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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For February 8, 2017

February 1

To Kevin DeYoung, Collin Hansen, and Trevin Wax and their blogpost that plays a recording of their discussion on when we should use the law to legislate Christian morality. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

What I see is missing from the discussion is a good definition of democracy and our place as Christians in society. Democracy has sometimes been reduced to its political mechanisms, which is what I think was done in this discussion. However, the literal definition of democracy is that the people rule. And there are certain egalitarian overtones in that statement so that when a subset of people seize power, even if its by using democratic mechanisms, and rule over all other groups of people, we don't have the people ruling, we have a subset of people ruling and thus we don't have a democracy. Jeff Halper, an Israeli activist and founder of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, has provided this helpful distinction between what is called democracy and what he called an ethnocracy when the subset of people who seize power belong to some kind of ethnic classification in a diverse society (see page 74 of his book An Israeli In Palestine).

Second, when examining our role in society, the question we most often fail to ask is this: How will we Christians share society with others? Will we share society as those who seek to have privileges and thus control over all other groups or will we share society as equals? If we share as the first group, then aren't we flying in the face of both Democracy and Jesus's warning not to 'lord it over' others?

Third, there is a problem with prohibiting same-sex marriage based on natural law and/or the belief that marital law should revolve around supporting what is best for human flourishing. Regarding natural law, we should note that homosexuality exists in 1,500 species and its existence is beneficial to the species. Regarding what is best for human flourishing, should the law only allow what is deemed best or can it allow for all other options that do not violate the rights of or harm others?

Finally, the statements made about how Christianity was not the only frame of reference for prohibiting same-sex marriage was rather shallow. For one thing, the thinking of some Christian churches regarding same-sex relationships and marriage has changed. Also, there have been societies that have allowed same-sex marriage and other same-sex living relationships. In addition, the history of Western Civilization has been up until recently dominated by what would be considered today as conservative forms of Christianity. And that Judaism and Islam also prohibit same-sex marriages does not imply that we don't have freedom of religion issues in prohibiting same-sex marriage.

Yes, laws are there to protect us and that can help change us. But when one group gains control of the government to force its way of life on a diverse society, then laws can become oppressive on various levels to those who do not belong to the group that is in control. And if we Christians are that group, then again what we are doing is flying in the face of both Democracy and Jesus's prohibition not to be like the Gentiles who like to 'lord it over' others. We also unnecessarily provide stumbling blocks to the hearing of the Gospel for many a nonChristian.

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To David Platt and his blogpost on how we should respond to the Refugee Crisis. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

Regarding the exhortation to act justly, does that imply that we should demand that our government cease from all actions that further injustice and cause more and more people to become refugees? After all, we are not living in the Roman Empire that Apostles lived in; we live in a Democracy where we have the right and responsibility to tell our government what to do.

BTW, one more point should be made. Both the Syrians and the Jordanians demonstrated some of the greatest generosity ever seen by how they took in Iraqi refugees who felt they had to flee their nation because of the US invasion. How is it that we who believe in the Gospel and live in the richest nation in the world should  show less generosity and compassion than what the Syrians have already shown others?


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February 2

To Joe Carter and his blogpost interview with Matthew Soerens as they talk about Trump’s Refugee policy. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition.

There are some good points made in this article. However, like immigration policies, there is one missing factor in Trump's latest EO that is a part of our refugee policies. That missing factor are US policies that create refugees. We should remember, or research, that many refugees were created by the US invasion of Iraq. The people of Jordan and Syria, nations that do not have our economic resources, put Americans to shame in how they helped Iraqi refugees during this time.

We should note that most of the nations in the ban are nations that have been attacked by the US--some of them saw the US overthrow their governments. And now, having created or significantly contributed to the refugee problem, we are closing our doors to these refugees to protect ourselves, we display a dangerous, that is dangerous to both ourselves and the world, lack of awareness regarding our actions, especially in how we use our military.

If we want to limit the number of refugees coming into the US, then we must adjust your policies so that we are not creating refugees.


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Feb 3

To Dwight Longenecker and his blogpost that claims that the “left” and media response to Trumps ban is over the top. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

It is true that the more bullets nonconservatives fire at Trump, the more support they instigate for him. Such is the nature of political tribalism in our nation. However, the hysteria about immigration and refugee policies belongs with the Trump Administration and those supporting the ban. To say that a ban on predominantly Muslim countries is not a Muslim ban is premature. To say that the ban targets potential terrorists overlooks details. The only Muslim terrorists who have attacked America on American soil are those who come from nations not included in the ban. In addition, since 1980, around 3 million refugees have been admitted to the US and none of them have conducted any acts of terrorism (see https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-should-christians-think-about-trumps-refugee-policy ). The frenzied rush of support for the ban also ignores the vetting process in terms of who does the vetting and how long the vetting process takes place.


Also, I have not seen religiously conservative Christians or other supporters of Trump propose that we tie foreign policies to immigration and refugee policies. We should note that for the majority of the nations on the ban, they have suffered attacks by the US military and/or been targeted for regime change by our government. The instability caused by these actions is a major reason why we have as many refugees in the world as we have. And it is more than just a cruel joke to both pursue foreign policies that significantly increases the number of refugees while reducing the number of refugees who are allowed to enter our nation.

Finally, why not ban all immigrants and refugees from Israel and allowing exceptions for persecuted religious minorities while insisting that such a ban is not a Jewish ban? Trump's ban is not a Muslim ban? How can we say that such a statement comes from hysteria when part of Trump's campaign included a promise to institute a Muslim ban along with the lack of need for a ban while Trump institutes kind of the ban that he has?Also, Hillary is no leftist; she is a liberal Democrat. As such, she supports capitalism, Leftists are anti-capitalists.


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Feb 7

To Joe Carter and his blogpost on why Christians should support school vouchers. This appeared in the Acton blog.

Here is the problem with supporting school vouchers. Some schools are already underfunded, vouchers will add to that problem. As public schools get less revenue, they will perform more poorly and the system will collapse. And there will be no schools that will be able to take up the slack because for profit charter schools will not have the resources to provide for the demand should public schools collapse.

It seems that the conservative approach to eliminating government programs, such as education, is to under fund them so that they will under perform. In the end, what eliminating federal programs does is to free businesses from having to meet their social responsibilities since businesses, especially successful ones, are the primary benefactors of these programs. It is all done in the name of maximizing profits. The Scriptures refer to that ethic as the love of money. And the Scriptures are quite clear in declaring that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And history is quite clear in pointing out that when the Church sides with wealth, it often sides with tyranny.





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