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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at www.clsnet.org if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Garry Wills right; Morgan, Prentice and CMattox Wrong

That would be the Preacher, the Chaplain and the staffer at http://www.clsnet.org/ . And add Jonathan of http://www.baptistlife.com/ to that list of my detractors and my friend John Killian.
I have varying degrees of affection for all of these folks, still this has been a pivotal issue in the election of President Bush as Wills points out; and it was a key wedge issue used to great effect almost deifying FRancis Schaeffer in the takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention.
To that extent Richard Land who your Cooperative Program Dollars support and Karl Rove had the mind of the Devil.
For the record I think Mike Huckabee is a better person than both those rascals; at least he uses Billy Sunday to more virtuous use and better effect.
For several years off and on I have had an ongoing difference with these folks about the social issues; these folks and other members of the family and church community. I have paid a price; might not have been worth it and I coulda had a different tack on occasion.
However it got to where it is now, it does appear that I was right all along, I had the upper hand in the discussion; just maybe it was me they didn't like, or maybe my presentation; or maybe they are too proud to concede.
Garry Wills has written a new book American Christianities. I read most of the last 5th of it yesterday. This Catholic Scholar just today was given the imprimatur of leading Alabama Baptist pastor thinker Jim Evans, Wayne Flynt's pastor at FBC Auburn.
I hope to get that link up for you.

Here is what the LA times Review of Wills had to say just a few days ago, October 10:
http://www.latimes.com/features/books/la-et-rutten10oct10,0,3157373.story?coll=la-books-headlines

Considering abortionAs Wills points out, Rove made abortion the "linchpin" of his strategy to bring Catholics and evangelicals -- antagonists historically -- into accord within the Bush coalition. Other conservatives were quick to see abortion as common ground. William Kristol, the neoconservative editor of the Weekly Standard, wrote, "The truth is that abortion is today the bloody crossroads of American politics. It is where judicial liberation (from the Constitution), sexual liberation (from traditional mores), and women's liberation (from natural distinctions) come together. It is the focal point for liberalism's simultaneous assault on self-government, morals and nature."Wills observes that what "made abortion so useful to Rove is the fact that it is the ultimate 'wedge issue,' because it is nonnegotiable" -- a position dictated by the commandment "Thou shalt not kill.""Fair enough. But is abortion murder? Most people think not," Wills writes. What follows on that is perhaps the most lucid and relevantly learned concise discussion of abortion as a moral/theological question as you're likely to read anywhere. Once again, Wills' deep mastery of the primary sources and his respect for them as a believer himself lend his argument a compelling authority. He points out that Catholic opposition to abortion is a recent development."Abortion is not treated in the Ten Commandments -- or anywhere in Jewish Scripture. It is not treated in the Sermon on the Mount -- or anywhere in the New Testament. It is not treated in the early creeds. It is not treated in the early ecumenical councils." For that reason, Augustine, whose knowledge of both Jewish and Christian scriptures was encyclopedic, wrote, "I have not been able to discover in the accepted books of Scripture anything at all certain about the origin of the soul."Similarly, Thomas Aquinas, "lacking scriptural guidance," relied upon Aristotle's natural philosophy. "So he denied that personhood arose at fertilization by the semen. God directly infuses the soul at the completion of human formation," Wills writes."Much of the debate over abortion is based on a misconception, that this is a religious issue, that the pro-life advocates are acting out of religious conviction. It is not a theological matter at all. There is no theological basis for either defending or condemning abortion. Even the popes have said that it is a matter of natural law, to be decided by natural reason. Well the pope is not the arbiter of natural law. Natural reason is."Part of what lends "Head and Heart" its particular force and authority is that Wills' own encyclopedic knowledge of the separation question, of the history of religion in this country and of religious believers' theological convictions is complemented by profound reflection and a deep affection for both the American tradition and religious belief. The noun "affection" is consciously chosen because one suspects that part of the reason Wills recognizes our historical tension between head and heart so readily -- and finds it so fruitful -- is that he has rehearsed it in his inner life. It will come as no surprise, therefore, that the author's distaste for the current state of affairs not withstanding, his conclusion is optimistic.

Back to Fox:
As good as this quote from LA Times is; it does not do justice to the case Wills lays out in the book parsing FRancis Schaeffer and the politics of Richard Land and Karl Rove.
In the end Wills loosely comes down in the same ballpark as the great Atlanta PCUSA pastor Frank Harrington did in 85: "The Weight of Protestant theology comes down on the side of the Mother." even while Frank, like Wills, abhorred the way abortion had been made into a political wedge issue.
And Wills addresses well some of the concerns of some of my cousins regarding the Catholic Theologian John Neuhauss and the First Things matrix.
Wills appears to be in same conviction on the politics of abortion as Randall Balmer and Mark Noll. Would be interesting to see how David Gushee would parse himself in relation to these conclusions of Wills in this latest book.
You can google up several reviews of Wills book. The Powell's book review is very good.

On another note find Amy Sullivan's handicapping of Mike Huckabee today at Time's website

And this link should get you to Jim Evans today
http://www.ethicsdaily.com/article_detail.cfm?AID=9608

Thanks,

sfox

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