A smoking gun?

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Donald Trump, Jr., has released the e-mail exchange that led to his meeting with that Russian lawyer, promising dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of the Russian government’s attempt to help the Trump campaign.

That’s what the emails say, and Jr. says how he “loves it” and wants to bring his father’s campaign manager and his sister’s husband into the meeting.

Now, as we said yesterday, the meeting didn’t bear any fruit as the lawyer only wanted to talk about changing an American sanction so as to allow Americans to adopt Russian children again.  So the Trump party walked out without getting dirt on Clinton.  So Russia didn’t help them.

And yet the Trump people were told Russia wanted to help the Trump campaign and went to a meeting in which they thought they would receive the help.  This would seem to be not collusion but attempted collusion.  Not that the Russians sought to influence the election and the Trump team received their help.  But that the Trump team sought Russia’s help!  Even though in this case they didn’t receive it!

At any rate, it looks bad.  At the very least, according to the pro-Trump New York Post, it shows that “Donald Trump Jr. is an idiot.”  To see what Democrats will do with this, read this take.

Now some people are saying that this is a “smoking gun,” providing evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

Do you think it is? [Read more…]

CNN producer caught admitting its Trump coverage is bogus

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James O’Keefe of Project Veritas has been embarrassing the left with his surreptitious videos.  Now he has recorded CNN supervising producer John Bonifield ridiculing journalistic ethics and admitting that they are “witch hunting” Trump.

After the jump, read an account and watch the video.

[Read more…]

Most Christians have non-Christian worldviews

vision-154854_640A new study from Barna has found that most “practicing Christians” in America–defined as those who attend church regularly and say that their faith is important to them–hold to non-Christian worldviews.  Or at least elements of those worldviews.  Only 17% look at the world through a predominantly Biblical perspective.

Here is the breakdown:

61% hold to some elements of “New Spirituality,” that is, to New Age, Eastern, or Neo-Pagan beliefs (such as all religions being one; the karmic view that if we do good we receive good, and vice versa).

54% have postmodernist views, that truth and morality are relative.  (Interestingly, the less educated hold to postmodernist ideas to a greater extent [31%] than the college educated [21%], despite the prominence of postmodernism in the university!)

36% hold to Marxist views, such as the evils of private property and the desirability of government control.

29% agree with secularism, on materialism and science.

Now the respondents had to agree with only one of several questions associated with each worldview, in order to count in that total.  So the extent of their indoctrination with these various worldviews isn’t completely clear.

After the jump, start reading the report and go to the site for more details of the study and what these different categories mean, with the questions asked. [Read more…]

New York Times just outed our top spy in Iran

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The New York Times published an article that revealed the CIA’s top spy in Iran.

The newspaper justified its treacherous irresponsibility that may be putting his life in danger and that exposes an important U.S. intelligence operation by saying that the individual had already been exposed in a different operation (by the New York Times) and that “he is leading an important new administration initiative against Iran.”

My former student Bre Payton tells the tale in The Federalist, excerpted and linked after the jump. [Read more…]

Guilt and shame

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There is guilt, the inner torment that comes from doing what is wrong.  And there is shame, the torment that comes from other people knowing that we have done something wrong.  Guilt is private; shame is social.  Guilt has to do with how we see ourselves; shame has to do with how others see us.

We might do something we know is wrong, but feel only mildly guilty about it.  But if other people found out, our shame–consisting of embarrassment and a ruined reputation–would be devastating.

Lifeway did a study of what feeling people want to avoid the most:  guilt, shame, or fear.  38% of Americans said shame.  The breakdown according to age, education, and religion–given after the jump–is interesting.  (“Nones,” for example, those with no religion, are especially plagued with guilt.  Religious people are more worried about shame.)

The problem of shame in our culture today shouldn’t surprise us.  Moral relativism might assuage guilt, but it doesn’t help us with shame.  On social media, shaming other people has become a national past time, leading some targets to misery and sometimes suicide.  Social norms, especially of the politically correct variety, are enforced by shaming the violators.

The fear of shame might be considered shallow.  “You worry about your reputation more than the wrongness of your behavior.”

But the Bible says a lot about shame.  It seems to be an aspect of God’s judgment–that our sins will be disclosed, so that we will be “put to shame.”  Yet  Jesus endured shame on our behalf.  The Cross, reserved for the lowest offenders, involving being nailed naked to a tree and lifted up for all the world to see, was considered an especially shameful way to die.  And yet,  “Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2).

As a result, the Cross of Jesus Christ gives us forgiveness for both our guilt and our shame:  “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame” (Romans 9:33).

[Read more…]

Bioethical nightmares

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Human embryos have been produced asexually, as with the cloning of Dolly the Sheep.  Scientists are getting ready to manufacture “three parent” babies.  Chinese reproductive engineers have developed the technology to alter the genes of any cell or organism.  There is talk of “fetal farming” to grow fetuses so as to harvest their organs.

Wesley J. Smith reports on the latest developments in genetic engineering and reproductive technology.  Huge bioethical questions are being raised, but the only ones answering them are academic philosophers and the scientists themselves with a vested interest in pushing research with no limits.

He proposes instead a broadbased “populist” bioethical commission that could study the issues and develop guidelines for this new technology before it’s too late.

Read what Smith has to say after the jump. [Read more…]