The sexual revolution reconsidered

You have GOT to read A. N. Wilson’s article in the London Mail entitled ” I’ve lived through the greatest revolution in sexual mores in our history, the damage it’s done appalls me”.  An excerpt, with my emphases:

“I have been divorced. Although I was labelled a Young Fogey in my youth, I imbibed all the liberationist sexual mores of the Sixties as far as sexual morality was concerned.

I made myself and dozens of people extremely unhappy — including, of course, my children and other people’s children. . . . [Read more…]

Penn State and collective guilt

The governor of Pennsylvania is suing the NCAA for its harsh punishment of Penn State, hitting the entire university because of Coach Jerry Sandusky’s molestation of children:

Pennsylvania’s governor, in a challenge to the NCAA’s powers, claimed in a lawsuit Wednesday that college sports’ governing body overstepped its authority and ”piled on” when it penalized Penn State over the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Gov. Tom Corbett asked that a federal judge throw out the sanctions, which include an unprecedented $60 million fine and a four-year ban on bowl games, arguing that the measures have harmed students, business owners and others who had nothing to do with Sandusky’s crimes.

”A handful of top NCAA officials simply inserted themselves into an issue they had no authority to police under their own bylaws and one that was clearly being handled by the justice system,” Corbett said at a news conference.

The case, filed under federal antitrust law, could define just how far the NCAA’s authority extends. Up to now, the federal courts have allowed the organization broad powers to protect the integrity of college athletics.

In a statement, the NCAA said the lawsuit has no merit and called it an ”affront” to Sandusky’s victims.

Penn State said it had no role in the lawsuit. In fact, it agreed not to sue as part of the deal with the NCAA accepting the sanctions, which were imposed in July after an investigation found that football coach Joe Paterno and other top officials hushed up sexual-abuse allegations against Sandusky, a former member of Paterno’s staff, for more than a decade for fear of bad publicity.

The penalties include a cut in the number of football scholarships the university can award and a rewriting of the record books to erase 14 years of victories under Paterno, who was fired when the scandal broke in 2011 and died of lung cancer a short time later.

via Pa. governor sues NCAA over Penn State sanctions – Yahoo! Sports.

Here is an example of ascribing collective guilt.  Sandusky is certainly guilty, as are other coaches and administrators who overlooked and covered up his crimes.  But how far does that guilt extend?  Does it make sense to punish the entire university?  Does it make sense to void 14 years worth of victories, erasing them as if they never happened, even though none of the players who won those victories had any involvement in the scandal?  Or is the crime of Sandusky tied to the culture of the school, to its very football tradition, to the attitudes of the students, alumni, administration, faculty, and staff so that the whole institution has a collective guilt?

HT:  Trey

What tolerance entails

Mollie Hemingway has a piece in the Wall Street Journal about the difficulty of giving away a $20 million piece of property due to a New England town’s hatred of evangelicals:

Unable to maintain its 217-acre campus and 43 buildings, the board of Northfield Mount Hermon [a prep school founded by evangelist Dwight L. Moody but since turned secular] tried to sell the campus for $20 million in 2005. With no takers and prohibitive annual upkeep costs, the school sold the property to the Green family of Oklahoma City, owners of the Hobby Lobby craft stores, for $100,000.

The Greens planned to give the property to the C.S. Lewis Foundation to launch a college with a Great Books curriculum. But the foundation’s fundraising fell short by the end of 2011 and the Greens began soliciting new proposals. The family does insist that whoever ultimately takes over the school promote Christianity in “the tradition of Moody.” That has people in Northfield worried about how well the new neighbors will fit in culturally.

More than 100 interested Christian groups toured the campus this year. When word got out that the contenders included Liberty University, founded by the fundamentalist Rev. Jerry Falwell, some school alumni launched a petition drive arguing that Liberty was a “homophobic and intellectually narrow institution” that would be “fundamentally incompatible” with the prep school’s principles. Some residents of Northfield, home to 128 alumni and 60 employees of the school, held meetings to fight the transfer of the property to Liberty.

After Liberty was ruled out by the Green family, residents continued to worry. In April, at a meeting of the Northfield Campus Collaborative—established by the Northfield Board of Selectmen to improve communication between interested parties—resident Bruce Kahn “brought up the ‘elephant in the room’ which was the concern that an extremist Christian campus might polarize and upset the peace and tranquility of the town,” according to meeting minutes. Resident Ted Thornton said it is a paradox that “we consider ourselves tolerant but we won’t tolerate intolerance.” . . .

By June, Mr. Pattengale narrowed down the finalists to Grand Canyon University and the domestic missions agency of the Southern Baptist Convention. Residents expressed concern about both Southern Baptist doctrines and the impact of the 5,000 students that Grand Canyon proposed to bring to Northfield.

In September, the Green family named Grand Canyon as the recipient of the campus. But five weeks later Grand Canyon walked away from the gift, citing millions in unanticipated infrastructure, environmental and other costs. Mr. Pattengale has said there is another candidate with the means to operate the campus, but “it’s hard to get excited” because the mystery school is as big and conservative as Liberty University.

At another public meeting earlier this year—one that included questions about the contenders’ views on creation and same-sex marriage—a Northfield resident argued that “the religious tradition of the area welcomes people of many faiths, belief or nonbelief. There is potential conflict with those who follow more restrictive teachings.”

Tolerance has to do precisely with how you treat people you disagree with and people you don’t like.  If someone has no problem with a particular group, that person is not practicing tolerance, since tolerance is not necessary.  It isn’t that liberals are tolerant and conservatives are not.  Someone from either side can practice the virtue of tolerance or the vice of intolerance.  The good people of Northfield may have valid reasons for not wanting a college in their community, but they shouldn’t at the same time pat themselves on their own backs about how tolerant they are.  Evidently, they are not tolerant of creationists or those who don’t believe in same sex marriage.  They certainly do not welcome “people of many faiths, belief, or nonbelief,”  when they seek to keep out adherents of a particular religion.  (Well, “many” is not “all,” but not many religions other than liberal Protestants are fine with gay marriage, if that is one shibboleth being used.  Are Roman Catholics allowed in Northfield?  How about Muslims?  If so, on what grounds are evangelical Christians excluded?)  To use the ever-expanding phrase about not discriminating according to “race, color, or creed” and add to that “sexual orientation, gender, national origin, religion, age, marital status, or disability,” these folks are without a doubt discriminating on the basis of “creed.”

 

HT:  Trey

“A person must not be identified by their sexual orientation”

A New York archbishop shut down a “gay mass” that was held regularly in a SoHo church.  His explanation why there must not be a distinct worship service for homosexuals–the one mass is for everyone–makes a further interesting point about human identity:

First among the principles of pastoral care is the innate dignity of every person and the respect in which they must be held. Also, of great importance, is the teaching of the Church that a person must not be identified by their sexual orientation. The moral teaching of the Church is that the proper use of our sexual faculty is within a marriage, between a man and a woman, open to the procreation and nurturing of new human life.

Comments David Mills:

That “must not be identified by their sexual orientation,” for example, also means “must not identify themselves by their sexual orientation,” which is to say, must not assume they can or must act upon their desires.

You are not first a homosexual, the archdiocese is saying to the people who attended that Mass. You are first and primarily a human being, and therefore someone called to chastity, and the proper expressions of your sexuality are defined and limited and do not include homosexual practice. Being homosexual is only the personal context in which you are called to be chaste, as being heterosexual is the context for most people. But it is not an identity that brings with it a way of life.

via First Thoughts | A First Things Blog.

How does this help to frame the issue of homosexuality and pastoral care to gay people (that is, to human beings with same sex attraction)?  On the other hand, what is distinctly Catholic about this formulation?

Voting for “plan B” would not violate the pledge

In the fiscal cliff negotiations, President Obama wants to renew the Bush tax cuts for everyone except those who make $250,000.  House Speaker Boehner, in what he is calling his “plan B,” is saying that Republicans would be willing to let taxes go up for people making $1 million and more.  (He may be hoping to split the difference with a proposal once made by former House Speaker Pelosi to put the cut-off at $400,000.)

Interestingly, Grover Norquist at Americans for Tax Reform, which has been collecting pledges from Republican lawmakers that they would never vote for new taxes, is saying that a vote for plan B would not violate the pledge, presumably because the vote would be to renew the tax cuts and that letting some tax cuts expire is not the same as actively voting to raise taxes.  (But wouldn’t that logic apply to the $250,000 level also?)  Here is the ATR statement:

“Republicans supporting this bill are this week affirming to their constituents in writing that this bill — the sole purpose of which is to prevent tax increases — is consistent with the pledge they made to them. In ATR’s analysis, it is extremely difficult — if not impossible — to fault these Republicans’ assertion,” reads the statement posted on ATR’s website Wednesday morning.

“In particular, in this Congress the House has already voted twice to prevent any tax increases on any American,” the statement continues. “When viewed with this in mind, and considering this tax bill contains no tax increases of any kind — in fact, it permanently prevents them — matters become more clear. Having finally seen actual legislation in writing, ATR is now able to make its determination about a legislative proposal related to the fiscal cliff. ATR will not consider a vote for this measure a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.”

via Conservative groups, but not ATR, line up against ‘Plan B’ | The Daily Caller.

Nevertheless, other conservative groups are rejecting Plan B, and President Obama and congressional Democrats are still holding firm for the $250,000 cut-off.

Would those numbers matter to you in your support for a fiscal cliff bill?  Does the new Norquist logic make sense, or is it mere casuistry to give lawmakers a cover to break their promises?  Is letting some Americans’ taxes go up preferable to making all Americans’ taxes go up, which is what would happen on January 1 if no legislation gets passed?

UPDATE:  Boehner put his plan before Congress, but it was shot down, as even Republicans failed to support it.

 

Should Christians smoke (legal) marijuana?

The recreational use of marijuana is now legal in Colorado and Washington state.  So is there any reason why Christians in those states should not use marijuana?

Interestingly, one medical marijuana dispensary in California is run by evangelical Christians, who seem to be using their business as a ministry, witnessing to their customers and giving out Bibles, even as they join the effort for legalized pot:

A medical marijuana dispensary in California expresses evangelical Christian views and is known to hand out Bibles along with the controversial drug.

Canna Care of Sacramento, a family owned dispensary known for supplying medical marijuana and advocating for decriminalization, evangelizes and prays with its customers. Canna Care oversees group prayers in a typical day around 6:00 p.m. and has handed out an estimated 3,000 Bibles to those who come for their services.

Kris Hermes, spokesperson for the nationwide pro-marijuana legalization group Americans for Safe Access, told The Christian Post about its ties to Canna Care.

“Canna Care has been a supporter of Americans for Safe Access as have scores of dispensaries across the country,” said Hermes. “We have also worked with the operators of Canna Care on a number of political campaigns over the years, given their active involvement in advancing medical marijuana policy.”

Hermes also told CP about the building of bridges between ASA and faith communities in the United States in the effort to decriminalize the drug.

via Calif. Marijuana Dispensary Owned by Evangelical Christian Family.

Mark Driscoll, a cutting-edged Reformed pastor says that Christians should stay away from marijuana, making an interesting distinction between “sin” and what the Bible describes as “folly.”

I would add that moral issues are not necessarily just a matter of isolated  individual behavior.   Buying marijuana may well involve a person financially supporting the murderous drug cartels.  So let’s stipulate what is not presently common, the use of weed that is locally and legally produced.

Is there a Biblical difference between marijuana and alcohol?  Isn’t it true that alcohol, according to the Bible, can be used without intoxication, whereas intoxication is the whole point of smoking marijuana?

(Note:  I am not proposing that we debate whether drugs should be legalized.  I am asking whether, if they are legalized, Christians should nevertheless refrain from using them.)