ED GRADES STAR PARKER LIKE AN UNDERGRADUATE

Posted in Rants on April 14th, 2009 by Ed

I was tempted to go the FJM route when I laid eyes upon "Christian conservatism just getting started" by Star Parker. The more I looked at it, however, I realized that if an undergraduate student submitted this in class I would not even be able to muster the strength to give it a pity D. Star Parker, wealthy author and syndicated columnist, is not nearly as good of a writer as a college freshman. I am about to prove it.

There are some today who suggest that Christian conservatism as a political force is over.

Star, it's a good idea to avoid generalized attributions like "Some people say." These usually are thinly-veiled attempts by an author to insert his or her own opinion. It is unpersuasive and lazy.

Those who make this claim point to the fact that liberal Democrats now control the White House and both houses of congress, that the number of Americans self identifying as Democrats compared to Republicans has increased, that the direction of public opinion, particularly among young people, on social issues is liberal, and that the Republican Party itself has been divided over the conservative agenda.

This is a run-on sentence. "Congress" is a proper noun. The evidence you have cited here severely undermines your own argument. You are missing the purpose of a persuasive essay.

But those who write off Christian conservatism as a political force have underestimated the driving compulsion behind traditional faith and American freedom.

This is an appeal to emotion, not an argument. Citing empirical evidence that disproves your argument and then refuting it with your opinion – and a vague one at that – is a poor strategy.

Just looking at who is in power does not reveal the depth of division in the country today and for the reasons that the nation is so deeply divided, may I suggest that Christian conservatism will not only survive but will thrive.

After reading this six or seven times I came to the conclusion that it is a sentence fragment at best, and incomprehensible at worst. Did you proofread this? Your rhetorical style seems to be to present contradictory evidence and then tell the reader that you think it is wrong.

For although the Pew Research Center reports

"For although" is redundant.

For although the Pew Research Center reports that the partisan gap in approval for President Obama is the widest this gap has been in modern times with the difference between Democrat approval of Obama, 88 percent, and Republican approval, 27 percent, the "values" gap reflected in Pew and other studies is far too significant for some to suggest that conservative Christians take their voting rights home to be buried.

Ms. Parker, I do not appreciate it when students waste my time. Papers that have not been proofread and do not adhere to the basic rules of English grammar do just that.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 76 percent of Republicans say that religion is an "important part" of their life, compared to 57 percent of Democrats. And 55 percent of Republicans go to religious services at least once per week compared to 34 percent of Democrats.

What does this prove? All I see is evidence that Republicans may tell survey researchers that they go to church more often. Whether or not they do, or what this means, is unclear.

Some 59 percent of Democrats

What does "some 59 percent" mean?

say out of wedlock births are morally acceptable, compared to 39 percent of Republicans. And with recent data showing 40 percent out of wedlock birth rates, what if any public policy should regulate this behavior?

The purpose of this assignment is to be persuasive by presenting evidence, not by asking rhetorical questions. You have offered no evidence to support the assumption that public policy should regulate the behavior in question.

Abortion is morally acceptable to 51 percent of Democrats compared to 25 percent of Republicans. And with 48 million abortion deaths since Roe v Wade, should no political concern address the societal costs of this law?

Star, you've had four abortions. Four! I hope you are prepared to defend your position in light of your own behavior.

Homosexuality is morally acceptable to 55 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of Republicans. And 52 percent of Democrats are ready to legalize same sex marriage compared to 22 percent of Republicans. We only need to look at 30 years of inner city data and see the impact of coupling government social engineering with unbridled sexual impulse.

I am at a loss to figure out what this means. What is the connection between homosexuality and…whatever it is to which you're linking it in the second sentence?

Without a moral compass in politics and law, where do we go to answer the hard questions?

Your conclusions do not match your data. 55% of Democrats supporting gay marriage = no moral compass. 30% of Republicans supporting gay marriage = moral compass. Where's the break point? I estimate 37.8%.

The Christian right has interjected itself into the political world because the political world came into their world.

This is non-sequitur and confusing.

The public schools that are educating the majority of America's children have been increasingly secularized and politicized.

Do you know what "public" means? Public schools are by definition "secular." Christian conservatives have done much to politicize them, though, so your second point is valid.

The work place has been purged of biblical ethics. All public space is darkened by lawless and vulgar lasciviousness and becoming increasingly intolerant of practicing Christians.

We are not on Larry King. The assignment was not to submit a moral diatribe on what you consider "lawless and vulgar." You seriously misunderstand what "persuasion" means.

The result is that secular Americans have had a disproportionate impact on our country over recent years and biblical Americans are now fighting back with their voting rights.

"on our country over recent years" is poor syntax. Who are "biblical Americans?" If they are now fighting back with their voting rights, explain the November election results. And 2006. Do these examples mesh with your "argument?"

Abraham Lincoln said that a "house divided against itself cannot stand."

Trite, but accurately quoted. Cite, please. When and where was this said? In what context?

He recognized that when points of contention have to do with basic values on common ground, we've got to decide who we are going to be.

What does "have to do with basic values on common ground" mean? This sentence does not make any sense. This clearly was not proofread and it reads like you slapped it together 20 minutes before class.

He knew the country couldn't continue half slave and half free and would have to become all of one or all of the other.

I fail to see how this is in any way related to your argument, or what your argument is for that matter. Only in the context of a paper with no argument is this sentence acceptable.

The divisions in America today have gotten beyond the political class and the talking heads.

Do you mean 'have gone beyond'? This appears to be your thesis, but no part of your paper has supported it.

It requires voting action to thread one worldview or the other into our rule of law and the Christian right has chosen the Republican Party as its needle.

"It requires voting action" sounds like this was written in Ukranian and translated into English – using a free, bad online translator. Your argument continues to damage itself. Having chosen the GOP as its needle, how does the party's failure support your point?

America is in a crisis because the wrong people have been making the wrong decisions for too many years.

Do you honestly not understand how badly this undercuts the entire point of your essay? Regardless, I am happy to see something true in this paper, even if it took 600 words.

Christian conservatives have an obligation to help lead America to it founding principles of traditional values and limited government. Christians must actively shape public policy in the country and inject our values into every part of our shared space.

It sounds like a conclusion, but it has little to do with what I just read.

So I would suggest that the naysayer put away their shovels

This kind of grammatical error insults the reader's intelligence.

because the religious right is not dead nor in a coma.

This should either read "or in a" or "nor is it in a." Two examples of grammatical butchery in one sentence.

Christian conservatives are not and never will withdraw. In fact, we are just getting started.

Read this sentence and tell me what grade you would give a paper that included it. What do you think? Here's what I think: I think your mother used a lot of powerful cleaning solvents without adequate ventilation while carrying you in utero. I feel like I have just watched Caddyshack 2 on peyote. This was so bad that it has to be a joke; if not, it is indicative of a complete disregard of the basic tenets of English composition and rhetoric. My first reaction was to ink "50/100. F" on this paper, but the more I thought about it I couldn't figure out what exactly you did to earn the 50 points. This is of a level of quality that I would not accept from a high school sophomore. You're in college. Act like it. There is no way that you will be able to get away with such poor writing in the real world beyond graduation, nor will you make it that far without a committment to improvement.

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