Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cider House Rules

Along with religion and politics, they say one of the surest ways to start a lively discussion is to mention abortion or gun control. (we should also add gay marriage to the list) So after my post on rednecks the other day, I don't know why I didn't anticipate a comment on one of the most divisive issues in America: abortion rights.
Now that the McCain campaign has decided the terrorist attacks aren't working, they are going after Obama on abortion rights, so maybe it is time to write about it.

First off, I notice most of the people wanting abortion outlawed are the same ones who constantly carp about the government getting too big, and sticking it's nose into everybody's business. Less government, less taxes, less regulation seems to be their mantra.... except for abortion rights.

Tolstoy wrote, "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." The same is true for pregnancies. All children should be born healthy, and into financially secure, happy, loving families. I have known women who have decided to give birth to Downs babies, and others who faced with poverty, spousal abandonment, dropping out of school; have decided to abort. In all cases, these are difficult decisions, made after much soul searching. There is no one size fits all, top down, government mandated solution to this problem.

I was surprised to find my views are similar to Larry's. I am opposed to late term abortions, and for parental notification; unless there are extenuating circumstances. I suspect if we get past the demagoguery, most people fall somewhere in the middle.Where I disagree with Larry is I do not make a candidates stance on abortion my primary reason for voting for or against him. As with other social issues, right wing pols have found a way to appeal to good people, religious people, who actually share progressive views. The church has always been at the forefront of abolition of slavery, civil rights, labor rights, and many other progressive causes.

Rather than debate the social and religious arguments, we need to shed some light on how the right wing pulled off this coup. It reminds me of the story of how the Pharisees conspired with the Herodians to entrap Christ in his words. The Pharisees were the all around bad guys of the Gospels; the religious right of their day. Jesus had nothing good to say about them. They supported a theocratic state, based on Old Testament law. They were the party chiefly responsible for the crucifixion. If the Lord ever showed up in one of their churches today, they'd crucify him again.

The Herodians, on the other hand, were the supporters of Herod, the unpopular puppet king installed by the Romans. They were the business types, all they wanted was domestic tranquility, low taxes, a compliant workforce, and lax environmental regulation. They probably supported the Roman Legions, as long as their kids didn't have to go to war. The two groups had very little in common, but would use one another to advance their agendas.

I call it "Cider House Rules," after the book and movie of the same name. The scene that brings everything together is when Homer starts reading the list of rules for the migrant workers living in the cider house. After the second of third rule, Mr. Rose, the migrant supervisor tells him to stop.
"Somebody who don't live here made them rules. Them rules ain't for us. We the ones who make up them rules."
Not only are the rules made by people who don't have to live in the cider house, but they don't apply to them.

Ask yourself: If Roe vs. Wade were overturned today, would Jenna Bush be able to have an abortion tomorrow? (I am not suggesting Jenna Bush has had, or would consider an abortion. I am just using her as an example of a young woman who's family is active in right wing politics. I apologize if anyone takes this wrong.) The answer is, of course she would, her daddy has enough money that it wouldn't be be performed by a quack in a back alley with a kitchen knife either. Even if he had to fly her out of the country to have the procedure.

There is a saying, "Life is like a Limburger cheese sandwich, the more 'bread' you have, the less you taste the stinky cheese." (G-rated version)To an extent, having money shields you from life's hard knocks. Laws are only for the little people.

That is, assuming they really want to outlaw abortion. As Frank Rich maintains in "What's the Matter With Kansas," once in power, they have no real interest in pursuing constitutional amendments, or overturning Roe v. Wade. It is too valuable to them as a red herring issue to appeal to the base. They also know that the majority of Americans do not support a draconian ban.

Jesus never tried to set up a political state. During his interrogation, when Pilate asked Jesus if he were a king, he replied: "My kingdom is not of this world, otherwise my followers would fight." As a Christian, my witness isn't to legislate morality, it is to convince people to be moral. We need to stop letting politicians on both sides demagogue this issue, and come together to find a solution.


RedWing said...

You make excellent points as always Grey. It appears your religious knowledge is vast and honorable.

But let's use common sense here. Barack Obama is not pro-abortion, he is pro-choice. Barack Obama does not support abortions. He dislikes them and would never even consider raising his children to think it's okay to have an abortion. However, he wisely realizes that the government should never be put in a place where they can dictate over a mother on what to do with her unborn baby.

Barack Obama also agrees with parental notification. He is against NOT notifying parents of children under the age of 18 when attempting to have an abortion. Obama is also against late term abortions. Yes, that's right, he is AGAINST late term abortions. He has made this very clear many times. Despite bringing up a BS scenario of "Infant Killing" by the RightWing due to a bill that was rejected for other reasons, Obama has made his anti-abortion values very public.

Let's be clear on this, the only difference between Obama and the anit-abortion (I won't say Pro Life because those same people tend to salivate over a rapist or murderer being put to death) crowd is that Obama believes that the choice being made is so devastating, that the government should not and cannot be a part of the sensitive and horrific decision being contemplated.

Make no mistake, Barack Obama is ANTI ABORTION. He is just wise enough to understand he is not the Lord and people should make such incredible decisions on their own.

Oh and a big fat p.s. Obama is against Gay Marriage, as well. He is simply FOR civil unions that allow financial & hospital benefits to be afforded to gay couples. I, personally, don't agree with his stance on that, but he has wiggle room. He is tolerant of other individuals. And to quote Martha Stewart, "That's a good thing."

Keep it up Grey.

bo said...

I would like for someone to show me in the Bible where it says God or Jesus are against abortion. I mean the exact wording. What? Can't find it you say? Of course you do not find it and if you look at a Bible pre-dating 1940 you will not see the word homosexual either. In fact, Mary Magdalene was believed to be the whore in the stoning event that Jesus prevented, but, it turns out a Priest started that "rumor" back in the 500's. Surprise!! It wasn't until the 1960's that this was changed back to Mary Magdalene not being the whore, but, in fact, a completely different person. Unfortunately, the Bible and other religious texts have been up for many different interpretations and each Preacher, Priest, or Rabbi who ever lived has manipulated it to their own agenda. Yes, I said it--THEIR own agenda. Whatever came about at the time that sparked contraversey, you can bet a religious man of the cloth got involved and used the Bible, Torah, or Quran to twist the words present in their sacred texts. I would venture to say that the political parties are not immune to this type of hype and manipulation and I am sure it will not be the last.

Jack said...

Grey, I like your post and your right we all should meet in the middle somewhere. However, after reading your entire post and redwing's response I must say that whether or not its abortion, gay rights, slavery, death penalty or bailing out greedy CEO's it cannot and must NOT be about religion!
Grey you stated "As a Christian, my witness isn't to legislate morality, it is to convince people to be moral" but doesn't that mean YOUR definition of 'moral'?
Everyone's is different and for that reason alone ALL people should have the SAME Constitutional rights as you and I, ALL people should have the right to choose, no matter the choice.
As for McCain's stance, he has stated that he will nominate Supreme Court Justices that ARE willing to overturn Roe v Wade, and with 4-5 retiring in this next presidency that IS something to contemplate when voting.
There are MANY things that I take into consideration when I vote and civil rights & civil liberties are a MAJOR ONE.
redwing you stated you don't agree with Obama's stance on Gay 'civil unions', well I don't either, and most likely it isnt for the same reasons as you.
I think Civil Unions are BOGUS, isnt that the same thing as saying 'you can ride the bus but ONLY if you sit in the back'??
ALL AMERICANS deserve the SAME rights and you and I, and if gays wanna marry so what!!
Its NOT about being 'tolerant' (as Palin has claimed to be) its about ACCEPTANCE, its about accepting our brothers and sisters for exactly who they are.
I don't know what religion anyone here is, but mine taught me there is only ONE judge, and well its not me.

Grey Fedora said...

Jack wrote:

"Grey you stated "As a Christian, my witness isn't to legislate morality, it is to convince people to be moral" but doesn't that mean YOUR definition of 'moral'?"

Not really. No religion has a monopoly on morality; or lack of religion either, atheists can be very moral people. I was addressing my comment to other Christians who use the Bible as a moral authority.
I take more of a C.S. Lewis stance: we all have an innate sense of morality. He wrote that we may disagree whether a man should have just one wife, or if he is allowed four, but we agree that we shouldn't irresponsibly sleep with any woman we want to.

Grey Fedora said...


Thanks for the information on Obama's abortion stance. I was trying to work it into my post, but couldn't quite figure out how.

This is the battle we face. If people actually took the time to examine the candidates positions, they would find Obama is more in the mainstream than McCain/Palin.

I also disagree with his position on gay marriage, but I'm probably not in the majority:

I believe that the civil and religious aspects of marriage should be completely separate. The government should issue a civil union to any couple, homo or hetero who ask for one. The civil union will confer all the rights, responsibilities and benefits of "marriage" to any couple.

Then let the churches marry or not marry, bless or not bless whichever unions they want to.

Larry said...

Apparently none of you read my post in the Redneck blog. I said

"If a woman wanted to abort early on, then do it and be done with it, but religion aside, I consider it a human at this point, and think it should be against the law, as murder is, unless there is reason to believe the mother will be harmed or if some kind of birth defect of the child is found."

This has nothing to do with religion. If we can't murder each other, then why does a woman have a right to choose to murder her developed baby just because it hasn't taken a breath of air?

Now I know you guys will say that life doesn't begin until it is born, but then we get back to the born alive bill Obama was against, even if he now claims was for another reason.. Easy to say that now, but we only have the record to go on.

Jack said...

Grey I appreciate your clarification and totally agree!
and again I greatly agree with your take on the Civil Union issue. That truly would give everyone the SAME rights and take religion right out of it :)
excellent take on it!!

And Larry, yes I did read your comment; but I don't agree, but I respect your right to your opinion and your 'choices'. that really is what its all about, people making choices for themselves.
I personally would never have an abortion, nor would I sit idly by while my daughter chose to, but I would certainly never tell anyone they should have a child that is unwanted. We have enough of those in the world as it is.

Larry said...

ok, jack then tell me why you don't think it is murder? I understand this "unwanted" baby thing, but why not adopt it out? This considering the baby was conceived normally and is healthy, but a woman late term decides it isn't for her.

And yes I also agree with what Grey posted last.

Jack said...

I am not going to get into a 'is it murder' debate. I never said I thought it wasn't nor did I say it was. I simply said I would never have one, but wouldn't tell someone else what they should do for themselves.
Everyone has their OWN beliefs on abortion. but I never said anything about late term, normal conception and healthy.
I have strong feelings about late term and partial birth abortions myself....but....'normal conception' and 'healthy' is left to individual interpretation so I again will NOT debate it.
I know what I believe for MYSELF and what I would or would not do.
that is enough. :)

Larry said...

well I am just a busy body tonight catching these posts before logging off.. lol

Well Jack I would agree with you except if the baby is a live human being in late-term, and the law says a human being can't be killed or it would be murder, then that is my only point on the late-term partial birth abortions.

I understand your feelings and you can say/do what you please, and you have said you don't agree with me but you respect my choice, so I am not trying to argue with you. All I am saying is this should be against the law. Otherwise, there is no difference from a person who doesn't want their spouse anymore murdering them to get them out of their life.

I see you are not a debator, and that is fine. Have a good night. :)

Grey Fedora said...

It wasn't my intention to have this post become a forum for the abortion debate. I merely wanted to point out the cynical use of abortion, gun control, gay marriage, etc as red herrings to distract voters from the real right wing agenda.

The Republican party has been using abortion as a wedge to help them win elections ever since Roe v Wade was handed down by the Supreme Court. As Thomas Frank points out in "What's the Matter With Kansas," if abortion is banned, they lose the only thing that gets the wing-nuts fired up.

With a Republican president, and a Republican majority in Congress, like we had for the past six years, they could have passed a law banning abortion that would have withstood judicial scrutiny. But they didn't.

They need anti-abortion sentiment to leverage election victory.If they don't have wedge issues maybe people would look deeper at the rest of their platform, and see how the neo-conmen have led us into a useless war, presided over the largest transfer of wealth to the already wealthy since the gilded age, and the greatest financial crisis since the Depression.

If you really want to reduce abortions, make people's lives better; living wages, affordable health care, basic human dignity, education.

Jack said...

I actually do agree with you on late-term abortion and partial birth abortions.
And while I am an adamant debater (as is evident in my blog archives)this is just one subject I won't touch. It actually gets no one anywhere to be quite frank.
But Grey's post wasn't about whether or not it was legally, morally or religiously right or wrong.
I think he raises a great point. One of which I certainly never thought about. I do fear the overturning of Roe v Wade, but not because I am so pro-abortion, as I am not, but because I worry about a government that begins to controlling and dispensing rights and priviledges to some while oppressing others.
I can't support the rights of the disabled but say its ok to oppress gays, or immigrants.
I don't a person has to agree with Roe v Wade to see the bigger picture. When our government begins dispensing laws that literally control our own bodies it is a dangerous precedent.

While we did have a majority republican congress and president for 6 of the last 8 years, I believe they did not seek to over turn Roe v Wade because in the end they did not have the support of the Supreme Court, and it would have been futile.
Although Grey, you have given me something to think about and consider. A point of view I have thought is interesting what you say about this, and a very likely truth.

RedWing said...


I'm glad you bring up the supreme court in your last comment. The Supreme Court is one of the main reasons I'm support Barack Obama. While I agree with his idealogy and policies so far, it is the determination of the Supreme Court that really makes this election important.

There is currently a 5-4 conservative majority in the Supreme Court. Likely 3 of the 9 Justices will retire in the next term. The problem with that is that all 3 are progressive thinkers. So, let's say McCain wins the presidency (Ack!), he would then select 3 more conservative thinkers as Justices. This would lead to a 7-2 majority in the Supreme Court. Since the Supreme Court is a LIFETIME appointment (I totally disagree with that), we will then see Roe v. Wade overturned. With the horrific additions of John Roberts and Sam Alito by President Bush, it is very likely McCain will appoint similar justices who are not down the middle (as all Judges SHOULD be).

That makes this election more important than ever. There is no way we can get a majority in the Supreme Court with an Obama administration. However, we can keep the 5-4 minority, and that is extremely important.

I personally think that the Supreme Court should consist of 4 conservatives and 4 progressives with the 1 justice decided by the administration after EACH term. Yes, I'm living in a dream world... but at least it would be fair.

God help us all if the Supreme Court becomes a 7-2 majority.

Jack said...

yes may God and every other religous entity help us if that happens!!
The Supreme Court is so vital to the running of this country and like you, I really don't agree with the 'life-time' appointment. I think we the people should be voting for at least half of these positions, and our President only appointing the minority of slots.
The justices, as is, end up representing the values and opinions of ONE person as opposed to THE PEOPLE they are in fact appointed to represent.
When this campaign began, I didn't care for Hillary but was willing to listen (for this reason alone!!) and I didn't know 'who' Obama was. I am glad I listened and I decided by Iowa Caucus time to become a 'democrat' for one nite, and that night for the first time in my life I participated in the caucus (im an independent) and was the Precinct Captain for, and stood FOR Obama :)
I have not wavered since.
*Here's to a neutral, balanced Supreme Court in our future*

Larry said...

Check this out. It is WHY Obama WILL WIN the White House Obama and Black Votes

Also, regarding abortion, I believe this comment in this BLOG sums it up for me.

F.D., on October 13th, 2008 at 6:19 pm Said:
I am really in a quandary why people keep writing in and categorizing abortion as an issue of “choice”. Was slavery an issue of choice? Yes. Slave owners “chose” to own slaves b/c it was economical and convenient. An entire economy became dependent on slaves and a person’s right to own them. Slaves would not have “chosen” to be slaves. Babies would not “choose” to be killed. Be careful how you use the word “choice” to protect a person’s right to kill a baby. It is a slippery slope of moral decay and an increasingly disregard for life itself. Who will “choose” life for you when you are too old and dependent on others to speak for yourself? Maybe it will then be someone else’s “choice” to euthanize you b/c your continuing to live would be, simply put, inconvenient.