The Cutting Edge
by Ed Knudson
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Not Much Planning in Houston  8/28/2017  (77)

Members of Trump's Religious Advisory Council Have Not Resigned  8/25/2017  (100)

Slavery, Original Sin, and Redemption: A Statement of Faith  8/21/2017  (74)

A Stampede of Charities has Canceled Planned Fundraising Events at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club  8/21/2017  (68)

Church Leaders in Charlottesville Prepared for White Supremacists  8/16/2017  (87)

White House Staffer Fired Over Memo on Cultural Marxism (or, Critical Social Theory)  8/15/2017  (96)

Trump is a Drama Queen: Weak and Sniveling; Whiny, Weepy, Self-Pitying. But Fox News Loves Him  8/11/2017  (119)

Southern Baptist Pastor Calls for Holy War against North Korea  8/9/2017  (101)

There Will Be No Wall, Says John Kelly  8/1/2017  (158)

The Misuse of Martin Luther on Predestination  7/28/2017  (140)

John McCain Gives Heroic Speech Denouncing Terrible Thing That He Just Voted For  7/26/2017  (117)

Disgusting: Trump Attacks American Institutions in Speech to Boy Scouts  7/25/2017  (127)

Philosopher Richard Rorty Predicted Election of a Racist Strongman for President  7/24/2017  (151)

Washington Post Publishes Lots of Libertarian Nonsense  7/23/2017  (149)

The Spontaneous Order of James Buchanan; No Government Necessary for This Libertarian  7/19/2017  (151)

Republicans Fail Entirely on Health Care; Trump Turns Against His Voters  7/18/2017  (142)

Trump Had Morality Hammered Out of Him by His Family History  7/14/2017  (178)

Trump, Like Others Who Follow the Russian Atheist, Ayn Rand, is in Serious Trouble  7/14/2017  (201)

Trump and the Russian Mafia  7/13/2017  (151)

Ted Cruz's Free Choice Means Death to Thousands; the Myth of Personal Responsibility  7/13/2017  (153)

Trump Didn’t Win the Working Class. The Democrats Lost It  7/8/2017  (180)

NRA Thinks White Alienated Males are Feeling Sorry for Themselves  6/30/2017  (214)

Widespread Rebukes of Trump's Blood Tweets; Calls for Retraction  6/30/2017  (184)

Peter Berger Dies. Our Knowledge is Not Our Own  6/28/2017  (247)

Not All Lutherans are the Same. Supreme Court Favors One Type Only  6/27/2017  (215)

Obamacare is a Conservative Model of Healthcare and is Failing; Now It's Time for Single Payer  6/27/2017  (227)

It's Clear Now: Putin Wanted Trump, Not Clinton  6/24/2017  (231)

Politics is a Knife Fight with No Rules, Says Grover Norquist  6/23/2017  (212)

This Should Happen All Over:  Union Ironworker Has a Plan to Beat Paul Ryan  6/21/2017  (224)

Triangulation Has Been Terribly Hurtful to Democrats  6/20/2017  (243)

Kitzhaber Exonerated; Oregonian Debases Itself Again  6/16/2017  (265)

Trump is Too Ignorant to be President; Doesn't Even Know What Christians Believe  6/16/2017  (235)

Dissent: Organizing in Red America  6/16/2017  (218)

It's the Racists Who Want Guns  6/15/2017  (306)

It Can Happen Here  6/13/2017  (260)

Surprise Victory for Social Democracy in England  6/9/2017  (239)

Before and After the Pill  6/8/2017  (261)

Dear Trump Appointees: Quit Your Jobs or Lose Your Souls  6/6/2017  (272)

Americans, Hang Your Heads in Shame  6/1/2017  (295)

Montana Republican So Afraid of the Press that He Attacks Reporter  5/26/2017  (302)

James Comey: The Fall of a Niebuhrian  5/15/2017  (307)

Management by Terror: Stalin and Trump  5/10/2017  (346)

The Cynical Use of Abortion by Politicians  5/6/2017  (315)

NCC Urges Churches to Refrain From Intervening in Political Campaigns  5/4/2017  (317)

Where Your Tax Dollar Goes  4/18/2017  (365)

Talking It Through  4/15/2017  (353)

False Community Consciousness and Local Radio  4/1/2017  (387)

Politicians Can Use Nostalgia to Manipulate the Minds and Hearts of People  3/31/2017  (374)

Two Forms of Governance: Big Corporations Want to Snoop about Your Internet Behavior  3/27/2017  (342)

Obamacare is Not Imploding, Can Be Improved  3/24/2017  (348)

The Soul-Sucking, Attention-Eating Black Hole of the Trump Presidency  3/24/2017  (344)

An Avalanche of Absurdities: Chris Hedges on the Rise of Trump and American Fascism  3/21/2017  (334)

Of Course Obama Wiretapped Trump  3/21/2017  (359)

Trump Glorifies American Militarism with German Leader, Embarrassing Himself  3/18/2017  (322)

Most of Trump's Voters are Not Poor, but Regular Old Republicans  3/18/2017  (327)

Robert Mercer and Big Money Chose Trump to be President, not the People  3/17/2017  (405)

Stirring Up Muslim Hatred; The Need for a New Election  3/16/2017  (302)

Old Republican Tactic: Stoke Fear of Crime  3/13/2017  (404)

White People are Hurting Themselves  3/11/2017  (401)

Basic Civics Lesson for Libertarians  3/8/2017  (381)

Public Trust: Post-truth is Pre-fascim  3/8/2017  (456)

Martin Marty Center Publishes Column in Support of Disgraced White Nationalist, Milo Yiannopoulos  2/28/2017  (521)

Trump is Not a Normal Politician and Was Not Elected Fair and Square  2/21/2017  (784)

Trump is Using Immigrants as a Political Scapegoat: Very Bad  2/20/2017  (475)

To Dominate Politics, Business Needs Religious Extremism  2/13/2017  (471)

No Vision or Leadership from National Council of Churches  2/9/2017  (464)

Post-Factual Politics  2/8/2017  (477)

Trump May Want a Terrorist Attack  2/7/2017  (521)

For the Right Wing: Only Christians Deserve Religious Freedom  2/6/2017  (375)

Where Are the Reverends in Justice Movements?  2/3/2017  (498)

Trump is Centralizing Power: Resist Fascism  1/30/2017  (574)

Cry for Our Country: Spontaneous Demonstrations across America  1/28/2017  (499)

Truth in the Trump Era  1/23/2017  (491)

"We Will Not Go Away, Welcome to Your First Day"  1/21/2017  (543)

Violence, Racism, Authoritarianism Characterize Trump's Inaugural Speech  1/21/2017  (618)

First Things Doesn't Like that Trump Surrounds Himself with Prosperity Gospelers, Snake Oil Salesmen  1/17/2017  (558)

Newt Gingrich Gets Trump Wrong: Why Southerners Hate the Federal Government  12/27/2016  (544)

From Peace on Earth to an Election Based on Violence  12/23/2016  (539)

Bill O'Reilly Admits the Truth: For Republicans Elections are All about Race  12/23/2016  (607)

No Mandate for Trump, Says Jeff Merkley  12/22/2016  (596)

2010 Prediction: White People with Self-destructive Fantasies will Elect a Figure Like Trump  12/17/2016  (542)

Gore Vidal on Ayn Rand: God is "I"  12/14/2016  (554)

Russian Atheistic Ideas Now Dominate the American Political System  12/14/2016  (446)

Trump Over Performed the Most in Counties with the Highest Drug, Alcohol and Suicide Mortality Rates  12/9/2016  (445)

Back to the Catacombs for the Real Church  12/8/2016  (571)

A Prayer for Standing Rock  11/12/2016  (505)

Trump Will Be Impeached within a Year  11/11/2016  (595)

David Brooks on the Authoritarian Anti-Politics of Trump  11/10/2016  (527)

An Anti-Trump Resistance Movement Begins with Protesters in Streets Nationwide  11/10/2016  (517)

Hillary Lost Because of Her Husband's Economic Policies  11/9/2016  (623)

Evangelicals Elect a Racist Pervert as President  11/9/2016  (532)

Very Serious National Decline  11/9/2016  (544)

The Silly Controversy about Hillary's Emails  11/7/2016  (561)

Trump Offers to Rescue Lower Income White People in a Secular Rapture  11/2/2016  (515)

The Crisis of Conservative Intellectuals  11/1/2016  (572)

James Comey Should Resign or Be Fired  10/30/2016  (550)

Traveling Luther's Life 500 Years Later  10/24/2016  (560)

The Death of Tom Hayden  10/24/2016  (607)

False Superiority Syndrome: A Terrible Disease of the European White Mind  7/22/2016  (958)

Delusion: Ben Carson Thinks Saul Alinsky Worshipped the Devil  7/20/2016  (693)

Understanding the Context for Preaching  7/16/2016  (639)

Journalists Must Treat Trump Differently  7/15/2016  (688)

Reading Grace in History through a Black Lens  6/26/2016  (684)

A Dark Day for the UK  6/24/2016  (650)

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Has Got to Go to Unite Democrats Against the Racist, Trump  5/27/2016  (766)

John Caputo On Divine Sovereignty and the Weakness of God  5/23/2016  (716)

A Corrupt Form of Christianity is Destroying the Republican Party  4/5/2016  (842)

President Obama: 'We are Easter People'  3/31/2016  (778)

Evangelicals are Not Voting Trump, Jacksonians Are  3/31/2016  (749)

The Modern War on Drugs Began as Nixon's Racist Assault on Black People  3/24/2016  (795)

Listen to a Black Man Standing Silently at a Trump Rally  3/15/2016  (804)

Who Should be President? Strict Father or Nurturing Parent  3/3/2016  (842)

Trump is a Fraud Who is Playing the American People as Suckers, Says Romney  3/3/2016  (881)

Asked about Donald Trump's Wall, Pope Francis Suggests He 'Is Not Christian'  2/18/2016  (844)

How the Portland Media Help Make Domestic Terrorists into Heroes  2/6/2016  (811)

Flint, Michigan: Death Camp City  1/22/2016  (837)

Privatization of Public Land is a Bad Idea  1/22/2016  (924)

Peace Lutheran in Burns, Oregon, Requests Prayers  1/20/2016  (930)

How the Iraq War Created ISIS: Crucial Information for Understanding Terrorism  12/6/2015  (927)

Leading Republican Candidate Donald Trump: How Stupid are the People of Iowa?  11/13/2015  (920)

CNN Repeats Stupid Claim by Pew Research that Religious 'Nones' Dominate Democratic Party  11/5/2015  (911)

First Things has become Relevant to Only One Region of the Country: the South  11/2/2015  (944)

Tell Ben Carson to Give Up His Presidential Campaign  10/27/2015  (916)

Corporate-Funded Think Tanks have Created an Angry, Destructive Politics  10/24/2015  (911)

Protestants Need a Pope  9/30/2015  (977)

R.R. Reno at First Things is Disappointed by Pope Francis  9/25/2015  (1002)

Matt Taibbi on the GOP Clown Car  8/15/2015  (1110)

Pray to be Filled with Awe and Contemplation  8/12/2015  (990)

Jurgen Habermas: A New Possibility for Europe  7/21/2015  (1148)

The Republican Party has become an Agent of Southern Religion, Racism and Anti-Unionism  7/20/2015  (980)

Historic Day: Gay Marriage Affirmed by Supreme Court in All 50 States  6/26/2015  (1061)

Gun Manufacturers Cannot Be Christian says Pope Francis  6/22/2015  (1077)

Pope Francis Teaches Us about Climate Change and the Moral Imperative to Act  6/20/2015  (1101)

Cornel West Wows a Conservative University Audience  5/4/2015  (1350)

Police Violence in Baltimore  4/29/2015  (1313)

Bonhoeffer's Vision: An Outcast Church on the Margins of Society  4/25/2015  (1172)

The Debate Over Cornel West  4/21/2015  (1227)

Nebraska Doesn't Believe in the Free Market for Its Electricity  3/29/2015  (1249)

The New Political Mission of the Historic Protestant Church  3/16/2015  (1284)

When Fascism Comes to America; What Love of Country Really Means  3/1/2015  (1291)

Senators Marco Rubio and Joni Ernst Don't Know the Difference between Sunni and Shia Islam  2/28/2015  (1971)

The Shameful Media Attack on John Kitzhaber and Cylvia Hayes  2/18/2015  (1764)

Francis Says God Loves the Marginalized  2/16/2015  (1210)

Rand Paul Disqualifies Himself  2/4/2015  (1333)

Oxfam Report: How the Wealthy Get Their Money by Not Working or Paying Taxes  1/26/2015  (1258)

John Boehner Wants The U.S. to go to War with Iran  1/21/2015  (1287)

Martin Luther on Charlie Hebdo: Sick Secularism and Billy Graham  1/14/2015  (3372)

Whose Speech is Actually Free?  1/14/2015  (1321)

Historic Protestant Speech is Not Free in America Today  1/14/2015  (1491)

Wall Street has Bought Itself a Congress  12/15/2014  (1283)

Democrats Move to Encourage an Elizabeth Warren Candidancy  12/10/2014  (1323)

Iowa Lutherans: Don't Vote for Joni Ernst  10/27/2014  (2784)

Wendell Berry and Incarnational Theology  10/21/2014  (1532)

Did God Kill Jesus? Moltmann on Anticipated Terror and Joy  10/10/2014  (1544)

Stop the Oil Train Bombs  10/2/2014  (1553)

The Terrible Self-Righteousness of George Weigel at First Things  9/19/2014  (1486)

Violence All Across the World, including Ferguson, Missouri  8/15/2014  (1579)

Reagan's View of History Still Prevails  8/15/2014  (1460)

Nick Hanauer: Beware, Fellow Plutocrats, the Pitchforks are Coming  8/13/2014  (1524)

Blowing Up Jonah: The Political Use of Religious Symbols  8/12/2014  (1662)

Listen to Rabbi Henry Siegman on Gaza: Killing Innocents  8/1/2014  (1459)

The Lost Iraq War  7/30/2014  (1422)

It is Not Anti-Semitic to Question Israel's Right to Exist as an Ethnic State   7/24/2014  (1468)

Republicans Elect Mark Walker: A Racist, Blasphemous, Baptist Pastor  7/23/2014  (1908)

There is No Religious Left  7/22/2014  (1466)

Crisis in Ukraine: A Bit of Background  7/18/2014  (1405)

Teachers Turn Against Obama  7/12/2014  (1607)

The Trouble With Brain Science  7/12/2014  (1472)

The Roman Catholic Supreme Court Decides What is 'Sincere' Religious Belief   7/1/2014  (1549)

Karl Polanyi and the Stark Utopianism of Market Fundamentalism  7/1/2014  (1523)

Corporate Provided Health Care Has To Go  6/30/2014  (1451)

Brookings Report on Economic Justice and the Future of Religious Progressives  4/25/2014  (1559)

Coal Train Crisis Abates   4/16/2014  (1587)

Gay Marriage Ban Ending in England and Wales on Saturday  3/29/2014  (1614)

Obama Should Have Prosecuted the Bush Administration for War Crimes  3/28/2014  (1572)

A False Gospel: Corporate Christianity  3/27/2014  (1590)

Koch Brothers are Creating Their Own Political Party  1/26/2014  (1741)

Social Justice in New York City  1/1/2014  (1771)

God is a God of Freedom: Pope Francis and Liberation Theology  12/21/2013  (1762)

America, America, the Country that Kills Its Prophets  11/23/2013  (1888)

Thinking about a New Protestantism  11/21/2013  (1793)

Hysterical Anti-Communism: Billy Graham Urged the Killing of a Million Vietnamese  11/21/2013  (2718)

The Next President will be a Woman and a Methodist, but not Hillary  11/11/2013  (1777)

Regular Republicans are Beginning to Reject Their Leaders  11/11/2013  (1705)

Pastors: Help Your People Understand Obamacare  11/6/2013  (1812)

Mothers and Grandmothers on Abortion  11/5/2013  (1915)

Why Obamacare is a Political Con Job  10/30/2013  (1964)

Very Disturbing Governance by Media Manipulation  10/4/2013  (2000)

A Reformation Pope  10/2/2013  (1875)

When the Big Money Mafia Rule  10/1/2013  (1934)

Obama Wins Shutdown Battle  10/1/2013  (2103)

Samantha Power: Protection of the Innocent  9/11/2013  (2096)

Pope Francis to Meet with Gustavo Gutierrez, Founder of Liberation Theology  9/11/2013  (2075)

Apocalypse: Life Beyond Empire and Environmental Destruction  9/9/2013  (1922)

Joining Obama Against Himself?  9/5/2013  (2088)

Arab Spring: Transfer of Power in Syria  9/4/2013  (2001)

Religious Conflict in the History of Syria  9/3/2013  (2001)

Hunger Games: The Divide and Conquer Marketing Strategy of Fox News  8/7/2013  (2240)

The Terrible Mendacity of Stanley Kurtz  8/5/2013  (2477)

Obama Speaks on Verdict in Trayvon Martin Case  7/19/2013  (1981)

Summer Heat: Elders Called to Engage in Civil Disobedience  7/18/2013  (2036)

Business Predators Must Be Forced to Stop Their Damaging Behavior  5/26/2013  (2204)

Pastors Create Public Consciousness  5/26/2013  (2142)

Kathyrn Tanner: The Social Trinity and Politics  5/26/2013  (2212)

Obama Failed to Appoint Competent IRS Leaders  5/22/2013  (2313)

Occupy Theology: Obama has Broken the Hearts of the Young  5/20/2013  (1976)

Corporate Conspiracy Theories in Pastoral Consciousness  5/17/2013  (2184)

The Gosnell Verdict and Abortion Politics  5/16/2013  (2508)

False Equivalence, the IRS, and the Right's Persecution Complex  5/15/2013  (2188)

The NRA: Southern Political Terrorism  5/14/2013  (2121)

Public Violence  4/17/2013  (1952)

A Teacher is Raised  4/8/2013  (2065)

Stop Coal Exports  3/27/2013  (2126)

Health Care Hogs Drive Up Costs  3/27/2013  (1970)

Manufactured Landscapes  3/23/2013  (2093)

About Death Camp Thinking  3/22/2013  (2094)

Marriage Equality Goes Mainstream  3/21/2013  (2115)

Hope for the New Pope  3/14/2013  (2210)

The End of a Catholic Moment  3/12/2013  (2127)

Wealth Inequality is Much Worse than Most People Believe   3/11/2013  (2138)

The Government is Making Us Old  3/11/2013  (2346)

Fairness Now Means to Tax the Rich More  12/10/2012  (2211)

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness:THE NEW JIM CROW  11/14/2012  (2334)

A Victory for Life  11/7/2012  (2045)

Romney is Not a Christian  11/5/2012  (2299)

It's Not Theology that is Utopian Today, It's the Market Fundamentalists Like Romney  10/17/2012  (2658)

Why Does Romney Focus So Much On Apology?  9/12/2012  (2223)

A Way of Speaking that Wins Elections  9/6/2012  (2145)

Compared to Other Nations, America is Under-Taxed and More Unequal  8/31/2012  (2170)

Obedience, Not Liberty, is Highest Value for Real Conservatives  8/28/2012  (2266)

Romney Degrades Himself with Welfare Ad  8/28/2012  (2221)

Prosperity Economics: Building an Economy for All  8/3/2012  (2292)

Michele Bachmann: Say Stupid Things, Make Lots of Money  8/1/2012  (2187)

The Trees are Falling  7/14/2012  (2424)

President's Social Darwinism Comment Stirs Up Business Elite  4/16/2012  (2302)

Today is My Last Day at Goldman Sachs  3/14/2012  (2321)

Creation is Broken: Against Utopian Conservatives  3/9/2012  (2322)

Women have Spoken: The End of Rush Limbaugh  3/9/2012  (2305)

Nazism and Public Schools: Catholic Bishops Want Public Money for Their Own Schools  2/25/2012  (2800)

The Cynical Use of Religion by Economic Elites  2/23/2012  (2818)

The Continuing Attack by Religious Right against Mainline Christianity  2/22/2012  (2528)

A Phony Public Theology  2/22/2012  (2305)

Naming the Enemy: Biological Fundamentalism  2/17/2012  (2300)

Social Policy in Pastoral Consciousness: Who Should Serve the 'Poor'?  2/16/2012  (2381)

Bishops Reject Obama Compromise, the Devil is Forcing Birth Control  2/14/2012  (2365)

Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It  2/13/2012  (2332)

Romney Believes Constitution is Divine  2/11/2012  (2397)

Santorum Reveals His Political Philosophy with Comment on French Revolution  2/10/2012  (4983)

Legal Aspects of the Contraception Debate  2/9/2012  (2372)

Catholic Bishops Want Freedom to Oppress Women  2/8/2012  (2821)

David Stockman on Crony Capitalism, A Very Helpful Discussion  1/26/2012  (4823)

Wall Street to be Investigated  1/25/2012  (2719)

Obama Tells Truth about Economy  12/7/2011  (2345)

God Demands Justice  11/17/2011  (2351)

Understanding Protest Movements  11/15/2011  (2275)

Chris Hedges: People Have Finally Woken Up  10/8/2011  (2332)

A New Economic Strategy for Wall Street Protests  10/5/2011  (2410)

Wall Street Occupation Protest - Live Video  9/26/2011  (2405)

Tens of Thousands Protest in Israel; Citizens of the USA Should Also Hit the Streets  8/7/2011  (2420)

A Day of Blasphemy: Governor Rick Perry's Prayer Festival  8/5/2011  (2644)

Wall Street Hates the Tea Party  8/4/2011  (2452)

The Instability of the American Political System  7/27/2011  (2542)

Fukuyama on The Origins of Political Order  4/15/2011  (2485)

Obama Punches Back  4/13/2011  (2606)

Punish the Poor  4/9/2011  (2690)

Facing the Reality of Conflict and the Problem with Liberal Neutrality  3/21/2011  (2617)

The Republican Attack on Poor Women  2/20/2011  (2578)

A Real Spirit of Peace  2/11/2011  (2487)

Public Lies about Tax Cuts  2/10/2011  (2570)

The People Own the Streets  2/2/2011  (2603)

Political Violence Works  1/13/2011  (2721)

Religion as a Matter of Political Calculation  12/24/2010  (2803)

Tea Party Leader Says Methodist Church is the Religious Arm of Socialism   12/20/2010  (2867)

Bottom-up History: The Commoners of Atwood  12/13/2010  (2611)

Patriotic Millionaires Support Increase in Their OwnTaxes  12/10/2010  (2687)

Democrats Elected a Republican President  12/9/2010  (2628)

Obama Agrees to Increase Obscene Levels of Inequality  12/9/2010  (2491)

The Unemployed are Actual, Real People  12/3/2010  (2710)

A Deep Sense of Bewilderment and Betrayal  12/2/2010  (2720)

Chalmers Johnson Dies, Military Writer Who Told the Truth  11/21/2010  (2669)

Should the Rich Rule?  11/3/2010  (2545)

The Liberation Theology of Abraham Lincoln  10/12/2010  (2754)

Mass Psychosis as a Pastoral Concern  9/24/2010  (2756)

Glenn Beck and Apostolic Authority  8/31/2010  (2639)

A Moving Event  7/19/2010  (2558)

Gay Marriage to Become Law of the Land  6/21/2010  (2633)

Facing Death at the Center of Life  6/14/2010  (2694)

Rand Paul Exposes Tea Party Racism in Libertarianism  5/20/2010  (2794)

Equal Freedom: The Obama Doctrine  5/7/2010  (2966)

The Last Protestant is Leaving  4/9/2010  (2719)

Economics in Pastoral Consciousness  3/14/2010  (2849)

The Strategic Consciousness of the Protestant Pastor  3/1/2010  (2756)

Memesis and the Culture of Personal Crisis  2/15/2010  (2989)

Watch Out for that Communist Folk Music  1/22/2010  (2934)

The Political Cross at Xmas  12/23/2009  (2853)

There are Socialists and Communists in the White House  10/15/2009  (3598)

Send Money to ACORN Now!  9/19/2009  (3263)

The Moral Blindness of Glenn Beck  8/11/2009  (3339)

The Media Creation of Whacko Conservatism  7/30/2009  (3189)

Seven Pentecostal Mountains and Sarah Palin  7/16/2009  (3345)

Major Media Unfairly Presents Anti-Abortion Rhetoric  6/3/2009  (3305)

You Can Get Killed in a Public Church  6/2/2009  (3440)

Historical Jesus Theories: Bringing on the Reign of God  5/20/2009  (3711)

It's Not Socialism, It's Insanity  5/20/2009  (3241)

When Life Begins is Not at all Clear  5/19/2009  (3499)

The Political Use of Torture  4/25/2009  (3240)

Jesus is Not Some Phony Spook  4/22/2009  (3190)

Poisoned Waters, Chicken Shit and Smart Growth  4/21/2009  (3401)

The Significance of the Killing of Robert F. Kennedy  4/13/2009  (3419)

The Last Book by Neuhaus: America is Babylon  4/10/2009  (3607)

About the New Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships  4/9/2009  (3336)

Seeing the Truth about God and Economy  4/2/2009  (3527)

Big Bankers as Terrorists  3/23/2009  (3534)

Without Trust, No Economy  3/19/2009  (3326)

Exposing the Dual Structure of American Governance  3/19/2009  (3248)

Another Big Book on Justice  3/17/2009  (3271)

Why Pastors Need to Understand Rush Limbaugh  3/16/2009  (3364)

The Freeman Affair and the Israel Lobby  3/16/2009  (3375)

Uncreative Destruction  3/16/2009  (3427)

Some Truth about Income Tax Rates  3/13/2009  (3692)

Cultural Redemption: The Jewish-Arab Peace Song  3/13/2009  (3673)

The Poor Reputation of Evangelicals around the World  3/13/2009  (3465)

They have Stolen Our Language  3/11/2009  (3458)

CNBC: Mouthpiece for Business Ideology  3/11/2009  (3225)

Why Habermas?  3/11/2009  (3325)

Sex in God's Family  3/8/2009  (3567)


Please let us know what you think of these blogs or if you see something inappropriate.
The Gosnell Verdict and Abortion Politics
5/16/2013

I have received several inquiries today about an article located on this website by Cynthia Gorney called here "On the Politics of Partial-Birth Abortion". It is a reprint of a 2004 item from Harpers magazine. I don't usually reprint such items but this one provided an especially excellent history of the abortion debate including the troubling language used to explain what doctors do in performing abortions. It shows how opponents of abortion use such language to shock people into supporting the anti-abortion position.

The article was mentioned in a column at the Wall Street Journal by Daniel Henninger in response to the verdict against Dr. Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia this week. Henninger mentions this website as a source for the article. I would like here to make clear my own views on this.

First let me quote the Religion News Service on this trial:

Even before rogue abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted in Philadelphia on Monday (May 13) of delivering and then killing late-term infants, abortion opponents were convinced they had a case that could reshape an abortion debate that has remained static over the years. After the verdict, they were even more confident.

“Dr. Gosnell is only the front man; and the real trial has only just begun. The defendant is the abortion license in America,” Robert P. George, a Princeton law professor and leading conservative activist, wrote after a jury convicted Gosnell of three counts of first-degree murder for snipping the spines of babies after botched abortions.


What Daniel Henninger likes about the Gorney article is that she calls for a larger and better conversation about abortion. He quotes her: "There is a sober, profoundly difficult public conversation to be had about second- and third-trimester abortion in this country." I agree completely with that, but then he goes on to say:

No reasonable person could disagree. But let's make that any-trimester abortion. Whatever Roe and its successors allowed, it's not the answer. Something has to give. That means compromise is necessary if one wants fewer abortions. After Gosnell, 40 more years of the dreadful status quo is unthinkable.


Notice that Henninger wants all abortions to be questioned, not just the latter trimesters. So he is using the Gorney article to go beyond what she is recommending. He seems to be pushing for what Robert George also wants, an outlawing of all abortion.

The Gorney article is specifically about so-called partial-birth abortions carried out in the latter trimesters for various reasons. The grisly details of how these are performed make difficult reading. But the fact is that there may well be compelling reasons for such abortions if we are told all the facts about why a particular woman needs such a procedure. The Gorney article does not adequately provide those reasons.

And I still have not myself read about the exact details of the Gosnell case to know the conditions of the fetus and women involved in that case. A jury has found him guilty of murder since the life of the fetus was taken outside the womb. But I do know that what Robert George and other anti-abortionists do is to overly romanticize and idealize the biological processes involved in the development of human beings. They do not admit or realize that the biological process itself is not perfect, is often broken, and that a partial-birth abortion can be, in fact, the most moral action possible within a tragic set of circumstances.

These are the sorts of abortions which Dr. George Tiller was willing to perform on behalf of parents and women facing such tragic circumstances. He was a Lutheran layperson who was murdered in his own church by a man whose motivations were fueled by the kind of thinking of Robert P. George.

What most people do not realize is that abortion is not just a moral issue to be debated among those with varying ethical orientations. It is a political wedge issue used by one side of the political divide in this country as a handy emotional issue. Henninger's column even presents this context with his choice of a title, "America's Second Civil War". It is, indeed, a continuation of the original civil war.

Large numbers of followers of religious right preachers vote for Republican candidates, for example, who stand for positions against the economic interests of those very followers. The preachers dupe their followers by self-righteous rhetoric about abortion. Before the 1973 Roe decision, there was a wide variety of opinion among Southern Baptist leaders. But there was in the South widespread hatred of the Supreme Court for its decision on school integration which forced public schools in the South to integrate their classrooms. After 1973 the abortion issue became a rallying cry for the religious right, whose leaders mostly come out of the South, and which turned to the Republican Party after the civil rights victories of the 1960s. The so-called cultural wars are in many ways just a continuation of the civil war; the South is now trying to use abortion to claim the moral high ground against the North.

Abortion should not be discussed without acknowledgement of this larger political context. Furthermore, the religious right has taken a position against freedom and equality for women and a larger role for them within society. Abortion is absolutely a key emotional issue for the religious right against this greater role for women. When they use the highly emotional language about partial-birth abortion they are, in fact, engaged in lying about the facts involved in all abortions, most of which do not require such grisly methods.

In other words, the Gosnell verdict represents a particular case of a physician who did not practice acceptable methods of abortion. No matter what the law is, no matter how carefully institutional structures are designed, there are going to be cases of individuals doing the wrong thing. But we should not make law and create structure based on isolated examples. Robert George and others will claim that Gosnell represents what is universally true about abortion.

But that is not the truth at all. A better conversation is needed, I agree. But you can't have a good conversation with people like Robert George. What is needed to deal with people like him is a good political movement in support of women, women's health, and women's choice.




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