The right to keep and bear arms

Washington, D. C., passed laws virtually banning the possession of firearms, even in the home. Those laws did nothing to prevent our nation’s capital from being one of the most violent and crime-ridden cities in the country. Arguably, those laws helped make it so. But the Supreme Court has struck down those laws, going further to affirm that the Second Amendment applies not just to a collective right embodied in militias but that it affirms the right of individuals to possess firearms. Glad or sad?

Secular pop is no better than CCM

My student Nathan Martin writes about some Christians who have made it big in the secular music world. But it doesn’t matter. They are still bad! So vacuous is their music, he writes, striking two with one blow, they might as well become CCM artists. The pop music scene in general is full of posing and convention at the expense of substance. Read Nathan’s critique and his call for Christians especially to do better. If you know of exceptions, either in the pop or the CCM realm, I’d like to hear of them.

New date for the End Times

More evidence that secularism is becoming an actual religion, complete with the weird parts, from those too-sophisticated-for-Christiantity Europeans: Many Dutch prepare for 2012 apocalypse –

Thousands of people in the Netherlands say they expect the world to end in 2012, and many say they are taking precautions to prepare for the apocalypse.
The Dutch-language de Volkskrant newspaper said it spoke to thousands of believers in the impending end of civilization, and while theories on the supposed catastrophe varied, most tied the 2012 date to the end of the Mayan calendar, Radio Netherlands reported Monday.

De Volkskrant said many of those interviewed are stocking up on emergency supplies, including life rafts and other equipment.

The Mayan calendar ends in our 2012! So the world must end on that year! I wonder how those Mayans are supposed to have known that fact. And why all of these progressive descendants of Calvinists now put their trust in Mayan carvings.

Explain your secret identity

Tickletext usefully explained that his–or her (we still don’t know that)–handle came from Parson Tickletext, a character in Henry Fielding’s satirical novel “Shamela.” I’m glad to learn that at least one of my readers is a fan of 18th century novels (are there others?), which is almost as good as being a fan of John Milton and George Herbert. That means I can blog about “Tristram Shandy”!

Tickletext, in return, asked Michael the Little Boot, our resident atheist (every village needs one), about HIS nickname. Longtime commenter Organshoes finally appended the name “Susan” to her moniker, clearing up the mystery of HER gender. We have tODD, which is self-explanatory, but what accounts for his website, Cockahoop? Some of us, like me, just use our names, but I know some of you, like Carl Vehse, use names that are not really your names.

As a break from some of the heated though light-bringing discussion on this blog, would any of you be so kind as to explain the source of your secret online identity?

Abstinence education is just “too strict”

Nearly half of the states are turning down federal funding for abstinence education, turning away millions of dollars. In this article on the subject, it appears that the reason is not that these programs are ineffective in reducing teenage sexual activity. It’s that many officials just disagree with the concept that sex outside of marriage is wrong. The programs, said one official, are just “too strict.”

I would say, however, that I see a weakness in the programs. They reportedly focus on the social, psychological, and health benefits of abstaining from sex until you are married. But the main reasons against extra-marital sex are not pragmatic but MORAL. I’m sure that avoiding the M-word is out of fear of seeming religious and thus becoming ineligible for federal funding.

But morality, in itself, is not necessarily religious at all. (Christianity is not some moral code but the means of finding forgiveness for violating the universal moral code.) We need to teach children, as well as adults, to think in the moral dimension. If we avoid that and instead just re-enforce the materialistic pragmatism that destroyed our moral consciousness in the first place, of course we will not have moral behavior.

HT: David Halbrook

An American’s Idol

Some folks in India are presenting Barack Obama with an idol–notice how even believers in these gods call them that–of a deity that the presidential candidate apparently uses as a good luck charm. From Obama to get Hanuman idol-India-The Times of India:

With Democrat senator Barack Obama busy in the run-up to the US presidential polls, a group of well-wishers in the capital have decided to send him a symbol of his lucky charm, Lord Hanuman, to help him emerge victorious.

Obama’s representative Carolyn Sauvage-Mar on Tuesday received a gold-plated two-feet-high idol which she will pass it on to the Obama after it is sanctified.

The idol is being presented to Obama as he is reported to be a Lord Hanuman devotee and carries with him a locket of the monkey god along with other good luck charms.

An hour-long prayer meeting to sanctify the idol was earlier organised at Sankat Mochan Dham and by Congress leader Brijmohan Bhama, Balmiki Samaj and the temple’s priests.

“Obama has deep faith in Lord Hanuman and that is why we are presenting an idol of Hanuman to him,” said Bhama.

See also this. OK, he’s not a Muslim, so is he a Hindu? I suspect he is just one of those polytheists that make up the new American majority, as documented in the Pew Survey.

I do understand that Obama can’t be held responsible for what some fans of his in India ascribe to him, but surely, as the Christian he claims to be, he should draw the line at idolatry, shouldn’t he?