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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For May 18, 2016

May 12

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote on the DOJ’s inconsistency on gender identity issues. This appeared in Heidelblog.

The problem with the quote above is that it works from a basic ignorance. The questions about Mount Holyoke are inane and fails to recognize that the college is inclusive in its admission policies, not exclusive. So while they do admit women who identify as males, they also admit men who identify as women.  So why should the Obama administration punish a college that is as inclusive as possible when it wants to address those who are exclusive. As for boys playing on girl's teams, this occurrence seems too rare to have to address at the time.

What seems to have passed everyone's notice is that the medical field does not support the Christian  notion that gender categories are discrete. Instead, the medical field, in dealing with what is called gender dysphoria, sees gender classification along a continuum (see http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/clinical-updates/psychiatry-psychology/mayo-provides-integrated-care-for-people-with-gender-dysphoria  ). And in a nation where we have the freedom of religion, which will more influence government regarding gender identification: Will it be conservative Christianity or the medical field?

We're entering a time where some groups that have been long suppressed and marginalized are escaping persecution. So the question for us religiously conservative Christians becomes how can we be faithful to what the Scriptures teach on this subject while not associating our faith with past or present efforts to disenfranchise those who are currently escaping marginalization, which is the LGBT community, in society? For if, because of the fuss we make, we appear to want to reestablish the past marginalization of the LGBT community in society while remaining silent on larger issues such as our nation's embracing of war and militarism, our exploitive economic system, and a way of life that is destroying the environment we will rightfully be seen as being all too willing to beat up the individual over his/her sin while silently giving approval to those who are using force on or exploiting others and threatening everyone's future. Here, we should remember how the Church behaved prior to the French, Russian, and Spanish Revolutions and how that resulted not only in the persecution of Christians, but in the dishonoring of the Gospel.

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May 13

To Juan Sanchez and his blogpost on 3 principles for how Christians should relate to the gov’t. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

Though there are some good points here, the article is still rather shallow. How are we suppose to respond to the gov't when it practices injustice? See, such a question is really not addressed above. What democratic processes are we allowed to use to influence the government? Some democratic processes include civil disobedience. Are we allowed to practice civil disobedience? If so, when?

And what about the historical and contextual differences between the times when the Scriptures were written and now. Certainly, the differences won't address the general principles the Bible gives regarding our relationship with the government, but how we implement those principles could very well be different. As Martin Luther King tried to reconcile the need to speak out against the gov't for unjust laws and Romans 13, he came to the conclusion that respecting the law in general could include peacefully practicing civil disobedience while being willing to pay the price for breaking the law.

And why don't Christian leaders ever include the OT prophets when they talk about our relationship with the gov't? The OT prophets could be very confrontational when dealing with those in authority.

In the end, while many of our Christian leaders act as if the sky is falling for each battle we lose a battle in our culture wars, their endorsement of our exploitive capitalist economy and teachings like the above on how to submit to the gov't says that they side with wealth and power--the kind of mistake that isn't new to the Church.

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May 16

To Bruce Frohnen and his blogpost on whether America with its emphasis on individual home ownership and its mix of private space and public space should seek to become more like Europe. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

It's not quite clear what this article wants to say. On the one hand, how the American way of life should be is described in the same way that some Vermont politicians have described what gun laws should be: that gun laws could be different for urban areas than they are for non urban areas. We have an American way of life that is urban and one that is not urban and how the urban parts are somewhat like Europe while the rest is the real America. But on the other hand, America, that is the America of the past, is given an idyllic and monolithic description revolving around its individualism. What was missing there was how this romanticized picture was not experienced by all that way. That many of our most successful communities from the past were homogeneous in nature and tended to be more White and not  of the lower economic classes. 

And as Europe is described, a key missing factor here is not just the urban lifestyle of Europeans. What is missing is that the close proximity that the European nations have with each other. An even more key factor that is missing is the strong  but starting to fade memory of WW II. Yes, we fought WW II but Europe had to rise from the dead because of WW II.

But something else should be mentioned here. The America of homeownership got a rude awakening due to the economic collapse of 2008 when millions were the victims of foreclosures and the losses in household wealth and pensions of many disappeared due to the independent spirit of America's financial sector.

In the end,  it seems that what this article is really about is the battle between interdependence identity vs interdependence reality. And this battle very much falls in line with the current battle over the rights of transgendered people where the members of one side want to first determine gender identity by how people feel about themselves vs the other side that only wants to use their physical facts from biology one is born with. And it plays out that way in this article because regardless of what our political and economic systems say about how much we are connected with each other, some Americans want to measure their interdependence based on how they feel about themselves.

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May 17

To Collin Hansen and his blogpost discussion with Michael Horton and Tim Keller on how to teach God’s law in today’s society. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

One of the weaknesses I see with Keller's approach to emphasizing the Law in Christian living is that instead using what Jesus and the epistles taught, he uses a Reformed theological model. And thus the validity of his teaching on the law no longer directly depends on the Scriptures but depends more on how accurate the theological model he uses is in depicting the relationship between the Law and Christian living.

Another weakness I see is that he assumes that people experience shame or find meaning, hope, honor or whatever for the same reasons. And so he uses the Scriptures to tell each person how that they are feeling shame or look for meaning for the same reasons without having really listened to the person.

Finally, another weakness is the apologetic Keller is using for the Gospel is wholly inadequate. If we suppose that Christianity provides the best answer to people's yearnings, then there is no compelling reason to believe the Gospel because, as good as the Gospel is in terms of providing answers to life, a better answer might come in the future as a result of further discovery.

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To Bradley Birzer and his blogpost on Reagan’s speech at a Notre Dame commencement that claimed we would defeat Communism. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative website.

While some gush over Reagan's 10 words here and his presidency, let's remember some of what went into implementing those words. To carry out his words, we had to sponsor terrorism against the civilians of Nicaragua to the point of being found guilty by the World Court for crimes we committed against that nation. It also meant sponsoring military groups in El Salvador that eventually caused the MS 13 gang to come into existence in the US. It also meant fighting an asymmetrical war against Liberation theology and murdering a number priests by those trained in America. It meant that we invaded Grenada under false claim that American civilians were in danger. It also meant starting a multiple decade war in Afghanistan and the funding of a leader and others who eventually created a group that attacked us on 9/11. BTW, we funded their terrorism in Afghanistan but, like in Nicaragua, that terrorism was deemed acceptable because the governments of the people being attacked were deemed unacceptable because of ties to the Soviet Union. We should also note how that war continues to this day. I imagine that today's citizens of Afghanistan would look at those 10 words of Reagan with the same esteem that the writer of this article shows for them.

In addition, Reagan's approach to "Communism" meant that our government would take an all-or-nothing approach to labeling the Left and thus regarding all on the Left as being the same while starting our government on the path of becoming a handmaiden to business. Reagan attacked unions and weakened them helping the wages of Americans to stagnate and that is true to this day. But more than that, our domestic and foreign policies now revolve around serving the needs of business first, and perhaps people if there is a second.

But most of all, Reagan should be remembered for his ends justify the means philosophy that ruled over his foreign policies. Thus, as long as the target could be labeled as belonging to the Left, any means were acceptable. It is a philosophy that lives to this day in terms of determining our foreign polices. Now it isn't that we didn't use that philosophy before Reagan to justify our use of violence and terrorism. It is that Reagan elevated its acceptance to the level of being a religion. 

So be proud of Reagan's anti-Bolshevism, because anti-Bolshevism was what he was fighting against even though the Communism of the Soviet Union under Gorbachev had transcended it. And by bowing down to and singing the praises of Reagan, continue to show that Conservative Ideology  has even become the religion of some Conservatives.

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To John Couretas and his blogpost on Samuel Gregg’s reaction to David Bently Hart’s condemnation of today’s Capitalism. This appeared in the Acton Blog.


If this article contributes anything, it provides another piece of evidence that the Acton blog is keeping an unfortunate tradition from the past that included what the Roman Church did in pre-revolutionary times of France and Spain and what the Orthodox Church did in pre-revolutionary times in Russia. What is that tradition? It is the tradition of the Christian Church siding with wealth and power.

We should note that, like Socialism, Capitalism is not a monolith. To give an example, the form of Capitalism practiced right after WW II until the early or mid 1970s was under Bretton Woods system where governments had more control over the economies of their respective nations. Under this system, not only was Europe rebuilt, economic growth in this country spanned equitably across all classes. Yes, there was state capitalism for some privileged companies without which they would never survive. But control of the economy  was, for a significant part, in the hands of government. And we should note here that Manhattan was built over time under several forms of Capitalism so that no one form can claim complete credit.

Today's Capitalism is called Neoliberal Capitalism with liberal being used in terms of freeing the markets from government regulations.  With this new form of Capitalism, nations have less control over their economy and less sovereignty as trade agreements and organizations began to usurp power over governments. But if we want to talk about whether such Capitalism is responsible for murder, then our first case study should be Chile on 9/11/73. For that is when  the US sponsored a military coup, that is after a few years of trying to destabilize the nation, where a murderous  military thug, Augusto Pinochet took power. He was put into power in order to replace the left-leaning  policies of Salvador Allende with today's Neoliberal Capitalism. And while Pinochet had some dissidents arrested and tortured, he had others murdered. The President he replaced, Salvador Allende, committed suicide due to the circumstances that the coup produced. 

As for whether Neoliberal Capitalism is still murdering people, we come to the question posed by Howard Zinn who asked: How different is doing things that make death inevitable from murder? 

Should we note how global capitalism has alleviated some poverty? It took away American jobs and gave them to people from other nations provided that the pay and working conditions of those people from those nations maximized profits for owners. So when we hear of a fire in a sweatshop factory in another nation, then we see another example of how Neoliberal Capitalism murders. Or when we see the premature deaths of people who never recovered from losing their jobs to sweatshop factory workers, we see murder being committed by Neoliberal Capitalism. When we saw people die prematurely because they never recovered from being forced out of their homes from our economic collapse in 2008, we saw murder being committed by Neoliberal Capitalism. When environmental regulations are being repealed or ignored in order to maximize profits, we see the conditions that will lead to murder in the future. And when we see the current deaths of people from Appalachia who died from environmental conditions caused by the Mountain Top Removal of coal, yes, we see murder. This is especially when that these people are often given a choice between a health threatening environment and no jobs.

In the end, how one views Neoliberal Capitalism  depends on whether one lives in the Capitol or one lives in the Districts, using the Hunger Games movie model of thought. What David Bentley Hart did in his article was that while living in the Capitol, he showed solidarity with those living in the Districts. In the meantime, Gregg shows that he stands in the tradition of the Churches that supported wealth and power during the pre-Revolutionary times of France, Russia, and Spain.







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