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From Power to Purpose:
A Remarkable Journey of Faith and Compassion,
by Sam Brownback



(Click for Amazon book review)

BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:

In this book, Senator Brownback attempts to tie every important issue into a unifying theme of the "culture of life." That unifying theme allows for his opposition to abortion to be the basis for a presidential run:

"Those of us who take the pro-life position need to understand that we are defenders of human life in all its forms and all its stages. The life of the unborn is a vital concern, but being pro-life doesn't end there. Our culture must be strong, but it also must be compassionate, and our character must be based on the pursuit of what is just and right for all our people." (p. 92)
But some issues, frankly, are just not related to abortion, so Brownback must "stretch" to make a connection. Some examples that work and some that don't:
  • Katrina relief: Katrina relief also celebrates the "culture of life" because of the heroism on the Gulf Coast to save lives.
  • Health care: Sure, the culture of life applies to some aspects of health policy, like opposing the "right to die" (p. 205) and giving pharmaceuticals to poor countries (p. 190). But I don't see how that connects to a preference for market mechanisms over a nationalized system (p. 195)
  • Foreign Policy: Brownback's policies embody the evangelical Christian support for Israel (p. 30) and funding for African relief (p. 144). But Brownback assumes that pro-evangelical stances follows from the "culture of life," without demonstrating any reason for the connection. In practice, the two stances are certainly associated, but Brownback implies a causal relationship.
  • Budget issues: Brownback calls himself a "Kemp-Bennett Republican" -- Bennett exemplifies cultural conservatism to Brownback, which connects to the "culture of life." But Kemp exemplifies economic conservatism focused on pro-growth policies -- which really doesn't connect to any "culture of life" at all.
  • Gay marriage: This is Brownback's biggest stretch. One must conflate the "culture of life" with marriage to make the connection between a pro-life stance and an anti-gay marriage stance. The connection, according to Brownback, is that gay marriage fosters out-of-wedlock heterosexual births.
Despite the thematic stretch, Sen. Brownback has written an excellent policy book that outlines his views on most key issues of interest to voters. If every candidate wrote a book like this, voters could actually make intelligent decisions on their choice for president.

-- by Jesse Gordon, jesse@OnTheIssues.org, November 2007

Click here for 8 full quotes from Sam Brownback in the book From Power to Purpose, by Sam Brownback.
OR click on an issue category below for a subset.
Foreign Policy
   Passed the Sudan Peace Act to end civil war and slavery.
Health Care
   Eliminate death by cancer in 10 years.
   Supports competitive marketplace with price transparency.
   Supports Health Savings Accounts, not government control.
Immigration
   Balance principles: nation of laws vs. compassionate society.
Principles & Values
   A Kemp-Bennett Republican: pro-growth & pro-cultural renewal.
Technology
   Pushed FTC study of inappropriateness of kidsí music.
   Internet porn destroys the minds and souls of many.


The above quotations are from From Power to Purpose:
A Remarkable Journey of Faith and Compassion,
by Sam Brownback.

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Page last edited: Dec 02, 2010