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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, February 22, 2017

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For February 22, 2017

Feb 18

To Joseph Pearce and his blogpost on what is Capitalism. Pearce distinguishes the forms of Capiatlism by the percentage of people who share the greatest amount of wealth. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative Blog.

We can say that Capitalism has more than one meaning, which is true, or we can say that Capitalism has more than one form. For example the kind of Capitalism the preceded today's Neoliberalism was the Bretton-Woods system. However, unlike the above article that categorized Capitalism by the rate of owners/entrepreneurs who exist in an economy, the difference between the Bretton-Woods Sytems and today's neoliberalism rests in the relationship that owners, especially elite ones, have with the government. And before we go on, we should note that the kind of relationships between owners/entrepeneurs and the government is further complicated by whether a given government is succeeding as a working democracy or whether there is openly or secretly elite-centered rule over the people. 

If we assume that a given government is succeeding as a working democracy, then the degree of control that government can exercise over business owners allows the people, through their government, to set rules and limits on how owners can interact with the rest of society. At this point, because the Bretton-Woods System allowed for greater government control while Neoliberalism tries to eliminate as much government control as it can get away with, the degree of control that the people of a given society have over owners, primarily those with wealth, is greater under the Bretton-Woods System and much worse under Neoliberalism. And it seems that if we want to escape the problems, if not horrors, of elite-centered rule, we would not only be concerned with how much control the government can exercise over business, we would possess just as much care over whether our government is a working democracy.


To Clyde Wilson and his blogpost on populism and state power. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blogpost. 

Sometimes, how we defines words depends on  the ideologies that we wish to either canonize or demonize. To a large extent, this is what has occurred in this writer's definition of populism. Populism starts of with being the 'people's party' and finishes, in its American form, with the people's opposition to state power, a power that is assumed to be corrupt and evil. So American Populism vs State control is simply an instantiation of the age old battle between good and evil. And we should note here that all successive references to populism will be to American populism.

But not only do we have that description, we see that populism and progressivism oppose each other, they share the trait of being confined to regions and ideas. For example, according to the writer, populists lean toward conservatism as it exists in parts of the South and West. Progressivism, which is more located in the North and East, involves urban professionals, and is associated with planning and wealth all of which creates a liberal establishment. In addition, we see that minorities are not included among populists so that, according to the writer of this article, only the 'core people' could be considered to be populists. Thus, by definition, minorities could never be counted as populists. And thus, what we see is a definition of populism is one that includes the majority of the right kind of people--White people--from the right part of our nation and who hold to conservative values and demonized the government.

Because of the assumptions made about both populism and its adversaries such as progressives and elite-centered rule as exercised by the state, evaluating and assessing the value of  populists, progressives and the state becomes unnecessary. For, by definition, American populism has been predefined as being good and its adversaries can be prejudged as being evil without even having to glance at their decisions and performances. In addition, we should note that membership requirements for belonging to the populists include ideological criteria, geographical criteria, and racial criteria. So by now, what the writer wishes to say in praise of populism should have raises plenty of red flags for the rest of us who belong to what could be called the 'excluded majority' of the American people. How ironic.


Feb 20

To Joseph Sunde and his blogpost about how Trump's SCOTUS pick advances religious liberty. In that article, Sunde cites Jay Richards in saying that religious and economic are "mutually reinforcing and indivisible.' This appeared in the Acton blog.

To state that religious and economic liberties are indivisible not only confuses religion with economics, it does contradict a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.:
I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
When insisting that religious and economic liberties are indivisible, unless one is declaring that mammon is one's god, one forgets the degree to which how the practice of one's own religion affects others from that of one's own business. For though one conducts business to make a profit, conducting business is significantly outward-oriented in terms of how businesses impact different communities, other businesses, the economic system itself, and the environment as well as how a business treats its workers. In contrast to that, religion is much more inwardly directed in terms of personal piety and beliefs. We should also note that before the Obergefell decision, religiously conservative Christians used the law to limit the religious liberties of those from the LGBT community by prohibiting same-sex marriage. And now many of these same conservative Christians want laws that allow them to discriminate in varying degrees in the business world against the LGBT community much like Blacks were discriminated against during Jim Crow. In fact, if one wants to put religious and economic liberties on equal footing, it would follow that one would continue to support Jim Crow laws should they be supported by the majority of the people. It seems that when religiously conservative Christian sites are talking about religious liberties, they are really talking about religious privilege for their own group since they seem not to regard other religions as deserving equal status in society with their own. Finally, it isn't that there should be no economic freedom. It is that when government represents the people, economic freedom is rightfully subject to more restrictions than religious freedom because of how more outwardly directed practicing business is. And even when practicing relgion becomes outwardly directed, then relgious freedom is or should be restricted according to how it infringes on the freedoms of others.


I fully agree that we should be concerned about the normalization of pedophilia. We should certainly oppose its normalization with everything we have in us. But just because scientists may have observed certain physiological characteristics as appearing in pedophiles, doesn't mean that we are on the road to its normalization. And those who would use pedophilia to attack homosexuality are the ones who are minimizing the immorality of pedophilia.

To bring homosexuality into this picture as precursor in terms of what to expect indicates a hatred of homosexuals. Why would I say this? It is because if we were to return to yesteryear, not only would we call homosexuality sin, which I have no objection to, we would have society punish homosexuals by marginalizing and even incarcerating them. We should realize here that to not believe in Christ is also sin and yet we don't call on society to punish those from other religions--that is we don't despite Martin Luther's treatment of the Jews.

And when we compare heterosexual relationships with homosexual relationships among consenting adults and regardless of whether they occur in marriage, we find that homosexual relationships are very similar to heterosexual relationships whereas they are not similar at all to what we see in pedophilia. In fact, homosexual and heterosexual relationships between consenting adults are very similar except for the fact that same-sex marriage could never be justified in the Scriptures. 

So now, not only do those who use the acceptance of homosexuality in society as a precursor for the normalization of pedophilia show a hatred for homosexuals by wanting society to marginalize and incarcerate homosexuals despite, or perhaps in order to cover up, how similar they are to us heterosexuals, they put homosexuality on the same moral level as a seriously criminal and abusive set of behaviors toward children. This shows nothing more than a desire to, as they say in football after players continue to hit the ball carrier after the whistle has blown the play dead, pile on or commit unnecessary roughness. And the logic employed above assumes that the X above can be represented by both homosexuality and pedophilia. And that is where the logic employed is flawed. But it is more than just flawed, it is as hateful as it is self-righteous.

Feb 21

To Joe Carter and his blogpost asking if Trump will defend religious freedom against the plans of the LGBT community. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

In articles like the one above, the all important question is whose religious liberties are being protected? Is it just the religious liberties of religuosly conservative Christians or does it include the religious liberties of others such as those who believe that sex outside of marriage is acceptable or that same-sex marriage is acceptable. For if we are not defending the religious liberties of all, then we are defending the religious privileges of some.
In addition, we need to ask if defending the religious liberties of religiously conservative Christians come at the cost of the rights of others. We should note that the arguments that defend the right of Christian business owners to refuse to serve same-sex couples or same-sex weddings have much in common with the arguments that defended Jim Crow practices and laws. For some who defended Jim Crow laws and practices did so based on individual liberty and their religious beliefs. So if the government was right in dismantling Jim Crow, why is it wrong in preventing businesses from refusing to serve same-sex couples and same-sex weddings? Is it because since sexual practices are a choice and race isn't that discrimination against same-sex couples is different? Do we hear not only how punitive and self-righteous that reasoning is, but how racist it is as well? For what it says about same-sex couples is that society has the right, if not the obligation, to punish them because their sexual choices are not Christian. And what it also says is that society doesn't have the right to punish Blacks for their race because one's skin color is not one's fault. What all of this says is that we good Christians reserve the right to punish those who deliberately choose to be different from us.

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