Thursday, August 13, 2015


 “The fact that immigrants aren’t white or American doesn’t matter; questions about American citizenship are secondary. Christian immigrants—and there are many—are brothers and sisters; non-Christians are a mission field, conveniently dropped on our doorstep. What’s not to like? If America is ethnically diverse, so much the better, because so much the more does it resemble that final kingdom assembled from all tribes, tongues, nations, and peoples.”~~Peter Leithart

Dr. Peter Leithart recently posted an essay on immigration at his often entertaining and frequently updated First Things blog.  In the following, I will briefly respond to various shortcomings in his argument favoring open borders.  In the past, I penned a number of essays covering similar ground while responding to Dr. Russell Moore.  But as Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun and the immigration issue continues to be raised among not merely prominent Christian intellectuals and ethicists, but in local churches and Christian media.  Thus it is time for another treatment with substantial revisions to data and an expansion of other arguments.  Be advised that this is not a full treatment of the immigration question.  I largely ignore discussion of downstream political consequences, immigrant crime, and other cultural manifestations of large scale immigration.  

It is difficult to criticize godly, faithful, and thoughtful men like Dr. Leithart, Dr. Russell Moore, or Dr. Albert Mohler .  I seek to reply without animus or rancor, sticking directly  to the issues at hand.  Having said that, I remain convinced that they are mistaken in their interpretation and application of scripture as it pertains to immigration.  Moreover, they broadly misread the times in which we live and that misunderstanding skews the manner in which they confront socio-political issues. 

A number of years ago as I was preparing to preach a sermon, my first and hopefully last, my then pastor, for whom I was pinch hitting, explained the importance of “exegeting an audience” when attempting to apply scripture.  The point was simple: know your audience and let that play a part in the application of the biblical text.  In a similar vein, I have found that many theologians speaking to issues in the public square engage culture in a way that is unhelpful because they fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the attack on the faith and the methods of the assailants.    

To this point, the assault on the church has not necessarily been frontal.   That will likely change as the enemies of our Lord become more brazen and direct.  The attacks of the last century were subtle and deceptive.  Spawned by Gramsci as he rotted in an Italian Fascist prison, cultivated by the Frankfurt School, and applied by the likes of Saul Alinsky and other purveyors of propaganda, Cultural Marxism attempts to subvert the faith of our fathers covertly.  Traditional Marxists believed that the oppressed worker class (the Proletariat) would ultimately become alienated from the Capitalist class and overthrow it through the process of revolution.  But in World War I, working class Doughboys, Tommys and Frenchmen waged war against working class Krauts in trenches lining the Western Front. 

With the evident failure of traditional Marxist theory, Marxism was reinterpreted through a cultural lens, positing that violent revolution should be eschewed in favor of a “march through the institutions.”  By capturing the organs of cultural dissemination—media, government, colleges, arts, educational and academic institutions, etc.—Cultural Marxists could effectively rearrange the cultural landscape and shape the preferences of the populace via systematic propaganda.  They could also get to the heart of a people by being the authors of its stories. 

Fundamentally, Cultural Marxism is an attack on the Christian church and Christian peoples, but the battle is covert rather than direct.  By subverting other forms of attachment and various institutions that make legitimate claims on our devotion and wield countervailing cultural power, Cultural Marxists attack Christianity sideways.  Attachments—familial, ethnic, racial, national, denominational, etc.--have been systematically undermined in our age.  These radicals have been given aid and comfort by the church, particularly liberal denominations in the 20th Century, but increasingly in recent decades by “conservatives” as well.  Part of this subterfuge involves the destruction of Euro-Christian culture via the propagation of multiculturalism and public secularism, which rapidly descends into polytheism.  An important prong of multiculturalism is the ethnic, racial, and religious transformation of historically European and Christian peoples via mass immigration and coercive secularism, often aided and abetted by Christian pluralists, particularly those in Baptist and broadly evangelical circles along with traditional liberal denominations.  It is with the tapestry of multiculturalism in the background that Christians must thoughtfully apply immigration policy.

Dr. Leithart largely ignores the economic consequences of his proposal for open borders.  Economics is often considered a technical discipline or even a “science” but properly falls within the sphere of moral philosophy and is thus an adjunct of the queen of sciences, theology.  It must therefore start with a right view of anthropology. 

Leithart begins by quoting Kevin Johnson, an immigration advisor to Barack Obama, to the effect that the nation will benefit from freer and more mobile labor.  Ironically, Leithart has gotten a good deal of mileage from critiquing the ideology of individualism. But throughout his esssay he unwittingly accepts the premises of classical liberalism and assumes an individualism that makes no distinctions in terms of human duties.  Though Christianity has universal, catholic tendencies, natural attachments and duties are not to be eschewed.  Even Jesus does not preach the abolition of ethnic, religious, and social distinctions.  When asked by a Phoenician woman to heal her child, He responds, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel…It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs” (Matt. 15:24-26).  Though he relents, an obvious anticipation of His ministry to the Gentiles, He displays His feelings as a Jew.  Jesus has no intention of overturning the Law (Matt. 5:17-19), which is a transcript of God’s holiness and a pattern for ethical conduct.  It is the law-word of God that also governs our social and interpersonal interactions. 

Men have concentric circles of responsibility.  For example, I have obligations to my widowed mother that others (including the church) do not (I Timothy 5:8).  Similarly, I have duties to my wife and children that do not extend to my neighbor’s wife or, for that matter, my Christian brother.  I am liable to care for my neighbor in ways that exceed my responsibilities to complete strangers.  Likewise, I have obligations to my countrymen that are greater than my duties to the other seven billion people inhabiting Earth.  This should be clear unless we define “neighbor” in a universal way that drains the term of any practical meaning. 

Leithart says that race, ethnicity, religious affiliation and citizenship status are tertiary concerns.  But according to scripture, while we render honor and justice to all men, we have a particular responsibility to care for our own, whether in the natural family or the family of God (Gal. 6:10).  Our duties begin with our family but emanate outward in concentric circles regulated by scripture.  Many Christian commentators connect the New Testament commands to honor civil authorities (Rom. 13:1; I Peter 2:17) as extensions of the 5th Commandment.  But racial, ethnic, and national groups are likewise mere extensions of family and thus the honor due to our parents flows outward to these broader extensions of family and they are to be given preference over and against foreigners. When natural relationships are subverted by forms of universal ethics the end result is not merely ethical confusion but welfare economics and socialism.

Leithart fails to account for, though he must understand, the distortive impact of the welfare state.  Immigration policy as currently constituted is immoral as it privatizes benefits for the wealthy and socializes cost.  As such, I hope to show that it is a massive form of theft.  

Consider first some of the costs of immigration.   There are numerous economic costs connected to immigration, both legal and illegal, that Dr. Leithart simply ignores in his essay.
According to Census Bureau figures poverty rates continue to increase and the number of Americans without health insurance has reached all-time highs. Mass immigration is a significant source of these problems and data shows a growing chasm between natives and the foreign-born. For example, consider median household income between 2011 and 2012, ostensibly a period of economic recovery.  While the income of Whites increased modestly, that of Hispanic households decreased 1.1% while non-citizen household income fell by 2.5%.  Meanwhile, the poverty rate for U.S.-born Whites was 9.7%, but 25.6% among Hispanics (which is higher that the poverty rate of non-citizens, indicative of the fact that Hispanic immigrants are not climbing out of poverty). .
Because immigrants typically have limited job skills and are very poor they frequently become a burden on the American welfare state.  Per Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, in 2010, the average unlawful immigrant household received around $24,721 in government benefits and services while paying some $10,334 in taxes, generating an average annual fiscal deficit (benefits received minus taxes paid) of around $14,387 per household.  Moreover, Steve Camarota finds that welfare use among immigrants remains high over time; immigrants in the country for more than 20 years still use the welfare system at significantly higher rates than natives.
Data pertaining to health insurance is likewise shocking. In 2012, 13.0% of natives lacked insurance coverage, while 32.0% of all (legal and illegal) immigrants, and 43.4% of non-citizens do not have health coverage. Immigrants account for 27.1% all Americans without health insurance. 

In 2012 there were approximately 12.9 million immigrants and their U.S.-born children lacking health insurance, 32% of the entire uninsured populace. In 2007, 47.6 percent of immigrants and their U.S.-born children were either uninsured or on Medicaid compared to 25 percent of natives and their children. Lack of health insurance is a significant problem even for long-time foreign born residents. Among immigrants who arrived in the 1980s, 28.7 percent lacked health insurance in 2007. In short, much of the “health insurance crisis” in America is the result of surging immigration. What was the consequence? More statism, in the form of Obamacare.

Finally there is education. According to a report by FAIR, expenditures for illegal immigrants from grades K-12 costs $52 billion annually, largely absorbed by states and localities, often in very disparate ways. School districts are dropping programs and closing schools at least in part because they are paying instead to provide services to the children of non-citizens.

The global median income is $1,225 a year.  The “middle classes” of the world are living in destitution compared to the living standards of the West.  Dr. Leithart’s proposal for open borders when combined with the magnet of the welfare state would result in a fiscal catastrophe for a nation already $19 trillion dollars in debt.  It would also create a coercive and massive transfer of wealth from productive tax payers to the world’s poor.  In short, Leithart is endorsing theft on a grand scale in the name of humanitarianism and Christian charity.    

A secondary issue of economic ethics completely ignored by Leithart and most Christian proponents of unchecked immigration is the redistributive impact of mass immigration. Like much public policy the benefits of immigration are largely privatized while costs are socialized. Benefits accrue to the upper-class while costs are borne largely by those on the lower rung of the economic ladder.  Indeed, immigration is responsible for half the decrease observed in the wages of high-school dropouts.

Mention this fact to Paul Gigot or Daniel Henninger at the Wall Street Journal and you are likely to receive little more than a shoulder shrug. Some immithusiasts appear to detest their own countrymen and impute to foreigners character traits that natives so obviously lack. But Christians ought to be more discerning and wise in counting the costs and cannot be oblivious to injustices resulting from such a policy. 

The insanity of America’s immigration “debate” has been chronicled for a number of years by George Borjas, a Harvard labor economist.  Borjas is widely recognized as academia’s leading scholar on the economics of immigration.  Moreover, he is an immigrant himself, having arrived here from Cuba penniless in 1962.

One myth Borjas explodes is that immigration adds substantial wealth to the American economy.  In fact, Borjas found that the actual net benefit accruing to natives is small, equal to an estimated two-tenths of 1 percent of GDP. “There is little evidence indicating that immigration (legal and/or illegal) creates large net gains for native-born Americans,” writes Borjas.

Even though the overall net impact on natives is small, this does not mean that the wage losses suffered by some natives or the income gains accruing to other natives are insubstantial.  Borjas reviewed the wage impact of immigrants who entered the country between 1990 and 2010 and found that this cohort had reduced the annual earnings of American workers by $1,396—a 2.5% reduction. 

As low-skill immigrants have flooded the labor market, opportunities for the least skilled workers have markedly decreased and the most vulnerable Americans have seen their wages decline as a result.  Borjas estimates that immigration is responsible for half the decrease observed in the wages of high-school dropouts.  “The biggest winners from immigration are owners of businesses that employ a lot of immigrant labor and other users of immigrant labor”, writes Borjas. “The other big winners are the immigrants themselves.”  The primary losers are native citizens with minimal skills and low levels of education.

Dr. Leithart fails to reckon with an important aspect the fall--the economic fact of scarcity. Resources are not infinite. In a world of scarcity, a result of God’s curse on the earth due to Adam’s sin, human beings necessarily make choices among competing alternatives effecting the distribution of resources. Ethically speaking do seven billion people have a claim on scarce and finite American monetary and economic resources? 

In an already overburdened welfare state, do Americans have a moral imperative to import poverty and in so doing divert resources and employment opportunities from our most vulnerable citizens?  Libertarians, and quite possibly Dr. Leithart, would argue that we ought to dismantle our unbiblical welfare state.  The problem is that immigration buttresses the welfare state.  If your bathtub is overflowing, your first act isn’t to head to the basement to secure a bucket and mop.  Instead, you turn off the water and then clean up the mess.  If only libertarians and Christian immigration enthusiasts would keep that metaphor in mind.

Mass immigration also undermines covenantal thinking by exalting the individual at the expense of family, community and nation. Individuals leave behind their communities and desert their homelands rather than laboring for their improvement economically and politically. In her recent book, Adios America, Ann Coulter reported that the average IQ of Indians is 82.  Yet Mark Zuckerburg would steal India’s best and brightest, dropping them in Seattle as programmers via the H1B program to pad his already burgeoning net worth.  Do such policies create the conditions for ethical economic choices or do they reinforce unbiblical notions of individualism?  

Immigration encourages families to move to different locales which are necessarily transformed culturally, economically, and politically by their presence in large numbers. Who benefits? Perhaps the immigrant himself and possibly those individuals acquiring whatever service he may provide. But community and the ties of natural affection that are produced by commonality are systematically undermined.

Research by the influential political scientist and Bowling Alone author Robert Putnam shows that the more diverse a community, the less likely its inhabitants are to trust anyone.

In the face of diversity people tend to "hunker down" and surround themselves entirely with the familiar. "We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it’s not just that we don’t trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don’t trust people who do look like us," Putnam says.

Putnam adjusted his data for distinctions in class, income, and other variables but still reached the "shocking" conclusion that untrammeled ethnic diversity is a breeding ground of distrust that spreads like an aggressive cancer, destroying the body politic. "They don’t trust the local mayor, they don’t trust the local paper, they don’t trust other people and they don’t trust institutions," said Prof Putnam. "The only thing there’s more of is protest marches and TV watching."

Putnam found that trust was lowest in Los Angeles, that heaven on earth for mulitcultists, but his findings were also applicable in South Dakota.

Mass immigration also undermines the free market, which necessarily exists as part of social framework. While that framework needs a system of law to protect property rights, enforce contracts, prosecute practitioners of fraud, etc., it is also dependent on a rudimentary level of trust among the populace. If that trust is undermined the foundation supporting the entire edifice crumbles, with the state being the institution forcefully putting the house back together.

A classical liberal like John Stuart Mill knew that free institutions are "next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities." But speaking of immigration, Putnam allows ideology rather than fact to cloud his judgment, saying "that immigration materially benefited both the 'importing' and 'exporting' societies, and that trends have 'been socially constructed, and can be socially reconstructed.'"

Leithart’s open borders proposal would necessarily demand “social reconstruction” because it would tear asunder what little remains of the social fabric.  It would  irreversibly destroy the foundations of American social order.  “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps. 11:3).

The most important question when considering the movement of people is a simple one: “Who owns the property?”  In an anarcho-capitalist social order, property is owned privately.  In this Big Rock Candy Mountain utopia envisioned by libertarian ideologues, immigration and emigration would be free—and there would be precious little of it.  Likewise in a traditional monarchy the king, as sovereign and owner of the land, has an interest in maintaining immigration policies that enhance the value of the kingdom.  It is the king who thus determines immigration policy (we’ll see scriptural examples of this pattern shortly) and had an incentive to limit immigration to those who materially benefit his kingdom.

But once the government moves from the sphere of private ownership (monarchy) to public ownership, in the guise of democracy, there are different factors at work.  Unlike monarchs, democratic rulers are mere caretakers and do not bequeath a kingdom to their progeny.  Democracies are also inherently, and unbiblically, egalitarian.  Both theoretically and in practice, we see that the migration policies of democratic states tend to be “non-discriminatory”.  It matters little whether immigrants are entrepreneurs or vagrants.  Indeed, vagrants may be preferable as they create a greater number of social problems  and tensions which government must “fix” or “manage”, thereby enhancing the immediate power of its leaders, who are largely oblivious to and unaffected by the long term consequences of their policies.  “Thus,” writes Hans Hoppe, “the United States immigration laws of 1965, as the best available example of democracy at work, eliminated all formerly existing ‘quality’ concerns and the explicit preference for European immigrants and replaced it with a policy of almost complete non-discrimination (multi-culturalism).”  The migration policy of democracies winds up negating the rights of property owners and imposing a forcible integration with the mass of immigrants being forced upon property owners who, if given the choice, would have "discriminated" in favor of other neighbors.  An open borders regime is simply the above scenario on steroids. 

Aside from these philosophical consideration, Leithart also completely ignores the biblical evidence that borders are legitimate and enforced, even in the agrarian context of the Old Testament.  When Jacob's family fled famine they traveled to Egypt and asked Pharaoh for permission to enter, "We have come to sojourn in the land … please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen" (Gen. 47:4). With the appropriate permission secured from Pharaoh’s representative, Jacob’s family, which grew into the people of Israel, became legal aliens in Egypt. In short, they were allowed into the country by the host. This scenario finds its modern equivalent in the immigrant who has legally entered a foreign land with permission and secured proper documentation to that effect.

Later in the book of Numbers, after Moses and the Israelites had fled Egypt they wanted to pass through Edom.  Moses dispatched messengers to Edom’s king with the following request to pass through their land:

“And here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your territory.  Please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or vineyard, or drink water from a well. We will go along the King's Highway. We will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left until we have passed through your territory.”  But Edom said to him, “You shall not pass through, lest I come out with the sword against you.”  And the people of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the highway, and if we drink of your water, I and my livestock, then I will pay for it. Let me only pass through on foot, nothing more.” But he said, “You shall not pass through.” And Edom came out against them with a large army and with a strong force.  Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his territory, so Israel turned away from him. (Num. 20:16-21)

In Judges, Jephthah refers to other denials of passage the Israelites experienced while journeying to the Promised Land:

Israel did not take away the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites,  but when they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh. Israel then sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Please let us pass through your land,’ but the king of Edom would not listen. And they sent also to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained at Kadesh.
 “Then they journeyed through the wilderness and went around the land of Edom and the land of Moab and arrived on the east side of the land of Moab and camped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the boundary of Moab. Israel then sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, ‘Please let us pass through your land to our country,’  but Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory, so Sihon gathered all his people together and encamped at Jahaz and fought with Israel.  And the Lord, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them. So Israel took possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country. (Judges 11:15-21)
In his book, “The Immigration Crisis”, Old Testament professor James Hoffmeir also argues that Christ’s family clearly asked for permission to enter Egypt when they fled from Herod. 

It is worth noting that even a traveler, a foreigner, had to obtain permission when moving through the territory of another nation, let alone pitching a tent, taking up residence and getting on Medicaid.  These episodes clearly demonstrate that nations could and did control their borders and determined who was allowed passage. Open borders have never existed and are certainly not endorsed by scripture.  

There are other problems with Dr. Leithart’s essay, but if you have reached this point, you are surely tired of reading.  Leithart says that while “hardly a slam-dunk policy” the open borders stance is a “serious position, worthy of better than the wacky-nut treatment it’s usually given.”  I hope that I have demonstrated that the open borders position is radical in both its ethical shortcomings and economic consequences. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

On ISIS and Fourth Generation Warfare

"We need to go on offense.  There is no force within the Mideast that can neutralize or contain or destroy ISIS without at least American air power.”~~Senator Lindsey Graham

"ISIS is a direct threat to the United States of America.”~~Rep. Peter King

"We are now facing an existential threat to the security of the United States of America”.”~~Senator John McCain

The above comments proffered by leading GOP politicos are demonstrative of the lack of strategic and moral judgment infecting the conservative movement and the American body politic writ large. 

What should be done concerning ISIS?  To answer that question we must first establish some context.  ISIS is a Frankenstein monster created by American policy.  One consequence of Washington’s reckless military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria has been to open a Pandora’s Box out of which has sprung ISIS.  ISIS is a synthesis of Sunni jihadis battling the Shia-backed government of Bashar Assad (a US enemy backed by Shia Iran), holdovers from Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist army and inner circle, and a handful of former al-Qaida in Iraq. By toppling the Iraqi regime and supporting the “Syrian Free Army” against Assad—a proxy war directed at Russia and Shia aligned with Iran--the U.S. armed and funded elements that have morphed into ISIS. 

Another piece of the puzzle and a larger strategic problem is the failure of the American political class to grapple with cosmic shifts in the nature of warfare.  Changes in the technology of warfare are having a leveling effect, thereby democratizing warfare and empowering non-state actors like ISIS, al-Qaida, and Hezbollah.  William Lind has documented this transition to Fourth Generation Warfare since the 1980’s.  Just as the printing press undermined the dominion of the Catholic Church, new technologies and methods of warfare are slowly undermining the State’s monopoly on violence. 

As far back as 1989, Lind wrote about the potential for technology-driven Fourth Generation Warfare and presciently predicted the rise of groups like al-Qaida and ISIS.  Lind says that Fourth Generation Warfare has three primary components:
  • The loss of the state’s monopoly on war and on the first loyalty of its citizens and the rise of non-state entities that command people’s primary loyalty and that wage war. These entities may be gangs, religions, races and ethnic groups within races, localities, tribes, business enterprises, ideologies—the variety is almost limitless;
  • A return to a world of cultures, not merely states, in conflict; and
  • The manifestation of both developments—the decline of the state and the rise of alternate, often cultural, primary loyalties—not only “over there,” but in America itself.
One clear lesson of the American failure to pacify Iraq and Afghanistan is that though Islamic militants are still decidedly low-tech, weapons technology is now moving faster than the diplomatic and political resources to control it. That at most 30,000 relatively lightly armed Islamic warriors control large swaths of multiple countries in a strategically important part of the globe is evidence that the nature of warfare is changing, tilting the balance in favor of small, ideologically unified groups.   

What this means contra the comments of Senator Graham, is that the United States would be much better off pursuing a defensive rather than aggressive strategy in the “War on Terror.” In On War, Clausewitz argued for the superiority of defensive war. "So in order to state the relationship precisely, we must say that the defensive form of warfare is intrinsically stronger than the offensive. This is the point that we have been trying to make, for although it is implicit in the nature of the matter and experience has confirmed it again and again, it is at odds with prevalent opinion, which proves how ideas can be confused by superficial writers."

In short, any foreign policy strategy should seek to insulate America from sources of disorder. To quote Lind, "America’s grand strategy should seek to connect our country with as many centers and sources of order as possible, while isolating us from as many centers and sources of disorder as possible."

What the Iraq war accomplished was little more than the destruction of a state, which created a vacuum exploited by the purveyors of disorder. Such actions "as the war in Iraq," says Lind, "tend to isolate us from successful states and run counter to our interests."

So the key is some degree of military retrenchment, and creating rapid-hitting Special Forces that can strike quickly and lethally. But we also must separate ourselves from dependence on foreign oil and seal ourselves off to a greater degree from the sea of humanity now fleeing disorder. Lind says correctly that disorder will naturally produce hordes of refuges and immigrants. Nevertheless, "accepting refugees from centers of disorder imports disorder."

A corollary to reconsidering our interventionist foreign policy is taking moves domestically to secure the nation. In  Defeating Jihad, foreign policy analyst Serge Trifkovic argues persuasively that Islam is incompatible with Western mores, folkways, and institutions. Trifkovic endorses greater domestic spying on Muslims and supervision of Islamic Centers using a variation of the McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950, denying security clearances to Muslims, and immigration policies that exclude all persons engaged in "Islamic activism."

Trifkovic's policy suggestions complement Lind's by separating the United States from growing global disorder by emphasizing defense rather than offense. "The victory," says Trifkovic, "will not come by conquering Mecca for Americans but by disengaging America from Mecca and by excluding Mecca from America. Eliminating the risk is impossible. Managing it wisely, resolutely, and permanently is something attainable."

Conservatives pondering the existential crisis the West faces should be looking to the likes of Lind and Trifkovic for answers. Though their analysis may be flawed around the edges, they avoid the foolish nihilism and moral relativism of the Left without succumbing to the mindless interventio

Monday, October 06, 2014

Immigration and Economic Ethics

The alien who lives among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower… You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the LORD your God.
--Deuteronomy 28:43, 62

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week that the U.S. labor market added 248,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.9%. 

The consensus among mainstream economists and journalists is that job growth is strong and the economy is in recovery from The Great Recession.  “This is a very muscular report," said Eric Lascelles, chief economist at RBC Global Asset Management, parroting the line heard from the chattering class. "It’s showing powerful job creation, no matter how one cares to slice it.”  But when one peels back the proverbial onion a few disconcerting facts come to light. 

First, by way of explanation, BLS employment data consists of two surveys—the Current Population Survey (CPS), also known as the household survey, and the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, also known as the payroll or establishment survey. Estimates provided by the surveys differ because they utilize different definitions and sample sizes.

The payroll survey samples workers in 400,000 establishments who are covered by unemployment insurance. The household survey queries a sample of 60,000 individuals in the workforce.  For my purpose, I will be citing the household survey, which provides more detail relating to ethnic composition and nativity status. 

For the month of September, the household survey reported an increase in total employment by 232,000.  However, native-born American employment fell by 137,000.  This was off-set by a sharp increase in foreign-born employment which rose by 369,000.
According to VDARE’s Ed Rubenstein over the past two months foreign-born employment has increased by more than 1 million workers while the number of native-born American workers employed has fallen by 780,000.

Nor is this trend a new phenomenon.  In June the Center for Immigration Studies found that there were 127,000 fewer working-age natives holding a job in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000, even as the number of immigrants with a job was 5.7 million above the 2000 level.  In short, all job growth since 2000 has gone entirely to legal and illegal immigrants. 

But immigration does not merely displace native workers, it also drives down wages.  Indeed, the most recent employment report indicates that wages dropped in September despite the boost in employment.  Wages have increased just 2% in the last year, not even keeping pace with inflation.  This is the second straight recovery in which the wages for most Americans did not increase during the expansionary phase of the cycle. 

Immigrants obviously drive down wages of workers in those industries where they directly compete for employment, but they also buy goods and services, which creates jobs in other parts of the economy.  Many economists have now concluded that the primary economic consequence of mass immigration is the redistribution of wealth from labor to capital.  This fact is seldom mentioned by lefties of the Occupy Wall Street type and judiciously ignored by the Chamber of Commerce crowd on the right.  But there is a growing academic consensus that while immigration plays a surprisingly small role in creating prosperity, it does dramatically redistribute wealth from workers to employers and users of immigrant services and, of course, to the immigrants themselves. 

The unbridled insanity of America’s immigration “debate” has been chronicled for a number of years by George Borjas, a Harvard labor economist.  Borjas is widely recognized as academia’s leading scholar on the economics of immigration.  Moreover, he is an immigrant himself, having arrived here from Cuba penniless in 1962. 

One myth Borjas explodes is that immigration adds substantial wealth to the American economy.  In fact, Borjas found that the actual net benefit accruing to natives is small, equal to an estimated two-tenths of 1 percent of GDP. “There is little evidence indicating that immigration (legal and/or illegal) creates large net gains for native-born Americans,” writes Borjas.

Even though the overall net impact on natives is small, this does not mean that the wage losses suffered by some natives or the income gains accruing to other natives are insubstantial.  Borjas  reviewed the wage impact of immigrants who entered the country between 1990 and 2010 and found that this cohort had reduced the annual earnings of American workers by $1,396—a 2.5% reduction.  As low-skill immigrants have flooded the labor market, opportunities for the least skilled workers have markedly decreased and the most vulnerable Americans have seen their wages decline as a result.  Borjas estimates that immigration is responsible for half the decrease observed in the wages of high-school dropouts.  “The biggest winners from immigration are owners of businesses that employ a lot of immigrant labor and other users of immigrant labor”, writes Borjas. “The other big winners are the immigrants themselves.”  The primary losers are native citizens with minimal skills and low levels of education.

What accounts for the fact that the world’s largest economy has become an engine providing wealth to the foreign born even as natives continue to struggle?  I think it is primarily the result of the triumph of the Alienist mindset and a globalist perspective.  The loyalty of American elites is now international rather than regional, national, or local.  But multicultural assumptions have wormed their way into all sectors of life.  The great reactionary writer Joseph Sobran defined alienism as “a prejudice in favor of the alien, the marginal, the dispossesed, the eccentric, reaching an extreme in the attempt to ‘build a new society’ by destroying the basic institutions of the native.” 

Obviously liberals are purveyors of the politics of guilt and pity and “alienism” is the reigning ideological paradigm within many left-wing movements.  But increasingly there are elements of the conservative coalition that have imbibed many of the same premises.  The business wing of the GOP has no attachment to kin, kith, place, or nation and is loyal only to the bottom line.  Many Evangelical Christian leaders are also parroting positions indistinguishable from multiculturalists.  Most American have not been inoculated from the viruses of Political Correctness and Cultural Marxism and have unintentionally imbibed many false presuppositions.  Evangelical pastors and writers—from Russ Moore and John Piper to Joel Belz and Mike Gerson—discuss the immigration issue, to take one example, in a manner that universalizes obligation and undermines concrete ethical duties tied to a place and a people.  They emphasize the universal at the expense of the particular.  Man has a series of concentric duties emanating from himself outward to family, neighbor, local church, etc.  But to obligate a man to care for the well being of millions, or imply that he has six billion “neighbors”, is to create a yoke of guilt that will lead to the bondage of statism.  

Reading Evangelical leaders I am reminded of James Burnham’s discussion of Neo-Conservatism.  Burnham commented that the neoconservatives still clung to "what might be called the emotional gestalt of liberalism, the liberal sensitivity and temperament."  He said they substituted abstractions about "compassion, kindliness, love and brotherhood" for indispensable civic virtues.  Christians are misapplying a range of biblical texts in ways that foster and augment the worldview of modern multiculturalism--a worldview that is polytheistic and fundamentally at war with a Christian view of reality. 

Most Christian social thinkers also lack a basic understanding of economics and fail to reckon with the economic fact of scarcity. Proper stewardship must begin with the admission that resources are finite and limited. Economics is not a science but a branch of applied ethics primarily focusing on the study of human action. In a world of scarcity, a result of God’s curse on the earth due to Adam’s sin, human beings necessarily make choices among competing alternatives effecting the distribution of resources. Ethically speaking do six trillion people have a claim on scarce and finite American monetary and economic resources?

Do Americans have a moral imperative to import poverty, and in so doing divert resources and employment opportunities from our most vulnerable citizens? The primary victims of unchecked immigration are Americans with little education and skills, native-born minorities, convicts who have done their time, and the disabled. These are fellow citizens, neighbors, and often our brothers in Christ, but all too many Christians would consign them to dog-eat-dog competition with those who have broken American law in the case of illegal aliens or who have no ties to our land and people.  Surely such citizens are among "the least of these”.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Some Reasons I Became a Paedobaptist

Many factors, biblical and experiential, have been a part of our shift as a family toward Presbyterianism.  My understanding of the church and the nature of the covenant changed as I tilled the soil of Romans 11, I Corinthians 10, Hebrews 6, and Hebrews 10.  But I was most persuaded by the fact that God is remaking the creation.  An important element of that re-creation is the remaking of the family.  Below is an argument in the form of an outline as I trace some of my thinking on the question of baptism and covenant. 

I.  The Purpose of Man and Significance of the Family in Creation
Attempting to understand baptism should rightly begin with God’s will and purpose for man in creation.  So what is God’s will for man, the pinnacle of His creation?  D. James Kennedy writes, "God's answer to the question of human purpose and meaning centers around two great mandates He has given us in His Word. A mandate, of course, is a directive or command that points us in a specific direction." Those two mandates are the Cultural Mandate, given at the creation of man, and the Great Commission, given with the creation of the new man.

The first of God's two mandates - the Cultural Mandate - is found in Genesis 1:26-28:
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

To "'be fruitful and multiply,' means to develop the social order: build families, churches, schools, cities, governments, laws. 'Subdue the earth,' means to harness the natural world: plant crops, build bridges, design computers, compose music. This passage commands man to create cultures and build civilizations.

Here we see God conferring upon man the role of vice-regent, ruling and reigning with God, bringing the world under His dominion. Man’s task in accordance with God’s command and our own nature, having been created in His image, is to exercise dominion and develop culture. As a "federal head" Adam did not merely act on his own behalf, but as a representative for all of mankind. The command to Adam, which is stated again in the Noahic Covenant (Genesis 9) is still in force today. To quote Kennedy again, "As the vice-regents of God, we are to bring His truth and His will to bear on every sphere of our world and our society. We are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors - in short, over every aspect and intrusion of human society."

However, man does not exercise dominion and authority solely or even largely as an individual, but primarily through covenantal and corporate structures.  God creates man in His image.  God is Trinitarian.  Though He is One God, He reveals Himself in three distinct persons.  Because humanity is created in the Imago Dei, man is both one and many; unity and diversity; individual and community.  The exercise of dominion is unmistakably a family enterprise and thus the institution and structure of the family as a governing authority is central to the outworking of God’s Kingdom in history.  This is confirmed in the New Testament through, to take one example, the numerous instances of “household codes” in which husbands, wives and children are told how to live in the home—establishing authority structures, duties, and blessings within the covenant family.  Likewise, the family has been given stewardship over children, authority over property and inheritance, and control over education. The family is also the institution preeminently responsible for social welfare. Paul says that the failure to care for our own marks us as "worse than an unbeliever" (I Tim. 5:8) and James says that "pure and undefiled religion…is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble" (James 1:27).  God created the family as the primary source of earthly government.

II.  The Consequences of Sin for the Family and the Need for Grace

Yet that which was created good to magnify the glory of God became corrupted and broken as a result of Adam’s fall whereby sin was imputed to all humanity, perverting the God-given desire to exercise authority in God’s name and replacing it with a desire to become God ourselves.

One consequence of the fall is that the curse distorts and disfigures families as families.  Sin disrupts the relation of God-to-man but also man-to-man in families.  That the curse includes barrenness (symbolized by thorns and thistles and pain in childbirth) and quickly produces a fraternal murder is evidence of the consequences of sin within the family.   The theme of barrenness is picked up repeatedly in Scripture (Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, etc.), yet in each case God graciously opens the wombs of these women.  (The Bible also paints a portrait of death and resurrection related childbirth—see Rom. 4:18-25). 

Thus we see in this and countless other ways the need for grace and God’s generosity in giving it to His people.  Christ’s representative and vicarious death was necessary to restore and renew the image of God to allow redeemed men to bring the creation into submission to God. It is only in Christ, through the power of the Holy Sprit, that man can fulfill his original mandate.  This ties together the Cultural Mandate and the Great Commission.  The former is dependent upon the latter.  The impartation of grace was necessary to renew and restore what was lost in the garden, including the restoration of families to their proper role in God’s order.  Therefore, it is significant that God’s covenant administration—His grace in condescending to be a God to a chosen people-- throughout the Bible has a specifically family orientation. 

III. Old Testament Administrations of the Covenant of Grace Included Children

One factor that points to the unity of the various covenantal adminstrations is the genealogical principle, wherein scripture portrays a God entering into covenant with a federal head and also his children.  When God determined to relate to a people covneantally, his arrangement was genealogical.  It is manifested in the “seed” concept.

A.  In the Noahic covenant
Gen. 9:8-9--Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you.

B.  In the Abrahamic covenant:
Gen. 15:8:
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,

Genesis 17:7-8:
And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

C.  God worked through Isaac and his descendants:
Gen. 26:
24 And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiplycyour offspring for my servant Abraham's sake.”

D.  God worked through Jacob and his descendants:
Gen. 28:13-14
13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give  to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the  south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

E.  In the Mosaic covenant:
Exodus 20:5-6
You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a    jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
A dramatic expression of this is conveyed in renewal of the covenant in  Deuteronomy 5:2-3:
The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Not with our fathers did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today.

The majority Israelites standing on the plains of Moab during this renewal of the covenant were not even born when God covenanted with His people at Sinai.  But Moses here says that they were present there.  There is solidarity with their forefathers because of genealogical continuity. 

F.  In the Davidic covenant:
2 Samuel 22:51:
51 Great salvation he brings to his king,
    and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
    to David and his offspring forever.”

Psalm 89:3-4:
You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
  I have sworn to David my servant:
I will establish your offspring forever,
    and build your throne for all generations.’”

IV.  New Covenant Promises in the OT Include Children and Offspring
Because the various covenant administrations also included the children of the covenanted party, it seems that there should have been decisive new covenant break to abrogate the principle of “to you and your seed” if children were not longer in the covenant. 

But, to the contrary, the new covenant promises contained in the Old Testament continue to use the same language.

A.  Deut. 30:5:
And the LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers   possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. 6 "Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all      your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live.

B.  Jer 31:34-38
And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother,    saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and  their sin I will remember no more." 35 Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun     for light by day, And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: 36  "If this fixed order departs From before Me," declares the LORD, " Then the offspring of Israel also shall cease From being a nation before Me forever. " 37  Thus says the LORD, "If the heavens above can be measured, And the     foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done," declares the LORD. 38 "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when the city shall be rebuilt for the LORD from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate.

C.  Jeremiah 32:38-40
38And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the        fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.

D.  Isaiah 59:21
21 “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit that  is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of  your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children's offspring,” says the Lord, “from this time forth and forevermore.”

E.  Ezekiel 37:24-26
24 “My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one    shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes. 25 They shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived.   They and their children and their children's children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore.

F.  PS. 103:17-18
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
 the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
                and his righteousness with their children’s children
            18 with those who keep his covenant
             and remember to obey his precepts.

The Old Testament concludes with a prophecy pointing to the restoration of the family bond. 

G.  Malachi 4:5-6
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of    the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

Rather than abrogation of the genealogical principle, we see it confirmed and fulfilled in the NT beginning with the ministry of John the Baptist. 

V.  Evidence That the Preceding Pattern is Assumed and Confirmed by Jesus and the Apostles

A.  Jesus expressly includes children in the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 19:14:
14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Mark 10:14
14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

Luke 18:15-17
15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

To argue as some do that Jesus was merely teaching the disciples that a “child-like faith” is necessary ignores the fact that there were parents bringing their children to Jesus and seeking assurance that He would bring them into His kingdom.  Though some may object that water and baptism are not in these passages, children are, as is their relationship to Christ.   They were seeking a blessing—surely a sign of covenantal significance.

B.   Peter’s Sermon at Pentecost
Given this heritage and context and the nature of prior covenant administrations, as well as the actions of Christ noted above, consider how Peter addresses a gathering of Jewish men in the first New Covenant sermon.  Peter instructs them (as converts) to repent and be baptized.  He then assures them that the promise is for “you and your children” as well as those “far off.”  The accent is not on discontinuity, but continuity and expansion. 

Peter's listeners at his Pentecost sermon in Jerusalem were Jews at the tail end of roughly 2,000 years of being taught that their children were heirs of the promise of salvation represented by the sign and seal of circumcision of their infant sons (Genesis 17:7; Acts 3:25-26; 13:32-33).  Yet not only in Acts 2 but throughout the New Testament, there is no record of an outcry against the supposed exclusion of their children from the covenant.  Rather, Peter simply says that the promise is for his hearers and their children.

C.  Evidence From the Epistles
Given the preceding, it is not surprising that baptism is administered to households ("the families of the earth," Acts 3:25).

Every person named in the New Testament baptism narratives had their household baptized, if the individual had a household. (i.e, it is not reasonable to expect the Ethiopian eunuch, Saul, and Simon the Sorcerer to have had a familial household.)

Of the nine individuals named in the baptism narratives, one likely did not have a family (Sorcerers are not generally considered family men), two had no household for obvious reasons (eunuch, Saul ), and five had their households baptized.  That leaves Gaius (1Co 1:14) who is mentioned as a household head along with Crispus. Crispus' household was baptized with him (Acts 18:8)

Finally, when Paul gives in instructions to the “saints”, those called out who belong to God, he includes children (Colossians 3:20; Eph. 6:1).   Children are to be instructed and discipled which implies that they have been baptized (Matt. 28: 18-20) 

Does the Nature of Family and Children Change in the New Covenant

As mentioned above, one feature of the New Covenant is the restoration of the parent/child relationship, the fulfillment of the promises of Malachi 4: “He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared” (Luke 1:17).  

Instructions to fathers in the New Covenant are to bring our children “up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”  Children are learners—they are disciples.  Baptist appeals to clear instances of adult conversion baptism imply that there is no real distinction between Christian nurture and evangelism.  But do the scriptures assume that the children of believers are mere pagans and that a Christian home is necessarily divided by the very presence of children?  How shall I, as a father, simultaneously nurture my sons in the Lord while treating them as unbelieving pagans?  Can a house divided against itself stand?  Is not the task of Christian parents to teach their children “all that Christ commanded?”

Though it is an argument from silence, the occurrence of a sizable number of household baptisms seems an expression of this same covenantal reality.  As the gospel expands into Gentile contexts, it does so by household (Cornelius, Lydia, Philippian jailer, Stephanus and household, etc.)   Turning to Jesus is not merely an act of individuals, though it is that, but also of families.  The grace of Christ does not merely restore and renew individuals, but families.  Indeed marriage and biological procreation further the Kingdom of God and Christian marriage is in part to serve as an instrument for the propagation of the Kingdom via the birth and nurture of godly descendants (Mal. 2:15) .  

This raises the question of what the New Testament says about children.  Does not Jesus expressly and explicitly include children in the Kingdom of God?  Jesus said, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Mt. 19:14; Mark 10:14).  Luke says that some of those brought to Jesus were infants: “Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.  But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”  To argue as some do that Jesus was merely teaching the disciples that a “child-like faith” is necessary ignores the fact that there were parents bringing their children to Jesus and seeking assurance that He would bring them into His kingdom.  Though some may object that water and baptism are not in these passages children are, as is their relationship to Christ.

The New Testament likewise recognizes that the children of believers are holy.  Paul writes that the children of at least one believing parent are hagia (1 Cor 7:14), which seems a clear reference to being in covenant with God or, in New Testament terms, saints.   In short, the children of believers have a status different from pagan unbelievers.  They are covenantally clean and able to approach God and should not denied the sign of the covenant. 


Monday, December 23, 2013

The Myopia of Christian Conservatives

On his Facebook page today, Dr. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, posted this comment regarding the surge in violence against Christians in the Middle East: “Britain's Labour Party to take up issue of persecuted Christians. Will Republicans & Democrats in the US do the same?  Dr. Mohler also addressed the issue of Christian persecution in his December 18th version of “The Briefing”. 

Mohler’s analysis followed on the heels of a spate of news reports indicating that Christian communities have been all but destroyed in the region.  Once nearly one-fifth of Middle Easterners were Christian.  Today, that number is less than 5%.  In Iraq, a once thriving Christian community that numbered over one million during Saddam Hussein’s regime has shrunk to less than 200,000. 

The statistics in Syria are likewise sobering.  In the midst of raging civil war various factions of the American-backed “Free Syrian Army”, receiving vast amounts of Western aid under the guise of supporting supposed “moderates,” have been implicated in attacks on Christians.  Last week in the town of Sadad, 1,500 families were used as human shields by rebel forces.  It is estimated that 500,000 Christians have been forced to flee their homes in Syria.

The chaos enveloping the Middle East was entirely predictable.  I was writing about it back in 2004.  The authoritarian regimes of the old era—Hussein, Asaad, Mubarak, etc.—while not governed by men of great charm did protect Christian populations in their respective nations.  The health of the state was necessary because Christians never organized themselves along tribal lines in these regions.  As a result, they forfeited the protection that comes with such a structure and became dependent on a functioning and healthy state.  (That was, of course, a mistake, but that’s another conversation. )

The problem is that American foreign policy since the early Bush administration has been centered around the propagation of democratism—the ideological imposition of “democracy” at the point of a bayonet.  As such, it was designed to destabilize the states of the region and replace the existing regimes with "democrats", as though Massachusetts town meetings would germinate and sprout along the Tigris.  The crazed ideological zealotry of the Neo-Conservatives was best stated by George W. "Robespierre" Bush himself:
“I believe democracy can take hold in parts of the world that have been condemned to tyranny. And I believe when democracies take hold, it leads to peace. That's been the proven example around the world. Democracies equal peace.”

"It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

"With the power and resources given to us, the United States seeks to bring peace where there is conflict, hope where there is suffering, and liberty where there is tyranny."

Ultimately the "Arab Spring" merely accomplished the destabilizing of existing regime, either producing civil war or more clearly defined Islamic states.  The protection of Christian minorities was an afterthought as the globalists in the Imperial City gladly offered up human sacrifices on the altar of democratism.

But my primary concern here is the fact that it was conservative Christians who provided the popular political anchor for the Bush (and now Obama) policy.  This includes Christian leaders such as, you guessed it, Albert Mohler.  In his commentary on the Iraqi election in 2005, Dr. Mohler assured readers that “freedom” was on the march. Mohler wrote that, “while the pessimists in Western nations may be embarrassed by their empty predictions of a failed election, the response in other Arab capitals should be far more dramatic. The autocratic despots of the Arab world must surely see this election as a sign that time is running out. Once freedom is set loose in the Middle East, it will not stop at the borders of Iraq. It will eventually make its way across the Middle East, the gulf states, and North Africa.” Mohler goes on to say, “Iraq did feel the force of freedom on Sunday--and that force was felt not only by freedom's friends, but its enemies as well. That noise you hear is the sound of autocrats shuddering.”

Actually, that sound in the distance was not the shuddering of autocrats nor the faint cry of freedom, democracy, and constitutionalism slouching forth to be birthed in Baghdad. On the contrary, it was  screeching and sputtering nonsense emanating not merely from American pulpits but practically every orifice of the American body politic. The elite media were virtually unanimous in their full-throated acclaim for that episode in civilization building along the Mesopotamia. Such myopia was not merely an affliction of the Christian political community but also the political left.

As Dr. Mohler predicted, the revolution unleashed in Iraq has indeed made "its way across the Middle East, the gulf states, and North Africa" with the result being dead and displaced Christians.  We are reaping the the whirlwind of a war predicated upon a deception--that Saddam Hussein possessed chemical weapons.  It lacked a clear mandate from the Congress.  It created chaos in Iraq that led to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths.  That chaos ultimately has spread throughout the region and continues to imperil our brethren.  Who is to blame?  The GOP, George W. Bush, and conservative Christians. 

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