Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Glimpse Into the Culture of Death

The LA Times ran a story yesterday taking us into the abortuarium of one William Harrison. An OBGYN, Harrison gave up delivering babies in 1991, but stuck to the heart of his practice--killing.

Since 1973, Harrison estimates that he has performed 20,000 "pregnancy terminations." Harrison bluntly calls himself an abortionist and says, "I am destroying life."

At the same time, Harrison assures us that he is assisting these ladies in being "born again." "When you end what the woman considers a disastrous pregnancy, she has literally been given her life back," he says.

Times reporter Stephanie Simon introduces readers to some of the women willing to pony up $750 for Dr. Harrison's services (he's pretty prosperous, huh?), and their stories are heartbreaking and sickening.

One 18-year-old says, "It was a lot easier than I thought it would be." "I thought it would be horrible, but it wasn't. The procedure, that is." She says it would be "unfair" to have a baby and that she would not be able to "provide a good life for my child."

A high school volleyball player says she doesn't want to give up her body for nine months. "I realize just from the first three months how it changes everything," she says.

Another women, a single mom of three, says she could not possibly give her unborn child up for adoption and would wonder if they were loved (!!!). Apparently "ending the pregnancy" is just easier.

Harrison's staff has also posted statistics on the wall that one in four pregnant women chooses abortion, and that one third of all women in the U.S. will have at least one abortion by the time they're 45. The stats help to soothe the consciences of would-be moms who are feeling guilty. The nurse asks rhetorically, "You think there's room in hell for all those women?" Does she really want to know the answer?

But, lest you think Harrison completely amoral, he won't perform third-trimester abortions, which he calls infanticide. Wow, what a guy!

Harrison's use of Christian terminology to defend his barbaric vocation is not new. In the August 2002 Newsletter of the Reproductive Freedom Task Force, Harrison wrote a brief essay called "Why I Provide Abortions." Harrison wrote:

Gynecology was really to be only an appendage to my obstetrical practice and I am sure that providing abortions, even thinking about abortions, would never have been a major part of my life had other physicians in my area continued to provide them as was being done prior to 1984. However, I soon found my practice inundated with abortion patients because other physicians who had also been providing abortions stopped doing so. In late 1983 it suddenly became uncomfortable, and very soon dangerous, to provide abortions. I literally had no option but to make a "Sophie's choice" between delivering babies, which I loved, or making what for me would be an immoral and unethical decision, that is, to choose to abandon those girls, women and families who started coming to my office by the dozens. How could I look my children, my wife, my mother, my friends - myself - in the face and say, "I believe that abortion should be legal, safe, and available. But now some people disapprove and it's become very uncomfortable, perhaps even dangerous, to provide them. And so I am going to stop doing what I know to be absolutely right. When it gets uncomfortable or dangerous, it's OK to say, `not me, coach.'"

Was that the morality that I wanted to demonstrate to my children? To parade in front of my wife, my family and friends?

Not me, coach!

Why do I provide abortions?

Here is the short answer.

Like multitudes before me and, I trust, multitudes to come, I eventually heard (Try as I might to avoid hearing it!) in that mother's grief-filled declaration, "Oh God, Doctor, I was hoping it was cancer", a still, small voice asking, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" to which I was at last compelled to reply, "here am I, send me."


Here this man cites God's call to the prophet Isaiah and compares it to his "calling."

Meanwhile, the savagery continues unabated. Amanda, a 20-year-old office assistant, says that abortion is not "a rare thing," in fact it's "an everyday occurrence." "It's not like it's illegal. It's not like I'm doing anything wrong," she says. "I've been praying a lot and that's been a real source of strength for me. I really believe God has a plan for us all. I have a choice, and that's part of my plan." Yes, God told her to have an abortion. Perhaps while she was praying, it might have been wise to pick up a Bible.

Next we're introduced to Sara, who was in the midst of planning her wedding when she was stricken with pregnancy. "I don't think my dress would have fit with a baby in there," she says.

Closing out the day is a 32-year-old college student named Stephanie. Stephanie has had four abortions in the last 12 years and says abortion is a "bummer, but no big stress."

And Jesus said (Matt. 25:31-46):

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Items on Iraq

Alexander Cockburn unleashes venomous invective at cowardly Democrats and a confused Juan Cole. "Here we have one of the most widely derided presidents in the history of the United States and a war abhorred by a majority of all Americans and the Democrats have near zero traction as a credible party of opposition."

Professor Cole is concerned that a precipitous American withdrawal could create Cambodia-like conditions in Iraq. Cato's Chris Preble answers that, "violence in Iraq may well increase." While that would be tragic, Preble concedes, "our government's obligation to the people of Iraq is superseded by its obligation to the people of the United States. Is it moral to ask American soldiers to die on the outside chance that their sacrifice will lead to a stable, united, democratic Iraq?"


Former Iraqi PM and CIA asset Allawi says the situation in Iraq parallels conditions under Saddam's regime. "People are doing the same as (in) Saddam Hussein's time and worse. These are the precise reasons why we fought Saddam Hussein and now we are seeing the same things. We are hearing about secret police, secret bunkers where people are being interrogated."

Dick Cheney says that those who advocate withdrawal from Iraq need to answer the question would we be better off or worse off with terror leaders like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri in control of Iraq. Charley Reese responds:

Dearly beloved, that is akin to saying that if Eliot Ness hadn't come along, Al Capone would have been the dictator of the United States. Zarqawi is a miserable little terrorist with a small band of fanatical followers and a life span that is shrinking by the day. To suggest that there was even a remote possibility of him taking control of Iraq is, well, grossly misleading. Zarqawi is a Jordanian, not an Iraqi; he has been denounced by his tribe and his family; and he has killed more Iraqis than Americans. It is just a matter of time before some Iraqi drops a dime on him and he's packed off to Islamic hell.

As for bin Laden and his Egyptian adviser, they are – assuming they're still alive – hiding out in some cave or rat-infested village in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan. They could not control a small town, much less a country of 25 million people of which neither of them is a native.

I don't know who the vice president's speechwriters are, but he ought to fire them all forthwith. What he said was so far off the map of reality that it is embarrassing. He might as well have said that if Americans withdraw, Martians will land in spaceships and take over the country. His statement is that bizarre. If he himself believes what he said, then he has displayed an ignorance of the Middle East that is embarrassingly gargantuan. A 12-year-old street vendor in Baghdad could tell you that those three men have zero chance of ruling Iraq.


Tom Fleming chimes in on Iraq fibs: "Setting aside the opportunism displayed by both parties, sensible Americans should be asking themselves what the allegations come down to. Even forgetful Americans must remember that the only reason we went to war is because the President and his advisors assured us that they did not merely think, they knew that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and were able to identify his mobile chemical labs. Since they were wrong, they were lying when they said they knew. It is as simple as that."

Here is an interesting essay from the always insightful, if occasionally odd, Gary North. North argues that critics must "persuade the voters that (1) this war is a colossal mistake, (2) our troops' continued presence in the Middle East is an equally colossal mistake, and (3) American troops must get out of the region and stay out." An interesting point North makes is that the Establishment has been able to control American foreign policy by controlling the flow of information. Those days are gone. As I peruse my bookshelf, I note a number of revisionist tomes from the 1920's showing the folly of WWI and the duplicity of the Wilsonians in dragging the country into that foolish and unnecessary conflict. Now such duplicity can be beamed around the globe through little more than a website and forward button.

American auditors are getting around to looking into cash disbursements in Iraq by the late Coalition Provisional Authority. Believe it or not, it looks like there may have been some corruption in the CPA. Philip Giraldi discussed CPA corruption about a month ago in The American Conservative, where he wrote:

When the final page is written on America’s catastrophic imperial venture, one word will dominate the explanation of U.S. failure—corruption. Large-scale and pervasive corruption meant that available resources could not be used to stabilize and secure Iraq in the early days of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), when it was still possible to do so. Continuing corruption meant that the reconstruction of infrastructure never got underway, giving the Iraqi people little incentive to co-operate with the occupation. Ongoing corruption in arms procurement and defense spending means that Baghdad will never control a viable army while the Shi’ite and Kurdish militias will grow stronger and produce a divided Iraq in which constitutional guarantees will be irrelevant.


Meanwhile, it looks like even Americans are admitting thatprison abuse is widespread in Iraq. Corruption and brutality. So remind me, why is life better for Iraqis now?

Finally, more grim news that the pace of American casualties is picking up again.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Going Bump in the Middle of the Night

I was stirred from my slumber last evening by the sound of caterwauling across the hall. We’ve entered the sick season in the Dow home, so I stumbled from the warm comfort of my bed to see what was amiss.

Grabbing Jack from his crib, I proceeded into the living room and plopped in the easy chair to rock my sick youngin’ back to sleep. It looked like I might be up for a while, so I grabbed the remote to see if there was anything on the tube.

Hmm, let’s see. A rerun of "Oprah," which looks to be part of a grand celebration documenting twenty years of polluting American airwaves with raw cultural sewage. Hey, some highlights from the latest Benny Hinn crusade on the Total Blasphemy Network. "Law and Order SVU," "Law and Order CI," "Law and Order"...Dick Wolf is a busy man. An infomercial for "Girls Gone Wild." OK, why do I have this infernal box in my home? Then it hits me: Fox News. I would be lost without the highbrow debate of "Hannity and Colmes" and the punchy analysis of FNC legal eagles Greta van Whatsherface and Andrew Napolitano. And who could get through the day without a few minutes in the "No Spin Zone," listening to the ravings of John Gibson, or taking in the latest jingoistic flim-flam from tough guys Fred Barnes, Mort Kondracke, Charles Krauthammer, and Brit Hume?

So naturally I headed to FNC, where I was greeted by the visage of Neil Cavuto interviewing a network "foreign policy expert" whose name escapes me at the moment. Always eager to hear the latest shuck-and-jive from the War Party, I was intrigued by the headline at the bottom of the screen that screamed, "Iran Building Nukes in Underground Caves." In my mind all I could picture was a series of Bat Caves with a pole installed in the residence of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that he slides down every now and then to go visit a group of Iranian maaaaddd scientists, working literally within the bowels of Iran to destabilize the entire planet. "Quick Boy Wonder, call Bill Kristol!"

In any case, the gist of the discussion was that Iran is helping to destabilize Iraq (yeah, the Shiite government of Iran is supporting the Sunni insurgency in Iraq. Righto.) and is working hand-in-glove with the North Koreans, a charter member of the Axis of Evil, to build underground tunnels and caverns whose purpose is to hide the construction of nuclear missiles.

The charges against Iran are being leveled by Alireza Jafardazeh, who is a DC-based consultant and former spokesman for the National Council of the Resistance of Iran, an Iranian opposition group. Hold the phone, amigo. Haven’t we seen this sort of duplicity in action before with the Iraqi National Congress and embezzler Ahmed Chalabi funneling phony intelligence into sympathetic outlets within the bureaucracy, Congress, executive branch, and media? Seems like at least a bit of skepticism might be in order.

Yet the ABC News headline screamed,"Iran Is Building Nukes in Underground Locations!" When did the "liberalcommiepinkomainstreammedia" (LCPMSM for short) turn into a transmission belt for warring Middle Eastern factions trying to use the U.S. military to do their dirty work?

So since things are going so swimmingly in Iraq, why not load up the punch bowl and let the good times roll, say the experts at FNC and "journalists" over at ABC? We know that the president joked about taking the war into Doha, turning al-Jazeera HQ into a pile of rubble. But has anyone seen any reference in the American press to this?

Before the war, Bush and Blair were on the phone, presumably giggling like school girls, discussing the possibility of "dealing with" Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan. Oh well, I guess we should learn to stop worrying and get on with World War IV, long sought by Poddy Sr, James Woolsey, and the small gaggle of neocrazies driving the foreign policy bus who have more interest in creating an American Empire and making the world safe for Israel than protecting Americans and our interests.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

On Murtha and Iraq

Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha addressed a throng of reporters last week concerning the Iraq disaster. He described administration flailing as, "a flawed policy wrapped in illusion."

Murtha is a Marine veteran who served as an intelligence officer in Vietnam. But that didn't stop a little tart from Ohio from implying that Murtha was a coward. Likewise, White House press secretary, and paid prevaricator, Scott McClellan said Murtha was endorsing the foreign policy positions of Michael Moore.

My knowledge of Murtha's record is actually quite limited, though I recall him representing the hawkish wing of the Democratic Party before the GOP takeover in 1994. He is a bear of a man, the kind of Democrat you can imagine slugging back a beer at the local union hall after a day of deer hunting in southern Pennsylvania.

Murtha's sound strategic critique of policy failures in Iraq should provide cover to fearful Democrats, allowing them to finally produce a coherent strategy for withdrawal. But alas, it is not to be. The Dem's presumptive nominee, Ms. Rodham, took issue with Murtha's assessment and says withdrawal "would cause more problems for us in America." Hillary continues, "It will matter to us if Iraq totally collapses into civil war, if it becomes a failed state the way Afghanistan was, where terrorists are free to basically set up camp and launch attacks against us." One wonders if Senator Rodham has turned on CNN lately. Is Iraq not already a failed state where terrorists roam freely attacking American troops?

Likewise picking up the hawkish mantle is another wannabe emperor, Joe Biden. I saw part of Biden's enthralling speech to an assorted assemblage of movers-and-shaker at the CFR over on C-SPAN the other evening. I was unable to confirm if these were Senator Biden's actual thoughts, or whether he'd cribbed them from Neil Kinnock. Speaking to Murtha's call for an orderly, face-saving strategic exit from Iraq, Biden said, "I share their frustration. But I'm not there yet. I still believe we can preserve our fundamental security interests in Iraq as we begin to redeploy our forces. That will require the Administration not to stay the course, but to change course and to do it now."

According to Biden, the new course would include a strategy to build "a political consensus, starting with the Constitution, that gives the Kurds, Shi'a, and Sunnis a stake in keeping Iraq together." Biden insists that we must rebuild Iraq by providing, "Government ministries that work and provide basic services, and we need to re-do the reconstruction program to deliver real benefits."

The naivete of this powerful United States Senator is amusing, and maddening. Civil war or Shiite tyranny was the inevitable outcome of the Iraq War. The Washington Post reported recently that roving bands of Shiite death squads are terrorizing Sunni populations. According to the Post, there are:

Growing charges of mass illegal detentions, torture and killings of Sunni men [in Iraq]. Members of the Sunni minority, locked in a struggle with the Shiite majority over the division of power in Iraq, say men dressed in Interior Ministry uniforms have repeatedly rounded up Sunni men from neighborhoods and towns. Bodies of scores of them have been found dumped by roadsides or in gullies.


Bob Dreyfuss and Seymour Hersh both reported that American tax dollars were being funneled into the creation of paramilitary forces in Iraq whose goal is to terrorize Sunnis.

Meanwhile, Sunni political figure are magically disappearing all over Iraq. The London Observer reports:

According to human rights organisations in Baghdad, 'disappearances' - for long a feature of Iraq's dirty war - have reached epidemic proportions in recent months. Human rights workers, international and local, who asked not to be identified in order to protect their researchers in the city and their organisations' access to senior government officials, told The Observer last week that they have hundreds of cases on their books. They described the disappearances as the most pressing human rights issue in a country that is in the midst of a human rights disaster.


Read Beaumont's article and you can only conclude that Iraq has spun completely out of control, and that Senator Biden's call to give "the Kurds, Shi'a, and Sunnis a stake in keeping Iraq together" is little more than a fairytale.

Meanwhile, Biden says that we must begin to deal with the insurgency. But the insurgency is largely homegrown, the result of American intervention, and would wither away with our departure from the scene. As I have written before, the pool of anti-American fighters driving the insurgency has likely grown as a response to the invasion of Iraq. Indeed, studies have demonstrated conclusively that even the foreign fighters in Iraq were radicalized by the war itself.

The recent admission that white phosphorous was used during the destruction of Fallujah merely adds fuel to fire. Through the occupations and our actions in Iraq, we become the chief recruiting instrument for Bin Laden and his Islamist allies.

As Congressman Murtha says, "Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. IT IS TIME TO BRING THEM HOME."

Monday, November 21, 2005

Principles For Christian Parents Thinking About Education

Briefly, I’m looking to toss out some principles that should guide Christian parents as we think about educating our children. With three young sons, I’ve been thinking about the issue and would welcome any comments (darrelldow@hotmail.com).

1) All of life is ethical.

Day by day, we make choices—individually as well as parts of groups. All human behavior can be appraised by moral values. Each of our actions gives expression to an unspoken moral code of right and wrong. In short, all of life is ethical.

While discoursing on the issue of Christian Liberty, the Apostle Paul closes his remarks by saying, "whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (I Cor. 10:31). If, as Paul says, even in natural functions such as eating and drinking we must honor God, the implication is that honor is demanded in every sphere of life. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:23). In short, there is no ethical neutrality.

2) The Scripture must be our yardstick

Paganism invariably places ultimate ethical authority in the polis, effectively making the state a divine entity. On the other hand, the medieval church fostered two sources of ethics—the divine revelation of Scripture, and the realm of human wisdom, or the laws of nature. The reformers stood in opposition to both paganism and medieval ethical dualism and proclaimed sola scriptura and tota scriptura—that only Scripture and all of Scripture is not merely a guide for faith and practice, but the yardstick for every sphere of human action.

3) According to God’s self-attesting revelation in Scripture, wisdom begins with theistic presuppositions.

The Bible states very clearly that it is the fear of God that is the starting point of all wisdom, and that His precepts and law are to serve as our guide: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding" (Ps. 111:10; see also Job 27:28, Prov. 1:7, Prov. 9:10, Prov. 15:33).

4) Education is inescapably religious.

Doug Wilson hits the nail on the head when he writes: "Education is a completely religious endeavor. It is impossible to impart knowledge to students without building on religious presuppositions. Education is built on the foundation of the instructor's worldview (and the worldview of those who developed the curriculum). It is a myth that education can be non-religious -- that is, that education can go on in a vacuum which deliberately chooses to exclude the basic questions about life. It is not possible to separate religious values from education. This is because all the fundamental questions of education require religious answers. Learning to read and write is simply the process of acquiring tools to enable us to ask and answer such questions."

Writing similarly, R. L. Dabney showed that it is impossible to teach ANYTHING without reference to some worldview: "The instructor has to teach history, cosmogony, psychology, ethics, the laws of nations. How can he do it without saying anything favorable or unfavorable about the beliefs of evangelical Christians, Catholics, Socinians, Deists, pantheists, materialists or fetish worshippers, who all claim equal rights under American institutions? His teaching will indeed be the play of Hamlet, with the part of Hamlet omitted…Since all truths converge towards God, he who is not to name God, must have all his teachings fragmentary; he can only construct a truncated figure. In history, ethics, philosophy, jurisprudence, religious facts and propositions are absolutely inseparable."

5) The purpose of Christian education is to demonstrate the glory of Christ.

Ultimately, we desire that our children become Christians and that the Holy Spirit uses our efforts toward that end. At the same time, we do not see that ALONE as the goal of “Christian” education, for “by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy" (Col. 1:15-18).

Education must be Chistocentric, for in the falling rain and the rotation of the earth we see the power and supremacy of God. In the beauty of a Shakespearean sonnet or a Bach concerto we glimpse God’s glory. In the narrative of history we take note of the merciful providence of God. In mathematics we see the order of God. In government we glimpse the justice of God. So our duty as parents is to ensure that our children are not taken captive "through hollow and deceptive philosophy," but that they learn to "demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (Col. 2:8, I Cor. 10:5).

6) As parents, we are responsible for what our kids learn.

I recall Doug Wilson once saying, and I’m paraphrasing, that "We are responsible for what our children learn, whether we teach it to them or not." I recall reading through Deuteronomy 6 and Ephesians 6 and being struck by the fact that I am responsible for what my children are taught. That by no means implies that I must teach them everything. However, should I choose to delegate certain things to the church or school, I am still ultimately responsible.

So all of life, including education, has an inescapably religious and ethical component. For the Christian, divine revelation is our authoritative source, and from Scripture we learn that education must be theocentric, with the glory of God being the ultimate objective. Moreover, as parents it is our obligation to ensure that our children obtain the sort of education I’ve been describing. Therefore, education that is either statist (advancing the interests of the state) or ecclesiocentric (advancing the cause of the church) is problematic. Education must ultimately be under the authority of parents, acting as God’s trustees on behalf of their children.

Having said that, I think parents can come to very different conclusions about the best way to educate their kids. While I think it is time for the church to begin discussing an exit strategy from the public schools, it is also necessary that dogmatism not guide the conversation. As Dr. Mohler has written, any such strategy must "acknowledge that Southern Baptist churches, families, and parents do not yet see the same realities, the same threats, and the same challenges in every context."

As I noted above, I have three children. The oldest started kindergarten last fall. He is currently enrolled in a Christian private school, but I’m not certain by any means that the environment there is best suited for our families needs. As the son of the schoolteacher, much of my antipathy for public education was learned at home. The remainder of my distaste stems from my own experience being sent to one of those reeducation camps. However, I realize that not all parents have the same scruples as I, and must refrain from issuing blanket proclamations.

One other item in conclusion. The time has come for churches to equip parents, support families, and offer alternatives—including subsidies where necessary. We must avoid the siren song of vouchers, which would ultimately ensnare private and religious schools in the tentacles of the state, and we must covenant together in search of new and inventive options.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Miscellany

There really isn't much point in getting news from major American media outlets, other than some occasional reporting here and there. Fred Reed says that there is no good reason to watch CBS or read the NY Times because, well, they lie. "What are the topics of most fascination in the United States? Of most importance? Certainly among them are race, sex in the social sense, crime, and immigration. Now, let’s see whether we can name four subjects about which the media speak with calculated mendacity obvious to everyone one. How about…oh, say…race, sex in the social sense, crime, and immigration?"

I see that Fred is also commenting on Parisian rioting and going after diversity-mongers with a vengeance.

Has no one noticed that diversity doesn’t work? Putting together peoples with little in common begs for trouble, usually with success. It is the chief source of the world’s bloodshed and enmity.

Look around you. Start with Canada, where the Brits and French detest each other. Drop down to the USA, where black, white, and brown wait uneasily for no one is sure what; the lid is held on by Washington, which acts as a sort of federal Tito. There are Hindus and Moslems in India, Tamils and Sinhalese in Sri Lanka, blacks and whites in South Africa, Moslems and Buddhists in Thailand, Turks and Germans in Germany, Vietnamese and Montagnards in Vietnam, Moslems and animists in the Sudan, Jews and Moslems in Israel, Cambodians and Vietnamese in Cambodia, Protestants and Catholics in Ireland, Indians and Mexicans in Chiapas, Basques and Spaniards in Spain, Indians and Fijians in Fiji.


Fred goes on: "Moslems in particular are poison. A failed civilization, Islam sends its unsuccessful, thus double failures, to Europe. They gravitate to slums because they can do nothing else. Cohesive, angry, ineffectual, with no loyalty to their new home, they neither flourish nor assimilate. Resentment grows among them. And so the cities burn."

Speaking of cultural suicide, Utah Senator Robert Bennett introduced a provision, subsequently passed, which allows churches to break the law by harboring illegal aliens who work as "volunteers." Tom Tancredo says that under the statute, "A religious organization could actively conceal a terrorist who is an illegal alien, transporting him across the country and providing him with food and housing, and never break the law."

Are Republicans turning against the President's Iraq policy. With elections less than year away, GOP members will soon be scrambling to separate themselves from the President. And it looks like the British are putting some finishing touches on an exit strategy in Iraq.

Who are you, and what have you done with the Senator? In his new memoir, Jesse Helms endorses mass immigration and spews scads of globaloney, saying that America should "promote the rights of women and children, including women’s suffrage in those countries where women ... do not have the right to vote."

Immigrants accounted for about 1/3 of the growth in adults without medical insurance between 1980-2000. Also, nearly 1/4 of ILLEGAL immigrants participate in Medicaid.

With all this good news, Paul Craig Roberts continues his periodic dissection of the American economy. "In the 21st century," writes Roberts, "the U.S. economy has ceased to generate net new jobs in middle- and upper-middle-class professions. This is a serious economic, social and political problem that receives no attention.

There is a great deal of meltdown inside the U.S. economy. Manufacturing is hollowed out. The decline in manufacturing means a decline in the engineering and other professions that serve it. Knowledge jobs are also being lost to offshore outsourcing and to H-1b, L-1 and other work visas. In October, there were 81,301 corporate layoffs."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Potpourri

I was out of town last week, so the blogging has been light...actually non-existent. Better get going...

Tom Fleming with a typically audacious essay on "Sex and Death," asks, "Why is the right to kill one’s own child so special that it trumps all other considerations, even public health rules. Abortuaries are subject to less regulation than veterinary clinics. Is that really how most Americans view unborn babies?"

Needless to say, Fleming provides an answer:

The answer is probably known to everyone who reads this column: reproductive rights, or rather on-reproductive rights: the right and duty to have sex without reproducing. The sexual revolution, a far more profound and dangerous revolution than either the French or Russian Revolutions, was a revolution against human nature and against the most basic elements of human society. However wicked the Cities of the Plain might have been, Sodom and Gomorrah were, to some extent, only a story that foreshadows the nightmare we have come to accept. Do not look for parallels in ancient Greek bisexuality (a much misinterpreted phenomenon) or Roman decadence.


Fleming also indicts the Church. "When the churches turned first to contraception and then to abortion, they became the church of Antichrist. (I understand that ELCA Lutherans pay for their pastorettes’ abortions)," writes Fleming. "The deeper meaning of this revolution I glimpsed yesterday, reading about a bizarre Gnostic sect whose members devoted 365 different copulations to 365 different supernatural forces. Contraception was the rule, but where contraception failed, they had recourse to abortions carried out in combination with grotesque rituals. This worship of sex and death, I submit to you in all seriousness, is the diabolical religion of mainstream 'Christianity' today."

Fleming next turns his guns on the rioting in France.

I had been watching the news since the disturbances broke out, and on All Saints I noted that of nearly 300 stories on Google mentioning France and Interior Minister Sarkozy, only one was an American reference to the violence—a few seconds on FOX news. When the Washington Post and the New York Times finally made up their minds that the news could not be suppressed—always a painful decision for them to have to make—we quickly learned about French racism and the plight of the poor Arabs and Africans. Time after time on NPR I heard a comparison with America’s own civil rights struggle in the 1960’s. Apparently, people who work for NPR or the Post are under the impression that the Watts riots had something to do with civil rights. Some day they should read Edward Banfield’s The Unheavenly City, particularly the chapter on “Rioting for Fun and Profit.”

If Muslim young men in Paris are rioting, raping, setting buildings and women on fire, all for better jobs, what explains their behavior everywhere else in the world? In Egypt, where they riot to protest a secular government. In Pakistan, where they stage cross-border raids into India for the sole purpose of killing non-Muslims. In New Jersey, where they went into the streets to celebrate their victory on September 11.

To take the argument back to the source, how do we explain the actions of Mohamed and his followers, who looted, murdered, and raped their way across Arabia and the Middle East? Yes, it is true, an Islamic state, after a few decades of grotesque brutality, will generally let Christians and Jews alone. They need people to pay the taxes, handle the trade, and staff the bureaucracy—talents that are traditionally hard to find in Islamic states. Naturally, the success of non-Muslims will periodically arouse the righteous indignation of the “youths” who spend their time loafing on street corners, and a pogrom a decade is a small price to pay for living under George Bush’s religion of peace.


Sailer and Buchanan also weigh in on the mess in France.

Pat Buchanan says that the "embrace of the twin heresies of neoconservatism and Big Government Conservatism" has killed the Bush presidency." Looks like adopting the foreign policy of The Weekly Standard wasn't such a good idea.

I was reading Carmon over at The Backwater Report and noticed this link about Jay Sekulow. Looks like Sekulow, head of the American Center for Law and Justice, and full-time Bush shill, is livin' large.

For example, in 2001 one of Sekulow's nonprofit organizations paid a total of $2,374,833 to purchase two homes used primarily by Sekulow and his wife. The same nonprofit also subsidized a third home he uses in North Carolina.

At various times in recent years, Sekulow's wife, brother, sister-in-law, and two sons have been on the boards or payrolls of organizations under his control or have received generous payments as contractors. Sekulow's brother Gary is the chief financial officer of both nonprofit organizations that fund his activities, a fact that detractors say diminishes accountability for his spending.

According to documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service, funds from his nonprofits have also been used to lease a private jet from companies under his family's control. And two years ago, Sekulow outsourced his own legal services from the ACLJ, shifting from a position with a publicly disclosed salary to that of a private contractor that requires no public disclosure. He acknowledged to Legal Times that his salary from that arrangement is "above $600,000" a year.

Sekulow's financial dealings deeply trouble some of the people who have worked for him, leading several to speak with Legal Times during the past six months about their concerns -- before Sekulow assumed his high-profile role promoting President George W. Bush's Supreme Court nominees.

"Some of us truly believed God told us to serve Jay," says one former employee, who requested anonymity out of fear of reprisal. "But not to help him live like Louis XIV. We are coming forward because we need to believe there is fairness in this world."

Another says: "Jay sends so many discordant signals. He talks about doing God's work for his donors, and then he flies off in his plane to play golf."

Still another told Legal Times, "The cause was so good and so valid, but at some point you can't sacrifice what is right for the sake of the cause."


Out to prove that they aren't a gaggle of godless, secular humanists, the Lexington chapter of Planned Parenthood is bringing the organization's national chaplain (you read that right) to speak to local clergy. Ignacio Castuera, a United Methodist minister, says of abortion: "It's always a tragedy, I don't think it's a sin." Castuera says, "Most church organizations would not give me names and e-mail addresses for their clergy. There were many organizations, both denominational and ecumenical, that didn't want to get involved."

And why wouldn't they want to be involved? Well, it turns out that they just don't get Jesus. "The closer Jesus got to the cross, the smaller the crowds got," the chaplain said. "This is pretty close to the cross because people have to take derision, ostracism, all that." So Castuera is comparing his ostracism to Christ's trek to the Cross. Now I've heard everything.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Thoughts For the Day

I want to thank Dave Black for his gracious words this morning at Dave Black Online. Dave is a tremendous source wisdom and edification. If you aren't familiar with Dave, check out his latest essay, which includes this great thought: "You will also look in vain in the New Testament for the highly programmatic approach to ministry that we have today, even in Reformed Baptist circles. In my opinion, youth groups, VBS, children’s church, Sunday School, and Awana are all "Band-Aids" (as I recall James Rutz once putting it). God’s plan for Christian education is, to put it simply, Dad. His plan worked nicely since Moses (Deut. 6). But because Dad isn’t equipped (or even expected) to teach the Word at home, we provide programs to solve the problem. The real problem, of course, is that these very programs allow (and even encourage) Dads to abdicate their God-given responsibilities and hand over the spiritual education of their children to the 'professionals.'"

Reading Dave’s thoughts, I was reminded that being “filled with the Spirit” involves a very earthy spirituality, not otherworldliness. In his letter to the churches in Ephesus, Paul says that we are to be “filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (Eph. 5:18-21).

Then Paul proceeds to paint a picture of being filled with the spirit. What does it look like? We see that it involves wives submitting to husbands (v. 22) and husbands being devoted to wives (v. 25). We see children obeying parents (6:1), fathers instructing and disciplining their children, and workers surrendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man” (6:7).

In short, the claims of Christ are comprehensive, and extend to our families and vocational life, not merely the workings of the church. As a husband I need a reminder to love my wife, as Christ loved His bride. Likewise, as a father of three boys, I need gentle prodding to bear in mind that I will be held accountable for what they learn, even if I don't teach it to them.

Thanks for the spur, Dave. And praise God that men like Dr. Black are preparing the next generation of preachers, teachers, and evangelists.

It turns out the Joe Wilson and Karl Rove attend the same church--though different services. According to Rove, Wilson "goes to the wacky mass." I wonder if there is any church discipline being undertaken in the midst of that sad situation? Oh, they are Episcopalians. I guess that answers the question.

Speaking of Episcopals, New Hampshire Bishop Vickie Eugene Robinson came calling last week to visit Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The visit came amidst a growing crisis in the Anglican Communion driven in part by Robinson's ascension within the Episcopal church. Robinson, you may recall, divorced his wife to shack up with another man. Instead of being disciplined for this act of blatant carnality, Robinson has become something of a champion for casting aside the shackles of sexual repression.

Here is a bit from the Guardian piece:

Bishop Robinson, who was elected to head the diocese of New Hampshire in 2003 even though he lives with his male partner, told the Guardian yesterday he was not ashamed of his sexual orientation and believed he had no reason for repentance, as conservatives across the world have demanded. "It is not something of which I should repent and I have no intention of doing so," he said. "I have been led to understand that I am loved by God just as I am. That is not to say I am perfect but it is my belief that my orientation is value-neutral. It is what I do with my relationship that God really cares about.

"It has taken me the better part of 40 years to come to terms with all that. It was God that changed my heart about coming to accept myself. It was a very hard-won fight. I would be crazy to turn my back on that now."

So his "orientation is value-neutral." It's only his "relationship" that is of concern to God, right? Then we get to heart of the matter, the abandonment of Scriptural authority. "We worship a living God," says Robinson, "not one locked up in the Scripture of 2,000 years ago." That a bishop can make such a statement speaks volumes about the state of the Episcopal church.

Writing in 1976, Greg Bahnsen cut to the heart of the dispute over homosexuality in the Church. Fundamentally, the issue is about Biblical authority. Bahnsen writes, "Differing attitudes toward homosexuality within the professing Christian church can often be traced to conflicting views of Scripture. Many disputes over the morality of homosexuality turn on another question: will Scripture be the Christian's normative guide or must it yield that position of authority over ethics to modern scholarship, personal experience, natural reason, new mystical insights, public opinion, or some other standard?"

That's the question, brothers and sisters--By What Standard?

Well, well, it turns out that in February of 2002 the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) issued a report casting doubts on the credibility of an informer who claimed that there was a strong link between Al Qaeda and Iraq. Eight months AFTER this report was distributed, Mr. Bush gave a speech in Cincinnati, relying heavily on information provided by the discredited source, where he said, "We've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and gas." The "close connection" between Al Qaeda and Iraq became a daily staple in GOP talking points. Secretary of State Colin Powell cited the alleged links between Al Qaeda and Iraq when he went before the U.N. Security Council in February 2003 and Dick Cheney described a relationship that extended through the 1990's. According to the LA Times, "The report was available to the White House, the CIA, the Pentagon and other agencies, but it is not clear whether the Senate intelligence panel had access to it." So much for the smoke screen coming from the Right that "Democrats had access to the same intelligence as the White House."

Meanwhile, in Iraq hearts and minds are being changed every day. Well, maybe not. According to a poll commissioned by the British Ministry of Defense, "65 per cent of Iraqi citizens support attacks and fewer than one per cent think Allied military involvement is helping to improve security in their country." The survey also yields up the following findings:

• Forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American troops are justified - rising to 65 per cent in the British-controlled Maysan province;

• 82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops;

• less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security;

• 67 per cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation;

• 43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened;

• 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Stop Sacrificing Your Children

According to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, parents have no constitutional right to prevent public schools from exposing their children to sexual topics. The ruling stems from a case filed by a group of California parents whose elementary school children were given a questionnaire of, shall we say, dubious content. In their complaint, the parents said they would not have allowed their children to participate in the survey had they known of the sexual nature of some of the questions.

Kids ages 7 through 10 were asked, for example, to rate the following activities according to how often they experienced the thought or emotion:

"Touching my private parts too much."
"Thinking about having sex"
"Thinking about touching other people's private parts."
"Thinking about sex when I don't want to."
"Washing myself because I feel dirty on the inside."
"Not trusting people because they might want sex."
"Getting scared or upset when I think about sex."
"Having sex feelings in my body."
"Can't stop thinking about sex."
"Getting upset when people talk about sex."

The court ruled, "In summary, we hold that there is no free-standing fundamental right of parents 'to control the upbringing of their children by introducing them to matters of and relating to sex in accordance with their personal religious values and beliefs' and that the inserted right is not encompassed by any other fundamental right. In doing so, we do not quarrel with the parents' right to inform and advise their children about the subject of sex as they see fit. We conclude only that the parents are possessed of no constitutional right to prevent the public schools from providing information on that subject to their students in any forum or manner they select. We further hold that a psychological survey is a reasonable state action pursuant to legitimate educational as well as health and welfare interests of the state. Accordingly, the parent-appellants have failed to state a federal claim upon which relief may be granted."

The three-judge panel said, "once parents make the choice as to which school their children will attend, their fundamental right to control the education of their children is, at the least, substantially diminished."

For the sake of intellectual honesty, let me say that I can't for a moment figure out why school-board disputes are litigated in federal court. However, the breath-taking arrogance of Judge Reinhardt's decision is simply stunning. The public schools, Reinhardt says, now have a right to present matters of sexuality to students of any age "in any forum or manner they select." Not only that, but a psychological survey, which includes asking Kinsey-style questions of first-graders, is “a reasonable state action pursuant to legitimate educational as well as health and welfare interests of the state.” And why is it reasonable? Because some educator committed to social upheaval says so.

Parents who have for so long neglected a Biblical understanding of education may yet be wakened from their slumber. What we see hear is the hardening of the heart of Pharaoh, and he is after YOUR children. Will you continue to offer up your babes on altar of Molech, or will you do WHATEVER is necessary to see that your children are brought up in the fear and admonition of the Lord?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

News Items

Are the hawks on their way out at the Washington Times? Heck, maybe they will actually start publishing Paul Craig Roberts! Nah, probably not.

Hey, it turns out that mother's are good for kids. According to the London Telegraph, "Children raised by their mothers perform better in developmental tests than those looked after in nurseries or by relatives and childminders."

Is Protestantism splitting?

Reason contributing editor Kathy Young has been reading Andrew Sullivan, The Weekly Standard, and The New Republic and come to the conclusion that everything is just swell in Iraq. Evidently, and I had not realized it, the forces of democratism are on the move in Iraq, Lebannon, and Egypt. OK, raise your hand if you think Kathy Young should be taken seriously?

Well, maybe I'm too hard on the crowd at Reason. Here is an essay by Catoites Gene Healy and Justin Logan arguing that "staying the course" is simply not an option. And let's be honest for a moment. Nick Gillespie looks real cool when he sports his Fonzi jacket on TV.

National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley denies being a part of the scheme to foist off forged documents "proving" that Iraq attempted to secure uranium from Niger. Hadley, who has close ties with the neocon set, also recently addressed AIPAC, where he said that an Iraq pullout would be baaaaad for Israel. "Israel - and the friends of Israel - have a big stake in the future direction of the broader Middle East," said Hadley. "For sixty years the United States pursued a policy of stability in that region, often times at the expense of freedom and justice. But pursuit of stability made neither the United States nor Israel safer. True security in the Middle East can only come from the transformation of the region's politics and the emergence of governments that respect basic human rights, do not threaten their neighbors, join in the fight against terror, and pursue the prosperity of their peoples. It is for this reason that Israel and its friends should seek to advance the cause of freedom in Iraq, in the Palestinian territories, and throughout the region." In other words, get ready for more war and a loooonnnnnggg stay in the Middle Eastern sandbox.

In fact, Condi Rice recently testified that it was the Bush administration's intent all along to redesign the Middle East after the September 11 attacks. Wait a minute. I thought it had something to do WMDs. The intrepid William Lind commented on the Rice revelation, which was greeted by a giant yawn in the press:

There we have it. It's now official: Saddam's eternally elusive weapons of mass destruction were just eyewash. The decision to invade Iraq came first, and the various contrived justifications came after. Those Iraqi WMD were as real as Polish attacks on Germany in 1939, and as cynical. The cynicism is, if anything, ever more brazen: Herr Ribbentrop never testified to the Reichstag that "Polish aggression" was just a setup, even if everyone knew.

Does it matter? To the American press and people, apparently not. Miss Rice's official confirmation of everyone's suspicions got virtually no coverage. After all, the NFL season has started.


Krauthammer needs to call his shrink.

Steve Sailer has a funny and interesting blog post on Sheryl Swopes' coming out party. If you don't know, Swopes is the WNBA version of Michael Jordan (or so I am told) and recently announced that she is a lesbian. Yes, I know you are shocked! Meanwhile, over at Fox Sports, this guy is waiting breathlessly for a professional male athlete to spring from the closet. In fact, to precipitate the event, he argues that professional sports leagues must begin "implementing programs designed to broaden their players' minds" so that "teams and leagues can signal to the gay male athlete that there's a comfortable room for him in their locker rooms." Is this reeducation camp as opposed to training camp?

What, you're still not reading The American Conservative? The latest issue includes a thought-provoking essay on Sino-American relations by Jim Pinkerton and Phil Giraldi gives us the skinny on the Niger forgeries. Finally, Leon Hadar makes the point that the Iraq war has been bad for Israel, protestations by neocon warmongers notwithstanding.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

What Should We Think of Rosa Parks?

I have the utmost respect for Albert Mohler and Russell D. Moore. Dr. Mohler is President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Dr. Moore is dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern. But I'm troubled by the gushing praise heaped on Rosa Parks by both men

In an October 26th blog entry, Mohler begins with a quote from historian Paul Johnson, asking whether a nation can "rise above the injustices of its origins and, by its moral purpose and performance, atone for them?" Mohler says, "Mrs. Parks' death reminds us once again that human sinfulness can take the form of institutionalized hatred and bigotry...Nevertheless, we are indebted to individuals like Rosa Parks, who summoned the courage to confront racial segregation and demonstrate its inherent evil. Her death reminds us of how far America has come -- and how far we still must go."

In his essay on Parks, Moore says, "the civil rights movement succeeded in the South because it spoke the language of Scripture, particularly to the equality of all persons as created in the image of God and redeemed through the blood of Christ." Moore asks, "How can you champion segregation, the prophets asked their segregation-supporting brethren, when you send your Lottie Moon money to evangelize Africa? How does Jim Crow line up with a common Adamic ancestry or, more bluntly, with John 3:16?" According to Moore, "Rosa Parks didn’t keep her seat because she was a social revolutionary. She kept her seat because she understood what the Word of God has told us from the beginning -- our God is not a respecter of persons."

But wasn't Ms. Parks, in fact, a social revolutionary driven more by a secular doctrine of egalitarianism then "evangelical revivalism"? And when Dr. Moore writes, "Southern Baptists recognize the racism of the vast number of dark-skinned infant body parts being emptied behind 'clinics' in the United States of America," shouldn't he be concerned that Mrs. Parks served, for example, on the board of Planned Parenthood?

Over at VDARE, John Brimelow linked to an essay by the late Sam Francis written in 2003. Here is a taste:

A book published in 1995, "Speak Now against the Day," by John Egerton informs us that Mrs. Parks, so far from being a simple black woman, was in fact an officer of the local NAACP.

If that suggests that she mounted a rather more artful act of civil disobedience than the legend acknowledges, it's because such is precisely the case.

Mr. Egerton shows that Mrs. Parks was in fact an alumna of an institution in Monteagle, Tennessee, known as the Highlander Folk School, usually and not inaccurately described as a "communist training school." Highlander was founded and run by a gentleman named Myles Horton, who was never actually a member of the Communist Party but told a veteran Red pal that he didn't join so he could avoid having the label pinned on him. For all practical purposes, Horton was a communist.

As Mr. Egerton writes, "Highlander had started summer workshops on school desegregation in 1954, right after the Brown decision. The Montgomery NAACP wanted to send a delegate to Highlander the next year. They chose their youth director, Rosa Parks."

Mr. Egerton's book contains a photograph of Mrs. Parks with Horton at the school in 1957, but her first training session took place only a few months before she sat down in the front of the bus in December, 1955.


Ms. Parks was the first woman to lay in state at the U.S. capitol. She is being mythologized and lionized, morphing into a representative of the American creed. This has important cultural significance, as Dr. Francis pointed out in a 1988 essay on Martin Luther King. Francis writes that allowing King into the national pantheon, which Parks is likewise being escorted into, represents a cultural revolution:

King Day in fact represents a revolution in our national mythology, a transformation that seeks to delegitimize the symbols of American history and national identity and to redefine the meaning of the American Republic—perhaps even the meaning of the Christian faith…To be sure, a nation that honors Dr. King and his legacy renounces such manifestations of racial inequality, but it also must renounce all forms of inequality, racial or other, because if all men are indeed equal, then it is absurd to say that only some forms of inequality are evil. If, as Dr. King understood it, the Declaration of Independence is a “promissory note”—not merely declarative of national independence but also imperative of social reconstruction in accordance with an egalitarian commandment—then the delegitimization of the traditional symbols, values, and institutions of America is not only in order but also long overdue, and the radical reconstruction of American society is not only a legitimate goal but also the principal legitimate goal of our national endeavors…We forfeited the right to revere the Constitution, the governmental principles and mechanisms it established, and the men who wrote it when we put Dr. King into the pantheon. The federalism, rule of law, states’ rights, limits on majority rule, checks and balances, and separation of powers that characterize the Constitution all are incompatible with and constraints on the full blossoming of the egalitarian democracy that Dr. King envisioned and which is the completion of the radical reconstruction to which the holiday commits us…Once the United States, through its national government, chose to adopt Dr. King as an official hero, neither the American people not their leaders had any legitimate grounds to resist the logic and dynamic of such forces and the radical reconstruction that is implicit in them. It is one thing to say that Dr. King was a great man and a great American, a man whose personal courage and vision, despite his human flaws, errors, and enthusiasms, challenged lesser men of both races and forced them to confront evils, falsehoods, and obsolete ways. It is quite another to say, as the U.S. government does say in creating a legal public holiday for him, that Martin Luther King, Jr., was the most important American who ever lived, at least the peer of George Washington, the Father of his Country, the only American in history to have his birthday made a national holiday, the man who is now first in the hearts of his countrymen…To say that Dr. King and the cause he really represented are now part of the American creed…is the inauguration of a new order of the ages in which the symbols of the old order and the things they symbolized can retain neither meaning nor respect, in which they are as mute and dark as the god of Babylon and Tyre, and from whose cold ashes will rise a new god, leveling their rough places, straightening their crookedness, and exalting every valley until the whole earth is flattened beneath his feet and perceives the glory of the new lord.