“Wednesday is the new Sunday”

commandments-311202_640More and more churches are holding church services on Wednesday evenings. And for more and more Americans, that is the day they go to church.

Though many conservative Protestants have long held midweek services as an “extra” day to worship, this new trend of worshipping on Wednesday alone is becoming especially common in mainline Protestant denominations.  (Though I assume these congregations still hold Sunday services.)

After all, going to church on Wednesday keeps Sunday free for all of those other weekend activities.

Do you see anything wrong with this?

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Education and religion

graduation-1177256_640Does having more education mean being less religious?  That has been the conventional wisdom in academic circles.  But a new Pew Research study has found that the relationship between education and religion is much more complicated than that.

In general, according to the report, highly educated people are less religious.  But this effect does not hold true for Christians.

Highly educated Christians are actually more likely to go to church regularly than less educated Christians.

Read the findings after the jump.  How do you account for them?

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Another Korean War?

war-memorial-516060_640President Trump brought all 100 Senators to the White House for a high level military briefing on the situation in North Korea.  That, combined with further military buildups in the area and talks with South Korea, underscores the seriousness of the tensions between the United States and North Korea over that country’s nuclear program.

Does this mean war is imminent?  Or at least a pre-emptive strike against Kim Jong-Un’s missile program?

Probably not, according to an unnamed White House source.  Trump reportedly told the Senators that China is finally co-operating with the United States in bringing pressure to bear against the Communist regime.

But the situation is serious.  Within three years, Kim Jong-Un should have the capability to launch an intercontinental nuclear missile against the United States, and Trump is resolved not to let North Korea have that capability.

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Plantinga wins Templeton Prize

512px-AlvinPlantingaChristian philosopher Alvin Plantinga has won the Templeton Prize for contributions to religion.

Plantinga has shown, in a sophisticated way that is convincing even to most non-believing philosophers, that it is not irrational to believe in God, that the “problem of evil” does not disprove God’s existence, and that Christianity can make important contributions to philosophical questions.

Plantinga, a Calvinist who has been a professor at Notre Dame, has sparked a renaissance in Christian philosophy and has shown Christian academics how they can contribute to secular academia without compromising their faith.

Photo of Alvin Plantinga by Jonathunder (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

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The big tax cut proposals

6757856139_a3988deaff_zPresident Trump is releasing details of his tax cut proposals.

He would significantly raise the standard income tax deduction from $6,300 for an individual and $12,600 for married couples.  Exactly how much has not been released, but in his campaign Trump suggested $15,000 for an individual and $30,000 for families.

He would also cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%.  Other breaks are also in the works.

This would be a huge tax cut for both individuals and businesses.  Most of us would love that.  The problem is, what would it do to the federal deficit?

UPDATE:  We now have more details about Trump’s proposed tax plan.  Go here.  Briefly, the standard deduction would double, the seven brackets will go down to three (10%, 25%, 35%), the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax will go away.  But tax deductions will end except for mortgages, retirement savings, and charitable giving. [Read more…]

Trump can’t withhold all money from sanctuary cities

512px-US_Sanctuary_Cities_Map.svgA court ruled that President Trump may not withhold all federal funds from “sanctuary cities” that do not enforce U.S. immigration laws.

The ruling said that the President may withhold some funds, as already specified in the law.  That will amount to hundreds of millions of dollars, a not insignificant punishment.  But only Congress has the power of the purse, so as to have the authority to withhold money from generally applicable and non-related programs such as Medicare, education grants, etc.

Once again, President Trump is checked and balanced.  The courts, Congress, the states keep thwarting his signature issues.  Do you think this is an example of the genius of our Constitutional system or anti-Trump obstructionism?  If this represents a roll-back of the power of the presidency, which has arguably seized too much power over the last decades, do we have a Congress that can fill the void, or does it lack the leadership to fulfill its Constitutional role?  [Read more…]