Antithetical Conceptions of God and Man

Liberalism vs. Christianity

By Peter Coker

J. Gresham Machen spoke on this nearly 100-years ago, 97-years to be exact. At that time, (1922) he said the problem of liberalism in American Christian theology had already existed for 75-years. That would mean he traced the problem back to 1847, 172-years prior to 2019. Machen notes that liberal-theology was/is an attack on the essential foundations of historic Christianity. In short, the liberal view relied not on — Divine revelation, God’s word, Scriptural doctrine, or creeds — but on the Christian “experience” and on the “exposition” of the Christian experience. Thus, in liberal-religion, Scriptural teachings are not considered as important as an interpretive narrative. It then asserts; Christianity is a life, not a doctrine. Although this statement may have an air of godliness, Machen sought to test the liberal view by revisiting an examination of the historic beginnings of Christianity.

Machen’s examination noted that Christianity as a movement began within a few days after the crucifixion. Christianity was a new movement and the name, “Christian,” originated shortly after the death of Christ. The early years of first-century Christianity were preserved with the Apostles writings which later became the Bible’s New Testament Scriptures. The Scriptures testify to the fundamental character and primary principles of the early Christian movement. The Apostolic writings describe first-century Christianity as much more than a mere way of life, but as a way for all of life to be centered and self-possessed in a comprehensive gospel precept. The Apostolic writings contained not only facts about what Jesus said and did; but also, the meaning of what He said and did. Together, the Scriptures and Apostolic writings; prophesied of His coming, who He was, why He came, His death and resurrection on the third-day, and that Jesus came down from heaven to save mankind.

Jesus himself spoke very specifically about discerning true and false teachings in conjunction with strong warnings to beware of false teachers. Jesus also taught that incorrect doctrine (commandments of men) amounts to vain worship (Matt. 15: 8-9). It is interesting that Jesus correlates doctrine with worship. This indicates that correct doctrine leads to a positive, worthy, victorious worship.

[All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)]

The meaning of the facts of Scripture produces Christian doctrine, the essential foundations and primary principles of the Christian faith. The Scriptures teach that the household of God is “built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Eph. 2: 19-22)

Machen observed in modern times Christianity’s main rival is liberalism and he chronicles why liberalism is in opposition to Christianity. Machen begins by pointing to liberalism’s conception of God. For liberal-theology, the knowledge of God is the death-nell of religion; believers therefore, should not seek to know God, but instead, feel His presence. However, this peculiar view eliminates the moral underpinnings of religion as feelings are non-moral and can be expressed in moral or immoral behavior. Additionally, human-affection or feelings relies and depends on certain personal observations to inform our knowledge of the object of our affection. With liberalism, human-feelings — instead of God’s revelation and His word — become self-determinative of truth and reality. This reduces Christianity’s transcendent eternal purposes to the human aspirations of the material world.

[Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (Romans 11:33; see also, 2 Peter 1:3)

walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Colossians 1:10, 3:1-2)

In contrast to the Scriptural knowledge of God and His will, liberalism’s human-experience and feelings concept conveys a materialistic, self-determined will (will-to-fiction), as expressed in Job; “They say to God, ‘Depart from us! We do not desire the knowledge of your ways.” (Job 21:14)

Machen also pointed-out the one main absolute fundamental attribute of God — the transcendence of God – the great gulf between the creature and the Creator. Modern liberalism however has expressed a distinct indifference to the God of Scripture and of the gulf between God and mankind. Thus, with a man-made effort, liberalism reduces the Scriptural, personal, living God to an impersonal world-process. For liberalism, God is not the divine personal loving Father and holy God; but rather is philosophically reduced to being a characterless world-procedure. The transcendence, sovereignty, providence, and predestination of God are thus broken-down to reflecting an impersonal, dispassionate process. If you begin with false presuppositions about God, you end-up with a false-god theology masquerading as the real thing.

As a result of reducing God to a world-process, the conception of man is altered as well. The Scriptures describe man as being a sinner, needing redemption; but with liberalism there is no sin, and man is thought to be naturally good. The natural man, of course, always believes he is not as bad as his neighbor. The natural man is also quite capable transferring guilt to others or to his environment. Liberal theology has changed both the basic conception of God and the biblical conception of man as well. The overall result has been the reduction of God and the elevation of man.

Today, liberal humanism is a philosophy that exalts mankind, whether it is Christian or secular. It is a view of life that finds the highest goal of human existence in the ‘healthy, harmonious, and joyous development of existing human faculties.’ Its self-determined optimism regards the nature of man as basically good. Historically, this was also the same philosophy of ‘paganism’ in Ancient Greece. Ancient Greece appeared glorious on the outside, but its underlying foundations were rotten to the core. Its mask of human-pride concealed a vast array of internal cover-ups and frauds. Jesus exposed the same phenomenon with the Pharisees and Sadducees; they looked spiritual on the outside, but inside they were spiritually dead. Liberalism is synonymous; looks great on the outside, but inside resides death and destruction towards God’s Word and His will.

Original Christianity, on the other hand is a religion of the broken heart, not of human-pride. It begins with the individual realization of brokenness towards God through the consciousness of sin. Of realizing one’s sins before God. Sin is then faced, dealt with, and removed by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. True Christianity bridges the spiritual gulf between the redeemed believer and the Creator. The individual is then free to express a developing Christian life through divine grace and the empowering of the Holy Spirit; growing in the grace and knowledge of God.

Without an authentic biblical concept of God and the individual consciousness of sin, Jesus’ gospel message loses meaning and necessity. Without dealing faithfully with sin, morality, righteousness, and justice, the gospel message loses its distinctiveness and transforming power. This eventually transpired with theologically liberalized churches; in-due-time they became empty shells of what they once were because they accepted a false concept of God and man. The same abasing quandary arises within communities and cultures that proceed in their footsteps.

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chron. 7:14)

*****

*Article adopted from J. Gresham Machen’s Liberalism or Christianity (1922).

Advertisements
Posted in All-Encompassing Gospel, Law of Christ, Theology/Philosophy, Worldview/Culture, Z-Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“I Thought I Could Be A Christian At Yale Law School”

I Thought I Could Be A Christian And Constitutionalist At Yale Law School. I Was Wrong

You would think that the number one law school in the country should be a cut above the rest. But it’s actually an environment of intense hostility towards Christians and constitutionalists.

By Aaron Haviland

On a recent Sunday evening in New Haven, Connecticut, a visiting priest gave a homily about the importance of Christian love. The gospel reading was Luke 6:27: “But I say to you who hear; Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also…”

In an age of political tribalism and social media, the priest reminded us that it is all too tempting to give in to the temptation of striking back at your enemies. But the duty of a Christian is to refrain from that temptation, to pray for your enemies, and to ultimately attempt to forgive.

As a stereotypical Catholic, I don’t usually quote scripture, but those words resonated with me that evening because they came at an appropriate time. I am a third-year student at Yale Law School. Before law school, I attended the Naval Academy and the University of Cambridge, and I served in the Marine Corps. I am also a member of my school’s Federalist Society chapter. (I write in my personal capacity, not on behalf of any organization.)

Earlier that Sunday morning, my friends and I sent out a school-wide email announcement about a guest speaker event for the upcoming week. A lawyer from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Christian legal group that has won numerous First Amendment cases at the Supreme Court, would be discussing Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Given that ADF has been smeared as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, we expected some controversy. But what we got was over-the-top even by Yale standards.

Huge Outcry Against Christian Lawyers

The first condemnation was from Outlaws, the law school’s LGBTQ group. They attacked the Federalist Society for inviting ADF to campus and called for a boycott of the event. Over the next 24 hours, almost every student group jumped onto the bandwagon and joined the boycott.

The emails were a veritable alphabet soup of identity groups, including: APALSA (Asian Pacific American Law Students Association); BLSA (Black Law Students Association); SALSA (South Asian Law Students Association); LLSA (Latinx Law Students Association); MLSA (Muslim Law Students Association); MENALSA (Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association); and JLSA (Jewish Law Students Association).

NALSA (Native American Law Students Association) said ADF employees were not welcome on their “ancestral lands.” The Yale Law Women, Yale Law Student Alliance for Reproductive Justice, and the Women of Color Collective joined, as did the American Constitution Society, the Yale Law Democrats, and the First Generation Professionals.

In addition to the boycott, some students said people who supported ADF’s position should no longer be admitted to the law school. One student emailed a list of the Federalist Society board members (publicly available information) so students would know whom to “thank” for this event.

The event took place two days later. Around 30 people attended. The boycotters decorated the front door with rainbow posters, but mostly stuck to protests and support groups in other rooms. The one disruption occurred near the end of the event, when three students walked in, rifled through empty pizza boxes, and left with a couple leftovers. On their way out, one of the protestors blew us a kiss and gave us the middle finger.

Compared to the undergraduate events that often make the news, our campus controversy was relatively tame. But it still left scars. The amount of vitriol and cyberbullying that came their way brought a couple of my classmates to tears. Some didn’t feel safe on campus. Those of us in our third year of study continued to count down the days to graduation.

This was not our first experience with campus unrest at Yale. Last year, we were embroiled in the controversy over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh—a distinguished alum of Yale Law School—to the Supreme Court. Over the summer, one-quarter of my classmates signed a petition in which they asserted that “people will die” if Kavanaugh was confirmed to the court.

Days before the Dr. Christine Blasey Ford hearings, hundreds of students (and some faculty members) dressed in black and staged a sit-in in the school’s main hallway. Most classes were cancelled, lunch was provided, and traffic was redirected around the protesters. The walls were decorated with posters saying #IBelieveChristineBlaseyFord and #IStillBelieveAnitaHill.

I came to Yale Law School feeling optimistic and grateful for the opportunity. I knew that I would be in the intellectual minority, but I hoped that I could reasonably disagree with and learn from my peers. A lot of smart people come to this school, I thought to myself. Although we held different political beliefs, we probably shared a common passion for the rule of law.

I was wrong. And now I am deeply disappointed.

These Yale Law Students Are Disgracing Themselves

The anti-Kavanaugh protests were a disgrace. Atticus Finch is supposed to be the role model for our profession, but these people turned their backs on his example. Law students and professors alike willfully abandoned the presumption of innocence—the core principle of our legal system—simply because they didn’t like the jurisprudence of the next Supreme Court justice.

Tensions decreased slightly after Kavanaugh was confirmed, but they never went away. Every email announcement the Federalist Society sent out met a snarky, vitriolic response by progressive students. Members of the first-year class were routinely bullied by their peers. In one case, a student searched through the LinkedIn profile of a conservative classmate, saw the conservative had a connection to ADF, and shared that information with the entire class. Others then demanded a list of all law students who had connections to ADF.

This harassment has become almost routine and takes place with the full knowledge of the school administration. Occasionally, the administration steps in and releases a statement about the importance of civility and community. Yet the threats and intimidation persist, and the perpetrators feel no consequences.

Law school is supposed to be a place for serious thinkers, and you would think that the number one law school in the country should be a cut above the rest. But too often, the adults are nowhere to be found.

All this gets me back to the topic of forgiveness. I will graduate in three months, and I do not want to carry this bitterness with me when I go. It helps that I truly have no regrets about attending Yale. I have been afforded tremendous professional opportunities that would have been unavailable anywhere else.

I have made a close group of friends whom I trust. We share a bond borne out of three years of shared adversity and frustration. Finally, I have been privileged to study under professors I genuinely respect and admire because of their commitment to intellectual freedom and civil disagreement.

But then I walk back to campus for a class and see a protest sign, or I open another email smearing the Federalist Society. Then I feel viscerally angry about what this school has put my friends and me through. It will take a while to finally let go of this anger, and I probably need to put some distance between me and this school. For now, I will just try to stick to my studies, support my friends, and count down the days to graduation.

*****

Aaron Haviland is a student at Yale Law School. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Cambridge, and he served in the Marine Corps.

 Article from thefederalist.com

http://thefederalist.com/2019/03/04/thought-christian-constitutionalist-yale-law-school-wrong/?utm_source=The+Federalist+List&utm_campaign=3923116261-RSS_The_Federalist_Daily_Updates_w_Transom&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cfcb868ceb-3923116261-84065231

 

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

America’s Massive ‘Misedukation’ Problem

Federal Report Finds U.S. Department Of Education A Massive Failure

Bad oversight, data quality, and evaluation methodologies have plagued the department since its creation in 1867. We still don’t know what we’re getting for billions in dollars spent, besides meddlesome federal mandates.

By Vicki Alger

A new report raises questions about how the U.S. Department of Education monitors the performance of its wide-ranging elementary and secondary education programs.

The department currently receives $38 billion for its major K-12 education programs. Yet the assessment says those programs are plagued by “complex and persistent” challenges, many of which have been identified previously, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the official “congressional watchdog” charged with ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently.

Specifically, the GAO identified four key shortcomings in the department: oversight and monitoring, data quality, capacity, and evaluation methodologies. As the GAO makes clear, it is not the only oversight agency raising concerns about the department’s program management. What’s more, such problems have plagued our federal education departments since the first one took form back in 1867.

Not Paying Attention to Where the Money Goes

The GAO found that various education department offices failed to document consistently required monitoring activities in their official grant files. For example, its review of 75 grants totaling $21 million in discretionary funding revealed that “almost all” of them “were missing key monitoring documents, including grantee performance reports, which describe the results grantees achieve with grant funds,” according to the GAO.

The department’s own Office of Inspector General (OIG) reached a similar conclusion in its 2016 audit of the office responsible for oversight of the Rural Education Achievement Program, which receives about $170 million in annual funding. Additionally, the OIG audit found that what little program data was collected was not being used to improve monitoring efforts or help grantees meet program goals.

While the department has taken some steps toward improving program monitoring and oversight, the GAO notes that challenges will likely persist in the coming years as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the largest federal K-12 law, continues to be implemented. “The flexibility ESSA provides for state and local educational agencies under various grant programs complicates efforts to design program-level performance measures,” according to the GAO, “because state and local educational agencies’ program goals vary based on their unique needs.”

Low-Quality Data the Department Doesn’t Evaluate Well

There have also been ongoing quality issues with the data K-12 grantees submit to the department, complicating efforts to assess program performance. Even though it issues guidance to grantees about submitting accurate data, “Education did not independently assess the accuracy of these program data submitted by grantees or perform basic logic checks,” the GAO concluded.

Poor-quality data has been an ongoing issue, one previously documented by both the GAO and the department’s OIG. Moreover, “Education officials said that data quality challenges will likely persist under ESSA because Education and its grantees continue to face challenges collecting reliable, comparable program performance data in a minimally burdensome manner.”

Proper grant oversight and monitoring requires sufficient funding and staff capable of conducting effective evaluations. In 2015 Congress granted the department the authority to consolidate the funds necessary to conduct program evaluations. In response, it was able to hire some additional staff and conduct additional evaluations of strategic programs that would not have been possible otherwise. Yet problems remain.

Effective program monitoring requires highly skilled staff who are specially trained in rigorous evaluation methods. The Education Department, however, has not updated its hiring plan since 2009, despite officials’ assurances that a new plan would be released in 2017.

Complicating matters is the fact that, as grant guidelines allow more program flexibility, more sophisticated evaluation methods are needed to isolate the effects of various programs. Additionally, even though grantees provide the department large amounts of data, it still has not developed plans for using that information. The largest K-12 program, Title I, poses a particular challenge.

Title I is supposed to help improve academic outcomes and opportunities for low-income students, as well as close achievement gaps. States and local school districts that receive Title I grants have broad discretion when choosing activities they believe will accomplish those goals. Yet because the program goals are so sweeping and grantees’ plans are so varied, the department has opted to measure the program’s effectiveness according to broadly defined, long-term goals and report on grantee’s interim progress toward meeting those goals.

We Knew This Was Happening For Decades

The GAO’s findings underscore more fundamental problems with having a Department of Education. In the United States, education is supposed to be a strictly state and local matter under Article 10 of the Constitution. In fact, the word education does not even appear in the Constitution and, until the Civil War era, Congress took no action to extend its authority into K-12 education.

That changed shortly after the Civil War, when proponents insisted that education was a matter of national concern best directed by experts in a cabinet-level education department, rather than being left to the “caprice of individuals and the States.”

During the congressional debates preceding the establishment of the Department of Education in 1867, opponents predicted the problems routinely identified today. Rep. Samuel J. Randall of Pennsylvania, for example, objected the proposed national education department insisting that “a bureau at an extravagant rate of pay, and an undue number of clerks collecting statistics…[that] does not propose to teach a single child…its a, b, c’s.”

Although 19th-century proponents prevailed in establishing a national education department, their victory was short-lived. A year later, in 1868, it was defunded and downgraded to an office-level agency. It wasn’t until the Carter administration in the mid-1970s that proponents’ call for re-establishing a cabinet-level department was acted upon.

Once again, opponents objected on various grounds, including the ability of a national department to oversee education programs for tens of millions of school children. Rep. Lawrence H. Fountain (D-NC) was particularly outspoken in his objection, arguing that:

I find it disappointing that the administration has not given attention to another management option—namely, a critical review of those 150 plus education programs to determine how many of them are really needed today…It would be far more useful, in my judgment, to concentrate on weeding out programs that have outlived their usefulness, that duplicate one another, or that simply don’t work, than to devote our energies to creating a new organizational structure which might well help to perpetuate many of these programs.

Federal Agencies Are Not Built for Performance

A leading reason for re-establishing a cabinet-level U.S. Department of Education in 1979 was better coordination and administration of hundreds of federal education programs. The latest GAO report, however, adds to a growing body of evidence that far-off bureaucracies in Washington, D.C., are ill-suited for this task.

The department is just one of numerous federal entities operating nearly 300 federal social, education, and training programs. In a separate report published nearly a decade ago the GAO concluded that no uniform definition for “education program” even exists across 25 federal departments and agencies. Not much has changed since then.

Full public disclosure of all entities receiving federal funding has been required since 2006, and a public inventory website managed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was launched the following year. Subsequent legislation enacted in 2010 and 2014 expanded federal transparency requirements, including linking program and funding data.

The OMB’s revised inventory published in 2013 revealed that more than half of all education department programs were either deemed ineffective or their results were unproven. Yet in 2014, the results of that inventory were deemed unreliable, largely because of inconsistencies in how federal agencies define education programs. As of the fall of 2017, the GAO estimated that, at best, just 1 percent of federal agencies had submitted consistent program and budget data. Then, in December 2018, the GAO noted ongoing problems with data integrity and public accessibility of the OMB’s program inventory.

As things stand now, the U.S. Department of Education spending and performance are reported separately. The latest performance report from the department contains several elementary and secondary education goals, but most of them don’t provide any recent information.

We Shouldn’t Spend Billions to Get Bad Results

It shouldn’t be this hard to figure out whether specific education department programs are working.  What we do know from publicly available spending and achievement data is that, since 1970, education spending has roughly tripled in real, inflation-adjusted terms, but student achievement has remained largely flat.

The Trump administration proposed merging the education and labor departments last June to streamline education programs and minimize bureaucracy. The plan was met with bipartisan criticism, including by members of several conservative education organizations. Fixing the failures of the Department of Education, however, does not need to mean fiddling with the federal organizational chart.

Rather, the fundamental problem with the Department of Education is that it removes decision-making authority from the real education experts: parents and taxpayers in local communities.

Currently, the federal government provides just 8 percent of total K-12 education funding. Yet states and school officials have to agree to myriad federal mandates to access that funding. Given the ongoing problems with the department, in contrast to the growth of successful state-level parental choice programs, it is well worth considering abolishing the U.S. Department of Education once and for all.

*****

Vicki E. Alger is a research fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California, and author of “Failure: The Federal ‘Misedukation’ of America’s Children.” She holds senior fellowships at the Fraser Institute, headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the Independent Women’s Forum in Washington, D.C.

 

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

Alternative Knowledge and Academic Hoaxes

What an Audacious Hoax Reveals About Academia

Three scholars wrote 20 fake papers using fashionable jargon to argue for ridiculous conclusions.

By Yascha Mounk

Lecturer on government at Harvard University

Over the past 12 months, three scholars—James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose, and Peter Boghossian—wrote 20 fake papers using fashionable jargon to argue for ridiculous conclusions, and tried to get them placed in high-profile journals in fields including gender studies, queer studies, and fat studies. Their success rate was remarkable: By the time they took their experiment public late on Tuesday, seven of their articles had been accepted for publication by ostensibly serious peer-reviewed journals. Seven more were still going through various stages of the review process. Only six had been rejected.

We’ve been here before.

In the late 1990s, Alan Sokal, a professor of physics at New York University, began a soon-to-be-infamous article by setting out some of his core beliefs:

that there exists an external world, whose properties are independent of any individual human being and indeed of humanity as a whole; that these properties are encoded in “eternal” physical laws; and that human beings can obtain reliable, albeit imperfect and tentative, knowledge of these laws by hewing to the “objective” procedures and epistemological strictures prescribed by the (so-called) scientific method.

Sokal went on to “disprove” his credo in fashionable jargon. “Feminist and poststructuralist critiques have demystified the substantive content of mainstream Western scientific practice, revealing the ideology of domination concealed behind the façade of ‘objectivity,’” he claimed. “It has thus become increasingly apparent that physical ‘reality,’ no less than social ‘reality,’ is at bottom a social and linguistic construct.”

Next, Sokal sent off this jabber to Social Text, an academic journal that was, at the time, a leading intellectual forum for famous scholars including Edward Said, Oskar Negt, Nancy Fraser, Étienne Balibar, and Jacques Rancière.* It was published.

In the eyes of his supporters, what came to be known as the Sokal Hoax seemed to prove the most damning charges that critics of postmodernism had long leveled against it. Postmodern discourse is so meaningless, they claimed, that not even “experts” can distinguish between people who make sincere claims and those who compose deliberate gibberish.

In the months after Sokal went public, Social Text was much ridiculed. But its influence—and that of the larger “deconstructivist” mode of inquiry it propagated—continued to grow. Indeed, many academic departments that devote themselves to the study of particular ethnic, religious, and sexual groups are deeply inflected by some of Social Text’s core beliefs, including the radical subjectivity of knowledge.

That’s why Lindsay, Pluckrose, and Boghossian set out to rerun the original hoax, only on a much larger scale. Call it Sokal Squared.

Generally speaking, the journals that fell for Sokal Squared publish respected scholars from respected programs. For example, Gender, Place and Culture, which accepted one of the hoax papers, has in the past months published work from professors at UCLA, Temple, Penn State, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Manchester, and Berlin’s Humboldt University, among many others.

The sheer craziness of the papers the authors concocted makes this fact all the more shocking. One of their papers reads like a straightforward riff on the Sokal Hoax. Dismissing “western astronomy” as sexist and imperialist, it makes a case for physics departments to study feminist astrology—or practice interpretative dance—instead:

Other means superior to the natural sciences exist to extract alternative knowledges about stars and enriching astronomy, including ethnography and other social science methodologies, careful examination of the intersection of extant astrologies from around the globe, incorporation of mythological narratives and modern feminist analysis of them, feminist interpretative dance (especially with regard to the movements of the stars and their astrological significance), and direct application of feminist and postcolonial discourses concerning alternative knowledges and cultural narratives.

The paper that was published in Gender, Place and Culture seems downright silly. “Human Reaction to Rape Culture and Queer Performativity at Urban Dog Parks in Portland, Oregon” claims to be based on in situ observation of canine rape culture in a Portland dog park. “Do dogs suffer oppression based upon (perceived) gender?” the paper asks.

Yet another paper has a rather more sinister hue. In “Rubbing One Out: Defining Metasexual Violence of Objectification Through Nonconsensual Masturbation,” the fictitious author argues that men who masturbate while thinking about a woman without her consent are perpetrators of sexual violence:

By drawing upon empirical studies of psychological harms of objectification, especially through depersonalization, and exploring severel veins of theoretical literature on nonphysical forms of sexual violence, this articles seeks to situate non-concensual male autoerotic fantasizing about women as a form of metasexual violence that depersonalizes her, injures her being on an affective level, contributes to consequent harms of objectification and rape culture, and can appropriate her identity for the purpose of male sexual gratification.

Sokal Squared doesn’t just expose the low standards of the journals that publish this kind of dreck, though. It also demonstrates the extent to which many of them are willing to license discrimination if it serves ostensibly progressive goals. This tendency becomes most evident in an article that advocates extreme measures to redress the “privilege” of white students. Exhorting college professors to enact forms of “experiential reparations,” the paper suggests telling privileged students to stay silent, or even binding them to the floor in chains. If students protest, educators are told to take considerable care not to validate privilege, sympathize with, or reinforce it and in so doing, recenter the needs of privileged groups at the expense of marginalized ones. The reactionary verbal protestations of those who oppose the progressive stack are verbal behaviors and defensive mechanisms that mask the fragility inherent to those inculcated in privilege.

Like just about everything else in this depressing national moment, Sokal Squared is already being used as ammunition in the great American culture war. Many conservatives who are deeply hostile to the science of climate change, and who dismiss out of hand the studies that attest to deep injustices in our society, are using Sokol Squared to smear all academics as biased culture warriors. The Federalist, a right-wing news and commentary site, went so far as to spread the apparent ideological bias of a few journals in one particular corner of academia to most professors, the mainstream media, and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

These attacks are empirically incorrect and intellectually dishonest. There are many fields of academia that have absolutely no patience for nonsense. While the hoaxers did manage to place articles in some of the most influential academic journals in the cluster of fields that focus on dealing with issues of race, gender, and identity, they have not penetrated the leading journals of more traditional disciplines. As a number of academics pointed out on Twitter, for example, all of the papers submitted to sociology journals were rejected. For now, it remains unlikely that the American Sociological Review or the American Political Science Review would have fallen for anything resembling “Our Struggle Is My Struggle,” a paper modeled on the infamous book with a similar title.

By the same token, many leftists are willing to grasp at straws to defend journals and fields of inquiry that they regard as morally righteous. Some have dismissed Sokal Squared by pointing out that many disciplines, from economics to psychology, have in the past years also faced crises of confidence. Others have simply cited the conservative instrumentalization of Sokal Squared as a reason to ignore it. “Academics,” Alison Phipps wrote on Twitter, “please stand by colleagues in Gender Studies/Critical Race Studies/Fat Studies & other areas targeted by this journal article hoax. This is a coordinated attack from the right.”

That too is intellectually dishonest. For one, Lindsay, Pluckrose and Boghossian describe themselves as left-leaning liberals. For another, it is nonsensical to insist that nonsense scholarship doesn’t matter because you don’t like the motives of the people who exposed it, or because some other forms of scholarship may also contain nonsense. If certain fields of study cannot reliably differentiate between real scholarship and noxious bloviating, they become deeply suspect. And if they are so invested in overcoming injustice that they are willing to embrace rank cruelty as long as it is presented in the right kind of progressive jargon, they are worsening the problems they purport to address.

It would, then, be all too easy to draw the wrong inferences from Sokal Squared. The lesson is neither that all fields of academia should be mistrusted nor that the study of race, gender, or sexuality is unimportant. As Lindsay, Pluckrose, and Boghossian point out, their experiment would be far less worrisome if these fields of study didn’t have such great relevance.

But if we are to be serious about remedying discrimination, racism, and sexism, we can’t ignore the uncomfortable truth these hoaxers have revealed: Some academic emperors—the ones who supposedly have the most to say about these crucial topics—have no clothes.

*****

*This article originally stated that Social Text was a peer-reviewed journal. We regret the error.

Posted in Theology/Philosophy, Worldview/Culture, X-Americana | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fighting Anti-Christian Indoctrination in California

Parents Sue to Fight Anti-White, Anti-Male, Anti-Christian, Communist Indoctrination in California

Leftist group “Just Communities” is in the legal crosshairs.

by Matthew Vadum

Parents in Santa Barbara, California, are suing a leftist hate group called Just Communities and the local school board there to end the group’s taxpayer-funded so-called implicit bias training that has a powerful anti-white, anti-male, and anti-Christian slant.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, was brought by Fair Education Santa Barbara, a nonprofit formed by parents of children enrolled in the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD).

The group’s lawyer, Eric Early, calls the curriculum used in the district “radical, discriminatory, and illegal.” In a letter to the district’s counsel last September he wrote that “[t]eachers, parents and students have confidentially expressed their concerns that … [the] discriminatory curriculum has led to increased racial animosity toward Caucasian teachers and students.”

Just Communities (its full name is Just Communities Central Coast) has a contract with the Santa Barbara Unified School District to indoctrinate young people into believing that America today is a manifestly immoral, cruel country in which white people routinely oppress non-whites, men oppress women, Christians oppress non-Christians, heterosexuals oppress gays, and the wealthy oppress the poor.

In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Marxist theorist Paulo Freire urged that schools be used to inculcate radical values in students to transform them into agents of social change. Freire argued that the so-called dominant pedagogy “silences” poor and minority children and that there is no such thing as a neutral educational system. Teachers today are also smitten with the ahistorical, anti-American screeds of Howard Zinn, a Communist Party USA member whose writings they treat as gospel.

Early said the lawsuit aims to halt what he calls a “creeping, social justice warrior, alt-left takeover of the Santa Barbara Unified School District.” The lawsuit “is doing its best to stop this outfit, Just Communities Central Coast, from continuing to indoctrinate the teachers and young, vulnerable minds of the district with Alinskyist training and beliefs,” Early said.

“The bottom line is it’s time to stop the far-left indoctrination of the district’s teachers and students and it’s time to bring to light what’s really going on in these classrooms to parents who had no idea before this came to light.”

The legal complaint states the SBUSD has “wholeheartedly supported and promoted JCCC’s discriminatory program” and has paid the group more than $1 million since 2013. On Sept. 11, 2018, the school board “considered contracting with JCCC for [an] additional 4 years at a cost to the taxpayers of more than $1.7 million.” On Oct. 8, 2018, the board “renewed its contract with JCCC for another year at a cost to the taxpayers of nearly $300,000.”

SBUSD, according to the complaint, is violating the U.S. Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “as they discriminate on the basis of … race” by “intentionally supporting, promoting and implementing JCCC’s programming in SBUSD’s schools with knowledge of its racially discriminatory content and application, which has created a racially hostile educational environment for many teachers and students.”

Fair Education Santa Barbara wants the court to terminate Just Communities’ contract with the school district and filed for a preliminary injunction to freeze the contract while the lawsuit proceeds. The motion for an injunction and other pending motions are expected to be heard by the court in Los Angeles this Monday, Feb. 25.

Fair Education says the injunction is justified because a California statute provides that when a public actor like a school district wants to hire people to do certain work for the district, with very limited exceptions the contracts have to be submitted for public bidding, which was not done in this case.

For its part, Just Communities claims its trainings are aimed at closing what it characterizes as an achievement gap between Latino and white students. Critics counter that the group is trying to turn students into left-wing revolutionaries by encouraging them to become political activists who view the world through the Marxist lens of race, sex, and class.

The complaint states that “[u]nder the guise of promoting so-called ‘unconscious bias’ and ‘inclusivity’ instruction, JCCC’s actual curriculum and practices are overtly and intentionally anti-Caucasian, anti-male, and anti-Christian.”

The training materials used by Just Communities are similar to those used by the extreme-left Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC had to pay almost $3.4 million in 2018 to settle a lawsuit with former Islamic radical Maajid Nawaz whom it falsely labeled an anti-Muslim extremist.

America is a deeply racist country, according to the Marxist-influenced, politically correct training materials. White people enjoy special “privilege” because they are white and gain “[u]nearned access to resources that enhance one’s chances of getting what one needs or influencing others in order to lead a safe, productive, fulfilling life.”

“Oppression based on notions of race is pervasive in U.S. society and many other societies and hurts us all, although in different and distinct ways,” the material also states.

It continues, describing “classism” as “[a] system of oppression based on socio-economic class that privilege (white) people who are wealthy and target people (of color) who are poor or working class. Classism also refers to the economic system that creates excessive inequality and causes basic human needs to go unmet.”

“The work of dismantling racism is an ongoing process, not a one-time event, seminar, or course from which one graduates,” the material states. “The process calls for a lifelong commitment to eliminating all injustice.”

Just Communities’ bigoted indoctrination is the very antithesis of our aspirational goals for all students,” James Fenkner of Fair Education Santa Barbara told FrontPage via email.

Fenkner has four daughters, three of whom attend school in the school district.

“I fully support the suit because I fundamentally believe that everyone should be judged upon the quality of their character, not the color of their skin,” he said. “Just Communities’ divisive curriculum, as evidence by their grotesque ‘Forms of Oppression,’ poisons the well of goodwill between all children and perpetuates the dead-end notions of group victimhood, guilt, and retribution.”

The “Forms of Oppression” grid to which Fenkner refers is part of a bundle of teaching materials used by Just Communities. The horizontal table states, for example, that “racism” is a “form of oppression” that the “privilege group” of “white people” use to take aim at the “target group” of “people of color.” The grid uses the same format to describe “sexism,” “heterosexism,” “classism,” and so on.

Jarrod Schwartz, executive director of Just Communities, denied the substance of the allegations against his group, according to the Santa Barbara Independent. “It’s not who we are, not what we do,” Schwartz said. “The work is not about blame or guilt,” he said. “We’re very intentional about not saying people are oppressors. It’s systems that are unequal.”

Santa Barbara’s education sector has become infected with doctrinaire radicalism. Santa Barbara City College adjunct professor Celeste Barber appeared on “Fox & Friends” Jan. 30 to tell how she was heckled at a Jan. 24 meeting of the college’s board of trustees. Attendees tried to shout down Barber, who is a member of Fair Education Santa Barbara, when she spoke out against the board’s ban on reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during meetings.

SBCC board president Robert Miller previously told Barber by email that the pledge was banned because it contains the phrase “one nation under God” and because it is “steeped in expressions of nativism and white nationalism.”

“There is nothing white nationalist about the Pledge of Allegiance,” Barber told Fox. “There’s no reference to race, to gender to ethnicity. It’s all inclusive. That’s why school children around the country, thousands of them recite it every day because it includes everybody who lives in this country.”

Bad publicity forced the SBCC to drop the ban. The college announced on Facebook the day before Barber’s television appearance that the Pledge “will be recited” at board meetings “until some future date when the matter may be reconsidered by the Board.” And Santa Barbara is just one of many communities across America that has come under the control of radical education theorists and practitioners.

*****

Matthew Vadum, formerly senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, “Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.”

Article from: thefederalist.com

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

Voting for Theft and Redistribution is Immoral

Is Congress Committing ‘Legalized’ Theft?

by Walter Williams

February 2019

Frederic Bastiat, a French economist and member of the French National Assembly, lived from 1801 to 1850. He had great admiration for our country, except for our two faults — slavery and tariffs. He said: “Look at the United States. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain: the protection of every person’s liberty and property.” If Bastiat were alive today, he would not have that same level of admiration. The U.S. has become what he fought against for most of his short life.

Bastiat observed that “when plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” You might ask, “What did Bastiat mean by ‘plunder’?” Plunder is when someone forcibly takes the property of another. That’s private plunder. What he truly railed against was legalized plunder, and he told us how to identify it. He said: “See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”

That could describe today’s American laws. We enthusiastically demand that the U.S. Congress forcibly use one American to serve the purposes of another American. You say: “Williams, that’s insulting. It’s no less than saying that we Americans support a form of slavery!” What then should we call it when two-thirds to three-quarters of a $4 trillion-plus federal budget can be described as Congress taking the property of one American and giving it to another to whom it does not belong? Where do you think Congress gets the billions upon billions of dollars for business and farmer handouts? What about the billions handed out for Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, housing allowances and thousands of other handouts? There’s no Santa Claus or tooth fairy giving Congress the money, and members of Congress are not spending their own money. The only way Congress can give one American $1 is to first take it from another American.

What if I privately took the property of one American to give to another American to help him out? I’m guessing and hoping you’d call it theft and seek to jail me. When Congress does the same thing, it’s still theft. The only difference is that it’s legalized theft. However, legality alone does not establish morality. Slavery was legal; was it moral? Nazi, Stalinist and Maoist purges were legal, but were they moral?

Some argue that Congress gets its authority to bypass its enumerated powers from the general welfare clause. There are a host of proofs that the Framers had no such intention. James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” wrote, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one.” Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Our tenet ever was … that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated.” Rep. William Drayton of South Carolina asked in 1828, “If Congress can determine what constitutes the general welfare and can appropriate money for its advancement, where is the limitation to carrying into execution whatever can be effected by money?”

What about our nation’s future? Alexis de Tocqueville is said to have predicted, “The American republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” We long ago began ignoring Bastiat’s warning when the federal government was just a tiny fraction of gross domestic product — 3 percent, as opposed to today’s 20 percent: “If you don’t take care, what begins by being an exception tends to become general, to multiply itself, and to develop into a veritable system.”

Moral Americans are increasingly confronted with Bastiat’s dilemma: “When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”

*****

COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

Article from: townhall.com

 

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

Religious Intolerance — Disqualifying People of Faith

Democrats Take Down Another Judicial Nominee

Simply Because He’s A Christian

Religious tests are unacceptable––we should never let people of faith be automatically disqualified from public service due to their closely held beliefs.

By Rick Esenberg and Anthony LoCoco

February  2019

Dissenting in Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage, Justice Samuel Alito gravely predicted that “those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.”

He was right. In Wisconsin, this campaign of religious intolerance has claimed a new casualty in Gordon Giampietro, President Trump’s former nominee to a vacant seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. He was revealed to be removed from the list of renominations Trump issued on January 22. Democrats have all but ensured that, for the crime of publicly voicing the teachings of his faith, Giampietro will never sit on the federal bench.

‘The Dogma Lives Loudly Within’ People of Faith

A number of Senate Democrats have famously come to the conclusion that Catholics faithful to the teachings of their church are unfit for public service. In September 2017, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) bizarrely complained that “the dogma lives loudly within” Judge Amy Coney Barrett, suggesting that her faith precludes her service on the bench.

In December 2018, presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D-CA) shamefully attempted to make membership in the Knights of Columbus, a renowned Catholic charitable organization, a disqualifying offense. One can apparently be a Catholic, but ought not to be too serious about it.

That this nonsense has now claimed Giampietro is a shame. His qualifications are beyond question. An assistant general counsel at a Fortune 500 company, he has more than a decade’s experience as a federal prosecutor after becoming a partner at one of Wisconsin’s most successful law firms. He received the approval of the bipartisan Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission (on which one of us sat), of Wisconsin Sens. Ron Johnson (R) and Tammy Baldwin (D), and of the American Bar Association, which awarded him an official rating of “qualified.”

But that was before BuzzFeed reported that Giampietro was an unapologetically orthodox Catholic, quoting remarks he had made on Catholic radio criticizing same-sex marriage and birth control and a comment he had posted in response to an article on a Catholic website lamenting that the “original sin” of slavery had spawned a modern legacy of race-based decision-making.

Although his views on same-sex marriage and birth control reflect the official teaching of a church with more than 1 billion members worldwide (and his views on affirmative action are well within the mainstream of conservative legal thought), Giampietro had made the mistake of sharing his thoughts outside the recesses of his home. That gave the left the hook it needed.

“Oh Look, Another One of Trump’s Court Picks Is Really Anti-Gay,” sneered a HuffPost headline. A prominent Madison newspaper branded Giampietro “entirely unacceptable.” The Human Rights Campaign quickly pushed out a glossy attack ad urging viewers to contact their senators and tell them “to block a lifetime appointment for Gordon Giampietro.”

Critics settled on two narratives. The first was that Giampietro had failed to make necessary disclosures to the nominating commission. That is patently false. He provided everything he was asked for and no one on the commission could have been surprised by his religious views.

The Most Pernicious Narrative

Far more pernicious was the claim that his views meant he could not be an impartial judge, the corollary being that no faithful Catholic is qualified to serve in the federal judiciary. Wisconsin’s five bishops penned an open letter to Baldwin, who held the power to effectively sink Giampietro’s nomination by withholding her “blue slip” (essentially a senatorial letter of approval).  The bishops insisted—and how sad that it even needed saying—that “Catholics are capable of offering fair and impartial decisions when applying the law.” They pleaded with Baldwin to give Giampietro a chance.

It would have been quite a symbol of magnanimity, open-mindedness, and statesmanship had Baldwin, the first openly gay individual elected to the U.S. Senate, at least granted Giampietro a hearing before her colleagues and the rest of the country. Instead, in an open letter addressed to President Trump, Baldwin reneged on her previous recommendation, stating that she was no longer supporting Giampietro. With Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, honoring the blue-slip tradition for district court nominees—essentially permitting home-state senators to block a nominee from receiving a vote—Baldwin ended Giampietro’s nomination.

At no time has Giampietro said anything to suggest that he would not honor the legal rights of gay and lesbian people (or anyone else), or refuse to apply the law. While fancying herself a champion of tolerance, Baldwin is, instead, engaged in religious bigotry and exclusion, blocking a nominee because of his religious beliefs and not his professional qualifications and commitment to the rule of law.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this shameful affair is the lack of noise that accompanied it. It is one thing when religious bigotry finds a home in the U.S. government. It’s something else entirely when we come to accept it as business as usual.

While senatorial prerogatives are well and good, they ought not to shield religious exclusion. All Americans—Catholic and otherwise—need to demand more from the nation’s representatives, lest the religious test that was applied to Giampietro become a normal part of the vetting for every job in public service, and the country’s promise of religious liberty fade into nothing.

*****

Mr. Esenberg is president and general counsel and Mr. LoCoco is associate counsel at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.

Article from: thefederalist.com

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