80 lashes for receiving Communion

Aspects of our faith that are so commonplace that we often take them for granted are serious crimes in other countries, bringing horrible punishments.  Yesterday we blogged about North Korea executing people for simply possessing a Bible.  In Iran, since Islam forbids the consumption of alcohol, if you are a Muslim convert, receiving Christ’s blood in the wine of Holy Communion is punishable by 80 lashes.  Evangelism–that is, the crime of spreading Christianity–can mean 3 years and 8 months in prison.  Would we pay prices like that for our Bibles, for Holy Communion, for witnessing to our faith? [Read more…]

Two kinds of libertarianism

A writer who goes by the nom de plume “Hamilton” says that both Republican and Democratic intellectuals and policy makers are essentially libertarians.  (He says that there are few old-school socialists or New Dealers left in the Democratic party.)  But there are two different kinds of libertarians:  the school of John C. Calhoun and the school of Robert Heinlein.

Calhoun was the 19th century statesman from South Carolina who was a major spokesman for state’s rights, limited government, and individual rights.  Heinlein was the 20th century science fiction writer who championed individual liberty empowered by technology.   Calhounian libertarians are socially conservative, religious, and inhabit the Republican party.  Heinleinian libertarians are the socially liberal, tend to be involved in the new information technology, and are usually Democrats.

But Hamilton thinks that Calhoun and Heinlein could form an alliance.  I would  question the authenticity of a libertarianism that defends slavery, as Calhoun did, and that supports the power of one person over another that we see in abortion, as Democratic  libertarians tend to do.  But still. . . .What do you think of Hamilton’s analysis, given after the jump? [Read more…]

Google to fight child pornography

Who says nothing can be done about online pornography?  Google is not only applying technological solutions to blocking access to child porn, it is using the power of shame. [Read more…]

Heaven and the widow of seven husbands

The Sunday before last, our Gospel reading was about the Sadducees who tried to shoot down the doctrine of eternal life by asking Jesus a hypothetical question about a woman who was widowed seven times–in the resurrection, whose wife will she be (Luke 20)?  Pastor Douthwaite preached a powerful sermon about the nature of life after death, in the course of which he did something I never thought of before:  He took the situation of the hypothetical woman seriously. [Read more…]

The death penalty for possessing a Bible

North Korea executed 80 people, in some cases, tying them to stakes and machine-gunning them before 10,000 spectators of all ages assembled in a sports stadium.  Among the crimes:  possessing a Bible. [Read more…]

Obamacare descends into chaos

The deadline for signing up for Obamacare is December 15, if you need the insurance to kick in at the beginning of the year.  That’s less than a month away.  The website still doesn’t work, and the techs that are trying to fix it say they won’t get it done by the November 30 deadline.  Even if they do, that gives Americans without insurance just two weeks to sign up.  (There is a February 15 deadline for signing up without penalty, and an end-of-March deadline as the last chance to buy insurance on the exchanges.)  At last count, only 2% of those who need to have signed up so far.

If they can’t sign up, people whose independent policies have been cancelled will be left without insurance at the beginning of the year.  But President Obama’s decree that they should be able to keep their policies for a year is creating even more problems.

Insurance companies have already set their rates for next year, based on the assumption that those policies would be discontinued.  If those old policies are put back in place, that will throw off the quotes they have already been making.  This not only throws off insurance companies, it throws off the financial model Obamacare has been depending on.  Details after the jump.

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