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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Androgenous males

Limbaugh had some thoughts on a CNN story about some research being done here and in UK about how women who take the pill for prolonged time like androgenous men and vote liberal.  Gosh, I have no idea whether this is right and can't critique the research--I know very little physiochemistry. 

But I do have an observation about churches.  I happen to favor ordination of women but am troubled over the fact that so many denominations that do, have a bunch of wussy male pastors who conclude liberal theology.  What causes this, I dunno.  Perhaps it is abandonment of male leadership trying to accomodate the women.  Perhaps liberalism and feminism go hand in hand because women are  more concerned about security.  Perhaps liberalism was there first and the rest of the notions follow the liberal view.  I dunno. 

I do know that liberal women have 1.3 children on average while conservatives have 2.4.  Average the two and add in a lot of immigrants who have larger families and you get USA with a birth rate of roughly 2.0, just the amount to sustain.  And I leave it to the reader to figure out for themselves whether the reason lib women have fewer kids is ego, desire for an Escalade rather than another child, or health concerns. 

It also explains why liberal men seek to be androgenous.  If you want to get the girls...  And why the Obamagirl is who she is.  And why all those women turned out to vote Clinton, "Oh! He's so cute!"

It's such a great way to pick the leader of the free world.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Witches and War on Faith II

We are waiting for one of our renters to move and today was a good sign. She had a big poster on the front door that said, “The Witch Is “IN””.  Now the poster is taken down.  Maybe the witch is out!

            I remember sitting alongside one of our exchange students who was taking American History at our high school.  He had trouble with the history texts because historians write in flowery cliché-ridden style, unlike, say, the chemistry or algebra book.  And his English being devoid of all those expressions made History class difficult.  It was the first part of the year so colonial America was the topic.  There in big boldface was the story of the Salem witch trials. Indeed, 21 women were put to death in those trials, but my exchange kid looked up at me and said, “That was nothing for that era.” He is utterly correct.  During the same period in Europe, the bubonic plague was sweeping the country and people theorized that vampires bit people at night or witches cast spells causing the Black Death.  From late 1660’s to early 1720’s, 500,000 people were put to death for suspected witchcraft in Europe.

            The thing I noticed about the History text’s story was that it was never noted how the Salem trials stopped.  It ended when two pastors went to the Massachusett’s judges and demanded it stop.  The judges then went to church  and publicly repented tearfully over what they had done.  We see this story over and over again.  When justice by the government was not right, Christians step in.

            Such is historic revisionism of the left.  The real story was that the church was not responsible for the witch trials and made them stop.  The leftist texts of today blame Christian Puritans as fanatics who perpetrated the trials.

            Let me give another example. Benjamin Rush.  Ever heard of him?  No? He was listed by the other couple hundred leaders of the Revolution as instrumental as Washington and Jefferson.  They were the Big 3.  The painter of the day whose 4 pictures of the founding fathers are in the US Capitol  (signing of the Constitution, etc.), William Trumbull always put Rush in the foreground with Washington, Franklin, Jefferson and Adams.

            Rush was an educator from Pennsylvania who founded 5 colleges (Good grief! You’d think that would get him at least an honorable mention with the NEA.) He started the first medical school in the colonies and was the head medic of the troops under Washington. Washington called his service indispensible and that it saved the Revolution because the soldiers were so poorly equipped.  Rush was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was a strong Christian and an abolitionist of slavery. By 1776 he had spread his beliefs to abolish slavery to 4 other states—MA, CT, RI, VT.  And he is voice of the original Constitution that had scheduled an end to slavery by 1807.  (Good grief! You’d think the NAACP would be howling at those textbook writers about his deletion.) He was a strong Christian of extraordinary witness.  When 7 colonial states, in 1762, adopted an initiative to share the gospel with the Indians and print bibles, the British King, head of the Anglican church was suspicious, especially of Pennsylvania Quakers who were constant dissidents in England.  He outlawed mission societies and Bible societies.  (Samuel Adams and others got so mad that this motivated them to join the movement to revolt) This move ticked off the colonists more than anything else, because they knew from experience that a Christian Indian was a good neighbor rather than a threat. Rush was the center of the controversy. 

            After the Revolution, Rush went on to found the Sunday School Movement in America, a mission to educate kids who were  forced to work long hours during the week by giving them schooling on Sunday.  He was among founders of  the American Bible Society.  Why?  First was personal revelation that this was God’s will for him to print Bibles.  Second was a besrock belief that society would become more civilized as a result of it.  His chief ally in the Constitutional Convention was Pennsylvania Governor Morris who was the most active speaker of the Convention and the guy who actually wrote the majority of it.  So a lot of the “consent of the governed”, “separation of powers”, and “inalienable rights” were the ideas of Benjamin Rush. He told the post-Revolutionary French they needed to teach religion in their schools. (Not so well accepted since the French revolution had guillotined or forced atheistic conversion of nearly 10,000 clergymen and forced another 20,000 to flee the country so that by the time of Napoleon, France was basically without churches.) Not so well accepted by liberal revisionist historians either.

            Adams and Jefferson were political rivals and founded Federalist and Republican-Democrat factions among the early leaders—and grew to be enemies.  One night Rush had a dream that both men would be friends, that they would be remembered both as heros of the founding in the future, and they would die on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.  He approached them both to resolve their differences.  They did and began to write back and forth constantly in one of the most touching and studied correspondences in our history.  And on July 4, 1826 both the two old friends died stunningly on the same day, 50 years to the day after the announcement of the Declaration to the public.

            I was thinking of getting one of those bumper stickers that say, “Rush is Right” (Ahem! Guess who Limbaugh was named after.) and then putting another sticker in front of it that says “Benjamin”.  Do you think any of those highly intellectual nuanced liberals will understand it?  Hello!  Is the Witch still in?

Friday, October 19, 2012

War on Faith

First they debated the economy and then we had the townhall and finally we will have a foreign policy debate.  You notice how the beltway organizers never get around to a social issues debate? We’ve been told there is a War on Women. I think there is a bonafied War on Faith.  The media doesn’t speak the language of Christianity very well and they’d shrug it off if at all possible. They were probably thankful when the Republican nominee had a controversial denomination overagainst Obama’s. 

That doesn’t make what has happened any less serious.  38 church denominations have joined the Catholics in resisting the mandate of Obamacare, complete with morning after pills and abortion.  The disdain that Obama and his administration have for religious faith is staggering and ominous.  They did it to a Lutheran church school in Minnesota as well.  In arguments before the Supreme Court, the Justice Department said that churches have no right to discriminate for the tenents of faith in to hiring and firing workers.  That is, the Christian school should be coerced to not take action against say, teaching Wiccan.  Nor could a church a discriminate in hiring if an atheist applies for the pastor’s job. Good news: SCOTUS struck down Obama’s interpretation 9-0. Now think about that.  Among the 9 were atheist Kagan and former ACLU head Ginsburg.  When those folks don’t agree, Holder and Obama must be rather radical.

In recent years there seems to be a war against Christmas.  The tactic that is being employed is the denial of any Christian expression or symbolic imagery on State property.  This extreme version of Separation of Church and State differs from the founding fathers who simply sought to remove the State’s influence from religious observance.  Extreme Separation holds that expression of faith should be confined to church buildings and that outside in the public square, it should not be tolerated.  Of course this is in direct affront to Christian belief.  Jesus never told us how to build a church building, how to worship, or even what day to worship on.  He did, however, teach how people of faith should live their daily lives.  Christians are the Good Samaritans.  Faith is out in the streets.

Now I know that some people are squeamish about politics in the church and talking about faith with a neighbor. This is precisely the attitude that Mussolini and Hitler utilized to silence the church in the most Catholic and Protestant countries of  Europe.  The National Socialist platform: 1. Faith could be expressed within the church walls but politics is not to be allowed.  2. Outside in the public domain, politics is to be expressed but no faith.  Hence Hitler charged Bonhoeffer, rightfully according to Nazi law,  with speaking politics within the church and faith outside.

 If Obama’s actions seem at odds with our nation’s tradition, it might be worth asking where did that heritage come from?  The school kids are being taught that all the founders were diests. But the Declaration of Independence is a Judeo-Christian document if ever there was.  “Endowed by the Creator” could never have been written by an atheist or an agnostic.  It even violates dieism which holds that God simply “set the clock” and does not thereafter participate in the universe.  How then the endowment?  Would a Hindu with a caste system or a Muslim with dhimmitude say, “that all men are created equal”? Would a Muslim whose Koran demands an apostate be killed in the name of Islam say that “among these are Life…” Clearly Jefferson wrote those words, not as a dieist as some suppose, but as a Christian though he had some peculiar personal beliefs. What then?  Were the founders actually Christians?

Right after the Revolutionary War but before there was any Constitution, the state of Virginia toyed with the idea of supporting pastors with state money.  James Madison, former Lieutenant to Washington showed up in the Virginia House to speak against the practice.  His 1785 text, Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments explains how the signers of the Declaration conceived church and state.  In it, he noted that a Relationship with God is the foundation of a Christian walk.  “Religious belief impresses itself directly on the mind in such a way that we can speak of it as not altogether voluntary--not a matter of willing choice, but of compulsion in light of the evidence that both reason and revelation  in place before us.” That is, faith is initiated by the Almighty making a religious conscience an ‘unalienable right’ which God, not the government, bestows.  He goes on to say that this profoundly differs from the opinions of men, because these can be changed by self or other men.  Moreover, God is Truth, and we pledge ourselves to follow that Truth.  Here he links the pursuit of Truth with the rights even of an atheist.  An atheist has at his core the right to pursue truth apart from the dictates of other men.  Thus, as Madison puts it, Truth and “Religion is wholly exempt from the cognizance of political authority.”

The bedrock principal of our liberties is the Liberty of Faith. This is echoed in the Vatican’s Dignitatis Humanae of 1965, “Our freedom to fulfill our duty to God must be untrammeled because that duty is both first and last for us…” Religious freedom is grounded in the very dignity of the human person.”

If I may put this in redneck language, “If you have a relationship with God, who am I to stand in the way of you and He? Or the way you talk about it in the street.”

Religious communities form an essential element in the civil societies.  So if government is the servant of men endowed by their Creator with a relationship, the right of assembly is also unchallengable.  Bingo!  First Amendment. 

But somewhere along the way God and Truth have become nothing and relative truth is the new norm. “Government is the only thing we all belong to,” I think they said at Barack’s convention.  Or as Rev. John Neuhaus noted, “the disestablishment of religion leads to the establishment of the state as church.”

 He ought to know.  He lived under the Nazis.  Do we?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Debate Moment

Debates are filled with tons of sayings and thoughts, but what people seem to remember is a striking moment.  How's that for making a debate somewhat pointless?  And yet, humans being human, hang onto the trivia.  JFK looked loose and Nixon didn't.  Reagan said "there you go again." but Al Gore couldn't even sigh, the non-verbal equivalent of what Reagan said. 

And ever it has been.  My favorite "moment" from a debate occurred in 1519.  Lutherans and Catholics have long since agreed to disagree on the sacraments.  Catholics believe the bread and wine transformed into the real presence of Christ's body and blood with the pronouncement of the sacrament (Transsubstantiation). Lutherans believe in a real presence but that it occurs simultaneously with ordinary bread and wine and must be made so by the faith of the recipient(Consubstantiation).  Transubstantiation was the teaching of the church in 1519 and a small consubstantiation minority disagreed, among them such notables as Luther of Germany and Wycliffe of England. 

The debate was the Luther-Eck Debate but it really got that name by happenstance.  John Eck, champion of the learned Dominicans challenged Luther's buddy, Carlstadt to debate church practice.  The Dominicans hated Luther and other members of the Catholic Reformation. Knowing Luther couldn't keep his mouth shut, they set a trap for him by challenging his less intellectual sidekick, Carlstadt to a debate and hoping to draw Luther into it and get him to commit heresy by some unguarded thing he would say. 

Carlstadt was getting his clock cleaned by Eck.  Eck had memorized councils and church writings and scripture galore.  But when they got on the topic of communion, Luther, seated in the front row and unable to take it any longer, suddenly shot up to his feet and asked Eck, "If a mouse is running back and forth along the railing eating crumbs during communion, is he eating bread or is he eating God?!"

I can imagine all eyes looking at befuddled John Eck, who reportedly couldn't answer such an odd question.  All his great scholarship hadn't prepared him for an earthy but brilliant Luther who could think up puzzles no one else had considered.  "Okay, John, whatta ya say to that?" And of course this question captures the debate squarely, for if consubstantiation, then the mouse has no faith and thus eats only bread.  But if Transubstantiation, then he is eating the body of Christ. (say, aren't you glad we don't have mice running around churches anymore?)

Bottom line: Eck won the debate, but no one remembered.  All of Germany was chuckling about Luther's audacious question.  There were no newspapers yet, just letters and certain pamphlets exchanged.  But it is clear from comments, that Germany had found a national hero who wasn't scared to stand up to Rome.  It was something of a debate "moment" heard round the world.