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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For February 17, 2016

Feb 11

To Joseph Sunde and his blogpost on how the Church is rediscovering its social responsibility. This appeared in the Acton blog.

We should note here that the Reformed Tradition's notion of the Church, in neither of its expressions, consisting of Transformationists and 2 Kingdom Theology, believe that the institutional Church has all of the social responsibilities described above. This is especially true when pertaining to speaking out against injustice and launching political movements. And history shows that the last time in which we had great social movements, that is the 1960s with its movements that challenged racism, imperialism, sexism, and war, the conservative faction of the Church was largely missing in not just leadership, but in participation too.

Now though both the Transformationists, I am not including Reconstructionists here, and 2Kers believe that the institutional Church should NOT be speaking out against injustice, with the possible exception of racism, and launching political movements, there are, what becomes, small differences between them. While today's transformationists target culture for change, that is done more-less by inserting Christians into cultural leadership positions to change cultural values from the inside, both Transformationists and 2Kers believe that the Church is at the forefront in alleviating society's problems through the presence of Christians who are to influence society as individuals. But what is missing is a significant conservative Reformed institutional presence in the speaking out against economic classism, mass incarceration, destruction to the environment, war and militarism, and equality issues such as those that involve the LGBT community. And even though there is a growing Reformed awareness of racism in our society and there are some from the Reformed tradition who are now speaking out against it, the Reformed presence in the battle against racism is not significant enough.

Instead, according to both main branches of Reformed Christianity, the job of the Institutional Church is to preach the Gospel. And their preaching the Gospel includes preaching against individual sins, not corporate sins, with preaching against racism providing an occasional exception.

I disagree with the Reformed Church's reluctance to have the Institutional Church speak out against injustice. However, it is wise of the Reformed Church not to associate the Faith with any one political movement. That is because for the Church to fulfill its prophetic obligations, it, and this includes both the organic and the institutional Church, needs only to be a curmudgeon that speaks out against the corporate sins of society and the state.

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To Joe Carter and his blogpost about the Supreme Court’s decision to negate the Obama Administration’s efforts to regulate emissions from coal-fired power plants. This appeared in the Acton blog.

Let's face, those speaking from a business interest have, in almost every case, automatically rejected the need for change to protect the environment citing the economy as the reason for their objection. But in the end, most of these objections really are against placing any kind of regulated social responsibility on businesses. 

One other point should be made, suppose that the statement made above is correct, that only 6% of emissions are cut here. Considering how much we need to change our emissions output, 6% is still important. We should also note that the US Energy Information Association put power plants as producing 38% of energy-related CO2 emissions in the US in 2014 (see http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=77&t=11   ). Thus, to start cutting power plant emissions now, regardless of how low a percentage, can build a foundation for more cuts later. After all, isn't a gradual change in environmental standards one that shows sensitivity to both environmental and business concerns?

As for the Court's decision, it is to be expected. As with the other branches of our government, its first priority has become to protect interests--and that is regardless of how socially liberal the Court is accused of being.

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To Denny Burk and his blogpost about supporting abortion rights being one of several single issues that should disqualify a candidate holding public office. This appeared in Denny Burk’s blog.

I understand Piper's concern, but our current political situation must also be included in the mix. If an anti-abortion candidate favors economic policies that increase poverty and all of its negative effects, should that disqualify them from getting my vote? If an anti-abortion candidate favors policies that destroy the environment, should that disqualify them from getting my vote? If an anti-abortion candidate is in favor of proseuting immoral wars, should that disqualify them from getting my vote? And if all of that is so, for whom can I vote?

If we wreck the world by destroying the environment, increasing poverty, and/or waging war, don't we make abortion a moot issue?

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To Joe Carter and his blogpost citing an Acton commentary on how sociological determinism influences public policy and how free men must be responsible enough to suffer the consequences of their actions. This appeared in the Acton blog.

At the same time, those with a stake in the shrinking of the government are either naive of or blantantly enable those from the private sector who seek to expand their power over others. Thus we play the same game of sociological determinism only with possibly more dire results.

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Feb 12

To Joe Carter and his article on why it is more important to vote for Presidents who would be Prolife than for Presidents for their views on the economy because Presidents can significantly affect the economy only through who they appoint to be chair of the Federal Reserve. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.


This article has a false statement as well as is a disappointment because of the previous article on single-issue voting.

First, the falsehood. When Bush proposed a stimulus refund check to be made out to everyone, that affected the economy. When Bush and Obama decided to use their bully pulpits and powers to get bailouts in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse, that affected the economy. When the President picked Supreme Justices who were favorable to business interests, that affected the economy in decisions like Citizens United and the most recent one that undid Obama's enforcement of the EPA guides for coal-fired power plants affect the economy. So the following statement of yours from the artilce is false:

the only significant influence the President of the United States has on the economy is in selecting the Chairman of the Federal Reserve

Second, in your previous article on singe-issue voting, you emphatic is saying that being Prolife could not be reduced to one's opposing elective abortion. And now, you seem to be saying that it is necessary to only vote in Presidents who oppose abortion. Thus, what you gave in the previous article, you took away with this one. Of course, the logical conclusion of your articles is that people must vote for conservative candidates for President regardless of their views on other issues that involve Prolife concerns like the environment, war, and poverty. The problem with what you seem to be saying is this, if we wreck the world by waging war, destroying the environment, and advancing poverty abortion becomes a moot issue. And that is the problem we face when we reduce being Prolife to one's stance on abortion.

In your article on single-issue voting, you stated that we must vote for 'greatest good possible' rather than for the perfect good (see http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/when-christians-should-be-single-issue-voters ). Now you seemed to have reversed course. If you were in politics, you would be accused of flip-flopping.


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Part of this comment was lost in the copying and pasting processes.


Feb 16

To Denny Burk and his blogpost quoting a conservative on the necessity of appointing an “originalist” to the Supreme Court as a replacement for Judge Scalia. This appeared in Denny Burk’s blog.

The term "originalist" seems to be nothing more than a self-exalting term Conservatives use on themselves in relation to The Constitution. Of course all other groups have their own self-exalting terms, but we are dealing with the term 'originalist.'

The same people call themselves originalists believe that the 2nd Amendment refers to the individual's right to bear arms. And if one merely mentions that the necessity for the need for a well-regulated militia served as a context for the right to bear arms, then such is met with fervent denials. For a part of the conservative interpretation of the 2nd Amendment includes the rational that the amendment is there to keep citizens free from a tyrannical government.

The problem is that the words and historical context of The Constitution do not support the conservative claim that they have a lock on the original meaning of the 2nd Amendment. To show this, below will be listed the 2nd Amendment and all of the references made to the militia in The Constitution

2nd Amendment (from http://constitution.findlaw.com/amendments.html   )

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


Article I, Section 8 (from http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html )
We should note that Article 1 deals with the legislative powers of the Senate and House of Representatives.

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;


Article II, Section 3 (from http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html  )
We should note that Article II deals with the powers of the President


The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

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