rights. It was intended to give states the right to refuse to acknowledge same-sex unions as an exception to the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution. In other words, contrary to the implication of FF&C, if Kentucky did not want to recognize the Massachusetts “marriage” of two men, DOMA allowed Kentucky to decline.

There is another approach to the same end — but it requires making precisely tuned legal arguments when the inevitable test case arises, and having the courage NOT to let legal advisers throw in the towel because it would be expensive and might not win.

A useful precedent lies in an early Massachusetts slavery case, where a Massachusetts-born woman, married to a Louisiana plantation owner, had come to visit her parents, bringing with her a slave girl as her personal maid. A suit was filed on the girl’s behalf to obtain her freedom. The Massachusetts court ruled that she was entitled to her freedom, not because entering Massachusetts had made any change in her status, but because under the laws of Massachusetts, there simply was no authority to keep her in bondage.

Applying the same logic, although a same-sex couple may have a marriage license from the state of Massachusetts, and admitting that Kentucky is constitutionally bound to give full faith and credit to the laws of Massachusetts, the laws of Kentucky simply to not make any provision for two men, or two women, to be in a state of marriage. There is nothing for Kentucky to extend to them.

After all, if someone buys a life insurance policy under the laws of Massachusetts, and insurance law is different in Kentucky, they can attempt to collect under the laws of Massachusetts, but not under the laws of Kentucky.

There are those who would rush to court to argue against this, but it seems to me the most consistent way to assert federalism. I have some doubt that congress has the constitutional authority to adopt exemptions to the “full faith and credit” clause by statute.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: