Politics

Belligerent Putin stands downstream from Stalin...

Here's a good article by George Will on the Ukraine/Crimea crisis. With quotes from the superb Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, Will sets Putin in the larger historical context of Stalin's slaughter of Ukrainians a century ago. Buy and read Bloodlands. Stalin makes Hitler look like a Boy Scout, and Russians today pine for the glory days of Stalin.

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Rand Paul loves the Kool-Aid...

Talking with Vocativ, Rand Paul tells us the Kool-Aid tastes good and we should all drink it:

I think that the Republican Party, in order to get bigger, will have to agree to disagree on social issues. The Republican Party is not going to give up on having quite a few people who do believe in traditional marriage. But the Republican Party also has to find a place for young people and others who don’t want to be festooned by those issues.

You know, pols are pols—never anything more, but impossible...


Complementarians trying to defeat feminism through compromise...

This from Baylyblog correspondent, Fr. Bill Mouser:

* * *

I am encouraged by a recent expansion of Breitbart.com from where ever it is headquartered (California?) to include new centers of guerrilla journalism in Texas and London. The head of their London outfit is a fellow named James Dillingpole whose work I always enjoyed and took courage from when he was writing columns for The Telegraph.

What I want to share with you is his explanation for taking the headship of the Breitbart news organization in London.I encourage you to read it...


ObamaCare: What you need to know (Part 4): Christian health sharing ministries...

With all the uncertainty surrounding healthcare plans made available under Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), many Americans are wondering if there are any alternatives out there. Or, more to the point, is there any way to opt out of ObamaCare and not pay the penalty for not having medical insurance?

The short answer is "yes". According to this page on HealthCare.gov, you can avoid paying the penalty if:


ObamaCare: What you need to know... (Part 3)

For the last few days, I have been on a quest to figure out how to calculate the cost of an ObamaCare health plan. Today, I gave up. At the end of the day, the only way to really find out what the cost of an ObamaCare plan will be to your family is to sign up for one, use it for a year, and then pay your taxes... in 2015. Practically speaking, Americans electing to sign up for an ObamaCare plan must simply submit their application to their exchange to see what plans will be available to them and at what cost. It will be an estimated cost, of course, because the total cost won't be settled until they file their 2014 taxes in April of 2015.

If you're interested in the details, keep reading...


ObamaCare: What you need to know... (Part 2)

A recent comment from Denver Todd on this post is very helpful, and so I'm promoting it to a full blog post:

Just some extra information to help people make decisions about signing up for Obamacare. I am numbering them out of convenience, not in order of importance...

  1. All plans in America that are Obamacare compliant, no matter how they come to you, through an exchange or employer, fund abortions and contraceptives for other insurance customers. The only people who can get around this are church workers, and even then, Obama has narrowly defined what a church is, so that fewer and fewer will qualify for this exemption. A Christian ministry probably doesn't qualify, and neither does a Christian school.
  2. There are a number of lawsuits out there, most notably by Hobby Lobby, that are taking up the issue of business owners funding abortions and other contraceptives through employee health plans.

ObamaCare: What you need to know...

On January 1, 2014, all Americans will be required to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. With the deadline less than a month away, it's natural that ObamaCare (officially known as the Affordable Care Act) has been much in the news. On top of the many questions that are to be expected with rolling out such a program, the nation has lived through a government shutdown and the train wreck known as HealthCare.gov.

Despite all the hullabaloo, and at the end of the day, Americans are still left with the task of figuring out what to do. As I began my journey to figure out what to do about ObamaCare, I first wanted to see what the ObamaCare plans entailed. How much did they cost? What did they cover? How did they work?

Answering those questions is not necessarily straight-forward...


Making a mockery of the presidency and freedom...

The LORD of hosts has planned it, to defile the pride of all beauty, To despise all the honored of the earth. - Isaiah 23:9

Yesterday, President Obama couldn't find the time to accept the invitation to help commemorate the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address over in Gettysburg, a couple minutes flight from the White House.

Yet look at what he found time for today: awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and Gloria Steinem (pics here).


Abraham Kuyper: a giant we need...

A Review of James Bratt, Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat.

In history today, studying the “little people” is in and studying the giants is out. Kuyper was a colossus and has not been particularly well-served by biographers. When we study him, we can see further ahead since we are dwarves standing on the shoulders of a giant. Consider his accomplishments and the highlights of his life.

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) had two conversions, three nervous breakdowns, and at least four vocations in his extraordinary life. He started a political party, a university and a denomination. He wrote book after book, column after column, gave speech after speech, and was one of the finest devotional writers of his era. As we say in my family, he was...


The family wage honored motherhood...

Bob Patterson has a piece in Philly's Inquirer on President Taft's creation of the U.S. Children's Bureau. Headed by Julia C. Lathrop, the Bureau was a "Progressive initiative that sought to protect both motherhood and childhood from the emerging industrialized order":

(Lathrop was a) social conservative (who) believed that maternity - by generating new life for society - trumped the demands of industry and commerce. Considering motherhood "the most important calling in the world," she worked tirelessly to give the at-home mother "the status of a profession".... Lathrop's successor, Florence Kelley, shared the same goals, safeguarding the "fundamental rights of children," including a "normal home life" and childhood that presumed married parents and maternal care and nurture through the early teen years.

"Childhood that presumed married parents and maternal care and nurture through the early teen years." A century ago our civil magistrates created economic policies that honored fatherhood and motherhood. Today they create economic policies that honor sodomy.

Patterson continues...


Teddy Roosevelt and G. K. Chesterton...

Interesting exchange about Teddy Roosevelt over at First Things that's generating as much light as heat. Again, my dear friend Bob Patterson is holding up TR as a paragon of conservative virtue. (Yup, Joe Sobran's turning over in his grave.) The teaser below caught my eye because in the car I've been listening to Libravox recordings of Chesterton non-stop the past six months. He's unbelievably helpful—unbelievably!

And yes, he never stops attacking Calvinism, but he's wrong...


Same-sex political donations...

My dear brother, Scott, passed this along under the heading "follow the money." Our tax dollars at work. Like Chesterton said, all the talk about what is latest is merely a giggling excitement over fashion. 

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Monday asked the Federal Election Commission to treat married gay couples the same as opposite-sex spouses, part of an early push to bring federal statutes in line with the Supreme Court’s decision last week striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act.

In its advisory opinion request, the DSCC said the high court’s ruling gives married same-sex couples new rights under federal election law, including the ability to make a single campaign contribution from a joint bank account if only one spouse has earned the income.


Supreme Court and Redeemer sexuality...

Back in the early nineties, I began to recommend that grad students, musicians, lawyers, and artists leaving our congregation in Bloomington for New York City make the church served by Tim Keller (Redeemer Presbyterian Church) their NYC church home. I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the PCA at the time and tickled pink there was a Biblical Reformed witness in NYC (Dad was from Flushing).

Sadly, I began to hear back from these men and women that Redeemer's pastors were soft on sexuality. They reported the pastors had no heart to preach or teach God's Creation Order of Adam first, then Eve, and that Redeemer women were promoted to positions teaching and exercising authority over men. It was from these discouraged Redeemer members I first heard that foolish betrayal of Biblical sexuality that now has become the PCA's shibboleth: "A woman can do anything a non-ordained man can do."

This was disheartening. I had just left the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA) for the Presbyterian Church in America a few years earlier with the congregation I was serving in Wisconsin, and we had chosen to affiliate with the PCA because of the PCA's seeming commitment to be faithful to God's Word on sexuality. Our Wisconsin session had talked it over and one man said, "If we go into the EPC or CRC, we'll immediately be dealing with the same battles over sexuality we've had in the PC(USA), but if we enter the PCA it'll be about twenty years before the corruption arrives." That session meeting was held in 1991.

This past weekend Mary Lee and I were back in that congregation for the Fiftieth Anniversary celebration of my former clerk of session and his wife, Don and Evelyn Jerred, and I reminded one of the couples there of that conversation twenty years ago...


All those sotto voce television programs...

One Google headline celebrating the Supreme Court's predictable and utterly boring ruling against DOMA today was this:

"Gay marriage: How TV helped nudge society on the issue."

Yeah, yeah; television nudged society to accept sodomite and lesbian "marriage" as Hiroshima and Nagasaki nudged Japan to surrender. I mean, how do you keep track of the levels of deceit and conceit, here? We have the media reporting on themselves and chortling over their victory, but wanting to keep their chortling seemly, they humbly call their influence a nudge.

Nudge nothing. The idiot-box buffoons and lechers browbeat, badgered, and hectored.


Marine Mariah, Melissa, and Megan...

Jeff. M. passed on this good summary of the state of women in combat in the U.S. military. Here's an excerpt:

Mission effectiveness.

Opposition to women being assigned to combat units comes primarily from those serving in them. While 74% of the general public would support changing the policy, the characteristic attitude among infantrymen...


Theological critique of Escondido Two Kingdoms theology (VIII): Machen was a culture warrior...

Modern culture is a mighty force. It is either subservient to the Gospel or else it is the deadliest enemy of the Gospel. For making it subservient, religious emotion is not enough, intellectual labor is also necessary. And that labor is being neglected. The Church has turned to easier tasks. And now she is reaping the fruits of her indolence. Now she must battle for her life.

- J. Gresham Machen *

Any movement's claims of lineage should be examined with a critical eye for the legitimacy of those claims. Because someone is writing history doesn't mean he's writing history.


Indiana Rep. Marlin Stutzman speaks personally about Kermit Gosnell...

Stutzman writes:

Recently, after speaking on the House floor about the horrors of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic in Philadelphia, I began wondering if my mother had ever thought about ending her unplanned pregnancy. My parents never gave any indication that it was ever a consideration, but was it?


Tom Van Dyke and the SCOTUS Amen Corner...

Tom Van Dyke admonishes us not to criticize or work against whatever happens to be the latest, faddish pronouncement of the U.S. Supreme Court. He writes:

“For the record, the 2003 Supreme Court case

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_v._Texas

declared that bans on sodomy are unconstitutional.  That decision will not be reversed, and no new legislation could pass constitutional muster.  

That issue is over.”

Imagine if prior generations had shared his fatalism and capitulation to the Supreme Court of the United States' (SCOTUS) exercise of raw judicial power.  


Howard Phillips, 1941 - 2013.

Howard Phillips died this past Lord's Day. May he rest in peace.

A Jewish convert to Christianity, Phillips was that rare politician who refused to abandon the Constitution of these United States or his Christian faith to pragmatism or cynicism. I was introduced to Phillips by the esteemed Joseph Sobran. In thirty-five years of reading Sobran, I never found him more respectful of a man than he was of Phillips—both his political philosophy and his Christian character. And Sobran wrote of him with obvious affection.

In 2000 when Phillips was nominated by the Constitution Party as their Presidential candidate, he selected Sobran as his Vice-Presidential running mate. Joe seemed both tickled pink and flummoxed by this honor. He couldn't imagine why they would want his help. By then Sobran had been consigned to the Gulag by the Lutheran convert to Roman Catholicism at First Things (I am a charter subscriber) and the patrician over at National Review. They didn't like Sobran questioning America's foreign policy toward Israel. As the patrician put it to him at lunch, "Joe, we n$$d these guys!"

Joe wouldn't be bought so they smeared him with the "anti-Semitic" label and that patrician fired Joe from National Review by means of a fax. It was an ignominious end.

Bringing a man back from the Gulag...


Theological critique of Escondido Two Kingdoms Theology (II): Sodomy now, incest later...

(NOTE: This post is part of a series showing the errors of so-called Two-Kingdom Theology. We refer to it as "so-called" Two-Kingdom Theology because what the church historically has meant by "Two-Kingdoms" bears little resemblance to what Escondido Theology men mean when they write it today. Thus sometimes we write "Two-Kingdom Theology," but more often we write "Radical Two Kingdom," "Rigid Two Kingdom," or "R2K.")

So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people. But when Herod the tetrarch was reprimanded by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the wicked things which Herod had done, Herod also added this to them all: he locked John up in prison. - Luke 3:18-20

Where are the men of God preaching the Gospel today by reprimanding our civil magistrates for their incest and sodomy and adultery—as well as "all the other wicked things they have done?"

Among the brave and Reformed, we read this account of Godly John and learned our lesson, so we invented R2K to justify the betrayal of our calling. Right now it doesn't seem so very bad since it's just gayness being condoned and gayness has become mainstream, but what other sins will we find ourselves supporting out in the naked public square a few years from now?

Far afield from Scripture and historical Reformed theology, the R2K (Radical Two-Kingdom) movement is a modern novelty perfectly suited to our decadent age. This is the reason R2K men are currently arguing for the repeal of sodomy laws and the passage of sodomite marriage rites instead of arguing for the repeal of laws against incest and bestiality. The mainstreaming of the sodomite perversion is all around us right now whereas the mainstreaming of bestiality and incest are still down the road a piece. Take any R2K argument for the legality of sodomy and sodomite marriage, replacing the sin of sodomy with the sin of "bestiality" or "incest," and clarity of thought will return.

Thus R2K men arguing for sodomy rights and rites are demonstrating now where they'll be in twenty years. Whatever form of wickedness liberals are working to normalize right now is the wickedness R2K men will argue for right now. They just go with the flow. Having argued that Christian conscience and charity should be entirely private with respect to sodomy, they'll port their arguments to the normalization of whatever sexual perversion...