2.27.2015

The Rising Pressure on Christian Institutions from the Gay Rights Lobby

Apparently the powers-that-be in the San Francisco area find it objectionable when the local Archbishop insists the Catholic schools he oversees should in fact be, well, Catholic.

The fundamental error his critics make can be summed up in this quote from the San Francisco Chronicle editorial objecting to his stance:  "[Archbishop] Cordileone could not be more out of touch with the community he has been assigned to serve."

The Archbishop is not elected to his position by "the community."  Nor is it his job primarily to be "in touch" with that community.  He is appointed to his position by the Church.  His job is to be in touch with the Lord of the Church (that would be Jesus - the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, not Christ).  In fact, it is precisely by holding fast to the teaching of the Catholic Church and insisting those in authority in Catholic institutions (like schools) do so as well that the Archbishop serves the community.  He would betray that community rather than serve it were he to let their fleeting whims determine doctrine for the day.

We are fast coming to a time in this country, largely because of the offensive intolerance of the homosexual rights community, when it will be both illegal and a "hate crime" to hold to biblical morality on questions of sexuality and marriage.  There is a concerted effort to demand the church cave to the immorality, vulgarity, and yes, hate of our present age.  The church's schools, both Protestant and Catholic, will be the first major target.  

It will start, as it is in South Dakota, with obscene regulations as a condition for participation in sports leagues.  It will seem a small thing to many parents for whom athletics are the dominant purpose of a school.  Once the schools give on this, though, they will find it harder to gin up the necessary will to resist further incursions and, as they will have already given some ground, the law will not support them when they try to say some other point is a line they cannot cross.  Yes, presently the proposed regulation in South Dakota makes an exemption for religious schools - added only after protests.  How long will that last?  The "exemption" addition itself almost invites lawsuits against religious schools on this issue and the courts have indicated a rather glaring weakness in this area of religious liberty.  Before it even gets to that point, we must ask what these regulations will mean when a Christian school hosts a visiting "girls" volleyball team that includes a young man who cannot deal with biological reality?  What good will this "exemption" do them then?  What will the Christian school do when a couple guys start making out in the stands?

The gay-rights lobby that wants to force this issue will recruit young people to do these things with the intention of provoking a response so they can label the Christian school as intolerant and bigoted, and depending on that response they may also file a lawsuit to force their perversions on the school.

It won't be much of a leap from this to attempts to invade the churches.  They'll do it through social programs at first - ministries to handicapped and/or disabled, parish nurses, food pantries, homeless shelters, adoption agencies and orphanages (they've already done this in several states).  The goal is to shut us up inside our churches, forcing us to be "private" about our faith and utterly silent on it any time we're out in public.  They'll call this "tolerance" but it is no such thing.  It is explicitly intolerant so they can run roughshod and unopposed over society.

Will we resist, or cower?

2.25.2015

Thought Police on Campus Has Run Out of Conservative Targets - Now Attacking Other Liberals

Given the rampant notions on too many campuses that one should never have to hear an unpleasant thought, word, or phrase - unless you're a white male - our institutions of higher learning are becoming places where nothing can be discussed for fear of offending someone.

Wendy Kaminer's piece in the Washington Post a few days ago explores how a discussion about this was twisted by the censors into a racist, misogynist romp.

In the aftermath of the communist revolution in Russia, a common method of dispensing with mid-level rivals was simply to denounce them.  Of course, if one of your rivals denounced you...  We have long passed that on too many college and university campuses today.  One slight misstep and you're a racist, tenure denied, forced to resign, your academic career over.  But since there are vanishingly few conservatives on these faculties, this is largely a matter of lefties back-stabbing other lefties.  Despite warnings from conservatives and others, leftists were quite content to impose speech codes and thought crimes when it seemed only conservatives would suffer.  Now that they've dispensed with conservatives, the only targets remaining are those not sufficiently committed to the socialist, multi-cultural utopia.

Well, we conservatives are making the same warnings with regard to Obama and his trampling of the Constitution.  At present it is uniformly supported by the Democrat party.  Don't tell me Manchin and Heidtkamp and others oppose it.  They don't - not with votes, which is the only language that matters in this regard.  Words not backed by actions are empty and meaningless.

It's not just a matter of what will happen if the next president is a conservative.  What will happen if the next president is a liberal, but doesn't think you're sufficiently "down for the struggle"?  It sucked to be a Trotskyite once Stalin was in power.

2.24.2015

Democrats' Minority Leader Blocks Clean DHS Bill

Democrats continue to filibuster DHS funding.  Despite what some might report, it is Democrats who are preventing a bill funding DHS from getting to President Obama's desk.  Majority Leader McConnell offered a "clean" DHS bill, one that removes the language blocking Obama's unconstitutional executive orders on immigration.  Harry Reid balked, saying he wants Boehner to cave, too.

The senate minority leader continues his obstructionist path, trying to dictate to both houses of Congress what they must and must not do, preventing any meaningful debate from happening.

And several Democrat senators, including senators from North Dakota and West Virginia, who loudly declared Obama's actions unconstitutional and harmful to the country have, when it came time to vote, put their mouth where Reid's money is.  So much for principle.

Democrats are the party of "no" - no innovation, no new ideas, no funding for DHS, no, no, no, no, no.  They are trying to hold on to an antiquated system of government hand-outs that is bankrupting the country, destroying the poor, worsening race relations, and deleterious to our culture.  Why?  Because it's their ticket to power.  It's certainly not because they're serious about helping the less fortunate among us.  The policies they're defending have been demonstrated over the last 55 years to be abject failures on that score.  But they have helped Democrats keep their stranglehold on the federal bureaucracy and the Congress - a stranglehold Reid is desperately trying to maintain even in the minority.

As National Review Online reports:
“If the Democrats, as a minority in the Senate, can not only tell the majority what bills they can bring up and whether or not they can or can’t have amendments, but also feel like they have the power to tell the House what bills they have to pass, it’s going to be like this on every single issue,” a GOP aide told National Review Online two weeks ago. “If our leadership in the House and Senate want to go through this for two years, then capitulate; don’t fight.”
McConnell shows some indication of fighting - of putting the bills on the floor in ways that make it harder and harder to maintain the fiction that Democrats just want to get things done.  No.  They don't.

2.18.2015

Light Posting Over Next Month

Sketchy posting.  For those of you who, due to some masochistic tendency, regularly come here and do not like what I write, you're welcome.  For those who do like what I write, I'm sorry.

I was, not long ago, given some duties with the regional group of churches called "classis" in the CRC tradition.  Those duties are particularly intense the month prior to regular meetings of classis.  Our next meeting is March 3, so I've been busy.  I haven't really had time to follow the news and most of what's out there isn't all that new.  

ISIS continues its violent ways - and our president continues his delusions.  

The GOP congress is doing some things right, some wrong, but mostly it's way down in the weeds and I don't have time to go there.  

The state legislature is humming along, but most of what it's doing this year is pretty tame - no real hot-button issues that interest me.  I'm just not able to get all that worked up about whether one needs 3% of registered voters in the state, or 3% of those who cast a vote for governor to get something on the ballot (or whatever the percentage is - like I said, I'm not all that worked up about it).

There was something a bit ago on South Dakota War College in which Rep. Hickey got a little short, but that led to a shouting match in the comments section (one that did not much involve Rep. Hickey) over evolution, creationism, etc.  There was a little fun to be had there pointing out just how closed are the minds of those who call themselves "free" thinkers.

I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that being a free thinker is kind of like being beautiful.  If you have to tell me you are, you aren't.

Thing should be slowing down just a bit over the next couple weeks, so I'll be able to post a bit more.  Then there's the paperwork after the classis meeting, followed closely by preparations for Holy Week.  Posting is just going to be a bit more sporadic over the next couple months.  I'm sure you'll survive.

2.12.2015

President Asks for Authorization to Pretend to Fight ISIS

The president has asked Congress for a joint resolution authorizing the use of military force against ISIS.

This is rather odd, considering the president has consistently maintained he does not need it as the existing authorizations provide all he needs.  So what's he after?

If you read the text of the proposed resolution, you find three rather odd elements.  

The first is that it expires after 3 years.  The end state of an authorization to use force - to go to war - is victory.  It would be good if such resolutions helped to define the conditions we would consider "victory," but the resolution doesn't do that.  The proposal just asks congress for permission to kill ISIS fighters for three years, rather like an extended hunting season instead of a military action.

Then there is the explicit statement in the resolution that "enduring ground troops" are not authorized.  The snark in me is tempted to ask, "What, we want to send in troops with no stamina - a bunch of wheezing asthmatics or something?"  It is this enduring delusion among some that wars can be fought with clinical precision and isolation.  The fantastic things we can do with weapon guidance systems these days helps to fuel that illusion.  The fact, however, is different.  Wars are won by infantry - by personal contact with the enemy in which we find, isolate, and destroy him where he lives.  All of the other parts of war - aircraft, artillery, strategic bombing, navies, and everything else - is intended to assist our infantryman, whether he be Marine, Army, or SOF, in finding, isolating, and destroying the enemy.  The navy protects the sea lanes so the infantryman can get to the enemy, be supplied with food, ammunition, clothing, and other gear.  The air force helps to isolate the enemy on the battlefield, preventing him from receiving reinforcements and resupply.  It also functions as a kind of high-power, really long-range artillery.  Don't get me wrong - that support is important and necessary and one of the reasons our infantrymen tend to live longer than the other guys' infantrymen.  It's also dangerous and the combat that occurs at sea or in the air can be just as deadly.  But winning a war still comes down to our guys on the ground coming into contact with their guys on the ground, and only our guys walking away from the encounter.  To ask for authorization to use military force and explicitly exclude this encounter is self-defeating.

But the third thing strikes me as the real reason Obama is asking for this resolution.  It repeals the very resolutions he currently claims provide him the authorization he needs.  It is a way to remove the resolution authorizing force in Iraq under the cover of pretending to authorize force against ISIS.

There's a lot more in that resolution that has merit.  My recommendation to the congress would be to delete these three paragraphs, and then pass it.  The president will get his authorization, but not in a way that hinders his successor from actually trying to win the war.

2.06.2015

President Obama's Childish Morality

President Obama, while speaking at the national prayer breakfast, noted that evil has been done in the name of Christ.

Indeed it has.  And that means...what, exactly?  That it's okay for people to now do evil in the name of Muhammad or Allah?  Perhaps it means we shouldn't resist evil from other sources because once upon a time somebody connected with me did something evil?

Allow me to point out that, at the time this evil was perpetrated and in the years since, there have been strident voices within the Christian community challenging the perpetrators, and that it is these voices that have come to define Christianity, not the voices encouraging vice and violence.

We have only begun to hear similar voices among the muslim community and they are by no means a majority.  Far too many justify Hamas, encourage ISIS, subsidize al Qaeda, and volunteer their sons and daughters to become murderous bombs.  Many, many more maintain a fearful silence that is a form of complicity.  The student union at Berkeley, to shouts of "Allahu Akhbar," voted to encourage divestment from Israel.  Would they even begin to consider divesting from Palestinian authorities who celebrate the murder of infants as if it were an act of bravery?  No, not hardly.

It is the epitome of a childish morality to complain "But he did it, too!" when called to account.  The sins of Christians whether a thousand years ago or last week do not exculpate or atone the sins of muslims either then or now.  The universality of sin does not make sin acceptable.

The president of Egypt is correct - and very brave - in challenging imams and muslims in Cairo to reconsider the path chosen.  It would be nice if our president supported him, rather than continuing to offer excuses and equivocations for those who would burn alive a caged prisoner.  Egypt's president is prepared to face the reality of evil.  Ours apparently is not.

2.04.2015

There's Unemployment, and There's the Unemployment Rate

From Jim Geraghty over at National Review Online: Campaign Spot, we find a link to this story put out by Gallup.

Gallup calls the 5.6% unemployment rate a lie.  It is and it isn't.  If you take the "labor force" - which consists of those who have a job, however menial or part-time it may be, and those who are looking for work - and figure the difference between that total and those who have jobs, the resulting number is 5.6% of the total labor force.

Of course, the labor force participation rate is inordinately low, but all those people who have given up trying to find work are, by definition, not participating in the labor force.  They don't count.  Nor do we concern ourselves with those who can only find part-time work, often menial, that underutilizes their skills and certainly does not pay enough for them to take care of their families.  They have a job of some sort, so they're "employed."

So as a technical matter, the unemployment rate presented by the administration is not a lie.  But as a representation of the strength of the labor market, and thus the economy, in the United States today, it is more than a little misleading.  Gallup reports that a mere 44% of adult Americans work 30 or more hours per week for a steady paycheck.  Presumably that includes self-employed and small business owners, too.

I'm glad the unemployment rate is down below 6%.  I only wish that meant more people actually have jobs rather than more people have given up looking.

CORRECTED: A rather glaring error in the original was corrected - labor force participation is low, not high.  I really must work on my proofing skills.

Walker - Opposed Left & Right

Looks like the left is worried about Governor Walker going national, too.  According to self-proclaimed "unbiased" NPR news, Walker left people aghast when he proposed cutting the University of Wisconsin's budget and suggested professors might, you know, actually teach more classes.  Come to think about it, given what those leftist malcontents tend to teach, I'm rather aghast at the thought of them teaching more classes, too.

He also is - again, according to "unbiased" NPR news - going to have to get past labor's "loathing."  Having won three elections in Wisconsin against all the power and force that labor's loathing can muster, I'd say he's pretty much already gotten past it.

Expect more hit pieces on Governor Walker in the months to come - from NPR, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, and almost certainly Jon Stewart, too.  Media Matters is gathering its talking points and disseminating them to the various "journalists" as a way to guide their "unbiased" reporting and like the unthinking sycophants they typically are, these so-called reporters will march in lock step.

Over at National Review Online, Walker is not as well received as he is by me and many others in the sticks.  Jonah Goldberg calls him "the vanilla candidate" because he is the most acceptable to both wings of the party but - according to him - not really the darling of either.  He says Rand Paul is preferred by the Tea Party.  No.  He's not.  The more Rand Paul talks the more he sounds like a couple cards are missing from that deck - and you better believe an anti-Republican media will do all it can to highlight that.  And he says Jeb Bush is preferred by the establishment.  Given the way many are recoiling at the thought of another Bush in the White House, I have a hard time believing that.  If he's preferred at all, he's preferred in the same way I prefer liver to brussels sprouts.  I don't like either, but it's easier to sneak liver to the dog.

Maggie Gallagher panned Walker's speech in Iowa recently, saying he isn't addressing the principal issues facing the voters.  Really?  Cutting the size, scope, and cost of government isn't a principal issue facing voters?  Granted, the speech wasn't a utopic vision for America, but it did highlight his approach to Wisconsin's troubles and his likely approach to the nation's, too.

The editors as a group decided to sing once again their paean to Senator Rubio this week.  They like the fact that Rubio looks good, is suave, a son of a Cuban immigrant, and mostly that he seems to really form his policy positions with care.  Of course, that didn't seem to do him much good when it came to being suckered by Democrat senators on the immigration question and it probably won't do much good in resisting other Democrat schemes.  There's more to being an effective politician than having good ideas or 3/4 of the blogosphere would be in Congress or state legislatures instead of pecking away with Monday-morning quarterbacking pieces like this one.

2.03.2015

The Price of Listening to MPR

I have a car now that has a sound system which makes playing classical music in the car worth the effort.  The car's sound-dampening features mean you can hear it over the road noise and the quality of the audio system means it's worth trying to hear.  I'm enjoying it.  Mostly.

I have decided, though, that the DJs on the oldies, pop, and country stations I'd been flipping through are vastly superior to the DJs on Minnesota Public Radio.  In the first place, they're honest about the fact they're advertising.  MPR tries to pretend they're not while they tell me that the Luthian (I think that's the name) automotive group sponsoring the program is where I should buy my next car.  It's an ad.  Then they want to get me involved in "grassroots" politics to protect the taxpayer subsidies they get.  I really don't need the DJ to tell me I should agitate to force others to pay for music I like to listen to.  The claim that NPR is "unbiased" in its news coverage is also irksome.  That doesn't mean NPR doesn't provide worthwhile news coverage, but it is no more unbiased than MSNBC or CNN or any other organization.  I don't mind that people have biases.  They're unavoidable.  Just be sufficiently self-aware and honest as to admit your biases.

More than this, though, is the chatter between the pieces they play.  I expect DJs to blather on a bit with inane nothings while queuing up the next bit.  It's what they do.  But the pretentious smugness that overlays the inane nothingness on MPR approaches the level of "insufferable."  On some of the nationally syndicated programs they run, the commentary is at least intelligent, but oh does it get old.  I find myself mentally shouting at them to just shut up and play the music.

I like the variety - a bit of opera, some baroque, some romantic era, some more contemporary classica stuff, the choirs, and all the rest - but I'm thinking I may just buy some CDs in the next couple months and drop MPR all together.  I'd rather pay for the music with money instead of irritation.  Unless maybe Chris & Doc decide to take on the job.