Friday, February 23, 2007

Rudy and the Religious Right, a Marriage Made in Heaven?

Can Rudy Giuliani appeal to what passes for the conservative movement? Can a man who supports abortion on demand, has marched in Gay Pride parades, and supports open-borders win support from conservatives? Why not, these fellas voted for George Bush didn't they? Twice! And we can't possibly allow Mrs. Clinton into the White House. You gotta vote for the lesser of two evils. I mean after all, WWJD? He certainly ain't a Democrat.

In a recent essay at Lew Rockwell's site, Glenn Greenwald makes the case that Giuliani is the most likely GOP standard-bearer given that conservatives love war more than they hate abortion, widespread acceptance of gay marriage, the invasion of our southern border, and unbiblical divorce:

But for the bulk of religious conservatives, foreign policy issues are not distinct from religious and moral issues. Our Middle East foreign policy is a critical, really the predominant, item on their moral and religious agenda. Among the Christian right, aggressive, war-seeking policies in the Middle East – specifically against Muslim religiosity and Israel's enemies – are embraced on moral and theological grounds far more than on geopolitical grounds.

Greenwald is laying out the frightening possibility that the only thing worse than a Bush presidency is an energized executive branch headed by an astute and able politician with the steely demeanor of a prosecutor bent on fulfilling Armageddonist fantasies. According to Greenwald, Rudy fits that bill. I don't know about you, but such a prospect sends chills down my spine.

I think I agree with the paleo historian Paul Gottfried:

For the sake of full disclosure, in a two-way race between Hillary and Giuliani, in which I was required to vote, I would reluctantly give my ballot to the less dangerous and less radical candidate from New York, the former first lady. I could not imagine a candidate whom I as a Taft Republican would find less agreeable in the White House than Giuliani, and not only for his positions on foreign affairs. His stated views on illegal immigration are at least as execrable as those of Teddy Kennedy.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Immigration Update, Part II

I see that Lindsey Graham is up for an award from La Raza. Cardinal Maloney is likewise being honored. Such is the corruption in the modern church that the Los Angeles diocese used Ash Wednesday services to encourage parishioners to repent for the sin failing to support open-borders.

Mahony said his focus for Lent would be the children of immigrants who, he claims, "are innocents impacted by an unjust system that has failed and will continue to fail them and our society until true comprehensive reform is passed by Congress and the president." "Comprehensive reform" is of course a euphemism for the rewarding of lawlessness.

Being a Baptist, I won't give up long church services or fried chicken for Lent, but perhaps I will cease taking seriously the moral claims of a Cardinal who is more worried about the children of illegal aliens than kids in his diocese. As bishop of the L.A. diocese, Mahoney covered-up the pedophilia of numerous priests, moving them from parish to parish where they came into contact with ever more children. Perhaps judgment should begin in the household of the faithful.

On Knowing Who to Read

One of the most instructive features of the Iraq war is the sifting of the pundit class into "reliable" and "unreliable" categories. In the former group are conventional libs at the NY Times and Washington Post, hawkish neo-libs at The New Republic, "populist" right-wing radio hosts (Limbaugh, Hannity, Parshall, Boortz, Ingram), anyone associated with Fox News, Trotskyite neo-cons (Hitchens, NR, The Weekly Reader, AEI, etc.), religious broadcasters (Kennedy, Mohler, Stanley, etc.), and warmongering libertarians at Reason and Cato. In other words, virtually the entire media and political establishment.

Among the remnant of reliable journalists, leftist writers Robert Scheer and Alexander Cockburn have been nearly always on the money. Paleo-cons and paleo-libertarians associated with Chronicles, The American Conservative, and have likewise been reliable sources. Among better known conservative columnists, Pat Buchanan, Joe Sobran and the redoubtable Paul Craig Roberts are the gold standard. But to understand the Iraq conflict and the changing nature of warfare, William Lind cannot be beat.

Last Friday, I walked through my living room and for some unknown reason, Fox News shouters were squawking from my television. There was Geraldo Rivera live from Iraq (why he wasn't covering the Anna Nicole Smith imbroglio is beyond me) telling listeners with bated breath that the surge was a success already (!) and that al-Sadr had fled to Iran.

Of course, I already knew what was happening because I had read Lind. On January 29th, he explained that the Madhi army and other Shiite militias would largely fade from the scene because we were doing their dirty work:

The Mahdi Army and other Shiite groupings have a different perspective. Once we understand what it is, we can see that it makes sense for them to avoid a confrontation with the U.S. military if they can. From the Shiite perspective, American forces are in Iraq to fight the Sunnis for them. Our troops are, in effect, the Shiites' unpaid Hessians.

Thus far, we have been willing to play the Shiites' game. Their challenge now is to make sure we continue to do so as Bush's "big push" in Baghdad unfolds. Originally, they wanted U.S. forces to control access to Baghdad, cutting the Sunnis’ lines of communication and reinforcement, while the Shiite militias carried on their successful campaign of ethnic cleansing. With Bush insisting American forces work in Baghdad, the Shiites came up with an alternate plan, one we have seemingly accepted: the Americans will drive out the Sunni insurgents, leaving Sunni neighborhoods defenseless. As the American troops move on, they will be replaced by Iraqi soldiers and police, mostly Shiite militiamen, who will ethnically cleanse the area of Sunnis, just as in plan A. Again, the Americans will have fulfilled their allotted function, fighting the Sunnis on behalf of the Shiites. Aren't Hessians great?

Meanwhile, the Sunnis and foreign fighters in Iraq could either flee temporarily, or continue egging the Shiites into conflict. They opted initially for the former, but in recent days it appears that the bombing has indeed stepped up again and there is no safety in Baghdad.

Immigration Update, Part I

Treasonous members of the U.S. Senate and bootlicking lobbyists shilling on behalf of corporate behemoths are "putting the final touches on a comprehensive immigration-reform bill that includes an easier citizenship path for illegal aliens and weaker enforcement provisions than were in the highly criticized legislation that the Senate approved last year."

Even open-borders Republicans like Sam Brownback are being shut out of the sausage-making legislative process in favor of John "Dr. Strangelove" McCain, Teddy Kennedy and a gaggle of "stakeholders," including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, the National Council of La Raza and the Service Employees International Union. Mexican consulates are also preparing their own full-court press to pressure weak-willed legislators into selling out their nation.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Immigration Control is What?

I stumbled across an interesting blog belonging to a young Irish Theonomist named Daniel Ritchie. (Mr. Ritchie will soon be moving his blog here.) His posts are thoughtful, and preeminently concerned with propagating a biblical worldview in the arena of social ethics. Overall, not your typical pietistic flim-flam and well worth a visit.

Naturally, I do have at least one bone to pick. Mr. Ritchie's views on immigration, which are obviously a product of reading too much Gary North and David Chilton and not enough Rushdoony, are problematic at best.

Citing God's call to "love the stranger," Mr. Ritchie says, "The idea that the government should control and restrict immigration is a Fascist notion that has no warrant in Scripture." Moreover, he cites the flight of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus to Egypt as an immigrant's story (see Matt. 1:13-15).

First, with regard to Jesus, Joseph moved his family because of the impending threat to their lives posed by Herod--he wasn't crossing the Rio Grande in search of a work permit. Therefore, it would be more apt to term them refugees rather than immigrants.

Second, "Biblical immithusiasts" neglect a few things when citing the call to "love the stranger." In Leviticus 19:34, the reference is restricted to aliens who have become believers. Citing C. D. Ginsburg, Rushdoony says that this "'stranger' is one who has become circumcised, fasted on the Day of Atonement, obeyed the laws of sacrifice, and has practiced the laws of chastity, as well as obeyed other moral laws." In short, once a foreigner had become part of the community, his nationality was not to be used against him. Such passages also address treatment of aliens once they are in a country. They don't say anything about the criteria whereby aliens gain admittance into the nation.

Moreover, Scripture affirms national division rather than globalism (Acts 17:16, Deut. 32:8, also see Genesis 10 and 11); that strangers must obey the laws and observances of Israel (Deuteronomy 16:9-15); that Israel was in no way to blend either her people or culture with surrounding nations.

Indeed, one consequence of disobedience is conquest and domination at the hands of aliens: "The sojourner who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him. He shall be the head, and you shall be the tail" (Deut. 28:43-44).

The Scriptures do call for the extension of hospitality and justice, but not an open-borders re-ordering of social life. Rushdoony says, "To call for the modern, humanistic society with an open relationship to all men would have appeared to the Israelites as the ultimate tyranny. The law did not require any such a re-ordering of any man's private life: It simply required justice in dealing with all men."

Likewise, in the New Testament, compassion is balanced with justice, and with a preference given to kin, and by extension to nation. I Timothy 5:8 teaches, "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." Clearly, God organizes society around groups of people: families, clans, communities, tribes, nations. Open immigration destroys such a social order, and a prudential civil government has an affirmative duty to protect the interests of its people.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Ridiculous Item of the Day: Part Deux

The Church of England has discovered that referring to God as "He" leads to wife-beating. You can't make this stuff up. If you have a strong stomach, slog through the whole thing here.

Also in need of suppression: 1) any reference to God as "Lord," 2) passages speaking of submission to God or any human institution, 3) those texts that speak of God as vengeful or reference violence wrought by God, 4) don't forget those pesky qualifications for church office.

As I read the document (and I would welcome correction from the more theologically astute out there) it appears that the necessity of a propitiatory substitutionary atonement is also completely undermined. All that talk about blood sacrifices is apparently just a bit much for your average Anglican bishop to stomach.

Ridiculous Item of the Day

Under the growing influence of prophecy-peddlers like John Hagee, an increasing number of churches are hosting pro-Israel events. Hagee, a divorced Pentecostal fire-breather of the Word of Faith movement, pastors an 18,000 member church in Texas and has created an organization called Christians United For Israel (CUFI).

CUFIs goal is to enlist pastors, “the spiritual generals of America,” to rally their parishioners in a campaign to defend Israel. Hagee has in the mind the creation of a Christian version of AIPAC. "We need to be able to respond instantly to Washington with our concerns about Israel. We must join forces to speak as one group and move as one body to [respond to] the crisis Israel will be facing in the near future," said Pastor Hagee.

The "crisis" that Pastor Hagee spots just over the horizon is the rise of the latest Hitlerian goblin emerging slowly from the Persian Gulf--Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Armed with the latest gleanings from the Jerusalem Post and a futuristic, sci-fi style reading of Ezekiel 38 and 39, Hagee says that confrontation with Iran is not merely right and just, but prophetically inevitable.

Here in Louisville, the call has been answered. This coming Sunday, Evangel World Prayer Center, the city's largest Pentecostal church, will join forces with the Jewish Federation of Louisville to hold "A Night to Honor Israel." So while your average Baptist church will have nothing better to do than host a Superbowl Party, the prayer warriors at Evangel will be busily girding themselves for war.

OK, that's not fair. Let's stop for moment and pause. Maybe they will present the Gospel. What do you think? Well, no, apparently not. According to the church website, this is non-conversionary affair. So what exactly is the point?

"Its purpose", said Evangel pastor Bob Rodgers in a written statement, "is to promote esteem and understanding between Christians and Jews and to emphasize that beliefs we hold common are far greater than the differences."

Did you catch that? They're going to take an inventory of what unites and separates Christians and Jews. So what is the glue holding these two seemingly disparate groups together? According to one organizer, "We believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible...Israel has a right to exist, and that God promised in His word that He would give them that land, and they have a right to exist in that nation and a right to defend themselves."

Forget for a moment whether a literal interpretation of Divine Revelation yields an unconditional land promise to that particular piece of real-estate. I'm more concerned about Rodgers' profession that little of significance separates Christians and Jews.

What about the fact that God took on flesh and came to earth? What about His sinless life of suffering and ministry? What about his gruesome and horrible death at the hands of "religious leaders" and civil authorities? What about His triumph over sin and death? What about His enthronement at the hand of His Father? And what about our inheritance as the adopted sons of God through our faith in Christ's redemptive and atoning work?

If as the Body of Christ we yolk ourselves to unbelievers in the name of political expedience, war, destruction, and the glorification of the State, what have we become?

I'm Back

By now, I'm sure there are few readers left, but I have returned to the blogosphere and will begin posting ASAP. For a number of reasons, my posting may be occasionally light in coming days. We shall see. Ideally, I would find a handful of like-minded bloggers who want to engage in a more collaborative enterprise. Again, we shall see.