Open Windows – A Time of Opportunity…

rocket launchAre Conservative Pastors Ready to Lead the Way to Cultural Transformation

from the American Culture and Faith Institute

Theologically conservative pastors are not ready to surrender America to “progressive” political principles. But, what is not as clear is whether they are ready to help lead the nation and contend for a more conservative, biblically-consistent direction in relation to dimensions such as education, entertainment, business, media, and governance.washington dc

A survey conducted by the American Culture & Faith Institute among a national sample of theologically conservative pastors provides some insight into the thinking of these pastors as the nation braces for the transitions that are inevitable with Donald Trump assuming the presidency and a reconfigured Congress ready to be sworn in.

Glimpses into Their Worldview

sunset churchTheologically conservative pastors are indisputably into pursuing their Christian faith. The survey revealed that they universally claimed to be “deeply committed to practicing my faith” and “enjoy attending church services” – which is not surprising since they typically lead those services.

But as an indicator of their seriousness about integrating their faith into their everyday experience, 99% of them state that they are willing to take unpopular stands, as long as those stands coincide with their spiritual beliefs.

The research also showed that there is a high degree of consistency between their spiritual and political ideologies. For instance, 97% are politically conservative on social issues. Nine out of ten are also conservative on matters of government regulation (91%) and fiscal policies (88%).AAA

These pastors do not automatically embrace socially accepted concepts. An example is their general dismissal of the popular notion of being “spiritual but not religious.” Only one-quarter of conservative pastors (28%) describe themselves in this way. Most of them would embrace being both spiritual and religious.

They also do not embrace every popular movement or fad that comes down the pike. A case in point is that just one out of every seven (14%) says that they support the Black Lives Matter movement. While they believe that all lives matter and are important, they are leery of movements that use dubious tactics to generate attention or get their way.

AADAlmost all of them, however, affirm that they support traditional moral values (99%). That was one of the fundamental attributes that led them to support Donald Trump by such a large margin. Despite their concerns about his character, they recognized that the platform he was promoting reflected perspectives that were important to theological conservatives, as characterized by his position on moral issues such as abortion and religious freedom.

Politics is Not Our Salvation

EmilyCarr-Indian-Church-1929Theologically conservative pastors – sometimes referred to as “theolocon pastors” – approached involvement in the recent election with trepidation. While most of them realize that politics and government have substantial influence on American life, they do not want to allow that arena to undermine the image and the role of Christianity and the local church in the U.S.cross

That helps to explain why they were attentive to information about the election, but only one out of four (26%) said they could be considered to be “political junkies.” And even though the Republican Party typically offers candidates who are more conservative than those backed by the Democratic Party, less than two out of five theolocon pastors (37%) said they are “loyal to the Republican Party.” Many of them feel used by the GOP and thus wish to maintain objectivity and independence in moving forward politically. As some pastors have put it, their allegiance is to the king of the universe rather than to a popular candidate or a self-serving political organization.

Outlook on the Futurespace shadows

Significantly, most theologically conservative pastors are not excited about the future of the nation; only 44% feel excited. A much larger proportion – 57% – feels angry about the current state of the country.

One possible explanation for such concern about the future is that 70% say they do not “respect and admire” Donald Trump. While most of them felt he was the best of two uninspiring choices, they are not setting their hopes too high. Indeed, less than half of them believe that he will be able to heal and unite the country.capt.56e43e7b30dd42308b494c6f06629ce1.amish_school_shoot (1)

Another likely reason underlying their concern for the future is their distaste for the mainstream news media. More than nine out of ten theolocon pastors felt that mainstream journalists provided “unfair and subjective” reporting throughout the campaign season. That is one reason why a declining proportion of them are relying upon mainstream media sources for their information. Over the past few years, ACFI research has found a growing reliance of these pastors upon independent news sources.

Aware of the enormous influence the mainstream media has on peoples’ understanding of reality and how they perceive the world around us, many of these pastors will restrain their enthusiasm about the future until the progressive media industry can be held more accountable for its reporting.

One of the most intriguing results from the survey relates to the issues that theologically conservative pastors identify as the critical challenges facing America today. When asked to choose the two most important issues, the top choices were abortion (34%), the forthcoming Supreme Court nominations (21%), America’s moral decline (20%), marriage and family (14%), and religious freedom in the U.S. (13%). The inclusion of these issues at the top is the list is not particularly surprising.

What may be surprising, though, are some of the issues that were virtually ignored by theolocon pastors. Those included the Israel-Palestine conflict (mentioned by less than one-half of 1%), poverty (1%), global religious persecution (1%), and racism and intolerance (3%). Given the format of the survey these low percentages do not mean that conservative pastors consider these issues to be unimportant; rather, they are simply not important enough to be a “top-two” priority. Nevertheless, the near-invisibility of these issues raises questions about whether such matters are lost in the din of the national conversation surrounding other challenges.

A Time of Opportunity

With the election behind us, and the public wondering how we will comport ourselves in the months and years to come, theologically conservative pastors have a huge window of opportunity before them, according to research veteran George Barna, who directed the ACFI research.

“One of the chief tasks of our national leaders, starting with Mr. Trump but certainly including our nation’s pastors, is to bring healing and unity to the forefront of our agenda. Until that happens, little of lasting value is likely to take place,” Barna commented. “Trump cannot accomplish the restoration and renewal process alone. Whether he realizes it or not, he needs the Christian Church to be a major contributor to such an effort. And it is an outstanding opportunity for the Church to be what it is meant to be: a source of wisdom, love, unity, and truth.

“But being effective in such a role will require pastors to provide strong leadership, based on a compelling vision of America’s future and a winsome approach to incorporating biblical values and principles into the fabric of American society,” the researcher continued. “No restoration plan will be successful without a spiritual edge to it. Our research among conservative pastors indicates that they have been reluctant to provide aggressive cultural leadership and to prepare their people to alternately lead with passion and follow with humility during this time of transition. The Trump victory simply gives God’s people an expanded time to be light in the midst of cultural darkness and confusion. The coming year will begin to reveal whether the American Church is up to the task.”

cropped-colorado-sunset.jpg

“For everything there is a season and

A time for every matter under heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;

A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;

A time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to seek, and a time to lose;

A time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to tear, and a time to sew;

A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;

A time for war, and a time for peace.”

(Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8)

*****

About the Research

The research described in this report is part of the Conservative Clergy Canvass™, a longitudinal survey among theologically conservative pastors of Christian churches. The survey undertaken for this report had a sample size of 500 qualified pastors and was conducted online by the American Culture & Faith Institute on the night of November 8, 2016.

ACFI estimates that there are between 95,000 and 110,000 theologically conservative Christian churches in the United States.

The American Culture & Faith Institute is a division of United in Purpose, a non-partisan, non-profit organization. The mission of United in Purpose is to educate, motivate and activate conservative Christians related to the political process, in ways that are consistent with the gospel of Christ. The organization does not support or promote individual candidates or political parties.

Additional information about this study and related research is accessible on the American Culture & Faith Institute website, located at www.culturefaith.com.  To receive a free copy of these newsletters, visit the website and register for the SAGE Con Weekly newsletter.

***

 

Posted in All-Encompassing Gospel, Church and State, Gov't/Theonomy, Worldview/Culture, X-Americana, Z-Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Confirmation Bias, Groupthink, and the Tribal-Moral Community

science experimentThe Real War on Sciencebiology

The Left has done far more than the Right to set back progress.

By John Tierney

My liberal friends sometimes ask me why I don’t devote more of my science journalism to the sins of the Right. It’s fine to expose pseudoscience on the left, they say, but why aren’t you an equal-opportunity debunker? Why not write about conservatives’ threat to science?how to think

My friends don’t like my answer: because there isn’t much to write about. Conservatives just don’t have that much impact on science. I know that sounds strange to Democrats who decry Republican creationists and call themselves the “party of science.” But I’ve done my homework. I’ve read the Left’s indictments, including Chris Mooney’s bestseller, The Republican War on Science. I finished it with the same question about this war that I had at the outset: Where are the casualties?

Where are the scientists who lost their jobs or their funding? What vital research has been corrupted or suppressed? What scientific debate has been silenced? Yes, the book reveals that Republican creationists exist, but they don’t affect the biologists or anthropologists studying evolution. Yes, George W. Bush refused federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, but that hardly put a stop to it (and not much changed after Barack Obama reversed the policy). Mooney rails at scientists and politicians who oppose government policies favored by progressives like himself, but if you’re looking for serious damage to the enterprise of science, he offers only three examples.

Eat-More-Chicken-300All three are in his first chapter, during Mooney’s brief acknowledgment that leftists “here and there” have been guilty of “science abuse.” First, there’s the Left’s opposition to genetically modified foods, which stifled research into what could have been a second Green Revolution to feed Africa. Second, there’s the campaign by animal-rights activists against medical researchers, whose work has already been hampered and would be devastated if the activists succeeded in banning animal experimentation. Third, there’s the resistance in academia to studying the genetic underpinnings of human behavior, which has cut off many social scientists from the recent revolutions in genetics and neuroscience. Each of these abuses is far more significant than anything done by conservatives, and there are plenty of others. The only successful war on science is the one waged by the Left.occupy and the elite

The danger from the Left does not arise from stupidity or dishonesty; those failings are bipartisan. Some surveys show that Republicans, particularly libertarians, are more scientifically literate than Democrats, but there’s plenty of ignorance all around. Both sides cherry-pick research and misrepresent evidence to support their agendas. Whoever’s in power, the White House plays politics in appointing advisory commissions and editing the executive summaries of their reports. Scientists of all ideologies exaggerate the importance of their own research and seek results that will bring them more attention and funding.

But two huge threats to science are peculiar to the Left—and they’re getting worse.

Al Gore DevilThe first threat is confirmation bias, the well-documented tendency of people to seek out and accept information that confirms their beliefs and prejudices. In a classic study of peer review, 75 psychologists were asked to referee a paper about the mental health of left-wing student activists. Some referees saw a version of the paper showing that the student activists’ mental health was above normal; others saw different data, showing it to be below normal. Sure enough, the more liberal referees were more likely to recommend publishing the paper favorable to the left-wing activists. When the conclusion went the other way, they quickly found problems with its methodology.Al Gore Global Warming

Scientists try to avoid confirmation bias by exposing their work to peer review by critics with different views, but it’s increasingly difficult for liberals to find such critics. Academics have traditionally leaned left politically, and many fields have essentially become monocultures, especially in the social sciences, where Democrats now outnumber Republicans by at least 8 to 1. (In sociology, where the ratio is 44 to 1, a student is much likelier to be taught by a Marxist than by a Republican.) The lopsided ratio has led to another well-documented phenomenon: people’s beliefs become more extreme when they’re surrounded by like-minded colleagues. They come to assume that their opinions are not only the norm but also the truth.

simon saysGroupthink has become so routine that many scientists aren’t even aware of it. Social psychologists, who have extensively studied conscious and unconscious biases against out-groups, are quick to blame these biases for the underrepresentation of women or minorities in the business world and other institutions. But they’ve been mostly oblivious to their own diversity problem, which is vastly larger. Democrats outnumber Republicans at least 12 to 1 (perhaps 40 to 1) in social psychology, creating what Jonathan Haidt calls a “tribal-moral community” with its own “sacred values” about what’s worth studying and what’s taboo.social idiot

“Morality binds and blinds,” says Haidt, a social psychologist at New York University and author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. “Having common values makes a group cohesive, which can be quite useful, but it’s the last thing that should happen to a scientific field. Progressivism, especially anti-racism, has become a fundamentalist religion, complete with anti-blasphemy laws.”

Last year, one of the leading scientific journals, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, published an article by Haidt and five colleagues documenting their profession’s lack of ideological diversity. It was accompanied by commentaries from 63 other social scientists, virtually all of whom, even the harshest critics, accepted the authors’ conclusion that the lack of political diversity has harmed the science of social psychology. The authors and the commentators pointed to example after example of how the absence of conservatives has blinded researchers to flaws in their work, particularly when studying people’s ideology and morality.

Democrats outnumber Republicans at least 12 to 1 (perhaps 40 to 1) in social psychology.

The narrative that Republicans are anti-science has been fed by well-publicized studies reporting that conservatives are more close-minded and dogmatic than liberals are. But these conclusions have been based on questions asking people how strongly they cling to traditional morality and religion—dogmas that matter a lot more to conservatives than to liberals. A few other studies—not well-publicized—have shown that liberals can be just as close-minded when their own beliefs, such as their feelings about the environment or Barack Obama, are challenged.

Social psychologists have often reported that conservatives are more prejudiced against other social groups than liberals are. But one of Haidt’s co-authors, Jarret Crawford of the College of New Jersey, recently noted a glaring problem with these studies: they typically involve attitudes toward groups that lean left, like African-Americans and communists. When Crawford (who is a liberal) did his own study involving a wider range of groups, he found that prejudice is bipartisan. Liberals display strong prejudice against religious Christians and other groups they perceive as right of center.

Conservatives have been variously pathologized as unethical, antisocial, and irrational simply because they don’t share beliefs that seem self-evident to liberals. For instance, one study explored ethical decision making by asking people whether they would formally support a female colleague’s complaint of sexual harassment. There was no way to know if the complaint was justified, but anyone who didn’t automatically side with the woman was put in the unethical category. Another study asked people whether they believed that “in the long run, hard work usually brings a better life”—and then classified a yes answer as a “rationalization of inequality.” Another study asked people if they agreed that “the Earth has plenty of natural resources if we just learn how to develop them”—a view held by many experts in resource economics, but the psychologists pathologized it as a “denial of environmental realities.”

To combat these biases, more than 150 social scientists have joined Heterodox Academy, a group formed by Haidt and his co-authors to promote ideological diversity among scholars. That’s a good start, but they’re nowhere close to solving the problem. Even if social-science departments added a few conservatives, they’d still be immersed in progressive academic communities becoming less tolerant of debate because of pressure from campus activists and federal bureaucrats enforcing an ever-expanding interpretation of Title IX. And their work would still be filtered to the public by reporters who lean left, too—that’s why the press has promoted the Republican-war-on-science myth. When Obama diplomatically ducked a question on the campaign trail about the age of the Earth (“I don’t presume to know”), the press paid no attention. When Marco Rubio later did the same thing (“I’m not a scientist”), he was lambasted as a typical Republican ignoramus determined to bring back the Dark Ages.

The combination of all these pressures from the Left has repeatedly skewed science over the past half-century. In 1965, when Daniel Patrick Moynihan published a paper presciently warning of the dangers for black children growing up in single-parent homes, it was greeted with such hostility—he was blaming the victim, critics said—that the topic became off-limits among liberals, stymying public discussion and research for decades into one of the most pressing problems facing minority children. Similarly, liberal advocates have worked to suppress reporting on the problems of children raised by gay parents or on any drawbacks of putting young children in day care. In 1991, a leading family psychologist, Louise Silverstein, published an article in the American Psychologist urging her colleagues to “refuse to undertake any more research that looks for the negative consequences of other-than-mother-care.”

The Left’s most rigid taboos involve the biology of race and gender, as the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker chronicles in The Blank Slate. The book takes its title from Pinker’s term for the dogma that “any differences we see among races, ethnic groups, sexes, and individuals come not from differences in their innate constitution but from differences in their experiences.” The dogma constricts researchers’ perspective—“No biology, please, we’re social scientists”—and discourage debate, in and out of academia. Early researchers in sociobiology faced vitriolic attacks from prominent scientists like Stephen Jay Gould, who accused them of racism and sexism for studying genetic influences on behavior.

Studying IQ has been a risky career move since the 1970s, when researchers like Arthur Jensen and Richard Herrnstein had to cancel lectures (and sometimes hire bodyguards) because of angry protesters accusing them of racism. Government funding dried up, forcing researchers in IQ and behavioral genetics to rely on private donors, who in the 1980s financed the renowned Minnesota study of twins reared apart. Leftists tried to cut off that funding in the 1990s, when the University of Delaware halted the IQ research of Linda Gottfredson and Jan Blits for two years by refusing to let them accept a foundation’s grant; the research proceeded only after an arbitrator ruled that their academic freedom had been violated.

The Blank Slate dogma has perpetuated a liberal version of creationism: the belief that there has been no evolution in modern humans since they left their ancestral homeland in Africa some 50,000 years ago. Except for a few genetic changes in skin color and other superficial qualities, humans everywhere are supposedly alike because there hasn’t been enough time for significant differences to evolve in their brains and innate behavior. This belief was plausible when biologists assumed that evolution was a slow process, but the decoding of the human genome has disproved it, as Nicholas Wade (a former colleague of mine at the New York Times) reported in his 2015 book, A Troublesome Inheritance.

“Human evolution has been recent, copious and regional,” writes Wade, noting that at least 8 percent of the human genome has changed since the departure from Africa. The new analysis has revealed five distinguishable races that evolved in response to regional conditions: Africans, East Asians, Caucasians, the natives of the Americas, and the peoples of Australia and Papua New Guinea. Yet social scientists go on denying the very existence of races. The American Anthropological Association declares race to be “a human invention” that is “about culture, not biology.” The American Sociological Association calls race a “social construct.” Even biologists and geneticists are afraid of the R-word. More than 100 of them sent a letter to the New York Times denouncing Wade’s book as inaccurate, yet they refused to provide any examples of his mistakes. They apparently hadn’t bothered to read the book because they accused Wade of linking racial variations to IQ scores—a link that his book specifically rejected.

Some genetic differences are politically acceptable on the left, such as the biological basis for homosexuality, which was deemed plausible by 70 percent of sociologists in a recent survey. But that same survey found that only 43 percent accepted a biological explanation for male-female differences in spatial skills and communication. How could the rest of the sociologists deny the role of biology? It was no coincidence that these doubters espoused the most extreme left-wing political views and the strongest commitment to a feminist perspective. To dedicated leftists and feminists, it doesn’t matter how much evidence of sexual differences is produced by developmental psychologists, primatologists, neuroscientists, and other researchers. Any disparity between the sexes—or, at least, any disparity unfavorable to women—must be blamed on discrimination and other cultural factors.

Former Harvard president Lawrence Summers found this out the hard way at an academic conference where he dared to discuss the preponderance of men among professors of mathematics and physical sciences at elite universities. While acknowledging that women faced cultural barriers, like discrimination and the pressures of family responsibilities, Summers hypothesized that there might be other factors, too, such as the greater number of men at the extreme high end in tests measuring mathematical ability and other traits. Males’ greater variability in aptitude is well established—it’s why there are more male dunces as well as geniuses—but scientific accuracy was no defense against the feminist outcry. The controversy forced Summers to apologize and ultimately contributed to his resignation. Besides violating the Blank Slate taboo, Summers had threatened an academic cottage industry kept alive by the myth that gender disparities in science are due to discrimination.

This industry, supported by more than $200 million from the National Science Foundation, persists despite overwhelming evidence—from experiments as well as extensive studies of who gets academic jobs and research grants—that a female scientist is treated as well as or better than an equally qualified male. In a rigorous set of five experiments published last year, the female candidate was preferred two-to-one over an equivalent male. The main reason for sexual disparities in some fields is a difference in interests: from an early age, more males are more interested in fields like physics and engineering, while more females are interested in fields like biology and psychology (where most doctorates go to women).

On the whole, American women are doing much better than men academically—they receive the majority of undergraduate and graduate degrees—yet education researchers and federal funders have focused for decades on the few fields in science where men predominate. It was bad enough that the National Science Foundation’s grants paid for workshops featuring a game called Gender Bias Bingo and skits in which arrogant male scientists mistreat smarter female colleagues. But then, these workshops nearly became mandatory when Democrats controlled Congress in 2010. In response to feminist lobbying, the House passed a bill (which fortunately died in the Senate) requiring federal science agencies to hold “gender equity” workshops for the recipients of research grants.

It might seem odd that the “party of science” would be dragging researchers out of the lab to be re-educated in games of Gender Bias Bingo. But politicians will always care more about pleasing constituencies than advancing science.

And that brings us to the second great threat from the Left: its long tradition of mixing science and politics. To conservatives, the fundamental problem with the Left is what Friedrich Hayek called the fatal conceit: the delusion that experts are wise enough to redesign society. Conservatives distrust central planners, preferring to rely on traditional institutions that protect individuals’ “natural rights” against the power of the state. Leftists have much more confidence in experts and the state. Engels argued for “scientific socialism,” a redesign of society supposedly based on the scientific method. Communist intellectuals planned to mold the New Soviet Man. Progressives yearned for a society guided by impartial agencies unconstrained by old-fashioned politics and religion. Herbert Croly, founder of the New Republic and a leading light of progressivism, predicted that a “better future would derive from the beneficent activities of expert social engineers who would bring to the service of social ideals all the technical resources which research could discover.”

This was all very flattering to scientists, one reason that so many of them leaned left. The Right cited scientific work when useful, but it didn’t enlist science to remake society—it still preferred guidance from traditional moralists and clerics. The Left saw scientists as the new high priests, offering them prestige, money, and power. The power too often corrupted. Over and over, scientists yielded to the temptation to exaggerate their expertise and moral authority, sometimes for horrendous purposes.

Drawing on research into genetics and animal breeding from scientists at Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, and other leading universities, the eugenics movement of the 1920s made plans for improving the human population. Professors taught eugenics to their students and worked with Croly and other progressives eager to breed a smarter society, including Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Margaret Sanger. Eventually, other scientists—notably, in England—exposed the shoddy research and assumptions of the eugenicists, but not before the involuntary sterilization or castration of more than 35,000 Americans. Even after Hitler used eugenics to justify killing millions, the Left didn’t lose its interest in controlling human breeding.

Eugenicist thinking was revived by scientists convinced that the human species had exceeded the “carrying capacity” of its ecosystem. The most prominent was Paul Ehrlich, whose scientific specialty was the study of butterflies. Undeterred by his ignorance of agriculture and economics, he published confident predictions of imminent global famine in The Population Bomb (1968). Agricultural economists dismissed his ideas, but the press reverently quoted Ehrlich and other academics who claimed to have scientifically determined that the Earth was “overpopulated.” In the journal Science, ecologist Garrett Hardin argued that “freedom to breed will bring ruin to all.” Ehrlich, who, at one point, advocated supplying American helicopters and doctors to a proposed program of compulsory sterilization in India, joined with physicist John Holdren in arguing that the U.S. Constitution would permit population control, including limits on family size and forced abortions. Ehrlich and Holdren calmly analyzed the merits of various technologies, such as adding sterilants to public drinking water, and called for a “planetary regime” to control population and natural resources around the world.

Environmental science has become so politicized that its myths endure even after they’ve been disproved!

Their ideas went nowhere in the United States, but they inspired one of the worst human rights violations of the twentieth century, in China: the one-child policy, resulting in coerced abortion and female infanticide. China struggles today with a dangerously small number of workers to support its aging population. The intellectual godfathers of this atrocity, had they been conservatives, surely would have been ostracized. But even after his predictions turned out to be wildly wrong, Ehrlich went on collecting honors.

For his part, Holdren has served for the past eight years as the science advisor to President Obama, a position from which he laments that Americans don’t take his warnings on climate change seriously. He doesn’t seem to realize that public skepticism has a lot to do with the dismal track record of himself and his fellow environmentalists. There’s always an apocalypse requiring the expansion of state power. The visions of global famine were followed by more failed predictions, such as an “age of scarcity” due to vanishing supplies of energy and natural resources and epidemics of cancer and infertility caused by synthetic chemicals. In a 1976 book, The Genesis Strategy, the climatologist Stephen Schneider advocated a new fourth branch of the federal government (with experts like himself serving 20-year terms) to deal with the imminent crisis of global cooling. He later switched to become a leader in the global-warming debate.

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring set off decades of chemophobia with its scary anecdotes and bad science, like her baseless claim that DDT was causing cancer in humans and her vision of a mass avian die-off (the bird population was actually increasing as she wrote). Yet Silent Spring is taught in high school and college courses as a model of science writing, with no mention of the increased death tolls from malaria in countries that restricted DDT, or of other problems—like the spread of dengue and the Zika virus—exacerbated by needless fears of insecticides. Similarly, the Left’s zeal to find new reasons to regulate has led to pseudoscientific scaremongering about “Frankenfoods,” transfats, BPA in plastic, mobile phones, electronic cigarettes, power lines, fracking, and nuclear energy.

The health establishment spent decades advocating a low-salt diet for everyone (and pressuring the food industry to reduce salt) without any proof that it prolonged lives. When researchers finally got around to doing small clinical trials, they found that the low-salt diet did not prolong lives. If anything, it was associated with higher mortality. The worst debacle in health science involved dietary fat, which became an official public enemy in the 1970s, thanks to a few self-promoting scientists and politically savvy activists who allied with Democrats in Congress led by George McGovern and Henry Waxman. The supposed link between high-fat diets and heart disease was based on cherry-picked epidemiology, but the federal government endorsed it by publishing formal “dietary goals for the United States” and creating the now-infamous food pyramid that encouraged Americans to replace fat in their diets with carbohydrates. The public-health establishment devoted its efforts and funding to demonstrating the benefits of low-fat diets. But the low-fat diet repeatedly flunked clinical trials, and the government’s encouragement of carbohydrates probably contributed to rising rates of obesity and diabetes, as journalists Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz have chronicled in their books. (See “The Washington Diet,” Spring 2011.)

The dietary-fat debate is a case study in scientific groupthink—and in the Left’s techniques for enforcing political orthodoxy. From the start, prominent nutrition researchers disputed fat’s link to heart disease and criticized Washington for running a dietary experiment on the entire population. But they were dismissed as outliers who’d been corrupted by corporate money. At one hearing, Senator McGovern rebutted the skeptics by citing a survey showing that low-fat diet recommendations were endorsed by 92 percent of “the world’s leading doctors.” Federal bureaucrats and activists smeared skeptics by leaking information to the press about their consulting work with the food industry. One skeptic, Robert Olson of Washington University, protested that during his career, he had received $250,000 from the food industry versus more than $10 million from federal agencies, including ones promoting low-fat diets. If he could be bought, he said, it would be more accurate to call him “a tool of government.” As usual, though, the liberal press focused only on corporate money.

These same sneer-and-smear techniques predominate in the debate over climate change. President Obama promotes his green agenda by announcing that “the debate is settled,” and he denounces “climate deniers” by claiming that 97 percent of scientists believe that global warming is dangerous. His statements are false. While the greenhouse effect is undeniably real, and while most scientists agree that there has been a rise in global temperatures caused in some part by human emissions of carbon dioxide, no one knows how much more warming will occur this century or whether it will be dangerous. How could the science be settled when there have been dozens of computer models of how carbon dioxide affects the climate? And when most of the models overestimated how much warming should have occurred by now? These failed predictions, as well as recent research into the effects of water vapor on temperatures, have caused many scientists to lower their projections of future warming. Some “luke-warmists” suggest that future temperature increases will be relatively modest and prove to be a net benefit, at least in the short term.

The long-term risks are certainly worth studying, but no matter whose predictions you trust, climate science provides no justification for Obama’s green agenda—or anyone else’s agenda. Even if it were somehow proved that high-end estimates for future global warming are accurate, that wouldn’t imply that Greens have the right practical solution for reducing carbon emissions—or that we even need to reduce those emissions. Policies for dealing with global warming vary according to political beliefs, economic assumptions, social priorities, and moral principles. Would regulating carbon dioxide stifle economic growth and give too much power to the state? Is it moral to impose sacrifices on poor people to keep temperatures a little cooler for their descendants, who will presumably be many times richer? Are there more important problems to address first? These aren’t questions with scientifically correct answers.

Yet many climate researchers are passing off their political opinions as science, just as Obama does, and they’re even using that absurdly unscientific term “denier” as if they were priests guarding some eternal truth. Science advances by continually challenging and testing hypotheses, but the modern Left has become obsessed with silencing heretics. In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch last year, 20 climate scientists urged her to use federal racketeering laws to prosecute corporations and think tanks that have “deceived the American people about the risks of climate change.” Similar assaults on free speech are endorsed in the Democratic Party’s 2016 platform, which calls for prosecution of companies that make “misleading” statements about “the scientific reality of climate change.” A group of Democratic state attorneys general coordinated an assault on climate skeptics by subpoenaing records from fossil-fuel companies and free-market think tanks, supposedly as part of investigations to prosecute corporate fraud. Such prosecutions may go nowhere in court—they’re blatant violations of the First Amendment—but that’s not their purpose. By demanding a decade’s worth of e-mail and other records, the Democratic inquisitors and their scientist allies want to harass climate dissidents and intimidate their donors.

Just as in the debate over dietary fat, these dissidents get smeared in the press as corporate shills—but once again, the money flows almost entirely the other way. The most vocal critics of climate dogma are a half-dozen think tanks that together spend less than $15 million annually on environmental issues. The half-dozen major green groups spend more than $500 million, and the federal government spends $10 billion on climate research and technology to reduce emissions. Add it up, and it’s clear that scientists face tremendous pressure to support the “consensus” on reducing carbon emissions, as Judith Curry, a climatologist at Georgia Tech, testified last year at a Senate hearing.

“This pressure comes not only from politicians but also from federal funding agencies, universities and professional societies, and scientists themselves who are green activists,” Curry said. “This advocacy extends to the professional societies that publish journals and organize conferences. Policy advocacy, combined with understating the uncertainties, risks destroying science’s reputation for honesty and objectivity—without which scientists become regarded as merely another lobbyist group.”

That’s the ultimate casualty in the Left’s war: scientists’ reputations. Bad research can be exposed and discarded, but bad reputations endure. Social scientists are already regarded in Washington as an arm of the Democratic Party, so their research is dismissed as partisan even when it’s not, and some Republicans have tried (unsuccessfully) to cut off all social-science funding. The physical sciences still enjoy bipartisan support, but that’s being eroded by the green politicking, and climate scientists’ standing will plummet if the proclaimed consensus turns out to be wrong.

To preserve their integrity, scientists should avoid politics and embrace the skeptical rigor that their profession requires. They need to start welcoming conservatives and others who will spot their biases and violate their taboos. Making these changes won’t be easy, but the first step is simple: stop pretending that the threats to science are coming from the Right. Look in the other direction—or in the mirror.

*****

John Tierney is a contributing editor of City Journal, co-author of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Strength, and a contributing science columnist for the New York Times, where he previously wrote “The Big City” column.

Article from www.city-journal.org

Posted in All-Encompassing Gospel, Worldview/Culture, X-Americana, Z-Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restoring Religious Liberty (After Obama’s Reckless Assaults)

AADFive Steps President Trump can take to Advance Religious Freedom

By Kelly Shackelford

 In the aftermath of President Obama’s destructive and oppressive assaults on America’s religious freedom as set forth in the Constitution of the United States of America, America needs to restore and heal the nation’s foremost freedom, the free exercise of religion, as a foundational stronghold for all other freedoms… this will require deliberate policy acts that reaffirm Constitutional guarantees that have been purposefully trampled upon by the hostile acts of President Obama. (Gospelbbq)

During his campaign, candidate Donald Trump spoke out against the disturbingsunset church growth of government hostility to religion. Now President-elect Trump has assembled a transition team who can prepare a new administration with the potential to curb much of that hostility.

But on Jan. 20, when President Trump concludes the oath of office with the words initiated by George Washington — “So help me, God” — and takes his hand off the Bible, what specific actions can he take to give Americans a new birth of religious freedom?

I believe there are five ways Trump can restore and protect the religious liberty that is the Constitutionally-guaranteed right of all Americans.

supreme courtFirst, he can nominate federal judges who will uphold the Constitution. This starts with the U.S. Supreme Court. He can immediately nominate a justice to replace Antonin Scalia with someone equally sensitive to the sanctity and value of religious freedom. But that will still leave the Court uncomfortably divided on religious liberty protections.

With three Justices over 78 years of age, one or more vacancies are expected. Should vacancies occur, it is essential that the Court add justices who will be guardians, not threats, to the rights of all people of faith.

But this isn’t only about the Supreme Court; it also applies to the 13 federal circuit courts of appeals, with a total of 179 judges, and the 94 federal district courts with hundreds more judges. President Obama’s appointees have tilted these courts decisively in a religious freedom-hostile direction.

In 2009, only three of 13 circuits had a liberal majority; now nine of them do. As vacancies occur, the president can appoint justices who can secure for people of faith the freedom guaranteed by the Constitution.

Second, the new president can exercise executive action. The most immediate way to dochurch-a-float this is revoking President Obama’s executive orders that burden people of faith, such as orders forcing federal contractors to violate their religious beliefs or lose contracts.

Then, he can propose or support legislation such as repealing the infamous Johnson Amendment threatening churches with IRS sanctions; insisting on passage of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) protecting freedom for Americans to dissent over matters such as marriage and sexuality without fear of punishment; and repealing ObamaCare’s contraception and abortion mandates, which could literally bankrupt faith-based organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor. Such actions would be doable and popular.

Third, President Trump can instruct the Department of Justice to advance religiousreaching out to God freedom protection in court cases. They can file amicus briefs on the side of victims of religious discrimination.

Currently, the fourth federal circuit has a case deciding whether prayers before government meetings should be banned. Federal district courts are considering the dismissals of the Atlanta Fire Chief as well as a Georgia health official because of their private religious expression. The U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether to hear the case of a U.S. Marine court-martialed for refusing to remove an inspirational scripture verse from her workstation. Briefs from the administration could help such victims get justice and set precedents to protect other Americans.

Fourth, Trump’s personnel decisions could also play a major role in safeguarding religious freedom. Our federal government desperately needs agency leaders who will develop and strengthen pro-religious freedom policies.cropped-colorado-sunset.jpg

What a tremendous win for religious freedom it would be to have tolerant leaders in the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, to say nothing of the departments of Labor and Education. And, of course, there is the military.

Politically correct bureaucrats in federal agencies have been treating religious freedom as an afterthought at best, and trampling it underfoot at worst. This culture of intolerance has to stop, and that means a change in personnel. This is something that President Trump as Commander-in-Chief could solve quickly.

Finally, Trump should use the bully pulpit of the presidency to speak out for religious freedom for all Americans. President Obama has paid lip service to “freedom of worship” while downplaying the Constitution’s words, “free exercise of religion” — and often equating faith with discrimination. In contrast, President Trump can use the White House to educate Americans on their right to live out their faith in peace with all other citizens.

Our first president, George Washington, declared that “religion and morality are indispensable supports” of national greatness. Our 45th president can do the same and revive that vital affirmation of our first freedom — religious liberty.

*****

Kelly Shackelford is President and CEO of First Liberty Institute, the nation’s largest legal organization solely dedicated to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

Article from The Hill. http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-administration/307018-5-steps-president-trump-can-take-to-advance-religious

 

Posted in All-Encompassing Gospel, Church and State, Worldview/Culture, X-Americana, Z-Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Review of Obama’s Hostility to Freedom of Religion

expressionismAmerica’s Most Biblically-Hostile U. S.nazi boot on church President (Theologian in Chief)

By David Barton

When one observes President Obama’s unwillingness to accommodate America’s four-century long religious conscience protection through his attempts to require Catholics to go against their own doctrines and beliefs, one is tempted to say that he is anti-Catholic. But that characterization would not be correct. Although he has recently singled out EmilyCarr-Indian-Church-1929Catholics, he has equally targeted traditional Protestant beliefs over the past four years. So since he has attacked Catholics and Protestants, one is tempted to say that he is anti-Christian. But that, too, would be inaccurate. He has been equally disrespectful in his appalling treatment of religious Jews in general and Israel in particular. So perhaps the most accurate description of his antipathy toward Catholics, Protestants, religious Jews, and the Jewish nation would be to characterize him as anti-Biblical. And then when his hostility toward Biblical people of faith is contrasted with his preferential treatment of Muslims and Muslim nations, it further strengthens the accuracy of the anti-Biblical descriptor. In fact, there have been numerous clearly documented times when his pro-Islam positions have been the cause of his anti-Biblical actions.

church-a-floatListed below in chronological order are (1) numerous records of his attacks on Biblical persons or organizations; (2) examples of the hostility toward Biblical faith that have become evident in the years of the Obama-led military; (3) a listing of his open attacks on Biblical values; and finally (4) a listing of numerous incidents of his preferential deference for Islam’s activities and positions, including letting his Islamic advisors guide and influence his hostility toward people of Biblical faith.

President Obama set the tone early on for his administration and other government agencies to be freely and openly hostile to particular religious entities he deemed inferior to his own religious and political beliefs.

1. Obama’s Intentional Acts of Hostility toward People of Biblical faith:

  • December 2009-Present – The annual White House Christmas cards, rather than focusing on Christmas or faith, instead highlight things such as the family dogs. And the White House Christmas tree ornaments include figures such as Mao Tse-Tung and a drag queen. [1]
  • May 2016 – President Obama appoints a transgender to the Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships — an act of overt disdain and hostility toward traditional faith religions. [2]
  • September 2015 – For White House and State Department dinners, the president deliberately invites guests that he knows will be offensive to the Pope and who openly opposed his message, but he and the State Department very carefully avoid inviting guests that oppose or would offended the dictators of countries such as Cuba and China. [3]
  • June 2013 – The Obama Department of Justice defunds a Young Marines chapter in Louisiana because their oath mentioned God, and another youth program because it permits a voluntary student-led prayer. [4]
  • February 2013 – The Obama Administration announces that the rights of religious conscience for individuals will not be protected under the Affordable Care Act. [5]
  • January 2013 – Pastor Louie Giglio is pressured to remove himself from praying at the inauguration after it is discovered he once preached a sermon supporting the Biblical definition of marriage.[6]
  • February 2012 – The Obama administration forgives student loans in exchange for public service, but announces it will no longer forgive student loans if the public service is related to religion. [7]
  • January 2012 – The Obama administration argues that the First Amendment provides no protection for churches and synagogues in hiring their pastors and rabbis. [8]
  • December 2011 – The Obama administration denigrates other countries’ religious beliefs as an obstacle to radical homosexual rights. [9]
  • November 2011 – President Obama opposes inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day Prayer in the WWII Memorial. [10]
  • November 2011 – Unlike previous presidents, Obama studiously avoids any religious references in his Thanksgiving speech. [11]
  • August 2011 – The Obama administration releases its new health care rules that override religious conscience protections for medical workers in the areas of abortion and contraception. [12]
  • April 2011 – For the first time in American history, Obama urges passage of a non-discrimination law that does not contain hiring protections for religious groups, forcing religious organizations to hire according to federal mandates without regard to the dictates of their own faith, thus eliminating conscience protection in hiring. [13]
  • February 2011 – Although he filled posts in the State Department, for more than two years Obama did not fill the post of religious freedom ambassador, an official that works against religious persecution across the world; he filled it only after heavy pressure from the public and from Congress. [14]
  • January 2011 – After a federal law was passed to transfer a WWI Memorial in the Mojave Desert to private ownership, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the cross in the memorial could continue to stand, but the Obama administration refused to allow the land to be transferred as required by law, and refused to allow the cross to be re-erected as ordered by the Court. [15]
  • November 2010 – Obama misquotes the National Motto, saying it is “E pluribus unum” rather than “In God We Trust” as established by federal law. [16]
  • October 19, 2010 – Obama begins deliberately omitting the phrase about “the Creator” when quoting the Declaration of Independence – an omission he has made on no less than seven occasions. [17]
  • May 2009 – Obama declines to host services for the National Prayer Day (a day established by federal law) at the White House. [18]
  • April 2009 – When speaking at Georgetown University, Obama orders that a monogram symbolizing Jesus’ name be covered when he is making his speech. [19]
  • April 2009 – In a deliberate act of disrespect, Obama nominated three pro-abortion ambassadors to the Vatican; of course, the pro-life Vatican rejected all three. [20]
  • February 2009 – Obama announces plans to revoke conscience protection for health workers who refuse to participate in medical activities that go against their beliefs, and fully implements the plan in February 2011. [21]
  • April 2008 – Obama speaks disrespectfully of Christians, saying they “cling to guns or religion” and have an “antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” [22]

2. Acts of Hostility from the Obama-led Military Establishment toward people of Biblical faith:

  • October 2016 – Obama threatens to veto a defense bill over religious protections contained in it.[23]
  • June 2016 – A military prayer breakfast whose speaker was highly decorated Delta Force Lt. General Jerry Boykin (ret) was cancelled because Boykin was a traditional value Christian who has voiced his support for natural marriage and his opposition to Islamic extremism. (The atheist critic behind the cancellation had complained that Boykin as a “homophobic, Islamophobic, fundamentalist Christian extremist.”)[24]
  • April 2016 – At the orders of a commander, a 33-year Air Force veteran was forcibly and physically removed by four other airmen because he attempted to use the word “God” in a retirement speech.[25]
  • February 2016 – After a complaint was received, a Bible was removed from a display inside a Veterans Clinic.[26]
  • March 2015 – A decorated Navy chaplain was prohibited from fulfilling his duty of comforting the family (or any member of the unit) after the loss of a sailor because it was feared that he would say something about faith and God. He was even banned from the base on the day of the sailor’s memorial service. [27]
  • March 2015 – A highly decorated Navy SEAL chaplain was relieved of duty for providing counseling that contained religious views on things such as faith, marriage, and sexuality. [28]
  • June 2014 – Official U. S. government personnel, both civilian and military, in Bahrain (a small Arabic nation near Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran) must wear clothing that facilitates the religious observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. [29]
  • March 2014 – Maxell Air Force Base suddenly bans Gideons from handing out Bibles to willing recruits, a practice that had been occurring for years previously. [30]
  • December 2013 – A naval facility required that two nativity scenes — scenes depicting the event that caused Christmas to be declared a national federal holiday — be removed from the base dining hall and be confined to the base chapel, thus disallowing the open public acknowledgment of this national federal holiday. [30]
  • December 2013 – An Air Force base that allowed various public displays ordered the removal of one simply because it contained religious content. [32]
  • October 2013 – A counter-intelligence briefing at Fort Hood tells soldiers that evangelical Christians are a threat to Americans and that for a soldier to donate to such a group “was punishable under military regulations.” [33]
  • October 2013 – Catholic priests hired to serve as military chaplains are prohibited from performing Mass services at base chapels during the government financial shutdown. When they offered to freely do Mass for soldiers, without regard to whether or not the chaplains were receiving pay, they are still denied permission to do so. [34]
  • October 2013 – The Air Force Academy, in response to a complaint from Mikey Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation, makes “so help me God” optional in cadets’ honor oath. [35]
  • August 2013 – A Department of Defense military training manual teaches soldiers that people who talk about “individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place” are “extremists.” It also lists the Founding Fathers — those “colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule” — as examples of those involved in “extremist ideologies and movements.” [36]
  • August 2013 – A Senior Master Sergeant was removed from his position and reassigned because he told his openly lesbian squadron commander that she should not punish a staff sergeant who expressed his views in favor of traditional marriage. [37]
  • August 2013 – The military does not provide heterosexual couples specific paid leave to travel to a state just for the purpose of being married, but it did extend these benefits to homosexual couples who want to marry, thus giving them preferential treatment not available to heterosexuals. [38]
  • August 2013 – The Air Force, in the midst of having launched a series of attacks against those expressing traditional religious or moral views, invited a drag queen group to perform at a base. [39]
  • July 2013 – When an Air Force sergeant with years of military service questioned a same-sex marriage ceremony performed at the Air Force Academy’s chapel, he received a letter of reprimand telling him that if he disagreed, he needed to get out of the military. His current six-year reenlistment was then reduced to only one-year, with the notification that he “be prepared to retire at the end of this year.” [40]
  • July 2013 – An Air Force chaplain who posted a website article on the importance of faith and the origin of the phrase “There are no atheists in foxholes” was officially ordered to remove his post because some were offended by the use of that famous World War II phrase.[41]
  • June 2013 – The U. S. Air Force, in consultation with the Pentagon, removed an inspirational painting that for years has been hanging at Mountain Home Air Force Base because its title was “Blessed Are The Peacemakers” — a phrase from Matthew 5:9 in the Bible. [42]
  • June 2013 – The Obama administration “strongly objects” to a Defense Authorization amendment to protect the constitutionally-guaranteed religious rights of soldiers and chaplains, claiming that it would have an “adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment.” [43]
  • June 2013 – At a joint base in New Jersey, a video was made, based on a Super Bowl commercial, to honor First Sergeants. It stated: “On the eighth day, God looked down on His creation and said, ‘I need someone who will take care of the Airmen.’ So God created a First Sergeant.” Because the video mentioned the word “God,” the Air Force required that it be taken down. [44]
  • June 2013 – An Army Master Sergeant is reprimanded, threatened with judicial action, and given a bad efficiency report, being told he was “no longer a team player,” because he voiced his support of traditional marriage at his own promotion party. [45]
  • May 2013 – The Pentagon announces that “Air Force members are free to express their personal religious beliefs as long as it does not make others uncomfortable. “Proselytizing (inducing someone to convert to one’s faith) goes over that line,” [46] affirming if a sharing of faith makes someone feel uncomfortable that it could be a court-marital offense [47] — the military equivalent of a civil felony.
  • May 2013 – An Air Force officer was actually made to remove a personal Bible from his own desk because it “might” appear that he was condoning the particular religion to which he belonged. [48]
  • April 2013 – Officials briefing U.S. Army soldiers placed “Evangelical Christianity” and “Catholicism” in a list that also included Al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas as examples of “religious extremism.” [49]
  • April 2013 – The U.S. Army directs troops to scratch off and paint over tiny Scripture verse references that for decades had been forged into weapon scopes. [50]
  • April 2013 – The Air Force creates a “religious tolerance” policy but consults only a militant atheist group to do so — a group whose leader has described military personnel who are religious as ‘spiritual rapists’ and ‘human monsters’ [51] and who also says that soldiers who proselytize are guilty of treason and sedition and should be punished to hold back a “tidal wave of fundamentalists.” [52]
  • January 2013 – President Obama announced his opposition to a provision in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act protecting the rights of conscience for military chaplains. [53]
  • June 2012 – Bibles for the American military have been printed in every conflict since the American Revolution, but the Obama Administration revokes the long-standing U. S. policy of allowing military service emblems to be placed on those military Bibles. [54]
  • May 2012 – The Obama administration opposed legislation to protect the rights of conscience for military chaplains who do not wish to perform same-sex marriages in violation of their strongly-held religious beliefs. [55]
  • April 2012 – A checklist for Air Force Inns will no longer include ensuring that a Bible is available in rooms for those who want to use them. [56]
  • February 2012 – The U. S. Military Academy at West Point disinvites three star Army general and decorated war hero Lieutenant General William G. (“Jerry”) Boykin (retired) from speaking at an event because he is an outspoken Christian. [57]
  • February 2012 – The Air Force removes “God” from the patch of Rapid Capabilities Office (the word on the patch was in Latin: Dei). [58]
  • February 2012 – The Army ordered Catholic chaplains not to read a letter to parishioners that their archbishop asked them to read. [59]
  • November 2011 – The Air Force Academy rescinds support for Operation Christmas Child, a program to send holiday gifts to impoverished children across the world, because the program is run by a Christian charity. [60]
  • November 2011 – President Obama opposes inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day Prayer in the WWII Memorial. [61]
  • November 2011 – Even while restricting and disapprobating Christian religious expressions, the Air Force Academy pays $80,000 to add a Stonehenge-like worship center for pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans at the Air Force Academy. [62]
  • September 2011 – Air Force Chief of Staff prohibits commanders from notifying airmen of programs and services available to them from chaplains. [63]
  • September 2011 – The Army issues guidelines for Walter Reed Medical Center stipulating that “No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading materials and/or facts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.” [64]
  • August 2011 – The Air Force stops teaching the Just War theory to officers in California because the course is taught by chaplains and is based on a philosophy introduced by St. Augustine in the third century AD – a theory long taught by civilized nations across the world (except now, America). [65]
  • June 2011 – The Department of Veterans Affairs forbids references to God and Jesus during burial ceremonies at Houston National Cemetery. [66]
  • January 2010 – Because of “concerns” raised by the Department of Defense, tiny Bible verse references that had appeared for decades on scopes and gunsights were removed. [67]

3. Obama and Acts of Hostility toward Biblical Values:

  • October 2015 – The administration attempts to pick opponents for court cases dealing with Obamacare contraception mandate. [68]
  • March 2014 – The Obama administration seeks funding for every type of sex-education — except that which reflects traditional moral values. [69]
  • August 2013 – Non-profit charitable hospitals, especially faith-based ones, will face large fines or lose their tax-exempt status if they don’t comply with new strangling paperwork requirements related to giving free treatment to poor clients who do not have Obamacare insurance coverage. [70] Ironically, the first hospital in America was founded as a charitable institution in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin, and its logo was the Good Samaritan, with Luke 10:35 inscribed below him: “Take care of him, and I will repay thee,” being designed specifically to offer free medical care to the poor. [71] Benjamin Franklin’s hospital would likely be fined unless he placed more resources and funds into paperwork rather than helping the poor under the new faith-hostile policy of the Obama administration.
  • August 2013 – USAID, a federal government agency, shut down a conference in South Korea the night before it was scheduled to take place because some of the presentations were not pro-abortion but instead presented information on abortion complications, including the problems of “preterm births, mental health issues, and maternal mortality” among women giving birth who had previous abortions. [72]
  • June 2013 – The Obama Administration finalizes requirements that under the Obamacare insurance program, employers must make available abortion-causing drugs, regardless of the religious conscience objections of many employers and even despite the directive of several federal courts to protect the religious conscience of employers. [73]
  • April 2013 – The United States Agency for Internal Development (USAID), an official foreign policy agency of the U.S. government, begins a program to train homosexual activists in various countries around the world to overturn traditional marriage and anti-sodomy laws, targeting first those countries with strong Catholic influences, including Ecuador, Honduras, and Guatemala. [74]
  • December 2012 – Despite having campaigned to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, President Obama once again suspends the provisions of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which requires the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the American Embassy there. [75]
  • July 2012 – The Pentagon, for the first time, allows service members to wear their uniforms while marching in a parade – specifically, a gay pride parade in San Diego. [76]
  • October 2011 – The Obama administration eliminates federal grants to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for their extensive programs that aid victims of human trafficking because the Catholic Church is anti-abortion. [77]
  • September 2011 – The Pentagon directs that military chaplains may perform same-sex marriages at military facilities in violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. [78]
  • July 2011 – Obama allows homosexuals to serve openly in the military, reversing a policy originally instituted by George Washington in March 1778. [79]
  • March 2011 – The Obama administration refuses to investigate videos showing Planned Parenthood helping alleged sex traffickers get abortions for victimized underage girls. [80]
  • February 2011 – Obama directs the Justice Department to stop defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act. [81]
  • September 2010 – The Obama administration tells researchers to ignore a judge’s decision striking down federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. [82]
  • August 2010 – The Obama administration Cuts funding for 176 abstinence education programs. [83]
  • July 2010 – The Obama administration uses federal funds in violation of federal law to get Kenya to change its constitution to include abortion. [84]
  • September 16, 2009 – The Obama administration appoints as EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, who asserts that society should “not tolerate” any “private beliefs,” including religious beliefs, if they may negatively affect homosexual “equality.” [85]
  • July 2009 – The Obama administration illegally extends federal benefits to same-sex partners of Foreign Service and Executive Branch employees, in direction violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. [86]
  • May 2009 – The White House budget eliminates all funding for abstinence-only education and replaces it with “comprehensive” sexual education, repeatedly proven to increase teen pregnancies and abortions. [87] He continues the deletion in subsequent budgets. [88]
  • May 2009 – Obama officials assemble a terrorism dictionary calling pro-life advocates violent and charging that they use racism in their “criminal” activities. [89]
  • March 2009 – The Obama administration shut out pro-life groups from attending a White House-sponsored health care summit. [90]
  • March 2009 – Obama orders taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research. [91]
  • March 2009 – Obama gave $50 million for the UNFPA, the UN population agency that promotes abortion and works closely with Chinese population control officials who use forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations. [92]
  • January 2009 – Obama lifts restrictions on U.S. government funding for groups that provide abortion services or counseling abroad, forcing taxpayers to fund pro-abortion groups that either promote or perform abortions in other nations. [93]
  • January 2009 – President Obama’s nominee for deputy secretary of state asserts that American taxpayers are required to pay for abortions and that limits on abortion funding are unconstitutional. [94]

4. Obama’s Acts of Preferentialism for Islam:

  • April – September 2015 – The administration negotiates a deal to stop economic sanctions of Iran because of nuclear power development, despite the warnings and concern of Israel. [95]
  • February 2012 – The Obama administration makes effulgent apologies for Korans being burned by the U. S. military, [96] but when Bibles were burned by the military, numerous reasons were offered why it was the right thing to do. [97]
  • October 2011 – Obama’s Muslim advisers block Middle Eastern Christians’ access to the White House. [98]
  • August 2010 – Obama speaks with great praise of Islam and condescendingly of Christianity. [99]
  • August 2010 – Obama went to great lengths to speak out on multiple occasions on behalf of building an Islamic mosque at Ground Zero, while at the same time he was silent about a Christian church being denied permission to rebuild at that location. [100]
  • April 2010 – Christian leader Franklin Graham is disinvited from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer Event because of complaints from the Muslim community. [101]
  • April 2010 – The Obama administration requires rewriting of government documents and a change in administration vocabulary to remove terms that are deemed offensive to Muslims, including jihad, jihadists, terrorists, radical Islamic, etc. [102]
  • May 2009 – While Obama does not host any National Day of Prayer event at the White House, he does host White House Iftar dinners in honor of Ramadan. [103]
  • 2010 – While every White House traditionally issues hundreds of official proclamations and statements on numerous occasions, this White House avoids traditional Biblical holidays and events but regularly recognizes major Muslim holidays, as evidenced by its 2010 statements on Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha. [104]

Many of these actions are literally unprecedented – this is the first time they have happened in four centuries of American history. The hostility of President Obama toward Biblical faith and values is without equal from any previous American president. For the first time in American history religious freedom has been reduced according to Pew Research Studies measuring worldwide statistics.

*****

Article from www.wallbuilders.com To see references (1 – 104) go to Wallbuilders website. http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=106938

(Theologian in Chief) was added by Gospelbbq.

Posted in All-Encompassing Gospel, Church and State, Worldview/Culture, X-Americana, Z-Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Emerging New World and the End of the 20th Century

science experimentThe Left’s Anti-Christian Revolution is Being Challenged

tax the richBy Carlos Bernardino

When one witnesses the delusional fascist-inspired-offspring and ill-informed neo-Marxists roaming the streets in disruptive and violent protest, it is easy to see the counter-revolution’s time has come. And it is unfolding in Europe as well as the United States. No longer do “the people” care to see their country’s society and cultures infiltrated with violent anti-Christian movements — with increasingly hostile ideologies that promote lawlessness, hatred for goodness, divisiveness, and the love of evil. freedom rallyThe people have had enough of the lefts repeated failures and their anti-Christian, humanistic ideologies that have plagued the Western-World for several decades. The people are now beginning to take steps to push-back and change their destiny. A growing sentiment to the right in much of Europe, along with England’s Brexit vote, and president-elect Donald Trump’s victory are fast becoming a lightning-rod for helping to facilitate that change on both sides of the Atlantic.fall lake

In France, Ms. Marine Le Pen of the right-leaning National Front party is now being taken more seriously as a political force in her own presidential bid. With the success of Trump’s election in America, mainstream French news outlets are now asking; could it happen here? Ms. Le Pen said, “It shows that when the people really want something, they can get it…When the people want to take their destiny in hand, they can do it, despite this ceaseless campaign of denigration and infantilization…It’s the emergence of a new world, it’s the end of the 20th century.” Former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said, “Ms. Pen could win in France.”

firewaterFar right politicians from the Balkans to the Netherlands have greeted the election of Donald Trump with great enthusiasm and a hope for a radical change in their own country’s political landscape’s. Along with a heightened nationalism and anti-globalism, they envision a more common-sense approach to the senseless immigration policies that are damaging the security and safety of its citizenry, and bringing violence to their streets, neighborhoods and communities.Sailing - JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race - Cowes

Office seeker, Geert Wilders of the Netherlands saw Mr. Trump’s victory as a positive and hopeful sign for his own political aspirations, proclaiming a revolutionary new order was born this week. Mr. Wilders, who is the leader of the Dutch far-right Freedom Party called Trump’s victory “a historic victory! — a revolution! — we will return our country to the Dutch!” In an op-ed piece, Mr. Wilders said “We are witnessing the same uprising on both sides of the Atlantic.” Mr. Wilders of the Netherlands has attended several Trump rallies and his (Dutch) Freedom Party is also allied with Ms. Le Pen’s (French) National Front party in the European Parliament.

abstract treeEven far-right leaders like Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary saw the news of Trump’s victory as a positive vindication of his own political policies. As well as Italy’s Beppe Grillo, leader of the Five Star Movement who wrote about his critics; “They don’t realize that millions of people already no longer read their newspapers and no longer watch their television.” In Austria, Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the Freedom Party and presidential candidate said, “The left and the corrupt establishment, which considers itself so superior, are being punished blow by blow by the voters and voted out of various positions of responsibility.”

Through the changes occurring throughout Europe, Germany’s leftist chancellor, Angela Merkel, has become the last holdout for the old liberalized Europe. Merkel has been under pressure from a German form of “populism” and the hard-right, Alternative for Germany party who have won a string of victories in state elections there. In addition to the difficult challenges negotiating Britain’s vote to exit the European Union, Germany has had several other challenges such as, low growth, a continuing stream of refugees, and an increasingly angry electorate, which after last year’s “migrant crisis” weakened Merkel politically. Ms. Merkel has been able to keep Europe united on the sanctions of the Kremlin for its seizure of Crimea and fighting in east Ukraine; however, the admission of hundreds of thousands of (mostly) Muslim refugees weakened her both at home and with Central and Eastern European countries. Germany remains dependent on the American military and intelligence for its national security, and yet, the government continually postpones the costly task of strengthening the Eurozone. For Ms. Merkel, the Trump victory came as a personal blow because she has had a mutually admiring relationship with Hillary Clinton and because it will likely damage the already tarnished legacy of President Barak Obama. Ms. Merkel congratulated Mr. Trump for his victory, but then laid down rules for her cooperation with the United States, something she hasn’t done publicly with other European nations.

For decades, the left has incrementally taken its anti-Christian humanist ideology as far as they can, or as far as the people have allowed. It is being recognized by many that leftist policies are suicidal and detrimental to the betterment of societal progress. “Progressivism” in fact, becomes more regressive when applied. Liberalism actually swallows-up and destroys much of liberty. And, absolute tolerance actually promotes more intolerance and more violence. It is the anti-Christian nature of leftism that eventually becomes the antithesis of true freedom, liberty, and righteousness. And that is because true freedom, liberty, and righteousness are found only in Christ and His standards; which can only be sustained by having government laid upon Christ’s shoulders; that is, mankind is to realize his delegated authority as under Christ.

America’s “republican” (representative) government was initially constructed with just such an ideal in mind (although imperfectly). It was a “form” of democracy, but not a pure democracy (as the founders despised a pure democracy), which they referred to as “mob-ocracy.” (Democrats love this!)

Of course, today’s Democrat Party eschews the idea of government under God, but prefers the image of democracy as mob-ocracy as we see demonstrated in the streets by their mobs, protests, and violence towards their communities, property, and fellow citizens. They tend to see themselves as society’s hip-revolutionists, carrying-on a mythical American tradition of, change for the sake of change. However, The American Revolution was a different kind of revolution. It was more of a conservative Christian revolution than a mindless radical revolution. In fact, at the time, the English called it the “Puritan Revolution.”

So, today’s leftist democrat is not carrying-on any sort of American “spirit” of revolution simply by protesting and calling for some sort of neo-Marxist change. They are actually the antithesis of the American Revolution. They are closer in spirit to the insane and bloody French Revolution than anything American.

For today’s so-called liberalism, in contrast with classical liberalism, instead of searching the Christian inspired writings and philosophies of Augustine, they prefer Plato because his philosophy was communistic. Instead of embracing the Christian existentialism of the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, they embrace the atheistic existentialism of Friedrich Nietzsche (god is dead). Instead of building upon the Biblical, free-market inspired capitalist economic ideas, they look to avowed atheists like Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes who promoted anti-capital, consumption oriented economies. Instead of studying the beauty of the Song of Solomon for their sexual philosophy, they turn to the Marquis de Sade, an avid atheist from whom every sort of sexual deviancy and violent behavior is but a natural desire and therefore to be encouraged. (Sade is where we get the term sadism). Since the 60’s sexual revolution, de Sade’s philosophy of sexual deviancy is incrementally becoming society’s cultural norm. This has not brought us an “everything is beautiful — anything goes” culture; it has instead brought us William Blake’s deviant “Marriage of Heaven and Hell.” Instead of searching the Scriptures or seeking the advice of a mature, knowledgeable clergy for personal counseling, it is more common to seek out a Freudian inspired psychologist. Sigmund Freud was also an avid atheist who sought to create a system that opposed what the Bible taught. Freud made a deliberative, purposeful effort at creating a psychological system that was opposed to the Scriptures. That is how much he hated God and Christianity in particular. Instead of looking to Jesus Christ and the Scriptures for their morals, ethics, and values, today’s so-called liberals, look to the Humanist Manifesto and to the vain humanistic philosophies of some of the most anti-Christian philosophers in history. Some, will even go so far as to say, this is what Jesus really meant to convey to the world!?!

Liberalism’s anti-Christian philosophies and influence has promoted a war of the natural man against the supernatural man — and the natural man’s desire is, to be his own god. In tracing modern liberalism’s philosophies and philosophers, it seems many of  liberalism’s gods and heroes are typically the most extreme of the god-hating philosophers and the most violent, tyrannical rulers – and there are plenty of them to consult if you choose to do so.

Since the 1930’s, the American Democrat Party has adopted an anti-Constitutional approach (To hide this approach they later created a ’living-constitution” interpretation). Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) had no use for the American Constitution and saw it as an impediment to his desire to re-create a new American government – the New Deal. His policy ideas came out of England’s “Fabian Society,” most notably, John Maynard Keynes and his ideas, for what we today refer to as, “Keynesianism” or Keynesian Economics. Keynes himself was not actually an economist; he was a mathematician. Fabianism (in England) and/or Keynesianism were begun as economic halfway-measures towards bringing in Socialism. And, Socialism was essentially begun as a halfway-measure into ushering in a future utopia of communism. Early on in the 20th century, the press and academia in America fell hook-line-and-sinker for the Russian utopian dream of “communism” and also for Mussolini’s fascism (Italy). Since the FDR era, America has been struggling with this infiltration of Keynesianism, Socialism, and fascism in our economics and politics; mostly from the Democratic left in varying degrees, but sometimes from Republican moderates and those willing to compromise with leftists as well. Today, we continue to operate in the Keynesian mode, as does most of the western democracies, while incrementally moving (progressivism) towards the (supposed) socialist ideal. This has been the political struggle between the left and the right since the FDR era. But, liberalism may have worn-out its welcome — it’s time push back hard.

What we are witnessing in the streets of America in the post-election aftermath is a widespread display of ignorance; an ignorance of American exceptionalism and of the world’s economic history, past and present. But, by the recent movements in much of the western world, the tide appears to be turning again. Let’s make the most of it and continue to push back Keynesianism, fascism, and the tyranny of  leftism.

*****

Posted in All-Encompassing Gospel, Church and State, Law of Christ, Worldview/Culture, X-Americana, Z-Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Refuse to Accept Curses for Comfort

Darwin treeRefuse to Be ComfortedDNA

By Bojidar Marinov‎

“Come on.

Now.

I hear you’re feeling down.

I can ease your pain…”

(Pink Floyd, “Comfortably Numb”)

I refuse to be comforted. I refuse to listen to sermons that assure me that “whatever happens, God is in control.” I refuse to read and listen to pastors, authors, and leaders that comfort me with God’s peace when everywhere around me I see God’s war.

expressionismWhen they banned prayer in schools, the Christians in this country were assured that in these “last days” that’s what was expected to happen. They were supposed to take comfort in the fact that Jesus was coming soon. He didn’t. And while Christians were learning to be comforted with this open attack against their faith, Roe v. Wade came. Again, words of comfort followed. Meanwhile, tens of millions of unborn children died in this government-sanctioned sacrifice of infants. Only a precious few brave men and women stood against it; the majority were comforted that “whatever happens, God is in control.”

The pulpits never gave a call for action.

Long before that, the Federal government took over the control of our money supply.cash As a result, millions of fathers and mothers in this country saw their lifetime savings disappear in financial meltdowns where the value of their labor was offered in a massive burnt offering to the Mammon of the centralized state. Again, we were all comforted by our pastors and leaders that “God is in control,” and “He will provide for us.” Moral and industrious people worked more, made less, and the wicked kept devouring everything in a Keynesian orgy of debt and (capital) consumption. The pulpits again comforted but never gave a call for action.

They started cracking down on Christians by passing laws to silence Christianity: “Hate speech,” — “separation of church and state” and all the other (intimidating) mantras. In a nation that was founded to proclaim the blessings of Christ, Christ was now pushed out of public life. Pastors and authors and theologians responded by . . . more comforting words. “See? He must be coming soon! 1968! No, 1988! 1989! 1996! Have comfort!”

No call for action.

Christian children were ridiculed and ostracized in schools and universities. Their faith was mocked by professors who knew nothing about their fields of study but knew everything about Marx’s Communist Manifesto. The churches started losing their young men and women by tens of thousands every year. Colleges and universities that were established to nourish and expand the Christian religion and knowledge were now openly enemies of Christ (antichrists).

Again, the pulpits were silent. Except for a few comforting words. God surely must be in control.

We don’t even notice anymore when things like that happen. We are so comforted that we don’t even think of raising our voice in protest anymore. We surely value our peace and comfort—that’s what our leaders have taught us.

We have become comfortably numb.

But I refuse to be comforted. I refuse to believe in peace when I see God at war. I refuse to believe that God makes all these things happen only to teach me that He is in control and nothing else. I refuse to believe that these are blessings when I know very well they are curses. And I refuse to accept curses for comfort.

The Bible tells me that God teaches my hands to war. And my hands are itching for a fight. I don’t want to sit idly-by when the heathens are taking over God’s earth. I want to be out there defending it. I want my pastors and leaders to lead me, not comfort me. I want them to teach me to fight and overcome. There must be instructions for victory in the Bible. I mean, real victory, not abstract dreamy “victory” of being rescued in clouds. When we lose elections and a Communist, homosexual, or a Muslim gets elected, I want my pastor to tell me how we can elect a Biblically-qualified candidate next time. When they pass a law to ban preaching the truths of the Bible, I want my pastor to teach me how we can fight and repeal that law.

When they build an abortion clinic in my town, I want the pastors to lead their congregations in protest and teach them how to shut it down. When the liberal media attacks my faith, I want my pastor to teach me how to reply and present Christ in such a way as to make them helplessly gnash their teeth in their inability to present a coherent answer. When my child is assaulted by Marxist professors in college, I want my pastor to equip me and my child with comprehensive Biblical worldview that brings down their vain imaginations.

Moses didn’t comfort the Hebrews in Egypt. He made them uncomfortable. He made them realize what they were missing: Liberty. He gave them a sense of urgency, not comfort: “Eat it with the shoes on your feet and with your staffs in your hands. No time for comfort!” He didn’t comfort them in the wilderness. He made them fight. No words of comfort came out of his mouth; no messages soothing their consciences. God is in control, he said in Deuteronomy 28, but that control isn’t necessarily good for you. It will be a curse on you and your children if you become comfortably numb. You better never become too comforted.

The Angel of the Lord didn’t comfort Gideon when he was threshing wheat. “What are you doing, mighty warrior? Hiding like a rat?” Elijah did not comfort his generation; he asked many uncomfortable questions: “Who you are going to serve, God or Baal?” The prophets did not deliver messages of comfort to Israel; they called Israel to war, to action, to repentance.

This great country, the United States of America, was not founded on sermons of comfort. The Pilgrims and the Puritans didn’t stay back in England and find comfort in the fact that “whatever happens, God is in control.” They took action. The political architect of the American Revolution, John Witherspoon, President of the College of New Jersey and signer of the Declaration of Independence, considered by most people of his time to be the “spiritual father” of the colonies, did not comfort his spiritual children; to the contrary, he worked tirelessly to instill a message of discomfort and urgency in them:

There is not a single instance in history, in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire. If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage.

Had he comforted them, the USA could have never been founded. And we wouldn’t have the freedoms we have today.

I want to have the same spirit as the Founders. And therefore, I want my pastor to be like John Witherspoon. Don’t comfort me; teach me to fight and win.

Many pastors I have talked to complain of the growing influence of “para-church” organizations. No wonder. If churches give no message of victory, someone else will. And they will gain influence. People follow leaders, not drug-traffickers. And messages of comfort and peace in times of discomfort and war are nothing more than anesthetic, a narcotic to escape reality; and those who preach comfort and peace when there is no comfort and peace are spiritual drug-traffickers, not spiritual leaders.

Therefore, I refuse to be comforted.

I don’t find comfort in the fact that God is in control. It makes me shiver. If we as Christians are silent, passive, and compromising; His control will bring down judgment. His control will make pagans rule our land — ban preaching — take our children — and destroy our property. Exactly what is happening now! I can’t find comfort in God’s judgment; and a pastor who preaches comfort in the face of God’s judgment is not doing God’s will. I refuse to be comforted. I want to be taught to turn the tide; I don’t want another doze of anesthetic.

I refuse to be comforted.

*****

Article from wwwamericanvision.org

 

Posted in All-Encompassing Gospel, Church and State, Theology/Philosophy, Z-Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Morality, Tolerance, Diversity, and Borders

simon saysWho We Are As a People–

The Syrian Refugee Question

By Edward J. Erler, Ph.D.

(Co-author, The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration)U.N. Building

Nothing has provoked the ire of America’s bipartisan political class as much as Donald Trump’s recent proposal that the U.S. should suspend the acceptance of refugees from Syria and other terrorist-supporting nations until we find a way of perfecting the screening process to ensure that we are not admitting terrorists or terror sympathizers. On its face this proposal was not unreasonable. Most of these refugees do not have adequate documentation, intelligence agencies do not have sufficient information to determine whether or not they have terrorist connections or intend to engage in terrorism,poverty and the heads of our security agencies have warned that active terrorists will inevitably slip through security screening cracks. Nor is it as if there was no reasonable alternative. Wouldn’t it have been better, as Trump and others have suggested, to address the refugee crisis by setting up security zones in Syria or other Middle Eastern countries where refugees could find safety and where Muslim nations might feel obligated to help finance their care? In addition to making sense from a national security perspective, this would also have been a more humane solution, since it would not have uprooted the refugees from their homelands and injected them into an alien way of life.

fall fashions 2Why are our political leaders, despite these facts, willing to expose the nation to such potential danger?—a danger that is surely greater than we now imagine. One only has to observe the results of the refugee crisis in Europe to see what is in store for the American homeland. Yet the Obama administration, following anti libertyChancellor Angela Merkel’s government in Germany, is adamant that the number of Syrian refugees—and Muslim refugees generally—must increase substantially. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who recently named Merkel as her favorite world leader, has frequently indicated that acceptance of refugees is an important reaffirmation of America’s commitment to diversity. It is a reaffirmation of “who we are as Americans,” she has said, as if the American character is defined by its constitution-burning-150x150unlimited openness to diversity. To show the bipartisan nature of this commitment, Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has used the same phrase to explain his approval of the refugee program. In both cases, the clear implication is that America’s commitment to diversity outweighs considerations of national security. Indeed, in what can only be called a self-willed delusion, proponents of the refugee program seem to believe that their commitment to diversity makes us stronger and more secure as a nation, and that any opposition to the program is racist, xenophobic, and most particularly Islamophobic.

Consider what this means. Germans have been warned that it is their duty tofall fashions accommodate themselves to newly arrived refugees and not to place politically incorrect demands upon them—that is, not to demand that the refugees adapt to German ways. Some have advised German women in particular that if they don’t wish to be harassed by male refugees, they should cover their heads and be accompanied outside of the home by a male. Will this be a part of America’s politically correct future?

Merkel, like Obama, bases her immigration policy on a globalist view of the world. Secretary of State John Kerry propounded this view in a recent commencement address, warning Americans that we must prepare ourselves for a “borderless world.” But a world without borders is a world without citizens, and a world without citizens is a world without the rights and privileges that attach exclusively to citizenship. Rights and liberties exist only in separate and independent nations; they are the exclusive preserve of the nation-state. Constitutional government only succeeds in the nation-state, where the just powers of government are derived from the consent of the governed. By contrast, to see the globalist principle in practice, look at the European Union. The EU is not a constitutional government; it is an administrative state ruled by unelected bureaucrats. It attempts to do away with both borders and citizens, and it replaces rights and liberty with welfare and regulation as the objects of its administrative rule. Constitutional government—to say nothing of liberal democracy—will not be a part of the politically correct, borderless world into which so many of our political leaders wish to usher us.

How did we reach such an impasse? The answer is simple, but no less astounding for its simplicity. It has been frequently observed by competent thinkers that Americans have abandoned the morality engendered by what the Declaration of Independence called the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” The Declaration confidently proclaimed as its first principle the “self-evident” truth that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” among them “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” As part of a created (and therefore intelligible) universe, rights cannot be something private or subjective; they are part of an objective order. The idea that every right has a corresponding duty or obligation was essential to the social compact understanding of the American founding. Thus whatever was destructive of the public good or public happiness, however much it might have contributed to an individual’s private pleasures or imagined pleasures, was not a part of the “pursuit of happiness” and could be proscribed by society. Liberty was understood to be rational liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was understood to be the rational pursuit of happiness—that is to say, not only a natural right but a moral obligation as well.

Over the past century and more, this morality grounded in the American founding has been successfully eroded by Progressivism. This erosion is manifested today in the morality of value-free relativism. According to this new morality, all value judgments are equal. Reason cannot prove that one value is superior to or more beneficial than another, because values are not capable of rational analysis; they are merely idiosyncratic preferences. In this value-free universe, the only value that is “objectively” of higher rank is tolerance. Equal toleration of all values—what is called today a commitment to diversity—is the only “reasonable” position. And note that it is always called a commitment to diversity. It is a commitment because it cannot be rational in any strict sense—it exists in a value-free world from which reason has been expelled. The only support it can garner under such circumstances is the simple fact that it is preferred.

With respect to the commitment to diversity, the tolerance of those who are willing to tolerate you does not earn you much credit—it doesn’t require much of a commitment or sacrifice. If, however, you are willing to tolerate those who are pledged to kill you and destroy your way of life, tolerance represents a genuine commitment. Only such a deadly commitment confirms that tolerance is the highest value in a universe of otherwise equal values. Only such a deadly commitment signals a nation’s single-minded devotion to tolerance as the highest value by its willingness to sacrifice its sovereignty as proof of its commitment.

The common-sense citizen is forgiven for thinking this train of thought insane. But what other explanation could there be for the insistence of so many of our political leaders on risking the nation’s security—in light of what we see in Europe, one might even say their willingness to commit national suicide—by admitting refugees without regard to their hostility to our way of life and their wish to destroy us as a nation?

Note that these leaders show no such enthusiasm for admitting Christian refugees from Middle Eastern violence, or even Yazidis, who have suffered horribly from the ravages of Islamic terror. These refugees, of course, represent no danger to America. Only by admitting those who do represent a danger can we display to the world “who we are as a people”—a people willing to sacrifice ourselves to vouchsafe our commitment to tolerance.

A rational concern for our liberties as well as for national security weighs in against such reckless policies. Security experts warn that we don’t have enough homeland security agents to monitor suspected terrorists who are already in our country. If we increase the number of refugees from terrorist-supporting nations, greater security can only be provided by closer cooperation between the various security agencies and closer monitoring of the private lives of all Americans. The consequent loss of liberty will be extensive and will impact all areas of American life. This, we are told, will become the “new reality” or the “new normal,” and Americans will have to develop a “new mind-set” to deal with it. Europeans are well on their way to accepting terrorism as a daily part of their lives—surely Americans, we are told, can adapt as well. But Europeans are used to sacrificing liberties to the administrative state represented by the EU. Will Americans acquiesce so easily?

The administrative state has not yet extinguished America’s love of liberty, although it surely has made significant inroads over the years as Americans have become inured to being bullied by bureaucrats of all stripes. The constant monitoring of citizens in the name of detecting terrorism will, if allowed, turn the nation into a security state where liberties will be easily and casually sacrificed to the constant threat of terrorism. Sacrificing liberty will be the price Americans pay to accommodate refugees—in other words, it is the sacrifice we must make on the altar of political correctness.

Remarkably, many politicians and pundits have argued that the First Amendment’s guarantee of free exercise of religion prohibits Congress and the president from banning the emigration of people to the U.S. based on religion. Thus they characterized the proposal to suspend the entry of Syrian refugees and others from terrorist-supporting nations as a violation of the Constitution. But we must surely wonder how those who are not American citizens or legal resident aliens—indeed, even those who have never been present in the country—can assert rights under the Constitution. By the terms of the Constitution, free exercise of religion is one of the privileges and immunities attached to citizenship; it can hardly be said to be possessed by all those who seek refuge in, or wish to emigrate to, the United States. As a sovereign nation, it is beyond dispute that the U.S. has plenary power to determine the conditions for immigration. Except in a borderless world, it can hardly be claimed that free exercise of religion is a right possessed by all persons inhabiting the globe or even those who are potentially asylum seekers.

One condition for claiming refugee status in the Refugee Act of 1980 is religious persecution. This necessarily means that any applicant for religious asylum would have to submit to questioning about his religious beliefs and (presumably) the sincerity of those beliefs. Also, it is not beyond reason that a sovereign nation would be allowed to inquire whether the religious beliefs of an asylum seeker are compatible with the American constitutional order. Should asylum be extended to the adherents of religions that do not recognize the free exercise rights of other religions? Should those religions whose adherents refuse to pledge or give evidence that they would support free exercise be ineligible for asylum? Religion—and inquiry into religious belief—has always been part of the asylum law, and there is nothing in the Constitution that bars such inquiry on national security grounds. Indeed, a quick glance at Article I of the Constitution reveals that Congress has plenary power to “establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization.” This has always been understood—by a necessary rule of inference—to mean that Congress also has plenary power to regulate immigration. Congress has wide latitude to choose the “necessary and proper” means to accomplish this end as long as it doesn’t violate some specific prohibition of the Constitution.

To sum up, only in the perfervid imaginations of the politically correct—those who reject the idea of borders—could the Syrian refugee controversy be confused with a constitutional controversy.

Our lax policies toward illegal immigration and the virtual open-borders policy of the Obama administration represent an attempt to move toward a borderless world as well as to aggrandize the power of the administrative state. It is now widely recognized that the Immigration Act of 1965 was intentionally designed to alter the racial and ethnic mix of the population of America. It has been an overwhelming success; demographers predict that by 2040 whites of European descent will no longer be a majority, having been displaced by people of Asian, African, Latin American, and Hispanic descent. For the most part—with the notable exception of Asians—these groups have supplied a significant clientele for the administrative state as it seeks to extend its reach and magnify its power. As such, it has redounded to the benefit of the Democratic Party—the party that favors the growth and extension of administrative state power. But make no mistake: illegal immigration has always had bipartisan support. Despite the fact that illegal immigration cuts against them politically, Republicans have always favored the cheap and exploitable labor of illegal aliens.

The Democrats, of course, have gotten the best of this bargain. After three generations, Latinos vote Democratic by more than a two-thirds majority. The Republicans cannot hope to compete for the Latino vote without becoming something very close to the Democratic Party, differing only at the margins. This is something that the Republican establishment would like to do, but it finds little support among rank-and-file Republicans. If the Republicans lose the 2016 election—if a party realignment fails—the party as currently constituted will, in all likelihood, no longer be competitive in future national elections.

Perhaps more importantly, America’s open-borders policy has allowed terrorists and criminals of all stripes to enter the country at will. In addition to Islamic terror groups, MS-13—a vicious Latin American gang involved in murder for hire, drug trafficking, human smuggling, slavery, and all other manner of crime—operates openly in the U.S. Even when illegal-alien criminals are deported, they easily return to commit further crimes. Surprisingly, this issue of illegal-alien crime has become an important issue in a presidential election for the first time this year. These criminals are aided and abetted by sanctuary cities—cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities in detaining illegal-alien criminals. This policy is the most baffling policy that can be imagined, as it results in criminals being deliberately released into the public where they continue to prey on innocent citizens. It is designed to show (what else?) our tolerance.

Securing our nation’s borders with a wall and by any other means necessary is favored by a majority of Americans, but the idea is considered vulgar and unacceptable by the progressive forces of History, forces which are clearing the obstacles to a borderless world. For these forces, the march of History is inevitable and any appeal to citizens and to the nation-state is anachronistic. It is not inevitable that these forces will have their way. But because of the demographic and political changes brought on by the open-borders regime, time grows short for the American people to reassert their sovereignty—that is, to stop the self-sacrifice which the political elites of both parties have determined is necessary to satisfy the gods of political correctness—those gods who are the guardians of the diversity which defines “who we are as a people.”

*****

Edward J. Erler is professor emeritus of political science at California State University, San Bernardino. He earned his B.A. from San Jose State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. He has published numerous articles on constitutional topics in journals such as Interpretation, the Notre Dame Journal of Law, and the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. He was a member of the California Advisory Commission on Civil Rights from 1988-2006 and served on the California Constitutional Revision Commission in 1996. He is the author of The American Polity and co‑author of The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration. This fall (2016) he is a visiting distinguished professor of politics at Hillsdale College.

Article from http://www.hillsdale.edu

Posted in Unity, Worldview/Culture, X-Americana, Z-Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment