Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Once again, Mohler’s astute analysis cuts through the rhetoric, penetrating to the heart of the issue:

What the pro-abortion movement fears most is that Americans will pause to consider what this trial [of Dr. Kermit Gosnell] really means. It means that Dr. Gosnell would not be on trial for murder if he had killed those three babies while inside their mother’s body. His murder convictions have everything to do with the fact that the abortions were “botched” and the baies were accidentally born alive. Had the abortions been “successful” — even up to the last hours of pregnancy — Dr. Gosnell might have been charged with performing a late-term abortion, but not of murder.

And, speaking of late-term abortions, the abortion rights movement is against all legal restrictions on those as well. They insist on a woman’s unfettered right to an abortion up to the moment of birth.

Even more chillingly, a Planned Parenthood representative recently told a committee of the Florida legislature that even a baby born alive after a failed abortion should have its life or death decided only by its mother and her doctor.

This is America. A nation that has legalized murder in the womb and that now finds itself staring at what abortion really represents. Human dignity cannot survive in a society that insists that a baby inside the womb has no right to live while that same baby, just seconds later, is a murder victim. Respect for human life cannot endure when a baby inside the womb is just a fetus, but when moved only a few centimeters is a full citizen.

William Edgar, writing for Reformation21:

One of the most important [issues for Christians to work through] is social justice for all people, regardless of their background, or, indeed, sexual orientation. If marriage is not, strictly speaking, a right, nor a civil right, but a creation ordinance, what of the civil rights of gay people? We ought to be just as zealous to safeguard the rights of gay people as we are to safeguard marriage for monogamous heterosexuals. Not because they are gay, but because they are people, citizens, image-bearers. So legislators need to figure out the most equitable way to ensure that every citizen be given the proper access to social benefits, retirement, inheritance rules, etc.

And, surely, there is much repenting to be done over attitudes toward gay people that are hateful and prejudiced. I went to a boarding school many years ago, where the only view of gay people was “yuck!” Yet surely there were young men there struggling with their sexual identity and in need of compassionate counseling. Furthermore, those of us who are married (heterosexually) have a good deal of homework to do in our own families. It won’t do to criticize gays as unhappy, guilty, etc., if our own marriages are flagging. And then, the church needs to think through what it means to be celibate. Certainly this legitimate calling has also been maligned by sub-Christian attitudes.
 
At the end of the day, however, we do not recommend heterosexual marriage because it works best, because children may be born, or because it is the traditional view. We recommend it because God as [sic] ordained it, and it is a good thing: “Let marriage be held in honor among all” (Heb. 13:1).
 
Read the rest of the article here.

Please, take a moment to pray for our brother in Christ, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who just yesterday was sentenced to execution in Iran for converting to Christianity.

Fox News reports:

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. …

Nadarkhani was arrested in October 2009 and was tried and found guilty of apostasy by a lower court in Gilan, a province in Rasht. He was then given verbal notification of an impending death-by-hanging sentence. …

The court then gave Nadarkhani the opportunity to recant, as the law requires a man to be given three chances to recant his beliefs and return to Islam.

His first option was to convert back to Islam. When he refused, he was asked to declare Muhammad a prophet, and still he declined.

Pray that our brother would be strengthened by the Father through the Spirit to hold fast to the word of life, confident that though Christ’s enemies may kill his body, his soul is secure in mercy and grace of God his Father, the only Lord of the universe who works all things according to the counsel of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace.

Please, beseech God for his mercy and sustaining power, that Pastor Youcef would be strengthened by the fact that God has granted him the great honor of not only believing in Christ, but also suffering for his name.  Pray that Pastor Youcef would fight the good fight of faith, and that he would confidently take hold of the eternal life granted to him through his good confession of Jesus Christ.

I don’t have any strong affinities for Rick Santorum.  For me, the jury’s still out on the best Republican candidate.  But, regardless of the candidate, what I can’t stand are ridiculous accusations of racism and/or discrimination whenever someone (usually a conservative) so much as mentions race.   And that’s just what happened recently in response to a comment Santorum made while campaigning in Iowa.

NPR reports:

At a campaign stop over the weekend, Santorum was asked about foreign influence on the U.S., but the former Pennsylvania senator went on a tangent about entitlement programs and appeared to tell a mostly white crowd that he did not want to “make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”

Now, of course, you have to dig a little deeper than NPR’s reporting if you want to get to the bottom of Santorum’s comment (although NPR certainly handled it better than the folks at The Raw Story, who misleadingly titled their article, “Santorum tells Iowans: ‘I don’t want to make black people’s lives better’“).

Here is Santorum’s comment in its full context (video):

It just keeps expanding — I was in Indianola a few months ago and I was talking to someone who works in the department of public welfare here, and she told me that the state of Iowa is going to get fined if they don’t sign up more people under the Medicaid program.  They’re just pushing harder and harder to get more and more of you dependent upon them so they can get your vote. That’s what the bottom line is.  I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.  I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn their money and provide for themselves and their families, and the best way to do that is to get the manufacturing sector of the economy rolling again.

The NPR article was quick to cite the fact that “the majority of welfare recipients are not black.”

But, as every informed voter would do well to remember, statistics are tricky.  Aaron Levenstein was right: “Statistics are like a bikini.  What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.”

For example, while it is indeed true that, with regard to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, African Americans only account for 22% of total food stamp recipients (as opposed to 34% for whites), that doesn’t necessarily mean that Santorum’s comment was completely off-base.  Indeed, while African Americans do not constitute a majority in this regard, the percentage of people who receive food stamps is much higher among the African American population (28%) then it is among any other race, whites in particular (8%).

So yes, white people do account for the largest percentage of welfare payments each month.  But that’s largely due to the fact that they make up the largest segment of the population (75% white compared to 14% black)!  The percentage of welfare recipients within each race tells a very different story.

In citing these statistics, I’m not attempting to subtly imply anything about “black people” or “white people.”  And I’m also not overlooking the many important factors that undoubtedly contribute to this disparity.  Those who often level charges of racism seem to assume that the citation of such statistics (whether formally or informally) necessarily implies some kind of generalized judgment (i.e. “White people work hard” or “Black people are lazy”).  But that’s just plain wrong.

Remember, I don’t have any special affinity for Santorum.  I’m actually quite ambivalent about the guy.  I also don’t have any problem with those (i.e. liberals) who disagree with Santorum’s opinion regarding the effectiveness of government sponsored entitlement programs.  However, to level a charge of racism (or something like it) is extremely disingenuous and unhelpful.  With poverty and unemployment levels much higher among African Americans than any other segment of the population, it seems that what the African American community needs is someone who wants exactly what Santorum wants: a plan to create opportunities for people to go out and earn money so they can provide for their families.

To say that is not to become a racist.  Rather, it is simply to acknowledge the way things are, which is the first step to figuring out how to make things better.

Fantastic Conceit

Posted: December 13, 2011 in controversy, politics, poor

Elizabeth Scalia at First Things:

The people who talk a good game about freedom and service and fairness – usually reserving their most ardent rhetoric for the $30,000 per-table fundraisers – never seem willing to promote the monastic ideal though, and they dont refer to the soup kitchens and outreaches, the church-administered hospitals or training and recovery programs as models of anything except, sometimes, intolerance.

Perhaps they’re afraid that if people became more familiar with (and supportive of) such programs, they would be less ready to look to government for direction, or social engineering, or class co-operation, or any sort of empowerment. Rather they would be finding it within their own communities; they would be actively working with others in building up the whole, rather than preferred portions-in pursuing potentialities both individual and collective.

In such a case, the government of man would necessarily recede into the background, and what is divine might come to the fore.

That would be unacceptable to the people who still believe, by sheer force of fantastic conceit, that they are anti-establishment outsiders – courageous adversaries of conformity who still manage, somehow, to always be in lock step with the message of the day; the people who say all the “smart” things and automatically adopt all the “correct” positions, because they are so terrified of being excluded from that crowd of busy moralizers to whom they are accountable, as they would never deign to be accountable to a Creator.

First Things:

The original justification for the modern welfare state was that it would be a “safety net”—an exception to the rules of normal economic ebb and flow, designed to lift up those who, through some oversight, had “slipped through the cracks.” But we now find ourselves in a situation where the exception is becoming the norm; where the government providing emergency relief is turning into the government simply providing.

The midcentury compromise contained an unspoken background assumption: that most first-world citizens would never need such help, and that they would always be able to find gainful employment and contribute a modest portion of their income to welfare programs. With this assumption increasingly eroding, it is worth asking the question of whether, in a nation where 45 million citizens depend on the government to do something as basic as eat dinner, what kind of meaningful participation in public life can be preserved. A genuinely democratic form of government presupposes a certain level of independence and self-reliance on the part of its citizenry—without it, a managerial model increasingly takes over.

Dave Ramsey offers some refreshingly insightful comments:

“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Yeah, that’s great. But what do you want? What are your goals? What are your demands? What result are you looking for?  The beauty of being vague is that anyone who has any emotion can get caught up in the excitement and join your crusade…

A lot of people on Twitter are saying I totally agree with the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) demands and goals. The only problem is that I have no idea what their demands and goals are. And neither does anyone else. If all you ever do is stomp around, yell and hold up signs protesting a million different things, sure you’ll get some attention, but over time, you’ll just look foolish. You end up coming across like a three-year-old having a temper tantrum…

“No Government Bailouts!”

Banks and big companies should not receive taxpayer money for a bailout while their CEOs are making hundreds of millions of dollars. If that’s your gripe, then you’re protesting in the wrong location. Pack up and head to Washington, D.C., to deliver your message to the current administration…

“Down With Corporate Greed!”

Gordon Gekko was wrong. Greed is not good. Greed is bad—very bad. It’s a spiritual disease, and it is a disease that sadly affects a lot of companies across the country. If you believe a specific company is acting purely out of greed, then don’t just get mad—do something…But if you’re saying that all businesses are greedy and that capitalism itself is evil and ineffective, then I’m sorry—you’re just being stupid…

“Wall Street Is Evil!”

If you have this painted on a sign, well, now you just look ignorant. Wall Street is a street that people drive on. The New York Stock Exchange is a building where people exchange stocks in New York. This is the flea market of the financial world. Don’t turn Wall Street into some terrible monster attacking American citizens. It’s just a road with some buildings on it…

“Wealth Redistribution Is the Answer!”

I’ve heard a lot about wealth redistribution over the past few years, and I’m sure you’ve heard it too. Call it whatever you want, but this is how it usually sounds to most Americans: “We are the 99% of Americans who don’t have as much as the 1%, so we’re mad and think the government should take their wealth and property away so that we can have a piece of it. Wealth inequality is a moral breakdown! We should all spread the money around so everyone gets a fair share!”

I have my toughest critique for those who believe this: You are a thief…