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Food for the Poor Godspy.com: Faith at the Edge


Angelo Matera | 10.14.08


Sarah Palin blasts Obama’s radical abortion policies

If you want to extract information from suspected terrorists, force them to listen to an endless loop of Sarah Palin speeches. I guarantee it would work. (Fortunately, John McCain is against torture.) Yet despite her grating voice and her muddled syntax, Palin managed on Saturday to pull off an effective pro-life speech that artfully strung together every substantial talking point available against Obama’s “unconditional support for unlimited abortions.” If only it weren’t all true, but it is. You can watch for yourself Obama’s speech to Planned Parenthood, where he promises his support for FOCA, the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act,” which would impose an abortion regime on the nation, wiping away all restrictions on abortion at the state and federal level, including freedom of conscience for doctors, pharmacists, nurses and more. Of course, while listening to Palin talk about the Culture of Life, I couldn’t help thinking about John McCain’s support for embryonic stem cell research, which he trumpeted in a veiled fashion in a radio campaign in Missouri, as reported here by Jack Smith, editor of The Catholic Key. Such are the sad contradictions of this presidential campaign.

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By Dave AT 10.14.08 08:01AM Not Rated


John McCain openly embraces embryonic stem cell research. In 2000, he boldly said he did not favor the overturn of Roe v. Wade. John McCain was a member of the infamous “Gang of 14” senators from both parties whose purpose was to oppose pro-life, strict constructionist judges.

By philly-d-kidder AT 10.14.08 11:14AM Not Rated


Obama Willing to Let Born Infants Perish rather than saving them during a Botched Abortion is TRUE Evil in it’s Most innocent Form!

By philly-d-kidder AT 10.14.08 11:22AM Not Rated


We all agreed that Pater Familia during the ROMAN empire era was Barbaric where a Father had the Right to refuse entry into his Family Clan by Killing the Baby!

With all our Modern Dressed up morals we NOW have “MATER FAMILIA” disquising its words as PRO-Choice… no matter what you call it, a person with their own unique DNA lost their basic Inalienable right the Human right to LIVE!  A few Judges sentenced the slaughter of BORN and UNBORN innocents to Death on their Moms Whim!

By chassup AT 10.14.08 02:47PM Not Rated


I am so thankful to have a national candidate speaking the truth on this issue with conviction and confidence… it is a breath of fresh air.  I can easily overlook “her grating voice and her muddled syntax” while she tells the nation what they need to hear.  God chose a stutterer (Moses) and a commoner (Peter) to speak for Him, the message was way more important than the delivery.

Frankly, I don’t find Sarah’s voice grating, and her syntax sounds rather conversational, not scripted and careful or filled with uh, uh, uh.  For our enlightened few fellow citizens who gained elite ivy league educations (or wish they had), pointing out such things in an attempt to diminish the entire message is an old playbook.  I think it’s boorish and intellectually dishonest.

By Catholic gal AT 10.15.08 12:38AM Not Rated

Catholic gal

Gee, I have to wonder if Palin were a Democrat, would her voice suddenly be mellifluous rather than grating? I understand the antipathy of the pro-choice left towards her, but the antipathy from the few pro-life leftists out there is bizarre.

By John Murphy AT 10.15.08 02:05AM Not Rated

John Murphy

In the post, Palin’s speech is described as “effective” and “artful”. What is antipathetic about that? Would it be preferable for Angelo to describe her voice as “mellifluous” but her speech as ineffective and artless?

That the message is more important than the messenger seems to be the whole point of this post.

By Dave AT 10.15.08 04:31AM Not Rated


I’m just glad she won’t be in the White House come January.

By chassup AT 10.15.08 12:49PM Not Rated


JOHN MURPHY,  He lead by saying an endless loop of Sarah Palin speeches would be an effective form of torture.  To add that to his other comments causes one to wonder what exactly he had to say.  It’s kind like commenting about a girl in your class, “Boy, she sure is smart, too bad she’s so ugly.”

The whole point of this post?  Man, if you can figure it out please let me know.  All I could come up with is “Damn, I wish Obama and Palin had opposite ideologies, then I’d feel better voting for him.”

By John Murphy AT 10.15.08 05:08PM Not Rated

John Murphy

Titles are often helpful indicators of the point of a post: “Sarah Palin Blasts Obama’s Radical Abortion Policies.” From there, a link is provided to Sarah Palin’s speech blasting Obama’s radical abortion policies. Now visitors to Godspy can see Sarah Palin blasting Obama’s radical abortion policies.

The post is categorized as “OPINION”—as in, “In my opinion, Palin’s voice is annoying but I agree with her stance on abortion.” Why would anyone have to find Palin’s voice as pleasing as birdsong to agree with her stance on abortion? I think Palin’s voice is grating, but I also find Joe Biden’s gleaming white teeth and his cheshire-cat grin annoying. Would you so chivalrously defend Biden if Angelo linked to a Biden pro-choice speech and led by saying, “Biden’s pearly teeth are annoying and his grin is aggravating, but his pro-choice speech was effective and artful…” ?

By chassup AT 10.15.08 05:47PM Not Rated


I think Angelo’s lead sentence and your hypothetical are both examples of shallowness, as was the example I gave, why should smart be modified by ugly, or good message modified by voice or syntax.  The headline established the expectation that I’d read/hear/watch a strong pro-life response to the most ardent defender of abortion running, but the first sentence seemed clearly, to me, to seek to diminish the speaker by first establishing a negative aesthetic as if that had anything to do with the “blast.”  Was the author trying to diminish the message itself?  Perhaps Angelo’s headline could have read: “SARAH PALIN HARD TO WATCH EVEN WHEN RIGHT.”  But, that would seem shallow too.

Angelo is free to opine about Palin’s voice, choice of words or the shape of her legs for all I care (much nicer than Biden’s or Obama’s).  I was just expressing a confusion over the mixed message I perceived. 

And no, I am not inclined to think Biden’s teeth have any bearing on the effectiveness of any speech he might give… unless he’s complaining that Americans can’t afford dental care.

By John Murphy AT 10.15.08 07:00PM Not Rated

John Murphy

Chassup, you and Angelo both agree: look past the surface and listen to the message. You disagree about the nature of the surface. But pretending that the surface is not there is disingenuous. If we judged candidates according to your standard of “shallowness,” then it shouldn’t matter whether Palin was wearing a suit, a bikini, or a burka. I wonder if you would have objected to Angelo writing: “Sarah Palin, regal in her muted colors and speaking in a conversational tone, blasted Obama on the issue of abortion…” 

In that instance, it would have been intellectually dishonest if you had not objected to Angelo’s description of Palin as “regal” and her speech as “conversational”.

You wrote: ““The headline established the expectation that I’d read/hear/watch a strong pro-life response to the most ardent defender of abortion running, but the first sentence seemed clearly, to me, to seek to diminish the speaker by first establishing a negative aesthetic as if that had anything to do with the “blast.” ”

You did read/hear/watch a strong pro-life response, just not exactly the one you “expected,” which seems to be why you’re upset about the post instead of happy that more people have the opportunity to see Palin’s speech. Angelo described Palin’s speech as effective and artful. In fact, if he thinks her voice is “grating” but still found the speech effective and artful, doesn’t that make the speech MORE powerful, not less? (Like all those folks who were able to overlook Moses’ stutter because of his message?)

By the way, you mentioned Obama’s “uh uh uhs” in a previous comment. So, you noticed those. I have as well. We are both shallow.

By chassup AT 10.15.08 08:29PM Not Rated


You got me all wrong.

I stand by what I have said.  Angelo’s own words convinced me of my instincts on this… [Obama’s support for abortions] “If only it weren’t all true, but it is.”  Oh bother!  (this, by the way, within an opinion piece about what a powerful pro-life message Palin delivered) 

Mention of her delivery had no logical reason for mention unless the opinion was just that—“despite her grating voice and her muddled syntax, Palin managed on Saturday to pull off an effective pro-life speech that artfully strung together every substantial talking point available against Obama’s “unconditional support for unlimited abortions.”  So, why the headline?  OK, I’l allow that Angelo is just not a great headline writer… that’s why there’s lots of writers, and fewer editors.  Angelo’s headline is actually a reverse of what most MSM editors do.  The NYT editor would have said “Palin is illiterate.”  Wait a minute… I think I did read that!

If Palin had been wearing a burqa or a bikini, nobody would be talking about what she said.  I’m dumb, but I ain’t stupid. 

Perhaps Angelo should have written “Poorly educated nag made good pro-life argument regardless of her obvious insufficiencies.”  I mean, if he was just commenting on Palin’s oratory skills, I’d have agreed somewhat.  And how do you know nobody noticed Moses’ stuttering?  I bet his detractors mentioned it all the time to convince people that he was an idiot while selling their own plan to go back to Egypt.  That’s shallow.

I don’t think I’m shallow for noticing Obama’s obvious stutter, nor is Angelo for pointing out Palin’s syntax, it is what it is.  It is shallow to use a person’s appearance or skill set as a basis to judge their ideas.  I’d be shallow if I said “Wow!  Obama has a pretty good mind, who would’ve guessed with such a bad speech impediment.”  (btw, he doesn’t really have a stutter, he is just carefully choosing each word and filling the void with a rhetorical device intended to make him appear intelligent or thoughtful.)

By Vico AT 10.17.08 01:33PM Not Rated


This discussion must be taking place in Wonderland where there is no American nuclear arsenal.

By Dave AT 10.17.08 10:24PM Not Rated


36. When all candidates hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, the
conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the
extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation,
may decide to vote for the candidate
deemed less likely to advance such
a morally flawed position and more
likely to pursue other authentic
human goods.

- Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (USCCB)

By zorozero AT 10.17.08 11:18PM Not Rated


The devil is said to have been a smooth talker.

I’m sure there were those who thought Jesus had a grating voice and muddled Aramaic syntax.

Obama speaks very clearly and concisely about his plan for protection of person’s ability to choose.

The bottom line for me is I think one of saddest situations our country has ever faced is we have a chance to elect our first African-American President and he is pro-abortion.  I assert Obama would win in the largest landslide election ever if he was pro-life.

By the way, I love Sarah Palin.  Nine out of ten babies with the Downe Syndrome are aborted.  Not hers.  She is a great mom and person.

Joe Biden, on the other hand is a Catholic who does not respect the authority of his own church.  How can I trust him?  How can I submit to his authority as my governmental leader when he doesn’t submit to the authority of his religious leader?

By chassup AT 10.20.08 02:51PM Not Rated


Great point about Biden ZOROZERO… one of my biggest fears about Obama is that he WILL submit to the authority of his religious leaders and follow their hateful, racist, pro-death teaching.

By Dave AT 10.21.08 03:43AM Not Rated


Yeah, we gotta spook them racists and tell em’ who’s boss.

By chassup AT 10.21.08 02:14PM Not Rated


Real racists need no spooking, they are racists all the time.  It is ignorant to claim any vote against Obama to be necessarily motivated by race, that is something a racist would say. 

If racists worry you, look at the circle of friends, mentors, financial backers, associates, co-workers and organizers and church members surrounding Obama his entire life.  You’ll find many.  You’ll also find communists, socialists, Marxists, Liberation Theologists, Islamo-fascists, terrorists, the most radical environmentalists and animal rights activists and the most ardent supporters of abortion, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, gay marriage, and those who work to deny Constitutional liberties like gun rights, property rights, freedom of speech and religion.  This is not exaggeration, and the level of secrecy provided by the press leading to the voter ignorance shocks me… scares me.

I think it is amazing that a major party in America has nominated this guy who just 30 years ago would have been laughed off the stage.  There is something going on here that I suspect transcends the temporal.

By Debra Murphy AT 10.21.08 05:50PM Not Rated

Debra Murphy

This discussion brings several thoughts to mind, both about this election in particular and the question of whether “the medium is the message” in general.

First, effective, inspiring and even beautiful public speaking (or writing) is an inherently good thing, a gift from God, and something which more Catholics would do well to cultivate. Muddled syntax frequently denotes muddled thinking and a harsh, judgmental, sneering tone often gives skeptical listeners the only excuse they will ever need not to pay attention to the otherwise good message being offered. The Church, by way of Vatican II and the recent popes are continually encouraging Catholics to find ways to speak effectively to our times, and the suggestion that there is something intrinsically suspect about being an effective or inspiring speaker is nonsense. (By all means then, we’d better burn all those Fulton Sheen and John Paul II DVDs.)

In fact, this was a type of comment we heard frequently in years past from fundamentalist Protestants trying to suggest that because he was charismatic and an intellectual and drew crowds by the tens of thousands, there was every possibility that John Paul II would prove to be the Antichrist. (!)

Von Balthasar wrote convincingly of the dangers of trying to separate Beauty from Truth and Goodness, as if Beauty were a trick of the devil. (This is not to say that any and every Good, including Beauty, can be and often is twisted, but the thing in itself is good and should be appreciated as such.)

When I think of the gravely important issue of abortion and some of the folks who represent the pro-life position in the public’s mind, I’m often reminded of a comment of John Henry Newman’s about some of the well-meaning but shrill-shrieking and often incompetent Catholic triumphalists of his day, who gave Catholicism a bigoted name in English public opinion. It went something like, “There is no greater catastrophe for a good cause than that such people should get hold of it.”

By chassup AT 10.21.08 07:20PM Not Rated


It is wrong question a person’s message because they offer effective, inspiring and even beautiful public speaking (or writing).

Thinking people (I guess that leaves out fundamentalist protestants) look past such surface beauty (or ugliness) to judge the message.  We of the great clumsy chorus are always aided and inspired by the very talented soloist among us, as long as he speaks the Truth.

It is sad that some of us can so easily disregard another’s ideas, relying on shallow outward appearance to judge the beauty or truth of that thought.  I suppose Mother Theresa’s message would be discarded as muddled or small or poor using that measure.  What a person has to say is an important part of who they are as a person, demanding a fair hearing, but justice and mercy demand we prudentially judge what they have to say.  It is also a catastrophe for a gifted one to misuse God given talents to spread deceit.


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