Archive for February, 2012
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 | Uncategorized | 22 Comments
A trial court in Iran has issued its final verdict, ordering a Christian pastor to be put to death for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity, according to sources close to the pastor and his legal team.
Supporters fear Youcef Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old father of two who was arrested over two years ago on charges of apostasy, may now be executed at any time without prior warning, as death sentences in Iran may be carried out immediately or dragged out for years.
It is unclear whether Nadarkhani can appeal the execution order.
Once again, we see the truth in Christ’s words that you shall know them by their fruits. I am completely uninterested in what any religion claims about itself when its members live somewhere as a minority. I am keenly interested in what a religion does when it has the unfettered power to do anything it likes.
Islam and its Western liberal enablers had better face situations like this and face them squarely and honestly (actually, both should have faced them generations ago but better to face them late than to continue to lie that no problem with the Islamic religion exists). Because right now, being scared of Islam is not bigotry; it is self-defense.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 | Uncategorized | 7 Comments
TAPPER: The White House keeps praising these journalists who are — who’ve been killed –
CARNEY: I don’t know about “keep” — I think –
TAPPER: You’ve done it, Vice President Biden did it in a statement. How does that square with the fact that this administration has been so aggressively trying to stop aggressive journalism in the United States by using the Espionage Act to take whistleblowers to court?
You’re — currently I think that you’ve invoked it the sixth time, and before the Obama administration, it had only been used three times in history. You’re — this is the sixth time you’re suing a CIA officer for allegedly providing information in 2009 about CIA torture. Certainly that’s something that’s in the public interest of the United States. The administration is taking this person to court. There just seems to be disconnect here. You want aggressive journalism abroad; you just don’t want it in the United States.
CARNEY: Well, I would hesitate to speak to any particular case, for obvious reasons, and I would refer you to the Department of Justice for more on that.
I think we absolutely honor and praise the bravery of reporters who are placing themselves in extremely dangerous situations in order to bring a story of oppression and brutality to the world. I think that is commendable, and it’s certainly worth noting by us. And as somebody who knew both Anthony and Marie, I particularly appreciate what they did to bring that story to the American people.
I — as for other cases, again, without addressing any specific case, I think that there are issues here that involve highly sensitive classified information, and I think that, you know, those are — divulging or to — divulging that kind of information is a serious issue, and it always has been.
TAPPER: So the truth should come out abroad; it shouldn’t come out here?
CARNEY: Well, that’s not at all what I’m saying, Jake, and you know it’s not. Again, I can’t — specific –
TAPPER: That’s what the Justice Department’s doing.
CARNEY: Well, you’re making a judgment about a broad array of cases, and I can’t address those specifically.
TAPPER: It’s also the judgment that a lot of whistleblowers’ organizations and good government groups are making as well.
CARNEY: Not one that I’m going to make.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 | Uncategorized | 28 Comments
From David Virtue comes word that Episcopal priests in the Diocese of Pennsylvania will be able to obey their consciences on the subject of homosexual marriage only if their consciences tell them whatever Chuckie wants them to hear:
In a note to the clergy on The Commemoration of Absalom Jones, [Bishop Charles] Bennison wrote to “clergy colleagues” saying, “I am very concerned that to date only 43 of us have registered for the Conference on Rites for Blessing Same – Gender Relationships on February 21- a week from tomorrow. This means that a large number of us may not be adequately prepared to respond pastorally, either to people’s reactions to this summer’s General Convention vote on rites proposed by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music in response to Resolution C-056 at the 2009 General Convention, or to same gender couples who may ask us to use the rites for the blessing of their relationships if, as seems likely, Convention adopts them.
“Unless the implementing resolution states otherwise, none of us, should we be asked to bless the relationship of a same-gender couple, may refuse to do so on the basis of their sexual orientation.”
This is a clear warning that clergy who disobey what GC2012 will predictably pass could face disciplinary proceedings if they are asked to perform a same-sex blessing and refuse to do so.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 | Uncategorized | 14 Comments
Jeff Walton reports that Robbie isn’t even pretending anymore:
Calling upon homosexual and transgender persons to advocate for same-sex marriage in conversations with friends, co-workers and family members, Bishop Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire appeared recently in the nation’s capital to promote a campaign centered on having such conversations.
“If you get down to arguing over individual verses of scripture, you have already lost,” Robinson advised on the sharing of personal stories. “You really need to go with the personal.”
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 | Uncategorized | 15 Comments
Stephen Green on a Midwestern institution. If your town doesn’t have one of these, you need to move to a town that does.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 | Uncategorized | 26 Comments
Uh…Robbie? Are all those progs who were going to inundate Episcopal churches because you got a pointy hat and a hooked stick stuck in traffic or something? Because the Episcopalians just lost another cathedral:
The Episcopal Cathedral of St. John — which began as King’s Church in 1722 and is the Diocese of Rhode Island’s fourth oldest church — is shutting down, with a final service set for April 22.
Parishioners of the cathedral church, the seat of Bishop Geralyn Wolf, learned the news on Sunday from the Right Rev. David Joslin, the cathedral’s interim dean, and Deacon Barbara May-Stock, during the parish’s annual meeting on North Main Street.
Parishioner Marjorie Beach says many were in tears when advised that because of declining numbers of pledging families and the cost of salaries and benefits, the parish could not longer continue — at least for now. The church closed temporarily once before — during the American Revolution.
What happened? According to Acting Dean David Joslin, the Cathedral, already heavily mortgaged, landed on Boardwalk, which it did not own and which had a hotel.
On Sunday, February 19, 2012, the Annual Meeting was held at the Cathedral of Saint John. In this letter I want to report on the central focus of that meeting.
As you know, the Cathedral parish has experienced growing financial difficulty over a period of years. Now it has become more than a difficulty. Simply put, we are now out of money. Last year we had a deficit of about $250,000 which was covered by reserves. Now those reserves have been used up.
Dave’s not giving up, mind you.
Please note that while services and parish life are being suspended it does not mean that the Cathedral is being permanently closed. Suspending services now leaves open the possibility of new uses for the Cathedral in the future mission strategy of the Diocese.
Translation: the market for old church buildings is kind of depressed right about now. Mad props to BabyBlue.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, February 20th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 13 Comments
Inside every American leftist is a person struggling to get out(eight or nine people in Michael Moore’s case) who fervently wishes that this country had lost its War of Independence. In a New York Times op-ed piece entitled “Why China’s Political Model Is Superior,” a venture capitalist named Eric Li weighs China and the United States in the balances and finds the United States wanting:
Many have characterized the competition between [the United States and China] as a clash between democracy and authoritarianism. But this is false. America and China view their political systems in fundamentally different ways: whereas America sees democratic government as an end in itself, China sees its current form of government, or any political system for that matter, merely as a means to achieving larger national ends.
And it’s not like democracy is enduring or anything.
In the history of human governance, spanning thousands of years, there have been two major experiments in democracy. The first was Athens, which lasted a century and a half; the second is the modern West. If one defines democracy as one citizen one vote, American democracy is only 92 years old. In practice it is only 47 years old, if one begins counting after the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — far more ephemeral than all but a handful of China’s dynasties.
So why didn’t the United States name George Washington as its first king?
The answer lies in the source of the current democratic experiment. It began with the European Enlightenment. Two fundamental ideas were at its core: the individual is rational, and the individual is endowed with inalienable rights. These two beliefs formed the basis of a secular faith in modernity, of which the ultimate political manifestation is democracy.
The Federalists figured out that unrestrained democracy led only to political chaos.
The American Federalists made it clear they were establishing a republic, not a democracy, and designed myriad means to constrain the popular will. But as in any religion, faith would prove stronger than rules.
The more stupid opinions that must be considered, the less that gets done.
The political franchise expanded, resulting in a greater number of people participating in more and more decisions. As they say in America, “California is the future.” And the future means endless referendums, paralysis and insolvency.
And it’s not like American votes actually mean anything anymore.
In Athens, ever-increasing popular participation in politics led to rule by demagogy. And in today’s America, money is now the great enabler of demagogy. As the Nobel-winning economist A. Michael Spence has put it, America has gone from “one propertied man, one vote; to one man, one vote; to one person, one vote; trending to one dollar, one vote.” By any measure, the United States is a constitutional republic in name only. Elected representatives have no minds of their own and respond only to the whims of public opinion as they seek re-election; special interests manipulate the people into voting for ever-lower taxes and higher government spending, sometimes even supporting self-destructive wars.
China, on the other hand, has figured things out. Increased individual participation in national affairs is just fine as long as it enhances what China’s rulers consider to be China’s national interests.
China is on a different path. Its leaders are prepared to allow greater popular participation in political decisions if and when it is conducive to economic development and favorable to the country’s national interests, as they have done in the past 10 years.
However, China’s leaders would not hesitate to curtail those freedoms if the conditions and the needs of the nation changed. The 1980s were a time of expanding popular participation in the country’s politics that helped loosen the ideological shackles of the destructive Cultural Revolution. But it went too far and led to a vast rebellion at Tiananmen Square.
That uprising was decisively put down on June 4, 1989. The Chinese nation paid a heavy price for that violent event, but the alternatives would have been far worse.
People being able to think, say and advocate what they consider to be the truth? People able and willing to put their ideas up for debate? Well, Beijing made the trains run on time so SHUT UP, BITCHES!!
The resulting stability ushered in a generation of growth and prosperity that propelled China’s economy to its position as the second largest in the world.
And then Li gets down to brass tacks. Freedom really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
The fundamental difference between Washington’s view and Beijing’s is whether political rights are considered God-given and therefore absolute or whether they should be seen as privileges to be negotiated based on the needs and conditions of the nation.
The West seems incapable of becoming less democratic even when its survival may depend on such a shift. In this sense, America today is similar to the old Soviet Union, which also viewed its political system as the ultimate end.
History does not bode well for the American way. Indeed, faith-based ideological hubris may soon drive democracy over the cliff.
I guess if you were particularly charitable, you could view China’s political model as stable. But if you were intellectually honest, you would view it as stagnant.
The terminology and the titles have changed. But aside from the nomenclature, there really isn’t any substantive difference between Qing Dynasty China and its modern Communist counterpart.
Both were and are despotisms. Both considered themselves to be the embodiment of China’s national interests. And both compare unfavorably to the West.
Because Li leaves something out. Innovation. I fully realize that China invented gunpowder, fireworks and movable type and I’m well aware that the Chinese discovered what an amazing drink can be brewed from the leaves of camellia senensis.
But that’s a marker of a culture in terminal decline. When it brags about the stuff it did a thousand years ago(see the Islamic world). The question one needs to ask is what innovations has China come up with lately.
Could China have invented the personal computer, the cell phone, the iPod Touch or the iPad? Of course not. Because to do so requires thinking outside the box, outside what a top-down government might allow.
I suppose that despotisms like China are more effective, at least in the short term. Life would be so much easier if you could simply order something to happen and not have to deal with a bunch of dumb laws or have to fight your way through even dumber debate.
In China, at least, we can see where that sort of thinking leads. Brand-new cities with no inhabitants. A coming property crash that’s going to make ours look tame. Some of the worst air pollution in the world. And a spiritual life that’s just as regulated as everything else is in that country.
As long as he can make money, Mr. Li might not be overly concerned about any of that. But the United States has something that China, in its present political condition, will never have, indeed can never have. Potential.
It is interesting how much this mindset has permeated the Western intelligentsia. The news media that regularly levelled the charge of “fascist” at George W. Bush views Mr. Obama’s blatantly unconstitutional power grabs with indifference or even approval. And the hostility toward individualism described by Li has even begun to percolate through churches. Remember this?
The crisis of this moment has several parts, and like Episcopalians, particularly ones in Mississippi, they”re all related. The overarching connection in all of these crises has to do with the great Western heresy, that we can be saved as individuals, that any of use alone can be in right relationship with God. It”s caricatured in some quarters by insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus. That individualist focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy, at the center of existence, as the ground of all being. That heresy is one reason for the theme of this Convention.
Ubuntu. That word doesn”t have any “I”s in it. The I only emerges as we connect and that is really what the word means: I am because we are, and I can only become a whole person in relationship with others. There is no “I” without “you,” and in our context, you and I are known only as we reflect the image of the one who created us. Some of you will hear a resonance with Martin Buber”s I and Thou and recognize a harmony. You will not be wrong.
I said that this crisis has several elements related to that heretical and individualistic understanding. We”ve touched on one how we keep the earth, meant to be a gift to all God”s creatures. The financial condition of the nations right now is another element. The sins of a few have wreaked havoc with the lives of many, as greed and dishonesty have destroyed livelihoods, educational possibilities, care for the aged, and multiple forms of creativity and that”s just the aftermath of Ponzi schemes for which a handful will go to jail. If we want to be faithful, we need to be continually rediscovering that my needs are not the only significant ones. Living in Ubuntu implies that selfishness and self-centeredness cannot long survive. We are our siblings” keepers and their knowers, and we cannot be known without them we have no meaning, no true existence in isolation. We shall indeed die as we forget or ignore that reality.
It is worth pointing out that the church headed by the author of those words claims to tolerate multiple viewpoints on various issues while attacking those who dissent from the official line (see the frequency with which Jim Naughton and the rest of the Episcopal left refer to anyone who takes issue with their interpretation of The Issue as bigots) or finding extra-legal ways to eliminate them from church life.
This is why I don’t particularly care who the Republican nominee for president will turn out to be and why I refuse to call myself “principled” and waste myvote for some third-party candidate. Removing Barack Obama from office is important for my country; right now, my ability to thank God that I am not as other men are is less than irrelevant.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Sunday, February 19th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments
Give it up for THE scum of the Earth!!
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Saturday, February 18th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments
Leftist Ed Kilgore thinks he’s caught Rick Santorum in some religious bigotry:
Kyle Mantyla of People for the American Way’s indispensable Right Wing Watch has come up with an audiotape of a Rick Santorum address to the students of the conservative Catholic Ave Maria University in Florida, delivered in 2008. It’s an altogether remarkable speech depicting Rick as a leader in a “spiritual war” against Satan for control of America. Much of its involves the usual right-wing stuff about the conquest of academia (outside bastions like Ave Maria) by the forces of moral relativism, but then there is this Santorum assessment of mainline Protestantism:
[O]nce the colleges fell and those who were being educated in our institutions, the next was the church. Now you’d say, ‘wait, the Catholic Church’? No. We all know that this country was founded on a Judeo-Christian ethic but the Judeo-Christian ethic was a Protestant Judeo-Christian ethic, sure the Catholics had some influence, but this was a Protestant country and the Protestant ethic, mainstream, mainline Protestantism, and of course we look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it.
And while it’s not unusual to hear the occasional Protestant fundamentalist or Catholic traditionalist mock us mainliners as morally and theologically lax, excessively “secular,” too “liberal,” too friendly to feminists and sodomites and so on and so forth, you don’t hear many politicians publicly talk that way, much less suggest all these Christians are really in the grasp of Satan.
I’d say Rick needs to be held accountable for these remarks, unless he chooses to repudiate them. I hope the Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Disciples of Christ, Congregationalists, etc., who encounter him on the campaign trail ask him about it. It’s not as though the man can claim he believes in a strict separation of religious and political viewpoints.
I don’t know about you but my opinion of Rick Santorum just went WAY up. You’re just not supposed to say stuff like this and the fact that Senator Santorum was willing to publicly utter sentiments of this kind says a lot about the man’s character.
I’ve got news for you, Ed. As someone who grew up in an American Protestant mainline church, Rick Santorum didn’t say anything that most of us haven’t figured out a long time ago. When your church has abolished any meaningful concept of sin and turned Jesus of Nazareth into nothing more than a first-century leftist Jewish performance artist, your Christian street cred is, at best, highly questionable.
Did I ever tell you the one about how I grew up in Episcopal Sunday schools but had to learn who Jesus was and why He was important from Billy Graham, Ed? Matthew 7:15-20 and all that.
One more thing, Ed. Project much? Anybody’s who’s ever wandered an Episcopal coffee hour or read any given left-wing Episcopal blog knows that mainliners say far worse stuff than this about Protestant fundamentalists and Catholic traditionalists all the time.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Saturday, February 18th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 31 Comments
Rabbi Meir Soloveichik of New York’s Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, and Director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University points out that Barack Obama’s recent decision to force the Catholic Church to see that any of its employees who wanted it would be provided with “free” birth control didn’t just order the Catholic church to change its doctrine. It also gives the government the right to decide what is or isn’t religious practice:
What I wish to focus on this morning is the exemption to the new insurance policy requirements that the administration did carve out from the outset: to wit, exempting from the new insurance policy obligations religious organizations that do not employ or serve members of other faiths. From this exemption carved out by the administration, at least two important corollaries follow. First: by carving out an exemption, however narrow, the administration implicitly acknowledges that forcing employers to purchase these insurance policies may involve a violation of religious freedom. Second, the administration implicitly assumes that those who employ or help others of a different religion are no longer acting in a religious capacity, and as such are not entitled to the protection of the First Amendment.
This betrays a complete misunderstanding of the nature of religion. For Orthodox Jews, religion and tradition govern not only praying in a synagogue, or studying Torah in a beit midrash, or wrapping oneself in the blatant trappings of religious observance such as phylacteries. Religion and tradition also inform our conduct in the less obvious manifestations of religious belief, from feeding the hungry, to assessing medical ethics, to a million and one things in between. Maimonides, one of Judaism’s greatest talmudic scholars and philosophers, and also a physician of considerable repute, stresses in his Code of Jewish Law that the commandment to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” is achieved not through cerebral contemplation only but also requires study of the sciences, and engagement in the natural world, as this inspires true appreciation of the wisdom of the Almighty. In refusing to extend religious liberty beyond the parameters of what the administration chooses to deem religious conduct, the administration denies people of faith the ability to define their religious activity. Therefore, not only does the new regulation threaten religious liberty in the narrow sense, in requiring Catholic communities to violate their religious tenets, but also the administration impedes religious liberty by unilaterally redefining what it means to be religious.
The force of this and other arguments against Obama’s assault on American religious freedom is implicitly acknowledged by Obama disciples like shrieking Episcopalian hysteric Susan Russell who desperately and ineptly tries to change the subject.
Watching the CNN evening news, the “crawl” along the bottom of the screen read: “Catholic bishops denounce contraception compromise.” My comment on twitter was:”Seriously???? That qualifies as NEWS??? Enough with theocratic war on democracy.” Because here’s the deal: It’s time to call foul on the much ballyhooed “war on religion” and call it what it is … and it IS a theocratic war on democracy.
It is not only possible — it is essential if we’re going to win the theocratic war being waged on our democracy. So let’s all “Just Say No” to the myth of war on religion — whether it comes from a bishop or a Baptist — and get busy making liberty and justice for all not just a pledge but a reality.
“War on democracy,” Susie? Really? Someone who cheered the recent court decision overturning California’s Proposition 8 really shouldn’t use those words since people start calling you a raging hypcrite when you do.
But let’s see. Inventing a “right,” imposing a practice on a religious institution that considers that practice to be a grave evil and then fashioning a “compromise” that leaves that “right” in place by means on an accounting trick of questionable legality constitutes “a theocratic war on democracy.” Whatever you say, cupcake.
Why did Barack Obama pick this needless fight with the Roman Catholic Church? After all, a majority of Catholic voters supported him and many of his declared social justice goals perfectly accord with Catholic teaching.
So what was the problem? Ignorance? A miscalculation? Or is there, as Paul Rahe asserts, something far more sinister going on?
We know a bit more now. We know that the President did not act on impulse, that he took his time in making this decision, and that he sought advice from a range of individuals within the Democratic Party. Vice-President Joe Biden and William Daley, who was then Obama’s Chief of Staff, both profess to be Catholic, and they strongly advised against doing anything that would antagonize the Catholic bishops and the laity. Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker of the House and current Democratic minority leader, were also consulted. They, too, profess to be Catholic, and they fiercely advocated imposing this burden on all employers providing health insurance for their employees.
Birth control pills aren’t anywhere near expensive enough to risk the Presidency over.
On the face of it, President Obama would appear to be shooting himself in the foot. Why would he risk losing the Catholic vote? One could, of course, argue that his aim was to excite the feminists and give them a reason to turn out in November. As a rationale, however, even this seems a bit lame. The benefit that the President proposes to provide is insubstantial. The administration’s claim to the contrary notwithstanding, the pill and other birth control devices are not free. But the expense involved is not great. Among those who are employed and have healthcare insurance, no one is hard put to come up with the paltry sum required.
To Rahe, the President’s actions have only one meaning. Barack Obama has finally dropped the mask.
This suggests that there can be only one reason why Sebelius, Pelosi, and Obama decided to proceed. They wanted to show the bishops and the Catholic laity who is boss. They wanted to make those who think contraception wrong and abortion a species of murder complicit in both. They wanted to rub the noses of their opponents in it. They wanted to marginalize them. Humiliation was, in fact, their only aim, and malice, their motive.
Obama’s “compromise” was actually a gesture of contempt.
Last week, when, in response to the fierce resistance he had deliberately stirred up, the President offered the bishops what he called “an accommodation,” what he proffered was nothing more than a fig leaf. His maneuver was, in fact, a gesture of contempt, and I believe that it was Barack Obama’s final offer. From his perspective and from that of Sebelius and Pelosi, the genuine Catholics still within the Democratic coalition are no more than what Vladimir Lenin called “useful idiots,” and, now that the progressive project is near completion, they are expendable – for there is no longer any need to curry their favor.
Bottom line? Let’s not kid ourselves any longer about who Barack Obama really is.
In 2008, when he first ran for the Presidency, Barack Obama posed as a moderate most of the time. This time, he is openly running as a radical. His aim is to win a mandate for the fundamental transformation of the United States that he promised in passing on the eve of his election four years ago and that he promised again when he called his administration The New Foundation. In the process, he intends to reshape the Democratic coalition – to bring the old hypocrisy to an end, to eliminate those who stand in the way of the final consolidation of the administrative entitlements state, to drive out the faithful Catholics once and for all, to jettison the white working class, and to build a new American regime on a coalition of highly educated upper-middle class whites, feminists, African-Americans, Hispanics, illegal immigrants, and those belonging to the public-sector unions. To Americans outside this coalition, he intends to show no mercy.
Of course, none of this should surprise any Christian.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you(Matthew 5:11-12).
Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you(Matthew 10:16-20).
Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and “a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it(Matthew 10:34-39).
If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, “A servant is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, “They hated Me without a cause(John 15:18-25).”
These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you(John 16:1-4).
I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world(John 17:14-16).
You get the idea. And I don’t think it’s too much of a leap from a government legally deciding what church practices ought to be to a government legally deciding, in order to protect someone’s alleged “rights,” what churches ought to be permitted to preach.
Because if being legally forced to facilitate the commission of a grave sin is not an infringement of your religious freedom, then neither is being legally forbidden from declaring that what Miss Russell likes to do in her off-hours is sinful. After all, nobody’s forcing you to stop believing that Christ died on the Cross for your sins, now are they?
And this is only the beginning. The simple fact of the matter is that defeating our idiot president in November will only delay this trend, it will not stop it. The white-hot rage toward actual Christianity displayed by pseudo-religious frauds like Susan Russell guarantees that any future areligious despot who happens to win the White House will have plenty of “spiritual” cover for further assaults on the Church.
But like I said, none of this should surprise anyone.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, February 17th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 63 Comments
Either’s Sinner is slipping or we’re getting to him. Everybody’s favorite Kiwi fake Anglican traditionalist directs the Editorial attention to something that Murder Inc. and the rest of the left pray to whatever it is that such people pray to that everyone would really rather forget, thank you very much:
Does the past matter? When confronted by facts that are uncomfortable, but which relate to people long dead, should we put them aside and, to use a phrase very much of our time, move on? And there’s a separate, but related, question: how should we treat the otherwise admirable thought or writings of people when we discover that those same people also held views we find repugnant?
It is eugenics, the belief that society’s fate rested on its ability to breed more of the strong and fewer of the weak. So-called positive eugenics meant encouraging those of greater intellectual ability and “moral worth” to have more children, while negative eugenics sought to urge, or even force, those deemed inferior to reproduce less often or not at all. The aim was to increase the overall quality of the national herd, multiplying the thoroughbreds and weeding out the runts.
Such talk repels us now, but in the prewar era it was the common sense of the age. Most alarming, many of its leading advocates were found among the luminaries of the Fabian and socialist left, men and women revered to this day. Thus George Bernard Shaw could insist that “the only fundamental and possible socialism is the socialisation of the selective breeding of man”, even suggesting, in a phrase that chills the blood, that defectives be dealt with by means of a “lethal chamber”.
Such thinking was not alien to the great Liberal titan and mastermind of the welfare state, William Beveridge, who argued that those with “general defects” should be denied not only the vote, but “civil freedom and fatherhood”. Indeed, a desire to limit the numbers of the inferior was written into modern notions of birth control from the start. That great pioneer of contraception, Marie Stopes – honoured with a postage stamp in 2008 – was a hardline eugenicist, determined that the “hordes of defectives” be reduced in number, thereby placing less of a burden on “the fit”. Stopes later disinherited her son because he had married a short-sighted woman, thereby risking a less-than-perfect grandchild.
I’m afraid even the Manchester Guardian was not immune. When a parliamentary report in 1934 backed voluntary sterilisation of the unfit, a Guardian editorial offered warm support, endorsing the sterilisation campaign “the eugenists soundly urge”. If it’s any comfort, the New Statesman was in the same camp.
We could respond to all this the way we react when reading of Churchill’s dismissal of Gandhi as a “half-naked fakir” or indeed of his own attraction to eugenics, by saying it was all a long time ago, when different norms applied. That is a common response when today’s left-liberals are confronted by the eugenicist record of their forebears, reacting as if it were all an accident of time, a slip-up by creatures of their era who should not be judged by today’s standards.
Except this was no accident. The Fabians, Sidney and Beatrice Webb and their ilk were not attracted to eugenics because they briefly forgot their leftwing principles. The harder truth is that they were drawn to eugenics for what were then good, leftwing reasons.
They believed in science and progress, and nothing was more cutting edge and modern than social Darwinism. Man now had the ability to intervene in his own evolution. Instead of natural selection and the law of the jungle, there would be planned selection. And what could be more socialist than planning, the Fabian faith that the gentlemen in Whitehall really did know best? If the state was going to plan the production of motor cars in the national interest, why should it not do the same for the production of babies? The aim was to do what was best for society, and society would clearly be better off if there were more of the strong to carry fewer of the weak.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, February 16th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 38 Comments
Katie Thomas of the New York Times finds a hole in the Obama contraception “compromise” big enough to drive a truck through:
The Obama administration thought it had found a way to ease mounting objections to a requirement in the new health care act that all employers — including religiously affiliated hospitals and universities — offer coverage for birth control to women free of charge.
It would make the insurers cover the costs, rather than the organizations themselves.
But the administration announced the compromise plan before it had figured out how to address one conspicuous point: Like most large employers, many religiously affiliated organizations choose to insure themselves rather than hire an outside company to assume the risk.
Now, the organizations are trying to determine how to reconcile their objections to offering birth control on religious grounds with their role as insurers — or whether there can be any reconciliation at all. And the administration still cannot put the thorny issue to rest.
“We’re all kind of waiting and seeing,” said Jim Liske, chief executive of the Prison Fellowship, a Christian charity that insures itself and objects to offering the morning-after pill to its employees.
The administration has remained mostly silent on how self-insured institutions will be treated, other than to say that the details will be worked out in meetings with religious leaders in the days and weeks to come.
“This policy will be developed collaboratively so that the ultimate outcome works for religious employers, their workers and the public,” an administration official said Wednesday.
And if you think that means that Catholic institutions that self-insure will be exempt from having to violate their principles when the government wants them to, Nanner McBotox can get you a great deal on a Golden Gate Bridge.
In her weekly press briefing, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was asked whether or not she believes the Catholic Church in Washington D.C., a self-insured institution, should have to pay for contraception coverage for its employees.
“I firmly believe — I want to remove all doubt in anyone’s mind where I am on this subject,” Pelosi said. “This is an issue about women’s health, and I believe that women’s health should be covered in all of the insurance plans that are there.”
Later, she says, “Yes, I think that all institutions that give health insurance should cover the full range of health insurance issues for women, and I think it’s really curiouser and curiouser that as we get further into this debate, the Republican leadership of this Congress thinks it’s appropriate to have a hearing on a subject of women’s health and purposely exclude women from the panel. What else do you need to know about the subject?”
When and how Obama will next plow under American religious freedom. That’s pretty much it for now but I’ll let you know if I think of anything else.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, February 16th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 26 Comments
The Democrats must have a serious electoral problem with actual Christians for Virginia Democrat Gerry Connolly to go this bat-crap:
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., religious leaders testifying in Congress today that they were engaged in “shameful” acts of “political demagoguery” unworthy of their religious offices.
“I believe that today’s hearing is a sham,” Connolly told a panel of one priest, three pastors, and a Jewish rabbi during a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing today. “Here you are being asked to testify about your rights being trampled on — an overstatement if there ever was one — while you’re on a panel, and your participation on the panel makes you complicit in of course the trampling of freedom, because we were denied, on this side of the aisle, any witness who might have a differing point of view. And I think that’s shameful.”
Continuing his monologue, Connolly made a harsh rebuke of the religious leaders. “I say to you, as a member of this committee who actually shared the concerns you say you have last week, that I think this is a shameful exercise,” he said. “And I am very sad you have chosen to participate and be used the way you’re being used. Just as you were in the previous questioning, as if people are going to jail over this. Shame! Everybody knows that’s not true.” The church leaders had agreed, before Connolly spoke, that they would prefer to go to jail rather than violate their consciences by providing contraception and abortifacients to women.
Denouncing Republicans for trying to hurt President Obama politically, Connolly faulted the assembled ministers for “overstating [the religious freedom issues in the mandate] and making charges that are just outlandish and frankly beyond the pale.” Such testimony “serves no purpose other than political demagoguery in an election year,” he said. “And men and women of the cloth, it seems to me, ought to run not walk away from that line.”
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, February 16th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 34 Comments
It’s extremely difficult to care about the Episcopalians when they no longer do. Mrs. Schori phones in her Lent message:
I invite you to use the Millennium Development Goals[peace and blessings be upon them] as your focus for Lenten study and discipline and prayer and fasting this year. I’m going to remind you that the Millennium Development Goals[peace and blessings be upon them] are about healing the worst of the world’s hunger. They’re about seeing that all children get access to primary education. They’re about empowering women. They’re about attending to issues of maternal health and child mortality. They’re about attending to issues of communicable disease like AIDS and malaria and tuberculosis. They’re about environmentally sustainable development, seeing that people have access to clean water and sanitation and that the conditions in slums are alleviated. And finally, they are about aid, foreign aid. They’re about trade relationships, and they’re about building partnerships for sustainable development in this world.
Does Jesus get mentioned at all? Once.
What the Bible says more often than anything else is to tend to the needs of the widows and orphans, those without. Jesus himself says, “Care for the least of these.”
Actually, what Our Lord and Savior said was…aw, skip it. What’s the point of writing yet again that the Presiding Bishop is making stuff up? As Biblically-illiterate as Episcopalians are, it’s not like anyone in TEO is going know enough to call her on it.
Since Mrs. Schori’s Lent message could easily serve(and probably already has) as her Easter message, her Advent message, her Christmas message, her Pentecost message, her Arbor Day message, her Flag Day message, her Warren G. Harding Birthday message, her National Dress Up Your Pet Day message, her National Popcorn Day message, her National Plum Pudding Day message, her National Crown Roast of Pork day message, her National Cheeseball Day message, her National Zucchini Bread Day message, her National Candied Orange Peel day message, her National Dance Like a Chicken Day message, her National Yo-Yo Day message, her National Tapioca Pudding Day message, her National Mud Pack Day message, her National Fritters Day message, her National Whiners Day message, her National Mud Pack Day message, her National Brandied Fruit Day message and her National Pizza With The Works Except Anchovies Day* message, among a great many others, you can easily see what I’m up against here and why it’s getting harder and harder for me to even remotely care about any of this.
UPDATE: I missed something. The Peeb actually finishes strong.
I wish you a blessed Lent and a joyful resurrection at the end of it that may be shared with others around the world.
That’s for anyone who is still foolish enough to believe that Episcopalianism has anything to do with Christianity.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments
In the debate surrounding Barack Obama treating the Establishment Clause as so much toilet paper, his fawning sycophants in the media, the social networks and elsewhere have made much of an Alan Guttmacher Institute(a Planned Parenthood affiliate) study that reports that 98% of Roman Catholic women have, at one time or other, ignored their church’s teaching on birth control.
Two reactions come to mind. The first one, of course, is, “So what?” No study proving this has ever been done but I think it’s fairly safe to assume that 100% of Christian men, Catholic and non-Catholic, have violated Christ’s teaching in Matthew 5:27-28 at least once during the past week but the Christian church isn’t going to be doing any higher criticizing of Our Lord, isn’t going to decide what Jesus really meant, any time soon.
GetReligion’s Mollie Hemingway has another take. Seems that Ms. Hemingway has seen the particulars of the Guttmacher study aforesaid and so she was able to come up with a concise, two-word summation of it. Absolute crap:
It’s fine, I suppose, to use White House talking points in a story or to cite the abortion rights supporting Guttmacher Institute without noting its relationship with Planned Parenthood. But in this case, Guttmacher erred in what it claimed were the results of its own study.
Guttmacher did say in its summary that “Among all women who have had sex, 99% have ever used a contraceptive method other than natural family planning. This figure is virtually the same, 98%, among sexually experienced Catholic women.”
But that’s not in any way an accurate statement of what its own survey found.
On the very same page, it explains that its survey was restricted to women aged 15-44, so that cuts out all women who were older than 44 at the time of the survey. And a footnote explains that a rather significant chunk of women were excluded from this figure of “all women” — namely, women who are pregnant, post-partum or trying to get pregnant.” A later footnote says that the only women who had sex in the last three months were included in this group. Finally, included in this 98 percent figure of current contraceptive users are the 11 percent who report no method.
So I guess we could say that among women aged 15-44 who had sex in the last three months but aren’t pregnant, post-partum or trying to get pregnant, 87 percent of women who identify as Catholic used contraception. It’s worth pondering just who is left out of this 87 percent, other than, you know, everyone who doesn’t use contraception. Great stat, team journalist! I mean, the study was designed to find only women who would be most likely to use contraception. And it did.