- - Monday, October 3, 2016

(1)Ben Sasse: A Reformed reformer | WORLD Magazine

***J.C. Derrick of World Magazine published a great Q&A with Senator Ben Sasse. Here’s a highlight:

How does your faith and theology inform policy fights and discussions?

Three thoughts: First, a basic Christian orientation to living in the world. We live in the already and the not-yet, so as a Christian I am convicted of my sin and aware of Jesus’ salvific work both by imputation and by atonement on my behalf. Now I get the chance to live out a life of gratitude to God by trying to serve my neighbor, and politics is one of many secular callings—like building good shoes or speedboats.

Second? The American system is a glorious inheritance, because it is an anti-statist tradition. The purpose of American limited government is to make a broader, affirmational claim about human dignity and natural rights. Government doesn’t give us rights. We get rights from God via nature, and government is our shared project to secure those rights. The American system is a wonderful place for Christians to labor. We don’t have the challenges that Daniel had. We’re not being asked to bend the knee and worship Caesar. That is a glorious thing that we get to live in a state that doesn’t try and require idolatry. We should understand, affirm, and pass along that free tradition.

And third. People of goodwill are going to argue about policy. That is a good and healthy thing. We, as Christians, have a responsibility to do it in a way that doesn’t violate the Ninth Commandment. We don’t want to bear false witness against our neighbor, so we should assume our neighbor means well and try to characterize their position accurately, not beat a straw man. As it turns out, really believing in the dignity of your neighbor and loving your neighbor means that you want to try to refine and shape their best argument. Sometimes I’m going to be converted. There’s going to be a policy issue where I thought I knew the answer and somebody else has a better argument. I should be humble enough to actually be persuadable. If I’m going to try to persuade them, I want to do it by not misrepresenting their view. Some debates are genuine, where you’re actually open to wrestle with another idea. Other debates are faux, where all you’re really trying to do is beat someone. It turns out the latter is not only unpersuasive and ineffective—it’s really boring. It’s also dishonest.

(2) Democrats Are Pushing to Use Tax Dollars to Pay for Abortions |The Atlantic

***Democrats have their sights set on the Hyde Amendment, now 40 years old.

It was the end of September, 1976. Three years earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in Roe v. Wade, upholding women’s Constitutional right to abortion. Many leaders in Congress were outraged. Led by Illinois Representative Henry Hyde, legislators approved an appropriations bill that prohibited federal funding from being used to pay for elective abortions.

The so-called Hyde Amendment, which has been reapproved in various forms by every Congress for the past four decades, has long been a shibboleth for the pro-choice left. Fundamentally, Hyde is about poor women; it only affects those who use Medicaid as their health insurance. Because poor women in the United States are disproportionately women of color, Hyde largely affects women in these groups.

Hyde “has always been understood as a compromise,” said Khiara Bridges, a professor of law at Boston University. “It allows pro-choice folks to be happy because women—‘women’ being read as ‘wealthier women’—to have access to purchasing these services in the market.” At the same time, “anti-choice folks are happy because nobody has to pay for it.”

That status quo changed this summer when the Democratic Party included the repeal of Hyde in its 2016 presidential platform. “The movement really started at the grassroots, with low-income people, people of color, and young people,” wrote California Representative Barbara Lee in an email. “They are helping drive us forward and for the first time in decades, we’ve put the reproductive rights agenda back on the offensive.”

Perhaps party leaders sensed a political opening at the national level as well: Abortion advocates won a major victory in June with the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, in which the Court ruled that states can’t impose overly burdensome regulations on abortion. By that point, Hillary Clinton had been talking about Hyde on the campaign trail for months. “Any right that requires you to take extraordinary measures to access is no right at all,” she said at a Planned Parenthood event in January.

Nearly 40 years after the amendment first passed, it finally seemed like the party would take on federal funding for abortion. After all this time, as pro-choice groups have said in press release after press release, there is finally momentum on Hyde.

***Two articles about Roman Catholics, the election, and abortion.

Kansas bishops: Catholics must vote with ‘catastrophe’ of abortion at ‘forefront of their minds’ |LifeSiteNews

***Good for the Kansas bishops!

In a video on Catholic voting, the bishops of Kansas instructed the faithful to “place special emphasis on those issues where Catholics must speak with a unified voice because of the reality that certain laws directly contradict Church teaching, the natural law, and the good of society.”

The video featured Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, Bishop John B. Brungardt of the Diocese of Dodge City, Bishop Carl A. Kemme of the Diocese of Wichita, and Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger of the Diocese of Salina. In the video, the bishops also said that Catholic voting should involve bringing a “Catholic viewpoint” to the immigration debate and should promote “good stewardship of the environment.”

Brungardt said that many issues, like immigration and healthcare, must be considered “in light of Catholic social teaching,” but Catholics might not agree on policy for addressing such social problems. However, “our political preferences should be shaped by the application of Catholic moral principles to current circumstances,” he said.

As such, Brungardt said, “All Catholics have a moral obligation to keep [the] human rights catastrophe” of abortion “at the forefront of their minds when voting.”

“In our country, over one million unborn children are killed by abortion every single year,” he said.

Only 1% of Catholic Democrats in Congress Pro-Life, vs. 94% of Republican Catholics |The Stream

***Whoa. We might have assumed as much, but this stat is incredible:

According to statistics compiled by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), 94 percent of Republican Congressional representatives who identify as Catholic have a pro-life voting record, whereas only 1 percent of Democratic Catholics in Congress have such a record.

Of the 82 Catholic Republicans in Congress, 77 Republican representatives have voted consistently pro-life (from 68-100 percent) and 3 have a mixed record (34-67 percent). 1 has voted consistently pro-abortion (89 percent), Rep. Richard Hanna of New York. The representatives with mixed records are Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) with a 63 percent pro-life record, Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) with 40 percent, and Rep. John Katko (N.Y.) with 60 percent.

Of the 86 Catholic Congressional Democrats, the sole representative with a pro-life voting record is Rep. Madeline Bordallo of Guam with 100 percent. Two have mixed records, Rep. Dan Lipinski (Ill.) with 63 percent and Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) with 56 percent. The remaining 83 Democratic Catholic Congressional representatives have a 66-100 percent pro-abortion record.

These statistics are compiled by the NRLC based on their assessment of whether a given bill before the House is “pro-life” and the subsequent record of Congressional votes. Non-voting delegates from outlying territories are not counted. The current NRLC “scorecards” for House and Senate can be viewed here.

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