Archive for March, 2005

31
Mar
05

Terry Schiavo is Dead. Does Your Conscience Bother You, Brother?

Well, Terry Schiavo has finally passed from this life. Predictably, the neocons are already exploiting the woman’s tragic end for their own political grandstanding. You can almost hear the incessent klick-klacking of keyboards from the pundits even as I, myself, add to the chatter. Did she have a hope of recovery? Was there a possibility that she would have not wanted the feeding tube pulled from her? Was innocent blood wrongfully shed? Good questions. And why don’t my fellow social conservatives ask similiar questions about innocent people on death row? When faced with the reality that innocent people are wrongfully executed, social conservatives seem to shrug it off. They’ll admit that it’s tragic when mistakes are made, but they nonetheless maintain that the judiciary system is doing its job when it tries and sentences people to death.

Not so with Terry Schiavo. Social conservatives second guess a court’s ruling on Ms. Schiavo’s intent. Michael Schiavo is demonized. Jeb Bush, George Bush, the Republican controlled congress, and everybody’s second cousin suddenly realizes they have a personal stake in the outcome. We are told it’s all part of huge anti-life conspiracy of liberal, activist judges (never mind that many of the conspirators were Republican appointees). We are led to believe that Pandemonium itself crouches at our front door, as if the feeding tube was akin to Frodo’s ring. No, my friend, I don’t understand the flip-flopping, either. But alas, with neocons, I think it’s not understanding they want. It’s compliance.

29
Mar
05

Terry Schiavo (Yes, We All Have to Say Something About Her, Don’t We?)

Since Terry Schiavo is so much in the news and all over the Internet, you are probably wondering what my opinion is of the matter. Well, if this woman is truly capable of recovery and if pulling the plug was against her wishes, it would be murder to deny her life support, wouldn’t it? The problem is that I don’t know if she is a vegetable or not, and I don’t know if she would want to be left with the feeding tube. I feel the need to leave that to the court and the experts. Some people are not satisfied with that, however. Indeed, there are a lot of opinions coming from both the Left and the Right on this issue, but given their history with handing the truth, I don’t feel so confident that I’ll stand to be informed by either side. Since I don’t pretend to have the all facts, I’ve prayed about it and left the judgment up to God. I think He is a better judge of such things than I or anyone else. Anyway, if you really want me to throw you a piece of mutton, then here. Take it for what it’s worth.

Now for one thing I do know. The Republicans are a disgrace. What happened to their cries of not allowing the federal government to interfere with those powers delegated to the states? And if they think Ms. Schiavo is such a tragedy, why aren’t they wailing as loudly for the innocent Iraqis that have suffered as a result of their ridiculous war? Their attitude reminds me of Stalin. He said something about one death being a tragedy and many deaths being a statistic. Oh, I know what you are going to say: “That’s different! I mourn the deaths of innocent Iraqis, but in the long run the war is for a good cause and it will end the suffering of those people!” Yep, and Michael Shiavo could say something similiar about his wife.

26
Mar
05

Save Larry Summers – Censure Albert Mohler

Many are familiar with the controversy that surrounds Harvard president Larry Summers. I refer, of course, to his comments about innate differences between women and men, an explanation he has offered for the current shortage of women in science and technology-related fields. Several in the Harvard community and at large have asked for Summers’ head on a plate.

Many are also familiar with the controversy that surrounds Ward Churchill, a faculty member at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has compared 9/11 victims to “little Eichmanns.” Needless to say, many people are incensed at his views, but especially cultural conservatives. In this case, the call for having someone’s head on a plate has also gone forth.

For now, I will suspend judgment pro or con regarding these men. You see, for all the news coverage these two men have garnered for their controversial views, there is one academic who I think should get as much censure, if not more, than these men: Albert Mohler.

You may asking yourself just who is Albert Mohler. He is none other than the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Why, as a religious man, am I annoyed with him? Simple. Last year, the man gave a speech entitled “The Mystery of Marriage” in which he insisted single people putting off marriage were sinning. He especially targeted men with his comments.

I wish I could say that Albert Mohler was alone in his attack against single people, but anti-single bigotry has long been an unfortunate part of the Evangelical community. None other than James Dobson has for some time insinuated that single men are unfocused and selfish:

“Of equal concern is the impact of lifelong singleness on men. Social commentator George Gilder made it clear in his classic book, Men and Marriage, that men who accept the responsibility for a family are often motivated in ways that benefit the entire society. They typically channel their sexual energies to produce growth, creativity, frugality, sacrifice and protection for those who depend on them. In the absence of exclusive and committed marriage, however, their masculine aggressiveness and sexual appetites are inclined toward short-term pleasure-seeking, anti-social behavior, and selfishness. This is particularly true when faith in Jesus Christ is missing.” (Source: “Can Marriage Survive in the New Millennium?”)

And sad to say, Albert Mohler’s fanatical extremism has been picked up by other influential religious pundits.

I shared a related essay by Albert Mohler with some fellow Men’s Right Activists. At the time I was unaware that it was essentially a recap of Mohler’s speech; just the same, the response of my fellow MRAs was interesting. One fellow pointed out the irony of how church leaders have demonized sex for centuries, only to now change the message because they’ve found themselves too successful. Another man coined the term “Estrogelicals” as an amusing, but apropos, description of conservative religionists who have taken up the popular sport of male-bashing and pandering to women.

Yet, Mohler’s thoughts have also caused quite a stir among the Evangelical community at large. Mohler, like any public figure caught with his pants down, has predictably tried to clarify what he meant in a followup essay. He states:

“Singleness is not a sin, but deliberate singleness on the part of those who know they have not been given the gift of celibacy is, at best, a neglect of a Christian responsibility. The problem may be simple sloth, personal immaturity, a fear of commitment, or an unbalanced priority given to work and profession. On the part of men, it may also take the shape of a refusal to grow up and take the lead in courtship. There are countless Christian women who are prayerfully waiting for Christian men to grow up and take the lead. What are these guys waiting for?”

“Given this commitment and hope as articulated by these thoughtful young women, it should be clear that when I spoke of a pattern of sin in the delay of marriage, I was certainly not attributing that sin to them. To the contrary, as one who believes wholeheartedly in the biblical pattern of complementarity and in the male responsibility to lead, I charge young men with far greater responsibility for this failure. The extension of a ‘boy culture’ into the twenties and thirties, along with a sense of uncertainty about the true nature of male leadership has led many young men to focus on career, friends, sports, and any number of other satisfactions when they should be preparing themselves for marriage and taking responsibility to grow up, be the man, and show God’s glory as husband and father.”

“I stand by my argument–renewed in this conviction even by the controversy that has followed. At the same time, I’m going to be a good bit more careful to make clear that young men must accept most of the blame for this situation. I will also remind these young men that, armed with a biblical mandate and fueled by Christian passion, they can also be the vanguard for recovery.”

It is apparent that even in Mohler’s clarification, he has decided to stick to his bazookas. I am glad some have still called him on the carpet, however. As a case point, I invite all to read Michael Spencer’s response to Mohler’s diatribe.

Dear readers, I am not going to mince words here:

1. Mohler’ doctrine plainly contradicts the Apostle Paul. Paul said : “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I” (1 Corinthians 7:8, KJV). He further said: “He this is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: but he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:32-33, KJV) .

Paul didn’t say, “Ok, guys, you might have the gift to be single, but don’t enjoy it too much, or else you are selfish and don’t really have the gift! You know only a few people have this gift, so be very careful about singleness. Really, what I’m saying is this … that you shouldn’t be allowed to choose singleness just because you like being single. God doesn’t leave it up to you, doncha’ know. God will decide this matter, and you will just happen to know about His decision through .. yep, you guessed it … the wise, extra-Biblical counsel of your religious leaders! Hey … you, buddy … over there! You don’t look the single type. Get married or you’ll go to hell!!!”

Seriously, I could say much more on how Mohler’s doctrine is perversion of what the Word of God teaches, but I’ll let it go at that.

2. Self-respecting Bible-believing single men should denounce Mohler’s irresponsible remarks with every degree of righteous indignation. Religious pundits like him are always telling us that God expects men “to lead.” In what? Making the first moves in dating, courtship, and/or engagement? Where is that nonsense taught in the New Testament, the spiritual law under which Christians live (Hebrews 8:1-13)?

Mohler dutifully trudges down the same path that so many other political and social pundits have taken. Whenever there is some problem that concerns the sexes in particular, men are automatically blamed for something they did or failed to do. Mohler blames men for the plight of so many single Christian women not being able to find a husband. He never bothers to consider how Christian women may themselves need to share in the blame. Do many Christian women in today’s society really reflect the model of womanhood in Proverbs 31 that so many religious leaders talk about? Everywhere I look, I see religious women who are materialistic, demanding, irrational, unable to compromise, critical, Pharisaical, and spiritually shallow.

Moreover, while many so-called “traditional” women may not be bra-burning feminists, their attitudes often betray the larger culture’s insistence that women are perpetual victims who are entitled to every advantage in life, even at the expense of men. Many of them want to have their cake and eat, too. They want to having fulfilling careers and compete with men. Yet they also insist that their future husbands have a higher income than them, and be able to support their choice to stay at home if they are so inclined. It never occurs to these women that between their choosiness and a tough job market, that they are pricing their potential mates right out of the picture. So, who wants marry any of these women, no matter how many Scriptures she can quote? Alas, as a man once sagely observed: “Women have choices, men have responsibilities.”

But I hazard getting off-topic here. My main point is that Mohler committed a grave faux pas and he needs to have his feet held to the fire over it. I think a few incensed religious men need to write some letters or make a few phone calls to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Perhaps the Trustees and any existing alumni association should be brought into the action. Mohler needs to apologize unconditionally to single men everywhere. And he if doesn’t do this, then he needs to step down from his position. Period. Let all Israel hear of it and be afraid.

24
Mar
05

“RAA-duh-cul” and “DAYN-jer-uzz”!!!

Today on NPR’s Morning Edition, there was some discussion about the recent showdown between Senate Democrats and Republicans over judicial filibusters. An audio excerpt in the program had Sen. Bill Frist declaring to a Federalist Society meeting that the judicial filibuster was “RAA-duh-cul” and “DAYN-jer-uzz.” If I didn’t know better I think I was listening to a Sunday school teacher’s description of the Beatles’ White Album.

Just how “RAA-duh-cul” and “DAYN-jer-uzz” is a judicial filibuster? It wasn’t too out of the mainstream for Republicans who filibustered Abe Fortas during the Johnson administration. As the news program indicated, the Republicans’ charge that judicial filibustering is “without precedent” is dubious at best. Norman Ornstein, a scholar of Congressional History, weighed in with the remark that Republicans are “trying to redraft history” and that the attempts by some to discount the case of Abe Fortas “doesn’t pass any logical review.” That the show featured commentary by Ornstein is noteworthy. Ornstein is not some “librul egghead” who “hates America.” He is a member of the American Enterprise Institute, a neoconservative think tank.

Anyway, I will tell you what is “RAA-duh-cul” and “DAYN-jer-uzz”: politicians of either party eroding the Senate’s long-standing prerogative of protracted, yea unlimited, debate. It is certain that the Founders intended for the Senate to function as a deliberative body. But now, the Republicans want to water down this aspect of the Senate, and push our country even closer to a tyranny of the majority – a mobocracy, if you will. And for what? Instant political gratification. These are conservative values? Maybe Sen. Frist ought to reflect on why, um, they call his plan the “nuclear option.”

“RAA-duh-cul” and “DAYN-jer-uzz”? You might try some of the judicial nominees that Republican party has been trying to foist on the nation. It was reported that one of the nominees declared that slavery was “God’s gift to white people.” If this is true, then we need to rethink which group of theocratic nuts are really the “enemies of our freedoms” (and I don’t mean the ones who shout “Allah Akbar”).

When it’s all said and done, the neocons running our government have shown just how “RAA-duh-cul” and “DAYN-jer-uzz” they are when they stoop to any tactic deemed necessary in the name of a “good cause.” Nuclear options and authoritarian judges are just a few of the tricks this crowd has in mind for us. I don’t know how anyone who calls himself conservative, principled, and moved by a belief in God and His Law can embrace situation ethics where the ends are thought to justify the means. Neocons spin a good yarn about “faith” and “values” but at the end of the day, they appear to live by the other Golden Rule: “He who has the gold makes the rules.”

At any rate, the good doctor from Tennessee will get more than he bargains for if he choses to make a Faustian pact with destiny. Yes, he may get the procedure of a simple majority vote, but it will return to chauffeur our dear doctor off to Tartarus when the Democrats regain power (and I predict they will). Republicans will rue the day when every piece of filth that issues forth from the sewer pipe of liberalism gets passed by a 51-49 margin. I would be tempted to find this prospect amusing. The problem is that we, the unfortunate citizens of this country, will be right there alongside the Republicans, trying to crawl out of the rising pool of ordure.

Postscript:

NPR’s website features two “scholars” who debate the judicial filibuster and the validity of the nuclear option. On the side of the nuclear option is Douglas Kmiec, a law professor at Pepperdine University. Why am I not surprised by this? A little note about Pepperdine University: Pepperdine was ostensibly a school affiliated with churches of Christ. Now, it is just a hatchery for young Republicans, having accommodated itself to the larger religious culture of Bubblegum Evangelicalism.

Anyway, Kmiec’s commentary is predictably feeble. He, of course, makes much ado about the Senate’s constitutional duty to “advise and consent.” Well, Sherlock, the Senate also has a constitutional duty to consider legislation, but up to this point, no one has bewailed the impact of filibuster on undermining that mandate. And the fact that Kmiec quotes a few Democrats in favor of his case is most telling. Is that supposed to convince someone like me who couldn’t care less about either party? Color me stupid, but when a man quotes politicians of an opposing party to justify his own position, how can he claim that his own case is any better than theirs? Anyway, an antidote to Kmiec’s flummery can be found in an exchange between Orrin Hatch and Norman Ornstein in Roll Call. Sen. Hatch’s case is, of course, as convincing as Kmiec’s.

22
Mar
05

We Will Change the Definition of Marriage and You Will Embrace It

Same-sex marriage [sic] advocates like to parade their cause under the banner of expanding freedoms. That wouldn’t include regulating we are permitted to think about marriage, would it?

21
Mar
05

Married to a Feminist?

I was snooping around some blogs only to come across one maintained by a feminist. In the course of reading some material by her, I discovered that she was “married.” At first, I entertained the possibility that she was simply referring to a lesbian lover in a domestic partnership. But no, she actually has a husband and even a son. This discovery was surprising in light of the militant tone of her blog. Surely, she must regard any contact with the opposite sex as being defiling. What other possibilities could there be?

1. An arranged marriage? He provides the necessary genetic material for a child she wants? No, fertility clinics can solve that conundrum.

2. She came to her position after she got married and after much soul-searching. This is a possibility.

Beyond her marital status, I don’t know anything else about her personal life. I wonder what her husband thinks of her ideology. Is he even aware of it? How can a normal, confident, heterosexual man be knowingly married to a feminist?

You might say, “Simple! He respects intelligent women and is sensitive to their viewpoints, challenges, dreams, and values!” Granted, there is no doubt that he respects her, but the question is this: Does he respect himself in light of a very real possibility that she doesn’t respect him?

As I said, I know nothing about their marriage, but I am well aware about the disposition of many feminist activists. If a man marries a feminist, he is involving himself with a woman who is, by default, distrustful of men. After all, according to feminists, it is men who have caused most of the problems of the world, and the only way to solve these problems is to incapacitate men through various punitive measures. Yet how can healthy marriage be built upon a foundation of distrust like this?

Moreover, how can a feminist’s husband sleep at night, knowing full well that his wife supports a legal system that singles out (pardon the pun) married men for financial ruin? Maybe he walks on eggshells, day after day, knowing that if he tried to cut and run, she would destroy him. What would keep her from doing it? Here is a woman that is quite capable of rationalizing every act of cruel and petty vindictiveness under the mantra of “he had it coming to him.” And guess what? The law of the land and the culture at large would back her up. What will happen that one fateful day when he accidentally forgets to put the toilet seat down? Indeed, what a brave soul he is, but alas, “braveness” is often a synonym for stupidity.

20
Mar
05

2nd Anniversary of a President’s Great Folly

Well, today is the 2nd anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. It is noteworthy that my blog was started on this very day. I believe it to be purely coincidental, unless some subconcious part of me led me to react in this manner (uh .. not likely). Anyway, I’m certain that the war in Iraq will be one of my major pet peeves on this blog. You might want to put your helmet on if and when I lob a few polemical grenades.