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[262] Quiet Death March

The secularists, by intention, move quietly, but they are moving.  They have very quietly used laws, organizational policies, and political correctness campaigns to drive the gospel out of the culture.  For example, at Chicago’s Millennium Park, Wheaton College students were forbidden to pass out literature or preach, while Young Life was voted off the campus at Duke University because of YL’s stance on homosexuality.  Add to that the vehement opposition to teaching anything other than naturalistic evolution in the public schools, attacking Catholic Hospitals in court for refusing to perform abortions, assailing Chick Fil A and other business owned by Christians for their beliefs, all but eliminating any depiction of the Nativity Scene in public areas, opposing even saying, “Merry Christmas,” along with myriad other attempts to silence, or least intimidate believers from expressing their faith publicly, and you see this spiritual death march in action.

 

Again, the goal is to eliminate theism, most notably Christianity, from the culture.  And it is working.  According to Pew Research, ten years ago 77% of the US identified as Christians.  It is now down to 65%, while those claiming to be non-religious has gone from 17 to 26%.

 

None of the previously mentioned actions to drive out religion was put to a vote.  The secularists know better than to do that.  They cannot win a “Let’s get God out of everything” campaign at the ballot box.  Instead, they enter lawsuits, introduce anti-religious policies, and push a secular political correctness, knowing that the more God-consciousness can be removed from the society, the fewer the number of believers there will be in the long run. It’s a slow game, built on the long view, but it is working.

 

Will the Christian world ever awaken to this?  Will it make countering this quiet death march a major agenda item?  DC

[261] Xianity Today

Christianity Today recently published a silly editorial advocating the removal of Trump from office.  In brief, the charge was immorality on two fronts.  The first was that he “attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral,” stated the editorial.  The second was his immoral behavior with women “for which he remains proud.”

Irrespective of how people feel about the 45th President, the editorial was incredibly weak, naïve, and worse, destructive.  It was weak in that it stipulated no real crime or even proof that the President tried “to coerce a foreign leader” for his own ends.  No documentation for harassment and discrediting. In fact, the Ukrainian leader stated he felt no pressure from Trump on the Biden matter.  The article smacked of naivete, indicating a less than sophisticated understanding of how chiefs of state work, and what their proper sphere of influence happens to be.  For example, the magazine may have considered the opinion of Alan Dershowitz—hardly a Trump advocate or evangelical.  Dershowitz stated that as Chief Executive, Trump had not just a right, but a duty to look into executive branch ethical violations of even past Vice Presidents.  As for his carousing, I do not recall any recent braggadocio from Trump about sexual escapades from his past.  I do remember reading that something happened in his life over a decade ago that changed his behavior.

On a related note, there are a number of well-respected evangelicals–people much closer to the President than the bards in the metropolis of Carol Stream, Illinois–who happen to think that Trump is a believer, however immature may be his discipleship. The article drew a strongly negative reaction from many, including Ralph Reed and Franklin Graham, whose father, Billy, founded the magazine.

The editorial was destructive as it needlessly divided the Christian community in a public fashion, the kind of division scoffing secularists watch with glee and report with abandon.

Christianity Today exhibited more hubris than wisdom, more naivete than insight in rendering its proclamations on Trump.  Let’s hope this error in judgment will quickly be lost in the rearview mirror with other past and forgettable events.  DC

[260] Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris has dropped out of the presidential race.

And with her, went the Democrats’ best hope of defeating Trump.

In my judgment, Harris entered the race as clearly the strongest potential candidate among the Democrats. Three reasons for that.  First, she is a woman of color, and that counts for plenty in an era of identity politics. She also has minimal baggage. She has never held a truly lofty executive political office like that of governor, cabinet member, or mayor of a large city, one in which opponents can tie her to unpopular policies of the past, or a faulty track record. She was Attorney General of CA, but that is a comparatively minor office when set against the national landscape.

Perhaps most important, she is stunningly attractive. As politically incorrect as such a statement may be, physical attractiveness carries heavy political currency. See JFK, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama.

Yet she is one of the first out. What happened?  Two things, neither of which has anything to do with race, despite the Senators’ public statements to the contrary. First, she undercut the vote-getting value of her attractiveness by adopting an often hostile, confrontational demeanor, one that repelled rather than drew people toward her. In short, she tried to be tough rather than warm, often displaying a traditional male “tough-guy” persona, rather than a more likeable style like that of Tulsi Gabbard or Amy Klobuchar.

Second, she ran in the wrong direction—to the extreme left, where the largest pack of Dems resided, rather than to the center where her only real rival would have been a faltering Joe Biden.

Kamala Harris is a human political object lesson. In politics you do two things—play to your strengths and position yourself where the voters are. Oh, I can hear some of you saying, “Isn’t the latter disingenuous?  Shouldn’t a candidate express her real views?” In a word, yes, but I greatly doubt Harris’ hyper left-wing utterances were altogether genuine. Her behavior smacked more of trying to keep pace with the liberal pack in their collective, frantic sprint leftward that deep-set political sincerity.

Kamala Harris proved neither likable nor smart.  And without those two, you go home early.  DC

[259] Polyamory

In a culture of loneliness and fractured relationships we now have polyamory, presented by the American Psychological Association as a healthy relational option.  In simple terms, polyamory is having romantic and sexual relationships with more than one person at the same time.  This can be gay, straight, or bi.  It’s all healthy and good.  And it is being taught in school to 12-year-olds in some states.

This is disturbing on its own merits—or lack of merits—but it goes deeper than simple immorality.  It goes to the issue of a culture caught in a spirit of error.  In short, it is taking an unhealthy and immoral practice and promoting it as healthy and good—twisting truth to support a humanistic worldview.

And that is the spiritual challenge of our age.  In the past, the issue was a matter of the will, with world tempting us to behaviorally violate what we knew to be right and true, because such actions appealed to our fallen natures.  Now, the issue is about the mind.  Before any action is even considered, we are challenged intellectually to reorder what we believe is right and wrong.   The behavior follows the shaping of the mind.  That is now the strategy of the secularists; challenge basic beliefs with humanistic notions, and do that in the public school system.

In a sense this is a new trend.  In another it is not.  False teaching was first reported in the third chapter of Genesis.  Remember, the snake did not ask Adam or Eve to rebel against God.  It simply deceived them into believing that God’s command was not really worth following.

Like polyamory, eating the forbidden fruit was promoted as a healthy option.  We need only recall the consequences of that option to view the danger of this false teaching. DC

[258] Simple Distinction

Amid impeachment wrangles, we are losing sight of a simple distinction with respect to holding governmental office.  That distinction is as polarizing, as binary, as our left-right dichotomy.

Either a person is a public servant—committed to doing what is in the best interests of the people she serves, or a power monger, one seeking ever greater hegemony.  The former sees the job as one focused on being involved in a mission larger than oneself.  The latter is little more than a narcissistic venture into gaining ever higher office, personal fame, and influence.  One is about the honor and glory of justice.  The other is about glorifying oneself.  One seeks doing what is right.  The other is about doing what serves one’s political party’s quest of control.

In 1955, JFK published Profiles in Courage, a book celebrating political figures of both parties who placed principle above partisanship on critical issues.  A book like that would be fiction today.

Our current polarization is not due to some unique confluence of social and cultural forces.  It is the result of a society in which too many, especially our leaders, want to abandon the common good in quest of imposing their will on the electorate, even if it means destroying those with differing beliefs in the process.  DC

[257] Custom-fitted Faith

I heard a sermon recently in which the pastor stated that currently 53% of evangelicals believe truth is relative—the definition of postmodernism.  He offered no documentation, but if he is correct, there are few greater threats to the US church than this.

What happens when people slide off immutable truth and toward postmodern thinking, the belief that truth is subjective, is that you get faith customized to the individual’s preference.  It is Jane Fonda faith.  Remember Fonda?  Some years back, coming off a painful divorce from Ted Turner, she claimed she had become a Christian, a deal-breaker for Turner.  Celebrity-loving evangelicals conducted a near Rose Parade in celebration.  Rebellious Jane Fonda, the youngest of this family of Hollywood royalty, none of whom having shown interest in things religious, was now one a committed Christian.  Imagine that!

Well, she isn’t.  If you read her words you will see she is not committed to biblical truth.  She has her own custom-fitted to Jane version of Christianity, if you can call it Christianity.  That is sad enough.  What is more tragic is that she apparently has many brothers and sisters in evangelical churches.  DC

[256] “Chicken” Fil A

So Chick Fil A, which makes no secret with respect to its Christian witness, has now apparently decided to remove the Salvation Army from its list of recipients of company donations because the SA does not approve of gay marriage.

Unless we get more info, this is both regrettable and stupid.  The SA is not denying aid to gays nor engaging in any animus toward members of the LGBTQ community.  The SA is simply taking a stand on an issue on which there is no consensus in the Christian community.  For Chick Fil A to deep-six SA is regrettable because it can be viewed as a form of persecution against a fellow Christian organization over its stand on a controversial issue.  It is also regrettable as it smacks of CFA’s caving to political pressure from a secular organization.

It is stupid because–as any person of sound mind would reasonably expect–its stand got CFA nowhere with the LGBTQ folks.  Instead of being lauded for sticking it to the SA, GLAAD’s Drew Anderson said “if Chick-fil-A wants to be taken seriously, it should disavow its anti-gay reputation and ensure restaurants are safe for gay employees.”

So what we have here is a major, seemingly Christian company separating itself from a highly-respected, fellow Christian organization over what looks like a cowardly political sop to an identity-based lobby that will accept nothing less than unconditional endorsement of its agenda.

DC

[255] Abortion

With all due respect, if abortion is taking a human life, what is the moral difference between early, mid, or late-term abortions?

If abortion is not the taking of human life, what is the moral difference between early, mid, or late-term abortions?

DC

[254] Guns

Forget trying to confiscate or “buy back” guns.  Anyone talking that talk is merely expressing his sociological naivete.

In 1970, former Attorney General, Ramsey Clark, made an impassioned plea for gun control in this book, Crime in America. He acknowledged that among the chief challenges for gun control advocates was the number of guns already present among the populace.

He estimated that there were between 50 and 200 million guns out there.  In 1970!  In a population of about 200 million!  What do you think it is now, with a population of 300 million?

It is too late to pick up even a fraction of the guns.  Again, to propose that is lunacy.

The only legal way to curtail violence via guns is background checks, and that is a rather impotent action, as many dangerous people can pass them.  Worse, with all the hardware out there, almost anyone who can’t pass, can still get a gun.

The issue is not guns.  Gun violence is a symptom, not a cause.

We live in a secular society, one in which life (even at birth, if we listen to the extreme pro-choicers) is of little value–disposable.  We are a nation that eats and drinks itself to death.  We treat symptoms, not causes of ill health.  We are a society that values narcissistic pleasure more than meaning, because we have largely rejected the existence of objective metaphysical truth.  Hence, we have reduced the real value of life.

The biggest antidote to wanton violence are Judaeo-Christian values that affirm life and right relationships, values emanating from a tradition the US has all but rejected in recent years.  A return to internalizing Judaeo-Christian norms would make this nation much safer than trying to ward off random violence with feckless legislation.

DC

[253] True Believers

We will all remember what dud Mueller’s testimony was.  Yet the impeachment movement—though out of the news for the most part–grinds on.  Why?  So a group of evil, pathological Trump-haters can destroy his presidency?  Is that why?

Methinks not.

There are a sizable number of political figures who truly believe that Trump, in fact, colluded with the Russians in their attempt to fix the 2016 election, and he went on to obstruct attempts to uncover his wrongdoing.  They are committed to this belief to a point of near fanaticism.

Social philosopher, Eric Hoffer (1898-1983) became famous for coining the term, true believer.  Hoffer went beyond the first wave of the term—a genuine belief at the individual level—to how those committed to certain beliefs manage to turn them into social movement.  It is in the social movement phase that the commitment of the true believer has force.

The campaign to impeach Trump is—if nothing else—a genuine social movement. It has millions of enthusiasts.  According to Hoffer, in his book, The True Believer, “A [social] movement is pioneered by men of words, materialized by fanatics and consolidated by men of actions.” But there’s more, something that rings true of so much of today’s politics.  Hoffer states that the bandwagon is populated by large numbers of frustrated people, who out of the emptiness of their lives, invest themselves in a movement that will bring radical change. This investment, however, becomes an escape from the self, not a genuine life purpose that fulfills their individual aspirations.  “A mass movement attracts and holds a following not because it can satisfy the desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy the passion for self-renunciation,” wrote Hoffer.  The quest for impeachment is one such movement.

Maybe the impeachment adherents are right, and Trump is guilty on all accusations.  But that is not the point here.  The point is that we live in a society filled with purposeless people—people who have no sense of a providential God.  There is emptiness all around.  Issues like impeachment become emotional highs in a life with few points of healthy elation.  All it takes are a few true-believing zealots to strike the ideological match and millions will welcome a movement (pro or anti-Trump) as an opportunity to escape their vapid lives. DC

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