Election Day post-mortem

Virginians elected Democratic operative Terry McAuliffe, even though he had never held elective office, supports gun control, champions same-sex marriage, and is militantly pro-abortion.  The once-reliably Republican state picked him over the socially-conservative attorney general Ken Cuccinelli.  My prediction:  Terry McAuliffe, whose career has been defined by his friendship with Bill Clinton, will eventually run for president (but won’t against Hillary Clinton).

Meanwhile, fiery Republican moderate Chris Christie was overwhelmingly re-elected governor in New Jersey, which usually votes Democratic.  My prediction:  This positions him as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.

In other election results, New Yorkers elected avowed leftist Bill Blasio to be their mayor, the first non-Republican in 20 years.  Colorado, having legalized recreational marijuana use, now decided to tax the heck out of it, levying a 25% tax.  Washington state rejected a measure that would require genetically-modified food to be labeled.  Houston rejected a plan to fix up the Astrodome, meaning the first domed baseball stadium will face demolition.  And Takoma Park, Maryland, became the first city to give the right to vote to 16-year-olds.

What does all of this mean?  Some observers are saying that this election marks the end of the Tea Party movement as an effective political force.  Are they right?  Any interesting or significant election results from where you are? [Read more…]

What’s really demonic

William Peter Blatty is the author of The Exorcist, a novel about demonic possession.  He also wrote the screenplay for the movie version, which is considered one of the scariest films of all time.  It turns out the former Hollywood comedy writer penned the novel as an expression of faith.

After the jump I link to an interview with him that is worth reading in its entirety.  I excerpt the final words in the interview, in which Mr. Blatty cites something far more demonic than what he portrayed in The Exorcist. [Read more…]

Is America in decline or on the rise?

American foreign policy is in the toilet, with our adversaries not respecting us and our allies not trusting us.  Pundits here and abroad have been proclaiming the end of America’s global dominance.  And yet, if you factor out our government’s ineptitude, the United States has quite a bit going for it globally.  See what two think tankers have to say about this. [Read more…]

The Civic Sacrament

Today is election day.  Mostly up for grabs are local and state races.  Voting has been called a “civic sacrament.”  The analogy is an imperfect one, and it applies only to democratic systems.  Some say that voting “doesn’t do any good,” which even if it were true is not the point.  We have a vocation of citizenship.  For those of us blessed enough to have been called to citizenship in a country in which we govern ourselves by choosing our own leaders, voting is one of the duties of our vocation.

The Nadia Bolz-Weber phenomenon

Nadia Bolz-Weber is a tattooed, non-conformist, cutting-edge kind of person.  She’s also a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, two strikes against her for us Missouri-Synod Lutherans.  But she has the ear of “progressive Christians.”  And the thing is, she preaches the Gospel.

For all of her ministry to gays, the poor, and other outcasts, she does not approve of the leftwing social gospel that dominates most mainline liberal churches.  She is supernaturalist.  She proclaims Jesus.  She focuses on the theology of the Cross, not theologies of glory.  She teaches salvation by grace through faith.  She quotes Martin Luther.  She is having an impact.

Can we bracket all of the ELCA things we disapprove of?  Can we refrain from simply attacking her?  How can you account for the Nadia Bolz-Weber phenomenon?  Her audience is mainly “progressive Christians” who haven’t heard this sort of thing in a long time.  Does she illustrate my thesis that Lutheranism is the true emergent Christianity?  That is, that the way to reach postmoderns is not to water down faith (which was the tactic, mostly unsuccessful, to reach modernists), but to emphasize faith as Lutheranism does, in a way that is different from much of contemporary Christianity? [Read more…]

What to do about gerrymandered elections?

An issue for election day:  One of the problems in our political system today is that Congressional districts have been drawn up to ensure that each one is a “safe seat” for the incumbent and a particular political party.  That means that voters almost never have competitive elections with genuine choices–unless, that is, the incumbent has a primary rival from the same party.  This makes for ideological polarization, say many observers, as well as thwarting the basic processes of democracy. [Read more…]