Why conspiracy theories are unlikely

Many on the left just know that the Christian right is scheming with big corporations to take over the country and eliminate our freedoms.  Many on the right just know that the United Nations is scheming with the liberal media to take over the country and eliminate our freedoms.  Ezra Klein, in a piece on how China is trying to understand American schemes by hacking into government and business computers, explains why the kind of elaborate plans necessary for a good conspiracy just can’t get carried out. [Read more…]

Chuck Hagel confirmed as Secretary of Defense

The Senate confirmed Chuck Hagel as our new Secretary of Defense.  Though Hagel, a former Senator from Nebraska,  is a Republican, most Republicans opposed him for his criticism of Israel, his rejection of sanctions against Iran, his opposition to nuclear weapons, and other “dovish positions.” Hagel will join John Kerry, confirmed as the new Secretary of State, as key cabinet members in the second Obama administration. [Read more…]

What pastors do

Last Sunday at church, in addition to receiving Holy Communion as we do every week, we baptized a child and sent off one of our members to seminary.  Our pastor gave a sermon on the readings for the day–Jeremiah 16, Luke 13,  and Philippians 3–and tied them into all of those events.  You should read the whole sermon, but what he said about the life and calling of a pastor deserves to become a classic. [Read more…]

Friday’s spending cut apocalypse

We are facing another financial deadline in Washington in three days.  Not a fiscal cliff, nor a debt ceiling crisis.  On Friday, March 1, if nothing happens, federal spending will automatically be cut by $85.4 billion.  This so-called “sequester” was part of the deal to raise the debt ceiling.   Republicans put in cuts for domestic programs, while Democrats put in cuts for the military.  Both sides assumed that these would never go through, since they go against the respective priorities of each party, but it looks like they will.  The Obama administration is decrying the cuts in apocalyptic terms, saying air traffic control will be shut down, our military will be crippled, the elderly will go hungry, and children will lose their schools.  After the jump, see what will really be affected. [Read more…]

C. Everett Koop dies

C. Everett Koop, the Surgeon General under President Reagan, has died at age 96.  The mainstream obituaries are hailing his work to battle smoking and the AIDS epidemic.  But he was also a devout Christian and a crusader against abortion.  Koop  collaborated with  Francis Schaeffer on the book and video series Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, a work that helped mobilize Christians for the pro-life cause. [Read more…]

Society has little defense

Not too long ago, both liberals and conservatives were oriented to some kind of common social good.  Liberals pushed for what they considered to be “social justice.”  Conservatives emphasized patriotism and worked for cultural stability.  Today, both sides frame their arguments in terms of personal liberty and individual rights (gay rights, abortion rights, reproductive freedom, etc., vs. parental rights, religious liberty, gun rights, free markets, etc.).

Is that an advance?  Perhaps it is.  But did you notice that when we recently discussed Iceland’s attempt to battle pornography, hardly any of us–social conservatives mostly, me included–were able to come up with any way to oppose it legally.  Even as we were decrying pornography and admitting how socially harmful it is, we could only conceive of the issue in terms of first amendment rights.  On another blog that discussed Iceland’s policies, someone defended pornography on the grounds that we must not interfere with free market economics, that the demand must call forth a supply.

Then I was part of a discussion of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s graduation address at Harvard University in 1978.  In that talk, the exiled Russian author who spent nearly a decade in the Soviet gulag and whose dissident writings helped bring about the fall of Communism, said why he would not recommend that his country, once free, emulate the modern West.  One reason he gave is that western societies have become “legalistic”; that is, our societies have replaced morality with laws.  And societies cannot protect themselves with laws alone. [Read more…]


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