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Showing posts from March, 2015

In status confessionis: Indiana's blow for religious liberty and the leftist lies about it

The Left's war on the First Amendment continues with the national firestorm over Indiana's new law protecting the freedom of religion of individuals whose consciences and religious convictions tell them that homosexual behavior is wrong.

Here is a concise summary of the law. Here are some basic facts about the controversy. Here is a thoughtful article on the misinformation we're being fed by the media about the Indiana law. Here is an article on Apple CEO Tim Cook's distortion of the law, and his own history of bigotry. And here is the text of the law itself.

Gene Veith is pessimistic about the prospects for individual consciences to be respected in the full-court press liberal opinion-makers are mounting to force acceptance of homosexual behavior on precisely the same basis as heterosexual behavior. I think that even Dr. Veith, however, misses a key point- a point which lies at the heart of the entire debate over marriage redefinition and other aspects of gay "rig…

Iranian defector: U.S. delegation's goal in nuke negotiations is to 'speak on behalf of Iran'

Amir Hossein Motaghi, an Iranian journalist, has defected from his country's delegation to the current nuclear talks with the United States. He sums up the position of Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama administration this way: "The U.S. negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal."

The "5+1 countries" to which he refers are the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, France and Germany.

Meanwhile, recently re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
calls the emerging deal "dangerous for all humanity," and says that Iran is conspiring to take over the Middle East.

HT: Drudge

A fine Lenten sermon

Thanks to Prof. Gene Veith for sharing this fine Lenten sermon by Pastor James Douthwait of St. Athanasius Lutheran Church in Vienna, Virginia.

Folks in the D.C. area are blessed in having two fine, confessional congregations available to them like St. Athanasius and my own former congregation, Immanuel in Alexandria, Va. Prs. Douthwaite and Esget are both wonderful preachers and faithful shepherds.

Who'da thunk it?

Like many of my generation, I became politically active in the Eugene McCarthy campaign in 1968. After the convention debacle- I was caught in the middle of Michigan Avenue during the police riot- I became part of what was known a "the Independent Movement" in Chicago politics. Basically, we were liberal anti-Daley, anti-Machine activists who- politics making especially strange bedfellows in Chicago- often made common cause with the only other anti-Machine political force in Chicago, the tiny Cook County Republican Party.

We ran candidates for alderman and the state legislature, usually in gentrified liberal wards on the Lakefront. Bill Singer's successful aldermanic campaign in the 43rd Ward was the first winning campaign I was ever involved in. Later, law student Michael Holewinski took advantage of Illinois' multi-member House districts and cumulative voting to win several consecutive elections even from my own blue-collar Northwest Side 17th Legislative District…

Jesus Garcia performs a miracle

After Chicago's !!@$@!$!! mayor, Rahm Emanuel, decided to ban restaurants whose owners opposed marriage redefinition from the city, I thought nothing could make me root for his re-election.

But the Democratic party, which always seems to reach ever more zany degrees of extremist outrageousness, has managed to pull it off.

If Rahm Emanuel is what passes for a "moderate" Democrat...

Hey. Gotta bite the bullet. My home town is tottering on the bridge of financial disaster, and I'm afraid that "Chuy" Garcia and his "progressive" politics will be enough to tip it over the edge.

Go Rahm.


HT: Drudge

We are apparently a nation of idolaters

The Barna pollsters say that Americans are loyal to family, country, and God- in that order.

There is, of course, a problem here. It can be summed up in the words, "You shall have no other gods before me." It seems that- at least according to the Barna people- Americans have two such gods before Him: family and country.

Biblical and religious illiteracy is, of course, at an all-time high in America and throughout the Western world. In a way, it's not surprising that we're a nation of idolaters. Martin Luther said that our god is whatever we fear, love and trust the most.

Either Barna is wrong, or we as a nation aren't quite clear about the entire concept of "God."

Paglia holds forth

Ok. I don't agree with everything she says. And "Reason" isn't always reasonable.

But Camille Paglia is still my favorite lesbian atheist.

HT: Drudge

The Presbyterians rebel against both human and divine law

The Presbyterian Church-USA- not content to rebel against the Word of God and reject the consistent teaching not only of every stratum of Scripture but of the entire Christian tradition- has gone beyond the ELCA, the UCC, and other revisionist denominations to actually change their definition of marriage and authorize its ministers to perform same-sex "marriages" even where they aren't legal.

Apostasy is always tragic. And such aggressive apostasy is especially so.

John Stossel writes about Chicago on the brink of disaster

Here's a sensible- though bleak- analysis by conservative commentator John Stossel of the situation Chicago finds itself in as the April 7 mayoral runoff approaches.

I wish I could say that he's wrong. Chicago is the city in which I was born and raised, and in which I lived about half of my life. It's the city I love. I will always consider myself a Chicagoan at heart no matter how long I live in exile.

But the city I love is I big, big trouble, and the same corrupt and cynical political culture which once enabled Mayor Daley the Elder and his administration to cut corners and make Chicago "the city that worked" now makes it unlikely that it can crawl out of a financial hole directly resulting from decades of pandering to special interests. The candidate of those special interests- Jesus "Chuy" Garcia- will probably win. But even if Mayor Rahm Emanuel manages to pull off a narrow victory on April 7, the political culture and the realities of the politic…

Poll: nearly two-thirds say Ferguson-type incidents are overreported

Despite the firestorm of publicity over incidents in which police have shot supposedly innocent African-Americans, a new Rasmussen poll says that most Americans aren't buying it.

62% of the American people believe that other blacks shooting innocent blacks is a bigger problem than policemen shooting blacks. And 61% believe that incidents such as the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo, are overhyped by the media.

63% say that the jobs of police are made more dangerous as a result.

Yet another example of the social and political agenda of those who report the news distorting their coverage of it.


A replay of my annual rant: a four-leaf clover is NOT a shamrock!

Here, from a previous year, is a brief biography of Maewyn Succat, aka St. Patrick.

I've mentioned on previous St. Paddy's Days how the confusion of a pagan symbol of good luck- the Four Leaf Clover- with the shamrock, whose whole significance is that Patrick used it to illustrate the Trinity to the Irish, drives me up a wall.

Actually, there isn't an illustration of the Trinity that really works. Whether the skin, flesh and core of the apple, or water and steam and ice, or- well, the shamrock (God doesn't have three heads!), any attempt to explain this mystery finally ends in heresy. Though some illustrations are better than others, and Patrick's shamrock is one of the better ones, IMO.

BTW, the reference to Voltran shouldn't be pushed. The author was just having fun working that reference into the mix.

New study documents pro-Obama media bias in 2012

A new study documents 130,213 incidents of pro-Obama bias on the part of American and international media during the 2012 presidential campaign.

There's nothing new about such pro-Democratic and anti-Republican bias, of course. Domestically, study after study reveals that reporters are overwhelmingly liberal in their political philosophy and vote Democratic by a wide margin in election after election.

What's surprising is that there is anyone sufficiently clueless to be surprised.

HT: Drudge

Gore wants to "punish" climate change deniers

It has been said that inside every "progressive" is a totalitarian dying to get out.

We've seen Chicago's Mayor Emanuel reveal his inner totalitarian in the Chik-fil-A affair. "Progessives" generally favor denying people's freedom of religion and forcing them to pay for abortifacient drugs despite their belief that it would make them accomplices to murder. The very concept of "hate speech" clearly indicates a failure to share the values of the Founding Fathers as reflected in the First Amendment.

But now, it seems, Al Gore wants to "punish climate change deniers."

HT: Drudge

We need honesty about our differences where homosexuality is concerned

Last night on "The Good Wife," Elisha Florrick told her opponent in the Cook County State's Attorney race that "nobody thinks there's anything wrong with being gay."

Well, there's a sense in which she's right- a sense which the cultural Left is very careful to overlook. Only an idiot would regard being born with a homosexual orientation as a moral failing. What is controversial is not being homosexual. What is controversial is the morality of homosexual behavior. That's why all attempts to portray marriage redefinition or other attempts to mainstream homosexual behavior as civil rights issues are misguided. The issue is not discrimination against people who are of homosexual orientation, but rather the ethics and social impact of acting upon that orientation. Some may regard this as a subtle distinction, but it's really not.

We're talking about behavior, not an ontological condition like race or even a belief system like religion.

Now, t…

Good news about our culture, for a change

Gene Veith writes that pluralism is replacing secularism as the paradigm sociologists are using for the dominant social ethos in America today.

I hope he's right. The dominant cultural Left isn't big on tolerance of viewpoints which differ from theirs, and if they're finally figuring out that diversity doesn't mean simply agreeing with them, this can only be to the good.

Oh, to be in Chicago, now that election time is here!

Emanuel or Garcia? On one hand, I'd kinda like to see both of these guys lose.

On the other hand, it sounds like it would sure be fun to be back home in Chicago during the runup to the mayoral runoff on April 7.

Is Rahm da bomb, or is Chuy the guy? I think the city would be (somewhat) better served by a second term for Emanuel; after all, even a totalitarian can be competent. And it doesn't sound like Garcia is really clear on what in the world he's going to do if he wins.

I have a hunch that he'll win anyway. Either way, surely Chicago can do better at what may be the most critical juncture in its history than either of these guys.

HT: Drudge

The ultimate liberal 'argument:' "You're stupid."

The subject was climate change, and Joe Biden- the poster child for political ADHD- has blurted out what most on the Left think is an argument for their side on almost any subject: "You're stupid."

Only it isn't an argument. It's an assertion. Moreover, it's an assertion people who are wrong can make just as easily as people who are right.

Why do liberals think that all they have to do is assert that they're right, and- voila!- it's beyond all doubt, even in the absence of logic?

HT: Drudge

The difference between "priest," "minister," and "pastor"

Gene Veith observes that while all believers are priests, and all believers are ministers, not all believers are pastors.

A priest is simply anyone who intercedes with God for another. A minister is simply a servant. But a pastor is a shepherd. The pastoral ministry is a vocation. It is something to which a someone is specifically called. A layperson (as Article XIV of the Augsburg Confession points out) has no more business preaching or administering the Sacraments than a pastor does doing brain surgery, representing a person accused of committing a crime in court, or having a baby (NOTE: women are specifically forbidden the pastoral office by Scripture).

How Barack Obama undercut George Bush's nuclear negotiations with Iran

The longer the end of the long national nightmare that is the Obama administration drags on, the more amazed I am by the outrage of Democrats when Republicans do the very same sort of things they themselves did when Dubyah was in the White House

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's Obama's back-door message to the mullahs in 2008, letting them know that he'd give them a better deal than Mr. Bush would- thus undercutting the Bush administration's negotiations to prevent Iran from going nuclear- is a case in point.

Federal government hires imam who advocates death for apostates to teach Islam in prison

An imam who supports the death penalty for people who leave Islam has been hired by the Federal government as a prison chaplain.

Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi has specifically called for the death of Somalian women's rights activist Ayan Hirsi Ali. His job will be to teach Islam to inmates.

Just when you think that the Federal government can't get any more perverse, it always seems to find a way.

And now, it's open season on Ferguson cops

At least Michael Brown's family is doing the right thing.

Brown charged a police officer after being caught shoplifting and got shot for it. The policeman became the bad guy, and had to quit the force.

And now it's apparently open season on Ferguson police officers.

Insane. Beyond insane.

HT: Drudge

Don't look now, but "Chuy" Garcia is probably Chicago's next mayor

Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics here lists five rather convincing reasons to believe that "Chuy" Garcia will defeat Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the runoff on April 7.

As I've said before, I'm no fan of either candidate. But Emanuel strikes me as more likely to dig Chicago out of its hole than Garcia is. Nevertheless, my gut tells me that Emanuel is toast.

I'm afraid the extremist wing of the Democratic Party is about to score another coup.

Black pastors condemn Obama's equation of marriage redefinition with civil rights

The leader of a coalition of African-American clergy has called President Obama's equation of gay "marriage" with civil rights "a disgrace to the black community."

"I marched with many people back in those days and I have reached out to some of my friends who marched with me, and all of them are shocked,” said the Rev. William Owens of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP). “They never thought they would see this day that gay rights would be equated with civil rights. Not one agreed with this comparison.”

“President Obama didn’t march,” Owens said. “He has benefited from those of us who did march, but for President Obama to say we marched so that gays would have the right to marry today, is a disgrace and a lie.”

The traditional rationale for giving marriage a special legal status is its role in the bearing and raising of children. The nature of heterosexual behavior promotes this, and thus only heterosexual couples have been allowed to marry. B…

Emanuel clings to narrow lead in rare close Chicago mayoral race

A week after the first round of Chicago's mayoral election, a new poll shows little movement.

The Ogden and Fry poll shows Mayor Emanuel with 43.5% to 38% for challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. Eighteen percent were undecided.

The poll takers contend, however, that Hispanic Chicagoans are underrepresented in the sample, which would probably mean that Garcia is in fact in a stronger position than he seems to be.

Even relatively close Chicago mayoral elections have been rare in my lifetime. In 1955, Richard J. Daley won his first term as Chicago's mayor, defeating Republican Alderman Robert Merriam by some 126,667 votes despite three of the city's four newspapers having endorsed Merriam. In 1983, Harold Washington defeated Mayor Jane Byrne by a 37,887 vote plurality in a primary in which no runoff was required. Washington, Chicago's first African-American mayor, went on to defeat Republican Bernard Epton by 48,250 votes in a racially-charged general election. By a…

Clinton Foundation accepted millions from woman-abusing regimes

First came the revelation that when Hillary Clinton was a U.S. senator female staffers in her office were paid significantly less than male staffers.

Now, it seems that the Clinton family foundation accepted millions of dollars in contributions from some of the most gender-backward, woman-abusing, and generally misogynistic countries on earth.

It's a little surprising that the news was broken in the New York Times, America's Democratic campaign pamphlet of record. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the news to have a negative impact on Hillary's support among radical feminists.

Movements on the Left have their own logic, and somehow I suspect Mrs. Clinton to have no trouble running as a women's advocate even so.

Time to lose our illusions about Vladimir Putin- and that 'reset'

Several years ago, a study was done to determine the optimal characteristics of an organism living in an environment with lots of other, diverse organisms. I think an aquarium was the model, but I could be wrong.

Turns out that the strategy best suited for survival was: 1) to be bigger and badder than anybody else; 2) to be as gentle, helpful, and cooperative with the other organisms as possible; 3) to be generous and unselfish with available resources; and 4) to strike ruthlessly and decisively when messed with.

Nothing wrong with "nice-nice" up to a point. It's good geopolitics, in fact- up to a point. In personal ethics, it's what we Christians are bound to practice. We don't get to escalate to Number Four in our personal relationships.

But for governments, it's a different matter. In the Kingdom of the Left Hand, where rules and laws and interpersonal quarrels among various fallen human beings (and the nations they run) are dealt with, the turning of the…

Should unconstitutional rulings by SCOTUS simply be ignored?

Here's an interesting article by a law professor on how Republicans should treat a likely (though illegitimate) Supreme Court ruling universalizing same-sex "marriage."

Treat it, he said, like Republicans treated the similarly-illegitimate Dred Scott decision: ignore it as itself a violation of the Constitution, and thus invalid.

Sort of like Roe v. Wade.

Mysterious anti-Hillary push-poll in Iowa

Somebody is testing negative messages about Hillary Clinton among Iowa Democrats. The practice, called "push polling," is usually a gimmick to spread negative information about an opponent under the guise of taking a poll.

Iowa Democrats used push-polling last year in an effort to help ex-congressman Bruce Braley defeat now-Senator Joni Ernst. Although the first response of many would be to blame the Republicans, would it be ridiculously obvious to suggest that, given both the audience and the fact that a Democratic polling firm is involved, it's probably a fellow Democrat who also wants to be president?

Interestingly, the article linked to above thinks that Hillary's own campaign might be responsible, presumably in order to test her vulnerability on the issues in question.

HT: Drudge

Do we really want a candidate with courage and integrity?

While I support Jeb Bush for the 2016 Republican presidential nominee- I think he's the best-qualified candidate, and all-in-all has the best chance of winning once people see past his last name to the candidate himself- I don't agree with his positions on several issues.

Now, here's the thing: we say that we want leaders with courage and integrity. I'm certainly not saying that we should go out of our way to find candidates to support who take positions we find obnoxious. But I wonder how many of us will actually respond favorably to a candidate with such conspicuous courage and integrity that he is willing to take unpopular positions because he believes that they're right, and stick to them.

Sure, there have been other Republican candidates who have done that in recent years. Rudi Giuliani and Jon Huntsman, for example. But this is the first time in a long while that I can recall a candidate with an actual chance of winning the nomination has refused to pander.


Kane or no Kane, odds-makers still favor the Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup

Apparently, given Stan Bowman's activity at the trade deadline, the odds-makers aren't letting Patrick Kane's injury or the Blackhawks' inconsistent play this season phase them.

They're still making the Hawks the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

Of course, Kane should be back from his broken collarbone sometime in May.

HT: Yardbarker

Coming soon to a Federal court near you

Thailand has witnessed the world's first three-person gay "marriage."

And why not? If two people of the same sex can marry each other, why not three? Six? Twelve?

If marriage no longer has the bearing and raising of children as its purpose, and it's only an affectional relationship, why limit the number of participants? And why require that the relationship be permanent?

Marriage redefinition has nothing to do with civil rights; even where it's legal, only a tiny percentage of same-sex couples take advantage of same-sex "marriage." It's about equating homosexuality and heterosexuality socially- and its adoption will almost certainly spell the beginning of the end for the institution of marriage itself.

The one thing ISIS just might be right about

Lutheran scholar Gene Veith writes on the strong apocalyptic strain in Islam, its impact on ISIS, and why the next seven years are crucial in the fight against Islamofascism.

Christianity- obviously- also has a strong apocalyptic strain. Despite its unbiblical character, wild speculation about the mythical "rapture" and millennium and the precise details of the End Times is a strong feature of "evangelical" Protestant thought, and takes up a great deal of space in the dwindling number of Christian bookstores in America.

Of course, every generation of Christians has believed that it was living in the end times- which I've always suspected was more or less what Jesus intended when the gave a list of signs which plug into pretty much any period since His Ascension (with a few time-specific ones which seem to refer to the Fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. mixed in) in Matthew 24. After all, He strongly discouraged speculation on the subject; emphasizing the need to alwa…

Dr. Ben Carson's Todd Aiken moment

Dr. Ben Carson, the well-financed African-American surgeon who is running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has effectively destroyed his own credibility with the amazingly bizarre statement that because prison inmates go into jail straight and emerge gay, homosexuality is a choice.

Even among wild animals, the absence of available opposite-sex partners often results in temporary same-sex behavior. And the same thing happens in prison. Of course sometimes people who previously considered themselves "straight" discover otherwise when they experience homosexual behavior- even rape- in prison, and may continue to involve themselves in homosexual behavior after they leave (though in most casesas bisexuals rather than as exclusive homosexuals).

But the statistical evidence shows clearly that more than half of identical twins of gay men are also gay. This demonstrates that there is no gay "gene;" if there were, all twins sharing the same genome would have…

Getting ready for the rainbow storm

As anticipation grows that the Supreme Court will overturn two thousand years of precedent and the entire traditional rationale for marriage and invent a "right" to same-sex "marriage" out of whole cloth later in the year, states are considering legislation to at least safeguard freedom of religion as the constitutional revisionists inevitably press their advantage and try to suppress dissent.

Maybe they're right this time

I am not a climate change denier- though I have my doubts about the degree to which it's anthropogenic and likely to be catastrophic.

However, I remember this meme. According to the scientific consensus back then, we were all doomed because of climate change.

The problem was global cooling. We were all going to freeze to death. In fact, I remember discussing the coming ice age in class during high school.

I graduated in 1968, and I seem to remember that the discussion took place in my sophomore year.

HT: Drudge

Yes, Rahm Emanuel very well could lose on April 7

Challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia has closed to within striking distance of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the April 7 runoff.

Polls show the gap within single digits, and perhaps as small as six points.

I'm not sure Chicago can financially survive Garcia. I'm not sure it can survive Emanuel, for that matter. But the incumbent is trying, and has made a great many enemies by struggling to be fiscally responsible.

Chick-fil-A political thuggery or not, I have to reluctantly pull for Rahm. And yes- he very well could lose.

HT: Drudge

Is it any wonder people are uncomfortable with our public schools?

I had just finished a brief Facebook debate over teachers' unions when I came across this.

Check it out: a philosopher comes to grips with the moral relativism being pushed in our schools-- and comes to grips with it in The New York Times, yet!

While a great many people seem to be ignorant of this fact (and I use the term advisedly), things which cannot be proven may nonetheless be true. I refusal to recognize this leads not simply to shallow materialism, but to intellectual arrogance and an inability to think logically.

Rasmussen: Scott Walker gives Hillary a run for her money

Arguably Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is the current GOP front-runner. He's surged to the front of the polls hand has attracted a great deal of positive publicity (as well as a few dirty tricks by the liberal media).

Now a Rasmussen poll shows him trailing Hillary Clinton in a putative 2016 presidential matchup by only five points.

Given Hillary's name recognition- and Walker's lack of it- that's a pretty impressive showing.

Yes, we still need Neuhaus

Prof. Randy Boyagoda is right: at this time of ignorance and confused thinking in America not only religion about religion but the also about the basis of human rights, we need the thought of the late Richard John Neuhaus more than ever.

I remember once hearing Fr. Neuhaus lecture at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. He pointed out that the most religious nation in the world is India, while the least religious is Sweden. America, Neuhaus said, "is a nation of Indians governed by Swedes- and the Indians are getting restless."

Despite all signs to the contrary, we remain a very religious people. We are also a religiously very confused people- and, to a degree unique in our history, a religiously ignorant people. Ross Douthat's Bad Religion is a superb recent book which explores that reality in depth. I wish that more people would read it.

As it is, the reality described by Neuhaus's The Naked Public Square- remains. We're a nation which continues to misunderstand a…

Minnie Minoso signs up to play with Ernie Banks

It seems ironic that the biggest White Sox star of the 'Fifties, Minnie Minoso, should die within weeks of Ernie Banks. The single digits of my life were spent in no small measure bragging on Ernie while my playmates on the near Sound Side- and even Mom's side of the family- extolled the South Siders' best player- Minoso, known as the "Cuban Comet." The Hall-of-Famer was the first African-American player in Chicago.

Ernie was known as "Mr. Cub." President Obama, a Sox fan, yesterday called Minoso "Mr. White Sox." Both were baseball pioneers and great players at a time when racial attitudes were much less enlightened than they are today.

I remember the sad episode the night the White Sox won the 2005 World Series, and Minnie tried to get into the locker room. He was refused. Incredibly, nobody recognized him.

In some ways, that's not surprising. Minoso never quite reached the celebrity status in Chicago that Banks did. But nobody who rememb…

The Trib looks at the Chicago mayoral runoff

Here's a look from the Trib at the dynamics of the Emanuel/Garcia mayoral runoff.

Mayor Emanuel's disgraceful behavior in the Chic-fil-a affair continues to prevent me from rooting for him very hard. It's difficult for me to have much sympathy for a guy who would abuse his power to prevent someone who honestly disagrees with him about a political issue from opening a restaurant within the city limits. But at a moment when Chicago's finances are teetering on the edge of a cliff, his fiscal restraint seems to me to be important enough- and a significant enough source of opposition to him- that if I still lived there I'd probably vote for him just to help my home town keep its head above water.

The runoff is April 7.

Jeb displays his coolness under fire at CPAC

Here's another view of the discourtesy with which Jeb Bush was treated at CPAC- and his own keeping of his cool under fire.

What I'd like to know is what this "coronation" business is all about. Yeah, Jeb has a big lead in fundraising and in key support. So far he's put together the most effective political and financial organization of any candidate. And yes, he's considered the front-runner.

But somebody has to be. Why does the fact that it's Jeb make any of this illegitimate? Would't his rivals be better off competing with him rather than complaining that thus far he's proving a better candidate than they are?

HT: Real Clear Politics