Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Virginia Supreme Court to Hear Falls Church Petition

Today, the Supreme Court of Virginia informed the parties that it would hear a brief oral argument on October 16, beginning at 1 p.m., on the petition filed by The Falls Church to review the judgment entered against it in Fairfax County Circuit Court. In Virginia, appeals from civil judgments are not a matter of right. Only the Supreme Court hears civil appeals, and it has discretion to refuse review. The purpose of the brief argument is to give the appellant's attorneys an opportunity to emphasize to the Court's writ panel (which will consist of just three of the Court's seven justices) the reasons why it should accept the case for review.

The argument is limited to just ten minutes. Only the appellant's attorneys (the ones who filed the petition seeking review) may argue, but the appellees, their attorneys, and members of the general public may attend and listen to the proceedings. There is more about the writ panel procedure at this link.

The last time this case was before the Virginia Supreme Court, in April 2010, only five of the Court's seven justices heard the case (including two retired senior justices), because four active justices recused themselves (most likely on the ground that they were Episcopalians). Of the active Justices who did not recuse themselves, Justice Cynthia D. Kinser is now the Chief Justice, and the former Chief Justice, Leroy R. Hassell, is no longer on the Court. The only other active Justice who sat on the prior appeal is Justice LeRoy F. Millette. The two senior justices who participated, Justice Elizabeth Lacy and Justice Lawrence Koontz, are still hearing appeals in the place of Justices who recuse themselves.

New on the Supreme Court since the April 2010 hearing are Justice Cleo E. Powell, who began her twelve-year term in October 2011, after serving both in the Circuit Court and on the Court of Appeals, and Justice Elizabeth A. McClanahan, who was sworn in in September 2011. Justice Powell belongs to the Baptist Church (her pastor is the current Mayor of Richmond); the religious affiliation of Justice McClanahan, if any, is unknown.

With Justices Lemons, Goodwyn and Mims likely to recuse themselves again, that would leave three, or potentially four, active Justices available to hear the case. Thus it is likely that one or more of the senior justices will again be called upon to participate, if the petition is accepted.

The decision whether or not to accept the appeal will not be announced for several more weeks after the writ panel meets on October 16.

That date, by the way, is the same day on which the Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in both the Fort Worth and the San Angelo appeals.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Aristotle Never Conceived of "Same-Sex Marriage" -- for Good Reason

Centuries of human society and cultural progress have not improved our ability to think. Consider the present confusion over so-called "same-sex marriage": those who advocate for it speak of lifting a "ban" on such marriage, as though it were just a matter of adjusting the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in a lifelong relationship.

Even though we do not have all of his writings today, it is safe to assert that Aristotle never wrote anything against same-sex marriage (let alone in favor of such a notion). That is because Aristotle knew how to think, and systematized the rules of thought for all subsequent generations. And it is to Aristotle's schema to which we must return, if we are to achieve clarity on what is illogical about all proposals to "allow" same-sex marriages -- whether celebrated in a civil or a religious ceremony.

As this excellent article by Robin Phillips reminds us, Aristotle distinguished between the essential properties of a thing, and its accidental properties. To change Mr. Phillips' illustration of the differences  a bit: consider the properties of an apple. Its greenness would not be an essential property, because an apple may also be red, or yellow, or many shades in between, and it would still be an apple. So greenness is an accidental property of apples.

On the other hand, we could not have an apple that was without malic acid, whose very name derives from the Latin word (malum) for "apple." It defines an apple's tartness, and is the acid which is found naturally occurring in all forms of an apple. So one may say, using Aristotle's schema, that having malic acid is an essential property of an apple, just as having citric acid would be an essential property of a lemon, or a lime.

Now take this analysis one step further, as does Mr. Phillips in the article just linked. One may easily speak of a red, yellow, or green apple -- but one could not comprehensibly speak of a "citric apple," or of a "malic orange." If the essential properties of a thing are those that define its essence, its very being, then to ascribe those properties to something else entirely is to create nonsense, and engender verbal (and hence mental) confusion.

And this is what all the proponents of so-called "same-sex marriage" are doing. For them, gender complementarity (male and female partners) is simply an accidental, and not an essential, property of what we call "marriage." So the adjective "same-sex" in front of the term "marriage" tells us no more than something about the partners which comprise it, and in their view does not render the concept illogical or incomprehensible.

For advocates of such a view, it is possible to speak of a current "ban" on same-sex marriage in certain States because those States do not permit such marriages under their laws. But -- hold on a minute, and consider this issue as Aristotle would have. In speaking of a "ban" on gay marriage, there is already a hidden assumption made by the speaker: namely, that there is indeed such a thing as same-sex marriage, and that it would be possible to have it exist in certain States, did they not legally prohibit it.

Aristotle would not let any such spokesperson get away without articulating that hidden assumption, and without asking him to defend its validity. In order to do so, however, the spokesperson would have to show that gender complementarity is not an essential, but only an accidental, property of marriage.

But is gender complementarity merely an accidental property of marriage? Listen to Mr. Phillips on this point:
There are a number of good reasons to think that gender complementarity is an essential property of marriage. Consider some of the concepts and conditions that marriage gives rise to: concepts such as consummation and adultery. The very existence of these concepts presupposes a notion of marriage in which the participants are members of the opposite sex. Such concepts either become confused or collapse into complete vacuity once we assert that the gender of the participants is accidental.

Thus, when gender differentiation stops being essential to the married state, consummation and adultery either cease to be meaningful or must be redefined to mean something quite different from what they currently do. This was impressed upon me when I encountered the following paragraph in the UK government's consultation document on introducing same-sex marriage to England and Wales:
Specifically, non-consummation and adultery are currently concepts that are defined in case law and apply only to marriage law. . . . However, with the removal of the ban on same-sex couples having a civil marriage, these concepts will apply equally to same-sex and opposite-sex couples and case law may need to develop, over time, a definition as to what constitutes same-sex consummation and same-sex adultery.
In other words, the British parliament wants to adopt legislation that creates a category of marriage for which there are no concomitant definitions of "consummation" or "adultery." It proposes to leave to the law courts the problem of defining those concepts in the context of same-sex marriages. Could anything be more of a demonstration that there is a problem here? One, say, of putting the philosophical cart before the philosophical horse?

When, in order to have recognition of the union of two people of the same sex as a "marriage," one also has to change the definition of what constitutes "consummation" of such a marriage, and of what acts justify divorce, say, on grounds of "adultery," one has left the realm of the essential properties of a thing in favor of unmoored, and ever-changing, relativity. No longer does marriage as such have any properties that are seen as essential; instead, all of them are accidental.

Aristotle, in short, would be astounded that anyone could argue for such an understanding and still call himself or herself a philosopher (let alone a follower of reason and logic). For something that has no essential properties, but is instead wholly accidental, is obviously not a concept or thing that can be situated in time or space. It derives its entire substance solely from its (random) "accidents" -- properties which vary according to who is observing them.

Let loose the bounds of logic and reason, in other words, and there is no end of cultural anarchy. What, pray tell, do  "consummation" and "adultery" mean in the context of a three- or four-way "marriage"? And in case of a divorce after there are children, how does one determine which parent(s) should have, or share, custody?

I am not denying the ability of a society to legislate that "marriage" may be between any two persons regardless of sex (or gender, if the latter is defined away into a meaningless continuum, along which anyone may move freely, and decide from minute to minute where they are on a scale that includes, as Victor Borge used to say, "male, female and convertible"). But then what does the word "marriage" mean, when it has been thus stripped of all its essential properties?

Those who are in favor of polygyny, or polyandry, or polygamy in general, will be equally entitled to argue that "marriage" should include all of their possible unions, as well. Neither sex complementarity, nor duality (two persons), nor anything else will be able to function as the essential property of a marriage. A person can as well "marry" a sibling, or a favored pet, or an inanimate object.

The essential characteristic of relativity is that there is no anchor, no fixed point of reference. All points of reference are equally valid, and hence no one can say which concept of "marriage" is "Scriptural" -- or valid from any other viewpoint.

One might as well, argues Mr. Phillips, define apples to be "citrusy," so as to be "inclusive" of oranges, lemons and limes. No one will then be able to accuse that person of "prejudice" against (or, what amounts to the same thing in today's forums -- of advocating a "ban" on) citrusy "apples."

But what, then, becomes of the concept of an "apple"? Stripped of its essentials, and capable of assuming any identity for the moment's convenience, it becomes meaningless -- and hence useless -- as a term that describes something encountered in real life. And thus are we well on our way toward Orwellian Doublespeak, where words mean anything we say they mean, and only those who exercise (for the moment) the power in that society can set the boundaries on its language.

The very problem with "same-sex marriage," therefore, is not that it would introduce a new form of discrimination (from the polygamists' point of view). It is that it would undermine language itself as a means of communication -- of conveying, in distilled form, the essence of a thing. Those who claim a "right" to same-sex marriage (or, what comes to the same thing, an end to the "ban" against such unions), are putting the cart before the horse, and are simply assuming that what they wish to exist (despite the conflict with essential properties) already exists (and is unfairly restricted by society's selective "ban" in certain States).

The very moment in which they make that assumption is when they divorce the concept of "marriage" from its "essential properties."

And that is why proponents of modern-day "same-sex marriage" will never find any support for their position in Aristotle's writings (let alone in the writings of the apostolic fathers, who were brought up in the tradition of Aristotelian logic). Aristotle would instead flunk them out of his School of Philosophy, as would every other ancient and medieval philosopher -- for asserting that "all is relative; nothing is essential."

In short: one cannot have both "marriage" (in the traditional sense) and, in the same world, "same-sex marriage," which latter shares zero essential qualities with the former. To assert the latter as a "fundamental right" is to argue for "'marriage' as consisting of whatever we decide it is -- from time to time." And that position both annihilates the concept of traditional marriage, as well as sets us adrift in a boundless sea of cultural anarchy.

Resistance to the notion of "same-sex marriage" is thus not "homophobic" (nota bene: a word that also has no "essential" characteristics, but which in itself is a relative term, since not all homosexuals are "married," or even want to be). Indeed -- it is the very antithesis of such a description: it is wholly Aristotelian. 

Vivat Aristoteles!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It Really Is That Simple, Folks

I am now going to break my self-imposed political silence and post my first screed on the 2012 election. If he happens to read it, this post is dedicated to my good friend Jeff Tone, who blogs as The Liberal Curmudgeon, because although we differ enormously in our political views, we respect the integrity and civility with which we each maintain them.

By now, I suspect so many on the right are sickened by the flat-out partisanship of the drive-by media that they have had it up to here with the latest attempts to pronounce the campaign all but over -- and, as always due to some freshly uttered words of the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney. First he committed the gaffe of telling the Brits that they hadn't done everything he knew they could to prepare for the Olympics in London. (He spoke, of course, from his own experience in organizing a highly successful Olympics in Salt Lake City.)

Next, he spoke out to criticize the Cairo embassy's appeasement towards Muslim radicals just before the attack in Libya, and for the drive-bys, that was both too soon, and unstatesmanlike as well (never point out our weaknesses in public, if you are a politician statesman).

Then, in quick succession, he was caught on a videotape (tracked down by Jimmy Carter's grandson) acknowledging that the 47% of Americans who pay no income tax would probably not be voting for him, and that the Palestinians just are not interested in a two-state solution in which they would co-exist with Israel.

My, oh my -- and these are the words that the media believes make Romney unelectable?

What have we come to, when it comes to the point where such utter nonsense could be put forth as political "wisdom"? Have we all lost our collective common sense?

There is only one viable candidate in this year's election, and his name is Mitt Romney. I do not like that fact, because there are many things about Mitt Romney of which I frankly disapprove. But that realization cannot blind me to this simple truth:

The President of the United States is an executive position -- one of the biggest and most important (if not the biggest and most important) in the world.

Mitt Romney is an executive, with considerable experience as a CEO.

Barack Hussein Obama is not.

Yes, it really is that simple.

We already have had three and a half years of Barack Obama as chief executive, and what have we seen? He is like nothing so much as the boss's son, who grew up partying and playing golf, and then was foisted on the business by his doting father (who then died immediately afterwards).

He has no clue of what it takes to run a business (remember "you didn't build that," anyone?) -- let alone run an entire country. He spends so much time on the golf course or at basketball, and appearing on TV shows and now at continuous fundraisers, that he cannot be bothered to attend intelligence briefings, or to make time to meet with Israel's prime minister on the eve of an impending nuclear war in the Middle East.

And so, given the clear choice between the two candidates, we are now to write off Romney because of some words which he said? Words which were largely close to the objective truth on the ground?

Please. Spare me the inanity.

Good CEOs are known for their efficiency, not for their popularity, or for their media skills. Indeed, most of them try to avoid the media.

Here is the Harvard Business Review magazine's January 2010 list of the 100 greatest CEOs in the world. (The underlying article is here.) As you go through the names (apart from Steve Jobs or Bill Gates), see how many you can even recognize, let alone could have named if told their company.

There is a good reason CEOs are not popular with the public, or the press. They are too busy getting things done to waste time in kowtowing to demands for publicity.  They frequently do not do the "popular" thing -- they do instead what is in the long-term best interest of their company.

A politician like Obama may be able to run his campaign, and even may run a good campaign. But that does not make him a CEO, and I shall tell you why.

A political campaign is not a "business."  Yes, they both exist to sell a product, but there the similarities end. A political campaign is interested in advancing only one point of view -- the candidate's -- and only for a limited time, in the run-up to the election. It cannot afford to be objective, or to take a longer-term view of matters; let alone concede the validity of points made by an opponent. (Can you see Mr. Obama saying this? "Well, yes, Governor Romney does have a point there; I'll admit that.")

A business is in business to deal with everything that comes its way, and is in it for the long haul. A CEO who was capable of seeing only one point of view, or who was focused too much on the shorter term and incapable of adapting on the spot to changed circumstances, would soon lead his company into disaster.

In fact, that is why I would say that Obama is leading America into disaster -- because he cannot see any other point of view but his own, which is bent on the short-term goal of winning re-election, and he cannot adapt to changing circumstances on the ground.  (Such as is happening under his nose with the "Arab Spring," for instance, and with the signs and portents of war.) 

And for his part, Governor Romney may well be running an inept campaign, precisely for the opposite reasons. He is incapable of seeing just one point of view -- he constantly puts himself in other people's shoes, and acts accordingly (just compare his track record of charitable giving with that of President Obama). He cannot stop taking the longer term into account, which is why he does not weigh the cost of speaking the truth (as he did about the Egyptian embassy's foolhardy apology, or about the Palestinians' intransigence on Israel) against what he could gain in the short term by remaining silent.

So for this curmudgeon, at any rate, the choice is clear. And it rarely has been clearer. When is the last time America ever had a true executive as its president? A case could perhaps be made for Dwight D. Eisenhower, but before him, who? George Washington?

America has never before been so big and so unmanageable, and so enmeshed in a complex world. Indeed, even a good CEO like Mitt Romney may not, in the end, be up to the difficult task of putting the country back right.

But I'm willing to give him the chance. To go for the alternative would be to deny the reality of the stark choice that faces us.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chesterton the Romantic - a Wedding Reading

Blogging has taken a back seat of late, as families gathered for a beautiful ceremony which united in marriage our youngest daughter with an outstanding young man whom we have been fortunate to have known since childhood. Our house was full to bursting, and many impromptu pool parties, barbecues and brunches kept us hopping.

A highpoint of the ceremony (apart, of course, from the stunning entrance of the blushing but radiant bride on her father's arm) was, at least from my point of view, a reading by the groom's sister of an  excerpt from a love letter G. K. Chesteron once wrote to his fiancée, Frances Blogg, shortly after they became engaged in 1898. The full letter is too long to quote here, but I will set the stage for it.

Just before meeting Frances for the first time, Chesterton had visited Paris, as a young man of twenty-two. He was struck by the young Parisian ladies "in their flowing white dresses and red berets." Shortly afterward, he expressed his wonderings about whom his future bride would be in a lovely poem:
About Her whom I have not yet met
I wonder what she is doing
Now, at this sunset hour,
Working perhaps, or playing, worrying or laughing,
Is she making tea, or singing a song, or writing,
or praying, or reading?
Is she thoughtful, as I am thoughtful?
Is she looking now out of the window
As I am looking out of the window?

The letter he wrote in 1898 recounts Chesterton's astonishment on encountering Frances for the first time when a mutual friend brought Gilbert to her home. He wrote that she looked him straight in the eye, and immediately these unspoken words flashed through his mind:
"If I had anything to do with this girl I should go down on my knees to her: if I spoke with her she would never deceive me: if I depended on her she would never deny me: if I loved her she would never play with me: if I trusted her she would never go back on me: if I remembered her she would never forget me. I may never see her again. Goodbye. It was all said in a flash: but it was all said..."
After recounting for her the history of his life up to that transforming encounter, Chesterton then concluded his letter with these moving and revealing final paragraphs:
"Two years, as they say in the playbills, is supposed to elapse. And here is the subject of this memoir sitting on a balcony above the sea. The time, evening. He is thinking of the whole bewildering record of which the foregoing is a brief outline: he sees how far he has gone wrong and how idle and wasteful and wicked he has often been: how miserably unfitted he is for what he is called upon to be. Let him now declare it and hereafter for ever hold his peace.  
"But there are four lamps of thanksgiving always before him. The first is for his creation out of the same earth with such a woman as you. The second is that he has not, with all his faults, 'gone after strange women.' You cannot think how a man's self restraint is rewarded in this. The third is that he has tried to love everything alive: a dim preparation for loving you. And the fourth is--but no words can express that. Here ends my previous existence. Take it: it led me to you."
"Take it: it led me to you" -- these were the perfect words to lead up to the exchange of wedding vows.

Chesterton was a full-blooded romantic, but it is a side of him which is not often seen. If you wish to read more extracts from the full letter, showing Chesterton as a young man who was witty, sardonic and totally, head-over-heels in love, click on this link.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tempest in a Teapot in South Carolina

Last Sunday, the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston, South Carolina, held a parish meeting. The meeting had been duly noticed and announced, both by email sent to all parish members on August 29, and then orally at each of the services on the preceding Sunday. The notice sent out to the members was as follows:
The Vestry and Rector of The Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul has called a Special Annual Meeting of the Parish on September 9th, 2012 at 10:45 in the Parish Hall. 
In accordance with By-law requirements, the meeting is being announced via this email and will be announced at all three services this Sunday. All members-in-good-standing are encouraged to attend.

The agenda will be limited to a congregational vote on the proposed changes to The Cathedral By-laws distributed at the Annual Meeting on January 29th, 2012.

Any Cathedral members wishing to review these changes in writing may visit the church office to obtain a hard copy, and/or contact Prioleau Alexander.
Changes to the Parish By-laws? It is not exactly a topic calculated to get the blood roiling. Some 65 or so members of the parish responded to the notice, and attended the meeting between Sunday services. They constituted a quorum for business under the existing by-laws, which state: "At all meetings of the congregation those qualified members present shall constitute a quorum."

But from what followed after the changes were duly adopted, on a 55-10 vote, one would think that the Cathedral had voted to start the War Between the States all over again.

Screamed one Website: "Cathedral Votes 55-10 to Sever Ties with Episcopal Church" -- with the further subheadlines:
Congregation amends corporate documents, replacing references to the Episcopal Church with those of the Diocese alone 
Loyal Episcopalians in the congregation may ask for recent financial gifts to be returned
All this from some simple changes to the By-laws? Apparently so -- which goes far to show how touchy things are just now in the Diocese of South Carolina. In response, the Cathedral was forced to post a refutation of those outlandish claims on its own Web page.

Let me try to state this simply, so that non-lawyers may understand, as well. A corporation is a separate entity (person) in the eyes of the law. An American corporation comes into existence when articles of incorporation are approved by and filed with the Secretary of State in any of the fifty States.

The Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul is a religious corporation organized under the laws of the State of South Carolina. It filed its articles, just like every other South Carolina corporation, with the Secretary of State of South Carolina.

After it became a corporation, the Cathedral also adopted by-laws -- which it was not required to have approved by, or filed with, the Secretary of State. By-laws are simply rules for the day-to-day operation of the corporation. As such, the members of the corporation may vote to change them at any of their meetings.

Changes in the articles of a corporation must be filed with the Secretary of State again before they become effective. Changes in the by-laws do not have to be so filed, and are effective immediately unless stated otherwise.

So what changes did the Cathedral make to its by-laws, that caused such consternation among "loyal Episcopalians"? Simply this: in every case where the By-laws referred to "the Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States", the words I have italicized were replaced with the words "in the Diocese of South Carolina."

Was this some kind of attempt to withdraw the Cathedral from ECUSA, as claimed by the consternated authors of the screaming page on their Website? It was not. Consider:

1. The Cathedral Parish is a South Carolina corporation.

2. As such, it is a constituent member of the Diocese of South Carolina.

3. It is not a constituent member of the Protestant Episcopal Church (USA). Only dioceses may be members of that organization -- not individual parishes.

4. As such, the Cathedral parish could not withdraw from ECUSA, because it was never a member of ECUSA in the first place.

5. The only larger organization from which it could withdraw is the Diocese of South Carolina, and it did not do so.

6. The Diocese of South Carolina remains a constituent member of the Episcopal Church (USA).

7. Consequently, the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul remains affiliated, through the Diocese of South Carolina, with ECUSA. It hasn't gone anywhere.

Moreover, for the Parish corporation to change its membership in the Diocese, it would have to change its articles before making any corresponding changes in its by-laws. The articles are paramount to anything in the by-laws, and take precedence.

By making the changes approved at the recent meeting, all the Cathedral did was to clarify that its day-to-day operations would be in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese, and not with the Constitution and Canons of ECUSA. This was fully appropriate, because as noted, the Parish is not a member of ECUSA, and the latter's Constitution and Canons have no provisions in them which have any direct effect on the operations of parishes in individual dioceses.

To be sure, there are national canons which speak of parishes and spell out certain business and accounting principles to which they are expected to adhere, but those canons cannot be enforced by the national Church against parishes. Any such enforcement would have to be carried out by the Diocese of which the parish is a member, and its Bishop. And the Diocese has the same kinds of canons regarding parishes as does the national Church, plus many more which are even more specific to parishes.

So it makes abundant common sense for the parish to spell out that it will be governed and guided by the Constitution and Canons of its own diocese. As long as that diocese remains a member of the national Church, there can be no question of the parish's affiliation.

There is no need, therefore, for Episcopalians to rush to the Cathedral and start reclaiming those candlesticks and altar cloths which they gave to it earlier.

The proprietors of the Website in question have still not seen fit to correct their sensationalist story -- which is why I refuse to link to it here. They know who they are -- and by refusing to correct their huge mistake, or to tone down their scare-mongering, they show, more than anything else could, in what direction they would like events to go.

I wrote a lengthy post, some time back, on the history of events occurring in the Diocese of South Carolina a number of years before Bishop Mark Lawrence assumed his present office. That post went into considerable detail about the undercurrents in the Diocese which were needlessly fomenting dissension and strife, which in turn greatly increased the difficulties for its leaders. It was called "South Carolina: a Case Study in How to Tear a Church Apart."

I know not what the rabble-rousers could hope to gain by their tactics, but it would appear that they are still at it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Obamacare Described in One (Rather Long) Sentence

It takes an M.D. to reduce the monstrosity that is Obamacare to just one sentence for us. That sentence is, to be sure, rather long, but the statute is 1,000,000 times longer. So please listen to the one-sentence summary of Obamacare given at an Illinois rally for Romney by Dr. Barbara Bellar, who is the Republican candidate in her district for the Illinois State Senate. Below the video, I give a transcription (H/T: Ed Morrisey, of HotAir), so that you can follow her delivery of this gem:

So, let me get this straight.  This is a long sentence.  We’re going to be gifted with a healthcare plan [which] we are forced to purchase and fined if we don’t, which purportedly covers at least 10 million more people without adding a single new doctor but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that didn’t read it, but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a President who smokes — [laughter] — same sentence! — with funding administered by a Treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, for which we will be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a government which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese — [laughter] — and finally, financed by a country that’s broke.

Oh -- and be sure to catch her tagline at the end!

That about sums up where we are. That we have gotten to this point is a national disgrace.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Pro-Life God Is Not Welcome at Democratic Convention

At the Convention they just completed, the Democrats had a very difficult time reconciling their ideals and beliefs with the Christian God. Amid all the hoopla about the last-minute fig leaves added to their official party platform, an even more telling story has gone largely unreported. Todd Starnes at Fox News published this story on September 6 (H/T: Martial Artist):
The Democratic National Committee banned dozens of Charlotte churches from distributing gift baskets to delegates because the congregations hold values that are contrary to the party platform, according to local religious leaders. 
“They told us our views on women’s rights are contrary to the Democratic party platform,” said David Benham, the lead organizer of the Charlotte714 religious movement.
He explained in his next paragraph about the "Charlotte714 movement":
Charlotte714 is a group of more than 100 churches across the region that mobilized to pray for the Democratic National Convention. More than 9,000 people gathered last Sunday for a time of worship and prayer in advance of the convention. 
Benham said the name references an Old Testament passage in 2 Chronicles 7:14 – calling the nation to prayer.
More than 9,000 Christians? Gathering to pray for the Democratic National Convention? Yep, that's right -- here's a picture of just a small portion of them:

But you didn't hear about any such gathering, did you? No -- what the media told you about instead was that vastly larger gathering in Charlotte of two hundred Muslims in a nearby park. (You can see a video of that gathering at the link.) Oh, wait -- possibly that was because the Muslim publicity machine had announced that it expected 20,000 Muslims to attend. When only 200 showed up, well, that was still much bigger news -- wasn't it?

So, what did the 9,000 Christians want to do for the Democrats? Back to you, Mr. Benham (of Charlotte714):
He said 56 churches wanted to “Adopt-a-Delegation.” They put together gift baskets featuring Carolina Pralines and a letter welcoming them to the city and offering assistance in transportation, childcare or spiritual matters. 
“We were just trying to display Southern hospitality,” he said. “We wanted them to know we were happy to serve them.” 
However, DNC officials conveyed to city leaders that the Christians would not be allowed to present their gift baskets. 
“I got a call from the mayor’s office speaking on behalf of the convention and they asked us not to participate,” he said. “They told us our views on women’s rights are contrary to the platform.”
Note that the DNC used the mayor as a go-between. They could not even bring themselves to speak directly to the group or its leaders, to explain why their gift baskets were not wanted. And all because of the Christians' "views on women's rights"? Oh, yes -- that is DemoSpeak™ for "abortion." But let's not say that to their face, shall we?

Being a Christian, Mr. Benham reached out his hand again:
So instead of gift baskets, Benham asked if they could send welcome letters to the delegates. 
Again, he said the DNC refused – because the churches hold pro-life values. “They responded back and said no because our views on women,” he said. “They would not allow it.” 
Benham said it is true that all the churches are pro-life – but the baskets did not include a single political or pro-life message. They just wanted to give them regional candies and a welcome letter. 
A spokesman for the city of Charlotte referred comments to the DNC. The DNC did not return numerous calls seeking comment.
No, of course they didn't -- they were too busy tinkering with their 32-page platform, in order to ensure that "God" was mentioned once in its 26,477 words. (And that was as an adjective, not a proper noun.)

Secularists have difficulty donning masks. God, after all, does not submit to sham.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

All That Needs to Be Said on "Original Sin"

This cartoon (one from a New Yorker of unknown date - H/T: Power Line) says all there is to say about original sin:

Without realizing it, the cartoon derives its cleverness from the very thing it is celebrating: original sin.

By proclaiming it as truly "original" (i.e., the distinctive product of Adam and Eve themselves, and also the very first of all human sins), it emphasizes how the first couple's first sin put man's choices before God's commands.

And in doing so, it perfectly -- but no doubt unwittingly, from the cartoonist's point of view -- illustrates that which it depicts.

A picture worth one thousand words.