Crosses and Abortion Bills Posted by: McQ
on Monday, August 18, 2008
On the left, accusations that John McCain stole his "cross in the dirt" anecdote which he told at Saddleback from Alexander Solzhenitsen. Andrew Sullivan:
I've now heard it countless times. McCain has used what appears to be an intensely personal moment in a prison camp as a reason to vote for him in a campaign ad. As he tells it today, it was the pivotal moment in his struggle to survive in the Hanoi Hilton. And yet, in his first thorough account of his time in captivity, in 1973, the story is absent. The story is also hauntingly like that recounted by Solzhenitsen, as told in Luke Veronis, "The Sign of the Cross":
Leaving his shovel on the ground, he slowly walked to a crude bench and sat down. He knew that at any moment a guard would order him to stand up, and when he failed to respond, the guard would beat him to death, probably with his own shovel. He had seen it happen to other prisoners.
As he waited, head down, he felt a presence. Slowly he looked up and saw a skinny old prisoner squat down beside him. The man said nothing. Instead, he used a stick to trace in the dirt the sign of the Cross. The man then got back up and returned to his work.
As Solzhenitsyn stared at the Cross drawn in the dirt his entire perspective changed.
I have one simple question: when was the first time that McCain told this story?
FWIW, the story appears in McCain's 1999 "Faith Of My Fathers", although I have no idea whether McCain told it earlier.
And as I recall, there was more to the story than just the incident with the cross drawn in the dirt for McCain. From the transcript:
A VIETNAMESE KEPT US IN PRISON IN CONDITIONS OF SOLITAIRY CONFINEMENT FOR TWO OR THREE TO A CELL. THEY DID THAT BECAUSE THEY KNEW THEY COULD BREAK DOWN OUR RESISTANCE. ONE OF THE TECHNIQUES THAT THEY USED TO GET INFORMATION WAS TO TAKE ROPES AND TIE THEM AROUND YOUR BICEPS, PULL YOUR BICEPS BEHIND YOU, LOOP THE ROPE AROUND YOUR HEAD, PULL YOUR HEAD DOWN BETWEEN YOUR KNEES AND LEAVE YOU IN THAT POSITION. YOU CAN MANAGE, IT'S VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. ONE NIGHT I WAS BEING PUNISHED IN THAT FASHION.
ALL OF A SUDDEN THE DOOR OF THE CELL OPENED, THE GUARD CAME IN, A GUY WHO WAS JUST WHAT WE CALL A GUN GuARD. HE JUST WALKED AROUND THE CAMP WITH A GUN ON HIS SHOULDER. HE WENT LIKE THIS AND THEN HE LOOSENED THE ROPES. HE CAME BACK ABOUT FOUR HOURS LATER, HE TIGHTENED THEM UP AGAIN AND LEFT.
A compelling story to say the least. Stolen? Well as Maguire wonders, is it possible that such a thing might happen twice in a century? Heh ...
On the right, Obama is being taken to task for misrepresenting his position on an abortion bill and having to finally admit it. The background:
Now abortion foes are targeting him from the right over the same question: They say his opposition to legislation aimed at protecting infants born alive after a botched abortion demonstrates his extremism on the flash point social issue.
The conservative attacks have intensified in recent days, with opponents of legalized abortion sending out missives against Mr. Obama and a YouTube video circulating that casts his position on abortion as more extreme than even the most stalwart supporters of a woman's right to choose, including Mrs. Clinton and Senator Kennedy of Massachusetts.
Obama's initial reaction:
The presumptive Democratic nominee responded sharply in an interview Saturday night with the Christian Broadcast Network, saying anti-abortion groups were "lying" about his record.
"They have not been telling the truth," Mr. Obama said. "And I hate to say that people are lying, but here's a situation where folks are lying."
He added that it was "ridiculous" to suggest he had ever supported withholding lifesaving treatment for an infant. "It defies common sense and it defies imagination, and for people to keep on pushing this is offensive," he said in the CBN interview.
At issue is the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, a bill in the Illinois state Senate that sought to protect against bungled abortions by requiring that a fetus that survived an abortion be defined as a person. Fearing that the legislation could be interpreted more broadly to protect fetuses that were not yet viable — thus threatening Roe v. Wade, abortion rights advocates pushed for an amendment that explicitly limited the scope of the bill to infants "born alive."
"Nothing in this section," the added sentence reads, "shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being born alive as defined in this section." A federal version with that added clause passed Congress unanimously in 2002, with the support of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Kennedy, among others. Mr. Obama said in 2004 and again on Saturday that he would have supported the federal version.
The dispute flared again last week when a leading opponent of legalized abortion, the National Right to Life Committee, posted records from the Illinois Legislature showing that Mr. Obama, while chairman of a Senate committee, in 2003, voted against a "Born Alive" bill that contained nearly identical language to the federal bill that passed unanimously, including the provision limiting its scope.
The group says the documents prove Mr. Obama misrepresented his record.
Indeed, Mr. Obama appeared to misstate his position in the CBN interview on Saturday when he said the federal version he supported "was not the bill that was presented at the state level."
His campaign yesterday acknowledged that he had voted against an identical bill in the state Senate, and a spokesman, Hari Sevugan, said the senator and other lawmakers had concerns that even as worded, the legislation could have undermined existing Illinois abortion law. Those concerns did not exist for the federal bill, because there is no federal abortion law.
Of course, the McCain campaign is taking full advantage of the flap as it provides a stark contrast between the two men and is an issue that is likely to excite a certain segment of the conservative base which has had little to get excited about up until now.
"accusations that John McCain stole his "cross in the dirt" anecdote"
I know these people are not complete morons, but sometimes it is hard to believe. Is it inconceivable to them that more than one person would try to comfort another in times of adversity by using a well known, centuries old Christian religious symbol? I daresay that over the centuries there have been several instances of Christians sharing their faith and supporting and encouraging another Christian by the covert use of the cross or some other symbol to avoid persecution.
By the way, is Sullivan on the left now? I thought he was supposed to be on the right. I just can’t seem to keep up.