Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Disturbing Poll on “the Consent of the Governed”

Rasmussen released a poll the other day that I find disturbing. In it, only 21% believe the federal government today has the consent of the governed. 61% say the federal government does not have that consent.

Think about that. Barely a fifth of Americans think our national government has our consent. A full three-fifths think it does not. I am certainly not naïve concerning the anger at the Obama regime and at the Demorat Congress, anger that I most certainly share. But this poll floored me.

Now, I’ll be honest. Part of me thinks, “Yea! Those Demorats are going to get it!” But I know this situation is profoundly unhealthy and volatile. Civil wars, rebellions, and revolutions have been fought over less.

At the risk of repeating myself, one reason adhering to the Constitution is so important is there must be agreed upon political avenues for grievances. And those avenues must be respected. When those avenues are closed off or when democratic decisions taken through those avenues are voided – as both have been done by federal courts – or when the feds take upon themselves powers outside those avenues – as all three branches of the federal government have done time and time again – then people, seeing that their democratic rights are subverted, will take their grievances outside those political avenues. In short when constitutional democracy is subverted, at least some people will address their grievances through non-democratic means. And some of those means will be violent. We’ve seen this on a small scale after Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Political disagreement is one thing. But today’s consensus that government is acting outside the consent of the governed is quite another. A government that lacks the consent of almost 4/5s of the people is a government that invites violent opposition.

(Just to be clear, I do not yet think violence is appropriate or acceptable. I think consent of the governed can and must be restored through peaceful democratic means.)

My hope is that the next two elections are such a repudiation of big government statism that we return much closer to constitutional democratic governance. The people must feel they can address their grievances through constitutional democratic means. Otherwise, some of those who feel government lacks their consent will go beyond civil means in their opposition. Frankly, I doubt we can avoid an increase in violence in any case.

Yes, I find this poll that disturbing.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Christ Church San Antonio “Divided”

The unity of Christ Church San Antonio is yet another victim of the Episcopal Church. In a letter to his Vestry, the always straight-speaking rector Chuck Collins acknowledges that Christ Church “is deeply divided . . . over whether or not to stay in The Episcopal Church.”

The situation is so “polarized” that Collins is convinced the issue must be addressed and soon:

I ask the vestry to forthrightly address the following as soon as possible: Given the deep divisions at Christ Church over the question of our continuing relationship with The Episcopal Church, what is the way forward for this parish family that honors our core values, our love for the Lord, and our love and respect for every member.

Kudos to Fr. Collins for facing the situation head on. And prayers ascend for Christ Church San Antonio.

Obama’s Justice Dept.: Friends of Terrorists

A letter from Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder has not gotten much attention, but it sure as heck ought to. In it he admits that nine Obama Justice Department appointees represented or advocated for terrorist detainees before joining Justice.

What the heck? That is like Mafia lawyers joining an organized crime task force. And in fact, Holder acknowledges that those terrorist lawyers “have been authorized to participate in policy and legal decisions regarding detainee matters. . . .” And how is this protecting us from terrorists?

Sen. Chuck Grassley rightly is hot about this and about Holder withholding the names of those appointees:

The country has the right to know what the predilections of people in the Justice Department are toward terrorism, especially if they’re giving constitutional rights to terrorists . . . To me, this is a case of our own public servants or political appointees having an agenda of their own instead of being concerned with the national security of the United States. . . . This letter creates a lot of suspicion about conflicts of interest, and it’s out of character for an administration that promised transparency.

Actually, it is very much in character for the Obama regime – say one thing in public and do another in the back room.

Monday, February 22, 2010

McLaren’s A New Kind of Christianity: An Old Kind of Apostasy

The most succinct and kind summary I’ve come across of Brian McLaren’s new book, A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith comes from Kevin DeYoung:

Brian McLaren’s latest book, A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith, is two steps forward in terms of clarity and ten steps backward in terms of orthodoxy. A New Kind of Christianity, more than any previous McLaren project, provides a forceful account of what the emergent leader believes and why.

From all accounts, McLaren indeed casts off his past maddening lack of clarity, and that to his credit. The problem is what his newfound clarity reveals – apostasy, and that not of a particularly novel kind. DeYoung again:

For all the talk of being new (xi) and at the same time ancient (255), McLarenism is neither. It is old fashioned liberalism. McLaren, despite his historical plundering, has no right to claim he is in tradition of Martin Luther because he finds “sustaining inner strength,” or in the tradition of the Wesleys because “our hearts can be ‘strangely warmed’” (227). This is like saying I’m in the tradition of Ignatius because I have strong convictions. It doesn’t work. McLaren stands in the tradition of Ritschl, Harnack, Rauschenbush, and Whitehead, plain and simple. . . .

McLaren’s Christianity is not new and certainly not improved. I don’t believe you can even call it Christianity. It is liberalism dressed up for the 21st century. We can only hope this wave of liberalism fades as dramatically as did the last.

Mike Wittmer reviews McLaren’s book in more dogged detail, going into all ten questions, beginning here and ending here. He begins by noting that McLaren tries to have it both ways, playing the kind martyr while smearing his critics:

I read the introductory three chapters of A New Kind of Christianity, and so far it’s an updated version of the Brian we’ve seen before. He claims to be “a mild-mannered guy” who is only looking for a new way to be a Christian that will boost the declining numbers in our churches, and he can’t understand why his critics respond with “fear,” “clenched teeth,” and “suspicion and accusation.” Brian’s really good at winning sympathy, and soon I was loathing myself for ever politely disagreeing with such a nice man.

But then I remembered that this debate about the Christian faith—which he and his friends started—is not a personality contest. You can’t dismiss what Christians have always believed and then expect a free pass because you’re likeable. And just below the surface of Brian’s humble, can’t-we-all-just-get-along vibe is an accusatory tone that repeatedly compares his critics to a religious Gestapo whose leaders defend their conservative beliefs because they don’t want to lose their jobs.

I could go on, but the linked reviews do better than I can. I will say that if it was not clear before, it is most certainly clear now: McLaren’s veneer of an enlightened, “generous orthodoxy” is just that, a veneer over his apostate attack on the faith and on the faithful.

Other reviews (with a hat tip to Standfirm):

Trevin Wax

Tim Challies

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ft. Worth: Phony Bishop Issues Silly Letter

The Faux Bishop of Ft. Worth, C. Wallis Ohl, has issued a letter purportedly deposing 57 priests and deacons in the real Diocese of Ft. Worth.

Of course, the Diocese of Ft. Worth some time back left The Episcopal Church and is now in the Anglican Church in North America. So Ohl’s letter is rather pointless.

One of the recipients of this letter is shaking in his cassock . . . . No, actually, he is amused and puts the letter into perspective quite well:

I fully expect to receive a letter from Gordon Brown any day revoking my British citizenship, despite the outcome of that little spat between 1775 and 1783. Some people just don't get the message that the ship has long ago already sailed.


MORE: This comment says volumes about how Ohl treats clergy:

Ohl, former Bp. of Northwest Texas, is being true to his nature. After I had begun the process for ordination as a local priest (Canon 9 priest for most of you), he refused to allow me to go forward because of my orthodox stand, telling me that I was “too strong” for the parish. Then he lied to the parish, telling them he had learned things about me that they did not know, hinting that there was something sinister in my past (there isn’t). Way to go, Wally!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

“Free Speech”

“Free Speech” in many universities means if you disagree with Leftists and Jew-hating Muslims, you don’t get to speak. Yet another sorry example of that twisted definition in action:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

CofE Synod Wimps Out on ACNA is Very Anglican.

As you perhaps can tell from the headline, I do not share ACNA leadership’s cheery assessment of what transpired at Synod. I do understand their desire to be positive. It would not be very polite to say, “Thanks for nothing, pommy church!” And the Synod could have in turn told ACNA to go away. They did not.

But let us follow Matt+ Kennedy’s admonition to engage in exegesis, not isogesis and look at what actually passed.

The original motion by Lorna Ashworth was modest:

“That this Synod express the desire that the Church of England be in communion with the Anglican Church in North America.”

As she noted during debate, all that motion would have done was express a desire for communion. It would have had little if any binding result (except REALLY tick off --Schori and company, of course).

But that was *ahem* too bold for the Synod. So they gutted the resolution with an amendment. Therefore the final resolution that passed was the following:

“That this Synod, aware of the distress caused by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada,

"(a) recognise and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family;
(b) acknowledge that this aspiration, in respect both of relations with the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion, raises issues which the relevant authorities of each need to explore further; and
(c) invite the Archbishops to report further to the Synod in 2011."

The passed resolution does not even deign to express a desire for communion. It only affirms ACNA’s desire – whatever that means, says this is oh-so complicated, and kicks the issue to 2011.

Thus Synod punted on even expressing a desire for communion with ACNA.

I can think of several adjectives to describe that. “Anglican” seems appropriate at the moment.

Granted, I am a bit grumpier than some (but not Christopher Johnson). Other views may be found here.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Archbishop of Canterbury’s Address to Synod

Dr. Rowan William’s address to Synod is now posted.

For the most part, I do not find much notable in it. It is mostly a rehash, albeit an eloquent one, of things he has already said. Perhaps I am missing something, but I do not see much guidance on the issues facing Synod.

However, he does make a favorable, if brief, mention of ACNA.

And, in the context of the current debates over proposed “Equality” legislation, he warns of being too quick to try to get the government to enforce one’s claims to equality and/or freedom. For “it is a short-sighted government that creates powers for itself which could be used by a later government for exactly opposite purposes.”

The Archbishop quite clearly and at some length states his distrust of government power to enforce rights. And, coming from Dr. Williams, I find both the clarity and the distrust a pleasant surprise.

Snow – the Taxpayer’s Friend

The snowfall in Washington D. C. is monumental. 30 inches is typical for the area. More amazing is it has shut down much of the federal government there and even the U. S. Senate, preventing them from voting on a $80 billion “jobs” bill.

Most D. C. federal offices remain closed today and another snowstorm may be on the way. To which, I say . . . YEAAA SNOW!

If I were Pat Robertson, I would speculate on God’s judgment being involved, but I’m not.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Biggest Super Bowl Losers

First, congrats to the Saints and, yes, to the Colts and even the NFL as well. It was an excellent and engaging football game. Even the refs did good.

BUT, there were big losers on Super Sunday:

1. President Obama – I think the main thing he accomplished with his llllong appearance during the pre-game, with his lecturing and lecturing us about healthcare, was to annoy people. He clearly doesn’t get it that there is a time and a place for such politicking, and the Super Bowl ain’t it.

2. CBS – did not help their reputation with that Obama infomercial.

3. The taxpayers – got to watch their money go down the drain with the Census ads. The $2.5 million spent is only the tip of the iceberg of an ad campaign project to cost over $300 million.

4. – Who the heck is so offensively stupid as to give their company the same name as the infamous Soviet secret police? Gee, I think I’ll start a texting service and name it or better yet, Idiots!

If you think I am missing some big losers, feel free to chime in with a comment.

MORE: There are numerous reports that kgb was very slow to respond to questions. I’ve seen two reports that their servers failed. Losers.

Friday, February 05, 2010

In Case You Think David Cameron Will Be the Saviour of the UK . . .

. . . You had better think again.

It is hard to find any part of the Labourite “Equality” agenda that he does not buy into. He says gays should be able to adopt. And, yes, he pretty much says “Equality” trumps religious freedom:

Cameron was then asked: 'Do you think that the right of gay children to have a safe education trumps the right of faith schools to teach that homosexuality is a sin?'
He answered: 'Basically yes - that's the short answer to that, without getting into a long religious exegesis. I mean, I think, yes. . . .

It is sad to see he does not have the depth to say those two freedoms do not and should not conflict, much less truly defend freedom of religion.

Don’t bet on him appointing a decent Archbishop of Canterbury either. He says the Church of England should just get on with it and give into the gay agenda.

It is very sad to see that the UK has sunk so far that both major parties have so sold out to so-called “Equality”.

And make no mistake about it. The “Equality” agenda backed by Brown and Cameron is hostile to freedom of religion as ++York has very well pointed out.

Welcome to Gulag UK.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Schori Does ACNA a Favor?

There are reports that TEC Presiding Heretic Katharine Schori is in England to try to influence the Church of England Synod against recognizing the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

If so, I say . . . thanks!

I really have difficulty seeing her lobbying being well received. The Episcopal Church already has a reputation both for not giving a damn about the Anglican Communion and for pushing its weight around within it beyond its declining numbers. And much of the current divisions within the Church of England itself are fomented by Episcopalians who have moved to England and taken influential positions, particularly in the universities. I suspect at least some in Synod are quietly fed up with that. I am sure few in Synod see themselves in need of more guidance from the Episcopal Church.

So I think Schori’s presence in England will actually help ACNA, reminding many in Synod of the need for ACNA and giving opportunity politely to tell her to buzz off by voting to recognize ACNA. (And that even if she throws Episcopalian $$$ around.)

But that is only my take. If anyone has further insight into this situation and how it is being received, feel free to comment or contact. I am watching Synod with great interest.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Obama Attacks Donations to Charities and Churches. . . Again

Last year, Obama attempted to reduce the tax deduction for charitable contributions for those earning over $250,000. Even this Congress had enough sense to shoot that proposal down.

But now Obama is trying again.

That he is pushing this again even in the face of opposition from both parties says volumes about where his priorities lie. There is little doubt that this would hurt non-profits by reducing the incentive to donate to them. (Personally, I would consider suspending much of my non-church donations, then making it up once such a tax regime is repealed.) For that reason alone, it is bad public policy that willfully undermines civil society.

But Obama is such a statist and a Leftist that he thinks screwing the “rich” and feeding the voracious appetite of his regime is more important than the work charities do. His values and priorities are that bankrupt . . . which goes well with his budget.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Pope Confirms UK Visit, Criticizes Equality Bills UPDATED

As Ruth Gledhill informs us, Pope Benedict has confirmed that he will indeed visit the UK later this year.

What may be of more import is that he is openly criticizing proposed equality legislation that restricts freedom of religion:

In a letter today to the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, the Pope says: "Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs.”

I am glad to see the pope point out that there is an elephant in the room. And that elephant is a secular state seeking to sit (Yes, I am tempted to add an “h”.) on religious freedom. Or more accurately, there are two elephants, given that the EU is pressuring the UK to restrict freedom.

Of much less import is that I am thinking of visiting England around October. I wonder if the paths of His Holiness and this not-so holiness cross.

UPDATE: The Guardian twists the Pope’s statement into the headline, "Pope condemns gay equality laws ahead of first UK visit." Yes, a *slight* overstatement of what the Pope actually said.

The Pope is a homophobe meme already – that was predictable.

OBAMA’S Budget: $5 Trillion More Debt in Five Years UPDATED

Obama will surely try to blame Bush . . . again. But this is Obama’s budget. Dubya did not jump out of a hidden compartment of the Oval Office and hold a gun to Obama’s head. And Obama’s budget projects over five trillion dollars in deficits in five years.

And that pretty much sums it up.

UPDATE: Sure enough, Obama blamed Bush. But a graph here puts matters in perspective.

For Obama to decry the deficits of the Bush years is truly comical given that his own deficits are so much greater. If Obama were an honest man, he would say, “Bush served deficits a little; Obama will serve them much!”*

*With apologies to Jehu.