The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Focus on the Thinking

Posted by iusbvision on March 21, 2007

Recently, there was a media bonanza over Vice President Cheney’s refusal to respond to Focus on the Family’s opposition to the pregnancy of his openly lesbian daughter. While strong arguments have been made on both sides of this issue, one crucial element seems to have gone under the radar: not what but how that initial opposition was made. While the general public can spend their time debating on the Vice President, a student community could do well to discuss how we create arguments and how we justify them. It’s not about conception. It’s about conceptualization

On December 12, Time Magazine printed an article by Dr James Dobson, the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, titled “Two Mommies Is One Too Many” (,9171,1568485-1,00.html).

In it, it is stated that “Mary Cheney is starting a family. Let’s hope she doesn’t start a trend.” The article starts off with careful footing, politely trying to distance the issue from politics, and then quotes “30 years of social-science evidence”, an educational psychologist, and a book by a faculty member of the Yale Medical School. The research goes in support of the necessity of both mother and father in a healthy family environment. At this point, the article seems to be well-supported, and most importantly seems to place the welfare of children at the forefront.

If one is truly open-minded, whether one is straight or gay, it does at least give the common ground that this is an issue worth further study. I personally have considered one day being a single parent by way of adoption, and it would be selfish of me to not consider opinions that single-parenthood might not be the best for the child. So, thus far it merits a pause for thought. But within ten seconds from that moment, Dobson effectively sabotaged his own position. Apparently, three-quarters of a page is giving someone just enough rope. In a switch to fifth gear, Dobson says, “Traditional marriage is God’s design for the family and is rooted in biblical truth.”

Take that, Congress with your less-than-100 word resolution. That’s Focus on the Family with less than 15.

For someone who once enjoyed listening to short, warm, carefully-selected weekly radio segments by Dobson back in Malaysia, this was a disappointing development. If it isn’t already obvious, one cannot base an argument on one’s personal religious beliefs when it openly aims to change public policy. It sets a remarkably dangerous precedent of discrimination. If there is one thing Christian about the issue, it is to do onto others as you would want others to do onto you, and I doubt that anyone would want someone else to dictate choices based on his/her religious beliefs.

There will be those who say that, well, this is a democratic country and if the majority decides to employ biblical values into public policy, that is their choice and their right. The response is simple: that a democracy can not only be about pleasing majorities, but the protection of minorities as well. That is a stance that has been made against other countries, most obviously those under fundamentalist Islam. You cannot argue if adherents wish to practice any fundamentalist religion. But you can say quite a bit if they force it upon the minorities, or against any other people. As psychologist Wafa Sultan once said in that debate, “Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don’t throw them at me.”

Dobson’s base on a “divine plan” placed all the points raised by previously referenced research down the drain. Even if that research was valid, it showed that Focus on the Family just doesn’t have the credibility to view research without bias. As it turns out, two of the researchers later voiced their opinion that their research was skewed in Dobson’s assertions. It also casts doubt as to whether the issue of child welfare is being used for a religious agenda.

The real “untested and far-reaching social experiment” is not Mary Cheney’s pregnancy. Nor is it her father’s choice to not speak on the issue. What it is, is the way, the mental process in which we form arguments, and the minorities we trudge on when we do so. In less one week, CNN brought up the plight of two of these: first, the homosexual community whom hip-hop artist Deadlee said that “it’s the one group of people that still it’s ok for people to hate”.

Actually, that’s unfortunately not entirely accurate – as CNN later reported on the second discriminated minority group: atheists. The real virtue of democracy must be that citizens do not all have to belong to either of these minorities – and by definition they do not – in order to believe in the protection of minorities. CNN did it in one week. James Dobson did the opposite in the space of ten seconds. Five if you speed read.

Religion can be a remarkable thing, and the Bible can be an effective personal guide for Christians, just as the Torah, Quran and the various Buddhist texts are for the faithful of other religions. It is only a fringe of any religion that indeed does throw stones, as it were, but they often have the most visibility. In my opinion, James Dobson’s article is one such example. To use the Bible as an instrument of concept enforcement, so to speak, tends to preach to the choir, alienate the rest, give a misunderstanding of the acceptance in Christianity, and invite others to find ways to skew the Bible in backlash. I met one such person recently who said that, “They call me a heathen, so I find ways to use their book against them.” An unfortunate position, and an unhealthy perspective, but one borne not of a vacuum, but out of discrimination. On the other hand, it has been rightly pointed out to me that the challenge for those on the other side is not to brand Christianity simply because of any individual, like James Dobson. Or for that matter, any religion based on any individual voice. The challenge for religious moderates is to distance themselves from the “heathen”-brander extreme and by doing so, help to heal rifts.

Should there be a focus on the children? Sure. That’s what public policy is for. Should there be biblical discussions? Absolutely. That’s what churches are for. But when in the public arena of social issues, let there be a focus on thinking about how we form our assertions, and whether we can do so without unfairly marginalizing others. And that should be what universities are for. It makes me sigh when I recall that James Dobson has a doctorate. And here I was, never thinking I’d miss Malaysian radio.

Andrew Filmer

52 Responses to “Focus on the Thinking”

  1. madmouser said

    You wrote an amazing article, thank you. I am a Christian and in my heart, I wish there were more Christians on this earth, but I would never, never want to force my Christian belief on anyone. I want them to choose what they want to believe. I just wish we could find a way that all the differences between people could become so benign as to render intolerance obsolete.

  2. Erkki KochKetola said

    Interesting piece, Andy. I think you identify one of the most common mistakes people make when they conceptualize democracy: that democracy is nothing more than mob rule. The protection of minorities, especially unpopular minorities, is crucial to a healthy society.

    There’s quite a bit more to the article than you tackle, such as Dobson’s obsession with the breakdown of the nuclear family. But that’s an entirely different can of worms. I’m looking forward to your next column.

  3. Tina Owen said

    You have a point about no one forcing their ideas into another’s face. However, our country was founded on Biblical truths and the ideas, whether for social or personal use, it holds. The whole point of democracy, as far as I understand, is for everyone to put in their ideas and to come up with the idea that most people agree with. It should not matter what the inspiration is based from. If it comes from the Bible, so be it. If it comes from a poem, so be it. We enjoy the freedom of being able to openly share our views in this country. A person isn’t less accurate if their imformation comes from the Bible, rather than solely from scientific research. The Bible is the basis for human living. You said yourself the Bible is a good personal guide. But not just for the “Christian”. I think we could all agree we would all live better lives if there wasn’t stealing and murder, along with the other behaviors that are destructive to self and society. I haven’t read the article myself, but I’ve listened to Dr. Dobson enough to guess that this was the point he intended to make. The Lord, Jesus, who is God, intended marriage to be between one man and one woman. Anything else is destructive to the social and personal life. You can’t separate the teachings of the Bible from this truth. The Bible clearly states that God made things to work a certain way. When His creation, whether it be people or nature, doesn’t work how He designed, there is always disaster. This isn’t a matter of opinion. This is a fact which can be seen in the pages of the Bible itself, as well as in the history books. Any time God is looked to for the basis of living, the society who chooses to do so always lives better than when they don’t. Look in the Bible and pages of history for yourself. Remember one thing, not everyone who calls themself a “Christain” represents Christianity as a whole anymore than one American represents the United States. I’m so grateful for the freedoms we all share as Americans. We should be able to lay aside our personal differences and be kind to one another. That is the whole idea behind democracy.

  4. If you listen to a certain radio station here in South Bend, that is if you are able to without tearing out your hair, you will be treated to almost 12 hours of conservative talk show propaganda. If you listen to it long enough, you too will start to believe that all is good in the world, George Bush did not lie about weapons of mass destruction, we are winning the war in Iraq, and that Reagan has just been canonized.

    But most of who have a firm grasp of reality know that most of what they say is not true, and that these talk show hosts are clearly only cheerleaders for the Republican right wing media machine. But it was not always this way. Those of us, who are old enough to remember, know that at one time there was something called the Fairness Doctrine. This law, enacted in 1949, called on the Federal Communications Commission to “attempt to ensure that all coverage of controversial issues by a broadcast station be balanced and fair ( The FCC believed that the stations were “public trustees” and therefore had the obligation to afford equal time to people of opposing views. The concern was, that with so many companies buying up licenses, and so few licenses to be had, that these stations were not just simply using these radio stations to espouse a single view. This act also required stations to give opposing candidates equal time. In later years, the doctrine was routinely challenged. In 1969, in the case of Red Lion Broadcasting vs. Supreme Court, Red Lion challenged the doctrine on the basis that it was a violation of the First Amendment. The Supreme Court disagreed. In a 5-4 decision, the court said “It is the purpose of the First Amendment to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail, rather than to countenance monopolization of that market, whether it is by the government itself or a private licensee. It is the right of the public to receive suitable access to social, political, esthetic, moral and other ideas and experiences which is crucial here. That right may not constitutionally be abridged either by Congress or by the FCC” (
    — U.S. Supreme Court, Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 1969.
    Many conservatives say that the repeal of the doctrine was all that stood between the successes of conservative talk shows, but this is not true. In the beginning, the FCC did not rule on talk shows, and right wing talk shows began to flourish, even in mainstream cities like Los Angeles, long before the repeal of the doctrine. The doctrine simply prohibited the broadcasting of a single opinion and view day after day on public airwaves. In an op-ed in the January 31, 1994 for the Washington Post, the Media Access Project, and conservative advocacy group said “The Supreme Court unanimously found [the Fairness Doctrine] advances First Amendment values. It safeguards the public’s right to be informed on issues affecting our democracy, while also balancing broadcasters’ rights to the broadest possible editorial discretion.” The doctrine was long considered by many to be a tool for speech and debate, and allowed opponents of ballot measures in the early days to be heard, and eventually it was supported by many different grassroots organizations across the political spectrum, including the National Rifle Association.

    But this basic right of freedom of debate which is guaranteed in our Constitution saw its demise in the early 1980’s. Under Ronald Reagan, and his anti regulation extremists agenda, his FCC chairman, Mark Fowler, a former broadcast industry lawyer, set out to dismantle the doctrine, and put in place, “a more market based approach to broadcasting”. Fowler said “It was all nonsense, said Fowler (L.A. Times, 5/1/03): “The perception of broadcasters as community trustees should be replaced by a view of broadcasters as marketplace participants.” To Fowler, television was “just another appliance—it’s a toaster with pictures,” and he seemed to endorse total deregulation (Washington Post, 2/6/83): “We’ve got to look beyond the conventional wisdom that we must somehow regulate this box.” ( But just like almost everyone in the age, Fowler and the Reagan administration did not favor total deregulation, because without licenses, the airwaves would fall into chaos, and many different broadcasters would be chasing few licenses, and this would hurt the corporate broadcasters the Reagan administration was so close to.

    What has happened since the demise of the doctrine, according to the Media Access Project, “there has been less coverage on controversial issues (
    But the most important result of this repeal is the volume of unanswered right wing talk show hosts around the country. Nationally, almost all the prominent talk show hosts are conservative. People like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and other, continue to dominate the airwaves, with little checks. A lawyer named Edward Monks did a study in 2002 about talk show stations in his town of Eugene Oregon. “ His study found that 80 hours per week, more than 4,000 hours per year, programmed for Republican and conservative talk shows, without a single second programmed for a Democratic or liberal perspective.” “Observing that Eugene (a generally progressive town) was “fairly representative,” Monks concluded: “Political opinions expressed on talk radio are approaching the level of uniformity that would normally be achieved only in a totalitarian society. “There is nothing fair, balanced or democratic about that”, said Monks. (

    In this age of increasing media consolidation, it is more and more important to bring back this basic element of fairness to our society. Without it, maybe we will be like Germany in the 1930’s listening to Radio Berlin, listening to what the government wanted us to hear, and not realizing that we were headed down a road of destruction and devastation until it was too late.

    Jack Flash

  5. I would like to respectfully disagree with Tina on the point that this country was founded on “christian principles” The following is a link to a website that gives a reasonable argument to this claim. PLEASE NOTE, THIS IS NOT MY ORIGINAL WORK, I MERELY BORROWED THE LINK.

    Jack Flash


  6. Rachel Custer said

    Jumping Jack Flash,

    Like it or not, these radio stations are still on the air because of public support. Liberals tried to create the same thing with Air America, which, if they would have had the public support, they would have been fully able to do (I don’t think Berlin in the 1930’s would have allowed that). The problem with Air America is nobody listened to it. If people stopped listening to and supporting the right-wing stations, they would go off the air too. It has to do with the market; these stations are not supported by the government, and it is disingenuous to pretend they are.

  7. Jumpin Jack Flash said


    The free market should never be the final arbiter of what people can and cannot hear. It has nothing to do with the free market, it is about fairness. People should be allowed to present different views to people regardless of their ability to pay or have a radio station. The government is responsible for protecting a persons right to free speech, and this is a free speech issue.

  8. Jumpin Jack Flash said


    I am tired of you being able to espouse your nonsense about the Iraq war on this weblog. Are you ready to hear some truth regarding this war, or will you still hide in your little cozy corner of the world and believe what ever the media tells you. Let me know.

    Jumpin Jack Flash

  9. Rachel Custer said

    Jumpin Jack Flash,

    The idea of free speech does not contain within it the idea that the government has to provide a forum for every possible idea to have equal air time. Didn’t your parents ever tell you that life isn’t fair? It’s a lesson most adults have learned.

  10. Chuck Norton said

    Jack Flash,

    I am willing to debate you publicly, using Lincoln-Douglas style, on the fairness doctrine, my currently published article, or your contention that President Bush lied about WMD.

    So I accept your challenge, of course since you lack the moral courage to even use your own name I think that you will be like the other liars, haters, and ideologues who come here, all show and no go.

    And how about you post your comments to me in the right thread, as we are not so tolerant of blatent trolling any longer.

  11. Jack Flash said


    Political speech is the most protected speech in the constitution. Why would it be wrong for everyone to be heard about a certain issue. By not allowing all view point to be heard, you are essentially violating the first amendment rights of all those who disagree with political talk shows.

  12. Chuck Norton said

    This is not a free speech issue. While you have the right of free speech the radio station or newspaper staff can control the time, place and manner in which they decide to subsidize your speech with their radio station, or newspaper or TV.

    I tell you what, you get the fairness doctrine and I get a show on TV right after the NBC, CBS and ABC news, as well as NPR and PBS so I can refute all their lies and spin….at THEIR EXPENSE.

    The fairness doctrine is not about allowing alternate viewpoints, it is about making the cost of airing any news analysis so expensive that no one will dare do it. The so called “fairness doctrine” is nothing more than government manipulation of the marketplace so as to achieve censorship. This has been proven in the courts and that is why they agree that the so called “fairness doctrine” is nothing more than a censorship tool.

    Here is an idea, how about the left try to make it in talk radio, so far the audiences have rejected the left….because so far they have not found a host with the credibility and honesty and entertainment value to keep an audience.

  13. Chuck Norton said

    In short, you have the righht of free speech, you do not have the right to make a private company subsidize it.

  14. Jack Flash said


    I am not talking about just any speech, I am talking about political speech. Political speech is the most protected speech by the constitution. By not allowing all viewpoints to be heard on political issue, aren’t you essentially violating the free speech of someone who wants to make a case against what you say. As for you notion of the Supremes, here is a court decision from 1969, and their ruling “It is the purpose of the First Amendment to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail, rather than to countenance monopolization of that market, whether it is by the government itself or a private licensee. It is the right of the public to receive suitable access to social, political, esthetic, moral and other ideas and experiences which is crucial here. That right may not constitutionally be abridged either by Congress or by the FCC” (
    — U.S. Supreme Court, Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC,
    1969. Arent they saying that the free market is not the final arbiter of what people hear and see in the media.


  15. Jack Flash said


    This is in regard to your “private company” comment. But what do you do when private companies use public airwaves to do business. Dont they have an obligation to use them in a way that will benefit everyone in a society. Yes. Next, doesnt it benefit everyone in a society if different viewpoints are heard. Yes. Companies who use public airwaves have a responsibilty to use those airwaves responsibly.


  16. Rachel Custer said


    Posts 12 and 13 essentially contain my thoughts on the matter. If liberals want their views heard, they can get them heard in the same ways conservatives do – by owning a private company that broadcasts liberal views. There have been many of these companies; however, the issue I think you have is more that you can’t stomach the fact that nobody tunes in to listen to them (as recently shown by the massive failure that was Air America).

    Your argument would only make sense if liberals were not allowed the exact same opportunities conservatives are to use public media. As Chuck said, the concept of free speech does not necessitate the government’s subsidization of a forum for that speech.

  17. Jack Flash said


    You are mistaken when you say “liberals dont succeed because no one listens to them” The following is taken from the website
    “You probably think liberals get poor ratings. Not true. The most egregious example of a prominent liberal getting yanked off the airwaves was when MSNBC cable TV channel canceled Phil Donahue despite his having the highest ratings in his time slot. This occurred in the run-up to the war in Iraq. FAIR Founder Jeff Cohen cited a study commissioned by NBC warning that “the Donahue show could be a home for the liberal anti-war agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity.”

  18. Chuck Norton said


    Donahue was not on radio, he was on TV, MSNBC, whose ratings have been awful for ages, that idiot Kaplan who ran MSNBC thought that the low ratings were because of Donahue, in fact Olberman’s ratings have been even worse. While Donahue had the best ratings on MSNBC, his ratings were still a joke.

    Your argument in post 15 is, for lack of a better word, juvenile and does not respond to the meat of my previous post. A word of advice, you don’t make progress persuading people when you pretend like their best arguments were never posted in the first place.

    If the fairness doctrine were back, and if it applied to TV also, every time there was a news cast or a news analysis show, everyone who had an opposing view could sue for free airtime. The LaRouche conspiracy nuts, the Masons conspiracy nuts, the Alex Jones conspiracy nuts, the 9/11 truth nuts, the left and right and various degrees of that, the libertarian viewpoint, and than all the viewpoints who take issue with the “facts” presented… and all for FREE… advertisers wont pay for that mess, it will bankrupt any media outlet that would have to follow it or force them to offer nothing controversial at all (which is exactly what the pro so called fairness doctrine crowd want, to silence talk radio because the far left hates free speech, in fact I can start to list all of the attempts by the far left to shut me up, including even filing false charges with the administration against me).

    Wow, I just read that link you posted, he says that all TV and Radio is right politically…and than quotes the socialist group FAIR….whose founder complains that the Democratic party is too far to the right.

    So lets look at what has to show about who runs and funds FAIR.

    QUOTE –
    FAIR’s Advisory Board includes actors Edward Asner, John Cusack, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon; journalists Ben Bagdikian, Barbara Ehrenreich, Susan Faludi, Katha Pollitt [of The Nation (a magazine that openly supports European style socialism for the United States)], and Studs Terkel; musician Jackson Browne [a supporter of the Sandinista dictatorship]; and feminists Eleanor Smeal and Gloria Steinem. Asner, Ehrenreich and Steinem are members of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which describes itself as “the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International.”

    FAIR receives financial support from the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Samuel Rubin Foundation, the Tides Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, the CarEth Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Stewart R. Mott Charitable Trust, Working Assets, the Streisand Foundation and others. Such grants account for approximately 30 percent of FAIR’s annual operating revenue.” – END QUOTE

    So you might wanna try to check out your sources as your links author makes statements and assertions that demonstrate that he just cannot be taken seriously.

    QUOTE –
    Released: March 14, 2007
    Zogby Poll: Voters Believe Media Bias is Very Real

    Institute for Politics, Democracy, and the Internet/Zogby Poll shows American voters are skeptical political motivation may be behind blogs run by mainstream news organizations

    The vast majority of American voters believe media bias is alive and well – 83% of likely voters said the media is biased in one direction or another, while just 11% believe the media doesn’t take political sides, a recent IPDI/Zogby Interactive poll shows.

    The Institute for Politics, Democracy, and the Internet is based at George Washington University in Washington D.C.

    Nearly two-thirds of those online respondents who detected bias in the media (64%) said the media leans left, while slightly more than a quarter of respondents (28%) said they see a conservative bias on their TV sets and in their column inches. – END QUOTE

  19. Rachel Custer said


    I don’t even believe I need to respond after Chuck’s last post. Game, set and match.

  20. A belated reply to Tina:

    I think that I have discussed most of the issues you have raised within my original column, including: the protective nature of a democracy, and the value of recognizing the choice of religion as basicially that – a personal choice.

    In addition, I am disappointed that there is once again this thinly veiled idea that homosexuality should somehow be associated to destructive behavior, murder, theft, and so on. It has been previously discussed that at great length here:

    May I remind you that the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct of Indiana University has sexual orientation as a protected class, Part 1, Sections B and C. The Diversity Workshop of the Office of Campus Diversity this coming Friday afternoon is specifically focused on that issue and I highly recommend you attend.

    That said, if you read the column carefully, you will note that it is not focused on the issue of sexuality, but on the use of an individual religion as a tool of policy promotion. Might I suggest you put yourself in the shoes of a Christian living in a non-Christian country where the majority believes that you should subscribe to whatever extent to their religious values. Do that and see if still believe in that kind of democracy.

    What people don’t realize is that you don’t have to live in a extremist theocracy to get comments like those made by Dr Dobson jeoporadizing the rights of minorities. THAT is the slippery slope.

    Tina said: “‘You said yourself the Bible is a good personal guide. But not just for the “Christian’. I think we could all agree we would all live better lives if there wasn’t stealing and murder, along with the other behaviors that are destructive to self and society.”

    I think it patently presumptous and bordering on rude to imply that other religions don’t have the same protections against stealing and murder or destructive bahavior. For that matter, I know atheists and agnostics who have just as strong a moral code. This is where the moderate Christian community needs to be clear of avoiding – instead, spread a faith of acceptance, inclusion, and understanding!

  21. Tina Owen said

    Hello. Thank you for your comments. I’m glad we still live in a country where we all have the right to free speech. I have stated my thoughts on the consequences of certain behaviours, but I would like to make it clear, I do not believe any person should be mistreated because of choices they’ve made in their lives, whatever they are. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness. As far as presuming anything about other religions, I didn’t mention any other religions. I didn’t bring anything into the conversation except the Bible and history books. So, there was no assumption about anyone’s moral code. Hope you have a good weekend!

  22. I stand by my last comment, I think the example given is clear. In addition, in comment No. 3, Tina Owen said:

    “The Lord, Jesus, who is God, intended marriage to be between one man and one woman. Anything else is destructive to the [sic] social and personal life.”


    “The Bible clearly states that God made things to work a certain way. When His creation, whether it be people or nature, doesn’t work how He designed, there is always disaster. This isn’t a matter of opinion.”

    You don’t have to explicitly mention other religions to presumptously exclude them from consideration. Who is to judge that instead of the Bible, a conflicting idea from elsewhere may be worth thinking about?

    If everyone didn’t have any assumptions about anyone else’s moral code, or the value of other religions or other beliefs, then no one would be promoting public policy based on one, very individually chosen, religious belief.

    And that is the heart of the issue, and apparently it is an issue that is as much alive on the discussions on the IUSB Weblog as it has been in Time Magazine.

    Remember, if it’s only about majorities, and that as Tina Owen also said, “the whole point of democracy, as far as I understand, is for everyone to put in their ideas and to come up with the idea that most people agree with”, then popular support of ethnic cleansing can be democratic. No, I believe in a more evolved form of democracy, where the equal respect of ALL minorities is its grounding yardstick. And that very much includes homosexuals, atheists, and critical columnists.

  23. Plus of course, the entire basis of the separation of Church and State.

  24. Chuck Norton said


    I hate to take a fellow Vision member to task, but your last paragraph is not an argument, its an attack. I am sitting here agape at your previous post.

    Andrew said –
    Remember, if it’s only about majorities, and that as Tina Owen also said, “the whole point of democracy, as far as I understand, is for everyone to put in their ideas and to come up with the idea that most people agree with”, then popular support of ethnic cleansing can be democratic. – end quote

    Andrew, do you honestly believe that Tina intended for her statement about democracy to be taken in such an extreme, over the top context as you presented it? Do you honestly believe that she meant to say that her support for democracy means that if the majority votes for genocide than its all ok with her? …the answer is obviously no…. so why would you take her words and paint this point of view on her that she never intended?

    While there is an absolute definition of democracy, she was obviously referring to democracy in the modern contextual vernacular.

    Here at the Vision I am constantly asking people to take on my arguments, in context, fair and square (ok so it almost never happens but hey :-). That should apply to all of us at the Vision too.

    Andrew, surely you could have made your point without using such a tactic.

  25. Thanks for your concern. It is a pity you do not care for the comment, but let me make it clear that it is not a tactic, but rather it is a statement of caution for all of us. Honestly Chuck, I don’t mind you holding me accountable where you may think it is necessary, but I thought by now you would know me well enough to give me the benefit of the doubt.

    Do I think that a comment by Dr Dobson or by Tina Owen will tomorrow become an endorsement of Darfur? No, of course not.

    What I am saying is 1. Tina Owen’s idea of a democracy is too simplistic and would be open to wide misuse. 2. When you begin using a single religion as a basis for public policy, there is a tendency for the rights of minorities to be marginalized, for this misuse to begin. 3. It often starts with these kinds of comments, and before you know it stars going down a very dubious path. Some of us have actually seen that first hand.

    Chuck, particularly with your judicial experience and our shared sense of responsible speech, I thought you would be more concerned with Comment No. 3. As you know, it will be reprinted in the new issue of the Vision this week, and I think it toes a dangerous line with the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct. I know for a fact nothing I have said goes near to what was implied there.

  26. Rachel Custer said


    If Christians begin promoting a faith of acceptance, inclusion and understanding in the way you seem to be using those terms, we would be promoting a faith that is not Christianity, an empty, feel-good religion created by man. Sorry, such a religion is not for me. And there is a big difference between recognizing the consequences of sin in people’s lives and judging or hating the people. There is a difference between accepting a person and accepting a person’s destructive lifestyle choices, and I for one wish people would stop acting like there isn’t.

  27. First of all, you know full well we have debated this issue of whether choice is any part of this.

    Secondly, I’m sorry that your form of religion does not embody a better acceptance, inclusion and understanding, but that on the other hand is a choice and you are free to make it.

    You’re just NOT free to make me make that choice. And I for one which people would stop acting like they can.

  28. First of all, you know full well we have debated this issue of whether choice is any part of this.

    Secondly, I’m sorry that your form of religion does not embody a better acceptance, inclusion and understanding, but that on the other hand is a choice and you are free to make it.

    You’re just NOT free to make me make that choice. And I for one wish people would stop acting like they can.

  29. Chuck Norton said


    Knowing that you mean well, your criticism of Tina’s post number 3 is not historically or philosophically valid.

    The whole idea of equal rights for all, modern freedom, private property, labor, and capitalism with self restraint by a religious moral ethic, is a Christian philosophy that started with John Lock, Henry of Navarre, Montesquieu and others of the kind.

    Locke spoke of God’s Natural Law and that since we are all born of Adam and Eve we are born with the same rights and responsibilities. It was this Christian ethic that brought about the end of slavery in England and the United States (the film Amazing Grace in theatres now is a good example of this, as well as the film Amistad). It is the Christian ethic that is the foundation of liberal democracy.

    Your statements separating the two as if that is how it has always been, like I stated, is not historically or philosophically valid. So when you asked me what my judicial experience and study has taught me, well now you know.

    Andrew, also, it was not that I didn’t care for the comment, but rather that you applied a point of view to Tina that obliviously she never intended to make. It is an easy rhetorical mistake to make.

    Also, your statement that her religion does not accept a better acceptance and understanding.. I think perhaps you meant to say that it is a pity that her religion didn’t accept YOUR idea of better acceptance and understanding.

    Remember, if it wasn’t for those bible thumping, gun owning, radical Christians, liberal democracy would not have come about and imagine what tyranny you would find yourself into if a different set of events had won the day. That same Christian ethic has also defeated Hitlerism and Stalinism. The simple truth is that homosexuals are just not safe in most countries not founded or reformed by the Judeo/Christian ethic. So perhaps you may wish to think again who your true friends are before you are so quick to condemn. How many countries in the middle east recognise basic human rights for homosexuals besides theocratic Israel that the far left condemns?

  30. Rachel Custer said


    Nobody is attempting to force you to believe anything. You seem to be implying that what Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family opine, is immediately turned into far-reaching public policy and enforced by the government. Focus on the Family is a Christian organization, and Dr. Dobson is a Christian man. He should be as free to voice his opinions about homosexuality as you are to voice your opinions about Christianity. After all, religion is a protected class as well. Why is it ok for everyone to spew vitriol about Christianity under the guise of “free speech,” but Christians are increasingly decried for speaking honestly about the very tenets of our faith?

    I noticed you said the Focus on the Family radio show you miss from Malaysia consisted of “carefully selected” segments. Carefully selected by whom, Andrew? Why don’t we explore more of what you left out of that sentence; is it that you miss the fact that they were “carefully selected”? Where there is freedom of speech, people will say things you don’t agree with, and everything won’t necessarily be “short, warm and carefully selected.” Some very disagreeable things will be said. But in the end, your right to say things other people might find disagreeable will be preserved. So let Dr. Dobson have his free speech, too; he has as much right to it as you do.

  31. Chuck Norton said

    Attention Vision readers,

    This is an example of how to have a healthy conversation and disagree with each other in a way that makes for some real substance. It is my best hope that people in the other threads can be as substantive as Tina, Andrew, Rachel, and Chuck have been.

  32. Chuck Norton said


    In Andrews defense, I do not think that he is making a case that Tina, or Dobson, or anyone else in that manner do not have the right to speak their minds, in his mind it is a simple matter of what he thinks things should be vs what others might think.

    We all must remember that just because people kindly disagree, or just because domeone critiques your position, it doesnt mean that they are out to silence you.

    Now granted there are many people who would like to silence myself, you, Andrew, and Tina but we are all too dedicated to free speech to let such a thing happen.

  33. Rachel Custer said


    Thank you for your comment. And I apologize if it seemed I was attacking Andrew; I did not mean to. I just felt like he made a leap from the position of Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family to governmental policy, without adequately connecting the two. That is why I am frustrated with his position. Dr. Dobson’s opinion is his opinion, based on his religious beliefs. Focus on the Family is a powerful grassroots group, no doubt, but just because Dobson says something doesn’t mean the government is going to start instituting what he says as policy, and this seems to be what Andrew is implying. If I have misunderstood, anyone can feel free to correct me, obviously.

  34. All,

    Chuck, it is for the best that I don’t completely know what you mean by “you may wish to think again who your true friends are”. I’m not sure that I want to know.

    In my opinion, the original Dobson column in Time Magazine was intended at influencing public policy. Readers will have to decide that for themselves. I’m not out to silence Dobson either, I’m trying to point out that his method of thought organization is flawed. It comes down to the difference between what is legal and what it appropriate, what is free speech and what is responsible speech.

    Once again, my response to Tina’s statement showed the fallibility of a simplistic idea of democracy. It did not state that Tina was for ethnic cleansing, and it certainly was not a “tactic”. Many others have used similar examples, even ones I don’t always agree with, Bill O’Reilly included (I believe he used the example of Mussolini), and of course everyone is familiar with “even Hitler/Saddam Hussein held elections”.

    This will be my last comment on this thread. I am confident that the column, and my past comments, have made my stance clear enough.

  35. Chuck Norton said


    The whole point of my statement, which is obvious in its context in my reply to your statement asking about what my judicial experience has to say in the matter, is that the Christian ethic, is is the foundation and friend of liberal democracy and human rights since the enlightenment.

    And once again, my objection had nothing to do with your article, just that her contextual use of the word democracy was in no way intended as how you presented it. And to comdemn democracy because Hitler and Saddam had elections is rather silly as most everyone knows the difference between a real democratic process and a sham of one.

  36. Rachel Custer said

    I don’t feel like his “method of thought organization” is flawed simply because he comes to a conclusion with which you don’t agree, Andrew. In reality, the statement he made follows very logically from Christian beliefs. But the bigger point is, why ignore so much scientific research and evidence for the one statement with which you took issue?

  37. Craig Chamberlin said

    Hello everyone,

    It may be too little to late for my feedback on this issue, but I thought I might throw a little bit of information in here. I do believe that the article addresses an interesting idea about the audience in which one is addressing when they write. I believe Andrew took issue with Dobson weakening his argument by making it appear obviously Christian while at the same time attempting to sway readers. The point is, in making the article obviously Christian, non-Christians are much less likely to be swayed. In that his article would have been much stronger for a broader range of audiences.

    I do not believe Dobson said anything inherently wrong in his writing – nor do I believe Andrew thinks he is all-in-all wrong on the issue. Andrews article suggests that bringing in Christianity as the basic motives of the argument hinders Dobson’s ability to write a persuasive article for those who are non-Christians. Thus, secondly, if Dobson’s motives are revealed through his article – then his research may have been skewed to draw his own appropriate conclusions. I do not think this is entirely impossible. In fact, Many have seen it happen in the field of science with both Evolution and Global Warming. It happens that people draw their conclusions and then find the appropriate research to establish them.

    There is one other issue I think I should acknowledge. Rachel described it well. That is although Christianity is to be a religion of acceptance and understanding, it does not mean accepting that which is dangerous and wrong in silence. Silence is simply another form of acceptance. Many times people make decisions that affect the world around us, and Christians have a right to verbalize the dangers of these decisions. Although we do not always have the right to force them to stop their decisions, we do have a right to teach about them.

    I addressed this issue on my weblog when I stated:
    “Relativism and Subjectivism become dangerous because one man has no say in the morality of what another man says or does, yet what the other man says or does ultimately affects the man who has no say.”

  38. Jack Flash said



    Have you ever heard the saying, if you tell a lie enough times, people will start to believe it is true. The very fact that the people believe that there is a “liberal media” exhibits the dominance of the conservative media. As for your attack on FAIR, even though there are many other right wing groups with rabid conservatives on their boards too, but we will let that slide for now. Don’t like that source, don’t worry, I have another. About the Media Research Council, the same organization that just awarded Rush Limbaugh “broadcaster of the year” will their study be enough for you. According to a 2006 report by the MRC, your claim of a liberal media is absurd. (PLEASE NOTE, THE FOLLOWING DATA AND QUOTES WERE TAKEN FROM A MRC REPORT, AND ARE NOT MY ORIGINAL WORK)

    “Reality check: the US media is a mix of liberal, centrist and conservative voices. Also, the US media is largely owned by 10 corporations who frequently push pro-conservative agendas to the American public” Evidence:

    1. “Even Republican Pat Buchanan confessed, “For heaven sakes, we kid about the liberal media, but every Republican on earth does that.” Neo-conservative pundit Bill Kristol also said, “I admit it: the liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures.”

    2. “A 2005 study in the Quarterly Journal of Economics found that “coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media.” Why? Partly because only four major corporate networks control American TV news– up to 75% of the audience share. The “Big 10” media conglomerates who control the bulk of the entire US media are: AOL Time Warner, Disney, General Electric, News Corporation, Viacom, Vivendi, Sony, Bertelsmann, AT&T and Liberty Media. Yes, we have National Public Radio, but compare its public reach to that of Canada’s CBC and the United Kingdom’s BBC”

    3. “Eighty percent of all US newspapers are owned by corporate chains”.

    4. “Liberals are virtually non-existent on talk radio stations nationwide. Rush and Dr. Laura, eat your hearts out.”

    5. “Conservatives are very well accommodated for across FOX News, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, the New York Post, the American Spectator, the Weekly Standard, the Drudge Report, the National Review, etc. Even so-called “bastions of liberalism,” e.g. the NY Times, MSNBC, WashPost and NPR make a concerted effort to be “fair and balanced” by bringing in right-wing views like those of David Brooks, Joe Scarborough, Tucker Carlson, Charles Krauthammer and Cokie Roberts to have their say in these forums, respectively. This is in stark contrast to FOX News’ claims to unbiased objectivity, which were easily demolished by Robert Greenwald in 2004”.

    6. “Contrary to what some paranoid Republicans claim, most journalists are centrists, not liberals. A representative sample of 141 US journalists and bureau chiefs were asked in 2006, “On social issues, how would you characterize your political orientation?” Answers: Left 30%, Center 57%, Right 9%, Other 5% . Next question, same sample: “On economic issues, how would you characterize your political orientation? ” Answers: Left 11%, Center 64%, Right 19%, Other 5%. Also, look at the total number of think tank citations in major newspapers, radio and TV transcripts: Conservative TTs: 7792, Centrist TTs: 6361, Liberal TTs: 1152”.

    7. “Eric Alterman summarizes a 1999 research study from the academic journal Communications Research: “Four scholars examined the use of the ‘liberal media’ argument and discovered a fourfold increase in the number of Americans telling pollsters that they discerned a liberal bias in their news. But a review of the media’s actual ideological content, collected and coded over a twelve-year period, offered no corroboration whatever for this view.”

    In addition, Rachel, I don’t think Chuck needs a cheerleader. He does that job just fine.


  39. Gizmo Dismal said

    The main problem I see for this entire issue is that almost all psychological research supports same-sex couples parenting as a potentially positive experience… I would be interested if there were more psychologists interested, but it doesn’t represent what children of homosexuals experience.

  40. Gizmo Dismal said

    *Sorry, I meant “if there were more psychologists interested in suggesting similarly negative conclusions.”
    *I wish a psychologist would seriously get specific about how “harmful” same-sex parenting can be, especially if they compared it to the awful abundance we have of straight, shitty parents. What? Like a girl can’t learn to insert a tampon because she has two dads or something?! WHAT?

  41. Chuck Norton said


    I shall take your points 1 at a time.

    1. Anyone who doesnt believe in Mass Society Media Theory thinks that the media no matter what it is has that large of an effect.

    Furthermore, I posted about a dozen peer reviewed studies on liberal media bias in the comments under another one of my stories. I will be happy to post them again if need be.

    2. Your study is flawed because it begs the question that big coprporations are politically conservative. The simple truth is that the Democratic Party gets more donations of a million dollars or more and from big corporations than Republicans do. In fact the majority of contributiuons to the GOP are in individual contributions of 100 dollars or less.

    Also – when people talk about “The media” they are referring to the antique media, that means newspapers such as the NY Times the AP etc etc etc and network TV and CNN. So when most people say the “media” they are not refering to talk radio. Talk radio is a different format from other media, but people like you are out to silence it anyways.

    QUOTE –

    The top ten donors during the 1990 through 2002 election cycles contributed a total $218,189,013 to the two parties. Of that $172,514,032 (79%) went to the Democrats and only $45,264,963 (21%) went to the Republicans…

    It gets better…

    In 2002…the top 20 PACS contributed a total of $44,568,864…of which the Democrats received $32,047,439 (72%) versus the Republicans $12,437,563 (28%)…

    It gets better…

    When it comes to really big soft money…the noble Democrats know no equal…

    In 2002…the top three soft money contributors gave a total of $23,370,000 to the Democrats…ZERO to the Republicans..

    The top four gave $29,956,000 to the Democrats and a whopping $500 to the Republicans…

    The top five gave $34,777,117 to the Democrats and a mind boggling $42,122 to the evil big money Republicans…

    The top ten gave $47,651,326 (89%) to the noble “little guy” Democrats and a horrific, democracy ending $5,677,024 (11%) to the evil corporate police state Republicans…

    The top twenty gave $62,626,243 (78%) to the Democrats and $17,539,564 (22%) to the monsterous oil-drenched Republicans…

    The top thirty gave $74,406,019 (76%) to the Democrats and $23,457,420 (24%) to the Republicans…

    The top forty gave $84,816,745 (75%) to the benevolent show-me-the-money-Democrats…and $28,054,227 (25%) to the Republicans…

    The top fifty gave $91,647,995 (73%) to the Democrats…and $33,786,496 (27%) to the Republicans….

    Of the donors that gave a million dollars or more…$97,207,259 (71%) to the Democrats…and $38,769,469 (29%) to the Republicans…


    3. It doesnt matter that 80 % of newspapers are owned by corporate chains. As I have shown above, corporation ownership means nothing when it comes to the ideology of the reporters and the editors. The South Bend Trib is owned by a corporation, but any examination of its editorial page shows that they are solidly on the left, as are most newspapers. Take a gander at the books that have been on the NYT Best sellers nonfiction list that got no review or a slanderous one… they are largely books from conservative authors. This is easy to demonstrate with even more evidence and I have written several papers on this. If you like I would enjoy to debate you in public over your premise.

    Also as I have shown with evidence above, the vast majority of people believe that the antique media has a left wing bias.

    4. – Here we go its the only point you got correct, in talk radio conservative hosts are the most popular and draw the largest audiences.

    5. This is perhaps your silliest point, there are hundreads of magazines that serve every part of the political spectrum. Just because conservatives have some doesnt mean that the antique media is conservative.

    Also, unlike NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox News does not demean the conservative position. If you like I can post studies that show how the big 3 use most talking heads that appear in network news that overwhelmingly are negative to conservatives.

    Let us look at the Fox News Prime Time Line Up.

    Brit Hume – mainstream conservative who is on with Mara Liason of NPR, Juan Williams of NPR, that chick from the Wash Post whose name I forget at the moment, and Democrat Mort Kondrake, along with Conservatives Charles Krauthammer and Fred Barnes.

    The next show is Shep Smith – Shep just does straight news with no analysis.

    The next show is Bill O’Reilly – O’Reilly is a moderate on gun control and opposes the death penalty. John Kerry and other leftist politicians have stated openly that they were always treated fair by O’Reilly. In fact, super partisan Senator Chuck Schumer and Bill O’Reilly are friends and Schumer has appeared several times on the factor program. O’Reilly is mostly traditional on culture issues and he states so directly. O’Relly also brings on people who disagree with him all the time so people can get both sides.

    The next show is Hannity and Colmes – it is a debate show with 1 republican and 1 democrat.

    Next show – on the record with Greta – While this is a mostly non-political show – Greta is an out of the closet democrat.

    6. and 7. You site me a study that only asked 141 journalists where THEY think THEY are on the spectrum… umm most people consider themselves centrist because they hang around with like minded people.

    I will add studies in the following posts that will make my point so stay tuned.

  42. Jack Flash said


    This is some food for thought I think will add to the debate. It is from the website

    Fact: Under Emperor Hadrian [A.D. 117-138], who was gay, the Roman Empire enjoyed its greatest security, prosperity and stability. The decline of the Empire roughly coincides with Christianity becoming the state religion. The middle ages, when Christianity ruled absolute, are rightfully considered the dark ages of humanity. The age of enlightenment started when Christianity lost its grip on society. History teaches us an undeniable lesson: if anything, then rampant Christianity is a sure sign of cultural decadence and moral decline.

    “If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus.” [A.D. 96-180] Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1776

  43. Chuck Norton said

    Hey Jack….

    • In September 2005, nearly three times as many Americans said that the media are too liberal (46%) than said the media are too conservative (16%).
    • Since 2001, the percentage saying the media are too liberal has ranged from 45 percent to 48 percent; the percentage seeing the media as too conservative has never exceeded 16 percent.

    • “Most Americans (53%) believe that news organizations are politically biased, while just 29 percent say they are careful to remove bias from their reports,” Pew reported.
    • “When it comes to describing the press, twice as many say news organizations are “liberal” (51%) than “conservative” (26%) while 14 percent say neither phrase applies.”
    • Even Democrats thought the press tilted left, not right. Among Democratic respondents, 41 percent thought the media are liberal, compared to 33 percent who found the media to be conservative. Among Republicans, 65 percent said the press is liberal, 22 percent find the media to be conservative.


    • When read the statement, “Overall, the news media tries to report the news without bias,” 64 percent disagreed (42% saying they disagreed strongly, 22 percent saying they mildly disagreed.) Only 13 percent strongly agreed that the media attempt to keep bias out of the news.


    Indiana University journalism professors David H. Weaver and G. Cleveland Wilhoit

    • Among the prominent, or elite, media, 32.3 percent rated themselves as more liberal, compared to 11.8 percent who said they were more conservative. Eight percent rated themselves as solidly “left,” but none of the media elite would place themselves squarely on the “right.”
    • Nearly four in ten of all journalists surveyed (38.5%) described themselves as Democrats, compared to just 18.8 percent who said they were Republicans. Among the journalists working at prominent news organizations, just 6 percent would admit to being Republicans, compared to 43 percent who said they were Democrats.


    The well-known study by S. Robert Lichter, Stanley Rothman, and Linda Richter, The Media Elite, based on in-depth interviews with 238 major-media journalists, found that liberals outnumbered conservatives by 54 per cent to 17 per cent. A nationwide Los Angeles Times study (August 11, 1985) administered its own poll to 3,000 reporters and editors and got almost exactly the same result: 55 per cent liberal and 17 per cent conservative. (The Times survey, which also polled 3,000 members of the general public, found that in the latter group 24 per cent were liberal, 29 per cent conservative, and 33 per cent ”neither,” a striking contrast to the findings for journalists.)


    Click to access GrosecloseMilyo.pdf

    One of the most curious and surprising statistics in all of American politics is that an overwhelming number of journalists are liberal. For instance, Elaine Povich (1996) reports that only seven percent of all Washington correspondents voted for George Bush in 1992, compared to 37 percent of the American public.1 Lichter, Rothman and Lichter, (1986) and Weaver and Wilhoit (1996) report similar findings for earlier elections.

    Although we expected to find that most media lean left, we were astounded by the degree. A norm among journalists is to present “both sides of the issue.” Consequently, while we expected members of Congress to cite primarily think tanks that are on the same side of the ideological spectrum as they are, we expected journalists to practice a much more balanced citation practice, even if the journalist’s own ideology opposed the think tanks that he or she is sometimes citing. This was not always the case. Most of the mainstream media outlets that we examined (ie all those besides Drudge Report and Fox News’ Special Report) were closer to the average Democrat in Congress than they were to the median member of the House.

    It was a pleasure defeating you

  44. Chuck Norton said

    Newsweek Big: Media Bias Worth 15 Points for Kerry-Edwards

    Sunday, July 18, 2004 12:50 a.m. EDT

    The American press has dived so deeply into the tank for Sen. John Kerry’s presidential bid that they don’t even bother concealing their pro-Democrat bias anymore.

    “Let’s talk a little media bias here,” Newsweek’s assistant managing editor Evan Thomas told PBS’s “Inside Washington” last week, reports Sunday’s New York Post.

    “The media, I think, want Kerry to win. And I think they’re going to portray Kerry and Edwards – I’m talking about the establishment media, not Fox, but – they’re going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic and all, there’s going to be this glow about them that some, is going to be worth, collectively, the two of them, that’s going to be worth maybe 15 points.”

  45. Chuck Norton said

    Hey Jack, even though trying to beat me on the facts is VERY difficult to say the least, I really appreciate how you try to make an argument instead of posting just a bunch of silly name calling or other such nonsense. You are way ahead of the other leftists that post here.

  46. Chuck Norton said

    Jack Flash…

    Wow what a history rewrite in post 42… LOL

    Ok now for some reality.

    First The Roman Empire was less orderly after the adoption of Christianity because the old Thou Shalt Not Kill gets in the way when you have a pegan history of killing anyone who gets in your way.

    I like how he says about the time when the people were most happy…. LOL you mean the Roman people when bloodthirsty nut cases like Commodus was spilling blood in the arena every day for the peoples entertainment. If you were not a Roman under their subjugation, you were very likely a slave, …. I wonder how happy those slaves were.

    Also this statement”

    Quote – The middle ages, when Christianity ruled absolute, are rightfully considered the dark ages of humanity – End Quote

    Is just plain false. The Dark Ages in western Europe came about when Barbarians were chased out of Russia and Eastern Europe into western Europe and ended up overwhelming the Romans. It was the loss of Roman control because of the vast pegan barbarian hordes that brought about the dark ages. it was a complete loss of civilization in most of western europe.

    This started to change when the Franks turned to Christianity and brought civilization in greater France and also helped southern Europe with what was left of the romans to restor some civilization (Charlemagne), but most of Europe was still controlled by pegan barbarian hordes.

    As Dr O’Connor (head of the history dept) said in class, “Charlemagnes reign was an island of tranquility in a sea of chaos and brutality”

    After this time, the Catholic Church abandoned biblical principles and became a political body intermixed with European royalty and corruption. Protestants broke off and also the Catholic Reformation bagan. It was protestant Christians like Henry of Navarre and John Locke etc etc that helped bring about the enlightenment, rebuked the idea of the divine right of kings and started to embrace the ideals of liberal democracy and natural God given rights that we use today for our foundation of law.

    The enligtenment was not brought about by the turning away from Christianity, it was brought about when protestant Christians turned away from a currupt Catholic institution that was one with the currupt royals. Eventually the Protestant view of the enlightenment won the day.

    If you doubt it, take H-113 and H-114.

  47. Jack Flash said

    (response to post 43)
    Please dont presume to have won the debate yet, my worthy advisary. I am not done making my case either. I have a suggestion for you. lets discuss The Myth of the “liberal” media
    some more.
    Let’s do a “what if” so I can make a point. I think it’s a good one.
    What if a show like Dateline did a “hatchet job” on George W. Bush?
    It wouldn’t have to really be a hatchet job, but any honest appraisal of his qualifications would prove he’s a non-thinking rich man’s boy – and that’s all.
    But what would happen if Dateline did an unflattering portrait of Bush?

    I’ll tell you what would happen:

    Limbaugh would spend at least three hours saying it wasn’t true
    and he’d offer hours of rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying.

    Bill O’Reilly would spend at least an hour on his show saying
    it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying.

    Sean Hannity would walk all over Alan Colmes for an hour that night, saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying.
    Eva Von Zahn would spend at least an hour that night saying it wasn’t true and she’d offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying. The Beltway Boys would spend at least an hour that night saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying. Brit Hume and Tony Snow would spend at least an hour on Sunday saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying.
    Juan Williams and Mara Liason would spend their entire allotted time saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying.
    John McLaughlin would spend at least an hour on his syndicated show saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying.

    Chris Matthews would spend at least an hour on his show
    saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying. G. Gordon Liddy would spend at least three hours on his radio show saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying.

    Laura would spend at least an hour on her radio show saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying.

    Michael Medved would spend at least an hour on his radio show
    saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying. Sam and Cokie would spend at least an hour on This Week
    saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying. George (Judas Maximus) Steffi and George Will would spend their entire allotted time swearing that it wasn’t true.

    Bob Scheiffer would spend at least an hour on Face the Nation
    saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying.

    Tim would spend at least an hour on Meet the Press
    saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying. John Hockenberry would spend at least an hour on his show
    saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying. Ollie North would spend at least an hour on his radio show saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying. Robert Novak would spend at least an hour on his cable TV show
    saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying. Paul Weyrich would spend at least an hour on his cable TV show saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying. Still with me? We’re close to the end…

    BSNBC’s Brian Williams would spend at least an hour on his show
    saying it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying.

    Wolf Blitzer would spend at least an hour on his show saying
    it wasn’t true and offer rebuttal as to why Dateline was lying. Bill Schneider and Candy Crowley would do an hour special on CCN saying it wasn’t true, and offering rebuttal.
    John Stossel would have a special on ABC: Is lying OK for liberals?
    Then Howie Kurtz would spend 30 minutes on Reliable Sources asking if the media wasn’t being too hard on a developmently-disabled child.

    Barbara Olson would write a book condemning Dateline.
    Ann Coulter would write a book condemning Dateline.
    Laura Ingraham would write a book condemning Dateline.
    Peggy Noonan would write a book condemning Dateline.
    Andrew Sullivan would write a book condemning Dateline.
    William Safire would write a book condemning Dateline.

    OK, we’re going to call the above “Exhibit A.”

    Now, everyone on that list has done at least a dozen hit pieces on Clinton. Wasnt it the Washinton Post, the supposedly bastion of liberal press, who led the charge for the impeachment of President Clinton?

    My question is, Where is “Exhibit B?”

    When those 38 people attack Clinton and his so called “crimes”, who does the rebuttal? Even you have to admit that nobody on that list has EVER defended a fabricated lie against the president.
    There is no “Exhibit B,” because there are so few liberal voices on television. The closest you can get is Eleanor on McLaughlin or Geraldo, but there is barely a liberal whisper on television, even though there are DOZENS of right-wing, Bush apologist shows whose livelyhood is lying about liberals.

    (Taken from the website
    Some language was changed to meet posting standards)


  48. Erkki KochKetola said

    Speaking as a historian, Chuck, your understanding of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages is based upon an outmoded model. Few scholars believe that the fall of the Western Roman Empire was followed by any kind of “Dark Ages.” There was, in fact, a great deal of technological and artistic innovation in this period. Gibbon was somewhat correct in stating that the Empire didn’t fall, it merely faded away; the disintegration lasted for several centuries. The Völkerwanderungen helped to disrupt the old social order, but they by no means completely destroyed it.

    Also, the Franks were actually exceptional in that they were pagans when they invaded. Most of the rest of the germanic tribes were already Christians. The problem was that they were Arians (a non-trinitarian sect), and so were looked upon by the aghast clerics in the Empire as heretics. The rest of Europe was actually somewhat well-organized; then, of course, you had the Muslims, who were far more advanced culturally, scientifically, and technologically than the Europeans of the period.

    Jack is somewhat right in declaring the middle ages to be “the dark ages,” in that orthodox Christianity was very hostile to any scientific thought that it felt contradicted what it believed to be The Truth(tm) (which they largely felt lay in Aristotle).

    Also, Henry of Navarre (Henry IV of France) converted to Catholicism upon taking the throne, and Locke’s religious beliefs are a matter of speculation.

  49. Jack Flash said


    Care to respond to post number 47?


  50. Chuck Norton said

    Jack, I see no substance in your post that refutes what I stated in post 43.

    I posted several peer reviewed studies about liberal antique media bias… and all you have is a comment from a blog site with hateful photoshopped pictures of the president on it?

    Come on, …. I try to take arguments from the left seriously but you have just got to give me something better than a blog comment from a hate site.

  51. Chuck Norton said


    I am aware that there are historians who disagree that the loss of civilization following the invasion of the pagan barbarian hordes and the pulling back of the Romans brought Europe to the level of “Dark Ages”.

    However he mentioned that time and used the phrase dark ages so using that method of historical interpretation, I chose to take him on using his terms, which is perfectly appropriate. In that regard, nothing I said was inaccurate in the least.

    Your view that the barbarians in Germany where already Christians stand in contradiction to my H-113 text and Dr. O’s lecture notes. Most were pagans as they would raid over the border into Frankish territory and Charlemagne commented on the pagan barbarians numerous times. Some were Christians because Charlemagne set out to convert them, so it really depends on what time of the Frankish Empire you want to talk about pre Charlemagne v Post).

    Also, Christianity was not hostile to scientific truth, a catholic church that was becoming corrupt as hell and political especially after the time of the Franks was. The Catholic Church abandoned the Bible and became a type of political oligarchy that was profoundly unbiblical and unchristian.

    Henry of Navarre, who was instrumental in the writing of the Theory of Resistance and the beginning of protestant constitutionalism and the abandonment of the Divine Right of Kings is exactly as I said it was. The only reason that Henry converted to Catholicism was to avoid a civil war in France and to be in a better position to attain tolerance and equality for Protestants. Henry Said, “France is worth a mass” on why he converted.

    Henry of Navarre’s conversion to Catholicism was done for practical reasons to save lives and stop chaos, especially in light of Catherine’s meddling; in no way does it make anything I posted the least bit incorrect.

    But thanks for trying to be contrarian. :-)

  52. Chuck Norton said

    Andrew Filmer told me today that by no means did he mean to portray Tina as supporting ethnic cleansing by association. So we had a genuine misunderstanding on the matter. At the time I thought that is what he meant. What I should have done was send Andrew an email asking him to clarify his comments so that there was no confusion. Like I said, I was in shock when I posted my response to that.

    While we at the Vision occasionally have disagreements we always make a special effort to be honest and fair with each other and as you can all see, even when we have disagreements we hash them out with civilized discourse as it should be.

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