"The President and I have the same position, fundamentally, on gay marriage. We do. Same position."

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Very interesting piece in Christianity Today about religion in Campaign 2004. Besides a discussion of an NY Times story about Kerry and religion (and from which the headline of this post is taken), the piece includes this aside:

"The single disability-rights issue on the liberal agenda is our right to die," writes Lucy Gwin, editor of Mouth magazine, a disability-rights oriented magazine. "That's nowhere near the top of the disability-rights-needed-here list."

Whole thing here.

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  1. “The President and I have the same position, fundamentally, on gay marriage. We do. Same position.”

    Read: “I will say anything and take any position that I think will help me get elected”.

  2. “In addition, Kerry opposes his own church on life issues, which does not show a ‘strong religious faith.'”
    This strikes me as an exceptionally stupid comment. Do these halfwits honestly think that the only way to show a “strong religious faith” is to automatically accept all of the dogma and ethical positions of some organized church? What a comically narrow view of religious faith (and one that is, as I understand it, at odds with many Judeo-Christian traditions of personal religious morality and ethics).

    “Both The Times and Kerry don’t seem to recognize that religious people don’t find “the realm of secular facts” opposed to religious conviction.”
    Christianity Today doesn’t seem to understand Kerry’s (and others’) criticism of Bush here – that _Bush_ has put “the realm of secular facts” (science) at opposition to “religious conviction” by taking positions directly at odds with scientific consensus, and doing so in the name of religious conviction.

    Having said that, I have to wholeheartedly agree with Rick. What a pathetic, self-serving thing for Kerry to say. Instead of calling Bush on the differences they have on the issue (and calling him on his “flip-flop” on whether it should be a federal or state issue), he chooses to twist his own position for the audience of the moment.

    But why were you afraid to link to the REAL story on the Christianity Today web page, Nick? Down near the bottom:
    Pastor gets probation for biting officer | A minister convicted of biting a police officer during a traffic stop avoided two years in prison after a judge gave him 10 years of probation and ordered him to enroll in an anger management program.

  3. “That’s nowhere near the top of the disability-rights-needed-here list.”

    I wasn’t able to find a list to see what is at the top. Did anyone find this list?

    I hope the top of the list doesn’t include more parking spaces. Disability rights gave our office 2 handicap parking spaces out of 10 total. These spaces have never been used in the 5 years we have been here, except for the illegal parkers from time to time. So out of our staff of 13 people, 5 of them have to park on the other side of a very busy street, using a mid block cross walk without stop lights or stop signs. No one has ever been hit, but I have experienced a couple of close calls. Unfortunately, the city requires 15% of our spaces to be handicapped, having only one would cause us to be at 10% and therefore violating the law.

    Oh yeah, Gwin should give thanks to liberals for this one. Maybe if they do support conservatives now, we can reduce our handicap parking spaces! Not that conservatives are evil, they’re just more pragmatic.

  4. I work in the military and the part of the base I work on is sequestered – you can only get down here if you work here.

    Not everyone is allowed to bring a personal vehicle into this area, parking is limited and so that priviledge is extended only to senior personnel.

    Now, if are allowed to bring your vehicle into this area, you already have a designated parking space, yet I also have two “disabled permit only” spaces in front of the building I work in.

    Alaso, I have to wonder how disabled a person can be if their driving a tiny 2-seat sports car or a huge freaking truck with a 3-foot ground clearance. If you can get in and out of these vehicles unassisted then I would think you could walk the extra half a block across the parking lot.

  5. I work in the military and the part of the base I work on is sequestered – you can only get down here if you work here.

    Not everyone is allowed to bring a personal vehicle into this area, parking is limited and so that priviledge is extended only to senior personnel.

    Now, if are allowed to bring your vehicle into this area, you already have a designated parking space, yet I also have two “disabled permit only” spaces in front of the building I work in.

    Also, I have to wonder how disabled a person can be if they’re driving a tiny 2-seat sports car or a huge freaking truck with a 3-foot ground clearance. If you can get in and out of these vehicles unassisted then I would think you could walk the extra half a block across the parking lot.

  6. Gwin’s open letter to Kerry is not, as the quoted line suggests, an argument for democrats to consider certain higher priorities for the disabled. Rather, it’s a hysterical rant suggesting “final solution”-like motives behind supporters of euthanasia.

  7. This strikes me as an exceptionally stupid comment. Do these halfwits honestly think that the only way to show a “strong religious faith” is to automatically accept all of the dogma and ethical positions of some organized church?

    I suspect that their problem (and one of mine) with Kerry is that he claims to be a Catholic while he rejects basic church doctrines. If he thinks the Church is totally wrong on abortion, why doesn’t he just up and leave?

  8. “I hope the top of the list doesn’t include more parking spaces. Disability rights gave our office 2 handicap parking spaces out of 10 total.”

    Comment by: s.a.m. at October 11, 2004 02:13 PM

    We have eight handicapped spaces out of thirteen. No idea what the justification was. The personnel office is upstairs and the student union across the street, but I’ve never seen them used, and unless we have a major disability conference, we probably never will.

  9. Christianity Today doesn’t seem to understand Kerry’s (and others’) criticism of Bush here – that _Bush_ has put “the realm of secular facts” (science) at opposition to “religious conviction” by taking positions directly at odds with scientific consensus, and doing so in the name of religious conviction.

    What positions has Bush taken that are directly at odds with scientific consensus? The disagreements on life issues are essentially philosophical, and can be informed, but not resolved, by science. Science can’t tell us who is and is not a person.

  10. See, Catholic politicians are at a demonstrable disadvantage here. With Catholicism, you’re bound by the very specific set of teachings and rules of the church. Your obedience is verifiable or falsifiable. But when your religion is defined by your “personal relationship with Jesus,” you have all the wiggle room you want to justify your decisions. For example, no one seems to be making any ink out of the fact that GWB hasn’t managed to haul his ass out of bed on more than a handful of Sunday mornings for the past four years. (He was conferring with Jesus in private, of course.)

  11. crimethink,

    So what? Catholicism has a long history of those who (a) reject absolutist Papal authority, and (b) wish to remain part of the Church. Indeed, this is a major component of conciliarism, a doctrine which goes back to before the 12th century effort to create an absolutist and singular church authority in Rome.

  12. crimethink,

    I probably should have written more generally about “ideological conviction” rather than “religous conviction” regarding Bush, although some of the examples I’m thinking of involve ideological convictions that are explicitly or implicitly based on his religious views, so “religious conviction” is sort of a subset. Check out the following web page, organized by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA):

    http://democrats.reform.house.gov/features/politics_and_science/index.htm

    There are certainly points on this page that are weak or misleading or that one could reasonably disagree with, but I think there are also some very solid examples of Bush distorting or ignoring scientific studies/results. I think a few of the more glaring examples involve studies of the effectiveness of condoms and the relative merits of abstinence-only vs. abstinence-with-safe-sex education, and Bush administration policies that have ignored the results of those studies. And I think his initial position on the stem cell lines and their usefullness is another good example – I find it extremely hard to believe that he didn’t know at the time he first mentioned the 70 or so lines available how few of them were really useful. If he honestly didn’t know, he had some absolutely, inexcusably bad scientific advisors.

    A year or so ago a thread came up on H&R about the Bush administration’s distortion of scientific results for ideological reasons. I asked if anyone had any thoughts about how this administration compared to past administrations in that regard, or if anyone knew of any studies, reports, etc. that addressed it. Unfortunately no one really had any good answers. My impression is that, while it happens to some degree in about every administration, this administration has been considerably worse than most, if not all, recent administrations.

  13. crimethink,

    I disagree with your take on Kerry’s catholicism, or more generally on what it means to be catholic. As I understand it, there are traditions in catholicism and other christian denominations of individual dissent on issues of religious ethics or dogma being acceptable as long as one still maintains some sort of allegiance (although I’m sure there would be a whole lot of disagreement on exactly where that line would be). That doesn’t really seem to jive too well with what we see in the news about the Pope handing down edicts and bishops talking about refusing communion, bit it does fit pretty well with what I was taught in my Catholic upbringing.
    One question is exactly what are the “basic church doctrines,” which are most important to catholicism, and which can be reasonably rejected by a practicing catholic. My take is that Kerry’s position on abortion doesn’t prevent him from reasonably being a catholic (the opinions of some bishops notwithstanding), and it sure as hell doesn’t prevent him from having a “strong religious faith.” I’ve certainly known many pro-choice folks who consider themselves devout catholics and have no intention of heading to another church because of the Vatican’s take on abortion. I’ve always thought it was striking how different catholicism looks if you’re focused on the top of the hierarchy (the Vatican, cardinals, bishops) vs. the bottom.

    P.S. – I see upon preview that JB has also made the point I was trying to make about traditions of dissent from official dogma in catholicism.

    P.P.S. – Speaking of cardinals, Go Birds! The World Series is on the way!

  14. “As I understand it, there are traditions in catholicism and other christian denominations of individual dissent on issues of religious ethics or dogma being acceptable as long as one still maintains some sort of allegiance…”

    Heh… My father is definetly NOT one of those. Each weekend he comes home from Mass complaining about the cars in the church parking lot with anti-abortion AND Kerry/Edward stickers on the bumpers. Dad has actually come out and stated that any Catholic who calls himself a Democrat ought to be excommunicated.

  15. Apparently he’s strongly opposed to it except for foreign terrorists under certain circumstances.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20040328-115812-7206r.htm

    I was surprised to see this. I thought these days you had to at least pretend to support the death penalty to be “tough on crime” if you were going to have a real shot at the White House.
    I had a friend who was a devout lefty, death penalty opposer, and Al Gore apologist during the 2000 election. He had convinced himself that Gore didn’t really support the death penalty but was pretending to so he could get elected. This was the only way he could rationalize voting for him. Oddly, he wasn’t terribly concerned by the fact that Gore was (under his theory) lying through his teeth on this issue just to get elected; the notion that he supported the death penalty was _much_ worse.

  16. Speaking of politics and religion, how can predominately black churches continue to get away with letting Democrats speak during regular service times and avoid losing their tax-exept status?
    Isn’t that “reverse discrimination”?

  17. “No one has ever been hit, but I have experienced a couple of close calls.”

    It would be indeed ironic if you became disabled because of those parking spaces. Be careful.

    I always get pissed when I see a “disabled” person roll out of their car and briskly walk away from it. They look like they can run the fucking Iron Man. Yeah, I know, they could be caregivers, but how many actually are?

    And what is up with these “Stork spaces”? If I understand correctly, these are privately determined, but still.. aren’t pregnant women supposed to be walking.. unless they’re about to drop. But then, what the fuck are they doing at the mall?

  18. “What positions has Bush taken that are directly at odds with scientific consensus?”

    Off the top of my head, he has proposed initiatives based on the following premises:

    Cutting mature trees reduces forest fires.

    Children are not harmed by blood lead levels considerably higher than the current standard.

    Abstinance-only sex education is more effective than comprehensive sex ed at reducing disease and pregnancy.

    There is no global warming.

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