“The issue will come and find you”

Liberal Baptist theologian and LGBT advocate David Gushee says that there is no middle ground when it comes to acceptance of LGBT rights.  Churches and individuals must either accept them or not, and if they don’t they will face dire consequences.

He says that affirmation of LGBT issues is already mandatory in government, education, medicine, corporations, the entertainment industry, sports, and nonprofits.  The only holdouts are conservative Christians and their institutions, which are digging in and trying to invoke religious liberty.  But if they don’t change their tune, they will be forced to close down or be treated with the same contempt that racists receive today.

Read what he says, excerpted and linked after the jump.  Then read Rod Dreher on Gushee’s threats in his piece We Have Been Warned. [Read more…]

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…]

Scandinavian welfare state reform

As I reported from my recent sojourns in Scandinavia, the vaunted “welfare state” the Nordic states are known for is much more complex than we Americans realize, with the generous government benefits co-existing with extraordinarily free economies and a culture fixated on hard work and personal responsibility. (Might all of this be due to the Lutheran doctrine of vocation?)

Nima Sanandaji, the son of Swedish immigrants, has written a book on this subject, including a treatment of recent attempts to reform some of its dysfunctions, especially in the way it has sapped the initiative of immigrants who do not share the work-and-responsibility culture.  Sanandaji sums up his book in an essay excerpted and linked after the jump. [Read more…]

New study on church-going has surprises

Pew Research has released a new study on church-going, including why people leave, how they choose a new congregation, and why people don’t attend.  Read the study here.

The reason lots of people have stopped going to church, it turns out, is not so much that they are rejecting religion in favor of scientific materialism.  Rather, the logistics of getting up on Sunday and organizing themselves and the family for a trip to church is just too difficult.

The main reason people choose a new congregation is not disagreement with the pastor of the old one (a reason given only by 11%), but because they have moved.  The factor that is most influential in choosing a new congregation?  The pastor’s sermons.

There are other surprises:  denominational loyalty is still an important factor; while many people attend church less, almost 25% of Americans are attending church more.

Take a look at the study and then read an analysis of the findings by Emma Green in the Atlantic, excerpted and linked after the jump. [Read more…]

Study challenges LGBT assumptions 

Public opinion, government policy, and Supreme Court rulings about LGBT issues has been predicated on the notion that same-sex attraction and having a gender identity different from one’s biological sex are innate, fixed conditions.  In the words of the Lady Gaga song, “I was born this way.”

But a Johns Hopkins study has found otherwise.
[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…]


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