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Parsing the Polls: Religion in Public Life

Sifting through the transcript of last week's Republican presidential debate, we came across this exchange between former Govs. Mitt Romney (Mass.) and Mike Huckabee (Ark.) about the role of religion in the public square.

Romney: "We have a separation of church and state. It's served us well in this country. This is a nation, after all, that wants a leader that's a person of faith, but we don't choose our leader based on which church they go to."

Huckabee: "I said, in general -- and I would say this tonight to any of us -- when a person says, 'My faith doesn't affect my decision- making,' I would say that the person is saying their faith is not significant to impact their decision process. I tell people up front, 'My faith does affect my decision process.' It explains me. No apology for that."

(For the full debate transcript click here.)

The candidates' comments got us thinking about how much or little the American public wants to hear about religion from their elected officials. Conventional wisdom says that most voters want a person of faith in the White House but are simultaneously wary of religion encroaching upon affairs of state.

Is that conventional wisdom right? Let's Parse the Polls!

First of all, it's important to set the backdrop on which the debate over how much religion we want in our public policy takes place. According to exit polling in 2004 and 2005, roughly nine in ten voters say they have a religious beleif system of some sort ("Protestant/other Christian" is by far the largest group), while 85 percent said they went to church at least a few times a year.

Looking at those numbers it's clear that the vast majority of Americans not only see themselves as religious but also seek out the communal setting of a church, synagogue, mosque, etc. at least a few times a year.

But, when it comes to whether religion should play a larger role in public life, people are far more divided.

In a January 2007 survey, Gallup asked people whether they would like to see "organized religion have more influence in this nation, less influence, or keep its influence as it is now." Twenty seven percent said they would like to see religion play a larger role, 32 percent said they'd prefer a smaller role and 39 percent said they would like to keep the status quo.

Those numbers are remarkably consistent with an April 2005 Washington Post/ABC News poll. In that survey, 27 percent said they preferred religion have "greater" influence in public life, 35 percent said "less" while 36 percent chose "the same."

Compare those numbers to a Gallup poll conducted in January 2001 -- at the start of the Bush Administration. In that poll 22 percent said they wanted less religion in the public sphere. In 2007, 32 percent said the same thing, a jump of ten percent in six years. Some have speculated that President Bush's willingness to talk publicly about his faith -- combined with his growing disapproval ratings -- may be responsible for the rise in the percentage of people who are put off by politics influenced by religion.

Not surprisingly, the issue tends to break down along partisan lines with Democrats and Independents either happy with the amount of religion in the public square or wanting less, while Republicans tend to want religion to play a larger role in public debate and discussion.

A May 2004 CBS News poll asked what worried people more: "Public officials who don't pay enough attention to religion and religious leaders or public officials who are too close to religion and religious leaders?"

Overalll 35 percent said they worried more about politicians not paying enough attention to religion, while 51 percent said they fretted about politicians paying too much attention. Isolate Republicans, however, and the numbers were nearly reversed with 53 percent saying politicians don't pay enough attention and 30 percent choosing the "too close" option. Compare that with just 25 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of Independents who wanted public officials to pay more attention to religion and religious leaders. The partisan gap is obvious.

While the American public is closely divided over the role religion should play in public life, there is a less of a chasm when it comes to several religion-related policy fights like prayer in school or displaying the Ten Commandments on government property.

An August 2005 Gallup poll showed 76 percent of the sample favored a constitutional amendment to allow voluntary prayer in schools, while just 23 percent opposed it. In that same survey 60 percent said that religion had "too little of a presence" in public schools while 27 percent said the amount of religion in schools was about right and 11 percent said it was too much.

The American public also tends to favor the display of the Ten Commandments on government property with 75 percent of a CNN/USA Today/Gallup sample in June 2005 saying the Supreme Court should allow that sort of display and just 23 percent saying it should not.

What to make of this raft of numbers? That we are a country divided -- sometimes even within ourselves -- when it comes to the proper role of religion in public life. On the one hand most Americans see themselves as a religious people; on the other, they remain generally wary about religion seeping into politics.

Because no obvious consensus exists, it's likely that the politicians running for president in 2008 will seek to find a balance between making clear to voters that they believe in a higher power while also making clear they won't be taking their marching orders from the church they attend.

It's a complicated position but reflects the divided mind most Americans have when it comes to religion's role in everday life.

The Fix owes a big debt of gratitude to The Washington Post polling team of Jon Cohen and Jennifer Agiesta. As they so often do, the two provided essential help in making sense of all these numbers.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 10, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Parsing the Polls  
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Comments

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Posted by: 7gyn71doj8 | May 28, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: 7gyn71doj8 | May 28, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

It seems highly unlikely that the issue of religion will go away anytime soon for Romney. This is especially true when he decides to do 60 Minutes Interviews (http://thenewsroom.com/details/291968/Politics) where he touches on the issue of polygamy among other things.

Posted by: John | May 11, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

This is true. we do not elect our Officials of State, by there faith. 1.We should be praying for who we want before they get to office. 2. I hope they pray. 3. Just like in Acts6:1-10. if we do this, then GOD will reward our faith., no smoe of us will not get the candidate we want, but if we all pray, then GOD will chose the best person for America., for this country is in need of a healing process., and GOD will do that., as for me? I will Still vote for my President Hillary Rodham Clinton and I will continually bring her up to the throne of GOD-Heb4:16,2Chron7:14 & last Mark2:1-12 and Prov21:1, I will stop here., please? nobody put down anybody's religion preference, for this is not GOD's will. remember Matt7:1-5 Plus, I am asking all people of Faith to pray for Tammy Faye, I gave you the scpirture up top, in Mark2:1-12. and GOD will cure her. I was suppose to do something GOD told me to do, through his Son Jesus, I did not, he had someone else do it, but then, the Holy Ghost said, the next time, I don't want you to give me excuses, do it! well, the next time I was scared, in Jacksonville, FL. in 1992, but I did what he said, and the guy told me, after I led him to Jesus Christ, that he was going out to kill hisself, because he had just got out of jail, and his family-mother and siblings were complaining about another mouth to feed, so he was going out to kill hisself, but after I led him to Jesus, I then told him about a church in downtown Jacksonville, FL. and Jesus Christ and Holy Ghost took over from there., we must do our part-Acts6. I am Janair Williams Sr. asking that all of you pray for President Bush, and your candidate.

Posted by: Janair Williams Sr. | May 11, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Reason, I have no problem with people allowing their religion to influence their decisions. Religion is a big part of people's lives and to separate the 2 for votes. Abortion is a similar topic where religious reasons can be a huge factor. Interest groups liek the Catholic Church can have can also be a factor in these decisions via money and apparently threats as well.

Posted by: Rob Millette | May 11, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse

"He who argues with Bible in hand is unarmed"- Jesus. Imagine believing in a book given to you by the Catholic Church, whose intentions were to control the masses, and falling for hook line and sinker.

Remember, the Bible is the exact word of God. And I expect Rudy to follow by the rules. I just wish he had all his wives at the same time and then I would support him, like Mitt's family. Polygamist blood, can't trust them Moroni lovers.

Posted by: edgar stevenson | May 10, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

reason,
I would say that because of Christians, and especially those who look to Mitt to save them, we have major problems in this country. Ironic that because of born again Christianity we are going back to the stone ages. What a stupid country we have become. And the only thing I can attribute it to is the shameful ignorance of the majority of the Christian Soldiers.

Pray for me.

Posted by: edgar stevenson | May 10, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Reason says:

"Then the 2nd tier Republican front of Huckabee and Brownback should make a showing for the Republican vote, especially Huckabee. But can he raise the funds to be serious?"

Dont be fooled by Huckabee. He is pro-life Pataki. Tax and spend. He talked about tax cuts in AR but that was BS.

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: reason | May 10, 2007 08:30 PM

Barak Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ. Check your information. You obviously know nothing about the "dogma" or background of this church. "Afrocentric?"

Posted by: Ellen | May 10, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

As a Christian, I definately believe church and state are seperate. Do I think politicians should be honest about their faith and allow their faith to drive their decision making? Yes! They should not be ashamed of what they believe, and if they are, then they really don't believe it. Why would one be ashamed of his/her true belief? I don't believe they would. Will Romney and Obama likely distance themselves from their church? Yes. Romney, as everyone knows, is Mormon and will distance himself from that and attempt to make Mormonism a form of Christianity in the Republican primary. Obama will have to run from his churches Afrocentric views. His pastor and congregation believes the Bible was written to illustrate the struggles of black people, and his pastor often swears and rants from behind the pul-pit. When pressed early on, Obama backs off and says he doesn't agree with his pastor on those views. But, he has said earlier on that his pastor is responsible for his finding of faith. Hmm., Romney and Obama both have some distancing to do, most likely. Guiliani is an adultureous traitor to his wife and kids, not to mention him marrying his cousin in his 1st marriage. McCain has tried to make in-roads with conservative activists, but hasn't yet really succeeded b/c he refuses to go but so far. Clinton will hang on to the Baptist route, which will help her alot in South Carolina and Iowa. Edwards will claim his faith. Then the 2nd tier Republican front of Huckabee and Brownback should make a showing for the Republican vote, especially Huckabee. But can he raise the funds to be serious?

As a Christian and Republican primary voter, I can view governing style and give Romney alot of points. He has a fairly conservative record as gov. of Mass., despite both the socialist healthcare law and running as a liberal Republican, he governed like a conservative Republican, balanced Mass. budget and had a fairly successful term in Mass. I'm not counting him out just yet.

Posted by: reason | May 10, 2007 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I find it offensive for anyone except those who are ministering to wear their religion on their sleeve; especially politicians. It is "by their works they will be judged," according to the bible. Let them just do their good works. Excessive words of faith usually accompany hypocrisy.

Posted by: Ellen | May 10, 2007 8:02 PM | Report abuse

You are free to believe whatever you want, but there is not a federal judge in this country that would say the law has been violated without a threat of physical harm, which is what the cases I cited say.

You cannot distinguish the words from the threat. You cannot ban the "threat without banning speech, which is against the first amendment.

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

To Dan W. I am completely aware of that fact. I was not stating that the Pope should be prosecuted, he did in fact break the law as it is read.

Razorback aka the man who can only call people names. I am far from a child these days. However, since you fail to grasp this I'll try one more time for the sake of your intelligence. It is not in the fact that the pope said something. The actual words have nothing to do with the problem. The problem focuses around the actions that the popes words imply to. The crime is committed not with the words, but with the punishment that is to be doled out in the event that our congressman do not do as he wants. The speech isn't illegal, the actions that it states are.

Posted by: Rob Millette | May 10, 2007 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Can someone tell me how the claim that "I believe that X is wrong because my God/priest/holy book tells me so" improves public discourse or political life? Either people of different faith (and no faith) agree upon basic principles, in which case such statements are unnecessary (many basic moral notions are shared by people of different faiths *and* people of no faith) OR they don't, in which case, everyone ends up in a shouting match.

Posted by: Confused | May 10, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

poor richard is right. This thread became more than stupid, it became assinine. This isn't even up to the How Many Angels Can Dance on the Head of a Pin level.

Good comment about L'Osservatorre Romano, but they'd censor a thread like this - not for content, but because they'd be embarrassed to host a debate like this.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Chad--"Is it right to preserve the environment, or is it right to raise the standard of living of the poor? What if you can only do one or the other, how do you decide which is better if you have no religious basis?"

You know, I am frankly more worried about the people who have to read a book to know what is right and wrong.

Posted by: roo | May 10, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

This has gotten stupid. Don't any of you have jobs?

Let's get off the papal authority and save it for a blog in L'Observatore Romana.

either that or lets discuss a more meaningful religious topic-like how many angels fit on the head of a pin.

No intended reference to some posters cranial dimensions

Posted by: poor richard | May 10, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Razorback: Possibly true, but I bet a jury could be convinced that threatening someone with destruction (of the soul) could be considered violence by a true believer.
Here is where we shake hands and agree to disagree...

Posted by: Dan W | May 10, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Dan W:

While that might be a threat under the common use of the term, under the law cited by Rob (18 USC 115, 18 USC 111) the courts have consistently held that threat of physical violence is required.

Ask any lawyer that you know.

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I agree the comments about Mexico City Legislators are not covered under US Law, however, take the HYPOTHETICAL case where such a statement is made regarding a US congressman, possibly even a city councilor.

Posted by: Dan W | May 10, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Strange. The pope's comments had to do with and interpretation of Church law as applies to Mexican legislators. I doubt US law applies to that.

If you carried that twisted logic to its most illogical conclusion, in a case where US law would apply-The Catholic bishops of St. Louis, Chicago and Colorado in August 2004 making the same case for excommunication of John Kerry and further trying to effect the vote by saying catholics should not vote for anything but a pro life candidate, President Bush, Karl Rove and the NRC would be accessories since they and their press machine spent a great deal of effort moving conservative Catholics to the Red side based on threat of excommunication.

People have to realize that the Pope is not speaking "ex cathedra" (without error by divine definition) here.

Remember Galileo? He was imprisoned, excommunicated by Mother Church and jailed because he proposed the heresy that the earth circled the sun and not the other way around....

Pope John Paul finally pardoned him. Shows that sometimes Church leadership comes to its senses.

At least the Catholic Church recognizes evolution as valid.......

Posted by: zippy | May 10, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Razorback: I have to disagree with you on this one. A truly religious god fearing Catholic considers Excommunication to be a fate worse than death. With Excommunication, the Pope is explicitly denying the person entrance into heaven. How is that not considered a threat under the statute?

Posted by: Dan W | May 10, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Blarg:

Selective quotation is dishonest Blarg.

Blarg said: "What part of that is a proposal to gut the First Amendment? Razorback, why must you continually lie and smear people? Are you incapable of having a civil conversation?"

RobMillette said "well sure Razorback, we can all say whatever we want. O wait, no we can't. I do believe there are laws that protect people from threats" IN THE SAME POST that you quoted.

When you have a law that says someone cannot say something, it violates the first amendment. When you have a law that says someone cannot practice their religion, it violates the first amendment.

Rob is still trying to say the pope made and illegal "threat", even those his position is obviously false to anyone who knows anything about the law. Rob is saying what the pope said is illegal. Illegal speech. And you cannot see the connection with the first amendment?

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Rob Millette you ignorant petulant child can't you see when you are in over your head? When in a hole stop digging.

A threat under section 115(a)(1)(B) is defined as "an expression of an intention to inflict evil, injury, or damage on another." United States v. Orozco-Santillan, 903 F.2d 1262, (9th Cir.1990) at page 1265. See also U.S. v. Stewart 420 F.3d 1007 C.A.9 (Ariz.),2005. for a discussion of a "true threat" for balancing the fact that a threat is speech with the First Amendment.

Assault under the law is to threaten violence, you moron. Do you think if I threatened to run against a member of Congress if they voted a certain way that is a crime? Do you think in the simplest possible terms before you post?

The law you cite is used for people who threaten to kill federal judges and other officers. Even then, there is a first amendment issue, which is resolved in the cases I cited.

What a maroon. You know nothing about this topic.

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Rob, Unfortunately while you may be correct in your reading of the law, the Pope most assuredly has diplomatic immunity from prosecution.

Posted by: Dan W | May 10, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

thanks to those who come to the defense, after some research I have been able to determine that the Pope's comments have nothing to do with the first Amendment. In fact, the Pope BROKE U.S. LAW.


TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 7 > § 115

§ 115. Influencing, impeding, or retaliating against a Federal official by threatening or injuring a family member
under A section 1 part B

whoever threatens to assault, kidnap, or murder, a United States official, a United States judge, a Federal law enforcement officer, or an official whose killing would be a crime under such section.

To clarify why the pope's comments break U.S. Law, we must review the definition of Assualt. Which can be found here

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 7 > § 111

§ 111. Assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees

(a) In General.-- Whoever--
(1) forcibly assaults, resists, opposes, impedes, INTIMIDATES, or interferes with any person designated in section 1114 of this title while engaged in or on account of the performance of official duties

you'll note the capitilized word intimidates. The Pope intimidated members of Congress by threatening to excommunicate them if they support abortion rights policy.

So much for your theory on this eh Razorback.

Posted by: Rob Millette | May 10, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

razorback

If you had not slept through junior high civics and social studies you would know the answers to you questions.

How did you pass your constitution test in grammar school?????? Or you just don't remember it.

That's a popular accountability avoidance position these days.

Posted by: poor richard | May 10, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

The Christian Right owes its success as a political force to the stealth campaigns that our total ban on religious speech has created.

The Christian Right has been able to masquerade as defenders of the faith because on has ever asked for a detailed explanation of their views and beliefs.

As soon as the broad mass of the American public, including the mainstream Christians understand the self righteous and self serving double standards implicit in the political message of the Evangelicals their political potency will disappear.

Robert Chapman
Lansing, NY

Posted by: robert chapman | May 10, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

'Razorback, why must you continually lie and smear people? Are you incapable of having a civil conversation?'

YES -- he's a 'conservative'. All they understand is smear and attack.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I did pay attention to what Rob Milette said. He said this:
"Once again, the Pope believes that he can control the U.S. Government by threatening our Congressmen and Senators with excommunication if they support abortion rights. This is a travesty and is a huge reason as to why we separate church and state."

What part of that is a proposal to gut the First Amendment? Razorback, why must you continually lie and smear people? Are you incapable of having a civil conversation?

Posted by: Blarg | May 10, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

There is no more significant human right than habeaus corpus -- the right to confront your accuser and to know what you are accused. But the bedwetters are willing to allow the government to take that away from us -- a right we have had since the Magna Carta in 1215.

You're so fearful you're happy to go back to the Middle Ages where a serf's life could be stolen without recourse. bin Ladin has won. This is exactly what he said would happen--that bush would take away our freedom.

Posted by: Casey | May 10, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I didn't really pay attention to what Rob Millette said so I have no judgement on the matter. But I would say the first amendment has been one of our least problematic amendments, covering just baout everything but speech likely to cause violence or undue chaos. Fine by me.

Posted by: DCAustinite | May 10, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Razorback -

well reasoned argument and yes, it is a matter of how much liberty for security, which to some extent may be a matter of perception, but the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, which I think refers less to the government and mostly to us. Habeus corpus is as dear a concept to democracy as the vote and yet...

As for gitmo, I'm no friend of most of those people there, I assure you, but I simply state, how do we know for sure who is there? There has to be some sort of transparency. Right now we're getting 'trust me', out of the mouths of the same people that told us Saddam hussein had drones that could hit NYC in 45 minutes.

But we both agree that there is a lot of work to do yet.

Posted by: DCAustinite | May 10, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

And by the way, I am sure that Zippy and DC Austinite's outrage about constitutional violations would also apply to Rob Millette's proposal to entirely gut the first amendment.

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

When said "tend to religion to play a larger role"- Excuse my ignorance,but, what the hell would would that role be? People's ignorance of what happens when politics mixes with religion makes them very scarey and dangerous individuals! For those who do not know, when politics is combined with religion, HEADS ROLE!!!

Posted by: swtexas | May 10, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

DCAustinite says:

"The tree of liberty is fed with blood (our blood), my friend, and yes, that does mean sacrificing a little security for a little liberty, because there is no point in killing democracy to save it."

I can accept that, and can also accept that reasonable people will differ on the presice balance between liberty and security. The problem with the terrorists is one of the essential skills of a terrorist is to use the freedoms of free countries against them.

I just hope politicians who agree with your views will stand up and say them the day after the next attack.

As to Gitmo, I don't care who they are. They are not American citizens and they are not on American soil, so they have no American rights as far as I am concerned. I am only pissed off that my money is going to feed them.

If the garbage we are fighting want constitutional rights they should propose a constitution for their country.

They were not in uniform. They were not in uniform so they could hide among civilians. Geneva conventions should apply only to combatants in uniform.

If it was up to me we would feed the gitmo dudes to the sharks, after interrogation of course.

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

By name them all, I mean provide a list, not memorize them, hahaha.

Posted by: DCAustinite | May 10, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure most of the people in gitmo are terrorists, but here's the question for you Razorback. How do you know?

You can say for sure that they ALL are?
can you even name them all?
Know what they're charged with?
You don't know, we don't know, there's no legal way of getting that information from the government. That sound like democracy to you?

Posted by: DCAustinite | May 10, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"You do? So when we catch a terrorist should we give him a lawyer and a twinkie? Or should we find out what he knows? Should we drop off a terrorist in Morroco to find out what he knows by unconventional means? Should we let the gitmo terrorists go?"

If you torture somebody, you are no better than them. End of story. We are better than terrorists.


"Should we use the same electronic surveillance techniques we use on mobsters and drug dealers on terrorists as well? Should we limit phone tap to a single phone number, or should we allow the government to listen in on mupltiple numbers when a terrorist uses disposable phones?"

We do all of those things including allowing the gov't to apply retroactively for warrants, the warrantless wiretapping was unnessecary and served no useful purpose. It should be noted too that the 6 New Jersey terrorists were cuaght without using one single provision of the Patriot act, just good old fashioned police work on the part of the FBI. I am all for more money, better training and better equipment. Too bad we're spending all that money and personnel playing nanny to a civil war.

I am not for Torture of anybody (no matter how undoubtably evil they are) and warrantless wiretapping of American citizens and if you are, your understanding of what it means to live in a democracy is flawed. The tree of liberty is fed with blood (our blood), my friend, and yes, that does mean sacrificing a little security for a little liberty, because there is no point in killing democracy to save it.

You were much more likely to be killed in the american revolution as a citizen than you are by terrorism now and Yet Ben Franklin said even then that those who sacrifice a little liberty for a little security deserve neither. See the point? Warrantless wiretaps might catch a few bad guys, but it's a slippery slope, like gun control. What's that saying, 'they come for your rifle today, your pistol tomorrow?' They come for wiretapping today, your freedom of speech tomorrow, buddy.

Posted by: DCAustinite | May 10, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Chi

You may be right on the money. The Founding Fathers were afraid of religious intolerance and the crummy things governments did in the name of their reilgion. Let's see what we got.

Framers remembered the Crusades, the Hundred Years War things like that.
The Saintly W.-Foreign military escapade in the middle east.

Framers remembered religious intolerance French agin'the Heugonots, Church of England agin'about everyone else, Catholics agin'about everyone else, Lutherans agin' catholics
The Saintly W.- The US government agains Muslims, Pentacostal Christianity agin'
well muslims....

Framers remembered the Inquisition, being jailed without recourse or meeting accusers or being arrested without clear cause or tortured for information or being jailed indefinitely
The Saintly W.- Domestic spying, assault on habeas corpus, extraordinary rendition, Abu Ghraib, Guantamo, manipulation of the Department of Justice for political purposes.

Wow....the framers were freaking geniuses.

Posted by: zippy | May 10, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Rob Millette says:

"well sure Razorback, we can all say whatever we want. O wait, no we can't. I do believe there are laws that protect people from threats."

Well at least the constitutional scholar admitted he was "psuedo". You "do believe there are laws". You yack off about a "travesty", propose to ban speech in a manner that would gut the first amendment and your only excuse if "you believe there are laws".

Arnt you supposed to figure out what the laws are before you have an opinion? Isn't that the difference between an opinion and a reasoned opinion?

Yes, there is a law. The government may ban speech which "creates a clear and present danger of imminent" violent acts, in the context of banning advocacy of violent overthrow of the government. A similar standard has been applied to shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre.

See http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=341&invol=494
among other things.

Where are all the liberals that always complain about "gutting" the constitution and the end of constitutional government?

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

We got a more religion guy in the White House who has gotten us into a Civil War in the middle of some real extreme more religion guys, causing an very unreligious humanitarian tragedy that everyone's God has got to be very unhappy about.

The wisdom of the Constitution's framers in establishing a separation of church and state seems to be borne out in the diplomatic, ecological and social disasters resulting from religious guys passing the religious litmus test to gain the advocacy of the religious right folks in an attempt to end run the framers.

Hard to argue that much these guys have done has any underlying spiritual basis.

Maybe we need alot less emphesis on candidates' asserted religious beliefs, and more emphesis on their ethics and commitment to the commonwealth of our society- rather than the their wealth and the prosperity of their cronies.

Posted by: chi town hustler | May 10, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

DCAustinite says:

"Democrats want to win this war and support the troops."

You do? So when we catch a terrorist should we give him a lawyer and a twinkie? Or should we find out what he knows? Should we drop off a terrorist in Morroco to find out what he knows by unconventional means? Should we let the gitmo terrorists go? Should we use the same electronic surveillance techniques we use on mobsters and drug dealers on terrorists as well? Should we limit phone tap to a single phone number, or should we allow the government to listen in on mupltiple numbers when a terrorist uses disposable phones?

Are you going to tie law enforcements hands, and then an attack succeeds accuse them of failing to connect the dots?

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

well sure Razorback, we can all say whatever we want. O wait, no we can't. I do believe there are laws that protect people from threats. Just as I can't come over and threaten to do something to you if you don't do what I want, the pope can't hijack our politics by threatening our elected politicians with ex-communication.

I don't feel its a travesty that someone can say something Razorback, I feel its a travesty that someone can threaten our political process to further the views of his interest group.

Posted by: Rob Millette | May 10, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, calling someone a retard is not ad hominem IF you explain why you are calling them a retard. Ad hominem isn't any name calling, its only name calling without logical explanation.

Also, the subject was higher gas prices. The reasona this is important to consumers is the cost. So saving consumers money on gas while at the same time making a car more expensive doesn't solve the problem.

Blarg also says:

"If CAFE standards were raised, car companies wouldn't just attach fuel-efficiency "gizmos" and jack up their prices. They'd redesign their cars to be more efficient to begin with, as Japanese and European automakers have done for years."

Japanese and European cars are not more efficient, they are on average smaller.

If you really want to force people to buy smaller cars, just admit it. Don't set up a phoney gas mileage standard that can only be met by making the same size car more expense OR by making it smaller.

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"For recognizing Arab based terrorism for what it is and standing up to it. that is our crime. And the liberal community supports this outlook by wringing their hands and daily making sure you hear that "it is really America's own fault.""

I want bin Laden dead, you don't. It's not in your interest to win the war on terror, without terror the republicans have nothing to run on beyond corruption and extremism and 'me first' thinking.

Democrats want to win this war and support the troops. You put yellow ribbon magnets on your cars and talk tough while you refuse to fully fund the troops and give them armor, while giving yourselves tax breaks.

This is a global war and our troops are needed more in Apfghanistan and here than they are in Iraq. But you're too concerned with 'not being wrong' than winning the war for America and you'd rather blame all the worlds' faults on Liberals rather than do something about it. You're lazy, corrupt, amoral and shiftless and you had 6 years in power to do something about it and all you did you was screw interns and sell out the institutions of government for a cheap buck. You can call me names all you want but 67% of the population agrees with me and hopefully, hopefully will get motivated enough to ignore your shameless pandering and actually go out there and win this thing with force AND diplomacy.

Posted by: DCAustinite | May 10, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I know. But I hate to think of people reading this crap and assuming it's right because nobody's arguing. And, for me, it passes the time between inane meetings.

By the way, if you don't want to be confused for a troll yourself, sign your posts.

Posted by: Blarg | May 10, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

why bother to have a conversation with him, blarg? you know all we wants to do is shill his phony, corporate talking points and then insult you. why bother? it's a waste of time talking to trolls.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Razorback: "Energy independence raises gas prices!"
Me: "Not if it's done right. If done right, energy independence reduces gas prices."
Razorback: "But it raises hypothetical other prices by adding non-specified fuel-saving gizmos!"

I'll take your attempt to change the subject as an admission that you were wrong about the effect of energy independence on gas prices.

And I don't know why you insist that greater fuel efficiency leads to more expensive cars. (Actually, I do know why. It's all part of the ideology.) When I bought my car, I could have paid more for a bigger engine, which gets worse mileage. Or I could have bought a bigger car, which also gets worse mileage. Anything to make my car more expensive, short of buying a hybrid, would have hurt my MPG.

If CAFE standards were raised, car companies wouldn't just attach fuel-efficiency "gizmos" and jack up their prices. They'd redesign their cars to be more efficient to begin with, as Japanese and European automakers have done for years. The results would be cheaper for consumers, both in initial cost and in the long run.

And if you don't think calling someone retarded is an ad-hominem attack, you're a

Posted by: Blarg | May 10, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Religion in Public Life"

If My people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NASB)

SOUNDS LIKE WE COULD STAND FOR SIGNIFICANTLY MORE

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Rob Millette says:

"Once again, the Pope believes that he can control the U.S. Government by threatening our Congressmen and Senators with excommunication if they support abortion rights. This is a travesty and is a huge reason as to why we separate church and state."

Yet another false statement by a liberal psuedo constitutional scholar.

The reason that we have the first amendment is so that the Pope can say whatever he wants, Rob Milltte can say how stupid the Pope is for saying it, members of Congress can agree or disagree with either, and at the end of the day the voters sort it all out after a free and robust debate.

Rob Millette says that its a "travesty" that someone said something. What is really a travesty is that Rob Millette doesn't understand the first amendment well enough to know that it allows people to say what they want, and that the solution isn't to BAN speech, its MORE speech.

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

cowardly corporate media says:

"On Tuesday, without note in the U.S. media, more than half of the members of Iraq's parliament rejected the continuing occupation of their country. 144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal, according to Nassar Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the Al Sadr movement, the nationalist Shia group that sponsored the petition."

This is false. Absolutely false.

"The Iraqi bill, drafted by a parliamentary bloc loyal to anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, was signed by 144 members of the 275-member house, according to Nassar al-Rubaie, the leader of the Sadrist bloc."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,271210,00.html

Guess who reported the news: FOX FOX FOX. Hahaha. You have to love irony.

cowardly corporate media you missed the news because you were on the wrong channel.

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

This country needs much less religion involved in its everyday thinking and stories like this one are exactly the reason why.


Pope warns Catholic politicians who back abortion
Wed May 9, 2007 8:46AM EDT

World News
By Philip Pullella

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) - Pope Benedict on Wednesday warned Catholic politicians they risked excommunication from the Church and should not receive communion if they support abortion.

http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL0956318820070509?feedType=RSS&rpc=22

Its time to face reality. While many people look to the spiritual guidance of the church, the church has in the past and is still interested in only two things. Controlling the masses and the power that brings. Throughout history, the church has been the power behind the throne in every country and empire. The story of Jesus Christ is a great view of this. The Pharisees did not feel that they needed Jesus because he was unruly or created great acts of violence. He simply preached a different religion and so he was killed.

Once again, the Pope believes that he can control the U.S. Government by threatening our Congressmen and Senators with excommunication if they support abortion rights. This is a travesty and is a huge reason as to why we separate church and state. I am one of those people that would rather not have a person of faith as my president. I don't want anyone deciding the laws of this land based on their religion.

Posted by: Rob Millette | May 10, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

More than half of the members of Iraq's parliament rejected for the first time on Tuesday the continuing occupation of their country. The U.S. media ignored the story.

On Tuesday, without note in the U.S. media, more than half of the members of Iraq's parliament rejected the continuing occupation of their country. 144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal, according to Nassar Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the Al Sadr movement, the nationalist Shia group that sponsored the petition.

It's a hugely significant development. Lawmakers demanding an end to the occupation now have the upper hand in the Iraqi legislature for the first time; previous attempts at a similar resolution fell just short of the 138 votes needed to pass (there are 275 members of the Iraqi parliament, but many have fled the country's civil conflict, and at times it's been difficult to arrive at a quorum).

Posted by: cowardly corporate media | May 10, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse


(May 09, 2007) -- Until recently, the press has rarely covered the U.S. military program that occasionally offers "condolence" payments to Iraqis and Afghans whose loved ones have been killed or injured by our troops. But a number of high-profile incidents involving the killing of noncombatants has drawn some long-overdue, if fleeting, attention to the subject.

On Tuesday, in the latest example, the U.S. military apologized for a not-accidental atrocity near Jalalabad back in March and agreed to make the usual maximum payment -- don't laugh -- of about $2000 to survivors for each of the 19 Afghan lives lost.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Another step backwards for race relations: Bush's new USAID nominee said Hispanics are 'lazy' - ThinkProgress: "President Bush plans to nominate Henrietta Holsman Fore to head the U.S. Agency for International Development 'to replace Randall Tobias who resigned after his name was linked to an 'escort service.' Fore is currently the State Department undersecretary for management. When Bush nominated her for this position in 2005, ThinkProgress noted that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) grilled Fore over her previous comments in which she suggested blacks prefer pushing drugs on the street to working in factory jobs.... Holsman has also said she found Hispanic workers to be lazy, white workers resentful of having to work with machines, and Asians likely to move on to professional or management jobs."

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Blarg says:

"So, while lecturing Dee about what an ad-hominem attack is, you call her retarded. Pot, meet kettle."

Dee lectured me about ad hominem, and never referenced a single facts in support of her conclusion. That one would lecture someone about ad hominem without referencing any facts to support their position is itself ad hominem.

I pointed out the facts in support of my conclusiong that Dee is DeeDeeDee, therefore it is not ad hominem.

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

'at the lack of understanding ' -- you mean, people who don't believe your biased, wacked-out, racist, bedwetting, war-mongering winger propaganda?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Blarg says:

"Policies to enforce higher fuel efficiency, promote use of public transportation, and otherwise reduce the amount of gas we use, won't increase gas prices. They may actually decrease gas prices."

Blarg is RIGHT if you limit cost comparison to gas prices. Blarg is WRONG is you use transportation cost (cost of car plus cost of gas)instead of just gas prices.

Adding a gizmo to a 2007 Chevy that gets 15 miles to the gallon so that the same truck then gets 17 miles to the gallon will decrease gas demand and decrease gas prices, all other things being equal.

The problem with Blarg's argument is that the gizmo isn't free. If the cost of the gizmo exceeds the amount of the fuel savings, the consumer has lost money. Because gas prices are high, we take steps that while reducing gas prices, increase transportation costs.

Only a stupid car company would refuse to implement technical changes which increase mileage without decreasing safety or performance, because that is what the consumer wants. Why have a government mandate? Only to force consumers to buy a gizmo that costs more than the fuel savings it achieves.

So Blarg's real solution is some unamed policy which will force people to use public transportation or buy smaller vehicles. I wonder why no one is campaigning on that?

Reduced consumption is the only way to "save the environment". China says save the environment by only have one kid per family. Europeans want to save the environment by limiting tourism travel.

I wonder why none of the US presidentials are campaigning on that?

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, you watch Fox long enough, you eventually turn into terry shiavo.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

blarg - Calk it up to the fact that I am more and more alarmed at the lack of understanding on the part of some left-leaning folks as to the dire consequences and challenging decisions the next president will face.

We risk more than a divisive debate, as the pressure of partisan politics has made the next election a referendum on the war on terror itself.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 10, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"Ad hominem is when you call someone a name as a substitute for a logical explanation of facts related to an argument."
"Dee (or should I say DeeDeeDee as Carlos Mencia would say)"

So, while lecturing Dee about what an ad-hominem attack is, you call her retarded. Pot, meet kettle.

Posted by: Blarg | May 10, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Bush is the best friend bin Ladin ever had. Not only did he let him get away, but we know where he is and still do nothing. And Bush has systematically delivered America into thehands of terrorists -- our ports and borders are unsecured, we have done literally nothing to make ourselves safer, and 6 years later are less safe than ever.

Do you suppose bin Ladin pays him, or is it just the family's Saudi connections?

Posted by: Seinna | May 10, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Dee (or should I say DeeDeeDee as Carlos Mencia would say) says:

"'razorback' proves my point. just another ad hominem attack on democrats."

I assume this is a reference to my comments about Pelosi. Rather than blathering like idiots do, lets think this one through.

First, what is ad hominem. We need a definition of our term that can be uniformly applied to R's and D's. I suggest this:

An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.

Pelosi was commenting on gas prices and energy independence. I locically and facutally stated that buying oil from someone other than the low cost producer ALWAYS results in higher prices, therefore Pelosi is a mindless panderer who is either knowingly dishonest about this issue, or is too stupid to realize that energy independence means HIGHER gas prices.

Ad hominem is when you call someone a name as a substitute for a logical explanation of facts related to an argument. I stated my central premise "buying from someone other than the low cost procuder always results in higher prices".

Can you rebut that? DeeDeeDee, you dont even try to rebut it. You dont even mention the argument. You, DeeDeeDee are the one using ad hominem.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

The entire republican party is treasonous. They are destroying this country willfully, with their reckless spending, their lies and their demogoguery.

Posted by: Maggic | May 10, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Proud, weren't you smarter at one point? I remember that you actually made coherent, intelligent posts. Now you're quoting stupid anonymous flames as if they were valid contributions to the discussion, and using the stupidest "lib" strawmen. What happened?

Posted by: Blarg | May 10, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

'Someone asked the other day: "So are the Democrats just jihadists lite? they seem to share all the same values and goals."

You really are a cretinous little scumbag, aren't you, you vile piece of sh*t.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Global warming can be decreased, and energy independence can be partially achieved, by focusing on energy conservation and efficiency. Policies to enforce higher fuel efficiency, promote use of public transportation, and otherwise reduce the amount of gas we use, won't increase gas prices. They may actually decrease gas prices.

Razorback never mentions energy conservation. Probably because he can't imagine any situation in which buying less is the answer. It's anti-capitalist!

Posted by: Blarg | May 10, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

and at a few minutes after noon, we shall surely be joined by another rabid animal, koz, who will post alternately anti-dem bile and/or drool the rest of the day, only he will sometimes be sandflea or trotsky.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

re: "I kove [sic] it when barking dog Conservatives try and pin everything in the world on evil liberals"

Someone asked the other day: "So are the Democrats just jihadists lite? they seem to share all the same values and goals."

Of course, America was the bad guy for invading Iraq and removing Saddam after 10 years of duplicity, deceit and the funding of Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda and any other terrorist bent on hurting Israel or the U.S.

Why are the U.S., Israel and U.K. targets?

For recognizing Arab based terrorism for what it is and standing up to it. that is our crime. And the liberal community supports this outlook by wringing their hands and daily making sure you hear that "it is really America's own fault."

What does that make libs? "yowling cat democrats?"

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 10, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

'Yes, meuphys you educated idiot, '

Posted by: rabid animal | May 10, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

It's true to Dubai is purely capalist. They run many of our ports and use cheap illegal immigrant labor to staff them, so we have never been as unsecure and unsafe as we are now. But do you think republicans really give a damn? Nah.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Yes, meuphys you educated idiot, there are degrees of socialism and capitalism. But, you educated idiot, compare the economic record of those nations who are relatively more capitalist (US, Japan, S. Korea, Chile etc.) with those that are more socialist and only a fool would conclude that socialism works better than capitalism.

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

republican don't care about soverignity -- only profits.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

see? 'razorback' proves my point. just another ad hominem attack on democrats. that's literally all the frothing republican pit bulls are capable of.

getting desperate i guess, knowing they're going to lose even more seats next time...

Posted by: dee | May 10, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Razorback, remind me on some future blog [that is not ostensibly about religion] what you see as the role of the notion of "sovereignty" when addressing international markets in both goods and labor.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | May 10, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Nancy Pelosi says:

"With Memorial Day travel and the start of summer driving only a few weeks away, drivers are paying a heavy price for the Bush administration's failure to enact a comprehensive energy strategy," said Pelosi. Years of Bush administration policies that have favored Big Oil over the consumers have resulted in record dependence on foreign oil," the California Democrat added."

What a contradictory ignorant and false statement.

Oil is bought from overseas producers because they are the lowest cost producers. "Energy independence" is buying energy from someone OTHER THAN the low cost producer, which necessarily INCREASES gas prices.

Pelosi is a mindless panderer who is either knowingly dishonest about this issue, or is too stupid to realize that energy independence means HIGHER gas prices.

A more honest liberal position is this:

"Hurrah! Great news! When I filled up my car's gas tank yesterday, I paid an all-time record $3.41 a gallon, and experts are predicting that gasoline prices may soon reach $4 a gallon. can't wait!

Barring $4-a-gallon gasoline prices, America will not get serious about reducing toxic emissions that worsen global warming, and will continue to fund corrupt Middle Eastern kingdoms that deny basic civil rights to women and fund Islamic fundamentalist schools, some of which preach violence against innocent ''infidels'' in the name of Allah."


http://www.miamiherald.com/418/story/101833.html

Have you noticed how silent the "presidentials" have been on this issue? They know that there global warming and energy independence policies with INCREASE gas prices. Pelosi doesn't realize this. How stupid.

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

'The one area of agreement seemed to be that U.S. officials want the Iraqi government to better contain violence there. Vice President Cheney made an unannounced trip to Baghdad yesterday to meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other officials. He urged them to help end fighting between rival Sunni and Shiite factions, to make progress on revising their constitution, and to better manage their oil revenue. [i guess he should know.]

Cheney also expressed concern about the Iraqi parliament considering a two-month summer vacation. That has angered members of Congress and other American officials, who say it shows a lack of concern for the commitment of U.S. troops.

Participants in Tuesday's White House meeting said frustration about the Iraqi government's efforts dominated the conversation, with one pleading with the president to stop the Iraqi parliament from going on vacation while "our sons and daughters spill their blood."

Posted by: cheney gives advice on 'managing your oil revenue' | May 10, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

meuphys -- almost everything the repubs post on this blog is either a mindless attack on democrats or muslims. it's just a knee-jerk reaction. i don't even think they can help themselves. all they know how to do is parrot fox and rush.

Posted by: dee | May 10, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

proudtobeGOP: "Liberal appeasment of these terrorist groups"

You're truly a piece of garbage.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | May 10, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

House Republicans, in a remarkably blunt White House meeting, warned President Bush this week that his pursuit of the war in Iraq is risking the future of the Republican Party and that he cannot count on GOP support for many more months.

Posted by: time to cut and run? | May 10, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

proudtobeGOP - that cartoon sounds awful. i agree, in that i am opposed to secret messages in media, especially ones aimed at kids. nor do i like the 'violence solves problems' and 'simplistic greed' messages which pervade both kids' and adults TV. i would only disagree with you if you implied that this type of message was peculiar to islam, and not one found in every western capital and boardroom, at least to some extent. (to be fair, i don't think you were saying that, but i don't remember.)

razorback, in re: "The only thing dumber than saying that 'God' is a Republican is saying that 'God' is a socialist."

let's look at this. given what is claimed about "god" as a personality, and assuming by "republican" you mean "capitalist," would god be more likely to value the earning of profit over the sharing of resources in an equitable way?

(btw - i am taking the liberty of describing both systems according to their ideal.
of course, neither a purely capitalist nor purely socialist state has ever existed in the world - at the moment, the closest are probably dubai (c) and sweden (s).
the soviet union was and cuba and china are socialist only to a limited degree, which has to do with the structure of the economy. marx never envisioned the state as the ultimate power - remember, he predicted 'the withering away of the state' - and while he placed the good of the whole over the good of the individual, he never intended for that to be established as a moral priority.
most nations claiming to be either purely capitalist or purely socialist are in fact totalitarian dictatorships.)

i know this was a throwaway line for you, but even your throwaway lines are wrong.

Posted by: meuphys | May 10, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

ROANOKE, Va. -- The maker of the painkiller OxyContin and three of its current and former executives pleaded guilty today to misleading the public about the drug's risk of addiction.

The plea comes two days after the Stamford, Conn.-based company agreed to over $19 million to 26 states, including Virginia and the District of Columbia, to settle complaints that it encouraged physicians to overprescribe OxyContin.

Brownlee said Purdue "unleashed a highly abusable, addictive, and potentially dangerous drug on an unsuspecting and unknowing public."

Posted by: Big Pharma at work | May 10, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Fires Rage as Flooding Drowns Midwest
Wildfires, Floods, Tropical Weather Make Life Miserable From Coast to Coast

By ROGER PETTERSON Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK May 10, 2007 (AP)

Nature's fury made life miserable from one end of the nation to the other, with people forced out of their homes by wildfires near both coasts and the Canadian border and by major flooding in the Midwest.

And although the calendar still said spring, the first named storm of the year was whipping up surf on the beaches of the Southeast.

Overall, it was quite a day for the record books.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Romney can't talk about his faith, because his faith is viewed as both dangerous cult and a crock. He's in a tough corner on that.

http://political-buzz.com/

Posted by: mpp | May 10, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I kove it when barking dog Conservatives try and pin everything in the world on evil liberals. They'd be hard pressed to find one liberal who has ever said appropriating Mickey Mouse to teach intolerance is anything short of bad, bad, bad. And yet, somehow, Al Qaeda and Hamas aren't the enemy, Liberals are.

Democrats want to kill Bin Laden, Barking dog Republicans want to kill Democrats.

*Note, this does not apply to most reasonable, rational republicans in here that want to debate and discuss.

Posted by: DCAustinite | May 10, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Yawn. The "God" stuff is boring. Its only used as a diversion from the merits of an argument. Don't tell me what "God" does or doesn't like. Tell me what your argument is and let it stand or fail on its merits.

Similarly, if Adolph Hitler says you have a burger hanging from your nose, Adolph's high negatives do not resolve the question of whether or not you have a burger hanging from your nose.

The bottom line is this: The only thing dumber than saying that "God" is a Republican is saying that "God" is a socialist.

Posted by: Razorback | May 10, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Survey: Americans Anxious About Their Health Security

High costs, fear of losing their health coverage, and concern about managing chronic disease drive Americans' insecurity about their health and healthcare, according to anational survey by Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), the nation's eighth-largest hospital system.

http://onthehillblog.blogspot.com/2007/05/survey-americans-anxious-about-their.html

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I agree Blarg-- there's absolutely no reason that religions should have tax exemptions. Too many of them use their pulpits for political reasons, and if you look at the garments and jewels and palaces of the vatican, for instance, you can't really say they need the money.

Posted by: Sienna | May 10, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Morality doesn't "come from religion"! All the major religions are merely attempts to codify, in local cultures the innate concepts of fairness that even "lower" primates exhibit. The fact that every human culture on the planet comes up with basically the same handful of rules is the best argument against any single religion.

Posted by: thebob.bob | May 10, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

'liberal appeasers of terrorist groups' -- man your con brainwashing really just completely blocks you from any sort of rational thought, doesn't it? You take any subject and turn it into a kneejerk attack on some fictitious 'liberal' strawmen. Good propagand job on you. You're quite a pathetic case.

YOu people are a bunch of drooling pavlovian dogs.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure why religions have tax advantages and exemptions to begin with.

Posted by: Blarg | May 10, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

And any religion attempting such coersion should immediately lose ALL tax advantages and exemptions.

Posted by: Dan W | May 10, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

JimD: I agree with what you are saying. I am commenting on what I see as a feeling of the public. There is a profound belief that religious leaders attempt to use religious coersion to try to get their way. Any leader who caves to religious pressure should be immediately removed from office on grounds of separation of church and state.

Posted by: Dan W | May 10, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

A politician is a true uniter if he can communicate successfully with religious AND agnostic AND atheist Americans.

Politicians are not ready for the big time if they turn off any one of these groups of Americans.

Politicians who cannot successfully communicate with Americans of any particular spiritual or nonspiritual inclination need to stay in their own districts, where they can serve the needs of a small, relatively homogeneous consituency.

Posted by: Golgi | May 10, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Dan W

Some religious authorities have tried to pressure politicians of their faith to toe the church's line on certain issues. The most notable examples have been Catholic bishops and priests who advocate denying the sacrements to pro-choice Catholic politicians. The important lesson in this is that it did not work.

Posted by: JimD in FL | May 10, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

CC asks about "the proper role of religion in public life". Let's look at what the proper role is NOT, as example:

Yesterday,Razorback said regarding Islamists "Their civic culture has no respect for life, and that will not change even if Israel is wiped off the map."

Need proof? Just look at the television shows that are being aired in the Middle East aimed at the youngest recruits to the cause of radical Islam.

Hamas militants have enlisted the iconic Mickey Mouse to broadcast their message of Islamic dominion and armed resistance to their most impressionable audience - little children.

A giant black-and-white rodent - named "Farfour," or "butterfly" - but unmistakably a Mickey ripoff - does his high-pitched preaching against the US and Israel on a children's show run each Friday on Al-Aqsa TV, a station run by Hamas.

"You and I are laying the foundation for a world led by Islamists," Farfour squeaked on a recent episode of the show, which is titled, Tomorrow's Pioneers.

"We will return the Islamic community to its former greatness..."

With the help of a furry mascot, children are taught to hate Jews and to hate nonbelievers. This is truly sickening. Liberal appeasment of these terrorist groups will only play into their hands.

Where is the outcry from the rest of the 'religion of peace' on this attack on their children?

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 10, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Elect an atheist. Religious people suffer from delusions. Do we really want a deluded person in the White House. Oh, right.... we already have one now.

Posted by: Pops | May 10, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Meuphys: I agree, And there is a huge difference between religion/following a religion and being religious.

Posted by: Dan W | May 10, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"A person of true religious conviction might have a difficult time if the religions ruling body threatened excommunication for instituting certain policies. Not saying its likely to happen but the fear is that it COULD happen."

Something similar happened to Kerry in 2004. Some Catholic officials wanted to excommunicate him because he was too pro-choice.

Posted by: Blarg | May 10, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

The Pope said recently that members of the legislature of Mexico City that legalize abortion should be considered self-excommunicated. Whils this isn't as harsh a statement as my previous post says could occur, it none-the-less justifies peoples fears of a religious person has their faith as the centerpoint of thier existance.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070509/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/pope_brazil_17;_ylt=Auxi3YutYghLUh7EZT_cbeEL1vAI

Posted by: Dan W | May 10, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

on topic: i am an agnostic, and so see religion as a human construct. therefore - i believe that religion is only as good or bad an influence as those who use it as such, and that almost but not entirely rules it out for me.

Posted by: meuphys | May 10, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

And include in that modification making it an offence to attempt to prevent somone from testifying or even communication with congress.

Posted by: Dan W | May 10, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Military policy has no weight in the face of a congressional subpoena. And the military has no authority to tell congress what it can and cant take notes on.

Sounds like congress should modify the UCMJ making it an offence for any member subject to the code to refuse to appear before congress for testimony.

Posted by: Dan W | May 10, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Veterans of Capitol Hill scoffed at the Pentagon's restrictions on who can talk to lawmakers.

"If I was the staff director I would say why the hell should I care who you want to appear before my committee," said Winslow Wheeler, who worked for three Republican senators in a 30-year career as a top congressional aide. He called Wilkie's memo "embarrassing."

The memo has fueled complaints that the Bush administration is trying to restrict access to information about the war in Iraq.
The special House oversight panel, according to aides, has written at least 10 letters to the Pentagon since February seeking information and has received only one official reply. Nor has the Pentagon complied with repeated requests for all the monthly assessments of Iraqi security forces, reports compiled by US military advisers embedded with Iraqi units.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

There isn't so mush a fear of religion in politics as there is a fear of religious institutions controlling our government.

Its nice to know how leaders frame their religious thoughts but what happens when a leaders religious thoughts are controlled by an outside body. We worry how much control the Pope will have over a catholic president in the same vein that we worry about the same control exercised by some council of bishops.

A person of true religious conviction might have a difficult time if the religions ruling body threatened excommunication for instituting certain policies. Not saying its likely to happen but the fear is that it COULD happen.

Posted by: Dan W | May 10, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon has placed unprecedented restrictions on who can testify before Congress, reserving the right to bar lower-ranking officers, enlisted soldiers, and career bureaucrats from appearing before oversight committees or having their remarks transcribed, according to Defense Department documents.

Robert L. Wilkie , a former Bush administration national security official who left the White House to become assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs last year, has outlined a half-dozen guidelines that prohibit most officers below the rank of colonel from appearing in hearings, restricting testimony to high-ranking officers and civilians appointed by President Bush.
The guidelines, described in an April 19 memo to the staff director of the House Armed Services Committee, adds that all field-level officers and enlisted personnel must be "deemed appropriate" by the Department of Defense before they can participate in personal briefings for members of Congress or their staffs; in addition, according to the memo, the proceedings must not be recorded.

Wilkie's memo also stipulated that any officers who are allowed to testify must be accompanied by an official from the administration, such as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his top-level aides.

Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress see the move as a blatant attempt to bog down investigations of the war. But veterans of the legislative process -- who say they have never heard of such guidelines before -- maintain that the Pentagon has no authority to set such ground rules.

AN ABSOLUTE OUTRAGE

Posted by: MILITARY COUP | May 10, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

excellent polling coverage on http://www.solidpolitics.com

Posted by: William | May 10, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Columnist Robert Novak, who sat at Thompson's table at the filet-mignon-and-sea-bass dinner of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, wrote that the speech was "lackluster."

More than just speeches

An uncommitted GOP strategist went further, saying Thompson's approach to a possible bid needs to be sharpened. Citing ballot access in early primary and caucus states as an example, the strategist said Thompson's team shows a "lack of understanding of what it takes to get in the race. It's not just traveling around the country giving speeches."

The consultant said Thompson needs a more comprehensive strategy to maximize his current buzz. "You need to start managing expectations. That was the biggest problem with the speech out there [in California]. You've got to deflate the bubble before it starts blowing up and before it pops."

Posted by: Thompson bombs | May 10, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

"What a surprise. Now the surge of only 21,000 troops -- now 30,000 troops -- is a permanent escalation that may last to the end of Bush's term. In other words, Bush is running out the clock, he has no intention of ever leaving Iraq, and plans on handing his disaster off to the next president. This is atrocious."

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

LSterling and JimD in Fl -

Thanks for sharing other recollections of Dean Drinan.

JimD - when I say I think I know where the bright line is most of the time, for what it is worth, you place it pretty much where I would.

But the S. Ct. is closer to your view than you think. School prayer is compulsory because attendance is mandatory; thus it is viewed as "establishment". Typically, public religious display in public places is allowed, where it is a temporary display that was arranged on a first-come first-serve basis and does not interfere with traffic, safety, etc. That is free exercise.

But permanent public displays like big stone ten commandments hog public places and foreclose other free speech in the same public place, so they raise establishment issues.

I invite other lawyers to comment, too.

Posted by: MarkinAustin | May 10, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Chad, I do agree with what you are saying. But I think those things can be framed in 'ethical' terms without even mentioning God. As far as the enviornment, can we not find it in ourselves to love this beautiful world for its own sake? To feel that we owe it to our children and fellow creatures to save it?

Can not our common humanity help us feel love for the helpless and disadvantaged and those who are suffering?

I would hope that there is in most people a real capacity for good, that doesn't need to be prompted by either the example or threat of a God.

Posted by: Cynthia | May 10, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

'I do not believe government should promote religion but I see no harm in displaying the Ten Commandments in a court room.'

But which version of the 10 commandments, JimD? There are different ones, you know, even between Jews and Christians. That's why it's too divisive.

Posted by: Sally | May 10, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

To Cynthia:
I agree that calling yourself religious grants no moral authority by itself. However, how would the world be different if politians had asked "what is the best way to take care of the gift God gave us" when discussing the environment? Or, "how should we meed the Biblical directives to take care of the poor?" Or, "what is the best way to show the love of God to people who are suffering?" The idea is not that people should claim a religious affiliation and then do whatever they want, rather that they should look at how true religion should be guiding decisions.

Sadly, for many the "what will get me reelected" carries over into religion. Some politicians claim Christianity without letting it affect their lives in the least.

Posted by: Chad | May 10, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

A sharp increase in mortar attacks on the Green Zone -- the one-time oasis of security in Iraq's turbulent capital -- has prompted the U.S. Embassy to issue a strict new order telling all employees to wear flak vests and helmets while in unprotected buildings or whenever they are outside.

The order, obtained by The Associated Press, has created a siege mentality among U.S. staff inside the Green Zone following a recent suicide attack on parliament. It has also led to new fears about long-term safety in the place where the U.S. government is building a massive and expensive new embassy.

Posted by: * | May 10, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse


Right now we've got four different kinds of extreme weather plaguing our country. Drought in California, with the resultant wildfires bearing down on Los Angeles.

Drought-driven wildfires have already wiped out 40 homes and buildings in Northern Minnesota, while flooding in the Midwest has busted levees holding the Missouri River at bay -- with more flooding to come over the next several days. Florida is experiencing the worst drought in its history. People there are watching Lake Okeechobee water levels shrink to near-record lows with little rain in sight, and the entire watershed of the Everglades is drying out fast. There's smoke all over Orlando and the center of the state from brushfires, and Georgia's largest-ever wildfire -- which has burned over 100,000 acres so far -- is knocking on the door of Florida's northern border. And now there's Tropical Storm Andrea, a freakishly early hurricane-like storm off the southeastern coast, more than three weeks before hurricane season officially starts.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Mark - I was an undergraduate at Boston College in the late '60's/early 70's when Fr Drinan was Dean of the Law School and then Congressman. I attended several functions at which he spoke and had an opportunity to participate in Q & A sessions with him after these functions. He was a compelling speaker who always employed rigorous logic in his discussions.

In those days, it was the right which was complaining about political activity by clergy. The civil rights movement was dominated by ministers - Dr. King, Dr. Abernathy and a host of others. (I remember reading that Jerry Flawell felt at the time that it was inappropriate for clergy to get involved in politics - the fact that 90% of his congregation was pro-segragation certainly had nothing to do with his decision). The anti-war movement featured many members of the clergy - including many who participated in civil disobedience. Again, Jesuits were prominent like the Berrigan brothers.

I have no problem with people whose religious beliefs motivate them to participate in politics. Would anyone say that people should not be allowed to participate in politics because their moral beliefs motivated them to advocate or oppose certain issues? I think not. So, what is the difference? Religious people's moral code is profoundly informed by their religious beliefs.

I agree that churches as an organization should not be allowed to support specific candidates or political parties without losing their tax exempt status. There is a difference between institutions operating as institutions and individuals operating as individuals. However, churches have a duty to preach their doctrine and sometimes that touches political issues. Abortion and gay marriage are not the only issues where the theological meets the political. Anti-war, anti-death penalty, pro-immigration, and anti-poverty activism are spurred by religious beliefs for many Americans. Churches must be allowed to preach on the moral issues of the day even if they touch on political controversies.

As for religion in the public schools, I agree that teachers should not be leading prayer for their students. A lot of the original opposition to prayer in the public schools came from minority religions who felt that the form of prayer used contradicted their beliefs. Catholics and Protestants can't even agree on the wording to the Lord's Prayer.

I do think, however, that the courts have gone too far in forbidding religious symbolism in the public square. Our cultural heritage is deeply informed by Judeo-Christian tradition. I do not believe government should promote religion but I see no harm in displaying the Ten Commandments in a court room.

I know that there exists a faction within the religious right that wants to declare the United States a "Christian nation" and drastically lower the barrier between church and state. I am unalterably opposed to this. However, I would not equate all political action by clergy and religiously motivated citizens with this fringe group.

Posted by: JimD in FL | May 10, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

John McCain's presidential campaign has taken a troubling turn. This week, the Los Angeles Times reported that John Weaver, a strategist for John McCain's presidential campaign, verbally attacked Planned Parenthood, the nation's leading reproductive health care advocate and provider. Weaver called the 90-year old provider of birth control, cancer screenings, sex education and abortion services "one of the most radical pro-abortion groups in the country."

For the record: Ninety seven percent of Planned Parenthood's services are focused on prevention, including family planning, contraception, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. Three percent of Planned Parenthood services are abortion care. The remark was an attack driven by the McCain campaign's need to score political points.

Posted by: --and McCain's disingenuous | May 10, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

After months of conflicting signals on abortion, Rudolph W. Giuliani is planning to offer a forthright affirmation of his support for abortion rights in public forums, television appearances and interviews in the coming days, despite the potential for bad consequences among some conservative voters already wary of his views, aides said yesterday.

At the same time, Mr. Giuliani's campaign -- seeking to accomplish the unusual task of persuading Republicans to nominate an abortion rights supporter -- is eyeing a path to the nomination that would try to de-emphasize the early states in which abortion opponents wield a great deal of influence. Instead they would focus on the so-called mega-primary of Feb. 5, in which voters in states like California, New York and New Jersey are likely to be more receptive to Mr. Giuliani's social views than voters in Iowa and South Carolina.

Posted by: Rudy's strategy | May 10, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

What is this ridiculous idea, this arrogance, that people can't tell the difference between right and wrong if they aren't religious? How fundamentally ignorant.

I've known plenty of religious and non-religious people both. I honestly can't say that either group is morally superior. It's just silly and dishonest.

'Without religion, politics is reduced to "what will get me reelected" which leads to all sorts of scandals.'

This comment is especially ridiculous. Those politicians who are wrapping themselves in religion these days, are the most ruthless and immoral of all--talk about 'scandals'.

What about the priests who abuse children? What about the evangelicals who buy prostitutes? Let's get real. Calling yourself 'religous' confers no moral authority whatsoever.

Posted by: Cynthia | May 10, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

We definately need more discussion of religion in politics. Without some sort of religion, where do politicians base their ideas of right and wrong? Is it right to preserve the environment, or is it right to raise the standard of living of the poor? What if you can only do one or the other, how do you decide which is better if you have no religious basis?
Without religion, politics is reduced to "what will get me reelected" which leads to all sorts of scandals.
Also, the prayer in school debate has moved from manditory prayer long ago. Now the debate is more along the lines of whether student sponsored public prayer outside of school time should be allowed. That is, should students be allowed to gather by a flagpole for a prayer in the mornings? Is allowing students to pray (without teacher sponsorship) establishing a national religion, or is not allowing prohibiting the practice of religion?

Posted by: Chad | May 10, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin: My Dad attended BC High with Drinan in the '30s. I had occasion to meet him at a law school convocation in Rhode Island in either 2001 or 2002. He was still very liberal on general social/societal issues, but very traditional when it came to personal faith, morals, and issues such as "right to life". He professed and lived his liberal and personal philosophy in a very consistent though complex manner. He left people and places better for having been there, and his legal acumen and teaching improved the lives of many of his students and their clientele. I am certain to have him as a teacher must have been memorable.

Posted by: LSterling | May 10, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

The greatest and most fictitous conceit of the Beltway media class is that they are the real voice of What Americans Think. Man of the People Rick Stengel of Time will simply take his own personal views and falsely claim that this is "what voters want to see." David Brooks does that constantly, as do people like Andrea Mitchell. And the painfully self-conscious obsessions which Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, and Maureen Dowd (among others) have with trying to demonstrate what salt-of-the-earth regular people they are is depressingly familiar, not to mention glaringly false.

And the idea that David Broder is the "voice of the people" is particularly ludicrous given that the crux of David Broder's worldview -- to the extent that he has such a thing -- is that whatever else happens in Washington, the top priority is that our elegant and elevated power centers be shielded from the wild passions and uncontrolled fervor of the lowly, rambunctious, impetuous masses. Broder is the "voice of the people" in the most condescending manner possible -- he loves them like his misguided and ignorant children, innocents and vulnerables who need to be protected by the sober and wise adults who know best.

The disconnect between, on the one hand, what Beltway media stars think about and care about, and the lives of most Americans on the other, is so vast that it is difficult to describe. One could argue that the complete disconnect between our Beltway power centers and the lives of most Americans is the single greatest deficiency in our political culture. Yet the preening, insulated pundits of the royal court think the opposite.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) -- The Kansas Board of Education on Tuesday repealed sex education policies enacted last year, the latest move by the moderate majority to undo efforts by conservatives when they dominated the board.

One rescinded policy recommended that schools stress abstinence until marriage, while the other urged school districts to get parental permission before students could attend human sexuality classes.

On a 6-3 vote, the board replaced the policies with one that recommends "abstinence plus" sex education programs and leaves it up to the state's 296 school districts to decide whether to get parental permission.

The "abstinence plus" program stresses abstinence before marriage, while also urging schools to give students information about birth control and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

"It's a matter of emphasis," said chairman Bill Wagnon.

Wagnon said the goal was "to describe the curriculum standards in terms of 'it's more than just simply an encouragement of abstinence,' but we want a balance and comprehensive educational program about sex."

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

It would be one thing if those leaders who call themselves Christians, would actually ACT like Christians--but they do not, in any way, shape or form. Jesus taught compassion, forgiveness, and helping the disadvantaged - not greed, endless war, and hatred.

Posted by: Samuel | May 10, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Mike Glover's article on Romney's wife donating to a pro-life organization, Planned Parenthood, only highlights Romney's chameleon type character. While running for governor of our liberal Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he needed to espouse liberal ideas to get elected. His stint as governor was only a stepping stone to his run for the president. He was a lousey governor. Now he needs to appeal to the conservative base of the Republican Party and has changed his colors. I find it abhorent that politics dwells on issues of abortion, stem cell research, gay marriages, etc. when the truly important issues revolve around the environment, aiding the poor and underpriveleged, education, and supplying affordable health care for all. Yes, these things cost money, but not paying for them will cost us more in the long run especially if we allow the politicians to dwell instead on the "religious social issues". Having Mr. Romney as president is not about whether he follows the Mormon religion, but rather the fact that he will only prolong the misery and disasterous reign of the last eight years. Please let's pick a president who will have the courage and leadership to stand up for what is right and good in this country, a free nation for everyone.

Posted by: Susan | May 10, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

If we get another republican you can bet we'll get religion shoved down our throats again.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Less religion, definitely. The government has no business telling people to be or not be religious -- and prayer in schools is the most divisive issue of all. I will not allow school administrators to tell my kids how or when or if they should pray, and to whose God.

Posted by: Carol | May 10, 2007 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I suspect it is a mistake to group people as simply "religious" or not. Within this "religious" group, far and away most people consider themselves to be Christians.

Why does this matter?

It matters to Mitt Romney.

Mitt is quoted here as saying it doesn't matter "what church they go to".

Perhaps this is true within the Christian/Catholic field of belief.

But, as Mitt very well knows... Mormonism is far from "just another type of church"... it is down the whacky end (certainly in public perception at least) with scientology.

Watch carefully as Mitt tries to pretend Mormonism is just another type of Christianity. He won't just be toning down how religious he is... he will be selling a Mormonism that is supposedly no different than being a Methodist or Baptist...

I don't think the "religious" people of the USA (i.e. Christians) will be fooled.

He has no chance.

Posted by: Antoine | May 10, 2007 7:42 AM | Report abuse

In the summer of 1965, the dean of Boston College's Law School taught Family Law as a guest professor at Texas. I was fortunate to take that class because Robert Drinan was an inspiring instructor.

Of course, as a family law prof he was relatively conservative; he was a Jesuit, who had what we now loosely call "family values". Drinan later served as a liberal Congressman from Boston until the Pope made him choose his calling. Drinan chose to leave Congress and remain a Jesuit. He
taught law at Georgetown until he died and was admired by his students and peers.

Last I knew, he was still a "family values" proponent who was an avowed liberal, otherwise, and able to argue both sides of almost any position with Jesuitical skill, except for the subject of abortion - which he abhorred thoroughly. Maybe someone else on this blog had contact with him since 1990 and would care to comment.

I recall Dean Drinan because he became for me the symbolic personification of the church-state quandary. Usually I think I understand better than non-lawyers where the "bright line" between "free exercise" and "no establishment" should be drawn. Sometimes, however, I admit I am as lost as the next.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | May 10, 2007 7:40 AM | Report abuse

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