North Korea threatens war, maybe today or tomorrow

North Korea has threatened to nuke Hawaii, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas.  Now the Stalinist regime is saying that war could break out “today or tomorrow.”  We have heard threats from North Korea before–though not like these–and we always dismiss them on the grounds that North Korea’s leadership is certifiably insane.  That’s supposed to make us feel better?  A lunatic with nuclear weapons is the worst kind.  “Mutually-assured destruction” is not a deterrent for a lunatic.  Another reason not to worry is that North Korea is a failed state in desperate poverty.  That an adversary is “desperate” is no consolation, since there is always the option of going out in a blaze of glory.  There is also that whole face-saving thing so important, I am told, to Koreans that makes it harder to back down.

We can feel better knowing that experts say the country does not have the technical capability to launch missiles that will reach all that far.  Let’s hope the experts are right this time.  We have sent ships and anti-missile technology to our allies and  military bases in the region.  China is even moving military units to its borders with North Korea, not knowing what the new “dear leader” Kim Jong-Un might do. [Read more…]

Why do the Orthodox ally with liberal Protestants?

One of the mysteries of the American religious scene is why all but one of the Eastern Orthodox church bodies in this country are members of the National Council of Churches, the mouthpiece for liberal Protestant denominations.  Not only that, the NCC consistently promotes abortion, homosexuality, a leftist social gospel, and a whole array of doctrines opposed to the traditional theology the Orthodox claim to champion.  And it isn’t like the Orthodox representatives are speaking up all that much against the NCC’s anti-orthodoxy.  John Lomperis of the Institute for Religion and Democracy asks some pointed questions. [Read more…]

The vocation of garbage collectors

I have always admired garbage collectors.  Their work is hard and dirty, but essential, and yet they do not get the respect they so richly deserve.  They too are masks of God and without them, as Luther said in another context, we would perish in our filth. Now there is a book about them by anthropologist Robin Nagle: Picking Up: On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City.  These city workers have twice the fatality rate of police officers and seven times that of firemen.  [Read more…]

How today’s Republicans are like 1980s Democrats

Republicans have lost the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections.  Demographics, geography, and the trends of the day are working against them.  Just like the Democrats in the 1980s.  See Dan Balz in Republicans today can learn lessons from the Democrats’ past. But will they? – The Washington Post.

Religious, but not spiritual

Francis Cardinal George reverses the commonplace saying in a column entitled “I’m Religious, but Not Spiritual”:

It’s somewhat fashionable these days to describe oneself as “spiritual but not religious.” This is supposed to mean that one is open to an experience beyond the commercial or the political but not tied to “institutional” religion. One claims an experience of transcendence that is bound by no one else’s rules.

People can always make claims to any kind of experience. The question is always: Who cares? Why should anyone care where someone else gets a spiritual high? Because no one really cares, the claim to be spiritual but not religious is always safe. It’s never a threat and can be dismissed quite easily. The claim to be religious is different. It is a claim that God himself has taken the initiative to reveal himself to us and tell us who he is and who we are. Religion binds us to God according to his will, not ours, in a community of faith that he has brought into existence. Being religious can therefore be threatening. [Read more…]

Whether a criminal converts to Islam or Christianity

James Holmes, who dressed up like the Joker and killed 12 people at the Batman movie (and who faces the death penalty if he is convicted), has converted to Islam.  Robert Spencer explores what that means as opposed to a conversion to Christianity:

The debate over James Holmes’s sanity has raged hotly ever since he murdered twelve people and wounded 58 in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in July 2012. But now the controversy can be laid to rest: Holmes is sane. The clearest indication of his sanity came last week, when the Daily Mail reported that he had converted to Islam.

The Mail reported that Holmes is apparently quite devout: he has grown a lavish beard, eats only halal food, prays the obligatory five daily prayers, and studies the Qur’an for hours every day.

Holmes’s conversion reveals that instead of being unaware of what he did, or utterly remorseless, as one might expect of a psychotic or a sociopath, the murders must trouble him a great deal. For it is souls that are troubled — intellectually, morally, spiritually, psychologically — who cast about for some solution to what troubles them, and often find it in religious conversion.

But it is what Holmes converted to that is significant. [Read more…]