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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, October 5, 2016

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For Oct 5, 2016

Sept 30

To Joe Carter and his blogpost on the tradeoffs of the TPP. This appeared in the Acton blog.

It is unfortunate when Christians allow ideology to interfere with the objective reporting of information. IMO, this might explain Carter did in the article above. Whereas Carter lists the main objections to the TPP to be that of the loss of American jobs and currency manipulation, other objections include the right of multinational corporations to sue governments for loss profits over regulations such as those that raise the minimum wage or protect the environment (see http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/joseph-stiglitz-tpp-1.3515452 ). And when such a corporation sues a government, the case is heard in a tribunal established by the TPP (see https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/kill-the-dispute-settlement-language-in-the-trans-pacific-partnership/2015/02/25/ec7705a2-bd1e-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html?utm_term=.3686f85040de ). That means that the validity of some of our laws will be determined by an outside tribunal rather than by a court whose purpose is to uphold The Constitution. This gives multinational corporations an increased measure of control over any member nation while weakening the national sovereignty of those nations. In addition, another concern Stiglitz voices is that the 6,000 page deal was written in secret.

As for this trade deal spreading employment to those nations where people need jobs. We should note that a lot of the previous offshoring of American jobs performed the same task but was done not with the welfare of the employees of those other nations in mind. It has often been done to increase profits by exploiting workers as they are sometimes underpaid, overworked, and forced to work in unsafe conditions. And when these facts are found, governments are not allowed to sue the same multinational corporations that the TPP empowers to sue the participating governments.

So the question becomes this: Why didn't Carter report these other objections to the TPP seeing that they are made by prominent people? My guess is that 'economic freedom' for Carter has become code for private sector elite privilege over those from their own  and other nations. At least that is a possible explanation for Carter failing to mention those other major objections.


Oct 1

To Joe Carter and his blogpost that claims that the Protestant faith allows for the most economic freedom. This appeared in the Acton blog.

Don't we have the cart before the horse here? Why are we using economic freedom to validate the Christian faith? Such implies that economic freedom stands over the Christian faith as a judge. In addition, how is it that the Protestant ethic requires the same economic freedom of which Carter is speaking? That kind of economic freedom is most likely the product of 19th and 20th century thinking. I am assuming that the main teachers of the kind of economic freedom Carter supports are Hayek and Friedman, neither of whom were protestant. Hayek, for example was raised a Roman Catholic but claimed that he was an agnostic. Friedman pretty much rejected religion. The Protestant ethic precedes both of them by at least a few centuries--that is unless one asserts that the Protestant ethic is scripturally sound.

But what could be said about Carter using the Christian faith to validate a favorite ideology is a serious flaw for all of us. That is because we all have our own pet ideologies and we would like to believe that our pet ideologies are superior to all other ideologies. And, at least, most of us have, from time to time, done what Carter is doing here: that is placing a favorite ideology above the Scriptures. So if we were to rebuke him, we need to acknowledge that our rebuke also applies to ourselves.


To Abel Upshur and his blogpost about how because the federal government is “the creature of the States,” the federal government’s power should be limited by the states that created it, not The Constitution. This appears in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

I don't know how we can seriously read about The Constitution and the change in the government which it produced without first mentioning the context in which The Constitution was written. To say that our federal government is a creature of the states forgets that it wasn't any official meeting of the states through their representatives that produced the document even though a vast majority of the signers of The Constitution were or had served in the Continental Congress (see http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_founding_fathers_overview.html  ). Thus, some of the signers of The Constitution were private citizens at the time of the signing. The actual role of the states in the creation of the government specified by The Constitution was to accept or reject the document and thus the kind of government it created.

However, what created the federal government consisted of a combination of those who participated in the debates, discussions, and the writing of The Constitution and the historical events that moved these men to write the document. And the events that so moved these men consisted of dissent and Shays Rebellion.

As for the states, we might want to note the following line from Federalist 10 that says:

Hence, it clearly appears, that the same advantage which a republic has over a democracy, in controlling the effects of faction, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic, is enjoyed by the Union over the States composing it.

Thus, if one prefers a republic to the kind of democracy which was the scorn of many of the signers of The Constitution, then one must give significant precedence to the union over the states and thus to the federal government over the state governments.

BTW, we might want to note some of the proposals that the writers of The Constitution tried to block:

A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property
In essence, the government created by The Constitution was meant to prevent sought after changes in the status quo by giving the power required by the federal government to prevent those changes . And that should not surprise us because most of those who participated in the creation of The Constitution were elites from the public and private sectors.


To Bruce Ashford and his blogpost on what principles we should have to be a Christian witness in a changing America. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website

How many of these the-sky-is-falling," politically apocalyptic post Obergefell articles must we Christians endure? As in all fear-mongering communiques, the intent is to increase our tribal instincts in order to protect ourselves from others. But what people don't understand about tribalism is that its basic ethic is to define what is right and wrong by who does what to whom. Such makes us blind to our own faults.

Let's start with the beginning of the article. Ashford writes the following:

The past decade has made one thing clear to many evangelicals: the social, cultural, and political ground is shifting beneath them. We’re not “winning the day” with our vision of the good life. Although we’ve seen incremental progress on the pro-life issue, we’re experiencing consistent regression on other important issues, such as religious liberty, human dignity, gender and sexuality, and free speech. And many of us have given little attention to opposing racial injustice.
As we’re marginalized in this uncertain day, the Old Testament offers important lessons for us.

If we work backwards, we see that now we are being marginalized and then there is the concern for our past apathy to racial injustice. Do we see the unflattering association there? When we weren't marginalized, we were apathetic to racial injustice just as some are today. But beyond that, there is also another unfortunate pairing: religious liberty is associated with gender and sexuality and free speech. Well, who was marginalized before gender, meaning gender identity, sexuality, meaning sexual orientation, and free speech? See, the truth is hidden by obscurity. Religious liberty has recently come to mean the right of religiously conservative Christians to discriminate against the LGBT community in response to the Obergefell decision. Might we ask who was being marginalized when we were winning the day on that issue? Was it not homosexuals with some of them seeing the need to live their orientations underground? And so we fought against their rights and equality tooth-and-nail with the belief that our society is not big enough to recognize their rights along with ours. And so we targeted them for marginalization.

Now of course the article talks about much more than the-sky-is-falling apocalyptic scene.  And basically, it calls us to isolate ourselves from our neighbors. For when it calls almost every political ideology available to the American public an idol, it calls on us to withdraw from them. In reality, these ideologies either never have been idols or do not have to be treated as idols. That is because it is the individual who makes these ideologies into idols, not the ideologies themselves. It is only when we embrace ideological tribalism that we make these ideologies into false gods. Thus, we don't have to avoid them, we just have to keep them in perspective.

One of the most important questions we Christians must ask ourselves when it comes to our political involvement in the world is this: How are we to share society with others? Are we to share society in ways that give us a superior place so we can impose our religious values on others? Or, are we to share society with others as equals so that we work together to ensure that all of us have an equal place in society? It seems that the former option is more inviting to religiously conservative Christians even though Jesus warns us against "lording it over" others.

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