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11/24/2009
THINKING IMPURE THOUGHTS IS MORE THAN A MORTAL SIN IF YOU’RE A REPUBLICAN

When I was in grade school (St. Raymond, Mount Prospect, IL), there was a ritual that we looked forward to every Friday afternoon.

Along about two O’Clock, the nuns would herd us into the church so that the good priests (and they were good) could hear our confessions.

Now I don’t know how confession is done today in the Catholic church, having lapsed into first apostasy, then agnosticism, and finally atheism. But back then, you went into a closet sized little room with a wall separating you and the priest where you were supposed to spill the beans on all the sins you committed for the past week.

I should mention that if we were really lucky, confessions would last until three O’Clock which meant no more school for the day and an early start to the weekend. (In 8th grade, a few of us rowdies would make sure of this by spending 5 minutes listing our sins, thus assuring a glacial pace to the proceedings. One of the priests caught on and, although amused, asked us not to commit such sacrilege against the sacraments again.)

To be honest, I hated the whole idea of confession. I thought back then that it was one of those little tortures the Catholic Church invented to control their flock. The priest, after all, knew damn well who most of the penitents were - especially in my case since we lived 3 doors down from the rectory. What better way to control another than know their sins?

At any rate, the way I “confessed” was tell the priest stuff like “I sinned against the 2nd commandment 10 times, the 6th commandment 5 times, the 7th commandment twice…and I had impure thoughts 3 times!”

“Impure thoughts” at my age was making goo-eyes at Rene Russo and wishing I could see her with almost no clothes on while kissing her - on the lips! Our nuns (Sisters of Mercy) were very, very big on impure thoughts and constantly warned us how such could lead to hellfire and damnation.

It was all made up anyway. As a 14 year old, you probably have “impure thoughts” three times a minute much less in a week. And counting the transgressions against the second commandment of taking God’s name in vain would have required a room-sized computer to properly calculate.

Anyway, it’s a good thing some Republicans are on the ball when it comes to those in the party who might be thinking “impure thoughts” and thus transgress against the “principles” for which the GOP stands:

The battle among Republicans over what the party should stand for — and how much it should accommodate dissenting views on important issues — is probably going to move from the states to the Republican National Committee when it holds its winter meeting this January in Honolulu.

Republican leaders are circulating a resolution listing 10 positions Republican candidates should support to demonstrate that they “espouse conservative principles and public policies” that are in opposition to “Obama’s socialist agenda.” According to the resolution, any Republican candidate who broke with the party on three or more of these issues– in votes cast, public statements made or answering a questionnaire – would be penalized by being denied party funds or the party endorsement.

The proposed resolution was signed by 10 Republican national committee members and was distributed on Monday morning. They are asking for the resolution to be debated when Republicans gather for their winter meeting.

The resolution invokes Ronald Reagan, and noted that Mr. Reagan had said the Republican Party should be devoted to conservative principles but also be open to diverse views. President Reagan believed, the resolution notes, “that someone who agreed with him 8 out of 10 times was his friend, not his opponent.”

Looking over the list, I am happy to report that I support at least 8 and maybe 9 of the litmus test positions. (Long time readers might have some fun by guessing which one - or two - I can be considered “impure” for not supporting):

(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;

(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run health care;

(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;

(4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check;

(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;

(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;

(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;

(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;

(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and

(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership.

A few quibbles; what is “effective action” against Iran and North Korea (#7)? I don’t support military action unless they are an imminent threat to us or Israel (or South Korea).

Also, “rationing and denial of health care” (#9) is already with us in private insurance company decisions. Is it the GOP position that it is ok for private industry to ration but not government? Tell that one to the old folks.

Of the rest, I think DOMA has got to go. Otherwise, I score well on this test and demand my copy receive a Gold Star and that I get an extra ration of chocolate milk at lunch.

But what’s the point? About 99% of Republicans support 8-10 of those litmus tests. Probably 90% support all 10. Instead of silly, stupid gimmicks, why not just come out and say, “Snowe, Collins, Crist, and the rest of you RINO’s get squat from us!” Why go through the rigmarole of pretending to weed out apostates by giving grown men and women a childish “test” of purity?

I will answer that by saying simply that we have a bunch of idiots in charge of the party. They - the elites - think they are being quite clever by trying to satisfy the base by showing that they are getting tough by denying funds to those who don’t quite measure up to “conservative principles.”

You want conservative principles” How about prudence? How “prudent” is it to brand the Obama administration “socialist?” What about “probity?” Integrity and honesty is lacking in a party that tolerates its members festooning bills with earmarks. What about “variety” which is a Kirkian principle of eschewing systems that promote a “deadening conformity?” What are these litmus tests but the very definition of conformity?

What about the principle “that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society.” I see quite a bit of “permanence” in those 10 litmus tests, but no room for the American virtue of “change.” It’s the same old, same old in this stale repetition of talking points, not a reaffirmation of the viability of conservatism in American society.

Yes, deny funds to those who make a mockery of party principles and conservative ideas. This isn’t rocket science. Everybody knows who they are and party leaders are only making the GOP look ridiculous by making candidates act like 10 year olds, forcing this kind of conformity in the form of a “purity test” on them.

The nuns at St. Raymonds would no doubt have approved, however. Nothing they liked better than sniffing out “impure thoughts.”

Perhaps the next missive from national party leaders will contain the “penance” that must be performed before the transgressors get back in their good graces.

Five “Our Fathers” and whole recitation of the rosary ought to do the trick.

By: Rick Moran at 10:44 am
29 Responses to “THINKING IMPURE THOUGHTS IS MORE THAN A MORTAL SIN IF YOU’RE A REPUBLICAN”
  1. 1
    obamathered Said:
    11:15 am 

    Next thing you know, the Democrats will have litmus tests for pro-life members and such. Oh, wait…

  2. 2
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    11:34 am 

    Rick, you should try being and independent. It eliminates a spectacular amount of bullshit.

  3. 3
    Robert in S. Carolina Said:
    11:43 am 

    It is interesting that you mention that your an atheist in this article. Believing in God should also be on the list, if not number one. I find it ironic that the party you seem to support would not allow you to run for office.

    In general I like and share most of your view points, but your allegiance to the republicans disappoints me.

  4. 4
    Richard bottoms Said:
    12:17 pm 

    Next thing you know, the Democrats will have litmus tests for pro-life members and such. Oh, wait…

    That’s right, someone like Harry Reid wouldn’t stand a chance. Oh wait…

    Don’t you guys Google anything before making such easily disprovable (ie. silly) statements?

  5. 5
    sue Said:
    3:16 pm 

    How do the Republican propose to have smaller deficits and lower taxes (#1), and pay for the troop surges in Iraq & Afghanistan (#6)? Curiously, those seem to be in conflict with each other.

  6. 6
    TX-John Said:
    3:27 pm 

    That’s the problem Sue. They don’t PROPOSE anything. Clearly, their 2010 platform is “we’re not Obama”.

  7. 7
    Increase Mather Said:
    3:54 pm 

    Very sorry that you can’t see God. He has done amazing things in my life. Can’t imagine what it’s like to believe in nothing. Must be lonely and sad.

    Well the fact that many who believe in God are also lonely and sad kind of negates your theory. I’m happy for you and respect your beliefs. They are just not mine.

    ed.

  8. 8
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    4:20 pm 

    Increase Mather said:

    Very sorry that you can’t see God. He has done amazing things in my life. Can’t imagine what it’s like to believe in nothing. Must be lonely and sad.

    It’s actually the most freeing and uplifting revelation a human being can have. It’s not believing in nothing, it’s knowing what’s real, and not allowing yourself to be manipulated. Religion and god are human constructs. Living without them is not lonely and sad, it’s liberating, it’s true, and it’s real.

  9. 9
    obamathered Said:
    4:41 pm 

    No doubt, Richard, all those pro-choice judicial nominees the Democrats put forth with Harry Reid’s blessing…oh, wait…

  10. 10
    michael reynolds Said:
    4:43 pm 

    It’s true, it’s all truuuuue. I’m so sad and lonely without Jesus.

    Yesterday, lacking any moral sense, I shot a hobo just so I could feel something. You know, man? It’s the emptiness inside me. Of course that last thing could be the diet.

    The jaws of Hell are open wide beneath me. I look down into that fiery pit and see . . . No! Noooo! It can’t beee! It’s full of loose women and pot-smoking men. Plus every interesting person who ever lived. Sluts, bongs and Winston Churchill. The horror. The . . . horror.

    Wait! Now, they’re engaging in all the deadly sins: pride, avarice, wrath, gluttony . . . Oh, sorry, my bad. That wasn’t Hell it was just Thanksgiving dinner.

    Isn’t there some way I can go to heaven, Increase Mather? And spend eternity with the ladies of the altar guild and men who wear pompadours?

    Eternity . . . eternity . . . eternity . . . with Pat Roberston.

    Yep. If that doesn’t make me want to give up blasphemy I don’t know what it will take.

  11. 11
    Richard bottoms Said:
    5:11 pm 

    No doubt, Richard, all those pro-choice judicial nominees the Democrats put forth with Harry Reid’s blessing…oh, wait…

    Ahh, the conservative expertise at moving the goal posts. First it was the Democratic party has no room for Anti-Choice members, of which Harry Reid certainly counts.

    Now it’s no Anti-Choice judicial appointments.

    Hmm.

    The New York Times released an article prior to the confirmation hearings stating that Sotomayor had only previously ruled on two cases related to choice and had sided with the anti’s on both occasions.

    G. O. O. G. L. E.

  12. 12
    obamathered Said:
    5:14 pm 

    You don’t even believe that Sotomayor won’t follow the party line, Richard, because you would be raising hell otherwise.

    H-O-N-E-S-T-Y.

  13. 13
    obamathered Said:
    5:18 pm 

    It’s damn near irrational than the disproved theory of AGW, Michael. Both require willful blindness and self-imposed ignorance. Hell, some folks believe in both these imaginary friends.

  14. 14
    Richard bottoms Said:
    5:35 pm 

    You don’t even believe that Sotomayor won’t follow the party line, Richard, because you would be raising hell otherwise.

    You are entitled to your own opinions, not your own facts. The facts are that NAARAL was highly critical of Sotomayor, the source of the link I just sent.

    Obama won. You lost. Deal with it and do better at the polls next time. Or try, I know you go to the electorate with the flakes you have, not the ones you want.

    Sarah “The Quitter” Palin/Bobby “The Exorcist” Jindal

    Moose & Squirrely/2012

  15. 15
    obamathered Said:
    5:39 pm 

    I am sticking to facts. I did forget about Gov. Bob Casey’s keynote address to the Democratic Convention, though…oh, wait. I do admit it was opinion you would have raised hell if Sotomayor was pro-life, but I stick by it.

    We’ll blow you away in 2010 so I’m not too concerned about immediate politics. Loons are at our margins. They are your president and congressional leaders. We don’t have to make up faces to attach to you guys. Their grotesque visages haunt the tube.

  16. 16
    Richard bottoms Said:
    6:03 pm 

    We’ll blow you away in 2010 so I’m not too concerned about immediate politics.

    OMFG call the historians, the out party does will in Midterms. Yes, I stipulate you will do at least decently in 2010, of course this assume you don’t manage to repeat NY-23 every damn place in the country. (We won that one BTW, first time since Christ was a corporal.)

    In 2012 however, the pendulum swings our way again because you will have the craziest fire breathing teabagger nuts demanding impossible positions from all of your candidates.

    And since not everyone believes in the reality of ObamaHitlerMao, it is very likely the GOP will scare the pants of of swing voters…again.

    I am liking 2012 very much.

  17. 17
    busboy33 Said:
    6:09 pm 

    @obamathered:

    Now I’m curious.

    Is it your position that when the Republicans nominate judicial appointees, they should do so with a primary goal of making sure the judges will inject political/party considerations in their decisions? That a Judge who will decide a case based on the law, rather than on party loyalty, would be a bad judge and therefor eshould be passed over?

    Or are only Democrats that evil? Y’know, because they’re BadBadBad in thought, word, and deed.

    Wasn’t raised Catholic, but I never understood the logic* of confession. I’m confessing my sins to God. I talk directly to god (or his secretary) every day when I pray. I get absolution from God.
    What the heck am I telling the priest for? Seemed a bit creepy and voyeuristic to me.

    I lucked out and got Episcopalian in the religion lottery. We had a great “absolution” system. Did you sin? Are you sorry? Well, if you are, then God knows and you’re forgiven. If you’re not, then God knows so don’t waste your time faking it. Either way, it’s already taken care of behind the scenes, so you don’t have to jump through any hoops. Now let’s go get some cake . . .

    * yes, I know “logic” and “theology” are sort of mutually exclusive.

  18. 18
    funny man Said:
    6:11 pm 

    Obamathered,
    we might not like it but Obama is the President of the United States hence our President. That’s the way democracy works.

    Whatever happened to the actual topic?

  19. 19
    funny man Said:
    6:14 pm 

    busboy,

    finally telling somebody the truth about yourself can have something very liberating. So I’m not opposed to the idea, just the institutionalized form when you feel you have to.

  20. 20
    Richard bottoms Said:
    6:34 pm 

    Whatever happened to the actual topic?

    Purity Control is going to be what limits the GOP success in 2010. The teabaggers will demand it, moderates who might have been re-elected won’t be and conservatives who win will be a detriment on 2012 as they enforce fealty during the run up to the elections.

    They will take out the Republicans we’d have the hardest time beating with swing voters who like divided government and replace them with a dozen Michelle Bachmanns. These men and women will take positions and say things so outlandish over the next two years it will cause reasonable people to do a big wtf?

    The wtf vote breaks the Democrats way.

  21. 21
    the Dragon Said:
    7:21 pm 

    Richard bottoms said:”Purity Control is going to be what limits the GOP success in 2010. The teabaggers will demand it, moderates who might have been re-elected won’t be and conservatives who win will be a detriment on 2012 as they enforce fealty during the run up to the elections.”

    I very much doubt that. Contrary to what you think, tea party folks are not dumb, THEY ARE very frustrated. To the extent they find the Republican Primaries as a place to do their battles, as it should be. It’s interesting how all most of analysis draws from NY-23, which was unique for a couple of reasons, First it was a “Special Election” and Second, as a result of the first, there WAS NO Primary. Third, there is a Conservative Party in NY, which has a line on the ballot, which is not the case in most other states.

    This 10 point list seems assinine to me, and an attempt to recapture the “Contract with America”. OR more likely an attempt to suck up to the vocal dissatisfaction afoot. They are tone deaf, and either don’t understand or attempting to deceive those who find the RNC as much a part of the problem as Obama and the Democrats.

    It will be interesting, and I keep waiting for an explaination as to how Cristie and McDonnell managed to get the votes of close to 60% of independents.

    Regards,

  22. 22
    Liberty60 Said:
    8:11 pm 

    Sue-
    You are correct, a massive Defense Dept and a limited government are at war with each other; war always enlarges and strengthens the Executive branch.
    The Defense Dept and Homeland Security are costing us about 1 Trillion per year, or a 3 Trillion budget; This may or may not be necessary, but it sure as hell is not “limited government”.
    You will notice that no one…NO ONE at any level in the GOP is making a “balanced budget” a litmus test; or even a priority.

    The truth is no one in the GOP believes in it any more.

  23. 23
    John Burke Said:
    8:40 pm 

    I think the 10 points are silly and any attempt by either party to enforce ideological discipline won’t work anyway (voters do a nice job of that; heavily GOP states and districts elect mostly conservatives; heavily Dem areas mostly liberals; and split areas elect moderates or go back and forth).

    But was any purpose served by dumping on the Sacrament of Reconciliation? I’m a mostly lapsed Catholic myself and have not been to confession in 40 years. But respect, Rick, show some respect. It’s basic.

  24. 24
    Richard bottoms Said:
    8:53 pm 

    Third, there is a Conservative Party in NY, which has a line on the ballot, which is not the case in most other states.

    And fourth, you lost.

    Whatever comes out of it for the teabagger movement, the bottom line you lost a seat and we picked one up.

    I think 2010 will have more of that outcome given similar circumstances (conservative ousts squishy liberal) than you think.

    Not more than I think because I think it will happen more times than not if you continue to drive the party to the right.

  25. 25
    the Dragon Said:
    9:03 pm 

    Richard Bottoms said:”And fourth, you lost.
    Whatever comes out of it for the teabagger movement, the bottom line you lost a seat and we picked one up.”

    True, BUT whether NY-23 became a big deal or not, the outcome would have been as it turned out. Own Goal on the Establishment.

    You have an interesting point here “Not more than I think because I think it will happen more times than not if you continue to drive the party to the right.” I’m sure the move-on crowd threatening wavering Dems will lead to a more moderate Dem party?

    Regards,

  26. 26
    busboy33 Said:
    9:14 pm 

    @funny man:

    Agreed. Confession is no doubt good for the mind, if not the soul . . . but the “God insists you do it this way or you’ll be punished eternally” aspect of it seemed a bit murky.

    Almost as if the practice as institutionalized sprang from the minds of Man as opposed to the Divine . . .

    . . . naaaaahhhhh.

    On-topic, I think with all the frustration with politicians of all stripes in America today, something that smacks so strongly of “PR talking-point marketing” IMO has a strong chance of backfiring.
    The Dem ads practically right themselves:
    “The GOP — great with slogans, but where’s the performance?”
    “If you’re looking for a catchy jingle for a sneaker commercial, vote GOP. If you’re trying to run a sneaker company, vote Dem.”

    It won’t matter to the faithful, since they believed the talking points regardless (even if some are so vague as to be indefiniable), but the middle might pull away. Really, who didn’t think these were Repub positions already? You’re not infoming anybody with these “points”. All you’re doing is calcifing the image of the GOP as TaxCutting, UnionBusting, GayOppressing, GunWaving, AntiChoice ideologues.

    The base will love it . . . but these are the descriptors that anti-GOP forces use to make the party unpalateable to the non-base. It seems like these are just doing the alienation work for the opposition.

    So, as someone who tends to vote with the opposition (or at least in opposition to these bullet points) . . . Thanks?

  27. 27
    Richard bottoms Said:
    9:41 pm 

    I’m sure the move-on crowd threatening wavering Dems will lead to a more moderate Dem party?

    Are we the ones issuing 10 point manifestos about who will be excommunicated from the party?

    And, again. We. Won. Doesn’t matter if it’s by 1 or 1 million. Your guys have the uphill battle and its the teabaggers who will be making people on your own team miserable.

    We already expect them to be hysterical and frothing at the mouth about about Marxism, concentration camps, FEMA, and death panels.

    It’s having at that crazy aimed at your own guys that’s the issue.

  28. 28
    KenGirard Said:
    3:54 pm 

    Shouldn’t #2 say “We support market-based health care reform and oppose government run health care;”, or is there some style of government run health care that Republican’s support?

    Or is the most important part of that line “oppose Obama”?

    And isn’t #10 a little broad? It suggest that there should be no limits on who can own guns: criminals (even in jail as there can not be any government [Fed, State or Local] rules saying they can be denied guns), the mentaly ill, 4 year olds, tourist, etc. I guess this would also mean that if someone can pay for it, they can own it. So, a 155mm howitzer for every drug dealer in the city! That should make gang wars a lot more interesting on the news.

  29. 29
    busboy33 Said:
    2:19 am 

    The more I think about this manifesto, the more it strikes me as an unbelievably bad idea.

    If someone agrees with all 10 of these statements . . . then they’re already a Republican, aren’t they? They certainly aren’t voting Democrat. So this won’t peel any votes away from the opposition.

    The only way for the Reds to win is to get the “semi” votes — people who may agree with 4 or 5 of those statements, but waver on the other points. Instead of telling those voters “come on over into the tent, we can work together”, all this does is tell them “we don’t want you”. Sure, you may be willing to vote for supporting the military requests in Afganistan and lower taxes, but if you think DOMA is a bad policy then you can take your vote and get the hell out of here. Go vote Democrat, you commie!

    Number of votes gained — zero.
    Number of votes driven to the other party — seems like more than zero.

    I suppose theoretically, the idea is to get the hardcore that may have withheld their votes in protest back into the fold, but could those voters possibly be enough to (a)shift the balance of power and/or (b) counterbalance the “semis” that this seems designed to drive away? I can’t imagine so.

    I just don’t understand what this was designed to accomplish.

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