Christian politicians exalt suffering in GOP campaign

Imagine that the year is 1932 and presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt, instead of addressing himself to the economic paralysis … Continued

Imagine that the year is 1932 and presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt, instead of addressing himself to the economic paralysis that has gripped the nation, talks endlessly about the polio-induced paralysis of his own legs as some sort of unique qualification for the presidency. He blathers on about his deep faith in God as the reason he should be elected, weeps at the memory not only of his struggle with polio but of his own sins, and generally talks to the Americans as if they were choosing a Confessor/Penitent-in-Chief instead of a president.

Charlie Neibergall

AP

Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, forum moderator Frank Luntz, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza Herman Cain and Texas Gov. Rick Perry stand on stage before the Thanksgiving Family Forum sponsored by The Family Leader, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa.

That was exactly the spectacle presented last Saturday by Republican presidential candidates at a forum stressing faith and family in Des Moines, Iowa. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rich Santorum and the pizza impresario Herman Cain broke down when they spoke, respectively, about the brain tumors of a friend’s son, the birth of a daughter with a severe genetically determined disability, and being diagnosed with cancer.

Boo-hoo, gentlemen. Having endured the ordinary vicissitudes or the extraordinary and unfathomable tragedies of life and having sought the help of whatever God in whom you believe has absolutely nothing to do with your suitability for the nation’s highest office. An atheist would face the same tragedies without invoking God’s help and that, too, would have nothing to do with his or her fitness for the presidency.

The Iowa forum was a triumph of the union of psychobabble and public religiosity that has come to dominate American politics. President Obama’s refusal to engage in this kind of faith-infused psychological exhibitionism is one of the main reasons why the media (and not only conservative media) have tagged him as a cool professorial type who does not know how to make a connection with ordinary people. Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney, who were not present at the

faith-and-suffering group therapy session, are also bad at exploiting whatever sorrows lie in their past to advance their candidacies. That’s probably one of the reasons Republican voters aren’t enamored of Romney and barely register Huntsman in their polls.

Charlie Neibergall

AP

Republican presidential candidates listen to moderator Frank Luntz, right, during the Thanksgiving Family Forum sponsored by The Family Leader, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Gingrich, of course, chose to discuss his friend’s son’s brain tumors as the big trauma of his recent past and fudged the little matter of his being a serial adulterer who dumped two wives (one while she was in the hospital recovering from breast cancer treatment). Now that Gingrich has converted to Catholicism, he told the audience, he is much happier with his third wife. “All of that has required a great deal of pain, some of which I have caused others, which I regret deeply,” he acknowledged. “All of that has required going to God to seek reconciliation, also to seek God’s acceptance that I had to recognize how limited I was and how much I had to depend on him.”

One wonders whether Gingrich considers himself “limited” for dismissing the Occupy Wall Street protestors before the godly crowd at the First Federated Church of Des Moines with the admonition, “Go get a job right after you take a bath.”

Actually, I felt like taking a bath after hearing Newt, the two Ricks (Perry and Santorum), and Cain talk as if their religious beliefs and their personal hardships somehow make them presidential material. Santorum, after acknowledging that he had failed to love his stricken baby properly in the first months of her life because he knew she was destined to die, then lashed out at the sexual revolution. “This is not our founders’ vision,” he said. “It’s a corruption of liberty. Our founders understood that liberty is not what you want to do but what you ought to do.” And who defines what we ought to do?

Santorum then made the most revealing comment of the evening, linking the candidates’ brand of far-right Christianity with their the right-wing position maintaining that government has no responsibility to attempt to alleviate the misery of its citizens. “Suffering is a part of life,” he mused, “and it’s not a bad thing, it is an essential thing in life.” That suffering is a part of life is indisputable but there is a difference between the suffering that comes to all in the natural course of things — say, death and illness — and the suffering that human beings create through inept actions and institutions.

The former category includes events like the birth of a severely disabled child or the loss of a lifelong partner to Alzheimer’s disease. The latter includes looking for a job for nine months (while well-scrubbed behind the ears) and not finding one; lacking money to pay for decent medical care, going hungry in an obese society, and having to choose between paying for food and medicine in advanced old age.

Government can do something (though certainly not everything) about the latter category of man-made suffering but in the Christian universe inhabited by the Republican candidates on the stage in Iowa, neglect of the earthly suffering of others is actually a virtue.

The way humans cope with hardship and suffering does help shape their character, but not in the simplistic way suggested at the Republican debate. Suffering does not always ennoble but, on the contrary, can sometimes create a grandiose sense of entitlement. During his campaign in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary John Edwards used his wife’s cancer, and the death of their teenage son in an automobile accident, to present himself as a worthy aspirant for high office. We all know now about the double life he was leading even as he was using the rhetoric of Christianity to further his candidacy.

Honest candidates, men and women of genuine virtue, do not present their own suffering as a qualification for public office. The American public knew that FDR had survived polio, but it did not have any idea of the full extent of his disability while he was president. It is only with historical hindsight that we now understand the pivotal significance of his struggle with paralysis. It is generally agreed by historians that his battle with polio helped turn Roosevelt from an ambitious lightweight into a public leaders whose empathy for the sufferings of others was greatly enlarged. The same events might turn another person into a politician who says “you’re on your own” to his suffering fellow citizens.

While I would never advocate a return to the days when photographers would, out of misplaced deference to the office of the presidency, agree not to take pictures of the president in a wheelchair, being in a wheelchair (metaphorically or literally) tells you nothing about whether a man is an effective leader. It reveals a good deal about the character of a candidates, however, when they think that they deserve votes because they’ve had cancer or a brain-damaged child. This use of personal faith and personal suffering in politics is nothing less than an obscenity.

About

Susan Jacoby Susan Jacoby is the author of "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism"­ and is completing a secular history of religious conversion.
  • WmarkW

    Agreed, it’s a goofy spectacle.
    Problem is, there is NO WAY to (honestly) tell the American voters what they want to hear. Which is the way elections are won in a democracy, and its worst flaw.

    Barack Obama won three years ago by avoiding specifics. His sheer differentness was supposed to overcome a complete lack of skill and experience? You say the Republicans are running on their suffering biographies. Obama ran on having suffered racism his whole life, despite not carrying a single drop of slave-descended blood, and having lived his entire adult life in an America that’s bent over backwards to give talented blacks opportunities to become leaders.

    He still has no idea what to do about cutting spending. He took the very good step of creating the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission; and the inexusable step of ignoring it. He promises a jobs plan “will be paid for,” by charging the SuperCommittee that couldn’t cut 1.2 trillion to cut 1.7 trillion.

    The New Deal was a combination of necessary structural political changes to adapt to the industrial economy, with a governmental largesse that’s now playing out. Jacoby’s column isn’t wrong that the Republican campaign should make one want to barf. But being presented Barack Obama as the alternative is just a different way to feel sick.

  • Vanka

    I sure get tired of these candidates playing the religion and faith card, then accusing those who criticize such tactics of being religious bigots.

    Religion us such a polarizing and poisoning influence in politics.

    Mitt Romney’s religion is a deliberate cult of Dominionism. Mitt and his Mormon buddies in the leadership of the Mormon Church seek to dominate the world.

    Here are a few questions a reputable publication should ask Mitt Romney:

    1. Do you believe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church) is the kingdom of God on the earth, but is at the present limited to an ecclesiastical kingdom, but that it will soon be both political and ecclesiastical (see Dan. 7: 18, 22, 27; Rev. 11: 15; JST Rev. 12: 1-3, 7; D&C 65), and will have worldwide jurisdiction in political realms when the Lord has made ‘a full end of all nations’ (D&C 87: 6)? (see LDS Bible Dictionary)

    2. Do you believe the Second Coming is nigh? “Even at the doors”?

    3. Do you believe yourself, as a Mormon, to be an “Instrument in the Hands of God” by which God will fulfill these prophecies?

    4. Do you agree with fellow Mormon, US senator Orrin Hatch, and with conservative commentator Glenn Beck, that “the Constitution is “hanging by a thread”?

    5. Do you believe in the White Horse Prophecy (regardless whether it is official “doctrine” of the Church or not)?

    6. Have you and your wife literally been anointed with oil, in a sacred/secret religious ritual, “to become Kings and Queens, Priests and Priestesses unto the most high God, to rule and reign in the House of Israel (the Mormon Kingdom of God on earth) forever?”

    7. Have you and your wife made sacred/secret oaths in LDS Temples to “consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion?”

    8. Have you and your wife literally made sacred/

  • Carstonio

    Although I’m not religious, I admire the sentiment of the Serenity Prayer in terms of dealing with life’s suffering. (My only quibble is with the notion that strength, courage and wisdom are granted.) This crew of aspiring Penitents-in-Chief stands the Serenity Prayer on its head. They apparently try to rationalize or justify suffering because they refuse to admit that the world is not a just place. The effect is to treat suffering as though it’s inherently good or even deserved, and there is no more vile or evil idea than that. Even if some suffering produces good outcome or avoids much greater suffering, suffering is still bad and unjust in and of itself. We have a responsibility to each other to help prevent or alleviate suffering when we can. But instead, these candidates treat suffering or prosperity as though they’re course grades from a cosmic teacher.

  • quiensabe

    As an atheist, Susan, why would the little matter of [Newt] being a serial adulterer who dumped two wives be of any consequence to you? You’re not held to any standard and there’s certainly no god who might, is there? I laud you for your honesty, but really, what good does it do for you to harp on the folks who do believe? Does that somehow bolster your confidence that you must have the right angle on all things? Or, does it mean you may be a bit fearful that if they are right, you may be wrong?

  • quiensabe

    Since the Serenity Prayer is one alcoholics use, saying it addresses life’s sufferings is amiss. Drinking alcohol is a choice and not an ailment.

    Your stating the testimonies of those Christian candidates is evil is in error and shows your contempt for expression of faith in God. You do not have to listen to nor vote for them.

  • tsprague1

    What matters with Newt is that he not only failed to keep his promises (wedding vows), he failed to keep them pretty much continually.

    Plus, his ethics are certainly up for debate. He has proven, time after time, that his ethics are situational.

    I remember when Newt was in Congress before, and I most sincerely do not want him anywhere near a Governmental paycheck or office at any time.

  • tsprague1

    The ONLY question that needs to be asked of Romney is – will you attempt to legislate your religion? He hasn’t so far, what facts lead you to believe that he will in the future?

  • tsprague1

    “Barack Obama won three years ago by avoiding specifics. ”

    He had quite a lot of specifics. And we voted for him because of those specifics, not because he was different.

    Obama had a complete lack of experience? In what way, exactly? He was the President of the Harvard Law review, and got a 3 book publishing deal (and his 1st two books were bestselling) in the process, he was a Civil Rights attorney, he taught Constitutional Law for 12 years (and the University asked him to become a full time member of the staff), he was President of an education board, he a member of the Illinois Legislature, and was a Illinois Senator.

    How, exactly, is any of that “a complete lack of skill and experience”?

  • a12091213

    “You’re not held to any standard and there’s certainly no god who might, is there?”
    She’s held to her own standards as well as society’s standards. Those standards are certainly better than those of your pernicious, sado-masochistic excuse for a god.

    “what good does it do for you to harp on the folks who do believe?”
    What good does it do to harp on folks who believe they should get their morality from a text that has to been (and still is frequently) used to justify everything from discrimination to genocide? Hmmm, I wonder.

    “Or, does it mean you may be a bit fearful that if they are right, you may be wrong?”
    Projection, my friend.

  • Vanka

    quiensabe,

    That is one of the most ignorant comments I have read. What? Atheists can’t have morals and standards because believers in fictional deities have the market cornered on morality and goodness?

    Pull your head out of that dark place and wake up to reality. Atheists as a general rule have far better standards and morals than do believers!

  • Vanka

    Well, let’s start with the cultish oaths he made in Mormon Temples, to give all he possesses to build up the LDS Church; and to give everything, including his own life, for the Church; and the official scriptural doctrines that the Mormon Church will take over the world, replacing all governments of all nations; and the Whitehorse Prophecy, which most Mormons believe; and the fact that Mitt and his wife were formally “anointed to become Kings and Queens, Priests and Priestesses to rule and reign” in the new Mormon Government…

    What part of theocratic, tyrannical, fascist, totalitarian don’t you get?

  • WmarkW

    Given more time to think about this column, I’ll reply more directly to it.

    Why is Barack Obama the President? Had he really achieved more or shown greater ability to be president than say, Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich or Bill Richardson? Hardly, he entered national politics as a presidential candidate, giving the keynote speech in 2008, at which time he was a Senate candidate.

    He is the President because he gives a good speech and is black. His biography embodies the virtues many people would like to see in a President, inviting voters to project their idealizations onto him. So the Republicans are running on their biographies, not accomplishments, also.

  • Carstonio

    My point has nothing to do with faith in any particular god, or the lack of such a faith. I’m talking about a specific belief about suffering, which is a separate issue and not exclusive to any religion or any secular ideology. If the person claiming that suffering people deserve their fate was an atheist or Hindu or Muslim, I would condemn that claim with equal vigor. The Serenity Prayer originated with Niebuhr, so it has value in addressing general suffering.

  • persiflage

    Mark,

    One shouldn’t forget that republicans fielded unsuitable and/or unqualified candidates in that election as well. Of course McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate pretty much sealed his fate – as well it should have – a mis-calculated political blunder translated into extremely poor judgement. We see the republican field falling by the wayside one by one, with the same kind of lame mis-steps.

    Of course, one can’t dispute the fact that while some conservatives simply dislike Obama’s personal creds and his politics, the undercurrent of racism from the right is also unescapable. The political blogs are full of it.

    You may have read about MIchelle Obama’s recent nasty reception (assault) by a bunch of rowdy white rednecks at a NASCAR rally. I think Joe Biden was there too. Frankly, it took a lot of courage to put herself in harm’s way by making an appearance among such a predictable herd of whitetrash morons – but I think she perceived it as her role as First Lady to reach out to all segments of the population as a goodwill ambassador. Way to classy for that group, as it turned out.

    There are many good reasons why America is as polarized as it is. However, as far as dangerous, reactionary elements go. I think the rightwing has a corner on that market.

    Looking at republican biographies in this upcoming election
    is unsetting – imagining that any of these yahoos have the credentials to be come POTUS is a study in self-delusion.

  • AR11

    Your ignorance is showing.

  • AR11

    Susan. very well written article.

  • Susan_Jacoby

    As an atheist, I hold myself to a standard that says serving a wife (or husband) with divorce papers when he or she is being treated for cancer suggests that you’re a pretty narcissistic and mean human being. God has nothing to do with it (and indeed, a deity did not prevent Mr. Gingrich from treating his wives in this fashion). I don’t care what Newt, the Ricks or Herman Caiin believe. I care what they do and what they stand for in public life. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” I believe that’s in the Bible. And while the Bible was not written by any deity, that’s a pretty good humanistic standard for judging behavior.

  • sharon4

    Suffering is good for you — that’s the message from the Christians. It makes you better.
    It’s not that suffering people deserve their fate — only health fanatics make that claim. It’s that suffering in ITSELF is a good thing, it can make you holier, or whatever. That’s the message from the participants in the “debate.”

  • Carstonio

    Sharon, the idea that suffering people deserve their fate is by no means limited to health fanatics. Hatemongers like Pat Robertson have been claiming for years that natural disasters are punishments for sinfulness.

    And you’re technically correct that the candidates here are limiting their claim to suffering itself being a good thing. My point is that it’s logical and inevitable to conclude from that claim that instances of suffering are deserved. That’s also the logical and inevitable conclusion from the assumption that instances of suffering happen for a reason, the “why” question. Since we don’t know if they have a purpose or not, I propose that we make no assumptions either way, and stop asking “why.”

  • ccnl1

    Putting the final kibosh on Christianity and the Republican Party:

    The Apostles’ Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

    Some added references concerning the historic Jesus:

    o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
    2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
    – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–
    3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
    – “an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth”
    4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–”The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings o

  • quiensabe

    Well said, Susan.

  • Counterww

    It is not logical or inevitable. Suffering for Christians makes us stronger. And it is not logical to get to the deserved conclusion.

    Using Robertson as a example does not help your claims either ,

    I have been reading your posts for 5 years or so, and basically you are just a intellectual snob with not one humble bone in your body or soul.

    Suffering happens to us all and many if not most complain about it. Here in the US we suffer LESS but still complain about it. Humans will always ask “why” and since most have a internal belief in some creator, they want to know why. God teaches us about life through suffering, but does not bring it our way because we deserve it , but it comes to make us stronger.

    You tend to over think things, and personally it is due to your lack of faith – especially in God.

  • mrbradwii

    Just desserts, karma, reap what you sow, all that crap is just an emotional reaction to justify doing nothing. Respect the guy who says help them if you want, but it’s not my problem so don’t make it so– far more than guy who says they have it coming, if they were better people, they might deserve my help.

    Queue Pink Floyd, Us & Them.

    Regarding this particular event, I didn’t watch it, being far too early in the campaign to start paying attention to these things. But, the “forum” aspect of it and the sponsor being “faith and family” oriented, merely invites this kind of discussion, not being a debate of any specificity regarding national governance. From the reporting of it, it seemed more of a free-form discussion rather than a series of tactically prepared statements to idiotically prepared questions, and that should be encouraged, but with real subject matter, instead.

    Perhaps it’s this Huntsman fellow’s turn to lead the pack. But I digress. Honestly, there may be a chance a republican can win this thing, but I’ll predict no one in the current field will get the nomination if that is to happen. Obama, still exudes enough confidence and optimism to appear presidential. One can only hope that the congress will never enable or comply with his form of lunacy.

  • AmazeMe

    Don’t know if it’s a website glitch or something I did wrong, but a comment I made earlier today never got posted. Sorry if it ends up double-posted, but I wanted to commend Jacoby for acknowledging that the candidates she quoted represent a particular “brand of far-right Christianity” and not trying to bar all Christians or all religion with the same brush — a tactic (straw man) that’s unfortunately widespread among advocates of atheism.

    And not to get too theological about the different views of suffering proposed by different Christian sects, I just wanted to point out that the views of the Quakers, for example, are a whole universe way from the sort of thing the candidates were spouting. Google “John Wollman” or check the Wikipedia for an outstanding example — an 18th-century Quaker who was an early abolitionist, advocate for workers and animal rights activist, all out of what he saw as an obligation to relieve others’ suffering. On the whole, more like Buddhism than Fundamentalism.

  • AmazeMe

    That’s John Woolman, not Wollman. And of course I meant “tar with the same brush.” It’s been a long week.

  • kpharri

    Queinsabe: your tired old argument that atheists have no moral standard is plain stupid. It’s Christians who place so little value in the human mind that they stand helpless, like some sort of robot, waiting for the next moral command of God to drop in.

    Atheists are simply more efficient at morality: they take gods out of the loop and focus on what’s really important, namely to alleviate unnecessary suffering; to make people’s lives happy and fulfilling.

    The true purpose of Christian morality, on the other hand is, bizarrely, nothing to do with people at all. The purpose is to make an invisible, intangible deity look good. Even if that involves the slaughter of women and children (see the Old Testament).

    It is Christian morality, then, that is lost without direction, and ends up being dragged kicking and screaming into every secular moral advance (the abolition of slavery, the rights of women, and the rights of gays, to name but a few).

  • Carstonio

    Counter, framing the issue in terms of “God” implies that the issue is whether Christianity is true or false, as if other religions were automatically false. Maybe many gods exist.

    Obviously we can learn a lot from suffering. My point is that we don’t know if suffering is *intended* to teach us anything, so we have no basis for believing that it is or believing that it isn’t. There’s nothing wrong or “overthinking” to refuse to take a position on issues when one doesn’t have evidence to support any position. If I’m riding Metro I don’t know the thoughts of the person in the next row, so I won’t speculate as to what the person may be thinking.

  • mrbradwii

    Valuing suffering is perverse. The capacity to suffer informs us of a need to change our situation… indeed an evolutionary mechanism that makes us stronger if we learn from it– even if all that we learn is to endure and persevere, that we might buy enough time for outside events to change a situation which we ourselves cannot.

    To value suffering is like unto a cargo cult misapprehending cause and effect. Cutting, smiting, and depriving ourselves in hope of enlightenment destroys the very capacity to achieve it.

  • quiensabe

    Well, kpharri, the atheists aren’t doing much better than the Christians on alleviating unnecessary suffering. Try another tact.

  • persiflage

    ‘One can only hope that the congress will never enable or comply with his form of lunacy.’

    To paraphrase what many posters have noted on countless blogs across the internet, there isn’t a human living that could have brought back this economy in three years, following the massive economic and financial chaos that began geysering out of control even before Bush left office. No point in recounting the various disasters or underlying causes yet again.

    What people hoped for and what was actually possible are two very different. things. They were promised too much in any case. What combination of forces could have reversed the Great Recession? Certainly no republican, individually or as a group, has proposed feasible long-range solutions – present GOP nominees included.

    Many people have complained about Obama’s lack of leadership skills, and yet, he’s been blocked at every turn by republican stonewalling in both houses of congress since he first took office. Not to beat a dead horse, but It’s had every appearance of conflicting ideologies and counter-productive power struggles, rather than a bipartisan interest in effective governance.

    One can only imagine republicans were simply biding their time, since better, more workable ideas were never part of their counter- strategy. I’m still wondering what the anti-Obama contingent would really like to see happen when the dust settles.

    The jobs issue is a red herring – no one that I’ve been reading expects things to improve substantially for several years, regardless of politics or policy changes.

    Personally, I think Obama will remain right where he is. Whether or not there are significant power shifts in congress will probably tend to determine the fate of the nation, even with Obama still in office. That’s the part that’s very hard to predict with any confidence at all.

  • ccnl1

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country “ain’t” going to help a “pro-life” presidential candidate, i.e Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Ron Paul or Rick Santorum, in 2012 as the “Immoral Majority” rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The “Immoral Majority” you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million “Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers” of aborted womb-babies” whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million “IM” voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for “pro-life” JM.

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the “Stupid Majority”?)

    (The failures of the widely used birth “control” methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.)

  • SCAtheist

    Nice piece Susan. Keep up the great work that you do. Thanks very much.

  • persiflage

    In this particular contest, all the moral derelection appears to be completely to the right of center – and the revelations just keep coming. It’s downright biblical!

  • persiflage

    ……………………make that ‘moral dereliction’……….

  • mrbradwii

    Rule 1: Don’t make your wife look like an idiot for supporting you!

  • thebump

    Another sad, nasty, bitter screed by a sad, nasty, bitter and godless authoress.

  • grisjarl

    Just silly .
    Atheists have values human values not fairy land hypocrisies.

  • grisjarl

    Just silly .
    Atheists have values -human ones not sky-fairy hypocrisies.

  • persiflage

    Incisive critique – not bad for a Grinch full of Chrisitan piety. Has the Christmas Spirit gone over to the dark side this year?

  • mrbradwii

    Such a master rhetorician, bravo! Such a leviathan of insight, such… such… an uncanny knack for getting to the heart of matter. “sad, nasty, bitter, and godless”, why it’s nearly as good as “solitary, poor, nasty brutish, and short”. Doff of the cap to that intellectual, erudite contribution. I say, old bean, good show.

  • James210

    I disagree Professor,

    Taken from a classified letter to the Republican Leadership of Maryland with regards to Constitutional Failures of said Socialist Party.

    “Is this not the true nature of community leadership(?) to represent, facilitate and delegate. I don’t think the ministry wing would consider it their field .”
    Atheist Facilitator…and dictator at present.

    “In particular, one point I’d like to make is this; reactive elect, don’t serve the electorate(republican party), they serve themselves and their careers. Proactive elect not only project course but, serve in guiding and protecting the general welfare of the public (hence, naturally leading and serving the electorate), as stated and shown in our constitution. If that makes sense. Sorry to preach Madison, I’m sure all are aware of their duty to the people.”

    is that two points?

    (Failure to govern and facilitate, remedy , see above proactive leadership, protecting the welfare, health of the community, feuds)

    get an FOI release your not special.

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The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

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My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

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Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

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Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

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From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

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Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

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God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

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The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

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Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.