Sequester update

Due to a stalemate between Congress and the Obama administration, automatic spending cuts went into effect to the tune of $85 billion.  This so-called “sequester” of funds was predicted to have dire effects, curbing important government services such as air traffic control and devastating our military.  Actually, hardly any of those dire predictions came to pass.  The Washington Post has an interesting story about how agencies moved money around and cut nonessential spending to keep the worst from happening.  The story includes a specific list of the 46 predictions and what happened with them. [Read more…]

Truths no longer self-evident

Part of the genius of the Declaration of Independence, whose passage we celebrate today, is that it lays out in very explicit terms the assumptions–the “self-evident” truths–upon which the new nation and its government would be founded:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

via Declaration of Independence – Text Transcript.

Today, these truths are no longer “self-evident”; that is, needing no proof because they can be taken for granted.  On the contrary, a good number of Americans don’t believe them at all, and they would seem to have little, if any place in contemporary American culture. [Read more…]

Man Without a Country

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been stuck in the transit zone of a Russian airport for a week.  The U.S. government cancelled his passport, so he can’t get on another airplane.  He has reportedly applied to 21 countries for asylum, all to no avail.  (Some would take him, but he has to get there first.)  What he should have done is settle in a country that would take him and then out himself as the leaker of the NSA internet and cell phone surveillance scheme.  What he should do now is turn himself in to American authorities and take his punishment like a man.

Still, whether he is a traitor or a hero, I feel sorry for him.  He is truly a Man Without a Country.  (Read that short story by Edward Everett Hale to get your patriotic juices flowing on this Fourth of July.) [Read more…]

All literature can be Christian literature

Tom Hering, in saying kind things about my post on the Lutheran Theology of Culture, commended this piece by Joel J. Miller, What is Christian literature? God’s truth, wherever you find it. :

In a 1997 interview with Books and Culture, William F. Buckley Jr. was asked what thinkers influenced him theologically. “I’m a theological novice,” he answered, “but I simply assume that the Christian prism tends to inform Christians, whatever they are reading.”

All literature, in other words, has the potential to be Christian literature. A believer should be able to find something good, true, and beautiful thumbing through most any book — or at least be reminded of those things by their particular absence. Indeed there is a long tradition in the Christian world of reading books by non-Christians and finding in then both use and enjoyment. . . . [Read more…]

Key Obamacare provisions delayed for a year

Under Obamacare, businesses that employ more than 50 people will have to provide them health insurance, causing many companies to curtail their hiring.  That requirement, though, slated to go into effect in 2014, is being delayed until 2015.  Small business insurance marketplaces are also being delayed.  This will keep what will probably be an unpopular policy from being an issue in the midterm elections. [Read more…]

Syrian rebels are targeting Christians

Islamists among the Syrian rebels–whom the United States is supporting–are engaged in “religious cleansing” against that country’s 2 million Christians.  Many are being murdered, dying for their faith.  Details after the jump. [Read more…]