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Showing posts from January, 2014

What do the Abolitionist movement, the Civil Rights movement, the movement against child labor, the movement against capital punishment, and dozens of other such American movements have in common?

Answer: They all had their impetus and in many cases their origin in moral convictions arising directly from evangelical Christianity and the Bible.

Granted, non-believers also supported them; the moral convictions upon which they were founded were, after all, accessible to reason as well as to those who believe in biblical revelation. But they ought to be enough to make the case that there are few things more American, more historically obvious, more constitutional, or more- in the best sense of the word- liberal than the concept that even ideas whose origin is explicitly religious and even sectarian ought to have access to the public square. The oft-repeated fear of theocracy expressed by the secularist Left ignores the rather obvious point that in a diverse and even minimally democratic society a narrowly sectarian political agenda based solely on sectarian belief has no possible chance of prevailing. Until and unless America becomes a great deal more culturally and religiously h…

Report on human body's problems in space should stimulate the search for solutions, not impede it

A new report says that human beings are not physically capable of living in space, bolstering the argument that exploration of other planets had best be done by robots.

But there's really nothing new in the report- and nothing that would lead to the conclusion that we cannot be made so. We've known about all the health hazards the report cites for some time, and it's clear as crystal that we not only should not but cannot, for example, send human beings to Mars before we can effectively protect them against the radiation they would encounter.

But the way to do that is to work on ways of doing so. The same is true of all of the other problems the report cites. And as I've argued repeatedly in this blog, that very effort- together with a crash program to send a manned mission to Mars ASAP (that is, as soon as the practical problems can we worked out) would, on the example of Projects Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, be one of the most economical and practical ways to get the…

Huckabee, Bush and Christie lead new 2016 GOP poll

According to a new Public Policy Polling survey, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee leads the field among potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates among the party's rank-and-file.

Huckabee has  16 percent.Following him are Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, at 14 percent; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, at 13 percent; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, at 11 percent; and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tied at 8 percent.

While I like Huckabee in many ways, based on his last outing I'm not sure that he would be a very effective candidate. I, personally, am a supporter of Jeb Bush, and I am heartened by the showing of relatively rational Republicans in the poll, finishing ahead of unelectable extremists like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. But everybody in the pack trails Hillary at this point, by two points over Bush, Christie and Ryan, three over Huckabee, and six over Cruz.

It's doable- if the GOP nominates somebody like Bush or Christie or even Ry…

Just where did that Thrivent abortion advocacy money go?

Non-Lutherans probably are not aware of Thrivent, a fraternal insurance organization created by the unfortunate merger of LCMS-oriented Aid Association for Lutherans (AAL) and ELCA- oriented Lutheran Brotherhood. The church bodies in question share little in common except the name "Lutheran" in their names (the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has been compared to the Holy Roman Empire, which- as every history major knows- was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire. Admittedly the ELCA is in America, though).

Controversy has recently arisen over Thrivent's decision no longer to provide matching funds for member and church donations to organizations dealing with abortion, given the opposite positions taken by the two largest church bodies using the name "Lutheran" in the United States.

Anyone interested in where the matching funds were going can find the figures here.

This is a good illustration of the problems which arise when groups which do not in fact…

The Left's tortured logic on the First Amendment and those birth control and abortion mandates

Benjamin Wicker expounds on the tortured logic by which "progressives" try to make the right to have abortificants paid for by insurance provided by one's employer a matter of an employee's freedom of religion, while weaseling out of the more logical conclusion that forcing an employer whose religious beliefs include the conviction that abortion is the wrongful taking of a human life to pay for what, according to those beliefs, is nothing more or less than murder.

I, for one, know of no religion which includes the commandment, "Thou shalt have abortion and birth control, and it has to be  paid for by one's employer." Only if that stipulation as to the payer were included as a part of an employee's religious conviction would the  is the Left's "freedom of religion" argument even be logically coherent. On the other hand, "You shall not murder" (the literal translation of the Roman Catholic and Lutheran Fifth Commandment, and th…

Neuhaus's law in action

Writing in  the National Catholic Register, Francis Frawley Desmondweighs in on the progression from Catholic Mario Cuomo's equivocation on abortion to Catholic Andrew Cuomo's unseemly- and rather, well, extreme- embrace of it, quoting the late Lutheran-emeritus Fr. Richard John Neuhaus's dictum that "when orthodoxy is optional, it will eventually be prohibited."

Those increasingly rare and to all appearances  invincibly deluded orthodox Christians who remain in the ELCA are learning that lesson- or rather not learning it, despite the increasing sharpness with which it is being taught- even now, as that benighted church body's attitude toward orthodox dissenters becomes increasingly Stalinist. But in the Roman communion, it seems that it doesn't matter that the institution remains more or less kosher on matters like abortion and marriage deconstruction; adherence to what is supposedly confessed by mere membership in the institution is coming to be seen a…

Political trash talk deserves our contempt- and our repentance

John Hinderacker over at PowerLine has, it seems to me, a pretty accurate diagnosis of Andrew Cuomo's problem: he's talking "trash" when he calls the half of the country which is pro-life and the half of the country which opposes marriage deconstruction "extreme." And he's certainly "talking trash" when he describes those who oppose marriage deconstruction as "anti-gay."

One might even describe Gov. Cuomo's rhetoric as "extreme."

At one point several years ago, Barack Obama talked a purple streak about the need to do something about the incivility and divisiveness which has come to characterize political discourse (never mind that he's been one of the worst offenders since then). It's a cancer on our political process and on our communal life as a nation. It's the reason why politicians generally- and Congress in particular- are held in such well-deserved contempt by the American people.

Who engage in the s…

Cuomo to pro-lifers, marriage traditionalists: 'Leave New York!'

Who are they? Right to life, pro-assault weapons, anti-gay — if that’s who they are, they have no place in the state of New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.           --New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

I've often visited the subject of the totalitarian tendencies of today's Left (including establishment Democrats) on this blog.

We know that if you disagree with Mayor Rahm Emanuel's position on gay "marriage," you are not welcome to open a business in Chicago, and the power of city government will be mustered to prevent you from doing so. In Boston, Mayor Thomas Merino is at least content with defaming those who disagree with him; he is not yet so ideologically driven as to try to deprive them of their livelihood.

In any case, it's a well-established principle by now that "progressives" believe that everybody is entitled to basic human rights except those who disagree with them about anything. Never before, though, has the fascistic tendency …

If you're only tolerant of what you agree with, is that tolerance?

Mark Steyn writes of  the intolerant enforcers of "tolerance."

Also called "liberal fascists," hypocrites, and the media.

America isn't caring for all Iowans- but Iowa may care for America in '16

I myself transitioned to the new Iowa healthcare world with nary a problem, chemo and all. But apparently not all of my fellow Iowans are so lucky.

Seems that this administration has problems with domestic policy, too. Obamacare and all.

While I take exception to the snark, btw, I have to hope that CNN's Peter Hanby is right, and Iowa does the nation the signal service of preventing Hillary Rodham Clinton from becoming president.

Obama's been suckered again

Yeah, that Obama/Kerry nuclear "deal" with Iran is really gonna work.

When pigs not only fly, but are halal.
But not before.

The most diplomatically inept administration in modern history strikes again. Next to these guys, Jimmy Carter looks like Machiavelli.

Theism and human rights are philosophically inseparable

It seems that this Alisdair Denvil doesn't believe that our rights come from God.

He's wrong. Thomas Jefferson- rationalist and Deist though he was- was right when he argued in the Declaration of Independence that they have their origin in "nature and nature's God" (or, in old Tom's case, "god," or "to whom it may concern," or something).

If our rights don't come from God (or at least from a god), then they're the gift of the state- or, as Mao would have it, they grow from the barrel of a gun.. If God isn't the Author of our rights, then might makes right. There simply is no third option- and that's a burden I'm afraid that non-theists have to bear as an inevitable consequence of their position.

The alternative to our rights being seen as coming from God is to say that we have no rights that those bigger and stronger than we are have any moral obligation to recognize. And there's no way out of the conundrum: if Go…

Motto of the cultural Left: If you can't defeat your opponent, marginalize and silence him

Here's a great summary by Catholic Lane on the strategy of the matrimonially deconstructionist  Left for advancing the cause of same-sex "marriage."

In a word: marginalize anybody who disagrees with you.

It's a classic Leftist tactic in the culture wars. Being aware of it and challenging it when it happens is they key to defeating it.

Remember: they'd rather spew hate-filled rhetoric about you and call you a hater than actually engage the issues.

The gay male elephant in the living room

Apropos of which, consider this well-documented article. Factual challenges to the information presented in it are welcome; attempts to silence it or ignore it are neither welcome nor helpful.

For anybody.

A sample:

...Male homosexuals are very seldom monogamous; they overwhelmingly reject the type of relationship most heterosexuals think of when they think of marriage: a long-term relationship where sexual activity is strictly limited to one's marriage partner. One homosexual writer admits that “trying to locate monogamy among gay men is like trying to hunt for truffles.”

Male sexuality, whether oriented toward females or other males, craves variety. But whereas almost all heterosexual men, perhaps after “sowing wild oats,” settle down with one woman, homosexual men do not settle down. Ever. A classic, large-scale study by Bell and Weinberg conducted during the 1970s and published by the Kinsey Institute found that forty-three percent (43%) of white male homosexuals had had sex w…

It's already happening

Mark Steyn says "I told you so" as the forces of unreason come out of the woodwork with Phil Robertson non sequiturs.

A while back, a well-known liberal columnist dismissed the argument that to compare heterosexual marriage on one hand and same-sex "marriage" on the other was to compare apples and oranges as "an obsession with fruit." I suppose if you're determined to avoid the central problem with same-sex  "marriage," refusing to engage the issue in the first place is as good a way of doing so as the other emotional and illogical arguments the Left uses for that purpose- and with which, in a modern society far more adept at emoting than at logic, it seems to be succeeding.

But the issue involved in  the civil rights movement of the '60's and today's one-sided debate (you get silenced if you're on the "wrong" side of it) concerning homosexuality isn't even close to being the same- not that the hate-filled folk…

Cue the 'Jaws' theme

Chicago Trib to SCOTUS: Declare the First Amendment constitutional

The Chicago Tribune used to be slightly to the right of Darth Vader. In recent years, though, it's turned more toward the center, and even the center-left.

That's why it's so encouraging to see the Tribeditorially encouraging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of the First Amendment when it comes to Obamacare's birth control mandate.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Pot? Not.

Was Bonhoeffer not a conspirator after all?

It seems a revisionist book is out claiming that Dietrich Bonhoeffer never changed his views on pacifism, and thus could not have been a part of the plot to assassinate Hitler after all.

My first reaction is that it sounds like special pleading. But I'll have to read the book.

HT: Real Clear Religion