Supplemental: Candidate Clinton, talking the Bible!

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3, 2015

As reported by virtually no one:
In Sunday’s New York Times, public editor Margaret Sullivan discussed the newspaper’s campaign coverage. Washington bureau chief Carolyn Ryan was quoted saying this:
SULLIVAN (5/31/15): As for the articles focusing on the candidates’ personalities and quirks, she defended them unapologetically. (A few of these took the form of listicles—among them “5 Things You Might Not Know About Hillary Clinton”—that some readers told me they found beneath The Times’s standards.) “The vote for president is the most personal vote that Americans cast,” Ms. Ryan said. The Times, she said, uses many methods to help readers get to know the candidates as people.
Does the New York Times want to help readers get to know the candidates? Does the American press as a whole?

A recent incident makes us wonder, at least with respect to the press corps’ current target, the widely loathed Candidate Clinton. The incident involved a conversation in a bakery shop with a South Carolina voter.

Last Thursday, CNN’s Dan Merica wrote a detailed column about the incident. As best we can tell, this incident had been discussed by no one else until Gene Lyons cited it in his new column at the National Memo.

We recommend the Lyons piece. At CNN, Merica started his account of the incident like this:
MERICA (5/28/15): Hillary Clinton is a lifelong Methodist, but you wouldn't know that by listening to most of her speeches. She rarely speaks—at least at any length—about her faith.

But the presidential candidate broke with that tradition on Wednesday when she reflected on her religious study and background, during an impromptu conversation with Rev. Frederick Donnie Hunt at Main Street Bakery.

Hunt came to the yellow-walled bakery to enjoy a sweet treat while he studied the Bible...His quiet reflection was abruptly turned upside down when around 20 press and campaign staff rolled into the bakery with Clinton.

"We are heading out of town and we were told to stop by and get some good stuff to take with us," Clinton said as she walked through the door, flanked by dozens of cupcakes and cakes.

After chatting with the bakery's staff and picking out some cupcakes for the road, the presidential candidate sidled up to Hunt and asked him what he was studying.

"Corinthians 13," Hunt said calmly,
almost nonplussed by the candidate.

"Oh I know it well," Clinton said.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud," the passage says.
Merica’s account of the incident continues from there. We’re struck by the fact that this incident went unmentioned pretty much everywhere else.

Folk like Ryan say they want to help us learn about the candidates. At the same time, they complain that the Clinton campaign gives them nothing to write about.

This incident was both surprising and revealing. But so what? CNN published Merica’s column, and that’s where the incident died.

We’re not religious ourselves, but a whole lot of voters are. Later in the piece, Hunt said he was “impressed and glad” to discover that side of Clinton.

A cynic would say that some of our journalists don’t want to give other voters a chance to react that way. Merica’s piece is a fascinating portrait of a person the press corps currently loathes. Someone should think about waking Ryan and letting her know what occurred.

We’ve had a similar reaction to recent portraits of Bill Clinton. In those portraits, newspapers like the New York Times are rather plainly trying to amp up public loathing of Clinton. We’ve seen these unimpressive people behave this way before.

What is Bill Clinton really like? What are his actual values? We were struck by a brief news report in Saturday’s Washington Post.

In the brief report, Tom Hamburger described Clinton’s attempts to “undermine criticism” of the Clinton Foundation. In the second part of the report, Hamburger described a recent speech by Clinton at the United Nations “about the role the Clinton Foundation and other nongovernmental organizations play in addressing global health challenges.”

The New York Times is working hard to make you loathe Bill Clinton. As these shallow people behaved in this familiar way, Clinton was speaking to the “donor community:”
HAMBURGER (5/30/15): In his U.N. speech, Clinton urged governments and nonprofit organizations to dedicate funds to building health systems across Africa.

"My basic message is this: More than anything else, though these countries have terrible economic problems . . . they have to have health systems or we'll be back here four or five years from now dealing with the same sort of problem," he said.

He described a recent visit to Liberia, where the Clinton Foundation's Health Access Initiative is supported by European governments and other international partners. He said the severity of the recent Ebola outbreak wasn't surprising, given that Liberia had just one health worker for every 3,472 people.

"Let me say to the donor community, if you make these investments it'll save you a lot of money over the long run," Clinton said. "It'll save you the money that you're going to spend on future infectious disease outbreaks."
Is it possible that Clinton actually cares about the problems afflicting those people in those third world countries? We’ll guarantee one thing:

The “journalists” who are teaching us to hate Bill Clinton couldn’t care less about those problems! Again and again, their horrible conduct makes us think of Dylan’s “poor immigrant:”
I pity the poor immigrant
Who wishes he would’ve stayed home
Who uses all his power to do evil
But in the end is always left so alone
That man who with his fingers cheats,
Who lies with every breath
Who passionately hates his life
And likewise fears his death

“Who eats but is not satisfied, Who hears but does not see. Who falls in love with wealth itself, And turns his back on me.”

These people hate the Petra Nemcovas. She’s too good-looking and she’s too rich. She’s done too many good things in the world. In the realm of the poor immigrant, it can't be permitted to stand.

They went after Naomi Wolf the same way. It’s the eternal reaction of our over-privileged, under-endowed “poor immigrant” journalist class.

What is Petra Nemcova like? We have no idea. We do know that what Clinton says below is true, and that it largely explains the ugliness and the loathing:
SONTAG (5/30/15): A video by the Happy Hearts Fund framed the moment she presented the award to Mr. Clinton like this: “Ten years ago, two people were deeply impacted by the 2004 tsunami. They met this year again to inspire ...”

“Petra did not have to devote 10 years of her life to building these schools,” Mr. Clinton told the crowd. “But what she has done is a symbol of what I think we all have to do.”
What Clinton said is correct. Nemcova didn’t have to build all those schools for all those children in the third world. She chose to build them anyway. That’s why the broken souls at the New York Times seem to loathe her so.

They treated Candidate Gore this same way. They savaged Naomi Wolf. The liberal world let that occur.

How did that turn out?

39 comments:

  1. After Whitewater and the impeachment hearings I was so angry myself that I couldn't imagine how the Clintons could avoid bitterness and negativity. I wondered how they could return over and over to the public eye when they were treated so badly in return. Then I read a statement by Hillary Clinton about how her faith enabled her to forgive and to understand those who opposed them. I believe she is a genuinely religious person who uses her faith to sustain her positive attitude and perseverance toward the goals she considers worth pursuing. I admire that deeply because I wouldn't have been able to do it, day in and day out, as she has done. I find myself wondering how many people could have turned around immediately after the 2008 primary, recognized the importance of reconciliation with Obama and joined his campaign and ultimately his administration. It reflects a strength of character I do not possess but that I deeply admire.

    Digby has an article about how the public does not seem affected by the current press campaign against Hillary. Maybe that's because other people see some of the same things I see in her. She doesn't have to quote scripture to me. I see her religion in her behavior. That's why I know she wouldn't be doing the slimy stuff insinuated by the NY Times. I would be so utterly incongruent with the way she has conducted herself throughout her life until now. If God or the Bible have helped her chart that course, more power to them. It explains a lot about how she is able to be a bigger person than the midgets trying to take her down.

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  2. Before making too much of "that side" of Hillary Clinton, the allegedly religious side, the side that would embarrass most of her progressive brethren now more than endear her to them, let's see how she handles "safe, legal, and rare" abortion formula her husband invented.

    Especially since that the Democratic Party removed "rare" from the platform, as it no longer is troubled by the killing of some human beings, depending on their size, location, and voting power.

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    1. Fetuses aren't human beings. They're fetuses.

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    2. No one who supports choice considers abortion desirable.

      Plenty of progressives and liberals are religious. Unitarians and Friends have been prime movers in anti-war and social justice causes. Unless she starts claiming God speaks to her, as Bush did, I see no cause for embarrassment.

      I doubt Bill Clinton invented that formulation by himself. It is how most women working for choice feel.

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    3. "Fetuses aren't human beings." 6:27 is a product of public education.

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    4. [LINK]

      [QUOTE] IX A. The appellee and certain amici argue that the fetus is a "person" within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well known facts of fetal development.

      If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment. The appellant conceded as much on reargument. On the other hand, the appellee conceded on reargument that no case could be cited that holds that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.

      The Constitution does not define "person" in so many words. Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment contains three references to "person." The first, in defining "citizens," speaks of "persons born or naturalized in the United States." The word also appears both in the Due Process Clause and in the Equal Protection Clause.

      "Person" is used in other places in the Constitution: in the listing of qualifications for Representatives and Senators, Art. I, § 2, cl. 2, and § 3, cl. 3; in the Apportionment Clause, Art. I, § 2, cl. 3; in the Migration and Importation provision, Art. I, § 9, cl. 1; in the Emolument Clause, Art. I, § 9, cl. 8; in the Electors provisions, Art. II, § 1, cl. 2, and the superseded cl. 3; in the provision outlining qualifications for the office of President, Art. II, § 1, cl. 5; in the Extradition provisions, Art. IV, § 2, cl. 2, and the superseded Fugitive Slave Clause 3; and in the Fifth, Twelfth, and Twenty-second Amendments, as well as in §§ 2 and 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. But in nearly all these instances, the use of the word is such that it has application only post-natally. None indicates, with any assurance, that it has any possible pre-natal application.

      All this, together with our observation, supra, that, throughout the major portion of the 19th century, prevailing legal abortion practices were far freer than they are today, persuades us that the word "person," as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn. This is in accord with the results reached in those few cases where the issue has been squarely presented.... [END QUOTE]

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    5. [QUOTE] VI. 3. The common law. It is undisputed that, at common law, abortion performed before "quickening" -- the first recognizable movement of the fetus in utero, appearing usually from the 16th to the 18th week of pregnancy -- was not an indictable offense.

      The absence of a common law crime for pre-quickening abortion appears to have developed from a confluence of earlier philosophical, theological, and civil and canon law concepts of when life begins. These disciplines variously approached the question in terms of the point at which the embryo or fetus became "formed" or recognizably human, or in terms of when a "person" came into being, that is, infused with a "soul" or "animated." A loose consensus evolved in early English law that these events occurred at some point between conception and live birth. This was "mediate animation."

      Although Christian theology and the canon law came to fix the point of animation at 40 days for a male and 80 days for a female, a view that persisted until the 19th century, there was otherwise little agreement about the precise time of formation or animation. There was agreement, however, that, prior to this point, the fetus was to be regarded as part of the mother, and its destruction, therefore, was not homicide.

      Due to continued uncertainty about the precise time when animation occurred, to the lack of any empirical basis for the 40-80-day view, and perhaps to Aquinas' definition of movement as one of the two first principles of life, Bracton focused upon quickening as the critical point. The significance of quickening was echoed by later common law scholars, and found its way into the received common law in this country.

      Whether abortion of a quick fetus was a felony at common law, or even a lesser crime, is still disputed. Bracton, writing early in the 13th century, thought it homicide. But the later and predominant view, following the great common law scholars, has been that it was, at most, a lesser offense. In a frequently cited passage, Coke took the position that abortion of a woman "quick with childe" is "a great misprision, and no murder." Blackstone followed, saying that, while abortion after quickening had once been considered manslaughter (though not murder), "modern law" took a less severe view.

      A recent review of the common law precedents argues, however, that those precedents contradict Coke, and that even post-quickening abortion was never established as a common law crime. This is of some importance, because, while most American courts ruled, in holding or dictum, that abortion of an unquickened fetus was not criminal under their received common law, others followed Coke in stating that abortion of a quick fetus was a "misprision," a term they translated to mean "misdemeanor."

      That their reliance on Coke on this aspect of the law was uncritical and, apparently in all the reported cases, dictum (due probably to the paucity of common law prosecutions for post-quickening abortion), makes it now appear doubtful that abortion was ever firmly established as a common law crime even with respect to the destruction of a quick fetus. [END QUOTE]

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    6. Some people wrote about "personhood" and others disagreed with their definition of "personhood," and law has changed over the years regarding the definition of "personhood" and when a "person" may be killed legally. Every variation in these laws is arbitrary as the next.

      The logic is often lacking, as a human being with "only" "potential" such as one in a coma is protected as is a newborn with limited capacity, and the whether other human beings know the individual or have seen him in person is recognized as irrelevant where other groups are concerned.

      What is consistent is that law or science have never disagreed that a fetus is a human being, that this human being is alive, and that causing its death is killing him.

      Societies becoming comfortable with identifying certain groups of humans as "not human" in order to permit their legal killing is nothing new.

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    7. It is my understanding that it is lawful to kill human beings in almost every society. The argument is not whether we can lawfully kill a human being, but under what circumstances is it allowable to kill another human being. Unless you want to argue that is can never be lawful for a human being to be killed, the the fact that we have a law that allows abortions under some circumstances must be accepted as a reasonable (even if not entirely acceptable) use of law.

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    8. Exceptions are made in societies for general prohibitions against killing. We normally would regard as self-evidently immoral a proposition that individuals may be killed if they are of current limited mental capacity that will almost definitely change toward their becoming conscious and developing a certain level of intelligence in time (i.e, all infants, fetuses, and children, those under anesthesia or in a coma, etc.) or are even regressing (dementia), are of limited physical capacity (Stephen Hawking), have never committed any social wrongdoing, have no political power or defense.

      All human beings were the same individuals at 4 weeks gestation and 6 months gestation and 5 years post-birth and 15 years post-birth. Only a psychopath who is beholding his child would be comfortable with the thought of having killed his child at 4 weeks gestation or believes that his children's lives only became valuable when he visually perceived them, or that before they reached a level of mental or physical capacity, his children were morally expendable by virtue of their power, temporary mental/physical capacity, and location. Moral acceptance of abortion as it occurs in the vast majority of cases now, comes with (usually unconsciously) considering the subjective experience of other people with regard to an innocent human individual (seeing, knowing or valuing him as "human"), as being a factor in an individual or group's moral right to live. We’ve seen that movie.

      Government probably shouldn't prohibit a pregnant woman from killing her child since with the exception of the draft we consider it intrusive overreach to force citizens to donate the use of their bodies or organs to ensure the survival of another, even their child negligently produced. However, it's absurd to say an abortion isn't killing her child. It is also absurdly morally inconsistent to believe there is something virtuous in not declaring abortion, the killing of human beings, “wrong” except under what are currently extremely rare circumstances. It can only be consistent for those whose moral code designates hurting feelings as a worse offense than killing innocent human beings.

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    9. Anon 2:17, If aborting a fetus is immoral, why isn't killing animals for sport or slaughtering them for our food not also immoral? ( I'm not a vegetarian; I just don't see the logic of one being worse morally than the other.)

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    10. I'm sure it is regarded as equivalent under certain ethical systems. Humanism usually deals with what is moral with regard to humans foremost, and may designate human beings as exceptional by virtue of their DNA which will usually allow them to achieve a certain level of intelligence and consciousness, and all other species as less important for their lack of similar potential. Most humanists would not believe that euthanizing a dangerous dog is as bad as or worse than executing a violent human being.

      One may also select certain presently existing human traits or conditions as the basis for human exceptionality. This could allow for abortions in every case. It could also allow for killing a person of temporarily limited mental capacity or a newborn human being, where killing a 2 year old dog would be prohibited under those conditions required for protection of an individual being.

      There is logic in any of the above, but very little logic in believing abortion is not morally wrong if one believes human beings are inherently valuable and do not earn or lose their value by virtue of their presently developed level of consciousness, or cognitive and physical abilities, location, age, political power. An individual human being does not lose value by virtue of a society or his mother deciding he has none.

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    11. valuable to whom? I bet not to the ducks who are being shot at, who I would submit have a higher consciousness than unborn foetuses.

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    12. Intrinsic value. You imply for an individual to have value, someone else must assign it to him, someone who can logically then take it away simply by declaring that individual or his member group of no or negative value, (perhaps as he begins begin to consider most efficient means of extermination).

      But you’re right. If we decide the status of a fetus at 6 months gestation and exclude species and potential as a factor in that individual’s value, a duck would be more valuable than that individual, or than a temporarily comatose person, and, logically, adults more valuable than children, and persons with potential for high intelligence more valuable than those without.

      We routinely recognize potential as important. We lament the killing of a violent juvenile human being because he is at that point unformed and has the potential to change into something else, yet we countenance the killing of entirely innocent individuals who have limitless human potential but never committed any social harm other than involuntarily, temporarily inconveniencing their mother or father.

      What is ignored, because it must be, is the inconsistency of proclaiming they value a principle of the equal intrinsic value of every human, while eliminating the importance of potential for some but not others, or requiring an individual or group to be subjectively valued by others before they matter.

      One can reconcile his acceptance of abortion as unquestionably morally neutral if he selects a definition of “valuable human being” that precisely fits the status and condition the fetus would fulfill. The problem with that is easy to identify, and that position will entirely contradict other “principles” the abortion advocate would claim to hold. There are groups and movements throughout history that would never have cause to experience this kind of dissonance, but none anyone here would want to be included among.

      Abortion can be a complex question in an individual case and abortion rights a conceivably defensible position even if the human value of the fetus is acknowledged. But there is no basis in reality for believing that the vast majority of abortions that actually take place in current US society, for the reasons they take place, are anything but “wrong” or that the act does not violate the alleged ethical codes of even, maybe especially, most of those who support that legal right. Words like “fetus” and “person” only mean so much and are ultimately arbitrarily and subjectively defined, and meaningless to the ethical question. Yet “a fetus isn’t a person” or “a fetus at viability deserves protection but before then does not” constitute most of the argument from the “safe, legal, and as common as anyone wants it to be for any reason” side. Those are lousy arguments except as arbitrary legal gerrymandering devices, and completely irrelevant as ethical arguments.

      Publicly acknowledging abortion as negative, not neutral, and judging and acknowledging certain reasons for abortion as unethical, is better than what the left is furiously attempting to impose on society as the only acceptable position on the issue, in speech or in thought, namely a complete ethical comfort level with killing human beings, enforced for the purpose of eliminating any risk of hurt feelings of those who opted for it. (And it doesn’t matter whether those who do the judging can ever be pregnant, unless it also requires membership in an offending ethnic or national group to judge or criticize their elective genocide.)

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    13. Intrinsic value as you define it doesn't seem to exist without someone attributing it to someone. Why does a foetus have intrinsic value, but a deer who is being killed for sport (sometimes maybe food) doesn't? It seems you've given this a lot of thought, but I think what you say is highly subjective, and not particularly rational

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    14. Do human beings have any intrinsic value? Some groups have argued that other groups do not, offer rational support for their argument, and then proceed with a clear conscience with whatever atrocity they had in mind. The idea that human beings are intrinsically valuable is equally objective to any other moral truth. It would be founded the same way as any other proposition in a humanistic code. Through the application of certain premises we can logically preclude certain actions as moral or ethical. If you consider your own codes, you would say you "know" that genocide is wrong. There are arguments about why or how you know and how it is sourced in neurobiology, and how it can be considered objective, or close enough. Whether inarguably objective, the premises one accepts and applies rationally regarding the treatment of human beings inform "right and wrong."

      You would have to apply them to killing deer for sport, but the fact that the deer has limited potential for a certain level of consciousness or that as a humanist you do not see a reason for the general proposition that humans must be considered exceptionally important because of their membership in the species, might be factors in distinguishing it from the human. If you apply your premises to a fetus, there will be another example of a human being with a similar temporal status who isn't a fetus but whose execution must be opposed according to the humanist definition of "right and wrong." Simply declaring the fetus "not human enough" or leaning the term "fetus" and declaration "fetuses aren't protected" will not allow for consistency. The answer to "Where do you get your source of morality" frequently refers to moral intuition, the example of a parent looking at his child and asking himself whether he believes it would have been morally acceptable to kill the child at 4 months gestation, and finding the answer one of the easiest moral questions of any. Not because he subjectively knows the child now, but because he recognizes that never matter, but that the child had intrinsic value as a human individual then regardless of anyone's subjective experience of him. He would have deserved the same chance anyone else had, and not have deserved to be killed only because he could not control his rate of development.

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    15. If it's consistency you want, I don't think you will get it. Your own rationale that humans, including fetuses, have intrinsic value (a term which I think is quite subjective) seems to be ruled out for animals because of their "limited potential for a certain level of consciousness." The same could be said for a lot of humans, e.g, severely retardation or advanced dementia (neither of which categories would I advocate should be killed). What about the morning after pill, where it isn't even known whether conception occurred? Is that immoral, when you are talking about some microscopic cells? What about birth control itself, which prevents potential humans from being born? You have to draw the line somewhere, and I think your way will cause greater human suffering, among other potential harms) than the alternative. The whole anti-abortion movement has the effect of enhancing politically anti-human right wing politicians.

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    16. If you recognize the problem with killing people whose potential level of consciousness is limited you are making my point for recognizing that a fetus also should not be killed in most cases. And if it is a fetus whose potential can be assumed to be likely to not be limited by diseases you specify (the vast majority of fetuses who are killed), the point is even stronger. The onus is on me to justify killing a deer, which I could do, inadequately according to some animal rights advocates, by proclaiming an exceptionality of humanity because it's human. This might unfairly victimize some other animals but it at least protects all humans from destruction on certain bases we would both recognize as "wrong" regardless of how manifest their potential is or even could be. It would be hard to argue a human with a flatlined brain with no hope of any potential for improvement must be regarded as deserving of rights. But even thought grappling over that question takes place, fetuses are well in the clear.

      On birth control, the individuality of the fetus or embryo for its distinct, individual DNA has not yet occurred before conception and there is no existence of human life, which everyone from Pete Singer to the Pope agree begins at conception.

      I agree there are political ramifications for the pro-life position. But being of any particular political persuasion does not preclude holding or defending pro life position.

      It's hard to argue that progressive or liberal ideals do not require the position that abortion is wrong when committed for certain reasons we would not permit as reasons for killing a born human, and is unjustifiable in the vast majority of cases in the US, and that efforts to neutralize it as a moral or ethical question are wrong. A progressive or liberal has even more reason to hold these views than do conservatives whose religious beliefs hold that every fetus goes straight to Heaven.

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  3. "They're not human beings." That's what those who kill human beings en masse always say about the groups of human beings they decide to kill.

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    1. And they called those against the killings "fans of Saddam Hussein" and "traitors".

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    2. Don't Christian and Jewish neocons call the groups of human beings they decide to kill collateral damage?

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  4. Fetuses aren't humans and cosmetic surgery and drugs can turn a male into a female. So much for the left's claim to scientific authority.

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    1. If this all confuses you, go back to school.

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  5. Once again, the fetus-obsessed fanatics try to hijack a thoughtful discussion about a serious issue. We get it. You don't like women's legal freedom of choice in reproductive health. Go away.

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    1. It's an important issue and whether Clinton changes her tune on it from her longstanding "safe legal and rare" position now that her party has decided there is nothing wrong with killing certain groups of humans, is relevant to whether her bible thumping is worth acknowledging in news articles or phony.

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    2. 12:15 Are you arguing that religious people are against killing human beings? This would be a surprise to the many (many) people who have been killed by other people in the name of religion. Is their religion "phony" too?

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    3. Being against killing human beings has little or nothing to do with religion. I am a pro choice secular humanist and think abortion is morally wrong in the vast majority of instances. It isn't known if Hillary's original position is based solely in her religion or based in other moral sources but it would violate her religion to endorse affirmatively eliminating rare as one of her originally accepted conditions under which abortion should take place.

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  6. Being anti-abortion or "pro-life" has nothing to do with protecting children or fetuses. It's about making sure women know they're second-class citizens.

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    1. That's true for some who declare themselves pro-life, and not true for others.

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    2. "...and not true for others."

      Facts not in evidence.

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    3. "Being anti-abortion or "pro-life" has nothing to do with protecting children or fetuses. It's about making sure women know they're second-class citizens."

      Facts not in evidence unless your imagined and seemingly paranoid beliefs about all others' motives and logic are considered "facts" in your world.

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    4. 2:09 Please correct your comment. Men can have abortions. Using "women" in abortion language excludes trans men.

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    5. "Facts not in evidence unless your imagined and seemingly paranoid beliefs about all others' motives and logic are considered "facts" in your world."

      Or these "facts" are formed by your religious beliefs, I'm told.

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  7. Having a political belief because of your religion is like having a certain political belief because of the color of your hair. The color of your hair and your religion are both irrelevant to the discussion.

    Berto

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    1. The discussion is about whether Hillary Clinton's bible bonding should have been mentioned in an article because of the fact that many voters do regard a candidate's professed religious beliefs as important to understanding what informs their morality. If the candidate has claimed the religion does inform it, the exchange with the fellow believer probably should be mentioned.

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    2. "...many voters do regard a candidate's professed religious beliefs as important to understanding what informs their morality."

      That may be true, but it doesn't make any sense. When it comes to elections, religion is just a distraction posited by the elites.

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    3. It's probably one of the less useful factors in most elections.

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