To Joe Carter and his blogpost that claims that today's anti-Semitism has Islamic and socialist roots. This appeared in the Acton blog.
This article on anti-Semitism seems to be motivated by opportunism more than anything else. Anti-Semitism has been alive and well in Europe well before Capitalism ever existed. It was there in the Roman Empire and did not diminish or die off with the ascendency of Christianity. Though one could trace the crucifixion along with the Jews' rejection of Christ as the most apparent reason for anti-Semitism, it's simply a manifestation of xenophobia. The on and off again relationship between the Jews and the Spanish both during the time of the Moor invasion and afterwards illustrates this. While battling the Moors, Jews were consider allies because they had more in common with the Spanish than the Moors had. But once the Moor invasion had been repelled, Jews fell in disfavor because without the Moors, their differences from the Spanish were again magnified and the fear of having people who were "so" different was unacceptable.
Of course, we can't blame religious reasons for the current anti-Semitism nor could we expect to find one simple reason for the anti-Semitism in Europe. It might help to compare the current anti-Semitism with other bigotries to see what they have in common. But one factor does play a role in Europe's anti-Semitsm today. That factor is Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and the repercussions that come with that treatment.
The idea that anti-Semitism comes from socialism is odd since when we go back to the days of Hitler, he strongly associated the Communism from the Soviet Union with the Jews. To equate Hitler's fascism with the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union is to miss the key difference between the two countries. While Hitler's fascism revolved around the support of industry leaders, the Soviet Union's socialism was to have the backing of the workers instead. The former is a totalitarian hijacking of capitalism while the latter was the hijacking of a workers' movement.
We should also note that we find a significant number of Jews on both sides of the capitalism-socialism debate. To say that anti-Semitism is rooted in Socialism not only ignores and incorrectly associates Judaism with Capitalism where there are not enough connections to associate exclusively with either ideology. it also ignores Socialism's commitment to the international. The anti-Semitism in Europe is nationalistic and ethnically tribal.
Finally, while Islam does lean toward the collectivism side of Socialism, the dispute between Islam and Judaism revolves around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It always has from the days of the British mandate.
To John Teevan and his blogpost on how real life is about more than economics. This appeared in the Acton blog.
The following quotes from the post above show the orientation of this blogpost:
I wrote my book, Integrated Justice and Equality, to rebuke the current supremacy of the trendy idea about income redistribution. But is income really the point of life? If I had not focused on biblical integration, my work would have just been a commentary on economic well-being without an anchor.
We live in a world of true human beings for whom poverty, absolute or relative, does not determine who we are nor what contribution we can make to life, to our families, societies, or to our eternal destinies. There is no end to the list of heroes who are poor or to the list of rich and comfortable idiots...
If we give up on these, our poverty could not be cured by empty comforts or by wealth.
See, this post is mostly targeting the have nots telling them to be content because there are more important things than wealth to reach for. And to certain extent, that is true. But why not say the same to those who have wealth and power so that they are inspired to share more with others or to work for a system where wealth is distributed more fairly? We should note here the amount of money corporations are given in the form of government assistance to their employees. Such is a taxpayer subsidy of the payrolls of these corporations.
In addition, to the poor, it is a matter of survival between gaining adequate housing, healthcare, and food. Because those are the issues, becoming wealth is not what is being asked for. Rather, livable incomes are.
To Bruce Walker and his blogpost on abundant, affordable energy. This appeared in the Acton blog.
The trouble with the above approach to energy is that it suggests that cuts in emission are fine so long as we don't disturb the status quo. But when cuts in emissions challenges us to change our ways, then we face the reality of the fact that those emission cuts are not as important as we sometimes are pressured into acknowledging they are.
If we are going to both help people out of poverty while cutting back on emissions to reduce the damage we are doing to the environment, then we can no longer be committed to maintaining the status quo. The status quo promises the potential for unlimited riches for everyone who works hard enough is really a system that serves those with wealth and power. Because such a system will not see those with wealth and power and thus consume the most per person make any meaningful changes to protect the environment.
To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost interview of Clarke Forsythe on politics and the abortion case decisions. This appeared in Heidelblog.
There are good things said in the interview and something that is overlooked. Concerning abortion, as horrible as the two court case decisions were, the Supreme Court had the Constitutional right to make the decisions it did. Its purpose is to determine the Constitutionality of any law that is passed by either the federal gov't or the state gov'ts. The people can actually change the abortion decisions using the Constitution by passing amendment. But the problem here is that there is not enough public support to do so. Another problem with the abortion content in the interview is that while Forsythe correctly laments that America is one of very few nations that allows for abortion for any reason after viability, he nor other American Christians fail to lament that America was one of tiny number of nations that rejected the ICC and is in the vast minority of nations in how it supports the brutal Israeli Occupation. Somehow, being in the minority in the first case is significant to many Christians but the same cannot be said about the latter two cases.
Forsythe made an excellent point in stating that in a democratic republic, all citizens have significant responsibility in being involved in the political system. However, it would be helpful to distinguish two definitions of democracy. Democracy can refer to a political structure where or a state of being for society. The latter definition is where the people do rule. Confusion between the two causes disillusionment with democratic political structures when they have been hijacked by special interests.
Forsythe made an excellent point warning us to stay away from utopian pursuits and Dr Clark correctly added how that is related to a faulty eschatological view. However, there is a Conservative Christian utopian school of thought that has flown in under the radar. That school of thought says that any attempt to improve the current system is a utopian pursuit. This is a utopian approach because it implies that a relative state of utopia has already been reached and thus any attempt to improve on it is both counterproductive and eschatologically unsound. This utopian approach is used to defend the status quo from changes demanded by those who are in some way significantly marginalized.
Finally, we do need virtues both in the general public and our elected officials. The problem here is how do we produce those virtues. For us theologically Conservative Christians, we are sorely tempted to achieve a privileged status in society in terms of determining legislation. Though the legislation we might produce can sometimes be good, the privileged status means that we are trying, in some ways, to dominate nonChristian. And in so doing, we create stumbling blocks to them listening to the Gospel because in dominating others, we will sin against them.