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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, November 2, 2016

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blocs For November 2, 2016

Oct 28

To Joe Carter and his blogpost that proposes that conservatives could control the Supreme Court through a Democratic administration by having Congress change the size of the Supreme Court. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition.

Considering that the criteria conservatives use to determine whether a judge is an activist judge depends on whether they agree with any judgment made by that judge, this argument of controlling SCOTUS by lowering the number justices is rather petty.

We simply don't understand what is involved in changing the nation from being pro-choice to being pro-life. We don't understand because not enough people are consistently pro-life. Thus, the actual pro-life base is not big enough to establish and win arguments where those arguments are most important: in the street.

When abortion was illegal, its status changed because of the number of ordinary people who still sought abortions. And since our prisons are already overcrowded and the number of doctors to provide healthcare is marginal, changing the law to criminalize abortion at this point in time can bring damaging unwanted consequences as well as could be unproductive to the pro-life cause. And considering the damage that is already caused by pro-life advocates excusing our exploitive economic system, our deadly foreign polices, and our way of life that continues to damage the environment, we need to find ways that bolster pro-life credentials before we depend on changes in the law.

In addition, this proposal of changing the size of the Supreme Court is such a temporary fix that it risks making the size of the Supreme Court a kind of ping pong issue which could constantly be changed with each changing of the guard in Congress.

Any real pro-life victory in our nation must be a comprehensive one, not a piecemeal one. And the biggest obstacle we have to the pro-life cause is not in the courts but in the streets. Thus, this proposal of changing the size of the Supreme Court is really inadequate and lacks vision.


Oct 29

To Joe Carter and his blogpost on how free trade reduces poverty. This appeared in the Acton blog.

It is tiring to keep pointing out that those who support free trade do so by filtering the evidence and the points they make. This is what our "free trade" has brought. The offshoring of jobs where trade is conducted without concern for labor conditions elsewhere and thus it supports the exploitation of workers  and others in other nations (see http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/05/business/worldbusiness/05sweatshop.html) for the sake of business profits. BtW, we should note that rescuing people from abject poverty does not imply that one is rescued from poverty.

We should note that what free trade does is to remove government controls on trade. When a government is a working democracy, then what free trade accomplishes is to remove democratic controls on trade. Finally we should note that many nations have built their own industries using protectionists measures. We might ask here whether free trade prevents nations from building their own industries and thus ensures a caste system for nations that embrace free trade.


Oct 30

To Joe Carter and his blogpost about why some do not trust authority. This appeared in the Acton blog.

It seems to me that the fear of authority is not highly tied to the personal feeling of being judged, but it is caused by the abuse of power those with authority sometimes execute. This is especially true when it comes to the police. From the news stories I've seen, some groups of people are reluctant to call the police in an emergency because doing so before has led to the deaths of innocent people. For others, the police have meant the arrest of innocent friends and family members while for others it has led to racial profiling.

What is surprising is that race plays a role in many areas regarding how authority is perceived, but there is no mention of race as being a possible contributing factor for how authority is received.

In the meantime, perhaps the purpose of this article can best be described by the following quote from the report The Crisis Of Democracy:

In the past, those institutions which have played the major role in the indoctrination of the young in their rights and obligations as members of society have been the family, the church, the school, and the army.


This comment is currently awaiting moderation. This blogpost will be updated once the results of that moderation are known to this blog.

Update--though being listed as being posted Oct 31, the comment below was not posted until sometime later after November 2.

Oct 31

To Trevin Wax and his blogpost about 3 truths we need to remember when voting. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

If only the 3 truths mentioned above were more evident in practice than just in theory. What we have seen, at least through my lifetime and I was born when Eisenhower was President, is that the Church, at least the conservative American Church, is yes political, but is not one that speaks truth to power nor is it on the front lines helping the vulnerable. Rather, the following description from the report The Crisis Of Democracy best describes the conservative American Church that both I have grown up in and still live.

In most of the Trilateral countries in the past decade there has been a decline in the confidence and trust which the people have in government, in their leaders, and, less clearly but most importantly, in each other. Authority has been challenged not only in government, but in trade unions, business enterprises, schools and universities, professional associations, churches, and civic groups. In the past, those institutions which have played the major role in the indoctrination of the young in their rights and obligations as members of society have been the family, the church, the school, and the army. The effectiveness of all these institutions as a means of socialization has declined severely.

Please note that these comments were made after what the report called the 'excess of democracy' from the 1960s. And we should note the some of the civilizing effects of that excess of democracy included the beginning of racial justice, equality, and reconciliation as well as examination of US foreign policies and wars.

Where was the conservative Church during Martin Luther King's protests against racism, economic exploitation, and the Vietnam War? In fact, where was it during the 1970s? We know where it was during the 1980s; it was supporting Ronald Reagan whose administration supported contra terrorists in Nicaragua and the military and paramilitaries of El Salvador where a war against priest advocating liberation theology was being conducted.  In addition, the fruit of Reagan's anti-union/pro-business stand can be seen in the still ever increasing wealth disparity we see in America today.

And where has the conservative Church been regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the sanction years on Iraq hundreds of thousands of children died or Bush's invasion of Iraq? Where is the conservative Church standing regarding police accountability and Black Lives Matter? Where is the conservative American Church standing regarding environmental issues and is it defending the Standing Rock Sioux in their protest against the DAPL? Has the conservative American Church said anything about neoliberal capitalism or is it blindly supporting free markets and free trade without considering how those approaches affect all of Capitalism's stakeholders?

And where has the conservative American Church stood in protecting the equality of those from the LGBT community?

The three truths mentioned above, from what I've seen, are more present in theory than in practice.

BTW, there should be at least one point of correction. At Occupy Wall Street, we practiced a form of anarchism to a certain degree. But that does not even suggest that we had no order. The idea behind anarchism is not that there is no order, the idea is that because all are counted as leaders, there is no single leader or group of leaders. In other words, with anarchism, leadership and power are distributed as widely as possible rather than consolidating it as is practiced in other systems. This is not to say that anarchism is always the best form of self-governing. It is to say that we should represent it accurately. What I saw in Occupy's implementation of anarchism were rules and order that everyone could consent to.


To Rosaria Butterfield and her blogpost response to Jen Hatmaker about how homosexual relationships are unbiblical and thus sin in contras to Hatmaker's view. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

If I understand the article correctly, in terms of sexual ethics, we must promote and even push for laws that enforce Biblical sexual ethics for nonChristians in society. However, we don't do that for unbliblical heterosexual marriages. And we don't legally prohibit nonChristians from worshiping idols and false gods? So why should we support and even push for laws that prohibit same-sex marriages?

Could it be that our intolerance for same-sex marriage (SSM) in society is just one way by which we are failing to love those in the LGBT community? After all, supporting SSM doesn't prohibit one from seeing it as sin, nor does it prohibit one from sharing what the Bible says about SSM. But legally prohibiting SSM does not recognize the equality of those from the LGBT community with us in society. What is it that Paul says in I Corinthians 5:12-13?

We need to see the differences that exist between being a person in good standing in society from being a person in good standing in the Church. When we confuse those two standards, we make society a supplemental disciplinary arm of the Church just as Martin Luther tried to do when he wanted German society and princes to punish the Jews for their unbelief. How is it that we can love our LGBT neighbor while wanting society to punish and marginalize them for their sexual orientation and identity? Yes, sex outside of a monogamous heterosexual relationship is sin. But does that imply that society must punish that behavior? If so, what other unbiblical behaviors must society punish? Should we eliminate freedom of religion from The Constitution?


To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote of Rosaria Butterfield who called Jen Hatmaker’s words justifying homosexuality a ‘well-meant millstone’. This appeared in Heidelblog.

Is there more than one well-meant millstone here? For example, were laws that prohibited SSM and the current lack of legal protection for those in the LGBT community at work which exists in the majority of our states millstones to people like Jen so that the only choice they see is to either justify what is clearly sin or to continue marginalizing those in the LGBT community?

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