My Thoughts on Saddleback

Watching CNN’s webcast of Senators McCain and Obama during the Saddleback Civil Forum, and a subsequent volley on Twitter with an inflamed Obama supporter, made me start thinking about what’s really at stake in this Presidential election cycle. What really matters, and what is just hot air? I have been asked by some to elaborate on my thinking, and I will also share with you that Twitter volley I mentioned. This is likely to amuse some and enrage others, but I hope it will make just a few people give some serious thought to the issues that lie beneath the rhetoric.

Let me start by clearly explaining my position. I am a Christian Conservative, registered as a Republican. I do not vote the party line, and have actually voted for Democrat candidates in the past (not for President, but for other national, state, and local offices). I have always cast my vote for the best candidate, regardless of party affiliation. I believe firmly in the sanctity of human life and the institution of marriage (though I don’t believe they should carry the weight that they do in deciding how to cast our vote in November). I believe that we pay too much for gasoline (regardless of what they pay elsewhere in the world) and that we pay too much in taxes. I believe that our political election process is the best in the country, but still far from perfect and in need of an overhaul. I believe that families should have the right to educate their children in whatever way they choose, so long as they meet a standard of education (which, unfortunately, dictates some form of testing for verification purposes). I do not believe that the constitution says anything about the separation of church and state (in fact, it dictates only that there will be no establishment of a national religion) and that if money is allowed to play such a major role in politics, so then should religion be allowed to assert it’s influence. Our nation was established on Christian principles, and if we lose touch with those principles, we are no longer the nation that we once were. I believe that, as the longest enduring democracy in the world, we have a duty to foster freedom throughout the world. I don’t believe we should do so by force, unless force is required to free a nation’s people from an oppressive dictator who denies them of their freedoms and other basic rights. I believe that we must finish what we start, and that living with the freedoms that our nation provides requires from each of us a price to be paid in defense of that freedom.

All of that being said, I will now elaborate.I am firmly pro-life. I believe that life begins the instant that fertilization occurs. At that point, it is not up to us to determine whether a person should be given a chance to live or not. At Saddleback, Senator Obama spoke of the need to find a way to reduce unwanted pregnancies. He spoke of this as if it is more important than protecting the live of unwanted babies. I find it very difficult to place a higher value on the lifestyle of someone who has become pregnant by accident than on the value of that life she carries inside her. It is my belief that we can reduce both unwanted pregnancies and abortions by taking responsibility for our actions and not getting pregnant in the first place. It’s a simple task, really. Don’t commit the act if you aren’t prepared to live with all possible consequences, including unwanted pregnancy, and to deal with them in a manner that causes no harm to anyone of any age, including the unborn. There will always be a number of women who become pregnant because they are victimized in one or another. These women are not personally responsible for committing the act that created the unwanted pregnancy, and shouldn’t be forced to suffer the consequences. The unborn baby is also not personally responsible for committing the act that created the unwanted pregnancy, and shouldn’t be forced to suffer the consequences. Unfortunately, people are victimized in hundreds of ways every day and must suffer the consequences. If you burn down my home, I must suffer the consequences (and so might you, if you are caught). If shot in a drive -by shooting, I must suffer the consequences. If faced with the unwanted pregnancy of a loved one, regardless of how it was created, I must suffer the consequences. That’s just a fact of life, and it’s something we should learn to live with and quit expecting a quick fix to solve the problem for us. I suggest adoption be considered as an alternative to abortion.

Though being firmly pro-life, I do not believe that abortion should be such a hot topic in choosing our next President. Our system of government prevents the President from taking any personal action that would either make abortion legal or illegal on his own. He must work with the 535 members of Congress to pass such legislation, and frankly, it’s never going to happen. Let’s face it, as long as our political system is based upon constantly running for the next election, we’re never going to see 536 people agree on such a hot topic as abortion. Granted, the President can nominate his pro-life or pro-choice candidates to the Supreme Court, but they, too, must be confirmed by the 100-member Senate before being seated on the bench. Though possible, it is not likely that we would see an all-liberal or all-conservative Supreme Court. And let’s be honest, liberals really don’t have much to worry about from a Conservative bench. The Conservatives are historically strict constitutionalists and less likely to legislate from the bench than are liberal justices, and therefore less likely to write a sweeping decision outlawing abortion. So while the topic of abortion is of critical importance when selecting our Senators and Representatives, it’s nothing but hot air in the Presidential debate.

Which brings me to the topic of marriage. I believe that marriage was established by God (we only created the ceremony and legal documentation) as the union of one man (originally Adam) and one woman (originally Eve), and that we do not have the authority as God’s creation to modify this institution. God’s first commandment to the first couple was to “be fruitful and multiply.” As that is only possible with the involvement of a man and a woman, I do not feel that there is any need for further debate on this topic. Adam and Eve can be fruitful and multiply, Adam and Steve can only multiple with a pen and paper, or calculator, or some other such instrument that does not result in the continuation of the species.

Again, I do not believe that marriage should be such a hot topic in choosing our next President, and again for the same reasons as I stated earlier on abortion. Should a rogue Judicial Branch decide that same-gender marriage should be legal, we as a nation have the tools at our disposal to rise up and take action. The legislative process provides for us to petition each other for the passing of a law to eliminate the legalization of same-gender marriage. Our 535 representatives — whom we can choose or unchoose with our votes — can pass such legislation to overturn any such Supreme Court decision. Utopia, right? Maybe, but I believe that if we focus our efforts on what really matters and what can best be affected by whom, then maybe it isn’t so unrealistic to expect such supposedly utopian results. Marriage is not an issue for the President to be overly concerned with, as he has the least impact of all elected officials on the definition of marriage. This, like abortion, should be a major factor in determining how we vote for the Senate and Congress, not the President.

So where does that leave the President? Can he influence education? Clearly President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act is evidence that he can. Can he affect the price of gasoline? Yes, and more easily so if we allow him to tap our own natural resources and not rely so heavily on foreign oil. Can he reduce (or raise) our taxes? Well, if you’re an American reading this, you probably received at least one of President Bush’s tax rebates or so-called economic stimulus checks over the past eight years.

Most importantly, the President is (or should be) our chief foreign policy expert. No one can be expected to have more knowledge or more expertise of world affairs than the recognized leader of the free world. And while all of the issues I’ve discussed so far can have an impact on the way we live our lives from day to day, nothing can have a greater impact on life as we know it than living our lives in fear of invasion, attack, or the downfall of our democracy. No single issue is as important to the furtherance of liberty as foreign policy. We must elect a President who is familiar with world affairs, who knows and has worked with world leaders, who has life experience to suggest that he can make strong, sound judgment calls, and who has the courage to stand upon his convictions and the humility to admit when he is wrong and to amend course as needed. If our President cannot be the leader in world affairs, there is nothing he can do domestically to compensate for the damage he might cause.

As I stated at the beginning of this article, I am a Christian Conservative. I registered to vote as a Republican because the Republican platform most consistently aligns with my values and my beliefs. I am not so closed-minded as to believe everything the Republican party says, however. I vote my values, my beliefs, my convictions. When this Presidential campaign cycle began so many months and so many candidates ago, I was a Fred Thompson supporter. When he dropped from the race, after much consideration and study, I fell in behind Rudy Guiliani (who, by the way, does not share my stance on abortion). When John McCain became the last Republican candidate standing, and the only Democrat choices remaining were Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, I reluctantly threw my support to the candidate who would achieve the greater good on the world front and do the least damage here at home: John McCain (actually, upon researching tonight, I realize that in January 2007, before Guiliani and Thompson were in the race, I had chosen McCain). Now that we are down to two major party candidates (and Bob Barr for the Libertarians), and I have seen those two candidates speak in the unique setting provided at the Saddleback Civil Forum, I no longer stand behind John McCain because he’s all that’s left. I support him now because I think that going forward, America needs a man like John McCain to preserve all that our founding fathers had in mind some 2000+ years ago.

I share with you now the volley that took place in 140 character snippets on Twitter as I watched the Saddleback forums. The debate was between myself and one petersantilli (his Twitter handle and, presumably, his name). For clarity, I have arranged the “tweets” as a thread, with replies falling in the appropriate place. I have also colored my tweets in Red and his tweets in Blue. Any additional editorializing I’ve added will appear in black italicized text.


Watching the Saddleback Civil Forum with Obama and McCain. Wow, this should make the choice clear for anyone! http://is.gd/1Dky

No kidding. The choice is clearly OBAMA!

I don’t know what you’ve been watching to come up with that choice.

Been studying Obama since Dec 2007, didn’t change my opinion @ Saddleback

You’ve been studying, what, nearly his entire career in the Senate then?

Senator Obama has not yet completed his first four-year term in the Senate. Merely pointing out this lack of national experience to petersantilli.

Exactly what people are looking for, less tenure in DC.

In the middle of watching the Saddleback forums, CNN seems to have pulled the video. That’s MSM corruption if ever it existed!

MSM conspiracy. Corrupt because they won’t let you spin it to your liking

Not looking to spin it in any way. Just looking to watch it, and the video suddenly became unavailable. It’s up again now.

But no spin is needed from me. The candidates give it all the spin that it needs.

Got the video going again, but the embed code points to a dead URL. Was going to post it for others to find easily.

Obama’s a kind heart. Warm, sincere, thoughtful, and not-so-hot-headed-and-quick-on-the- “AT CONCEPTION”-trigger to get ur Christianity vote

When asked at what point an unborn baby has human rights, Senator McCain replied immediately, “At conception.” Senator Obama shuffled and stalled while he came up with the following response: “that’s above my pay-grade,” suggesting that it is for God to decide. It is, of course, for God to decide, and we must either choose to interpret what God’s decision is, or to accept that God’s decision is that life begins at conception. Kudos to Senator McCain for having the conviction to take a stance and make a decision on what he believes. It concerns me that a Presidential candidate might be hesitant to make some kind of decision on the topic. This is also the first point at which the Obama supporter engages in attack mode. To suggest that McCain’s stance is only given for the purpose of wooing Christian voters, and that Christian voters are so easily swayed into how to vote.

If you knew me at all, you’d know mine is not a “Christianity” vote, just a “Patriotic American” vote.

I’m not a McCain man, so much. But given the current choices, there is no other choice to make.

I don’t believe it really matters where POTUS stands on marriage, abortion, etc., regardless what my own views are….

…don’t think he can really effect change there. Most importantly is, will he lead us to our downfall….

…by making poor decisions on the world front? Or will he stand up for American principles and democracy?

Meaning: to lead us to the downfall of American society as we have known it for over two centuries by being unable to form a thought, decision, or strategy without first weighing the political ramifications. Like him or not, President Bush has always done what he thought was best, regardless of what the polls might say about him afterward. Senator McCain has had many unpopular positions on the issues, but has always had the courage to stand upon his convictions whether people agree with him or not. I challenge anyone to describe where Senator Obama stands on any issue that is not fully in toe with the party line. When push comes to shove, there may not be time to consider political ramifications before making a decision. Our President has to be able to act swiftly and intelligently, and can only do so based upon experience and upon wanting to do what’s right, not just what’s right today.

…at whose expense? Standing up for principles & democracies costs $10 billion per month. I really want OURS to be a priority

Establishing our principles and democracy cost our founders their lives. Defend that at any financial cost!

If concerned about our downfall, current trends set by years of GOP war & reck-onomy are not upward towards prosperity

I’m not concerned about financial prosperity. Defending our values has never come cheap, but always been money well spent.

If we allow ourselves to become ruled by money, we are doomed to failure. We cannot fail to achieve our goals because of the price tag. During World War II, the entire country sacrificed for the cause of defeating evil abroad. Food products and petroleum products were rationed. Women went to work in factories while their husbands went to war. Everyone did their part. We once again face a great evil. Regardless of why this war started, or where you think it should be fought, we are at war against an evil force that believes it’s God-given purpose is to eliminate us. What have you sacrificed for your country in support of this cause? Why is it that sixty years after World War II we suddenly don’t have to sacrifice when our nation is at war?

We’ll put all you big spenders on an island off the coast, shoot missiles & yell at Jihaddies. Let us know how that goes

It goes like this: we establish a new great democracy while the one you’re so careless about crumbles.

All the money in the world cannot defeat the determination of the passionate defenders of freedom.

Democracy will survive and thrive where liberty is defended. It will fail when we let our guard down and take our sites off the prize.

Well then. Try it out. I think it’s worth descovering (sic) if your new island gets attacked, or if we fair better by minding our own

See you in the history books, then. Thanks for the interesting chatter. GOODNIGHT TO ALL.

It is at this point that this debate was over for me. It was midnight here in Indiana, and an early morning ahead. Past experience has taught me that people such as petersantilli will go on forever, sounding less coherent and making less sense, just for the sake of the argument. Read on as he proves my point.

People who say that typically have a sub-prime loan, credit card bills, and let other people balance the war check-book

Shall we blame your stupidity & ignorance on failure of education, Patriot Act, or solely on governmental control of our media?

Again, more attacks and insults. I’ll only address the “governmental control of our media” by saying, tune into CNN or MSNBC or CBS or ABC and you’ll see that not only does the government not control our media, but if anything the media controls our government. The mainstream media has overlooked so much real news this election cycle in favor of spinning the latest rumor or hearsay in favor of the candidate(s) that they favor that I don’t think anyone with a working knowledge of the English language can say that the government controls American media.

A quote for the history books “I’m not concerned about financial prosperity.” – Average Joe

It’s voters like @AverageJoe that frighten me & my family

Interesting, to say the least. It’s sad that some people can’t have an informed political debate without resorting to smear tactics, insults, lies, and innuendo. I guess I shouldn’t have expected much more given the situation.

Your comments?