Defaulting Puerto Rico is “America’s Greece”

The world’s attention as been on Greece, as Europe hopes its collapsing economy and its rejection of austerity measures will not pull down the rest of the Eurozone.  But what happened to Greece is also happening to the American territory of Puerto Rico, whose imminent default on its $72 billion debt–most of which is owed to U.S. investors (which don’t have that much exposure in Greece)–will have a far greater effect on the American economy.

The White House is refusing to bail out Puerto Rico but is instead asking Congress to pass a law allowing the territory to declare bankruptcy.  But that means the American investors will take the loss, which won’t be good for the U.S. economy. [Read more...]

“Conscientious objection against the state”?

LCMS president Matthew Harrison has issued a response to the Supreme Court marriage ruling.  It’s a strong statement, but what’s most striking and surprising, coming from a Lutheran with a Two Kingdoms theology, is his quotation of the anti-Nazi theologian Hermann Sasse on signs that the state has lost its Romans 13 legitimacy.  President Harrison concludes that “Christians will now begin to learn what it means to be in a state of solemn conscientious objection against the state.”

Is he saying that the United States government is no longer legitimate?  Wouldn’t that mean we don’t have to follow any of the laws it passes?  The Lutheran theology of culture, the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, has sometimes been interpreted to mean that God rules through the state, so that we need to submit to the secular authorities no matter what.  But I think the Two Kingdoms offers a mechanism for critiquing the state.  If God is the King, hidden in secular institutions and vocations but working through them with His moral law, then states and rulers who repudiate that moral law are in rebellion against His kingship.  Right?  But presumably He would still be working through them, despite themselves, in other ways, so that Christians would still be obliged to submit to their authority where it doesn’t conflict with God’s Word.

How else might a Two Kingdoms approach to the gay marriage decision help us navigate these controversies?  Read President Harrison’s statement, after the jump.  What do you think about it?  What else might be said?

[Read more...]

Supreme Court makes gay marriage the law of the land

The Supreme Court has legalized gay marriage throughout the nation, going so far as to rule that gay marriage is a constitutional right.

So now it is done.  What now?  Discuss. [Read more...]

New rhetorical strategies for the anti-gun crowd

Opponents of the Second Amendment, inspired by other rapid changes of public opinion, are formulating new ways of framing their arguments against the ownership of firearms:

  • Make gun ownership a public health issue, as with tobacco and drunk driving
  • Make gun ownership morally problematic, as with the Confederate flag
  • Adopt the language of  “liberty,” as in civil liberty, and “rights,” as in gay rights.  Freedom from guns.  The right not to bear arms.

See a columnist making all of these suggestions after the jump. [Read more...]

Supreme Court upholds Obamacare

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Obamacare, saying that the language of a  passage in the Affordable Care Act that limited subsidies to states that established insurance exchanges should not be allowed to undermine the larger purpose of the bill.

“In this instance,” wrote Chief Justice Roberts, “the context and structure of the act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.”  Dissenting Justice Scalia said,   “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare,” citing the two decisions supporting the health care law, which “will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.”

Responded President Obama to his victory, “The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.” [Read more...]

Bobby Jindal joins the presidential race

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.  He makes lucky 13.  Gov. Jindal is counting on his braininess and appeal conservative Christians to make him a contender.  I’m not sure either of those qualities will go very far this election.  Still, he has many good qualities.

What do you think of his candidacy?  How do you think he would be as president (which is a separate question from “does he have a chance?”)? [Read more...]


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