The Acoustic Candidate

Chesterton remarks in the Everlasting Man:

One of my first journalistic adventures, or misadventures, concerned a comment on Grant Allen, who had written a book about the Evolution of the Idea of God. I happened to remark that it would be much more interesting if God wrote a book about the evolution of the idea of Grant Allen. And I remember that the editor objected to my remark on the ground that it was blasphemous; which naturally amused me not a little. For the joke of it was, of course, that it never occurred to him to notice the title of the book itself, which really was blasphemous; for it was, when translated into English, 'I will show you how this nonsensical notion that there is a God grew up among men.' My remark was strictly pious and proper; confessing the divine purpose even in its most seemingly dark or meaningless manifestations. In that hour I learned many things, including the fact that there is something purely acoustic in much of that agnostic sort of reverence. The editor had not seen the point, because in the title of the book the long word came at the beginning and the short word at the end; whereas in my comment the short word came at the beginning and gave him a sort of shock. I have noticed that if you put a word like God into the same sentence with a word like dog, these abrupt and angular words affect people like pistol-shots. Whether you say that God made the dog or the dog made God does not seem to matter; that is only one of the sterile disputations of the too subtle theologians.

I am reminded of this when I read the following from one of our GOP candidates, a Christian no less:

Well, let’s remember that all law establishes morality. That’s what law does. The law of speeding is saying that it’s immoral to go at 85 miles an hour. The morality is that we have established a 65-mile-an-hour limit. So that’s what all law does: It establishes that it is wrong for me to murder you. ~Mike Huckabee

I think this wins the prize for Stupidest Thing Said by a Candidate This Month, perhaps This Year.

Here's the thing: law does not establish morality. Morality is the basis of law. And morality is derived from that fact that men and women are creatures made in the image and likeness of God. It is not derived from what Caesar happens to approve or disapprove.

To say "law establishes morality" is to say "If Caesar says it's good or evil, then it is." This particular moral theory was tried out with some vigor in places like Hitler's Germany, Stalin's USSR, and Mao's China. It didn't pan out. More recently, Law established abortion as a Good Thing and Rosa Parks sitting in the front of the bus as a Bad Thing. Does Mr. Huckabee agree? By all reports, no.

 Huckabee means well, of course. Stumblebum politicians usually do. He’s responding to the stupid complaint trotted out by postmodern dunces like an old nag ready for the glue factory: the idiotic sentiment that “You can’t legislate morality”. He's trying to say that law is (or is supposed to be) rooted in the Good, including the Common Good: that law, properly understood, is nothing but legislated morality and that the only question facing a society is not whether we shall legislate morality but which morality we shall legislate, on what basis, and with what limits.

But that's not what he said. He was trying to parrot "values talk" but his carelessness (not to say recklessness) led him to say the exact opposite of what a Christian would actually say.

Now, I'm one of those picky people who thinks this matters. Some people are genuinely puzzled by this. “He meant well,” they say, “Isn’t that enough? And besides, he’s a Christian!” This reminds me of nothing so much as Mark Twain’s remark, “The music of Wagner is better than it sounds.”

The reason this matters so much is that words are a politician’s stock in trade, just as sound is a musician’s. Sonny Bono may have had the soul and good intentions of Beethoven, but what came out was still the music of Sonny Bono. As a picky person, I believe two things about the bumbling use of the one thing a politician is supposed to be good at using:

First, it’s vital for somebody who claims to articulate “Traditional (i.e. Judeo-Christian) Values” to actually be able to coherently do so, precisely because there are so many postmodern dunces running around who believe that morality is simply and solely whatever the strongest declare it to be. Huckabee’s remarks are a complete and total confirmation of this postmodern lie rather than, as they should have been, a refutation of it.

Second, I believe it's rather important for a statesman and a crafter of laws to actually know what the hell he is talking about since the laws he makes will be composed, not of good intentions, but of words—words that mean things. It matters whether the law is the ground of morality or morality is the ground of the law, just as it matters whether God made the dog or the dog made God. I don't expect Lady Macbeth or Giuliani to be honest enough to care about the relationship of law and morality and I don't expect most of the rest of the field on either side to much know or care either. The Dems have made clear since Roe that they have no interest in the matter beyond expedience and the GOP embrace of torture and the widespread and ongoing Giulianification of the party indicate things are going south in that sector as well.

But a Christian who consciously flaunts his Christian faith as Huckabee does should really have some clue what he's talking about. Otherwise, he winds up saying demented things like "law establishes morality". And such demented ideas can have grave consequences.

Mark Shea

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Mark P. Shea is a Catholic author, blogger, and speaker.

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  • Guest

    Mark,

    I find that my precision with spoken language is never as good as my precision with written language for a multiplicity of reasons that I believe you as a professional writer could probably appreciate.  (Remember your response a few years ago when I asked you when you were going to have your own show on EWTN?) 

    Here's a quote from a different Huckabee interview with msnbc on 12/21:

    Moral issues can be federally legislated, Huckabee said, because "all law imposes morality on people. That's one of the fallacies when people say you can't impose your morality… All law defines right and wrong. Morality means the definition of right and wrong. What law does, it is codifying what you've determined right and wrong to be."

    Give him a break – he doesn't have your advantage of a Catholic Compass.  Isn't he still closer to home base than any of his current rivals at this point?

  • Guest

    First off, may I suggest that charity is still the greatest virtue, & secondly, making fun of a person's name lacks class anyway.  Having been the brunt of such when I was young, I guess it bothers me more than a lot of other people.  I also came from a lower middle class family in the south & was looked down by some at school as white trash even though my parents raised us with morality & virtue.  I have done quite well with my life by the world's standards.  I empathize a lot with Mike Huckabee. 

    There is a really good clip on YouTube where Mike Huckabee speaks about the value of having a good name.  He says that his name never opened any doors for him; it may have even closed a few.  But he goes on to speak of the honor with which his father lived & how that is what it really means to have a good name. 

    Yes, Huckabee, did get a bit turned around in the middle of his statements, but I believe he straightened back out at the end.  That fits what I'm trying to express, though apparently I'm not that good at writing precisely either.Laughing

    He does not have a law degree (is it required to be an effective statesman?) and he is not a philosophy major or theologian, etc.  But for mercy's sake, when is the last time you heard a politician even attempting to hit the mark on this target? 

    Huckabee has still managed to express his understanding & belief that the purpose of the law is to legislate morality fairly effectively - most recently in his interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press a few days ago. 

    My point is – what purpose does it serve to take him to task for imperfectly verbalizing something when he is still succeeding reasonably well in getting his point across to people even imperfectly.  What other politicians in our time have even tried to do that at the national level?

    So do we sneer at his fumbling attempt and instead throw our support to those pols who prefer the Kennedy defense on the moral issues?

    I for one nearly fell off my chair when I heard someone running for office defending his firmly committed pro-life position unapologetically & with a degree of rationality no matter how imperfect.  Are there any others running for president that are even trying let alone doing it better? 

    And frankly, I would rather trust someone with a 100% pro-life/pro-morality record who expresses it poorly to appoint federal & Supreme Court justices than one who might verbalize it smoothly but is awol when the rubber meets the road, wouldn't you? 

  • Guest

    As Mother Teresa of Calcutta (now Blessed) used to say, "The Western world will never know peace as long as they continue to allow their mothers to kill their own young."

    I found Governor Huckabee's response to Tim Russert on Meet the Press, Dec. 30, addressing the punishment for abortion should it become illegal (which Mike Huckabee is 100% for) an extraordinary "coherent" response (one that Blessed Teresa certainly must approve of not to mention Pope John Paul II the Great and the entire Communion of Saints!) supporting the youngest of God's creatures.

    GOV. HUCKABEE:  "… And I think you don't punish the woman, first of all, because it's not about–I consider her a victim, not a, not a criminal.  You would…"

    MR. RUSSERT:  "But you would punish the doctor."

    GOV. HUCKABEE: "I think if a doctor knowingly took the life of an unborn child for money, and that's why he was doing it, yeah, I think you would, you would find some way to sanction that doctor. I don't know that you'd put him in prison, but there's something to me untoward about a person who has committed himself to healing people and to making people alive who would take money to take an innocent life and to make that life dead. There's something that just doesn't ring true about the purpose of medical practice when the first rule of the Hippocratic Oath is 'First, do no harm.' Well, if you take the life and suction out the pieces of an unborn child for no reason than its inconvenience to the mother, I don't think you've lived up to your Hippocratic Oath of doing no harm."

    The understanding of a person in their entirety (and not just a portion thereof) is of utmost importance whether you're about to get married or you are voting for the next president of the United States. We have never had anyone running for president that has even come close to uttering the above words for an unborn child. The rest of his interview on MTP was, in my opinion, very solid. Mike's got my vote! If only all the aborted children could vote too.

    Another viewpoint on Mike Huckabee on Friends of CE

    and

    An article on Bill Donohue's remarks on the subliminal cross message

  • Guest

    I think it is ridiculous for people to continue to refer to Mike Huckabee as 100% pro-life.  What part of being pro-life includes the execution of sixteen men? If being pro-life isn't inclusive of ALL people from conception to natural death, then I don't know that I want to continue to work in the name of the pro-life groups in this country. What part of Christianity includes the use of the death penalty in a soceity where criminals are able to be confined (CCC 2267).  I am very confused when I hear Catholics supporting such a candidate.  Let's read the Gospel of Life by Pope John Paul II and use his profound words to straighten out Mike Huckabees position on execution.  It sickens me to hear Mike Huckabee discuss how he struggled over his decision to execute those people.  I am concerned with his idea on morality because apparently for him that IS a defined by the laws that he gets to carry out.

    koverman2

  • Guest

    The death penalty was put in place in human society by God to show the sacredness of human life (Genesis 9:5,6).  It is not intrinsically evil.  Abortion is. Nowhere in the CCC does it call the application of the death penalty "murder"; it does call abortion "murder." Why don't we all worry about the death penalty AFTER we stop abortion in this country?

    As for Huckabee's words on morality and law — they are certainly troubling.  Let's assume for a minute that his heart IS in the right place — they why, for Pete's sake hasn't he made the effort to learn and practice HOW TO STATE things?

  • Guest

    Dear Mark Shea, I am not really sure what the purpose of your article is a day before the caucuses??  If you are going to publicly put down Huckabee, then are you trying to get Romney elected?  Romney is a lier in everything, especially pro-life.  His voting records are pro-abortion.  He allowed abortion for $50 in Mass. health care.  He lobbied for planned parenthood.  Thompson and McCain both stated they are not in favor of the Federal Gov. stopping abortion and wants the states to decide.  Poor Huckabee is exausted.  I believe he may have been trying to make the point that so many people think that abortion is okay because the law says it is okay.  If elected any laws Huckabee approves will be gone over and over for wording.  Huckabee's heart is in the right place!

        Was your article just trying to show you can write better than Huckabee can speak?  You had time to review every word you wrote before publishing it.  Huckabee is exausted and under a lot of pressure.  He wants to serve our country and get rid of abortion.  The least you and Catholic exchange can do is support him!!!

  • Guest

    Regarding why Mike Huckabee should refrain from referring to himself as 100% pro-life is because being pro-life is a term that is inclusive of ALL life.  The catechism states that "If , however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the agressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.  Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed and offense incapable of doing harm – without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necesseity "are very rare, if not practically non-existent."  ccc 2267. It is a huge concern to me that a man who professes himself to be a Christian (therefore a follower of Christ), and the governor in a state in the United States of America, would profess that he could not contain even the most evil of human beings. This week Mike Huckabee spoke about how it is the governments responsiblity to hold up the sanctity of all human life – this comment makes no sense when placed in the context of his actions as governor.  Sam Brownback was a beautiful defender of life with a Whole Life philosophy.  I agree that much in the Old Testament would lend itself to defending the use of the death penalty, but we are Christians – therefore we follow Christ.  Jesus Christ spoke in terms of mercy and forgiveness – we are to turn the other cheek – not pluck out our neighbors eye.  Catholic Exchange is a wonderful example of the New Evangelization that we have all been called to.  As Catholics we must defend the entirity of Church teachings.  There is no reason for a Catholic to settle for less than the truth.   We must champion the cause of life on all fronts – simultaneously – for our words to have meaning.  How can anyone believe us in our fight for life if we stop at the rights of the unborn and leave issues such as the death penalty and euthanasia to another day?  Let's start to talk about the truth and witness to those who are faithful to other faith communities so that we can find unity in our fight to preserve all life.

  • Guest

    Huckabee has some of the same beliefs as Edwards. We must be careful of those who claim to be pro-life. We also need someone who is experienced in foreign affairs. Huckabee is a total unknown commodity. Now is not the time to be learning on the job.

  • Guest

    Defending Church teaching is not the same thing as misrepresenting Church teaching by asseting that the issue of capital punishment is equivalent morally to the issue of abortion.  It is not, but Catholics who keep pretending it is, thereby giving themselves an excuse to vote for pro-abort Democarats, are largely the reason why abortion is still legal in this country. Euthanasia ranks with abortion as murder and is equally opposed by every pro-lifer I am aware of.  Application of the death penalty by the state IS NOT MURDER. What is there about that that you just don't get?

  • Guest

    There is a big difference between the death penalty and abortion or euthanasia.  The difference is due process. The process is manmade, and therefore not perfect. But areas of uncertainty in the process are designed to favor the individual, not the state. Those with responsibility to protect society are bound by due process. Abortion and euthaniasia remove the fairness and accountability of due process — note the huge contraversy over gaining access to anonymous late term abortion records in Kansas. Moreover, the CCC recognizes the duties of those responsible for public safety in leaving the recourse to the death penalty open.

    Having said all that, I believe that many of the states that have the death penalty use it too much.

  • Guest

    Mark … you are the second well-known Catholic to speak out against Mike Huckabee (the first being Bill Donohue). There are several Catholics on the Net that feel differently about Mike Huckabee, but do not share your same popularity, so they are not readily seen. I would like to list them for those Catholics that are supporting Mike Huckabee for President:

    Opinionated Catholic

    Kevin Tracy

    The Catholic Knight (you can sign up to take part in a "Will you pray a Rosary a day for Huckabee?" apostolate)

    Catholics for Huckabee

    Another Catholic blog belongs to my husband, Tom O'Toole, who blogs under the name Fighting Irish Thomas.

    If all practicing Catholics took part in the myriad of ways the Catholic Church gives us; Daily Eucharist, The Most Holy Rosary, Reconciliation, to name but a few, we'd be better able to spread "the Word" in our own thoughts, words and deeds.

    I've even read that Rosary recitation by the bulk of peoples could stop world wars.

    St. Michael (the Patron Saint of Michael Huckabee) the Archangel … Pray for Us!

  • Guest

    I would like to have seen the quote of Mr. Huckabee by Mr. Shea placed in its full context. First of all, was Huckabee answering a reporter's question of the cuff or was it a prepared statement of his philosophical approach to constitutional law?

    BTW, VP Dan Quayle was notorious for misspeaking himself. Remember "A mind is a terrible thing to lose," and other gems?  And he was a "heartbeat away" from the presidency. I don't recall a whole lot of trepidation among Republicans at the prospect of a Quayle presidency, in spite of the fact that he had the ability to send up some real (unintentional) groaners.

    To koverman2:

    Technically, you are correct that Mr. Huckabee is not "100% pro-life" in the context of Catholic teaching. Evangelical "pro-life" sola scriptura Protestants (of which Huckabee is one) don't put capital punishment in the same category as abortion and euthanasia. According to evangelicals those acts are immoral because the victims are innocent and did nothing to deserve being killed. Convicted criminals (so the thinking of evangelicals goes) are only "getting what they deserve" (and can quote Biblical chapter and verse from the Old Testament to support their position). Hence Mike Huckabee's willingness to allow criminals convicted of capital crimes to be executed. It is too bad that his "pro-life" position doesn't extend to those on death row, but I don't know of a candidate among any of the Republicans who takes a position for the abolition of the death penalty.

  • Guest

    Wow, lots of comments already. I do think Mark is being a bit harsh here. He should have said "law defines a morality." That would have been OK. When things are properly ordered morality should define law but it does go the other way around sometimes. I wear seatbelts because the law requires me to. All the moral arguments were made and I never changed. When the law was changed that influenced my behaviour. Eventually not wearing seat belts became viewed as immoral. Society has the power to create moral feelings. The law is one of the main ways that happens.

    When abortion became legal it made many people more likely to get one. Sure some people would have had one anyway but there are still a lot who's moral judgement is influenced by the law. So the law does define a morality. You are right to say the law does not determine what is truly objectively moral or immoral. God does that. Still calling this the stupidest thing a politican has said is a bit of a stetch.

  • Guest

    koverman2 — Mike Huckabee is 100% against abortion … I did not say 100% pro-life. His stance on the death penalty is not a Catholic one … but even the Catholic Church has said that criminals that are too dangerous to be kept safely in prisons may be executed.

    It's oftentimes difficult for people to see that hardened criminals should not be killed because that ends their right to possibly clean their souls for eternity. That Mike Huckabee is a Baptist, not a Catholic, says to me he doesn't have the "complete" picture down yet. But wouldn't you say that he has an important portion of pro-life down correctly?

  • Guest

    To dennisofraleigh: I understand the difference between Catholic teaching and Evangelical teaching.  I also am saddened, but whole heartedly agree, that there is no one currently running whom we can embrace as a true pro-life candidate.  I will vote for Mike Huckabee if he secures the nomination, but I think it is important for us to discuss these issues and our differences now.  Who knows what could change a persons heart.  I believe that abortion is the pre-eminent issue of our time – but let's not use cafeteria catholicism on the issues of life!!!  The Gospel of Life was NOT just about abortion.

  • Guest

    God loves you .

    Hope, Arkansas –

    Who knew such twice-persistent dissembly could come from a place called Hope?

    Dan Quayle, much like Dubya himself, could be a stumbler, but in principled misstatement. It was not usually some vaguely scented ‘principle’ of political rhetoric.

    Of the death penalty – probably better off not used if haphazardly applied due to the vagaries of courtroom ‘justice’. Then again, when a sentence of ‘life’ for a sociopathic killer means twelve or less years . . . hang ‘em.

    Sorry, Tom, Net, others – permit me to add my ‘unknown’ voice – Mike Huckabee is no Alan Keyes, who does not mangle Hope.

    Remember, I love you, too .

    In our delighted glory in our Infant King,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell @catholicexchange.com or … yahoo.com)

  • Guest

    ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!

    ABORTION is intrinsically evil.  The State's legitimate use of the death penalty is NOT.  The people sitting on death row have killed at least one if not more human beings. Don't you dare compare the innocent unborn baby with those who have maliciously taken the life of another. They have been tried and convicted and the State (the proper authority) may deem the use of the death penalty necessary for the protection of its citizenry.  Walk a few miles in the shoes of a policeman or a prosecutor (devout Catholics and pro-life) who deal with this then you may know the justice of it.

    I am the wife of a prosecutor who happens to be an expert on our state's death penalty.  He knows countless victims' families who deserve justice.    

    John Paul II did NOT and could not make the legitimate use of the death penalty an evil act.

    You can be 100% pro-life and still believe in the death penalty.

  • Guest

    Regarding Mike Huckabee's 100% pro-life stance, he advocates a constitutional amendment to protect the right to life. There is no need for a constitutional amendment. Simply take the issue of abortion out of the federal courts, and return it to the states, where it belongs constitutionally. The Congress has that power now under Article 3, Section 2, Paragraph 2, of the U.S. Constitution, and it had that power in 1973 when the Supreme Court gave us Roe v. Wade, and the Congress allowed it. Curiously, though Mike Huckabee is adamant about life beginning at conception, he favors continuing embryonic stem-cell research, even though stem cells are available from sources other than embryos. I wonder why pro-life Christians, Catholics in particular, are so willing to be fooled by charletans! There is only one presidential candidate worthy of our support, the only one who has done something positive to protect the unborn from abortion. Dr. Ron Paul of Texas is opposed to abortion. He is the prime sponsor of legislation that would remove the ability of federal courts to interfere with states' efforts to protect the unborn. He is a Republican candidate for President of the United States, but you would not know it by the way the major media ignores him and his message. Thank God for the internet! He is a U.S. Congressman for 10 terms, has a 100% constitutional voting record which has earned him the title in Congress of "Dr. No", and is a Christian obstetrician who has delivered over 4,000 babies. Come on Catholics, get your act together!!

  • Guest

    Beverly — This is from Mike Huckabee's Web site (the issues):

    "With respect to stem cells, I am opposed to research on embryonic stem cells."

    Mrs. Fighting Irish Thomas

  • Guest

    Jen:

    I support neither Romney nor Huckabee.  I wrote the piece because I think that if a candidate is going to advertise himself as a Christian, he ought to know what he is talking about when claiming to espouse a Christian position on the relationship of law and morality.  I also think that Christians should not so easily give a pass to somebody who talks nonsense merely because he is a Member of the Tribe.

  • Guest

    Mark–

    Mr. Huckabee isn't perfect, but what's the credible alternative?

     

    "I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for the things you have hidden from the wise and the learned you have revealed to the merest children." -Matthew 11:25

  • Guest

    I think you've given another example of Huckabee saying the same thing: "law defines right and wrong." He started out right, but then got all turned around in the middle. Mark's point was that we start with right and wrong, and then try to make civil laws to punish the worst offenses of right and wrong. Our democracy means that different people will disagree about what's right or not, and we don't always get laws that even punish the worst wrongs.

    But if you say that laws define right and wrong, how can you say it's immoral to allow abortion through all nine months of pregnancy? It's the law, so it's moral. And if the law were to allow homosexual marriage, polygamy, infanticide, euthanasia, sodomy, incest, pedophilia, what would be the problem?

    (I don't know if he's closer than the rivals or not, but his explanation of the purpose of law is poor.  Even so, he is the only running candidate that I have helped support.)

     

    (edited in response to a valid criticism from SolaGratia) 

  • Guest

    I certainly would! These Shea comments in this article reflect a elitist snobbery that makes casual acquaintances with the Catholic Church cringe and shy away. To put Hitler ect. in the same article makes me hope Mark is just having a bad day and is not just another of those smug Catholics. It may be that this article reflects something about Mark that is also true of Mike. That it is easy to put ones foot in ones mouth at times. This article will certainly cause me to take a more skeptical look at Shea's articles or avoid them all together.

  • Guest

    There really isn't a candidate that I can truly say that is my candidate. I did like Sam Brownback, but he dropped out of the race. I've been watching a lot of C-Span lately. Mike Huckabee is very likable, but I think he is a bit John Edwards esc. Mitt Romney just sounds like he's lying when he speaks. And I hate it when politicians tell some sort of sob story about some American in some little town to try and show they have compassion. It just seems fake to me. Romney has decided to run some negative campaign adds while Huckabee has chosen to run a positive campaign. It will be interesting to see how this election turns out.

  • Guest

    As for me, this is how I'd like to see the abortion fight turn out (Dr. Paul, if you or your staff is reading this, pay attention!):

    Roe v. Wade gets overturned, and state law again controls abortion.  Pro-life campaigns start in the states that permit it.  The President takes to his bully pulpit and/or the campaign trail to support pro-life candidates and initiatives wherever he has political capital to spend.

    In this way we use subsidiarity, preserve the Constitution, concentrate the fight on a few smaller strongholds of evil, rather than diffuse it nationwide, and get to see who's willing to put their money where their mouth is regarding defense of life. 

  • Guest

    Well said Arkanabar!  They key to your vision is appointment of good judges by the President to all levels of the federal courts.  That is the only direct power the president has on the issue of abortion.  Even his bully pulpit wont work until then.  President Bush has served us well in this way. 

     What is the chance that any judges like this would be nominated by any of the  democratic candidates.   Slimsky and Noneski with a big emphasis on noneski.  With any of the republican candidates, they would be responsive to this issue.  Even Rudy, the most socially liberal of the republicans, has said he will appoint such judges.  So this argument makes them all equal (always excluding Paul) so a prudent person will then look at the range of issues and pick the man who most matches up with his own values and opinions.

     I am undecided myself.  But I can say, with apologies to all my dear friends at Fighting Irish Thomas , 

     http://www.fightingirishthomas.net/

    that I won't support Gov Huckabee because I disagree with him on every issue except pro life and the 2nd amendment. 

  • Guest

    Mark,
    In all honesty, I believe your tone in this article is none too subtle in its contempt for Mike Huckabee & clearly I am not the only one.  I am genuinely puzzled by your hostility toward him.

    You added that, "I support neither Romney nor Huckabee.  I wrote the piece because I think that if a candidate is going to advertise himself as a Christian, he ought to know what he is talking about when claiming to espouse a Christian position on the relationship of law and morality.  I also think that Christians should not so easily give a pass to somebody who talks nonsense merely because he is a Member of the Tribe."

    This seems to hint of where your ax started grinding.  Most politicians advertise themselves as Christian to some extent – they just don't want anyone to take them too seriously about it. 

    If you look beyond the MSM's cynical spin and listen instead to what Huckabee actually says on the matter, he states that his beliefs define who he is and what he does.  He is pro-life because he believes that God is the Author of all life, not because of an opinion poll.  He believes that authority means service rather than power.  He believes in a hand up rather than a hand out.  He believes in subsidiarity – even though he does not articulate it like the Church. 

    His point about his Christianity is not to vote for him because he is one, but that we can have an idea of what sort of president he would be because that is the compass by which he actually tries to live 24/7 not just on Sundays or while he's campaigning.  Yeah, these are probably considered kind of corny in our ultra-hip culture, but I have looked at his political record in AR & they are real not posed.

    Where is your critique of Guiliani's Kennedy defense?  Where is your critique of Ron Paul's compartmentalized morality (pro-life only at the state level – the federal govt apparently has no business legislating morality) which is similar enough to Thompson's to consider them bedfellows?  (If we pass a consititutional amendment, then it IS constitutional – the Constitution was INTENDED to be amendable)  Where is your critique of Romney's articulation of his own proclaimed Christianity?  More significantly, where is your critique of his literally unbelievable conversion on the moral issues & his feeble attempt to elucidate those with any coherency let alone sincerity? 

    Seriously, to whom else should we go?  My family has been praying about this election before these characters even started running – which seems like forever already.  We can't hold out for a perfectly Catholic candidate because there isn't one & isn't likely to be any time soon either.  We need someone who we can seriuosly support in THIS election. 

    Even Brownback had his problem areas, which some may disagree with, but that's certainly a moot point now.  Alan Keyes has become an embarrassment – at the Iowa debate I kept praying for him to shut up.  I told my teenage son (who was watching Keyes' angry tirades with amazement) that there is a perfect example of how not to share your faith. 

    Huckabee is not perfect but his values & beliefs are the most closely aligned with those of our Catholic faith out of all the serious contenders.  The suggestion that all the candidates are on equal footing as far as the moral essentials is naive at best.  We don't have to exercise blind faith that he will be a man of his word on judicial nominations as we would have to with all the other top tier candidates because we can see from his 10&1/2 yr record that he is trustworthy in this regard.  So far the only serious objections I have heard raised against him are the ones proposed by his political enemies – they don't hold up to serious scrutiny.

    Perfection is not arrived at from a negative direction.  We can work together to clarify and enlighten discussion in the public square or we can remain divided and impotent to change anything.  This is not the time to start tearing down – at last, here is the chance to move our country in a more positive direction. 

    [c-kingsley, thank you so very much for your graciousness!  May God bless you for it!]

  • Guest

    Sola:

    You are reading *vastly* more into this piece than is actually there.  I was struck by something a Christian candidate said and I wrote 800 words about it.  This does not mean I hold the man in contempt.  It does not say a word about what I think of other candidates (except for Lady Macbeth and Rudy Giuliani).  It is not an all-encompassing Manifesto.  It's just a critique of one particular idea.

  • Guest

    Mary Kochan for president! Laughing  You are one of the few people I have read that get this.  As for Huckabee….research his record folks….there is much more than meets the eye with this gentlemen; and it has me more than a little worried that he could get the nomination.  Number 1:  the media is glorifying him at this point…because he would be such a fine, fine, target as a nominee against, say, Hillary.  The press has been target practicing with the born-again types for a long, long time.  They are licking their chops at the thought of being able to slam the 'religious right'.  I believe Gov. Huckabee is setting himself up for just such a hit.  Number 2:  the National Right to Life Committee has NOT endorsed him—instead, they have come out very strongly for Sen. Thompson.  Compare the records, take a deep breath, pray, fast….then work for the person that you can honestly say is the best candidate to lead this country through a thorough understanding of it's moral underpinnings.  And remember, the 'obvious' choice is usually anything but obvious.

    <> 

  • Guest

    God loves you .

    The air is so thick
    with the smell of pol’tics
    (Try it to ‘Sound of Music’)

    As one Arkansan has noted, “Like every Democrat out there on the national hustings, Huckabee has never seen a dollar of yours or mine he didn’t figure he could spend better.” The man is a nanny-stater, for sure. He was elected in Arkansas becuse who ran against him was just a touch worse.

    Just why do you think that Huck is something of an MSM darling? B.O. is on the Democratic ticket, but for shall we say ‘monority’ reasons – he makes for no real difference from the ‘progressiveness’ of Clinton or Edwards. The MSM really don’t see Huckabee as any more than a RINO in several major respects, and believe that he would contrast poorly with the Democratic candidate. He is who the MSM want against the Democratic candidate – the candidate whoever-he/she-is of 90% of MSM types; who of the three top runners, are Moe, Larry and Curly, as liberals go.

    As well, no President is going to affect abortion without the definitive cooperation of Congress. It is THEIR law-making prerogative the courts keep stealing. Besides, I think that Missourians have the right idea: make abotion very unwelcome in the state by making abortuaries medical clinics, under various exacting medical standards. Plus, offering the full range of information about abortion: including offering sonagrams, the details of all the sad and sordid results of abortions on the women who undergo them, etc.

    Remember, I love you, too .

    In our delighted glory in our Infant King,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell @catholicexchange.com or … yahoo.com)

  • Guest

    Either Mark quoted Huckabee incorrectly, or Huck's statement is actually more correct than Shea's corrections. For according to Shea, Huckabee said, "All law establishes morality," NOT "All law establishes GOOD morality."

    So it appears Huck's got you, Mark, just like Jesus did the Pharisees.

    from Missing the “Mark”—Oh, Shea can't you see (that Huckabee has heart), Fighting Irish Thomas

  • Guest

    I wish I had the same passion for a candidate as some of you do. I just don't and none of the avid pleas have caused me to move an inch. I do have a rage against a candidate but that's wasted emotion.

    So for now I'll stay in the safety of my Hekarrewee tribe. Mark and Mary are doing one stellar job in flushing out the ardent supporters. Isn't there a catholic candidate that can ignite as much fire? 

  • Guest

    Sometimes I just really wonder if we could ever have a Catholic electorate with enough people who are pro-life and who comprehend the principles behind the Church's teaching, then I find myself wondering if we have enough Catholics who grasp how the American system works.  What's worse in evidence here — lack of comprehension of what the Church teaches or lack of constitutional understanding?  Politicians are getting slammed because they say that the issue should return to the states. Well folks here is a news flash for you — if Roe v. Wade is overturned the issue WILL return to the states. So if you don't want the issue to return to the states, just come right out and say that you don't think Roe v. Wade should be overturned. But for Pete's sake figure out how your own country actually works in terms of the constitutional nuts and bolts. I guess they don't teach civics in school any more. Sheesh.

    (Oops… apologies if this sounds elitist.)

  • Guest

    Oh my, Pristinus Sapienter, it is going to be a long time before you and I get published again on Friends of Fighting Irish Thomas. 

    http://www.fightingirishthomas.org/

     

  • Guest

    Ahhh — baloney Jim.  Blood is thicker than water.

  • Guest

    Mark, with all due respect, you know better than most that it's not just what you say but how you say it.  Look at how you express your opinion, not just on the man's words but on the man himself:

    1. I think this wins the prize for Stupidest Thing Said by a Candidate This Month, perhaps This Year.
    2. Huckabee means well, of course. Stumblebum politicians usually do.
    3. He was trying to parrot "values talk" but his carelessness (not to say recklessness) led him to say the exact opposite of what a Christian would actually say.
    4. it’s vital for somebody who claims to articulate “Traditional (i.e. Judeo-Christian) Values” to actually be able to coherently do so,
    5. Huckabee’s remarks are a complete and total confirmation of this postmodern lie rather than, as they should have been, a refutation of it.
    6. I believe it's rather important for a statesman and a crafter of laws to actually know what the hell he is talking about since the laws he makes will be composed, not of good intentions, but of words—

    7. But a Christian who consciously flaunts his Christian faith as Huckabee does should really have some clue what he's talking about. Otherwise, he winds up saying demented things like "law establishes morality". And such demented ideas can have grave consequences.

      Mark, you picked your adjectives with precision – your words are scathingly contemptuous of the man - and words can have grave consequences even here. 
  • Guest

    Mary, speaking strictly for myself, I did indeed receive a defective education on many levels – it's one of the many reasons we have chosen to homeschool — & I am learning much alongside my children.  With a constitutional amendment protecting the unborn, wouldn't that effectively dispose of Roe v. Wade?

    Meanwhile, to borrow elsewhere from GK Chesterton, who hopefully is not rolling in his grave over how he is being used today, he once said something to the effect that if a thing is accused of being at the ends of both extremes, you can be sure it is in fact neither.  Huckabee is accused both of being a rabid liberal by the neo-cons and a caveman conservative by the libs.  The fact is that he is neither.

    For pity's sake, if the MSM & the Dems seriously wanted Huckabee to be the GOP nominee because they were sure they could defeat him easily, would they really advertise it?  Let's not be 'wise as doves' here.

    Go look at Rasmussen's national core opposition numbers - Clinton & Romney have the worst (~48%) – so high that, at this point, they could only win by dividing the opposition (hmm, what a coincidence that the GOP is being so divided)  Even if Romney wins the nomination, he is registering as the most unelectable GOP candidate with Rasmussen.  So even if he is worthy of the blind trust of social conservatives, we would probably never find out… 

    McCain & Huckabee have the lowest core opposition of the GOP (33 & 34% respectively) with the greatest cross party appeal (ooh, another subliminal cross! SurprisedLaughing) and McCain is only moderately pro-life (pun intended).  Huckabee's electability is indeed a very real threat to the Dems – several polls have already shown that he would defeat Hillary in their home state of AR.

    In addition to his slickness & dishonest campaigning (see factcheck.org), Romney said just a few mos. ago on Meet the Press that he supports ENDA (making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation – Which is why Catholic Charities in Boston, MA is no longer able to facilitate adoptions since they won't give children to homosexuals.) - that alone should send all devout Christians fleeing 180 degrees from him!!! 

    As to the president's effect on abortion in this country, 3 things immediately jump to mind:  Mexico City Policy, embryonic stem cell research & UNFPA.  That's just for starters.

    Third parties that I respect such as Deacon Fournier & catholic.org, Michael Medved, and more have vouched for & verified what Huckabee has said over his opponents. 

    His record is easily checked with 3rd party places like http://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=108 & http://www.factcheck.org/

    This is also helpful

    http://www.catholic.org/politics/story.php?id=26206

    http://www.catholic.org/politics/story.php?id=26312

    Again, there's plenty of ways to go worse, but where does it get better?

  • Guest

    I have checked everyone's record and I will support Huckabee and no one else. Giuliani favors abortion. He says he will nominate the correct judges but he didn't in New York. Most were Democrats. Romney changes his mind like the wind and supports federally funded abortions like he did in Massachusetts. Thompson wants to go back to the States which means if a state says it is okay to kill a child then it's okay. Are you kidding. The only one to vote for as a Catholic is Huckabee.

  • Guest

    A constitutional amendment would have to be ratified by a majority of the states. Here are the two ways the constitution can be amended.

    1. Congress proposes amendments.
      Both houses of Congress approve by two-thirds votes a resolution calling for the amendment. To become effective, the proposed amendment must then be "ratified" or approved by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states. Congress typically places a time limit of seven years for ratification by the states.
    2. The states propose amendments.
      The legislatures of two-thirds of the states vote to call for a convention at which the constitutional amendment can be proposed. An amendment proposed by the convention would also require ratification by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states.

    A constitutional amendment protecting the unborn would indeed render Roe v. Wade moot, but to suggest that it doesn't throw the issue back to the states is just silly. It may actually be easier to get pro-life legislation through the separate states than to get the states to ratify an amendment. To take a statement that the issue should go back to the states and twist it to mean "if a state says it is okay to kill a child then it's okay" is just plain ignorant if it isn't out and out slander. A person might believe the best strategy and the only constitutional option we have at present is to go back to the states by overturning Roe v. Wade without thinking that it is "okay" under any circumstances to kill an unborn child.

    ThatGirl, you and a whole lot of people need a course in how the constitution works before anyone lets you near a polling booth. Oh and by the way — I am not fan of Guilliani and don't support him at all, but where exactly in a Democratic run and Democratic majority state like NY was he supposed to get Republican judges from? You seem to think he was allowed, because of the infinite powers of being mayor (mayor, mind you, not even a governor!) to reach over into Georgia or somewhere and find Republican judges for the New York family court. On top of that the system in New York doesn't even allow direct appointments by the mayor or any politico — there is an advisory committee that judges make application to and that recommends to the mayor. I wish everyone would take the time to actually learn something about these processes before you start spounting off about them.

    Thank you for the abundant evidence that a direct democracy would be the disaster our founders knew it would be.

  • Guest

    Excellent Mark, your right on target with your remarks about Huckabee.  But in all honesty, he makes a good modern day Republican.  Huckabee's comment, wether he meant it or not, were very dangerous.  It seems like the vast majority of the Republican Party has taken up this idea that mans law is above Gods law(this includes Bush and his wacky clan too).  Man can institute whatever law he wants and that becomes the morality of the day.  This is a very dangerous view to have.  It is very close to the views of Hitler and Stalin.

     We must get rid of abortion and at least Huckabee does take a stand against it, but we have to really look at each candidate even if they say they are against it.  We Christians have been duped over and over again by so called pro-life candidates.  One example is our current president and his father.  Lets face it, us Christians are to blame for the Bush dynasty.  We believed his lies and we got him elected.  Now we have a country that has less freedom, abortion is still as legal as ever, we are at war with someone or some country.  We are still trying to define who that is.  They call them terrorists.  Our dollar is loosing its value. Many countries dont trust us and even hate us because of our lovely foriegn one world government policy.  I could go on and on.

    Of course we can be forgiving, because what choice did we have.  We could vote for the republican who says he's against abortion, or vote for the the democrat who openly admits he is in favor of baby killing.  But either way we get the same people running the country.  I dont have much hope for the 2008 elections.  In fact I dont have much hope of this country making it another couple elections unless a major change takes place. 

    Jesus, Mary, and Joseph we love you, please save souls.

  • Guest

    duncan hunter is an excellent excellent candidate

    bravo to huckabee for being pro-life – but he seems to have a mean streak that concerns me

    after years of george bush and his mis-stakes, i'd like very much to have a godly eloquent speaker

    and can Michael the Archangel be his patron saint if he is not Catholic?

  • Guest

    MKochan, please don't say or write, 'Sheesh.'  My devout father pointed out something – can you tell me where the derivation of it comes from?  It comes from those who swear using our Lord's name, in vain….People who use that expression think they're not, and often defend it, but it strictly comes from misusing Christ's name in non-reverential settings.  I mean of course the name of Jesus.  It's not appropriate here or anywhere else.  If anyone defends this, or tries to say it's not true, then ask them where the expression comes from?  I looked this up on dictionary.com right now

    Since my father mentioned this, I have never used it.  I cringe when others do.  Especially people who think it's not a problem

    ''Yahoo.com Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)Cite This SourceShare This

    sheesh      [sheesh] Pronunciation Key
    –interjection
    (used to express exasperation).

    [Origin: euphemistic shortening or alter. of Jesus or shit]


    Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
    Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

    American Heritage DictionaryCite This SourceShare This

    sheesh       (sh?sh)  Pronunciation Key 
    interj.   Used to express mild annoyance, surprise, or disgust.


    [Alteration of Jesus1.]

    (Download Now or Buy the Book)

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
    Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
    Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
  • Guest

    What about gosh? I tend to respect people who use gosh. And I guess I always thought the word sheesh was an alternative to saying the other word for poop! Surprised

  • Guest

    I don't say 'gosh.'  Look that one up on dictionary.com

    Whatever you guessed, now you know

    Mkochan, it is also inappropriate and rude to say to thatgirl that her misinformation is evidence of anything other than just that.  The founders also believed in slavery, where is the evidence that that was appropriate?

    Giuliani's real problem is that he did nothing to help pro-life issues in any way, and that he actually helped Planned Parenthood.  God help this many, who was baptized a Catholic and sent his children to Catholic school

  • Guest

    Oh, I didn't know that!  You know what, I never say gosh, golly, gee, etc for exactly that reason?  Thank you so much for pointing that out!

    Fine then, Thatgirl, I apologize for saying that you are ignorant of the constitution; you are simply misinformed.

  • Guest

    huckabee is in essence a dem – a pro-life one

    if people don't understand the Constitution, or need any kind of lesson in government, civics, etc, that is a result of bad education – something perhaps the Founders could not have envisioned, nor the removal of God from the movement of government…or the attempt to remove God…especially by using the courts against the First Amendment, restricting speech and the free exercise of religion, while allowing commerce to abuse the First Amendment in the promotion of immorality

    I am also pretty sure they could not have envisioned the rudeness that strangers can exhibit to one another

    Landowners, men, whites, the educated – they were supposed to be the voting class.  Would you want to give up your your right to vote?

    For other abuses of God's name, 'gosh' could count, see dictionary.com

  • Guest

    OK, mkochan, have a good night, or day…I hesitate to tell people at times about the 'sheesh' thing, because at first I thought my father was wrong…but here we have the proof on dictionary.com…also, once I knew, I never used it again, so it helps to know…

    I do use 'gosh' sometimes, but I try to use 'my goodness.'  I even wonder about that, because I think some of these declarations go back to the days of 'oaths,' of people saying certain things aloud

    It is important to educate people, as you do re: voting

  • Guest

    At some point when people are given the adult responsiblity to vote, I think it becomes their responsiblity to learn how how Amecian government works, regardless of the holes in their education.  It is like the people who are in their 50s or 60s and who are still complaining about all the stuff they weren't taught about the Catholic faith when they were growing up — well guess what? you aren't a child anymore.  Take control of your own education and go get one. It's called books and reading.

    I did not have any great education — I grew up in a cult and was in it until I was 38.  I never voted or even paid any attention to a single thing in politics until I was nearly 40 years old.  But once I was out of that cult, I realized that if I was going to function as a citizen of this country in a responsible way I had to learn about it. I had to read the Constitution, for example. Just like I had to find out about Christianity and history and the Church. And that was before the internet was available like now — again, it is called books and reading.

    No I don't want to give up my right to vote — but I think I deserve it because I bothered to educate myself — both as a citizen and as a Christian — and yes, I do get ticked off at people who don't bother to do that.

  • Guest

    Mkochan, you don't even want to find out the origin of "ticked off".  

    You and deirdrew went to the wee hours for this word game? is what I thought at first. I found the exchange interesting but furthermore isn't this what the article is really about? the skillful and clever use of words. So the comments actually came around full circle.

    Now let's listen to the word play on the stump. The politicians and the media are the most cunning in giving us convoluted verbiage usage stuff.

    Speaking of words kel3at, what do you want to call the guys that flew two planes full of passengers into the WTC? how about a soft word like – bad guys. At least give Bush credit for having appointed the best judges, the robed guys who interpret big twisted words and laws and the Constitution.    

  • Guest

    deirdrew, on what basis have you determined that Huckabee is a Democrat rather than a Republican?  (Though if what I am currently hearing from the neocons is accurate, I am about to give up my lifelong membership in the Republican Party & consider myself none of the above – or is it below?)

    mkochan, while I agree with you in the main on the need for us to educate ourselves, judging by some of the comments I am not sure that everyone here is in agreement as to what it means to be educated.  I am also left wondering where your position leaves those who are unable to read the Constitution on their own or at least properly comprehend what they have read – rather like the Bible, such people are at the mercy of the person who reads & interprets things for them.  Requiring people to be able to read & comprehend at a certain level returns us to the Jim Crow days.  Yet is that level of ignorance really worse than the people who accept their information about a candidate from sources they don't question or accept info from ones that are biased because it is a bias that they like? 

    FWIW, I actually respect Ron Paul's & Fred Thompson's pro-life positions sufficiently to consider voting for them (as opposed to against anyone else), but I firmly believe that cutting & running from Iraq at this point would be immoral (which I understand is something that PJPII intimated to W. at the outset – if we went in, we had a responsibility to stay long enough to repair our damage). 

    I also believe at this point our country desperately needs someone who can transcend the polarizing labels that have been keeping us divided as a country & thereby preventing much of anything constructive getting done in DC.  Cynicism & hopelessness are not virtues in which Christians should be immersing themselves willingly.

  • Guest

    Oh, I don't really want anything to keep others from voting — just being rhetorical.  But I sure would love to see more Catholics talkin' sense — like you, Solagratia.

  • Guest

    You are overly generous, but thank you even so, mkochan! 

    (BTW, I am glad to hear that you are feeling better, too.  Our whole family got hit with a bug just before Christmas that left us with no energy – to say that our celebration was subdued would be an understatement.  My sympathies!) 

  • Guest

    Okay, I have no desire to sound triumphalistic or anything, but this sure seems like one of those God-incidences:

    (From Huckabee's Iowa speech last night)

    "G.K. Chesterton once said that a true soldier fights not because he hates those who are in front of him, but because he loves those who are behind him."

    So you may not vote for him, but how can you not like a man who likes Chesterton? Cool

     

  • Guest

    I think the news this morning was very heartening.  I just want for there to be a clear choice regarding abortion in the national election.

  • Guest

    I don't know about dictionary.com, but I use Merriam-Webster's online dictionary. They make no mention of Jesus in deriving sheesh. The word, interestingly enough, has its origin around 1972 and has no etymology listed. According to Webster, gosh and golly are euphemism's for God originiating around 1757 and 1775 respectively. Both are considered to be used as expressing a mild oath or surprise while sheesh is used to express dissappointment, annoyance and/or surprise.

    Gee, when used as an interjection, is a euphemism for Jesus dating back to 1884. Again, often times used to express enthusiasm or surprise-gee-whiz and gee-willakers.

    What I have gleaned from this discussion is that to most people words matter. Whether they apply to laws or conversation. In Germany, to say grusse Gott in the north, to some, may be offensive. The same could be said about guten tag in the south. Always, one needs to consider the source and the reliability of the same. The importance of words and their placement within a law or rule can have devastating effects. For example, using may vis-a-vis shall leaves much to the discretion of the the person exercising the authority given by a rule or law.

    I would like to second the accolades given to CE, its editors and writers, as well as commending the participants, for making this and most threads informative and entertaining. 

    There, I have provided a couple of little Abe Lincolns.

    In Christ,

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    Very interesting.

    I learned somewhere long ago, that the terms "for heaven's sake" and "for Pete's sake" as well as "dog gone" and "dad burn" were all euphemisms to avoid using the name of the Lord in vain.

    The root problem is that while technically not using the Lord's name in vain, they are euphemistically using the Lord's name in vain. Kind of like the Levite in the Good Samaritan story who obeys the law by avoiding touching a possible dead body. It's flawed somehow. The mental process is the same as using the Lord's name in vain, it's just easier on the ear in mixed company, as they say.

    But is that good enough? Is that the point God was making in prohibiting our using His name in vain?

    Jesus, who rightly placed adultery not under the bedclothes but in the heart calls us to a higher place. 

  • Guest

    PTR,

    Actually, to the Hebrews, the name of God was not to be even spoken aloud lest it was said in prayer. Nor is it to be written it is so sacred. Hence G-d or L-rd. To understand the way the modern world uses the name of God in expressions of anger or amazement would be baffling to an ancient Israelite in terms of using His name in vain. They understood it more as to not invoke the name of the Lord when making an oath, it was understood that by doing so, if your conviction was not up to the task, this would displease the Master.

    While I do not condone the Oh MY G-d's and Jesus H. Christ utterances, it is not in vain that men call out but in stupidity and ignorance.

    By the way, what does the H stand for?

    In Christ,

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    Hmm. I am imagining an ancient Hebrew hanging out in the mall or watching television or something and I don't know if the way our culture uses the Lord's name would be baffling or so sacreligious that the ancient Hebrew would simply try to get away from it.

    Stupidity and ignorance can mitigate one's level of responsibility, but they do not make a wrong thing right. By uttering an oath, even a vain one, we are calling God into the situation.

    I agree that the whole idea of "uttering an oath" is not understood. After recently viewing "A Man for All Seasons" I think we ought to take effort to realize what we are saying when we say something as ubiquitous, "I swear this is the worst ink pen I have ever seen!" and so forth.  I could be wrong, but I think the high priest could utter the Lord's name once a year in the Temple in Jerusalem on the day of Atonement.

  • Guest

    PTR,

    It would be baffling because an ancient Hebrew wouldn't be 'hangin' at the mall', 'chillin' in front of the tube', or 'jellin' watchin the Saints rip into the Seahawks'. It would be baffling because it would not happen as it does today, in much the same way that the previous comments would be baffling to the ancient Israelite as well.

    You have hit the nail on the proverbial head with, '…we are calling God into the situation'. Herein lies the crux of the commandment as it was understood by the Israelites. Not that you should not say OH  MY  G-D because this would have never been uttered by the Israelites. Again, I am not saying that this is acceptable, just that it is not what was understood by the Israelites.

    In Christ, 

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    Merry Christmas!!

    I have been enjoying this discussion, as I am in need of researching the candidates and have learned about one of them here.

    The Huckabee interview appeared in Salon on Nov. 9, 2007 (http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/11/09/huckabee_interview/index.html) and is available on-line in 3 pages. The second page contains the quote being examined. Here are two question and answer pairs from the interview, showing Huckabee's full answer in its original context:

    Would the morning-after pill and the abortion pill both count in your mind as abortions?

    [Huckabee:] Anything that ends the life after it has been fertilized to me is problematic, because it is a life at that point. At that particular stage, some people say, "When does it become a life?" The very people who hammer me all the time about saying I am unscientific, I would say, well, the science is that it is a life. There is only one kind of life. It's a human life. It may not be as developed as it would be two or three or four months from then. But that's what it is.

    So are we going to arrive at this perfect solution tomorrow? No. But it took us a long time to come to the conviction that slavery was fundamentally wrong, and it was not a political issue, but a moral issue.

    And that's why when Senator Thompson made his comments the other day, and I know he was very unhappy that I questioned him. But here's the issue: One has to decide, is this a political or a moral issue? If it is a political issue, then you can argue that each state could have its own political solution to it. If you believe it's a moral issue, then you really have to believe that morality does not change at the state line. That idea that morality is different in Massachusetts than it is in Texas is the rationale of the Civil War.

    Do we want the federal government imposing morality? You are comfortable with the federal government playing that role?

    [Huckabee:] Well, let's remember that all law establishes morality. That's what law does. The law of speeding is saying that it's immoral to go at 85 miles an hour. The morality is that we have established a 65-mile-an-hour limit. So that's what all law does: It establishes that it is wrong for me to murder you. We've determined that that's not a good idea. I'm sure you are happy to hear that. So if I go over that law and murder you anyway, then society is going to punish me because I have violated a moral code, which we have all agreed to. So that's what law does. When people say you can't legislate morality, I am thinking, actually that is exactly what you do every time you pass a law. Now you don't legislate behavior. That's true. You can't legislate people's behavior. But all legislation legislates morality by its very nature. It defines the right and the wrong of the people.

    [end quote]

    1. Reading the full interview transcript clearly shows this is a verbal exchange, with sentences being composed and redirected midstream.

    2. Nonetheless, Mike Huckabee makes it quite clear that pills that kill pre-born human beings are as bad as surgical abortions because both destroy innocent, human life.

    3. The next interview question is about, "the federal government imposing morality." Huckabee explains and demonstrates that government legislation naturally imposes morality. It teaches and informs what behavior is desired, required, or not tolerated.

    4. Mark Shea alludes to the important concept that to be good (and even to be valid), human law must resonate (and not conflict) with the perfect divine law. However, the question was effectively whether the government should be in the business of morality, not how to do so properly or well. Huckabee actually answered the question! (Are politicians allowed to do that?) His answer is a valued contribution towards correcting the misconception that law must be morally-neutral. It cannot be, because, by definition, "all law establishes morality," a system of conduct relating to right and wrong behavior.

    • http://www.m-w.com/dictionary
      morality – 1a: a moral discourse, statement, or lesson; 2a: a doctrine or system of moral conduct;
      moral — 1a: of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior; 1b: expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior

    5. By the way, I agree that if Huckabee opposes abortion but supports capital punishment, he is not 100% pro-life. Using 1977 – 2006 U.S. figures for executions (1057) and reported, induced abortions (34.8 million), I calculate he is only 99.997% pro-life. Close enough for government work! Wink

    Happy New Year!

    – Tim

     Smile You really don't know how much God loves youSmile

    Executions:

    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/html/cp/2006/tables/cp06st15.htm

    Abortions:

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5609a1.htm

  • Guest

    This may offend but here goes:

    To complain that a word that has come into common parlance as an interjection rather than a vulgarity is etymologically derived from a euphemism originally used to avoid strict blasphemy seems to be taking thing a bit too far. “Zounds,” “bloody,” “bugger” and numerous other words have become grammatically different from their original use, and I think that “sheesh,” “golly,” “gee,” et al. are no different. While some words used as interjection are patently offensive because they have not lost all vestige of “bad language” or are blasphemous, I don’t see any of the above fitting that category. If, however, one were to use these words with the intent of a vulgarity or blasphemy but to avoid “the letter of the law” then PTR’s comment above should apply. But the word “sheesh” itself, divorced from knowledge of its original etymology or even with knowledge but distinct from the intended use of it as euphemism, in my opinion, has no “magical” power to invoke the Name of God in oath, vanity, or otherwise.

    That said, noting the delicate sensibilities of some, I will attempt to avoid any word which may be derived from the “potty mouth” of previous generations (and centuries).

    In Christ,
    Michael

    “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried”

    “The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.” – GK Chesterton

  • Guest

    My intention was not to complain, but to explain.

  • Guest

    Well said, Pristinus Sapienter.  But I don't think it is playing in Elmhurst.

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