There’s some discomfort on the part of the more secular DC inhabitants both left and right with any pro-traditional values anything. Perhaps that’s why President Obama feels free to do this, as reported by Elizabeth Scalia:
There are questions as to whether HHS has authority to issue exemptions to Obamacare, although quite a few have been issued for reasons other than conscience. There appear to be no questions in the president’s mind, or in Secretary Sebelius’, that they have the authority to intrude on freedom of religion. With this ruling they insist that church-affiliated institutions either act against their own belief or so narrow the scope of their community service as to be removed from the public square; either way, the government is deliberately affecting the free exercise of religion. Considering some Catholic schools, hospitals and charities were serving their communities before the secular governments even thought to follow suit, that is a damnable, and damning, legacy for a president who once taught constitutional law.
If the culture war has seemed oblique to you or somehow irrelevant or perhaps a thing of the past, read Elizabeth’s post.
If you have wondered what Rick Perry was talking about and now, what Newt Gingrich has been decrying in Florida, read Elizabeth’s post.
If you give a crap at all about the idea of Freedom of Religion and the exercise of, even if you believe nothing, read Elizabeth’s post.
Ultimately, you serve a god–either the One who bestows inalienable rights or the state as run by the latest human flavor.
Unless you’re in the mood to serve Barack Obama and his grand vision, defend your rights to self-determination and worshiping in the way you see fit.
Bookworm calls the cultural divide a “gaping chasm”.
Hi Dear Readers!
I’m really excited to share a new venture with you. Over the weekend, Bill Dupray, Clyde Middleton and I rolled our blogging into one site called LibertyPundits.net. It’s a new kind of site which will include everything from politics to culture to religion to Tea Party news. Everything!
I hope you’ll follow my work over there. It’s going to be bigger and better than anything I could ever do alone. And I’ll highlight some posts in my Twitter feed–just to make it easier.
So, if you’re a blogger, I’d really appreciate a link to the site. We’re still working on our blogroll–it will be a very interesting way to do it. If you’re included, I think you’ll really like it.
Anyway, my website will now be a home where all my work will be fed through it. So, you’ll see the podcasts, posts and other content I create here, still, but it will look different once the site is redesigned.
The story of enslavement to freedom is inherent in the Judeo-Christian culture. During this week where emancipation–being freed from slave owners and ultimately our own limitations–is a central focus, it was fitting, then, for Iris Blue to join me. She spent months in “the hole” in a Harris County (Houston) jail. She suffered addiction to heroin. She fought wardens. And she did it all to herself, willfully, angrily and stubbornly. Her story is inspiring and I hope you’ll listen to it. We talk about child-rearing, the church, and who is Jesus?
In the second half, another, less successful religion is discussed: Global Warming. Charlie Martin, now the science editor at Pajamas Media discusses the latest happenings and the bitter clinging to a discarded belief.
A couple arguments surround the Brit discussion: One, should anyone be talking about Tiger’s relationship to God? Two, can Buddhism “save” Tiger like Christianity can save Tiger?
Charlie Martin and I both write pieces for Pajamas Media today talking about this issue. Here’s a bit of what I say:
There was a time when discussing one’s Christian faith may have been less controversial, but I don’t know. Even fifty years ago, there would have been a presumption that people would view Tiger Woods’ actions as immoral and a sign that he had some sort of emptiness in his life. Back in the day, such wanton infidelity was simply not spoken of publicly. It would be too shameful. Now the media spreads every sort of salacious detail of a celebrity’s life, and everyone is free to comment. Why should there not be a comment on his faith, too? We know that Tiger likes rough sex and sex without condoms and sex with porn stars and has super-human, possibly steroid-enhanced endurance. Should his spiritual beliefs be off-limits while his sexual exploits are fair game?
Discussion about either seems unseemly. Tiger’s sex life should be personal, and his relationship with God is even more intimate than that. His own careless actions made his sex life public. Does that free people to speculate about his spiritual life? It seems a personal relationship with Tiger would give a friend some cause to talk with him about God. A calling out like Hume’s seems destined to fail.
Then Charlie says:
Hume’s right that Buddhism doesn’t offer Tiger forgiveness from a deity or redemption. All Buddhism can do is remind him that he’s responsible for his actions and the consequences of those actions (the real meaning of karma) and remind him that his suffering now is one of those consequences. With that comes the recognition that you need to make amends to those you’ve hurt and try to remedy your behavior in the future.
Maybe that’s not as good as being forgiven and redeemed, but to me it seems a lot more productive.
To which I respond:
As to Brit’s theological assertion that Buddhism would not offer Woods the sort of redemption that a relationship with God and Jesus would offer, Buddhists like Charles Martin admit that Buddhism won’t give redemption or a relationship. The emphasis is on karma — what goes around comes around — and how Tiger is reaping the rewards of it.
In Christianity, the karmic notion is nothing new. Galatians 6:7 makes clear that God is not mocked and that we reap what we sow. The Christian philosopher C.S. Lewis noted a “Tao” of belief that most great religions share, and how this is centered around some version of the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do to you.
Charles implies that in Christianity, there is no attempt to “make amends,” while in Buddhism that is the core tenet. As for remedying faults, the Greek word metanoia — translated as “to repent” — means to change. It implies a before and after. A Christian demonstrates his change by actions. “By their fruits you shall know them.” (Matthew 7 is a good book to read about condemning and discernment and repentance.) It’s not repentance or forgiveness of sin. It’s both.
Please go read both of our full articles.
Also, Brit Hume on O’Reilly said something interesting last night. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, that just mentioning Christianity is inflammatory, that no one wants to hear it. Do you agree?
America faces a crossroads and most Americans know it. They know that the state invading every aspect of life from constipation to thermostat setting to TV type elevates the state over the individual. If God isn’t making the rules for America, god, in the form of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama, the Triune of I-Know-Better-Than-You-What-Is-Good-For-You will be making the rules. And boy, are they.
So, Americans can either buy the illusion–that the state will care for them. Or, Americans can recognize that no human power can adequately care for the mind, body, and spirit. And when the state does care for basic survival needs, it starves the mind and spirit needs as a result.
John Hawkins joins me to discuss this topic–oh, and health care, the shooting at Fort Hood and lots of other topics are woven in together.
So, Barack Obama has gotten religion. How convenient. And he’s gotten religion just in time to beat the bitter Bible-thumping, gun-clingers with it. Even better.
Bearing false witness? Breaking the 9th Commandment? So his opponents are sinners. I’m trying to imagine the separation-of-church-and-state freakout if George Bush had taken this approach to arguing for one of his policies.
According to the lede paragraph in the linked NYT article:
President Obama sought Wednesday to reframe the health care debate as “a core ethical and moral obligation,” imploring a coalition of religious leaders to help promote the plan to lower costs and expand insurance coverage for all Americans.
Strangely, the context of that quote — “a core ethical and moral obligation” — is missing from the body of the article. Was something cut? Was it too embarrassing? Too Bush-y? I have to go elsewhere:
First, bearing false witness is not the same as lying. Bearing false witness means witnessing against someone, knowing he is innocent, in order to harm him. In the Old Testament days, a false witness could get a person stoned. Is President Obama actually implying that those who disagree with his ideas are against him personally? Of course he is. Because to disagree ideologically is to besmirch his very existence.
Second, health care is a core moral obligation? Of the government? Now there’s the crux of the matter. See, a Christian has a duty to care for the weak, oppressed, widowed, orphaned, imprisoned, etc. But what President Obama is talking about is NOT Christian charity, he’s talking about forced taxation to redistribute to all who don’t have health care. That might mean the able-bodied and lazy, those who don’t care for their health, etc.
President Obama should steer clear of his religious talk. First, he doesn’t walk the talk as Ann points out. Second, he is talking about the state taking on the obligation of an individual’s religion which is a personal choice–whereas taxation is most definitely NOT a choice. Well, not much of one.
Roger Simon met Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and says, “I was in the presence of pure Evil.”
Roger’s analysis of coming face to face with evil is compelling. Please go read the whole thing. After you come back, I’ll have some thoughts that were triggered by his piece.
I met evil once. She was in the form of a patient. She made the hair on my neck stand and I felt physically ill/drained being around her. She is the first and only patient in eleven years who prompted me to ban her from ever setting foot in the practice again. There were other wacky and weak people. There were even unbalanced and in one or two cases, psychotic people. There’s been a stalker. But evil is a whole different kettle of fish and it’s a disgusting, oily, leaves-a-rancid-residue experience to interact with them.
When I met evil, I felt afraid.
Unlike Roger, I’ve never been atheist. I’ve had agnostic periods where my faith faltered, but God has influenced my life such that disbelief would be ungrateful and stupid, really. The school of hard knocks gave me some very direct answers. The answers have tended to be more mysterious than I expected and lead me on some paradoxical paths. God, it turns out, is nuanced.
Let’s face it. Being atheistic simplifies things. The world is what we experience and nothing more. The print we make on the earth begins at birth and ends at death. Bad people had bad life experiences which makes them do bad things. A better, kinder upbringing would make a better person who would do better things. And that’s mostly true, but sometimes it’s not.
An atheist doesn’t have to fiddle with good or evil. There’s just gradations of human. Some behavior is more helpful. Some behavior is less helpful. Iran’s leader, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mussolini, and even Hitler just consistently chose unhelpful behavior. A lot.
Acknowledging evil, though, complicates things, because that means there is also good. And we know this to be true. I’ve been in the presence of people who have a pureness of soul that’s difficult to describe. It’s just a relief to be around it. That’s why people love babies so much. They are so pure and sweet and good. It’s rarer to find in adults, but exists.
Roger asks why evil is allowed to exist. A friend and I discussed this recently. How, though, can free will exist without the possibility of choosing to do right and wrong? How can God know we believe if we’re guaranteed a simple, pain-free life just by being a believer? How will our faith be tested if every brush with evil leaves us unscathed? The ultimate evil, in my opinion, is death. From the loss of physical life, there is no redemption. Well, there is none without faith.
One more note. It is fashionable on the Left to label anyone who disagrees with politically correct ideology as evil. President Bush was called evil. There is a scripture that foretells of days when evil will be called good and good evil. To even imply that President Bush was evil is atrocious and diminishes true evil. I actually think that those on the Left have an easy time bandying about such terms because they don’t really believe in the concept of good and evil, but that know people on the Right do. So, calling President Bush evil is really about impugning believers–poking fun at their simple-mindedness.
But who is simple minded? Running away from the notion of evil lands a person in a place where engaging it is “rational”. Roger Simon asks incredulously, after meeting Ahmadinejad, “This was the guy that my president wanted to talk with?” Yes. Because evil doesn’t exist. Evil is the same sort of superstitious notion as ghosts and angels.
The evil count on this denial. The evil count on the weak and faithless to cower behind intellectualism and rational thought. Only those willing to name evil are willing to fight it.
Believing isn’t for sissies. It’s challenging, paradoxical and yes, nuanced. Does evil exist? Yes. Thankfully, so does Good.
Overweight people eat more than thin people and are more likely to travel by car, making excess body weight doubly bad for the environment, according to a study from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
“We need to be doing a lot more to reverse the global trend toward fatness, and recognize it as a key factor in the battle to reduce (carbon) emissions and slow climate change,” the British scientists said.
They estimated that each fat person is responsible for about one tonne of carbon dioxide emissions a year more on average than each thin person, adding up to an extra one billion tonnes of CO2 a year in a population of one billion overweight people.
Environmentalism is the new religion. And now, the amen pew will be shaming the gluttons. For being so open-minded the Left sure sounds like a bunch of old ladies at a prohibition meeting.
Well, self-love is all the rage. So why not substitute yourself in Jesus’ parables and not mention his name? From Dawn Eden:
And so it came to pass, beneath Gaston Hall’s beautiful painting of Morality, Faith, and Patriotism, with gold letters on the wall behind him spelling the Jesuit motto “Ad majorem Dei gloriam”—”To the greater glory of God”—Obama shared his prosperity gospel at the nation’s oldest Catholic university.
But there was one thing missing: Jesus’ name.
I’m not just talking about Obama’s failing to mention Jesus—though he did pointedly fail to mention the name of the One—that is, for him, the other “One”—who first told the “parable” he shared.
No, Jesus’ very name, in the form of the ancient monogram IHS, which had been in gold lettering on the wooden archway above Gaston Hall’s dais, was painted over (or otherwise expertly camouflaged) prior to Obama’s arrival. Apparently, the Name that is above every other name is not permitted to be above Obama.
The photo above shows the archway “before.” You can see the “after” clearly in C-SPAN’s video, as Georgetown President John DeGioia emerges to give his fawning introduction.
I can’t say I’m surprised. If Obama has a theology, I think it’s the if-I-believe-it-I-can-achieve-it. A Higher power interferes with self-love.
Obama is an amalgam both literally and philosophically and religiously. He believes and is everything and nothing. He’s a literal melting pot–heating up ideology and rhetoric and coming up with messages and meaning that suit him.
He is only offensive if you believe anything. No wonder he’s so popular.