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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, March 2, 2016

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For March 2, 2016

Feb 24

To Todd Hill and his blogpost on how too much emphasis on sports can cause idolatry and other problems. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition Website.

Do Christian parents flirt with the idol of sports? If they only flirted, sports would not be an idol. And the problem is that we have grown up to passionately embrace sports, and that is what makes sports an idol.

We often think about the good and bad effects of sports on the participants. And those good or bad effects vary according from sport to sport. And certainly, we can cause our kids to OD on playing sports.  But we often don't think about the effects sports has on the spectator. I grew up not too far from where Todd's church is and to grow up outside of Philly is to be raised a sports idolator. However, that isn't all. To be raised as a sports idolator in the Philly area means that one is constantly disappointed by one's gods. But there is something else and this is from a secular point of view. The more avid sports fans we are, the more we are taught to be tribal, reactive rather than reflective, and obedient to orders. And that what the fans experience. In addition, I found that being an avid sports fan was just another way of being a manic-depressive. Some of these insights come from Noam Chomsky (see http://blog.ahfr.org/2008/05/chomsky-on-spectator-sports.html,    http://www.alternet.org/noam-chomsky-why-americans-know-so-much-about-sports-so-little-about-world-affairs,    and    http://www.special-dictionary.com/quotes/authors/n/noam_chomsky/149304.htm).  

So once we get by the secular effects of being too much of a sports spectator,  there are spiritual problems from caring more about sports teams and heroes to contend with. Our spiritual problems revolve around not knowing enough about God and our neighbors.  This doesn't mean that sports can't be used in education or breaking the ice with people. What it does mean is that our love of sports can easily take away our fulfilling of responsibilities and involvement in both God and our neighbor.


Feb 25

To Denny Burk and his blogpost criticizing Kasich’s remarks on how Christian business owners should conduct business dealings with same-sex weddings. This appeared in Denny Burk’s blog.

Regarding points #1 and #4, certainly some Conservative Christian business owners are not looking to refuse all services to gays, just to same-sex wedding events. But same-sex marriage is a necessary legal victory in achieving equallity in society for those from the LGBT community. So the refusal to provide services is in actuality a partial attempt to marginalize those in the LGBT community.

Why is that the case? We only have our economic system to blame here When goods and services are provided by the private sector, then ability to refuse goods and services by the private sector to a particular group introduces the possibility that that group can experience partial or even full deprivations as punishment for some characteristic of their group. And those of us religiously conservative Christians have defended the refusal to provide goods and serices to same-sex weddings   in a capitalist economic system have done so purely from a myopic perspective forgetting the social responsibilities businessowners have in our economic system

As for point #4, the willingness of Christian busnessowners to participate in unbiblical heterosexual weddings points to their unwillingness to do the same for same-sex weddings clearly results in discrimination.


To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote criticizing the LGBT movement as being against free speech and thought. This appeared in the Heidelblog.

The above quote has two problems. First, it speaks of the LGBT movement as a monolith. Second, it seems to have the same problems with consistency that those who support America's War on Terror have. That is that the genesis of the conflict begins with what others did to us. Where were the cries for freedom when Christians supported the criminalization of homosexuality or opposed the legalization of same-sex marriage because that would result in society regarding homosexuality as normal or who supported laws that allow employers to terminate the employment of those from the LGBT community on the grounds of their sexuality?

Yes, some in the LGBT community are employing all-or-nothing thinking in some of their reactions to conservative Christians and are thus overreacting on certain issues. But we seem to be uninclined to ask for the context of the actions we complain against the most.


Feb 28

To Joe Carter and his blogpost denouncing trade protectionism. This appeared in the Acton blog.

One only needs to look at the first assertion about protectionism to see the validity of this article. Much of our industrial economy, for example, was nurtured through protectionism. Thus, protected sectors of our economy grew stronger and we became a richer nation because of that (see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ian-fletcher/america-was-founded-as-a_b_713521.html  ). The same goes for some other industrial nations.

The benefits of protectionism are never constant. For developing nations, protectionism can help a nation determine for itself what agriculture and industrial products it wants to be proficient or self-sufficient at producing. For more developed nations, there are times when protectionism serves only the interests of certain groups of private sector elites.

There are free market fundamentaists who believe that the free market is the only way to develop the economy. But just by observation we can tell that such is not always true. In fact, enforced free trade can have detrmimental effects on other nations.

What we see in this article is a phantom concern by a free market fundamentalist. The expressed concern is about America's welfare should it adopt protectionist policies. The real concern is about allowing developing nations to emply protectionism. We should note that by forcing free trade on less developed nations, we can make it less probable that they can develop certain sectors of their economy at which we are already proficient. One only needs to know Haiti's history, for example, to understand why the forcing of free trade limited their economy. By using free trade to have Haitian farmers compete with American agriculture, many of Haiti's farmers, and others who were in related work,  went out of business. What is the problem with that? When spikes occur such as the one that occurred in fuel prices a few years back, imported food prices also spiked causing food deprivation to be widespread because people couldn't afford to buy forieng food. In terms of national interests, Haiti was no longer a self-sufficient rice producer (see    http://www1.american.edu/ted/haitirice.htm   ). Of course, this is just part of the story of the tragedy of Haiti that dates back to the early 1900s.

We should note that enforced free trade is neither free nor concerned with everybody's welfare. In addition, enforced free trade stands in complete opposition to democracy. and national sovereignty and, as proving true today, introduces a global economic caste system in which the wealthy grow even richer at the expense of all others. This puts certain workers in each country at risk. Even in a rich nation like America, the wealth only spreads to those in sectors that have been allowed by the global economy.  So that those who would work factory jobs here find less and less work while those who work in America's  financial sector not only discover that jobs are easier to find, the jobs are well-paid. And thus such workers, since money is speech, can better influence politicians to keep policies that favor them while workers are reduced to being disposable object of profit. When their work does not produce the profit margin that  the work of others can produce, then they find themselves without jobs.

Can protectionism be used to exploit others? Certainly because its results are not constant. But at least there is a recognition that each nation has the right to impose tariffs to either protect certain sectors of its economy or grow new sectors of its economy.


Feb 29

To Denny Burk and his blogpost noting the horribleness of Donald Trump’s candidacy as shown in the identity of his supporters. This appeared in Denny Burk’s blog

A conservative friend of mine said to me in reference to the campaigns of the Republican candidates running for the office of President:

"God is Mocking us"

Some may disagree with that statement regarding some of the candidates, but there can be no question that this certainly applies to Trump's candidacy.


To Joe Carter and his blogpost on Americans rejecting single-payer healthcare once they find out the details. This appeared in the Acton blog.

How much needs to be taken in by taxes to pay for the program really depends on how well our government will be able to retrieve taxes from  those who avoid taxes as well as how well our gov't will be able to divert corporate welfare to services that help people.

But also consider that during the pre-ACA era, the most common reason why people had to declare personal bankruptcy is because of health bills and that included people who had health insurance.

So whether taxes are worth paying depends on what we get in return. And what we get in return depends on how much we care to participate in our government. If we are looking for a gov't whom we can ignore after the elections are over, we are asking for tyranny.

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