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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, June 29, 2016

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For June 29, 2016

June 26

To Mika Edmondson and his talk/text blogpost on Blacks Lives Matter and how it compares with the Civil Rights Movement from the past. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

Mika Edmondson's article has some good points as well as is in need of some correction. His clarification of what the name Black Lives Matter is excellent. His call to us to care and to act is necessary. Criticizing his efforts on those issues shows an ignorance of the hardships many Blacks must endure.

However, his comparisons between Black Lives Matter and the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s is wanting because simplifies the movement to just the work of Martin Luther King and those who worked with him. Malcolm X, both when he opposed King and when he was more reconciled with his position worked for Civil Rights. Muhammad Ali worked for Civil Rights. Bobby Seale and the Black Panthers worked for Civil Rights. And those rioted in the streets in Watts and Chicago also worked for civil rights. See, the Civil Rights Movement was a mix and the tendency of some to reduce the Civil Rights Movement to what King and his compadres did might be due, IMO, to society's requirement that for victims to be worthy of recognition they must be at least relatively sinless. Otherwise, if they have too many faults, there is no need to change the status quo. This is certainly a possible explanation why the oppression of the Palestinians goes unabated.

One more criticism of Edmondson's work here revolves around perhaps his expected or hoped for reaction to his words. For if he expected a mass movement from the Reformed Christianity to come to the aid of those who still suffer from racism, he, IMO, will be sorely disappointed--though I hope I am wrong. The help today's Blacks need requires that the Church criticize the government and calls for political changes. This is something that goes part and parcel against much of Reformed Theology both from the past and the present.

Fortunately, some from Reformed Christianity are calling for the end of racism anyway. But King made it clear in his speech against the Vietnam War that to eradicate racism, we must consider people to be more important than the newest technology, profits, and property rights. And part of doing that includes the call for further political changes than just demanding racial equality. It requires that the Church call for economic justice as well.

Still, despite the above criticisms, all Christians, especially those from the various Reformed denominations, need to read or listen to Edmondson here. Much of he said is excellent and should be required listening/reading for religiously Conservative Christians today.


To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost and his attempt to tie the Orlando shootings with Islam. This appeared in Heidelblog.

Should we go to Bill Maher to understand Christianity? If not, why are we relying on fellow Christians to understand Islam as Muslims interpret Islam? And this question especially applies when we listen to Christians who are political conservatives from Western countries. Such conservatives seem to forget Church history with its religious wars and dependence on Western Empires to spread through much of the world. They also seem to be just as ignorant of Western interventions in the Middle East that include conducting coups, supporting brutal dictators, supporting terrorists, conducting terrorist attacks, invading a nation, and supporting Israel's brutal occupation against the Palestinians.

Those religiously conservative Christians also seem to be ignorant of all the possible reasons why the attacker in the Orlando mass shooting did what he did. They opportunistically jump on Mateen's phone call pledging allegiance to ISIS but failing to do the minimal research that would tell them that Mateen claimed allegiance to or had connections with Islamic terrorist groups that opposed each other. In fact, the FBI did not have him on the terrorist watch list knowing the claims he made. These Christians also neglect to mention that Mateen was a disturbed person who had an early history of being preoccupied with sex and violence. In addition, Mateen is alleged to have abused one of his wives, to have a questionable sexual orientation, and to have taken steroids.

Likewise, Clark's view of Islam is skewed. There is certainly much violence and conquest and expansionism in Islam's history just as there is the same in the history of Christianity. But Islam isn't about violence or conquest; Islam is about establishing justice. Muhammad not only observed much injustice where he lived, he learned to associate it with polytheism. And despite that, he respected true Christians and Jews as people of the book--should note that he considered Christianity to be polytheistic because of its belief in the Trinity. True Christians and Jews, according to Muhammad, were those who had not sold out to materialism. His concern for justice does not justify the violence he practiced and promoted; but it does show Islam does not revolve around violence.

It was R.C. Sproul who observed that the vast majority of Muslims who live in the Orlando area, where he resides, are peaceful and good neighbors. Perhaps instead of going to religiously conservative Christians who have possible religious and/or political axes to grind with what Islam teaches, we should go to those Muslims who live in peace with us and ask them to interpret Islam.


June 27

To the Imaginative Conservative Blog and its titling a speech given by Senator Ben Sasse the following: The Democrats Sit In: A Violation Of Principled Governance?. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative Blog.

Besides the decontextualization of the historical purpose of the Senate and the opportunistic placing of the founding fathers on pedestals, this speech is neither here nor there. It does assume an authoritarian mantle of the Senate shepherding the people rather than listening to them. However, such was the original purpose of the Senate, to make government less accountable to the people in order to maintain the status quo for the benefit of those with wealth, which included quite a few of our founding fathers. After all, it was during the debate on term of a senator that Madison uttered the following (source for below quote is http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/yates.asp    ):

our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability. Various have been the propositions; but my opinion is, the longer they continue in office, the better will these views be answered.

Finally, we should compare the title of the article with the content of the speech. For Sasse's speech doesn't address the House of Representatives at all. And to apply how the Senate should ideally approach a problem to how the House of Representatives should,  forgets the distinction in purpose and structure of the two legislative branches. In addition, perhaps we should do something against tenets used to construct the Senate by the writers of The Constitution. Perhaps we should listen to the people to see if they think that the House sit in is a violation of principled governance. After all, and again, the self-proclaimed Senator Fix-it does not provide an answer to the question asked by the title of the article.


To Timothy Kleiser and his blogpost that reviews a book on how Christianity should offer a counterculture for the common good. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition blog.

Though my assessment of the article is hampered by my not having read the book it is reviewing, it seems to me that the reason why many people see Christianity as 'irrelevant and extreme,' as claimed by the book being reviewed, is not fully examined by the article. For it isn't just what we have tried to impose on individuals that makes us irrelevant, it is what we have silently been complicit in which accomplishes the same. That Christianity has been furthering of sins that are a natural part of maintaining the status quo.

For a confident pluralism, the Church needs to be more libertarian regarding the personal practices and beliefs of others. At the same time, the Church needs to be front and center in the battle against the marginalization and oppression of groups of people whether they are fellow citizens or not.


To Joe Carter and his blogpost that claims that free markets are necessary for human flourishing. This appeared in the Acton blog.

The above article only shows that logic is more even misunderstood than economics. For what is missing are terms that are well defined so that they can be measured and a domain.

For example, how do we define a 'free market'? And what does human flourishing mean and how is it measured? Do we have human flourishing if there is an average increase in wealth regardless of what else is occurring? If we put Carter's assertion in conjunction with the claim made by Donald J. Boudreaux, then human flourishing is equivalent to economic performance. But here we should realize that economic performance is only one measure of how people are doing. The economic performance of the old South relied greatly on slave labor for example. Is good economic performance aided by a slave-based economy mean that we are flourishing? Or we could also ask if there were any great empires that were built without free markets? And if the answer is none, then what is the relationship between empire and free markets?

References to the old South are pertinent here because the two nations that have seen the greatest number of people be relieved of abject poverty are also the two nations that have the most slaves: India and China. And the number of slaves for each of these nations has either become stagnant or has grown. Thus our growing free markets seem impotent in affecting slavery in comparison to how they have reduced the number of people living in abject poverty. So, do we really have human flourishing during despite how some human stakeholders in the economy are treated?

Furthermore, Carter's assertion that free markets are a necessary condition to human flourishing is nothing more than an assertion. For the way his Venn diagram states the case, he would have to prove that in every historical and present instance where we had human flourishing, we had free markets. Neither he nor the economist he quoted attempted to show this connection with a limited number of examples.

Yes, Carter wants to say that free markets are not enough to increase human flourishing, but he doesn't seem to even know how to prove his basic assertion. Instead, he quotes an expert which only shows Carter's reliance on authoritarianism.


To Joseph Sunde and his blogpost on how McDonald’s can act as Capitalism’s community center. What is neglected is the low wages paid to McDonald’s employees which should challenge how it can become a community center for all. This appeared in the Acton blog.

We should note something else about places like McDonalds, some of the people who work there must apply for government assistance in order to survive. And they must apply for some kind of government assistance because they are not being paid enough by place McDonald's to live without it. Unlike them, those of us who are paid adequately by our employers don't need to apply for government assistance programs. So many of these programs are tied to income.

If you read free marketers, you will see how some of them deny that government assistance programs that help low wage workers are subsidies for corporations like McDonalds. Why do they deny the obvious? They say it is because the end result some government assistance programs is to drive up the pay employees must offer to entice a person to work at a particular job.

The description of these apologists is really a slight of hand. That is because much of welfare is paid based on income and income is based on what employers pay. Those with adequate incomes need to apply for fewer, if any, welfare benefits. Those with less than adequate incomes must apply for assistance. And those who apply for assistance can be divided into two groups: those who work and those who don't. And the fact that there are some who work who must apply for government assistance means that government is picking up the slack that businesses have left otherwise they would have fewer, if any, employees who could afford to invest their time in working for the business. In addition, we might ask these apologists if the increased supply of low wage workers from offshoring has offset wages companies feel they must pay low wage workers in order to entice them to work.

So the distribution of wealth in businesses like McDonald's includes some people being paid less than adequate wages so that others, particularly stockholders, can be paid more money. Then all one has to do is to look at the taxes corporations like McDonald's try to avoid paying to see how public funds are being used to subsidize McDonald's payrolls. For if McDonald's is not paying their fair share in taxes, then McDonald's is getting a free lunch from the government because of their reliance on assistance programs to pay their employees while refusing to adequately contribute to those same programs.

In the end, this article does what many articles that defend Capitalism do. They shine a spotlight on the benefits bestowed on the consumer while they try to make the low wage worker an invisible, if not nonexistent, stakeholder.

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