« The New York Times Picks up Ross Douthat | Main | Understanding Obama's Pastors »

March 12, 2009

Michael Steele Takes Heat after Abortion Remarks

RNC Chairman Michael Steele is creating a big fuss after his interview with GQ where he said women have the right to choose abortion.


Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
Yeah. I mean, again, I think that's an individual choice.

You do?
Yeah. Absolutely.

Are you saying you don't want to overturn Roe v. Wade?
I think Roe v. Wade - as a legal matter, Roe v. Wade was a wrongly decided matter.

Okay, but if you overturn Roe v. Wade, how do women have the choice you just said they should have?
The states should make that choice. That's what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide.

Do pro-choicers have a place in the Republican Party?

Politico's Ben Smith reports that Steele put out this statement:

I am pro-life, always have been, always will be.

I tried to present why I am pro life while recognizing that my mother had a "choice" before deciding to put me up for adoption. I thank her every day for supporting life. The strength of the pro life movement lies in choosing life and sharing the wisdom of that choice with those who face difficult circumstances. They did that for my mother and I am here today because they did. In my view Roe vs. Wade was wrongly decided and should be repealed. I realize that there are good people in our party who disagree with me on this issue.

But the Republican Party is and will continue to be the party of life. I support our platform and its call for a Human Life Amendment. It is important that we stand up for the defenseless and that we continue to work to change the hearts and minds of our fellow countrymen so that we can welcome all children and protect them under the law.

Charmaine Yoest, the president and CEO of Americans United for Life Action responded:

"I think it is very troubling for a public figure, of either party, particularly one who presents himself as pro-life, to describe the abortion issue as being a matter of 'individual choice,'" That is language straight out of Planned Parenthood's messaging playbook," Yoest said she hadn't heard from the RNC. "There are millions of pro-life Americans, Republican and Democrat, who are looking for leadership on the life issue and they will find Mr. Steele's comments disturbing and demoralizing."

Steele also called homosexuality and individual choice, but his comments on abortion are taking the most heat.

Do you think homosexuality is a choice?
Oh, no. I don't think I've ever really subscribed to that view, that you can turn it on and off like a water tap. Um, you know, I think that there's a whole lot that goes into the makeup of an individual that, uh, you just can't simply say, oh, like, "Tomorrow morning I'm gonna stop being gay." It's like saying, "Tomorrow morning I'm gonna stop being black."

So your feeling would be that people are born one way or another.
I mean, I think that's the prevailing view at this point, and I know that there's some out there who think that you can absolutely make that choice. And maybe some people have. I don't know, I can't say. Until we can give a definitive answer one way or the other, I think we should respect that.


"Homosexuality" is obsolete theory, and a word mostly used these days by people of ill will.

The Bible doesn't say homosexuality is a sin, because there weren't "homosexuals" in Bible days.The Bible doesn't condemn same sex orientation, as that wasn't even thought of. The beloved, by people of ill will, verses are ultimately about idolatry, don't do as the pagans do (this isn't controversial, by the way), and in Leviticus, my theory is that the smugly recited "clobber" verse is probably about patriarchy as well. (Gay men don't lie with a man as with a woman, after all. Only a "straight" man might do that...and for what reason? Likely, it's to make the other man subservient to him...like a woman, in those days.)

Some 20th Century Bibles do have the "H" word in them. Those Bibles should be replaced with better interpreted Bibles. How many other science theory labels, especially defunct ones, are used in 20th Century Bibles, after all? "...those who did bow before his computer generated and laser projected hologram; still biological processing they were cast -- the two -- to the lake of the phlogiston, that is a chemical reaction of rapidly oxidizing Sulfur into Sulfur dioxide."

Most people don't like outsiders with noticeable ill will labeling them, especially with obsolete, Victorian era science labels, like Drosophila or Pteridophyta.People have identity and community. They will chose their own names and labels. It's hateful to deliberately not use those labels, such as saying "homosexual" instead of "Gay" (and capitalize "Gay," too, my latest cause.).

"Gay" is the near world wide self consensus name, from Nepal to Seattle, though of course, local communities have their local language names as well.

GLBT will do for an even more inclusive label. MSM is the term sociologist use for men who have sex with men, but don't necessarily identify as Gay. Some Black men prefer SGL, Single Gender Loving. A somewhat eccentric friend does prefer "The Tribe Homosexual." He chose it for his identity, for his community, and that's to be respected. People of ill will did not chose it, and when they use "homosexual," they're likely just being hateful.

Our Nation settled by W.A.S.P. (WHITE ANGLO SAXON PROTESTEANTS) FACT 1. Our founding Fathers based our Constitution and Bill of Rights on a Faith in the King James Bible,"One Nation under God." etc. Thanks to our founding fathers, our ancestors and God's blessings they made our country the greatest Nation on earth for two hundred years, we believed in and protected our Faith, Belief and God's word, what happened? Is it the belief that God's word is no longer valued and we not longer believe in God's word as it appliles to our life. We don't need God's word anymore he's just a fairy tale? We don't get to pick which of God's word we apply to our lives or which ones we don't, its all or nothing.

Mr Steele has been elected to be a leader to pull together the Republican Party. The Party, now a minority in Congress, etc, has a very important role to play in our country's future. Without a vocal, united opposition party many needed fresh ideas will fail to be considered. Generalities will not do. The activity of the majority party will generate some different approaches to the needs addressed. Here or in matters the Majority do not address at all the Opposition plays a very real role in Government.
In her 2008 autobiography, SPEAKING FOR MYSELF, Cherie Blair (Mrs Tony) describes the British Parlement opposition appointing a complete opposition cabinet. Thus the government has two independant strains of input to consider in forming legislation,policy and executive actions.

We lost the election because we ran a moderate republican...in order to reach a different destination.....you must take a different path. Mr.
Steele is NOT a different path. He is NOT a conservative, and without a strong conservative....
We will continue to loose.

The Republican Party wasn't founded as a "conservative" party. It doesn't have to be a "conservative" party. I wish it wasn't a "conservative" party. I'm no longer a Republican.

It's unfortunate that the GOP surrendered to those who were deservedly purged from the Democrat party.

What "conservative" has come to mean in the Republican party, isn't really conservative as I think of conservative, but states' rights, the political theory of white privilege, class privilege, Protestant, Christian privilege, male privilege, sycophant privilege...privilege, as defined and determined by the privileged, and not universal individual rights. No wonder poor Steele is a bundle of contradictions.

Mr. Peterson,
Homosexuality wasn't even thought of? In Genesis 19:5 the men of Sodom wanted the angels, whom it says they thought were men, brought out of the house so they can have sex with them. As far as Leviticus 20:13, it speaks for itself pretty clearly-
'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
It says or implies NOTHING about subserviency. This is a fairy tale you simply made up with no proof to back it up. If you would look at the scripture in context you'd see that whole section speaks of sexual sin not subserviency. God clearly calls the act of homosexuality detestable and calls for death to any of those Isrealites who would have practiced it.

So Mr. Erickson, you're demanding that law abiding citizens, maybe your neighbor, colleague, maybe your son or daughter, be put to death because of what you think you have read in the Bible? A verse that doesn't say what you say it does? If literal interpretation will get me to heaven, St. Peter can strike my name off right his list this instant.

Read the verse in its context...in Leviticus, in the Torah, in the Jewish understanding (yesterday and today), in the Old Testament, with the New Testament, in the Bible, in different interpretations, in your country, your world, with today's ever expanding databases and technology, and history's understandings of time and place. It's fun.

My Bible is not a weapon, but apparently, yours is lethal. Put it in a gun safe and keep it away from children.

For one, I said that the punishment for THE ISRAELITES of THAT TIME was death. Please do not try the strawman thing on me. You act as though you know more about the Bible than all Christians yet you miss the appropriate corrolations between the Old and New Testaments? Either you are indeed naive concerning scripture or you purposely twisted my words

I would like to address th part of your response where you imply that homosexuality is natural and thus O.K. You are essentially saying that whatever is natural governs what is right and moral. I guess you are against gays adopting children then, since it would be unnatural for them to procreate. I guess greed and killing would be morally good as well since anything that comes "naturally" to the human race is morally good. The Bible tells us to give ourselves to Christ and resist these kinds of things that come "natural" to us.

Why don't you show me in the Bible without using your theories and conjectures where it says that homosexuality is permissible. Don't give me the Jonathan and David thing either, that is a very WEAK argument with, again, no proof.
It doesn't. Infact the Bible talks negatively about homosexuality or clarifies a position against it in every instance- Genesis 2:24, Genesis 19:4 Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Mark 10:6-9, Romans 1:24-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
If you choose to live a homosexual lifestyle that is your choice (yes, choice). But don't try to imply that God endorses your lifestyle when he's clearly against it.

Please, this page should be about the article, not rants. That's what Facebook threads are for.

Steele... oh, Steele. He's like the party, still reeling from the last election and not sure what to think, so he speaks without thinking.
Leaving abortion to the states reminds me of slave-state free-state divisions. Lincoln quoted Christ that a household divided against itself cannot stand; neither can a party against itself.
Sexual orientation is not the same as race. Steele is just putting his foot in mouth again, shooting from the hip when he should just say "I don't know" and question the relevancy of the question. That puts him on the offensive instead of curling up into the conversational fetal position he's in now.


I would agree that race and sexual preference are two completely different things,and it is an insult to all minorities to imply that wanting to have sex with another man is akin to being black or hispanic. Studies have also shown that pedophiles have certain unique genes that drive them to do what they do as well, I would hope nobody would try to justify that as moral. The gene theory or "we're just like you brotha'" thing does not fly. As far as the abortion slavery comparison you made. That's a different story. Various supreme court decisions had upheld things like partial-birth abortion using the reasoning that since we do not know when a life begins we'll just leave it up to the mother to decide. Could you imagine how horrible it would have been had we said this of slavery? It would go like this- "Well since we don't 'know' if these 'folks' are truly people or simply animals like many owners claim, we'll just leave it up to each owner to determine if person is really a person or if he is just an animal for the owner to treat however he likes."- This would have been horrible, but this is the same way we are treating unborn children. Since most abortions are done for the "convenience" of the mother the unborn child who would lose her life should recieve the benefit of the doubt over her mother's convenience.

I also find it interesting when someone uses the personal autonomy argument for abortion. If there is a man standing on the street corner gratifying himself, we would not simply say, "Well he has the right to do what he wants with his own body". Why wouldn't we say this? Because it involves other people. Other people would have to see this, and we should not be subjected to such a thing. As a result we have laws that make sure we don't have to see something like that on our street corners. So basically we are willing to override personal autonomy so we don't have to look at something offensive for a couple of minutes(and rightfully so). However, we won't allow an unborn child to live and instead sentence her to death because of the "personal autonomy" of her mother. That's not right.
As far as the Republicans they need to learn what hisory has always taught them. Every time they fall for the lie that they need to go moderate they lose. This was especially true this time, McCain was a moderate and Bush was spending like a drunken sailor. They lost the enthusiasm of their base and allowed Obama's Psudo-Christian message to siphon votes from the Christian conservatives.

Homosexuality isn't in the Bible because it's obsolete sexology theory. It didn't exist, then or now. It's neither OK nor condemned, because it's not there."Homosexual" is not something that people are.

"Homosexual" theory doesn't take in account "identity." Applying the word to humans is demeaning to them, stripping them of their self identity.

Good point on "Natural means it's OK" though I thought I made it clear that it's OK for some but not for those who aren't Gay and vice versa. Natural doesn't mean that something is OK, of course, but it does mean that it's not "unnatural."

Saying that some people are doing something "unnatural" is saying that they aren't quite human. Humans may imagine doing something impossible, something unnatural, but they can't do the impossible. Something unnatural is something that's impossible.

The Bible has an antipathy towards same sex sexual relations, but it shows that towards a lot of things for which there is no reason anymore, like my cotton-polyester blend shirt, a ham and cheese sandwich, menstruation or my neighbor's dog.

If you want something to dislike, try injustice and usury, and leave your Gay neighbor alone.

I didn't pick on gays. You're the one that started the issue. Like I said if you want to defend homosexuality that's your right as an American, but it's also my right to refute it. As far as your "cotton-polyester blend shirt, a ham and cheese sandwich, menstruation or my neighbor's dog" God prohiblited all of these things for the Isrealites but homosexuality is one of those that God said is detestable. If God finds something detestable, it's detestable whether the Isrealites or anybody else is doing it. I also find it interesting that as a Chrisitan I'm supposed to leave my "gay neighbor" alone. However, our society doesn't leave it's Christian neighbor alone. Grade school children are taught against parental wishes that homosexuality is natural and OK and that Adam and Eve is just a myth (though there is no evidence to support this). Condoms are handed out in school, children of Christian parents can be taken by a public school teacher to get an abortion without partental consent or knowledge (but they need my permission to give them a Tylenol), etc, etc.
Even though you may disagree, homosexuality is detrimental to a person's spiritual health. I will have the same concern for that person as I would if they were doing something detrimental to their physical health. If someone is hurting themselves physically I will speak up even if they think I'm "narrow minded" for it, and I will do the same in regards to spiritual issues.
Also, do you not care for more than just one issue at a time? Because I disagree with you about homosexuality doesn't mean I don't also care about, or that I don't speak out about, "injustice and usury" or a myriad of other issues. Since you don't know me, I find it unfair and intellectually dishonest for you to suggest that since I disagree with you on this issue that I don't care about the poor. Jesus himself cared for the poor and also spoke out against sin (he cared about people's body AND spirit).

"homosexuality is one of those that God said is detestable"

No, God didn't say it. "Homosexuality" is obsolete theory from the Victorian era. The Bible wasn't written in the 19th Century. Why do you keep tacitly saying that it was?

Time isn't capricious. It flows in one direction only, at least for humans. Applying the concept of homosexuality retroactively to Bible times is irresponsible translating. The concept didn't exist at that time, and it's an obsolete theory in this time.

Things that are detestable to God are things always, and I mean ALWAYS, identified with idolatry and idol worship. We now know that idolatry doesn't make people Gay or be attracted to same-sex partnerships.

That would probably be genetic predispositions and epigenetic influences. Environment likely doesn't make people Gay, though it influences how people explain themselves and others.

There likely isn't a Gay gene, just as there likely isn't an intelligence gene either.

Things that were identified with idolatry by those protecting identity, at that time, are detestable and abominations. God didn't say it, people thought it and then claimed God's authority, as God's priests, in enforcing their understandings. Idolatry, like "race" are social concepts, are relative, change with time...and are unnecessary but difficult to expunge from one's life.

When I read the Bible, I don't think that what was detestable then is still detestable today. Idolatry evolves. Today, we have different idols, worshiped in different ways.

Think of the lesson of Jesus harassing the moneychangers in the Temple. Animal sacrifices were unnecessary, but were difficult to expunge from Jewish identity...and much better than human sacrifices that others were doing.

Today, Jews and Christians do just fine without animal sacrifices. Jesus apparently prefers kindness, compassion and mercy to animal sacrifices...who knew?

Talk about detestable...that would be conservative Christian's idolatrous support, literally translated from an inerrant Bible, of slavery, racism and religious triumphalism.

Pretty much the same Supreme Court that arrogantly declared America to be a (read: "white) Christian nation in 1892 also declared in 1898 the doctrine of "Separate but Equal" in Plessey v. Ferguson.

There is no such thing as separate but equal. Equal is equal. Separate is inherently unequal, as some group is smaller, or less popular, less powerful and/or less wealthy.

Things that are detestable to God are things identified with idolatry...I won't speak for God, I speak for myself, but the conservative Christian's incessant and insecure declarations of the Bible as itinerant and without contradiction is biblioidolatry in my book. It's detestable...and it destroys the Bible, turning it from the beginning of wisdom, to a moral and intellectual blindfold.

Myths are the stories of the gods, so the story of Adam and Eve wouldn't be a myth. Speaking of the beginning of wisdom (how's this for a segue?) You might enjoy Leon Kaas' "The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis."

On the other hand, Robert Graves and Raphael Patai wrote the "Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis" so what do I know? That's lots of fun as well. Come to think of it, I think that's the book where I got this definition of myths.

There you go again comparing "conservative Christians" to racists and bigots. A "man lying with another man" as he would a woman IS homosexuality. I already told you this. By your rationale you would have to say that the Bible does not condemn incest or beastiality either because it was condemned in the Old Testament. After all it's all only about idolatry and God changes his mind all of the time constantly on the essentials of good and evil. Homosexuality is condemne in the New Testament also, I showed you that. If God is always changing his mind about what is detestable to him, then there is nothing about him for which we can trust. This is not true.
As far as trying to compare the gay issue with the race issue, another strawman argument. For one, you are factually incorrect. The only ones who have said that Black skin is a curse from God are the Mormons. Secondly Homosexuality today has nothing to do with racist views others may have held in the past. They are two completely different things. The Bible has never said anything against blacks, and the fact that some folks supposedly misinterpreted it as such does not somehow mean that God thinks homosexuality is moral. This is incoherent. Two different issues my freind, two way different issues.
This is my last post here. It's become obvious you don't want to hear what I have to say. You would rather argue with me and mislead people with lies. As with all of us, you will someday have to give an account to God for the things you have done, including misleading others. I hope you come around before then.
Thank-you for your time. You may have the last word.


I believe Michael Steele is correct in his stance. There is no way in my mind that life begins with conception. The two cells that combine are alive in the same way that they are when combined. We get our souls, that which separates us from animals, when we are born, when the cells mature to form a breathing human. Before that, they are an attachment of the mother.

The Bible clearly states that life and personhood begins with "breath". With the creation of "man" in Genesis 2:7, God:

"...breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being."

Robert doth protest too much!


Let's get this straight. You made an absolute statement. You said that life DOES NOT begin until the baby takes its first breath. You said we "get our souls" and become a person when we are born and take our first breath. Period, something you seem absolutely sure of. Since this is true, I guess a man can come to a woman, whether she is only one month pregnant or due to give birth in a few hours and punch her in the stomach as hard as he can. Even though the baby is killed as a result, the only thing we would book him for, by your reasoning, is simple assalt. After all, the only thing he damaged is a glob of cells. You might say that's alright but to me that's not good at all.