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Archive for the ‘F & L in the News’ Category

[210] Consensual?

It seems the most common defense among those public figures awash in allegations of sexual harassment is that their sexual encounters were “consensual.” There are two quick responses to that. First, it makes these trysts not a matter of relational significance, but rather a form of entertainment rather like bowling or miniature golf. Looking at sex as simply “hooking up” makes these meaningful, and obviously long-remembered encounters—at least if one listens to those leveling the charges–as insignificant physical acts.

Second, it indicates that those fending off the allegations just don’t get it. They do not know the difference between consent and compliance. While Matt Lauer, Dustin Hoffman, and the many other similar public figures seem to believe that they had willing and consenting partners, those partners are saying that they simply complied. And felt ashamed of having done so. They bowed to their fear of potential reprisal by these men who had significant impact on their careers, and simply gave in to their lustful advances.

This is not consent. It is compliance. It is complying with the carnal desires of someone who is more powerful than you, someone who has potentially strong influence on the trajectory of your career. Interestingly, those who tell these stories indicate they felt “dirty” and ashamed of their compliant actions. In short, they are willing to be accountable for their moral lapses. Nonetheless, they are telling their stories, because they realize there is a subtle perversion of the truth on the part of the famous people who whose despicable behavior is now being exposed. DC

[209] Magnanimity

Blogger, Kevin DeYoung of thegospelcoalition.org, had some prophetic things to say about our current political atmosphere. Using the concept of magnanimity—the capacity to let go of grudges and attempts to “get even” in favor of extending grace and generosity in the face of abuse and attack, he encourages a cheek-turning strategy in an era of divisiveness. He urges “pastors, parents, politicians, pundits, and internet pugilists…[to]…show the sort of Christian magnanimity our world needs but rarely displays…” For DeYoung, this “is not simply the way to win friends and influence people. It is the way of the cross. And the way of the One who hung there saying, ‘“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.’”

It may also be the only way to save our republic. DC

[208] It’s About Abortion

Now that our nation is knee-deep in sexual harassment charges, the focus has returned to one, William Jefferson Clinton with an eye toward a bit of revisionist history. It seems his picture is coming down from the Democratic mantelpiece while the Dems reconsider his legacy.

Amid this overnight chaos one question continues to be asked: Why did the party assist Hillary in protecting him from the many very believable allegations?

The answer is that he was a champion of women’s rights. I never knew it was a competition with an acknowledged champion. By the way, Al Franken is also a self-proclaimed champion of women’s rights. Perhaps it is a co-championship.

But I digress.

Here’s the punchline. These “championships” are not about women’s rights. They are about abortion rights. And that is not a women’s issue. There are legions of would-be fathers who enthusiastically seek and will pay for a “termination of pregnancy” (to put it euphemistically) to free themselves of the obligations associated with fatherhood. And just as teachers confront school boards with an exhausting list of demands before they go on strike, only to abandon all those demands in favor of a pay increase, so also do all other women’s issues recede from sight when abortion is back on the table (if you will pardon the expression). In other words, had Clinton (and others) been four-square on the side of women on every gender issue, but been pro-life, he would have been outed as a masher years ago.

It’s not about women’s rights. Never has been. It’s about abortion.

[207] Follow the $

You don’t have to care much about football to notice how inconsistent the NFL and its owners have become over players kneeling during the National Anthem. When Colin Kaepernick was the only one, a year, they solved the problem by keeping him out of the league. In a short time, however, multiple Colin Kaepernicks emerged, and the league has been scrambling for workable strategies ever since.

Some owners became sanctimonious advocates of the poor and the oppressed, praising the social concern of the players, all but approving the kneeling. In fact, that great social reformer, Jerry Jones, went on the field and kneeled with his team while the song was being played, although a few weeks later the Cowboy owner put the hammer down and demanded compliance with league rules. Over in Green Bay, players locked arms in unity, apparently with the approval of the corporation–though just exactly what the unity was about was a tad unclear.

Don’t be fooling yourself. None of these strategies are about respect for the National Anthem nor have the owners suddenly become amateur sociologists, filled with a missionary zeal for social reform. No, they are in a panic. Their brand is suffering. TV ratings are plunging, sponsors are pulling ads, and income is down. All this amid dull games and growing evidence of brain injury to players. And there is no immediate end in sight. When facing this kind of economic negative landslide, the only avenue available is to follow—or maybe better—pursue the money by employing anything—even appeasement—to regain equilibrium.

For the faith-and-learning adherent, all this is disgusting. All this posturing is nothing more than living a lie, and trying to sell a lie. That is what raw commercialism is. DC

[206] Hacked

Hacked, by Donna Brazile, has become a political thunderbolt. A major figure in Democratic politics for three decades, Brazile is now the target of her party’s rage for stating that Hillary Clinton and her minions—in cahoots with DNC Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz–had gained sufficient control of the Democratic National Committee to all but “rig” the 2016 Democratic nomination.

Is anyone surprised?

I’m not.

Not because I do not like some of the actors in this drama, but because this story is but a parable of current political operating procedures.

In both parties.

Look at it. Political corruption is so ubiquitous that no one has any real street cred. Hillary, with her much publicized book, What Happened, has been dealt a near fatal blow by her former political comrade, Donna Brazile.

Brazile has been discredited for feeding Hillary debate questions, sub rosa, to give the candidate a cheating edge going into a debate. This unethical act was sufficiently egregious to remove Brazile from not only the campaign, but also her job at CNN, the electronic home of liberal punditry. Her self-inflicted professional wound was so severe that skeptics have understandably wondered if Brazile’s motivation to render her tell-all represents was simply to save her rapidly disappearing career. And Debbie Wasserman Schultz, once a rising political star, was caught snuggling too close to Hillary in the primary campaign, and is now disgraced.

On the Republican side, the campaign was typified by character assassination, replete with accusations of lying, deceit, and political skullduggery.

Hacked is a good word. It not only applies to the specific content of Brazile’s book, but also the condition of our political processes in general. DC

[205] National Anthem

To use the words of Archie Bunker, everyone’s bowels are in an uproar over the athletes’ behavior upon the playing of the National Anthem. Just dare to make a comment on this matter in any group setting and you can get ready for a long and emotional discussion with many participants.

Remember Gamaliel, when Paul was assailed for divisiveness because he was preaching the gospel? The wise man encouraged the riled up throng to relax. He said that if the gospel were nonsense it would fade away. If it were truth, it would not, and worse, they would be opposing God by attacking Paul.

I remember the hot 1960’s well. In that era, angry African-American spectators did not stand for the National Anthem at public events. There was similar finger-pointing and lots of hostile, verbal repartee.

The republic remained. I would recommend the Gamaliel approach in our time. DC

[204] Trump & the NFL

My son, from New York, came to Las Vegas a few weeks ago.

Ambivalent about Trump, he did remark about the President’s savvy, making an interesting point along the way. He noted that whenever The Donald is knee-deep in major issues—speaking to the UN, the crisis in North Korea, the devastation of national disasters, inability to get a health bill or tax reform passed, along with other challenges—he seems to start a Tweet-driven brushfire out on the perimeter, one that gets huge media reaction on a matter of little long-range consequence, but one that sends attention flares everywhere. While the real matters of substance—the ones on which elections hinge–leave him open to criticism and attack, these are pushed to the sideline, with debates about National Anthem protocol, charges of fake news, and other pre-emptive verbal strikes taking the main stage and devouring myriad hours of punditry. These secondary, though media-obsessed matters often become, in Shakespeare’s words, “much ado about nothing” for the nation, but they serve a diversionary purpose for our President. DC

[203] Hugh Hefner

So Hugh Hefner is finally gone.

If one reads all the post mortems on the horse-faced man, often clad in the pajamas or wearing a silly naval captain’s hat, one would think she were reading about two different people. Many secularists regaled Hefner for his philanthropy and kindness to various and sundry individuals and causes. Others saw him as a dark figure, one whose endeavors contributed to more STDs, abortions, pornographic addictions, and violence against women (as sex objects).

Let me add one more thought. Hefner, amid his lifetime of myriad bedmates, lamented that he had never met “his soul mate.” His lifestyle has been glorified by the Epicureans of our time–those who mock the advocates of sexual restraint as people who do not “get it,” and hence are missing out on the full life, one filled with pleasure. Hefner, however, amid his all-out devotion to blond hair, huge mammary glands, and multitudinous copulation partners a fraction of his chronological age, found no soul, and no real mate. Perhaps it was Hefner who really missed out. DC

[202] Escape

I watch sports to escape the byzantine realities of daily living. Among the last things I want is to have my escape experience used as a platform to hash out current issues. But it happens all the time. On TV, I will have to hear Bob Costas engage in a bit of social critique as it relates to a player, a team, a league, or a sport. Costas is not a competent social scientist. He announces sports. Let him be happy with that.

He can get away with it, because Costas is careful to stay safely inside the politically correct foul lines. Curt Schilling, however, was jettisoned by ESPN over a Tweet or two—nothing on the air, just Tweets that hit a third rail of political incorrectness. I am rankled by this as a Christian, as this politicization of sport is generally a subtle way of spraying the listener, viewer, or reader with liberal values. Please understand, this is not a closet attempt to render a conservative counter. It is a plea for even-handedness, or better yet, nothing at all.

And then there is politically incorrect language or opinions coming from the mouths of athletes. These athletes are hardly towering intellects. Permit them their First Amendment rights and leave them alone.

Even in the case of the sensitive matter of domestic abuse. Why do you think universities and professional teams bring the steel shoes down on sports figures even alleged to have cuffed around a domestic partner? Because they are on the side of righteousness? Were that the case there would be myriad other misdeeds for which athletes would be punished. It is simply because domestic abuse is currently among the most highlighted and condemned of wrongdoing in the culture at large, and the sporting establishment cannot afford not to be on the politically correct line of scrimmage on that one. It is about politics not ethics.

When I go on the ESPN website there are features galore that are poorly thought hybrids of sports and current social issues glued together in a story about an athlete, team, or coach. Exhibit A: “The Undefeated,” a largely polemical site dedicated to African-American people and race issues in sport.

Enough already. All I really want to know is who is ahead in this game–the one I am wishing I could be watching on my personal and private “Gilligan’s Island.”


[201] Down

Early in 2017, Pew research reported that evangelicals were the only religious group in the US that did not enjoy a better reception than it did in 2014. More important perhaps, Americans were increasingly less likely to know an evangelical personally than anyone from another religious background.

Pew applied a “feeling thermometer” to determine the warmth level of feelings toward the religious groups. While evangelicals held steady at 61% in being warmly regarded, Muslims went up 8% to 48, while atheists jumped up 9% to 50%.

Two thoughts on this: First, atheism has now gained mainstream acceptance. This does not mean there are more atheists than in the past, but it does mean they are now able to come above ground and engender little resistance. There is a price for people of faith to pay here, and that is encountering more open atheistic opposition to matters of faith.

Second, and perhaps more disturbing is that Americans are less likely to know an evangelical than a member of any other religious group. It is good the Apostle Paul is not around to see this. He would gag. How can this be? Evangelicals are definitely not the smallest in number of the religious groups. It is because of the fortress mentality that has long typified them. And it is not working. This shouts out the need for evangelicals to get outside of their religious ghetto and interact with the rest of the world. It is time to preach to someone other than the members of the choir.

Little surprise that there is such naivete among evangelicals with respect to the subtle invasion of our national culture by secular-progressives. They may be too busy painting the lines in the church parking lot to see how their relevance continues to dwindle as those hostile to the faith reshape the nation. DC

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