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Sunday, May 31, 2009
Charles Krauthammer wrote a fantastic column this week regarding the SCOTUS nominee, Sonia Sotomayor. He says that conservative Republicans should ask deep and penetrating questions into substantive issues, then vote to confirm (assuming nothing really awful comes to light).
Sonia Sotomayor has a classic American story. So does Frank Ricci.

Ricci is a New Haven firefighter stationed seven blocks from where Sotomayor went to law school (Yale). Raised in blue-collar Wallingford, Conn., Ricci struggled as a C and D student in public schools ill-prepared to address his serious learning disabilities. Nonetheless he persevered, becoming a junior firefighter and Connecticut's youngest certified EMT.

After studying fire science at a community college, he became a New Haven "truckie," the guy who puts up ladders and breaks holes in burning buildings. When his department announced exams for promotions, he spent $1,000 on books, quit his second job so he could study eight to 13 hours a day, and, because of his dyslexia, hired someone to read him the material.

He placed sixth on the lieutenant's exam, which qualified him for promotion. Except that the exams were thrown out by the city, and all promotions denied, because no blacks had scored high enough to be promoted.

Ricci (with 19 others) sued.

That's where these two American stories intersect. Sotomayor was a member of the three-member circuit court panel that upheld the dismissal of his case, thus denying Ricci his promotion.
Two things are sure to happen this summer: The Supreme Court will overturn Sotomayor's panel's ruling. And, barring some huge hidden scandal, Sotomayor will be elevated to that same Supreme Court.

What should a principled conservative do? Use the upcoming hearings not to deny her the seat, but to illuminate her views. No magazine gossip from anonymous court clerks. No "temperament" insinuations. Nothing ad hominem. The argument should be elevated, respectful and entirely about judicial philosophy.

On the Ricci case. And on her statements about the inherent differences between groups, and the superior wisdom she believes her Latina physiology, culture and background grant her over a white male judge. They perfectly reflect the Democrats' enthrallment with identity politics, which assigns free citizens to ethnic and racial groups possessing a hierarchy of wisdom and entitled to a hierarchy of claims upon society.

Sotomayor shares President Obama's vision of empathy as lying at the heart of judicial decision-making -- sympathetic concern for litigants' background and current circumstances, and for how any judicial decision would affect their lives.

Since the 2008 election, people have been asking what conservatism stands for. Well, if nothing else, it stands unequivocally against justice as empathy -- and unequivocally for the principle of blind justice.

Empathy is a vital virtue to be exercised in private life -- through charity, respect and lovingkindness -- and in the legislative life of a society where the consequences of any law matter greatly, which is why income taxes are progressive and safety nets built for the poor and disadvantaged.

But all that stops at the courthouse door. Figuratively and literally, justice wears a blindfold. It cannot be a respecter of persons. Everyone must stand equally before the law, black or white, rich or poor, advantaged or not.
When the hearings begin, Republicans should call Frank Ricci as their first witness. Democrats want justice rooted in empathy? Let Ricci tell his story and let the American people judge whether his promotion should have been denied because of his skin color in a procedure Sotomayor joined in calling "facially race-neutral."

Make the case for individual vs. group rights, for justice vs. empathy. Then vote to confirm Sotomayor solely on the grounds -- consistently violated by the Democrats, including Sen. Obama -- that a president is entitled to deference on his Supreme Court nominees, particularly one who so thoroughly reflects the mainstream views of the winning party. Elections have consequences.

Vote Democratic and you get mainstream liberalism: A judicially mandated racial spoils system and a jurisprudence of empathy that hinges on which litigant is less "advantaged."

A teaching moment, as liberals like to say. Clarifying and politically potent. Seize it.
Dr. George Tiller was gunned down this morning in his church. For those who don't know who he is, he is a late-term abortionist in Wichita who is nationally known for performing abortions that many other abortion doctors will not do. God has brought His judgment on him today, but woe to him by whom it came. Much like King Saul in the Old Testament and Gollum in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Tiller deserved death for the evil he committed. But just like those two, it wasn't for man to presume the right to avenge. So it is a sad day to see someone put themselves in the place of God, but a glorious day that at least a handful of babies will now not be gruesomely murdered just as they prepare to take their first breath.

Also, some pro-lifers are pointing out that this probably hurts the pro-life side at an inopportune time politically (with the Supreme Court nomination battle coming). That may well be true, but if the anti-abortion lobby truly wants to see babies saved, there should be some rejoicing (albeit muted due to the loss of Tiller's life, ESPECIALLY since it seems that Tiller never repented and faces a horrible eternity) on the part of the lives that will now be saved.
Deserves [death]! I dare say he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death and judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf
Thursday, May 28, 2009
This is interesting.
A local pastor and his wife claim they were interrogated by a San Diego County official, who then threatened them with escalating fines if they continued to hold bible studies in their home...
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life" - Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court candidate
It's informative that Obama didn't even interview a man, showing that in his view, qualifications begin with gender and ethinicity and not with competency.

For an initial case against Sotomayor, read this.
Friday, May 22, 2009
The City Journal published an excellent piece this week on how Hollywood invented a legend in regards to the gay San Francisco supervisor, Harvey Milk. He was the subject of a recent Oscar-nominated film, and the actor who played him won the Best Actor award. Turns out, it was all a screenwriter's sham. The real Harvey Milk "was a short-tempered demagogue who cynically invented stories of victimhood to advance his political career." He also strongly supported Jim Jones up until Jones poisoned his entire following.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Mark Driscoll wrote a fantastic article on Fox News regarding the recent Newsweek cover piece which discussed the falling rates of professing Christians in America. He nails it.
Newsweek missed the subtle — but vital — difference between Christian America and Christendom America.

Christian America is comprised of those people who have had a truly transforming experience with Jesus Christ and are living new lives as practicing Christians. Experts such as sociologist Bradford Wilcox at the University of Virginia have well documented the fact that those who practice Christian faith by reading their Bibles regularly, attending church, praying, and so forth are far less likely to engage in acts such as adultery, divorce, substance abuse, and the like.

Christendom America is comprised of those people who have not had a truly transforming experience with Jesus Christ and are living lives virtually indistinguishable from those who are non-Christians. The confusion is that it was common in Christendom for people who did not practice Christianity to profess Christianity. This was often done for social reasons, such as living in a culture that expected church affiliation, being born into a religious tradition and assuming it was simply part of one’s identity (like a cultural or racial connection), or personally, socially, and vocationally benefitting from being connected, even loosely, to a church or denomination.
Subsequently, the Newsweek report simply confirms the fact that, just as Christendom has died in Europe and the major American cities, it is now dying in the suburban and rural areas of America as well. With the social benefits of professing to be a Christian no longer in place and the social stigma of not professing to be a Christian now lifted, those who were part of Christendom America are simply no longer pretending to be part of Christian America. Since those who professed faith but did not practice faith were confusing to account for, this is actually a good thing. Now, it is more likely that if someone is a Christian or non-Christian, he or she will state so plainly.

Therefore, the number of Christians has likely not diminished as much as has been reported, but rather we are seeing an increasingly accurate accounting of actual Christian America. The ARIS study confirmed this by saying that the number of people who claimed to be Christians decreased, while the number of people who claimed to be evangelical increased. This fact is not discouraging, but rather clarifying.
There is one thing that is concerning, namely the loss of the residue of some aspects of Protestant morality. For example, as authority is less and less respected, and social order becomes more difficult to maintain, and sexual sin increases the number of addicts and abuse victims (as we are dealing with by the thousands in our church), the result will be a culture that is less beneficial for Christians and non-Christians alike. This is because, although being good does not save you, insofar as the culture is concerned, it is still good. Proceeding forward, the distinctions in lifestyle between Christian America and non-Christian America will become increasingly stark and will require great service by the church in the areas of mercy and justice to help people damaged by a Christless culture.
Friday, May 15, 2009

I guess Obama's radically pro-abortion views have clarified things in the hearts and minds of Americans.
Thursday, May 14, 2009

I ordered this book as soon as I heard about it yesterday. I've been waiting for a good book from a Christian perspective on the topic of economics; especially one that addresses capitalism and shows how it is ultimately the most Biblical economic system known currently to FALLEN man. I will likely post at least some thoughts on the book later this summer (or whenever I get around to reading it).
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
"However, people who think like this do so because they have asked the wrong question, or looked down the wrong end of the telescope. They have asked where poverty comes from instead of where wealth comes from. You might as well ask how ignorance of cardiac surgery ever came into being, rather than knowledge of it, as if cardiac surgery were an activity natural to man in his most primitive state. If you continue to find poverty puzzling, you will be led sooner or later to the conclusion that poverty is caused by wealth." (Theodore Dalrymple, In Praise of Prejudice)
If anyone is looking for a good blog to read, the Evangelical Village is quickly becoming worthy of your consideration (DESPITE the fact that I will be occasionally submitting posts over there). It brings together many different voices within the evangelical world (primarily but not completely from the Southern Baptist persuasion), offering a daily perspective on life, in all of its many facets (on occasion, you might even catch a commentary on college football if you're lucky). The writers cover a large spectrum of issues, from the trifling aforementioned football discussion to an analysis of Biblical doctrines to in-depth book reviews. Give it a read.
Monday, May 11, 2009
This wonderful article describes the fight to give life to babies who are disabled or unlikely to live for more than a few moments after birth. As it stands now, about 80% of such "high-risk" pregnancies are aborted.

Compare that to what the British Council on Bioethics promotes as a standard practice:
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics says disabled babies who are born prematurely should not be routinely resuscitated.

The council ... set forth guidelines for doctors and patients and suggest that disabled babies born after 22 weeks into the pregnancy or earlier be left to die rather than given proper medical assistance.
The group also said promoting euthanasia would reduce late-term abortions as parents could go ahead with the birth and kill the baby afterwards if they decide she would have too much trouble leading a healthy life.

UPDATE [May 12, 2009]: And now this out of Sweden today.
Swedish health authorities have ruled that gender-based abortion is not illegal according to current law and can not therefore be stopped.
Friday, May 08, 2009
Here's more on that Hate Crimes legislation. As it turns out, all the different "sexual orientations" will be covered, so if you're a pedophile and the parent of your victim punches you, they will be guilty of a hate crime. Wonderful, huh?

This whole bill is so wrong and evil on so many levels, it's difficult to know where to begin. Perhaps with the power grab of the federal government? Or with the anti-American idea of not treating all people equally? Or that sexual deviants will be protected? Or that the First Amendment is edged closer to being overturned?

It's so nice to see our leaders spending their time so wisely.

Job 17:12; Isaiah 5:20
Oh, the glories of our postmodern, relativistic, multicultural world. Now the government wants to imprison anyone who picks on someone else via the internet. Nevermind that pesky thing called the First Amendment, we need to make sure no one's feelings are hurt. It's an interesting paradox that a society that claims that truth is not absolute and that each person must find their own truth is also one of the most intolerant societies in history.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Doug Wilson wrote a brilliant post yesterday on the new hate crimes legislation making its way through Congress. Wilson correctly points out that "[s]oon the denunciation of real sin from the pulpit ... will be illegal as well." It's happened around the world, and while the First Amendment may prove more difficult to circumvent, eventually it too will fall.

Wilson goes on to make an important distinction between the gospel that the world wants Christians to proclaim and the Gospel that God commands us to tell.
The central distinction we must learn to make here is the difference between sin in the sense of shortcoming and failure, and sin in the sense of high-handed rebellion. This especially includes sexual sin. This division between failure and rebellion should not be understood as one marking the difference between forgiveable and unforgiveable. Saul of Tarsus was guilty of the latter, and God converted him on the Damascus road anyway. And many live their lives in the former, drifting in a slow spiral as they circle the rim of Hell. So we should understand that lethargic refusal to repent of moral failures is something that will harden into a high-handed and everlasting rebellion. But in the meantime, the difference is not one of forgiveability.

So what is the difference then? The difference can most readily be seen in the attitude that the Church should take toward the practitioners and advocates of those sins. Practitioners of sins are those who commit them. Advocates are those who present the way of sin as though it were a new gospel, which, in their confused world, it is. The Church must always have her doors open to any refugees from the world, no matter how tattered or mangled they may be (Jude 23). Are you a practitioner of sin? Then welcome. Have you wasted your substance on hookers and cocaine? Then welcome. Are you the ultimate of sexual losers? Then welcome.

Are you the adulterous woman who wipes her mouth and says she has done no wrong? Then here is the door. Are you among those who call good evil and evil good, who substitute male for female and female for male, calling upon the UN to enforce your fundamental human right to hump whatever you please? Then good bye. Are you a Jezebel, teaching believers that fornication is part of Christian liberty? Then God will cast you into a bed of tribulation. There is no tolerance of that kind of hellish doctrine thing here.

This distinction must be held out and publicly maintained constantly. If the distinction is blurred, even slightly, then we are preaching a false gospel to our children, those who are growing up in our midst. Without this distinction, the more clearly we fight the apostles of a false sexual gospel (as we must), the more we are going to confuse and terrify those afflicted by lust who know that their lust is sin. Those who know that their sexual failures are sin are in a different category than those who want to remake the world in a way that conforms to their lusts.
Jesus did not come to die on the cross in order to save those who had succeeded in sinning just a little bit.
Summarized another way, sin as rebellion is thrown into Hell. Sin as confessed failure is ushered into Heaven with a fanfare of trumpets. This being the case, the Church -- a foretaste of what God is up to in all history -- should reflect the same set of values. In the New Testament, false teachers and their corruptions are escorted to the door and are handed their hat, and the "such were some of you" Corinthians are escorted to the Table, and are bidden to sit and eat. In the modern church, confused as we are about this, we reverse this. We shove the failures aside roughly, and treat the scholars of sodomy with far more respect than they deserve.

So then, in conclusion, if the hate crimes legislation is passed and signed into law, every faithful pastor in America will make sure he commits a "hate crime" the following Sunday in his pulpit. And in that same message, if he is worth his salt, he will extend the hand of grace to every struggling sinner there. Come, and welcome, he will say, to Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
For those who have occasionally clicked on the LGF headlines on the right side of this blog, you may have noticed that they are no longer there. For months, LGF blogger Charles Johnson has been hating on people who believe in intelligent design, choosing to equate them on several occasions to radical Islamists. At first, I chose to ignore his diatribes and keep the headlines on this blog since he still occasionally posts some quite useful news. But after a recent increased spate of vitriol aimed at both "creationists" and social conservatives (for some reason, Johnson thinks that the two are one and the same), I decided that while LGF may still from time to time post some insightful commentary or eye-opening facts regarding radical Islam, I don't think the new bent to his site represents this blog enough to link to it any further.

It was interesting and informative to note that he immediately deleted my comment (and my account) on his site stating the aforementioned. Funny how the tolerant can so quickly become intolerant. It's too bad that social conservatives and fiscal conservatives can be at such odds, but perhaps it's all for the better. I hope that the Republican Party does not follow the likes of Johnson into the abyss of social liberalism, or this country will be completely lost. Then again, I suppose it is only a matter of time before America becomes the next Europe; where both parties are basically socialist and liberal. If only people like Mr. Johnson would recognize what created the cultural downfall in Europe in the first place and set it up for the postmodern, multicultural chaos that exists there today.

It is impossible to understate the importance of the next 5-10 years for the Republican Party. Christians should be prepared for the possibility that opposition to abortion and embryonic stem-cell research will no longer be Republican platforms. Life hangs in the balance...
UPDATE: Apparently, as this blogger shows quite well, Charles Johnson is losing respectability in most circles as he careens into vitriolic insanity. It's sad to see such a formerly strong voice of truth slip into irrelevancy.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
I've been thinking and saying that 2009 would be the year in which the Emerging Church would cease emerging and in fact shrivel up and die. I've seen some signs that evangelicals are tired of talking about it and want to just move on with more important things like living out the Kingdom. Furthermore, in the past few months, the Emergent leaders have begun to fully display their orthodoxy after years of avoiding any straight answers. In response, many of those Christians who had enjoyed a blissfully ignorant flirtation with the movement came to the realization that what they were involved in had some huge problems after all and perhaps resembled a cult more than a church. So, now that the lines are drawn in the sand and the EC rules for joining their club are actually in writing, play time is over. Plus, the Emerging church has never been about evangelizing the lost and the unsaved. Rather, it's been about gaining converts from within the Christian world (particularly those with fundamentalist pasts). That's a well that dries up eventually.

Apparently, this guy agrees that the death knell is ringing for the Emerging Church. He gives some reasons for its demise:
1. Lack of Tact Theory: ... The emerging church lacked tact. It never gained the ear of the home base. Movements such as this need to be changed from the inside out, not the outside in. That is unless you are willing to go all the way and break completely from the home base (e.g. the Reformation).

2. The Offense Theory: ... While the Emerging Church, as well as teenagers, do have some very good things to say and should be listened to, it is the (almost total) disregard of Evangelicalism’s values that caused them to lose their audience. Evangelicals were offended.

3. Misidentified Evangelicalism Theory: It certainly is the case that Evangelicalism needs to reform. In fact, one of the Evangelical principles is that we are always reforming (semper reformanda)... Emergers failed to realize the shared DNA with Evangelicals and belittled them instead. They, most of whom were former Fundamentalists (not Evangelicals), mistakenly identified Evangelicals with Fundamentalists. Therefore, their cries of change, their proclamations of enlightenment, served only to belittle Evangelicals. Ironically, their judgmental spirit of Evangelicalism backfired and caused them to look more like Fundamentalists than than those whom they criticized. It was a Fundamentalism of a different kind, but the attitude was the same. Grace left the emerging building.

4. Heretical Tolerance Theory: 4. Heretical Tolerance Theory: Oh, and then there was that. The Emerging church refused to stand up for anything... From there they definitively cried out against Evangelical orthodoxy kicking us in the most sensitive areas: Abortion, Atonement, Justification, Assurance - and then there was the attempted burial of our belief that homosexuality was a sin. Oh, did I mention the attacks on Hell and the Exclusivity of Christ? They quickly moved from an insightful teen who might have some good things to say to crowd of disconnected enemies on the attack.
Monday, May 04, 2009
Watch this brilliant video by Bill Whittle of Pajama's Media rip apart the idiot leftist comedian named Jon Stewart.
After all the worship and fawning over Obama, as well as self-promotion, does anyone still honestly believe that Obama isn't an anti-Christ? Sure, he may not be THE Anti-Christ, but he's definitely a version of the ultimate one. If he were a true Christian, he would repudiate this kind of nonsense.
Friday, May 01, 2009
I have read a couple of posts recently by Christians regarding the issue of torture. Some Christians somehow get the idea that we can't use "enhanced interrogation" techniques because somewhere the Bible says so (or at least, implies it). I just have one question: are humans morally and Biblically justified in executing terrorists? Assuming that is the case, then why is it okay to take their lives but wrong to inflict some momentary pain?
I read the following paragraph this morning on a "progressive Christian's" blog:
The Hate Crimes Bill passed the house yesterday 249-175 and so we have taken another step towards decency in our country and respect [emphasis mine] for all of our citizens. This has been seen as a threat by conservative religious and legal groups, but others of us see it as evidence of the goodness of our democracy that nobody should be singled out for abuse and violence for who they are.
Leaving aside the issue of hate crimes (which are utterly nonsensical and redundant), let us focus on the portion which I bolded. This is the essense of the difference between conservative, Biblical Christians and liberal/progressive Christians. The former believe that law (secular or religious) is not there to change hearts or minds, but only brings death and punishment and a knowledge of wrongdoing. On the other hand, the latter, as shown so clearly here, believe that mankind will get better through laws; in this case, a law against hate crimes will make people more respectful and kind to other people. The error in this view is that while the law might help contain or limit some behavior, the hateful attitudes won't change.

Conservative Christians rightly believe that the Bible teaches that the only thing that can bring real and authentic change of heart within a person is the working of the Holy Spirit. The Mosaic law always brought death. Secular law should only be used as a method of justice and to control behavior. It should never be viewed as a way to convict the spirits of men or genuinely purify their attitudes.
VP Biden said yesterday that he and his family are avoiding mass transit. I wonder if he does that for all of the significantly more dangerous and more likely to contract diseases, like the common flu. As this pastor points out, the common flu kills 35,000 Americans every year. And the rotavirus, a common ailment of kids, kills 2.1 million American children every year. By comparison, the swine flu is harmless.
We often care more about the dramatic than we do about the truly perilous. New dangers shock our sensibilities more than grave dangers. Threats that we have learned to live with for a long while fade from our consciousness, even though the risk may not be reduced.

The economic crisis gets our attention far more than the spiritual crisis the world is experiencing. We feel a deeper concern with our 401k’s than we do with the declining moral climate in our nation. Many churches expend more energy changing worship styles than they ever do strategizing to reach their communities.

The greatest loss of perspective is that we have learned to view those who are lost around us with indifference and detachment. While they perish, we play. While they die without Christ, we live without telling them. Nothing is more real than hell, but one wouldn’t know that by the way most Christians live.

God grant us perspective.

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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »