Politics


B-Rod, (Rod Blagojevich), b-rodthe now-former governor of Illinois, has been impeached by the Illinois Senate which voted unanimously both to impeach him and to bar him from public office in Illinois.

So, is it right for a Christian to shout “Yippee!” about such events? I understand that it’s most unfortunate that a governor should have to be impeached, and his fall was unfortunate. But justice is all too infrequently upheld in this world, and his brazenness was unmatched; in fact, one thing that brought the man down was a new ethics law that would have made it more difficult to trade government contracts for contributions – he had to get “extra fundraising” done by the end of 2008.

Oh, and he shook down a hospital, too – a children’s hospital.

So what do we do when this happens? Do I hide my gloating? I can certainly pray for the man, as we have done regularly ever the last half decade for both him. I am ashamed to be thrilled, but I don’t know what I should be.

This description of the “Interfaith (worship?) service” would be positively hilarious if it weren’t so sad. From M.Z. Hemingway at NRO:

Interfaith worship services usually follow a Judeo-Christian liturgy but with the insertion of other Scriptures and clergy. So instead of a procession of clergy behind, say, a crucifix, the clergy were led by four Native Americans beating drums.

Rather than a reading from the Old Testament, the Psalms, the New Testament, and a Gospel — as you would hear in a liturgical Christian service — there were readings from the Torah, the Sutra Nipata, the Koran, and more from the Old Testament. No New Testament. It is unsurprising that no reading contained a claim of exclusivity or, for that matter, any claim that adherents of a different religion would disagree with. Rather than using proper names to refer to prophets or deities, clergy tend to overload on pronouns and non-descript names. “Lord,” rather than “Jesus.” “The God of Leviticus” becomes “Holy One of Blessing.”

Huge screens displayed the gathering’s logo — vaguely reminiscent of Luther’s Rose. The multilayered mandala incorporated sunbursts and geometric shapes. Throughout the liturgy, the layers were unpeeled to show a candle, a dove, the Statue of Liberty, and the earth.

Now, I am not going to take this opportunity to bash Democrats (surprising, I know) most especially because Republicans can be just as ridiculous in trying to contrive ways to mix faith and politics.

But, look at what a farce this is. This is what being “spiritual” has come to mean in America in 2008.

It’s like a Frankenstein Monster of a worship service. If only we put all these pieces together, then we will create new life. But, just like Frankenstein, we end up creating a monster.

I can just hear Screwtape cackling with excitement over such a festival.

To add more to it, in the middle of the “service,” several protesters stood up and shouted: “Obama supports the murder of children by abortion.” They were all soundly booed and escorted out by police.

What an abomination!

Did anyone see Rick Warren’s interviews with the Presidential candidates? The transcript is here if you are interested.

The forum was revealing on many counts:

The candidates: In the coming weeks, I think we will find that McCain did himself a lot of good with the so-called “evangelical” portion of the conservative base. Both candidates looked and sounded good, but I think McCain demonstrated a gravitas that far outweighed Obama. There was a definite contrast. Compare their answers to Pastor Rick’s question about the “most gut-wrenching decision you have ever had to make:”

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think the opposition to the war in Iraq was as tough a decision as I’ve had to make. Not only because there were political consequences, but also because Saddam Hussein was a real bad person, and there was no doubt that he meant America ill. But I was firmly convinced at the time that we did not have strong evidence of weapons of mass destruction, and there were a lot of questions that, as I spoke to experts, kept on coming up. Do we know how the Shia and the Sunni and the Kurds are going to get along in a post-Saddam situation? What’s our assessment as to how this will affect the battle against terrorists like al Qaeda? Have we finished the job in Afghanistan?
So I agonized over that. And I think that questions of war and peace generally are so profound. You know, when you meet the troops, they’re 19, 20, 21-year-old kids, and you’re putting them into harm’s way. There is a solemn obligation that you do everything you can to get that decision right. And now, as the war went forward, there are difficult decisions about how long do you keep on funding the war, if you strongly believe that it’s not in America’s national interest. At the same time, you don’t want to have troops who are out there without the equipment they need.
So all those questions surrounding the war have been very difficult for me.

Nevermind that Barack Obama never had to cast a vote against the Iraq war in the Illinois State Senate. Compare this McCain’s answer:

MCCAIN: It was long ago, and far away, in a prison camp in North Vietnam. My father was a high-ranking admiral. The Vietnamese came and said that I could leave prison early. And we had a code of conduct. It said you only leave by order of capture. I also had a dear and beloved friend, who was from California, named Ebb Alvarez, who had been shot down before me. But I wasn’t in good physical shape. In fact, I was in rather bad physical shape. So I said no. Now, in interest of full disclosure, I’m happy I didn’t know the war was going to last for another three years or so.
But I said no, and I’ll never forget sitting in my last answer, and the high-ranking officer offered it, slammed the door and the interrogator said, “Go back to your cell. It’s going to be very tough on you now.” And it was. But not only the toughest decision I ever made, but I am most happy about that decision, than any decision I’ve ever made in my life. (APPLAUSE).

To his credit, Pastor Rick did ask one question about that thorny subject called abortion: “Forty million abortions, at what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?”

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade. But let me just speak more generally about the issue of abortion, because this is something obviously the country wrestles with. One thing that I’m absolutely convinced of is that there is a moral and ethical element to this issue. And so I think anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue, I think, is not paying attention. So that would be point number one.
But point number two, I am pro-choice. I believe in Roe v. Wade, and I come to that conclusion not because I’m pro-abortion, but because, ultimately, I don’t think women make these decisions casually. I think they — they wrestle with these things in profound ways, in consultation with their pastors or their spouses or their doctors or their family members. And so, for me, the goal right now should be — and this is where I think we can find common ground. And by the way, I’ve now inserted this into the Democratic party platform, is how do we reduce the number of abortions? The fact is that although we have had a president who is opposed to abortion over the last eight years, abortions have not gone down and that is something we have to address.

Here is McCain:

MCCAIN: At the moment of conception. (APPLAUSE). I have a 25-year pro-life record in the Congress, in the Senate. And as president of the United States, I will be a pro-life president. And this presidency will have pro-life policies. That’s my commitment. That’s my commitment to you.

Compared with Obama’s hemming and hawing, that is an outstanding answer. It is interesting that Obama talks about reducing the number of abortions, yet has opposed every effort to do so. Indeed, he has promised to reverse the Bush administration’s moratorium on federally funded abortions once he takes office. How will that reduce the number of abortions?

Finally, let’s talk about Pastor Rick for little bit. Do you think this was an appropriate thing for him to do as a pastor?

How the abortion issue was handled was revealing. I guess I should be thankful it was brought up at all, but isn’t there something unsettling with the fact that it was treated as just another issue, especially by this reknowned “evangelical pastor.” Obama’s equivocation on this point could be forgiven or overlooked if one agreed with his position on every other point? Right? He even noted how many abortions there have been since Roe v. Wade (though I think he underreported it a bit).

George Will wrote a column a while back in which he noted that we can no longer call abortion, the most common medical procedure, murder. This offended a lot of pro-lifers, but I wonder if he is right.

Have we lost our sense of outrage over abortion? Even in the pro-life community, abortion seems to have become one more of many “life issues.” If we really believe abortion to be murder, why aren’t we doing more about it? Maybe, the truth is that we no longer think it is murder and that is why accept so many accommodations with it. It is just another issue, to be balanced with all the others.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not trying to suggest that abortion is not murder. Instead, I am questioning our commitment to that proposition and its consequences.

If that is so, what more can we do?

Here’s hoping a government commission never determines that I am bad for the economy! This is in Australia, but the thinking behind it is scary nonetheless. Apparently, a government sponsored group called the “Productivity Commission” has warned that increases in the fertility could harm the economy. According to the report:

This is because it will shift women out of the workforce while they care for babies, depressing labour supply and reducing the taxation base as our population ages, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The small number of extra babies born would make little difference to the rate of population ageing, the commission said.

And the women having the babies would be exacerbating the financial impacts on the government of the ageing of the population because the tax breaks offered to parents to have children occur up front, while the cost savings of a bigger working population and bigger tax base from extra children are deferred until they are of working age.

I think the assumptions behind this statement are interesting. (1) Isn’t the Commission conflating the impact on government income and spending with the economy at large? (2) Do they count in any way the additional expenditures parents make on behalf of their kids?

I am no expert, but I think Target’s revenue has had a substantial increase since the wife and I starting having kids. Dusting off my macroeconomics textbook, I know that consumption (C) is an important part of economy. I know that my family’s consumption has gone through the roof with my babies. My wife stayed home. We are not making any more money than we were, but I know we are spending more!

This study strikes me as patently stupid. Read it so you know what stupidity looks like. That is important to do sometimes. We forget.

I did not think it was possible, but I think the Democrats have nominated a candidate with a bigger ego than Bill Clinton! This guy is head over heels in love with himself! “We are the ones we have been waiting for!” he declared! He was using “we” in the same sense that king’s use it.

This Brit, Gerard Baker, has written an excellent satire of the Obama-megolamania:

And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.

When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”

In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites.

One commentator referred to this as the “Purpose-Driven Campaign event.” That is an apt name. This paragraph in Warren’s press release struck me as odd:

“The primaries proved that Americans care deeply about the faith, values, character and leadership convictions of candidates as much as they do about the issues. While I know both men as friends and they recognize I will be frank, but fair, they also know I will be raising questions in these four areas beyond what political reporters typically ask. This includes pressing issues that are bridging divides in our nation, such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate and human rights.”

Boy, if I were McCain, I think I would be smelling a rat. This list of “four areas beyond what political reporters typically ask” seems right up Obama’s alley. Apparently, no one cares about the candidates views on California’s establishment of Gay Marriage, abortion, stem cell research?

Moreover, if the “primaries proved that Americans care deeply about the faith, values, character and leadership convictions of candidates as much as they do about the issues,” why isn’t Warren planning on asking the candidates questions that will reveal their faith, values, character, and leadership convictions “beyond what political reporters typically ask.”

I for one would like to hear both candidates give answers in these areas beyond the general platitudes. Obama, especially, seems to be getting a huge pass in this area. Right now, I wouldn’t even buy a car from the guy, much less put him in the Oval Office.

This event reveals more about Warren than it does McCain or Obama.

The SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) ruled today that a Louisiana law allowing the imposition of the death penalty for child rapists is unconstitutional.

I am kind of rubbing two sticks together here to see if I can make some fire on this blog.

Let’s put aside the issue of whether the United States Constitution restricts the ability of States to apply the death penalty for anything but a crime involving a murder. I think the answer to that question is clearly no and that Justice Kennedy is once again high on crack. But, let’s put that aside.

Instead, let us consider whether we, as Christians, should support the death penalty as an appropriate punishment for crimes, whether it is the rape of a child or murder. Is there a moral imperative against capital punishment? What does the Bible say about Capital Punishment? Does it matter what the Bible says about Capital Punishment?

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