May 19, 2016

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse Urges Disloyalty

Sasse: Proudly Disloyal!
In an open letter, Republican Senator Ben Sasse, the leader of the anti-Trump Republicans, offers what are, to date, the best arguments for Christians to hand the Presidency to Hillary rather than support the presumptive GOP nominee. I sought the letter out in pursuit of Christian political ideas because his open-borders ally, Russell Moore, trumpets him as someone who "knows the Bible and theology" and "has more integrity and intellect than 99% of Washington politicians put together."  I found his arguments to be an improvement over Moore's racially charged white-American-sinners-in-the-hands-of-an-angry-"dark-skinned-foreigner" [Moore's words] denunciations and unconvincing Mayberry-as-bad-as-Gomorrah equivalences.

Rather than following Moore's demonization of the past and rhetoric of oikophobia, Sasse acknowledges that America has lost something critical: "While I recognize that we disagree about how to make America great again, we agree that this should be our goal." But he charts out a politics of rationalistic disloyalty, (we owe no loyalty to Americans with whom we associate, only to the truth claims of the Constitution), which though immoral is better than Moore's in that it doesn't play pit-a-pat with heresy out of political pique.

Here is Sasse on political parties, introducing his politics of disloyalty:
Now, let’s talk about political parties: parties are just tools to enact the things that we believe. Political parties are not families; they are not religions; they are not nations – they are often not even on the level of sports loyalties. They are just tools. I was not born Republican. I chose this party, for as long as it is useful.
This is a convenient view for a man who wants to break ranks with his party, but it is false. Political parties are associations of people. Christians don't believe that associations of people are tools to be used just as long as useful to me. Associations are ways of relating to people and being in relation with them. Christians relate to people with love and love requires faithfulness and loyalty.

May 12, 2016

Russell Moore Criticizes White Evangelicals in NYT

Moore Addresses the "White Church"
We need to pray now for Christian leaders in the political world, especially Russell Moore, who has done so much public good. He is staggering in this tumultuous political time under the heavy responsibility of representing Southern Baptists politically as the President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, which is the SBC's "moral and public policy agency." Of course, every Christian is a "moral and public" agent for Christ, but Moore has to address moral-and-public policy, i.e., to make recommendations about what the Gospel means for law and politics. Besides proposing many policies uncontroversial for Christians, Moore has taken up the difficult issue of what the Gospel requires for immigration policy. (He wants far more open immigration policies.) Given the factually controversial and politically divisive policy debates in the U.S. today, it is difficult to speak to issues like this in a way that clearly derives from the Gospel and Christian love, rather than appearing to arise from personal factual judgments and partisan positioning.

It's also easy to make a statement that is misinterpreted. For example, Moore's predecessor, Richard Land, was demonized for denouncing what he considered to be racially divisive rhetoric, condemning efforts to influence the last Presidential election by "racial demagogues." He condemned the efforts of a Presidential candidate to "gin up" votes by failing to repudiate "racialist" rhetoric by his supporters: "it's disgusting and it should stop." But others disagreed with his factual analysis of the situation, concluding that these ethnic appeals were responses to real injustices and not racialism. Land's remarks themselves were deemed "hurtful, irresponsible, insensitive, and racially charged words,"  Land was fired.  

Now Moore has got himself into similar trouble with racially charged language, though I'm sure he won't be fired. Where Land criticized African-Americans activists like the Reverends Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan, Moore picked a target less likely to punch back, white evangelicals, with an New York Times editorial entitled “A White Church No More.”, which he characterized as "about why American evangelicals must repudiate nativist rhetoric and a 'white church' mentality."

Like Land, he simply sought to chastise what he regarded as racial demagoguery by a presidential candidate's supporters: "not-so-coded messages denouncing African-Americans and immigrants." Like Land, he considers a presidential candidate, Trump, to be attempting to "gin up" votes by appealing to "racism" over immigration. He specifically targeted white evangelicals, some of whom have agreed with Trump's claims that immigration is hurting Americans and have failed to repudiate his rhetoric: "That sort of moral silence shortchanges both our gospel and our future." But as with Land, some people consider that Moore is not targeting racial demagoguery but ignoring the expression of valid concerns of evangelicals and others about immigration. 

(more below)

May 3, 2016

Yale Honors Theocratic Mass-Immigration Opponent

Yale University's decision to name a new residential college after Benjamin Franklin is more controversial than it seems. (Almost all the controversy has centered on the decision to retain the name of Calhoun college.)

Franklin was, by modern standards, a theocratic radical who denied the adequacy of human reason without divine illumination to solve practical political problems. He also attributed America's military success to praying to God and argued for prayer in public assemblies, as one can see in his motion in the Constitutional Convention defeated by Broadway-Hit Hamilton:
The small progress we have made after 4 or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other ... is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. ...
In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings?
In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.- Our prayers, Sir, were heard, & they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor.
And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that "except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages.
If students are looking for more reasons to be outraged, one of Franklin's most famous essays, Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, etc., acknowledged as an important work by men like Adam Smith and David Hume, criticizes mass immigration. Franklin argued that vast numbers of immigrants would alter the language and political mores, are only required in countries where bad marriage laws discourage indigenous reproduction and organic increase, and runs contrary to the natural preference of people to associate with those of their own kind. It is interesting in light of how wildly objectionable these views are today that Yale's President Peter Salovey has promised, trying to appease protesters over Calhoun, to increase the number and funding of centers where non-white students can associate together. Apparently, Salovey thinks there is something to some birds of a feather flocking together.

Franklin aside, Yale has been praised for naming its other new residential college after, I kid you not, a "saint" of the Episcopal Church in America, Anna Pauline Murray, who while unknown to the public is a perfect storm of leftist symbolism: an African-American, homosexual woman with an impeccable record of Ford-Foundation-funded feminist, pro-abortion, civil-rights and labor activism. According to the Yale Daily News, more than half of students surveyed said they believed that "the [Yale] Corporation sought to 'check all the boxes' by choosing Murray given her race, gender and sexuality." That doesn't seem unlikely.

Apr 27, 2016

Worse than Infidels: Christian Aspirational Aping Of Elite Oikophobia As Apostasy

Love in the Oikos:
The First Practice of Christian Religion: to Reject the Oikos is Apostasy.
The habitual rite of the Human-Rights Religion worships it's own god in place of God. It's god is also praised as "love": the love that leaps over one's own for others -- neglecting one's own family, nation, church, neighbors, friends -- love only outside one's own "oikos."

Do not join this anti-oikic apostasy for it worships a deformed god of deformed love with a deformed gospel:
"we can have a family of man if only we will pay no special regard to our own families." "we can have perfect limitless love if only we will eradicate all particular local loves." "we can have the perfect nation by ignoring our own, negating our nation."
The god whom they worship is no father and offers to save mankind without a son because it does not inspirate all relationships; it destroys local relationships rather than growing larger loves from within them. And, this god itself does not offer any special relationship, only commands that we do not form a special relationship with any god, any family, any nation. All gods, all families, all religions, all nations, all are to be treated by you equally; that is, equally abolished as an object of special duty, equalized into the homogeneous whole. The yoke is light; give up special labors for one's own; stop prioritizing one's own over another. In return, individual rights.

"Oikos" is the Greek term used in Scripture to mean several related things. By expanding metonymy, it signifies a house, a household, a family, like the blood line of David, or an ethnic nation, like Israel. Paul, for example, speaks of practical love for kin and family in terms of care for oikos and failure of oikophilia (practical love of family) as apostasy (faith denial):
1Ti 5:8 If any one does not provide for his own, and especially for his own family [oikos], he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Paul says neglect of the oikos is Christian apostasy, rejection of one's faith, and leaves one worse than one who does not believe.