My Other Blog
Blog Schedule
Past Blog Posts
Various &
a Sundry Blogs
My Stuff
On The Web
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, December 14, 2016

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For December 14, 2016

Dec 6

To R. Scott Clark and his short blogpost quote from Todd Pruitt who dismissed concerns over the tone used when Christians argue over the Trinity. This appeared in Heidelblog.

But the concern over tone succeeds in one area: concern over Christians bearing the fruit of the Spirit. We should note that the alternative to bearing the fruit of the Spirit is to produce the works of the flesh. And a question about our past is whether we will be passive authoritarians when reviewing how the first reformers fought over doctrine or will we be willing to objectively look and criticize not that they fought, but how they fought?


Dec 8

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost that contained a short video clip of an Admiral comparing the troops they were honoring on Pearl Harbor Day with Colin Kaepernick’s taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. This appeared in Heidelblog.

I am sure that what the Admiral said struck a deep emotional chord in conservative authoritarian types. What the Admiral failed to add is that none of the service men and women they were honoring publicly criticized the President either. Does that mean that we civilians should not publicly criticize our President?

What I believe many conservatives are really afraid of doing is to admit that the country and flag they love so dearly has not meant the same to all people of color as it has to them. Our country and flag has certainly not meant the same to many Native Americans as has to those conservatives. Neither has our nation and flag meant the same to all Blacks as it has to those conservatives. But since the Admiral is noting the difference between the service men and women he was honoring and Colin Kaepernick, we should note a similarity between the two. Just as it took courage to stand and fight against the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago, it took courage for Kaepernick to take a stand by taking a knee for the sake of those Blacks who still suffer significantly from the racism that continues to plague our nation. It would be much easier, and thus not require any courage, for Kaepernick to hide his convictions by conforming and standing for the national anthem. But he didn't and just like staying and fighting left our troops at Pearl Harbor vulnerable to the Japanese attack, so did Kaepernick's taking a knee left himself vulnerable to public scorn. And he continues to do that.

And we should note that when we are required to stand and salute the flag in some way, shape, or form at the playing of the national anthem or face scorn, then we are participating in a religious ceremony. The religion is patriotism and the god is our collective selves. And we should remember that authoritarian types are sensitive and become aggressive toward those who do not worship the same gods they do. Rather than pray in a closet, they prefer to wear their religion on their sleeves. But, and Christians should know this best, patriotism is a false religion. And we have often practiced or condoned some of the greatest injustices in history in the name of patriotism. We should also note that patriotism makes polytheists out of Christians--that is if consumerism hasn't done that already.

Dec 10

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quoting of Carl Trueman who stated that those who are followers of the Reformation should imitate the polemic style of the Reformers. This appeared in Heidelblog.

We should note something else about the Reformers if we wish to be their real followers. They were anti-Semites some of who worked so that the Jews would be punished by society for their unbelief. In addition, some sought to persecute and sometimes even kill Anabaptists. Witches and heretics were persecuted, prosecuted and executed as were adulterers. Should we pass laws that punish people for failing to attend church on Sundays?

When we strive to employ 'powerfully worded polemics,' as the Reformers did, are we bearing the fruit of the Spirit or are we seeking to embrace the same kind of authoritarian personality types that some of the Reformers had/suffered from? Is this seeking to emulate the Reformers in how they conducted polemics merely an attempt to rationalize the undoing of the shackles of self-restraint and conscience? And if so, are we asking if we should thus become Christianized versions of Donald Trump when he throws caution to the wind when answering his opponents?

So if we wish to be followers of the Reformation, should we seek to emulate how the Reformers treated people including what was listed above, or should we examine their actions, including the way they engaged in polemics, and use the Scriptures to judge them? Do all of the actions of the Reformers become canon law for us and thus equate what they did with what is taught in the Scriptures or are the Scriptures the only canon we use so that we would just both the Reformers and ourselves?

Remember that how we treat fellow believers is how we treat those for whom Christ died. We should also note how the Pharisees treated people in Jesus' day and compare that with how the Reformers treated people lest we replicate the sins of the Reformers--that is if they committed sins. 


To Mark Tooley and his blogpost that calls Evangelicals to develop a ‘public theology’ in the face of 2016 Presidential campaign. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition.

There are many good observations here regarding what appealed to the different groups. And the warning against political hubris is always important. But why must we Christians be forever aligned with the Republican Party? Yes, we need a public theology. But why assume that the Republican Party is seeking the common good when it surpasses the Democratic Party in serving the avarice and ambitions of those with wealth and power?


Dec 11

To Pat Buchanan and his blogpost on what the Trump election ushers in. He particularly focuses on the rejection of what science says about climate change and a new embracing of national identity the revolves around preserving wealth and demographics. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative.

The most telling part of Buchanan's article here says:

Their worry is not that the rising waters of the Med will swamp the Riviera, but that tens of millions of Arabs, Muslims and Africans may be coming across to swamp Europe, and that millions of Mexicans may cross the Rio Grande to swamp the USA.

Call them climate deniers or climate skeptics, but they see the establishment as running the Big Con to effect a transfer of wealth and power away from the people—and to themselves. Across the West, establishments have lost credibility. The proliferation of minority parties, tearing off pieces of the traditional ruling parties, points to a growing distrust in ruling regimes and a return to identifying with the nation and tribe whence one came.

A concomitant of this is a growing disbelief in egalitarianism and in the equality of all races, creeds, nations, cultures and peoples. The Supreme Court may say all religions are equal and all must be treated equally. But do Americans believe Christianity and Islam are equal? How could they, when Christians claim their faith has as its founder the Son of God and God himself?

We should list the areas of concern and disinterest. The areas of concern include a mass influx of people of color and the loss of wealth by those who live in the richest nations in the world. What is of disinterest is the scientific view of climate change, the evidence of which is more than adequate for over 95% of the world's scientists and its effects can be seen by untrained observers. So Buchanan complains that the conservatives who don't want to lose their wealth or see a significant change in the racial demographics of the nation but will ignore the warnings of science on climate change are not counted as intellectuals? In addition, what follows these concerns and loss of interest is a rejection of the equality of the races as well as creeds, nations, and cultures.

Before commenting, let's make one correction here. Americans never believed in the equality of nations. Whether they be liberals or conservatives, American political leaders, as well as vast majority of the people, believe in American Exceptionalism. Manifest destiny was built on American Exceptionalism and American Exceptionalism back then was an exercise in violent racism. And our politicians, whether liberal or conservative, have always put America first. They have just done so from different perspectives.
What causes despair here is that what follows the kind of concern for controlling wealth and who lives in our neighborhood as well as the rejection of what science says on climate change are not expressed as lamentations and with the blues. If we time warp Buchanan some 50 to 100 years in the future, would we see him showing no dismay at European immigration into the US while grieving over the immigration of people of color of other nations while he shows no concern for America's indigenous people? At this point, has Buchanan lost what the Scriptures teach about the love of wealth and how in Christ there is no Greek or Jew and that all people are made in the image of God? Doesn't Buchanan see that comes with this growing tribalism is an ever growing passionate embrace of moral relativity? And all of this is to be accepted in order for him to cling ever more tightly to what is needed to preserve his idea of America. And if Pat was to make a movie on the above narrative, he would call it Liberalism Must Die.


Dec 12

To K.A. Ellis and her blogpost about the need for Christians to transcend the loyalty they have to the groups they belong to in order to be fair in judging others and consistent in promoting causes and values. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

It would be beneficial to understand what we are being called to transcend here. It is called tribalism. It occurs on a continuum as our loyalty to any group increases. The more that loyalty increases, the more it takes precedence over our commitment to absolute moral values and principles. The end result is that we gradually embrace a moral relativity that says what is right and wrong depends on who does what to whom.

We should also consider whether we are being asked to transcend authoritarianism because tribalism employs a kind of authoritarianism. Tribalism involves group authoritarianism where disagreeing with or even criticizing a group bring the same results as disagreeing with or criticizing a hero or authority figure. Here black-white thinking is involved because any disagreement or criticism is seen as total rejection or an aggressive attack on that person and all of that person's ideas. Thus, a call to transcendence includes a call to use nuance.

If we can see how we must transcend tribalism and authoritarianism, then some of the brilliant lines written by Ellis will make more sense. My favorite line is:

In other words, the seemingly opposed parties of “family values” and “social justice” tend to apply concern only to their defining issues. One would expect the same conservative Christians concerned over the global rise of Marxist views and methods to also speak up against the global rise of Alt-Right extremism, considering the similar historical record of both ideologies. One would expect progressive Christian voices to do the same in reverse.

And though that is my favorite part of the article, I should note that it is a bit unfair to Marxist views since Marxism is far from being a monolith. I say that as someone who has is a Marxist but disagrees with some of what both Marx and some of his followers say. And that makes me wonder if there are any who feel an affinity to the Alt-Right who could say something similar about their group and themselves. For here we should note that the use of labels encourages the use of Black-White thinking.


Dec 13

To Kyle Hanby and his blogpost that criticizes the tax breaks that Carrier is receiving to keep jobs in America as cronyism. This appeared in the Acton blog.

There are bigger problem with the Carrier deal than it fitting someone's definition of crony capitalism. Those problems have to do with business's social responsibilities and, in particular, the tax burden. The less businesses pay in taxes, the more the tax burden is shifted to private citizens especially the workers. And the problem here is that those who benefit most from tax funded services are the owners because they are the ones who profit the most from their business. But in reducing what they must taxes, we are either increasing deficits and/or making those who have less in financial resources pay for goods and services that help owners profit from their business.
What is missed in automatically calling subsidies and tax breaks 'cronyism' is determining whether there is favoritism. The above use of the term 'cronyism' is from a "free" enterprise perspective just as much as from Sanders' position, the deal with Carrier is not saving enough jobs or from Ryan's position that it is good to save those jobs. Free Enterprise means freedom from government control and some include with freedom from taxes. But that free enterprise, when compelled under the threat that companies will move their business operations, is free for the enterprise but forced on the public. Such is a form of extortion. And this is the problem with the analysis above. Just as the shifting burden is not included in analyzing the Carrier deal, looking at the effects on the general public of reducing or eliminating business's social responsibilities and public accountability that come through government controls including taxes is not included when talking about free enterprise.

Are there times when subsidies and tax breaks are not instances of cronyism? If such measures primarily serve the general public rather than the private good of selected individuals, yes. What is missed above is the necessity of favoritism in any subsidies or tax breaks that are implemented. In fact, without sufficient government controls over wages, the free enterprise aspect of inadequate minimum wage requirements necessitates the use of tax funded payroll subsidies through government assistance programs. And when this is employed primarily for the private good of owners, we have free enterprise and cronyism working hand-in-hand.

No comments: