Morning Report, April 19, 2010: "Social Justice" as Redistribution (?), Fish on Habermas, Earthquakes Solved, No Sex on Campus, and God's Pickup Truck

Morning Report, April 19, 2010: "Social Justice" as Redistribution (?), Fish on Habermas, Earthquakes Solved, No Sex on Campus, and God's Pickup Truck April 19, 2010

Secular and Christian news and commentary that one Christian found interesting or entertaining this morning:

1.  MOUW ON BECK AND WALLIS.  Our Cross Examinations question last week concerned the right relationship between social justice and evangelistic ministries.  Richard Mouw, President of Fuller and a revered figure within the evangelical intellectual community, was asked the same question by On Faith.  He answered: “I think we have to concede a little bit to Glenn Beck on this one. Often faith-based calls for social justice are heavily ideological. I often cringe, for example, when church bodies make pronouncements on complex economic issues. Many “redistribution” schemes advocated by “prophetic” organizations would, if implemented, likely not aid the cause of the poor at all in the long run. At the same time, many expressions of faith in the market’s “invisible hand” would also be bad for those on the margins. Serving the cause of justice is no simple task. It takes careful reflection, practical wisdom, and a resistance to ideological purity. There is a good theological term for all of this: discernment.”

2.  ARE CHRISTIAN STUDENT GROUPS ILLEGAL?  A very important case stands before the Supreme Court today: the Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, and it concerns whether university student religious groups (all the groups of which I am aware have been Christian) can require their student leadership to adhere to standards of creed and conduct that may run afoul of the university’s affirmative action standards.  Specifically, the question is whether student groups can prohibit student leadership on the basis of sexual orientation.

There are cases all around the country that center on this issue.  It pits the right of free association against the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation or etc.  Discrimination is not always a bad thing; we discriminate against unintelligent or bigoted people when we vote for an intelligent and fair-minded leader.  The question is: what are the acceptable bases of discrimination?  Can a group of people who believe that homosexuality is wrong discriminate against active homosexuals in their leadership?  Or is this akin to discriminating on the basis of race, which we have decided is not acceptable under any circumstances?

3.  SECULAR IR/RATIONALITY?  Stanley Fish on Jurgen Habermas (generally regarded as one of the most important philosophers alive today) and the weaknesses of secular reason and a secular society guided by it.  You won’t find a more efficient way to learn a little about Habermas and the important debate around him.

4.  PROMISES KEPT?  The Pope met with victims of sexual abuse and pledged the Roman Catholic Church will implement “effective measures” against it.

5.  UNDERSTANDING THE ABUSE SCANDAL.  Meanwhile, there is an interesting case to be made that (1) the failure to implement traditional canon law, as well as (2) an over-reliance on therapeutic responses, encouraged sexual abuse or at least an ineffective response to it.  Others, like Maureen Dowd of the New York Times and Lisa Miller of Newsweek believe that the inclusion of women amongst the clergy would have prevented or at least mitigated the scandals.

6.  THE INTERNET IS FOREVER.  The Internet Monk blog lives on, even after the passing of its founder.

7.  COUNTER PUNCH.  I very, very much enjoyed interviewing the tennis legend, Michael Chang.  Check it out.

8.  GONE GOLFING.  I don’t really care how much golf a President plays, but the double-standard here does seem pretty blatant.  This is not a comment on Obama; this is a comment on the media.

9.  MAJOR SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY.  An Iranian cleric has discovered the real reason for earthquakes.

10.  NO SEX LIFE.  Reflecting our recent discussion about Sex on Campus, the movement against hook-up culture continues apace.  Major kudos to The Love and Fidelity Network, a secular organization devoted to fighting hook-up culture.

11.  THANK THE LORD FOR MY TRUCK.  The commercialization of the church also continues apace.

12.  TODAY’S TWO-SIDES.  Regarding the Tea Party movement: E. J. Dionne from the Left and Michael Barone from the Right.

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