Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Inside the mind of a Catholic fundamentalist, Part 2

As if to help me make my case, Mark Shea follows up with a list that demonstrates the point I made yesterdayWhat is a Christainist?  Mark explains that a Christianist is not a Christian, but a person who disagrees with Mark on a host of social, cultural, political and doctrinal issues.

To be honest, the majority of it is basically saying a Christianitist is a Christian who isn't increasingly interpreting the Faith through progressive lenses.  And at times, such as the 'War on Christmas' section, Mark represents the other side unfairly.  As far as I know, nobody wants to 'force' a store clerk to say Merry Christmas as much as they oppose store clerks being forbidden from being honest about what holiday is being talked about.  But that's for another post.

Though it does show another tendency that is common in fundamentalist circles, and that's misrepresenting the other side.  More than once, I rejected fundamentalist Protestants because of their tendency to put words in the mouths of others and blast them for things nobody is really saying.  It's not unique to fundamentalism of course, but it tends to be more common in those expressions of a given ideology.  And it often includes assuming much about the inner heart and soul, motives and desires, of those who don't agree. Notice how many of Mark's points are based on the idea that it's not what these 'Christianists' do, but why they do them.  As if he knows their thinking and their spiritual walk.

That's because fundamentalism, which is hardly confined to conservatives or people of faith, is predicated on the necessity of being right about everything, not just this or that key dogma.  And Mark's list, which includes topics that are far from doctrine or dogma, is a perfect example.  Taking a tactic that Mark once condemned - saying people are or aren't Christians one way or another, because that's not our place to judge - Mark draws a circle around his views, equates them with the Faith, and declares those who reject his opinions to be outside the circle of Christian.   At least all who reject his opinions who stand to the right of center.

The only difference with Protestant fundamentalism and what I see in Mark's approach is that Protestant fundamentalists would wrap the statement around some version of, "I'm not expressing my opinions, I'm just pointing out the Word of God.  Why don't these people believe in God's word?".  Otherwise, there is almost no difference with what I saw in my Evangelical days.  Mark has made it clear: here is the list, here is how one must approach these issues, or one is not a Christian.  There's no room for debate.  To even question Mark is to excuse sin and evil.  As is always the case when wading into fundamentalism, be it Protestant or Catholic, conservative or liberal, religious or secular.

Roy Moore: Two opinions

One looking at whether or not Moore should be voted for, one looking at why he absolutely shouldn't be voted for.   It's worth noting that the first piece is rather tepid in its support of Moore under only certain conditions, the other one is passionately against Moore.  It's enough to say that Moore is troubling enough that a Republican in Alabama isn't ahead by triple digits in the polls.  And there are no doubt reasons to consider beyond merely the allegations of sexual illegalities.  Nonetheless, both lay out their cases.  You read.  You decide.

I'm OK with investigating Trump

It happened quicker than I thought, but I'm fine with looking into things.  As I say, when Bill Clinton was accused of an infinite number of wrongdoings, I said they needed looked into.  I was taken by the press's obvious reluctance to cover these scandals, when I remembered the zeal with which the press threw itself into covering charges of wrongdoing against Bush or Reagan before him.  Despite that, I was willing to wait and see if wrong had been done. 

Of course when it was shown that Clinton, to cover his tail, lied under oath about having an affair in the Oval Office with an intern, all while under suspicion of having sexually intimidated/assaulted other women, I felt that was enough for him to step down.  It was the Left's sudden insistence that morals, character, values, truth and perjury no longer matter, that sex is a moral void of no importance, and it's fine to assassinate the character of women who say they were assaulted, that caught me off guard.

Today, some have come out, well after the fact, and said Clinton should have stepped down.  Big whoop.  The Left needs to come clean about its defense of immorality, sexual assault, no values, no character, no ethics, or anything other than political victory at all costs.  When it has done so with weeping and trembling, covered in ashes and sackcloth, then I'll care what they have to say about current issues.

Nonetheless, I only ask for due process.  The shift to women accusing Trump likely has to do with the fact that the Russian probe is yielding little that appears able to be linked to Trump.  You never know.  There still could be something.  But after a year of the most ruthless scrutiny I've ever seen against a sitting president, we know more about how the FBI botched things, or wrongdoing on the side of the Democrats, than anything linked to Trump stealing the election.

Why did they not lead with the women in the first place?  My son asked that.  Why not start there last November?  That seemed far more credible given Trump's own statements about women over the years.  My guess is because the Russian angle would explain the loss.  If they could prove that Trump, with the help of Russia, "stole" the election, then it would help salve the humiliation that the Western Left experienced after one of the most embarrassing defeats in political history.  Having women say he assaulted them leaves the election as is, and just says that the most propped up candidate in modern memory lost to a man guilty of assaulting women.  But it's better than nothing.  It might still get him forced out of office, which is the goal.

But we'll see.  I still say innocent until proven guilty.  As I've said before, women have every right to be heard, but no right to be believed.  It's not like this is an arena devoid of ulterior motives or partisan sensitivities.  But that also doesn't mean we should assume people making accusations are influenced by partisan designs.  Best to wait and see.

It's Roy Moore Day!

Today's the day.  There was less anticipation of our landings at Normandy in WWII.  This is it.  Will Moore win or lose? 

Moore is a sex pervert, a child rapist, a bigot, an antisemite, an Islamophobe, and a liar.  Those are things said about him by news anchors, pundits and commentators as a matter of course.  Christian leaders and apologists have joined in and said he is obviously guilty, he must repent, or worse, he's guilty, a child rapist, and must be defeated. 

On the other side, you have a split.  Some in his supporters have said strange, if not disturbing, things.  They have spoken of the joy they might have had if a DA dated their fourteen year old daughter.  Or they have said even if he is a rapist, what of it?  I guess the Clinton years took their toll and they now assume morals no longer matter for elected officials.

Beyond those, however, are individuals who are concerned that Moore was preemptively condemned, and the quest was merely to find out what he was guilty of.  They note that calls for his stepping down came within 24 hours of the Washington Post article that broke the story.  They note that even if people cite Moore's responses and troubling defenses now, that many had called for him to quit before Moore had responded.  They can't help but guess that his detractors really weren't that concerned about truth or facts or evidence or guilt or innocence.  They despised Moore, and they were willing to use anything - even an accusation based on a half century old incident - to get rid of him.  And they are bothered by that trend.

That seems to be it.  Trump is supporting him, which is more than Trump did in the primary runoff.  Some are painting this as an attack on Trump, or a defense of Trump.  That happens.  How the results are covered will be based on who is doing the reporting.

All in all, we'll have to wait and see.  There is little hope for Moore or his supporters.  If he loses, he loses.  If he wins, they'll be accused of supporting a child rapist, a bigot and a Nazi. 

For me, if he wins, there will likely be an investigation.  Then we can find out if he is guilty.  Back in the day, I didn't support Bill Clinton being torpedoed just because he was accused of things.  I felt some evidence of wrongdoing was needed.  Of course when it was shown that he did have an affair with an intern in the Oval Office, and then lied under oath to cover it up, I believed it was good enough to impeach.  Not because of the sex - which was said to be outside the realm of morals and standards - but because of the obstruction and the perjury. 

Nonetheless, I think if Moore is elected, we'll get to the bottom of things.  Possibly.  If there is an investigation, we'll have a chance to vet the accusers and examine the evidence.  I doubt it will change minds, but at least it will be something close to due process.  If he loses, however, and in a year nothing more is said, no further accusations come out, and nothing is pursued, then I fear we will have seen a McCarthy like character assassination endorsed and supported by our press, our political establishment and, yes, even our religious institutions.  And that cannot be good for our future.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Inside the mind of a Catholic fundamentalist

Mark Shea helps us understand the mindset.  Basically, he speaks of Donald Trump and those who support him in the way that fundamentalists once spoke of The Beatles, or Communists, or even liberals in general.   They are of the devil.  They are the enemy.

Now, I'm aware of no fundamentalist who ever said they 'hated' those enemies of God and man.  In fact, they most often spoke of loving their enemies, loving those they disagreed with, or loving those who were clearly misguided.  But enemies they were, and they spoke of those enemies of the traditional, American Christian faith as they would legions of demonic forces.

As does Mark.  And that's helpful.  I've said all along that liberalism has become the new conservatism.  And with that, of course, it has brought along with it a new form of fundamentalism.  Just as liberalism now speaks openly of what should be censored, what values should be imposed and legislated, what morals are repugnant and must be shunned, and how dissenters should be dealt with, so it is with those Christians running to keep up.

For Christians who have followed the developments, it increasingly sounds the same as it used to sound.  We don't disagree with people over this or that issue.  We don't find Trump to be a political threat or a bad politician.  We fight the Devil himself.  The powers of Hell are at work in Trump, his supporters and his pundits.  There is no jury or court or evidence needed.  Guilt is already assumed.  Roy Moore is a child rapist.  Trump is a racist and rapist and evil man hellbent on nothing but murder and destruction.  His supporters follow him because they are of the same ilk, or because they somehow are inferior in their faith walk.

I heard the same about Bill Clinton back in the day, if not in a milder way.  Bill Clinton was a tool of the Devil, liberalism and liberals were an evil, and those Christians who supported him did so because their faith was somehow inferior to those courageous defenders of the Way.

Nonetheless, the fundamentalist expression shows itself when it is no longer a matter of dialogue or discourse.  For Mark, the trial is over.  The verdict is in.  Trump and his supporters are tools of the Devil.  The presumption is one of guilt, not evidence.  Any defenses are therefore lies and of the father of lies.  It is not a political movement we fight, but Satan himself.  If love is insisted upon, it's to maintain a spiritual grounding in this fight against the cosmic powers of this present darkness.

I'm at pains to think of a fundamentalist I knew who made it clearer than Mark.  And like most fundamentalists I knew, I don't think Mark is open to negotiations at this point.  For once a person is convinced they are fighting Satan, how open to listening are they going to be?

In case you missed the latest news about homosexuality

It appears that some scientists are questioning a recent study that suggests homosexuals are, for want of a better phrase, "born this way."

I won't get into the details, since they're likely irrelevant.  The big point to me is that scientists are still out there trying to conclusively demonstrate that homosexuality is, in fact, what we demand people confess: Predetermined to be gay as much as being blonde or Asian.   That is the dogma of our age, and we're willing to tear down any other understanding of human nature, and furthermore take people to court and ruin their livelihoods, based upon the fact that homosexual normality is not a moral issue, but merely a scientifically demonstrated one.

Sometimes it's nice to realize just how little evidence exists to support many of the dogmas that modernity demands we accept.  Heck, if you get right down to it, as often as not, the evidence swings against them.  But that's for another post.

The Roy Moore election

More or less, that's what this is.  It's about Roy Moore.  His opponent is irrelevant except as a way to stop Roy Moore, or convict those who support him. 

Donald McClarey looks at some of the more obvious takeaways from this race

My hunch is that the support Moore has is a result of many of things things pointed out on the list, but also the speed with which so many called for Moore to resign.  For all those who insist that Moore's responses, statements, or the number of women who have come forward are why they're convinced he's guilty, we must remember that there was a tidal wave of calls for him to quit before any of those things were revealed. 

Within a day, you had people from Washington to the press and liberal punditry, as well as the GOP, saying he needed to quit.  No Moore statements, no subsequent accusations, no evidence - just people who didn't like him using accusations from almost half a century ago to achieved the desired results.

It's just a hunch, but I think there are still people in America a bit skittish about ruining someone's career based on accusations without evidence, even if they're someone we don't like.  For those who are trying to build a new order based on post-truth, post-evidence living, where you can have your life or reputation ruined based only on accusations, that can be tough to understand.  They see it as blind partisans who don't care if he raped girls or not.  Quite frankly, some of the statements made by his supporters do give that impression.

Others, however, seem to stand firmly on the notion that before we ruin someone's life, or call on them to be punished, some form of due process - in or out of the courtroom - needs to be followed.  Somehow, they think, we do need proof before someone is convicted.  And if nothing else, I have to say that's a viewpoint I tend to hold. 

This is good news

Iraq is declaring the ISIS state a thing of the past.  Years and thousands of deaths after Barrack Obama dismissed ISIS as junior varsity, it looks like the reign of terror may be coming to an end.

I have no doubt there will still be resistance.  There always is.  You will have operatives trying to keep the fires burning.  But ISIS has suffered the big hit to its credibility: it has lost.  It has been shown to be powerless against a concerted effort to defeat it. 

This doesn't mean everything is peachy in the Middle East.  President Trump's Jerusalem decision could signal the beginning of a new era, however, one in which we begin to think outside the box and stop doing what hasn't worked for decades.  Sometimes not doing over and over again that which has failed to yield results is the smarter move.

We'll see.  Nonetheless, this is big news.  Heck, it's so big that a couple networks actually took time from the Trump Impeachment Cycles to mention it.  That's big.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Roy Moore is still guilty

Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn about truth. 
Just because he has two women accusing him of something illegal that was never brought up for over forty years, with absolutely no piece of evidence to support their claims, save for one that has now been admitted to being tampered with, means nothing under the New McCarthyism

Now in a sane world of mature adults of good will, where truth and goodness and facts are important, this would be enough to bring pause to those wanting Moore to be skinned.  It does not - repeat, does not - mean he's innocent or they're liars.  It merely means that the one key piece of physical evidence that has been flaunted, suggesting that Moore was at least wrong, if not lying, about his knowledge of events, has been seriously compromised.

And in that sane world of mature adults of good will, where truth and goodness and facts are important, that would mean the lynch hunt that has been using this coincidentally exposed set of accusations would at least lose some steam.  Heck, some might even turn and say it's worth giving Mr. Moore a second look.

But praise be to the powers that be, we live in no such world.  Whether or not Moore was or wasn't guilty is irrelevant.  The purpose is to destroy him, and use him to destroy Trump, Trump's supporters, and Trump's threat to the modern establishment.  That is the important thing, and no amount of facts, data, evidence, or lack thereof means a damn thing. 

We live in a post-truth, post-morality, post-reality world.  The only thing that matters is advancing the political left.  Moore and those losers who insist on facts and evidence and presumption of innocence are going to have to suck up and accept the new world in which we live.

This is not your father's McCarthysim

"Have you no sense of decency?"
Ah, McCarthy.  Growing up, he occupied a space only slightly lower and to the right of Hitler.  Surrounded by Crucibles and Inheriting the Wind, he was America's most recent, and infamous, villain.  After him came Wallace and Charles Manson.

Anyway, McCarthy and McCarthyism cast a long shadow over everything as I grew up.  From elementary school, through high school and into college, McCarthy represented "Old America" from which liberalism was bravely set on rescuing us.  No more listening to records backwards, no more kangaroo courts, no more witch hunts, no more puritan values.  Ours would be a society of openness and tolerance, and if any were to be accused, overwhelming evidence against the all important rights of the accused would be demanded.  Miranda and Escobedo after all.  Criminal rights and presumption of innocence to the fore!

All that was, however, and like so many things associated with modern Liberalism, is no more.  Today, we are entering a new McCarthyism, one brought to us by the postmodern Left.  Like my boys compared ISIS to a postmodern Nazism, so this is a postmodern, nihilistic McCarthyism.

Whereas the Nazis were evil within a set culture with standards and common principles, so ISIS is a force of evil within an age of nothingness, destruction and contempt for anything and anyone at any given moment.  Likewise, our new McCarthyism, led by charges of sexual harassment based on accusations sans evidence, is like McCarthyism but without a clear understanding of what is the standard of wrong doing.  Who's to say what's right, wrong, true or false after all?  As some at my old Patheos blog argued, what of it if future generations determine freedom or equality are wrong, slavery or genocide right?  It's the way of things.  So what?

This allows a nation to accept the fact that some men are falling based solely on 'a woman says he said or did something 20 years ago.'  Others are shown to have acted improperly, but no worse than our society turned a blind eye to, or even endorsed for multiple decades.  And where are any women who acted improperly?  Is it because we assume women alone never, ever are wrong about such accusations?

Don't get me wrong.  I'd love our society's moral filth and bilge cleaned up and a return to a time when men, women and sexuality were treated with at least an attempt at maturity and respect.  And I'm not talking about actual rape, assault, harassment or other sexual behavior that we as a society at least agreed was wrong.  I mean, going after men and expecting their destruction based on vague, unsupported accusations at best, or accusations based on what our society only recently shrugged its shoulders about, if not endorsed, at worst.

The problem with out society is that it lacks the moral grounding for witch hunts.  At least with witch hunts, they happened at a time when everyone believed in witches, knew what they were, and knew witchcraft was wrong.  That didn't stop innocent people from being accused or executed of course.  But how easier will it be to destroy lives of those we find impure or unclean if the new standard for witch hunts is whatever we say is right or wrong at the moment, evidence be damned?  Even if we decide what we told you yesterday was right we now insist is wrong?  That sets up a level of persecution and systematic elimination of people on a scale that old Joe McCarthy would never have imagined.  Perhaps, just perhaps, it's because McCarthy had a better sense of decency than we do today.  You just never know.

From an old example of what I mean. Lest it come to this:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Representative Al Green moves to impeach the Constitution

Riding the waves of our modern Witch Hunt mentality, Mr. Green tried to build a coalition to impeach Donald Trump.  There were no actual charges of legal wrongdoing in his proposal.  Just that he is pissed Trump won.  That's good enough I suppose.

Thankfully, in this particular case, the overwhelming majority of congressmen and women avoided this kangaroo court approach like the plague.  Majority, not all.  Over 50 went along with the modern notion that if someone we don't like is someone we don't like, that should be good enough to destroy their lives.

Of course the real assault was the assault on our Constitution and our fundamental rules of law.  That is, the idea, as promoted by Mr. Green and others today, that what matters is winning.  What matters is getting what we want.  What matters is getting rid of those types over there. Evidence?  Proof?  Guilt or innocence?  Facts?  Truth?  The postmodern craves not these things.

Sure, it's funny and stupid and ridiculous and proof that anyone who suggests stupidity is unique to the right of the aisle isn't paying attention.  On the other hand, it is one more example, in no way condemned enough, of an emerging trend in our society that says protection by the presumption of innocence and necessity of evidence might be eroding faster than we imagine.

A date living in infamy

Donald McClarey has some interesting tidbits about this infamous date that, like so many dates, is quickly fading from memory.

Pearl Harbor was what 9/11 was, but for a different generation.  Had it been 9/11 and the 9/11 generation, then Japan and Germany would likely have continued largely unhindered.  The emphasis in America would have been scoring points against each other while the rest of the world went on about its business.  Had we gone to war, it would have been hampered by internal bickering and partisanship.  But America wasn't there yet.  We had our differences, but we were still more or less united under a common set of beliefs and identities.

9/11, on the other hand, was what Japan and, to a lesser extent, Germany hoped Pearl Harbor would be.  It would be smacking us in the nose, and hoping that a nation of lazy, divided and decadent party animals would push for peace rather than risk war.  Wrong. Well, wrong in 1941.  Quite right in 2001.  In fact, Islamic terrorism got more than it could have prayed for after the September 11 attacks.  Not only did our nation do what it could to avoid sacrifice for a cause, but the deep partisanship between two visions of America immediately went to work, fighting each other with a zeal that shames the zeal with which we went into WWII.

Early in my blog, I posted a couple posts about this day.  Here, here, and here.  Back then I wondered where our country would go.  Now, years later, I have to say it isn't any closer to regaining what the country had back on that sunny Sunday in Hawaii. 

BTW, here is a post I did on which movie you should watch if you want to know about the attack, Japan's struggling to exonerate itself notwithstanding.

Al Franken resigns

By saying he's not sure the truth is how others remember it, but by making sure we understand this is about setting up Trump and, if possible, Roy Moore.

Right now, CNN is focusing on the fact that Franken seemed to be retracting his earlier confessions.  Which is big.  Since Franken is coming close to saying he's not sure he's as guilty as they insist, this puts the burden on Roy Moore who also insists he's innocent.  After all, Franken is sort of saying an accusation is good enough to cause a resignation, even if he remembers things differently.

For me, it's simple to figure out.  The only way to go after Trump for the one thing he seems even closely guilty of - sexual immorality - is to clean house.  And if that includes getting rid of people like Franken, who often seemed buffoonish despite the press's desire to suggest otherwise, or John Conyers, who long ago passed his sell by date as an effective voice for the Left, so be it.

There are no major names going down, at least in terms of effectiveness.  In the press, it was Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, and Harvey Weinstein - all whose punditry and advocacy failed to hand the left a victory in 2016.  That's what comes from losing.

So now, with Franken basically admitting little, but making sure the focus should be on Trump and Moore, expect what CNN is predicting - that Democrats and the Press (but I repeat myself) will be aiming like a laser at Trump, Moore and the GOP.  Any accusation against a Republican now will be used to attack the entire party if the accused isn't immediately done away with.  It's about Trump and Moore.  Not Franken.  Not the women.  It's Trump and Moore.

Oh, and this is as CNN tries to put the best spin on Franken, his seriousness, his accomplishments and his general 'good old guy' reputation that is deserved and earned.

Again, it's not about the women, or the predators.  It's about politics, plain and simple.

Trump to blow up the world

Soon, real soon.  So Trump did what some previous presidents said they would do but didn't.  In typical form, Trump throws out the common wisdom of the day that says we must stay the course, even if the course has gotten us nowhere fast. 

For most of the world, the best approach to the Middle East is to give the various Arabic peoples what they want.  I think the world sees Israel as an artificial imposition on the Arab states, and so defaults to their sensitivities when it comes to finding ways to bring peace.  All of this assumes, of course, that the Arab states really want peace.

Imagine, for a moment, that the Arab states were really the United States.  How many people, especially left of center, would accept the notion that the United States had ulterior motives about the Israel question?  Yet to suggest that about the various Middle Eastern countries is to be met with charges of racism and Islamophobia.

Nope.  Just noticing that the world seems to think that if anything bad is brought to the table, it's from the pro-Israel side, and that the path to peace rests in giving the Arabic/Islamic people what they want. For my whole life, that approach has typically brought us full circle back to where we were to begin with in terms of violence and conflict.

Maybe it's just me, and perhaps that's an area where I agree with President Trump, but if something has been tried and failed multiple times for decades, I'm OK with looking for an alternate approach.   Just like North Korea.  If the same strategy yields losses and failures time and again, heck, let's go crazy and try something else.

What will happen remains to be seen.  I see even Pope Francis has sided with the international community and called on Trump not to make this move.  We'll see. 

Are American liberals threatening the peaceful transfer of power

All my life, that was something that America could boast - we created a form of government that has shown the world how to transfer power peacefully.

Yet it's not hard to see that, right now, everything left of center is hellbent on destroying Trump and undoing the results of liberalism's humiliating defeat in 2016.  We've seen open violence, shootings, torture and all manner of physical assaults and property destruction from forces arrayed against Trump and his supporters.

And instead of outcry from the progressive seats of influence and power, we've seen deflection, foot shuffling, excuse making or even support.  Of course a young girl was killed during a clash between leftist radicals and white supremacists, and we saw the entire Confederacy condemned as America's Nazi Germany, and a move - both official and mob rule - to eradicate all public acknowledgement of anyone associated with it.

With Roy Moore, a circus clown conservative stereotype, we've watch the Left effectively convince almost everyone left of center, a fair number of Republicans, and even religious leaders that we no longer need evidence or proof to wreck a person's life.  If we deem them freaks or weirdos, it's enough that someone accuses them of a crime.  Sentencing to commence immediately.  What about teenager girls?  That was yesterday's morality. We have a new set of standards based on the latest convenience. Post-Conservatives approve this message.

And of course on the big legal government side, we've heard an entire year of people insisting Trump must be impeached because we're pretty sure he did something wrong, we know he's really guilty, or hell, we just can't stand him being president.  It's enough that he's Trump and we hate him and all the deplorables that support him.  Take him out, now.  The Left cannot lose.  Just as 2000 and 2004 saw outcries of stolen elections and corrupt voting systems, so we're seeing it all again.  When the Left loses, nothing is acceptable until the Left wins again.

I'm sorry, but from where I sit, the greatest threat to our country and our future is not some wacked out militia types in Montana, or right wing radicals holed up in some office in Houston, or even white racists continuing to spew their repulsive racist bilge.  Though I do fear that the right is producing a branch that says it must become like the Left's worst elements in order to defeat the Left.

No, it's the Left itself, with full control of the press and mass communication and education, training Americans that there is no fundamental truth or morality, but that which aids the cause of the political Left.  If that includes doing away with any peaceful transfer of power that doesn't aid the Left, then so be it.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Are women indebted to Donald Trump?

It's a fair question.  Do we really believe, in our heart of hearts, that if Hillary Clinton won the election, we would be seeing this:

Discuss.  And keep in mind, it was to defend Bill Clinton that the establishment taught us values, truth, perjury, character, morals and basic standards no longer mattered - especially where sex was concerned.  More than that, from entertainment to the press to politics, our betters had no problem watching as one woman accuser after another was taken out and skinned on behalf of defending Bill Clinton and keeping him in office.  And all while Hillary stood by and didn't say a word.

So again, had Hillary Clinton won, Weinstein still goes down?  Franken?  Lauer? 

Why we're here

John C Wright has posted a few thoughts on God and the universe.  It's interesting reading.  Here, and here, and here

To be honest, this is a topic that is well above my pay grade.  I usually avoid it since, for the most part, I'm only repeating what someone else has said or written.  Since I'm ignorant of much of the topic's substance, I'm not sure if what I'm repeating carries any real weight.  So I avoid it.

When I do repeat it, it's because it was presented in a way that makes sense to my amateur ears.  So a physics prof back in my Protestant days explained why he could never see evolution as a stand alone reality separate from God.  His specialty was aerodynamics.  He explained that flight simply couldn't evolve.

Why?  Because to have an airplane, or even a glider, one needs more than just a bus with wings grafted on it. The entire mechanism of flight must be built into every part of it.  At once.  Not in stages.  An airplane half completed won't fly.

A bird is made to fly.  Everything about it is made to fly.  As is a bumblebee, a helicopter, a humming bird, a jet, or a bald eagle.  Take one part of it away and it can no longer fly.  Change one factor in the total equation, and it's grounded.  And, as he points out, having only part of the mechanisms needed to fly is a detriment, not a boon.  After all, if you only slapped wings on me but didn't give me any other parts needed for flight (build, body shape, bone density, etc.), I'd be at a significant disadvantage fleeing a predator.  Running with giant wings strapped on is quite a slow down. 

Now, to my novice and former track and cross country mind, that makes sense.  Either in a freakish fluke that makes belief in God seem easy, an organism was born with a hundred mutations that all spontaneously fit to allow it to fly, or over a long period of time, different parts were added that didn't harm it, but didn't allow it to fly either, until finally, one day, all the pieces fit and it could suddenly fly.  Again, it's much easier to believer in a Creator behind it all.

But that's the extent of my meddling in this particular branch of apologetics.  I leave it to others, like Mr. Wright, who have done the hard work of knowing what to talk about when it comes to taking on the belief that the Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be.

He has a point

Mark Shea blasts the old Rush Limbaugh Homelessness Updates.  To be honest, I can't remember what those were.  I actually didn't listen to Rush much in the olden days.  My guess is, if I know Rush, they weren't mocking someone actually suffering on the streets as much as they were likely mocking something in the institution or the hypocrisy of big government or possibly the tendency to not solve the problem at hand rather than just talk about it.

Nonetheless, Rush did represent that sort of 'Darwinian Capitalism' branch of conservatism that often put financial profit and acquisition of things and stuff above all other goods.  If Limbaugh didn't mock the homeless per se, I'd heard him say plenty of things over the years that smacked against even the broadest interpretation of our responsibilities as Christians.

But then, I never confused conservatism in America with Christianity.  At best, I saw it as an uneasy alliance.  Conservatism was merely a term for those trying to conserve whatever they were conserving against a very definite revolutionary movement called liberalism.  I understood, as a Presbyterian friend explained after the 1994 midterm election, that for many American conservatives, Christianity was valuable insofar as it came with the whole Americana package.  It belonged somewhere on the shelf between Rockwell and Apple Pie.  As long as it stayed out of the higher purposes - like financial gain to the exclusion of all other priorities - then it was fine and dandy.

Perhaps that's where Mark and I differ.  There are times when Mark writes things where I believe he thought that American Conservatism and Christianity were, in fact, one and the same.  And when it came to his attention that this was not the case, out went the baby with the bathwater.

To me, modern, Baby Boomer era conservatism was often a rejection of key elements of Christianity for the sake of preserving individual priorities, even if those priorities were financial in nature.  Liberalism, however, was an all out assault on doctrines of Christianity, often at its most fundamental levels.  Hence the conservative alliance against a greater threat.  It never dawned on me that conservatives were somehow better than liberals, or that liberals were really good, but misguided people, unlike conservatives.  I saw liberals just as willing to be bad or to exploit or be greedy as conservatives.  It was what they represented and supported that was the issue.

The Bush years were bad for conservatism.  GW Bush, himself only moderately conservative, was a bad president.  He showed bad leadership, poor decisions, and a lack of clear administration of his office during critical periods in our history.  True, he was up against a movement that was far more interested in defeating him than stopping any external threat to our nation.  Nonetheless, he reacted poorly, and created a branch of conservatives who were going to back him up no matter what.  Perhaps they were aware that we now fought two enemies - those who wanted to attack us from without, and those who wanted to topple the best of our nation from within.

In any event, it caused a rift in that uneasy alliance against a movement that had, only years earlier, been seen as a true threat to our nation, our world, our churches and ourselves.  What has happened since can be expected.  Some jumped ship, like Mark, and now all but embrace most of what they once condemned.  With minor exceptions, Mark is now a full blown leftist and filters all reality through that prism, including a merciless and uncharitable interpretation of anything that doesn't fall into lockstep with the modern Left.

Others, like my old classmate Russ Moore, have joined folks like Rick Warren and realized that the old battles are lost, and are finding ways to speak the new lingo, and filter the Church's mission through the priorities as set forth by the side that won.  There is no abandonment of old teachings, but there is an emphasis on making priorities of what the new age insists are important.

Yet others have slipped down the path toward those more radical extremes of resistance that existed back in the day.  Taking on a compound mentality, they are now now following, rather than taking, the lead in that shaky and diminishing alliance.  Whereas once the Christian conservatives demanded their voices be heard, even when non-Christian and non-religious conservatives grumbled, today they stay dutifully silent.  They see their gains diminishing and, as often happens, are holed up now with any allies they can find, dutifully following, willing to turn a blind eye.

If anything has changed, it's that the assault on the Faith, on the worldview of Christianity, of the basic morals and doctrines of the Church, and of the freedom to not be liberal, has escalated exponentially.  This makes those who would jump off the sinking ship seem all the more desperate to either justify their change, or deny the obvious.

And so Mark, who laments not turning away from the blasphemies of Rush, appears to make the same mistake with the Left.  He's doing the same thing, but for a different ideology.  Instead of calling out the heresies and blasphemies of the Left, he downplays, diminishes or ignores its manifold sins, just as he says he once did with Limbaugh.  With abortion, for instance, he still stands against it, but rather than call out its staunch defenders among the Left with zeal and outrage, he embraces the liberal focus that abortion is basically about misogynistic, rapist men and evil Capitalists forcing poor women to have no choice but to abort babies.

Abortionist update.  No channels turned, just repeating what is heard.  In the same way Rush would have focused, not on getting out and helping the homeless, but on this or that institutional corruption or ideological hypocrisy, Mark accepts the Left's focus on cause here or hypocrisy there, rather than the sin at hand and its staunch defenders. It's making the same mistake he made, just for the other team.

The trick to being a Christian is realizing that we are strangers in a strange land.  No country is pure and perfect.  No culture is a manifestation of the New Jerusalem.  Some, like Nazi Germany, can't be defended.  Others, like America, have plenty of good, even if there appears to be many who want the good to go with the bad.  As Christians, we owe it to our posterity to make sure we can tell the difference, and how best to approach our situation.

When compromising with all manner of conservatives, the temptation can be to not change those things that need changing, merely because there are those in the alliance that would see them maintained.  Conservative Christians have, at times, fallen into that rut. 

The temptation when compromising with a revolutionary movement like liberalism, on the other hand, is that you will inevitably be asked to throw out elements of goodness and truth simply because that is the latest demand of the revolution.   Liberal Christians used to do it as a matter of course.   It's amazing how so many former traditional believers are now at the head of the pack when it comes to this particular failure of the left.  I suppose it's just not easy to touch pitch without becoming defiled, no matter which side the pitch comes from.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Has evidence proven that Roy Moore is a child molester?

I just saw a CNN segment in which CNN contributor Hilary Rosen called Roy Moore a a child molester.  Far be it from me to defend someone who is a child molester.  I just hadn't heard that evidence was provided that proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Moore is, in fact, guilty.  So just curious.  Has evidence been provided that proves he's guilty? 

Not guilty of dating teenage girls, BWT.  Up until a month or so ago, that was not a problem.  It might not have been cheered (depending on the girl), but it wasn't considered immoral or illegal.  The only moral standard for sex over the last few decades has been consent.  As long as two or more individuals of legal age consented, there was no moral condemnation warranted where sex is concerned. 

So based on the two actual cases whereby Moore was in jeopardy of violating the closest thing to a consistent ethic we have, has evidence been presented?  If so, I stand in solidarity with all who would see justice done.  Though I actually do that now.  For if no evidence has been presented beyond 'credible accusers', I still maintain innocent until proven guilty.  Even if our enlightened and tolerant society has decided it's time to move our post-truth age into a post-proof age as well.

The question stands. I mean it.  If he has been proven guilty, then condemnation is deserved.  I'm merely asking the question.

This is Fake News

Fake News.  I'm sick to death of the term.  Like most things today, it has been so overused that it doesn't mean anything.  Basically it means a story that rubs against our preferred narrative.  Facts, of course, be damned.  More than once at Patheos I saw commenters simply wave their hands and dismiss out of turn a story because, well, because.

Nonetheless, there is such a thing as fake news.  That is where things that aren't true, things that are purposefully untrue, and are flagrantly false presented as true.  Like lies in general, the method can take on many forms.  One form includes purposefully omitting key elements of a story in order to present something in a way that is erroneous.

Which brings us to Brian Ross.  Since Trump won the election - before really - the Democratic propaganda ministry has, with the Democrats, liberal pundits, comedians, and all of America's leftist establishment, insisted that Trump and Russia were busy working behind the scenes to subvert our democracy and steal the election.  Evidence to be presented soon.  Real soon.

Now, I'm the first to say that if evidence is presented that Trump did so, or in any way acted illegally, that he should pay the piper.  I'm a Not Trumper, however, not a Never Trumper.  That means I'm willing to wait for things to play out and in the meantime hope he does a good job for the country.  It means I'm not holding my breath in eager anticipation of proof that he stole the election and the political destruction that follows, or that he might send the economy into a Great Depression, or start a nuclear war, just so I can prove how right I was to hate the man.

It also means that when I've spent a year hearing 'breaking news: smoking gun discovered' only to have nothing really to show for it, and when more than once, it turns out stories or 'facts' released about Trump's endless illegalities turn out to be false - or fake - I'm inclined to lose just a little bit of faith in all the forces arrayed against Trump who are seeking his destruction.

In this case, ABC did the right thing.  It would have been better to not do it at all, since even sympathetic outlets to ABC's agendas admit it had a detrimental impact on the Stock Market.  That little detrimental impact means actual people and actual funds and actual lives.  Some of those lives might just be poor people, low income workers, immigrants - why everyone we're supposed to care so much about.

So when a reporter chooses to omit a crucial part of a story that paints the story in a way opposite of the actual facts, and causes harm to others, I think the least the Never Trump forces can do is admit the problem isn't always around Trump and his followers.  Sometimes, in fact, Trump might just be where he is because the little ABC problem is hardly unique to this particular bungled story.