Is it a “fetus,” or is “it” a Person?
It began with a young man who decided that the American people had the right to know that their government had them under surveillance.
Not, mind you, that the government had possible criminals under court-ordered surveillance by virtue of having produced evidence of probable cause. Our government has been sweeping all of our emails and cell phone convos into a big database and sifting through it looking for crimes, potential crimes, or anything it deems “suspicious.”
In the brave new world of Fourth-Amendment?-What-Fourth-Amendment?-Patriot-Act-land, we’re all potential criminals and we’re all under government surveillance.
The amount of data that our government has swept into its intelligence gathering maw has become so vast (remember these are electronic 1 and 0s, not piles of space-consuming paper) that the NSA is building a gi-normous file cabinet in the Utah desert to warehouse it all.
The minute that this young man stepped up and made this information available to the general public, the government smear machine and its trusty operatives in the press (perhaps I should say, it’s trusty operative, the press) swung into action, claiming and proclaiming that this young man, Edward Snowden is his name, was the worst American traitor since Benedict Arnold.
Shortly after giving this interview:
Michael Hastings died in a car crash,
The public was interested in Mr Hastings’ too convenient death until the same press that pushes the government line on us distracted the public with a trial about a shooting in Florida. This trial so transfixed the public that it completely forgot that Uncle Sam was watching its every move.
Unfortunately for the government, Mr Snowden decided to run rather than take his chances in a kangaroo court.
The president of the United States brought out all his big bully artillery and fired it off at every nation that might give Mr Snowden sanctuary. He huffed and he puffed and one by one the various nations put up the No Vacancy sign in front of Mr Snowden.
Russia finally took the wandering whistle-blower in, and President Obama promptly cancelled a scheduled G4 Summit talk with President Putin. I don’t know if President Putin cried himself to sleep that night or not. But I do know that the world is balanced on a razor’s edge. It might be nice if these two guys talked things over, even if President Putin is sheltering that dreadnought Snowden.
But then, that would presume that somebody involved in the government end of this mess actually cared about this country. It seems safe to say that they only care about covering their own backsides.
Meanwhile, our ally, the United Kingdom, decided to get into the act. Rather than huff and puff, they picked up their guns and clubs and went a-huntin’ and a-smashin’ in the offices of the British publication, The Guardian.
The Guardian had actually had the temerity to behave like a — I know this is hard to believe — member of the free press, and report Mr Snowden’s revelations about the work our governments were doing to put all of us on both sides of the Atlantic in the surveillance crosshairs.
The Brits, who are not troubled by niceties like First and Fourth Amendments, evidently took advantage of their government’s relative freedom to oppress its citizens and barged into The Guardian’s offices like Elliott Ness raiding a gin mill. They smashed computers and generally, as we say in these parts, tore up jack.
Of course, these tyrannical nitwits forgot (as tyrannical nitwits often do) the very essence of what they were dealing with. Evidently, nobody told them about backups.
I doubt that The Guardian lost a lot of data in this raid. But the British people lost a tremendous amount of freedom.
The question on this side of the Atlantic, not to even try to put it nicely, is did members of our government use the computer in Michael Hastings car to murder him because he was a danger to their careers?
It’s not even a question on the other side of the Atlantic. The answer is yes, the UK is in the bag for Obama and his spying on the populace of this country and probably theirs, as well. They don’t need a whistle blower to come forward and release evidence that their government has become a danger to the freedom of its citizens.
They went over to The Guardian’s offices and demonstrated that fact for all the world to see.
What is happening here?
Are we going to sit around and watch trashy televised trials and allow ourselves to be flim-flammed out of all our freedoms? Does anybody see how outrageous it is that the government has the entire American populace under surveillance?
He’s got the whole world in his files.
That means you.
What happened in Britain isn’t a fluke. It’s a harbinger.
There seems to be a dedicated group of abortion advocates who don’t care about human life, except, perhaps, their own.
I am not saying that everyone who thinks abortion should be legal falls into this category. But I have no other way to characterize people who would oppose the requirement that babies who survive an abortion be given medical care.
What am I supposed to say about these people?
One of Public Catholic’s readers went all apoplectic over Obama’s Lowest Moment in the 2008 Campaign. He denounced Infant Born Alive Acts as “garbage” and “thinly-veiled” attempts “to encroach on Roe v Wade.” Then, I guess to add what he thought was the cherry on top this little statement, sputtered at me to get out of the Democratic Party.
Not only is he confused about the Democratic Party — (It’s not an invitation-only private club run just for him.) — but his grip on what the Infant Born Alive Acts are about is tenuous, as well.
The video below is a sweet reminder of what Infant Born Alive Acts are addressing: The human lives of real human beings.
Whenever political ambitions cut across Christian beliefs, the result is predictable.
It’s like watching one of those flickering silent movies of yesteryear as the train roars up on Little Nell who lies tied to the tracks. You just know that Little Nell is going to get out of the ropes and off the tracks before the train arrives, but it’s soooo fun watching her kick and mouth silent pleas for help as she awaits her rescuing hero.
When politicians get bit by the big-time bug, sincere Christian beliefs are kind of like Little Nell’s ropes, tying them down. Big-time national politics and sincere beliefs don’t mix. If you doubt that, consider what we’ve been electing these past few decades.
Once a politician feels the frisson White House Ambition running down his or her spine, all basic Christian beliefs become unnecessary ballast that may — probably will — need a heave-ho.
Some politicians handle this with a deft, even stylish touch. Some of them are stone, cold liars. Others flub their lines at first. It takes a while for them to get the hang of it. That, and if they’ve been around politics for a while (and most White House Fever types have) they’ve got earlier versions of themselves to sweep under various political rugs.
We used to call it flip-flopping. Before that, we called it lying. The new term is “evolve.” Today’s politicians don’t turn their backs on everything they told voters to get elected to earlier offices. They “evolve.”
The pull of White House Ambition signals that it’s time to Start Evolving.
It’s up to we the people to see if we can figure out what they are going to evolve into.
Because they won’t tell us.
Because they don’t know.
Until they read the latest polls.
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, is, as everyone knows, a desperation hope for the Republican ticket for president in 2016. He put in a boffo performance during Hurricane Sandy, one that convinced a lot of people — including me — that he had an actual sense of responsibility to the people of New Jersey.
That alone was so refreshing — dare I say unique? — among today’s elected officials that it made him an immediate possibility in the upcoming fight for his very own front door key to the big white house on Pennsylvania Avenue. It also, if his recent performance is any indicator, flooded his brain with political laughing gas.
Governor Christie is on record opposing gay marriage. He’s also on record supporting civil unions. So the water has always been murky in Christie land. But now he’s faced with running for nomination to the presidency in a Republican Party that is trying to “re-frame” itself on several critical issues. While the Rs have historically used the gay marriage issue as a vote getter in conservative states, they have begun to find it less than useful in certain big-state electoral vote mother lodes. Hence the “re-framing.”
As I’ve tried repeatedly to tell people on this blog, political parties are about getting and keeping power and everything else they say is a lie. That includes the lie of either party about supporting traditional marriage (or gay marriage, for that matter) if it becomes a loser in the vote-getting department. An internal report earlier this year recommended that the Republican party back off on its position against gay marriage.
The reaction of the party faithful was strong enough that the Republican National Committee approved a resolution reaffirming that marriage should be between one man and one woman.
But potential presidential candidates can and must be more coy than party committees. They’ve got to thread the vote-getting needle.
So, of course, there’s going to be some “evolving” taking place in their positions on hot-button issues.
In Governor Christie’s case, that meant signing a new law that would ban certain types of psychological therapy for children and announcing that being gay is “inborn and not a sin.” He even managed to conflate this statement with Catholic teaching.
The truth is, nobody really knows what causes homosexuality. And of course being tempted to homosexual acts is not a sin. The next big leap into saying that actually going ahead and participating in homosexual acts is not sinful and that the Catholic Church teaches this is, well, just a Christie-ism.
News articles are now taking what the Governor said and putting it together with Pope Francis’ earlier statements to create a whole new teaching for the Catholic Church.
I wish the bishops would chime in with a correction. But until they do, I guess it’s up to us bloggers to do our best.
Here’s Catholic teaching as I understand it, which, since I am not running for president, is almost certainly going to be more accurate and less self-serving than anything Governor Christie will come out with.
As I said, it’s not a sin to be tempted to sin. If the sin is homosexual acts, the temptation is still not a sin. But committing the sinful act, even when that act is something as culturally sacred as having illicit sex, is a sin. Sex outside marriage is sinful. Period.
Second, Pope Francis did not say anything that contradicts this. He also did not overturn what Pope Benedict XVI taught.
Priests — both homosexual and straight — are supposed to be chaste, which, if you’re not married, means no sex. Both popes agree on that.
As for Governor Christie, my advice to him is to relax. It’s not anywhere near 2016. There’s plenty of time for him to “evolve” more gracefully than this.
Two hundred Coptic Christians demonstrated in Nashville for peace in Egypt a few days ago. God bless them.
Here is the video.
President Obama used his power as a committee chair in the Illinois State Senate to repeatedly kill the state infant born alive act.
It’s significant that he did that as a committee chair, because that means he just about had to have read the bill. It’s also significant that he did it repeatedly, because that eliminates the possibility that he made some sort of mistake and voted in a way he didn’t really intend.
He did it.
And he knew he did it.
But when State Senator Obama evolved into United States Senator Barack Obama and then further evolved into presidential candidate Obama, this action in the Illinois state senate started to be a bit of a problem. But then, maybe it didn’t.
In this interview, Candidate Obama does a fine job of hair-splitting and turning the tables on his accusers, and the reporter lets him get away with it.
The trouble is that he’s lying.
This is an audio of the Illinois Senate debate on this Infant Born Alive Bill. Listen closely because there are several points here that you need to understand:
1. The explanation of the bill shows flat-out that candidate Obama’s contention that this will would “overturn” Roe v Wade is claptrap.
2. The questions State Senator Obama raises show that he knew this. Notice that he focuses on the State Medical Association’s opposition to the bill and the “rights” of the woman, not overturning Roe vs Wade.
3. It certainly sounds like he opposed allowing a baby who survives an abortion to be required to get medical care.
For those who want to see it, here is the complete text of the bill:
The point, for the purposes of this particular blog post, is that our President lied to the American people about his own record during the 2008 campaign. His claims that “no doctor” would allow a baby born alive after an abortion to die without medical care might be a symptom of naiveté, except for one thing. State Senator Obama, as part of his duties as committee chair, heard testimony on the bill from this woman:
Is this Candidate Obama’s lowest moment in the 2008 campaign? I think so.
For my money, President George W Bush’s finest moment was also one of his worst moments as president.
He took this nation to war based on the belief that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction.” Our troops got in there and found — guess what? — no weapons of mass destruction!
Why would I think that this was President Bush’s finest hour?
Because he didn’t lie about it.
He didn’t try to fake weapons of mass destruction.
He told us the truth.
Sad to say, that is as rare as hen’s teeth in the American presidency of the past few decades. Of all the things George W Bush did as president, some of which I agreed with strongly and others which I opposed adamantly, none earned my respect like the way he took it on the chin over the lies that got us into Iraq.
I am convinced that there were deliberate lies involved in this; lies told by what President Eisenhower called the “military industrial complex.” This “complex” appears to be always hungry for another war, and always willing to do whatever it takes to create one.
But President Bush redeemed himself and his intentions, at least in my eyes, by telling the truth.
Now, he did try to soft-soap the whole thing with talk about how “evil” the dictator of Iraq was. He did his best to shift attention away from this awful mess he’d made by invading Iraq. But he didn’t lie and he didn’t try to shift the blame. He let the buck stop with him.
For that, hats off, President Bush.
I apologize for talking about this now, on Sunday.
But the weight of grief and oppression I felt Friday — which is the day I usually write about our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ — has lifted, and I feel compelled to talk about it now.
According to Asia News, at least 58 Christian churches, schools, homes and shops have been attacked, looted and torched in Egypt in the last three days. The Christians of Egypt need our prayers today on this Lord’s Day.
Sunday is a time of rejoicing and feasting, our Sabbath of thankfulness for the Resurrection and its promise of eternal life. But on this Sunday, it is also a time for us to unite ourselves with Christ crucified all over the world.
Jesus suffers this minute in Egypt. His churches, convents, institutions and homes are burnt and destroyed. His people are subjected to terror and all forms of violence.
This is the face of Christ Crucified in our world today.
We can not ignore our Suffering Savior in these His people.
I hope that you will pray the Novena for the Persecuted Church that we began today. I hope also that you will pray and ask God to show you how you may help our persecuted brothers and sisters.
The list below is the names of the churches, convents and institutions that have been attacked that we know of. From Asia News:
Catholic churches and convents
- 1. Franciscan church and school (road 23) – burned (Suez)
- 2. Monastery of the Holy Shepherd and hospital – burned (Suez)
- 3. Church of the Good Shepherd, Monastery of the Good Shepherd – burned in molotov attack (Asuit)
- 4. Coptic Catholic Church of St. George – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 5. Church of the Jesuits – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 6. Fatima Basilica – attacked – Heliopolis
- 7. Coptic Catholic Church of St. Mark – burned (Minya – Upper Egypt)
- 8. Franciscan convent (Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) – burned (Beni Suef, Upper Egypt)
- 9. Church of St. Teresa – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 10. Franciscan Church and School – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 11. Convent of St Joseph and school – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 12. Coptic Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart – torched (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 13 Convent of the Sisters of Saint Mary – attacked (Cairo)
- 14. School of the Holy Shepherd – attacked (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- Orthodox and Evangelical Churches
- 1. Anglican Church of St. Saviour – burned (Suez)
- 2. Evangelical Church of St Michael – surrounded and sacked (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 3. Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George – Burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 4. Church of Al-Esla – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 5. Adventist Church – burned, the pastor and his wife abducted (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 6. Church of the Apostles – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 7. Church of the Holy renewal – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 8. Diocesan Centre Coptic Orthodox Qusiya – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 9. Church of St. George – burned (Arish, North Egypt)
- 10. Church of St. George in al-Wasta – burned (Beni Suef, Upper Egypt)
- 11. Church of the Virgin Mary – attacked (Maadi, Cairo)
- 12. Church of the Virgin Mary – attacked (Mostorod, Cairo)
- 13. Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George – attacked (Helwan, Cairo)
- 14. Church of St. Mary of El Naziah – burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 15. Church of Santa Damiana – sacked and burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 16. Church of St. Theodore – burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 17. Evangelical Church of al-Zorby – Sacked and destroyed (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 18. Church of St. Joseph – burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 19. Franciscan School – burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 20. Coptic Orthodox Diocesan Center of St. Paul – burned (Gharbiya, Delta)
- 21. Coptic Orthodox Church of St. Anthony – burned (Giza)
- 22. Coptic Church of St. George – burned (Atfeeh, Giza)
- 23. Church of the Virgin Mary and father Abraham – burned (Delga, Deir Mawas, Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 24. Church of St. Mina Abu Hilal Kebly – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 25. Baptist Church in Beni Mazar – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 26. Church of Amir Tawadros – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 27. Evangelical Church – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 28. Church of Anba Moussa al-Aswad- burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 29. Church of the Apostles – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 30. Church of St Mary – arson attempt (Qena, Upper Egypt)
- 31. Coptic Church of St. George – burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
- 32. Church of Santa Damiana – Attacked and burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
- 33. Church of the Virgin Mary – burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
- 34. Church of St. Mark and community center – burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
- 35. Church of Anba Abram – destroyed and burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
- Christian institutions
- 1. House of Fr. Angelos (pastor of the church of the Virgin Mary and Father Abraham) – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 2. Properties and shops of Christians – Burnt (Arish, North Egypt)
- 3. 17 Christian homes attacked and looted (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 4. Christian homes – Attach (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 5. Offices of the Evangelical Foundation – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 6. Stores, pharmacies, hotels owned by Christians – attacked and looted (Luxor, Upper Egypt)
- 7. Library of the Bible Society – burned (Cairo)
- 8. Bible Society – burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 9. Bible Society- burned (Asuit, North Egypt).
This video talks about Christianity in China. Christianity is growing, despite persecution.
It is interesting that the communists do not make Christianity illegal, they put it under state control. This is similar to the way that our government has begun to try to control Christianity here in America; by reducing the First Amendment protections of the free exercise of religion to worship services in houses of worship and the privacy of our own homes.
This is tyranny.
This video shows us a glimpse of the magnificent faith of Christian young people around the world.
Can we do less that stand for Jesus here in America?
Note: The video says that in China it is illegal to give religious instruction to anyone under 18. This mirrors the Dawkins’-inspired secularist calls to stop parents from passing on their faith to their children here in the West. It is notable how often extreme secularists use the tactics of communists.
The persecution of Christians, wherever it happens, is a satan-driven assault in this war. But the true light is also moving; not with violent persecution and murder, but through dreams and reaching out to people directly.
Jesus is converting the world the way He always does: One human being at a time.
The Christian Bashers Defense team has pretty much taken over the comboxes on my recent post Constitutional Rights for Me, But Not for Thee.
They are as predictable as mosquitoes. Just say something really true about their behavior, and they show up, armed to buzz bomb you until you go inside and close the door.
In this instance, I asked the simple question: Do Constitutional rights apply to Christians the same as everybody else?
The answer should seem obvious. But of course it’s not. The reason it’s not is the bullies who want to limit other people’s rights always get mad and deny what they are doing when someone calls them on it. They do it every single time.
We’re all supposed to join them in their pretense that there’s nothing discriminatory or offensive in their attempts to drive Christians from the public square. No one is supposed to challenge their idiotic pretense that using government controls to limit the free exercise of religion in this country is actually a push for freedom, instead of the tyranny that it is.
If we can’t be agree with them, they want us to sit down and be quiet and stop contradicting them. If we don’t, well then, they’ll scream and shout until everybody gives up and lets them have the day.
It has always been thus. People who do things like this always deny it, and they always get mean when someone calls them on their facile denials.
That’s why this particular post ended up being dive-bombed by a whole troupe of angry combox mosquitoes. Even though the readership of this blog is heavily — and I mean heavily – Christian, the Christian defenders were outnumbered. In fact, only three stalwart souls tried to stand up for Christ in these arguments. In the end, it got down mostly to one stubborn Christian, who is hanging in there to this very moment.
For all that, this lone fellow managed to push the whole mosquito assault into a slow unwinding of their lies until, one of them just came out with it.
And I quote:
I can’t write about Christian persecution this week.
I’ve gone through a long list of horrific stories from all over the globe. But I can not force myself to write about them. The weight of it is too much for me. I plan to devote prayer time to them, instead.
This is one of those times when the horror of it all is just too much for me. Christians are suffering violent persecution in so much of the world. At the same time, they are being subjected to increasing pressures to deny their faith and go along with the world here in the Christian West.
Much of the Muslim war on Christians is centered on Christian women and girls. Young Christian girls are kidnapped, raped and forced to convert. This cowardly behavior says a lot about their attackers.
Christianity is attacked and Christians are subjected to persecution in every atheist government on the globe. According to the video below, North Korea is the worst place on Earth to be a Christian. Given the amount of competition for that title, that’s saying a lot.
I have been progressing through the 33 day preparation for Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary.
I am well over half way through it, and it has tested my faith every step of the way. I do not mean that it has made me question my belief in God. It has not put my belief in Jesus or the teachings of the Church to the test. Far from it.
What it has tested is the limits of my willingness to live my life based on that belief. Just how far will I go in following Jesus? A book I reviewed today, Fight, also tested those limits.
That seems to be the season I am in. On the one hand, the prayers and meditations of Total Consecration have pushed me to consider just what I will yield to another person, even the person of the Mother of God. How much can I trust anyone, even her? Specifically, how much of my relationship to God, to Jesus, will I yield to her rather than doing it all myself?
Fight challenged me with the question of how far I would follow Him, how completely would I do what He asks, even when I really don’t want to.
It’s really all one question and Jesus asked it best: Do you love me more than these?
His mother answered that question in the affirmative every time in every way. When the Archangel Gabriel asked her to assent to what was death-dealing anathema for girls of that era — unwed pregnancy — she said yes. When Simeon told her how it would end, she said yes. At the wedding at Cana, when she sent her child forward into His ministry which they both knew would culminate at Calvary, she said yes. When she prayed with the Apostles for the birth of the Church before Pentecost, she said yes.
Mary, like Jesus, had to be resurrected and taken into heaven as part of the divine plan. He gave her to us from the cross, and once again, she said yes.
She had to be lifted up because we need her there. The Immaculate Conception of Mary was the door opening on our salvation. She was then and she is now an outstretched arm, pointing to Him.
“Do whatever He tells you,” she instructed the wine stewards.
She says the same thing to us.
Because, as I am discovering and wrestling with, when she is your guide, there are no limits to following Him.
To join the discussion about Fight A Christian Case for Nonviolence, or to order a copy, go here.
Fight is an ironic name for a book that is a polemic on the Christian call to nonviolence.
The book’s author, Preston Sprinkle, wrote the book in response to and as a conversation with America’s militaristic evangelical community. Even though I have a few problems with some of his interpretations of specific scriptures, I think he’s got a point. In fact, I think he’s dead-on accurate in many of his conclusions.
I remember seeing a video of one of our preachers here in Oklahoma City. This preacher was speaking (I can not regard his speech as a sermon of any sort) to a thoroughly roused-up and enormous congregation. Since the speech was going out over the airwaves, his actual audience was much larger.
This preacher was charging up and down the stage, mike in hand, using all the theatrics at his disposal. He would bend over and lower his voice to make a bottom dropping point at one place, and then straighten up and shout out his next point. It wasn’t a sermon. It was a performance.
And it wasn’t even vaguely Christian.
This man was taking verses out of the Bible to weave a totally fallacious case that somehow or other Jesus supported invading Iraq.
He had his audience in the palm of his hand. After all, most of them came to this particular church because they liked performances for their sermons and because they wanted “christian teaching” that would get them going emotionally while making them feel great about whatever they wanted to do in the first place.
The audience cheered and yelled like they were at a football game.
I haven’t seen many things that disgusted me more than this performance sermon and its clearly heretical mis-use of Holy Scripture to support a war.
I knew, even then, that the whole Iraq invasion was a sham. This was an unnecessary war that we were going into for reasons that had nothing to do with what we were being told. I have never understood why anyone would have had trouble seeing through the excuses for this war.
I also saw that if America’s Christian community did not stop using Christ to justify war, it would eventually destroy itself. People will follow the theological heresy of militarism so long as if feels good. But, as Europe has shown us, bombed out buildings and gas ovens do tend to dim the luster of it.
War is an almost preposterous evil. The Civil War general, William Tecumseh Sherman, the same General Sherman who burned Atlanta and waged war on the civilian population in his infamous march to the sea, said that war is hell.
He was right.
A friend of my husband’s went to view the federal building after the bombing here in Oklahoma City. “That is nothing,” she said as she gazed at the ruins. “Nothing.”
She had lived through war waged on a large scale. She had, in her youth, seen whole cities razed to bombed out hulks, human beings burnt to ash as they hid in their bomb shelters.
We are so soft when horror comes to us. We can not bear our losses, cannot abide our pain. But we treat war itself, which is savagery writ unimaginable, as if it was a computer game. Maybe we do that because we can switch our wars off in the same way that we switch off computer games.
There is very little reportage of what is happening on the perpetual warfront that America has embarked on. We bomb and slay without the rest of us here at home knowing about it. Our best hint of what is happening is when we see our own soldiers, returning to us with shattered bodies and — often — shattered minds.
Something ugly is out there on the other side of the endless rambles of the talking heads debating their endless gaffe reporting about what some politician said to a friend in an elevator or mumbled under his or her breath when he or she thought the mike was off. Something really ugly is out there, but we can’t see it, don’t know about it.
Our only real intimation is that we hear constantly about our national debt. We are told that the cause of this debt is us. It’s Social Security and Medicare. It’s the public schools. The whole debt and economic malaise of this country is the fault of those who pay the bills: The American people. No one mentions, no one even whispers, that we are funding a war colossus that asks for more, more, more ever single year and has been doing so since World War II.
We never talk about that 800 lb gorilla sitting in the middle of the room eating all the bananas. Such talk would be unpatriotic. It would mean that we don’t want to “defend ourselves” against all those people out there “who want to kill us.”
Militarism is a false idol. It is also, according to the author of Fight, anti-Scriptural and anti-Christian.
Fight takes the reader on a survey of the Scriptures from the viewpoint of looking at God’s teachings about war and militarism. Notice that militarism is a category that is distinct from war. One is an action of government-sponsored violence. The other is an outlook, a belief in war itself. It is an idol.
A large part of what Mr Sprinkle writes about the Old Testament necessarily focuses on discerning what God meant, rather than what He said. This is important to all Christians because the Old Testament seems in many ways to challenge the New Testament. Western Civilization is at its best when it is responding to the clear teachings of the New Testament, and at its worst when it looks for excuses for its murderous impulses in the Old Testament.
How are Christians meant to understand the seeming contradictions in attitude between the two covenants?
Mr Sprinkle does a fine job of presenting his answer to this, at least so far as it concerns war and war making. Fight is a well-written, well-researched presentation of his viewpoint concerning violence, war and the call of all Christians to follow Christ, even to the cross.
I don’t honestly know what I think about some of the points he makes. I need to think them through first before I can say. But I do think the book is a good read that opens a debate American Christians need to have.
I do not want to see Christians in this country fall into the trap that Christians fell into in Nazi Germany of supporting militarism right down to the pit of hell.
I am not and never have been a pacifist. I believe in self defense. That would seem to put me outside the ideal Mr Sprinkle is advocating. However, I cannot deny that his presentation is compelling.
My main interest in his book is that it starts a needful conversation. I remember that preacher charging around the stage, preaching what was clearly the heresy of militarism to a cheering crowd. I see this country edging ever closer to economic ruin while we feed our resources into the maw of a war machine. And I know that we must change or die.
In America, almost nobody has read the Constitution.
Everybody is a Supreme Court justice.
Americans tend to regard the Constitution in much the same way they do God: As a true and absolute reflection of themselves. Americans think that God is made in their image, and they also think that their Constitutional rights are exactly what they want them to be. They include in this, oddly enough, the fact that those Constitutional rights do not belong to other Americans, but to them, or at most, their group, alone.
This willingness to abrogate the rights of other people on the basis of self-serving and entirely bogus Constitutionality is not only false, it is of fairly recent origin. It is also concentrated in the arguments of a few groups of people that I call (paraphrasing Mary Ann Glendon) “rights talkers.”
I don’t remember reading anything Martin Luther King, Jr ever said that implied that the Constitution did not apply to white people, native Americans, or anyone, for that matter. His arguments were based on the idea that the Gospels of Christ, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution applied to everyone.
His method of arguing his case elevated the debate of this whole nation. He made us better people by what he said and what he did.
But Martin Luther King was a great man and a Christian man who found his primary and basic claim to the humanity of all people first and foremost in the Gospels of Christ.
That is a transcendent difference between him and the rights talkers of today.
I think the change began with abortion.
There is no possible way that anyone can argue for the “right” to commit wholesale slaughter against a whole class of people without totally nullifying the basis of Martin Luther King’s arguments. His call for equality was based on a deep understanding of the essential equality of all humanity, created as it is in the image and likeness of God, and endowed, as our founding documents say, by that Creator with certain unalienable rights. Abortion on demand does away with that premise as an arguable point.
There can be no equality of human beings if some human beings are not even considered worthy of having a basic right to life.
The debate about legalized abortion opened the doorway for the bastardization of the basic principles on which this country stands. It was but a short step after that to begin redefining the freedoms we have always regarded as belonging universally to all Americans in new, selective and narrowed ways.
People who try to argue for human rights without access to the foundation of all human rights, which is our profound equality before God, end up discriminating. They very quickly begin to advocate for practices which are not only discriminatory, but are flat-out tyrannical.
Since the types of things and the manner of debate that is employed by these people almost by definition puts them at odds with the Christian ethos of the equality of humanity, they also put them at odds with Christians, themselves. Abortion, the killing of unborn infants, is anathema to Christians who have from the beginning of the faith stood against human sacrifice of all types, including the practices of abandoning and exposing unwanted infants.
The split in our civil society began when that civil society departed from its roots to enter into the violent discrimination against an entire class of human beings by defining them as non-humans who may be killed with impunity. Those who adhered to this logic sheared themselves loose from the moorings of American society.
As their various “rights movements” took shape, they were always rooted in other soil than the great American enterprise of freedom and equality for all humanity.
For two hundred years this idea of freedom and equality had marched forward, expanding as it went. The founding fathers made tortured accommodations to slavery which could not stand. We fought a great civil war over slavery in particular, and the principles in the ideas on which this country was founded in general. Women, half the people, used the freedoms in the Constitution and the arguments in the Gospels to gain voting rights for themselves. Martin Luther King based an ultimately successful case with the American people for an end to segregation on them.
But these new “rights” movements of the last quarter of the 20th century and now into the 21st century cut themselves loose from the essential American logic at abortion. All people were no longer created equal in their way of measuring such things. And they certainly were not endowed by their Creator with certain rights such as the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Clearly, in the logic of those who follow abortion, not everyone is entitled to the same rights. More to the point, this iron wall of the God of Gospels on Whom such ideas of the universal equality of all humanity are based, must be taken down, by force if necessary.
It was, and it is, either Jesus Christ or their right to kill with impunity. The two cannot coexist.
What has grown out of this ethos is a deadly rhetorical stew of bad ideas and bastardized Constitutionalism that seeks to apply the bill of rights to those who hold certain ideas and to withdraw those rights from those who disagree with them.
Traditional Christianity as it has been taught and practiced for 2,000 years can not and will not bend on questions that strike to the heart of what we are. The question of who is human is simple in Christianity. We are all human. The question of who matters is equally simple. We all matter.
No group that agitates for their “rights” need look further than that for their arguments.
However, if the definition of those “rights” begins to tamper with the essential question of who a human is in ways that deny the basic moral structure of functioning humanity, then they no longer have access to the Gospels as their support. That is what has happened in contemporary America.
The result has been that we find claims to “rights” that do not exist, either in the Gospels, or the Constitution. These so-called “rights” are not “rights” at all, but rather a limitation of the Constitutional guarantees found in the First Amendment.
Suddenly, we are faced with people who use rhetorical film-flam phrases which align in sound but not meaning to American values and freedoms to claim that Christians do not have the same rights that other Americans enjoy. Christians who engage the larger culture by use of free speech, freedom of assembly and the right to petition their government are accused of attempting to “force their religion on others.”
Christians who work together in groups, which is a clearly guaranteed Constitutional right used by every “rights talker” who is attacking them for doing it, are suddenly accused of violating “separation of church and state” and threatened with the tax man bogeyman.
At the same time, any “rights talker” group whose 501c3 status was challenged would yell about their “rights” and “freedoms.”
The question becomes do Christians have the same rights as other citizens?
Do Christians have the right to free assembly? Do Christians have the right to free speech? Do Christians have the right to petition their government?
The right to free assembly goes deeper, since people who attack the Constitutional rights of Christians are also actively seeking to limit the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion. They do this based on a hypothetical construct we like to call separation of church and state. Separation of church and state does not appear in the Constitution.
What does appear is a prohibition against the government passing laws to form a state religion and a prohibition of the government passing laws to interfere with the free exercise of religion. This is found in the same amendment that gives us our rights to freedom of speech, assembly and to petition the government. It reads like this:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances.
The courts have looked deep into their own navels in the past half century and created a “wall of separation between church and state.” They have increasingly determined that is “wall” that they created means that the government has a duty to censor religious free speech of all types, and religious freedom of assembly in public places ranging from schools, to athletic events to parks.
At the same time, our president has pushed the government into the business of coercing religious people to violate their beliefs, including beliefs based on 2,000 years of constant Christian teaching, under the guise of the HHS Mandate. There is also a combative and often hectoring subset of our population who try to break up Christian discussions on on-line web-sites and/or in public debate.
These people always seem to toss around phrases such as “freedom of worship” and “privacy of your own homes.” They seek to apply these limits to Christian activity. Christians, they tell us, have “freedom to worship” in their “own houses of worship” and to believe what they want “in their own homes.” But that they do not have the freedom to engage in public debate based on their beliefs the same as other citizens.
Christians who use their freedom of speech of speak out about their beliefs in the public square, or who organize to effect changes in policy by means of petitioning their government or exercising their right to vote are told that they are out of line. They are trying to “force their religion” on other people.
These exact same people are engaged in using their freedom of speech when they say these things. They are usually actively organizing into groups to seek redress in the courts and to petition their government.
But they do not want Christians to have the same freedoms. They want Constitutional rights for themselves, but not for those who disagree with them.
This rhetoric is rooted in the fact that these rights talkers are the intellectual heirs and political allies of the abortion movement. They are, at their core, convinced that some people are more equal than others. In fact, one of their founding principles is that whole classes of human beings are not human enough to have an inherent right to be alive.
No good thing can come from a philosophy that is built on this murderous idea.
It is not an accident that rights talk has morphed so seamlessly into demands for limitations of the basic rights of those who disagree with the rights talkers.
It is a natural and inevitable outgrowth of a philosophy that is based on the darkest sort of discrimination. I am talking about a form of discrimination so dark that it says that the murder of a whole class of human begins is a “human right” of the murderer.
So long as “rights talkers” deny the human rights of whole classes of people, they are incapable of creating a consistent philosophy of human rights for themselves or the world they are trying to create.
It reads like an article from The Onion.
But it’s not.
It’s a serious pseudo scholarly article published in the supposedly serious journal Medical Ethics, whose tagline reads “An international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers in medical ethics.”
I’ve long maintained that “ethics” as a scholarly pursuit is just the dressing up of the fine art of doing whatever you want to whomever you chose. Ethics, without God, is incapable of morality and shows no mercy or compassion. “Ethics,” as discussed in our learned journals and our various think tanks is an empathy-free zone; an elaborate mis-use of language to justify a world where the biggest and the meanest get to make all the rules.
After all, who makes these various judgements that “ethical thinkers” pass down but the biggest and the meanest? These ideas come from the royal jelly schools where a select few are groomed to take home all the prizes at the expense of everyone else. They are housed in enclosed, almost hermetically sealed environments where people never face the realities of the terrors they have wrought. They are sheltered and shielded, petted and pampered. And the “thinking” they produce is, far too often, an extension of the deep narcissism reflected in this kind of living.
“After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?” is a product of this kind of thinking and tawdry ethical posing.
This scholarly paper, makes the case for killing children after they are born if “circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion … we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the cases where abortion would be.”
In other words, they are saying that we should be able to kill newborns because we want to kill them. That this is “ethical.”
The authors of this paper take the same tack used by a lot of people who argue for abortion on demand on this blog: the “fetus is not a person.” They argue that newborns aren’t “persons” either. They say,
The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus, that is, neither can be considered a ‘person’ in a morally relevant sense.
It is not possible to damage a newborn by preventing her from developing the potentiality to become a ‘person’ in a morally relevant sense.
… Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject to a moral right to life.’ We take a ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence is a loss to her.
This means that many non-human animals and mentally retarded human individuals are persons, but that not all the individuals who are in the condition of attributing any value to their own existence are persons. Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life.
… Although fetuses and newborns are not persons, they are potential persons … If a potential person, like a fetus or a newborn, does not become an actual person, like you and us, then … there is no harm at all … The alleged right of (fetuses and newborns) to develop their potentiality … is over-ridden by the interests of actual people (parents, family, society) to pursue their own well-being.
We take a ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value. In other words, you aren’t a ‘person’ as these scholars define it, and you don’t have a right to be alive, until you can speak up and fight for yourself. If you’re helpless, you aren’t a person, and anybody can kill you, anytime. The authors only apply this to newborns in this paper, but if you can’t see where this is heading, then you aren’t, as we say here in Oklahoma, “too swift.”
It’s interesting, but not surprising, that the authors also claim that “many non-human animals” have a right to life, which newborn babies do not. This same line of reasoning has been employed by other ethicists who have advanced killing babies after they are born, many of them until the child is up to a year old, but are vociferous in their fight for animal rights.
In fact, there is nothing new in this article. It references the deadly Groningen Protocol, concerning the practice in the Netherlands of murdering disabled newborns under the guise of euthanasia.
Here in the United States, this line of logic comes, as I said earlier, from the royal jelly portions of our society. It is the privileged set who keep pushing the boundaries on allowable murder, notably Peter Singer of Princeton University, Michael Tooley, who got his PhD from Princeton and now teaches at the University of Colorado. Dr Singer is famous for advocating for animal rights at the same time that he advocates killing children after they are born.
Despite the fact that these arguments read like they were written by a pro life comic who is making fun of pro abortionists, their authors are serious about them. We need to remember that most of the things we find abhorrent in our society today were sold to the general public in just this way. The demand for legal abortion did not begin in the women’s movement. It began in think tanks, composed almost entirely of men, many of whom were frank misogynists, who published scholarly articles.
Our society takes these royal jelly people far too seriously. We do not consider their remove from reality when we look at their ideas. The thinking in After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live? is just a hatched up bunch of nonsense designed to allow people who have the power to kill other people who can not defend themselves.
All this blather about “actual persons” belies the fact that the authors are creating a construct for killing people at will on the basis of the fact that the killer wants to kill them. It is a philosophy that justifies the biggest and the meanest, making all the rules, nothing more.
It is exactly what you get when we remove God and His Commandments from human decision-making. When we remove God from our considerations, we become what Dawkins et al claims we are: Beasts.
Life in this brave new world becomes, as Hobbes said, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Make no mistake about it, the same royal jelly people who are telling you that you can kill your own babies when they inconvenience you, will eventually be telling someone who is bigger and meaner than you that they can do the same thing to you.