Republicans, Women, Institutions and the Insufficiency of all things Attainable

Republicans and Women

RR Reno at First Things and Amanda Hess at Slate have been going back and forth on a new report to Republicans on how to attract women. This debate is full of red meat for politicos on both sides.

My first impressions of Reno’s take were

  • “Oh this will not go over well”
  • “This is kind of like dismissing social conservatives by explaining away their promotion of traditional sexual norms through suggesting it is motivated by their own frustrated sexual repression”

Reno’s comments, however, did prompt some other thoughts in me about faith in institutions and traditions.

Add into the mix of my pondering these pieces over the weekend a Backstory podcast on the impact of WWI in American culture, especially the attempt to keep venereal diseases from impact the US Army.

Social Success Seeds Failure

What Reno’s piece prompted in my was the pondering of the widespread abandonment of the assumed sexual, marital and moral formula that dominated the American mid-century. Church, marriage, monogamy, career and company loyalty were the formula for temporal and eternal security and success. Government supported these things but didn’t directly administer them.

The assumption of the truth of the formula was pervasive but is now questioned or dismissed.

It doesn’t seem difficult to see it was oversold and now in the angry reaction to its failure over-rejected. We tend swing back and forth on these things. Continue reading

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your feelings are not the boss of your behavior

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would you want your daughter to be a sex worker?

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What A Man Peeing on My Neighbor’s House Taught Me about America’s Ability to Learn God’s Holiness


Anger, Disgust, Outrage

So I’m driving out of the church parking lot in a rush to play taxi for my children and I see a guy standing with his back to me in that little space between the fence, the bush and the house across Amherst from the church. I instinctively and immediately know what he’s doing, he’s relieving himself in the corner on my neighbor’s home.

Immediately a whole set of impulses and emotions flash through my mind.

  • I’m angry at the gall of such a person to be so vulgar and inconsiderate not just to my neighbor but to everyone who has to drive by on this busy intersection.
  • My mind immediately flashed back to life in the Dominican Republic where public urination is a very common thing. I remember an occasion when after a drive up into a mountain community a pastor who I had just transported stepped out and urinated on the wheel of the jeep. With 50 trees all around us I wondered why he couldn’t have peed on a tree rather than my jeep. I wasn’t happy.
  • I remembered the time I caught a mentally ill woman urinated on the paved courtyard of the church. I told her very clearly that if she needs to use the restroom I’d be happy to open it for her.
  • As I saw the man doing this I was torn between pulling the car over and having words with him, venting my righteous indignation and needing to get to my waiting children. I drove on.

In a moment like this the mind moves so quickly with memories, emotions and impulses that the conscious mind has to struggle to keep up and process all of it. This reminded me of the reading I’ve been doing Jonathan Haidt, a moral psychologist. The “elephant” of our automatic mind producing moral intuitions and feelings far before the rational, conscious mind can catch up.

Harm?  Continue reading

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Jonathan Haidt’s 5 Moral First Drafts

  1. Harm/Care
  2. Fairness/ Reciprocity
  3. Ingroup / Loyalty: only among humans can large groups join together.
  4. Authority/Respect:
  5. Purity/Sanctity

5 Best Candidates for First Draft of the Moral Mind

Hieronymus Bosch The Garden of Earthly Delight


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Wesley Hill on Friendship


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Links about Renting Facilities Space

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