Trump now says he is “softening” his position on immigration

Donald Trump is drawing back from the hardline position on immigration that brought him lots of primary voters.  He now says that he is open to “softening” immigration laws, expressing sympathy for immigrants who have been here for over a decade.  His earlier statement that he would deport all illegal immigrants seems to be off the table.

His “exact” immigration policy will be released possibly next week, but what has come out so far makes him sound like Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Ted Cruz, all of whom he pilloried on this issue.  See this response from the Cruz camp.

Do you think this is a sign of Trump’s growing realism, compassion, and “becoming presidential,” or is it a betrayal of his earlier voters?  Is this a welcome moderation from his earlier extremism, or does it show that Trump is just another politician after all?  Would a shift on immigration make you more or less willing to vote for him? [Read more…]

Clinton Foundation pay for play

The Associated Press, no less, has been investigating the Clinton Foundation.  It reports that over half of the people Hillary Clinton met with as Secretary of State outside of the government were donors to the foundation.

Meanwhile, as Clinton’s clandestine e-mails come out, more questionable details about the foundation are surfacing.  For example, in 2013 its income was $140 million, but it gave out only $9 million for its stated philanthropic purposes.   See also this. [Read more…]

Libertarian candidate opposes 2nd Amendment liberties

As we blogged about (here and here), Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is dismissive of religious liberty, which he dismisses as a “black hole.” His running mate, Bill Weld, is weak on the 2nd Amendment liberty to own a firearm.

Weld said that an AR-15 is a “weapon of mass destruction.”   Furthermore, he said, pistols are “even worse.”  (Than weapons of mass destruction?)  He called for restrictions on both kinds of firearms.   [Read more…]

Are Christians the powerful or the marginalized?

In the course of a post on why so many evangelicals are supporting Donald Trump, S. D. Kelly tosses off an observation that explains much about the current controversies between Christians and secularists.

Secularists tend to see Christians as “the powerful”; that is, in postmodern parlance, those who are in a position of power and privilege who oppress “the marginalized,” those who lack power and privilege.

But Christians tend to see themselves as “the marginalized,” oppressed by the cultural elite who exclude them and exercise their power against them.

Thus, when a Christian baker refuses to participate in a gay wedding, the secularists see the Christian heteronormative establishment discriminating against marginalized and oppressed gay people.

While Christians see secularists–who control the culture, the entertainment industry, the educational establishment, the government, and the law–imposing their sexual ideology on those with traditional Christian values and punishing them for their minority religious beliefs.

This explains much of the rhetoric, argumentation, and high feelings on both sides.  Are these just two irreconcilable perceptions?  Or can we make an objective case for one side or the other?  Does realizing these different perceptions suggest other ways of addressing these controversies? [Read more…]

Why the LA Times poll differs from the others

Most polls show Donald Trump losing big time, especially in the crucial battleground states.  But the L.A. Times poll shows Trump ahead of Clinton by two points, a fact heralded by the Trump campaign.  So why are that poll’s results so different?

Most polls ask people who they are going to vote for.  The L.A. Times poll, designed by USC social scientists, is not so straightforward.  It asks a pre-selected group, used for other research purposes, to rate on a scale from 0-100 their chances of voting for a particular candidate.  Then the results are weighted for demographics, which is usual, but then also weighted for how the respondents voted in the 2012 election.

The Times admits that the result is that Republicans are probably over-represented.  I would add that the 0-100 scale isn’t going to tell us much if respondents are ambivalent about both candidates.  But I think this is also an example of social scientists overthinking their task and trying to come up with a methodology that is so sophisticated that it is unlikely to work.  But maybe it will.  We’ll know in November. [Read more…]

Why won’t bishops discipline Joe Biden? 

Vice President Joe Biden performed a gay wedding earlier this month, getting special certification from the District of Columbia to allow him to do so.  He also supports the right to an abortion.  Both put him squarely against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, and yet he remains an active member in good standing.

Westminster Seminary theologian Carl Trueman asks, why doesn’t the appropriate bishop discipline him?  Is there anything a Catholic politician could do that would get him in trouble with the church?

Trueman is Reformed, not Catholic, so he sees church discipline as one of the marks of the church.  Since, as we have seen, Catholics can go to Hell, perhaps church discipline is not so important in that tradition, though one would think such a possibility would be a matter for pastoral care.  How would other church bodies, such as Lutherans, come down on this? [Read more…]


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