The right teams are in the Superbowl

The New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts will play in the Superbowl, as seems fitting. Both teams came close to having perfect seasons until the very end. That would have set up the most remarkable Superbowl ever. But still, though my own favorites didn’t make it, I have to say that these two teams being in the big game seems cosmically just, for once. Cosmic justice would end with New Orleans winning–making up for Hurricane Katrina and all that–but I pick the Colts.

The pro-life generation

The pro-abortionists are worried. Journalist Robert McCartney, one of their number, explains why:

I went to the March for Life rally Friday on the Mall expecting to write about its irrelevance. Isn’t it quaint, I thought, that these abortion protesters show up each year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, even though the decision still stands after 37 years. What’s more, with a Democrat in the White House likely to appoint justices who support abortion rights, surely the Supreme Court isn’t going to overturn Roe in the foreseeable future.

How wrong I was. The antiabortion movement feels it’s gaining strength, even if it’s not yet ready to predict ultimate triumph, and Roe supporters (including me) are justifiably nervous.

As always, we in Washington enjoy an up-close view of the health of various causes because of the city’s role as the nation’s most important setting for political demonstrations. In this case, I was especially struck by the large number of young people among the tens of thousands at the march. It suggests that the battle over abortion will endure for a long time to come.

“We are the pro-life generation,” said signs carried by the crowd, about half its members appearing to be younger than 30. . . .

Activists who support abortion rights conceded that there’s less energy among young people on their side of the debate.

“Unfortunately, I feel my generation is a little complacent,” said Amanda Pelletier, 20, co-director of the abortion rights group at American University. “It just doesn’t seem to be a very hip issue.”

via Young activists adding fuel to antiabortion side – washingtonpost.com.

Disciplining children

You’ve got to read Mollie Z. Hemingway’s article in the Wall Street Journal about disciplining children. Here is just a sample:

Conservative Christian parenting is often unfairly presented as little more than “spare the rod, spoil the child,” advice distilled from the Bible's book of Proverbs. Spanking—punishment delivered with an open hand, not a rod—used to be socially acceptable and frequently utilized by parents, even in public. But at some point in the past century, child-rearing books began discouraging spanking and encouraging such new proverbs as “let's all take a 'timeout' so that our anger might melt away, leading to fruitful conversation, peace and harmony in the home.”

Some parents have taken the advice to such an extreme that they're hesitant to impose any consequences at all on their children. These include the helicopter parents who monitor their children's every move and the lawnmower parents who mow down any obstacle in their children's path. They, in turn, have spawned a backlash movement of free-range parents who encourage their children to roam freely and slacker parents (see the books “Bad Mother” and “The Three-Martini Playdate”) who brag about who's been the most neglectful. It's a parenting free-for-all.

Those parents who still use physical discipline keep it on the down-low. That's not just because spanking is no longer politically correct but because some lawmakers are attempting to ban even the most benign swat. Massachusetts and California successfully resisted attempts to ban spanking in 2007, but some 25 countries—from Austria to Venezuela—have banned any and all corporal punishment. Antispanking advocates say that physical discipline isn't just immoral but also detrimental to a child's long-term adjustment.

Yet a new study by Calvin College's Marjorie Gunnoe found no evidence to support the claim. In fact, it found that those adolescents who were spanked as young children actually ended up having a sunnier outlook and were better students than those who were never spanked.

Compared with those who had never experienced physical discipline, those who endured parental swats between the ages of 2 and 6 were much more likely to report positive academic records and optimism about their future. Even those who received their last spanking between the ages of 7 and 11 reported that they volunteered more, compared with those who had never been spanked. In fact, the never-spanked group never scored the best on any of the 11 behavioral variables analyzed. According to Prof. Gunnoe, her research, which was based on surveys of 183 adolescent children, doesn't provide answers to parents as to how they should discipline so much as undermine the rationale for banning spanking.

But it does speak to the importance of a balanced approach to physical discipline. The group that had the worst overall social adjustment was made up of children who were spanked into their teenage years.

So often spanking is utilized according to the Ned Flanders model—all or nothing. And religious adherents are on both ends of the punishment spectrum. One controversial discipline manual that purports to offer Christian parenting guidance, “To Train Up a Child,” suggests training children as the Amish train mules. According to the book, infants are to be lashed when they reach out for forbidden objects of desire. On the other hand, groups such as ParentingInJesusFootsteps.org argue against any physical discipline because it's not mentioned in the Beatitudes, Golden Rule or parable of the Prodigal Son. The United Methodist Church passed two antispanking resolutions in 2004, arguing that Jesus wouldn't approve.

While all these groups may appeal to the Bible, the Scriptures are actually much more nuanced about parental discipline. . . .

While the rod passages get all the attention, that's not all the Bible says about correction. In his letter to the Ephesians, for instance, St. Paul reminds kids to obey parents. But he adds, “Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.” In Colossians, fathers are told, “Provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” In First Thessalonians, the greatest affection is compared with the care a mother gives her own children, and Christians are routinely encouraged to be humble, gentle, forbearing and—most important of all—forgiving in all their relationships.

Lashing infants?

via Spare the Spanking, Spoil the Report Card? – WSJ.com.

Blogging LCMS relief work in Haiti

Rev. Matt Harrison, head of Lutheran World Relief & Human Care, is on the ground in Haiti Mercy Journeys with Pastor Harrison blogging about the work of LCMS pastoral and medical teams.  A sample:

I’ve never been so proud and humbled to be a member of the LCMS. When the LCMS assessment team arrived in Jimani on the southern Dominican/Haiti border, it was late. It was early morning before we got into bed for a very short night of sleep. Rev. Ted Krey, Rev. Walter, and Danelle Putnam greeted us with joy, laboring under the fatigue masked by adrenalin–just enough to sustain for days on end with little or no sleep. The LCMS WM team in the Dominican is incredible in any case, but in the past week they’ve shone with a compassion and determination under the most severe trials. We are at a hospital, which has performed some 500 major surgeries in the past four days, victims helicoptered in from Haiti. Ted Krey and his team have been a force for mercy and the Gospel, with real compassion.

Ted immediately figured out the logistics and delivery necessities of food and water for all patients and their families–1500 of them at distribution time. (That’s finding a need and filling it!). The Civil Defense Corps (a Dominican, mostly voluntary, organization) quickly assembled cooking facilities in the nearby town. Daily, Pastor Krey personally oversees and himself distributes water to everyone at every meal, and personally assists in the distribution of meals to all. Ready, young Haitians bunch behind the truck to disperse the Styrofoam containers of rice, beans, spaghetti, etc. in stacks of five or six. Between meals, Krey and his staff are tending to a hundred issues, questions, pastoral care concerns. In down time, they are speaking with people about Christ and bearing witness graciously through it all, consoling consciences wounded and sorrowful and hurting over mistakes and tensions and failings and weaknesses so prevalent in time of catastrophe. Make no mistake, food and water to victims of this tragedy are a critical, life-and-death issue. The initial mortality rate was high and fell dramatically when the LCMS medical team hit the ground with Pastor Krey at their side, though pastoral tasks have also included the purchase of caskets and transport of the deceased to the morgue and cemetery.

Keep reading.

HT: Paul McCain

Words that also mean the opposite of themselves

In yesterday’s post about Patrick Henry College’s national championship in moot court, tODD commented that “the word ‘moot’ is used rather bizarrely in common parlance. I know that etymologically speaking, it means ‘meeting’ (Entmoot, anyone?). But it is frequently used to mean ‘not worth debating,’ in near opposition to its primary definition of ‘debatable.’

Carl Vehse came back with this: “tODD has just pointed out one of the English words that is an auto-antonym (AKA antagonym, contranym, Janus word, enantiodrome, self-antonym, oxymoronym).” He then posted a link to a list “>of those words in English that have two meanings that completely contradict each other. Here are just a few:

apology 
(1) an admission of error accompanied by a plea for forgiveness (2) a formal defense or justification (as in Plato’s Apology), also referred to as an apologia
before 
(1) in advance of (“the future is before us”) (2) at an earlier time, previously (“our forefathers came before us”)[7]
cleave 
This is a homophone, where two words, spelled and pronounced alike, have different origins. (1) “To adhere firmly”, from Old English clifian. (2) to split (as with a cleaver), from Old English cleofan [10]
critical 
Can mean “vital to success” (a critical component), or “disparaging” (a critical comment).[9]
custom 
As a noun, this means “conventional behavior”; but as an adjective, it means “specially designed”.
sanction 
“To permit” or “to restrict” (as in “economic sanctions.”)[9
seed 
To add seeds, is in seeding a field, or to remove seeds, as in seeding a fruit.[9]
strike 
Normally meaning “to hit”, in baseball it means “to miss”, and an extension of this usage has led to the meaning “to make a mistake”. Further adding to the contradiction, in bowling it refers to the best possible play. Another contradiction results with the phrase strike out: the baseball lineage leads to the meaning “to run out of hope”; but the original lineage also leads to the meaning “to start pursuing a desire”
suspicious 
Can mean that a person is acting in a way that suggests wrong-doing, i.e. “He seems very suspicious.” or can mean that the person in question suspects wrong doing in others, i.e. “He was suspicious of her motives.”

Supremes throw out much of McCain-Feingold

The Supreme Court overturned much of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, ruling that the First Amendment forbids criminal sanctions against political speech:

Overruling two important precedents about the First Amendment rights of corporations, a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.

The 5-to-4 decision was a vindication, the majority said, of the First Amendment’s most basic free speech principle — that the government has no business regulating political speech. The dissenters said that allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace would corrupt democracy.

The ruling represented a sharp doctrinal shift, and it will have major political and practical consequences. Specialists in campaign finance law said they expected the decision to reshape the way elections were conducted. Though the decision does not directly address them, its logic also applies to the labor unions that are often at political odds with big business.

The decision will be felt most immediately in the coming midterm elections, given that it comes just two days after Democrats lost a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and as popular discontent over government bailouts and corporate bonuses continues to boil. . . .

“If the First Amendment has any force,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority, which included the four members of the court’s conservative wing, “it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”

via Supreme Court Blocks Ban on Corporate Political Spending – NYTimes.com.