Monday, July 30, 2012

Why the Chick-fil-a Fight is Important

When I posted on the Chick-fil-a controversy last week, I mentioned that I did not pay much attention to it at first.  I thought it was just more lib city silliness.  But the more I think about it, the more I see its importance.

The bullying of Chick-fil-a brings together the Left’s wars on freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  The business is being attacked because the CEO, out of his deeply held Christian beliefs, has publicly supported traditional marriage and supported groups that share those values. That governments are joining in on the attack makes this all the more important.

Now the mayors of Boston and of Chicago are backing down somewhat.  Perhaps advisors whispered in their ears that Obama has not abolished the Constitution yet.  But the dangerous nature of their attacks remain.

For Leftist governments and activists in the West are using two tactics that we see in this controversy.  First, they are attacking freedom of religion while insisting they are doing no such thing.  They do this by “defining religious liberty down” by defining it as “freedom of worship” (as I’ve warned over a year ago), that you can worship in private as you please, but to actually live out your religious beliefs out in the world is another matter.  In daily life, the Almighty State is a jealous god that must be served, regardless of one’s petty outdated religious beliefs.

Second, they are attacking freedom of speech, both directly as the city governments of Boston and Chicago threatened to do, or indirectly by defining politically incorrect speech as “bigotry” unworthy of protection and worthy of vicious attack.  The bigot card is becoming more and more common in attempts to demonize opponents and shut down debate. 

William Jacobson opines that the use of the bigot card is accelerating now that Obama is on the politically correct side of the gay marriage debate.  But it is hard to miss that its use was becoming more frequent well before then.  Voicing traditional conservative views on social issues practically guarantees being smeared as a “bigot.”

Now people with backbones can handle the insults of the evil and of the stupid.  But with the mentality of the Left, it is a short step from attacking “bigoted” speech to banning it with the force of the government, as Christians and conservatives in the West have already experienced.

So this is why I hope Christians and conservatives do not let up in defending Chick-fil-a and in counterattacking the mayors of Boston and Chicago and their ilk.  The Left must taught and taught well that if you attack freedom of speech and freedom of religion in America, there is hell to pay.  Those moral midgets who hate freedom must be put in their place for the sake of the rest of us who still value freedom.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Obama Tries to Scare Women (and fails)

It’s not close to Halloween yet, much less Election Day.  But the Obama campaign is trying to scare women . . . literally.  From their new ad . . . which is pretty much the same as any number of old Democrat ads:

“I’ve never felt this way before, but it’s a scary time to be a woman,” says 30-something “Jenni.” “Mitt Romney is just so out of touch.”
A female narrator chimes in: “Romney opposes requiring insurance coverage for contraception and Romney supports overturning Roe vs. Wade. Romney backed a bill that outlawed all abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.”

Mitt Romney is out there and it’s so scaaaaary!  Boo!  Be scared!


Oh, and that claim about Romney opposing exceptions for rape and incest? Not true.  I know. A Democrat campaign lying is just so shocking.  Politifact gave that part of the ad a “Pants on Fire” rating.

As for expecting women (and men) to pay for their own contraception being “scary,” I would hope there are lot of women out there who find that part of the ad downright insulting.  The woman at the first link certainly does.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Obama, Democrat Party Should Denounce Boston-Chicago Attacks on Chick-fil-a

Last night, I was thinking that the fascist attacks on Chick-fil-a by the mayors of Boston and Chicago are providing the Democrat Party and Obama with a golden opportunity to do the right – and politically smart – thing. 

Obama and allies should follow the good example of Bill Clinton (I never thought I’d write that phrase.) and have a Sister Souljah moment.  They should denounce government attempts to ban Chick-fil-a.  I think they would gain a great deal of political good will if they did so, just as Bill Clinton did.

And I was going to write as much this morning.  I thought I would be breaking new ground.  But Mark Hemmingway beat me to it.  Oh well.  Brilliant minds and all that.

My post yesterday should suffice in spelling out why I think it would be the right thing to do.  Why it would be politically smart as well?  Obama and the Democrat Party have fueled, especially of late, the largely correct perception that they owned by the political Left.  The actions of the fascist Democrat mayors only make that situation worse.  And even many who support gay marriage oppose their attacks on Chick-fil-a.

Obama and allies have a golden opportunity to appear reasonable and not part of the extreme Left Chick-fil-a banning crowd.  And what an opportunity for his teleprompter!:  “Here in America we cherish freedom of speech, even the freedom of speech of those with whom we deeply disagree.  We don’t try to use the power of the government to silence people.  That’s not America, and that’s not American.  Real tolerance is a two way street in America.  I disagree with the CEO of Chick-fil-a on the issue of gay marriage.  But it is my pleasure and duty as President to defend his right, and the rights of all Americans, to disagree with me.  Now some may disagree with me for saying that.  So be it.  We are America where freedom of speech is sacred and always will be – always must be.”

See how easy that is? I did that off the top of my head.  It practically writes itself.  And people would love it.  Even an Obama-hater like me would give him points for doing the right thing.  It could be the Sister Souljah moment he needs.

Now why the heck am I, of all people, giving Obama and the Democrats free advice?

Because I think they are indeed too wedded to the Left to have the vision and the guts to do it.  We shall see.

Update: In the headline, I thought "denounce" and wrote "renounce". Wake up, Mark! Corrected now.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chick-fil-a banned in Boston? “This is how fascism works.” UPDATE: Now Chicago.

When the news first came out that the Mayor of Boston wanted to ban Chick-fil-a from his fair city because CEO Dan Cathy refused to toe the politically correct line on gay marriage, I did not pay much attention to be honest.  I figured lib cities on the coasts do silly things, and this was just another silly thing.

But as I have reflected on it, I have become alarmed.  For governments discriminating against people and their businesses simply for openly holding traditional conservative views is reason for alarm.  Do we really think it will stop with Boston?  Or with the issue of gay marriage for that matter?

Now if individual Bostonians, or Lisa Henson for that matter, want to be jerks and boycott Chick-fil-a for political incorrectness, that is their right.  Others of us will in turn give the chain more business.  Heck, I love their sandwiches, waffle fries, and lemonade.  Annoying the Left will just make my meal more delicious.

But for a government to bully a business over religious or political views?

The Anchoress puts it very well:

If people are no longer entitled to their own opinions, or to think what they think, then we are not free people, at all. Period. Full stop. That’s a fundamental as it gets.

Further she says what the Mayor of Boston is doing “reeks of fascism.” And I completely agree.  Yet there are plenty of people cheering him on.

When Jonah Goldberg came out with his book Liberal Fascism, both the title and the thesis seemed a bit over the top.  But people of the Left even in the United States are acting more like fascists all the time.  The Nazis boycotted the businesses of Jewish people.  Many on the Left apparently want to imitate that episode and, with the support of government, boycott the businesses of conservative Christians.

Whatever happened to “tolerance”?  Methinks that word has been used and abused as a euphemism for crushing those who disagree with political correctness.

But then fascists always have had a talent for euphemisms.

MORE: I should have noted that the quote in my post title comes from The Anchoress herself.  Again, I commend her post to you.

UPDATE: Now Chicago is going fascist, too.  An alderman will attempt to block a permit to open a Chick-fil-a in the 1st Ward.  He has the support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said in a statement, “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values.”

You got that right, fascist. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blame Righty!

If one thinks the sordid ABC News Brian Ross episode smearing an innocent tea partier as perhaps the Aurora movie theater gunman is a one off, think again.  Time after time, the “mainstream” news media has been eager to link violence to tea partiers when there was no link:

* September 2009: The discovery of hanged census-taker Bill Sparkman in rural Kentucky fueled media speculation that he’d been killed by anti-government Tea Partiers. In fact, he’d killed himself and staged his corpse to look like a homicide so his family could collect on life insurance.

* February 2010: Joe Stack flew his small plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas. The media immediately suggested that the anti-tax rhetoric of the Tea Party led to the attack. In fact, Stack’s suicide note quoted the Communist Manifesto.

* That same month, a professor at the University of Alabama, Amy Bishop, shot and killed three colleagues at a faculty meeting. The gun-loving Tea Party came under immediate suspicion. But Bishop was a lifelong Democrat and Obama donor. . . .

* May 2010: New York authorities disarmed a massive car bomb in Times Square. Mayor Bloomberg immediately speculated that the bomber was someone upset about the president’s new health-care law. The media trumpeted the idea that crazed conservatives had (again, they implied) turned to violence. In fact, the perp was Faisal Shahzad, an Islamic extremist.

And there’s more instances at the above link.  Is there violence out there? Could it be the EVIL RACIST Tea Party?? Blame Righty!

And this is far from the first time [LANGUAGE WARNING] that Brian Ross himself has violated basic journalistic standards to smear and get attention.

Which raises the obvious question – why does Brian Ross still have a job?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Poll: Pravda says Communist Party in Trouble

Well, not quite.  But the latest CBS-New York Times poll looks really ugly for Obama.  And that’s almost the same thing.  Romney being up 1 is just the beginning.

I defer to Gabriel Malor’s excellent breakdown.  But I think two aspects of the poll are particularly important.  First, Mr. Wonderful ain’t so wonderful anymore with bad favorability numbers.

I’ve never fully bought the view that people like Obama all that much, not since 2009 at least.  But they certainly are liking him less now.  Which leads to my second point . . .

“Nobody cares about Bain.” That might be overstating the situation. Surely someone out there cares about Bain.  But after millions of Obama money bashing Romney with lies and half-truths about Bain, with words like “felon” being tossed out there to boot, it appears not to be working much.  It does appear to have made Obama look like the thug he is, which is likely a factor in his lower favorable numbers.

*Anglican understatement alert*

This is no longer a popular President.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

“If you’ve got a business - you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Yes, yes, I know.  This is old news already.  And it’s all over the internet and talk radio.  Heck, Rush Limbaugh today allowed his engineer to play it whenever the spirit moved him.  That made for interesting listening.

But the more I think about it, the more amazed I am by it.  And simply reading what Obama said does not give the full impact. Watch and listen . . .

Obama’s arrogance and condescension towards business owners, big and small, just oozes through.

I could try to say something profound.  But what is there to say about such breathtaking chutzpah?  Well, yes, there is a lot that could be said actually.

For now, perhaps it is best to say that Obama’s statement should serve as a good reality check as to the sort of arrogance and economic illiteracy that currently holds sway in the Oval Office.

Seminary Gives --Schori’s Church-suing Lawyer an Honorary Doctorate

Does the brazenness of The Episcopal Church know any bounds? Its General Theological Seminary has awarded David Booth Beers an honorary doctorate.  That’s right.  He is --Schori’s lawyer in suing the faithful and kicking them out of their properties.

And that’s the very reason he was awarded the degree:
David Booth Beers, Esq. is a noted attorney and Chancellor to the Presiding Bishop. He is of counsel to the law firm Goodwin Proctor where he has an extensive national and international practice in the non-profit sector. He has led the legal effort of the Episcopal Church to safe guard the rights and property of the church, dioceses and parishes from the plans of those who have broken away from the church and yet attempted to take church property with them. He has worked closely for many years with the Church History faculty of the Seminary in his support of the church and enjoys wide and deep respect. He is an active layman in St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Washington.

I could rant and carry on about what an outrage it is so to award suing the faithful.  But perhaps I should instead remind myself that it could be worse.  I mean at least an Episcopalian seminary is not yet led by, say, a worshipper of Moloch, right?

Oh.  Never mind.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Sermon for the 6th Sunday after Trinity

. . . which just happens to be my first sermon as an Anglican.  When the Rector is away . . .

The sermon was part of Morning Prayer in which the Lessons were Nehemiah 8: 1-12 and Luke 11:37-end.  The Psalm was 119:41-72.

Hearing and Responding to the Word of God

The walls of Jerusalem have just been rebuilt.  And now it is the Feast of Trumpets, what we call today Rosh Hashanah.  And on this high occasion, the scrolls of the Torah, the Law of Moses, are brought out to be read by Ezra to the great assembly.
We read of this occasion in the first lesson this morning, in Nehemiah, chapter 8.  The Book of Nehemiah is somewhat neglected, but it should not be so.  It deals chiefly with Nehemiah’s successful campaign to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem after the Exile.  And this book has a lot to teach us about how to perform important works for God in the face of opposition.  But time does not permit us to examine that subject this morning.

What I do want us to examine was how the Word of God was taught and received on that special Feast of Trumpets of 444 B. C. just after the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.

In 8:3, this passage tells us that Ezra read to the people from the Law, which is the first five books of our Bible, “from early morning until midday.”

Now, on a normal day, that is not a practical schedule for most of us.  But there is a lot to be said for setting aside a day or a half-day from time to time for Bible reading, reflection, and prayer.  Among the benefits are that setting aside such extended times allows time for the Word to sink in.  And it allows time to reflect on what our response to the Word should be. 

On this occasion, the nation of Israel used their liturgical calendar to do that.  And our church year provides opportunities for that as well.  Vacation time also provides opportunities as I was recently blessed to experience in New Mexico.  Even sick time can provide an opportunity for extended time in the Word.  Better to read the Bible and reflect on it in bed than just lay there and reflect on being sick.

So Ezra read for half a day.  Now note how the people listened: “The ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.”  And that is saying something.  Because let’s be honest.  Better yet, I’ll be honest.  There are times when my attention strays when the Bible is read or taught.  I know that’s shocking, but it’s true.

You know, kids are the ones who are supposed to have short attention spans.  But my attention span keeps getting shorter as I get older!

There is something strange about human nature -- we are so easily distracted from what is vital by what is trivial.  We need to fight that tendency with God’s help and pay close attention to His word.

Note now what accompanied the reading of the Word.

And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood.  And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

This was a special occasion, but the reading of God’s word should always be accompanied by worship and prayer.  That’s one reason our services of Morning and Evening Prayer, and of the Holy Communion as well, are structured as they are, with both the reading of scripture and prayer.

Our hearts and minds can be really slow to understand the things of God, and we need his help to do so.  Also, we should always be thankful that God has spoken to us and given us His Holy Word.  So prayer very much goes with the reading of scripture.

And when our heavenly Father speaks to us we should respond.  One of my favorite prayer book prayers of response, and a prayer for response, to his word is:
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that the words which we have heard this day with our outward ears may, through thy grace, be so grafted inwardly in our hearts, that they may bring forth in us the fruit of good living; to the honour and praise of thy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And that is an appropriate prayer indeed.

Then the passage from Nehemiah 8 lets us know of very practical assistance given to the people so that they could understand the reading of scripture.
In verse 7, a number of men with interesting names “helped the people to understand the Law. . . . They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.”

Commentators differ as to exactly what was happening here.  Some think that the men were translating the Law.  For many, perhaps most of the people, that returned from the 70 year exile in Babylon, Hebrew was no longer their first language as in previous generations, but Chaldee instead.  Many needed some translation.

Others think that the men were interpreting the Law in plain everyday language to make it easier for the people to understand.  And it is certainly possible that the men did both.

We would be wise to avail ourselves of learned interpreters and commenters on the Word.  We are certainly blessed to have one as our Rector.  And, by the way, one important reason for regular church attendance is to hear the Word taught.
Beyond these walls, learned interpreters, such as the church fathers, are available to us as never before.  For example, you may have seen a 38 volume set of the Church Fathers.  I was fortunate to get to buy Fr. John’s set, and it is in my library.  But now you don’t have to spend the money and find the space for it.  It’s all available online.

And I think it a good thing to read the church fathers and the reformers as time permits, and not only modern books.  C. S. Lewis wrote an essay entitled “On the Reading of Old Books,” and in it he said, “It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.” And he puts forth his reasons for that, one of which is that each age has its characteristic errors, including our own.  “We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period.  And that means the old books.”

Allow me to add that, given many of the new books one finds even in Christian bookstores, C. S. Lewis’ advice surely goes double today!

Now, of course, we must remember that neither the Church Fathers nor the Reformers were infallible.  But we are not infallible either and can easily fall into errant private interpretation if we read the Bible without learned and godly guidance.  So it is indeed wise to allow ourselves the assistance of good interpreters.

At the same time, the best interpreter of scripture is scripture, as Fr. Ben often reminds us.  So the more we read the Bible, the more we equip ourselves to understand it.

But as we read the Bible and listen to interpreters of the Word, let us beware of two pitfalls of which we are warned by Jesus’ rebuke of the Pharisees in our 2nd Lesson.
First, not all interpreters are trustworthy, even if they might be happen to be highly respected.   Who were the most highly respected Bible teachers of Jesus’ day?  The Pharisees!  It is easy to forget that since they have such a bad name today, but they were.  Yet they led people astray.  Today also there are false teachers who are fawned over and respected – Brian MacLaren comes to mind – but they are false teachers nonetheless.

The second pitfall is to allow increasing Bible knowledge to increase our pride.  I’ve witnessed a mentality in some Christian circles that Bible knowledge = righteousness.  But the Pharisees were very knowledgeable about the Law and thought themselves righteous.  And we see what the Lord thought of their supposed righteousness.

Really, increased Bible knowledge should lead to increased humility and repentance as we find out more and more about God’s standards – and more and more about how we fall short of His standards.  In fact, in Nehemiah 8, that is exactly how the people responded to the reading of the Word.

And now let us do note the response of those people to God’s word.

For many, perhaps most, of the people, this was the first time they had heard so much of the Word of God systematically read to them.  And when they heard parts of the Word that they saw they had not been living out as they should, they wept.  Now part of that may have been the emotion of the occasion.  But for the most part, it was heartfelt repentance.  When they heard parts of God’s Law that they saw they were not doing, they grieved.  So much so that the leaders made a point to calm the people down and to remind them that it was a happy occasion.

And that leads to another way in which they responded to God’s word.  Verse 12 says they made “great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.”

What a good example these people are to us, in how they responded to the Word with both repentance and rejoicing! 

But let’s be honest, we often fall short of that good example because we take God’s word for granted.  We Americans have the Bible so available to us in different translations and formats.  There are even any number of Bibles packaged for different demographic groups.  There’s Men’s Bibles, Women’s Bibles, Youth Bibles.  There’s an American Patriot’s Bible.  Yes, there is.  And I could get a good rant on about some of these.  But I’ll confine myself to saying that we Americans are downright spoiled by the availability of God’s word.

Don’t get me wrong.  The availability of God’s word is a great blessing.  But sometimes we let blessing spoil us, especially when that blessing continues for years and decades.  It is so easy for us to take the Bible for granted.  If we catch ourselves doing so, and I know I have, let us then repent of that.

For we need to read God’s word not just with our eyes.  We need to hear God’s word not just with our ears.  We need to read and hear God’s word with more than just our minds even -- although certainly we should let the word engage and shape our minds.

We need to receive God’s word with our hearts, just like those people in Nehemiah 8 did.  We need to respond to the Word with what Cramner might call a hearty response – with heartfelt repentance when we see we fall short of God’s ways, and with rejoicing that our loving God is not silent, but has given us his precious word, and that we get to hear it.  What a privilege it is to hear and to respond to the very word of God!

So let us shake off all spiritual lethargy and cease taking God’s word for granted.  And let us read and hear the Word with both our hearts and minds – and respond with both repentance and joy.  Amen.

Let us pray.
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that the words which we have heard this day with our outward ears may, through thy grace, be so grafted inwardly in our hearts, that they may bring forth in us the fruit of good living; to the honour and praise of thy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, July 13, 2012

BREAKING: Obama Violates Clinton-era Welfare Reform Law

I am so weary of the constant law-breaking of our lawless President that I will keep this brief.

The Obama Regime is now ignoring key work requirements of the Clinton-era Welfare Reform law.  Details of the official policy directive are here.

This gutting of long-standing welfare reform not only is bad policy, it is a willful violation of the law . . . again.

Is there any law this man will not break to pander for votes?

From Herman Cain on Facebook just now:
Let's give credit where it's due: Bill Clinton signed legislation that attached serious work requirements to welfare. I wonder what he thinks about what President Obama just did to one of his most worthwhile achievements.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Sandra Fluke of Voter ID

Really this is so rich, you can’t make this up.  One Victoria Rose Rodriguez, 18, testified in a Washington, D. C. federal court about how haaard is it for her to get a ride to get an ID to vote in Texas.

Yet she somehow managed to make it all the way to Washington to whine about it.  Hmmm.

You know I bet if this lazy (or is it dissembling?*) girl wants to go to a show or the mall, she probably can manage to get a ride from friends.  And then there is public transportation.  But even putting those options aside, there are any number of groups who would be glad to help her get an ID for voting.  One commenter did a little homework on that:

I called 6 different "organizations" including a LULAC office, an NAACP office, the local National Council of La Raza office, local Democratic Party headquarters, local Republican Party headquarters and my Congressional Representative's office and they all told me that they could and would arrange for a ride.

But, but calling and getting a ride is so haaaard.  No, it isn’t, you lazy princess.

Ms. Rodriguez deserves to become the Sandra Fluke of Voter ID, i. e. a woman with such an overweening sense of entitlement and giving such absurd testimony that she famously helps make the case against the position she espouses.

And this is the best Eric Holder’s vote fraud enablers can come up with to make their case against Texas’ Voter ID law?  You think just maybe they do not have much of a case at all?

(*If the suggestion of the possibility of less than truthful testimony offends, remember that the Roe of Roe v Wade lied about being raped by her own later admission.  Liberal causes are so much more important than truthful testimony, don’tcha know.  And this young woman’s testimony strains credulity at best.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

BREAKING: South Carolina Walks Out of TEC General Convention

Given the demonstrated vindictiveness of --Schori and company, this is a principled act of courage.

The delegation released the following statement:

Due to the actions of General Convention, the South Carolina Deputation has concluded that we cannot continue with business as usual. We all agree that we cannot and will not remain on the floor of the House and act as if all is normal. John Burwell and Lonnie Hamilton have agreed to remain at Convention to monitor further developments and by their presence demonstrate that our action is not to be construed as a departure from the Episcopal Church. Please pray for those of us who will be traveling early and for those who remain.

The Bishop of South Carolina is expected to release a statement shortly.

Eric Holder plays the race card to enable vote fraud.

This is so ridiculous, it is hardly worthy of comment.  But I want my readers to know to what absurd lengths Obama’s Attorney General is going to enable election fraud (and hence the re-election of The One).

In Eric Holder’s world, verifying the I.D. of voters is RAAAAACIST vote suppression, "poll taxes" even!

Just letting you know.

A Book for St. Benedict’s Day

This year, the Feast of St. Benedict has special meaning for me.  A few weeks ago, I spent about three days at the Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert.  It was a very restful, enjoyable, and edifying time that God is still using in my life.  And I do intend to go back.

(By the way, my apologies for not posting on my visit.  I thought I did for some reason.  Probably I so much intended to that I thought I did so without actually doing so.  Anyway, there are, however, some photos I took on my tumblr.)

Since then, I’ve been reading a short book, Monk Habits for Everyday People, which is written by a Protestant, namely Dennis Okholm, for Protestants. In fact, a Baptist, of all people, recommended the book to me.  I will have to thank him! 

The book gleans the Rule of St. Benedict and Benedictine practice for wisdom in everyday Christian living. I haven’t quite finished it yet, but I find it very well written, very readable, and yet profound, particularly the chapters on humility, much emphasized in the Rule, and stability.  Do be prepared to be nudged gently to self-examination as I certainly have.

I could go into more detail.  But it would be better if you get the book.  As you can tell, I wholeheartedly recommend it.