Workers of the world, it’s your day

This is the first of May, celebrated as a spring festival in many cultures as May Day and appropriated by Marxists as the International Workers’ Holiday.  This is the Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving for those who believe religion is the opiate of the people but who still have a need for holidays.  For the importance of the day for the Communist party see this:  May Day – About the International Workers’ Holiday.  May Day marches are being planned in many of America’s cities, with leftists demonstrating for immigration reform and other causes.  (Search for the term on Google News.)

Marxism is still around, despite the fall of the Soviet Union.  Do you think it will come back in vogue, or back in power?

Lutheran libertarians

I keep running into conservative, confessional Lutherans (including on this blog) who, in their political ideology, are libertarians.  Could somebody explain how that works, in light of the relatively high view of the state and of temporal authority evident in Lutheran theology (e.g., the orders of creation, the estates, the vocation of citizenship, the Table of Duties, Augsburg XVI,  etc.)?  Doesn’t libertarianism require a kind of individualism unknown until the Enlightenment and Romanticism?  Wouldn’t the distaste for earthly government that characterizes libertarians be more characteristic of Karlstadt and the enthusiasts of the Peasants’ Revolt rather than Luther, Gerhardt, and Chemnitz?   Or are Lutheran libertarians different from regular libertarians?  (I’m not criticizing Lutheran libertarians, mind you, just trying to understand them. Please, somebody, explain.)

The collapse of entitlement?

Robert J. Samuelson sees a shift underway in Americans’ expectations:

We are passing through something more than a period of disappointing economic growth and increasing political polarization. What’s happening is more powerful: the collapse of “entitlement.” By this, I do not mean primarily cuts in specific government benefits, most prominently Social Security, but the demise of a broader mind-set — attitudes and beliefs — that, in one form or another, has gripped Americans since the 1960s. The breakdown of these ideas has rattled us psychologically as well as politically and economically. [Read more…]

The history of coffee

Here is something we can thank the Islamic world for:  coffee.  BBC gives an interesting account of the history of that beverage and how it came to the West:

Although a beverage made from the wild coffee plant seems to have been first drunk by a legendary shepherd on the Ethiopian plateau, the earliest cultivation of coffee was in Yemen and Yemenis gave it the Arabic name qahwa, from which our words coffee and cafe both derive.

Qahwa originally meant wine, and Sufi mystics in Yemen used coffee as an aid to concentration and even spiritual intoxication when they chanted the name of God. [Read more…]

Obama: “God bless” Planned Parenthood

Rev. Michael Schuermann calls out the president for confusing his office and for taking God’s name in vain:

President Obama spoke to Planned Parenthood this morning (Friday, April 26th). He said all sorts of things. Yet what was most galling, at least in my mind, is how he ended his speech. Here’s what he said:

“As long as we’ve got to fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we’ve got to fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you’ve also got a president who’s going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way,” said Obama. “Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you.”

[Read more…]

Protestant schools and volunteerism

Interesting findings reported in Christianity Today, including a nice shout-out to Lutheran schools (the largest network of church schools next to that of the Catholics):

Religious Americans participate in charitable or volunteer organizations twice as much as do secular Americans. So says existing research. But a new study suggests that it’s not people’s religion that prompts them to become model volunteers, but which high school they attended.

According to Calvin College researchers Jonathan Hill and Kevin den Dulk, the type of high school people attend influences them more than any other factor—including religion, socioeconomic status, or family type.

What type makes the most difference? Their study, published this March in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, shows that graduates of Protestant high schools out-volunteer peers from Catholic, secular, public, and home schools—all by significant margins. [Read more…]


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