Thursday, February 20, 2020

Shy Trump Voters?

(Disclaimer and TRIGGER WARNING: There is not much Anglicanism in this post but mainly political analysis that some may find unpleasant.  See my post yesterday for more explanation.)

Opinion polls have (Anglican Understatement Alert) limited usefulness this far out from an election. But a current odd phenomenon is that while most polls show Trump behind potential Democrat nominees, Democrats sure are not acting like it as one wag has noticed.
I suspect even Democrats know there is a Shy Trump Voter phenomenon about.  This, of course, is a variant of the Shy Tory phenomenon: some who vote Tory will not tell pollsters they are so doing.  Polls have thereby understated Tory support in past elections.  This has been seen in other elections as well.  When I lived in North Carolina, I noticed Jesse Helms always did better in elections than polls indicated.  
Shy right-of-center voters occur not because they are more prone to lying or dissembling or that they are ashamed of their political choices, as much as some Leftists may like so to think.  In a number of circumstances, letting it be known that one intends to vote for a right-of-center candidate invites social disapproval, even rejection, getting flack, or worse, including “cancelling”.  Yes, there are surely circumstances in which letting it be known that one intends to vote for a Lib/Left candidate invites grief, but that is far more often the case for conservative voters.  For many Leftists have a totalitarian streak that is less than tolerant toward political opponents.
In the U. S., openly supporting Trump can harm one’s career in a number of fields.  Wearing a red MAGA cap or just a red cap risks getting smacked upside the head and worse in several cities.  Besides that, some people would rather not be defamed as RACIST or the like. They might even want to keep friends and family on good terms; imagine that.  With not all Trump supporters desiring political combat on a toxic battlefield, it is to be expected that there is a significant Shy Trump Voter factor in this election and the accompanying polls.
Bret Stephens, no Trump supporter, is on to this:
…Perhaps the biggest whisper network of all: the one involving inner flashes of sympathy, frequently tipping into support at the ballot box, for President Trump.
Plenty of people are aware of this phenomenon: One recent academic study noted that so-called secret voters supported Trump over Hillary Clinton by a two-to-one (54 percent to 27 percent) margin in 2016. That statistic should be every bit as alarming to Democrats this time around, not least because it suggests that polls may be dramatically underweighting the scale of Trump's support.
Yet beyond the question of why people might want to conceal their voting preferences -- reputation management, social harmony, and so on -- it's worth asking whether the very fact that a vote for Trump was supposed to be shameful is also what made it so attractive. After all, forbidden fruit is appealing not because it is fruit, but because it is forbidden. For every voter who pulled the lever for Trump out of sympathy for his views, how many others did so out of disdain for the army of snickering moralists (at the time including me) telling them that a vote for Trump was unpardonable?
My hunch: probably enough to make the difference in the states that made the difference.
I would also guess that the number has only grown as the censorious left has become more aggressive and promiscuous in its condemnations.
Methinks his hunch and guess is correct.
By the way, I am posting this because I have long found the Shy Tory and related phenomenon interesting. I am not  posting this to encourage any complacency on the part of those inclined to vote for Trump.  Instead, as I’ve stated after the Impeachment Trial acquittal, it is important that we not merely defeat but punish Democrats in November because they have gone far beyond being mistaken on policy to opposing our Constitutional democracy itself.
Nor do I want Leftists to stop vilifying and harassing us evil racist Trump supporters.  Keep up the good “justice work”!  You are not reminding us of the importance of defeating you, not at all.
But then if by chance you are so reminding us, many of us will not let you know thanks to your righteous work.  The Shy Trump Voter is your creation, you know . . . or don’t know.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Blog Update: MOAR HISTORY! (and current events and no telling what)

I’ve long wrestled with how to handle blog posts that are pretty much unrelated to Anglicanism.  For some time, I’ve put some posts over on a sister blog, but that has not attracted much traffic.  In addition, I now have a hard time with the logistics of posting there.  The font is unreadable, videos won’t embed, and so on.
So I think it would best to bring posts back to here.  I may warn when something has little to do with Anglicanism.  Maybe I will even have trigger warnings. HA!.... 
…Actually I might. I very much oppose mandatory trigger warnings.  But giving them as a courtesy has its place.  (I hope I did not make any readers faint from shock there.)
Other than that, the main change is that there will be more posts here related to history and current events and culture.  I know there have been some readers that have wished I would stick more to Anglicanism.  I listened.  I tried.  And it just has not worked out.
Besides it is often good to broaden our horizons.  Speaking of which, I post on twitter much more often than here.  But – TRIGGER WARNING, AAAAA, AAAAAAAAA! – my twitter is often politically incorrect and never woke.  
Oh.  You already knew that?

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

What You Are Probably Not Being Told About the Boy Scouts Bankruptcy

This morning comes the sad news that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has filed for bankruptcy.  The “news” media will let you know they did so because of mounting lawsuits concerning sexual abuse.  But there are important factors most of the news media and the Left (But I repeat myself.) are either downplaying or hiding.
First, I will say I am no apologist for the Boy Scouts.  Although I know of men who had excellent experiences in the Scouts, I have never been in Scouting, and I disapprove of how BSA is currently run as you shall see.
Having said that, the vast majority of the suits against BSA are based on alleged abuse decades ago. From AP:
Most of the newly surfacing cases date to the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s; the organization says there were only five known abuse victims in 2018. The Boy Scouts credit the change to an array of prevention policies adopted since the mid-1980s, including mandatory criminal background checks and abuse-prevention training for all staff and volunteers, and a rule that two or more adult leaders be present during all activities.
Back then, there was a lot of ignorance in society about child abuse, its harm, and how to prevent it. BSA has since taken a number of measures to prevent it.  The same could be said about many organizations that work with children. How many of them do we wish to drive into bankruptcy?
A big reason these past abuse cases now necessitate bankruptcy is that states such as New York, Arizona, New Jersey and California have after the fact changed their statue of limitation laws to allow law suits for abuse so long ago.  I take the unpopular stand that statue of limitation laws have a good purpose.  Memories weaken after so many years.  And, yes, there are false memories.  It is harder to defend oneself against allegations of acts long ago.  And, especially in the area of sexual abuse, false allegations are frequent; greatly lengthening or eliminating statues of limitation enable false allegations. 
In addition, it is unprincipled, to say the very least, to change the law, then allow criminal prosecution or lawsuits based on allegations of acts before the law was changed.   Such are ex post facto laws rightly forbidden by the Constitution.  But who cares about the Constitution or the Rule of Law any more?  (Yes, yes, I know lawyers will argue that changing statues of limitations, then suing on the basis of that is not ex post facto law. Guess what I think of such lawyers and the hacks in black and unprincipled legislators that enable them.)
Having said that, it is gross negligence that BSA allowed some abusers to return to Boy Scouts. Again, there was a lot of ignorance about child abuse and abusers back then, but that is inexcusable.
But past child abuse is not the only reason behind the BSA bankruptcy.  AP is typical in hiding as much as it reports:
The Boy Scouts’ finances have been strained in recent years by declining membership and sex-abuse settlements.
The number of youths taking part in scouting has dropped below 2 million, down from more than 4 million in peak years of the 1970s. The organization has tried to counter the decline by admitting girls, but its membership rolls took a big hit Jan. 1 when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — for decades a major sponsor of Boy Scout units — cut ties and withdrew more than 400,000 scouts in favor of programs of its own.
What AP does not tell you is that admitting girls has harmed membership.  Boys and young men desire male spaces as they aspire to and grow into manhood. Taking that away drives many of them away.  AP also does not tell you that the 2015 decision to allow gay scout leaders alienated many families involved in scouting, families that tend to be more traditional than average. These changes and subsequent membership declines in the past decade have made it that much more difficult for BSA to deal financially with the lawsuits.
Once again we see the phenomenon of “Go Woke; Go Broke.”
All this is not to downplay the difficulties men have gone through due to past abuse.  This is to say the bankruptcy of the Boy Scouts of America is not as simple as you are being told.  Unprincipled changes in the law and politically correct changes the Left pressured BSA to make have significantly contributed.
---
P. S.  Obama once said that “nobody should be barred” from Scouting.  But now Leftists cheer as the Boy Scouts are sued into bankruptcy precisely because people were not barred from Scouting.  Make up your minds, Leftists.  Or was destroying Boy Scouts your plan all along?

Friday, February 14, 2020

The Roger Stone Controversy and MOAR Impeachment Speaks Volumes

The controversy about the sentencing of Roger Stone combines four subjects that can get me to rant and foam at the mouth: prosecutorial misconduct, two-tiered justice, corrupt Democrat hacks-in-black judges, and the perpetual coup against Trump and Constitutional democracy.
Now although my having a prolonged wall-eyed fit may be entertaining, it might not be edifying. So instead I point you to two videos from yesterday that summarize this situation very well.  The first is from Tim Pool (who is not a Trump voter by the way) on Democrats using the controversy as a pretext to continue their coup against Trump.
The second is Tucker Carlson summarizing the facts of the Roger Stone case, including the first excessive sentence request and the jury foreman being a rabid Trump hater who apparently lied to get on the jury.
Again, there is so much I could rant, I mean, say.  But I will confine myself to the reaction of Democrats.
Democrats are oh-so for “justice” and against “fascism.”  So one would think they would speak out against prosecutors attempting to create a political prisoner through excessive sentencing.  One would think they would be upset by a jury being rigged by being led by a rabid political opponent of the defendant.
But, no.  Instead, when they see Trump speaking out against this outrage and Attorney General Bill Barr trying to undo some of the damage the four prosecutors have done, Democrats immediately use that as a pretext to open the door to impeaching Trump again and to impeach Barr.
All this illustrates once again how Democrats cannot be trusted with Constitutional democracy and justice.  They apparently have no problem with turning political opponents into political prisoners.  They certainly have no problem with two-tiered justice rigged for them and against political opponents.  And they so disrespect elections they don’t win, especially the 2016 election, that they are still continuing the perpetual coup against Trump, this time because he did a horrible thing: he opposed a kangaroo court turning Roger Stone into a political prisoner.
And the reaction from some in the church speaks volumes as well.  Some leaders in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), in the Southern Baptist Convention, and in The Evangelical Church of What’s Happening Now smear Trump and smear his supporters, especially his supporters within the church.  But does this “social justice” crowd say a peep about the injustice against Roger Stone?  Do they say a word about Democrats’ perpetual coup against Trump and disrespect for Constitutional democracy unless they win?  If so, they sure are awful quiet about it.
Maybe some of this “social justice” “evangelical” crowd is more Leftist than they are Christian.

Friday, February 07, 2020

About Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast

I hear our President, Still-Your-President Donald Trump, ruffled some feathers at the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday.
The details may be found elsewhere.  I would not have said everything he said in that setting.  But you know what?  I have not had the coup against me that Trump has endured for over three long years. (Well, actually it was a coup against my vote.)  And, especially with coup participant Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has long not respected the President nor his election, sitting there, I can understand Trump getting a bit hot.
It also should be remembered that Trump is President of the United States; he is no bishop and no priest.  And I am thankful, both for his office and that he does not hold churchly offices.  There’s one advantage of not having an established church right there.
But you know what else? If some pundit has been silent about the coup against Trump or worse has supported the coup yet now bashes Trump for being a bit hot upon his impeachment trial acquittal, he can shut up.  Yes, I said it.  That goes double for perverters of the faith like Jesuit LibPapist James Martin.
Such need to shut up and repent far, far more than President Trump.  And the rest of us would do well to use the following rule of thumb. If a pundit on American politics has not opposed or at least questioned the coup against Trump, he probably is not worth listening to whether he or she is a person of the Left or the Right or something in between. 
If you think that would mean listening only to Trump supporters, not so.  Remember Democrats Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Turley have opposed impeachment.  Both very much merit listening.  Even Van Jones, a slightly Left-wing opponent of Trump, who nonetheless has come to earn my respect and my ear, has questioned the wisdom of impeachment.
Don’t get me wrong. I am very much for free speech as longtime readers know.  And dialogue is vital in a democracy.  But there are still lines that should not be crossed. And the coup against Trump and against the 2016 election of him long ago crossed the line between legitimate policy disputes and illegitimate attacks on our Constitutional democracy.
It’s important that we get that and punish the perpetrators rather than give any credence to them or to their sycophants. 

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Sermon for Presentation of Christ in the Temple - "We Are All Jews"

If today, February 2nd, 2020, you were to ask someone, “What day is it?”, he or she would likely answer, “Sunday.” And of course it is. If someone is alert to it being February 2nd, he might answer, “It’s Groundhog Day.”  If he enjoyed numbers, he might note that it’s 2-2-2020.  Or if that person is a football fan, the answer for February 2ndthis year is, of course, “it’s Super Bowl Sunday.”
Those are all correct answers.  And Super Bowl Sunday is certainly a feast day in the secular American calendar.  But for some reason, it is not to be found in the Book of Common Prayer. 
Instead the Book of Common Prayer has today as the day of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.  And so it has been in the church since the 6thor 7thcentury if not before.  In times past, this was a major feast day especially in the medieval Western church.  The custom of blessing and distributing candles and then processing with the lit candles became especially popular in the medieval church to the point that Candlemas became a common name for this day.  Some more high church congregations still break out the candles today as did my Oxford home away from home, Pusey House, this morning.  
So today many are still observing the Presentation with enthusiasm. But it is safe to say that it is not as well observed or as well known today as in times past.  Even for some in this pious congregation, to hear that today is a holy day called the Presentation of Christ in the Temple might be a surprise. 
So what is today about?  Well, if we were having Holy Communion, the Gospel would be from Luke 2:22-40.  That passage tells us all about the presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple, so let’s turn there.  (And if you don’t have a Bible handy, you can find this passage in our Book of Common Prayer on page 250.)
And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to presenthimto the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. (v. 22-24)
We see here Mary and Joseph, with the baby Jesus, obeying the Mosaic Law in two ways.  First, forty days after the birth of a son, the mother is to become ritually pure by the sacrifice of a lamb or of two doves. For this reason, today is often called the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The option of two doves is a concession in the Law for those too poor to afford a lamb.
Mary and Joseph could not afford a lamb so they offered two doves. But, although they probably did not know it, Mary and Joseph werepresenting a lamb; they were presenting Jesus the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world. 
By the way, it is interesting how so much of the Mosaic Law, the Torah, is a foreshadowing of what God was going to do through Jesus Christ.  This is only one such case.  The Law designating a lamb to be presented for sacrifice 40 days after the birth of a son foreshadows Jesus, the Lamb of God, being presented in the Temple 40 days after his birth. 
The second requirement of the Law observed here is that every first born son was to be offered to God.  BUT remember that the Lord does not like human sacrifice.  So the first born was to be presented then redeemed by making a monetary offering. (Numbers 18: 15, 16)
Note the humility of the Holy Family.  Mary knew that her birth was different, a virgin birth by the operation of the Holy Spirit just as it had been announced to her by the angel.  And unlike other children, Jesus was not a sinner.  So there was hardly any need for purification.  But they complied with the Law anyway.
As for Jesus being presented to God, how do you present God to God? But in this and in any number of ways, Jesus and his parents complied with the Mosaic Law.  Remember that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it.
Up to now, if one had been there, Jesus and his parents probably seemed like any other family of modest means fulfilling their religious duties in the Temple.  But then something very different happens.
And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose namewasSimeon; and the same manwasjust and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
If these words seem familiar, it is because this is the Nunc Dimittis which we sing at Evening Prayer.  Simeon proclaimed Jesus as the Salvation of God and as the Light of the World, and we do so also.  In this significant way, we remember the Presentation of Christ in the Temple every time we do Evening Prayer. 
Continuing…
And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, thischildis set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And shewasa widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but servedGodwith fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
St. Paul, while making a defense for the Faith before King Agrippa, said these things have “not been done in a corner.” (Acts 26:26) He was referring mainly to the Passion, death and resurrection of Christ.  But the same could be said about the birth of Christ.
Not only did angels proclaim his birth to shepherds, and the shepherds passed on that proclamation.  A star proclaimed him in the East.  Magi came from the East and proclaimed his birth in the courts of Jerusalem. And now as the baby Jesus is presented in the crowded Temple, two prophets, Simeon and Anna, greet him and proclaim him also. 
By the way, do you notice echoes of Christmas in the Presentation of Christ in the Temple?  You have a baby Jesus.  You have Mary and Joseph. You have the theme of light. Remember Simeon proclaimed him a light to the Gentiles in the Nunc Dimittis. In Christmas, in Epiphany, and in the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, you have people of all sorts, Jews and Gentiles, shepherds and magi and prophets coming seemingly out of nowhere saying, “It’s Him! It’s the newborn Savior! It’s the newborn King of the Jews! It is Christ the Lord!” 
It’s no wonder that for some, Christmastide does not end until today, forty days after Christmas, on the Feast of the Presentation of Christ.
And you think I am bad about prolonging Christmas!  I will have you know I took my Christmas tree down only two weeks after Epiphany.
But echoes of Christmas do continue into the Presentation of Christ in the Temple and really throughout the church year.
The passage on the Presentation of Christ concludes:
And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
And this prompts me to make two very practical and somewhat difficult applications of the Presentation of Christ.  This is such a rich episode and passage – so much could be said!  And kick-off isn’t until after 5! But I will be merciful and confine myself to two matters.
First, note that Jesus, though unique and sinless and divine, Jesus grew. Jesus matured.  And his growth into maturity was a process.  Luke makes this point again at the end of the next passage about Jesus returning to the Temple at age 12:
And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.  And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Luke emphasized biographical detail more than the other Gospel writers.  And there surely was curiosity around about the childhood and youth of Jesus. There certainly was later on when a so-called Gospel of Thomas came out.  Of course, it was neither a Gospel nor written by St. Thomas. But it supposedly has episodes from the childhood of Jesus.  And in it, Jesus is something of an obnoxious Superboy; whose super powers were causing such problems that neighbors pleaded with Joseph and Mary to take Jesus and move away.
Luke lets us know it was not like that.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
In other words, Jesus was a good neighbor. Neighbors were glad to have him around.
And as unique and perfect as Jesus was, his growth was a process. He grew; he increased in wisdom and in stature.  He was not Superbaby or Superboy.  Not only that, remember Jesus did not begin his public ministry until he was about age 30.  Now if anyone was ever entitled to take shortcuts to maturity, it was Jesus Christ.  Yet he did not.
If God saw it as necessary for Jesus to growinto godly maturity, how much more is that the case for us!  To become godly men and women of God is a process.  That process is part of sanctification.  And just as physical growth and health is an everyday process, so it is with sanctification.  It’s much more than just one morning a week for us – and  for our children.
A whole series of sermons could be preached on this process of sanctification, of growth into Christian maturity.  So I will confine myself to pointing you to an excellent passage on raising children, Deuteronomy 6: 6, 7.  This is the Lord speaking:
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Raising and teaching children into Christian maturity is an everyday process.  And so is tending to our own learning and Christian growth.
At this point, I want to speak especially to the youth and young adults here this morning.  So if you were up too late last night, wake up and listen up!
You might think that teaching children is a parent’s responsibility, and you’re right; it is.  But teaching children is also your opportunity.  Children really look up to older youth and young adults like you.  They watch you, and they listen to you.  And as I see often in this congregation, they love you and want to be with you.
What an opportunity to teach these children that so look up to you!  And I’m not saying you have to have an organized Bible study with them – although that might be a good idea.  But use everyday life and everyday opportunities to teach them from God’s word both in what you say and in what you do.
But guess what is necessary to teach God’s word to the next generation.  Youneed to learn God’s word.  You need to read and study the Bible just about every day. We study the Bible, not just for our own benefit and growth – although that is certainly important: we read and study the Bible so we can teach the next generations.
So let us not be lazy about this, especially you men.  I say this because I’ve been around long enough to see that men are worse about spiritual laziness than women are. That may be sexist for me to say that, but I don’t care; I’m right.  And when men are lazy that way it does great harm to the generations that come after them.  So I plead with you men, young and old, fathers and future fathers, big brothers, uncles and older friends, do not do that to the next generations.  Don’t drop the ball!  
Yes, I have to remind myself of that as well.
So this is a vital way we all need to be more like Jesus -- to learn from scripture and to grow into Christian faithfulness and maturity as an everyday process, not only for our own benefit but for the benefit of others, especially for the benefit of the next generations.

The second point I want us to note – and forgive me for stating the obvious – Jesus and his parents were Jews.  And they were observant Jews, “perform[ing] all things according to the law of the Lord.”  Sometimes it is easy to miss the obvious, but let’s not miss that Jesus was Jewish.  And because of the Incarnation, he remains Jewish.  When Jesus ascended to the Father, his humanity was glorified but it was not wiped away. Instead he took his humanity, our humanity, into the presence of the Father to be our Intercessor.  And that humanity includes his Jewishness.
And beyond that, all of the Old Testament and most of the New Testament was written by Jews.
So, friends, there is no place for anti-semitism among God’s people.  Again, forgive me for stating the obvious, but it has to be said given the resurgence of anti-semitism in the West – there is no place for anti-semitism among God’s people or in a decent society.  Given the Jewishness of Jesus, to be anti-semitic is really to be anti-God.
A year ago, I stood before you and expressed my concern about the resurgence of anti-semitism in the West.  In the year since then there have been some encouraging developments and some discouraging ones.  If I may venture into British politics, I am encouraged that one factor behind the results in the recent General Election is that many rejected the anti-semitism that has been running rampant in one of the two major parties there. To their credit, even many longtime supporters of that party voted differently this time in part because they were rejecting anti-semitism.  There has to be a political cost to politicians who coddle anti-semitism, and I am glad that was the case in the U K General Election. And they have set forth a good example for us here in the United States. 
But a few weeks after that, in New York City, there was a rash of violent attacks on Jews during Hanukkah.  And the response of authorities there was often to let the attackers go right back out on the streets.
As I said a year ago, it is beyond sad that we in the United States and Europe still have not adequately learned the lessons of the past.

Instead, let us remember and be like Roddie Edmonds.  The following is from a Fox News story in December 2015:
It was January, 1945 and Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds had a gun to his head.
The commandant of the Stalag IXA POW Camp near Ziegenhain, Germany, ordered Edmonds, of the 422nd Infantry Regiment, to turn over the Jewish-American soldiers under his command. Edmonds and his men – Jews and non-Jews alike – stood together in formation.
"They cannot all be Jews," the German said, looking over the more than 1,000 POWs.
"We are all Jews," Edmonds responded.
"I will shoot you," the commandant warned.
But Edmonds had his own warning: "According to the Geneva Convention, we only have to give our name, rank and serial number. If you shoot me, you will have to shoot all of us, and after the war you will be tried for war crimes."
The commandant stood down.
Those four words uttered by Edmonds echo 70 years later, as a testament to the solidarity he and his men showed to their Jewish brothers in arms. And because of that, Edmonds’ name will be etched in history when he becomes the first American soldier to receive the Yad Vashem Holocaust and Research Center’s Righteous Among the Nations recognition and medal.
Only four other American civilians have received the honor – Israel’s highest for [Gentiles] who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II.
Edmonds saved an estimated 200 Jewish soldiers, whose chances of survival if turned over to the Nazis were slim.
Instead of cooperating with Nazi anti-semitism, Roddie Edmonds stood his ground and said, “We are all Jews.”
Let us follow his good example and stand our ground against anti-semitism.
And in all of life let us follow the example of Jesus Himself, who with perseverance and patience, by God’s Holy Word and by the Holy Spirit, grew every day into godly maturity and faithfulness.  May we all, young and old, do likewise by his ever present help for His glory, for our sake and for the sake of the next generations. 
Amen.
Let us pray.

ALMIGHTY and everliving God, we humbly beseech thy Majesty, that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in substance of our flesh, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts, by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Happy Brexit Day!

With my UK friends, I celebrate tonight’s departure of Great Britain from the European Union.  (Hey I know not all British are thrilled about it, but use it as an excuse to celebrate anyway. And, hey, if you’ve been stockpiling, you are in a great position to throw a party!)
I marked the occasion in Anglican fashion this morning by singing a Te Deum in my home chapel.
And I not only thank God, I salute Nigel Farage.  Without his efforts through the years, there would be no Brexit.
Speaking of whom, here are two videos that are must watches. First is Farage’s final speech to the EU Parliament.  Note the pettiness of the EU to the very end.  But Farage goes out with a smile anyway.
Second is Farage’s press conference before the EU vote on the Brexit deal.  Not only was Farage in relaxed, high form, but he went through a lot of interesting recent history.  Even if one dislikes Farage, anyone with interest in modern UK history should watch. For one thing, note his admission that he hammed it up a bit for YouTube. 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

BREAKING: Facebook is Censoring RealClear Investigations Article on “WhistleBlower”

I have personally verified that Facebook is censoring a RealClear Investigations article (which article I discuss in my previous post) that documents that the so-called Whistleblower behind (and hiding behind) the current impeachment efforts was plotting to “take out” Trump mere days after his Inauguration.
On a Facebook page I have as an author, I posted a link to the article with some cutting commentary, of course.  By the next day, without any notification, my post disappeared.
So I decided to post a link to the article again, this time without any commentary to speak of.  (And I regret not doing a screenshot to document it.)  That, too, has disappeared.
So the issue is not my commentary … yet. Clearly Facebook is censoring RealClear Investigations’ article on the “Whistleblower.”  I suspect the pretext is that the alleged Whistleblower’s name is in the article.  Nonetheless, Facebook is censoring and keeping this important and timely article off its platform.
I may say more later.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Whistleblower in Early 2017: “Take out” Trump

The current Impeachment Show Trial is not about some phone call to the Ukraine; it is about taking out Trump.  It has always been about a coup to “take out” Trump even when he was just inaugurated:
Barely two weeks after Donald Trump took office, Eric Ciaramella – the CIA analyst whose name was recently linked in a tweet by the president and mentioned by lawmakers as the anonymous “whistleblower" who touched off Trump's impeachment – was overheard in the White House discussing with another staffer how to remove the newly elected president from office, according to former colleagues….
Two former co-workers said they overheard Ciaramella and Misko, close friends and Democrats held over from the Obama administration, discussing how to “take out,” or remove, the new president from office within days of Trump’s inauguration. These co-workers said the president’s controversial Ukraine phone call in July 2019 provided the pretext they and their Democratic allies had been looking for.
“They didn’t like his policies,” another former White House official said. "They had a political vendetta against him from Day One.”
Read the Real Clear Investigations article for more on their mutinous conversation.  Again, Eric Ciaramella is alleged to be the “Whistleblower” who provided the pretext for the impeachment.  Misko later worked for Adam Schiff, the ringleader of House impeachment efforts.  These Deep State Democrat buddies have been looking for a pretext to “take out” Trump practically from Day One.  And they are far from alone.  Oh, Adam Schiff and the other Democrat Impeachment Managers portray this cabal as principled and “non-partisan.”  They are lying.
I know some may think me conspiratorial for calling all this a coup.  But the more that comes out, the more I am proven correct.  
Trump will almost certainly be acquitted in the ongoing Impeachment Trial.  The question is will we make Democrats pay for their attacks on Constitutional democracy, for their perpetual attempts to nullify our votes, for their perpetual coup? 
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NOTE: Again, the reason I am posting this on this Anglican-oriented blog is that a few leaders in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) have taken sides against Trump while expressing concern about democracy (Support for the AND Campaign and for the infamous Christianity Today editorial are two examples.) yet they have said nothing about the Democrat coup against Trump and against our votes.  They have said nothing about Democrats not respecting elections unless they win. So the coup has become an all too relevant topic.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

My Question About Racism Gets a Good Answer

I am pleased to report that my question to Dr. Esau McCaulley about racism has received an answer, and a satisfactory one.
You may recall that I asked him, “I agree resisting actual racism is important. So tell me: can a U. S. person of color commit ‘actual racism’ against a white person?”
There was some delay, but Dr. McCaulley has answered:
I didn’t know that this was a question. Some claim that racism requires power and therefore Black people can’t be racist. I’m not convinced that such distinctions are helpful. If we’re defining racism as a bias based on skin color then of course anyone can commit that sin.
I’m less concerned with whether the definition of racism has to include power versus whether it’s possible for us to sin against one another and we can. But power + racism is very dangerous.
And I agree.  Of course, I could elaborate and nitpick – I almost always can – but I am pleased with this answer.  I am encouraged that, despite our differences, McCaulley and I have more common ground than I thought might be the case.
Of course, the question remains how some others in ACNA and in Big Evangelicalism would answer my humble question.  And the woke redefinition of “racism,” “diversity” and other words sadly makes such questions necessary.  Nonetheless, I rejoice in a good answer today.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The ACNA College of Bishops Communique and a Problem of Trust

The communiqué from the latest Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) College of Bishops meeting was released yesterday, and I honestly do not know what to make of it.  Part of that is that I have trust issues, but part of it is also that the ACNA has trustworthiness issues.
The section on “issues of race” illustrates this well. 
Following a video presentation by the Rev. Dr. Esau McCaulley, Director of the Anglican Church in North America's Next Generation Initiative, and the Rt. Rev. Alphonza Gadsden, Bishop of the Diocese of the Southeast (REC), the College spent time in discussion and prayer about issues of race, racism, and recent mass shootings. Particular attention was given to the great need for multi-ethnic outreach and church planting, ensuring that all peoples are reached for Christ and to addressing the public witness of the Province and our dioceses on matters of justice.
Now these presentations and discussions may have been balanced and fruitful, and I actually have good reason to think they were.  But I also know Dr. McCaulley’s approach to such issues has often been not balanced in the past, including his reluctance to affirm the obvious, that people of color can be racist against white people.  I also know that “justice” has become a buzzword in ACNA for pushing a “social justice” agenda. And ACNA has become a “social justice” playground in the Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others, in the Matthew 25 Initiative, in the Anglican Multi-Ethnic Network, etc.
So it is difficult for me to welcome this communiqué and, yes, to trust the College of Bishops.
Trust can be restored, however if the College of Bishops were to set some boundaries.  One such boundary is needed in the area of racism particularly since, thanks to Critical Race Theory and related ideologies, “racism” is now a much abused word.  Both trust and clarity require the College of Bishops make clear that the sin of racism can be committed by people of all ethnicities against people of all ethnicities. As I have written at length before, this is needful and would be helpful in facilitating both trust and conversation. 
But I do not expect the College of Bishops to do even this. I expect the trust issues to continue.  I would be delighted to be proven wrong.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Jemar Tisby’s Double Standard on Anti-Semitism

Last May, just after an attack on a Poway, California synagogue by a shooter identified as a White Nationalist, Jemar Tisby wrote an article of concern that came very close to blaming the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and conservative evangelicals opposing “social justice” teaching for the Poway attack.  This passage stood out:
If denominations like the OPC wish to make their churches inhospitable to people who harbor white nationalist views  — or to confront the sins of racism and white nationalism in hopes that church members will repent of them — then they’re going to have to offer unequivocal and direct teaching refuting the ideology.
White denominations, especially in the theologically Reformed branch of the church, should hold specific workshops, classes and special events explaining white nationalist beliefs and tactics so their members can guard against subversion.
White churches and leaders must bring members who express white nationalist views or sympathies under church discipline, with the ultimate goal of discipleship and restoration. But, if necessary, suspension from the Lord’s Supper and excommunication should be an option.
In addition, white churches in Reformed traditions must probe exactly why people who hold white nationalist and other racist beliefs may find a comfortable home in their fellowships.
Perhaps it’s because pro-slavery theologians such as R.L. Dabney are still cited as positive examples of godly men.
Maybe it’s because black liberation theologians such as James Cone are demonized and if they are read at all, it is merely to discount their viewpoints.
Perhaps it’s because of the almost unshakable loyalty of many white evangelicals to Republican officials who express racist ideas.
Maybe white racists and nationalists can sit comfortably in the pews of certain churches because whenever calls for social justice arise their leaders say that such issues are a “distraction” from the gospel.
So if Reformed Christians and “white evangelicals” oppose Black Liberation Theology and James Cone, support Republicans, and oppose so-called “social justice”, then anti-semitism and racism is their fault.  Got it.  
Tisby does have a point that the church has a role in opposing racism and anti-semitism and teaching against it (as I have and intend to do in my next sermon), but that is to oppose racism and anti-semitism whatever the source.  Speaking of which…
As I’ve noted, late last year there was a rash of anti-semitic attacks in New York City.  Most of these attacks were committed by blacks.  And the silence from Jemar Tisby has been deafening.  Now I am hesitant to say he has said nothing – that would be very hard to prove.  But a painstaking search, including his twitter feed, reveals nothing from him on this matter. (And, please, if I am missing something, let me know in the comments.)
Now I will not make a similar mistake to his by saying if you are not vocal about every injustice then you are complicit.  But he said so much after an anti-semitic attack by a white Reformed man.  Yet now that blacks are the attackers of Jews, there is virtually nothing from Tisby.  He wrote when anti-semitic attacks were linked to white racist groups.  He is quiet when anti-semitic attacks are linked to a black racist group, namely the Black Hebrew Israelites.
He was so concerned (mistakenly) that Reformed churches and “white evangelicals” were enabling anti-semitism.  Perhaps he should be concerned that Critical Race Theory and other ideologies that give blacks a pass on racism might be enabling anti-semitism and other forms of racism.  He should be especially concerned given his own associations with these woke ideologies.  He certainly has the stature to stand up and state that, no, people of color do not and should not get a pass on anti-semitism and racism.
But, no.  Now Jemar Tisby is silent.  
His double standard is deafening.  

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

A Question About Racism that Deserves an Answer in ACNA (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Dr. McCaulley has given a good answer to my question.

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About a month ago, Dr. Esau McCaulley tweeted:
One day people will look back on 2010s and wonder how some decided that theologically traditional people who care about justice were such a threat to the church that silencing and/or policing us was more important than resisting the actual racism and sexism that we opposed.
I decided to leave aside the questions of whether the social justice “evangelical” crowd is “theologically traditional” and of whether this was a fair statement to make about those who oppose a social justice agenda. Instead, I decided to be charitable, find common ground, and ask a needful question:
I agree resisting actual racism is important. So tell me: can a U. S. person of color commit “actual racism” against a white person?

I’ve yet to receive an answer from Dr. McCaulley.  The closest I’ve seen to an answer is the following, and I am not completely sure he was addressing me.



I will leave it to the reader to decide whether that was an appropriate response.  But it does concern me that he did not answer my question very easily with a yes.
As you can see I then asked, “Is that your response to my simple question – ‘can a U. S. person of color commit 'actual racism' against a white person?’"

And I received no answer to that question.
At this point a fair question to turn around and ask me is why don’t I just drop this and let sleeping dogs lie?
First, given how Critical Race Theory (CRT) and related ideologies have redefined and abused “racism,” genuine discussion of racism requires defining just what we are talking about.  Are we talking about bigotry based on race that people of all ethnicities are capable of?  Or are we talking about something more or less only white people and Western society are guilty of?
Second, the CRT view that (at least in the Western context) racism is something only white people, not people of color, are capable of is itself racist and toxic.  To blame one ethnicity for a type of sinfulness, but exempt other ethnicities from it is inherently racist and virtually contradicts the Bible’s teaching that all have sinned.  As Dr. McCaulley himself says, “Racism … implies a heretical soteriology because if certain races are inherently more sinful than others then Christ's redemptive work brings them from farther away [from] God, and Paul argues that all are equally sinful and in need of redemption.”

Yet the CRT view that whites have a virtual monopoly on racism in the West has infiltrated the church.  But there is no sin that is monopolized by any one ethnicity – to say otherwise is unscriptural and racist.  So this is not just a secondary issue we can agree to disagree on; at least I cannot.  Therefore, we should know if our church leaders hold this CRT viewpoint of racism or not. Yes, McCaulley is far from the only one in ACNA who should be asked my question. 
Third, Dr. McCaulley through his actions and comments seems at least sympathetic to Critical Race Theory.  For one thing, he is an open fan of Jamar Tisby.  He certainly seems to share CRT’s obsession with race at times.  He has rather famously asked that unhelpful question, “If all translation is interpretation and interpretation is influenced by social location, what does it mean that most of our English bibles were translated with very few Black or other Christians of color or women involved?”  That he chooses not to answer my question also is odd. So does he share CRT’s view of racism? I do not presume he does, but it is past time for us in ACNA to know.
In short, given his statements and his leadership positions in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), namely head of the Next Generation Initiative and one of the Canon Theologians of the Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others, McCaulley is among those who should clear the air and state whether they consider racism something all ethnicities everywhere are capable of or whether it is pretty much only a White Thing as Holy Critical Race Theory teaches.
Really he should welcome the opportunity to clear the air and give a straightforward answer to my question.  A correct answer would help clear up concerns about him and create more common ground.  He wants ACNA to resist “actual racism.”  To do that together we need to know what sort of racism we are talking about. Are we together resisting racial bigotry regardless of the ethnicity of the people it comes from?  We can do that!  Or are we talking about a CRT construct that is “an analytical tool”* to exempt people of color and to smear white people and Western society? 
A “yes” or “no” to my original question will do.
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*I’m quoting the Southern Baptist Convention’s infamous Resolution 9, of course.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Epiphany Mishmash

There is disorderly confusion and even some contention on how the church should observe the first month of so of each new year.  Fr. Hunwicke goes into some of that with accompanying liturgical history.
My two cents, which is about what it’s worth:
Don’t turn Christ-centered holy days into Mary-centered holy days. I’m confident the BVM herself would agree.  So February 2nd is the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, not The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  That sounds like she’s visiting a beauty salon anyway.  (By the way, guess who is scheduled to preach a sermon that day?)  And if anyone dare calls it Groundhog Day or even Super Sunday – well, what do you think vergers are for?
I usually am a die hard about celebrating holy days on their proper day, not on the nearest Sunday as the weak and the Roman do.  So Epiphany is today, January 6th, thank you.  However, I concede that some years it is not practical for most parishes to be so stubborn. This year, with Epiphany being on a Monday, is one of them.  But, hey, if you can get people to come to church today, then God bless you and them!  
So celebrating Epiphany yesterday was fine this year.  My parish did a blessed mishmash and celebrated both Epiphany and the 2ndSunday After Christmas yesterday.  Celebrating both Christmas and Epiphany – it’s hard to beat that.  Even better for those who can bring in people on a Sunday night is what Pusey House did – an Epiphany Eve service, a tradition going back to the medieval Sarum rite and long before.  
I heartily agree with Fr. Hunwicke that the traditional Sunday lessons for Epiphany should be done every year.  An Epiphany that omits either the Baptism of Christ, the Coming of the Magi, or the Wedding at Cana just isn’t right. 
But (You might want to sit down for this.) there is an innovation to which I am sympathetic.  The Church of England’s Common Worship has January 1st as Holy Name Day.  That makes sense as during his circumcision is when Jesus was named.  It neatly solves the past juggling around of Holy Name Day and gives January 1st a name that does not make men cross their legs.
But however you observe these days of the New Year, may you be blessed in doing so free from those looking down their liturgical noses at you.  I certainly will not do so – I promise.