God answers prayer…through Obama

james
obama-and-cross
Today, President Obama signed executive orders that close CIA secret prisons, that will close Gitmo in a year, and that ban the use of torture by any American agency.  I’ve been praying that this would happen for at least two years.  It is a day for great rejoicing amongst those who don’t think Jesus was kidding when he said “Love your enemies,” and “Do onto others what you would have them do unto you.”  Granted that my politics and worldview are a little more Sermon-on-the-Mount-ish than some Christians so I can’t talk here for everybody, but as far as I’m concerned Obama has, on day 2 of his presidency, done much to advance the Kingdom of God (not to say that was his only or primary reason).

Note: I have edited this post to reflect a retraction in some of my more excited and apparently inflammatory rhetoric concerning George Bush.

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44 Comments

  1. Mike,

    A) Your comment is crude and does not bring anything to a discussion

    B) It is unrelated to the topic introduced, that is, ending torture, which surely I hope is kool-aid you would drink

    C) As a Christian (I’m assuming) you are bound to pray for and give aliegence to President Obama, recognizing God’s providential hand at work.

    D) One can support many of President Obama’s ideas and visions while also rejecting his stance on abortion. I myself do this. Indeed, though we all consider the topic more than pure black and white, as far as I am aware we all are pro-life is regards to abortion, as we are to other pro-life issue.

    E) In the future, you are always welcome to disagree with a post provided you add to a conversation and keep it on topic

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  2. Tony:

    You wrote: “Obama did more to advance the Kingdom of God (not to say that was his only or primary reason) on day 2, than anything that I know of Bush doing in eight years.”

    Look, I know you voted for Obama and I didn’t, but surely you’re not serious. Is closing Gitmo et al more significant than the initiatives the Bush Administration has taken combating disease in Africa, which affects far more people by several orders of magnitude?

    See here:
    http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2008-11/2008-11-13-voa5.cfm?CFID=97666177&CFTOKEN=70275146&jsessionid=883076e43a106fbe607b5a66312612276436)

    George

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  3. I tend to lean toward brevity in my posts, but I’ll try to make this very clear. I liken abortion to torture. Except the baby ends up dead. The guy who is sleep deprived, forced to listen to loud music (or in the rare case, water-boarded) lives to see another day. Do you get the connection now?

    My allegiance is to Jesus Christ, not Barack Obama, George Bush or any other man.

    So if you are a Christian (which I’m assuming) you are bound to pray for all of the unborn babies that will be aborted after Obama signs off on FOCA.

    Sorry if 45 million legal abortions since 1973 has me somewhat blinded to all of Obama’s Christ-like qualities.

    SOURCE:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_the_United_States#Number_of_abortions_in_United_States

    If the tenor of my response is still not acceptable, consider making your blog private. Or banning me.

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  4. Mike

    Tony (adhunt) doesn’t disagree with you that abortions are bad. He just thinks you’re being a bit of a jerk about it.

    Healthy dialogue is our preferred method of resolving issues on this blog. If you’re willing to commit to it, I’d love for you to continue commenting.

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  5. George,

    You make a good point about Bush’s Africa initiatives. A cynic might say that NPOs and most notably Bono had to twist his arm, but you’re right he is responsible for that, and I often am in danger of losing sight of that good in the crowd of evil. What a walking contradiction he is, but aren’t we all!

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  6. Yes, that’s pretty cynical to say that NGOs and Bono twisted Bush’s arm into being a “compassionate conservative.” Isn’t that the platform he ran on in 2000?

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  7. Can I just voice the general displeasure I have with the notion that either Obama or Bush are very able to singularly affect the lifestyles of Americans let alone the rest of the world. This is not a monarchy. His (bush’s or Obama’s) rule is not supreme. There is a system of checks and balances, and while the executive branch of government certainly has substantial power, I get annoyed at /1/ people blaming all of the country’s ills on Bush (congress has to vote on a lot his decisions, people) and /2/ people thinking Obama is going to single handedly save the country. Now, reductionists, I understand the element of influence that leadership skills, party politics, personal creeds, charisma et al has on these dynamics – I am just complaining about how some seem to make either of these men figure heads for all that ails or heals us.

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  8. I’ve decided to retract my statement that Obama has done more for the Kingdom of God on day 2 than Bush did in eight years. Understand that I was and am very excited about this. Imagine praying faithfully for 2 years that God would heal someone and then your prayers get answered. In my excitement I made the all too common mistake (for me) of exaggeration. The above post has been edited to reflect my retraction.

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  9. About the whole abortion thing. There is one difference between torturing detainees and abortion (that I would like to focus on). The executive branch of our government chose to torture people, and now I am rejoicing about the decision by the executive branch to stop. 45 million mothers chose to have an abortion, and I continue to pray that mothers who are facing that decision will decide not to have one. As Christians who are consistently pro-life (not just on the one issue of abortion but on a whole range of issues like poverty, torture, etc), we need to take political action when political action is needed (like on the torture issue), but I think we would be more effective on the abortion issue if a) we weren’t so vitriolic and unloving (given his track record of hanging out with prostitutes and terrorists, Jesus probably would have hung out with abortion doctors, too, so the the least we can do is not hate), and b) pray for and take loving action towards the people who are actually choosing abortions. Let’s as Christians who care for widows and orphans and single mothers do more educating mothers and adopting children, and less pontificating for or against politicians many of whom (besides votes) don’t give a damn about abortion, and all of whom can’t do anything substantial about it.

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  10. I second everything that James just said on the topic of abortion. I would also like to add that Obama is no savior. I have never heard anyone, including himself, running around calling our new president Obama Christ. That is other than the people that are complaining about him. That said, I too think he will make a far better President than the “compassionate conservative” George Bush (I am pretty sure using those two terms together violates the laws of non-contradiction).

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  11. James,

    Thanks for clarifying your initial statement. Yes to stopping torture.

    Closing Gitmo is not only foolhardy, but dangerous as well. By danger I don’t mean security of the country, I mean for the suspected terrorists.

    Do you think placing them in the general prison population will be a danger to them? And if you look at the living conditions at gitmo its better then the living conditions in federal prisons. Is that charitable?

    The mental disconnect of signing executive orders on torture and abortion on the same day is that Obama has concern for suspected terrorists, but desires to increase availability of Federal dollars especially to overseas agencies for abortions. And cutting funding to those who refuse to perform abortions.

    One can not reconcile the two positions and maintain sanity unless one believes that the latter is not a human being. I’m sure that is the case with Obama. The elimination of torture is not IMO balanced out by the evil his directive. Far from it,he will have a net increase evil in the world. And given that the sectary of state oversee’s that funding overseas (no pun intended) many foreign governments will be coerced to permit abortions in order to accept money for other projects. In one sense that’s black mail, given that the issue is abortion in another sense I’d see it as state sponsored torture.

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  12. quickbeam,
    I think your alternative is a bit misguided. First of all the majority of detainees in Gitmo are there because of nothing more than hysterical suspicions. Secondly, for those who are legitimate threats there are other solutions. The problem is that because Gitmo is an out of country military only prison, there is no accountability. There is no freedom of press and they are allowed to act unconstitutionally for the sake of “stopping” terrorism. I am all for having a seperate and safe facility for prisoners of war. However, I believe it should be held to the same standards of human decancy as every other prison. This includes freedom of press. As far as your position on the great living conditions of Gitmo, how do you know this? No one is allowed on site unless they are screened by the military and their reporting is found to be favorable. Those who have been released and those who were once guards there have quite a differant story to tell about the atrocities that go on there.

    As far as the net gain in evil under an Obama administration, I have a few questions. First what market are we using to evaluate evil gains? Secondly, what exactly will Obama do about abortion that will over ride the amount of deaths that have been caused by the last administration. I am assuming that death toll is how we are calculating evil. If this is incorrect please elaborate. Finally, I think your assumption that other countries will be coerced into permitting abortions is a bit paranoid. First of all which countries that receive funding from us do not allow abortion? Secondly, of those countries which ones are going to over ride a moral imperative of their theocracy so that they can get some money? I am against abortion as much as the next guy, but do you really think any President is going to make a huge differance on this issue? The past 8 years seems to argue no.

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  13. Yes, and just to add onto Jeremy’s comments. We should give every remaining prisoner in Gitmo a fair and open trial. If they are convicted then that’s that. I’m sure we can find some place for them in the vast American prison system. If there is not evidence against them (which by all indications is the case for most of these guys, although many prisoners have already been released back the Supreme Court gave the finger to Bush), we should release them, compensate them (not that we’ll ever be able to undo the wrong), and help them get wherever they want to go.

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  14. Jeremy:

    It’s inaccurate to say that “the majority of detainees in Gitmo are there because of nothing more than hysterical suspicions.” See this Brookings Institution Study: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/reports/2008/1216_detainees_wittes/1216_detainees_wittes.pdf

    It’s also inaccurate to say, “The problem is that because Gitmo is an out of country military only prison, there is no accountability. There is no freedom of press and they are allowed to act unconstitutionally for the sake of ‘stopping’ terrorism. I am all for having a seperate and safe facility for prisoners of war.” No accountability? There’s a 238-page manual outlining procedures at Gitmo. Marines can be disciplined for their treatment of Gitmo detainees. Several detainees have prevailed in legal battles. And in the ultimate form of accountability, the US electorate just switched presidential administrations from the war party to the anti-war party. As for freedom of the press, how do you know these are so bad at Gitmo if the press hasn’t freely reported on it. Indeed, I’ve read any number of journalistic accounts of traveling to Gitmo. Indeed, you even mention guard testimonies about conditions there. How do you know these if they haven’t been reported. The fact that detainees don’t have press freedom doesn’t mean that the press can’t freely report on Gitmo. Heck, there’s not even complete press freedom in a federal supermax prison, let alone the county jail.

    Regarding abortion, if the Bush administration caused more than 1 million deaths per year eight years running (the average annual number of abortions), then you’re right, it was an evil administration.

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  15. George,
    nice try but the text that you linked specifically states that they are “Highly imperfect documents” being examined to determine the prison population of Gitmo because “the Pentagon consistantly refuses to comprehensively identify those it holds”. I might have slipped into a bit of hyperbole when I used the word “majority” but the essence of my point remains intact. As far as accountability, sure there is a manual, but who decides if the military is breaking the rules? You guessed it, the military. My point of freedom of the press was that press reports are censored. The reason you can read reports from former detainees and guards is because they are no longer censored. In regards to the Bush administration and deaths your numbers don’t align. You can’t use the annual average of abortions as the number you would pin on an incoming pro-choice President. First of all, his legislation cannot be directly related to most of those deaths at least not yet. Secondly, that average includes 8 years of Bush presidency. Which means that you would have to add that 1 million number on top of the number of deaths caused by Bush’s foreign policy and domestic policy. So the total deaths of at least 2 wars, those who died of capital punishment, homosexuals who killed themselves because of depression due to the fact that they were not treated with basic human rights, and 1 million babies equals far greater than the number you require to label the bush administration evil. Your formula not mine. I guess you are with me and James. Go Obama Christ.;)

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  16. Ah, the Brookings Institute: Paragon of Unbiased Virtue. Thanks for giving us the 99 page report to wade through. I think page 18 is the most helpful so far. It gives a break down of detainees according to the level of involvement in terrorists group that they admit. In total there are 87 detainees who admit some sort of involvement with Al Quaeda, the Taliban or “some other group the government considers militarily hostile to the United States.” (Most of these admit that they were associated [in a vaguely defined way] with or trained with one of these groups, 4 admit to be Al Quaeda leaders, and 5 Taliban leaders) Back before they were forced to release most of them, during the hey day of the gulag’s existence there were 800 detainees–87 (most held with none to little evidence outside of confessions illegally got) out of 800–I thought the Brookings institute report was supposed to help the argument against Jeremy’s statement? One thing the report does not discuss is how these detainees, who are made out by the media to be “the worst of the worse” were made to admit their involvement. But never fear, for the answer to that question we can turn to this report from the Physicians for Human Rights:

    http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/news-2008-06-18-1.html

    NOTE: Actually this is just an easily digestable news release about the report so you don’t have to dig through hundreds of pages of gory details, unless you really want to.

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  17. You’re right, Jeremy. Bush is evil, and Obama is so righteous that he farts truth, justice, and the American way. How could I have been so blind?

    Oh, but wait: If Gitmo is such a human rights travesty, why is Obama waiting an entire year to shut it down? If the war in Iraq is so evil, why isn’t he withdrawing forces immediately? Indeed, if Bush policies were so misguided, why has Obama kept his Secretary of Defense, not to mention appointing a notably center-right national security team?

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  18. George,
    First of all thank you for admitting that I am right and thus you were wrong. It means alot. Secondly, I never said Obama was perfect just better. Finally, I believe he kept your right leaning security because he is far more pragmatic than ideological and sees this as the best way to get things done. Thank you for deflecting mine and James points off into the weird and contrived.

    ps: how do you know what Obama farts?

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  19. Barack Obama in his first week in office has made America less secure, while on the other hand funding abortion overseas. Example: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,481849,00.html, http://uk.reuters.com/article/usPoliticsNews/idUKTRE50M3PQ20090124

    Do you really think closing Gitmo will bring a single ounce of goodwill within radical muslim terrorist groups? If you do you are either stupid, or smoking too much dope.

    Now every terror cell knows the EXACT treatment to expect if captured and can absolutely train themselves to prepare for this. So the next time we gain access to a high value target, they essentially get a Coke and a Smile.

    In the meantime Obama continues to pave the way to FOCA where he can further payback Planned Parenthood and the rest of far left.

    I find the Chicago Sun Times cover of Obama at the inauguration with the words “So help me God” prominently printed on the picture ironic. Except in Obama’s case it should have said “Help Me God.” Because he needs it in a big way.

    If you voted for the abortion-loving Obama, you need to take a good, long look in the mirror and ask yourself if you could stand in front of Jesus Christ face to face and justify your support of this person. Before you quote “judge not lest ye be judged” I welcome God’s judgment when it comes to my stand on abortion.

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  20. Mike thank you for your input. It is apparent that you disdain President Obama or at least his policy on abortion. I agree with you that his stance is less than admirable. That said, I am not sure that it is the only position worth taking a stand on. You see Mike I am pro-life like yourself. However, I do not restrict my advocacy of life only to the unborn arena. I see all life as precious, even my enemies. This is I believe a core aspect of Jesus message. As far as your story on the released prisoner, correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t Bush in office in 2007? So I am not sure how that has anything to do with Obama. Furthermore, I don’t believe that Obama wants to close Gitmo because it will engender good will with terrorists. I believe he wants to close it because he has a moral conviction, like I do, that all life is valuable and no one should be treated as sub-human. You are right in saying that terrorists know what to expect. So does the man who slaps you on the cheek. He expects retaliation, but Jesus argued that it is far more effective to turn your other cheek. Violence will never be stopped with more violence. Jesus knew this and this is why he was against the extremists who wanted to fight the violence of Rome with violence of their own. There is no such thing as justified violence. So while I understand your apprehensions about Obama, and your condemnation of my Christianity, I have to respectfully disagree with you.

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  21. Jeremy:

    “Finally, I believe he kept your right leaning security because he is far more pragmatic than ideological and sees this as the best way to get things done.”

    So wait, if Bush employs a right-leaning security team, he’s evil, but if Obama does it, he’s “pragmatic”? And if having such a team is “the best way to get things done,” aren’t you conceding that Bush was at least substantially right? I’m sorry you consider these kind of questions “weird and contrived,” but since you oppose the war under Bush, you must also oppose the war under Obama. Or am I misreading you?

    George

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  22. George,
    indeed you are misreading me. My point was that finding a responsable and quick solution to the problem is best done by keeping those who are already involved intact. I didn’t say Bush was evil that was you and I don’t think that his security team is neccessarily bad just because they followed policies that were misguided. I don’t think Obama is proliferating the war, though I do hope he gets out sooner rather than later. As far as weird i was referring to your moving off of the topic and bringing farts to the discussion.

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  23. Mike,

    This is a sticky subject, and I am still working it out, but if you’re making your political decisions based soley on the ethics that Christians are told to live by in Scripture (is this not true?), then why would you want to ignore Romans 12?

    17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone Respect what is right in the sight of all men.

    18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

    19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.

    20 BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”

    21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    Being anti-abortion is not, in my opinion enough to be called pro-life. In order to be pro-life you have to be anti-death, and anti-suffering, anti-violence, and anti-poverty. Being pro- or anti-Obama has very little to do with it.

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  24. James:

    You raise good points here. You’re probably already familiar with Joseph Cardinal Bernadin’s “seamless web” pro-life position and Ron Sider’s “consistent pro-life” position. What you’re arguing seems to be consistent with their arguments.

    One of the reasons I disagree with Bernardin and Sider, and why I advocate just-war theology, is because of real-world scenarios where Christians can either protect the life of the victimizer or the victim but not both. Say you’re a Christian Hutu in Rwanda, and a fellow Christian comes to kill Tutsis who are members of your church. Let’s say you’re actually all that’s standing between the machete-wielding Hutu and his potential Tutsi victimes. Do you: (a) Sacrifice your own life through some form of non-violent resistance to stop the Hutu, which leaves him alive to go after the Tutsis; (b) violently resist or even kill the Hutu to save the Tutsis; or (c) do neither (a) or (b) thus allowing the Tutsis to be killed?

    Just-war theology teaches us that it’s legitimate to do (b). The Bernadin-Sider argument seems to argue for (a), which to my mind amounts to the same thing as (c), in effect though not in intention.

    Is there a fourth option here that I’m missing?

    George

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  25. George,
    The problem with your real world analogy, as I see it, is that it doesn’t solve the over arching problem. Let’s say, using just war theology, you kill your fellow machete wielding Hutu. You are correct in saying that, at least for the moment, you have saved the Tutsi in your church. However, there remains two problems. The first is that you have made the decision that your Tutsi friends life is more valuable than the Hutu. You have essentially played God. Even worse you have assumed that divine intervention is not part of the equation. Secondly, lets say that the Hutu with the machete has a brother that goes to your church as well. Now that brother worhips with, lives, and loves the Tutsi. However, after seeing you strike down his brother he feels it neccessary to fight back. He begins blaming the Tutsi for his brothers death and the cycle stars over. He may even go after the Tutsi in your church that you saved. Now you are forced to kill two Hutu’s to save the life of the Tutsi. This is why I don’t see just war solving any problems. Violent responses to violence only deal with the symptoms not the causes, and even more grave they circumvent the role of God in the situation.

    Jeremy

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  26. “First of all the majority of detainees in Gitmo are there because of nothing more than hysterical suspicions”

    Any evidence to back that claim up?

    “The problem is that because Gitmo is an out of country military only prison, there is no accountability. There is no freedom of press and they are allowed to act unconstitutionally for the sake of “stopping” terrorism. I am all for having a seperate and safe facility for prisoners of war. However, I believe it should be held to the same standards of human decancy as every other prison. This includes freedom of press.”

    The reason for the out of country prison is as everyone knows because these are not prisoners of war and under the Geneva convention, nor are they US citizens, they are enemy combatants which means they took up arms agains the US but not affilated with any country. By placing them in the US they are given extra-constitutional rights not enumerated in the constitution. The Iraq war was not a police action and the ability to obtain evidence in a legalistic manner under those conditions is IMO obsurd and dangerous to our soldiers. Other ceased in places like Yemen, Pakistan, Thailand and Tunisia are held in Gitmo because the host country is either unable or untrustworthy to provide a trail and hold them in prison if convicted.

    You never heard from the press depending on ones view the Clinton admin was cruel against Puerto Rican Political Prisoners.
    http://revcom.us/a/v21/1020-029/1020/polpri.htm

    What’s really ubsurd is the 15,000+ prisioners of war held in Iraq and the 1,000 and climbing in Bagram.

    Its simply a shell game at this point. Lets see if Obama chooses to close Bagram & release the prisoners in Iraq.

    “First what market are we using to evaluate evil gains? Secondly, what exactly will Obama do about abortion that will over ride the amount of deaths that have been caused by the last administration. I am assuming that death toll is how we are calculating evil. If this is incorrect please elaborate.”

    Sure There are a number of ways abortions will be increase under this executive order.

    Here’s Obama’s statement:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/statement-released-after-the-president-rescinds/

    “For too long, international family planning assistance has been used as a political wedge issue, the subject of a back and forth debate that has served only to divide us. I have no desire to continue this stale and fruitless debate.

    It is time that we end the politicization of this issue. In the coming weeks, my Administration will initiate a fresh conversation on family planning, working to find areas of common ground to best meet the needs of women and families at home and around the world.

    I have directed my staff to reach out to those on all sides of this issue to achieve the goal of reducing unintended pregnancies. They will also work to promote safe motherhood, reduce maternal and infant mortality rates and increase educational and economic opportunities for women and girls.”

    I simply don’t see how he doesn’t choke on his own bile. He has in effect forced all of us to fund abortions worldwide and blackball foreign countries via lobbying to increase abortion availability tied to US finding.

    I would suggest you read Machiavelli’s The Prince Chapter 18.
    http://www.constitution.org/mac/prince18.htm

    It sounds very much like him in this regard.

    Here’s the executive order:
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/MexicoCityPolicy-VoluntaryPopulationPlanning/

    The Mexico City Policy:
    “the “Mexico City Policy” directed the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to expand this limitation and withhold USAID funds from NGOs that use non-USAID funds to engage in a wide range of activities, including providing advice, counseling, or information regarding abortion, or lobbying a foreign government to legalize or make abortion available.”

    “A half billion dollars will be used to increase abortion rates and spread the use of contraceptives in third-world countries.”

    http://www.speroforum.com/a/17843/UN-Population-Fund-welcomes-US-abortion-funds

    So yes with $500 million dollars there will be more abortions.

    Plus those non governmental agencies that refuse to provide abortions will not be able to receive funds.

    His position is untenable for one who claims to be Christian.

    As far as other countries on abortion I believe its limited to under 12 weeks and or just in cases of rape and incest. The lobbying is directed to making it unrestricted up to birth.

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  27. Jeremy:

    By “divine intervention” you mean what precisely? God freezing the attacking Hutu? Giving him a conscience? Making the Tutsis miraculously disappear? You’re right that my analogy doesn’t assume divine intervention because God typically does not intervene in human conflicts. But if he did, you’d be right that that would instantly solve the problem and render the need for violent resistance moot.

    Have I made the decision that the victimizing Hutu’s life is less valuable than the victimized Tutsi’s lives? Yes. Or rather, I have made the decision that stopping one man from killing several men is a worthier action than allowing one man to kill many men. Presumably you disagree. Which means that you think the life of one man (a murderer) is worth more than the lives of many men (his victims). That’s an interesting calculus.

    Do people who defend the innocent with force “play God.” No. They act as his servants. As Paul puts it in Romans 13, the state does not bear the sword in vain and is God’s servant.

    Your counterexample regarding the cycle of violence is a good one. “Violent responses to violence only deal with the symptoms not the causes.” Of course, by the time you ask the Hutu why he wants to kill the Tutsis, they’re already dead. What’s wrong with dealing with symptoms when those symptoms are murder and genocide?

    Would it be preferable for all sides to a conflict to sit down and talk their way through the issues. Yes. Can that always happen? No. Just war theology doesn’t require that we respond to violence with force, it legitimates that response as a “last resort” or as self-defense when one is in immediate jeopardy.

    George

    P.S. What if the Hutu #2 realizes that Hutu #1 is wrongly trying to kill his fellow Christian Tutsis and rather than perpetuating the cycle of violence against Tutsis uses the incident to promote peaceful resolution of the conflict? That too is a possibility, isn’t it?

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  28. quickbeamoffanghorn,

    In reference to the claim that all Gitmo detainees are enemy combatants and took up arms against the US, please refer to my post of Jan. 23 which starts “Ah the Brookings Institute…” then refer to Matthew 5-7.

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  29. Well I will take your word for it as far as the type and amount of evidence there is on those individuals. My point is that they are classified as enemy combatants is simply that it is the legal classification that applies to them fairly or unfairly.

    If you look at the time frame as to when the Supreme Court ruled against the Bush Administration on those at Gitmo there haven’t been any more sent there. Instead the shell game continues simply sending them to other prisons around the globe. For some unknown reason the media doesn’t seem concerned about that point, and therefore the public gets the impression that Obama has righted a wrong, when in fact he hasn’t addressed the broader issue of captured terrorists and war prisoners in general. In case I haven’t been clear I’m not against closing the prison, but I don’t think its in the best interest of the prisoners to do so. Politically I’m closest to Ron Paul.

    I strongly believe that most Democrats are communists willingly and most Republicans are communists reluctantly,otherwise there’s little difference so I offend everyone equally;>)

    I didn’t care for the Bush administrations reasoning on the issue but I’m hardly impressed with Obama’s thus far, but his spin machine is simply better then Bush.

    My greater concern is with Obama and his stance on abortion. This was at least for my church a line we couldn’t cross. Not that his decision was unexpected.

    Would you care to respond to anything I posted on abortion? I don’t what to highjack or shift the topic away from torture, but since Obama or in my thinking Obama has linked torture and reproductive rights as high priorities so I think it very relevant.

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  30. George,
    In response to what I meant by divine intervention, all of those you mentioned any other number of things that might happen to stop the bloodshed.

    As far as stopping mass killings I must ask how you know this to be the case. Do you have a “ESP”? How are you sure that this man is going to kill x number of people? Furthermore, doesn’t your position then mean that life value is determined by numbers? If so when does it stop? When killing 5 million and 1 people is going to stop the killing of say just 5 million? That is a tricky road to navigate. Again I ask how this is not playing God? You say you are God’s servant, so did Jim Jones. How are you so sure that God wants you to be his hand of judgment? Is it based solely on that verse you quoted?

    I will give you this. You may have a case for aggressive restraint. That is to say that there may be justification for say imprisoning a “murderer”. Though, I would still argue that restraint without the goal of rehabilitation is no more defensable.

    Still, I cannot see any justification for taking a persons life. You asked,

    “What’s wrong with dealing with symptoms when those symptoms are murder and genocide”

    What’s wrong is that dealing with symptoms only prolongs the problem. The only way to stop future murders is not to kill all the murderers, its to stop the cycle of killing all together. I understand that this is a difficult position. It is not comfortable or clean and definately subversive in nature. However, the teachings of Jesus, Buddha, Ghandi all had this as a cornerstone, and each of them proved the validity of their claims with action.

    I am not sure how we got here. It is especially odd considering there is a series of posts about non-violence on this site. None the less, we have come to this discussion. I guess we will both have to continue to do what we feel is right to stop violent injustice in this world.

    Reply

  31. Jeremy:

    It’s a hypothetical situation. Hypotheticals don’t require omniscience or ESP. I’m amused that a smart guy like you doesn’t understand the nature and use of hypothetical dilemmas in ethical reasoning.

    But whatever.

    George

    Reply

  32. George,

    When arguing ethical positions it is often required that one responds to the critiques of ones arguments from those whom he is engaged with. Using condescending rhetoric, to avoid having to deal with a hole in ones theory, is simply juvenile. I am amused that a smart guys such as yourself feels the need to resort to such simplistic forms of communication.

    But whatever.

    Jeremy

    Reply

  33. George,

    You are like a genie…so for my second wish I would like you to convince everyone else that I am right.

    Jeremy

    Reply

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