Mark Steyn contributed an interesting piece to the January 2004 New Criterion, Expensive illiterates: victimhood & education; in which (while frying larger fish) he laments the failure of our occupying forces to exercise as high a degree of control over Iraq's educational establishment as we have over other aspects of Iraqi national life.
Ever since the coalition victory last spring, the Americans have been in charge of the Iraqi school system. On the face of it, this should be no different from any other sphere of administration under the liberators: British and American soldiers train the new Iraqi army, British and American police train the new Iraqi constabulary, British and American civil servants train the new Iraqi public service. But ...no one from the entire American educational establishment seems to have been allowed anywhere near Iraq's schools....
This is very different from the way the British Empire dealt with the matter in the days when thousands of schoolmarms from the Welsh valleys and the industrial Midlands were dispatched to remote colonial outposts. John Southard of Emory University has characterized imperial education thus: 'Colonizing governments realize that they gain strength not necessarily through physical control, but through mental control. This mental control is implemented through a central intellectual location, the school system.'
A couple weeks ago I had a chance to talk with the father of a young woman who has been coming to Sunday school at our church at the invitation of one of our church families. Recent immigrants from India, and Hindu, I asked the father what the common attitude was in India towards the British.
He responded by speaking with pride of his nation's historical association with the British, making it clear he nursed no bitterness.
I asked why, in his judgement, there was such a different post-colonial experience in Africa?
This interview of Budziszewski, one of Marvin Olasky's colleagues at University of Texas, is quite helpful--particularly in the context of reformed pastors and elders abdicating their authority in the civil realm, generally; and most recently with regard to sodomy and sodomite (non) marriage. But more on this later.
As one of those reformed pastors, I haven't yet nailed down where, exactly, I stand on natural law (and I know I'm pretty old to be writing that). Still, as we're surrounded by the crumbling foundations of the West, I'm gaining sympathy and think, regardless of the reader's own position, he'll profit from this interview and be better able to articulate the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all creation.
Of course, by posting this interview I'm not at all commending the recent (Easter) conversion of Dr. Budziszewski and his wife to Roman Catholicism.
Contra Neuhaus, Colson, and their comrades-at-ambiguity known as Evangelicals and Catholics Together, little things like the cult of Mary, the unique authority of Scripture, imputation, and justification keep getting in the way of rapprochement. Nor do I agree with Budziszewski's recommendation that Christians place a decreasing emphasis on the testimony of Scripture in witnessing to our culture, and a correlative increase in the testimony of natural law. In fact, there are a number of things I wish Budziszewski hadn't said. Still, there's much more I'm glad he said and find wise and helpful.
And while I'm at it, I am well aware how many readers of "World," and thus of Worldblogs, are Roman Catholic--in fact, here as I write, I find that a recent comment posted on this blog is by a dear brother in Christ who, many years ago, first introduced me to much of what I have come to hold dear in my life--a scepticism concerning the use of birth control to separate the unitive and procreative functions of the marriage bed; a parallel belief that children are one of God's chief blessings; a fatherly (and I must admit, somewhat haphazard) practice of praying over my children as they go to bed each night; a conviction that it is an act of piety and holiness to battle against false shepherds; a love of the writing of G.K. Chersterton and Joe Sobran; and so much more--all this happened one night when my wife, Mary Lee, and I sat for hours at John and Molly Archibold's dinner table, watching, listening, and learning. One night, and then we moved to Massachusetts and, decades later, the Archibolds moved from the Episcopal to the Roman Catholic Church. But we continue to love the Archibolds, and to look toward that day when we will have completely transparent fellowship in the Presence of our Lord.
Note: At the very bottom of the piecce, you'll find appended the extended section of Calvin's Institutes Budziszewski (briefly) quots in the first half of the interview.
by David and Tim Bayly on April 30, 2004 - 12:23pm
News of American soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners is flooding the world. What no one (at least no one in the western media) seems to be commenting on is the peculiarly sexual nature of the abuse--nakedness, simulated sex acts, genital torture.
It's even more sobering to note that in pictures where American soldiers are present, the leering, ridiculing Americans lording it over Iraqi men are women--sometimes with a man standing behind them as though to guard them, but the provocateurs in all the pictures I've seen have clearly been female.
Several striking thoughts arise from this.
First, one of the key arguments against women in the military is the sexual abuse they might suffer if captured. We never considered the possibility that they themselves might inflict sexual abuse on their male captives. It's ironic that sexual mistreatment of POWs has not been common in past male-dominated conflicts. Other forms of POW abuse have been common, but sexual abuse was a relative rarity until women entered the military.
Second, such abuse of men by women puts a visible face on the largely ignored phenomenon of female abusiveness in society as a whole. Feminism teaches that women are nurturing and peace-loving while men are war-like and abusive. Sociological research, however, reveals that women are every bit as likely to mistreat others physically as men. Sin of every sort is equally distributed among the sexes. There is no uniquely male or female form of sin.
Third, is it just me, or does anyone else suspect there's a connection between the general in charge of the unit cited in the abuse of the Iraqi prisoners being a woman and such behaviour? What kind of women want to oversee male prisoners? The kind who would do this kind of sickening deed, I suspect. And in a feminized chain of command such misdeeds are more likely to be winked at.
The feminization of the American military is a tragic crime against God's creation order in which man is called to protect and lay down his life for woman. And we will justly bear His wrath for our rebellion against His will.
This from Seymour Hersh in the most recent New Yorker on the abuse of Iraqi prisoners and the prevalence of women soldiers in the published pictures.
The photographs--several of which were broadcast on CBS's 60 Minutes 2 last week--show leering G.I.s taunting naked Iraqi prisoners who are forced to assume humiliating poses. Six suspects--Staff Sergeant Ivan L. Frederick II, known as Chip, who was the senior enlisted man; Specialist Charles A. Graner; Sergeant Javal Davis; Specialist Megan Ambuhl; Specialist Sabrina Harman; and Private Jeremy Sivits--are now facing prosecution in Iraq, on charges that include conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty toward prisoners, maltreatment, assault, and indecent acts. A seventh suspect, Private Lynndie England, was reassigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, after becoming pregnant.
The photographs tell it all. In one, Private England, a cigarette dangling from her mouth, is giving a jaunty thumbs-up sign and pointing at the genitals of a young Iraqi, who is naked except for a sandbag over his head, as he masturbates. Three other hooded and naked Iraqi prisoners are shown, hands reflexively crossed over their genitals. A fifth prisoner has his hands at his sides. In another, England stands arm in arm with Specialist Graner; both are grinning and giving the thumbs-up behind a cluster of perhaps seven naked Iraqis, knees bent, piled clumsily on top of each other in a pyramid. There is another photograph of a cluster of naked prisoners, again piled in a pyramid. Near them stands Graner, smiling, his arms crossed; a woman soldier stands in front of him, bending over, and she, too, is smiling. Then, there is another cluster of hooded bodies, with a female soldier standing in front, taking photographs. Yet another photograph shows a kneeling, naked, unhooded male prisoner, head momentarily turned away from the camera, posed to make it appear that he is performing oral sex on another male prisoner, who is naked and hooded.
Hersh as well on an American general's February 2004 report on the abuse--which apparently extended well beyond pictures published so far--and the impact of the commanding brigadier general's authority within her unit:
General Taguba spent more than four hours interviewing Karpinski, whom he described as extremely emotional: "What I found particularly disturbing in her testimony was her complete unwillingness to either understand or accept that many of the problems inherent in the 800th MP Brigade were caused or exacerbated by poor leadership and the refusal of her command to both establish and enforce basic standards and principles among its soldiers."
Yet, many evangelicals and Lutherans alike claim that the Church has no authority to speak to society on such matters: "It's not our position to speak against women serving in our military. We're the Church; we speak for God on higher matters."
Notice as well that these women soldiers were not serving in combat roles. So much for the vaunted distinction between combat and non-combat roles...
The following piece by Cal Thomas, forwarded to me by my friend, Mark Albrecht of Lutheran Orient Mission, reminds me of a book I read years back that left a deep imprint on my thinking, The False Presence of the Kingdom by Jacque Ellul. If you can find a copy, read it.
Last Saturday night, I read this from the Washington Post's web site:
Amid all the commentary from political figures, Michael Reagan, one of Reagan's two sons, issued a statement that was intensely personal. "I remember with great clarity my father's emotion when Nelle Reagan, my grandmother, passed away," he said. "Until today, I didn't understand the feeling of loss and pain which comes when a parent leaves you. For this reason, I will not be making any public statements at this time."
He added: "What I will remember is a man that changed my life. He was always there for me when I needed him. He had a way of putting everything into perspective, and I believe that his determination and perseverance came from his relationship with the Lord. He played an important role in pointing me to God." (Washington Post, June 6, 2004)
From a profile of Governor Schwarzenegger in the current issue of The New Yorker:
As (Schwarzenegger) explained in an article in Rolling Stone, in 1976, "At that point, I didn't think about money. I thought about the fame, about just being the greatest. I was dreaming about being some dictator of a country or some savior like Jesus. Just to be recognized."
He cast around for a pursuit in which he could be the best; he tried soccer, but, as he later recalled, "I didn't like that too well, because there I didn't get the credit alone if I did something special. I just avoided team sports from then on." He fixed on bodybuilding, and, by the age of fifteen, he knew he'd found his calling.
* * *
(Despite running for office as a Republican, Schwarzenegger is pro-abortion. Here Franco Columbo, his best friend for decades, explains Schwarzenegger's abortion philosophy.)
On abortion, Schwarzenegger is pro-choice. According to Columbo, "Arnold would say, 'If you have sex with a woman for fifteen minutes and then you leave, why should she have to go through pregnancy for nine months and have a child? It's ridiculous!'"
(Connie Bruck, "Letter from California: Supermoderate; The new governor dazzles the celebrity-struck legislators of Sacramento," in The New Yorker, 28 June 2004, pp. 69-87.
Our kind readers will not be surprised to read that I was so disgusted by Schwarzenegger I could not bring myself to read past the first couple pages of the profile. And when you stop to consider that The New Yorker has put us all on notice that both Schwarzenegger and Hillary Clinton have their eyes set on the White House, I find myself wondering who would be worse--and I'm genuinely unable to answer the question.
Reviewing Michael Moore's latest docudrama, "Fahrenheit 9/11," David Denby writes in The New Yorker:
Is this joker opposed to the Afghanistan war? (In "Bowling for Columbine," Moore presented Bill Clinton's intervention against Milosevic's ethnic cleansing as a case of slaphappy American militarism.) Moore never talks about Islamic fundamentalism and training camps, obsessive anti-Westernism, or suicide terrorists and the difficulty of guarding against them; he never asks how the American government should conduct itself in a war agaisnt religious totalitarians. There are, apparently, no justifiable fears, only hysterical fears manipulated by the authorities, whose every act is purposive and conspiratorial. (Emphases in the original.)
(David Denby, "George and Me," The New Yorker, 28 June 2004, p. 110.)
This month's Atlantic Monthly has a fascinating glimpse of the Marines in Iraq by Robert Kaplan.
He notes that the Marines he is imbedded with are:
a) More courageous than most men in general, and more courageous than he in particular, and:
b) Much more Christian than average
Unfortunately, the entire article is not available online. It's far more positive in its portrayal of American soldiers than accounts I've seen elsewhere.
There is this tidbit about the article and then a quote from the article itself (my favorite part of the entire article) on the Atlantic site:
Before the call to arms came, he had felt a strong sense of kinship with these fighting men; like him "they had soft spots, they got sick, they complained." But differences announced themselves as soon as the battle preparations began. Kaplan was struck first by their strict adherence to hierarchy--what he refers to as "the incontestability of command." Whenever the most senior officer present in a given planning session made a decision, there was no further argument or discussion; deliberations simply moved efficiently on to the next matter at hand. Kaplan also became keenly aware of the pervasiveness of Christian religious sentiment among the troops. "The spirit of the U.S. military is fiercely evangelical," he writes, "even as it is fiercely ecumenical." Indeed, a few hours before the scheduled attack, a military chaplain issued a blessing in which he reminded them that it was Palm Sunday and referred to the task at hand as "a spiritual battle" and to the Marines themselves as "tools of mercy." The most stark reminder of the difference between himself and the men among whom he was embedded, however, didn't come until they were in the thick of battle. On the second night of the operation, Kaplan was with a group that had penetrated far into the city when it began to take enemy fire. Kaplan struggled to suppress his own natural instinct to flee. To his amazement, his companions ran straight toward the gunfire.
Smith [the company commander] did not have to order his Marines straight into the direction of the fire; it was a collective impulse-a phenomenon I would see again and again over the coming days. The idea that Marines are trained to break down doors, to seize beachheads and other territory, was an abstraction until I was there to experience it. Running into fire rather than seeking cover from it goes counter to every human survival instinct-trust me ... In one flash, as we charged across [the street] amid whistling incoming shots, I realized that they were not like me; they were Marines.
Praise God for the witness and courage of these Christian men in the only branch of the military where women are still thoroughly segregated from combat roles.
Because of its reputation for muckraking I don't read the American Spectator, but a friend passed this piece on to me and I highly commend it: "Kennedy's Benchmarks" by Mark M. Trapp, an attorney practicing in South Carolina.
Trapp's piece is a case study of the betrayal of our Constitution by our nation's judiciary, most specifically the Supreme Court, as that betrayal has been perfectly illustrated by Justice Kennedy who, over the years, has hopped all over the place on the matter of whether or not sodomy is a private act protected by our Constitution. Here in a short piece Trapp perfectly illustrates the "growth" we've seen in most of the Republican appointments to the Supreme Court over many years, now. In fact, Kennedy himself was appointed by that revered father-figure of all things conservative, President Ronald Reagan.
Check it out and you'll find that the Court's Lawrence decision, by which sodomy was declared to be a fundamental right protected by our Constitution, was the product of a six member majority, and that four of the six were Republican appointees.
Which brings to mind something Joe Sobran wrote four or five years ago that stuck in my head:
Fool me once, shame on you;
Fool me twice, shame on me;
Fool me three times, I'm a Republican.
Some years back, I was on the phone with Marvin Olasky and we were talking about the Republican primary candidate, George W. Bush, then-governor of Olasky's own Texas. I expressed skepticism at Bush's recent (at the time) statement that abortion would not be a litmus test for his appointees to the Supreme Court.
I protested, saying I could not think of any matter of jurisprudence even close to the significance of whether the most innocent and defenseless of our citizens were to be protected by our civil authorities, and that it was my considered conviction that our nation's leaders had no moral authority because of their betrayal of this fundamental duty. Civil authorities are to be judged on the basis of their defense of citizens at the margins of society (and life); not their latest foray into the infinitely less important matter of tweaking copyright law so Mickey Mouse will be able to continue laying golden eggs for Disney.
Since then, I've watched as the members of the Court continue to betray the Constitution, violating the vow each took to submit to, and uphold it. I have come to the conclusion that nothing less than the impeachment of these men will suffice.
Let me be clear: The Constitution of these United States provides not one iota of legal basis for the Supreme Court's Lawrence and Roe v. Wade decisions, and the solution to this constitutional crisis is not any presidential election and subsequent Court appointments, but impeachment--now! The Republican party is a joke, hoodwinking Christians as government grows, the national debt bloviates, states become even more impotent, and unborn babies die.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 14, 2004 - 9:55am
The two principle claims to fame of my city of residence, Bloomington, Indiana, are that this is the city that allowed the murder of "Baby Doe," a newborn baby girl who was starved to death by her parents, doctor, and the staff of Bloomington Hospital back in 1982; and also, that it was here at Indiana University, from 1938 to 1956, that, under the guise of "academic research," the criminal sexual pursuits of Alfred Kinsey were provided a safe haven. (Full evidence of his crimes continues to be housed in the Kinsey Institute here on the campus of Indiana University.) Lord willing, more on Kinsey's criminal perversions later.
Meanwhile, the death of President Reagan led to many interesting anecdotes coming to light, including the following which touches on Baby Doe. My wife, Mary Lee, brought it to my attention. It comes from the pages of a letter of tribute to President Reagan written by James Dobson:
Gary Bauer shares a story that occurred during one of his regular lunch meetings with the President. Each senior staff member was given an opportunity to raise an issue or two with "the boss," after gaining prior approval from the chief of staff. Without asking anyone, Gary discussed a problem that he knew would make his superiors uncomfortable. He told the President about a little girl in Bloomington, Indiana, who was suffering from severe life-threatening complications associated with Downs Syndrome. Apparently, the child's parents had received terrible medical advice and instead of seeking treatment, had the baby rolled into the corner of the hospital nursery where a sign was hung on the crib that said, "Do not feed." A Christian nurse observed this barbaric situation and called the White House, wondering if there was any legal recourse available.
As Gary spoke, he noticed that his colleagues flinched because this story was not the kind of topic that is worthy of the President's time. Then he looked at Mr. Reagan and saw that he had tears in his eyes. He had been deeply moved by Gary's account of the hurting child. He ordered that the Justice Department seek to protect her from those who would allow her to die.
Incredibly, the judges who are able to find legal justification for killing unborn babies could not figure out how to preserve the life of "Baby Doe." (Dobson, James C. 2004. Family News from Dr. James Dobson, June, Issue 7.)
Reading this, I'm reminded of a conversation with C. Everett Koop a couple years ago in which we discussed Baby Doe. Koop was the Surgeon General at the time of Baby Doe's murder and he told me that during the days of starvation his office in Washington D.C. received fifty offers of adoption for this little girl. But of course, the cruel mercies of the girl's parents and the Bloomington legal and medical community refused to allow any one of these fifty loving couples to adopt this little baby girl--she must die.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 21, 2004 - 5:03pm
Although I'm not registered as a Republican, my longing to see the slaughter of the unborn brought to an end has kept me voting Republican. I've cast a longing eye at Pat Buchanan, Joe Sobran, Alan Keyes, and other third party candidates but I'm guessing my desire to see a Republican president making the nominations for any Supreme Court vacancies that come up during the next four years would have led me to vote for President Bush again this year, and not the Constitution Party's Michael Peroutka.
President Bush has done a number of things I have not liked at all, including the whole prescription drug plan for the elderly which I view as a case of naked pandering. He is a big-government moderate and it sickens me to think of how many generations of our offspring will be paying for the federal initiatives (now entitlements) he has used to buy off the electorate.
But what about the war? This is the question that has been bothering me for many months, now, and I've wavered in my confidence in President Bush and his advisers as our troops appear headed ever deeper into the Iraqi morass. I've questioned whether our presence in Iraq wasn't simply the result of Israel's Amen Corner having extraordinary influence within the current administration? I've wondered about the meaning of the absence of any evidence of the presence of Weapons of Mass Destruction? I've feared the long-term costs for our national security of our unilateral actions in Iraq.
This last week, though, my mind has been changed by an article about to appear in the September 2004 issue of Commentary, the weightiest of the house organs of the neoconservative movement. The piece is written by Commentary's patriarch, Norman Podhoretz.
In the article titled, "World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win," Pohoretz spends thirty-seven pages making the case for President Bush's War Against Terror. I'm convinced by his case--so much so that I am now unapologetic in saying I plan to vote for the re-election of President Bush. There are places where Podhoretz's logic is defective, particularly to confessing Christians who honor the Word of God, but taken as a whole, he makes a cogent case in support of the wars in both Afganistan and Iraq, as well as the larger war against terror he labels "World War IV."
by David and Tim Bayly on August 24, 2004 - 10:17pm
Last night during a campaign appearance with his wife, Lynne, in Davenport, Iowa, Vice President Dick Cheney publicly acknowledged his opposition to President Bush's support for a constitutional amendment outlawing sodomite marriage. The Washington Post reports that the Vice President said:
"Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it's an issue our family is very familiar with. My general view is freedom means freedom for everyone... People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to." The question of whether that relationship should be given the status of marriage, Mr. Cheney, said, is "a matter for the states to decide."
Is there a single person outside the Beltway who would be surprised to find out that the lead line of the Post's editorial on the matter was, "Good for Vice President Cheney"?
This whole episode is sad because it can't help but further confirm the mass perception that morality is relative, particularly sexual morality, and that even the most principled men sacrifice their principles when those principles would cause pain for their family members.
In the years to come, most of us will face a similar moment and the way we respond to our own family's sins will be the evidence by which the world judges whether we serve the True God or an idol.
Setting aside Vice President Cheney's conniving at the public policy side of this sin by talking of states rights, how sad to see such a manly father choosing not to love his daughter by calling her to repentance, but instead accepting that daughter's sin as an unalterable reality and making his peace with it. Has he no fear of God, either for himself or for his daughter? Has he never heard or read these words from Scripture:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1Corinthians 6:9-11)
Make no mistake: it is no more possible to love our sons and daughters and wink at their sodomy than it is to love them and wink at their adultery, fornication, or pedophilia. Like every other sexual sin that used to be illegal across our country, sodomy destroys lives. And souls.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 7, 2004 - 12:51pm
Sunday's Washington Post carried a piece by Phillip Longman comparing the fertility of states that went for Bush and Gore in the 2000 election. Not surprisingly, Bush supporters have children while Gore supporters don't:
What's the difference between the protesters who were outside the Republican convention and the delegates inside?
...It's the divide between who is having children and who isn't.
Of the top 10 most fertile states, all but one voted for the president in 2000. Among the 17 states that still produce enough children to replace their populations, all but two - Iowa and Minnesota - voted for Bush in the last election. Conversely, the least fertile states - a list that includes Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Connecticut - went overwhelmingly for Al Gore. ...if the Gore states seceded from the Bush states and formed a new nation, it would have the same fertility rate, and the same rapidly aging population, as France - that bastion of "old Europe."
If Gore's America (and, presumably, John Kerry's) is reproducing at a slower pace than Bush's America, what does this imply for the future? Well, as the comedian Dick Cavett remarked, "If your parents never had children, chances are you won't either."
Some time back, when I was heading up the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, the religion reporter from the Minneapolis Star Tribune asked whether I ever worried that people might think I was a chauvinist?
"Oh, I don't worry about it--I know that's what they think," I responded. "But it doesn't bother me because ninety-nine percent of the people who have ever lived believed the same thing we teach (that men are to carry the primary burden of leadership and protection). And no matter who's winning the battle for public opinion, we're the ones getting married and having babies; and we're the ones teaching our children to think and read and write; and it's our children who are going to grow up and lead this nation."
by David and Tim Bayly on October 7, 2004 - 3:00pm
blasphemy: Profane talk of something supposed to be sacred; impious irreverence. (The New Shorter Oxford Dictionary)
Several weeks ago a local Bloomington congregation called Sherwood Oaks Christian Church placed this ad in the Indiana University campus paper, Indiana Daily Student. Taking up a quarter of the op-ed page, when I first saw it I felt like I'd taken a punch to the solar plexus.
A young man from our congregation wrote the Sherwood Oaks Christian Church elders right away appealing to them to see what an assault the ad was on the honor of our Lord Jesus Christ. He concluded his letter:
"Pro-choice" is a phrase nearly universally used to describe supporting legalized abortion. Over 1.2 million precious human lives are snuffed out every year in the United States alone, and well over 40 million unborn babies have been murdered since Roe v. Wade threw out state laws limiting abortion in 1973. I urge you to remove this phrase from both your advertisements and from your Web site.
Reading my friend's letter of protest, I assumed the ad had been placed hastily and that the elders and pastors would take a similar haste to clean up the mess as best they could. And although I had no illusion that this congregation of the Cambellite Christian Church denomination would see the contradiction of Scripture at the heart of their sales pitch, I did think they'd have a tender conscience concerning the ad's statement that would mislead many to think that Sherwood Oaks and its college ministry believe the Holy God affirms the killing of unborn children.
So then I was shocked to see the ad appear again, and to realize there would be no apology, clarification, or withdrawal of the ad on the part of the congregation's leadership.
Need I say that I am not offended in the least by the ad's appeal to alternative types, or to those aligned with political parties other than Republican? Rather I commend them for these sentiments, although it's worth noting Sherwood Oaks Christian Church is thousands large and about as "establishment" as any church in Bloomington.
But take time to read the ad's headline and text and you'll understand my writing that it's incomprehensible how a congregation could think that running something like this in a university newspaper would honor our Lord.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 14, 2004 - 9:10am
"I don't know if I have the faith to have my head cut off for my beliefs, but I have enough faith to renounce a job in the Commission if need be"Rocco Buttiglione, Italian candidate for EU justice commissioner
How many of us who have seen those tragic videos of hostages pleading for their lives in Iraq have wondered if we would have courage to speak of Jesus in front of the terrorists' video cameras?
Here's a man who has evidently asked himself the same question. And while he doesn't know how he would respond before terrorists (does any of us?), he has the courage to be considered a fool for Christ where God has placed him, potentially forfeiting power and privilege for the sake of faithfulness to the Word of God.
May the "evangelical" and "born again" politicians of our nation learn something of courage and faithfulness from this Roman Catholic man of faith.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 15, 2004 - 6:34pm
Our family's sitting around the butcher block table in the middle of the kitchen, and Michal, our daughter who's a freshman at Indiana University and is hanging out for the evening, told us to listen to this ad.
While freely acknowledging that I plan to vote for the reelection of President Bush, I continue to have a real aversion to the big-government compassionate conservatism that leads our nation deeper in debt with each passing day. Further, although I think that Islamic forces respect nothing but superior firepower and that we must engage them militarily, I sympathize strongly with Joe Sobran's consistent appeal for a return to constitutional government in these United States. Here, then, is Sobran's self-insertion into the presidential debates. It's amazing the clarity a return to first principles brings to the debate.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 16, 2004 - 9:12pm
Sherwood Oaks Christian Church has admitted their ad in the Indiana Daily Student using the hook line, "God is pro-choice," was not appropriate:
Ultimately, through much dialogue with sincere Christian brothers and sisters, we have come to the conclusion that the implementation of the hook-line was not comprehensively thought out.
This apology was what I expected from the beginning.
But let's go further and acknowledge there's a reason reformed churches and pastors so often are content to avoid the work of evangelism. After all, evangelism is risky--think of the risk Jesus took when he sat with the Samaritan woman, alone at the well speaking heart to heart. It was scandalous.
Loving the lost continues to be so today.
So here was an evangelistic ad that tried to bridge the gap between the Gospel of Jesus Christ and cynical postmoderns who are convinced evangelical Christianity is just a cover for Republical political ambitions and the civil religion of America's middle class. While the end doesn't justify the means in methods of evangelism any more than any other area of Christian life, it's certainly commendable to make an error in the same direction as our Lord Who had this to say about the work His Father gave Him (and by extension, us):
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)
by David and Tim Bayly on October 21, 2004 - 8:47pm
In response to my post a few days ago, Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore..., a comment was posted that serves as the perfect lab specimen of what poses for "deep thought" among Chomsky's fans. Here's the comment, followed by my response:
by David and Tim Bayly on October 21, 2004 - 9:14pm
In a post on my children's blog my son-in-law, Doug Ummel, reminds his Yankee friends and relatives that the War Between the States brought the typical spoils to the victors--the writing of the history books. And he makes the right case that Yankee history is a perversion of the truth. To which I respond:
It is one of history's great ironies that the authority and power assumed by Washington DC since the end of the War Between the States--a war defended as being entirely focused on ending the oppressive institution of slavery--has become the very authority and power Washington used in 1973 (and since) to silence the laws of almost every State of the Union forbidding the killing of unborn children.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 26, 2004 - 6:43am
A bootlegged version of Bill Clinton's recently-released autobiography has shown up in China, complete with editorial emmendations seemingly intended to make the book comprehensible to the Chinese mind. The New York Times reports Clinton's My Life begins, in its authentic version, with "a very long opening sentence... which takes 48 words to detail his birth, even the stormy weather that preceded the big event."
Which sentence the pirated Chinese translation replaced with this:
The town of Hope, where I was born, has very good feng shui.
Where were these good editors when we really needed them?
by David and Tim Bayly on October 27, 2004 - 7:19am
Last night I read two articles on the upcoming election, both in the New Yorker: one was a profile of the American immigrant billionaire financier, George Soros, and his frenzied effort to see President Bush defeated at the polls; the other was a short pre-election profile of President Bush summarizing what we have learned about this man during his first term in the White House.
Published in the New Yorker, both pieces are quite predictable in their anti-Bush tone. But what a tone!
Never do I remember such vitriol coming out of the liberals of our nation; they seem to hate Bush with a perfect hatred, and I can't help but suspect the vortex of this pool of hatred is his simple (culpably so) faith and the way that faith has informed his approach to the world of Islamic terrorism. If you believe in knowing your enemies, go buy this issue of the New Yorker and read these pieces. Note particularly the Soros piece, including his statement that it's inappropriate for any born-again man to hold the presidency of the United States because, by definition, a born-again man cannot lead in submission to the most fundamental aspect of our nation's constitutional genius: yeah, you guessed it--separation of church and state.
In other words, with a straight face Soros says (and the New Yorker reports) that constitutional government here in the United States prohibits any born-again Christian serving in the White House.
Well, there's much more of interest, but having read it I thought maybe I should write a short piece explaining why I, a Protestant, evangelical, and reformed pastor with one marriage and five children and two grandchildren and a few decades' experience watching rulers govern while praying for a growth in truth and mercy, and an end to the slaughter of the innocent, will be voting for the reelection of President George Bush.
But before I could start, I was forwarded this article by Oxford Historian, Paul Johnson. Within the Academy, Johnson is one of my heroes. He's written stellar histories of the United States, the Jews, modernity, Christianity, etc. (The book I've recommended most often is The Intellectuals.)
The piece was forwarded by a friend with many years' missionary experience in the heart of the Islamic world of the Mideast--a friend who doesn't live in the United States and who has a great sympathy, personally, for the Arabic world, particularly the displaced Palestinians. No fan of the war in Iraq, he forwarded this article and commends it. Why?
Read on. I'm content for Johnson's piece to explain my vote.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 28, 2004 - 9:19pm
The consuming hatred for Christianity among our nation's elites was forcefully brought home to me this afternoon while paging through the September-October issue of Foreign Policy at the local Barnes and Noble.
The cover story is "The World's Most Dangerous Ideas." Inside, eight scholars have short articles on a general theme described by the editors of FP this way:
Ideas matter, and sometimes they can be dangerous.
With this simple conviction, FOREIGN POLICY asked eight leading thinkers to issue an early warning on the ideas that will be most destructive in the coming years. A few of these ideas have long and sometimes bloody pedigrees. Others are embryonic, nourished by breakthroughs in science and technology. Several are policy ideas whose reverberations are already felt; others are more abstract, but just as pernicious. Yet, as the essays make clear, these dangerous ideas share a vulnerability to insightful critique and open debate.
Who are these scholars and what do they (and the editors of FP) suggest are the eight most dangerous ideas in the world? Below find the authors, the ideas they are writing against, and the lead paragraphs of their essays. But, in short, you could simply say that two dangerous ideas threaten the world: nationalism (in particular, belief in America) and religious faith (vigorous Christianity first and foremost).
The self-hatred of the piece was astounding. Except for the contribution by Fukuyama, implicit in the piece is the idea that America lies at the root of all the danger in the world. Even anti-Americanism is the fault of America and Bush. The one hope for the world is the UN.
Loathing by the elites of our country for any form of faith--not simply religious faith--has reached unimaginable proportions. There is talk of civil war in Israel because of Sharon's Gaza pullout plan. Is the potential for internecine conflict any less in America?
by David and Tim Bayly on October 29, 2004 - 1:53pm
Finally, we have an answer to a six-month old question: who were the "foreign leaders" Senator Kerry claimed were opposed to another Bush term in the White House?
Reuter's just posted a piece reporting that Osama bin Laden has just released another video tape, this one critical of President Bush. Reuters points out the obvious: "It looked like a deliberate attempt to influence the U.S. election on Tuesday."
Back in March, Senator Kerry claimed foreign leaders wanted President Bush out of office, and that they supported his own candidacy. To which the White House responded:
"If Senator Kerry is going to say he has support from foreign leaders, then he needs to be straightforward with the American people and say who it is that he has spoken with and who it is that supports him...."
Kerry... declined to identify any leaders...
Well, here's one foreign leader with the guts to come forward.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 30, 2004 - 5:53pm
Here's an interesting excerpt from an interview of the op-ed columnist of the New York Times, Maureen Dowd, that appeared in Rolling Stone. As Election Day draws near, Dowd explains why Americans are going to vote for President Bush. Something about fatherhood...
"Maureen Dowd isn't simply a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times op-ed columnist. She's also the preeminent Bush-basher in the country..."
Rolling Stone: "You've written all these columns ripping the Bush administration, yet it doesn't seem to be changing the public mind. Is that discouraging?"
Maureen Dowd: "I think the American public is brilliant. They get it. But we all succumb to certain things, and presidential races are about proving who is the strongest father. And Bush is just doing it better. I'm not like other commentators who say, "The public isn't getting it." People have great responses, and if they respond, then it means the politician is doing something effective."
-Colapinto, John. "Ms. Bush-Bash:Does anyone understand Dubya better than New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd?" Rolling Stone. 960 (Oct. 28, 2004)
by David and Tim Bayly on November 2, 2004 - 10:01pm
I never thought the day would come when I would be more proud of being an adoptive Ohioan than a native Illinoisan, yet that day has come.
Though my county, Lucas, voted with Ohio's other metropolitan counties for the candidate of death, the vast majority of the little counties of this state went resoundingly against immorality. Not only did Kerry lose, but the nation's most restrictive ballot measure opposing sodomite unions won overwhelmingly in Ohio.
It's interesting to note that little Holmes County in southeast Ohio held the highest anti-Kerry voting percentage of any in the state (as of 3 A.M. Wednesday). Holmes has America's largest Amish population and though the Amish don't usually vote, perhaps the issues of this election drew them out.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 2, 2004 - 10:51pm
Meet the Gerken family, Ohioans, and part of the reason President Bush will remain America's president four more years.
It's been an exciting fall, Matthew and Kyle, with the many visits to our city by President Bush. Sadly, all good things come to an end and your days of shaking President Bush's hand and joining him on TV in your navy coats, white shirts, red ties and tan pants are probably over. Yet you did your part well, and in days to come as more and more families like yours have children while the godless kill theirs, the margin for righteousness will grow--perhaps leading one day to a president who will truly do his all to end abortion.
In the meantime, back to homeschool--and perhaps if President Bush reads this he'll invite you to join him at his inauguration.
Let's pray that your work on President Bush's behalf is rewarded by his faithfulness in heeding God's truth.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 4, 2004 - 6:04am
Has America's "special relationship" with Great Britain reached its end? In longing, perhaps not. But in reality, it looks increasingly like a case of unrequited love.
Britain loathes America, especially the America that voted George Bush a second term. More than anything else, pagan Britain loathes American Christianity.
Today's issue of Britain's newspaper of record, the Manchester Guardian, has a series of essays responding to the reelection of President Bush. Almost every essay identifies America's evangelical Christianity as inimical to Britain's modern character and future.
Below, snippets from the essays with links to the original. It's worth noting not only what is hated--American Evangelical Christianity--but the intensity with which it's hated. In several essays, it appears war (civil or international) would be preferable to the current religious climate in America.
Sidney Blumenthal, former Clinton aide and defender (and another American writing for the Guardian), rages against the evangelical church. The church is inspired by fear and Bush played to those fears--of women, of other nations, of other races. Read this carefully to smell the hatred. What would Blumenthal be screaming if an evangelical Christian wrote this way of Jews?
The evangelical churches became instruments of political organisation. Ideology was enforced as theology, turning nonconformity into sin, and the faithful, following voter guides with biblical literalism, were shepherded to the polls as though to the rapture. White Protestants, especially in the south, especially married men, gave their souls and votes for flag and cross. The campaign was one long revival. Abortion and stem cell research became a lever for prying loose white Catholics. To help in Florida, a referendum was put on the ballot to deny young women the right to abortion without parental approval and it galvanised evangelicals and conservative Catholics alike.
While Kerry ran on mainstream traditions of international cooperation and domestic investments, and transparency and rationality as essential to democratic government, Bush campaigned directly against these very ideas. At his rallies, Bush was introduced as standing for "the right God". During the closing weeks, Bush and Cheney ridiculed internationalism, falsifying Kerry's statement about a "global test". They disdained Kerry's internationalism as effeminate, unpatriotic, a character flaw, and elitist. "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," Cheney derided in every speech. They grafted imperial unilateralism on to provincial isolationism. Fear of the rest of the world was to be mastered with contempt for it.
This was linked to what is euphemistically called "moral values", which is social and sexual panic over the rights of women and gender roles. Only imposing manly authority against "girly men" and girls and lurking terrorists can save the nation. Above all, the exit polls showed that "strong leader" was the primary reason Bush was supported.
In this radical screed of self-loathing, the American author not only identifies with those who despise the U.S. around the globe, but urges a "militant" rejection of the president's policies by members of the American military. In essence, he's hoping for civil war. Apparently Mr. Marqusee has no idea of the attitude toward President Bush within the military.
Anti-Americanism has become a catch-all charge levied against anyone who engages in a radical critique of America's global power, its sway over the lives of billions who had no vote in Tuesday's election. People rebel against US hegemony for the same reasons they rebelled against the dominance of earlier imperial powers, not out of a distaste for the culture of the rulers but out of an objection to undemocratic, unaccountable, self-serving rule by remote elites of whatever culture.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 5, 2004 - 5:03am
It's saddening to read where President Bush intends to spend the "capital" he earned in the presidential campaign.
"I will be your president regardless of your faith, and I don't expect you to agree with me necessarily on religion. As a matter of fact, no president should ever try to impose religion on our society."
"The great thing that unites is the fact you can worship freely if you choose, and if you -- you don't have to worship."
"I've earned capital in this election -- and I'm going to spend it for what I told the people I'd spend it on, which is -- you've heard the agenda: Social Security and tax reform, moving this economy forward, education, fighting and winning the war on terror."
Remember, these are the words of a man who will never run for public office again.
Are these the priorities of a leader after God's own heart? Where is abortion? Where is sodomy? Just two of the areas where "no president should ever try to impose religion on our society," we're left to assume.
We celebrate President Bush's reelection as those who see defeat delayed rather than victory won.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 5, 2004 - 7:07am
Calvin comments that it's the mark of man's remarkable status that the preaching of the Gospel is entrusted to him rather than angels.
God has entrusted to man the work of transforming the world. Though we may not look to the President to deliver the world from bondage to sin, we do turn to men, to human agency under Divine sovereignty. And because of this we must recognize as we despair of the political process that our cause is not hopeless and our power is not weak.
Though President Bush may quail before the wrath of man, others do not; they are the Christian hope under God's overarching arm.
I may not turn to President Bush for hope. But I do turn to men, to families like many in our church: the Gerkens, the Ahrendts, the Beerbowers, the Bellases, the Varners, the Vrlenichs, the Altmans, the Brunners, the Priestaps....
Families bearing Godly seed, families raising children--1, 3, 5, 7, 10 children--in faith that God will be honored through their lives. Look out blue states, the red states are not just religious, they're blessed with fertility by the hand of the same God who rules you even as you sacrifice your children to your vanity. Look at the picture below, blue staters. There's now a sixth child in that family. And they're bright, they're sophisticated, they're winsome, they're homeschooled, they're ambitious intellectually, they're conservative politically, they love others and are generous and kind even as they hate the sins you're neutral on. They're your future, the multiplying Hebrews in your Egypt.
I turn to young men who are willing to see the truth through eyes of faith and idealism, men who decided not to vote for a president who claims Muslims go to heaven and that states should decide on gay marriage on their own, men like Tim Varner and Matthew French who chose to vote only for explicit righteousness, even if the cause seems doomed.
Our hope is not in the Republican party, but it is in men--men and women of God to whom the privilege of converting and sanctifying the world has been entrusted by God.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 10, 2004 - 7:28pm
In the debate over Senator Specter and the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee the unstated assumption is that the Supreme Court will prove the decisive battleground for the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
That assumption is, of course, hogwash on a number of levels.
First, the Supreme Court is an essentially conservative, status quo-maintaining institution. It follows rather than leads public opinion. Until the court of public opinion rejects Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court will embrace it.
Second, should the Supreme Court ever move to undo Roe v. Wade, the battle will simply shift to other venues. In the unlikely chance that the Supreme Court finds the courage to undo Roe v. Wade, that decision will simply prove one more link in a long chain of events telling the story of abortion in America--a story which began well before the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Roe v. Wade and ends who-knows-where.
Third, if slavery wasn't impeded or ended by a Supreme Court ruling, why should abortion be different? Our national division over Roe v. Wade is at least as likely to be resolved by internecine conflict as by the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, you lack the faith in Divine justice of Abraham Lincoln, who in his second inaugural address quite clearly reflects a Biblical understanding of bloodshed requiring bloodshed. Read that address--and as you read, remember that this was a man who refused to proclaim any faith before being elected to the White House.
Nearly ten years ago George McKenna wrote a superb article in the Atlantic Monthly titled, On Abortion: A Lincolnian Position. In the article McKenna argues that what America needs is a political leader, like Lincoln, who will actually argue the immorality of abortion publicly. Modern "pro-life" politicians make many promises about what they will do if they are elected but refuse to expend moral or political capital arguing against abortion. Thus, their promises are hollow. They promise the moon and deliver not a dime.
What America needs, McKenna said, is a political leader who will argue against abortion the way Lincoln argued against slavery. Stephen Douglas, champion of slaveholders' rights, argued for slavery in terms almost identical to pro-abortion arguments of today...
The Friday before the presidential election, an as-yet-unidentified woman set herself on fire in front of a Berwyn Heights, Maryland, abortuary. Pouring gasoline over her body, she lit a match and died.
The woman had been a frequent protester outside the abortuary where she died. She left an envelope addressed to presidential candidate John Kerry. Presumably it was a suicide note explaining her political protest, but the police aren't allowing the note's contents to be revealed.
The self-immolation was seen by many people, including a bus filled with schoolchildren.
Imagine this had been a protest against the war in Viet Nam or the segregation of the public school system in Selma, Alabama, or the votes of a number of states banning sodomite marriage last Tuesday. Do you think the national news media would have squelched those stories?
Of course not.
But to report this news the Friday before our nation went to the polls to vote for the next president of the United States would have been so very impolitic, you know. It might further inflame the ignorant red masses living more than one hundred miles from ocean waters or major research universities.
Reporting deaths--any kind of deaths--that happen near an abortuary is never good for those who deny the death of the sweet and gentle babies sucking their thumbs in their mothers' wombs as doctors and nurses insert the knives and vacuum cleaner probes about to tear them to shreds.
And although we don't know, I can't help wonder what drove this poor soul to kill herself. And I wonder whether any evangelical Christian had been outside the killing place protesting, also, in the months prior to her death? Had they sensed her torment and spoken to her about the Lord Jesus Christ Who is, Himself, "the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world" (1John 2:2)?
Oh, Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
PS: On his blog, my friend David Talcott points us to the response of a University of Maryland student who witnessed the suicide.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 21, 2004 - 6:02pm
Want to see an impressive example of male leadership in action? Take a look at this video of President Bush pulling his Secret Service agent through the blockading Chilean police at the entrance to Friday night's APEC dinner.
The president seems to have been aware of some form of prior tension between the security services--his return to the door came too quickly for it to have been otherwise. Yet, in the midst of a charged atmosphere, his patient insistence on his guard being allowed through was most impressive. He simply stood at the back of the arguing clot in the doorway and, reaching over their shoulders, pulled on his agent's arm until it became clear to the Chileans that this president wasn't going in without his agent.
Immediately upon the agent's release President Bush returned to his host with a warm smile after a very slight dismissive shake of his head as he left the doorway. You can see video of the incident here.
President Bush's self-control and graceful extrication of his agent from the midst of a tense situation were striking. So it was shocking to read this description of the incident by Dana Bash on CNN:
According to a videotape of the incident, Bush turned around and saw that one of his Secret Service agents was being forcefully restrained from entering by Chilean security guards.
The president dove into the crowd, where people were arguing and pushing one another, and pulled the agent through the door of center.
After the successful rescue, Bush turned around, cocked his head proudly at his maneuver and began to greet his hosts.
The president "dove" into the crowd?! He "cocked his head proudly at his maneuver"?!
This reporter saw nothing more of the event than you can see yourself on the MSN video. She was watching the same APEC video feed available to the whole world, yet she characterizes it as a presidential mosh-pit-lunge followed by a schoolboy smirk. Someone should fire this woman. This is not reporting. This is a woman who thinks that because her mother gave her a confusingly androgynous name she can comment authoritatively on the world of male conflict. She's so confused by her name that she can't see quiet masculinity in action without shrilly screaming "Abuse! Pride! Arrogance."
Would that this woman's mother had named her Betsy... Perhaps then she would be less inclined to make asinine assumptions about how men are behaving in the midst of conflict.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 25, 2004 - 2:14pm
Since Election Day when President Bush won a second term bringing in on his coattails an even larger Republican majority for both houses, the big boys inside the Beltway have been squealing like stuck pigs. Despite my ambivalence toward some aspects of our President's first term accomplishments and second term agenda, I find these squeals a great encouragement.
Years back a dear friend who had served in the Army as an artillery officer described how artillery was used to gather information about an enemy's positions. A map of enemy territory was broken down into a grid of squares and shells were fired into each square until one of them provoked a response. The technique, as I recall, was called "reconnaissance by artillery."
Judging by the response of old guard DC politicos and the media, President Bush seems to be hitting with every shell. And of all the responses I've heard and read, one in particular strikes me as most curious--namely, the liberals calling for their own blue states to secede from the Union.
Listening to post-election commentary on National Public Radio the other day, I heard a Los Angeles commentator propose this division and then list all the reasons he and his fellow liberals would come out the better for it...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 3, 2004 - 10:56am
(This piece is a revision of another piece below titled The Shame of Alfred Kinsey. This revision ran today, December 3, as a guest editorial in Bloomington's Herald Times. -Tim Bayly)
The late Allan Bloom was an Indianapolis native who served as professor at University of Chicago. In The Closing of the American Mind, Bloom lamented the destruction divorce caused his students. Noting that parents often used therapists to help their children cope, Bloom wrote, "Psychologists are the sworn enemies of guilt."
If therapists are the sworn enemies of guilt, sex researchers are the sworn enemies of shame-with IU's Alfred C. Kinsey leading the pack.
Although hired by IU as a zoologist, in 1938 Kinsey contrived to land a job lecturing engaged and married seniors on "biology." He ended the course by taking his students' sexual histories.
Kinsey spent the rest of his academic career conducting these interviews and disseminating the data. He was convinced that publicizing peoples' private sexual lives would usher in a more peaceful age devoid of shame and inhibition.
But his efforts did not bring the dawn of Aquarian freedom...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 16, 2004 - 7:44am
As evidence that President Bush is a looneytunes fundamentalist out to use the White House to bring Christianity and its morals to every nook and cranny of the world, the usual suspects cite, most especially, the President's speeches. They claim they're rife with--horrors!--biblical allusions, the Name of God, and requests for prayer.
The President's speechwriter, Michael Gerson, answers...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 21, 2005 - 8:42am
If there can be something more evil than abortion, it is the civil authority allowing minor daughters to abort their babies without their parents' permission. This is a deliberate attack upon the family by the state, a very evil thing in itself, but infinitely compounded because this particular attack leaves a baby dead and that baby's mother with blood on her hands. Her father is impotent to protect her; the state has replaced her natural sovereign and Satan is free to destroy both the daughter and her baby.
Christians today don't meditate enough upon the state's malevolent relationship with the family. If there is such a thing as systemic evil, this is it. Beyond birth control and abortion, the state assumes authority over our children's education, their discipline, and their work.
Jude Doty is a Christian father who used to make a living moving houses. But in 2003 the state of Washington's Department of Labor and Industries fined him $34,000 for "employing" his eleven and thirteen-year-old sons. Later the state added $20,000 in unpaid workers' compensation insurance and another $87,000 in fines.
Doty, God bless him, thinks God approves of sons working next to their fathers, and despite having lost almost everything--with his house about to be auctioned off at a sheriff's sale and legal fees piling up now in excess of $40,000--Doty fights on for his, and by extension, every father's God-given responsibility to their children. At the end of the article detailing his battle, Doty says:
We've lost our business and this week it may be our home. But when it comes down to losing the opportunity to work with our youth, we will stand. If we do nothing, we will surrender our constitutional God-given right to apprentice our youth, and our children's rightful inheritance of being with their fathers. Satan wants to rob children of their fathers' influence, but Scripture encourages: "He shall turn the heart of the fathers to their children, and the heart of the children to their fathers." (Malachi 4:6) They're not my employees, they're my children!
By the way, one of the jobs the Department of Labor and Industries said Doty should not have allowed his sons to do because of its danger was riding on the peak of the house as it went down the street, lifting low-hanging traffic signals.
In a notorious case of murder, Hannah Ocuish, age 12, was executed for the murder of Eunice Bolles five days before Christmas of 1784 in the state of Connecticut.
Hannah is the youngest recorded criminal executed in America, but she was not the only young man or woman put to death in early America. Of all executions where the criminal's age was recorded taking place in US colonies and states between 1608 and 1849, twelve percent were of prisoners 18 or under at time of execution.
Framers of the Consitution certainly knew of the Ocuish case. Yet they enshrined in it no special rights for juvenile criminals.
How much more tender and less wise our Supreme Court is today. They grow in tenderness as their moral certainty decreases. Soon we will be protecting child murderers and killing innocent adults.
For a list of those executed age 18 and under between 1608 and 1849, read on....
The long-term health of America's federal government depends upon a finely-tuned constitutional system of checks and balances.
The executive branch of government is held in check by:
1. Quadrennial elections
2. Legislative prerogative to establish law
3. Constitutional review by judiciary
The legislature is held in check by:
1. Two-year and six-year elections
2. Bicameral nature of assembly
3. Presidential veto and enforcement
4. Constitutional review by judiciary
The judiciary is held in check by:
1. Presidential appointment
2. Legislative approval
3. The U.S. Consitution
Notice that the primary check on sitting members of the judiciary is not the other branches of government but the U.S. Constitution. Judges are referees in the U.S. system of government with the Constitution their rulebook. The single great role of the U.S. Supreme Court within the U.S. federal system of government is to apply the Constitution to the actions of the executive and legislative branches of government. They are the check of last resort, the Constitution their bedrock.
But what happens when the court is no longer checked by the Constition? What happens, as we saw in this week's ruling on the execution of juveniles, when the court rules without even a fig leaf of regard for the Constitution?
What happens is judicial tyranny and eventually, a realigment of the U.S. federal system of government or the end of American democracy. The overweening pride of the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet been checked by the legislative or executive branches of goverment, but it must or American democracy will end with a series of unreviewable acts of judicial fiat.
Think of how little role the Supreme Court played in resolving past national debates ranging from female suffrage to slavery. Now, consider the increasing boldness of the federal judiciary to legislate by judicial fiat in matters ranging from the President's conduct of war (treatment of prisoners) to abortion to euthanasia to the public practice of religion.
America will not be free much longer if the federal judiciary is not brought back under Constitutional authority.
Are the federal government's hands tied by acts of the Florida judiciary in the Terri Schiavo case?
So it's often suggested. But there is ample precedent for federal intervention in states when civil rights are at stake.
The 10th article of the Constitution ("The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people.") didn't keep John F. Kennedy from sending in the National Guard when segregationist Governor Ross Barnett refused James Meredith entry to Ole Miss.
Nor did it prevent Dwight Eisenhower from sending the 101st Airborn Division to Little Rock when Arkansas Governor Ross Faubus ordered out the National Guard to keep the Little Rock Nine from integrating Little Rock's Central High School.
In both cases, despite the fact that human lives were not directly at stake, modern era presidents sent in troops to uphold civil rights.
Why not Florida? Why not now, President Bush?
On what basis would you do so? What about on the basis of Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution?
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Where is due process for Terri Schiavo? Michael Schiavo's had due process for over ten years. Terri's not had one minute of due process from the Florida courts, including its Supreme Court.
What about on the basis of Article 15, Section 1?
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Where is equal protection for Terri Schiavo--say, protection equal to that afforded a common murderer facing the death penalty in Florida?
What about Article 9's blanket reservation of unenumerated rights for the people of the Union?
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Doesn't the Declaration of Independence's statement of certain inalienable rights, including "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" fall under this article?
What shred of the Bill of Rights is left when, by an act of judicial fiat, a husband can starve his abandoned, helpless wife to death?
I suspect President Lincoln would have found the use of federal troops within his powers in such a situation.
Send in the troops, President Bush. Such a modest act in defence of civil rights would land you smack in the midst of such companions as John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower and Abraham Lincoln.
These quotes from an MSNBC report on a speech by Justice Antonin Scalia at the Woodrow Wilson Center last night.
"The Constitution is not a living organism, for Pete's sake, it is legal document, and like all legal documents, it says some things and doesn't say others."
In the past 30 years, in its abortion, homosexual sodomy and death penalty decisions, the Supreme Court has, Scalia, said, "essentially liberated itself from the text of the Constitution ... and even from the traditions of the American people."
(The) trend of judges reading new meanings into the Constitution "will destroy the Constitution."
Every law is the legislation of someone's morality. So what sort of moral compass do liberals live by?
Well, consider that liberalism executed Terri Schiavo and is now readying itself to outlaw obesity. Here's a golden nugget from Joe Sobran's May newsletter:
Obesity, the Propaganda Machine assures us, is a "national problem," even an approaching "crisis"! What, are all the fat people going to collapse at once? Why, then, let's have some Federal legislation! There's apparently no such thing as a personal problem anymore. In fact, some obese people don't think they have a "problem" at all. As if it were up to them to decide. Dream on, fatso.
PS: Lest one of our good readers think I'm dissing those who are chubby, some have called me a man of adiposity.
(Note from Tim Bayly: When I was a child, my parents sent me to camp in Canada each summer, so I grew up knowing something about Canada and Canadians. I don't remember any edge in my relations with the other boys, nor even one example of disdain for the United States. It all seemed quite amicable to me--almost as if our nations were twins separated at birth.
Then more recently, friends of mine and I have experienced a new aggressiveness on Canada's part as we crossed their border, and it's clear that we're all eating Canadian Bacon now.
But if I were to put my finger on why I have a different attitude to Canada than I did as a child, the following speech perfectly sums up my growing disgust for our neighbor to the north. It almost seems as if Canada, not being able to win the money or power battle, is determined to win by outdoing us in the killing of God and Truth and preening herself over being the most progressive light in the Americas.
She seems to be taking her marching orders straight from hell as she passes law after law and files charge after charge rejecting and persecuting those who accept the teaching of Scripture concerning the value of life, the meaning and purpose of sex, the nature of truth, and so on.
Watch Canada if you want to know the world your children will inhabit and the persecution they will face for confessing Jesus Christ.)
Religious Freedom in Canada
by Dr. Chris Kempling
(Kempling received a standing ovation for this address delivered on March 4, 2005 in New York City at a United Nations Commission on Human Rights Delegate Briefing.)
Canada is a country which prides itself on religious freedom and religious tolerance. And in many respects that is true. Citizens are free to practice their faiths according to their traditions, generally without interference from the government. And even when someone's religious beliefs conflicts with a long established Canadian tradition, great tolerance can be shown, as was the case with the first Sikh Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer permitted to wear a turban instead of the regulation hat. That constable started his career in my home town of Quesnel, and he was accepted and appreciated by the community.
Unfortunately, there are two primary areas of conflict between religious freedoms and government policy in Canada: abortion and homosexuality. A group of eight Christians, members of a group called Operation Rescue protesting abortion were arrested and sentenced to jail terms for peacefully protesting outside an abortion clinic. I met one of the men, Donald Spratt, who was incarcerated in British Columbia's maximum security Oakalla prison for his crime -- he was holding a sign outside an abortion clinic. Currently, he is awaiting trial in the BC Court of Appeal for violating the "bubble zone" of an abortion clinic. Once again, he was simply holding a sign with a Bible verse on it -- Thou shalt not kill.
A man by the name of Bill Whatcott, an evangelical Christian who is a licensed practical nurse, was fined $15,000...
The May 22nd issue of The New York Times Magazine had a very long cover story titled, "The Senator From a Place Called Faith: The coming of Rick Santorum." If you're able, pick up a copy. As the article starts out, it appears it will be one more slash-and-burn treatment of biblical faith, but deeper into the piece it becomes apparent the author, Michael Sokolove, is listening carefully and finding himself surprised by a growing sympathy.
Senator Santorum comes across as one of the bolder witnesses to the Christian faith I've ever seen profiled by a major media player, and it's particularly encouraging to read of his involvement, both legislatively and personally, in helping the poor. The good Senator reminds me of the Apostle Peter's exhortation:
Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:12)
One item of interest to those who have taken part in the discussion of Roman Catholic theology and practice on this blog is this sad statement:
Santorum is not a reader of Scripture-- "I've never read the Bible cover to cover; maybe I should have" --and has no passages he clings to when seeking spiritual guidance. "I'm a Catholic, so I'm not a biblical scholar. I'm not someone who has verses he can pop out. That's not how I interact with the faith." (emphasis added)
Jesus Christ had "verses he (could) pop out," and He popped them out all the time--one for every occasion. If He was tempted, pop. If he was faced by a murderous mob of religious leaders, pop. If He was giving a sermon on a hillside, pop pop pop pop pop...
Ironically, one of the article's illustrations is a picture of a grouping of the senator's personal effects. Sitting on top of a stack of books in his office is a black Bible with "Rick Santorum, United States Senator" engraved in gold leaf on the lower right corner of the cover.
Leaving this matter to the side, though, Senator Santorum honors God and I'd be proud to be lumped in with him.
For those who weren't alarmed to learn that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts did significant pro bono work for a coalition of gay rights activists on a Supreme Court case which led to a 1996 decision forbidding "discrimination because of sexual orientation", this article from this week's New Yorker should prove a wake-up call.
The article on Senate Minority leader Harry Reid suggests that Roberts is a compromise candidate from a weakened president. Listen to Reid on Roberts:
[Having asked Roberts his view of precedent in the Supreme Court during a courtesy visit to the Minority Leader's office] Roberts, Reid recalled, said, " 'Oh, on the Supreme Court you can change precedent only if there's this and this,' and he was rattling them off. I hope I didn't act surprised, but I'd never heard anything like that before." Roberts, in Reid's view, left no doubt that he would be very reluctant to overturn precedents. To do so, Roberts had said, the Court would first have to consider a series of objective criteria, two of which stood out: whether a precedent fostered stability in the nation; and the extent to which society had come to rely on an earlier ruling, even a dubious one. "I thought it would be more of a weaselly answer than that, but he said you have to meet all these standards before you can change a precedent," Reid said. Roberts's view of precedent is likely to be an important issue during the upcoming confirmation hearings. Earl Maltz, a conservative and a professor at the Rutgers University School of Law at Camden, says that what Roberts told Reid could be "very significant," because it runs counter to the "originalist" approach of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, who believe that the Constitution should be strictly interpreted, according to the original intent of the Founding Fathers...
At another point in the article, Reid compares Roberts to Souter:
Reid more than once compared Roberts to Justice David Souter, who was appointed by the first President Bush, in 1990, and today is widely detested by conservatives because he frequently sides with the more liberal Justices. Souter and Reid are friendly. "He's my favorite man on the Court," Reid said. "I think he's such a wonderful man, and he believes in precedent. That's all he's doing. He's just following the law." Reid smiled, and continued, "If somebody is a real lawyer and not a Clarence Thomas or Edith Jones, who is there not to be a judge but to be a legislator, it gives us some hope, and so, if he is approved, I would hope he would turn out like Souter or somebody like that."
by David and Tim Bayly on August 16, 2005 - 7:57am
Jimmy Carter caught flak from conservatives for his statements about Guantanamo Bay's Camp Delta prison. Speaking to the Baptist World Alliance in Birmingham, England, Carter said:
"I think what's going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the USA ... What has happened at Guantanamo Bay ... does not represent the will of the American people. I'm embarrassed about it."
The usual Carter appeasement? I'm not sure. Carter, speaking July 30, may well have read an article ("The Experiment") by Jane Mayer in the July 11 & 18 issue of the New Yorker.
Unfortunately, the article is not yet available online. A quick and dirty summary is that Guantanamo has become the testing ground for theories developed in the American military's "Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape" (SERE) program. SERE was developed to help American soldiers resist interrogation and torture by foreign captors. But teaching soldiers to resist entails knowledge of effective interrogation methods and those methods, used by SERE to train American soldiers in resistance, have been put to use in Guantanamo to break enemy combatants.
Are we as Christians comfortable at the routine use of female interrogators to sexually challenge and humiliate foreign prisoners? Are we willing to see American women mock raped as an interrogation tool? Do we accept American interrogators engaging in sex on a table in a computer room in full view of an Arab prisoner to elicit information--with the promise that he can enjoy the woman's favors if he will talk?
The article may be wrong. It may be false. But there's a lot of smoke there beyond merely the sexual allegations, and if even just a small percentage the smoke is from fire, we as Evangelical Christians in America need to think long and hard before dismissing former President Carter's comments.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 16, 2005 - 8:03am
When we returned from overseas, I had a stack of New Yorkers waiting. One article was on the power wielded in D.C. by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The piece's author, Jeffrey Godlberg, compares AIPAC's influence to that of the NRA and the AARP--pretty scarey, huh?
But the quote from the article that stuck with me came from a longtime AIPAC leader with whom Greenburg was doing an interview in a restaurant. Asked whether recent scandals surrounding AIPAC's leaders and charges of espionage against them had dimished their influence in Washington, here's Greenburg's description of the leader's response:
A half smile appeared on his face, and he pushed a napkin across the table. "You see this napkin?" he said. "In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin."
by David and Tim Bayly on August 16, 2005 - 8:38am
The current issue of Washington Monthly has two cover pieces, one pro and the other con, on the wisdom of the Democrats runnning Senator Hillary Clinton as their presidential candidate. The author of the pro piece, Carl Cannon, makes the astute observation that, despite Senator Clinton's quite-high unfavorable ratings, those unfavorables are unlikely to get any higher. And at their current level, she's still a winner. Here's a recent Gallup poll:
If Hillary Rodham Clinton were to run for president in 2008, how likely would you be to vote for her?
Very likely: 29%
Somewhat likely: 24%
Not very likely: 7%
Not at all likely: 40%
No opinion: 0%
To state the obvious, even with 40% of us strongly opposed, Senator Clinton retains a respectable majority of 53%.
More depressing is Cannon's statement that the strongest candidate the Republican Party could put up against her is Senator John McCain. Oh my.