…’I Would Sooner Have Become A Hog Than a Christian'

by Frank Hill, Telemachus

Or substitute ‘Republican’, ‘Democrat’ or any other label for the word ‘Christian’ you might want to add right now in America in the aftermath of the terrible shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona.

Martin Luther, the great German theologian, once observed of Christian/Jewish tensions throughout history up to his time writing in 1519:

‘If I had been a Jew and had seen such dolts and blockheads govern and teach the Christian faith, I would have sooner become a hog than a Christian.’

Dr. Luther certainly had a way with words. He also talked about God wanting us all to work hard for a living and not stand around ‘with our mouths wide open waiting for a fried chicken to fly into it!’

We did not know there was a flourishing fried chicken business in Germany in the 16th century.

Previously, in 1515, he wondered why any Jew would ever want to become a Christian Jew ‘(given the) cruelty and enmity we wreak on them—that in our behavior towards them we less resemble Christians than beasts.’ 1)

Given the current coarse level of discourse in America today, we believe you could substitute almost any label you wanted in place of ‘Christian’ and it works:‘I Would Sooner Be A Hog Than A (Republican) (Democrat) (Tea Partier) (Duke Fan)!'.

We don’t treat each other with the respect we all deserve and we want for ourselves. Because we are ‘right’ of course, and ‘they’ (our opponents) are not.

We are not sure exactly when or where the political discourse of this country passed the ‘fail-safe’ point and headed to where it is today. And quite honestly, we don’t really care when or where or how it happened.

We think it is incumbent upon every single person who cares about politics and opines in a blog; on cable television; on talk radio; or in any newspaper to start raising the level of debate from that of the ‘hogs in the pigsty’ back to a more lofty perch in civilized society.

‘How can I do that?’ you might ask.

For one thing, you can consider having coffee, lunch or a beer with someone on the opposite side of any issue you are particularly exercised about. It is impossible to ever discuss any possible solutions to any problems, as in your marriage, for example, if you never sit down to talk with the other person involved.

Solution-solving, (dare we call it ‘compromising’?), happens when people find some community of interest and can work together in a spirit of respect and mutual benefit.

Sometimes, it takes the hammer of crisis and desperation to force a compromise, as in 1983 when Social Security was supposedly ‘going broke’ and the Greenspan Commission raised payroll taxes well over what was needed to fund the program for the past 26 years. (We are now in a much more ‘desperate’ financial situation with Social Security in that current revenues have fallen short of current expenses in SS benefits being paid out for the past 8 months or so)

I am more than familiar with the violence that ensues when people are on two distinctly different sides of the issue. My sister, Susan Hill, who passed away last January, was a leader in the abortion rights movement of the ‘70’s and worked for reproductive freedom for women for 36 years.

She was Target #6 on the so-called ‘Nuremberg Files’ website which is a 'hit-list' dedicated to seeing all abortion activists and doctors eliminated from the face of this earth. Susan’s clinics were fire-bombed, anthrax-ed, ricsin-ed and picketed almost daily. She was handed death threats almost weekly and had federal marshals assigned to her as a result of the FACE Act passed by Congress.

In the aftermath of her death, I have had the occasion to meet with some of the NARAL/NOW folks who admired Susan’s courage, as did I, in the face of all these threats to her life. Here's what they said: ‘You know, this is the first time I have ever had coffee with someone from the pro-life side of this issue. Maybe we should do it more often’.

Like more than once every 36 years, I guess she meant.

Our point is that in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy in Arizona where 9 people were killed by a deranged killer and Representative Gifford’s life was put in jeopardy, think about the ways you, as a citizen of the greatest democratic republic the world has ever known and the greatest protector of free speech in history, can take positive, proactive determined steps to meet with people who may think differently than you do on any issue you want to pick out.

And go have coffee with them. Or lunch. Or a beer...or two or three. You’ll find common ground soon enough.

Illegal Immigration. Abortion. Budget Deficits. Global Warming. Greyhound Racing.

The issue almost doesn’t matter. The main thing is for you to meet with your neighbor in a civilized manner and discuss these issues out in the open without any front people or media handlers being a shill for you or your side of things.

And in so doing, you will at least help the other person not want to be a ‘hog’ instead of becoming more like you, or at least agreeing with you 1%.

How can you ever persuade anyone to agree with you when they don’t like you first? Or even know you?

(Editor's Note: Frank Hill's resumé includes working as chief of staff for Senator Elizabeth Dole and Congressman Alex McMillan, serving on the House Budget Committee and serving on the Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform. He takes on politics from a fiercely independent perspective at the blog Telemachus).


  1. "common ground" and "compromise" are two separate concepts.

    seeking common ground leads to unity of thought thus working together for the same goal.

    compromise recognizes disunity of thought with one side profiting from the compromised agreement.

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  3. Without compromise, we don't have a democratic republic. We would have a totalitarian regime and that is not a good idea in any instance.

    it is up to the proponent of any position to try to use their powers of reasoning and fact-sharing to get the other side to agree to as much of that initial position as possible.

    I have found over the years that only people who can't use any powers of persuasion or reason resort to insults and innuendos and demeaning tactics.

    That is the definition of a coward in my book

  4. when compromise is used, it is principles that get compromised every time. and it is when principles are compromised that we end up with a totalitarian regime. so, i stand by my previous entry.

    remember, the power to persuade by the use of reason is to have a good enough principled argument to get another person to agree with you, not to compromise. it is only the person without a good principled argument that needs to compromise.

  5. beg to differ, Kind Griper!

    Check out the Constitutional Convention in Philly in 1787 (Best book out there is 'Plain, Honest Men' by Richard Beeman)

    They 'compromised' their brains out then and there! Without the Virginia Plan and bits and pieces of the South Carolina Plan and some input from Massachusetts, we would not have The United States of America today...we'd still have (maybe) The Confederation of American States.

    Madison cried almost every night because his wonderful original draft was being ripped to shreds, in his mind, by all these crazy amendments. And it still wound up being the greatest man-made document in history.

    and the 3/5th's 'compromise' for the slaves....that might have been the first time in history that slaves were actually designated as being 'worthy' of being counted for representational purposes for a democratically-elected republic instead of being counted as chattel or farm animals. That was one heckuva 'compromise' that Southern plantation owners might not have even realized what they had done until it was too late.

    I am willing to be enlightened as to your position but I am afraid the roadtest of history contradicts your assertion.

  6. My dear Mr. Hill,
    don't allow your emotional feelings on the immorality of the institution to lead you down the path of revisional history.

    Compromise by its very nature declares a power struggle. And that 3/5 compromise was nothing more than that. it had nothing to do with the worth of the slave. it gave the slave States enough representation to maintain power in the federal government. and with that power they were able to maintain the institution of slavery. it was the southern slaveowner who benefitted from that compromise not the slave. and this affirms my first post on this issue.

    and when that power, known politically as "slave power", was broken with the election of Lincoln it was then that the Slave States seceded from the Union. and this led to the most tragic event of our nation, The War between the States. a war that i might add that cost us the lives of over 600,000 men. a war that i consider as being the most unnecessary war in our history and would not have occured if not for compromise.

    and that war had nothing to do with the worth of a slave as a human being or as a man. there were bigger issues at stake.

    so, no, the roadtest of history does not contradict my statements but affirms them.

  7. Actually, Mr. Griper, your very own historical example once again confirms the necessity and preference for 'reasoned compromise' over everything else.

    The Civil War occurred because unreasonable people chose war, conflict and slaughter over 'compromise', plain and simple.

    I would say that 'compromise' was preferred over the needless deaths of 500,000 soldiers and perhaps hundreds of thousands, if not more, civilians due to starvation, disease and pestilence from 1861-1865.

    But if you want to argue that the Southerners were 'right' to stand on their 'principle' that 'slavery was A-OK!' when guys like Washington, Jefferson and Madison were writing about their conflicts with slavery from the beginning of the American Republic, go ahead, knock yourself out.

    We would have been far better off with a negotiated solution to the unwinding of the 'peculiar institution' over time instead of slitting each others throats and blowing their brains out with muskets and cannonballs for 4 very long years.

    But as you might say, 'they did not step away from their core principles so we should salute them'

    I beg to differ.

  8. Mr. Hill,
    War occurred as result of people compromising to the point where compromise was no longer an available option. It was a war of last resort as politicians like to use today to justify wars.

    The war had nothing to do with slavery. the fact that the 13th amendment was passed within months of the end of the war is proof of this.

    The war was about one side imposing its will on the other side and the other side defending its right of self-determination and self rule which are the reasons of every war in history.

    and i might add that self-determination and self-rule are the core values of this nation.

    so, if you want to say that compromise was possible then present me with one that would have avoided that war. but be sure that your compromise is one that doesn't conflict with the principles of the Constitution. I am no advocate of the "Living document" theory of interpretation.

  9. maybe America could have adopted the same phase-out process for slavery as England did under Wilber Wilberforce's influence and direction for their save trade.....a 20-year period, for example.

    or 30..or 50. The idea would have been to phase it out as antithetical to the principles of the Declaration of Independence AND the US Constitution.

    And thank God the Constitution is a 'living breathing document' with the ability to amend itself to meet the challenges and changes with time....

    unless you are a 'strict Constructionist' as well and wish we still had slavery intact today or no women's suffrage either....

  10. both plans you proposed are unconstitutional as you proposed. if it were constitutional it or some other method outlawing slavery would have been implimated by Congress long before the war. the U.S. government had already acted against the institution of slavery within its constitutional power and authority when it outlawed the importation of slaves per its agreement with Britain after the war of 1812.
    the federal government had no power and authority to outlaw the practice of slavery with this nation.

    Washington abided by this concept and even Lincoln recognized this.


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