blogbait 31 mar, front computer

by andrewlohr

Sent to Jamie Arpin-Ricci, to whom Doug Wilson referred 17 June or so

A doctor who tells all his patients “you’re healthy” when some of them need drastic, painful treatment is (1) loving or (2) a murderer? A doctor whose bedside manner makes it hard to heed his accurate diagnosis and triply hard to swallow his prescription is (1) better or (2) worse than the first doctor? May God bless us with doctors better than either, doctors with both the bedside manner and the surgical skill of the President of presidents and Judge of judges.

Was Jesus loving when (like all the prophets and apostles) His message could be summed up in the one word “Repent!”? Was Peter loving at Pentecost when he proclaimed “You murdered the Messiah!”? If such details are how Christian love works, let us, as nicely as may be, do likewise, eh?

I have posted more than once elsewhere that fornication, divorce and adultery are more popular among “evangelicals” than homosexuality is, and may qualify as beams we should remove before tackling “gay” twigs. (Cases and callings differ in details). But you’ve been asked, and whatever your “focus” the question is relevant, would you, as a pastor, go through Mt 18 with a sexual sinner/s–of whatever kind–and, if they won’t heed the church, “hand them over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit may be saved in the day of Christ Jesus” as per I Cor? Or do you draw no sexual lines at all? (Not that sexual lines are the only lines to draw–you posted that yourself–but do you draw any? If so, briefly where?)

To Clay Bennett, 19 June

Let’s take “not” out the Ten Commandments and insert it into the Creed–is a joke 300 years old or so. Yet the Creed and the Commandments are still around.

How dare this religious fanatic Jesus stick his nose into politics? Caesar is king, we don’t need another. Let’s crucify him to separate church and state. That goes back almost 2000 years. They thought Jesus was toast; but now Caesar is pizza. (Make mine pineapple with Italian sausage).

Jesus touched lepers and healed them. Dr Sabelius, call your office: the Christians have an appeal above your death panel! Jim Rutz in “Magashift” report miraculous healings of AIDS sufferers. In Africa. I hope San Francisco isn’t racist.

To Clay Bennett, 11 June

Susan B. Anthony was a Republican. Susan B. Anthony Patriot Foundation tax exemption, 77% chance of being stonewalled?

She wanted to vote. Ya gotta say this for women voters, their first President was Warren G. Harding, who inherited a bum economy from Woodrow Wilson and quickly turned it into the roaring ’20s. Too bad Hoover, FDR, LBJ, and Obama–and several others–didn’t channel Harding for their economic policies. (When I ranked Presidents–http://voices.yahoo.com/ranking-presidents-usa-7505256.html–Harding topped those four, judging by results.)

God created Adam, said Not good, and created Eve. Eve’s no clone of Adam; division of labor is a creation ordinance. Obviously it’s been overdone and abused, as the division between bureaucrats and their fellow humans is abused, but it’s real, and it can be underdone, which also abuses people. I hope Clay likes buying pregnancy insurance for himself.

To Doug Wilson, What Plato’s cousin knew, response to responder

Matt,

Yeah, saving faith is active faith: Jesus, and Paul and James, did things. An infant can’t do much (John the Baptist jumped for joy in his mom’s womb). My sub-3-years Sophie has said “Jesus loves me best,” and she sometimes offers someone something she thinks they want. I pray she (and I) mature in showing faith, but maybe she’s started.

Above I wanted to offer Mr Bull a quick reason, on his own terms, to change his view of infant baptism. (The rest of what he says is rather interesting.) I think the Bible’s doctrine of infant capacity is rather higher than what humans tend to assume infants can do (“did this man sin…so that he was born blind”?!?!?) Logic offers 3 possibilities, or perhaps more: (1) infants are lost, (2) infants are saved other than by faith, or (3) infants are saved by faith however limited their ability to show their faith. From Bible, and also logic, I draw (3); I think there’s experiential evidence for it, but I don’t claim to have come up with it by observing infants. Some big name theologians, including Augustine and Calvin, have ascribed faith (or its seed) to infants–“Infant Salvation” by one Firey, c. 1901, has a chapter on Infant Faith. (I glanced at a copy in the Covenant College library, and cited it in “Feed God’s Babies” somewhere in my blog, if you love scrolling, and in my dead web-archived? website http://www.lohr84.com.)

FWIW. Yours in Christ Jesus, from Andrew

To Chattanooga Times opinion 6 June:

Much of what Mr Killian said I agree with, especially in isolation, but do you or he care about Christians persecuted in Muslim countries? You may rightly focus on Tennessee, but do you care at all, or know? In 12 years there’ve been 50+ federal persecutions for “hate crimes” against Muslims; and it may be that all or most of the defendants were guilty; and, yes, this is at least somewhat serious, though stories of students suspended for using the word “gun” or chewing a piece of bread into a gunlike shape make us suspicious of U.S. Justice. Did the 50+ include any murders?

Worldwide, Muslims murder thousands (>100,000?) of Christians a year. Does this bother you at all? Even in your editorial (and thank you for your courage in signing your name to it), a sentence or two noting such facts might’ve provided balance and given your remarks more, not less, force; dittos for Mr Killian’s remarks. 9-11 and Benghazi show us that quite a few Muslims are not Mother Theresa. Comparing Christendom with Muslim countries suggests that Jesus Christ makes for better government than Mohammed. (Older Pakistanis would tell my dad: The further we get from British influence the more corrupt we get.)

Of course we Christians must love Muslims, and many of the behaviors Mr Killian opposed we should oppose. Is he against them when Muslims commit them, however rarely this comes within his day job? If he became the new ambassador to Libya, or were called to help set up the new Libyan justice department, would he find himself giving such speeches to Muslims? (Unlike Tennessee, would he fear for his life?) How many US Muslims denounce Saudi Arabia, which outlaws church buildings, as a bigoted government?

We can well love Muslims by pointing out that their religion leads to bad government–“by their fruits ye shall know them”–and by pointing out that Jesus said of Himself, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except by Me” (John 14:6)–and by pointing out that Jesus excels Mohammed in His birth (to a virgin), his life (miracles), his death (for our sins–what love!), his resurrection (what power!), his clear fulfillment of multiple prophecies, his positive influence on government (He’s rather libertarian)–and urging them to forsake Mohammed and become followers of Jesus.
To Clay Bennett cartoon 6 June:

AndrewLohr said…

Funniest ever? How about Henry Payne’s from the ’80s “The dashing new Soviet jockey, Gorbachev, and his sleek thoroughbred?”–the “thoroughbred” being a stationary dinosaur, looking puzzled and thinking “Vroom vroom?”

Bigot? “A person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices”–Webster online. How’s the view from the sewer, Mr Bennett? nooga? alprova? What would it take to convince you that liberalism is wrong, or even that some liberals have been seriously wrong about some important things? (Some Muslims, even?) The Bible does not whitewash its heroes.

To Charles M. Blow, NY Times, 22 May (reply to one of his posters)

So when liberals accuse conservatives of being racists, are the liberals projecting?

When liberals accuse conservatives of being not true blacks, are the liberals projecting?

When liberals accuse conservatives of keeping scads of people from voting, are the liberals projecting?

When liberals accuse conservatives of pandering to big business, are liberals projecting?

When liberals accuse conservatives of opposing education because we favor diversity and parental involvement via homeschooling and vouchers, are liberals projecting!

I dream of a country where people are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today! I dream of a country which overwhelmingly worships a personally generous libertarian named Jesus (of Nazareth). I have a dream today!

To Clay Bennettt cartoon 15 May:. ml

The Tea Party has hijacked how many airplanes to murder thousands of innocent people? Zero, flat absolute zero.

Obviously most Muslims have also not attempted murder, but a few have: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leila_Khaled
And: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_attack#Female_suicide_bombers

Facing facts and racism are two different things. (By the way, is “Just Busted” racist–and sexist–if it puts pretty white girls on its cover out of proportion to their number in the total busted population?) Few Muslims are terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslim, so a bit of a focus on Muslims makes perfect sense.

Comparing Mohammed to Jesus Christ shows why Tea-ites are safer than Sheites. Mohammed, to rob a caravan, started a war during a month in which Arabian pagan neighbors kept the peace. He fought other wars, some of them defensive. He ordered executions (racist against Jews?) When he died, he simply died, and stayed dead.

Jesus rose from the dead, showing God’s power at work in him; he (pardon the theology, but it’s true) “died for our sins,” showing God’s love for God’s enemies turning them into God’s friends; He is God in human flesh; he ordered not just “mercy” but love for enemies and forgiveness of sins; he was conceived in Mary’s womb by a miracle of the Holy Ghost without a man’s help, again showing God’s power…and he didn’t order any executions, murders, or wars while He was here, so that some Christians are pacifists, and those of us who think executions and just wars can be OK Christian behavior like to insist on justice in such cases. (C. S. Lewis has an obscure little essay on Pacifism and Chivalry, anti-militarism and strict self-control.)

No Christian is as good as he, but He influences even cultures, not just actual individual Christians. Would you rather live in Christendom or in a mostly Muslim country? Would anyone here move to Saudi Arabia if the Tea Party wins the next two elections? Clay?

There may be better ways than the TSA uses. I don’t think El Al, the Israeli airline, has suffered a hijacking since A.D. 1968.

To Yahoo sports 7 May re Tim Tebow:

Yeah, he’s given more proof he can do the job in the right situation than most QBs, and almost all backup QBs, have given. And yeah, he’s the guy you’d want courting your sister, or taking your crippled brother to a game. The difficulty, I think, is he plays differently from most NFL QBs–different strengths and weaknesses–so he’s not just a guy you can plug into your offense. You’d have to change the offense to use what he can do and work around what he has trouble with. Denver did this, and got more out of him than most people expected. Jets hardly tried. So he’s a bigger investment than his salary. And teams so bad they have nothing to lose (Raiders?) may not have the tools he’d need to get the job done? Teams so strong they have room for a different quarterback may not think they need one? If I were running an NFL team looking at him as a backup, I’d want at least the offensive staff and offensive players to be ready with work with the Tebow alternative to NFL routine–defense and special teams should also bear him in mind. (And if looking at him as an RB/TE/kick returner, ya gotta bear in mind he just might have to step in at QB.) At least some great coaches work their personnel, not just their system, so he might well be worth a try. I like what I read of him, but I can’t blame teams for facing up to what it’d probably cost to use what he offers.

JJJjjjjjjjjjjj
To Bennett 7 May

So, alprova, if the jury convicts Gosnell and asks for the death penalty, will that be your opinion? If not, were you really waiting for the jury?

And what about O.J. Simpson? A criminal jury found him not guilty of murdering his wife, and a civil jury found that he had indeed killed her. (The civil jury was correct.) Your opinion, o jury of one? (Comedian Mark Russell on the John Hinkley verdict: “This just in: all 12 jurors in the John Hinckley case have just pleaded insanity.”)

While we’re ignoring the cartoon, I’m for juries, for a chance to be judged not just by the establishment but by my peers, but two problems to fix. (1) The problem of relevant evidence being suppressed, which amounts to telling lies to juries. [Were the policemen who went to O.J.’s house really just making a courtesy call to tell him his wife was dead, or did they suspect he’d killed her? Yet couldn’t they, these days, have gotten a search warrant from a night judge via phone and fax?] If worthwhile evidence was dubiously obtained, this should not deny justice to the victims of a crime, and does not deny it to the actually guilty person convicted on such evidence, who may have a right to a lesser sentence or even some compensation. An innocent person more likely deserves compensation–e.g. for damages from a search that found nothing–and people who plant evidence or lie (or fail to reveal major evidence?) while seeking a conviction should be punished as if they themselves had committed the crime of which they accuse another. Al Sharpton and Tawana Brawley should be treated as rapists.

(2) A defendant should have free speech to tell the jury anything he wants, and the prosecution to rebut. Did Bernard Goetz get the chance to tell his jury New York gun controls were unconstitutional and he obviously needed his illegal gun against four men with sharpened screwdrivers? Will people this fall be allowed to ask juries to let them go on the grounds that O’Romneycare is unconstitutional, for the Constitution does not let Congress make laws about health/health care/health insurance, and that forcing healthy people to pay sick people to be sick is stupid policy? (Make the jury listen for an hour, then ask if they want more. A man who starts reading the whole Encyclopedia Britannica to the jury deserves what’s coming to him.)

2nd post to same:

Back to the cartoon, even though not everyone makes ignoring cartoons as easy as artist Bennett does. (His wife, I gather, is a capable artiste.) Asay and Henry Payne and even Bruce Plante draw better and use better logic in their cartoons, to name just three.

Any Bible reader knows abstinence has its difficulties, and fornication its attractions. The trouble with the morning-after pill is not just that its use is a human choice to kill babies, bad enough as that is.

The trouble with the morning-after pill is the afternoon before. Sex can be so much fun that the impulse for it easily gets out of hand. (Or not. After one rape in the Bible, the rapist wanted to marry his victim. Her brothers killed him anyway. After another rape, the rapist “hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her.” One of her brothers had him killed too.) So why give the sex impulse a license which we deny to such impulses as to murder Mr Bennett or to steal his car? Surely it needs control; surely Mr Bennett has had to steer himself in the direction of abstinence a time or two.

So remember that if someone who wants sex with you does not want to first make arrangements to take care of you and receive your care as long as you both shall live, s/he is offering you less than you are worth, and asking less than you have to give. Be a promise, not a biology experiment.

And, yeah, remember that fornication is sin, forgiveable if sinners repent like any other sin, but something God sees and dislikes: He made Adam a wife, not a floozie.

And remember your parents gave you a chance: you owe a baby a chance. “Dan Quayle was right:” babies inside marriage tend to do better than those that used to called, as a technical term, “bastards.” A shaky chance is better than none–Jesus and Beethoven would’ve been prime abortion-after candidates–so if someone wants the chance to risk making babies with you, make them take precautions first: get married.

(And marriage is more than a sex license for two. Before you get married, glance through the book “Date or Soul Mate?” with your love interest and see if you’re heading for trouble you’d want to avoid. Better stay out of the canoe if Niagara Falls is half a mile downstream; better to break up as friends who draw a line than as enemies who used to be friends but now have things to fight over.)

Love in Christ Jesus, from Andrew

To Paul Krugman 6 May

When Newt Gingrich was in power, deficit became balanced budget. When Nancy Pelosi was in, both deficit and unemployment exploded. (Keynes is in Hell.) No Demo Congress has balanced a budget in 40 years. Since the Tea Party came in, the deficit has been inching down and the economy inching up. FDR’s stimulus totally failed: the depression went on and on. Warren Harding ignored a depression and it went away. Harry Truman cut federal spending by about half at the end of WWII with little ill effect. Correcting the redline ratio paper shows that debt above 90% of GDP slows growth from 3% to 2% per year, a 30% reduction in growth (look it up to make the numbers more precise; that’s about right); not as bad as the first draft, but still terrible. Could Reagan get spending cuts, or Bush Jr get limits on Freddie & Fanny, through the Democrats in Congress?

Yeah, the GOP is about as guilty of crony “capitalism” as the Democrats, but I was glad to hear Justin Amash and Mike Lee at the D.C. Tea Party rally April 15 denounce this. Rep Amash said big corporations ask for regulations that’ll make business harder for their smaller competitors. Anything against that, Dr Krugman? The Institute for Justice strikes down such regulations. Have you given IJ a donation lately?

To cut spending, subject it to some kind of market: let taxpayers choose, on a new form, whether to keep their money or let D. C. spend it. I bet Big Bird gets the ax if we get to keep even 5% of the dough.

To Pam Sohn 5 May

Since you have no tolerance for racism or classism, and blacks and poor people live shorter lives on average than whites and white collars, tomorrow you will denounce Social Security as racist and classist, since its one-size-fits all nature gives richer whites longer better-paid retirements. Right? Public education faces similar criticism: so use vouchers to give poor people, as well as rich people, choice of education for their children, and choice of retirement.

Observe that the business sector fills many niches: Ford people, GM people, Toyota people, VW people, and even the radical Hyundai extremists, can get what they want at the same time. But the tax-paid sector makes for winners and losers. So shrink the tax sector and enlarge the business sector. The business sector also offers instant accountability: if I don’t like McDonalds, I go with my money to Burger King the next day, not the next election.

Welcome. May you do better than expected.

To David Cook col 1 May

Accountable? Simply divide ALL the education money among all the students for whatever schooling they choose: home, private, public, college, out-of-state…even park the money in an education/retirement/MSA fund and go get a job. Then if parents decide a school isn’t getting the job done, they move their child and their money somewhere else. Instant accountability.

It keeps restaurants improving, because they have to keep their customers happy. Public schools aren’t on that short a leash, so they keep costing more without doing better.

Maybe let parents do whatever testing they want? Send home a catalog of tests at the beginning of the year, and let parents do whatever testing and whatever reporting of results they want. With 900,000 students in Tennessee, the market will demand and supply tests for this purpose.

To Bennett cartoon 2 May

Justice requires (1) that people who didn’t do it get a chance to say so and prove so, or at least claim the evidence fails to prove they did it.

Justice requires spending $250,000 or more to build a soccer field for the detainees. No it doesn’t, tho we did.

Justice requires (2) that people who had a legal right to do it get a chance to say so and prove it. George Zimmerman can claim, perhaps, that a football player was beating his head on the ground and he shot in self-defense.

Justice requires that guys we got with some help from waterboarding be turned loose because the evidence is tainted. No it doesn’t. Can our President raise bin Laden from the dead, or is that above Mr Obama’s pay grade? If a guy is guilty, let the waterboarding reduce his sentence. (We’ll execute him as humanely as possible–make him breathe pure nitrogen?) If innocent, let him waterboard his waterboarders or accept compensation from them, or perhaps even forgive them–there are Christian precedents.

Justice requires (3) that people who did it without an exact legal right can claim it was the right thing to do under the circumstances, and try to prove that.

Justice requires that people who did it get off if they blame someone else. No it doesn’t. Joblessness and deficits both increased under President Obama, but this is President Bush’s fault? No, Obama should have seen they were bad enough already.

Justice requires (4) that defendants who have something to say for themselves get a chance to say it, and the prosecution a chance to rebut. Maybe some terrorist becomes a Christian and, by way of repenting from murderous sins, gives useful information that saves lives or convicts other murderers. Adjust his sentence accordingly.

So set up tribunals to process these guys at Gitmo, or at least take a clear look at each case and say what they deserve and what prevention of murder requires. (We’ll turn you loose–with permanent implanted webcam?) Some might be innocent, some might be safe in looser confinement, some may need to stay locked up (and why not at Gitmo?), some may need to be executed (see if hanging with pork stuffed in their mouths would deter Muslims? Some say it worked for Pershing against Muslim terrorists in the Philippines a century ago).

Analog Science Fiction suggested execution by nitrogen inhalation. Dr Roberta Binkley’s Ancient Rhetoric class at UTC listed the 1-4 justice requires (I may misremember 4).

To Clay Bennett cartoon, timesfreepress.com, 1 May:

How much have you personally given to victims of the sequester?

Was your gift accepted? President Obama wouldn’t let Sean Hannity pay for White House tours.

Private-sector GDP and government spending move in the opposite direction about 70% of the time, so to grow the economy, shrink the government, says politicsdebunked.com:

http://www.politicsdebunked.com/article-list/spendingpattern

Similar point made here (I found politicsdebunked.com in the comments to this article):

http://www.aei-ideas.org/2013/04/the-austerity-chart-paul-krugman-doesnt-want-you-to-see/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=042913

To Washington Post, Gerson, 30 April

Solutions here. (1) Gasoline and washcloth prices are up 50% under Obama, the current face of leftism. To block inflation, legalize using gold, silver, and foreign currencies as easily as dollars in all transactions. Competition will keep the Fed honest with its paper money.
(2) To keep Social Security from going broke, raise the retirement age by 1 month every three months until as much money is coming in as is going out.
(3) Health, health care, and health insurance are three different things. When insurance pays for bad health choices, care costs rise as healthy people pay sick people for choosing what causes sickness. Let insurance charge according to risk and offer varied coverages. Let people keep some of what they save: medical savings accounts, big deductibles…I think my sister got paid something for having babies at home instead of in hospital. Good.
(4) In education, offer spending-cut scholarships: pay students who leave public schools half of what they save the systems (e.g. $5000 if school costs $10,000), and let the school they leave keep the rest of the money. Other big programs might also offer such vouchers (SS, Medicaid…) A smaller voucher I can spend myself may be worth more to me than a big program.
(5) Get rid of, or rein in, regulations that keep the poor from earning more as producers and spending less as consumers. Endorse the Institute for Justice agenda: unleash shoshiners, hairdressers, taxi drivers…I hear tell D.C. wants to require tour guides to get licenses, despite free speech. Instead, require that board to go get real jobs.
Jesus Christ is libertarian, I like to say.

To Paul Krugman 29 Apr, NY Times

“the depression we’re in”? Not a recession that ended four years ago when the stimulus kicked in, the stimulus that–talk about predictions–was supposed to keep unemployment below 8% rather than kick it above 8% as actually happened? I notice your column says nothing at all about any good the stimulus did. Jobs at $400,000 each, guaranteed eternal like Solyndra?

Recoveries this slow are “rare;” Pelosi/Obama is rivalling Hoover/FDR.

Will you specify some spending cuts and when they begin? I hear tell we have about 10 years before aging demographics overwhelm Social Security and Medicare; 10 years to put our fiscal house in order. You want us not to use the 1st of those ten years; to waste 10% of those ten years. Hint: smaller vouchers we can spend as we please may be worth more to us, and cost less, than bigger programs for retirement, health, and education. The Aussies’ Department of Aborigines used to cost $1600+ per abo’, of which the average abo’ got $97.

Greece (well, Macedon) used to be the only superpower.

Gasoline and washcloths have gone up 50% in 5 years; I’m less sure than you there’s no inflation. (Technical economic arguments can also be made). Block inflation by making dollars compete with gold, silver, and foreign currencies on a level playing field. I don’t drive a Fiat; make Bernanke share the road.

What D.C. taxes, the taxees cannot spend; what it borrows, others cannot, Moving money from one pocket to another cannot enrich us.

To Bennett cartoon 28 Apr

And there’s a memorial for the 50,000,000+ US babies murdered for the convenience of grownups.

In rating Presidents, I rated President George W. Bush a “near failure” at http://voices.yahoo.com/ranking-presidents-usa-7505256.html.

But for an article comparing Presidents Bush and Obama and making clear that there’s something to be said for Mr Bush in this regard, hit http://www.nationalreview.com/article/346355/reading-bush-years.

Unlike hate-filled narrow-minded liberals, we conservatives and fundamentalists know the people we disagree with are fellow humans mostly not devoid of good qualities, mostly able to notice points worth noticing, almost all able, by God’s grace, to repent rather than perish. (Calvinism adds levels of understanding but this level is true for what it is.) “I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken”–Saint Oliver Cromwell the Great.

To Chatt Times, 25 Apr

Does the Times collect and remit sales taxes from subscriptions outside Tennessee? Do you look forward to doing so? Or maybe for internet sales thereof, but not snail-mail sales??

Keep it simple. Let a business pay sales tax to its own state for all sales: one tax, not 50 or so plus local complications. When I buy in Georgia, I pay GA sales tax, and the merchant doesn’t have to collect or remit Tennessee sales tax. Amazon wants to discourage competition; US Rep Justin Amash said big businesses deliberately ask Congress for such regulations. Down with such crony “capitalism,” govt in bed with big biz.

To Bennett cartoon, 25 Apr:

And why does Mr Bennett hate people who like production and balanced budgets? Wake up and drink your tea!

I’ve lived in Pakistan before A.D. 1979. They make good tea (chai.) They declared Ahmaddiyyas a non-Muslim minority, showing less than love toward a non-threat (hatred of the less powerful, not just the more powerful). They routinely and perfunctorily showed less than love toward Israel, at a distance, and toward India, a more powerful neighbor. Their attitude toward the US had ups and downs.

Why? Contrast Mohammed with Jesus. Mohammed had his nice moments–they say he cut off his sleeve on which a cat was sleeping so he could go to prayers without disturbing the cat–but he did make wars and order executions, and Muslims don’t ascribe miracles of healing to him. Jesus did heal people, showing compassion and power in ways Mohammed did not. Jesus Christ taught radical love, and showed it at His own expense “in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). So following Jesus brings love and compassion to the fore in a way lacking to Islam and atheism. Even if (as I believe) executions and just wars and politics can fall within the scope and approval of Jesus the King of kings, they weren’t on His to-do list the way they were on Mohammed’s; they’re not what He was about, just as health rather than surgery is the aim of medicine yet surgery has its place. Also, since Mohammed stayed dead but Jesus rose up alive, trusting God rather than reacting to situations can be more part of Christianity. So follow Jesus, the Prince of peace.

To Charles Blow, NY TImes, 11 Apr:

Granted that some GOP politicians have not just freed the slaves, which they did, and gotten civil rights through, which they did along with civil rights Democrats, but also played racial games for political games, aren’t you also playing political games at the expense of serious consideration of some issues?

Surely Rand Paul deserves some credit for loving his enemies, reaching out to a group 95% of which didn’t vote for his own group. Does that 95% show openmindedness? Does it even put pressure on Democrats to do what such a solid bloc wants?

Whatever the exact details and whatever the politics, didn’t Newt Gingrich have a point about a real problem? For awhile between slaver and the welfare state, black two-parent working familes dominated the scene. Not now.

Has our President, ah, kept his word about no new taxes for those making under $250,000 a year? About keeping existing health insurance plans if we like them? About the stimulus bill keeping joblessness under 8%, and down to 6% by now? Does he fly his corporate jet to golf outings?

Is crime, and especially black-on-black crime, a problem?

Did Louisiana respond to Katrina by electing a GOP governor?

Is it racist to criticize Ben Carson, Herman Cain and Clarence Thomas? I see one of your commenters, a white man, calls Justice Thomas a “glorified caddy.”

Doug Wilson said getting beyond race requires getting around the table, saying your piece (however hurtful), listening to others, and not leaving.

To FP opinions, 11 Apr:

Crime may be low but terrorizing evildoers is the government’s business (Romans 13), so try to get it lower. Fast sure sentences for minor offenses works in New York (Ecclesiastes 8:11).

One way the city can lead the country with an innovation would be let city taxpayers keep their share of what’s being spent on things the city need not do. Add a page to the property tax bill listing things we might rather keep our money than pay for (and can give more for if we wish.)Take public art, across the page, for example:

$265,000 a year for 160,000 people. say $1.65 apiece. My city tax bill was around $300. My wife and I have two kids plus four half-kids (custody shared), count as two more for us and two for the other parent, total six people in this household. We’ll take our $1.65 x 6 = 9.90, please. Seriously, lots of things the city does could be put on an optional basis this way–golf courses, hotels…so newcanuck can chip in his extra bit, if he wants, and those of us who’d rather spend our art money on used books and 39-cent videotapes at America’s Thrift Store can do that.

To Robin Smith, TFP, 8 Apr

easy, if Jesus Christ rose from the dead, he knew something Einstein didn’t. (And vice versa, if you wish.) Christian miracles do happen; my wife and her mother have experienced them. (Flimflam also happens, or do you doubt the Bible where it says “all have sinned”? A COGIC preacher’s daughter told me her dad roared with laughter watching Steve Martins’s “Leap of Faith,” knowing men who use those tricks.)

The marriage penalty is monogaphobic bigotry, right?

So: is there a God whom Jesus reveals? Yes. Should we consult His views of right and wrong? Yes. Did He create Steve to deal with Adam’s loneliness? No. Did He create a floozie? No, a wife. Does He love sinners? “God show His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Does He tolerate sins? “Go and sin no more.” “God now orders all men everywhere to repent.” Have the churches preached repentance as Jesus ordered them to (Luke 24)? No, they’ve emphasized the forgiveness of sins without making clear what sins are and how important it is to repent from them; so the good news that Hell is optional has been watered down into vapidity.

To Kathy Lopez, Nationl Review, 3 Apr

Probably two thirds of Americans use birth control, and most of those who don’t are children who don’t pay taxes, and old people who don’t pay much. Maybe 20 million??? avoid them on conscience. (All those figures are guesses.) If contraceptives cost $9/month, taxes on those 20 million can bring that down by $1/month or so? Are the HHS rules worth it for that?

(I, Wendy’s husband Andrew, am an adjective catholic [not trademark Catholic], and we use birth control–badly, two babies in five years:) –but this loathsome paternalistic tyranny breaches the contract of America, which is to preserve the blessings of liberty. Pray for tyrants: Psalm 58 [“Do you indeed speak righteousness…?”])

To Jennifer Rubin, Wash Post, 3 Apr (or so)

Romney’s GOP opposition was lackluster and divided, but because of O’Romneycare (which has increased the wait to see a doctor in Mass from 33 to 55 days), his signature political accomplishment, Romney had trouble closing the GOP deal–never did with me and many–and couldn’t run as a governor, not that he was more than mediocre there anyway. He didn’t make his tent big enough for Gingrich and Santorum supporters annoyed by his friends’ distortions about them, nor for Ron Paul supporters annoyed by bullying and stealing at the convention. With that support he might have won in November. It may be hard to show that conservatism benefits 51% of voters in the short run and 99% in the long run, but that’s the way to go. Ted Cruz, maybe? Those who depend on government (on taxpayers) need something sustainable and sufficient, and the party of Jefferson Davis is defending the problem against any kind of solution. Those who want to produce need simple taxes and regulations, so replace loopholes with lower flat levels, like Social Security taxes. Endorse the Institute for Justice agenda. Empower people by letting them opt out of big programs and take smaller, but self-controlled, vouchers: education, health insurance, retirement…Empower people by letting us vote ourselves tax rebates paid for by spending cuts which we vote for on a new tax form: cut foreign aid by $12 billion and give every American $4 (10% of the savings).

To TFP Bennett cartoon 31 Mar ’13 (I trimmed this version a bit for the paper’s website)

“Roe” herself has joined the pro-lifers. Join her with us. If facing a problem pregnancy, call “Choices” at 267-7943, and see if the pro-lifers will listen and try to help.

“Roe” had lied about having been raped. Her female lawyers, instead of getting themselves pregnant and suing for the right to kill their babies at will, shoved “Roe” forward for a test case. The pro-abortion movement claimed thousands of U.S. women were dying annually from coathanger-quality abortions; that claim is false. They claim modern abortuaries offer high quality treatment, yet throw dismembered babies in dumpsters. The Chattanooga abortuary killed at least one of its customers, and prolifers claim abortion deaths are underreported. And do feminists applaud the “choice” that has killed tens of millions of baby girls for being girls rather than boys, especially in China and India?

But facts such as the above tie in with, or are thrown out by, theories. Today we celebrate the resurrection from the dead of an abortion candidate whose parents were poor and unwed (they offered the Jewish sacrifice prescribed for poor people), who described himself as homeless (birds have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head), and who was executed by the only superpower of that time, whose syringes must have been out of drugs that day–they nailed him to a cross, where it took him a few hours to die. Ouch. As you hold a well-deserved pity party for yourself, consider what he endured because he loves us–that’s the Christian theory, whatever varieties of it different saints hold. (What different varieties notice tends to be worth noticing. When we get so satisfied with what WE notice that we ignore or deny what others have noticed, our pride hobbles us.)

And he didn’t stay dead; check out the evidence. (I suppose “The Resurrection of the Son of God” by N. T. Wright is the most thorough treatment, if you can read 800-page books). Let Easter remind you that Jesus’ power as well as his love are unique claims. Did atheists Marx or Rand die for our sins and rise up alive on the third day? Did Mohammed or Buddha or Joseph Smith love us that much or show God’s power at work that way? Nobody even says so. But we Christians rest on Jesus, on Jesus as described by these claims, and since this is true about Jesus it is safe to ignore Marx, Mohammed, Buddha & co, but dangerous to ignore Jesus who said “No man comes to [God] the Father except by Me.” Whoever denies the Son, the same has not the Father. I’ve mentioned the four main options–Jesus, Islam, Atheism, and Buddhism/Hinduism. There’s no way to avoid believing something, no way to avoid placing all your chips on one bet. Choose with care.

And since the only superpower de jour executed Jesus but God raised Him from the dead, God outranks the only superpower, and followers of God had better consider whether God favors everything currently fashionable. Fornication? Killing babies? Boasting of kindness for giving away other peoples’ money? I have my doubts.

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