Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The State as God

Colorado's highest court tossed out the sentence of a man who was given the death penalty after jurors consulted the Bible in reaching a verdict. According to the court, The Bible constituted an improper outside influence and a reliance on what the justices called a "higher authority."

The defendant, one Robert Harlan, kidnapped and raped a waitress, Rhonda Maloney. Maloney escaped and flagged down a motorist, Jaquie Creazzo. Eventually, Mr. Harlan caught up with the two women, shot Ms. Creazzo, leaving her paralyzed, then beat and killed Ms. Maloney.

One juror admitted to committing the mortal sin of looking to the Scripture as a source of wisdom for her decision on a verdict. Evidently, she studied Leviticus 24 and Romans 13.

Commenting on the case, an ethics professor named Professor Howard J. Vogel said, "I don't think it's a religious text that's the problem here, but rather whether something is being used that trumps the law of the state."

So the State, in the guise of black-robed dictators, claims to be the ultimate source of the law. One day, they will answer for their arrogance before the King.

Psalm 2
1 Why do the nations conspire[a]and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One.
3 “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.”
4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
6 “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
7 I will proclaim the decree of the LORD : He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
10 Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Big Labor, Pretty in Pink

Indiana Congressman John Hostetler, one of my favorites on the Hill, introduced the Marriage Protection Act which if enacted will prevent federal courts from hearing challenges to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Similar legislation passed in the House last July by a 233-194 vote, but the measure failed to gain passage in the Senate.

In a written statement from his office Hostetler said, "Recognizing that marriage is a divinely ordained institution — not a social experiment to be reinvented and redefined by a handful of [non-elected] ideologues of the federal judiciary — I am introducing legislation to limit the federal courts’ ability to set a national precedent that undermines marriage as we know it."

Hostetler's legislation is the most reasonable way to handle the homosexualitst assault on marriage, and hence it will go nowhere. Republicans aren't concerned about actually solving the problem, they are more interested in ginning up the conservative base at election time and then treating them like a jilted spouse by the second week of November.

But what really started my head shaking was the reaction of Big Labor to Hostetler's legislation. The AFL-CIO has passed passed a resolution titled "Support for the Full Inclusion & Equal Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender People in the Workplace." Now that's a mouth-full!

The AFL-CIO isn't the only labor union to come out for "equal marriage rights." The Service Workers Employees International Union (SEIU) and the United Farm Workers Union, also passed similar resolutions last summer.

This isn't your father's labor union.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Social Security, the Draft, Christian Persecution..and More

In a recent post on the economic consequences of mass immigration, I mentioned that I would address the argument made by some libertarians and other immithusiasts that more immigration can save Social Security. Well, Ed Rubenstein at VDARE has just addressed the issue. I may expand on Rubenstein's comments in the future, but I think he basically hits the salient points.

I've refrained from offering up my own comments on the Schiavo case as I can add nothing new that hasn't been said. I would direct your attention to a piece by Joe Sobran and another by Evangelical Libertarian economist William Anderson.

Some interesting thoughts from one of my favorite bloggers, Chad Degenhart, on cities. Baptist professor Mark Coppenger had some some similar musings recently on urban jungles.

Gary North with some insights on calling vs. occupation.

We don't hear much about the situation in Iraq these days, so here is some news. Iraq is swept up in a serious crime wave. The Star Tribune reports that, "In Baghdad alone, officials at the central morgue counted 8,035 deaths by unnatural causes in 2004, up from 6,012 the previous year when the United States invaded Iraq. In 2002, the final year of the Saddam Hussein's regime, the morgue examined about 1,800 bodies." There is also some concern that the country could divide into ethnic groups as "Sunni Muslim sheiks are publicly exhorting followers to strike with force against ethnic Kurds and Shi'ites, an escalation in rhetoric that could exacerbate the communal violence that already is shaking Iraq's ethnic communities."

Jay Matthews is a thoughtful journalist who covers educational issues for the Washington Post. Here he discusses the controversy over Intelligent Design and concludes, as a convinced Darwinists, that kids ought to be exposed to the heretical ideas of ID proponents.

Over at Counterpunch, Tom Reeves discusses the impending draft.

An atheist worries about Christian persecution in Iraq...and beyond, and wonders why fellow believers don't stick up for their own:

To this day, while Muslims stick up for their co-religionists, Christians — beyond a few charities — have given up such forms of discrimination. Dr Sookhdeo said: ‘The Muslims have an Ummah [the worldwide Muslim community] whereas Christians do not have Christendom. There is no Christian country that says, “We are Christian and we will help Christians.”’

As a liberal democrat atheist, I believe all persecuted people should be helped equally, irrespective of their religion. But the guilt-ridden West is ignoring people because of their religion. If non-Christians like me can sense the nonsense, how does it make Christians feel? And how are they going to react? The Christophobes worried about rising Christian fundamentalism in Britain should understand that it is a reaction to our double standards. And as long as our double standards exist, Christian fundamentalism will grow.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Tom Delay--God's Man in Washington?

My friend John, whose comments are the best part of Dow Blog, recently directed me to an essay by hackneyed Clintonid sycophant Sid Blumenthal. Blumenthal was discoursing on the potential legal difficulties of the ethically challenged Tom Delay.

Prior to John's prodding, I had ignored the allegations swirling around Delay. In all honesty, after further reading on the matter, I'm still uncertain that the gaggle of charges being tossed in Delay's direction will be materially connected to him. (To read more on the matter, click here and here).

However, a couple items about the story did catch my attention. First were the comments of Paul Weyrich. I haven't paid much attention to Weyrich's musings for years, but I've had a soft spot for Paul since the 1992 Republican primaries when The New Republic reported that Weyrich got in the ever so ample face of William Bennett after America's reigning virtuecrat accused Pat Buchanan of "flirting with Fascism."

In any case, with Democrats and members of the Fourth Estate smelling blood in the water, Weyrich has sprung to Delay's defense. While Democrats shamelessly play the race card and employ Marxian class-war rhetoric, Weyrich has one-upped the Libs by invoking the Prince of Darkness himself. Writing in defense of Delay's tactics and style, Weyrich wrote:

The effort to weaken and punish DeLay is coming from all directions. It is vicious. It saps his seemingly boundless energy. DeLay needs our public support. If we let him hang out to dry how many others in leadership will ever risk trying to accomplish bold objectives? DeLay also needs our fervent prayers. This is spiritual warfare. Make no mistake about it. A Senator who was a close friend for the two terms he served in that body told me he did not want to tackle one of the social issues because "Satan is so strong on that issue that I don't feel I am spiritually strong enough to go there."

Abortion is certainly Satan's work. DeLay's willingness to go where angels fear to tread is commendable but dangerous. It is the courts, not the people or their legislatures, which have mandated abortion, an end to prayer, an end to mentioning God in public places, a completely Godless curriculum in public education, an end to solely recognized heterosexual marriage, an end to God in our pledge of allegiance, an end to the sacredness of our flag and so on. DeLay is being challenged precisely because he is challenging Satan himself in the legislative arena. Please, please my fellow conservatives of the Judeo-Christian tradition: do not abandon this good man. The consequences of doing so are too terrible to contemplate.

Is Weyrich comparing the Democrats to Satan? What about Republicans that might be critical of Delay's ethical transgressions? Are they in league with the Father of Lies as well? I'm at a loss to explain Weyrich's comments, suffice to say his words seem odd in light of Scriptural teaching on spiritual warfare.

II Cor. 10:4
4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

Eph. 6:12
12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Second, the Delay fiasco shows how easily the Religious Right is manipulated into furthering the objectives of the moneyed-interests in the Republican Party. The election demonstrated how easily the Right could be had. Karl Rove waved the bloody shirt of gay marriage and the GOP burnished its "pro-life" message--all of which was lapped up by naive and gullible conservatives who showed up on election day to pull a lever for the GOP.

Here, however, we see that even the "sophisticated" leaders of the Evangelical political movement can be massaged into doing Satan's work (to use a Weyrichism). Writing in the Washington Post, Susan Schmidt detailed the shady inner-workings of government.

In 2001, the Jena Band of Choctaws, a Louisiana Indian tribe, won approval from then governor Mike Foster to build a casino near the Texas border. Another tribe, the Louisiana Choushattas, who already operated a casino in Louisiana, hired Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff in hopes of thwarting the project and stifling future competition. Abramoff is on Orthodox Jew with close ties to Rabbi Lapin and movie critic Michael Medved. He is also a supporter of Tom Delay, whom Delay once called "one of my best friends." To accomplish his goal, Abramoff paid $4 million to Republican consultant and former Christian Coalition poohbah Ralph Reed to organize local anti-gambling sentiment against the Jenas. To fire up the grass-roots troops, Reed called on James Dobson to run ads against the plan in Louisiana and Texas and fire off a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton (the Interior Department has final say on a tribe's gambling aspirations.)

The end result--Reed took home $4 million from gambling interests to pose as an opponent of gambling, Dobson got to test run the ground-game later employed to elect GOP "conservatives," Abramoff and his partner, former Delay associate Michael Scanlon, were paid $32 million, and tribe money boosted Republican causes across the country.

The shameless spectacle on display is a product of the culmination of the pursuit of power by "religious conservatives" who now excuse the corruption of public ethics as a necessary adjunct of spiritual warfare.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Costs of Immigration

In a previous essay, I attempted to demonstrate that the aggregate economic impact of immigration is small. According to economist George Borjas, “All the available estimates suggest that the annual net gain is astoundingly small, less than .1% of GDP.” In real terms, that translates into approximately $10 billion dollars added to the overall economy, just $30 per person.

Borjas also establishes that mass immigration has dramatic redistributive effects. As low-skill immigrants have flooded the labor market, Borjas estimates that immigration is responsible for half the decrease observed in the wages of high-school dropouts.

There are numerous other economic costs connected to immigration. According to Census Bureau figures for 2003, poverty rates increased and the number of uninsured Americans reached all-time highs. This bad news occurred despite an ongoing economic recovery in its third year.

Census numbers showed a growing chasm between natives and the foreign-born. For example, look at median family income for 2003:

*Income of native households rose $135, or 0.3%
*Income of naturalized citizen households fell $422, or 0.9%
*Income of non-citizen households fell $1,852, or 5.6%

Similarly, the poverty rate for U.S.-born citizens was 11.8%, but 21.7% among foreign-born non-citizens.

The data pertaining to health insurance coverage is most shocking of all. While 13% of natives lack insurance coverage, 34.5% of all immigrants and 45.3% of non-citizen immigrants do not have health coverage.

According to a report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, one out of every four uninsured Americans is an immigrant. Furthermore, 1/2 of immigrants have no insurance or have it provided at taxpayer expense. Unfortunately, the problem of uninsured immigrants is on the rise. According to FAIR, immigrants (legal and illegal) who arrived between 1994 and 1998 and their children accounted for 59 percent of the growth in the size of the uninsured population in the last ten years.

As Borjas points out, increasingly the immigrants coming to our shores and teeming across the southern border have limited job skills and are very poor. As a result, they also become a burden on the American welfare state. According to analyst Steve Camarota, state governments spend an estimated $11 billion to $22 billion to provide welfare to immigrants. Camarota finds, not surprisingly, welfare use remains high over time; immigrants in the country for more than 20 years still use the welfare system at significantly higher rates than natives.

Finally, immigration is causing school overcrowding and states are speeding $7.4 billion annually to educate illegal immigrants--which doesn't account for the massive expenditures undertaken to educate the children of legal immigrants. As Peter Brimelow says, there are no national studies calculating the cost of bilingual education because no one wants to know the answer.

An economic cost/benefit analysis should not drive immigration policy. I am merely suggesting that the assumption that immigration produces ecomomic benefits is a dubious proposition at best.

Coming soon--Can immigration save Social Security?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Sundry Musings

Sorry for the dearth of new material recently, but we've been passing various strains of illness around the house for the last three weeks.

Paul Proctor lays the smack down on Rick Warren.

According to Time Magazine, Rick Warren is “America's New People's Pastor.” Judging by the millions of PDL books sold and the thousands of churches that have embraced him, his programs and his accessories, I am inclined to agree.

YOU, my fellow Christian; whether you’re a preacher, a pastor, an evangelist, a church leader, teacher or simply a layman; after reading here what Pastor Warren wrote in The Ladies Home Journal, have an obligation to take a stand for Jesus Christ and His Word and warn others about Warren’s unbiblical teaching. If you do not, and just sit silent to save your ministry, church, career, family, friends or your own reputation then I would encourage you to re-read Matthew 16:24-26 one more time because he is leading people astray around the world in vast numbers and we are commanded to rebuke him for it with the Word of God and separate ourselves from him and his heresy if he does not repent.

Some Afghani's long for a return of the Taliban.

Chuck Baldwin wants to know if the Religious Right gullible, naïve, or willingly ignorant. Baldwin asks,

Practically everyone in Bush's cabinet is pro-abortion. Bush is the first president to authorize stem cell research...

President Bush has done nothing to remove abortifacients such as RU-486 from the shelves. He even supported the National Organization of Women (NOW) in their racketeering suit against Joe Scheidler and other pro-life advocates.

President Bush has approved millions of taxpayer dollars in funding for Planned Parenthood. He has authorized federal funding for abortion providers overseas to levels even higher than those authorized by President Bill Clinton!

Speaking of overseas funding for abortion, President Bush's $15 billion AIDS package provides payments to organizations that provide abortions including the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

President Bush even admitted his opposition to overturning Roe v Wade by stating emphatically, "there will be abortions. That's a reality." Of course, the President's wife Laura has also publicly said she is opposed to overturning Roe v Wade.

President Bush has repeatedly said that he has no litmus test on the life issue when it comes to appointing federal judges. Why does the Religious Right claim he intends to do something he has plainly and repeatedly denied? Again, are they gullible, naïve, or willingly ignorant?

Chuck, I'm afraid the answer is, D--all of the above.

Vox populi, vox dei, Al? I may post more about this later, but why on earth is Mohler praising Sharansky and berating George Kennan. Does Mohler believe the democratist pabulum spouted by Neocons?

The mother of a dead soldier has a question for Mr. Bush:

Why does Terry Schiavo deserve to live more than my son, Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan? Casey was misused and abused by his Commander-in-Chief and executive branch that boldly lied to the American public and the less gullible citizens of other countries about the reasons for the invasion of Iraq.

Casey was sent to Iraq to be killed by the same pack of cowards and murderers who so "valiantly" and tirelessly fought for the right for Ms. Schiavo to live! The green light for Casey’s murder was given by a Congress who expediently abrogated their constitutional rights to a president whose foreign policies are not based on reality or even loosely based on any kind of Christian moral values. Someone needs to give Congress basic lessons on the Constitution: Declaring War – YES; Meddling in a family's private tragedy – NO!!

As far as I am concerned, the amazing hypocrites in our Government are not making up for killing thousands of innocent Americans and Iraqis by passing emergency legislation to save one life. Every member of Bush’s executive branch (past and present) and every member of Congress who voted to give George the authority to invade Iraq have innocent blood on their hands. For the next State of the Union address, maybe the hypocrites in Congress should shamefacedly display blood soaked hands, instead of proudly wriggling fingers stained with ink to symbolize sham Iraqi elections. This shameful Congress should go back on vacation and go back to their home districts and look for people who have been devastated by the illegal occupation of Iraq.

The intrepid Paul Craig Roberts takes on immigration, outsourcing, and the burgeoning police state--all in one column.

Some libs are having second thoughts about Iraq, but Ilana Mercer is having none of it.

Pat Buchanan and Tom Fleming comment on the Schiavo case.

I hope to do some posting pertaining to immigration in the near future. If you haven't seen this brief discussion about the redistributive impact of mass immigration, check it out.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Random Thoughts

Wolfie goes to the World Bank. Now he can destroy other countries with "sound" economic policies rather than missiles.

The blogosphere has too many loud-mouthed white men. No wonder I like it.

Another great essay by Dave Black. I can't wait for his book.

The roads going out of Baghdad are virtually impassable. According the CS Monitor, "Nearly two years since President Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq, Baghdad is still one of the most dangerous cities in the world. It is ringed in peril. Travel in any direction a few miles outside city limits and the risks intensify. The ferocity and growth of these no-go zones underscores the need for additional Iraqi security forces in and around Baghdad as the US begins to reduce its manpower here."

Too bad more Baptists don't emulate Spurgeon.

Is Libertarianism just low-tax liberalism? If Libertarians are going to support an imperious foreign policy and endorse libertine living, how are they different from Democrtats? Oh yeah, they don't like Medicare.

Al Mohler with a nice essay on judicial activism. Mohler criticizes Anthony Kennedy for relying on psychology rather than law to frame his argument:

Kennedy turned to psychology as the platform for his argument. He first asserted that juveniles under age 18 lack maturity and have "an underdeveloped sense of responsibility." Secondly, he identified juveniles as "more vulnerable or susceptible to negative influences and outside pressures, including peer pressure." Finally, he argued that "the character of a juvenile is not as well formed as that of an adult. The personality traits of juveniles are more transitory, less fixed." As his authority for that last assertion, Kennedy cited psychologist Eric Erikson, as if that should end all debate and settle the subject.

One wonders if Mohler, who here praises Dr. King and the civil rights revolution, would make similar observations about Brown v. Board of Education given that it was based on Gunnar Myrdal’s fantasies.

That modern judicial activsim began with the Brown decision is a truism all but ignored by "conservatives" who want to demonstrate their non-racist credentials.

Stupidity in Louisville

Intelligent Design advocate William Dembski is coming to town to teach at Southern Seminary and launch the Center for Science and Theology. Dembski has Ph.Ds in philosophy and mathematics and will soon begin teaching young pastors to challenge the fantasies of Darwinian orthodoxy.

Rather than welcoming Dembski to town, his appearance has been greeted by scowls from shrill Darwinists looking to protect their shattered faith from challenge. (Here is a sampling of letters published by our scurrilous local rag, the Courier Journal.)

Meanwhile, the University of Louisville has endowed a chair on Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality and has decided it would be a swell idea to bring Angela Davis to town.

Who are these people, and why exactly should I take them seriously?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Democracy and American Foreign Policy

In a speech to the UN on September 23, 1991, George H. W. Bush said, “People everywhere seek government of and by the people, and they want to enjoy their inalienable rights to freedom and property and person.” The elder Bush went on to say, “The United Nations should not dictate the particular forms of government that nations should adopt, but it can and should encourage the values upon which this organization was founded.”

I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

When running for the presidency in 2000, candidate George Bush repudiated the triumphalist chatter of the Clintonians, with their incessant braying about our being the "indispensable nation." Mr. Bush said, "Let us have an American Foreign policy that reflects American character. The modesty of true strength. The humility of real greatness. This is the strong heart of America. And this will be the spirit of my administration."

During a presidential debate with Albert Gore, Bush echoed this sentiment once again when he said, “One way for us to end up being viewed as the ugly American if for us to go around the world saying, we do it this way, so should you...The United State must be humble...humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course.”

My, how things have changed. In the post-9/11 Orwellian nightmare that is our "new reality," Mr. Bush has done a one-eighty and wants to remake the world in the idolatrous image of 21st century “democratic” America. In his inaugural address, Mr. Bush said, "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."

The charge to end “tyranny in our world” is a Wilsonian call to drag the US into a never-ending series of wars to make the world “safe for democracy,” for Mr. Bush now worships the golden calf of democracy. Leading up the inauguration, he said, “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.”

Democratist ideologues claim that non-democratic states are incubators of terror. But what really is the cause and purpose of terrorism? Terror is not a new tactic by any means, and it is a weapon of the weak wielded against foreign occupation, perceived or real.

Terror has been an instrument used by Zionist ideologues to run the British out of Palestine and has been employed by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The terror of Khomeini's Revolutionary Guards terror was largely a reaction to perceived American hegemony in Iran. Hizbollah turned to terror after the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and its subsequent occupation. The FLN used terror to drive the French from Algeria. To this brief litany could be added many other examples, including Islamic terror in Chechnya and Kashmir.

Looking objectively at the Middle East, and I am no expert on the matter, it would appear that terror springs from disorganized states (Lebanon, Afghanistan and current Iraq) and is not broadly practiced by stable authoritarian regimes like Syria and Iraq under Hussein. Yes, they may have employed terror occasionally for their own purposes, but large-scale independent and international terror movements have not sprung from those regimes.

Moreover, small-scale terror movements are not unknown in democratic states. Italy, Germany, Spain, and Ireland have seen homegrown terrorism. Even in the United States there was an anarchist movement in the late 19th and early 20th century. An anarchist assassinated William McKinley, and attempts were made on the lives of both TR and FDR. During the 1950’s Puerto Rican nationalists shot-up Congress and tried to kill Harry Truman. During the 1960’s and 1970’s loopy left-wing wannabe anarchists like the Weathermen set off bombs on college campuses across America. During the 1990s we saw one major terror incident in Oklahoma City and sporadic bombings by the Unabomber, and terror continues to be employed be environmentalist and animal-rights wackos. In short, terror is a weapon of the weak to achieve desired ends, whether those ends are legitimate or not.

It also isn’t clear that if democracy means the will of the majority, that American interests will be advanced by democratization. When pro-western monarchs were undermined in the Middle East, Nasser, Gadhafi, Saddam and the Ayatollah Khomeini replaced them. Before going blindly down the democratist path, perhaps we should ask whether Bin-Laden or Bush is more popular in Riyadh, Islamabad, Cairo, Amman, and Damascus. We may not like the answer.

So if waging war on behalf of democracy is not the answer, what is? A foreign policy based on realism and the wisdom of our ancestors. I would make a few simple and brief suggestions:

1) First, do no harm. The U. S. should be diplomatically, and in limited circumstances militarily, protecting Christian, or even quasi-Christian, peoples who face threats from Isalmists. Of course, U. S. foreign policy has taken exactly the opposite tack for over a decade. NATO and American intervention in Kosovo, Bosnia, and Albania on behalf of drug-running Islamists was strategically stupid and morally bankrupt. Every terrorist incident of recent vintage has some connection to Bosnian Muslims.

Likewise, we have a strategic interest in developing closer ties with the Russians, who are dealing with Chechen terrorists themselves. Instead of strengthening that relationship, however, we have foolishly expanded NATO, meddled in the Ukrainian elections, etc., giving credence to Russian fears of American encirclement.

2) Prevent a potential fifth column by restricting immigration. Unfortunately, neither "conservatives," represented by Mr. Bush, nor liberals have the political will to seal the border.

3) Play one sect of Muslims against another. As in Christendom, Islam is divided. Our aim ought to be encouraging that division and helping to foster secularist governments that are willing to protect Christians from persecution.

In Iraq, we have toppled a secular regime that largely protected the rights of Christians and are seeking to replace it with a "democratic" regime which will almost certainly enforce Islamic Law and forge closer relations with Iran--the true Islamic power in the region.

On the eve of the invasion, Pat Buchanan prophetically predicted that, "Just as Israel’s invasion of Lebanon ignited a guerrilla war that drove her bloodied army out after 18 years, a U.S. army in Baghdad will ignite calls for jihad from Morocco to Malaysia" and unite the Islamic world against us.

Clearly, our unflinching support of Israel is another factor uniting all Muslims against American interests. Neoconservatives claim that we have an ideological interest in supporting Israel, which they maintain is broadly part of “the West,” and is thusly an extension of our ideals. Many conservative Christians will also reject any change in policies impacting Israel for theological reasons, or simply out of percieved kinship with the people of the land where Christ walked. Nonetheless, it is clear that our relationship with Israel, or more particularly the one-sided nature of that relationship, is a strategic problem which must either be addressed or lived with.

It is also necessary to recognize that while Islamism is a global problem, militant Islam is largely a regional phenomenon (as long as the West protects itself with stringent immigration restrictions) and there are natural barriers (i.e., India, China, and Russia) to its expansion. Even states such as Saudi Arabia and Iran have an interest in seeing these radicals expunged.

In short, the goal must be to contain radical Islam in the same way that Communism was contained--keeping it in a box militarily, but more importantly, defeating it with a better idea. That idea, by the way, is not democratism or capitalism, but Christianity.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Christian Calling(s)

Too often when Christians hear the word “calling” they assume it to be synonymous with occupation. In fact, I think the idea of calling carries the concept of man’s lifetime service and subordination to God. As a husband, father of three young boys, member of a community, disciple of Jesus, etc., I wear a number of hats and have various sundry callings or purposes that God has laid before me.

Service to God, however, primarily implies service to men. Though the whole creation belongs to the Lord (Ex. 19:5) we are the stewards of His creation (Gen. 1:26-28). Christians occasionally exhibit Gnostic and Platonic tendencies when they over-spiritualize the faith. Spirituality divorced from the earthy practicalities of Scripture is, in fact, an enemy of true Christianity.

Having a wife and three children under age five presents a number of challenges and certainly creates constraints on my time. Yet what grander purpose could God have for my life than living in covenant under His authority with the beautiful woman he has given to me? Indeed, when God through the Apostle Paul described the glorious mystery of the relationship between Christ and His people, He used the metaphor of marriage (Eph. 5:22-33). Paul also used that opportunity to provide imperative commands to husbands and wives. Wives, through submitting to and honoring their husbands reflect God’s purpose for His people. Likewise, husbands become one flesh with their wives, and in loving their wives reflect Christ’s love for His people. In short, my calling and purpose is to love my wife.

Likewise, raising children is a Godly and honorable calling. In Malachi, we read, “Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because He was seeking godly offspring.”

Writing when Christians looked to Scripture rather than the NY Times bestseller list to find life’s purpose, Martin Luther wrote about the purpose of marriage:

The purpose of marriage is not to have pleasure and to be idle but to procreate and bring up children, to support a household. Those who have no love for children are swine, stocks, and logs unworthy of being called men or women; for they despise the blessings of God, the Creator and Author of marriage.

Frequently, marriage and child-rearing are difficult tasks that appear distasteful in the eyes of foolish men. But we would have an entirely different view of the matter if we looked at things through God’s eyes instead, and sought to glorify and honor Him in all things. To quote Luther again:

Our natural reason looks at marriage and turns up its nose and says, "Alas! Must I rock the baby? Wash its diapers? Make its bed? Smell its stench? Stay at nights with it? Take care of it when it cries? Heal its rashes and sores? And on top of that care for my spouse, provide labor at my trade, take care of this and take care of that? Do this and do that? And endure this and endure that? Why should I make such a prisoner of myself?”

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful and despised duties in the spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels.
Its says, "O God, I confess I am not worthy to rock that little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of a child and its mother. How is it that I without any merit have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? Oh, how gladly will I do so. Though the duty should be even more insignificant and despised, neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor will distress me for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight.”

Scripture says that children are a blessing (Ps. 127:3-5) from God, and that as parents we must train (Eph. 6:4), correct (Prov. 29:15), and instruct them (Deut. 6:1-9) in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

The education of children is also a noble calling, and it is a parental calling. Doug Wilson says that as parents we are responsible for what our children learn whether we teach it to them or not. In an age where parents hand their children to the state and church for instruction, such a warning should be frightening. Moreover, the education of which I speak is not merely religious instruction. There is no such thing as neutral or secular education. Either it is grounded in the fear of the Lord or it is atheistic (anti-theistic). Consider the words of God through Moses in Deuteronomy 6:

1 These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD , the God of your fathers, promised you.
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

The law and word of God are comprehensive in scope and as parents we are called to teach our children theology, science, history, economics, politics and all other disciplines from the perspective of God’s Word, always keeping in mind that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

I thank God that in His grace He allows me to participate in His Kingdom, to be His servant, to work for the fulfillment of His purposes. I'm grateful to my Father for the knowledge that crunching numbers is not the entirety of my calling, but that in serving others--particularly my family--I serve Him and participate in greatest of callings.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

"Beautiful" Losers

GOP==Gay Old Party?

The vulgar ("Jeff Gannon") scandal has revived Washington whispers that the supposedly anti-gay Republican Party is really nothing less than a gay affirmative action program. Glance at whose running the GOP and it looks like a Harvey Fierstein cocktail party. A few months ago, activist Mike Rogers of RawStoryQ.com revealed that GOP National Field Director Dan Gurley is gay and sought unsafe sex online. Rogers also revealed that Ken Mehlman, chair of the Republican National Committee, is gay.

This week, the Internet news site www.Rawstory.com posted allegations that White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan may be gay and suggested he is a common fixture at Texas gay bars – kind of like a gay, southern version of Norm on the old sitcom Cheers. “He was often seen in gay clubs in Austin and was comfortable being there,” an anonymous source told Raw Story. “He’s been seen in places that normal people who are looking for heterosexual relationships are not seen alone.”

Religious Leaders Looking for Federal Boodle!
The White House invited 250 religious leaders to the White House to hear the president discuss his unconstitutional "faith-based" initiative. The president says he will continue to simply circumvent the congress via unconstitutional executive orders. Christians should be leery of supporting such lawlessness and ought to recall that he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Al Mohler sees the destruction of marriage in the wide-spread acceptance of no-fault divorce. Mohler is absolutely correct, and I am waiting for conservative Christians to get on board this train...but I won't be holding my breath. As Mohler points out, most clergyman are unwilling to discuss divorce from the pulpit in spite of the clear declaration in Scripture that God "hates divorce." Until we clean out our own churches, we have no business expecting the culture at large to be receptive to such truths.

I love Mohler, but he occasionally gets a bit confused when discussing politics and foreign policy. Here, for example, he is writing in response to an article by Martin Peretz and wonders if liberalism has a future. A more appropriate question might be whether conservatism has a future.

The "conservative movement," composed mainly of a collection of anti-liberal forces in the 1950's, was committed to constitutionally limited central government, independent local and state governments, an entrepreneurial economy of privately owned firms, and a moral code made up of bourgeois institutions imbued with an ethic of restrained individualism. (Before you read on, ask yourself if any of these objectives has been realized. OK, you may now continue reading.)

The first issue of Chronicles that I ever picked up had a discussion of the demise of conservatism and was headlined by an essay written by Sam Francis called "Beautiful Losers."

Writing in 1991, Francis powerful prose is as affecting and prescient as when it was written. Francis wrote:

Nearly sixty years after the New Deal, the American Right is no closer to challenging its fundamental premises and machinery than when Old Rubberlegs first started priming the pump and scheming to take the United States into a war that turned out to be a social and political revolution. American conservatism, in other words, is a failure, and all the think tanks, magazines, direct-mail barons, inaugural balls, and campaign buttons cannot disguise or alter it. Virtually every cause to which conservatives have attached themselves for the past three generations has been lost, and the tide of political and cultural battle is not likely to turn anytime soon.

Not only has the American Right lost on such fundamental issues as the fusion of state and economy, the size and scope of government, the globalist course of American foreign policy, the transformation of the Constitution into a meaningless document that serves the special interests of whatever faction can grab it for a while, and the replacement of what is generally called "traditional morality" by a dominant ethic of instant gratification, but also the mainstream of those who today are please to call themselves conservatives has come to accept at least the premises and often the full-blown agenda of the Left. The movement that came to be know in the 1970s as neoconservativsm, largely northeastern, urban, and academic in its orientation, is now the defining core of the "permissible" Right--that is, what the dominant Left-liberal cultural and political elite recognizes and accepts as the Right boundary of public discourse. It remains legally possible (barely) to express sentiments and ideas that are further to the Right, but if an elite enjoys cultural hegemony, as the Left does, it has no real reason to outlaw its opponents. Indeed, encouraging their participation in the debate fosters the illusion of "pluralism" and serves to legitimize the main Leftward trend of the debate. Those outside the permissible boundaries of discourse are simply "derationalized" and ignored--as anti-Semites, racists, authoritarians, crackpots, crooks, or simply as "nostalgic," and other kinds of illicit and irrational fringe elements not in harmonic convergence with the Zeitgeist and therefore on the wrong side of history.

Francis is correct, and if anything, the intervening years have validated his thesis. Conservatives have lost, and yet they aren't even aware of their own defeat.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Radicalism of "Conservatives"

That neoconservatives are revolutionaries should be obvious to any clear-thinking person. Charles Krauthammer's latest musings epitomize this spirit. Krauthammer, who never meant a critic that isn't an "anti-Semite," says that we are on the brink of a "revolutionary moment" in the Middle East. Krauthammer writes,

Revolutions do not stand still. They either move forward or die. We are at the dawn of a glorious, delicate, revolutionary moment in the Middle East. It was triggered by the invasion of Iraq, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and televised images of 8 million Iraqis voting in a free election...

Revolution is in the air. What to do? We are already hearing voices for restraint about liberating Lebanon. Flynt Leverett, your usual Middle East expert, took to the New York Times to oppose the immediate end of Syria's occupation of Lebanon. Instead, we should be trying to "engage and empower" the tyranny in Damascus.

These people never learn. Here we are on the threshold of what Arabs in the region are calling the fall of their own Berlin Wall and our "realists" want us to go back to making deals with dictators. It would be not just a blunder but a tragedy. It would betray our principles. And it would betray the people in Lebanon who have been encouraged by those principles...

This is no time to listen to the voices of tremulousness, indecision, compromise and fear. If we had listened to them two years ago, we would still be doing oil for food, no-fly zones and worthless embargoes. It is our principles that brought us to this moment by way of Afghanistan and Iraq. They need to guide us now -- through Beirut to Damascus.

What Krauthammer wants is chaos, and that was the inevitable result of our Mesopotamian adventure. A pre-war State Department analysis predicted that chaotic conditions would accompany an American occupation. Likewise, the CIA warned the administration that guerilla tactics could ultimately frustrate reconstruction efforts.

Such warnings were ignored by the cakewalk crowd. Dick Cheney said, "My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." Deputy Defense Secretary, and Likudnik ideologue, Paul Wolfowitz said, "I think there's every reason to think that huge numbers of the Iraqi population are going to welcome these people ... provided we don't overstay our welcome, provided we mean what we say about handing things back over to the Iraqis."

In an interesting article, Steven Sniegoski argues that chaos was the hoped for result of invasion, in that chaos benefits just one power in the Middle East. When you hear Krauthammer and his likeminded compatriots cheer on disorder, bedlam, and revolution in Syria, Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, you have to ask yourself if they would also welcome such chaos in the West Bank.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Looking For a Church

I would ask friends, well-wishers, and those who stumble by to pray for my family as we seek a new church home. Having three young children and driving a significant distance has become too great a burden, and thus we are looking for a healthy body closer to home. Though we truly love the church we have attended for the last four years, we are no longer able to actively participate fully in the communal life of the church--in short, a physical distance has created a spiritual distance. As the spiritual leader of my home, I have a responsibility under God to remedy the situation post-haste.

Looking for a church presents challenges and opportunities, and I hope to write about some of these concerns in future posts. Anyway, keep Kathy and I, as well as Andrew, Josh and Jack in your prayers. Thanks.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Conservative Censors

In a recent essay, Nicholas Stix points to a disturbing trend on conservative Web sites. Stix says that writers who support immigration restriction are having their columns censored. Stix points to the fact that Townahll.com, sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, has dropped Pat Buchanan, Paul Craig Roberts, and the late Sam Francis. He also references the continuing shenanigans of Jim Robinson at Free Republic who bans posts citing articles by anyone associated with the webzine VDARE.

If Stix is correct, I think he misses the point. It isn't the immigration issue that incenses most conservatives these days, it is the strident anti-imperialist rhetoric of writers such as Buchanan, Roberts, and Francis. Whatever nice things you may say about Michelle Malkin or Ann Coulter, who both support immigration restrictions, they are unabashed supporters of the Warfare State.

Stix is correct that our elite doesn't want an open discussion of the immigration issue, as they are the only one's that benefit from an open-borders policy (as I have written elsewhere). But the Jacobins on the political Right are much less willing to entertain critiques of America's messianic foreign policy.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Impeach Anthony Kennedy

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court outlawed the executions of 72 juveniles convicted of murder. Reagan-appointee Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said that many juveniles lack the intellectual acumen and maturity to understand the ramifications of their actions. Really, if a 17-year-old doesn’t know that murder is wrong, we’ve got bigger problems than the psychotic ravings of unaccountable judges who are forever trapped in adolescence themselves.

To buttress his case, Kennedy said that a “national consensus exists” against juvenile executions and then cited "enlightened" foreign states that have banned the practice. Kennedy wrote, “It is proper that we acknowledge the overwhelming weight of international opinion against the juvenile death penalty, resting in large part on the understanding that the instability and emotional imbalance of young people may often be a factor in the crime."

One could see this trend coming. In oral argument last October, Kennedy asked whether international opposition to juvenile executions should influence how the SCOTUS interprets the constitutional prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

In 2002, Ford-appointee John Paul Stevens cited international opinion in his majority opinion striking down the death penalty for mentally retarded persons. In another death penalty case, Clinton-appointee Stephen Breyer cited three foreign courts in his decision. And Kennedy himself cited a decision by the European Court of Human Rights in the Laurence case that legalized sodomy.

What is to be done about such unabashed judicial activism? At least two things: 1) Congress should claim its authority under the constitution to limit the appellate jurisdiction of federal courts. In short, our elected representatives should seize back power stolen by the court. Under our constitution, the court is NOT the sole arbiter of constitutionality, and it is long past time for the congress to reclaim its legitimate prerogatives. 2) There are currently six Supreme Court justices who support citing international law in their decisions. Those justices should be impeached.

In Federalist 81, Hamilton made the case for legislative supremacy. Hamilton wrote, "Particular misconstructions and contraventions of the will of the legislature may now and then happen; but they can never be so extensive as to amount to an inconvenience, or in any sensible degree affect the order of the political system." Hamilton did not foresee the specter of judicial activism because he assumed that impeachment would serve as a check on rogue judges. Hamilton wrote, "There never can be danger that the judges, by a series of deliberate usurpations on the authority of the legislature, would hazard the united resentment of the body entrusted with it, while this body was possessed of the means of punishing their presumption by degrading them from their stations."

Ultimately, it is up to Congress to determine the proper grounds for impeachment. Liberal scholar Raoul Berger said "impeachment itself was conceived because the objects of impeachment for one reason or another were beyond the reach of ordinary criminal redress." Currently, Justice Kennedy and his cohorts are operating above the law. It is time to bring them back to reality.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Middle East Wars--Continued, Sam Francis, and More

One of the most consistently useful items in "The American Conservative" is Philip Giraldi's column, "Deep Background." In the latest issue of TAC, Giraldi reports that George Bush has informed Don Rumsfeld that the principle foreign policy objectives of the second term will be regime change in Syria and Iraq. There is evidently no reasoning with these charlatans who are chastened by neither experience nor common sense. I will eagerly await the thoughtful contributions of Father Neuhaus, Michael Novak, Richard Land, James Kennedy and the rest of the colorful cast of religious flaks and flunkies who can assure this dumb Southern Baptist that such an invasion represents a just cause.

By the way, do you ever get the idea that the administration's exit strategy in Iraq is to invade Iran!

Sam Francis has departed, but his writings will live on. You can read Sam's archived "Principalities and Powers" columns from Chronicles, which were always my first stop, by visiting his website and selecting the PDF articles.

The Supreme Court overturned a California prison policy that segregates inmates based on race for a period of 60 days as a means of preventing gang violence. Who are these fools, and what have they done with the constitution? By what rationale to the black-robed divines claim the authority to regulate every prison in the sovereign state of California? Naturally, the Bush "Justice Department" sided with Garrison Johnson, a convicted murderer who has been in prison since 1987, who challenged the policy, saying the prisoner segregation was unconstitutional. This is exactly the sort of stupidity that Francis would have viciously dissected. He will be missed. Fortunately, we still have Steve Sailer around.

Corrupt...er, democracy in Detroit. In the midst of a budget crisis in Detroit, mayor Kwame Kilpatrick delivered the bad news that 700 workers would be laid off. He then promptly spent $25,000 of city to money to lease a Lincoln Navigator for his wife.

I have plenty of libertarian friends, but this kind of foolishness dissuades me from taking libertarianism too seriously. Cato Institute policy analyst Will Wilkinson says the best way to help tsunami victims is to let them live and work in the U.S. No, unfortunately, I'm not joking. Wikinson says, "A concerted effort to bring South Asian workers to the U.S. would not only provide tsunami victims with effective aid through remittances, and American employers with needed workers, but would also foster benevolent sentiments toward the United States in this largely Muslim part of the world." That there might be adverse effects on America's people, culture, and politics is a secondary to concern to ideologues like Wilkinson. When will Cato start outsourcing its work?