‘Tis the Season to Rethink Equal Outcomes

 

The Progressive’s notion of equal outcomes: “income equality” realized through redistribution; test results based on tests revised so that certain people could pass the test; participation-trophy type merit; laws that ‘fix’ opportunity for certain people; verdicts and sentencing of activist judges who rule based on a defendant’s social circumstances rather than by the crime committed upon another; homosexual ‘marriage’ as marriage equality; “equal pay for equal work” which dismisses the resultant quality of what each worker produces; a state in which people have approximately the same material wealth and achieve equal levels of income; equating equal opportunities with equal results…

Economist Thomas Sowell gives us some insight into Progressive thinking:

Equal opportunity does not mean equal results, despite how many laws and policies proceed as if it does, or how much fashionable rhetoric equates the two.

An example of that rhetoric was the title of a recent New York Times column: “A Ticket to Bias.” That column recalled bitterly the experience of a woman in a wheelchair who bought a $300 ticket to a rock concert but was unable to see when other people around her stood up. This was equated with “bias” on the part of those who ran the arena.

The woman in the wheel chair declared, “true equality remains a dream out of reach.” Apparently only equality of results is “true’ equality….

…Confusion between equal opportunity and equal results is a dangerous confusion behind many kinds of spoiled brat politics. -Thomas Sowell from Spoiled Brat Politics, The Thomas Sowell Reader

To put us in the proper reflective mood for the Season to Rethink Equal Outcomes, below are three accounts from Scripture which reveal to us God’s concept of equal outcomes.

But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. 2 Samuel 24:24

The first thing I notice about the above account is that forms of capitalism have been around for a long time. That is, capitalism, simply defined, as an economic and social system in which property, business, and industry are privately owned and directed towards making the greatest possible profits for successful organizations and people, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

In the above account there was a cooperative exchange of private property between two individuals. Both were satisfied with the outcome. And, apparently God was satisfied with the outcome. David’s desire was to not give God the impression that he was doing something good for God, a.k.a. virtue signal or tokenism, but to pay proper respect and attribute worth to God through his offering.

David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the LORD answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped. 2 Samuel 24:25

The second thing I notice is restraint. Though Araunah offered his property freely to king David (2 Sam. 24:23) the king did not accept it without paying Araunah its worth to Araunah  and perhaps more. That cost David. The king could have just taken the property to begin with. Beastly kings and rulers throughout history have seized property for themselves and for “the masses”. David was not about to disrespect his neighbor Araunuh or his God by stiffing either. The king did not exploit Araunuh for righteous ends.

Worth had to be accounted for with regard to Araunah’s property and with regard to a show of respect to God. “I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” That is what David said and that is what the widow thought.

Then Jesus sat down opposite the offering box, and watched the crowd putting coins into it. Many rich people were throwing in large amounts. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. He called his disciples and said to them, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. For they all gave out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.”  Mark 12:41-44

The first thing we notice in this account is the virtue signaling and tokenism of cha-ching-ers who want to appear to profit God while incurring little or no cost to themselves. In kingdom contrast, the unassuming widow, like king David, gave an offering that cost her appreciably and was God’s Temple worthy. The widow gave her financial security. The Lord was pleased to acknowledge her gift acknowledging the God Who is Faithful (Psalm 146: 8). She loved God more than life itself. Now, did you notice in these two stories that taking into account the worth of each party and their property creates equal outcomes – both parties being satisfied and even pleased with what is exchanged? This method of accounting, making sure the ‘other’ is considered and is valued as at least equal with ourselves, can be applied to all interactions.

In a previous post I wrote:

We are told by Jesus to “love your neighbors as yourself”. To do this we must consider our own self-interest and then apply the same measure of self-interest toward our neighbors. This parity of accounting is not unlike the Lord’s accounting of forgiveness: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others their trespasses.” […,] the resentment worldview has a perverted accounting system: the self is to be credited and others must be debited for there to be parity in their world. If the word “fairness” is ever to be applied socially and economically to our culture then these two commands of our Lord define its limited and personal application.

As shown from Scripture, God endorsed equal outcomes are marriages of opportunities with offerings. The outcomes are not forced or determined by a higher power or the state. The individuals involved come to an agreement about the outcome. A marriage of a man and woman is the archetype of this union of opportunity and offering.

The man and woman exchange vows and rings and, over time, their lives. The opportunity: they met and each determined that an exchange of their life for the other would make both happy. The offering: they give themselves which costs everything. They do so freely. The exchange is not coerced as in a shot-gun wedding or when those in power decide to take your property by force. When things are forced and a person is acted upon without it being offered it is called rape. It is called stealing when a person’s property is forcibly taken.

The equal outcome of marriage is that the two become one. The transaction creates a greater good (including little ones) and both parties equally, with God’s help, continue to be satisfied with the outcome.

One more illustration from Scripture regarding the marriage of opportunity and offering. Remember this woman?

While Jesus was at Bethany, in the house of Simon (known as “the Leper’), a woman came to him who had an alabaster vase of extremely valuable ointment. She poured it on his head as he was reclining at the table.

When the disciples saw it, they were furious.

“What’s the point of all this waste?” they said. “This could have been sold for a fortune, and the money could have been given to the poor!”

Jesus knew what they were thinking.

“Why make life difficult for the woman?” he said. “It’s a lovely thing, what she’s done for me. You always have the poor with you, don’t you? But you won’t always have me. When she poured this ointment on my body, you see, she did it to prepare me for burial. “I’m telling you the truth: where this gospel is announced in all the world, what she has done will be told, and people will remember her.”

Matthew 26: 6-13

 

 

What do we learn about opportunity and offering from this account of a woman pouring a very expensive offering onto Jesus’ head? We learn that the Progressives around Jesus were highly offended when they couldn’t control the outcome of the “alabaster vase of extremely valuable ointment”. We also learn from Jesus about the opportunity that brought them together: “… you won’t always have me”. The woman’s offering was what she could have lavished on herself. Maybe she applied David’s words to her head: “I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

The extravagant and expensive offering given freely was freely accepted by Jesus in preparation for his burial. In fact, he tells us that the equally shared outcome of what she had done was worth proclaiming: the marriage of opportunity and sacrificial offering as an act of love.

Tis the Season to Be Partisan

 

Despite the fact that Macy’s has their enormous Christmas tree lit up right now, signifying the coming season of glad tidings and of peace and of unbridled consumerism, the TV reminds us that it is knock-down-drag-out Partisan Season as candidates throw punches at their labeled-as-a-Grinch opponents. Democracy gives one the impression that with your vote, and with other’s who vote like you, that you can create a government in your image. Therein lies the boxing match. Campaign ads require a different metaphor.

As witnessed firsthand, the almost endless torrent of unbridled derogatory and prejudiced campaign ads spews like raw sewage from the digital spout. Based on the ads, hatred for the opposing candidate appears to be the biggest lure to pull voting fish out of the drainage.

I’ve come across those on Twitter who will vote for a Democrat because the other candidate is a Republican and therefore, based on the media narrative, is a tainted Trumpist. The Twitterer’s animosity towards Trump is stoked by a fight manager – the Leftist media. The combined one-two punch of hate and vote is meant to KO anyone on the Right.

“I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for superior men if they ran for office, but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Neediness for government to make their lives better (basically, government taking responsibility for their lives) feeds many folk’s compulsion to vote for the unctuous Democrat who is often Trumpian unctuous but vies for the anti-Trump vote amongst the media-fed lions as the “right thing to do” pol. Their candidate freely offers healthcare and untethered no-cost sanctimony regarding giving illegal aliens a pass on our laws. A free lunch is offered to all at no cost to the candidate.

One such candidate is a local Democrat. She is running against an incumbent Republican for a U.S. representative seat. She is an Africa-American female so she is definitely an unTrump figure. But like Trump her presence is ubiquitous. Her yard signs are everywhere. Her campaign volunteers wave her sign as they stand along the bridge I cross on my way home from work.

She is a healthcare candidate. This means she wants to give everyone government run healthcare. But like Obama’s ACA con game and Ocasio-Cortez’s socialism con game in New York, she has not provided the details of how to pay for the enormous bureaucracy to run your life and your healthcare. She does not talk about unintended consequences such as the lack of competition in the medical industry creating higher costs or the loss of incentive for doctors to practice because they become wards of the state or for the lack of desire for new doctors to enter the medical field. The consumer loses out when government chooses your options for you. Unlike the toothy candidate with the hope and change grin, government is impersonal. It is not altruistic.bureaucrat

Her campaign, her partisanship, is that she is not like the cold-hearted other guy who is hands-off in his approach to government and our lives. Her campaign, her partisanship, is that she wants your vote for government to be the cold-hearted hands-on entity to care for you.

 

 

So, in the spirit of the Season of Partisanship, I offer my own partisan views.

I am a conservative libertarian. That combination may sound like two terms which negate each other but I assure you it doesn’t. As a follower of the Way who walks on resurrection ground, I seek heaven on earth just as Jesus taught us to pray. That kingdom of God venture is not something I want to impose on my fellow citizens. Rather, I want them to have freedom to do as they please within the law and to receive the reward of their behavior. This, in essence, means that I do not want government to be a lifestyle safety net nor the means to bail you out if you decide to live your life with drugs or in sexual encounters or as parachute jumper. I want gravity and not government to be the force in our lives.

I am conservative with regard to social issues. And, again, I do not want to impose my kingdom view on others. I can impose that on myself and be the salt and light that the rest of the world will need when trouble comes knocking.

I am a small government fiscal conservative. Government has no business running my life or healthcare or bailing me or any industry or bank out. Taxpayer money could instead be used by the taxpayer to help his own neighbors and to pay for their medical care. The thinking that government has deep pockets if everyone was made to pay in denies the reality of escalating costs based on that assumption and the monopoly of government control you’ve created when vote that assumption.

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville

 

Our government, as I define it, is a secular entity that provides protection from enemies foreign and domestic (including illegal aliens), provides transportation infrastructure and which enforces the Constitution and the laws of the land. Government is also to enforce contracts. The government is not to be a church dispensing Good Sarmatianism.

 The Constitution is the cornerstone of our republic. It aligns the foundation our nation is built on it. It should not be chiseled away by “living Constitution” jurists who put their finger in the wind for their opinions and judgments.

Having said all this, I want to further post my partisanship: I am by no means a Progressive. And you should know that there is no such thing as a Progressive Christian. Progressivism is a belief, not in God and His well-documented narrative, but in an ideology which requires that God’s well-documented narrative be changed for the Progressive to live his narrative. Progressivism negates Christianity.

I am follower of Jesus first and foremost. I vote libertarian-conservative. This means that I want to preserve what is good. I seek a small boring government and allowance for people’s freedom to do as they please within the law. I want people to take responsibility for the outcome of their choices. I also do not want to be forced to have to affirm their choices (the Progressive definition of “rights”).

I voted early. And, I did not vote for the statist or for her healthcare unicorn or for her “do the right thing” campaign. I have never voted for a Democrat. The fact that Democrats promote abortion is beyond the pale and is ironic for a party platform that promotes itself as “for the people” and wants you to “do the right thing” with your vote. Isn’t it telling that a Democrat woman can presuppose and visualize a problem for her future existence if she has a child and so aborts the child. But the same woman can’t presuppose and visualize her unborn child as a human.

Identity politics, created by Democrats, pits male against female and humans against those who choose to dehumanize themselves. There is also class warfare fueled by Democrats Obama, Sanders, Warren and Ocasio-Cortez. But Democrats want you to perceive something else. Democrat candidates would love to have you think they are the saviors from hate and discord (they have stoked) if you just give them control.

Democrats promise all kinds of bennies at the expense of others. So, let it be known that there is a major cost to the U.S. and to its people when illegal aliens enter the country with values that are not shared with Americans. Remember these aliens left countries they trashed with their values and votes. Many are victims of their votes.

 

In the spirit of the Season of Partisanship I leave you with a well-informed conservative economist – Thomas Sowell – and his three very important questions:

 

Tis the season to Be a Responsible Voter.

~~~

Our Common Problem

 

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see… Genesis 11

To counter the threat of disintegration and to triumph over insignificance, they build a city and a tower “with its top to the heavens. A single “place”, a single “tongue”, and a single “tower” will provide the pillars for a centralized political, economic, and religious system with universal pretensions. Humanity will be securely unified and great. -Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace

 

On the plain of Shinar the whole world acted out of fear. The whole world feared loss of group identity through scattering. They feared the differences that would evolve once “scattering” began. Out of fear the whole world decided that they needed to build a towering edifice as a symbol of their identity and intransience. Out of fear, the whole world acted like the woman who believed that having a child would solidify her identity and her relationship with a guy.

For their One World Project it could be assumed that the people living on the plain of Shinar used clay and straw for their bricks. The plain had stones but they were likely smooth river stones. Shinar translated literally is “country of two rivers”, the two rivers being the Tigris and Euphrates. River stones were not going to work for a towering monument to themselves and for their socialized labor effort. Besides, to achieve structural integrity for both the tower and a One World society, the bricks and the people had to be uniform or be tossed onto the rubbish pile.

We learn from Genesis 10:8-10 that the Land of Shinar was the site of the kingdoms founded by Nimrod. We also learn that the name-making business had already started with Nimrod:

 Cush became the father of Nimrod, who was the first on earth to become a powerful man.  He was a powerful animal-killer in the eyes of the Lord. So, it is said, “Like Nimrod, a powerful animal-killer in the eyes of the Lord.”  The beginning of his nation was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

The tower was meant to create a unifying One World name for the people. We never hear of a name later on. Maybe the tower would have been named Nimrod Tower to honor a mighty hunter and self-made man.

The narrator, with tongue-in-cheek, relates “But the Lord came down to see” the finger in His face. In that same narration (Genesis 11:5-9) we learn of a God who is “us”.

Come, let Us go down and mix up their language so they will not understand what each other says.”  So the Lord sent them everywhere over the whole earth.

Why would God mix up their language and then scatter the Shinar plain’s people? Well, God earlier had commanded their forefathers (and remnants of the flood judgment) differently:

Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.  The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands.  Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. – Genesis 9:1-3

In response to a centralized obstinate hunkering down in disobedience tower building people, God confounds their language. The people are scattered, fear and all.

 

Scattering (and moving people out of their comfort zones) happens throughout Scripture. In the next chapter of Genesis (12), we read of the beginning of God’s people:

The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

Like the remnant theme, the scattering theme is repeated throughout Scripture. The people of God are scattered into exile when they choose other gods and the ways of the world.

When men or a nation hunkers down as an immovable force and starts going vertical with pride and not horizontal in obedience, God scatters. Read Daniel 2. Daniel reveals the king’s dream. The dream portrays the knocking down of the towering kingdoms man has built up and affixed their name to. God scatters the remains.

To be sure, God doesn’t scatter for the sake of scattering. God is good. Listen to the what the prophet Jeremiah wrote (Jeremiah 29) to God’s exiled (scattered) people:

This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:…

 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

 

“I will be found by you.” Consider how God, by sending his Spirit, communicates (without towers) the gospel at Pentecost to those who had been scattered. From Acts 2:

There were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem at that time. When they heard the noise, they came together in a crowd. They were deeply puzzled, because every single one of them could hear them speaking in his or her own native tongue. They were astonished and amazed

“These men who are doing the speaking are all Galileans, aren’t they? they said. “So how is it that each of us can hear them in our own mother tongues? There are Parthians here, and Medians, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia (the land of Shinar!), Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt, and parts of Libya that belong to Cyrene; there are people from Rome, proselytes as well as Jews; there are Cretans and Arabs. We can hear them telling us about the powerful things God has done—in our own languages!”

 

Scattered people come together in Jerusalem for the festival of Pentecost. They hear the Apostles speak in their own native tongue. They hear about “the powerful things God has done” (and not about the powerful hunting of Nimrod). They return home to announce the Gospel – “Jesus is Lord” – in their own tongue. They were filling the earth with the knowledge of God.

 

Notice in Genesis 9 (above) that the fear of going without has been lifted off of mankind. Mankind has to choose to live in fear. Yet, when we live in fear and act out of fear we make terrible decisions. We become codependent in relationships. We become sexually involved. We overeat. We make monetary demands of others for socialized this and that. We shun others who are not the same as us. We lie. We steal. We kill. We take revenge. We isolate. We hoard. We surround ourselves with the like-minded. We build mega-churches to make a name for ourselves. We become territorial. We become ultra-nationalistic. We spend our days making bricks of straw and clay for a tower that will symbolize our efforts to secure our brick and straw identity.

By scattering and filling the earth with the knowledge of God, God desires to drive out fear from the whole world as each embrace his perfect love for us. And, God makes an endearing name for the scattered – adopted sons and daughters.

By scattering and filling the earth with the knowledge of God, God desires to prosper us as we seek first His Kingdom and not the kingdom of the clay tower. Man’s vertical projects are always redirected into God’s horizontal filling the earth with the knowledge of God.

God knows that our being scattered, redirected and moved out of our comfort zones involves risks of the unknown. But, God is there. Like Abraham, I want to go into the unknown and follow God to where God is working and communicating. Don’t you? That is the only way for us to experience God’s character and His presence. You won’t gain that experience with your head in the clouds at the top of Nimrod Tower.

 

As people are “fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth” they will find the earth full of God’s love. As the Psalmist wrote (Ps. 33:4-5):

For the word of the Lord is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does.
 The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.

 

~~~~~

Remember:

“We are to regard existence as a raid or great adventure; it is to be judged, therefore, not by what calamities it encounters, but by what flag it follows and what high town it assaults. The most dangerous thing in the world is to be alive; one is always in danger of one’s life. But anyone who shrinks from that is a traitor to the great scheme and experiment of being.” G.K. Chesterton

~~~~

Scattering appears to be consistent with God’s character. Consider the creation of the universe. The Big Bang unleashed atomic particles which later formed into mass. The universe continued to expand and so did the evolution of species. Pentecost reminded me of another Big Bang, a Kingdom Big Bang.

Consistent with man’s character: tower building with the accumulating and hoarding of mass.

Because the human heart remains the same throughout millennia there is a current political ideology of “a centralized political, economic, and religious system with universal pretensions.” Progressivism is its name and it is based on fear. It is also based on the fear of scattering.

God’s command mankind to “fill the earth” is certainly not a directive for a One World centralized tower top down collectivism.

For Progressivism to be about “Hope and Change” it must first invoke fear: fear of going hungry, fear of medical bills, fear of going bankrupt, fear of having to pay for one’s college tuition, fear of not being accepted, fear of having to care for an unborn child, the fear of being insecure, and fear of an unapproved of group, to mention just a few of the promoted social insecurities. Progressivism’s answer to fear is to centralize, homogenize and to be given totalitarian authority.

For Progressivism to be about hope and change it must reach the heavens. So, it uses the words of a well-being gospel Jesus (aka, a prosperity gospel). When it invokes Jesus, Progressivism can then justify its means to an end. The means can be socialized medicine, socialized income, and socialized well-being all done under totalitarian control.

The ends are to remove differences in income, differences in thought, and differences in morality. Progressivism suppresses differences that do not fit their narrative. Progressivism seeks to homogenize, repress and to pull suckers into its social tar, the mortar holding the clay bricks together. To build their tower of hope the bricks are to be handmade – formed by all the same to be all the same. The bricks are to laid, one on top of another, until they reach the pinnacle of Tower Utopia.

“With this pledge taken, I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army of our people dedicated to a disciplined attack upon our common problems.” – from FDR’s First Inaugural Address

~~~~

The Tower of Babel…

…reminds me of top down centralized government.

…reminds of the high places mentioned in the OT. They were places where false gods were worshipped.

…reminds me of the Eye of Sauron.

Added 8/21/2018, fixating on a problem:

The belief that everything is getting worse paints a distorted picture of what we can do, and makes us more fearful. But while getting the facts wrong – or willfully misrepresenting them – often results in misguided policies, fact-based recognition of what humanity has achieved encourages policies that can achieve the most good. –  Bjørn Lomborg “A Better World is Here

Radical Secularism Won’t See Us Through

 

“If we are so troubled and perplexed, if we search for the right words and bite our tongues, this is because these three elements are constitutive parts of our situation and the great fact of Islam that is at the center of our struggles, for Muslims and for non-Muslims, together or separately.” Pierre Manent, Beyond Radical Secularism

 

~~

 

Manent, in his book Beyond Radical Secularism, suggests that the Islamic phenomenon presents three distinct and yet interdependent elements which must be addressed by Europe and, I suggest, ultimately by the U.S.: Muslim immigration, Muslim settlement and mosques financed by Gulf States, and Islamic terrorism.

How do we as a nation begin to address the three elements? Do we call others “Islamaphobic” or “Xenophobic” and content ourselves with pointed fingers and huffing? Do we act like a Jesuit I know and parse out isolated Scripture from the Bible to push the Progressive notion that to be a good country one must have Open Borders and welcome all comers with no conditions placed on refugees/immigrants while hoping things will all work out, while not taking into account the unintended consequences for both parties and without accruing any personal cost? Or, do we as a people living within the Kingdom of God on earth address the complex issue at hand? Do we acknowledge who we are as a nation and our Christian heritage and also acknowledge Muslims?

 

I suggest Manent’s Beyond Radical Secularism is a good place to begin looking at the matter before us.

Several months have passed since I read though Pierre Manet’s twenty essays, essays encapsulated in his book Beyond Radical Secularism. Before too much more time passes I wanted to record what I learned from the essays along with my reflections.

This is not a book review. Rather, this post is me trying to understand the Islam situation facing the U.S. and doing so through the eyes of French academic and political scientist Pierre Manent whose own country of France is having to come to terms with the Muslims. My thoughts are interspersed with Manent’s words.

From the book’s Introduction by Daniel J. Mahoney:

“In this, his latest book (originally published in France as Situation de la France), Manent brings together his considerable theoretical and practical concerns with rare spiritual depth. He reveals the failure of Europe’s humanitarian civil religion and pleads for a restoration of prudent judgment, rooted in a searching exploration of the theological-political problem. He reveals just where the de-politicization and de-Christianization of Europe has led the continent and his native France. Refusing to despair, and not content with literary politics and facile criticism, Manent lays out a practical philosophy that shows Europe and the West that deliberation and action remain as available to us as they were to Pericles and St. Paul.” (Emphasis mine)

 

As noted above, Manent writes from a French perspective. Yet, his home turf insights can provide significant direction for U. S. immigration policies addressing the “three elements” noted above.

In Manent’s assessment of the current political situation, he sees both France and the West looking weak:

“As rich as we still are in material and intellectual resources, we are politically without strength. Doubtless this has not escaped the attention of those who now attack us.” (From the Preface)

France and the West, Manent points out, are capitulating to radical secularism–a stripping of the national landscape of political and Christian milestones, earmarks and boundaries. Both are refusing to either fight their enemies or to love their enemies. Both are handing out subjective rights which further divide the nation state into individuals against one another. In so doing, the political regime

“…makes every constraint appear to be useless and arbitrary, in a word vexing, whether civic or in private life. As each letting go justifies and calls forth the next, governments are motivated to tout themselves no longer by the guidance and the energy they give to common life, but by the “new rights” they grant to individuals and to groups.” (From the Preface)

 

Though not mentioned by Manent in his book, it seems to me that the French philosopher Foucalt’s deconstructionism has gone a long way in educational circles toward emptying words and historical narratives of the meaning they once held. This vacating of meaning has led to intellectual and moral paralysis. We no longer know what to do because we no longer know what to think, Manent posits.

At the end of his Preface, Manent elaborates:

“Our irritated and vacant souls are full of a jumble of historical references, positive or negative, which our experience no longer shifts or orders, and of which we make use in the most frivolous or self-interested manner.”

Later, in essay seven, he writes about France,

“The major fact of our situation, one that has important consequences in all domains that concern us, is the radical loss of authority by the main and decisive instrument of modern politics, that is, the State, or if you will, in the specifically French context, the Republic. One might say, in the language of political physics that the republican State no longer has the power either to reduce the constituent groups of France to citizen-individuals, those primordial elements of modern politics, nor to offer these individuals something to hold in common substantial enough to allow them to be true citizens, that is, members of a larger whole…we tend to return to the pre-modern situation… One of the distinctive features of the situation was the absence of any border between the interior and the exterior.”

 

Here in the U.S. Barack Obama’s “fundamental transformation” of America was by many accounts a proclaimed and implied look-down-his-nose disdain for America’s history, its Constitution and its ways of life. Obama even apologized to other nations for America’s ‘faults’ as he saw them. As we are finding out, Obama’s administration didn’t just disparage America it also colluded against America and its ally Israel with a South American drug cartel to help Iran advance their nuclear program. Obama along with the likes of Noam Chomsky and a host of “intelligentsia” sought to shame and deconstruct America and to remake it in their own Progressive promise-of-the-future image. Enter a carnival mirror reflection.

Donald Trump comes along and promotes an uber-nationalist fundamental retransformation after his own ribald image. But neither administration has addressed the Muslim situation other than making polarizing comments.

 

Manent, as he views France, sees their common life dissipating from the loss of State authority due to the people’s lack of faith in government’s trustworthiness and also a loss in faith in Providence, a special concern for a nation with a Christian mark. Add to these weakening influences globalization–the absence of borders within and without, the purposeful loss of historical meaning and context, the placation of individuals and groups with subjective rights by the government, and the neutralizing of the mark of Christianity on a nation. All such effects of degeneration on the common life undermine “a stable and coherent disposition” toward Muslim immigration. You shouldn’t welcome someone into your common life if your common life is on life support. More degeneration occurs.

Our own common political life is being redefined as the ‘indeterminate and limitlessness of individual rights” and interests, just as Manent described France’s political life. Our nation, already fragile, is questioning its identity as it sees itself through the media lens of “fundamental transformation” pushed by Progressives. Our education systems, Progressivism’s training grounds, focus on identity politics and refuse to reinforce a national common life, seeing it as a formulation of power structures from the past that must be done away with.

We are weak and getting weaker and we are inviting in a people, some of whom are at war with us.

 

Manent talks about the effects of the transformative “equality”, values” and “secularism” criteria in his own country:

“I have emphasized repeatedly… — that our political regime has progressively brought about its own paralysis by the ever narrower and more unilateral way it has understood its principles. The rights of man have been separated radically from the rights of the citizen and, instead of freeing members of society in order to make them capable and desirous of participating in what is common, they are now supposed to suffice to themselves, and public institutions are nothing more than their docile instrument. We are probably the first, and we will surely remain the only people in history to give over all elements of social life and all contents of human life to the unlimited sovereignty of the individual.”

 

 

A solution and warning;

Manent writes that France has the tools to deal with the influx of Islam: a history of a neutral secular State coupled with a people with a “Christian mark.” Yet, France and the Europe Union are in depoliticizing mode with their eager acceptance of globalization and open borders. Even more debilitating, they are negating, via radical secularization, all religion from public life and particularly Christianity. Manent warns that these divesting actions will cripple and paralyze any proper response France must take in accepting Islam into the common life of France.

 

Manent talks of a “politics of the possible” between French Muslims and the civic body. Two principles would apply. First, Muslims are to be accepted “as they are” without seeking to modernizing them or conforming them to others in the society.

Second, preserve and defend the sanctuary of secular government and the characteristics of its regime which holds them as citizens first, Muslims second.

 

For a shared life Manent suggests that acceptance of Muslims into French society would need to be balanced by elements of France’s “ancient constitution” in order to prevent a Muslim transformation of France. And this acceptance must not advance as “secularism.”

There is a need to address who we are when speaking to those who a seeking to live with us. There is also a need to address Muslims as who they are and then to go forward together, each recognizing the other.

Beyond the foundation and bulwarks of an “ancient constitution” Manent suggests that France (rightfully) impose two restrictions on entering Muslims: no polygamy and no burqa. Such parameters, he posits, would protect the social fabric of the nation and the political freedoms in place.

For the U.S. I would impose the same restrictions along with not allowing sharia law to become law. Muslims immigrants must submit to the laws of our republic. They must not ‘rule’ themselves separately in opposition to a common life. They also must understand that we are a nation with a Christian mark and one which does not impose its Christian beliefs onto others via the government. Here, the individual is self-governing within the full extent of the law. Here the Christian influences government but is not authoritarian, despite Leftist characterizations to the contrary.

 

As I see it, we must define our relationships beyond individual rights. We must define who we are in common. A neutral secular State will support groups which support the common life of the State. It will respect each group and allow each group to function on its own without imposing laws specific to a particular group.

 

A Radicalized secular state, on the other hand, will, by its vacuous nature, delegitimize its people and their religion. But don’t expect Muslims to become secular and that tensions will float away. They won’t (though many Progressive Christians have) and the tensions won’t magically dissolve because you opened your borders. Radical secularism pretends that we are just citizen-individuals with nothing to offer but our individuated ‘diverse’ presence. The State only has authority and powers we give it. If we give it nothing but demand only rights we suck the life out of our common life.

An open border de-politicized nation will continue to splinter off. A de-Christianized nation will have no means to influence and support the neutral State. And, Christianity has for centuries fostered and supported secular authority. But Islam, as you know, is theocratic in its politics. To live in common, Islam must separate political and religious life in its citizen contract with the State.

And that State? I see the government’s primary responsibility as promoting the common good by maintaining the rule of law, and preserving basic duties and rights. A neutral secular government offers protection, security and the motivation for the common good. A radicalized secular nation has nothing but individual ‘rights’ to offer a people who then become increasingly alienated.

With more than just rights to offer, a shared life in the U.S. is possible–and desirable–if we remember and “they” learn who we are and why we are – a nation with a Christian mark seeking a common and secure life. It is within this context that the Islamic phenomenon’s three distinct and yet interdependent elements must be addressed.

 

I recommend Manent’s book, Beyond Radical Secualrism to you. 

Pierre Manent is a French political scientist. Or, as they say in France…

Pierre Manent est directeur d’ etudes a l’ Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales, membre fondateur de la revue Commentaire.

~~~

 

 

 

English philosopher Sir Roger Scruton also has something to say about the above:

And Nothing but the Whole Elephant

 

Jesus said to them, “If the world hates you, know that it hated me before you. If you were from this world, the world would be fond of its own. But the world hates you for this reason: that you’re not from the world. No: I chose you out of the world.” John’s gospel account 15: 18-19

~~~

From the many conversations I have had on Twitter, the word on the street is that “God is love and is all about love. We love, so we are doing what God accepts.” So, where does the world’s hate come in?

The hate spoken of in John’s gospel is generated by a protection of one’s place in the world against “outsiders”. Over and over again I have had that hatred and vitriol directed at me on Twitter. I cannot show you the Tweet replies. They are vulgar and pernicious. The replies come from a place beneath this world.

The hate-filled replies occur when I say something other than what is considered loving by those protecting their place in the world. Replies are derived from a worldview. And, one’s worldview depends on whether you accept being called out of this world knowing that that those in the world will hate you or if you are in this world for its approbation:

Called-Out Ones worldview: “For God so loved the world, that He gave…”

Social Justice Warrior (SJW) worldview: “For the world so loved me, when I…”

In order to make the world-accepted SJW worldview sustainable, mainstream churches create a Jesus who is palatable, marketable, consumable and renewable. The ministers do this by parsing Scripture into love notes. Their resultant Scripture messages, whether in a sermon or in a blog or on Twitter, remind me of a bag Valentine Sweethearts – candy hearts.

These churches promote “inclusion” because in a consumer-driven society, choice of how you live, choice of what you accept and who you accept, choice of right and wrong-choice becomes the ultimate approbation in this world.

~~~

Coming to a church near you: a populist theology which promotes the acceptance of the gay lifestyle, universal health care and illegal immigration all as works of Christian charity from the pulpits of body-of-Christ-divisive politics (race, gender, class, sexuality, etc.). This populist theology uses the high-sounding term “social justice” so as to neutralize detractor’s objections and to force a consensus, a groupthink around the premise of political correctness redefined as God’s love.

I encounter this populist theology every day now. If you are on Twitter “fighting the good fight”, you may receive the same replies from Catholics that I did. They go something like this:

1.       “God is love. I know many committed gay couples who love each other.”

2.      “Jesus never talked about sexuality or homosexuality, therefore it is a non-issue. If Jesus was concerned about homosexuality he would have said something.”

3.      “Jesus is about loving your neighbor. Jesus is not judgmental. Jesus is fully accepting, inclusive. He’s about loving the homosexual. Who are we to judge?” (from Pope Francis’, “Who am I to judge?”).

4.      “Loving your neighbor means universal healthcare. You are not charitable if you are against universal healthcare. You must be a Conservative who hates people.”

5.      “Jesus and Paul are not the same. Jesus is love and Paul is rules. Jesus is universal love. Paul, on the other hand, is a picayune fundamentalist and fundamentalists are authoritarians. Jesus would say “Live, love, eat, pray and let live.”

6.      “Jesus is social justice. He talked about helping the poor. Dorothy Day is a hero. Many of our heroes are beatified saints, saints who did good deeds while alive. Jesus demands good works from us. “Faith without works is dead”.”

7.      “Women are talking in church. Women are being ordained. Scripture is being updated and should be inclusive of homosexuality, as well.”

 

My first thought when I encountered these replies: “The Catholic church has done great harm to its charges by not teaching the whole of Scripture, the whole council of God.” Scripture has been defined down to a constructed abstraction of Jesus’ words.

One of the main reasons the populist theology has taken root in the Catholic and all (yes, all) of the mainline churches, I believe, is the lack of Scripture knowledge coupled with a deficit of personal faith-history. Deism is pervasive in the church: “God and His Word are far away from reality and not relevant to what I am experiencing”; “You don’t understand same-sex attraction. You can’t change me so, accept me for what I am.”

Post-modernist pop-theologians rightly question history and what has been passed down through millennia but without a sufficient regard for and knowledge of the discipline of the study of history – factual non-repeatable events. Their pick-and-choose history approach leads to utter confusion about who Jesus is, what happened the first century and to whether or not Jesus even existed. I have witnessed such dissociative history making on Twitter. Such groping at history and at Scripture reminds me of the Indian parable of the blind men and the elephant: each of the blind men encounter a different part of the elephant (trunk, tail, etc.) and then return home and proceed to project their ‘understanding’ of the elephant as the elephant while claiming the other five blind men must be mistaken. Blind_men_and_elephant2

Populist theology also has historical Leftist ties (“Unconstrained vision” is the term used by Economist Thomas Sowell to define the philosophy of the Left). Political philosopher Jean-Jacque Rousseau wrote, “man is born free, but is everywhere in chains.” Another philosopher, Marquis de Condorcet, believed that men in their natural state with a “natural inclination” would seek out the social good. For them, man’s nature was not the problem. Rather, institutions needed to be reformed so that man’s better nature would come out. Hence, pop-theology presses for reforms: the church must be reformed to help men to realize their better nature. “We are so much smarter now,” is the inference.

Enter the church’s “social justice” moment. And the “social justice” proffered is done under the guise of the common good but it is in reality a narrowing of focus down to subjective individual rights and individual happiness, in parallel with what is happening politically in Europe and the U.S. currently. The “common” part of their “common good” are those who share the same self-directed interests. Others must conform to their self-interests for the common good.

My second thought after reading the above replies: “It is time for another reformation – putting the Bible (again) into people’s hands and teaching them how to read it for themselves.”

It would seem that many of the above respondents view Scripture through the lens of a post-modern Epicurean Catholic world view, a worldview which replaces historical narrative (in this case, derived from the “faith once delivered”) with a relevant “social gospel” or populist theology promulgated as authentic Christianity. And with little knowledge of Scripture many Catholics are ‘falling’ for what they have been taught by the top-down government and media of the Catholic church and its social justice-primed priesthood.

When they do (see replies above) they end up with a Jesus who is fantasy blend of Dorothy Day, Ghandi, Mr. Rogers and a Democrat with a Jesus bleeding heart – an ends-justifies-the-means person. In other words, they end up not with a literal historical Jesus, but rather a figurative Jesus and one disposed to making you and your world feel good about doting on yourself. And, if you can get other people to dish out love and charity and “understanding” and, most importantly, cash, then you have done right by pseudo-Jesus.

Every self-designated Catholic I have encountered on Twitter appears to know little or nothing of Scripture. For them, it seems, raw Scripture, ‘unrefined’ by the Catholic priesthood, seems to be tied to evangelicals who are considered fundamentalists and therefore, presumptively, not connected with their Jesus’ all-assuming love. What they know and repeat is what a priest or Jesuit tells them, and their reply is usually about social justice, a catch-all for not being judged but for being loved.

Without making this post too long, here are some of my quick replies to the above points. Feel welcome to add yours in the comment section below.

1.      The plea bargaining “God is Love” defense is foiled when you define love, not in terms of codependence and sexuality, but as desiring the ultimate good for another. This of course leads to a definition of what is good. I reply with Jesus’s request of the Father, “Set them apart for yourself in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17)

2.   When someone says that Jesus never talked about homosexuality I remind them that Jesus’s mission was to the lost sheep of Israel, the ones who were supposed to be “a light to the Gentiles”. The Israelites knew the law, the Torah. The law forbids homosexuality. This was common knowledge in the first century. Jesus did not need to repeat it. Paul, on the other hand, an apostle to the Gentiles did need to speak about the matter (e.g., Rome, Ephesus, etc. had temples to pagan gods which involved all manner of sexual immorality.)

3.   Here we have justification by plea bargain. Jesus prays for his own that they will be sanctified, separate – taken “out of the world” worldview.

4.      If you know Scripture then you know that Jesus did not heal everyone in the world during his earthly time. He told us that we can do the same and greater things than he has done when filled with the spirit. Beyond the fact of outright healing, there is the matter of personal healthcare. Universal healthcare replaces a person’s personal responsibility for their health with a non-caring impersonal government bureaucracy. This costly tax-payer bureaucracy will need to control your behavior, your paycheck and the doctor’s practice to control costs. As such, it is loving to not desire socialized coverage.

5.      When I hear someone say that Jesus is Gospel and Paul is not relevant I remind them that Jesus met Paul on the road to Damascus. In the fullness of time Jesus encountered Paul. I remind them that Paul right then and there became an eyewitness of Jesus and therefore an apostle. I remind them that Jesus sent Paul to be Jesus to the Gentiles – the heathen, the pagans, the unclean. I tell them that Paul wrote the theology of the newly established Kingdom of God on earth in his letters to the infant churches.

6.      I remind them that the gospel is “Jesus is Lord”. All else falls in line and in order under this proviso:  salvation, sanctification (called out of the world) and then social gospel (to affect the world under the direction of the Kingdom’s Lord.)

When Jesus tells the rich man “Sell all you have and give it to the poor” we understand the means to the rich man’s salvation: renunciation of his coveting relationship of wealth- a relationship which came between Jesus and the rich man, sanctification (separation from the love of his money and the hold it had on him) and then faith with works – a complete detachment from self-preservation- giving his wealth to the poor, a product of the new Kingdom focus.

7. Women vs. gay acceptance and Scripture: I remind them that there is a difference between culturally defined and morally defined. There is a difference between cultural practice and culturally-imposed taboos and doctrinal principles and God-directed temperantia-God’s ordered structure for the being of man. Paul wrote about the former in his letters to the church at Corinth. Anything perceived as ambiguous was directed back to a person’s Holy-Spirit directed conscious.

 

It is no secret that the Evil One’s mission from the very beginning is to ask, “Did God really say you couldn’t…?”

Pop-theology proposes to modernize and conform the church to be a welcoming inclusive place for whatever the prevailing winds of PC doctrine bring to the church’s door step. Be it known:  the called-out ones – the ecclesia – will remain faithful under the Lordship of Jesus.  The churches that wallow in the world will have their candlestick taken away. In the dark their mutual admiration society will be left grappling with elephant parts.

 

 

Added 10-4-17:

The Life of the Party

 

The office of the Director of Behavioral Management Services (BMS), Social Sciences Division, Administration Building No. 1 of 20, Government Dept. of Social Services, Godwin Ave., Washington D.C.:

A knock on the door.

A voice from inside, “Come in.”

“Life Coach Tidd reporting sir.”

“How did it go today, Tidd? Have a seat.”

“Thank you, sir.” Tidd takes a seat.

“It went well I believe. This morning I coached client Xym to continue his lifestyle. He was questioning whether his former church would accept him. I told him, ‘No matter, this government accepts you as you are. You are free to be yourself. If you are not yourself you will be unhappy. And our mission at Behavioral Management Life Coach Services is to pursue happiness with you, the client. Happy clients are the best advertisement tax dollars can buy.’ Xym seemed relieved.

My ten o’clock client, a youth pastor, I once again had to remind him of our Uniform Behavior Code which must be presented weekly to the youth. He was more than a little hesitant…”

“Remind him, Tidd, about our Universal Morals Seminars. Sounds like he needs a refresher course. We must teach our youth to be nice, pleasant, respectful. We teach them self-improvement and doing one’s best, and feeling good about oneself…and all that. We must form our youth while we can, before any thoughts of You Know Who enters the picture.

Let me remind you, Tidd, that our core mission is to generate self-happiness. We want our clients to feel good about themselves. You Know Who is not particularly interested in our daily problems. That is why we are here, Tidd. We are here for them. We are inclusive and You Know Who is not. We listen, we coach, we improve the life process for each and every one of our clients. And we do it for free!”

“Sir, this youth pastor asked me if I knew about grace. I said of course I did. I watch Will and Grace.”

“Excellent response, Tidd. Keep redirecting his thinking. We must deconstruct any inherited meaning so that we can construct what the people want constructed today, here and now. And besides, it makes no sense for this youth pastor to get all mucked up with some ancient spiritual mumbo jumbo when our Moral Code is so…so relevant and compassionate. Religion is values. But we are a values organization based on settled social science. Keep in mind that we Life Coaches are precursors to our clients in the discovery of truth. No savior from on high delivers like we do. ”

“So true, Sir. Sir, I also talked to Anna, you know the one, the feminist. I encouraged her to go ahead and write her article laying out the case for women in the work place to be promoted every two years. I told her that she is a wondrously talented person who has been sinfully suppressed by males running a patriarchal system and that the feminine had been imposed upon her by superior forces and reinforced by a culture of romance in art and literature. You should have seen her swoon.”

“Good work, Tidd. You remind me of myself when I life coached in the field.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“Tidd, I am going to promote you. But before I do I want you to attend the “Cultivate the Imperial Self” training course. It is mandatory for all level three Life Coaches. The training will give you a chance to brush up on yourself. You will also learn how to do consciousness raising and how to cultivate indignation and righteous resentment and to have both directed at metanarratives. In other words, there will no longer be one voice. Also, as part of the training you will learn how to make your clients suspicious of any written word and how to liberate language from the shackles of dictated meaning. And, critical to our mission, you will learn how to build consensus among our clients. Consensus building insures our client’s happiness. The more “Likes” the better, and all that.

Before the end of the week, Tidd, let me know if any of your clients want individual rights. As you know they must fill out an application first and then I will talk to the Department of Rights. They usually issue guaranteed SCOTUS honored rights in a matter of five business days. It sounds like your client Anna needs a right to be promoted every two years. Let me know about that one. Janet, the head of our Rights on Demand Department -Rodd – will ram it through for you. Get my gist, Tidd?”

“Yes, sir, and quite funny at that, if I may say so. Thank you, sir.”

‘In any case, individual rights are the wellspring of our organization. Without them where would we be? Hand them out freely. But remember to tell them what equality says, “No rights without their duties.”

“Yes, sir. And, before I go, here is my list of follow-up appointments.”

“You are coming to the dinner tonight, Tidd, aren’t you?”

“Oh, yes, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

“Good. See you there.”

 

Later that night:

“Life Coach F.E. Tidd we are awarding you the 2017 Pat ‘Em on the Head Kick ‘Em in the Ass Achievement Medal for Life Coaching Excellence.

 

 

 

 

© Jennifer A. Johnson, 2017, All Rights Reserved

Your Personal Populism

 

golden-calf-syndrome-golden-calf

I will deliver

You know I’m a forgiver

Reach out and touch faith

Reach out and touch faith

Your own personal Jesus

Someone to hear your prayers

Someone who cares

Your own personal Jesus

Someone to hear your prayers

Someone who’s there…

-Personal Jesus, Depeche Mode

~~~

When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him (Exodus 32:1).

~~~

Does any of this ring a cow bell? redhandpointingdown

Malignant populism…

…is impatient, short-tempered. “You shall know them by their outrage.”

…is self-referring.

…demands tokens of assurance, of victory, of winning.

…uses fear mongering to gain and remain in power.

…avoids all risk to obtain security and protectionism.

…believes that draining the swamp removes lethargy and guilt.

…is a left-brain big government solution and a right-brain protest of big government.

…seeks to replace the timeless with the temporal; throws the baby out with the swamp water.

…obtains identity from sympatico sources and by denigrating and mocking all others

…is self-centered and narcissistic in its demand for self-preservation.

…makes everything personal, including its self-protected version (SPV) of Jesus.

…has no problem inflicting pain on others; “You’ll get yours now because we won”.

…shuts down discussion and debate with, “Grow up.”

…makes graven images (“Come, make us gods who will go before us”) to obtain instant gratification and to mollify their anger at not being “represented”.

…is “here and now or else”.

…as social justice: “We won. Accept it. Get over it”. (Other than using the remote, they have changed nothing.)

…uses words like “smashed”, “owned” “destroyed” and “crushed” to describe another “win” for the team.

…lives and dies by its icons: a flag, a cap, a brand, a golden representative.

…becomes what it worships: hollow, static, lifeless.

…says, “I’m the bully, now. I’m the elite. I’m the ruling class, now. The last is first, now, you’ll see.”

…has acolyte exculpatory messaging: “we are not represented…” (“As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”) …so give us what we want here and now. Make us feel great about ourselves again.”

And last, for this post…such populism defines itself as a direct rebellion against the powers that be – powers they say have not represented them and their concerns. So, they will repeal and replace with whatever is handy. Enter the Replacement.

Feeling unknown

And you’re all alone

Flesh and bone

By the telephone

Lift up the receiver

I’ll make you a believer…

-Personal Jesus, Depeche Mode

~~~

The idea behind our republic (we are not a democracy) was for the public to be well-informed and for the well-informed public to inform the directions and decisions of our representatives. But, information gathering today is decidedly myopic in scope and typically occurs via a highly partisan media, a media whose main concern is to be profitable (to “win”) at any cost. As such, anger and outrage is coaxed on by a very ‘sympathetic’ media’ who want you to come back for more. Hence, the seemingly ‘righteous’ anger directed toward the powers that be the many unabashedly express: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

There is also, it seems to me, a rejection of the printed word, including Scripture and our Constitution. In its place: an obstinate presumption of black and white rightness. Well, one does not have to become a malignant populist screaming out of his Twitter window at passersby.

Not all populism is bad.  The Convention of States (C.O.S.), as one example, represents a more thoughtful and orderly populism. Issues are debated to create informed and orderly change.

Regarding national issues, there should be a Convention of Churches so that Spirit-informed-“on earth as it is in heaven” Kingdom of God matters are discussed, debated and then direct our national polities…as we wait for God’s Representative to return.

My Party Was Gone

 

The wise fear the Lord and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure. -Proverbs 14:16

 

As a fiscal and social and small government conservative who was once a Republican and never a Democrat I consider myself, a voting citizen, to be a Christian Libertarian. As such, I desire freedom for myself and for others to make educated tradeoffs rather than to be coerced by top down government provisos telling me what I must do with my wealth, my health, etc. Self-government is my way of life within in the constraint of the rule of law and within my own Christian-Holy Spirit directed- convictions. The truth is, I am free in Christ no matter who is in power. And, my vote is a prayer:

“…May your kingdom come,

May your will be done

As in heaven, so on earth…”

As a Conservative, I consider our Constitution and the rule of law to be foundational to a well-functioning society. Agreed upon laws derived out of the desire for the common good – decency, justice, order, etc. -should be imposed upon our society.  Yet, I do not support laws (and proposed laws and regulations) which are onerous and that are used to subjugate me to the will, of say, Progressives who advocate for what they consider true and just within their relativist and irrational worldview. Case in point: I am being told by President Obama, his science advisor John Holdren and Attorney General Loretta Lynch that manmade climate change is true and it will destroy the planet and therefore I must believe it is true because they are in a position of power and I must submit to their demands on my intellect and wealth, etc. or be denounced as a “denier” by the state with punishment to be determined.

 

Now, when I hear about Millennials wanting “Democratic Socialism” I am shocked at their lack of knowledge about history and of socialism’s dehumanizing swath of destruction through the last century. I am also shocked that anyone would give up their freedom for hand-to-mouth dependence economics. It’s as if your participation in laziness deserves a trophy.

 

Currently there are two candidates who are morally and ethically unfit for the office of President.  One of the candidates could easily be impeached once in office for seditious acts and crimes against this country. The other candidate is so obnoxious and bigoted and jejune that he makes a mockery of American values. Both candidates are self-serving and power-seeking. Hillary Clinton is a member of the Ruling Class and Trump is a wannabe member of the Ruling Class. (Ruling Class defined >here.)

After eight years of the worst presidency in the history of the United States and its administration’s destructive “Fundamental Transformation” of America, feckless and divisive Obama has left the U.S. worse off racially, economically, politically, and on and on, then when he entered office.  Consider just one of the transmissible malignancies spread by Obama’s Frankenstein monster, “Fundamental Transformation”:  the national debt has doubled.  What did you get for that huge increase in your children’s and grandchildren’s debt burden? Someone got the money that half the nation worked so hard for. Little wonder that voters are angry – there has been no return on their “investment”, only look-down-their nose snark from Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren: “you didn’t build that.”

 

It must be said: we need someone in the office of president who will not demean, deface or destroy America with their pettiness, their lawlessness and their desire for power.

 

My party is gone. My candidate is gone. I voted for Ted Cruz in the primaries.  This Tuesday I will write in Evan McMullin for President and Mindy Finn for Vice President. There is much to commend both Evan and Mindy. Evan knows foreign policy inside out. He is unabashedly a conservative. Please read the link to see their qualifications. Evan and Mindy can be written in on the ballot in most states.

As mentioned above, I am free in Christ no matter what because…the gospel – “Jesus is Lord” – means that whatever happens will be subject to his lordship. I have my vocation to get on with…

“All authority in heaven and earth, “Jesus said, “has been given to me! So, you must go and make all nations into disciples. Baptize them in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the holy spirit. Teach them to observe everything I have commanded you. And look: I am with you, every single day, to the end of the age.” – Matthew’s gospel 28 v. 18-20

 

~~~

One “BIGLY” Reason I Am Voting for @EvanMcMullin

Democrats/Progressives are virtue signalers bar none. They will pull the lever for the Democratic ticket signaling their big-hearted desire to change the world for better. They, of course, have no problem making someone else pay the price -another’s money, liberty and even religious rights – for their self-righteous blush on election day.

Freedom’s Safest Place Remains a Choice

 

freedoms-safest-place

Don’t Lose Your Saltiness to Soros

 

If we believe that the Kingdom of God is here and now then we make choices which reflect that understanding. To help you make Kingdom choices here is something I found walking around on Resurrection ground: “An Open Letter to Christian pastors, leaders and believers who assist the anti-Christian Progressive political movement in America.”

 

~~~

 

A Call to Repentance & Renewal

An Open Letter to Christian pastors, leaders and believers 

who assist the anti-Christian Progressive political movement in America

 

Quotes from the “Letter”:

“As recent leaked documents confirm, and as Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners eventually admitted, wealthy, anti-Christian foundations, following the lead of billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, fund and “rent”* Christian ministers as “mascots” serving as surprising validators for their causes. The consequent realities include injury to countless people, the Church, the family, nation and the global Church including many martyrs.”

“We are not here endorsing or denouncing a political candidate but reminding you of basic Christian morality. How ironic, stale and shameless for the very leaders whose ‘progressive’ policies are hurting minority communities to falsely label those with political differences as ‘racists.’ Under liberal leadership, Hispanics and African-Americans suffer the loss of work and income, rising urban violence and family disintegration including children targeted by abortionists for death. It’s time to tell the truth and rebuild together.”

“For many years, Soros’s Open Society and other liberal foundations have funded not only most of the disturbing campaigns mentioned above (1-10) but also the Religious Left, using and creating ostensibly evangelical and Catholic organizations to “message and mobilize” Christians into Progressive causes. They use the Marxist-Alinsky tactic of funding “ministers” who cherry-pick faith language to confuse and divide the Church’s morality, mission and vote.

 

At a time when many Christian ministries are struggling, a few of the Soros network “faith” and “interfaith” grantees are Jim Wallis of Sojourners, Richard Cizik’s New Evangelical Partnership, Telos, J Street to malign Israel, “ Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Faithful America and Gamaliel. Faith in Public Life to “counter” Christians and the Tea Party in the media and, with PICO, advocate for amnesty, mass Islamic migration, and even to attempt to influence the visit and priorities of Pope Francis himself. Billions of additional dollars to “Christian VOLAGs” for large scale “refugee” and migrant resettlement come from the Obama administration.

 

Joining “faith” fronts, the Soros network also funds thousands of other collaborators and projects that suggest a pattern and goal to demoralize America (and Europe). The list includes: film studios and hundreds of media outlets; attempts to control the Internet; racial and gender agitation; euthanasia; drug legalization and “injection zones;” abortion and the “sex worker” industry; Al Gore’s Climate campaign; pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel projects; the rights of jihadists and Sharia advocates.

 

In the ironic rhetoric of compassion, Soros and friends also fund mass immigration followed by redistricting schemes and “voting “rights,” while financing the campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. (Soros is a major donor to the Democratic Party and co-chairman of Ready for Hillary PAC.) One wonders if the end goal is the destruction of national identity through demoralization, open borders and debt, thus the “fundamental transformation” (weakening) of American civil society for their leveraged global power. (They have done this to other nations.)

 

We urge you to question the true intentions of persons or organizations that receive money from Soros and other billionaire globalists. We must not give their surrogates four more years.”

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It would be of great value to read the entire letter and click on the links.