Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The rape exception continues to gain steam in the GOP

As I affirmed here, one take-home lesson of the Todd Akin affair was that, even though the official GOP platform does not endorse abortion in cases of rape, the truth on the ground is that Republican politicians who don't really support the rape exception are being increasingly marginalized in the GOP. They have come to be regarded as extremists and as a liability, and the party is, I believe, eventually going to abandon them. This is reflected in the current presidential candidate's urging Akin to drop out of the race even though the party had no viable plan B. (Aren't we supposed to be concerned about "viability" and "strategy"?) Paul Ryan is permitted to oppose a rape exception because he has proven himself willing to set aside that "personal opposition," turn over all policy decisions to a candidate who is strongly in favor of the rape exception, and become the #1 campaigner for that candidate. Ryan would find himself treated as less of an asset to his own party were he running for a Senate or House position rather than for the Vice Presidency, especially if the left got him to say anything about why he opposes a rape exception and then managed to spin his answer as wicked and heartless.

The new incident in this series is the leftist distortion of the comment by Senate candidate Richard Mourdock that a baby conceived as a result of rape is nonetheless intended by God and a gift from God. To be fair to the GOP, the response in this case has been more mixed than in the case of Akin. They haven't exactly thrown Mourdock under the bus. Romney has "distanced himself" from Mourdock's remarks by saying that he "disagrees with" them, but he hasn't removed his endorsement of Mourdock. And National Republican Senate Committee chairman John Cornyn has come out in Mourdock's support. Perhaps a grain of sense is starting to penetrate the national party's skulls, and they realize they can't afford to ditch every pro-life senate candidate who hasn't yet caught up with the times and endorsed the rape exception.

But what, precisely, does Romney disagree with in Mourdock's remarks? Does the conception of a child under such circumstances fall outside of God's providential design? Is the baby a punishment (to quote our Commander in Chief) in that case rather than a gift? Does the child not have an immortal soul, given by God? Is the child's existence itself not, in an important sense, a good thing? I doubt that we should expect candidate Romney to clarify exactly what it means for him to disagree with Mourdock. That isn't what the media will be pressing him on. Rather, they'll be asking why he hasn't treated Mourdock as he treated Akin and thrown him completely to the wolves.

My sad prediction is that if that doesn't happen to Mourdock this time around (as hopefully it will not), it won't be all that long before it happens to all GOP candidates who think as Mourdock does.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The best of Extra Thoughts: Seeing

If I've been quiet lately it's because I don't have a lot to say. For a lot of reasons, chief among them that I've been somewhat more busy with home schooling recently.

However, it is autumn, that most majestic season of the year here in the icy northerly Midwest, the season in which I feel sincerely sorry for all who do not have it, all who live with palm trees instead of maples, all who have no deciduous leaves to make the world look like it is shouting.

So I've decided to reprise a post about spring from two and a half years ago. It was brought to mind by walking the same route in the same neighborhood and turning east. I hope you will enjoy it.


My sense of sight is not the best. I wear glasses, but lately I have to take off the glasses for reading and computer work, which means that everything further away is a bit blurry. I tend to forget where I've left them, walk around without seeing clearly, then scurry to find them when I have to drive anywhere.

But when I go walking, I wear the glasses. Now it is spring in the Midwest, the kind of spring that man has been writing songs and poems about since forever, the kind of spring that might make even a hard-boiled atheist and naturalist wonder if just perhaps this world is more than bouncing atoms in a vacuum.

As it happens, my walks tend to be about an hour before sunset, and for a good deal of the time, I'm walking east. The sun catches the boles of the trees and the green of the young leaves. (Not so young anymore. Spreading a bit now. You can hear them say, like a seven-year-old, "Now I'm big!")

And I can see. No sun in the eyes. The sun shining on everything, and everything clear, standing out in sharp relief. It's an amazing thing, the way it strikes you. The sheer gift of clear physical sight. On those evening spring walks, away from the sun, all the etching of all the bark on all the tree trunks seems clearer than most things ever are, much clearer than the hand in front of my face right now. Everything is itself and seems to be trying to tell me what it is.

"Now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known."

The writers of holy writ and the theologians and poets from St. Thomas Aquinas to the blind Fanny Crosby were wise to tell us of heaven in terms of sight. How did Fanny know, though? Blinded at six weeks of age, she never walked east in the evening and watched the sun on the trees. But she knows now how right she was.

And I shall see him face to face
And tell the story, saved by grace.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

I Believe

Steve Green is a gospel musician whom I admired when I was in my twenties, when he was a "power singer" with a Greek god profile, and still admire today, despite and in some sense because of the aging of his voice and person. It has something to do with the grace with which he has passed through those years. Somehow I missed this song until very recently. It's a musical setting of the Creed. Here's Steve performing it just a couple of years ago. I especially appreciate the classy performance of the live orchestra and backup choir, which help to build the excitement of the song.

I blogged this one years ago, but here again is Steve singing "No Other Name But Jesus" at a Gaither Vocal Band reunion: