Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

As American Christians we frequently see debates about whether Christianity is being persecuted in the United States. Strictly speaking, we aren’t being arrested for being Christians, churches are not being seized by the government, and so on. To compare what we in the United States face with what a Christian in some other country, say Saudi Arabia, faces is a stretch.

But the real issue is not whether we as Christians are being persecuted. The issue is we are definitely being marginalized, and that marginalization is what happens before explicit forms of persecution. So I don’t think we are being badly persecuted now, but given how we are being marginalized I think persecution is going to happen at some point down the road.

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One of the most vexing questions people ask me is “What is your argument against abortion?” This is vexing not because I don’t have an argument, but because I have several arguments against abortion. I don’t think we’re limited to just one here.

But one argument I’ve thought about is based on Kant’s categorical imperative, namely the formulation of it that states we should only act in a way that we could universally will to become a standard for all other people. That is, if we can’t will that others act in the same way we do in every single case, we should not act this way.

So consider this argument:
1. If we will for one woman to get an abortion, we should will for all women to get abortions.
2. If all women get abortions, we will go extinct.
3. We should not will for our own extinction.
4. Thus, we should not will for all women to get abortions.
5. Thus, we should not will for any woman to get an abortion.

This is really just an extended edition of modus tollens, and we could break the argument into two arguments:
1. If we will all women to get abortions, we will our own extinction.
2. We should not will for our own extinction.
3. Therefore, we should not will for all women to get abortions.

And argument two:
1. No person should be exempted from universal moral laws.
2. It is a universal moral law that abortion is wrong (see the argument above).
3. Therefore, no individual woman should be permitted to get an abortion.

Now some people might object and say “Perhaps abortion is only permissible under Circumstance X, Y, or Z; and we could universally will that any individual under those circumstances get an abortion.” Kant had little room for this type of reasoning, he did not tend to allow exceptions to moral laws based on circumstance.

I am not quite as intense as Kant in that regard. But that’s not the point. Suppose there are circumstances under which abortion should be permitted, there is a vast difference between permitting something and willing it. I may permit my football team to kick a field goal, but I will for them to score touchdowns. It is only in non-ideal circumstances that abortion should even be considered permissible (and I would argue these are relatively few in number). But I still don’t will it, and given any other choice I would likely opt for that.

In the United States, most abortions are not out performed out of medical necessity, and so the arguments presented here would at least eliminate vast numbers of abortions. Additionally, I’m not aware of too many people that want to argue for the extinction of the human race. Hence, they’ll have to attack Kant’s categorical imperative, and it’s a surprisingly defensible rule of thumb.

God bless,

Joey

With 53% of the vote in, Barack Obama leads Keith Judd in the WV Primary by 61% to 39%.  This matters for a few reasons.  First, Keith Judd is a convicted felon.  His campaign and organization in WV is non-existent.  Judd resides in a federal prison in Texas, and has no public platform.  In spite of all of this, 39% of WV DEMOCRATS (and Independents who vote in the Democratic Primary) are supporting Judd over Barack Obama.  This is not a good sign if you happen to be the incumbant POTUS, but can’t rally more of your party to your cause when you’re up against a convicted felon.

Second, this should theoretically result in Judd being awarded a delegate/delegates to the Democratic National Convention.  In theory, Judd only needed 15% of the vote, he’s nearing almost three times that minimum.  I’m not sure how such delegates will be appointed, but Judd is in fact entitled to them under the current party rules.

Third, while WV was never going to vote for Obama, and we all knew this, let’s keep in mind that West Virginians have much in common with the voting bloc in Southern Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.  Those are states, quite frankly, that are in play in this election.  And to be honest, when local media picks up on the fact that your not-so-distant neighbors consider a felon as a legitimate contender against the incumbant president, that doesn’t send a good message to them.  WV, while a more conservative state, in many ways represents a blue collar voting bloc that Obama needs in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio.  Right now, he may not get it.

I know some people may think that it’s only backwards middle-of-nowhere counties that Judd has traction, but not so fast.  In 2008 Barack Obama only took 7 of West Virginia’s 55 counties.  One of those was Marion County, an incredibly Democratic county.  With all 76 of Marion County’s precincts in, Barack Obama has 5,080 votes, while Keith Judd has 3,267, that’s 39%.  And that’s among Democrats (and Independents voting Democratic).  That means in a county he won in 2008, Barack Obama has lost nearly 40% of his party.  In Monongalia County, which Obama also won in 2008, Judd has 31% of the vote with 71 of 71 precincts reporting.  Again, these are counties Barack Obama WON in 2008, yet he’s losing 31-39% of his own party to a FELON.

There certainly is a party that needs to rally around it’s candidate, but in West Virginia that party is not the Republicans.

Human rights are foundational to a free society.  In America our government derives authority from the consent of the governed.  Such consent presupposes that the governed themselves have rights upon which they can act as autonomous people.

The way this plays out in many modern day political issues is really interesting.  To say humans have “rights” is to affirm we are a certain type of thing.  As a theist, this is not problematic at all.  I believe all people are God’s image bearers, and that as a consequence they have certain inherent worth.  But for a secularist, who tries to live without reference to God, humans are not any type of person in particular.  That is, we’re just physical beings.  The conjunction of random mutation and natural selection is not a good foundation for “rights.”

But the “rights” many people talk about today are not “rights” at all, but preferences and wants.  Some women WANT to be able to get abortion on demand.  But the abortion debate gets framed as a women’s “right” to choose.  Of course, this want comes from the sexual revolution and the view that we should be able to have as much sex as we want without any consequence.  Unfortunately the sexual revolution is a war against biology, and one we can’t win.

In any case, it should be clear this isn’t about “rights.”  In a secular society, there are no rights.  Just wants and desires.  Women WANT to have unfettered sex, and that requires a biological war to deal with the consequences of sex.  Personal whim is the only basis for “rights” in a secular world, so what can our society do other than capitulate?

What we can, and must, do is start addressing the demonstrably false presuppositions in play.  Regardless of personal whim, there are moral duties we have to follow.  And quite frankly, those moral duties don’t change when you throw off personal responsibility for your sexual decisions.  The neglect of moral duty does not a right create.

As we said before, to have a right is to affirm humans are a certain type of thing.  But when we obfuscate rights with personal whims, we say the type of things humans are is exactly the type of thing that does NOT have rights.  We’re affirming contradictory positions and conflicting premises.

Of course, this doesn’t merely apply to abortion, we could talk about “gay rights” as well.  This is a whole new class of personal whims now being labeled as “rights.”  A person chooses to enter a relationship that can’t possibly produce children naturally (again, we’re quite fond of our war with biology), but demands to have the “right” to raise a child.

Actually, homosexuals do have the right to raise children.  But they have to enter a heterosexual relationship to do so, just like everybody else (even with artificial insemination the sperm has to come from SOMEWHERE, or with adoption the child did not come from a same-sex union).  What is going on is a demand for society to accommodate what biology has flatly refused to accommodate, and these insane demands are labeled as “rights.”

But we’re here calling the secularist’s bluff.  And they don’t like it (see the Doug Wilson video below).  So we end up with temper-tantrums, emotionally-driven appeals, and an idiotic cultural conversation that can’t move past sound bites and talking points from our ridiculous media.

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Joey

This is a very funny, and surprisingly accurate, satirical video:

As some of you know, I have spent the past year working on my MA in Religion through Liberty Seminary.  I’m an online student, so I haven’t had to visit the campus.  But I graduate this May, and Liberty makes no distinction between online and traditional students.  Thus, my commencement is exactly the same as all of Liberty’s traditional students.

In terms of the quality of education, I have no qualms with Liberty.  In fact, I’ve greatly enjoyed my experience.  I’m three weeks away from having an MA that has equipped me to study and interpret the Bible, which is what I desired from the program.  I’m also prepared for further theological study.  Overall, I like Liberty, I’m glad I opted for this program.

With that said, Liberty has invited Gov. Mitt Romney to be its commencement speaker.  I may or may not vote for Romney.  I like some of his policies, but don’t like others, so I’m really up in the air toward Romney politically speaking.

But in terms of religion, Romney and I are worlds apart.  Mormonism takes certain Christian doctrines, redefines them, and comes up with an entirely new system.  In this non-pejorative sense, Mormonism is a cult.  Historic Christianity and Mormonism are in sharp contradiction to one another.  If you want examples, a few differences are in regard to the fundamental nature of God, Trinitarian theology, the person and work of Christ, the nature of eternity, the number of gods in existence, the possibility of becoming a god, the relationship of Jesus to Lucifer, the role of women throughout eternity, etc…

These are not just subtle differences.  Several of them are compromises on key doctrines upon which Christianity cannot compromise without ceasing to be Christianity.

This matters because Liberty is an explicitly Evangelical institution.  Liberty aims to “train champions for Christ.”  Liberty’s seminary, the school of which I am a part, has a statement of faith that students must be in “substantial agreement” with in order to enroll.  This “substantial agreement” excludes Mormon teaching that compromises historic Christianity.

When Liberty teaches in its apologetics classes that Mormonism is a cult (and it does), and the purpose of the institution is explicitly to train champions for Christ, what is one to think when they invite a Mormon to commission thousands of future pastors, teachers, church leaders, and Christian leaders in other fields?

We could think that Mormonism is an acceptable expression of Christianity, but it is not.  Liberty itself teaches that it is not.  Thus, we might suppose that Mitt Romney is a presidential candidate who needs to consolidate the GOP base, especially among Evangelicals who, quite honestly, don’t like him.  This seems to be the case.

Liberty is selling out to political clout.  They obviously don’t really care about upholding the historic Christian faith as much as they do about helping the GOP win.  The martyrs I learned about in my church history class would have never been martyred had they taken Liberty’s approach.  Just sell out to the powers that be, do whatever it takes to pander to the influential people.  Principle is obviously not as important as power.

It is outright hypocrisy for Liberty to teach that Mormonism is a cult to its seminary students, but to have these same students commissioned into future ministry by a member of said cult.  It is hypocrisy to teach about the cost of following Christ when the example Liberty sets is one of pandering for power. It is hypocrisy to hold your seminary students to a higher standard than that to which you hold yourselves.

If I invited a Mormon to address students graduating from my church youth group, I could be reprimanded by Liberty for that action.  It could be seen as violating the personal conduct standard and doctrinal statement to which I agreed.  In fact, I have some fear that I will be reprimanded for writing this.

But my professors at Liberty have taught me about not compromising the Gospel, regardless of the cost.  Liberty would do well to listen to its own theology professors in this matter.

Sincerely,

Joey

P.S.  – I already know many students who have decided not to attend commencement because of this matter.  I myself will not be attending, I had actually conditionally made this decision prior to the announcement about Romney.  The condition was who the commencement speaker might be.  Liberty is obviously unconcerned about politicizing upon the accomplishments of its students such that it discourages their participation.

Dr. Frank Turek recently visited Ohio University to present one of his popular “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” seminars.  Turek, who is opposed to gay marriage, incited opposition.

The problem stems from the fact that OU offers funding to recognized student organizations (such as Ratio Christi) to hold events.  These funds, which come from general tuition dollars, were used for this event.  Gay rights activists on the campus were furious.

As a side note, I want to point out that there are no “gay rights.”  There are human rights, that apply to gay people just as they apply to all other people.  But a “right” that applies only to a specific group of people is no “right” at all, it may at best be a privilege.  We should do away with the term “gay rights.”  There are human rights, and gays who demand certain privileges in light of their gayness.  But we shouldn’t confuse these with rights.

That stated, the Turek event at OU is interesting.  Turek was not speaking on gay marriage, yet gay students at OU felt the need to protest his visit and the funding Ratio Christi received for the event.  And this is all being done in the name of “diversity.”

That’s right, OU has stated they want to promote diversity and this might cause them to DENY funds to Ratio Christi events in the future.  This is beyond ironic.  Diversity requires allowing multiple legitimately different viewpoints.  For true diversity, OU’s gay activists must allow opposing viewpoints to be expressed.

But this shows this is not really about diversity.  This is an Orwellian situation in which “diversity” has come to mean “unanimity.”  The gay community at OU only wants diversity when the diverse viewpoints all express the same pro-gay privileges agenda.  To support diversity is no longer to permit the expression of multiple opposing viewpoints, but to permit the expression only of those views that support a certain minority position.

The only “diversity” allowed must be approved by the gay community.  Of course, observant people will notice this is not diversity at all.  This is actually the opposite of diversity.  On a diverse campus, all positions would be allowed to express themselves in accordance with their constitutional rights.  But here the opposing view must be silenced.  This is a demand for uniformity, not diversity.

Gay activists who cry out for diversity, but simultaneously seek to silence those who disagree with them, are in conflict with themselves.  They tolerance they demand be expressed toward them is denied to other groups.  The “diversity” they are clamoring for is unworthy of the name.  In a diverse society multiple opposing views are encouraged, not censored.