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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

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Some Christians Are Already On A Fooll's Mission

William Donohue (click here for a bio), who is an old-school Catholic religious activist and President of the Catholic League, has just written an article in reaction to a poll that shows that in a number of nations, more people see religion as being more of a threat than a resource. This is particularly true in European nations. There are some exceptions to that view however,  The people of Japan disagreed with perception despite the fact that Japan is not a strongly religious country (click here for the article).

One of the countries that has one of the highest rates of disapproval of religion was Belgium. And one of Donohue's responses to their poll numbers was to examine the moral state of the nation. Some of the criteria used by Donohue include the following: out-of-wedlock birthrate, rate of people who join Islamic terrorists, and the rate of assisted suicide with the claim that those with mental illnesses or autism are 'routinely' killed. BTW, when reviewing the stories on assisted suicide in Belgium, I didn't see confirmation of that last claim.  I did see it stated that a certain suffering from mental illness could qualify one to successfully apply for assisted suicide. And interesting enough was a story about how some people from other nations go to Belgium in order to undergo assisted suicide.

Before examining Belgium, Donohue listed a number of traits that are less pronounced in the religious than the non-religious. They include:

  • depression
  • suicide
  • juvenile delinquency
  • crime
  • STDs 
Donohue goes on to claim that Jude-Christian values are essential to the 'personal and social well-being in Western nations. And thus he attempts to discredit the poll numbers. In addition, he goes on to say that if one gives up on Christianity, one must surrender a morality that is necessary for a well-functioning society.

Though Donohue might have some valid individual points to make, his old-school authoritarianism has blinded him to why a growing number in the West see religions as posing more of a threat to society than a service to it. In other words, there is a morality that has been missing in Christianity. Europe's religious wars might have clued Dononhue in on the fact that the filter he used in measuring a nation's moral state was too small. In addition, Western Imperialism, which flourished while both America and Europe were still considered to be predominantly Christian nations, seems to contradict Donohue's perceived cause and effect relationship between Christianity and morality. And none of that includes America's persecution of people of color whether its victims consisted of Native Americans,  Blacks, or people of color from other nations most of which occurred while America could be considered a Christian nation. What was also left behind was  Conservative Christianity's support for the exploitive economic system called Capitalism.



In other words, while focusing solely on pet individual sins that religiously conservative Christians love to target, Donohue appears to be able to make a point. But once we get into the realm of Western Civilization's history with committing what has been called 'corporate sins,'  we see that morality does not always follow Christianity just as Israel's treatment of the Palestinians shows that morality does not always follow Judaism. And it is corporate sins that probably has nations like Belgium perceiving Christianity as being more of a threat than a resource.









Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For October 18, 2017

Oct 17

To John Gallagher and his blogpost that commends President Trump for withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative Blog.

The logic and facts used by Gallagher in the above article are deeply flawed. For one thing, criticisms of the Paris Climate Agreement from environmentalists is because the agreement is inadequate, not invasive.  And it seems that the Trump Administration's objections to the agreement has nothing to do with forging our nation's own path in protecting the environment. For his administration is cutting the clean air and water standards set by the Obama Administration. Rather, the actions of his administration revolve around cutting social responsibilities for corporations so that they can increase short-term profits and ROIs for investors instead of spending money on protecting the environment.

Gallagher's use of the failure of the Kellogg-Briand Pact as an argument for rejecting the Paris Climate Agreement is logically flawed. How is that we  can develop a precedent for refusing to participate in all international agreements based on a failed agreement from the 1920s?

And celebrating Trump's withdraw from the agreement because it is an exercise in national sovereignty when the issue is the environmental health of the world is like celebrating the decision of a person who drives their car without any regard for traffic laws as an exercise in personal freedom.

Some controls that government puts on us citizens are valid and are for the protection and welfare of others. The same applies to some international agreements that can serve to protect other nations and promote their welfare.

Whether its Gallagher's thinking that one failed international agreement implies that we must reject all international agreements or  his warning that progressives are looking to control our future implying that we must reject all progressive proposals and ideas exhibit all-or-nothing thinking patterns that reject the notion that we examine proposals and agreements on a case-by-case basis. Such thinking is not psychologically healthy for it is overly simplistic and fails to recognize the complexities of the world around us.

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To Joe Carter and his blogpost that celebrates the reduction in the number of people who living in extreme poverty across in the world. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition blog.

The logic behind Carter's article is flawed? Why? Because the eradication of extreme poverty is based on the measuring of a single variable based on a single standard without regard for understanding any of the dynamics involved. So assume that extreme poverty has diminished, what grounds, given in the article, do we have for concluding that such a reduction will continue or mean anything?

We should note the price China has had to pay for the reduction of extreme poverty in their nation. Not only do you have many people in China working in sweatshop labor conditions, we have seen a monumental increase in the pollution of the environment there. In addition, how many people in China actually escape extreme poverty just because they are living on $1.90 or more per day? Does living on $1.90 per day in major city in China mean that one is not living in extreme poverty? And what should we say about China's political/economic system, which is far different from the political/economic system in Western nations simply because fewer people in China are living on less than $1.90 per day?

We might also ask who suffered in order for China to reduce the number of people? Are there more people living in poverty, though not extreme poverty as measured by the less than $1.90 per day standard elsewhere because they lost their jobs to Chinese workers?

And when talking about India, we might want to consider that the number of people who are forced into slave labor has significantly increased in the recent past. So do slaves makeup some of those who are now living on $1.90 or more per day? If so, how the reduction in number of those who live on $1.90 per day significant?

How much is there to really celebrate here?

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To Caroline Roberts and her blogpost that cites a Samuel Gregg article on the relationship between intellectuals and the free economy. This appeared in the Acton blog.

Link to cited article:
http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2017/10/20255/

There are at least a couple of Gregg's ideas that need to be challenged. First, that there is more than one role government can play with regard to the economy. Yes, government can see itself as a manager of the economy. And in order to justify such a position, government can claim to be a vanguard for the interests of the people. But that claim to having a vanguard role, as seen with Lenin's hijacking of the Russian Revolution, can be more of a rationalization rather than a justification for exercising control in the nation's economy.

On the other hand, government can act as the representative of the people to those in business telling them how they can act in society. Whether government acts this way depends on the integrity of its elected representatives and/or a structure of  government where people are represented by both vocation. We should note that before Lenin hijacked the Russian Revolution, the creation of soviets was providing for the Russian government the capability to allow for the representation of people based on vocation provided that one's vocation was practiced by the proletariat. That kind of capability was rejected by both the Tsars and Lenin. That rejection exercised by Lenin triggered  Rosa Luxemburg's charge that Lenin had instituted a bourgeois dictatorship rather than a Marxist regime. We should note that in America, we are doubly represented by location with no representation by vocation for those jobs that are considered to be proletariat vacations.

BTW, we should note that government can also act as a servant of business. Whether we want to look at the neoliberal revolution-coups that existed in South America, such as in Chilé in 1973 or Argentina in the 1970s, we see that coups were supported by the US to install governments that were friendly to a kind of free market economy called neoliberalism. We should note that in such instances, only the markets were free while the government acted as a ice hockey enforcer on all those who resisted or sometimes even questioned the validity of radically free markets. We should note that some consider our political system to be an oligarchy rather than democracy (see http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746 ).

The second of Gregg's points that needs to be challenged is the roll of intellectuals in the economy. Gregg cited Marx's influence as an example where an intellectual gave direction for economics. Here we should note that intellectuals cannot provide a recognized way forward unless their analysis of the past or present resonates with the perceived experiences of enough people. Why was Marx seen as a leading intellectual? It was because of the accuracy of his analysis of both some of the past and the present economic conditions of his time. But for the analysis of any intellectual to gain public favor, the analysis must also resonate with the values of enough people. This is why Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged has become so influential. It is because her values that celebrates selfishness resonate with enough who have means and live privileged lives that her ideas are so influential in our economy. In that sense, the role of intellectuals, while providing leadership, does not provide the kind of leadership over the economy which Gregg sees.





  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

One Reason Why We Are In A Post-Truth Era

Postmodernism gets a lot of blame from many Premodernists and some Modernists for today's predicament. What is today's predicament? Though I can't speak for the rest of the world, in America, truth seems to play a diminishing role in our political causes. And many religious traditionalists like to blame Postmodernism for that rejection of truth. But truth be told, one only needs to listen to today's politically depressing verbiage to realize that there is at least one other cause for the disregard for facts and logic in America today. That cause is tribalism.

We are an increasingly tribalistic lot. Whether our tribes consist of a religious faith or political/economic ideology, a race or economic class, a national identity or language, we are becoming more and more tribal. The current backlash against those who kneel during the playing of our National Anthem serves as one illustration of that tribalism. Those who want the kneeling players to be punished are showing far more concern with whether their own nation is receiving proper respect than whether minorities are suffering from race-based violence and enforcement of the law by some of our police officers. From the fear of immigrants, especially those who are Muslims, overrunning or attacking our nation from within to the inability of our 2 major political parties to adequately work together, we see a growing tribalism. We also see this tribalism when some of my fellow Leftists shamefully try to shutdown speaking events that feature conservative or liberal speakers just as we see this tribalism in the on-air speech of people like Rush Limbaugh. And we definitely see a growing tribalism in the blogs where conservatives, liberals, and leftist bash all those who do not belong to their own groups.

Recently, I have had it with one now former Facebook friend who, while discussing whether vaccines cause autism, called every piece of documentation that didn't support his group's side 'propaganda.' Of course, he didn't say why it was propaganda; I guess I was just suppose to take his word for it. But whatever documentation that didn't support his belief was immediately dismissed without explanation.


So how does tribalism contribute to our current Post-Truth era? We should note that tribalism starts when group loyalty starts to become strong. In terms of morals, when group loyalty is strong enough, then what is right and wrong depends on who does what to whom.  That is because group loyalty prevents one from caring enough about morality to be willing to find fault with those from their own group when they have done others wrong.

As tribalism grows, so does group authoritarianism. With authoritarianism, truth is determined more and more by the credentials of the source than by the facts or logic used in an argument. So that, like the relationship between tribalism and morality, those who are from the group are assumed to be more trustworthy than those from outside the group. To believe someone from outside the group over someone from inside the group risks a significant amount of dissonance for those who highly value group loyalty. Therefore, either tribalism will demand that one believes members of their own group over those outside their group or that what is true is not important. That is because loyalty dictates that the group is what is most important.

We all belong to multiple groups to which we feel varying degrees of loyalty. And group loyalty is fine up to a point. But when group loyalty grows too strong, it begins to blind us so that not only does it cause us to embrace moral relativity, we begin to care more about the status and power our group obtains than we care about what is true. We begin to believe that our group has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them, as Martin Luther King said about the West when he spoke against the Vietnam War.

When we are involved with tribalism, our group authoritarianism builds the bonfires on which the truths taught by other groups are sacrificed. Thus, we don't have to act like those Leftists who try to shutdown the speaking events held by conservative and liberals because they have already deemed what others have to say as unfit for consumption. And then they substitute the delusions of our own groups for those truths that exist outside their own small worlds.


If we want a world where truth matters, we will curb our enthusiasm for group loyalty. And that is despite what we have been taught about the virtue of being loyal. So instead of holding our groups as close as possible to our hearts, we will recognize that loyalty, especially excessive loyalty, can sometimes be self-destructive rather than self-preserving.




 

Monday, October 16, 2017

ONIM For October 16, 2017

10 Best Fact Checking Sites Found Here.

If you are not sure about the validity of a news story linked to below, you can use  mediabiasfactcheck.com to check out the credibility of the source of most of the stories linked to here.


Christian News


World News


Israel-Palestine News

Gun Violence News

Donald Trump News

Pick(s) Of The Litter







Friday, October 13, 2017

Christian Fundamentalism And Culture

In a very short article on the Gospel Coalition blog about evangelical history, the contributors to the article contend that Christian Fundamentalists have consistently engaged with culture rather than have withdrawn from it (click here for the blogpost). They quote from a book by Matthew Avery Sutton to make their point. And for as long as they don't try to pin a percentage of those Fundamentalists who are trying to shape culture, the statement is correct. The results of their efforts, however, are mixed.

A recent Washington Post article (click here) claimed that conservative Evangelicals, which certainly includes at least some, if not all, Christian Fundamentalists, are proving the criticisms of their opponents to be correct. What are those criticisms? That conservative Evangelicals want a theocracy in America. One piece of proof of their criticisms is found in the support of Trump by many of these same conservative Evangelicals. Though the article really overstates the reality there, support for Trump is a cultural engagement. In my view, it isn't an welcomed one.

And yet, if we believe in Democracy, we shouldn't wish that the voice of any group to be silenced. So while the support for Trump of some, certainly not all, Christian Fundamentalists is reprehensible, their participation in culture via their political participation is necessary in a functioning Democracy. 


At the same time, every group that participates in a functioning Democracy must ask itself this question: How are we going to share society with others? The right answer to the question is "as equals." Unfortunately, values from our economic system which put a premium on competition oppose that answer. In fact, many Christian Fundamentalists also disagree with that answer but for a different reason. And because many, but not all, Christian Fundamentalists are not working to share society with others as equals, their participation in culture is becoming more and more an object of scorn. At the same time, Christian Fundamentalists can rightly charge members of other groups of being guilty of making the same mistake.

The Post Modernism reaction to the attempts at controlling culture made by Christian Fundamentalists is to deny what Christian Fundamentalists believe about God. Why? Because Post Modernism employs an outcome-based truth system where if people who hold to a belief or system of beliefs do something that is clearly wrong or disapproved of, then their beliefs must also be wrong. Thus, because of how religion in general has contributed to the starting and continuing of wars and the marginalization of others, Post Modernism says that religion can't be true. What follows is the dread of the participation in culture, especially in politics. of many who hold to religions beliefs, such as Christian Fundamentalists, by those who have been significantly influenced by Post Modernism.

And so such is our dilemma. On the one hand we oppose how certain groups want to influence culture, especially how they push for certain political positions, while we must be enthusiastic supporters of their participation in the system if we believe in Democracy on the other.




 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For October 11, 2017

Sept 29

To C. Daniel Motley and his blogpost that expresses concern about a new sexual revolution that demands polyamory. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website

I don't see any significant signs of a new sexual revolution emphasizing polyamory. If it does occur, it isn't because of the Obergefell decision. When one compares monogamous same-sex marriage to monogamous heterosexual marriage and polyamory, it is easy to see that monogamous same-sex marriage has far more in common with monogamous heterosexual marriage than with polyamory.

Perhaps we should look at the attitudes millennials have to sex and marriage to gain some insight into any future call for polyamory. From what I have seen, millennials have a more open view toward multiple sexual partners. But the why is the most important part here. The open view to multiple partners is done out of a search to be/feel more connected. And perhaps it is understanding that search that provides the best hedge against polyamory.

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October 5

To Bob Lepine and his blogpost that tries to make sense of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition.

One thing we might want to remember here. That when we see violent behavior in society, that that the people who produce such behavior are as much a product of society than anyone else. To believe otherwise in a society where people are increasingly objectified as machines that either help us get what we want or become disposable. is to entertain delusions of righteous grandeur.

What I am saying goes beyond guns, which need to be revamped so as to reduce the probability of similar attacks in the future. Because of the values promoted the most in society, perhaps we should expect more of such calloused actions as what we saw in Las Vegas.


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October 8

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost of an interview in which he sees people’s interest in the social gospel and concern over social justice as leading people astray from the Gospel. This applied in Heidelblog

There are 3 major problems with the approach taken by R. Scott Clark to the social gospel  and social justice. They consist of an imitation problem, a strawman problem, and the exception of racism.

Clark's imitation problem  has everything to do with how he applies the New Testament to the the social gospel and social justice. For Clark seems to teach that the only things we can learn about the social gospel and social justice from the New Testament is that which can be imitated from the Apostles. If they didn't address social justice or challenge the government when it did wrong, then neither can we. And the basis for Clark's teaching here assumes that there are no significant contextual differences between the Church today and the Church during the time of the Apostles. That Christians are not facing any change of status regarding the Gospel in the world and that the social and political structures are not significantly different during the time of the Apostles.
Such seems to overlook that during the time of the Apostles,  the Gospel was unknown to the rest of the world and so the major concern of the Apostles was to spread the Gospel. And part of spreading the Gospel was to ensure that its reputation, through the actions of believers, remained as spotless as possible. The same cannot be said today. The Gospel is known throughout the world. But not only that, because of the actions of government leaders who have and still claim to rule in the name of Christ, both good and bad associations have been made with the Gospel. And those bad associations must be addressed by the Church if it is to preach the Gospel with as much legitimate credibility as possible.

Thus, we should note that for Clark all that can be gleaned from the times of the Apostles is that even when rulers are wicked, we are to submit to the governming authorities and we are to focus on our personal sanctification. And according to the examples set by the Apostles, there is no room for activism or challenging those in authority. Rather, we are to change society but focusing solely on the changing the lives of individuals with the preaching of the Gospel.

To Clark's approach, the problem of Christian involvement in politics presents a significant challenge. For there were no Christians who served in the local or regional governments of the Roman Empire during the times of the Apostles and neither was there such a thing called Democracy where citizens are called to participate in various levels of self-governance. In addition, we might ask Clark how the Apostles would have directed us on how to vote on issues like same-sex marriage in society or a specific war.

The 2nd problem with Clark's approach concerns his strawman approach to the social gospel. It's a strawman approach because he portrays the social gospel and social justice as  monoliths that could be defined by the works of an individual such as Walter Rauschenbusch, in the case of the social gospel, and Karl Marx, in the case of social justice. Thus for Clark, the social gospel always involves the elimination of the actual Gospel and social justice is defined solely by the pagan influence of Karl Marx who promoted the idea of a utopia. Thus, according the Clark, the definitions of the social gospel and social justice are unchangeable.

Because the social gospel can only mean what Rauschenbush defined it to be and the same applies to social justice and Karl Marx, the development of thought in both subjects and the various approaches taken by others who followed them are ignored. In addition what seems to follow Clark's thinking here is that no new version of the social gospel or social justice can be developed by Christians who while borrowing from Rauschenbush and Marx, do not compromise on the Gospel.

Of course, in order for Clark to maintain his positions on the social gospel and social justice,  he has to account for the work of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement. This is his third problem because he doesn't really present a full picture of what King practiced and promoted. For there were no early Christian examples that were imitated by King when he worked against racism. Clark doesn't mention that King employed activism, civil disobedience, and calls for structural changes in society knowing that such changes could change some hearts while providing legal protection for Blacks from those who hearts would not change.  Thus, much of King's approach provides a counterexample to what Clark is calling for.
But Clark sweeps King's methods under the carpet of the sin of racism, which King was working against. Thus, what King did was acceptable because, according to Clark, he was calling us Christians to repent from racism, a way of viewing and treating people that is totally against the Scriptures. But what follows Clark's treatment of King is that racism is the only societal and individual sin that vindicates King. However, the way Clark tells the story, King seemed to be  only calling the Church to repent.

While Clark is rightly concerned with maintaining a faithfulness to preach the Gospel while interacting with society,  what he misses is this. Everything that the Church does and does not do becomes associated with the Gospel. Thus, regardless of whether the Church speaks out on social justice issues or follows some form of the social gospel, it becomes associated with the Gospel. That means that the Church's silence on social justice issues impacts the reputation of the Gospel. And that reputation, as seen by many non-Christians, is that while the Church excels at beating people up over indivudal sins, especially sexual sins, societal and state sins, including those sins that benefit the wealthy, are passed over. This seems to violate what James 2 talks about when he condemned favoritism. In addition, while the Church neglects to preach against societal and state sins, it passively aligns itself with wealth and power. And we should note that the Church had aligned itself with wealth and power in the pre-revolutionary times of the French, Russian, and Spanish Revolutions with disastrous for both the Church and the reputation of the Gospel.

We should note that while Clark rightly sees racism as something that must be spoken against by the Church, it isn't just because of how members of the Church should repent of the sin. In addition, many of the unjust actions pointed to by those promoting the social gospel and those working for social justice revolve around the commandments prohibiting murder and theft. For example, exploiting workers by underpaying them is a form of theft. In fact, one could say that such is a kind of the sin James condemns in James 5:1ff. And when the economic conditions caused by paying employees poverty wages causes early deaths in those employees or their dependents, then those promoting such conditions could also be charged with murder according to the Scriptures.
We should note that King also worked and crusaded against economic exploitation and poverty. In addition, he spoke against the Vietnam War as well. If King was correct in opposing racism, was he wrong in opposing that war? After all, he saw racism, war/militarism, and materialism/economic exploitation as being inextricably linked.
What Clark seems to miss in his approach to the social gospel and social justice is an awareness of an insularity he is promoting for the Church. For Clark, King was right to oppose racism because it was practiced in the Church. But the Church is not only to preach against the sins committed by Church members, it is to speak prophetically to society if it is to follow the examples of the OT prophets, and it is to do good. And while doing all of that, it needs to recognize the the differences in its responsibility to  society and the Church. And that fulfilling its responsibility to society, the Church is making positive associations with the Gospel that enhances its opportunities to preach the Gospel. And all of that can be done without compromising the Gospel.


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October 9

To Walter McDougall and his blogpost on what was real conservatism during a time when America’s founding has become wholly corrupted both domestically and in foreign affairs. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

With America being poisoned by the source of energy of its economic system, which is greed, it is quite normal to ponder over the good old days along with the corollary of searching for its vanguards. But such pondering and searching amounts to nothing more than another waiting for Godot.

When was the good old days for America? That depends on with whom one is speaking. Certainly there are times when at least some Whites saw sunny weather and clear skies. But It is difficult to say whether such good old days were ever just overcast for Blacks while the plight of Native Americans has never even seen overcast conditions.

And if, in our nation's history, Native Americans and Blacks had never seen real good weather, where are the real conservatives of which the article above speaks?


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To Joseph Pearce and his blogpost that rightly  criticizes the Russian Revolution. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

If we read Rosa Luxemburg's criticisms of the government Lenin formed, maybe we would not be so quick to attribute the aftermath of the Russian Revolution to Socialism, or at least all Socialists. The October Revolution  was hijacked from the beginning and so it is difficult to say whether it started good and ended bad or whether it was bad from the beginning. Certainly, the conditions that spurred the need for revolution were significantly objectionable to the people. And we should note that those conditions were caused by an economic system that was a hybrid of a peasant economy with capitalism. And the capitalists' support of the war only made living conditions worse.

Who knows how socialism would have turned out to be if the Mensheviks didn't walkout of the 2nd All Russian Congress of the Soviet? But because they did, Bolshevism became a form of Communism, which is Socialism to some, that produced nothing more than just another form of a Tsarist dictatorship.  That is what Luxemburg rightly called a bourgeois dictatorship.


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October 10

To Dylan Pahman and his blogpost on why Christopher Columbus gets too much blame for atrocities that occurred in the parts of the New World he “discovered.” This appeared in the Acton Blog.

Sorry, but it matters little whether one groups the settlers referred to with Columbus or not, their deeds as a whole are utterly reprehensible and enabled by Columbus's journey and his own leadership and conduct. If we include all that was written above with the history of how America was colonized, it indicts Western Civilization far too many to count atrocities conducted against non-whites. Thus, it is a great mystery as to why we should care about preserving Western culture Western Civilization's legacy.

And yes, since the mention of Columbus did not include all of his ventures in the New World, he did serve as a reprehensible person.


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To Joe Carter and his blogpost on how the DOJ’s latest memo affirms our religious rights and liberty. This appeared in the Acton blog.

Besides the fact that some of these principles were already in play, we should note the reason for the DOJ's memo: it is to enable and protect religiously conservative Christians when, in their business ventures, they discriminate against the LGBT community. That keeps that part of the base in line despite Trump's failures both in judgment and morals.

Allowing religiously conservative Christians to discriminate against the LGBT community in society doesn't show a commitment to rights, it exhibits a devotion to reestablishing privilege for these same Christians.  For liberty deal with equality, privilege is used to marginalize others. Liberty - equality equals privilege, not rights. And nothing says that some religiously conservative Christians are seeking privilege more than their past opposition to same-sex marriage in society. It biblically right for them to prohibit same-sex marriage in churches that believe that the Bible is God's Word. I stand with them on that. But society is made up of a diverse group of people of which some are religiously conservative Christians. And when religiously conservative Christians opposed same-sex marriage, they were trampling over the religious rights of those whose religious beliefs accommodate or support same-sex marriage. And, in fact, some of the objections to the legalization of same-sex marriage included the fear that it would infringe on the religious rights of these same religiously conservative Christians. Those rights revolved around the freedom to marginalize, to various degrees, the LGBT community in society. And, as was said before, the DOJ memo helps keep these same religiously conservative Christians in the fold of those who support the President.

So the DOJ memo is not primarily concerned with rights as it is with poll numbers and the future votes of those who want to marginalize the LGBT community in society.






Tuesday, October 3, 2017

What Is Behind The Fans' Reactions To The Players Kneeling

This blogpost is written for some who have not taken kindly to Colin Kaepernick's kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. This article is written for some, not all. It isn't written for those who merely disagree with what Kaepernick did. I respectfully disagree with such people.

Rather, this blogpost is written for those who call for or even demand punishment for those players who have kneeled or found other ways to protest during the playing of the National Anthem. Some such people are going to boycott the NFL to put financial pressure on the owners to require players to stand.  

Such people are more offended when some don't stand for the National Anthem than they are for the reason Kaepernick protested in the first place: racism as exercised by some, but too many, police officers.  Such people want Black athletes to find better ways to protest without considering what they could do to reduce racism in our nation.

Such people essentially say they are offended because not standing for the playing of the national anthem shows disrespect to veterans without considering that some veterans support what Kaepernick did (click here). So if some veterans are supporting him, how can people say that what he did was disrespectful to veterans?

We should note the fear, anger, and hostility that some are expressing toward Kaepernick and others are really signs of personal problems. For example, do you believe that people who do not believe that this is the greatest nation in the world should leave? Then you should check the symptoms of narcissism. They include believing that one is more important than they are, being fixated on power and success, 'requiring constant admiration,' being unaware of or blind to what others experience and feel, and acting arrogantly (click here). BTW, we should note that narcissism isn't just for individuals, groups can enjoy it too. And those who participate in group narcissism don't have to be narcissists as individuals.

Are you enraged with players like Colin Kaepernick because he isn't doing what has always been done which standing at attention for the playing of the national anthem? Then consider some of the signs of the Authoritarian Personality: a strict following of middle class values, automatic submission to authority, being hostile to those who don't follow conventions or traditions, fixated on being dominant over others, and projects their own feelings on others (click here).

From a Christian perspective, those who place too much importance on a symbol or entity run the risk of idol worship. In his book, Losing Moses On The Freeway, Chris Hedges says that the following is part of idolatry (see page 42 of his book):
Those who worship idols deal harshly with those who become apostates.

The idols of nation, race, religion, ethnicity,gender and class are idols that demand exclusive and false covenants. These covenants exalt ourselves as long as we only define ourselves through the narrow definitions and exclude others outside the circle. Idols are always about self-worship. The idols subvert the equality that protects us from tyranny and injustice, the respect that urges us to see worth and dignity in all human life, even in those who oppose us. But the fear of exclusion, of incurring the wrath of those who worship the idol, sees us willing to justify the ostracism and even  abuse of others.

 We should note that we didn't become group narcissists, authoritarians, or idolators on our own; we had help We grew up being told how exceptional America is and, when we were young, were at least implicitly guided to never question the wars America fought. In addition, my own faith, Christianity has always overemphasized authority structures and punishment to the point that it began to embrace authoritarianism. And with regard to idolatry, we should note what Paul wrote in Romans 1:21-25 (click here):
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Is it really rational for those who really enjoy watching pro football to not only abstain from watching the game, but go on to try to punish a handful of protesting players simply they didn't stand at attention during the playing of the national anthem? Or is there something else going on? The above article answers the last question with a definitive 'YES'!