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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Kurtz on Harpers: Scary Stuff

This is a must-read not only for Christians, but for all people of good will. There is a history, and it is not too long ago, when a religion was demonized and its adherents were murdered. In the beginning of the Christian era, its adherents were crucified. We pray that those times may not come back and we must speak out against those who spead hate.

There’s a real venom on the Left against conservative Christians.

Harper’s Magazine’s May cover stories about “The Christian Right’s War On America,” frightened me, although not the way Harper’s meant them to. I fear these stories could mark the beginning of a systematic campaign of hatred directed at traditional Christians. Whether this is what Harper’s intends, I cannot say. But regardless of the intention, the effect seems clear.

The phrase “campaign of hatred” is a strong one, and I worry about amplifying an already dangerous dynamic of recrimination on both sides of the culture wars. I don’t doubt that conservatives, Christian and otherwise, are sometimes guilty of rhetorical excess. Yet despite what we’ve been told, the most extreme political rhetoric of our day is being directed against traditional Christians by the left.

It’s been said that James Dobson overstepped legitimate bounds when he compared activist judges to the Ku Klux Klan. Yes, that was an ill-considered remark. I hope and expect it will not be repeated. But Dobson made that comparison extemporaneously and in passing. If that misstep was such a problem, what are we to make of a cover story in Harper’s that systematically identifies conservative Christianity with fascism? According to Harper’s, conservative Christians are making “war on America.” Can you imagine the reaction to a cover story about a “war on America” by blacks, gays, Hispanics, or Jews? Then there’s Frank Rich’s April 24 New York Times op-ed comparing conservative Christians to George Wallace, segregationists, and lynch mobs.

These comparisons are both inflammatory and mistaken. Made in the name of opposing hatred, they license hatred. It was disturbing enough during the election when even the most respectable spokesmen on the left proudly proclaimed their hatred of president Bush. Out of that hatred flowed pervasive, if low-level, violence. I fear that Bush hatred is now being channeled into hatred of Christian conservatives. The process began after the election and is steadily growing worse. This hatred of conservative Christians isn’t new, but it is being fanned to a fever pitch.

Chris Hedges, who wrote one of the Harper’s cover pieces, is a former reporter for the New York Times and a popular author among those who oppose the Iraq war. Hedges’s article will be noticed on the Left. I fear it will set the tone for a powerful new anti-Christian rhetoric. The article’s entitled “Feeling the Hate with the National Religious Broadcasters.” If you still don’t get it, notice the picture juxtaposing a cross with an attack dog. Of course, reducing America’s most popular Christian broadcasters to a hate group is itself a way of inviting hatred.

Hedges invokes the warnings of his old Harvard professor against “Christian fascists.” Supposedly, Christians carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance are the new Hitlers. The Left is loathe to treat Islamic terrorists as moral reprobates, but when it comes to conservative Christians, Hedges calls on his fellow liberals to renounce their relativist scruples and acknowledge “the power and allure of evil.”

Hedges needn’t worry. For a very long time now, secular liberals have treated conservative Christians as the modern embodiment of evil, the one group you’re allowed to openly hate. Although barely noticed by the rest of us, this poison has been floating through our political system for decades. Traditional Christians are tired of it, and I don’t blame them. That doesn’t justify rhetorical excess from either side. But the fact of the matter is that the Left’s rhetorical attacks on conservative Christians have long been more extreme, more widely disseminated, and more politically effective than whatever the Christians have been hurling back. And now that their long ostracism by the media has finally forced conservative Christians to demand redress, the Left has abandoned all rhetorical restraint.

Of course, Harper’s has every right to accuse conservative Christians of making war on America, to treat them as a hate group, to warn us that conservative Christians are the new fascists, and to invite us to battle their supposedly Hitler-like evil. Certainly it would be folly to try to control this kind of anti-religious rhetoric legislatively. But I do believe the Harper’s attack on traditional Christians is dangerous, unfair, and extreme — far more so than Dobson’s rhetorical slip. The way to handle the Harper’s matter is to expose it and condemn it. Or is that sort of public complaint reserved for Dobson alone?

Meanwhile, as Harper’s levels vicious attacks on conservative Christians, the California assembly has passed a bill designed to prevent politicians from using “anti-gay rhetoric” in their political campaigns. Opposition to same-sex marriage itself is considered by many to be “anti-gay.” So has public opposition to same-sex marriage been legislatively banned? As a secular American, I don’t personally see homosexuality as sinful. Like many Americans, I welcome the increased social tolerance for homosexuality we’ve seen since the 1950s. Yet it’s outrageous to ban political speech by Christians who do sincerely understand homosexuality to be a sin.

Along with the move toward same-sex marriage in Scandinavia and Canada, we’ve seen systematic efforts to criminalize and silence expressions of the traditional Christian understanding of homosexuality. We’ve been told that the American tradition of free speech will prevent that sort of abuse here. Yet now, California’s battle for same-sex marriage is calling forth legislation that takes us way too far down the path toward banning the expression of traditional Christian views. While Harper’s is spinning out fantasies of a Christian theocracy, the California state legislature gives us the reality of a secular autocracy.

Conservative Christians have good reason to fear cultural ostracism. The mere expression of their core religious views is being legislated against. The courts have banned traditional morality as a basis for law and have turned instead to secular Europe for guidance. Traditional Christians can’t even set up a college in New York City. And now Harper’s is calling them evil fascists. Yes, conservative Christians have the ear of the president and of the Republican leadership — you bet they do. Given the way they’re being treated in the culture at large, they’d be fools not to protect themselves by turning to politics.

Yet traditional Christians are playing defense, not offense. Harper’s speaks of a “new militant Christianity.” But if Christians are increasingly bold and political, they’ve been forced into that mode by 40 years of revolutionary social reforms. David Brooks has already explained how Roe v. Wade unnecessarily polarized the country, making it impossible for religious conservatives to have a voice in ordinary political give and take. We’re still paying the price for that liberal judicial arrogance.

Now judicial imposition of same-sex marriage has poured fuel on the fire. When Frank Rich compares conservative Christians to segregationist bigots, when Chris Hedges compares conservative Christians to evil fascist supporters of Hitler, its the Christian understanding of homosexuality that’s driving the wild rhetoric. None of the American Founders would have approved of same-sex marriage, yet suddenly we’re expected to equate opposition to gay marriage with Hitler’s genocidal persecutions.

If “Dominionists” try to force all Americans to pay church tithes, or call for the execution of blasphemers and witches, I will oppose them. But that is not the danger we face. The real danger is that a growing campaign of hatred against traditional Christians by secular liberals will deepen an already dangerous conflict. The solution is to continue our debates, but to change their framing. Conservative Christians cannot stop complaining of exclusion and prejudice until cultural liberals pare back their own excesses. Let’s stop treating honest differences on same-sex marriage as simple bigotry. Let’s stop using the courts as a way around democratic decision-making. Let’s stop trying to criminalize religious expression. Let’s allow Christians to establish their own institutions of higher learning. And let’s stop calling traditional Christians fascists. It would be nice if the folks complaining about “Justice Sunday” addressed these issues as well.

Hate Speech for Christians

Christians have been punching bags for as long as I can remember, but the level of vitriol poured on (what are now referred to as) “People of Faith” is akin to the kind of things black people (they used to be known as negroes) experienced before the civil rights movement. I’m referring, of course, to verbal abuse. Back when it was OK to refer to blacks by using the “N” word (note how we are not even allowed to use the term any more?) When their worth ethic was impugned, when their intelligence was assumed to be inferior, when their morals were maligned?

There is a popular radio personality on the Tidewater area, Tony Macrini, who hosts a morning news and talk program from 6 to 10 AM. He is a libertarian. But get him talking about religion and you find him a fanatic on the subject. Raised a Catholic, he now finds it amusing and liberating to bash religion and people of faith without mercy. Were to carry on about blacks in the same way, he would be off the air before his shift ended, but verbal abuse of religion – or at least the Christian religion – is tolerated.

That is why I found the blog entry on Shot In the Dark resonated with me. Before I get into it, here is the first comment following a fine post by Shot In the Dark:

“The following may be a touch overboard but, I feel they will be talking about how dangerous people of faith are while they are rounding us up and transporting us in cattle cars for the final solution to the faith question.”
The post begins:

Since 9/11, we've established that one can not call dissenters from American foreign policy - even the most wacked-out dissenters, people who actively support our enemies - "Anti-American". Indeed, as the bumper sticker says, "Dissent is patriotic".


Could we grant faith the same pass?

Oh, don't get me wrong; the left is just fine with people of faith - as long as its adherents can't be heard, much less consider their faith more important than their government. Unitarians, liberal Catholics (think Daniel Berrigan) and mushy-left Protestants are just fine, of course, but you don't have to go too far to the left - by no means to the fringe - to find anyone outspoken about the role of faith in their life and their political leanings (if they're to the right) compared to the Taliban, called Jihadis, and so on.
I started noticing during the eighties; the "cynical, hypocritical fundie minister" was a most frequent, convenient villain on TV and in the movies.

Far from passing from use, the stereotype drove much of the left in the last Presidential election. The "Jesusland" meme was the most obvious symptom, the anti-semitism rampant in the American academic left, and the continued portrayal of faith as being some sort of base, benighted aberration are just leading indicators of a simple observation; the American "elite" is developing a full-blown, Klan-level bigotry against people of faith.

He quotes Stanley Kurtz in National Review:

There’s a real venom on the Left against conservative Christians.
Harper’s Magazine’s May cover stories about “The Christian Right’s War On America,” frightened me, although not the way Harper’s meant them to. I fear these stories could mark the beginning of a systematic campaign of hatred directed at traditional Christians. Whether this is what Harper’s intends, I cannot say. But regardless of the intention, the effect seems clear.

The phrase “campaign of hatred” is a strong one, and I worry about amplifying an already dangerous dynamic of recrimination on both sides of the culture wars. I don’t doubt that conservatives, Christian and otherwise, are sometimes guilty of rhetorical excess.

Yet despite what we’ve been told, the most extreme political rhetoric of our day is being directed against traditional Christians by the left.


Who is Janice Rogers Brown

Captain Ed has Janice Rogers Brown in her own words. If her name is not familiar, it should be; she is one of the nominees for the federal appellate bench who has been blocked by the Left. Ed cites her speech to Catholic University’s school of law:

[Speaking of the reasons that people forsake freedom] “Some will do so because they are ambitious and can only make their mark by setting out upon a new path. Abraham Lincoln described this dynamic many years before he became president. He said there will always be people among us (from the family of the Lion or the tribe of the Eagle) who “scorn to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor,” who thirst and burn for distinction, and who will obtain it “whether at the expense of emancipating slaves or enslaving free men.”3

Some may reject freedom because security has always been more comfortable than freedom and infinitely more comforting to the “herd of independent minds.”4

Perhaps the most likely reason for a negative response is the fatigue engendered by the “accumulated decisions of so many revolutions.”5 Freedom requires certitude and we are now so enlightened that, in Pascal's phrase, “we know too much to be ignorant and too little to be wise.”

Read the whole thing.

Friday, April 29, 2005

The Blogosphere and Christians. Is James Dobson the “anti-Christ?”

Some of the leading lights of the blogosphere are libertarians. I find that - in general - libertarians have, at best, an ambivalent attitude toward Christians. For Christians (let me be clear) I mean conservative Christians; that is, people who believe Christ is the Son of God, died on the cross and rose on the third day. There are many people who call themselves Christians who are what I think of as “metaphorical Christians.” They are uncertain about the identity of Christ, believe that he was a great teacher and set us a good example but the whole “son of god” thing is not literally true. In fact, for many, the question of the existence of God is problematic.

For that reason, I have found that Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame (a libertarian) has a tendency to try to stay equidistant from both Christians and Christian-bashers. His sole reference to Ken Salazar’s calling James Dobson the “Anti-Christ” is a “plague on both your houses” approach. And, if you follow the link in his comment, you will find that while he chastises Andrew Sullivan for claiming we are in the grip of a theocracy, he characterizes Christians who participate in political debates as “busybodies [who] would finally start telling them [Americans] what to do.”

This is the flip side of the Black position in the Democratic party. Christians are supposed to vote reliably for the Republican/Libertarian political position, but when the election is over, please move to the back of the bus. Or, as Glenn puts it: “Listening to them would be a big mistake for Bush.”

Reynolds is quick to point to polls that find that Americans are not very concerned about moral issues. He cites a Gallup poll. I have not read the poll itself because it requires a paid subscription to Gallup. Incidentally, according to the Gallup headline, getting out of Iraq is issue number one. If this is true, it’s interesting that Iraq and the war on terror are not linked in the public’s mind. Which is an interesting revelation regarding governing by polls.

I cite Glenn Reynolds because he is such a big gun. He is right up there with Kos - a virulently left wing web site – in terms of readership.

For another take on Senator Salazar’s slam, we turn to John Hindraker of Powerline. Unlike Reynolds, who distances himself from Dobson, Hindraker takes the time to actually read the speeches given at the “Justice Sunday” event. He links to the transcript.

He writes: What is really striking about this controversy is the mildness of the "attack" to which Salazar refers. James Dobson was one of several leaders who participated in the "Justice Sunday" telecast, intended to rally support for the idea that the Senate should fulfill its Constitutional responsibility by voting on the President's judicial nominees. This, in itself, is hardly a controversial, let alone "un-Christian," political position. And it was expressed with extraordinary civility.

Radioblogger has transcripts of the principal speeches given on "Justice Sunday" by Bill Frist, Charles Colson, James Dobson and others. They are a model of rational discourse, replete with references to the Federalist Papers and other similarly unimpeachable authorities. No one ever suggests that the Democratic obstructionists are "the Anti-Christ," or "un-Christian," or any other epithet. Neither Ken Salazar nor any other Democratic Senator is mentioned by name. The general tenor of the discussion is far above the norm for contemporary American politics; in particular, it is more intelligent and more civil by light-years than would ever be observed at any gathering of Democrats, MoveOn fanatics, Kosites, etc.
Yet the mere fact that a group of people banded together to advance a political position in opposition to his own was enough to send Ken Salazar into a paroxysm of hate, calling them first "the Anti-Christ," and then, upon sober reflection, "un-Christian."

I find it disturbing that influential members of the Conservative/Libertarian fusion would take neutral positions between Christians and those who attack them with the vilest epithets. Like Sweden or during World War II, the neutral position is not the morally superior position.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Justice Sunday

Power Line has some comments on the way the Left is attacking Frist – and Conservative Christians – for daring to speak out against the religious litmus test that they have established. And let there be no question that it is a litmus test. They are quite clear about it.

Joseph Knippenberg at No Left Turns responds to the efforts of the religious left, and of Washington Post columnist Colbert King, to demonize Senator Frist and the Family Research Council over the Justice Sunday event, which will highlight the attempt of liberal Democrats to block judicial nominees based in part on the deeply held religious beliefs of the nominees. In their desire to write easy, latitudinarian-sounding rhetoric, the interfaith clergy and King seem to have lost the thread. Indeed, C. Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance concedes the point that the liberals for whom he fronts want to deny:

With a religious conscience as enflamed as the conscience of anybody in the religious right, I oppose the election [sic] of judges who will, in the name of religion, make decisions that politicize religion and blunt the vitality as well as compromise the integrity of the rich religious community in this nation.

The Democrats claim that religion has nothing to do with their opposition to nominees like William Pryor. But Gaddy, based on no evidence that any of judges in question engage in the conduct he describes, apparently opposes them precisely on religious grounds.

Key Democrats do too, though not as crudely. Senator Schumer, the Democrats' point man on the nominees, says that Pryor's deeply held religious views will prevent him from doing what he has promised to do (and has done in the past, notably in the Ten Commandments case), namely follow the law when it conflicts with his views. This would be the equivalent of assuming that a feminist nominee, or a gay one, would refuse to follow the law when it conflicts with his or her views as a feminist or gay-rights sympathizer. This runs counter to the way judicial nominees have always been evaluated -- they have always been judged based on their actions, not their status. Schumer's argument effectively sets up a religious bar -- Catholics (for example) who strongly believe what their church teaches need not apply. Thus, opposing what Schumer and his fellow Democrats are attempting to accomplish does not constitute playing offense -- trying to tilt the judiciary in favor of a religious agenda. Rather, it amounts to playing defense -- trying to prevent a system that excludes passionate people on one side of the spectrum but not the other.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Hugh Hewitt Gets It

There is dissent within the Right about the extent to which Republicans should align themselves with Christians. As I have noted in my previous post, the Left is opposing some of the judges nominated by Bush on religious grounds. See previous post: “Histrionics.”

Because the Left has had some success in either demonizing or ridiculing conservative Christians, some on our side believe that getting too close to Christians is politically damaging.

I contend that ignoring Christian concerns, failure to acknowledge when they have been slimed, and distancing ourselves from men like James Dobson, is a serious error. It is an error typically made by Conservatives who inhabit LiberalLand. LiberalLand is the university community and urban centers where the true gospel is delivered every morning in the form of the NY Times. The inhabitants of these enclaves, even if they are Conservative, do not realize that in Red State America, and among mainstream Christians James Dobson, a PhD and child psychologist who heads “Focus on the Family,” is a mainstream as you can get.

That is why Hugh Hewitt makes a good point with his blog.

I see losses for Senators Chaffee and Snowe if they desert on the filibuster because I read my mail and get calls from across the country every day --mail and calls that are flowing in from serious supporters and contributors to the GOP and enthusiastic participants in the Bush-led victories of 2000, 2002, and 2004. Not only are they dismayed with the dithering of GOP senators, they are not willing to sidestep battles over first principles, especially when they understand that underlying the filibuster argument is an effort by the left to define "mainstream" to exclude the very center of American tradition and politics.

Understand that Senate Democrats will certainly define every faithful adherent to Benedict XVI's teachings as "outside of the mainstream," just as they have defined Focus on the Family's James Dobson as "outside the mainstream," a laughable indeed risible assertion for anyone with even a surface knowledge of American religious practice or Focus' reach here and abroad. This amazing transformation of the party that once represented devout immigrant Catholics by the tens of millions is astonishing and troubling. It is not acceptable to most Americans to be defined as "outside of the mainstream," and the GOP is defending much more than its judicial nominees when it engages in this battle.


Jeff Goldstein is a national treasure who's blogsite is Protein Wisdom. He writes about the screwed up judicial nomination process, the filibuster and attempts to change the Senate rules. He is generally in favor, but would like to see a “real” filibuster before the rules change is voted on. OK.

But he refers to the question of whether “people of faith” can be approved as “histrionics” and bad strategy that will backfire. Here I emphatically disagree. Not because of a difference of opinion, but as a matter of fact.

There is no question that the Left does not want people who are committed Christians - and by that I mean people who believe in God, that Jesus was his son and that the Bible is divinely inspired – to be judges. They do not want people who are pro-life for religious reasons on the bench. Liberals do not believe that these people, once they get on the bench, will be able to put their personal belief systems aside and make judgments based on the law. And they believe that because that is what they would do under similar circumstances.

I refer you to the hearings for William Pryor in 2003. Kay Daly in the WSJ’s Opinion Journal summarized the thrust of the questioning this way:

Alabama Attorney General William Pryor, the most recent Daniel to face the hungry lions, has made the "mistake" of not distancing himself from his faith. In a recent confirmation hearing for Mr. Pryor, a nominee to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) said plainly that Mr. Pryor's deeply held personal convictions as a pro-life Catholic simply would not be left at the courthouse door. In other words, being a Catholic is just fine if you are Sen. Leahy or Sen. Kennedy and selectively follow the doctrines of the faith. But if you actually practice Catholic teaching, you need not apply for a federal judgeship.


It cannot be mere coincidence that Mr. Holmes--as well as fellow disputed nominees like Mr. Pryor, Carolyn Kuhl (in the Ninth Circuit), Bob Conrad (eastern district of North Carolina) and three of the four stalled nominees from Michigan (Sixth Circuit)--is a practicing Catholic. For Catholics, Purgatory may very well be the judicial nominations process. Then again, Charles Pickering, a nominee for the Fifth Circuit who once served as president of the Mississippi Southern Baptist Convention, and Priscilla Owen, a filibustered Fifth Circuit nominee and Episcopalian Sunday school teacher, are also under attack.

For the non-Christians among us, the question I asked of Jeff was: why should Christians just shut up and take it, let’s hear the reasons.

UPDATE: Jeff Goldstein has responded to my comments HERE . His reply is fairly good ...until he accuses me thus: And I must say (and this is more of a general comment than it is specifically aimed at Moneyrunner), I’m beginning to tire of suggestions that anyone who doesn’t agree with every plank in the strategy platform of Christian conservatives is somehow either directly or indirectly seeking to oppress people of faith.

Frankly, I resent that. Nowhere in my comments did I suggest that failure to agree with Christian conservatives was equal to oppressing them. That is pure, unadulterated bullshit.

I conclude from this over-the-top reaction that Jeff had a bad day, or he has some personal issues with Christians that are manifesting themselves by imagining that he is being attacked. If we can't disagree without being disagreeable it's not possible to have a dialog.

Get Serious

Angelo M. Codevilla of the Claremont Institute dissects that old warhorse, Arthus Schlesinger's, new book. The review, not the book is well worth the read.

Winning the War

Victor David Hanson sets rules for winning the war. The article is very much worth reading. This part grabbed me:

5. Do not look for logic and consistency in the Middle East where they are not to be found. It makes no sense to be frustrated that Arab intellectuals and reformers damn us for removing Saddam and simultaneously praise democratic rumblings that followed his fall. We should accept that the only palatable scenario for the Arab Street was one equally fanciful: Brave demonstrators took to the barricades, forced Saddam’s departure, created a constitution, held elections, and then invited other Arab reformers into Baghdad to spread such indigenous reform — all resulting in a society as sophisticated, wealthy, free, and modern as the West, but felt to be morally superior because of its allegiance to Islam. That is the dream that is preferable to the reality that the Americans alone took out the monster of the Middle East and that any peaceful protest against Saddam would have ended in another genocide.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Random Musings

A great deal has happened since my last post. An innocent woman, Terri Schiavo, is still dead. Her body has been cremated and the MSM has not uttered a word about her death by dehydration and starvation.

Rest in peace.

She left no written instructions. So the courts of this land took the word of her husband, who had both emotional and financial motives to wish her dead, that she wished to be killed rather than live in her condition. On the other hand, courts of this land have their doubts about the stated desire of of the living, breathing, accused would-be-hijacker Zarcarias Moussaoui to confess that he was part of the conspiracy that subjected this country to the 9/11 attack.

We can only conclude that Terri Schiavo would still be alive if she were a terrorist. Her problem was that she was innocent. There is no provision in the law for the protection of those not accused of a crime.

UPDATE: Here's an idea. Moussaoui has confessed and his confession has been accepted depite protests from his lawyers and virtually all of the legal profession. The government is going for the death penalty. In the Scjiavo case we were told that death by starvation and dehydration can lead to virtual extacy. As humane people, let's execute Moussaoui by putting him in a hospital bed, setting a police guard around him and ... then do nothing: just watch.

In other news:

The Roman Catholic Church has a new Pope. He is Benedict XVI … and he is Catholic. This is a great disappointment to the Left. It sincerely disturbs them that, with the passing of John-Paul II the Catholic Church has not embraced abortion, infanticide, gay marriage and the ordination of women. The Church of Christ has not morphed into The Church of What’s Happening Now.

The new Pope, the former Cardinal Ratziner is German, and was drafted into both the Hitler Youth and the German Army during World War II. Using that as a crutch, the NY Slimes has found a term for describing him: The Nazi Pope. So has the British newspaper The Sun.

Finally, as I write this, the question of whether the judges nominated by President Bush will get an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor is still up in the air. I have to agree with James Lileks:

I’m starting to suspect that the entire Senate should be abolished. Purge the lot of ‘em. Their drivel may be no less meretricious than their House counterparts, but it’s usually slathered with sanctimony about the Noble Nature of their particular chamber, how they’re the saucer into which passions are poured to cool. (By “cool,” they often mean “frozen to the consistency of a glacier layer laid down when the Bourbons were still a going concern.”) Such airs! They’re the only branch of government that regularly advertises its special nature and higher purpose – it’s like having a special branch of the Kiwanis made up entirely of bankers who announce, before each meeting, that they’re better than the realtors and insurance salesmen. And why? Because there are fewer of them. Well, there are fewer experts in quantum physics than there are Special Forces soldiers, but I know who I’d want to drop at night into a warzone.Meaning, uh, what? Oh, nothing. And yes, I know that the genius and virtue of the Senate is the way in which it makes Rhode Island equal to California, so the Big and Strong cannot roll over the Small, at least not until they’ve promised the Small they’ll vote for Maple Syrup price supports in the next session. But the Senate, as currently composed, seems to attract people who have that potent & fatal combination of dimness and self-regard, and when you elevate those sorts to the Great National Saucer, you get idiocies like the Bolton hearing. On one side, a charmless babbler like Joe Biden, whose instinct upon finding a bad metaphor is to attenuate it until it is three microns wide; on the other side, George Voinovich, who finally showed up for a hearing and pronounced himself Disturbed by the allegations. This is like a guy skipping class on the origins WW2 for a month then raising his hand to ask why they haven’t covered how this Hitler fellow came to power.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Berlin Wall Has Fallen On Us

The Leftist chattering class is gradually – in fits and starts, one member at a time – coming to admit that Bush has made a positive difference in changing the dynamics of the Middle East. They do this, despite their continued insistence that Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice and their supporters are stupid, ill informed bullies. The conclusion is that they just got lucky. And despite agreeing that the Bush policy worked, they have not lost their faith in the belief system that prescribed the exact opposite of the Bush doctrine in dealing with the problems widespread terrorism fostered by Islamic radicalism.

Belmont Club provides an instructive review of an article printed in The Australian by Michael Costello. He is the former chief of staff of the Australian Labor Party's leader Michael Costello.

Costello's notion of "freedom" is curiously identified with "the democratic approach of seeking the middle ground" as if the essence of freedom was the willingness to compromise. Raymond Aron understood the fallacy. As the Nazi menace began to rise in Europe, Argon argued that the Left made the fatal mistake of believing that the exercise of freedom lay in compromising with the aggressor. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

This is the essence of the issue dividing the Right and the Left today. The Right may not take aggressive action every time we are attacked: Reagan pulled out of Lebanon after the attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut. However, the Left is reflexively pacifist. Even when it reacts, it does so in ways that are ineffectual. While Clinton did attack Yugoslavia, he reacted to direct attacks on Americans with just enough force to prove to Bin Laden and the other Islamist radicals that they had nothing to fear from America.

One of the tragedies of World War II was that it was a war, like so many others, that was avoidable. Winston Churchill wrote “There never was a war more easy to stop than that which has just wrecked what was left of the world from the previous struggle.” The war is the direct result of the failure of the Left in the 1930s to confront a resurgent Third Reich. In fact, the Left was proud of its pacifism in the face of German rearmament and its attacks on its neighbors. As a result, when the storm of global war finally broke, millions died in deserts and oceans, in hedgerows and gas ovens.

And so the lessons of the past go unlearned by our brethren on the Left who wrap themselves in the mantle of an assumed moral superiority crowned with superior wisdom.

With this in view, let us thank God for his providence and His blessing on us as a people and a nation and pray that our sins will not be visited upon us.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Our Not-So-Wise Experts

The West is in a war against Muslim radicalism. Some prefer to call it a war on terror. Others prefer to ignore it all together, hoping that it will go away. John Kerry wanted to manage it so that it would be minor – a few Westerners killed each month – so that the problem could be ignored, like car crashes.

But as the problem has grown over the past two decades, culminating on the attacks of 9/11, it has become impossible for most Americans to ignore.

George Bush’s administration has managed to break out of the mindset that has hobbled the West in its reaction to Muslim aggression. It has done this with a combination of military force and political action. The result has been successful beyond the expectations of even this interested observer.

But who am I? The fact is that a large part of the Washington intelligentsia was totally wrong even as recently as last year. Victor David Hansen is impolite enough to quote some of the more prominent in an essay that devastates the conventional thinkers.

Read the whole thing. It starts thus:

Brent Scowcroft predicted on the eve of the Iraqi elections that voting there would increase the risk of civil war. Indeed, he foresaw “a great potential for deepening the conflict.” He also once assured us that Iraq “could become a Vietnam in a way that the Vietnam war never did.” Did he mean perhaps worse than ten years of war and over 50,000 American dead, with the Cambodian holocaust next door?

Friday, April 08, 2005

Susan Lucci Finally Wins Pulitzer Prize is a very funny satirical website. This offering gives us a fresh look at the Pulitzer committee's decision to award its top prize for photography to the AP "stringer" who has been cooperating with the terrorists in Iraq. He received the top prize for photography in 2004 for taking pictures of the murder of several Iraqi election workers by the terrorists.

It must be understood that the photographer was told ahead of time where and when the killings would take place. The victims were pulled from their car and shot in the street to allow the photographer to get better pictures. It is obvious from the pictures that the photographer was within yards of the shooting. He apparently had no fear for his own safety.

There is something repellent about people who would reward publicists for murder, terrorism and dictatorship. It's like giving a prize to Goebbels for excellence in journalism.

The head of the committee that awarded this prize is the Virginian Pilot's own Dennis Hartig, editorial page editor. Fitting.

The Canadian Scandal

As Canada has declined in global influence, Canadians have compensated by polishing their supposed public virtue. To listen to the Left, Canada is everything the US should be: pacifist, toothless, anti-clerical, politically correct, gay marrying, with government health care for everyone (as long as you don't mind waiting a few months - or years - for your medical procedure).

It now turns out that the ruling Liberal party has been financing its electoral efforts with public funds laundered through an advertising agency.

Other than the fact that Canada is a neighboring country, this would not be a major story. For those who are interested, it explains part of the reason that the Liberals have had a stranglehold on Canadian national elections for decades. It also points out the fact that a party that is in power too long will inevitably allow corrupt individuals to rise to the top, leading - in a Democracy - to a healthy change in government. It remains to be seen if this will happen in the frozen North.

The Pope as a Young Man

Roger Cohen, in the International Herald Tribune recount how John Paul II saved his wife's grandmother during World War II. It is a story that brings tears to your eyes.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Terri's Brain

From CodeBlue:

I'm getting tired of hearing what neurologists have to say about Terri Schiavo's CT of the brain. Real Tired. The Florida Sun Sentinel had a gang of neurologists analyze one of Terri's CT's of the brain....

Here's the problem with these experts: THEY DON'T INTERPRET CT SCANS OF THE BRAIN. RADIOLOGISTS DO....

In addition, whereas I heard Dr. Crandon say he's "seen" a thousand brain CT's... well I've interpreted over 10,000 brain CT's. There's a big difference....

I have seen several neurologists -- in the printed media and on television -- put up a Representative CT of the brain of a normal 25 year old female and contrast this with Terri Schiavo's CT. This is a totally spurious comparison. No one is disputing that Terri Schiavo does not have the CT of a 25 year old female.
What I'm saying is that Terri Schiavo's CT could be the brain of an eighty or ninety year old person who is not in a vegetative state. THOSE are the CT scans we should be showing next to Schiavo's, because in THAT case you would see similar atrophy and a brain much closer to Schiavo's....

To prove my point I am offering $100,000 on a $25,000 wager for ANY neurologist (and $125,000 for any neurologist/bioethicist) involved in Terri Schiavo's case--including all the neurologists reviewed on television and in the newspapers who can accurately single out PVS patients from functioning patients with better than 60% accuracy on CT scans.
I will provide 100 single cuts from 100 different patient's brain CT's. All the neurologist has to do is say which ones represent patients with PVS and which do not.
If the neurologist can be right 6 out of 10 times he wins the $100,000.


Read the whole thing. You can see the scans this radiologist is talking about. There is also a fascinating discussion of a shunt that is revealed in the CT scans.

Waiting for the autopsy report.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Message from the Schindlers

PINELLAS PARK, Fl., April 1, 2005 ( - The following is the text of the statement read by Terri Schindler Schiavo's sister, Suzanne Vitadamo; and brother, Bobby Schindler, in front of the Woodside Hospice, in Pinellas Park, Florida, at a 4:30 PM, press conference yesterday.

As you are aware, Terri is now with God and she has been released from all earthly burdens. After these recent years of neglect at the hands of those who were supposed to protect and care for her, she is finally at peace with God for eternity. We are speaking on behalf of our entire family this evening as we share some thoughts and messages to the world regarding our sister and the courageous battle that was waged to save her life from starvation and dehydration.

We have a message for the volunteers that have helped our family:

Thank you for all that you've done for our family. Thank you to the hundreds of doctors who volunteered to help Terri. Thank you to the fifty doctors who provided statements under oath to help Terri. Thank you to the lawyers who stood for Terri's life in the courtrooms of our nation. From running our family's website, to driving us around, to making meals, to serving in so many ways-thank you to all of the volunteers who have been so kindd to our family through all of this.

We have a message for the supporters and people praying worldwide:

Please continue to pray that God gives grace to our family as we go through this very difficult time. We know that many of you never had the privilege to personally know our wonderful sister, Terri, but we assure you that you can be proud of this remarkable woman who has captured the attention of the world. Following the example of the Lord Jesus, our family abhors any violence or any threats of violence. Threatening words dishonor our faith, our family, and our sister, Terri. We would ask that all those who support our family be completely kind in their words and deeds toward others.

We have a message to the media:

We appreciate your taking Terri's case to the nation. Please afford our family privacy to grieve at this time. The patience and graciousness of the on-site media here at hospice has been deeply appreciated by our family.

We have a message to the many government officials who tried to help Terri:

Thank you for all that you've done. Our family will be forever grateful to all of the outstanding public servants who have tried to save Terri.

We have a message to all of the religious leaders who tried to help Terri:

Thank you to all people of faith who demonstrated love for Terri and strength of conviction to defend the sacredness of all human life as a precious gift from God. Our family is highly honored that the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, would speak out so boldly on behalf of our sister, Terri.

We have a message of forgiveness:

Throughout this ordeal, we are reminded of the words of Jesus on the cross: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Our family seeks forgiveness for anything that we have done in standing for Terri's life that has not demonstrated the love and compassion required of us by our faith.

We have a message to parents worldwide:

Our family would encourage parents to spend time with their children and to cherish each and every moment of each and every day with them as a precious gift from God.

We have a message to Terri from her family:

As a member of our family unable to speak for yourself, you spoke loudly. As a member of our family unable to stand under your own power, you stood with a grace and a dignity that made your family proud. Terri, we love you dearly, but we know that God loves you more than we do. We must accept your untimely death as God's will.

Terri, your life and legacy will continue to live on, as the nation is now awakened to the plight of thousands of voiceless people with disabilities that were previously unnoticed. Your family intends to stand up for the other "Terri's" around this nation and we will do all that we can to change the law so others won't face the same fate that has befallen you.

We have a final thought to share:

Our family had hoped this day would never come, but as it has now arrived, we ask ourselves a question in these incredibly sad circumstances: What would the Lord Jesus ask us to do in a moment like this? In John's Gospel, Jesus responded to the questions of the rabbis, who asked why a man had been born blind. He said: "it is so that the works of God might be made manifest through him."

God's plan for Terri is unfolding before our eyes. Our prayer at this time is that our Nation will remember the plight of persons with disabilities and commit within our hearts to defend their lives and their dignity for many generations to come.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Libby, Randy and Fundy.

Yes, I thought that it would be appropriate to create pet names for those who are either afraid of Christians or social conservatives. Why not adopt “Libby” or “Randy” for the Libertarians/Randians who are in a snit about Republicans and Christians?

Remember the Calvin & Hobbes comic strip? A true work of genius. Some of my favorite story lines involved the monsters that inhabited Calvin’s closet and lived under his bed.

When Libbies and Randies go into their bedrooms they always check for the Fundy police, knowing that The Christian Coalition stays awake at night working on plans to arrest them once it has control of the government. Oh, it does? Never mind.

Or when Libbys and Randys discuss the freedom and dignity (even the euphoria) that takes over when a person is dying of thirst. Are they implying that that is exactly how they would wish to die should they become too sick? They object to the intrusion of government into this “intensely private family affair.” Are they conveniently forgetting that Judge Greer is part of the government? That he ordered Terri’s life should be ended, and that armed agents of the government – in the form of police – stood guard to insure that private individuals did not interfere with this government ordered death?

In this blog, Sydney Carton (scroll down) alludes to the fact that there is both a degree of contempt for people of faith as well as a feigned or actual irrational fear of Christians.

Where this derives, I don’t know, but its eruption in the public sphere is a recent phenomenon. And frankly, as a Christian, it scares me. And my fear is somewhat more rational, being born in occupied Europe during World War II, I have studied the history of religious and ethnic bigotry with more than a casual interest. Before it became a reality, the Holocaust was an idea.

In the beginning, was the word.

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