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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For February 3, 2016

Jan 28

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote of Tucker Carlson that both declares  Trump’s use of outrageous speech is right and necessary for debates and the restraint of speech is why our national debates are ‘useless.’ This appeared in Heidelblog.

Then again, self-restraint in speech can indicate a character quality in a person who will be in charge of the most powerful military in the world.

As for Carlson's view, I believe it is a bit backwards. The reason why our debates are stilted and useless is due to the loss of self-control in speech. That loss isn't necessarily seen in the absence of outrageous words, but in choice to attack others rather than address the issues.


Feb 1

To Joe Carter and his blogpost on how Christians can be single issue voters when justice is the issue. And that just because a candidate opposes abortion doesn’t mean that the candidate is consistently pro-life. On the other hand, he cannot believe that a candidate who is pro-choice can care about life and dignity in other situations such as the plight of the children in Darfur. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

Carter's one issue of justice is a worthy issue on which to vote for candidates--that is in principle. The real question will be how it is implemented. And while in one paragraph, he states that a candidate who opposes abortion may not be consistently pro-life. And so we need to find out other policies this candidate has proposed for other situations in which his regard for human dignity would be tested. And all of this is well and good so far.

 But in the paragraph that follows the one asking us to test an anti-abortion candidate's consistency in being pro-life, he says:

On the other hand, failing on a particular litmus test is often a clear signal that the candidate has an inadequate view of human dignity, and will fail to consistently promote justice while in office. For instance, knowing that a candidate favors abortion-on-demand can be a clue to how they would act on foreign policy issues. If a candidate is unwilling to protect children in the womb in America, why should I believe they care about the plight of children in Darfur?

Here Carter is saying that if a candidate supports elective abortion, he has no reason to believe that the candidate cares about the plight of others whose human dignity is being severely compromised. So Carter proposes that we use one way of reasoning to assess candidates who oppose elective abortion and another way of reasoning to assess candidates who don't. And the with the latter way of reasoning resting appearing to assume negative about the candidate, then how is it that abortion has not in part become a single-issue on which Christians can vote?

Now instead of assuming what Carter does about the pro-choice candidate, we treat the pro-choice candidate as we would the anti-abortion candidate, then we would be looking into the candidate's position on other issues, such as the children in Dafur, to see if the pro-choice candidate has a mix of pro-life concerns. In other words, we rephrase Carter's statement questioning how he could believe that a pro-choice candidate could care about the children in Dafur, for example, so that it becomes a hypothesis worthy of testing:

 If a candidate is unwilling to protect children in the womb in America, then that candidate can/does not care about the plight of children in Darfur

Now to prove whether the hypothesis is true, one looks at the candidate's past positions and action regarding the children of Dafur to see if he/she can/does care about these children. And we could use that same hypothesis testing method to see if any pro-choice candidate can/does care about vulnerable or endangered people in other situations.

As Carter wrote his article, there is no need to test a pro-choice candidate's positions or record on other situations where people's lives or dignity are being threatened. That is because Carter's logic here strongly suggests, if not implies, that pro-choice candidates cannot be concerned about human life and dignity in other situations where life and dignity are being threatened. Thus, there is no need to inquire about their positions or record. But such logic tells us to ignore a candidate's position or record once we learn that they are pro-choice.

I oppose elective abortion. I agree with Carter in that we should make justice a plausible single issue on which Christians could vote. But to automatically conclude that one cannot be concerned about the dignity of human life in any situations simply because the candidate is pro-choice is not just wrong; in the context of this article, it is manipulative.


Feb 2

To Jen Wilkin and her blogpost on how to escape becoming bitter over being treated unfairly. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

I've run into a similar decision to the one above when protesting and in my activism. That I must remember when I call for social justice, I am calling as a person who has been unjust to others. Thus, I cannot protest in ways that suggest that I am morally superior to the people whom I am protesting against. That in protesting against injustice, I must show empathy to those I am protesting against and thus I should conduct myself in ways that invite the targets of my protest to change.

One of the ways to escape both the bitterness trap described above and holier-than-thou protesting is to remember my need for God's mercy and grace. 


To Sarah Stanley and his blogpost lamenting the lessening of economic freedom in the US and the assertion that economic freedom causes a nation’s society and economy to flourish. This appeared in the Acton blog.

The problem with this economic freedom measurement is the assumptions that go with the index. For example, back in the '70s, both Chile and Argentina used miltiary dictatorships to introduce the economic freedom that came in the form of neoliberalism. Chile is still suffering from repercussions of that dictatorship. In addition, neoliberalism, which is epitome of economic freedom, required Yeltsin to use the military to attack his Parliament because they were not buying into neoliberalism's economic freedom sales pitch.

Another problem that comes with the measurement of economic freedom is wealth disparity. We should note that 4 of the nations with the most economic freedom listed above are in the top 17 nations in terms of a growing wealth disparity (see http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/05/income-inequality-around-the-world-is-a-failure-of-capitalism/238837/  ). In addition, another nation on that list, Chile, already had one of the greatest wealth disparity gaps in the world. And there are growing protests in still others nations from the above list regarding growing wealth disparity. That should not surprise us because economic freedom's definition revolves around the status of the individual. Thus, the above claim that economic freedom brings both social and economic 'flourishing' is exagerated. 

Economic freedom basically cuts social responsibility ties between private sector elites and society. And though the US is thought of as having less economic freedom than other nations, when our financial sector successfully fought off efforts that would regulate Wall Street's dirivative products, increasing economic freedom, that led to the economic collapse of 2008. The correlation between economic freedom and flourishing was backwards during that time--that is backwards according to the claims. 

The problem here is the oversimplicity with which economic freedom is paired with economic and societal benefits. There isn't such a positive correlation between the two and thus we have to look at other factors to see if the economic freedom there is really causing a nation's economy and society to flourish.

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