Thursday, 13 October 2016

I'm with her.


Jill Stanish said...

I have so enjoyed your books and wanted to share a link to your blog on my review. However, I was quite saddened to see that you'd recently included a political endorsement--especially in light of the disturbing view of Catholics that Clinton and her team seem to have. I'm afraid Hillary's disdain for people of faith (Catholics in particular) seems to be at odds with the grace, peace, and love that Abbot John encourages in your books. Only suggesting that silence on your position may have been the wisest course so as not to offend your Catholic audience.

Pen Wilcock said...

Thank you. In an election silence is, of course, a voice. It is incorrect to say Hillary Clinton is disdainful of people of faith. She is a Methodist, who receives devotional material for her personal Bible study every day. Hillary is respectful of Catholic faith, but I imagine when you say she disdains people of faith what you mean is that her stance on abortion os pro-choice. If that is what you mean, then you may be disappointed that she doesn't share your view or uphold the teaching of the Catholic church, but that isn't the same as disdaining you. Abortion is directly related to social circumstance (poverty), and it has always been true in America that the abortion rate falls under Democrat influence, because of the option for the poor - which is, in larger terms, biblical.
If, on the other hand, you are referring to the leaked emails that mention Catholicism, then I do not read them as disdain for Catholics. Halpin emailed Palmieri and Podesta (who is, of course, Catholic) about 'bastardization of the faith'. I don't think he meant Catholicism is a corruption of Christian faith, but that to call yourself Catholic *then behave as Rupert Murdoch does* requires a rewriting of the Christian faith that renders it barely recognisable. I wouldn't extrapolate from that a disdain for Catholics. I think his estimation of, say, Pope Francis would be quite different. One might look at, for example, one-time Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the UK, who was a staunch Methodist, and call her version of Methodism a bastardization of the faith, because her regime was so cruel to the socially vulnerable. But that wouldn't make you against Methodism as such, just opposed to her version of it. And Clinton said none of this.
My own political beliefs are not especially partisan. The kindest and most peacable politicians get my vote. But in the times in which we find ourselves, it is no longer wise for Christians to remain silent. In my own country, we are seeing our current regime knowingly making decisions that will poison the land and damage the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.
When you say "silence on your position may have been the wisest course"; yes indeed. For book sales, it always is. For decades I remained silent about my position of LGBT rights because it would have damaged my sales badly, and that affects my publishers as well as me. I waited until it was safe enough, for my publishers and for me, to make my position clear. And I'm not glad I took that wise course - I'm ashamed of it. I should have spoken up publicly sooner, and left the books sales in the lap of God.
If Donald Trump becomes US president, with his record of misogyny, racial hatred and evidently disordered personality, the whole world is in trouble. I could stay silent on this matter. And you're quite right - I may lose review opportunities and sales if I don't. The price of a review may be letting people think I believe the opposite of what I really do think.
But then I think of Pilate, who was in a similarly difficult position, and I think of Jesus asking what would be the point of gaining the whole world if you lose your soul, and I have to conclude that silence isn't always as wise as it looks.
At the end of my life I don't want to be one of those who stood with my arms folded and watched while the brave paid the price.
And I'm glad you didn't just remain silent yourself. I'm glad you came along to speak up for your point of view. Thank you. God bless your blog, and God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Politics are always so devisive, aren't they? Which is why I try to avoid them myself. I always insist on using my vote, hoping to make the best choice I can using the information available at the time. Any vote is always a compromise. Beyond that, I do not pin my colours to the mast of any political party, realising that the only way I can make a difference is in the way that I live my life as an individual.

But there are times when to remain silent is not an option and I think that this is such a time. You were right to speak up as your concience dictated. By giving your opinion on the values that Donald Trump espouses, you were saying what I too believe, that his attitude to women and a whole lot of other issues, is totally unacceptable in any walk of life, let alone in someone who is standing for election as President of the United States. I do not believe that in speaking out against him, you are endorsing Hillary Clinton. She too has her critics.

The sad thing about this whole election campaign is that at a time when the whole world is in such a perilous state, we are seeing the US tear itself apart in this way. The real issues such as world peace, the environment, social justice etc, have been pushed to the margins of the debate. I can only look on in horror and pray that somehow the situation is not as dire as it looks.
God bless us all

God bless us all.

Jenna said...

Pen, like your other commenter, I'm disheartened about your take on American politics. To call Hillary a Methodist is an insult to true believer in that denomination. To demonize Trump is equally as uninformed.

Your ideas about abortion are somewhat undigestible, as well. Abortion is never an economic problem; it is a spiritual one and to say the problem gets better under the Dems is simply ludicrous.

We are stuck with two fairly reprehensible applicants for the POTUS over here. It's interesting to see what's filtered across the pond, though, about it all.

Pen Wilcock said...

Hi Stella

Thank you for your good thoughts. The wonderful speech by Michelle Obama that I posted, as well as my heading "I'm with her", does suggest a clear preference for Hillary Clinton as that's who Michelle is backing, so I think Jill was not mistaken in taking issue with that. But, yes, I too think that "there are times no to remain silent, and this is such a time." And I agree that political opinion can be very divisive, which is why I haven't said anything up until now.
Surely it must be possible for Christian women to discuss such things thoughtfully and peaceably, to the good of all.

Hi Jenna.

I am myself a true believe in the Methodist tradition. When you say "To call Hillary a Methodist is an insult to a true believer in that denomination", you are saying exactly the same kind of thing as John Haplin said about Catholics, that Jill so objects to. Hillary Clinton is a Methodist. To say so is not an insult to anybody. It's just true.
About abortion; when you say "To say the problem gets better under the Dems is simply ludicrous", the available information does not bear you out. The abortion rate has fallen by 13% under Obama, and the matter is very sensibly and helpfully discussed in this article here:

This article is also helpful in looking at the correlation between abortion and poverty, and therefore abortion under different regimes.

I hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

I would like to remind anyone interested that Hillary will be bringing her lovely hubby into the White House with her and what do you suppose he will be doing while she is busy running the country??? He is a well known womanizer- before his Presidency- during his Presidency- and I would guess he is still a busy little bee!!! It is interesting to note that this is rarely mentioned. Many young voters and immigrants are so limited in knowledge that they actually don't even know anything about Hillary's hubby, Bill Clinton, or indeed that he was a 2 term President.I am disgusted with what we are given to chose from and predict a very bad ending for this country regardless of who wins.

Anonymous said...

This is my only political comment anywhere to date. I am an American, and this election is terrifying. Mostly because we have the electoral college system which means our presidents are not elected by popular vote. Which makes the American people, regardless of how we are viewed by the world, in fact powerless to choose. I have voted in every election since coming of age for whomever I could decipher to be the lesser of two evils. I have not really wanted a candidate to become our president since Jimmy Carter, whom I voted for at the time, and yet I've had to vote for candidates who are chosen for me to vote for, knowing the electoral college system will probably nullify that choice for me anyway. I believe all politicians are liars, because they are campaigning by making promises they cannot keep. Very little a president does has any immediate impact, (except unfortunately getting us into wars), and you have to look at the track record ten years later to see what actually was accomplished by their decisions, (for the good or for the bad) by their term leadership as change happens so slowly in our system. I am vehemently anti marijuana and yet I am going to vote for the third party candidate who endorses decriminalization of the same, because I cannot stand the thought of either Clinton or Trump getting in, and I really believe we need a third party option in this country.That said, the only Christian leader who I've heard make sense about this and who is not endorsing candidates, is Franklin Graham. And he is emphasizing the importance of the appointment power of the president for the Supreme Court members. There is great unease in our country right now. Prayers for God's will in the election would be appreciated.

Pen Wilcock said...

Anonymous ~ thank you for coming along to comment. I was surprised when you wrote that Bill Clinton's womanising is rarely mentioned. Perhaps you and I get our news from different sources - I know that can happen, creating widely differing impressions. But on Facebook among supporters of Trump's candidacy, I've seen the point brought up repeatedly in every discussion. I honestly don't think it has been overlooked.

DMW ~ Yes, just the other day my daughter was proposing in a discussion that there should be some kind of legal sanction against lying in politics. She pointed out that we have reached the stage where people will (and do) say *anything* to get elected, only to renege on their promises the instant they've achieved their end. This has most recently happened in our neck of the woods over the Brexit vote, where huge promises were made that were foundational to the campaign; people voted because they were taken in, and on the very day of the results those promises were revealed to have never been true. My daughter said she felt there should be a serious penalty attached to such blatant intention to deceive in public life. Of course, the astute saw through the enticements and gave their warnings - but people can be very naive.

Anonymous said...

I wish there were laws where children, spouses, anyone immediately related to someone who had already been president could not themselves run for the office. I wish to God that in the US we weren't trapped into basically two factions of a single ruling party - this is especially impossible for Christians, who often can't by conscience force themselves into the contradictions in any one candidate on issues of social welfare and economy, traditional values, war and violent international interventions, etc. The system artificially polarizes us in so many ways even against our own hearts and minds, because of having only these two false options and no other parties are allowed to arise or gain true influence. No decent politician can even form a career, because of how they are forced to accommodate the party line in its practices of mercilessness or cruelty (my opinion) in either one direction or the other.

Pen Wilcock said...

I've been giving a *lot* of thought to this lately. My ideas are not fully formed, and I have no firm conclusions. But for what it's worth, tentatively, here's what I've come up with so far.
I notice that men and women (though obviously this is a broad generalisation) do things differently. The tendency - this is also true of male and female mammals of other species - is for the men to compete for dominance, where the women collect and collaborate. I guess this works well in our hunter-gatherer past: it takes lots of people to gather a big basket of berries, one good shot to take down a deer.
The dominance instinct of the male *includes* dominating the collectives of the female - so you get harems, concubines,affairs with secretaries etc, according to culture.
As dominance obviously trumps (ha!) collaboration, our social system, like most in the world, has developed according to patterns of male dominance. Therefore women who want to succeed must comply with the template (only more so, to prove their worth), so tend to be intensely dominant, even ruthless, in office.
The only way to change it (which would address the point you make in your comment, I think), is if *collectively* women rose up to insist on change, and then *collectively* formed decision-making procedures along consultative and collaborative lines. This would allow greater debate and dissent, and allow minority voices to be better heard than at present.

Kathryn said...

Thank you for posting this, Pen. It took courage since you knew you would be accused of being partisan when actually you are standing up for the decent treatment of women everywhere. That is something every single one of us should be doing every single time we hear or see girls and women being mistreated in any way. To think that a man who talks about lusting for his own daughter is even considered presidential material shows just how sick the American so-called democracy has become.

I live in the Midwest, USA and this election has sickened me like no other. Without your post I would likely never have seen this because I turned off all news in 1995. So I thank you for sending the hopeful words of Michelle back across the water to me. I am grateful for both of you. Peace to all.

Pen Wilcock said...


Thank you, Kathryn.

I do know that as we approach the election, every video like this is calculated, more like an advert really. We live in times when very sophisticated communications are possible, leading us to trust people who are disappointingly not what they seem.

Even so, I sensed a heartfelt honest in Michelle Obama. I think she meant what she said.

About the US election in general, I feel that Hillary Clinton's foreign policy could be very hardnosed indeed - she can be ruthless, I think, and well understands war as a business strategy. But she is an intelligent and resolute woman, and I believe she would be good for America.

My main concerns about Donald Trump are that so volatile and unstable a man would be very malleable, easily led and easily influenced, naive really; and that he is not master of himself - rage, jealousy and vindictiveness easily possess him. The pressures under which a president in put every single day are more than he is designed to withstand. This could put America, and even the rest of the world, in great danger.