Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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Both parts of me would be satisfied to see the decency of the '50s (at their best) combined with the honesty of the '60s (at their best), a quiet, basic moral consensus clothed in all the colors of the sun.

Absolutely masterful, amba. Lord knows (pun partially intended) that we need an alternative to the secular/religious dichotomy. I think an important aspect of this viewpoint is to refrain from labeling actions as evil/sinful except in extreme cases. Meaning instead of viewing, for example lust and greed, as sinful, it would be better view them view them as unhelpful or unhealthy, the moral equivalent of eating greasy and sugary foods. Like unto this, people need to completely ditch their fear of God. They need to view questioning traditional belief as not blasphemy, but just as a sincere attempt to understand the divine. Even if traditional belief were 100% correct, what kind of God would punish you for failing to recognize/believe in it?
I think the practice of morality should be thought of as akin to exercise. It makes for a healthier and happier human being.

One one hand, in our culture, we have people who are trying to force their views on people, to literally codify their beliefs into law. And on the other hand you have people have been so turned off by the sometimes glaringly obvious illogic and hypocrisy by those same people, that they throw the baby out with the bathwater.

So, IMHO, the two things people need to recognize so that your fusion can come about are
(1) morality and spiritual practice lead to greater happiness and that is why you should practice it, not because God will be angry with you if you don't.

(2)God will not be angry with you if you question traditional beliefs even if those beliefs happen to be true. (Hell, I'm sure he/she would like to dispel those crazy rumors that have floating around for several millenia :))(If you believe otherwise, your belief in divine benevolence is lacking.)

It would soften the right and attract the left.


My only worry, Adam, is that that is too soft. Reality -- not even getting into God -- is more unforgiving than that. The definition of evil is that it does real harm. It destroys what good creates. It's not only that morality leads to greater happiness, it's that the lack of it leads to horrible suffering. It really does.


In the 3rd paragraph, you asked a few questions. Are those real questions (if so, are you really that uninformed), or are they just literary lace? If Roe goes down?.. Let’s not allow our imaginations go wild, and turn to history instead. What was it like before Roe? Need I say more?..
Hm… Perhaps. Suicides out of despair, rusty hangers, dirty hands, women dying of infections and becoming sterile, induced miscarriages, and the list goes on. But no, not fewer abortions. Only fewer successful ones.


Golly, Ambi, you've just made an argument for moral relativity and whatever feels right. I guess it goes with being . . . ambivalant.

Donna B.

JJay, I think she's just made an argument for moral tolerance, in two senses:

a) a morality that retains tolerance


b) a tolerance that retains morality.

Without the other to bolster it, either one leads toward evil. Perhaps that's why the 'path' is narrow.


I don't believe that abortions would be nearly as dangerous as they were before legalized. That's bull. Science has given doctors so much more than the rusty hangers of the past. The technology doesn't go away even if the availability of such exteremes does.

Partial-birth abortion is extreme. Inducing labour, turning a child up-side down to be delivered feet first and skewering the brain from just behind the base of the skull? Infanticide.

I believe that the kids of today are de-sensitized by the pushing of sex ed and availability of abortion. It's a given that it's an option and if the girls may feel squemish using it as such the boyfriends or parents push the envelope and drive them there.

A big argument for no parental notification is that the father of the pregnant teen may be the father to her child. Just give her the abortion without having a parents' agreement and she won't get grief from her dad. HeeeLLLOOooo. Where the hell does the girl go after a hush-hush abortion? Home. Back to daddy. That's f**ked up. More molestation.

How about all the 13 and 14 yr old girls knocked up by 20 yr old guys? Hush hush. Reported by Planned Parenthood as statutory rape? Yeah, right.

Spud says no one he knows is pro- abortion. Bullshit. Do you know how much friggen' $$$$ is made from abortions (actually, i don't and I hate research, but ...) it's lucrative, I'd give my left nut if it's not true(ha). How many clinics and how many doctors? Godd $$$$. Cash crop.

So, we want the gov't out of our bedrooms and private business, but expect them to pick up the tab for abortions?? Is the word for that *double standard* or *hypocrisy*? And if my daughter, at age 13, needs to see a doctor for any reason, she should need my consent to do so.

One thing I do agree with is Adam. I'm a *devout* Catholic, and I don't understand the Hard Right. And as far as the Theocrats *who are trying to force their values on people*? We used to be able to pray publically, say grace before meals in schools, wear shirts that have Christian sayings or quotes, etc. These things aren't allowed in schools and many religious symbols or artwork, etc are being deleted from society.

All we want is what we've been forced to give up. How is that forcing our values upon others when others are chisling off stonework engraved upon buildings?

Amba, you are right spot on. Isn't it balance we seek?


So to recap, you DON’T believe that:

• If abortions were to be made illegal they would become more dangerous.

And you do, BELIEVE that:

• A lot of clinics and doctors are PRO-ABORTION because “much friggen' $$$$ is made from abortions”.
• “the kids of today are de-sensitized by the pushing of sex ed and availability of abortion”
• Something illegible about Planned Parenthood, government, and an abortion tab.
• And last but not least, “…All we want is what we've been forced to give up.”

Hm.. I must confess, it does, give me satisfaction not having to comment, just merely arrange the "thoughts" into a cohesive story, which then becomes laughable on its own merit.


As horrible as it is, I'm not as worried about the (hopefully) small percentage of teen pregnancies caused by incest. I'm far more worried about the father who will beat, kick out, or kill his daughter for committing a "sin".

For some of those God-fearing intolerant types having their daughter get pregnant is in the same category as their son telling them he's gay.

And the reason why the "rusty hanger" method might come back even though medical practices have advanced significantly is that most doctors would not be risking their careers and jailtime to perform abortions. The people who generally need the abortions the most are likely to be poor and have few options in locating help, so they end up with Frankie the auto-mechanic who their cousin's friend's hairdresser said knew something about abortion.

One big help this time is that the "morning after" pill exists. I predict it will become a hot black market commodity.

I think the best way to handle the whole abortion issue is in a few easy steps.

1. Toss Bush's inane "abstinence only" crap out the window - it has been proven to be useless in multiple studies. People WILL have sex, whether or not you want them to. Make sure that if and when they do, they know how to do it right!

2. Educate EVERYONE, at the very latest in middle school about where babies come from and birth control (and condoms, and STD's). Beat it into their heads as many times as Bush says 9-11 in the average speech.

2. Educate EVERYONE about abortion, both good and bad parts, and also about adoption options. The bad parts might convince them to take preventative measures more than step 1 did. Make sure they know that the earlier they do it the better if they're going to.

3. Make birth control pills and condoms much more readily available and affordable everywhere.

Voila - unwanted pregnancy and STD cases significantly reduced.


You forgot to arrange my thoughts about infanticide/partial- birth abortions. Go ahead, we can all stand a good laugh.


Not good enough, Sleipner. No faith, no mysticism, no self-flagellation. Instead, you’re offering studies, common sense, education… Haven’t you heard? Evolution is just another theory, just like Creationism! Your atheist ass is going straight to hell (in fact, your cauldron will be hotter for proposing such nonsense).


Whew! Before I read all your comments, I should say that I had to run out right after I wrote my answer to Adam, I realized I should have said, Rigid, cruel morality also causes horrible suffering. Just as our bodies can only survive within a certain range of temperatures, so our souls can only thrive in a moral temperate zone."

Objectivist, my questions in that paragraph are somewhat rhetorical. This is the argument conservatives would make. I'm wondering mournfully if there's anything to them. It's because of the horrors that you mention that I believe abortion should remain legal in the first trimester. But your facts are wrong, too. There were many fewer abortions before legalization (one estimate is about 100,000 a year, compared to 1.6 million; yes, it's from a pro-life source, but the detailed statistics cited match up with neutral sources), and many fewer deaths from illegal abortion than abortion rights activists claim. Here is Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope, who to the best of my knowledge is not a raging conservative: " the claim that legalization has prevented the deaths of thousands upon thousands of women doesn't hold up. Roe v. Wade saved some lives, but the numbers were small – reported deaths due to illegal abortion declined from 39 in 1972 to 5 in 1974." READ THE WHOLE THING for the best earlier figures available, unless you prefer to believe propaganda. (Adams fully acknowledges that both illegal abortions and deaths had to be underreported, and that the back-alley risks fall disproportionately on the poor and desperate. Still the figures are overblown.)

Jjay, I don't think you heard me. "Anything doesn't go" and "I'm okay with judging people by their conduct" isn't exactly moral relativism. (I'm getting it up both sides of the head, aren't I?) Are you so upset by my acceptance of homosexuality that you're missing my opposition to promiscuity of either persuasion?

Donna, well put. Your image of a narrow path is much like the narrow band of "temperate morality" I just described. There are dangers to the right and to the left.


To clarify, although a hard-line against true evil is required, what I was advocating was that people should be moral for their own good not because of guilt or fear of divine retribution. If it's serious, like hard drug use, of course we have to be very tough.

But, for more run-of-the-mill "transgressions" and for encouraging greater virtue, I think it more helpful to focus on the benefits of morality. I view it as a motivator: if people believe greater virtue leads to true fulfillment they will be more likely to pursue it.

I do have some sympathy for Karen's view about the inability for school prayer etc. I would be in favor of allowing it and similar things; however, I think it would need be conducted under the auspices of cultural diversity. Meaning a prayer could be said, and those who wished to participate could, but it would rotate somewhat in proportion to the faiths of those in the school. If the majority were Catholic, then we could have a full-fledged Catholic prayer on most days. But we would also have full Muslim, Protestant, and Jewish prayers. We could even have non-offensive readings from secular philosophers to represent the atheists and agnostics. We could even have reading from Buddhist and Hindu scripture. Even if the vast majority were Christian, at least one of five days of the week should be devoted to a non-christian prayer. Those who were not members of that faith could just listen for cultural broadening. If you tried to do anything else, you would be guilty of excluding people and be guilty of using taxpayer dollars for establishing a religion. Or perhaps less controversially have a general monotheistic prayer on most days of the week and include one day for cultural diversity. The problem, however, is that evangelicals, orthodox jews, and traditional catholics wouldn't want their children to be exposed to a "heathen" religion. If people could just get to the point where they believed that all "religions," including non-traditional ones like the bugaboo "secular humanism" had something to offer, we wouldn't be in this mess we are today.


sleip, what have they been teaching kids in sex ed for the past umpteen yrs? How can birth control be made more readily available than it already is, and free with the right health insurances? Birth control is in everyones faces, advertised on TV and in all the magazines. Should condoms be passed out at Sunday school?

There was a report I read on Uganda, I think. Teaching abstainance and monogamy curbed AIDS faster than the use of condoms. It was a study done, but after the results came out, well, they decided pushing condoms was the way to go instead.

I was very close to a teen girl. She spent alot of time here and we talked forever. She always had such a seemingly positive self image and professed the abstainance, wait til it's right or even til I'm married attitude.

She got sucked in to attaching her self-worth to the dick of a guy. If she was *wanted* physically then she was desirable to herself. You know where all that sex ed got her?

Her neighbor got her on birth control at 15, brought her to PP and they put her on the ring. Funny, many won't touch food raised with hormones, but we put the feminine future on the opposite hormones her body is naturally producing as early as possible because they're going have sex anyway. Don't want them to get pregnant.

She then got used by two guys in about three months and finally called me up because she didn't *smell* good and feared an STD. Thank whoever for our good public school sex ed.

I did talk her into going back to PP to check it out and basically calmed her down. She was so embarassed. She was so vulnerable.

Then, she went to prom w/a guy she didn't really care for cause, you know... Prom. Had sex w/him at a party later and then he left her, went downstairs and had sex w/ another girl.

I guess this is normal behaviour these days? Nothing a bit more sex ed can't fix? They may not be having babies, but the trade off is very costly in terms of self image and pride and value.

Have at me :).


Oh, Karen. No, you’re right, there’s nothing humorous about the subject of infanticide. But aside from some shrilling slogans, you don’t offer any ideas or specific arguments, so there little I can offer in return (I don’t value unsubstantiated personal opinions much). As far as the specific subject of infanticide, the reason I didn’t comment on it, is because it was utterly irrelevant to the discussion (please re-read Amba’s post, perhaps it’s I, who missed something).
I’m willing to bet though, that you don’t know the circumstances under which abortions after the first trimester take place. And you have probably never spoken to a doctor who performs them. I’d be happy to do the research for you (as you don’t seem to enjoy it), if you’d be willing to actually consider the findings.

I'll give you that. How do you measure the numbers of unwanted children and their quality of life? Also, I'm certain the numbers don't include suicides of pregnant women.


Like Objectivist, I don't value unsubstantiated personal opinions much so I'm tuning hers out as valueless. All sex education has succeeded in doing is creating a wanton society where promiscuity is not only shrugged at but is seen as hip. The female pays the biggest price, of course. Thank you, Gloria, Bella and all you other celebrated pioneers of radical feminism. As for abstinence -- why not try it? It can't produce more tragic results for the culture than the Planned Parenthood ethos has. As for Adam's idea of school prayer, why don't we just have the kids sing Kumbaya as they sway back and forth. And don't forget the animists! They have spiritual beliefs too.


Sleipner wrote:

"1. Toss Bush's inane 'abstinence only' crap out the window - it has been proven to be useless in multiple studies. People WILL have sex, whether or not you want them to. Make sure that if and when they do, they know how to do it right."

The trouble with that, Sleip, is that if you assume "people WILL have sex," they will, ready or not. They'll feel they not only can but should -- in high school, or earlier. When we were in high school, it was assumed that you wouldn't have sex. That gave shelter to those of us who weren't ready. It didn't stop those few who WERE ready!

When I get around to writing the 3rd part of my abortion essay, one thing I plan to say is, why not make it the norm that nobody has sex before age 18? I don't mean a law, I mean a cultural norm. That would make it OK NOT to have sex if you weren't ready (and most people under 18 aren't; most girls aren't familiar enough with who they are yet to handle the emotional fallout). It wouldn't stop those who are ready, but it would remove the premature pressure from everyone else. By 18, you begin to have some judgment and you wouldn't just be doing it to impress your peers, which is the main motive driving mid-teens -- much stronger than desire.


Let's not be dichotomous about sex-ed. I think we need to have a program which strongly encourages and abstinence, that nonetheless is very thorough concerning birth control and sex. Sell it not as here's your guide to having sex kit, but rather that at some point this knowledge will be likely useful, say even at 22 or when married. I'm almost 24 and so remember my sex ed course. I was probably 14 or 15, which is so god-awful late for such a thing, and we learned nothing. We saw some lame-ass video of the surgeon saying abstinence is good, (To which the response was a collective internal yeah right.), and we learned a few random facts about STDs and learned some latin anatomical names for internal sexual anatomy--like that's useful. It was a joke.

I agree with Sleipner though I acknowledge Karen's problems. We just need to emphasize and sing the praises of abstinence and its benefits in sex ed, but educate thoroughly as well. I think the other problems Karen refers to is not a fault of sex-ed, but a fault of the culture.



I'm learning, always learning and I fear that because people who do offer suggestions are *Christian*, they are largely ignored. Didn't Bush offer to give $$$$ to faith-based initiatives that help people? There are many homes for pregnant women to get the support they need to have their babies and make unpressured decisions. There are many hospitals that have a drop off policy for newborns.

Planned Parenthood, I believe, is a nonprofit organization and receives Gov't $$$$ to run. I think. I do know that in the state of VT, where I'm from, we have a health care system for the not so prosperous, of which category I belong. It pays for all of our health concerns, abortion as well as hang nails. I hate how people argue for their medical privacy as if unborn children being aborted is akin to hemmeroid removal. I guess both issues are a pain in the ass, to a lot of undiscerning folk.

When you say I *don't know the circumstances under which the abortions after 3rd trimester take place* what do you mean? How they are preformed, or why?

I don't need to talk to the doc, I know a bit. That they are D&C'd, salined or sucked out of the womb. I'm not the squemish sort, Objectivist. Does the doc like it? I bet they "get used to it". $$$$ deadens the senses. I wouldn't mind you doing research, I may even try it. We can compare notes.

Stigmatizing young women and maybe even not so young for being pregnant is abusive. Why can't we have positive advertising for Life? Instead of birth control. Sure, you can hide a patch, not so easy a pregnant belly. If feminists are so concerned about the female psyche, why do they fight so hard against supporting it. They, IMO, are inhillating(spelled horribly wrong, but I have to go make a P&J sandwhich)it by pushing to the extremes against the only real thing that makes woman, WOMBman.


Amba's view is a good one about cultural norms.
Am I being mocked for having my head in the clouds about school prayer :)? I didn't say it was likely. I just felt it would be a rational approach. And if we're not representing religious members, as long as there's no animists in the school, we would be free to choose those religions which had the highest representation in the world and could exclude the really crazy ones. We're free to choose the curriculum right? In any case, I wouldn't mind kids learning about crazy beliefs, though I don't think we need the school principal leading us in a voodoo chant. I think it can be very decisively argued that Buddhism and Hinduism should be included due to the number of adherents. Openness doesn't have to be crazy openness. It's just that people are so rigid in their beliefs these days, we could use a little more openness and inclusivity. I'm not at all a relativist, but I do think multiple perspectives are useful and could help ease tensions between nations and peoples.


That was first trimester. Third would be murder out-right.


The problem with abstinence *only* is that those programs generally avoid mentioning the more important issues of birth control and condom use, and convey no real useful information at all. I haven't heard about your Uganda study - but culturally they are so different from America I would hesitate to extend their results here. If indeed the study wasn't performed and doctored by a group who wants to promote their abstinence viewpoint.

I have no problem with abstinence being taught as *part* of a well rounded sex education program. I do think it's a bad idea to get started too early or for the wrong reasons.

In addition, they should add education on the psychology and realities of relationships, what homosexuality is and how to deal with it if you think you are, etc. None of that was ever mentioned in MY sex ed class but would be far more valuable than "don't have sex or you'll go to hell"

Karen - I believe that the sex ed being taught in most schools is laughably ignorant, and usually way too late. I know the class I went to didn't really tell me anything new. Condom and birth control availability is NOT very easily available, especially in some states (that probably have the highest teen pregnancy rates)

I have no real problem with partial birth abortion, more properly termed Dilation and Extraction. There is a fetus in there, it's being gotten rid of, and it needs to come out somehow. That late in pregnancy, in many cases it is the safest, and sometimes the only method that can protect the mother's health. I do think late abortions are somewhat questionable, but I think the proper response is to educate people to do it earlier rather than ban it, especially since in many cases there are circumstances involved that cannot be predicted legislatively.

Amba, according to the CDC website, abortions went from 0.6 million in 1969, gradually increased to a high of 1.3 million in 1990, and then decreased to 850,000 in 2001, the last year included in the study I read. The study excludes a few states (Alaska, California, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma) who didn't report to the CDC - California would probably jump that number up significantly.

Of course my viewpoint suggests that the decline can be attributed to increased and improved sex ed and more readily available birth control methods, and the timeframe would certainly suggest that conclusion.

In 2001, 59% of all abortions occur within the first 8 weeks, and 87% occur within the first 13. 4.2% occurred at 16-20 weeks, and 1.4% at >=21 weeks. When the abortion occurs has been shifting earlier as well, more occur at <8 weeks from 1992 to 2001 - most likely related to an increase in the availability of early abortion services since 1992 and new procedures that can be performed earlier in gestation. The overall abortion ratio in 2001 was 16 per 1000 pregnancies.

In 1972, 24 women died from legal abortions, 39 from illegal abortions. In 2000, 11 died from legal abortions, none from illegal.

Adolescent pregnancies decreased from 1991 to 2001, but rates are declining more slowly for those not in school and minority populations.

As my viewpoint has been all along, we need to work to make abortion unnecessary, not illegal.


"It's just that people are so rigid in their beliefs these days . . ."

Or firm. What a difference an adjective makes.


I am firm in my beliefs about many things but I consider all my beliefs open to rational questioning. My experience with "firm types" is that they believe what they believe because they believe what they believe. Sure people may have the right to believe whatever they choose, but it doesn't mean that those beliefs warrant intellectual respect (maybe they warrant interpersonal respect ...). I firmly :) believe that most people do not have solid reasons to believe in the faith that they do. Let's say that someone has a deeply personal experience that they interpret to involve Jesus. Putting aside speculation about neural mistakes, what about the possibility that God will respond to all names including Jesus's? All that experience validates is that God is benevolent, which is an important thing but it doesn't validate Christian theology. Even assume that it was a direct experience with Jesus, unless Jesus explicitly informed you about Christian theology, all you would know is that Jesus exists. You wouldn't know whether the gnostic interpretation or even some other interpretion was correct (such as a modern Hindu position wherein Jesus was one among many divine figures). If people firmly believe what they want to, feeling no need whatsoever to face serious challenges posed by that belief (the finding of the gnostic gospels, modern biblical scholarship, the fact that most people are the religion that they're raised in etc. etc.) I would call that rigid.


I should hasten to add, that I don't have a "big" problem if people choose traditional Christianity so long as they recognize that it is merely a choice, a preference, among many alternatives. Maybe it's the best one for them and they have the right to teach it to their children, but when they get so cocksure that they condemn other religions and become outraged at the thought of their children being exposed to other religious outlooks, that's where I have a problem, because I just don't think you can sustain a coherent argument that traditional Christianity is right and other religions wrong. There is much to be admired in it, I just view it as a partial picture, one that has been distorted by an onerous theology. It has much to offer, but that doesn't mean that Buddhism or Islam (the non-jihadist variety), for example, doesn't as well.



I agree that these personal experiences you speak of are likely one of the densest sources of misinterpretation and faulty conclusions. However, if only for the sake of doing so, let me take issue with "intellectual respect" and "solid reasons."

When I read this, I assume you refer to the lack of empirical or deductive evidence to substantiate much religious belief. Not to burst your bubble, but if you really get down to it, logic cannot back up logic. That is, we have no *logical* reason to believe that our system of logic is valid at all. It *seems* logical (in other words, intuitional), but we can't go further than that. Moreover, all the sciences are filled with assumptions that may or may not be true (e.g. Euclid's fifth axiom). My point is that *scientific proof* may have no more sound of footing than emotional response, or...revelation--whatever that's supposed to mean. Of course, in saying that, I realize that we have no standard, at this point, in the other areas as science has the scientific method. But that doesn't mean there isn't one.

So what do we do, turn into nihilists? No, I see that as escapism. Like amba has said, maybe there's a "third way." A way that checks emotion, faith and reason against each other. You may feel these people are rigid in their world views, but don't be caught being rigid in your epistemology.

Ehh, it was just to play devil's advocate.


Certainly, when it comes down to it, there are no unassailable roots of belief. However, the "laws of logic" just appear right universally when people think deeply about them. The "truths" of religion are not so "obvious." On a deep level, nothing is certain, but when one method of thinking takes us to the moon and the other to the inquisition we can make a good guess as to which is more reliable. Furthermore, I am actually not concerned by the lack of empirical evidence for religion, (I don't like blatant contradictions with scientific theory though, world made in seven days etc.). I am much more concerned by the logical implications and inconsistencies of traditional religion. Such as the implication that the only way God could forgive us was by sending himself down and offering himself up as a sacrifice. Are we really that bad? And if God's so benevolent, why couldn't he have just forgiven us? Why the need for blood sacrifice? Or the basic Christian premise that no sooner than we were created that we fell. First, that implies some sketchy engineering on the part of God, and furthermore if we were so bad, he should have just started over again, not let us breed and then have to send down a flood, and then have to kill his son, and then have to let the beast rule earth for so many years. I mean hell, it's possible, but if that's the kind of God we have, I'm a bit worried.

I'm a lazy epistomologist, if confronted with two approximately equally likely possibilites based on available evidence I choose the one that makes me happiest. Sure I could believe that God doesn't exist, and that there is no afterlife, but why should I given the uncertainties in science concerning consciousness and fundamental physics? Furthermore, I feel it's perfectly acceptable to rely on your inner feelings about something. Sure it may be neural delusion, but if God did exist we should be able to feel it our hearts right? My problem is with people who have some profound spiritual experience and then use that as an excuse to believe in a whole litany of, to use Jefferson's language, rogueries and mummeries.

I mean if we believing in God makes us happy and make us live longer, maybe that means our bodies are "designed" that they function best when in tune with the universe. The thing that gets to me, is when people with absolutely certainty proclaim things that are highly dubious on their face. I don't mind if people are a bunch of loving, deluded, "hippie-people," I just have "issues" with people who vehemently insist that their sometimes loony beliefs are correct and expect that we treat them with the same respect as we would a scientific hypothesis.

In fact even with more respect, because one can debate a hypothesis and even test it, but these people consider it rude if you bring it up that their beliefs are, at least at first glance, kinda nutty.


careful Adam:

the same method of thinking that took us to the moon also produced the atomic bomb and greenhouse gases, and the one that brought the inquisition also inspired Mother Teresa and Dr. King. Neither has a monopoly on good-doing or being reliable.

but let's be honest, there are a lot of nuts out there.



A friend who works at as a social worker in a clinic for poor women tells me that women have to come up with the $$ for abortions themselves--they're not paid for--and that third trimester abortions virtually never happen.

Bush's Faith-Based Initiative isn't as grand as you may think. Faith-based organizations have long received government funds (I secured and administered such a grant myself), and such partnerships were strengthened with Clinton's Charitable Choice. Yes, some churches and organizations did receive money for the first time under Bush's program, but the dollars allocated were far, far below what was promised--and far too little to replace what was lost to budget cuts.

As for how we view pregnancy and motherhood: I absolutely agree with you. I love the trend of pregnant women not hiding their bellies under voluminous maternity smocks. Carrying a baby for nine months can be mighty hard (I'm not gonna do it again!), and scary with inadequate support, but carrying an unexpected baby to term does not have to mean condemnation to a lifetime of destitution. Trouble is, under Republican policies, it's more likely to mean that.....

Meg, pro-all-of-human-life


I guess I just think that the higher women climb in certain areas of success, the more we suffer as a whole. It's always a trade off. And, we think we are stronger, we think we are more independent, but what of our daughters?

I wonder if 3rd trimester abortions have ever taken place to save the life of the mother? I don't think they have. Why would one wait so long to have an abortion?

To Objectivist: I see where the infanticide remark of mine threw you off. I equate that procedure, partial-birth abortion, to infanticide. Sleip may only believe a *fetus* is present, I've carried four kicking, rolling and hiccupping babies in my womb. They live, my man. They suck their thumbs and they feel amazing when they get into the move-groove. My first had the hiccups so often, esp after she dropped down. I could feel her hiccupping in my behind!!! She's still annoying :).

I know sleip's all into intelligence. Unborn babies have brainwaves, did you know that? Can they form intelligable sentences? Not yet.

I just wish we valued the right things these days. I live on a farm, what can I say?

As for Adam: being Catholic, I don't try to push my faith on anyone and I don't know how people can be so cock-fired sure of their salvation. I believe sin is more of hinderance than many believe. I still don't get the born-again aspect. I call it the Holy Spirit kicking me in the ass. God loves us infinitely. It's up to us to chose Him because He created free choice.

I always wondered, what kind of God would put Evil in the middle of the Garden of Eden? I've learned it was a God that wanted to give us everything and wanted us to obey Him, but not force us. We knew the rules. We just basically sucked at following the rules.

I like prayer. Humble honest prayer to Allah, Jehovah, God ,Yaweh... I wouldn't pray to other gods... the Golden calf thing... but, I wouldn't be upset if someone else did. And how long was a day in the beginning, does science tell us that? Did we even measure time before we discovered it. Who cares. If they want to use seven, fine. It works well in the whole week scheme of things.

I get ugly when those proclaimed to follow a certain religion faithfully dissent horribly with it publically, and then line up to be fed with all the rest of us lost sheep. John Kerry. Blantantly in defiance with the teachings of the Catholic church and throwing it in the faces of those of us who try their damndest (boy, that's a funny looking word) to follow teachigs, as he elbows his way to the rail and claims piety and humility. No, I wouldn't judge the contents of his soul, but his manner sucks as does his voting record... as a Catholic. Uuuuugggggghhh.


Sleipner, thank you for the research!!


"I should hasten to add, that I don't have a "big" problem if people choose traditional Christianity so long as they recognize that it is merely a choice, a preference, among many alternatives."

Exactly. Christians call choice free will, and you find out later if you chose right. Think of it as a roll of the dice with everything -- everything -- at stake. But don't kid yourself that bringing intellectual rigor to bear on the question has relevance. This not college and a professor won't be doing the grading.


Adam, that last post (the one that ended with "kinda nutty") rose to fine rhetorical heights!


Also excellent point, Laniker.


Adam, you'd like Augustine's Blog: (no permalinks -- to find this post you have to scroll down to July 15, "Altars and Sacrifice")

Well I'm sorry but the God I believe in isn't a god that demands humans be killed and offered up to him to placate his anger or to honour him. And I'm sorry but I also refuse to believe that the cross is the key message left to us by Christ. In focusing on the sacrificial lamb, we forget that this is what we do or allow to be done: we crucify the innocent, over and over again throughout our history. The fanatics - of whatever religion or culture or country, Eastern or Western, right, left or centre - who continue to brainwash the gullible and impressionable into believing that human sacrifice is not only acceptable but essential should be stopped, and tried, and shown to be insane (however powerful and influential and famous they may be) and put away. Forever.

Hey Karen, I'm curious:

If Catholics' and Protestants' point of reference is the Bible, is Kerry's record really worse from a religious point of view than Bush's?

I just don't get it. Though Kerry blows it on preborn life, he would score higher than Bush on a boatload of other sanctity of life issues, wouldn't he? If we consider life to have sanctity after birth as well as before?

(On the other hand, choosing between the ones who said "We Will Kill Them" in their convention and the ones who dropped bombs during their convention weirded me out. Oh for candidates who would say, "We're pro-life, so we ain't gonna go around killing people.")

Meg, apparently no longer living, along with the rest of y'all, but feeling snarky nonetheless over here with my nonliving self


Karen said,"I get ugly when those proclaimed to follow a certain religion faithfully dissent horribly with it publically, and then line up to be fed with all the rest of us lost sheep. John Kerry. Blantantly in defiance with the teachings of the Catholic church and throwing it in the faces of those of us who try their damndest (boy, that's a funny looking word) to follow teachigs, as he elbows his way to the rail and claims piety and humility. No, I wouldn't judge the contents of his soul, but his manner sucks as does his voting record... as a Catholic. Uuuuugggggghhh."

I continually get a chuckle out of conservative Catholics who rail against Catholics who's politics happen to be liberal, and then they will vote someone like Bush who not only is not catholic, but is a fundamentalist where many believe Catholics are going to hell.


I'm not very good at this, Meg. I think you and I have met before and had similar conversations, but I could probably give you no helpful answers. Either that or I'm having a de ja vu morning.

Maybe I'm wrong about Bush vs Kerry in the voting record thing. I just couldn't stand Kerry. Ihave a hard time with Leahy, too. I don't know why I consider them so insincere, so smug. It's Bush that has a grin every speech he makes. I don't know why you don't consider yourself in the land of the living. Was Clinton good for giving alll that was needed?

Spudly, don't give me crap about Bush being Methodist. He's not fundamentalist. It's a sad day when I think a Methodist is a way better Catholic than John Kerry. I hope he does run again. I read Michael's tirade about the Dems; sometimes, I think they should get what they want, let's give Hillary a whirl. All that ambition to get to where she is now? Be a shame not to catch that Brass Ring, wouldn't it?


God forbid, Karen. Hillary would be a sure loser.

The sad irony is she's very shrewdly moving toward the center, where the Dems need to be -- but nobody (including me) believes she's sincere!


Karen: I worried that I sounded too, I don't know, like I was sniping at you last night. I didn't mean it that way.

Whether Kerry or Bush is more in favor of the sanctity of life depends on what part of life you believe has sanctity. If life has sanctity only before birth, Bush wins hand down. If life has sanctity only after birth, Kerry wins, but not with as high of points as I'd have liked, the Democratic Convention being a military rally and all. Was Clinton the answer to all our problems? No. There are very few politicians who make policy as though all of life has sanctity.

As far as Bush and fundamentalism--well, don't let the United Methodist affiliation fool you.

You wonder: "I don't know why you don't consider yourself in the land of the living." Oh, I consider myself to be alive. But apparently the pro-preborn-life only folks don't.

A friend had a baby just before the 2004 election. I looked at that tiny little one and thought, "So many people think you're not worth protecting any more. If your parents didn't have the wealth to provide you with a home and health care, if you lived in another country......"

Matter of fact, on Sanctity of Life Sunday, the pastor asked me to speak, and that's just what I spoke about. That yes, life is precious before birth, and it's precious after birth too. It's precious in the United States and all around the world. It's precious where there is plenty and where there is want.

Why can't we have public policies that protect life everywhere, at all of its stages?



"The fanatics - of whatever religion or culture or country, Eastern or Western, right, left or centre - who continue to brainwash the gullible and impressionable into believing that human sacrifice is not only acceptable but essential should be stopped . . ."

Which Western religion believes human sacrifice is acceptable? I must not have been in church the Sunday that sermon was preached. Is this multiculti take on religion -- they're all alike when you peel their dogmas down to the core -- or just another example of the left's rhetorical intoxication?


Karen said,"Spudly, don't give me crap about Bush being Methodist. He's not fundamentalist. It's a sad day when I think a Methodist is a way better Catholic than John Kerry."

He is a fundamentalist. Besides, you missed my point. Why point out how bad a Catholic John Kerry is and how you could never vote for him because of it, and then turn around and vote for Bush who is a NON Catholic? Makes no sense to me.Why bother to bring Catholicism into it?


I wonder if people are so into protecting themselves and their ambitions that they have forgotten how to support eachother. Look at all the broken families (we have one here, so if I'm throwing stones, I'm aiming for my head). Fathers, I truely believe, should protect and provide, not opposed to women, but alongside. Side by side.

I see so many younger people conquesting through life, grass being greener always beyond reach. They leave responsibilities on others shoulders and we do the best we can.

The kids are constantly shuffled around, fathered by strangers and the moms are seaching for work and self-worth. We have to be taught to work together all over again. I thought that was what faith based initiative was about. Taking care of our own and maybe gaining a bit of the right kind of morality along with it

I don't mind you sniping, it's so frustrating to see all that needs to be done and not having people understand where you're coming from.

As for Kerry caring more for the santity of the Living, I wonder. He seems so out of touch with the Middle America he toured during his candidacy, and his wife's companies I wonder about. Something like 56 and all operating out of the country?

Take care.


If I limited my thinking to only Catholics, good or bad, you'd be a happy camper. Then you'd really be able to tell me what a biggot I am as well as *rigid* and narrow in thinking. To me, actions speak louder than words and Bush went to Rome and knelt before a Pope he doesn't even believe in and asked for his blessing. I've seen the picture. In the Catholic Register.

Kerry, on the other hand... he takes care of Kerry and does as he pleases. Without the Pope. I'd rather have a non-Catholic president than a hypocritical Catholic one. I'm talking religion here, so don't give me scads of hypocritical things Bush has done. He's honest with his faith, IMhumbleO.


Karen - re. 3rd trimester abortion - frankly I don't really like it either, but it is obvious to me that when right wingers push to get it banned, it is the proverbial foot in the door to a total ban, which I categorically reject.

In the statistics above, only 1.4% of abortions occur within the 2nd half of pregnancy, and presumably much fewer occur within the 3rd trimester. I do not have the statistics, but I'm guessing the primary reason anyone would have an abortion that late is due to health reasons, either the mother's or the child's, and I would not too strongly object to limitations on 3rd trimester abortions that respect those and other potential extreme circumstances.

I was revolted by the Catholic church's foray into politics with Kerry. They should have their tax-exempt status revoked, since they have decided to become a political organization instead of merely a religious one.

Using their devotee's religion as a bludgeon to get them to vote the way they want is immoral and unethical.

It is even more obscene when they attempt by force to turn a politician whose job is to represent their constituency into a puppet for injecting religious doctrine into law.

Kerry is a mainstream American Catholic, meaning that he dissents from the Pope in many ways that are shared by a majority of other American Catholics - specifically on birth control, abortion, and the right of gay people to exist.

This papacy is attempting to bolster its rapidly dwindling membership by jumping off the ideological deep end, not realizing that its extremism is the cause of its impending irrelevancy.

Any religion that expects its members to unquestioningly believe everything they tell them to believe makes me wonder when they're going to break out the Kool-Aid.

Another point - Republicans who seem so fired up to prevent people from having an abortion seem to not particularly care if the mother can't afford to take care of that baby after it's born...don't want it to have health insurance, don't care if it has a decent school. They profess to care, but then never cough up the dough to make it happen, since they gave it all away to their rich corporate buddies already. So that baby has the choice of being aborted, and possibly giving the mother a chance at a real life, or growing up with no real options but a stunted life in the ghetto.

Tom Strong

The sad irony is she's very shrewdly moving toward the center, where the Dems need to be -- but nobody (including me) believes she's sincere!

Hmm. So? Dennis Kucinich is a very sincere man, but somehow I doubt he'd fly as a presidential candidate...Meanwhile, you couldn't pick a less sincere president than Bill Clinton (except perhaps Mr. Bush), yet he floated through an impeachment with a 60% approval rating.

Trying to predict the '08 presidential election is a fool's game; and frankly, I think the Democrats need to focus more on 2006 anyway. But the idea that Hillary _couldn't_ win strikes me as baseless. Yeah, a lot of people hate her...but about as many people admire her, and a great many in the middle are at least willing to consider her. She polls well, plays the game well, doesn't shoot herself in the foot, and (I presume) all of her skeletons are already out of the closet.

Moreover, who exactly would she get trampled by? Bill Frist? It sure as hell won't be McCain or Giuliani (though about the first at least, I'd be happy to be wrong). Dire predictions about Hillary tend to ignore the fact that the Republicans, too, stand constantly at the brink of a meltdown.


The Catholic Church didn't force anyone to vote the way it wanted. We may be sheep, but not so pushed around in the Catholic Church as in others. A letter was read from the Bishop, done so to inform *mainstream* Catholics the guidelines of the Church. I believe if you profess and get benefits from an organization, you follow the rules, whether a golf game or a religion.

People hate rules, people break rules, some just because we can. What's going to happen? Get banned from the country club, but not from the communion rail because judging is wrong?

All people sin and fail and either do so intentionally or in fraility. Those who do so blantently, publically defying the very things they are supposed to *believe*, how can they get away with it? Choices.

The Cathloic Church doesn't deny existence of any human. Gay people included (probably some of our best priests are gay, for all I know). Gay doen's mean romping on my lawn, sleip!! It means treating people the way we wish others to treat us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Who doen't deserve that?

I think we don't know as much as we believe we do when it comes to the support in our communities. I bet many helping hands and organizations are out there to help. It's a pride thing and a shame thing.

That's a shame.

The Chuch has responsibilities to their flock. If some ignorant, pompous sheep decides to take a different path to the pastures, the shepards try to cut off the others from following that stubborn one. That's my take. We all have the right to decide for ourselves, free will. Can't say we weren't warned of that road to Perdition.


Karen: We know what gay priests do. That's why the church is purging them.


Tom, I was joking as I pinned Hillary because I feel as amba, but figure the Dems are so desperate they'll take that person or any other that gives them a good shot at power.

I bet Hillary has many skeletons... all buried very deep.

Spud, I brought up Catholicisim because I figure rules are rules and if you defy them personally in the real world, esp your profound faith, how would you behave in DC?


I wonder if they are all gay, but do know they are all perverts. There is such a thing a grace, you know.

If one asks for grace sincerely, I believe we receive it, whether to remain faithful in marriage to our spouse, faithful to our celibacy or faithful to the call of serving others. I should have chosen that a my favourite word. It works if you let it. Another pride thing.


Umm...Karen, I specifically remember the Catholic church issuing statements within the past 6 months such as "Catholics should not vote for politicians who support gay rights or abortion," and "Politicians who support gay rights or abortion should be denied communion." The denial of communion to the rainbow ribbon coalition is another example - if I cared to research it I'm sure I could find hundreds more examples.

The Catholic church is pretty high on my shit list, both the nazi Ratzinger and John Paul. They have made it perfectly clear that they will do whatever is in their power to force people, even those not within their religion, to do what they want.

The myth of papal infallibility was constructed by the church not too long ago specifically to attempt to invest more power in the papacy. It has no basis in reality - Ratzinger is just a mean-spirited hypocrite whose entire purpose in life is to push his bigoted and outdated world view onto as many people as are gullible enough to listen to him.

Regarding gays in the priesthood - sure, there are a lot of them. I have all sorts of ideas why, but since I have no real data, speculation on their motives is irrelevant here.

There are also a lot of priests who become pederasts, at least in part due to the asinine thwarting of human nature in the chastity vow (which I doubt many actually keep). Plus of course they know in the priesthood the leadership will hide them and protect them from recrimination, as Ratzinger did *personally* for several known pederasts. So much for family values.

As I have discussed before in other posts, pederasty is distinct from either homosexuality or heterosexuality, it is a mental disorder. Its prevalence among homosexuals is actually LOWER than that among heterosexuals, no matter what Focus on the Family's doctored statistics claim.

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