Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I planned to write something on the "protester" but Rex Murphy was more eloquent than I and hit just the right note in his piece in the National Post: "Hooligans Coddles for Too Long."
To the extent that the protesters have any ideology it amounts to little more than nostalgia for the Communism of the Soviet Union. They deserve no sympathy from the public, no leniency from the courts, and far harsher treatment than they received from the police.
For this set of malcontents — they’re not protestors; protestors have moral standing — the deliberations of heads of government in a time of crisis are merely a background stage on which to engage in violent and arrogant abuse of the idea of civic action.
They degrade protest.
Don’t buy their muddled mendacious rhetoric either. They care as much about the general well-being of the rest of us as the stone or brick in their hand, or that hammer cares for the well-being of the Starbucks window.
Some people are saying that Toronto shouldn’t have hosted the summit of world leaders — because this crowd would cause trouble. Absolutely wrong.
Cities and governments don’t choose to do or not to do things because a couple of hundred hit-and-run artists put up a smarmy threat of “direct action.” The splinter doesn’t direct the oak.
Yesterday’s mini-riot had one irony that will be very hard for some to digest. It gives at least partial cover for the extraordinary one $1-billion cost that went into security for the G20 meeting here in Toronto.
The Black Bloc, and you can bet they will love this, is Stephen Harper’s best political friend today.
For very long the pseudo-anarchists have been coddled and played with.
The costs of that approach showed up in the images of Toronto broadcast all over the world yesterday — Toronto the mild looking like Toronto the war zone.
Insofar as it is at all possible, those who are responsible for the criminal activity and damage to property should be arrested and charged. They should be banned for good from any like event in future. Penalties should be heavy.
Toronto is a decent, civilized city — hooligans and thugs should never be allowed to twist those virtues into a shield for their own ignorant and dangerous ends.
On the one hand it despises empire and attacks the West for its colonialism and imperialism. It sees the United States of America as a new Roman Empire and condemns it for being violent and oppressive to the poor of the earth.
On the other hand it interprets as "progressive" all moves to more and more killing of unborn children and infants and the hard core of the left supports Dutch-style indiscriminate killing by doctors.
But to see the abolition of abortion laws as "progress" is not progress at all; it is reversion to the worst paganism of the pre-Christian West. The following story from the BBC about a Roman era villa, which was likely a brothel where babies were systematically murdered, demonstrates this fact.
Tests on the site at Hambleden in Buckinghamshire suggest all died at 40 weeks gestation, very soon after birth.
Archaeologists suspect local inhabitants may have been systematically killing unwanted babies.
Archaeologist Dr Jill Eyers said: "The only explanation you keep coming back to is that it's got to be a brothel."
With little or no effective contraception, unwanted pregnancies could have been common at Roman brothels, explained Dr Eyers, who works for Chiltern Archaeology.
And infanticide may not have been as shocking in Roman times as it is today.
Archaeological records suggest infants were not considered to be "full" human beings until about the age of two, said Dr Eyers.
The "progress" that "progressives" want is really to regress to the violent, selfish, immoral, and evil past that Christianity has allowed to West to progress beyond. While condemning Christian and Western violence the direction in which the left is leading us is toward more violence and immorality.
One can only wonder what future cultures will think when they dig up our culture . . .
Monday, June 28, 2010
Because of the G-20 summit, I decided to get to the airport extra early on Saturday even though I had an evening flight, so I got 200 pages read of the bestselling Ann Rand novel, Atlas Shrugged. I can't believe how similar the way the characters talk in the novel is to the stuff you regularly hear today on the Left. It is almost eerie because the socialist rhetoric in the book is so cheesy and formulaic and yet so close to what Obama says almost every time he opens his mouth. The socialists have not had a new idea in over 100 years and the progressives have not had a non-socialist idea since they got started in the early 20th century.
Anyway, we had church this morning and then Beth and Chris went off to the "big city" (i.e. Red Deer!) for their last dinner and movie date for a while. The next few weeks will be a big adjustment as they get used to having two little ones at once. My wife will fly out as soon as Beth goes into labor so she can be here to help for the first two weeks after the baby is born. She has less vacation that I do and I'm actually working here with my books and computer until such time as labor begins and my "vacation" officially starts.
But today was my day to give Beth and Chris a break. So Isaac and I did nap, dinner (my 'grilled cheese sandwich special' using the homemade bread Chris made before he left), playing soccer, skyping with Grammie and Uncle Steve and then more playing peek-a-boo, blocks and cars, stories, bath, prayers, drink of water, songs, rocking and finally sleep. Whew! 10:15 pm Alberta time (12:15 am my body's time) and I have the rest of the evening free. I hope the reason for the lack of blogging is now quite clear!
Grandparenting is part of the deal when it comes to marriage and family. When two people commit to the most intimate and personal relationship possible, they open themselves to new life and to the formation of a new family - with all the implications that follow from that decision. One of the implications is the responsibility to pitch in and help one's kids with the raising of their children: i.e. grandparenting.
A life centered on family is the best kind of life for everyone included married, single and consecrated celibates. Family is the place where we grow in Christian discipleship, practice servanthood and learn to love and be loved. The path of loving mutual service is not an alternative to complete commitment to Christ, but the form and shape that commitment takes. The family is a "little church" where members of the body of Christ ministers to each other and learns how to serve others outside the family as well.
I am thrilled to spend my vacation helping my daughter and son-in-law make a successful transition to having two children under the age of two. Isaac is a joy and a delight to be around. He is very verbal and very polite, although he is a typically rambunctious boy. Our three children and now their spouses and children have become more precious to me as I grow older and not less. Family is truly a blessing from God and more important than so man other things that compete for our attention and fill our days.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Superintendent Singer is giving us the old "Don't you trust us?" line and no, of course we do not trust them. Note that she never says "We wouldn't give condoms to kids; just that they would "act accordingly" - whatever that means. Likely, it means that if a child said he or she were involved in sex, they would give that child a condom and not tell the parents. This policy permits that - which is what is wrong with the policy.
Students in Provincetown – from elementary to high school – will be able to get free condoms at school, under a policy passed earlier this month, even though their parents might object.
“We know that sexual experimentation is not limited to an age, so how does one put an age on it?” said Superintendent Beth Singer, who wrote the policy unanimously passed two weeks ago by the Cape Cod town's School Committee. . . .
The policy, which requires school nurses to supply condoms to any student who asks, was met with criticism by some parents, particularly over the possibility of preschoolers acquiring condoms. But Singer insists that if an especially young child requests a condom, the nurse will ask the student’s motive and act accordingly.
“It’s about availability; we’re not handing 'em out like M&M’s,” said committee chairman Peter Grosso.
The policy, which requires school nurses to supply condoms to any student who asks, was met with criticism by some parents, particularly over the possibility of preschoolers acquiring condoms. But Singer insists that if an especially young child requests a condom, the nurse will ask the student’s motive and act accordingly.
But there is a back story here. This is not happening in Provincetown, MA by accident. Jill Stanek has a story on her blog entitled, "Kiddie Condom Capital is also Queer Capital" in which she outlines the recent history of Provincetown.
A couple updates on my June 23 post about the Provincetown, MA, Public School System's decision to give kids as young as 5 or 6 condoms upon request, at the same time disallowing parental approval.
I heard on WLS radio's Don and Roma Show this morning that the seaside town of Provincetown is also a homosexual harbor. Sure enough, according to Wikipedia:In the mid-1970s members of the gay community began moving to Provincetown. In 1978 the Provincetown Business Guild was formed to promote gay tourism. Today more than 200 businesses belong to the PBG and Provincetown is perhaps the best-known gay summer resort on the East Coast....
Other notable festivals during the year include... "Mate's Leather Weekend" [photo from website gallery above right], "Women's Week" ["the quintessential lesbian vacation destination"],... "Single Men's Weekend" ["enjoy the off-season charm of Provincetown with 400-600 other gay men"]....
In October, Provincetown sees the arrival of transvestite, transgender and transsexual people for the annual Fantasia Fair [photo below]. Started in 1975, it is the longest running event of its kind in the USA.
In fact, according to About.com, Provincetown is the "top gay and lesbian vacation destination" in the US, even ranked above San Francisco.
Also, "Since the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts in 2004, Provincetown has earned the distinction of 'the place to get married,' issuing more than 2k marriage licenses to date." (Photo left via Provincetown.com.)
When the pro-sexual revolution mentality takes over a community, the ideology of free sex for all gradually spreads like a cancer until it justifies anything and everything.
The hard push today for sex education that is focused on the "do whatever you feel like doing, just use a condom" philosophy and the drive to get social approval for sex by younger and younger children is just part of the free sex ideology. According to that ideology, Judeo-Christian hangups about sexual restraint are oppressive because they deny sensual pleasure to people. And is sexual pleasure is an unmitigated good, it must be good for children too. That is where this is all leading.
Anyone who thinks that we can secure social peace by granting more legal rights to homosexuals does not understand that that is just a step along the way, not the end of the road.
Jonathan Kay has an editorial in The National Post claiming that corporate sponsors will sully their names by being associated - not with a celebration of anti-family perversion - but by being associated with a celebration of anti-family perversion that is also anti-Israel.
TD. Bud Light. Via Rail. Pizza Pizza. Rogers. These companies are among those listed as sponsors for the upcoming Pride Week in Toronto, which will culminate in the city’s famous gay-pride Parade on July 4. Like all the other sponsors, they now risk having their corporate names tarnished when that parade twists through downtown Toronto, loudly spewing hatred against the state of Israel.
Last month, Pride organizers sensibly decided to ban Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA), a group of one-issue activists who have cynically traded on Pride’s goodwill to get an audience for their shrill chants. But on Wednesday, organizers backtracked. Under a newly announced policy, parade marchers will simply have to declare themselves in compliance with City of Toronto anti-discrimination policies, and then police their own behaviour. As a result, QuAIA will no doubt be back with the same shrill messaging, once again making many Jews feel unwelcome at an event that is supposed to celebrate diversity.
This is slightly surreal - as if the companies who sponsor "Gay Pride Parades" have any reputations left to lose. Actually it's kind of funny when you think about it. It is like the "respectable" prostitutes looking down their noses at the less respectable ones or the pregnant unwed girl protesting that "I'm not that kind of girl!" But I digress.
So the champions of free sex are also champions of an ideology that engages in female genital mutilation, treats women as possessions of men and hangs homosexuals when it gets a chance to do so. One could pardon the homosexuals for being a little nervous about this situation.
If the Left wins, then the patriarchal, capitalist, male-dominated, Judeo-Christian foundations of the West will be completely destroyed once and for all. So that is good, from their perspective; it's party time! Good-bye guilt and hang-ups!
But once these cultural foundations are eroded, does anybody seriously think that the bloated Western welfare states with their increasing pacifism, their aging populations and their relativistic ethics can stand up to the growing Muslim nations and their oil dollars? Look around at what is going on today. Yale University Press and Comedy Central bow to Islamic censorship. The President of the United States bans the use of the term "Islamist terrorism" in his administration lest Muslims be offended. Europe has become anti-Israel at the behest of Arabs who threaten to turn off the oil supply. The Archbishop of Canterbury thinks Sharia Law in Britain is "inevitable."
The Western Left split during the cold war against Communism in the middle of the 20th century. Some stuck to the party line and spied for Uncle Joe and the USSR. Others turned against Marxism and became real liberals. Many stayed on the fence hoping to jump on the socialist train just as it gathered enough steam to show that it was inevitably the winner.
What will the Left do now? Jew-hatred is taking over the Left leaving only conservatives to defend Israel and the right of the Jews to live in their ancient homeland without being ruled by bigots who plan to exterminate them. The irrational, fanatical commitment to sex without restraint never was a positive foundation for building or reforming a culture. It is simply a plan to destroy what exists in the blind faith that whatever rises in its place will inevitably be better. You can't build a culture on adolescent rebellion.
The inner contradictions of the left are leading it to betray the principles of liberalism and embrace fascism and anti-Semitism. Is everyone on the Left happy with this outcome? Or will there be a significant split in the movement?
Thursday, June 24, 2010
To “conserve,” however, is a fairly simple thing. While “liberals” and “progressives” keep changing what lovely things they see in the future, “conserving” means knowing what’s important and trying to save it. The opposite of “conservative,” in fact, has never been “liberal”; it has always been ideology. Ideology, as my friend the great historian Forrest McDonald says, is “dogmatic, scientific, secular millenialism.” It’s been around the western political world since the French Revolution. Ideology is older than that, of course, it is “we shall be as gods.” Conserving, its exact opposite, is understanding the order of creation, and trying as hard as we can to stay somewhere in its near vicinity.The contrast between "ideology" and conservatism is crucial. We conservatives do not have an ideology. Actually, an ideology is what a non-conservative needs in order to know what to do next. The alternative to ideology is tradition.
Later in the article he quotes Scripture:
Place. Limits. Liberty. Do these words have real meaning? I have often asked my ideological friends, “Is there a place you love? What would you do to defend it?” Or, “Is there a limit to what you would ask government to do? Name it, or at least give an approximation.” “Is there a better definition for liberty than the one in Micah 4:4?” But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it."The eschatological hope of Christianity is for rest in the shade of our own tree at peace with the world and freed from the fear of revolution.
Yet, every time we turn around liberals scream "Theocracy" when conservative Christians support a Republican initiative, even though conservatives are not as captive to the Republican agenda as liberals are to the Democratic agenda.
The hypocrisy of liberals on this issue is revolting. Every religion has the right to influence public policy in any way it can using the democratic process. No religion has the right to impose its own beliefs on anybody by force. But neither abolishing abortion or universal health care are policies based on any one denomination or religion. They both claim to be based on universal human rights recognized by everyone regardless of creed. So the attempt to dismiss conservative attempts to influence politics comes down to a biased belief that only liberals should have the right to be involved in politics and conservatives are second-class citizens with no democratic rights.
From CatholicVoteAction.org Thomas Peters has a summary of Pelosi's hypocrisy:
You know things are bad when Jay Leno thinks Nancy Pelosi’s Catholic faith is grounds for a good joke:So why do we not hear the ACLU screaming about separation of church and state when Pelosi makes statements like this? Why do columnists from the New York Times not wring their hands and murmur about Taliban-Democrats? Why does the Left not protest the imposition of Catholic views on a "secular" society when those views are left-wing?
Nancy Pelosi told Catholic leaders they need to support the Democrat version of immigration reform. They need to preach the Democrat line from the pulpits. She would have said more to them but she had to leave to attend a big rally for the separation of Church and state.
Leno is referring to this speech Nancy Pelosi gave to a gathering of liberal catholycs in Washington DC some time ago (organized by the National Catholic Reporter, of course):Specifically:
“The cardinals, the archbishops, the bishops that come to me and say, ‘We want you to pass immigration reform,’” disclosed Pelosi. “And I say, ‘But I want you to speak about it from the pulpit.’
Let’s rewind and play that back: she wanted the bishops to preach this from the pulpit.
Well, I think we know the answer, which can be summed up in two words: bias and hypocrisy.
Since 2005, evangelicals have divided into two roughly opposing camps over the question of anthropogenic global warming. Official statements of the Southern Baptist Convention through its resolution process, its Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and the Cornwall Alliance have typically rejected the theory of anthropogenic global warming and catastrophic climate change predictions. They assert that it is more likely that global warming will be moderate and have moderate or even helpful effects on the environment over all. They also argue that the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions is unlikely to have significant impact on global warming. These groups have focused primarily on the impact of climate-change policy on developing economies and the poor. On the other side, the Evangelical Environmental Network, through its Evangelical Climate Initiative and (as it seems) the SBECI have affirmed the existence and danger of anthropogenic global warming and have called for action to prevent it.Phillips explains why some Evangelicals have opposed the campaign to directs massive financial resources toward reducing carbon emissions:
Read it all here. It is easy to accuse global warming skeptics of just being protective of the rich lifestyle of the West and not caring about the environment. But anyone who thinks that the poor will not suffer the most even if the West pays all the bills is just not paying attention. As Phillips patiently explains, the opportunity costs of directing so great a proportion of our resources toward solving a problem that may not even exist is going to prevent us from doing other things like addressing real, existing problems in public health, agricultural development and so on.
One major motivation for all of the evangelical statements on climate change has been a genuine concern for humanity’s treatment of God’s creation. Another motivation, no less important, has been an apologetic concern to engage non-Christians with a Christian witness. The heart of the evangelical witness in the world is the gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus alone. Seeking the conversion of men, women, and children is the sine qua non of evangelicalism. The priority of missions and evangelism has made evangelicals cautious about the potential of social ministry to overtake and swamp concern for the souls of men. As a result, evangelicals have traditionally subordinated social ministry to evangelism by seeing social ministry as a means to win a hearing for the gospel. Evangelicals have heeded the warning of James 2:14–16 that a faith that does not meet real physical needs is of no practical value.
Care for the poor, while a real good in and of itself, also serves the furtherance of the gospel. This strategy explains, in part, why evangelicals have taken great pains to tie their concern for the environment to concern for the poor. Some appeal to Christ’s command to love our neighbor; most affirm our responsibility to care for the poor. The connection between care for the poor and environmental concern is the fact that both the environment itself and human treatment of the environment by the private and public sectors will affect the poor, especially in developing countries.
Unfortunately, the public-policy response to global warming proposed by some evangelicals makes actually helping the global poor more difficult. The resources of the developed world are vast, but they are still limited. Addressing global warming through capping carbon dioxide emissions at 20 percent of current levels by 2050 will be hugely expensive. Directing a large portion of our resources at this problem will mean that other problems cannot be met. We may be able to meet some needs, but we cannot meet them all. Furthermore, if global warming prevention strategies have a negative impact on the economies of developed countries (as seems likely), this will further shrink the pool of available resources for addressing the pressing needs of the global poor.
If helping the poor in developing nations is made more difficult by the public policy proposals of evangelical environmentalists, then these policies would also undercut the traditional evangelical strategy of using social ministry to win a favorable hearing for the gospel. Drastic reductions of carbon dioxide emissions call for sacrifice on the part of both rich and poor nations. The rich however, are better able to absorb these changes with only marginal adjustments to their lifestyle. The global poor face the more difficult choice. To poor nations, the choice between electricity from expensive and/or unreliable carbon neutral sources and inexpensive, reliable fossil fuel burning sources is no choice at all. If required to build only carbon neutral power plants, which they cannot afford, they will not have power at all. The result will be continued exposure to a wide range of environmental hazards that lead to disease, malnutrition, and early death.
To hear a Western (i.e., rich!) evangelical environmentalist tell the poor that they must sacrifice the technologies that would improve the length and quality of life for them and their families in order to achieve a merely speculative benefit they will never see can only make the poor less likely to listen to the gospel that the evangelical brings. Such disillusionment will only deepen when it is realized that those evangelicals continue to enjoy the same lifesaving technologies they are effectively asking the poor to forego.
The crux of the issue is that there actually is not proof that humans are causing global warming or that anything humans can do can reverse it and there is considerable room for debate about whether the trillions spent is a (probably) futile attempt to reduce carbon emissions would be better spent on adaptation. The global warming alarmists don't want to debate these issues; they just demand capitulation to their agenda now. So we have a standoff and it is not likely to be resolved soon.
All over the world the cause of global warming alarmism is losing ground. It is likely only a matter of time before the leaders of this movement realize that their's is a lost cause and they turn their attention to the next great apocalyptic issue that requires the dismantling of capitalism. So far it has been world hunger, global cooling and now global warming. I wonder what the next one will be.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
In a recent blog post entitled, "I’ve Become an Enemy of the People for Speaking the Truth About Islam," he writes:
When it comes to the right to speak one’s mind about Islam, the record of the last few years makes it clear which direction the West is moving in. In France and Italy, Oriana Fallaci is put on trial for disparaging Islam. In Canada, Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant are hauled before “human rights commission” tribunals for criticizing Islam in print. In Australia, an Islamic organization sues two pastors for “vilification of Muslims.” In Britain, a Daily Telegraph columnist is arrested on charges of hate speech for having written negatively about Islam, and the Archbishop of Canterbury proposes that Parliament pass stronger laws against such speech acts. And in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, the head of the Freedom Party, which performed so well in the June 9 general elections that Wilders may end up in the governing coalition, still faces trial for having made a film about the Koranic foundations of terrorism.
Then there’s Norway, where I live, and where the last few days have seen yet another dark development. By way of background, permit me to begin by quoting myself. On pages 230-31 of my book Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom I sum up the more alarming aspects of Norway’s Discrimination Law, passed in 2005:
It forbids “harassment on the grounds of ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, skin color, language, religion, or beliefs,” and, in turn, defines harassment as “actions, omissions, or utterances [my emphasis] that have the effect or are intended to have the effect of being insulting, intimidating, hostile, degrading, or humiliating.”
In other words, it’s illegal just to say certain things.
Defendants may be accused not only by the individuals whom they’ve supposedly offended but also by semiofficial organs such as the Anti-Racist Center and the Center against Ethnic Discrimination (both of which helped formulate the law, and both of which exist less to oppose real racism and discrimination than to oppose political incorrectness generally) or by the government’s Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud.
Which means that a handful of far-left organizations have been given enormous power to silence those they disagree with.
Violations of the law by individuals are punishable by fine; violations by individuals in concert with at least two other persons (such as a writer conspiring with an editor and publisher, perhaps?) can be punished by up to three years’ imprisonment — this in a country where murderers often get off with less. Moreover, the burden of proof is on the accused: you’re guilty until proven innocent.
And this in a supposedly free country.
Read the rest here.
It is true that Christianity regards homosexual behavior as sinful, just as Islam does. But Christianity also believes that all people are created in the image of God and have value just by virtue of being human. Therefore, Christianity makes room for tolerating many things that it regards as morally wrong and it allows for homosexuals to live without persecution.
Most of the confrontation currently going on between homosexual activists and Christian Churches is not about whether or not Christianity is willing to tolerate people whose lifestyle it disagrees with; rather, it is about homosexuals demanding that Christians change their religion and openly give approval to something they regard as abhorrent. If homosexuals would just leave Christians alone to worship and bring up their children according to their own religious views and if everyone agreed to tolerate the existence of those with whom they disagreed it would be possible for homosexuals to enjoy freedom and tolerance in majority Christian countries as has been the case all along.
But if homosexuals join the hard Left in trying to eliminate Christianity, then all they are doing is tearing down the edifice upon which toleration and respect is built. Once the West is on its knees before Islam, does any thinking person doubt that homosexuals will experience persecution, the likes of which they have never experienced in Western history? At what period of history, pray tell, would a rational homosexual rather have lived in Muslim dominated countries rather than Christian dominated ones?
Homosexuals would be better off, in terms of their rational self-interest, to stop aiding attempts to promote multiculturalism, political correctness and the marginalization of Christianity in the West. A Christianity which respects its traditions and Scriptures enough to maintain its traditional moral stance on sexuality is an alive tradition that can provide a foundation for a relatively just society. But a Christianity that succumbs to political correctness, Marxism and multiculturalism (as well as Western self-hatred), can provide no bulwark against the Ayatollahs and Sharia law.
The Ethics, Culture and Religion curriculum is specifically designed to pry children away from the Christian beliefs of their parents and convert them to the state religion:
Who gets to decide what kind of religious and moral instruction children receive in school? Parents or the state? Quebec says it’s the state. But late last week, a Quebec Superior Court judge delivered a powerful blow for the opposite side of the argument.
The case was initiated by Loyola, a private, anglo, Catholic high school located in Montreal. Loyola had requested an exemption from a provincially mandated ethics and morality course — Éthique et Culture Religieuse (ECR) — on the grounds that it provides its students with an equivalent program, albeit one imbued with the school’s Jesuit pedagogical principles. On June 18, Justice Gérard Dugré found that the government’s decision to refuse Loyola’s request was invalid because the refusal was based on the assumption that a confessional program could not accomplish the goals of ECR.
Religious activists opposed to the program see it as a blatant case of social engineering, a statist indoctrination of children into the ideology of moral relativism. Their quite reasonable fear is that the course will convince impressionable children that no religion is unique or has any superior moral insight to offer or is worthy of special reverence.
But her quotes from the judge's decision are music to the ears of those who decry the dictatorship of relativism:
As I wrote in a column at the time of its implementation, “The program is predicated on the worst possible educational model for young children: the philosopher Hegel’s ‘pedagogy of conflict.’ As one of the founders of the ECR course put it, students “must learn to shake up a too-solid identity” and experience ‘divergence and dissonance’ through ‘le questionnement.’ ”
In his 63-page decision, Judge Dugré issued a surprisingly aggressive and even humiliating rebuke to the Ministry of Education: “The obligation imposed on Loyola to teach the ethics and religious culture course in a lay fashion assumes a totalitarian character essentially equivalent to Galileo’s being ordered by the Inquisition to deny the Copernican universe.” By insisting on rigidly secular guidelines for the teaching of religion, Judge Dugré said, the Quebec Charter of Rights had been violated.In a free society the government, representing the majority, does not have the right to impose the religion of the majority (Secularism) on the minority against their will. This is a basic freedom enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, recognized in the UN Charter and one which Canadians have given their lives to defend.
Read it all here.
When the government of the day seeks to usurp the place of the family and violate the freedom of the individual with its intolerant and irrational new religion, then resistance by all possible means is mandatory for those who would defend liberty. Thank God for a judge who understands the Charter and basic logic and who possesses the courage to stand against the baying mob.
If I Were an Oppressed Middle Eastern Woman, I'd Rather Have George Bush on My Side Than Alll the Feminists in the World
After taking a quick rest from breaking up Al Gore’s marriage and from magically tricking President Obama into being an utterly incompetent failure, President Bush is now nefariously insinuating his way onto Facebook and Youtube. He recently released a video on the popular video sharing website, discussing his delving onto the Facebook scene and a little summary of what he’s been up to since leaving office. Well, besides the manufacturing of hurricanes and arranging for oil spills and such. . . .But Ziganto is not merely mocking "The One," she is also delighted to point out one of the issues being taken up by the George W. Bush Institute, namely, working to alleviate the suffering of, and empowering women, in the Middle East:
It’s fabulous seeing President Bush relaxed and the way that I always picture him. When feeling most depressed at the atrocious lack of leadership – or anything of substance at all – from our current President, I often imagine George Bush, relaxing on his porch with Laura, feet up on the rails, saying “How do you like being President now, genius?” Said while doing that cute little shoulder-shaking snicker that I miss so much, of course.
Also, it turns out that President Bush is still leading and doing, instead of just spouting increasingly inane rhetoric, unlike the current office holder. President Obama will talk about unclenching fists and give lip service as to how For The Women he is. Meanwhile, it’s President Bush who is literally reaching out his hand to those who need it, not to dictatorial regimes. It is he who is continuing to aid the women in the Middle East who are truly subjugated. Women who need a first wave of feminism and whom our irrelevant modern Feminists, also known as Femisogynists, ignore. They are no longer needed, nor wanted here, yet they’d rather make up things over which to feign outrage than aid women who truly need our help. Because, George Bush.
Well, no worries. Bush will continue to do what is right, with or without their help. The George W. Bush Institute has a woman’s initiative, chaired by Mrs. Laura Bush, that is focusing on empowering women in the Middle East, where it is needed most. Former President Bush understands that freedom is what truly empowers and he understands that the women of the Middle East are not free, no matter how much the multiculturalism worshippers try to claim otherwise, under the guise of tolerance. Oppression and subjugation should not and cannot be tolerated and they won’t be, on his watch. A watch that is, thankfully, continuing with The George W. Bush Institute.
Read it all and see Bush's speech from Facebook here.
Women in the Middle East should expect no help from Western mainstream feminists, like Libby Davies, who are too busy cheering on the Iranian Ayatollahs, the Turkish Empire-restoring Islamicists, Hamas and Hizbullah in their war of extermination against Israel - the only country in the Middle East where women are not ritually mutilated so they can't enjoy sex, where they can walk down the street wearing what they want and where they can legitimately aspire to be Prime Minister when they grow up if they want.
Obama is clearly on the side of the woman-oppressing, genocide-seeking, democracy-hating thugs who want war, bloodshed and violence. Bush is on the side of women and freedom.
The only reason so many "Feminists" oppose Bush is because they are ideologically leftist. It has nothing to do with actual, living, breathing women and their well-being. That is why Palin is just as bad in their opinion as Bush even though, as a successful woman politician, she embodies everything the "Feminists" profess to believe. It is not about women; it is about ideology.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Why Quebec Politicians Need a Course in Logic . . . or How Stupidity Leads to the Dictatorship of Relativism
It really is depressing to read utterly stupid and inane comments like the following one (see last sentence of quotation). Now, if a first year philosophy student said something like this in September, I would be patient, kind and understanding in correcting the obvious howler. But if that same student wrote a statement like this on the final exam in April it would be considered a glaring error and there would be no mercy. Frankly, I would feel like a failure as a professor.
But this comes from an elected official who could potentially (depending on the outcome of the next election) actually be setting public policy on education. And she is echoing the current government of Quebec. So what we have here is a set of ignorant, poorly-educated, arrogant politicians who lack critical thinking skills. It is a travesty, a disaster, an embarassment to the people of Quebec, a real mess.
Listen to Charles Lewis, who writes an excellent column in the National Post entitled: "Public Money is Religious Too" describe the situation:
The argument will soon be made that Montreal’s Loyola High School should not have the right to opt out of a Quebec government-sponsored ethics and religion program, despite a court ruling that said otherwise.
The argument will be made that if the private school takes public money, which it does, then it should follow the public program. Loyola, a Jesuit Catholic school, should have every right to refuse to institute the Quebec program, but only if it stops taking public money. Seem fair on the surface, does it not?
The assumption that many will made is that as a religious school it is somehow outside the public sphere and therefore should be grateful for whatever public support it gets.
On Friday, a court ruled that Loyola had every right to refuse to adopt the program and could teach faith and ethics from a Catholic perspective.
“In these times of respect of fundamental rights, of tolerance, of reasonable accommodations and of multiculturalism, the attitude adopted by the [Education] Department in the current matter is surprising,” Quebec Superior Court Justice Gérard Dugré wrote Friday.
“Canadian democratic society is based on principles recognizing the supremacy of God and the primacy of the law – both of which benefit from constitutional protection.”
Almost immediately, the Quebec government said it would appeal the court’s decision.
Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois, echoing the sentiment of the Liberal government, said: “It is up to parents and the church to transmit faith. Schools must transmit knowledge.
But Israel accepted the UN boundaries. Five Arab nations did not and wanted 100% because 90% was not good enough as long as there were any Jews or any Jewish nation. Israel won the war and they won again in 1967 and 1972. They have fought for their existence for 62 years against hostile, hate-filled enemies who practice terrorism and declare their genocidal intentions. And yet the world - for the most part - only blames Israel and calls on Israel to cede more territory, allow their enemies to arm themselves to the teeth on their doorstop and negotiate everything - even her own existence.
Wilders, who leads the right-wing political party in Holland, said he believed Jordan's name should be changed to Palestine. He stated, "There has been an independent Palestinian state since 1946, and it is the kingdom of Jordan. Changing its name to Palestine will end the conflict in the Middle East and provide the Palestinians with an alternate homeland." Brilliant! Place the problem child right back in the lap of the nation who threw it under the bus.Just in case that wasn't enough to rile the Arab world, Wilders also said, "If Jerusalem falls into the hands of the Muslims, Athens and Rome will be next. Thus, Jerusalem is the main front protecting the West. It is not a conflict over territory but rather an ideological battle, between the mentality of the liberated West and the ideology of Islamic barbarism."On a roll, Wilders also called on the Dutch government to refer to Jordan as Palestine and to move its embassy to Jerusalem.As you probably guessed, Arab leaders were a bit miffed at Wilders and "summoned" him to give an explanation. Jordan's minister for media affairs and communications, Nabil Al Sharif, asked for clarification.Well Mr. Sharif, since Wilders is busy fighting the Islamization of his country, I've got a better idea. Ask your own king to explain. Wilders is simply letting out the genie that revisionist historians and politicians have tried to keep bottled. Jordanians, for decades, were avid proponents of the "Jordan is Palestine" position. They used that position as justification for the annexation of the West Bank, arguing that Palestine was one single, indivisible unit, and that Jordan was the legitimate governing body of Palestine. Your government, Mr. Sharif, including your king's father and grandfather, espoused the "Jordan is Palestine" claim that you are now so enraged by:"We are the government of Palestine, the army of Palestine and the refugees of Palestine." Prime Minister of Jordan, Hazza' al-Majali, 23 August 1959"Palestine and Transjordan are one." King Abdullah, Arab League meeting in Cairo, 12 April 1948"Palestine is Jordan and Jordan is Palestine; there is one people and one land, with one history and one and the same fate." Prince Hassan, brother of King Hussein, addressing the Jordanian National Assembly, 2 February 1970"Jordan is not just another Arab state with regard to Palestine, but rather, Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan in terms of territory, national identity, sufferings, hopes and aspirations." Jordanian Minister of Agriculture, 24 September 1980"The truth is that Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan." King Hussein 1981.
This issue is not about Biblical prophecy or any other kind of religious arguments. It is about simple fairness and the historic claim of Jews to a homeland on their own, ancestral land that was taken from them unjustly by invaders - invaders who lost it just as they had gained it by conquest. It is about the Muslim nations of the Middle East giving up their Jew-hatred and learning to live in peace with people who are different from them and do not wish to convert to Islam.
If the Muslim nations cannot live peacefully with a people who do not wish to convert to Islam in Israel, they cannot live with a West that refuses to convert either.
Monday, June 21, 2010
David Horowitz and Jacob Laskin give a concise summary of the history of Arab attempts to usurp Jewish land and exterminate the Jews in this article "Obama and the War Against Israel." Here is a brief excerpt:
The Arab canard that Israel is Europe’s attempt to unload its problem onto the backs of the Arabs ignores — as did Obama — the fact that Jerusalem has been the spiritual capital of the Jewish people for nearly 3,000 years and that Jews have lived in their historic homeland continuously for all that time. Jerusalem is at the center of the Jewish spiritual tradition, and Jews have been its largest religious community since 1864. Prime Minister Netanyahu was historically accurate when he admonished Obama, saying that “the Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago, and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital.”The Arabs should go back to Jordon and leave Israel alone. If they attack again and Israel gains more territory the UN should declare in advance that all all territories acquired by Israel in a defensive war should henceforth belong to Israel forever. But instead of logic, the UN chooses to be complicit in Jew hatred by the Muslim states of the world. But Muslim Jew-hatred is no better than German Jew-hatred.
In his Cairo speech, Obama also showed little appreciation of the modern history of Israel, a nation that was not built on Arab — let alone “Palestinian” — land. The state of Israel was created out of the ruins of the Turkish empire.
In 1922, Great Britain created the state of Jordan out of 80 percent of the Palestine Mandate — a geographical, not an ethnic, designation. The territory in the Mandate had been part of the Turkish (not Arab) empire for the previous four hundred years. Then in 1948, a U.N. “partition plan” provided equal parts of the remaining Turkish land to Arabs and to Jews living on the banks of the Jordan River. In this plan, the Jews were assigned 10 percent of the original Palestine Mandate, while the Arabs received 90 percent. None of this land had belonged to a “Palestinian” nation or a Palestinian entity. In the previous 400 years there had never been a province of the Turkish empire called “Palestine.” The entire region out of which Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank were created was known as “Ottoman Syria.”
In what would prove to be a continuing pattern, the Jews accepted the partition’s grossly unequal terms; their portion consisted of three unconnected slivers of land, of which 60 percent was arid desert. The Arabs, who had already received 80 percent of the Mandate land, rejected their additional portion, as they would continue to reject any arrangement that would allow for a Jewish state.
Immediately, five Arab nations launched a war against the Jews, who repelled the Arab attacks and established a Jewish state. When the fighting ended, the parts of the partitioned land that had been earmarked for the Arabs — namely, the West Bank and Gaza — were annexed by Jordan and Egypt, respectively, and disappeared from the map. There was no protest from the Arab world at the disappearance of “Palestine” into Jordan and Egypt, no Palestine Liberation Organization, no complaint to the U.N. The reason for the silence was that there was no Palestinian identity at the time, no movement for “self-determination,” no “Palestinian” people to make a claim. There were Arabs who lived in the region of the Jordan. But they considered themselves inhabitants of Jordan or of the Syrian province of the former Ottoman Empire. The disappearance of the West Bank and Gaza was an annexation of Arab land by Arab states.
Arab and Western revisionists have turned this history on its head to portray the Jewish war of survival as a racist, imperialist plot to expel “Palestinians” from “Palestine.” This is an utter distortion of the historical record. The term “Palestine Mandate” is a European reference to a geographical section of the defeated Turkish empire. The claim that there was a Palestinian nation from which ethnic Palestinians were expelled and which Israel now “occupies” illegally is a political lie.
The world is believing a propaganda lie because it wants to do so. What is the logical explanation for such gullibility?
A younger generation of Evangelicals has grown up without being catechized and they vaguely sense the loss. The Emergent Church represents one possible direction for this generation: a fast track to a new liberalism that will repeat the boring, depressing cycle of socialism, radicalism, immorality, atheism, and death that we have seen before. Many younger people today are not interested in warmed over Rauschenbusch or new age baloney, but where do they turn for something more satisfying than the meager fare on offer in the CEO-driven mega churches? Rejecting both the unhealthy and non-filling fast food of the pragmatic, growth oriented churches and spitting out the poisoned food of liberalism, they hunger for something substantial - slow food that nourishes the soul and builds up the body.
This generation has seen the wreckage of the sexual revolution and does not trust big government. It does not feel either in control of, or respected by, the culture at large. It is ready for something radical but not just a radical version of what the cultural establishment already believes. It is ready, in short, for a revival of classic Christianity.
Many have resonated with Bob Webber's call to the Church Fathers, to the heritage of the undivided Church of the first five centuries. But it is hard to start Ancient-Future churches from scratch without a mediating tradition between the fifth century and us. Ancient orthodoxy sounds great; but what does that kind of church look like today?
Enter Calvinism. Calvinism is radical, counter-cultural, connected to the Great Tradition and exists in the form of a living tradition today. It is not limited to one denomination and yet it has it own saints, key texts, and institutional expressions. Hansen shows that far from being tucked away in ethnic denominational enclaves like the Christian Reformed Church, Calvinism is a dynamic and growing force across the entire Evangelical spectrum.
What makes the "New Calvinism" new is that it includes charismatic Calvinism (as at Covenant Life Church in Maryland, which emerged out of the Jesus People counter culture) and Baptist Calvinism (as at John Piper's Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis) and culturally liberal, "emergent" Calvinism (as at Mars Hill Church in Seattle). This is not your father's dry, dusty, Presbyterianism, although lots of New Calvinist Presbyterians still attract a crowd to sing hymns and follow a traditional order of service.
I heard Dr. Bryan Chapell, president of Reformed Theological Seminary, say in an interview with Ligon Duncan recently that of the 80 or so training centers for Youth With a Mission worldwide almost all of them were using Reformed books as textbooks. This is the kind of penetration Calvinist ideas is gaining today as it rushes in to fill a doctrinal void created by a pragmatism without adequate defenses against liberalism.
John Piper, John MacArthur and R. C. Sproul, together with Timothy George, J. I. Packer and J. R. W. Stott, represent the generation that kept the faith and maintained a Calvinistic witness while most of the Church was disinterested. Now a new generation of leaders such as Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, C. J. Mahaney, D. A. Carson, Tim Keller and Philip Ryken are presiding over a growing movement that is increasingly young, dynamic and confident in the Gospel.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is leading the Southern Baptist Convention back to its own Reformed roots. Al Mohler and company are offering a way forward to people who are saying "Inerrancy is great, but it is insufficient by itself. If we are going to take the Bible seriously, we have to have a framework for interpreting it, not just a theory about its truthfulness." So Mohler's strategy for making the Convention not just non-liberal, but really Biblical is to ground the preaching of pastors in a Reformed systematic theology. The New Calvinism is gaining ground even where it is not even called "Calvinism" or "Reformed Theology" because it is presented as merely "Biblical." This is possible precisely because it is so Biblical.
Those who accuse Calvinists of undermining evangelism and missions are gradually being refuted by the facts on the ground. A flood of Calvinist missionary candidates in flowing into the Southern Baptist mission board. Calvinist churches are growing and evangelistic fervor seems to be enhanced by theological convictions the undergird confidence in the truth of the Gospel. The New Calvinism is untainted by hyper-Calvinism and has heroes like William Carey, Charles Spurgeon and Jonathan Edwards. It is not easy to accuse that crew of being anti-evangelism!
Anyone who believes in classical Christianity cannot help but be cheered by the resurgence of the New Calvinism. Even Arminians, Catholics and Lutherans ought to rejoice that Christ is being exalted the Gospel is being proclaimed and the Triune God of Scripture is being worshiped. When any of the classic traditions go deep into their own history, they end up closer to each other than to liberals in their own traditions. In this sense, the New Calvinism is the most important ecumenical movement on the scene. The ecumenism of traditionalists is hard and sometimes frustrating because traditionalist take doctrine seriously. But it will bear more fruit in the long run that the superficial, cheap kind of ecumenism that is built on shared left-wing, political commitments and cares little for doctrine.
The New Calvinism is also good news for and increasingly-hollowed out Evangelicalism that has forgotten what it is supposed to believe. The historical function of Reformed theology is to provide a doctrinal framework for the piety, the enthusiasm and the activism of Evangelicalism. It can fail in this role in two ways: either by showing disdain for the great unwashed multitudes of Evangelicals and thus losing influence on them as Karl Barth and T. F. Torrance did early in the 20th century or by seeking to water down its theological convictions so as to reduce tensions as Fuller Seminary did in the second half of the 20th century. The New Calvinism shows encouraging signs of neither capitulating to the anti-intellectualism of Evangelicalism nor distancing itself from Evangelicalism in an attempt to be pure and untainted. John Piper reaching out to Rick Warren is an example of the latter and Al Mohler's willingness to battle for the mind of the Southern Baptist Convention is an example of the former.
My own opinion, after reading Hansen's book and having been thinking by the issues it addresses for many years now, is that the New Calvinism is the more significant theological movement in North America today and by far the most hopeful.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Since the navy's May 31 takeover of the Turkish-Hamas flotilla , Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his advisors have deliberated around the clock about how to contend with the US-led international stampede against Israel. But their ultimate decision to form an investigatory committee led by a retired Supreme Court justice and overseen by foreign observers indicates that they failed to recognize the nature of the international campaign facing Israel today.Led by US President Barack Obama, the West has cast its lot with Hamas against Israel.It is not surprising that Obama is siding with Hamas. His close associates are leading members of the pro-Hamas Free Gaza outfit. Obama's friends, former Weatherman Underground terrorists Bernadine Dohrn and William Ayres participated in a Free Gaza trip to Egypt in January. Their aim was to force the Egyptians to allow them into Gaza with 1,300 fellow Hamas supporters. Their mission was led by Code Pink leader and Obama fundraiser Jodie Evans. Another leading member of Free Gaza is former US senator from South Dakota James Abourezk.All of these people have open lines of communication not only to the Obama White House, but to Obama himself.Obama has made his sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood clear several times since entering office. The Muslim Brotherhood's progeny include Hamas, al Qaida and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, among others. Last June, Obama infuriated the Egyptian government when he insisted on inviting leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood to attend his speech at Al Azhar University in Cairo. His administration's decision to deport Hamas deserter and Israeli counter-terror operative Mosab Hassan Yousef to the Palestinian Authority where he will be killed is the latest sign of their support for radical Islam.
Given Obama's attitude towards jihadists and the radical leftists who support them his decision to support Hamas against Israel makes sense. What is alarming however is how leaders of the free world are now all siding with Hamas. That support has become ever more apparent since the Mossad's alleged killing of Hamas terror master Mahmoud al Mabhouh at his hotel in Dubai in January.
. . . snip . . .THERE ARE three plausible explanations for the West's decision to back Hamas. All of them say something deeply disturbing about the state of the world today. The first plausible explanation is that the Americans and the rest of the West are simply naïve. They believe that by backing Hamas against Israel, they are advancing the cause of Middle East peace.If this is in fact what the likes of Obama and his European and Australian counterparts think, then apparently, no one in the West is thinking very hard these days. The fact is that by backing Hamas against Israel, they are backing Hamas against Fatah and they are backing Iran, Syria, Turkey, Hamas and Hizbullah against Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia as well as against Israel. They are backing the most radical actors in the region - and arguably in the world - against states and regimes they have a shared strategic interest in strengthening.There is absolutely no way this behavior advances the cause of peace.The second plausible explanation is that the West's support for Hamas against Israel is motivated by hatred of Israel. As Helen Thomas's recent remarks demonstrated, there is certainly a lot of that going around.The final plausible explanation for the West's support for Hamas against Israel is that the leaders of the West have been led to believe that by acting as they are, they will buy themselves immunity from attack by Hamas and its fellow Iranian axis members.As former Italian President Francesco Cossiga first exposed in a letter to Corriere della Serra in August 2008, in the early 1970s then Italian prime minister Aldo Moro signed a deal with Yassir Arafat that gave the PLO and its affiliated organizations the freedom to operate terror bases in Italy. In exchange the Palestinians agreed to limit their attacks to Jewish and Israeli targets. Italy maintained its allegiance to the deal - and the PLO against Israel - even when Italian targets were hit.Cossiga told the newspaper that the August 1980 bombings at the Bologna train station - which Italy blamed on Italian fascists -- was actually the work of George Habash's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Eighty-five people were murdered in the attack, and still Italy maintained its agreement with the PLO to the point where it prosecuted and imprisoned the wrong people for the worst terrorist attack in Italian history.Cossiga alleged that the deal is still in place today and that Italian forces in UNIFIL have expanded the deal to include Hamas's fellow Iranian proxy Hizbullah. It isn't much of a stretch to consider the possibility that Italy and the rest of the Western powers have made a similar deal with Hamas. And it is no stretch at all to believe that they will benefit from it as greatly as the Italian railroad passengers in Bologna did on August 2, 1980.True, no one has come out an admitted that they support Hamas against Israel. So too, no one has expressed anything by love for Israel and the Jewish people. But the actions of the governments of the West tell a different tale. Without one or more of the explanations above, it is hard to understand their current policies.
A series of random events seemingly unconnected eventually form a pattern. Obama is is key to the sea change in world opinion toward Israel. The US has functioned as the policeman who kept the criminals on their toes and in the shadows. But Obama has pulled the policeman off the beat and is sitting back ignoring what is going on in the dark allies of the world where Jew-hatred and America-hatred and Christ-hatred flourishes. US isolationism after World War I contributed to the emboldening of dictators and led to a war "no one" thought could happen. Are we on the brink of a major war in the middle east because a 60s radical with more sympathy for Islam than the Judeo-Christian heritage of the West is in the White House?
The November mid-term elections take on more importance with every passing day. Only Congress can restrain Obama before it is too late for world peace.
You can access "We Con the World" here at Caroline Glick's website. It is extremely well-done and much too hard for the anti-Israel forces to stomach. We pietistic types have a word for the effect it has on the liberals, terrorists and radical Muslims: it is just too downright convicting!
Chesterton Answers Prince Charles
In 1925 Chesterton wrote an introduction to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in which he said that “The answer to anyone who talks about the surplus population is to ask him, whether he is part of the surplus population; or if not, how he knows he is not.”Perhaps it cannot be proven that the Prince is not part of the surplus population, in which case his duty to ensure that his mother outlives him is quite clear. That would certainly be an answer to the prayers of a number of Anglicans who quite understandable shudder at the thought of him as the head of the Church of England and "Defender of Faiths" - the first postmodern monarch.
Elsewhere, in an essay titled “Social Reform vs. Birth Control,” Chesterton argued that it is typically the wealthy elite who are interested in promoting population control as a solution to poverty, often simply as a means of avoiding dealing with the more difficult root problems that lead to poverty. "If [the Birth-Controller] can prevent his servants from having families, he need not support those families. Why the devil should he?” wrote Chesterton. “The landlord or the employer says in his hearty and handsome fashion: ‘You really cannot expect me to deprive myself of my money. But I will make a sacrifice. I will deprive myself of your children.’”
It is hard to believe that someone as theologically sophisticated as Pope Benedict would resort to blaming the devil for the church’s present problems, but his allusion to “the enemy” in a speech given to a large group of priests last week (where he bemoaned and apologized again for the sins of some of the clergy) leaves one puzzled to say the least.I don't find it even slightly hard to believe that someone as orthodox and informed as Pope Benedict would believe in the Devil just as Scripture and Tradition teach. But I do find an ostensibly Catholic publication having such difficulty with basic doctrine to be puzzling. Kropf seems to be under the impression that if one believes in the Devil and temptation, then one is evading human responsibility for sin.
Then Kropf cites Freud to make a point on which he could have cited St. Augustine. He writes:
What Sigmund Freud thought of these particularly Christian interpretations of the Book of Genesis, I’m not sure, but he recognized that the manifestations of the human sexual drive could be, as I think he put it, “polymorphously perverse.”
In other words, we should not be surprised by the atrocious forms it can sometimes take – nor by the human propensity to blame someone else. That too, according to the story about Adam and Eve, was part of their sin, their refusing to take responsibility, even while they claimed the right to decide what is good or evil on their own.
But Kropf gets down to his real complaint about Benedict when he whines about the lack of postmodern, relativistic waffle coming from the Vatican these days:
So why do we find the pope, of all people, falling into the same trap and engaging in the all too predictable blame game – singling out those priests who are duplicitous or those who are inclined to an “objective moral disorder” (homosexuals), chiding bishops who failed to discipline them, and when all else fails, blaming “the enemy” or the evil one?Is it any great shock that someone who pooh poohs the existence of the Evil One also thinks homosexual behavior is perfectly appropriate for priests? I suppose it all fits together in the post-Vatican II mindset of the NCR. But it still seems pretty elementary and predictable bafflegab coming from what is supposed to be the "cutting edge" of the Church. Then again, originality has never been one of the Devil's strong points.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Gregg notes de Tocqueville's warning about "common opinion" being the dominant power in democracies.
A week, it is often said, is a long time in politics. Much, however, can change in a year. Only a short while ago some European politicians were touting the European social model’s superiority over what many continental Europeans deride as “Anglo-Saxon capitalism.” Now, however, governments across Europe are scrambling to avoid the fate of Greece. Moreover, they are doing so by contemplating—and, in some cases, implementing—the hitherto unthinkable: reducing their budget deficits by diminishing the expansive welfare states to which many Europeans have long been accustomed.
In doing so, these governments are finally acknowledging a truth initially obscured by the crisis of the euro: that for all the disarray generated by the euro’s recent tribulations, Europe’s economic woes have more systematic causes.
One cause is several decades of low economic growth. As the Czech president Václav Klaus recently observed, “average annual economic growth in the eurozone countries was 3.4 percent in the 1970s, 2.4 percent in the 1980s, 2.2 percent in the 1990s and only 1.1 percent from 2001 to 2009.” “A similar slowdown,” Klaus added, “has not occurred anywhere else in the world.”
A second problem is Europe’s profound demographic decline. On current projections, for example, Spain’s over-65 population is set to increase from its present level of 17 percent to 25 percent by 2030. That means fewer people working to support growing numbers of pensioners.
When low economic growth and declining demography are combined with European welfare states—generous state-provided health and unemployment insurance; early retirement and liberal state pensions; large public sector employment; legislation that emphasizes job security over labor market flexibility—something eventually has to give. Greece has reached that point. The rest of Europe is struggling to avoid following Greece into the abyss.
The problem, as Alexis de Tocqueville noted in Democracy in America, is that public opinion, especially what he called “common opinion,” is “the dominant power” in democracies. The contemporary French philosopher Pierre Manent goes even further to claim that in democracies “it is not dogma that comprises shared opinion; it is shared opinion that is dogma.” It follows that if enough people want expansive welfare programs in a democracy, the capacity for politicians to oppose, for example, the desire of 51 percent of the population to progressively loot the other 49 percent, is limited. To resist is to court electoral rejection or, as we have seen, rioters running amok in the streets of Athens.Various constitutional remedies have been proposed, as Gregg notes, but they cannot restrain the unbearable temptation that is posed to politicians by the prospect of expanding the welfare state:
The bartering of privileges and grants to different groups is thus almost inevitable in a democracy if a government wants to retain its coalition of support. In these circumstances, expanding the welfare state to reward particular adherents is a difficult temptation to resist. As Röpke commented: “To expand the welfare state is not only easy but it is also one of the surest means for the demagogue to win votes and political influence, and it is for all of us the most ordinary temptation to gain, at no cost to ourselves, a reputation for generosity and kindness.”But Gregg does not conclude that democracy must be given up in order for the welfare state to be reigned in before it drags the entire country down into chaos, rioting and violence. How can it be done?
The beginning of a proper response is to recognize that a democracy’s ability to resist the long slouch towards the soft despotism of the welfare state requires two things. The first is to shift the incentives for economic mobility and security so that they lie in the private sector rather than in becoming a recipient of state largesse. This task is very difficult when much of the population already enjoys some measure of state income. Yet it is dwarfed by the immensity of the second challenge: developing a moral and political culture which underscores the undesirability of politicians and citizens using the state to live at others’ expense.The second challenge named by Gregg is the key. In my opinion, Europe's post-Christian secularism is infantile and enervating; it is insufficient as the basis for a culture of dynamism and life. But without a religious soul, the body politic is sick unto death and this is Europe's dilemma: repent or die - quite literally.
Gregg is quite right to affirm that the EU need not repeat the long, slow, sad, decline of the old USSR. There are democratic alternatives to decline and we see them in the contemporary United States of America, where Christianity is still showing signs of life and vigor. The most important commonality between the old USSR and the contemporary EU is one that most economists and political theorists dismiss as irrelevant, but which is actually of crucial importance: their atheism. John Paul II knew that economics and politics follow culture and that the Marxists were wrong to think it was the other way round.
Europe's problem is that it lies in the grip of the culture of death and that belief the death of God always leads to the death of man.
I don't think that all Muslims should be exiled to Muslim countries. The comments section contain rational statements from several Muslims who rightly deplore the actions of these radical demonstrators. Most Muslims just want to live in peace and adapt to Western ways. But I do think that the same violent sentiments on display here lie behind the 7/11 bombing and are not tolerable in a Western country. They are blaming the US and Canada and the UK for retaliating against the regime responsible for 9/11. Why do they think that Muslim radicals should be allowed to attack the West and get away with it? Why aren't they concerned to convince their fellow-Muslims to stop bombing innocent civilians if they don't want Muslim countries invaded?
These demonstrators need to be rounded up and deported. Who on earth could object to the principle that if you hate the West and support Al-Qaida and the Taliban you should not be allowed to live in the West? We have a right to live in peace without fear of Islamofascism.