Friday, November 30, 2007

Problems With Rudy, Part II

Something is afoot when a Neocon rag like the NY Sun goes after Rudy. But here is the headline: "Giuliani Hid Security Costs When Courting".

Evidently when Rudy was "courting" Ms. Nathan during his marriage to Donna Hanover he used police protection paid for by taxpayers of New York city.

The story echoes similar allegation published by an ambitious, young, gay journalist named David Brock in The American Spectator in...1991 about...Bill Clinton.

Problems With Rudy, Part I

Per my last post, and the subject of much commentary here, mass immigration is changing the character of the country because the numbers involved are so large. Most of the GOP presidential wannabes are now trying to sound like Tom Tancredo, but they are immithusiasts of one sort or another.

Below are a few quotes from Rudy Giuliani dredged up by David Brooks. Brooks, the "conservative" columnist at the NY Times, wants to hear more of this garbage from Rudy:

"I'm pleased to be with you this evening to talk about the anti-immigrant movement in America and why I believe this movement endangers the single most important reason for American greatness, namely, the renewal, reformation and reawakening that's provided by the continuous flow of immigrants. I believe the anti-immigrant movement in America is one of our most serious public problems...The reality is, people will always get in. In New York City, we recognize this reality. New York City's policy toward undocumented immigrants is called Executive Order 124 (which protected illegals from being reported for using state services)...There are times when undocumented aliens must have a substantial degree of protection...Similarly, illegal and undocumented immigrants should be able to seek medical help without the threat of being reported. When these people are sick, they are just as sick and just as contagious as citizens."

Immigration Facts and Figures

The Center for Immigration Studies has detailed analysis of the nation's foreign born population. Here are some of the numbers from their report.

*The nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached a record of 37.9 million in 2007.

*Immigrants account for one in eight U.S. residents, the highest level in 80 years. In 1970 it was one in 21; in 1980 it was one in 16; and in 1990 it was one in 13.

*Overall, nearly one in three immigrants is an illegal alien. Half of Mexican and Central American immigrants and one-third of South American immigrants are illegal.

*Since 2000, 10.3 million immigrants have arrived — the highest seven-year period of immigration in U.S. history. More than half of post-2000 arrivals (5.6 million) are estimated to be illegal aliens.

*Of adult immigrants, 31 percent have not completed high school, compared to 8 percent of natives. Since 2000, immigration increased the number of workers without a high school diploma by 14 percent, and all other workers by 3 percent.

*The proportion of immigrant-headed households using at least one major welfare program is 33 percent, compared to 19 percent for native households.

*The poverty rate for immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) is 17 percent, nearly 50 percent higher than the rate for natives and their children.

*34 percent of immigrants lack health insurance, compared to 13 percent of natives. Immigrants and their U.S.-born children account for 71 percent of the increase in the uninsured since 1989.

*There is a worker present in 78 percent of immigrant households using at least one welfare program.

Ian Smith Was Right?

Well, sure, but I didn't think you could say such things. But here, sure enough, a Brit actually says it.

It was easy to mock Ian Smith, but he was right - both about the betrayals and about the quality of most African politicians.

He has particular resonance this week, as heads of the Commonwealth convene in Uganda, a country with an interesting democratic history.

However ponderous, however humourless and unsophisticated he was, Smith had run a successful emerging African country and, although the whites were the main beneficiaries, there was increasing prosperity among the black population.

Above all there was a sound, intelligently managed economy, free from the post-colonial blight of corruption.

Today, Zimbabwe is a failed state with a non-functioning economy, a once-flourishing agricultural sector now moribund, and a population on the brink of starvation. According to a UN Development Programme index, life expectancy there today is one of the lowest in the world. So much for liberation.

Auster on the Surge

Lawrence Auster explains why the "success" of the "surge" is irrelevant: "So, while the surge has been a material success in reducing violence and increasing security, as I always acknowledged it would be, this success is tempered by the following factors: (a) the success is likely temporary; (b) the success is partial, since violence including terrorist attacks continue daily in Iraq; and (c) even if this (partial) success were permanent, reports indicate the ongoing development of a hard-line Shi'ite sharia society in the southern part of Iraq. So at best we will have suppressed the demonic forces of al Qaeda only to make Iraq safe for a sharia regime that will be no friend of ours. Which means that we are not accomplishing anything positive for ourselves in Iraq, but only, at best, staving off the worse (for the Iraqis) in favor of the less bad (for the Iraqis). We will have enhanced the well-being and safety of a people who will remain our civilizational adversaries, not our own well-being and safety. We can only secure the latter by permanently separating the Muslim world from ourselves, not by being involved in it."

Taki on Teddy

Taki on the Ted Kennedy book deal bonanza: "My Kennedy spies tell me that all of the moolah, all eight million of Teddy’s royalties will be donated to the Mary Jo Kopechne Fund for the Study of the Side-Effects of Water. And if any of you believe this, you know there was no cover up back in 1969.

The mind boggles. Just imagine if a conservative Republican had left a girl to drown after driving her off a bridge, had tried to cover it up for ten hours, and then pleaded diminished responsibility and spent the next forty years as a respected U.S. Senator. You couldn’t make it up, as they say."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Can Islam Produce Democracy?

The columnist Spengler says no. The reason, Islam has no concept of humility, "which acknowledges the limits of one man to impose his will upon another."

Spengler argues that Islam is a species of paganism, and hence individuals are drowned within the collective. He says, as I have argued, that Islam is a political religion and produces statism because it cannot balance the tension between the one-and-many.

Spengler writes:

"Democracy in its modern form is the almost exclusive province of Christian (and in the single case of Israel, Jewish) countries….No concept of intermediate cause, or rational ordering of the universe, is to be found in mainstream Islam…The great 20th-century Jewish theologian considered Islam not a revealed religion, but a species of paganism. In pagan society, he argues, the individual is completely absorbed by the collective…The pagan state, Rosenzweig observes, considers the individual only as an extension of itself, not as the child of a higher power that stands above every state and culture. Pagan societies acknowledge no higher power than themselves. Their gods are an apotheosis of their own character…Not for nothing did the founders of the American republic insist that its functioning was unimaginable without the Christian religion. The purely negative aspects of the American constitution, namely the balance of powers that protects minority interests, means nothing without transcendent trust in something higher than the elements that constitute the body politic. In pagan society there is family, clan, and state; there is no intermediate function of representation, because there is no transcendent trust. Pagans can have (and frequently do have) plebiscites or presidential elections that in a sense are real elections, but they never have a functioning parliamentary system."

On the Surge in Iraq

Rush Limbaugh, Charles Krauthammer, and even the libs in the MSM continue to spin the fiction that the "surge" is working. While it is true that safety has returned to parts of Baghdad, such tactical success in no way implies that strategic objectives are being met. Read this analysis from Military.com:

But however great, small or in between you care to measure the military performance of late in Iraq, the surge's successes have been at the tactical level, and we're long past the point in this war where tactical victories can be touted as signs of strategic progress. The surge's stated aim was to provide breathing space for Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki's unity government to get its act together, and there's no sign of that happening. As Thomas E. Ricks of the Washington Post wrote recently, "Senior military commanders here now portray the intransigence of Iraq's Shiite-dominated government as the key threat facing the U.S. effort in Iraq." Even Kimberly Kagan confesses that "Whether the political developments that were always the ultimate objective of the surge can be brought to fruition remains to be seen."

Symbols of Revolution

Pat Buchanan has written a typical hard-hitting column on ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Buchanan is right that such legislation effectively criminalizes Christian conscience and curbs liberty by compelling employers to hire those they would choose not to. As Pat says, "A fair headline you will not see in the Times might read, 'House Tells Employers: Hire Homosexuals—or Else!'"

But 'tis part of the revolutionary spirit of the age. Liberty is being steamrolled in the name of equality. As I wrote recently, "The problem with granting non-discrimination status to homosexuals is that it deprives Christians, and many others, of their right to shun moral perversion."

Oh, and don't miss Pat's humorous riff on Stonewall: "Our Revolution had Concord Bridge. The French Revolution had the fall of the Bastille. The civil rights movement had Selma Bridge. The gay rights movement has—a bar fight in Greenwich Village."

Raimondo on Libertarians

Funny stuff from Justin Raimondo on Beltway libertarian consternation about Ron Paul:

Leave it to the rapidly ripening no-longer-quite-so-young-sters like Brink Lindsay, the Cato Institute’s resident warmonger, to rain on their antiwar parade:

"Though Paul defines himself as a libertarian and attributes the dedication of his young supporters to libertarian positions — such as allowing people to opt out of Social Security and Medicare — many libertarian pundits say Paul isn’t in sync with younger, more 'modern' libertarians.

"'He's sort of an old-style, old-right libertarian candidate,' explained Brink Lindsey, a scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute. Paul departs from younger libertarians with his opposition to abortion rights and free trade agreements, for example, Lindsey said."

What Lindsay, who enthusiastically supported the Iraq war, doesn’t say—or isn’t quoted as saying—is that he hates Paul’s old right and quintessentially libertarian opposition to our foreign policy of global interventionism. Senor Lindsay and his fellow "modern" libertarians have made their peace with the Empire. As long as they can take drugs, abort fetuses, and sodomize each other to their hearts' content, he and his Beltway buddies have no problem with the US rampaging over half the earth, regime-changing and taking out "rogue" states at will. As long as it’s a "free market" empire, they’re all in favor of it.

More From Chronicles

I have been a faithful reader of Chronicles since my brother gave me a copy of an issue in 1991. That particular issue announced the death of the "Conservative Movement". Some contributors to the symposium, notably Sam Francis and Murray Rothbard, are no longer with us.

Chronicles is by no means a conventional Christian publication, and its editors, with the exception of Aaron Wolf, don't necessarily hang out in my theological neighborhood. But they defend Christendom, and what I would call Apostle's Creed Christianity. Even the unbelievers writing there, like Rothbard and Francis, were Christophiles--they understood that our civilization was the product of Christian Faith. In any event, you should subscribe, and here is another morsel from the latest issue.

"Historically, it has been the radical heretics who have insisted that, because government by nature tends toward corruption, Christians should have no part in it. But Christians who participate in government must be sober and recognize that legislation cannot save, in the ultimate sense, a hellbent people or its offspring...We are not Saint Paul, but neither are we members of a Christian nation or citizens of a Christian country. Not only is our government openly hostile to our Faith, it is importing jihadist aliens who wish to claim our land for the Dar al Islam. Set aside the polls about Heaven and angels and even being 'born again': We are a minority; our number are shrinking; our churches are dying. Thus if we wish to restore the civilization that has been lost, we have to pay more attention to our Faith and less attention to Republican politics...

The Christians of the first and second centuries had Christ's words ringing in their ears--"If you confess me before men, I will confess you before my father in heaven." They harbored no illusions about their government; they strove to live peaceably among men, paying their taxes and dealing honestly in business...Their great offense to their Roman masters was their refusal to burn incense to the emperor, a simple act and a signature that would spare their lives when they were put to the test. Instead, they witnessed for their Faith and paid the ultimate price.

Of course, things are different for us: We live in a democracy, and, as citizens of a democracy, we have never been asked to burn incense to the emperor; we we just asked ourselves to preserve our Christian civilization by voting for the most pro-life President in U.S. history, even after he burned incense to Allah by declaring that Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike pray to him, they wished us all a happy Ramadan."

--Aaron Wolf, Chronicles, December, 2007

Fleming on Christian Delusions

"The hardest truth for conservative Christians to grasp is that we live in an anti-Christian country whose political leaders play pretend, every four years when they want the support of Pat Robertson and James Dobson, and once elected, with the support of Robertson and Dobson, act with complete indifference toward their supposed faith.

Some few Christians are beginning to suspect that the leaders of the so-called Christian right are nothing more than Republican Party hacks, lobbyists for their own special interest—namely, themselves. This may explain the high-and-mighty denunciations of Rudy Giuliani we are hearing, as if Giuliani is less of a Christian than, say, the cultist Romney, the crackpot McCain, or the actor (the word translated as “hypocrite” in Jesus’ denunciations of scribes, Pharisees, and actors) Thompson. This is a sucker’s game. Of course, the Grand Old Party has always betrayed its Christian voters. That is their assigned part in the scheme of things. 'If God did not want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep'—the memorable line William Rogers gave Eli Wallach in The Magnificent Seven."

---Thomas Fleming, Chronicles, December 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Marking a Milestone

I recently received an email from Concerned Women for America praising religious liberty as the source of American freedom. Curious, I headed over to the CWA website and started snooping around. CWA is one of those ostensibly Christian parachurch outfits looking to reclaim the realm of politics and culture for Christ. On its website, we learn of the purpose of CWA: "The mission of CWA is to protect and promote Biblical values among all citizens - first through prayer, then education, and finally by influencing our society - thereby reversing the decline in moral values in our nation."

I quickly stumbled upon a series of articles spreading fear about the rise of an Islamic caliphate. Here is a short missive weaving a web of lies and half-truths, many of them typical knee-slappers. I'll paraphrase a few: “If we don’t kill them there, we’ll be killing them here”; “Democracy is the last, best hope of mankind”; “There is no civil war in Iraq”; “If we leave now there will be chaos”; “If we get out now Christians will die”. You get the point.

In short, CWA regurgitates the Neocon line that if we leave Iraq there will be a slaughter of innocents, political disorder, and a movement of the war from Baghdad to Boise.

CWA is headed up by Beverly LaHaye. Bev is the husband of Tim LaHaye, co-author of the "Left Behind" series, noted prophecy guru, and hardcore Zionist. Perhaps it is the Dispensational theology, ably propagated by Dr. LaHaye, that explains the unyielding support CWA has expressed for the "War on Terror."

Of course, the truth is that Muslims have been radicalized by the war, and our invasion of their lands. The war has made us less secure and made the life of Iraqi Christians perilous.

What really disturbed me, though, were several articles written for CWA by a young lady named Sarah Rode, who is an Assistant Policy Analyst for CWA.

In one essay, Ms. Rode calls Code Pink activists anti-American and compares them to Communists. I thought the Red-baiting was over, but perhaps Islamo-Commies will soon replace Islamo-Fascists as the moniker of choice among Neocons. Probably not considering they are little more than Trotskyites in drag.

Ms. Rode chastises Cindy Sheehan, who apparently told a five-year-old boy that his “daddy died for a lie.” While coarse and unnecessary, Ms. Sheehan is telling the truth. In fact, our servicemen are dying for lots of lies. Do you remember the propaganda about WMDs and mushroom clouds? Do you recall the promises about oil revenues and the salvific quality of democracy imposed at the point of a gun?

Ms. Rode also explains why she wants to go fight in Iraq. You see, Ms. Rode is a United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate. Yes, a Marine.

If you assume that a Christian organization would reject egalitarianism in favor of a complentarian understanding of gender roles you would be mistaken. Conservative Evangelicals used to object to the continuing sexual integration of the armed forces. Now in their zeal to prop up the warfare state, wallowing in egalitarian presuppositions, Christians routinely deny that there are in fact God-ordained sexual roles.

The Scriptures paint a different picture of a comprehensive pattern of differentiation between men and women. It is men who protect and lay down their lives for women, even as Christ died for the Church, and it is women who bear a responsibility as nurturers not warriors. In Joshua 1:14, we read that the "wives, young children, and livestock" of Israel remained on the other side of the Jordan River while the "fighting men" crossed the river to wage war against the Cannanites.

Today, Christian men prefer to send their wives, aunts, sisters and daughters to die on foreign battlefields instead of fighting themselves. A reader sent along a link recently which tracks the number of women servicemen who have died in Iraq. According to the latest figures, 100 women have perished in the war. Wow, a real milestone to celebrate.

Writing
about this issue in 2004, I asked the following: “Where are the pastors with the courage to preach on what God says about sending women into combat, and where are the Christian publications and leaders who will stand up and call the problem of women in combat what the Bible does: an ‘abomination?’ Where are the teachers who will call the doctrine of equality what it is: heresy?”

I’m still waiting.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Newsflash: Cohabitation Bad for Kids!

Well, it looks like even the Sons of Perdition, that would be sociologists and social workers, have concluded that cohabitation is problematic for children. (OK, so I'm joking with that "Sons of Perdition" quip--kinda).

From the AP: "Many scholars and front-line caseworkers interviewed by The Associated Press see the abusive-boyfriend syndrome as part of a broader trend that deeply worries them. An ever-increasing share of America’s children grow up in homes without both biological parents, they say, and the risk of child abuse is markedly higher in nontraditional family structures."

Other findings cited in the article:

Children living in households with unrelated adults are nearly 50 times as likely to die of inflicted injuries as children living with two biological parents, according to a study of Missouri data published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2005.

Children living in stepfamilies or with single parents are at higher risk of physical or sexual assault than children living with two biological or adoptive parents, according to David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

Girls whose parents divorce face significantly higher risk of sexual assault, whether they live with their mothers or fathers, according to research by Robin Wilson, a family law professor at Washington and Lee University.


To make a long story short, broken homes are places of disorder and instability where children become vulnerable on myriad levels.

"This is the dark underbelly of cohabitation," says UVA sociologist Brad Wilcox. "Cohabitation has become quite common, and most people think, 'What’s the harm?' The harm is we’re increasing a pattern of relationships that’s not good for children."

Wow, that's almost clear enough to pierce the brain of your average Darwinian, or the heart of your average feminist.

Capital Punishment Saves Lives

The New York Times reports this morning on roughly a dozen recent studies indicating that capital punishment saves lives. From Gary Becker to Cass Sunstein, the consensus is that a judicious and relatively quick use of execution serves as a deterrent for murder. I figured this out approximately around the age of twelve, but your run-of-the-mill academic or judge can't be expected to have such discernment and wisdom.

"I personally am opposed to the death penalty," said H. Naci Mocan, an economist at Louisiana State University and an author of a study finding that each execution saves five lives. "But my research shows that there is a deterrent effect."

The studies, mostly conducted by economists, show that for each inmate put to death, 3 to 18 murders are prevented. One study looked at 3,054 counties over two decades.

Frankly, the issue of deterrence isn't particularly relevant from my perspective. I'm more concerned about justice. Human beings are created in the image of God and have inherent worth. Thus the snuffing out of life is a crime worthy of death: "And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man" (Gen. 9:5-6).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Speaking of Adulterers

Judith Regan, publisher of O.J. Simpson, Jenna Jameson, and Rush H. Limbaugh is suing News Corporation. News Corp is better known as the plaything of Rupert Murdoch, who owns, among other items, that fine newspaper the New York Post, the 20th Century Fox movie studio, DirecTV, the Fox Network, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.

Ms. Regan, a former paramour of Rudy's buddy Bernard Kerik, who himself was charged this week with sixteen counts of fraud and corruption, claims in her lawsuit that two Newscorp bigwigs told her to lie when investigators questioned her about Kerik. The lies, she says, were designed to protect Giuliani's presidential bid.

Regan alleges in court papers that "a senior executive" had advised her to "lie to, and withhold information from, investigators concerning Kerik". Further, "another News Corp. executive similarly advised Regan not to produce clearly relevant documents in connection with the government's investigation of Kerik".

According to Regan, Fox engaged in a smear campaign that "was necessary to advance News Corp.'s political agenda, which has long centred on protecting Rudy Giuliani's presidential ambitions".

What? You mean Fox News has an agenda?

An Adulterous Generation

David Rosen at Counterpunch on serial adultery and sexual scandal in the ranks of the GOP. From DeLay to Rudy, from McCain to Craig, the GOP is awash in scandal. Meanwhile, the "Religious Right" will yammer non-stop about Clintonian misdeeds.

Penatgon Cover Up?

Is the Pentagon concealing the true number of casualties stemming from the Iraq war? According to CBS News there is a suicide epidemic among military personnel. Here is part of the story:

CBS News did an investigation - asking all 50 states for their suicide data, based on death records, for veterans and non-veterans, dating back to 1995. Forty-five states sent what turned out to be a mountain of information.

And what it revealed was stunning.

In 2005, for example, in just those 45 states, there were at least 6,256 suicides among those who served in the armed forces. That’s 120 each and every week, in just one year...

One age group stood out. Veterans aged 20 through 24, those who have served during the war on terror. They had the highest suicide rate among all veterans, estimated between two and four times higher than civilians the same age.

Education and the Kingdom of God

"Historically, the orientation of school and university in Western culture has been in terms of concepts of liberal education. The differences of opinion have been with reference to what is truly liberal...A liberal education has been ostensibly education for freedom and the mark of a free man. But what constitutes a free man? And what is the ground for his freedom? The question is thus inevitably a religious question."

---R. J. Rushdoony, "The Messianic Character of American Education"

Critics of Rushdoony, who have apparently never read anything the man wrote, assume he was obsessed with a bizarre political ethic emphasizing the stoning of homosexuals and persecution non-believers.

After reading thousands of pages of Rush’s work, it seems clear to me that he was, if anything, a Christian libertarian, believing in maximum individual and family liberty under the law of God. While seeking the practical implications of every jot and tittle of scripture, Rushdoony was far more passionate about education than capital punishment.

During the early days of the Christian school and homeschool movements, Rushdoony often served as an expert witness on behalf of families and schools being persecuted by the state. He criss-crossed the heartland in support of families seeking to educate their children in the things of God.

For Rushdoony, all of life is religious and must be governed by God. The modern state, constructed on anti-Christian foundations, is intrinsically hostile to the Kingdom of God. Moreover, the engine of evangelism employed by the state to spread its "gospel" of freedom is the school.

The school is seen by "progressives" as an instrument of social progress, indeed as a messianic institution bringing the very Kingdom of God. Don’t believe it? John Dewey, whose influence on contemporary life and education has been extensive, wrote a "pedagogic creed" that included the following:

I BELIEVE THAT
--the teacher is engaged, not simply in the training of individuals, but in the formation of the proper social life.
--every teacher should realize the dignity of his calling; that he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of proper social order and the securing of the right social growth.
--in this way the teacher always is the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true Kingdom of God.


The purpose of the schools, then, according to Dewey is clearly religious. However, the Christian God is not being worshipped. The glue holding together the Tower of Babel under construction at the local high school is state-consciousness. More from Dewey:

...the American people is conscious that its schools serve best the cause of religion in serving the cause of social unification; and that under certain conditions schools are more religious in substance and in promise without any of the conventional badges and machinery of religious instruction than they could be in cultivating these forms at the expense of state-consciousness.


The center of this new community is the school. Dewey continues:

In conclusion, we may say that the conception of the school as a social center is born of our entire democratic movement. Everywhere we see signs of the growing recognition that the community owes to each one of its members the fullest development. Everywhere we see the growing recognition that the community life is defective and distorted excepting as it does thus care for all its constituent parts. This is no longer viewed as a matter of justice—nay something higher and better than justice—a necessary phase of developing and growing life. Men will long dispute about material socialism, about socialism considered as a matter of distribution of the material resources of the community; but here is a socialism of the intelligence and of the spirit. To extend the range and the fullness of sharing in the intellectual and spiritual resources of the community is the very meaning of the community. Because the older type of education is not fully adequate to this task under changed conditions, we feel its lack and demand that the school become a social center. The school as a social center means the active and organized promotion of this socialism of the intangible things of art, science, and other modes of social intercourse.


In speaking of the "socialism of intelligence and of the spirit" as the essence of community life, Dewey is challenging what had been an older conception of community, that individuals were free and independent to develop their callings and vocations under God with the bond of unity being a common faith, i.e. Christianity. Instead, our calling is to surrender our individuality—our intelligence and spirit--to socialization wrought by the established church of the Deweyite creed—the school. It is in the school as the "social center" that man is refashioned in the image of the democratic state and where the New Jerusalem is experienced.

The religious nature of statist education also demands the punishment of heretics. Here is one example of a woman being excommunicated from the temple for failing to endorse the creed:

A local author claims a Tri-Cities county mayor discriminated against her after her educational program was pulled from the calendar at a public library. Friday, a newspaper community brief promoted the home schooling discussion and book signing at the Jonesborough Public Library. That afternoon the library canceled the event. The author tells News Channel 11's Melinda Perkins her program was pulled because of one government official's opinion.

The Jonesborough Public Library scheduled Haskins to lead an informational session about home schooling this Thursday. Last Friday, Haskins says the library pulled the program at the request of Washington County Mayor George Jaynes.

"He said she had to retract it and cancel the program because it's a public building paid for with public taxes and they have an obligation to support the public school system and doing anything about home schooling was a conflict of interest," Haskins said.


The rise of Christian schools and the increasing popularity of homeschooling is a sign that many have lost faith in the state as a religious institution and are looking to lay surer foundations on the Conerstone (I Pet. 2:6, Eph. 2:20, Is. 28:16).

If the purpose of liberal education is freedom, then Christ must be at the heart of it. The state cannot bring freedom, for it has constructed its mosques and synagogues on shakier foundations, and they will ultimately crumble:

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash" (Matt. 7:24-27).

Friday, November 16, 2007

Democracy and Statism vs. Christianity

Like other ideological constructs, the idea of "Democratic Man" is grounded in presuppositions that are fundamentally at odds with a Christian understanding of human nature. Our view of human nature is fundamental to our understanding of the state, government, and politics—which is simply a midwife of government.

"Of central importance to any doctrine of the state is its anthropology, its concept of man…In the democratic anthropology, strong elements of which are derived from Rousseau, man is naturally good, and only institutions and a bad environment lead to evil or sin on his part…Even more than the classical or elitist view, the democratic anthropology views man as plastic or malleable, and it has led to a heavy emphasis on propaganda, education, and statist controls toward remaking man…In the democratic view, vox populi, vox dei, the voice of the people is the voice of God. There has thus been no appeal beyond the infallible voice, whether incarnate in the democratic majority or in the democratic consensus…Precisely because the Christian Church represents the contradictory view of man, the democratic state is implicitly or explicitly hostile to Christianity. The rise of democracy has seen, on the one hand, the progressive abandonment of Christianity by many states if favor of humanism, and, on the other a radical persecution of Christianity. Christianity is not compatible with totalitarianism, nor with the developing forms of humanistic politics from monarchy to democracy. As a result, in the modern state, the usual choice of a voter who is Christian is between the lesser of two statist evils. The anthropology of both the left and the right is anti-Christian. The conservatives, being usually less advanced and less systematic, represent the statist evil in milder form."

R. J. Rushdoony, “Christianity and the State”

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Technology in the Brave New World

I notice that in a few recent posts I've spoken favorably of changes in technology and communiciations. As I am not a wacky futuristic libertarian, with unbridled faith in reason, technology, and progress, I thought it appropriate to post this Huxleyan warning courtesy of Neil Postman:

"What Huxley teaches is that in the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.

In America, Orwell’s prophecies are of small relevance, but Huxley’s are well under way toward being realized. For America is engaged in the world’s most ambitious experiment to accommodate itself to the technological distractions made possible by the electric plug. This is an experiment that began slowly and modestly in the mid-nineteenth century and has now, in the latter half of the twentieth, reached a perverse maturity in America’s consuming love-affair with television. As nowhere else in the world, Americans have moved far and fast in bringing to a close the age of the slow-moving printed word, and have granted to television sovereignty over all of their institutions. By ushering in the Age of Television, America has given the world the clearest available glimpse of the Huxleyan future."

---Neil Postman, "Amusing Ourselves to Death"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Technology and the Spread of the Gospel

Much as the printing press transformed Western Civilization by allowing for the spread of the Reformation, the development of new technologies, communications, and cheap transportation has provided the church with new and inexpensive ways to spread the Gospel and disciple Her sheep.

Here
is an interesting article published in the Washington Post:

Using technological devices ranging from simple cassette tapes to solar-powered audio players and an iPod-like gadget called the Bible Stick, Christian groups are spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to make one of the world's oldest books accessible in remote corners of the planet.

Complete versions of the Bible can now be downloaded onto cellphones in parts of Africa. To reach those who can't read -- nearly one-fifth of the world's population, according to the United Nations -- Christian groups are rapidly increasing production of audio and video versions.

Christian networks from the United States, Europe, Asia and elsewhere are working together, coordinating the efforts of people as diverse as a computer cartographer in Virginia and linguists in the jungles of Papua New Guinea.

Since 2000, the Bible -- or parts of it -- has been translated into 600 more languages, making it more accessible to tens of millions more people, according to the Forum of Bible Agencies International. An additional 1,600 translation projects are underway that will leave only about 3 to 5 percent of the world's population without the best-selling book of all time available in their native language.

Building on generations of work to distribute the printed Bible, Christian missionaries said new multimedia presentations in hundreds of languages are vastly expanding the Bible's audience and spreading the influence of the world's largest religion.


Read the whole thing.

The Family as Welfare Agency

Support widows who are genuinely widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn to practice their religions toward their own family first and to repay their parents, for this pleases God. The real widow, left all alone, has put her hope in God and continues night and day in her petitions and prayers; however, she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command this, so that they won’t be blamed. Now if anyone does not provide for his own relatives, and especially for his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. No widow should be placed on the official support list unless she is at least 60 years old, have been the wife of one husband, and is well known for good works—that is, if she has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the saints’ feet, helped the afflicted, and devoted herself to every good work

---I Timothy 5:3-10

Here the Apostle Paul is discussing the care of widows. As is typical, Paul was not dealing with an abstraction but addressing a concrete and serious reality. In the first century women married young and typically wed older men, and then as now, men generally died earlier than women. The first century also preceded the advent of Social Security, pension plans, etc.

The care of widows is addressed throughout Scripture; in the Law (Ex. 22:21-24, Dt. 10:18, 14:28-29, 24:17-22, 27:19) and Prophets (Is. 1:17, 23; Jer. 7:5; 22:3; Ez. 22:29; Zech. 7:10; Mal. 3:5), Wisdom Literature ((Ps. 68:5, 94:1, 146:9, Pr. 15:25), the ministry of Jesus ((Luke 7:11-15, 18:1-8, Mark 12:41-44, John 19:26-27), and in the teaching of the apostles (Acts 6, James 1:27). God cares for the weak: "He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing" (Deut. 10:18).

So who is primarily responsible to care for widows in need? According to Paul, the family and not the church is the primary institution ordained by God to be responsible for the provision of welfare. Moreover, the possibility that a widow should rely on the state is not even considered (v. 4). If the widow had children or grandchildren, they were expected to provide care for the family member.

Paul provides three reasons for this framework in verse 4. First, we must learn to practice our religion toward our family first. This is merely an extension of the 5th Commandment’s injunction to honor our parents. It is also the case that throughout I Timothy and the rest of Scripture the home is portrayed as a training ground for service in the church. In learning to care for our kin we learn how to be servants to others.

Second, when children take care of their widowed mother they acknowledge a debt owed to faithful parents.

Third, Paul says it pleases God when children and grandchildren care for the older generations.

What about those family members that do not meet this obligation? They must be dealt with and disciplined by the church (v. 8). Paul says they have "denied the faith" and are "worse than an unbeliever." Consider what Paul is saying; they are worse than infidels. Whatever their verbal profession of faith, a man’s refusal to support his mother marks him as a covenant-breaker.

As William Hendriksen says, "He has denied it not by means of words necessarily but by means of his sinful negligence. Lack of positive action, the sin of omsission, give the lie to his profession of faith. Though he professes to be a Christian, he lacks the most precious of all the fruits on the tree of a truly Christian life and conduct. He lacks love. Where this good fruit is absent, there cannot be a good tree."

Paul next considers the duties of the church, for when there is no family, or the family fails in its obligation, the church should step in to assist the widow in need. The church is indeed a family, and we are adopted into the family through our profession of faith and baptism. If a widow has been abandoned, she deserves economic assistance.

But there are also requirements of widows seeking financial support from the church. First, she should not be "self-indulgent (v. 6) and must be at least 60 years old (v. 9). This would have been an old woman in the first century, a woman unable to glean, find work, or take a husband. Moreover, in later verses (11-16) Paul indicates in very strong terms that younger widows were not to be supported by the church.

Second, she was to be the wife of one husband (v. 9). This may mean that she had been married only one time or perhaps that she was faithful to her husband while he lived. Probably the latter considering that Paul says later that young widows should remarry.

Third, she was to be known for good works (bringing up children, hospitality, and service) (v. 10). The accent here is on service. Such a woman had been a servant of Christ and a servant to the church, and now it was her turn to be served.

Paul commands that all of this be laid out so that no one would be blamed (v. 7). Who is he talking about? Well, the widow will understand her responsibility, families will comprehend their duties, and the church will acknowledge its limited role only when necessary.

In the church today, what is our role, and how might it be different from the first century church? Our elders are, on the whole, significantly wealthier than we are. In fact, in the twentieth century, we largely transferred the care of the elderly from the family to the state, so that now we are taxed to pay for the care of strangers, and a generation raising children has their wealth transferred to the gray-haired lobby while sending grandma to the nursing home.

Does anyone else think this is godless?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ron Paul and the Reconfiguration of the State

The major political movements of our day (i.e. conservatism, liberalism, libertarianism, etc.) are all bastard children of the Enlightenment, grounded in secular premises. They are anti-Christian at root.

The reigning faith of our age is Liberal Humanism (LH). LH naturally devolved into statism. As Rushdoony wrote, "Man needs a source of certainty and an agency of control: if he denies this function to God, he will ascribe it to man and to a man-made order."

The rise of the messianic, imperial state has been ongoing for several centuries, connected to the ascendancy of LH ideology. But the loss of faith in secular premises and institutions will ultimately lead to a lack of faith in statist, i.e. political, solutions, and bring about a reconfiguration of the state.

Ideology is little more than the inversion of religion and hence hostile to Christianity. The religion of LH (whether called liberal, conservative, libertarian, etc.) is a dying faith. It is in a terminal condition collapsing under the weight of its presuppositions. Drowning in debt, awash in the silly coarseness of popular culture, and bleeding from imperial overreach, it is merely a matter of time before the ticking bomb explodes.

How long will the process take and what will succeed it? Those are the questions for serious Christians to consider. The collapse is inevitable, but have we so confused Christianity with America or Conservatism that we have no biblical alternative to provide?

A collapsing faith in the state will engender the sprouting of decentralizing institutions--and political movements. This is one reason for the rise of Dr. Paul:

I think people are tired of what they're getting from their government. They don't believe it's working. They're angry. They believe they're being lied to when it comes to the economy. They believe they've been lied into going to war. And they're tired of it all, and they want change.


In other words, they have lost faith in liberalism.

Ron Paul and the movement growing up around his candidacy, despite their flaws, represent an opportunity. The Establishment is slowly losing control and desperately clinging to power. The changes wrought by new technologies will make it possible to not so much circumvent as create a new elite, outside the control, funding and licensure of the state.

As Gary North writes, Paul "is now in a position to begin to mobilize this vanguard for a 20-year political battle that will reach into every local community – to train people in the techniques of political mobilization through digital communication, and to provide them with the materials to challenge the existing political Establishment."

Despite its bravado and braggadocio, the modern state has made promises it cannot keep. The stack of IOUs is growing by the day, and at some point the populace will look elsewhere for solutions.

Will Christians be ready for that opportunity? Are we up to the task of thinking carefully about how the faith applies to every sphere of life? Have we done the hard work of exegeting the passages and constructing a fully-orbed theology of life? Or will we be engaged in pointless navel gazing?

Now They Tell Us

Willow Creekers have completed a study. The result: "Seeker Sensitive" worship draws a crowd, but doesn't create disciples. Hey wait, aren't we supposed to be creating disciples? Ah, never mind.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Will Immigration Become a Burning Issue?

Michael Barone, an immithusiast himself, says yes:

October 2007 may turn out to be the month that immigration became a key issue in presidential politics. It hasn't been, at least in my lifetime...

The reason is that the Democrats -- and Bush -- are out of line with public opinion on the issue. That became clear as the Senate debated a comprehensive immigration bill in May and June. Most Republicans and many Democrats, in the Senate and among the public, turned against the bill. Supporters of the bill tended to ascribe that to something like racism: They just don't like having so many Mexicans around...

Which leaves Democratic politicians and political candidates out on a pretty flimsy limb. Most of them reflexively back a comprehensive bill, and some of them (like Bush and a number of Republicans backing such a bill) have dismissed opponents as racists.

Most Democrats have also been backing bills extending various benefits to illegal immigrants, like the Dream Act for college education for illegals brought over as children. There are appealing arguments for such bills. But most voters reject them. And most voters certainly reject driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. That was one of the issues that led to the recall of Gov. Gray Davis in California in 2000...

"The centrality of illegal immigration to the current discontent about the direction of the country may be taking us back again to a welfare moment," write the shrewd Democratic strategists James Carville and Stanley Greenberg. Yup.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ron Paul News

Ron Paul's cash haul has finally gotten the attention of political elites. Here is Howard Kurtz:

Ron Paul just grabbed the media by the throat and got their attention with the only language they understand: money.

Until now, journalists have basically dismissed the Texas Republican congressman as a joke, a fringe candidate, a comic-relief figure with a whole lot of wacky views. He was entertaining at debates, good fodder for the occasional bemused feature, but otherwise seen as cluttering up the stage.

What reporters and pundits respect, though, is poll numbers and fundraising numbers. And while Paul is anemic on the first, he raised a staggering $4 million online Monday, shattering the previous GOP record.

The one-day total would be a coup for a front-runner, let alone an eccentric also-ran. So reporters across the country put aside their Hillary and Rudy pieces to ask the burning question: How on earth did he do that?

What no news organization will ask, of course, is: How on earth did we miss the significance of the Paul movement?


Dr. Paul even manages to merit somewhat positive reviews in the NY Times.

Chuck Baldwin offers a plea to pastors to give Ron Paul a look. He also touches on a fundamental confusion that haunts the Religious Right:

Where pastors often become confused about Ron Paul is that when he is resisting the unconstitutional centralization of our federal government, he is often perceived as being anti-family. Many in these pro-family movements themselves have been co-opted into believing that the solutions to our family problems come in the form of more unconstitutional federal legislation and programs. And when one does not agree with these unconstitutional remedies, they conclude that he or she is "anti-family." Such people mean well but are confused.

America would be much better off if we Christian pastors taught the need for Christ-honoring resistance--at the local level--to anti-family federal intrusions. We should call on our congregations to vote out of office any judge who passes rulings designed to pervert the Biblical family. That doesn't take a Constitutional amendment. It just takes courageous pastors and people who understand that judges, too, must respect the Constitution and our Christian heritage.


Dave Black with pro-Paul musings here, here, and here.

As a Christian, I continue to be disappointed that so few evangelical poohbahs are supporting Paul. (As an aside, this isn't true among rock-ribbed homeschoolers, who are supporting Paul in large numbers in spite of the machinations of the HSLDA). Now we have the spectacle of Bob Jones and Paul Weyrich supporting the snake-oil selling Mormon and Pat Robertson cozying up with the cross-dressing Rudy.

Bad News, Part II

The dollar continues to collapse against the Yen, Euro, and Canadian dollar as the Fed tries to prop up the market by creating money out of thin air.

Meanwhile, health care expenditures increased 6.9 percent in 2005 and the cost of education continues to climb at roughly an 8% clip.

Yet, government statisticians assure us, there is no inflation in the economy.

Bad News, Part I

A frequently ignored aspect of American affluence in the last half century has been access to cheap sources of energy. Those days may be numbered:

Oil prices hit a record high of $97 a barrel on Tuesday, but the next generation of consumers could look back on that price with envy. The dire predictions of a key report on international oil supplies released Wednesday suggest that oil prices could move irreversibly over the $100 a barrel threshold in the not too distant future, as the global economy faces a serious energy shortage.


Economic growth in India and China will eventually strain energy sources with new demands. Even the oil industry is conceding that a new era is upon us:

The soul-searching may have already begun, as oil executives begin sounding the alarm about the supply crunch that lies ahead. Last week, Christophe de Margerie, CEO of the French oil giant Total, told the Financial Times that even the target of 100 million barrels a day is an optimistic one for an industry that currently produces 85 million — far short of the 116 million barrels a day the IEA projects will be needed by 2030 to fuel the global economy.

And in a sharp departure from the usually reassuring comments offered by Big Oil executives, De Margerie said companies and governments now realize that they have overestimated the amount of oil that could be extracted from places difficult to reach and costly to explore. "It is not my view, it is the industry view," he said. In other words, the message is that the current sky-high oil prices may not be a temporary burden on the world economy.