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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For November 26, 2014


Nov 19

To Joe Carter and his blogpost on the recent terrorist attack on a Jerusalem Synagogue. This appeared in the Acton blog

Before Israel responds to this horrific atrocity, it should remember what happened when it responded to the horrible slaughter of 3 Israelis teens by terrorists. The response was disproportionate and was used by Netanyahu to score brownie points with righteously angry Israelis. Note that the disproportionate response not only makes Israel accountable and guilty for doing something worse to the Palestinians than the initial barbarism causing Israel to lose its humanity as it takes human lives, it also adds to the moral debt that will, barring some miracle, eventually be paid by those who currently live in Israel or their descendants. We know this because no one rules forever.

But there is something else going on here that Chomsky and Herman noted about our press and how it reports our interventions or actions of friends. The sufferings of one's enemies are minimized by how they are described while the suffering of one's own group either brought to full light or sometimes even magnified. By minimizing the suffering of one's enemies, in this case summarizing the atrocities that Israel regularly visits on the Palestinians simply with the word 'occupation,' Israel becomes blind to why they were attacked in the first place. So out of blindness, many in Israel quite self-righteously think of the Palestinians as dogs. I remember conversing with a woman outside of meeting supporting Israel who told me that all Palestinians, including children, are terrorist dogs who deserve to die. Though not all Israelis would say such a thing, racism against Arabs is on the rise in Israel.

So part of the solution to this problem is for each group to fully recognize the degree of horror they create when they commit atrocities against each other. Hopefully, such a recognition will give birth to solidarity and the perceived need to work together for each other's benefit and not just their own.

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To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost on the phrase 'always reforming.' This appeared in the Heidelblog

At least this post takes a more honest approach to the phrase "always reforming." That is refreshing. But a key problem remains. That problem is that we in the Reformed Churches hide our heads in the past to either continue to reform or address new problems. As a result, we fail to see nooks and crannies of the new problems and refuse to listen to corrective voices from the present. That is not to say that all voices from the present offer good correction, but some do.

I once told a seminary student whom I knew that our Westminster Standards should be divided into two parts. That what is said about God and salvation should be placed in the nonnegotiable file while everything else needs to be negotiated simply because, for much of that material, it is more possible that it was culturally arrived at than just theologically derived. 

Or we can statements like the Just War Theory by Augustine. Either we can strain to fit each new intervention into its mold or we can include additional material such as the Russell-Einstein Manifesto and the writings and speeches of people like Martin Luther King Jr, Howard Zinn, Karl Barth, and Mahatma Gandhi to Augustine's just war theory.

It would be great if the Church was always reforming provided that it was always learning from and changing its mistakes and that it would give equal weight to what is being said in the present to address those mistakes as it gives to the past. That would be a good way to be always reforming.

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Nov 23

To Joe Carter and his blogpost about how private property protects the conscience. His article referenced another article written by Michael Novak. This appeared in the Acton Blog.

The problem here is that being free does not protect the conscience just as having religious liberty does not keep us from serving and worshipping God. The early Christians showed the latter to be false for the first couple hundred years of the Christianity. What protects the conscience is related to who we worship though. For what protects the conscience are the choices we make and in as much as the choices we make depend on whom we worship, then whom we worship protects our consciences. Yes, religious liberty is important. But no, it is our choices that protect our conscience, not state recognized liberties.

Finally, when Novak mentions the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and those who signed it, he should note that the Soviet Union and its satellites who signed the declaration were not the only ones who had no intention of adhering to it, neither did the U.S.

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To Joseph Sunde and his blogpost about how the Christian Worldview affects how we approach poverty. This appeared in the Acton blog.

It is the Christian Worldview that moves us to care for those who have less and to see them as people. But others do the same without that world view. But what isn't the Christian Worldview is that we can only do this as individuals in one-on-one relationships. Rather, that's the result of Western Individualism and possibly acts as a guard for the status quo. We help the poor both as individuals and in groups. And those groups that help the poor can include society and the state. But something needs to be added here and that something else was mentioned by Martin Luther King Jr. in his speech against the Vietnam War (click http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2564.htm--forgot to include link in note ). For he said the following:

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just."

So if we were to follow King's example, not only would we help the poor by giving and being personally involved, we would look to change society and our economic system if it was working to produce beggars in the first place.

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Nov 24


To Andrew Spencer and his review of a book that defends traditional marriage against change. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

This is our problem, we write so much in reaction to changing societal values on marriage while writing little to nothing about the economic disparity and classism, war and empire, and environmental destruction. And why do we write so much about same-sex marriage and so little about the rest? Is it because we are upset that society is no longer following our lead on marriage? For if that is the answer, then, again, why aren't we writing about the other issues that produce so many victims and so much destruction? The answer could be convicting.


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