August 26, 2003

Is capitalism compatible with stewardship?

Joshua Claybourn discusses capitalism in a discussion with Richard Hall.

My take on it is that capitalism, even though it is based on self-interest (what critics will call greed), is still the most efficient way to allocate resources, and is the one system most consistent with the principles of liberty. Even if it caters to human greed, that catering is controlled by the fact that if a seller of goods and services asks for too much their buyers, the buyers will start dealing with others who are asking less. The whole system is regulated by the law of supply and demand. The best way to beat the system is to get a government-sanctioned monopoly. That is where true greed lies, and that is not at all evidence of capitalism, but rather political cronyism, and it is more evident in socialist systems as capitalist, as government services constitute a greater portion of the economy in socialist systems.

But enough about greed, what about another criticism: "capitalism is not compatible with stewardship"? This is a view with which I flat out disagree. Stewardship does not mean that the environment is untouchable, it means that it is to be used wisely and not wasted. A true capitalist will minimize waste, knowing that waste hurts the bottom line. Resources may be consumed, but that consumption can be minimized through innovation, and resources can be replenished (for example, there is more forest land in the United States than there was one hundred years ago). New technologies and techniques become available and more economical through free-market activities, completely naturally, saving both resources and capital.

For some more background into the question "Is capitalism compatible with stewardship?", here is a policy publication from the Acton Institute, A Biblical Perspective on Environmental Stewardship.

Their conclusion:


Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace International, said in an interview in the New Scientist in December 1999, "The environmental movement abandoned science and logic somewhere in the mid-1980s ... political activists were using environmental rhetoric to cover up agendas that had more to do with class warfare and anti-corporatism than with the actual science...." What we have said above indicates that Moore was right in his critique of the movement to which he made such an important early contribution. Too often, modern environmentalism has become anti-human, anti-freedom, anti-economic development, and anti-reason. It is time to reverse this trend.

On the basis of a biblical worldview and ethics, as well as of sound science, economics, and public policy principles, we believe sound environmental stewardship celebrates and promotes human life, freedom, and economic development as compatible with, even essential for, the good of the whole environment. While we do not rule out all collective action, we believe market mechanisms are frequently better means, in both principle and practice, to environmental protection. They are less likely to erode important human freedoms and more likely to be cost-effective and successful in achieving their aims. While we understand that passions may energize in the pursuit of sound environmental policy, we also believe that reason, coupled with a commitment to "do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with … God" (Mic. 6:8), must ultimately guide environmental policy.


Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:25 PM | Comments (3)

Light blogging lately

Blogging has been light lately. Apologies to regular readers.

Amy and I took a long weekend down at the South Jersey shore. She had surgery earlier this summer, and has just recovered to the point where she can enjoy going to the shore and walking on the boardwalk.

I was away from the computer all this time as well, so no blog reading or writing.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2003

Another thought on heterodoxy

Had another thought regarding my last post after I shutdown the blog last night. I was wondering how I could have recognized John Shelby Spong's theology for the rubbish it is even when I was pretty firmly entrenched in a Unitarian Universalist congregation. I said in yesterday's post that I had started to read the New Testament again, and even believe it. Coming from a liberal background, why didn't Spong's work as a member of the Jesus Seminar have any influence on me?

The choice is black and white if you consider that the authors of the New Testament, even disregarding who they are, claim to be eyewitnesses of Jesus' life and Resurrection. When looked at this way, the authors are either telling the truth or they are lying.

If they were telling the truth, then the Gospel is the greatest news known to man, and is of utmost importance to everyone.

If they were lying, then Christianity is just an elaborate con game worthy of scorn and disrespect. Embrace any of the world's other religions, even atheism, and shun the Christians for their dishonest ways, and say all manner of ill-things about them, but by no means say you are a Christian while believing a made-up reinterpretation of that Gospel message. The apostles did not leave that option to us.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2003

Reasonable Christianity

Much has been said about Nicholas Kristof's recent NYT piece critical of Christians who actually believe what the Bible says about Jesus: the Virgin Birth and Resurrection mentioned specifically, IIRC.

Back in 2000, when I was looking for an alternative to Unitarian Universalism (due to political, not religious, differences), I briefy considered nineteenth-century-style American Unitarianism as an alternative. There is a group active in reviving that, restoring religion to Unitarianism. Unfortunately, though it claims to be Christian, it specifically denies several fundamental doctrines: the deity of Christ, the Atonement, and several others. I was in this mode of thinking for about six months, but had this gnawing feeling in the back of my mind - there is no foundation here - just inchoate human thought. The feeling just worsened when someone in the group asked me to read a book by John Shelby Spong. Even as a Unitarian Universalist (well I fudge here, I was reading the New Testament again by this time, and beginning to believe it), I found his work repugnant, but I guess that would be natural for someone who had come to a point where religious liberalism had to be fled as quickly as possible.

It all became settled in my mind when I read the New Testament again, and considered the books as written by eyewitnesses, or those who could speak to eyewitnesses (testimony of the early Church Fathers was an excellent apologetic here). I realized that if Jesus was who He claimed to be, then His birth, His miracles, His Resurrection, would be nothing amazing at all, just God interacting with the creation He made by His own Word. No contradiction between reason and faith as far as I'm concerned. It's completely reasonable to believe that a machine-maker could alter the operation of a machine he designed and made himself.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Novak on The Passion

Michael Novak, in The Weekly Standard, expresses his opinion on Mel Gibson's The Passion.

I believe I'm going to have to take a vacation day next Ash Wednesday (in addition to whatever day in December Return Of The Kng is coming out)

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:30 PM | Comments (0)

True Ecumenism vs. False

Earl T. Wilson writes this viewpoint, At the Crux of the Matter, God's Truth Wins, at PresbyWeb (thanks to Dunker Journal for the link).

Are Christians listening to the same God when one perceives God's will as ordaining a homosexual bishop and another doesn't? That's either a contradiction or a description of an inconsistent God, an unscriptural description of Him. I don't buy it -- someone is doing what is "right in his own eyes".

Back in October 2001, I was at a special meeting of the Institute for Religion and Democracy to hear Dr. Tom Oden speak on The New Ecumenism. I had just made a decision to follow Jesus -- my commitment was about four months old at the time. For some reason, I found myself drawn to reading about the early Church Fathers, and Dr. Oden is knowledgable of their work. I bring this all up because Dr. Oden's speech was responded to by Dr. Robert P. George, Professor of Jurisprudence and Director, James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. Dr. George recognizes an ecumenism which transcends Catholic-Protestant boundaries but which definitely respects a certain boundary.

From Dr. George's response:


As the Catholic panelist, I suppose that I am expected to say something critical from a Catholic perspective of the work of a Methodist theologian. I’m afraid that I must disappoint this expectation. It is not that I consider the theological issues that continue to divide Catholics and Protestants to be unimportant. I long to share in a common eucharistic meal with my Protestant friends, yet I know that this must await a more perfect communion of faith. But this longing itself is a manifestation of the work of the Spirit towards its object. Indeed, when I think in terms of “them” and “us,” I simply find it impossible to divide the world into Catholics and Protestants or even Catholics and non-Catholics. I am a Catholic; Dr. Oden is a Protestant. But when I think in terms of “us,” I cannot imagine “us” not including Dr. Oden or Diane Knippers, or James Nuechterlein, or Gilbert Meilaender, or Charles Colson, or Bill Bright, or James Dobson or countless other Protestant believers whose fidelity to the ancient creeds and moral principles of Christian faith has been proven on the battlefields of the culture war. There is a profound unity among us, manifested in common effort and common struggle and animated by what is undeniably a common faith—a unity that that is, I believe, precisely the work of the Holy Spirit to which Dr. Oden referred.

So who is the “them”? I wish I could say that there is no “them.” But that isn’t true. The fact is that in the struggles for the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage and the family, the integrity of Christian doctrine, many Christians—Catholics as well as Protestants—are on the other side. Though I may find myself approaching the Lord’s table at mass alongside Catholics who support abortion, or reject the Biblical and natural law understanding of marriage as a one-flesh union of a man and a woman, or deny Christ’s incarnation, bodily resurrection, and ascension, there is between us a fundamental moral and spiritual divide. Ours is not the same faith. Nor is the object of our worship the same. The scandal of the affectation of unity among those who believe the doctrines of Christian faith and those who do not believe them is as deep and damaging as the scandal of division among Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox believers.

In the great struggles over life and death, marriage and the family, right and wrong, there is, I’m afraid, an “us” and a “them.” Of course, we are strictly enjoined by Christ himself to love our enemies—and we must not fail in this duty. At the same time, we must not pretend that we have no enemies. In the midst of a conflict in which lives and souls are at stake, love of God and neighbor forbids our indulging such pretense.


Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:09 PM | Comments (1)

August 18, 2003

Thoughts on Diversity and the Church

Jason Steffens and Dunker Journal both link to this opinion by David Brooks in The Atlantic.

My opinion on diversity is that it's a good thing but overrated. Did Jesus ever said anything about diversity? Well, not explicitly, though perhaps he did in an indirect way. In the Great Commission, Jesus told us to go out and make disciples of all nations. If we did that, the Christian church would be a diverse body, and of course it is, when looked at from a worldwide perspective. So why should diversity get all the attention it's getting? The church should be welcoming of all who earnestly seek God and wish to become members of the Body of Christ. But should diversity be the primary goal? I think that a broader vision would be to cast a big net (consistent with the Gospel of course) and accomodate everyone who responds, regardless of their identifying characteristics. I've read somewhere else, and it's repeated in Brooks's article, that those organizations which talk about diversity the most are those which practice it the least. Another way of saying that is that the most diverse organizations are those that just go out there and present the gospel to everybody, without considering diversity as a primary goal. This doesn't mean that diversity is a bad thing, but rather that we shouldn't limit ourselves by the "quota-think" which diversity-for-diversity's-sake seems to encourage. The Gospel is for everyone, and when presented that way, diversity should take care of itself.

This isn't meant to deny that when God tells someone to preach the gospel to someone specifically, they are to respond to that call, as Jonah did for God's call to preach to the Ninevites, and as modern missionaries do when they go out into the world. Local churchs, though, should minister to all those who live around them.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:09 PM | Comments (1)

August 11, 2003

Michael Novak on Democracy and Religious Tests

Excellent commentary from Michael Novak in today's National Review Online.

The primary subject of the opinion is the Democrats' use of a religious test, and of this, Michael Novak is rightfully critical, however there are some other points made.

Michael Novak touches the subject of faith and reason that is relevant to the recent discussion of the Brights. Can people of faith contribute to a meaningful way to a society that is supposedly based on reason? Of course they can:

Reason and faith are not the same thing, but they are a fitted pair. They belong together, and each of them works better when paired with the other. That at least is the way the American Founders employed both reason and faith, in mutual accommodation.

He brings another point home in comparing Roe vs Wade to the Dred Scott decision (a comparison that caused me to question my formerly-held pro-choice outlook about three or four years ago). Those who believe that the Roe vs. Wade decision constitutes a fundamental human right forget that our rights come from our Creator, not from fiat or decree. Supreme Court decisions have been overturned before, indeed the recent Lawrence decision overturned a 1986 decision, Bowers vs. Hardwick, (anyone hear any complaints from the left about that?)

Attorney General Pryor has been very frank in stating what many Americans believe — that the current abortion regime of Roe v. Wade is as bad as, or even worse than, Dred Scott, because it reduces the legal status of a whole class of Americans to a level less than human. Just the same, Roe v Wade is the law of the land, and even those of us who believe deeply that it is an abomination must respect it as the law. We will do so until, like Dred Scott, it is properly and by the will of the people, using due process, overturned.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2003

Campaign Finance fundraiser criticism

Curmudgeonly & Skeptical notes Democrat criticism of President Bush's fundraising barbecue, while looking the other way as George Soros commits $10 million to a Democratic Party-affiliated group. (link found via cut on the bias)

Funny, I don't remember similar criticism of a massive Democrat barbecue-fundraiser hosted by Terry McAuliffe about four years. Actually, now that I think of it, I did find a little bit of criticism directed from some supporters to President Clinton (link), but the whole tone of the thing is this: if you want to give money to the Democratic Party or other leftist organizations such as Greenpeace or the Million Mom March - hey that's wonderful! You're a thoughtful, concerned citizen! If you want to give money to the Republican Party or conservative organizations such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute or the NRA, hey you're supporting corporate special-interest-groups which are trying to destroy America!

I give my money to those who best express my political views, and I have as much right to express those views as George Soros does, and so does everyone else who votes in America, Republican or Democrat, Libertarian or Green or whatever, no matter what they do for a living or hobby, and no matter what they believe.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 05:07 PM | Comments (0)

Recent reading (Treason)

I finished Timeline pretty quickly, it was a fast read given that it's hard to put down when a character's life is on the line.

Treason was another matter altogether. I got about halfway through it, and just could not force myself to finish. The book was returned to the library yesterday. Maybe I'll pick it up later, it's hard to read this kind of book in the summer, when it's easy to fall asleep on the back porch while the cats cavort in the back yard, killing all the birds and squirrels they can catch (not really!! - my cats are fifteen years old, the birds and squirrels are too fast for them now)

About Treason: Ann Coulter is probably right in her assessment of Joe McCarthy as a great American patriot who was trying to save America from Communism. I do have a problem with believing that he did it flawlessly however. There were some innocent people who got hurt, along with many who probably deserved every bit of trouble they got, but the end result is that now if anyone says anything bad about people who support Communism, they get smeared with the label of McCarthyism. Too bad, because Communism seems to appeal to higher ideals without providing the means to achieve them, being thought up by an economic idiot.

I got far enough into the book to say that Lileks is right on in this post, (also see this Bleat from last year), Ann Coulter is a lumper, and lumps all Democrats under the treason label, disregarding the political views and actions of some who stood up to and question the Communist influence in our culture. Just to name one name, Ronald Reagan was a Democrat when he stood up to the Communist presence in the Screen Actors Guild. He switched parties later, but in his words, the party changed, not him.

I respect Ann Coulter's opinions for the most part. I think it is important to have people like her who forcefully argue conservative opinion. But she does have a tendency to speak carelessly sometimes. During the 2000 election recount, she claimed, on Hannity & Colmes, that a prominent judge on the Florida Supreme Court was a contributor to the Gore campaign. A clerk for the judge was on the show at the time and said no, he was a contributor to the Democratic Party, and all contributions ended when he became a judge, as Florida state law proscribed contributions from judges. Ann Coulter did not have a response to that, and that gave me the sense that the clerk was correct.

I really enjoyed Coulter's last book, Slander, which I think accurately described the liberal bias inherent in our media, especially elite opinion such as that found in The New York Times or The New Yorker. I particularly liked the way she skewered the myth of The Religious Right as an organized political entity. I wish Treason was written as well.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 02:44 PM | Comments (0)

What is the Work of God?

Today, over at blogs4God, Jen Kibler-McCabe provides this sermon from Vicar John Kibler-McCabe about St. Laurence the Deacon who was martyred on this day in A.D. 258.

From the sermon: Laurence mainly devoted his life to helping the poor, sick, and helpless in his area. This was actually a normal part of his job: as a Deacon, his main duty was to go and minister to people during the week.

Today, in my church, our pastor talked about John Wesley's vision for the church being in the community, helping those who are not as well off as we are. We have a summer basketball program for kids who live in our neighborhood. It draws a lot of kids and has even attracted kids from other nearby towns, some from as far away as the other side of our county (Mercer County), say about twenty miles away. It's a good thing to do, and we emphasize sportsmanship and teamwork more than winning, though we do give prizes for some special skills games, and everyone gets food each week, and everyone gets shoes and school supplies too, given by donations from our church members and local businesses who support us.

Now given that praise for our program, our pastor also had a critical sentence about the Episcopal Church, saying that the church needs to be helping the poor, and all some do is talk about whether to ordain a homosexual bishop. Well, that's all subjective you see, for there are some who think that ordaining a homosexual bishop is another way of doing social justice, and so, in the opinion of people who think that opinions carry the same weight as Scripture and Tradition, they are doing the work of God too.

So, what is the will of God, and how do we know what to do?
First off, I believe the will of God is for us to believe in Jesus (John 6:29), and to tell people why we do, and to invite them to believe in Jesus too (the conviction for repentance needs to come from God though, all we can do is steer them in the right direction). We need to know and tell what Jesus did for us, His atoning death and Resurrection. If we don't do that, none of the rest matters, all we're doing is making sinners more comfortable, and not actually inviting people to God's grand banquet.

Second, I believe we are called to help the poor, diseased, and less well-off. I think we are doing God's work by giving of ourselves to others. I also believe we need to show this compassion to people who live around us, and to people who live in other countries who may not have neighbors who are in a position to show similar compassion.

While I respect God's call for compassion, I don't think that it can be claimed that God's will calls for higher taxes or more government programs to do what Jesus calls us to do. It is not written in Scripture or the Apostles' Creed that Christians must support paying higher taxes. Christians can disagree on this, and everything which follows is my opinion on this. I agree with what needs to be done (within certain limits), I just don't agree on the how to pay for it, or the who will do it.

Now some people may be critical of this view - they say if government doesn't collect the money, people won't give enough. They've got a point, but my counterpoint is: is someone don't believe in compassion the same way I do, why should they be forced to satisy my ideals? I think it would be great for everyone to be a Christian, so why don't I write my congressman to tell him to pass a law to make it so? No - I don't go there, I respect freedom of religion, I know that religion cannot be forced on people. I believe in compassion the same way. Let people choose to do it. There will be greedy people who don't give -- that's their problem. Maybe if we went back to the first point above, there would be less greed, but I certainly believe that by going straight to point #2 and neglecting point #1, there will be less people with grace-filled hearts willing to act with compassion.

I alluded to certain limits on what I consider to be what needs to be done. I think social work should be limited to what everyone (let me call it an overwhelming supermajority) can agree is doing God's will. It's not reassuring to me that the Episcopal Church can, by a mere majority of bishops, many of whom have little or no respect for Scripture, throw away millenia of Church teaching on sexuality, and ordain a homosexual bishop. It is also not reassuring to me that the National Council of Churches, speaking for a minority of Christians, acts as an advocate for socialism even in countries where it has resulted in governments that do not respect basic human rights, such as Cuba (no freedom of speech and other violations of rights) and Zimbabwe (no freedom to live). Even in other more benign socialist states, it has not been shown that adopting socialism has made people better off. In general, it's a recipe for spreading the poverty around, which I guess makes the activists happy; just like the saying: misery loves company. Can you have an egalitarian economic system? “Oh yes, you can have an egalitarian society – but only at the lowest possible level.” - Friedrich Hayek.

Back to the NCC -- you can look at their website for hours and not find anything about making disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19). In the NCC worldview, Christians are told to tolerate and respect people of other faiths, fine and good for tolerance's sake, but is doing that alone doing what Jesus asked us to do? Can't we at least tell others that Jesus died for them too, and that they can accept God's gift? Is it really a hate crime to tell them that their religion isn't adequate for getting them where they want to go? Is it really compassionate, given the eternal consequences, to do any less?

So to sum up: what do I believe is the Work of God?
Believe in God, and the One whom He sent (John 6:29)
Tell others about Jesus and invite them to believe in Him too (Matthew 28:19, Luke 10:1-24)
Act compassionately toward others (Luke 10:25-37)

There are other details which can only be known by each individual as they find their place in the Church, everyone has a different role to play - indeed, I even think there is a different role to play for all the denominations we have, some emphasize evangelism, some helping the homeless, and some summer basketball programs, but as long as we follow Jesus and glorify God and tell the truth to those seeking Him we're all doing His will.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 01:51 PM | Comments (2)

August 07, 2003

Don't hold back, John, tell us how you really feel

John Derbyshire's view, from The Corner

Note this:

"all my life I have supported tolerance towards homosexuals as a harmless minority who are just as entitled to pursue their private inclinations as the rest of us. I have always thought that the criminalization of homosexual acts was both foolish, and inhumane, and un-Christian. I am no longer so sure."

Wonder how many people out there are wondering if we have gone too far. I've held similar views; in the secular world, let gays make their own lifestyle choices. In the spiritual world, which includes the family, and what goes on in churches, make God's standards hold. Now it looks like gay issues have forced themselves into the spiritual world, and since so many have made the spiritual secular, there is nothing to do but give in.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:10 PM | Comments (0)

Just one more thing about ending a marriage

About Bishop Robinson leaving his marriage: It has been pointed out by some that he did not actually leave his marriage for his partner (they met several years later), and that those who are saying that are smearing him.

The fact that he may have had no relationship with this man when he divorced his wife is irrelevant. He divorced her so that he would be available for him. Would anybody think that someone who divorces his wife so he could look for a new girlfriend or "trophy wife" was in the right? Of course not, and neither is Bishop Robinson.

This whole issue of people discovering they are gay, and using that to justify a divorce is so bogus, especially after establishing families. He deserves as much ridicule as he is getting for this, it is all justified. Lileks was right, Robinson's motives are egotistical and selfish.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:52 PM | Comments (0)

Unity

One thing that bothers me about all this discussion about gay issues is those people who would try to stifle the dialog by saying "Why can't we just get along?" This is similar to the way late-1990's Democrats were criticizing the Republicans for being partisan. Excuse me? By those standards, who is being partisan now? And since when is it partisan to make a stand for what one thinks is the right thing to do?

If the Episcopal church splits off from the Anglican Communion, as I think it will do, the conservative are not to blame for tearing it apart, just as Jeroboam was not to blame for breaking Israel away from Judah after the death of Solomon, an act willed by God as punishment for Solomon's idolatry. Fault the conservatives for walking out? Not without faulting the liberals for forcing a heterodox position upon the conservatives.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:27 PM | Comments (0)

Episcopal action on Rev. Robinson

I haven't said anything about the selection of Rev. Robinson, mainly because I've been out of the house so much this week -- I've wanted to add something, now everything has been said (and the Lileks Bleat is wonderful! "Hitler's dog went to his funeral"-- I love it!)

I will add this though; I don't think this is the point where the ship has hit the iceberg. I think the iceberg was hit many years ago when bishops like John Shelby Spong were allowed to become spokesmen for the Episcopal church, men who do not believe in Christ's divinity, nor the Resurrection, nor the Atonement, and who find no relevance in the Bible. So the church hit the iceberg a long time ago. In my view, it's probably at the point where the ship is just about vertical and about to snap in two. People are jumping ship, and the ship will sink. The Episcopal Church will soon no longer be recognizable as a Christian Church, as heterodox as the Unitarian Universalist Association, which took action similar to this way back in 1984.

I can't say what those who stay behind will find -- well, maybe I can. I was in a Unitarian Universalist congregation which went though an indoctrination program for becoming more welcoming to gays (confession: that was when I jumped ship, though my real reason for leaving was that they sponsored a fundraiser for my sworn enemy, the Million Mom March). What do they do now with respect to homosexuality in their congregations? Well, ministers are now declining to sign marriage certificates as a protest against the lack of gay marriage. That means if you are a UU and want to get married, your minister will not honor your marriage with his signature, which seems to be rather cruel to me - a good reason to look elsewhere for your wedding ceremony. Another thing is, they insist on "inclusive language", which means you can't call your husband or wife your "husband" or "wife" anymore as those are heterosexist terms. You have to call them "spouse" or "partner". When talking to a newcomer or visitor, you have to avoid asking them about family in such a way that you assume whether they are gay or not. It is a very awkward and unnatural arrangement. Of course, this has probably been going on in the Episcopal church for years as well, at least in some congregations, as was described in a very moving post yesterday by Huw Raphael.

Now I am a Methodist, and Methodists are also struggling with homosexuality. A bishop in Illinois, Joseph Sprague, is involved in the Soul Force movement, which is attempting to get the United Methodist church to recognize homosexuals as equal members, including access to same-sex union ceremonies and ordination. They have gone beyond diplomacy, their tactics are forceful and disruptive.

I see some long-term good coming out of the Episcopal's actions this week. For instance, I don't think there is any way the United Methodist Church will take similar action after seeing what happens to the Episcopal church in the following year. There is a strong renewal movement in the United Methodist Church and there is evidence that the denomination is warming up to evangelical trends, though it is meeting resistance from the Religious Left, those who think the church should compromise orthodoxy for social activism.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:02 PM | Comments (1)

August 04, 2003

Excellent commentary on marriage

An excellent commentary on what marriage is, and why we should respect the traditional meaning of it as a union of one man and one woman. This rings so true with what I believe, I don't think I could express my own opinion any better than this. Thank you, Charlotte Hays.

(link thanks to Amy Welborn)

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 11:51 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2003

National Review on Pryor nomination

OK, I guess I read Byron York's article too fast, failing to note that he was mildly critical of Republican efforts to paint Democrat opposition to the Pryor nomination as religious bigotry. What I did like about York's article was that he noted the strategy, and that Democrats were upset by it. My initial thought was, "good, they deserve to be upset. I'd be worried if they were happy with Republican tactics". I failed to note York's concerns about the strategy, but York's description of the situation is pretty accurate, and the Democrats deserve the criticism.

Reading another point of view clarifies how I feel about the whole thing. The Democrat argument that it can't be religious discrimination because other religions oppose abortion is disingenuous, similar to the man who spiels hate-language regarding "those people" but says he's not racist because he feels the same way about "those other people". The discrimination may not be as blatant as a written sign saying "Catholics need not apply", but as long as nominees who believe abortion is taking innocent life are barred from consideration Ramesh Ponnuru is correct, and so is Jason Steffens; this nomination is being subjected to a religious test.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)