Morning Report, August 6th: Psychological Barriers, Prisoner Rape, Homecoming, Homeowning, Astroturf and Swastikas

1.  A task force of the American Psychological Association spent a substantial amount of money and effort in order to conclude–are you ready for it?–that “psychological barriers” such as uncertainty, mistrust and denial prevent Americans from taking action to combat climate change.  Did they ask whether some (note that I say “some”) of that uncertainty and mistrust might be justified?  Apparently not.  This is another example of what happens when one becomes so immersed in one’s own point of view that one cannot enter into the rationality of the opposing side.  If they don’t see things your way–they must be psychologically impaired.

One question I’ve often asked myself: do some Christians (note again that I say “some”) feel less urgency to act against climate change because of their trust in Providence?  I think the answer is yes.  Bad theology?  Perhaps.  But the sense that God would not allow environmental catastrophe, or that God would not create a world without adequate self-correcting mechanisms, may play a subtle role in inoculating Christians against the most alarmist of environmental activists.

2.  A panel of judges issues a stinging condemnation of California’s prisons and orders the state to reduce the rolls of the imprisoned by nearly a quarter.  Even law-and-order Christians should insist that conditions in the prisons be humane.  “I was in prison, and you visited me,” Jesus said.  Note he did not say that he was innocently in prison; even those who are justly condemned for their crimes, and even those who failed to treat others humanely, should be treated humanely by godly men and women.  Nothing on television disturbs me more than the jokes about prisoner rape.  If the California prisons are so overcrowded that they cannot treat their prisoners humanely, that needs to change.

3.  Obama’s job approval is at 50%.  Obama partisans have to be frustrated, as Bush partisans were before, at the way in which polls have become news in themselves, and tend to drive public perception.  A high percent have concluded that the Obama administration thus far is a “failure.”  But surely the long-term consequences are what matters?  Since Obama and the Democrats have control of the executive and the legislature, we have a sort of political laboratory right in front of us.  This is not the sort of split government where one side can blame the other for limiting what they could do.  In other words, the Democrats will have to show results for all their efforts.  If they can convincingly show results, then they will reap the benefits.  If they cannot, liberalism could be harmed for a generation, in much the same way that it was after Carter.

Conservative analyses of the Obama administration have already begun to appear.  And it’s not too early to call the Obama administration to account for broken promises and hypocrisy (as the Anchoress, one of the most respected bloggers on the internet, does here) I’m willing to wait longer and judge the administration on its longer-term effects.

4.  Again, thank God that Euna Lee and Laura Ling are home safely.  Both of the Clintons are being lauded for their roles.  Steve Bing, who bankrolled the flight to North Korea, and a Hollywood PR firm, coordinated the “homecoming show” where the amateur reporters were reunited with their families inside one of Bing’s environmentally friendly aircraft hangers.  If I understand correctly, Lee and Ling meant to sneak into North Korea with their cameras in order to escape later with an inside look at life in North Korea.  If this is true–if–then who will be held accountable?  Lee and Ling have already suffered enough, presumably.  But the superiors (they worked for Al Gore’s television company) who approved their mission should be held accountable for a foolish and reckless venture that created a very costly international incident.

5.  Grim figures: “The percentage of U.S. homeowners who owe more than their house is worth will nearly double to 48 percent in 2011 from 26 percent at the end of March, portending another blow to the housing market, Deutsche Bank said on Wednesday.”

6.  Many liberals are claiming that the opposition Congressmen are facing at their town halls during the August recess are “astroturf,” or a coordinated effort from special-interest groups to create the impression of widespread opposition.  This is too simplistic.  There are certainly many, many moderates and conservatives who are upset at recent government actions, and upset about the impending health-care transformation.  If political actions groups (the equivalent on the right of a MoveOn.org or etc) are coordinating opposition, and if blogs are sharing specific questions that should be asked, that does not mean they are creating the opposition.  Was MoveOn.org “astroturfing” when they coordinated protests to the Iraq war?  One conservative explains.  And, of course, the Obama administration has its own organizations that rally ‘grass roots’ action with emails from the President and etc.  However, what’s especially surprising is the number of neo-Nazis coming to these town halls.  Don’t believe it?  Nancy Pelosi has the scoop.

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering