Category : Politics in General

(WSJ) Peggy Noonan–Rage Is All the Rage, and It’s Dangerous

What we are living through in America is not only a division but a great estrangement. It is between those who support Donald Trump and those who despise him, between left and right, between the two parties, and even to some degree between the bases of those parties and their leaders in Washington. It is between the religious and those who laugh at Your Make Believe Friend, between cultural progressives and those who wish not to have progressive ways imposed upon them. It is between the coasts and the center, between those in flyover country and those who decide what flyover will watch on television next season. It is between “I accept the court’s decision” and “Bake my cake.” We look down on each other, fear each other, increasingly hate each other.

Oh, to have a unifying figure, program or party.

But we don’t, nor is there any immediate prospect. So, as Ben Franklin said, we’ll have to hang together or we’ll surely hang separately. To hang together—to continue as a country—at the very least we have to lower the political temperature. It’s on all of us more than ever to assume good faith, put our views forward with respect, even charity, and refuse to incite.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General

(PD) Ismail Royer–Bernie Sander’s Relativism Test Is Bad for Muslims and All Religious Believers

Thus, any Muslim unwilling to repudiate the belief that Islam is objectively true and that other religions are, at least in critical respects, objectively false, would be unqualified to serve under Bernie’s relativism test.

It also follows that any Muslims objecting to Vought’s appointment must either admit they don’t believe Islam is objectively true, admit they’re employing a double standard, or drop their objection to the appointment. The corollary to this, of course, is that any non-Muslims objecting to a Muslim’s appointment to public office merely on the basis of his religious beliefs are in precisely the same position. As James Madison wrote, the No Religious Test Clause means “Jews Turks & infidels” are free to serve in government. So long as a Muslim candidate for public service is qualified for office, the fact that he or she is an unapologetic Muslim can be no grounds for objecting to the appointment. Anyone who says otherwise while opposing Bernie’s test must either admit his bad faith or repudiate the Constitution.

I am inclined to think that Bernie Sanders and his allies mean well in opposing Vought’s nomination. They want to protect the feelings of members of a religious minority that has come under fire from many quarters. That sentiment is admirable and appreciated, but misguided. Bernie needs to realize that Muslims in America are more adult, and have more confidence in themselves and in the truth of their faith, than one might imagine. More importantly, by bending the Constitution in the name of pluralism to require relativism from all holders of public office, the institution of such a test would constitute a loss for Muslims and all religious believers in the long run.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Philosophy, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Archbishop of York John Sentamu–Politics needs to find a place for religion

When Christians engage with politics their consciences are going to be bruised. They will be imbued with a vision of the Kingdom of God and at the same time will have to compromise, daily. It was Bismarck who first said “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable – the art of the next best.” To achieve anything worthwhile will often require settling for less than one’s ideals.

Cynics, and I include some media interrogators among them, choose to ignore this painful compromise; they posit only the stark, unrealistic and inhuman alternatives of perfection or hypocrisy. In fact, the word “hypocrite” entered the English language via the New Testament, where it was used by Jesus to excoriate those who laid down the law for others, while pretending personally to be virtuous. They were “play-acting”. That’s what the word means in Greek. It has nothing to do with failure: applied Christianity is for people who recognise their moral inadequacy and daily look for divine help to deal with it.

The pre-election hounding of Tim Farron was not acceptable. In interview after interview we were given the impression that his private views on gay sex were in the forefront of the Lib-Dem campaign. His tormentors should be ashamed of themselves. It is much to be regretted that he has now concluded that a leading role in politics is incompatible with his Christian faith.

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Sohrab Ahmari–(Current Political) Liberalism: Believers Need Not Apply

Soon after he took the party reins in 2015, Mr. Farron was asked whether, as a Christian, he considers homosexuality a sin. The Lib Dem leader gave the quintessential Christian reply: “We’re all sinners.” But it wasn’t enough. The question would resurface amid the election campaign this spring.

During a TV interview on April 18, he was pressed four times, and four times he demurred. Quiescence wasn’t enough.

Pressure mounted, and the next day Mr. Farron relented. No, he clarified in remarks at the House of Commons, homosexuality isn’t a sin. That still wasn’t enough. The latter-day Gletkins and Ivanovs needed to be sure that Mr. Farron believed this in his heart of hearts, not merely as a matter of public confession. If he didn’t think homosexuality a sin, asked a BBC interviewer a few days later, why had it taken him so long to say so? Mr. Farron was reduced to spouting gibberish.

Then the Guardian newspaper unearthed a 2007 interview, in which he had suggested that “abortion is wrong” but also cautioned Christian activists that an immediate outright ban would be impracticable. Confronted with his own words on the campaign trail, Mr. Farron pleaded that he’d never advocated abortion restrictions. It wasn’t enough.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(CT) The UK’s Highest-Ranking Evangelical Politician Steps Down

Amid mounting scrutiny over his evangelical faith, the head of the Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom resigned from his position and spoke out about the tension he faced as the political party’s leader.

Considered the first evangelical party leader in a century, Farron dodged questions during the recent campaign about whether he believed homosexuality was a sin despite his political stance in favor of same-sex marriage and equal rights. An evangelical amid Anglicans, he faced accusations of harboring conservative theology within the liberal party, even when he made his liberal views clear.

Still, the accusations bled into the general election—the party gained seats in Parliament but their vote share declined—and were enough to make a fellow party leader step down on Wednesday. Farron’s announcement came hours later.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(PR FactTank) Christians faced widespread harassment in 2015, but mostly in Christian-majority countries

Christians were harassed by governments or social groups in a total of 128 countries in 2015 – more countries than any other religious group, according to the report. But there also were 2.3 billion Christians in 2015, more than any other religious group. Large populations of Christians are present in all but a few parts of the world: Roughly two-thirds of the world’s countries, for example, have Christian majorities

By contrast, smaller religious groups may not have been harassed in as many countries simply because they are not present in as many countries. For instance, because of their dense concentration in a small number of countries, 99% of Jews and Hindus lived in nations where members of their groups were harassed. And despite being one of the most geographically dispersed religious groups, 97% of Muslims lived in countries where harassment of Muslims occurred in 2015. (By comparison, 78% of Christians lived in places where Christians were harassed.)

Due in part to the large number of Christian-majority countries, Christians were actually harassed mostly in Christian-majority countries.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(Daily Post) Buhari must overhaul his cabinet Bishop‎ Steven Akobe says

The Anglican Bishop of Kabba Diocese in Kogi State, Rt. Rev. Steven Kayode Akobe, has said President Muhammadu Buhari must overhaul his cabinet to get Nigeria out of recession.

He also said that driving the economy into recovery and growth should top the President’s agenda this year as Nigerians are dying of hunger.

The cleric gave the advice during the 8th Synod of the diocese at the St Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral, Kabba, with the title; “God is Looking for Disciples, Are You One?”

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Nigeria, Politics in General

UK General Eelection Results in a Hung Parliament but still a Tory Majority; Theresa May will nevertheless try to form a New Government

Posted in England / UK, Politics in General

(BBC) Buxton anti-slavery monument unveiled in Weymouth

A monument commemorating the life of a leading anti-slavery campaigner has been unveiled in a dedication ceremony in Dorset.
Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, an MP for Weymouth in the 1800s, was a driving force behind the abolition of slavery.
There are already memorials to him in London, Jamaica and Sierra Leone.
The £90,000 monument, carved by Weymouth College stonemasonry students, is the result of seven years of work by the Thomas Fowell Buxton Society.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations

(Local Paper) Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, other S.C. leaders pledge commitment to Paris Climate Agreement

In defiance of President Donald Trump’s announcement last week to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, local and state leaders across the country are pledging to carry out the goals of the international pact to fight climate change.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts signed the statement that supports ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina, and Elizabeth Davis, president of Furman University, are among the other names and entities from the Palmetto State that support the landmark agreement. The list is compiled at wearestillin.com.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology

(NR) David French–Evergreen State College Professors Turn On Their Colleague, Demand Censorship and Discipline

Over on the home page, Tiana Lowe tells the tale of the campus craziness at the Evergreen State College of Washington. I’d encourage you to read the entire piece, but the basics are just as absurd as we’ve come to expect. Radical activists wanted to turn the school’s traditional “Day of Absence” (a day where black students leave campus) into effectively a day of exclusion, demanding that white students and professors leave instead. Bret Weinstein, a progressive biology professor, wrote a polite and thoughtful letter objecting, and the response? Well, the response was insane. Here’s Tiana describing what happened next:

Within days, vitriolic student mobs took over Weinstein’s classroom, screaming at him, calling him a racist, and demanding his resignation. When videos of the mobs made it to YouTube, the protesters demanded that the videos be taken down. Rather than ignoring the disruption and demands of students — including “the immediate disarming of police services” and “mandatory sensitivity and cultural competency training for faculty, staff, administrators, and student employees” — Evergreen’s president, George Bridges, actively enabled them, excusing protesters from homework, instituting said mandatory sensitivity training for all college employees, creating a new equity center, and launching “an extensive forensic investigation” to “seek criminal charges” against whoever posted the videos to YouTube. While local police chief Stacy Brown told Weinstein to remain off campus as law enforcement could not guarantee his safety, Bridges lauded the protesters’ “passion and courage.”

 

Read it all, making sure to follow the links to the key additional documents.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Theology, Young Adults

Archbishop Justin Welby’s Thought for the Day from BBC Radio 4 this morning

We all want our life to count. A sense of it having been worthwhile. Not in terms of recognition but in terms of a contribution that makes a difference.
Yet in ourselves, in our communities, in our country and world we too often sense the forces of disruption and chaos that defeat the good we long to see.
For me as a Christian rather than this being hopeless it engages me with the God who makes all the difference.
What gives me inescapable hope is the trust, energy and vision that we believe God calls us to engage with for the sake of others.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Politics in General, Theology

Wednesday food for Thought–‘ the real greatness of a nation its true civilization is measured by the extent..of [its] obedience to the enenforceable’

…to my mind the real greatness of a nation its true civilization is measured by the extent of this land of Obedience to the Unenforceable. It measures the extent to which the nation trusts its citizens and its existence and area testify to the way they behave in response to that trust. Mere obedience to Law does not measure the greatness of a Nation. It can easily be obtained by a strong executive and most easily of all from a timorous people. Nor is the licence of behavior which so often accompanies the absence of Law and which is miscalled Liberty a proof of greatness. The true test is the extent to which the individuals composing the nation can be trusted to obey self-imposed law.”

–[Lord] John Fletcher Moulton, “Law and Manners” (Atlantic Monthly, July 1924) [Hat tip: BA]

Posted in Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer on June 6, 1944

“My Fellow Americans:

“Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

“And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

“Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
“They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest — until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

“For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.&

“Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

“And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

“Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

“Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

“And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

“And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment — let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

“With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace — a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

“Thy will be done, Almighty God.

“Amen.”

You can listen to the actual audio if you want here and today of all days is the day to do that. Also, there is more on background and another audio link there.–KSH.

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Military / Armed Forces, Office of the President, Spirituality/Prayer

(WSJ) Sohrab Ahmari–How Nationalism Can Solve the Crisis of Islam

Then again, the 19th-century marriage of liberalism and nationalism ended in a very ugly divorce in the first half of the 20th century. What about the dangers of reviving nationalism today? “There is no a priori guarantee that it could not devolve into something nasty,” Mr. Manent says. “But if we don’t propose a reasonable idea of the nation, we will end up with an unreasonable idea of the nation. Because simply: However weakened the idea of the nation, nations do not want to die.”

Then there is the example across the Atlantic. Like Tocqueville, Mr. Manent sees much to admire in the American experiment. Even as Europeans have sought to pool or even abandon their sovereignty, he says, “Americans remained very much attached to the idea of a people making its laws to protect itself.”

True, “this people was open to the world, since of course it was formed by immigration. But people came from all over the world, not to be human beings but to be citizens of the United States, which had a keen sense of its exceptionalism and unique character.” In the Second Amendment, the persistence of the death penalty, and the reluctance of U.S. courts to follow foreign precedents, Mr. Manent sees “not a proof of American barbarism” but of democratic vigor.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Europe, History, Islam, Politics in General, Religion & Culture