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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 26, 2013/ 15 Nissan, 5773

'The personal is political' is no reason to change

By Christine M. Flowers

Christine M. Flowers


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) I once knew a woman who was adamantly, stridently, proudly pro-choice. She and I met at our freshman orientation in 1979, which prompted a panicked phone call to my mother along the lines of "rescue me from this place!"

Over the years, I followed her progress as we eyed each other from opposite sides of the ideological barricade, connected only by a love of our shared alma mater. Then, through a friend of a friend, I learned that this classmate was living in Kentucky and had five kids, including one with special needs. I also learned that she was now adamantly, stridently, proudly pro-life.

How did it happen? I asked.

And the friend of a friend told me that when she was pregnant with that special needs child and was counseled that abortion might be the best option, my pro-choice classmate realized the nature of that other "choice."

I tell this story as an explanation of why I understand what Rob Portman did last week. The conservative, pro-life, DOMA-voting senator from Ohio came out (sorry but there's just no other way to put it) and announced his support for same-sex marriage. The reason he did so after being such a strong advocate for traditional marriage is both the most understandable and the least admirable motive in the world: self-interest.

Portman's son told his family that he was gay, so the loving father put aside whatever philosophical, religious or legal convictions he'd held on what was obviously a core belief and did what any good parent does: he supported his boy.

This move made no one happy. Conservatives were understandably upset that the man who'd been one heartbeat away from the nomination for vice president on the Romney ticket had essentially sucker-punched the traditional values coalition. More surprisingly, numerous liberals criticized Portman for making his move only after his own interests (or at least those of a loved one) were at stake.

Damned if he did, damned if he didn't.

Personally, I have little respect for someone who "evolves" simply because he sees the effect his values have in actual practice on actual people. My old college classmate came late to the realization that abortion was immoral only because she'd already fallen in love with the child in her womb. She had no prior concern for all the other children sentenced to oblivion by that fine feminist rhetoric she absorbed in the home and at Bryn Mawr College.

Same thing with Portman. I find myself, oddly, agreeing in principle with those on the left who refuse to take a 'better late than never' attitude with the senator's decision to change what one hoped was a reasoned, thoughtful and honest position on same-sex marriage. They point out, justifiably, that the senator isn't up for re-election until 2016 and that Ohio is one of those purplish states when it comes to social issues. In other words, he played it safe.

My problem with this change of heart is not really that it happened although it is a disappointment (but we still have that other Ohioan John Boehner, bless his heart.) My problem, such as it is, is that Portman joins a long list of people who actually live the credo "the personal is political." They form their beliefs based on changes in circumstance and allow their hearts to rule their minds. While that sometimes yields pleasant results (as where a formerly pro-choice woman embraces the right to life) it doesn't say much for our ability to form coherent, solid values that withstand the vagaries and injustices of personal experience.

But, you might argue, it is precisely those personal experiences that form the prism through which we view the world, so it's both normal and desirable to allow them to affect our reasoning process. I beg to differ, strongly. You don't need to feel life growing within you to realize that what is created when a man and a woman come together in love is human. Likewise, the fact that your son is gay should not shatter your belief that the institution of marriage, limited to one man and one woman, is a foundation of our society even if your son will not be able to enjoy it.

When Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court was being considered by the senate a few years ago, she made the infamous comment that the court could benefit from the presence of a "wise Latina." People defended her by saying that none of us are clean slates and we all make decisions based on personal experience.

Maybe so. But if we accept the fact that there are no absolutes in life and it's all just one big evolving game of empathy, why even bother to defend our values?

They're just one gay son away from changing.

Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Comments by clicking here.

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Previously:



03/19/13: A word to the whines --- it was just some high jinks
03/11/13: The Great Race Debate, revisited
03/04/13: Marriage goes beyond love
02/19/13: 2 women, and what they're fighting for
02/04/13: Sadly, Scouting seems poised to give up the fight
01/15/13: Reflections from Gettysburg
01/02/13: The mentally ill vs. those who love them
12/27/12: Rapper learns he's just another guy on probation
12/20/12: Cold, hard truth about the killer
12/10/12: When a warm heart meets a cold manipulator
11/22/12: Some women don't know how good they have it


© 2013, Philadelphia Daily News. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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