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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, April 13, 2016

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For April 13, 2016

April 7

To Bradley Birzer and Adam Fuller as they discussed the merits and problems associated with Russell Kirk’s criticism of Bush I’s attack on Iraq and its repercussions on the work and honor of his predecessor, Ronald Reagan. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

I think that the discussion above was rather bizarre. For example, take Fuller's quote below:

Why is it a destruction of America’s honor to win a war?

Is winning/losing the only criteria by which we judge the honor war brings to a nation? For example, when Germany conquered Poland at the beginning of WW II, was it to their honor?

So consider the Gulf War. Yes, it was a multinational effort. And yes, our side won. But some questions arise. Did the US do all it could to prevent the war? After all, it knew ahead of time about the problems that existed between Iraq and Kuwait. Second, in the bombing of Iraqi civilian infrastructure, didn't the US break the Geneva Convention against such attacks and didn't such attacks, in conjunction with the sanctions that followed cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children? And weren't those deaths one of the reasons for the 9/11 attacks?

And yes, Reagan used the military. He used it in Beirut and  withdrew our troops after the bombing of the Marine Corp barracks. In Grenada, Reagan sent troops in claiming that Americans were being threatened and their ability to leave was cut off though neither statement was true (see https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/155/25966.html  ). In addition, Reagan didn't restore the government that was ousted. The government that was ousted prior to the invasion was that of Maurice Bishop. Both him and his party, the New Jewel Movement, was rejected by the Reagan Administration even though Bishop seized power from the despot Prime Minister Gairy. In addition, there were several questionable post-invasion actions taken by our troops against the people of Grenada. And the UN General Assembly voted by a wide majority to condemn the invasion.

Condemnation of US actions occurred during Reagan's time also from our support of the Contras' terrorist attacks against Nicaragua. The ICJ found that the US had broken international law in providing that support and was ordered to pay reparations. Should note another smiliarly between Grenada and Nicaragua. Both suffered under despotic rulers prior to their respective Leftist takeovers and both former rulers were favorably treated by the US government.

And if we want to take a look at a joint failure by both Bush I and Reagan, we need to look at the support both presidents gave Saddam Hussein prior to his invasion of Kuwait.

Finally, we should note another one of Fuller's statements:

I think in places like Iraq, the best solution, as Aristotle taught us about such societies, is to install another tyrant, but one who rules at the privilege of the United States and thus crosses no lines we set on human rights and doesn’t work against Western interests.

Here, the criteria used by our nation to determine who to support becomes clearly expressed but without shame or guilt. It was the criteria used in Iran('53) and Guatemala('54) though their respective situations in no way resembled Iraq. The same goes for other instances of regime change such as in Chile ('73). How can we view such successful actions as bringing honor to either individuals such as American leaders or to America itself?


April 8

To Andrew Walker and his blogpost claiming that the religious liberties bills being considered in various states do not discriminate against the LGBT community. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

I'm sorry, but this whole post is wrong. Why? Just from the beginning, without examining the actual laws themselves, they are declared to be nondiscriminatory. This kind of declaration is both tribal because it is defending a particular group from accusations and uses apriori reasoning which is the kind one would expect from a tribal defense.

Second, yes, analogies between these laws and Jim Crow are valid. Why? Because Jim Crow was more than just a set of laws, it was a culture. We should also note that not all of the refusals to provide services to Blacks during Jim Crow were mandated by Jim Crow laws. And, in fact, it is defending business's right or that of an individual working in that business to refuse to provide goods and services is what is being compared to Jim Crow, not segregation. And what the author seems unaware of among what was just mentioned regarding Jim Crow was that the laws themselves varied from state to state.

Third, allowing businesses or individuals working in those businesses to discriminate in the provision of goods and services to a particular group or legal event for that group sets up the possibility of systemic discrimination. Why? Because it sets the target group up for either the partial or complete deprivation of goods and services in a given location depending on the appropriate set of demographics of the business owners there and the choices they make.

Fourth, if gov't allows businesses to discriminate, then it would most likely require gov't action to eliminate the discrimination.

Again, whether these laws involve discrimination or not must be judged on a case by case basis. Yes, some of the nonconservative portrayals of these laws use hyperbole and thus misrepresent portions of these laws. But that hyperbole can only be discovered by examining the laws in detail, not by taking an apriori approach of declaring the law to be discrimination free. Below is a link to a credible analysis and criticism of the law that the Georgia governor vetoed.


Us religiously conservative Christians need to be honest with ourselves. From the time when homosexuality was defined as a criminal activity til now when we are writing laws that legalize discrimination, we have shown various degrees of hostility to the LGBT community. It's time we stop and start sharing society with those from the LGBT community as equals. It is what those from that community deserve as people. And it is what they deserve from us because of the contributions they have made to our lives both as individuals and as members of society. The Biblical injunctions against homosexuality are independent from the equality that those in the LGBT community deserve in society.


April 9

To Denny Burk and his blogpost lamenting the Republican Party’s failure to “defend” traditional marriage. This appeared in Denny Burk’s blog.

I think what is euphemistically called a defense of traditional marriage is, in reality, an attack on same-sex marriage in society. And because it is an attack, some younger religiously conservative Christians have  been forced into a false choice of theologically accepting same-sex marriage so that they can politically accept it in society. The push to accept it in society is because these Christians see friends, and perhaps even family members, be marginalized for having a different sexual orientation. And because too many conservative Christian leaders have so strongly associated a religious rejection of same-sex marriage with marginalizing those from the LGBT community by attacking same-sex marriage in society, they feel forced into make theological compromises. 

As for the Republican, Party we should not be surprised. That party has been the lap dog of business for quite a while and corporations are pushing equal rights for the LGBT community.

As for religious liberties, in reality too many of us religiously conservative Christians have taken a tribal approach to defending these liberties. It is a tribal approach because too many of us have only been concerned with our rights, not the religious freedom of those who disagree with us about same-sex marriage.


April 10

To Joe Carter and his blogpost stating that we should oppose the raising of the minimum wage lest workers earning minimum wage lose their jobs to robots. This appeared in the Acton blog.

Just as there is the road less traveled, what we have here is the question not asked: How should we regard an economic system that makes us choose between poverty wages and unemployment? Instead, we are asked to choose between robots and employment with Carter's appearing to feign interest in the welfare of the workers. But the question not being asked is being lived out by employees in jobs for which the demographics have changed dramatically in terms of the workers' age as well as their education and needs. Those who have the jobs Carter mentions are being paid poverty wages with little hope for seeing better prospects.

There is a reason why Carter and others refuse to ask the unasked question. The reason is that they are full supporters of the system that asks us to choose between poverty wages and unemployment. Because to change that system means that we need to put some constraints on those benefiting from the current system. But to put constraints on them would result in infringing on their "economic freedom." And heaven knows that we should prefer to require workers to live on poverty wages than to violate, even in the smallest way, the economic freedom of a few.

But those being paid poverty wages are not experiencing economic freedom and thus we need to ask if we are preserving economic freedom for all or economic privilege for some. In the end, what Carter and others advocate is that despite the poverty wages many are required to live on, we should prefer to allow them to continue to suffer than to question the system that provides privileges for a few. And the sad thing here is that Carter is seen as representing the Christian perspective of economics because of his efforts to protect the economic privilege, I mean "freedom," of a few.


April 12

To Joe Carter and his blogpost that provides an evangelical guide to the Pope’s latest teachings on marriage and family. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

Just a couple of comments. Though I am not Catholic, I have a high regard for Pope Francis's analyses of our culture and our economic system. That our emphasis on individualism, consumerism and materialism has caused us to not see people, even those in our own families, as people, but rather our quest for things has caused us to devalue any, including family members, who would stand in the way of the acquiring  our earthly treasures. Here, we need to think about what the Pope has said.

However, there are parts that warrant criticisms or the call for more nuance. His statement asserting that same-sex unions cannot be placed on the same level as marriage needs nuance. In terms of speaking an absolute truth that must be applied in the Church, then I would agree. But we exist in a society where there is the freedom of religion and where many people do not adhere to the teachings of the Scriptures. So here we need to ask ourselves how we will share society with others who hold to different views. To rule out recognizing same-sex marriage as being equal to heterosexual marriage in society requires that we share society with others as having some kind of superior position over them. Indeed, many of the Conservative Catholics I have corresponded with believe that it is the obligation of civil authorities to follow the teachings of the Pope in terms of how they carry out their duties. Thus, more nuance is required in Pope Francis' teachings on this subject.

Also, when it comes to the subject of who has the primary responsibility in educating children, I believe that should be decided on a case by case basis. Parents who abuse their children, parents who passively or actively teach their children to engage in criminal activities, and parents who teach their children to disregard the rights of others have forfeited, to varying degrees, the right to have the primary responsibility in educating their children. In fact, the Pope's teaching here talks about what kind of moral lessons parents should be teaching their children. When parents fail at this, others, sometimes including schools, must take the parents' place. So it needs to be stated that while parents have certain primary responsibilities in how they parent their children that cannot be replaced by institutions, the possession of those primary responsibilities is contingent on them meeting certain conditions. Since I am going by what is reported in this article, I think the concepts expressed about the primary responsibilities parents have over their own children must be expanded.

Finally, regarding the Pope's comments on remarriage and admission to the communion table. The right of the Church to prohibit individuals from taking communion should be based on repentance of sin. But how do those who have been joined in an unbiblical marriage repent? So the informal admission to communion for those who have entered into an unbiblical marriage is a step forward.

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