Culture Archives

Wedding Cakes and Conscience

Is it un-Christian-like to refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding? If so, isn’t it then hypocritical if the baker doesn’t look into every other wedding ceremony to see if any sin is being committed?

No, says Russel D. Moore. The two questions are completely different issues. The former defies the Biblical definition of marriage. He discusses the difference, complete with citations from the apostle Paul, in "On Weddings and Conscience: Are Christians Hypocrites?"

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    Live By the CBO, Die By the CBO

    Dana Milbank explains that the Congressional Budget Office issued glowing reports years ago about how ObamaCare was going to save money. The Obama administration trumpeted those findings far and wide. I noted at the time that the system was gamed because the administration knows the rules by which the CBO comes up with estimates, and wrote the bill to get the best looking numbers at the start. It wouldn’t matter that later estimates would be worse; it would have already been sold to the American people.

    But now, things are looking much worse.

    The congressional number-crunchers, perhaps the capital’s closest thing to a neutral referee, came out with a new report Tuesday, and it wasn’t pretty for Obamacare. The CBO predicted the law would have a “substantially larger” impact on the labor market than it had previously expected: The law would reduce the workforce in 2021 by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time workers, well more than the 800,000 originally anticipated. This will inevitably be a drag on economic growth, as more people decide government handouts are more attractive than working more and paying higher taxes.

    This is grim news for the White House and for Democrats on the ballot in November. This independent arbiter, long embraced by the White House, has validated a core complaint of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) critics: that it will discourage work and become an ungainly entitlement. Disputing Republicans’ charges is much easier than refuting the federal government’s official scorekeepers.

    The President’s spokesman, Jay Carney, tried to spin it as people who would "spend more time with their family", or perhaps become entrepreneurs. The latter guess is just that; a guess trying to make it sound wonderful. The former is a euphemism for living off the dole because the benefits are better.

    Carney noted that these were "personal choices", but he conveniently neglects to mention that they are personal choices spurred on by the government. People respond to incentives; that’s why things like tax deductions work the way they do. ObamaCare is pushing people to dependency.

    The CBO numbers prove it.

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      “Everyone Thought We Were A Bit Mad”

      Meet Simon Fitzmaurice, an Irish filmmaker who chose life in the face of certain death:

      Ruth Fitzmaurice watched as the consultant, a man they had never met before, entered the hospital room and made his way towards her husband’s bed.

      Simon, a talented filmmaker and the father of three small boys, lay there with a tube going down his throat, pushing air into his lungs, allowing him to breathe but preventing him from being able to talk.

      They listened as the medic spelled out in no uncertain terms what he expected them to do.

      ‘He basically announced that this was the end of the road,’ explains Ruth. ‘That was it, they had done all they could – that he had phoned Simon’s own consultant in Beaumont Hospital who agreed that ventilation for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is not advocated in Ireland.’

      The consultant continued, telling Simon that it was now time for him to make ‘the hard choice’ – to agree to come off the ventilator.

      But Simon was not going to give up that easily.

      Despite the consultant’s stark and very clear recommendation, Simon refused to grant permission to take him off the machine that was keeping him alive.

      ‘Simon’s family very much think for themselves, and Simon in particular is a very strong character,’ smiles Ruth. ‘He wouldn’t be fazed by being told what to do by a doctor, he would question things and say: “Hang on a second.”

      ‘The consultant told us if he stayed on the ventilator that he wouldn’t get out of the hospital. With MND [a degenerative condition that destroys the cells that control voluntary muscles and can affect speaking, walking, breathing, swallowing and general movement] it’s like, “where do you think this is going? You’re only going to get worse. Why would you choose to ventilate?” So that’s when we decided to fight.’

      Not only did they decide not to take Simon off the ventilator they went a step further by deciding to have more children (they already had three when they received his diagnosis). They ended up having twins.

      ‘Everyone thought we were a bit mad,’ laughs Ruth. ‘But we felt in the face of death and with everything that had happened, well, kids are the ultimate opposite of all that, they’re life-affirming.’

      But that’s not all. Simon also went on to finish a script that he had been working on for a movie he will direct starting next year.
      Rather than accepting a death sentence, Simon has chosen to go on living life to the fullest possible. It’s a beautiful picture of what it truly means to choose life. Be sure to read his entire story.

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        Are you on Twitter?

        Are you a Twitter user? I am (you can follow me at @Daddypundit). Recently I wrote an essay on the pros and cons of the popular social media platform.

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          Can Boy Scouts Ban … Alcoholics?

          Here’s a report about the controversy a private club has found itself embroiled in.

          The Boy Scouts of America will get no reprieve from controversy after a contentious vote to accept alcoholic boys as Scouts.

          Dismayed conservatives are already looking at alternative youth groups as they predict a mass exodus from the BSA. Alcoholics-rights supporters vowed Friday to maintain pressure on the Scouts to end the still-in-place ban on alcoholic adults serving as leaders.

          "They’re not on our good list yet," said Paul Guequierre of the Human Rights Campaign, a national alcoholic -rights group. He said the HRC, in its annual rankings of corporate policies on workplace fairness, would deduct points from companies that donate to the Boy Scouts until the ban on alcoholic adults is lifted.

          Now, you may be wondering why you didn’t hear about this particular scandal, and the reason is it hasn’t happened. I just took a news article and replaced every mention of the word “gay” with the word “alcoholic”. All of a sudden, it sounds absolutely nuts, doesn’t it? Should the Scouts be allowed to discriminate against alcoholics? Set aside for the moment that the drinking age is such that it would exclude boys in the Scouts age range, would the Scouts come under fire for not allowing boys who are what you might call “practicing alcoholics” into its ranks? Would any human rights group fault them for having a ban on alcoholic adults as Scout leaders?

          The plain fact is, no, they wouldn’t. The official policy of the Boy Scouts of America is that alcohol is not permitted “at encampments or activities on property owned and/or operated by the Boy Scouts of America, or at any activity involving participation of youth members.” Certainly a troop leader showing up drunk wouldn’t be tolerated. They’ve made that rule, and no one (that I know of) is coming down on them for it.

          And yet the Human Rights Campaign and others have been pressuring the Scouts to set aside their ban on homosexual boys in Scouting. Why? Well, because they’re born that way, as our culture keeps reminding us, so to discriminate against them is unfair and bigoted, right? And yet, there is research that shows conclusively that alcoholism is, in part, genetic as well. In fact, there is more evidence of that than there is evidence of homosexuality having a genetic component. It’s being studied, but right now, nothing is at all conclusive, unlike the way the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism describe the genetic link.

          If they’re born that way, and if being born that way means no one can discriminate against that trait for any reason, well, is that a Pandora’s box you really want to open?

          At its core, the ban on gay Scouts was partly a moral stance, with the Scout Oath including a phrase about being morally straight. It was also partly an issue of general sexuality. Would you want your boy sharing tent with a girl? Or, more generally, with someone who may be sexually attracted to him? Consider this.

          And while the Scouts have lifted the ban on gay Scouts, they’ve kept it for Scout leaders. The HRC doesn’t like that, either. Let’s think about this. Those priests that got accused of molesting boys can now trade out their collar for a khaki shirt and become a Scoutmaster. What would the HRC think about that?

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            We Hate to Say We Told You So

            That’s the title of John Stonestree’s article about how the folks pushing for polygamy and polyamory are making the very arguments that conservatives made for decades, right up until very recently.

            In a scene from Jurassic Park, Ian Malcolm, the mathematician skeptical about whether the park is a good idea, watches the T-Rex burst out of its enclosure and says, "I hate being right all the time."

            Princeton Professor Robert George and other defenders of traditional marriage understand these sentiments. For years, they’ve warned that redefining marriage beyond the union of one man and one woman wouldn’t-indeed couldn’t-stop with same-sex unions. The same reasoning that extends marriage to same-sex couples would easily be applied to polygamy and polyamory also.

            The standard response to these concerns was scoffing and accusations of fear mongering.

            Well, the fences are down and the beast is loose.

            He provides 3 examples of recent attempts to argue for them just within the past few months. But these arguments are not new. It’s just who is presenting them that is.

            As Dr. George pointed out in "First Things," when Christians pointed out the logical link between same-sex marriage and polygamy, proponents of same-sex marriage rejected the connection. They insisted that "no one is arguing for the legal recognition of polygamous or polyamorous relationships as marriages!"

            George writes in response, "That was then; this is now." The "then" he referred to was last week; the now is today.

            George predicts that Keenan’s article "will not produce a single serious critique by a major scholar or activist from the same-sex marriage movement."

            Now he would love to be wrong. But defenders of traditional marriage know that the enclosures that kept marriage a "monogamous and exclusive union" are being dismantled. And no one should be surprised by what emerges, least of all those doing the dismantling.

            If George was right about what would happen, would critics also be right about the predicted results of this breakdown?  Marriage is more "for the children" than any other institution or government program that has had that label slapped on it. The best arrangement for children is to be raised by their loving and committed biological parents.

            And yet, we are tinkering and tearing down the one thing that can best protect the next generation. The results have been predicted to be calamitous. If we were right about predicting the slippery slope this far, wouldn’t it be prudent to consider whether we’re right about the rest of the ride?

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              The Feminist Case for Polygamy

              The calls for polygamy, especially in the light of changing attitudes on same-sex marriage, are getting louder and more mainstream. Jillian Keenan writing at Slate.com, makes a feminist case for polygamy, as well as demonstrating the slippery slope in action.

              The definition of marriage is plastic. Just like heterosexual marriage is no better or worse than homosexual marriage, marriage between two consenting adults is not inherently more or less “correct” than marriage among three (or four, or six) consenting adults.

              If you don’t think that same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy, you must refute her arguments that make that link. I don’t have to refute them, because a) I don’t think the definition of marriage is plastic, and b) I do think one leads to the other. If you do think marriage should be…whatever, but don’t think it leads to polygamy, you’ve got your work cut out for you. But if you are up to the challenge, let me hear your argument.

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                Marriage "Equality"

                Episode 36 of my podcast, "Consider This!", came out this morning. Here’s the (slightly edited) script for one of the segments regarding the call for "marriage equality".


                When the Supreme Court took up two cases regarding same-sex marriage recently, Facebook lit up with red equal signs of people proclaiming their support for what they call “marriage equality”. And that’s how I’ve heard the debate framed by supporters for years, as an issue of equality. One group gets to do something that another group doesn’t. Where’s the sense of fairness, of everyone being equal under the law?

                Well, to understand the underlying problem here, let’s take two other areas where one could demand equality. Let’s look at voting and driving. Are you for voting equality and driving equality? Should some voting or driving laws be different for different people, or not even available at all to some?

                Let’s take a group of people I’ll call blind people. Now, should they have both voting and driving equality? I’m going to hazard a guess that you said yes to voting but no to driving. I don’t need to be a mind-reader to get that one right. But, but, equality! What about equality? Shouldn’t we really be taking to the streets and demanding the Supreme Court rule on driving equality for the blind?

                No, of course we shouldn’t. But why equality for one thing and not another? Steven Smith, a Professor of Law at the University of San Diego, wrote an article using this example of why we treat the two situations differently.

                That is because an ability to see is not a relevant qualification for voting, but it is a relevant qualification for driving. We know this, though, not by applying the idea of “equality,” but rather by thinking about the nature of voting and of driving. Probably there is no disagreement about these particular conclusions. But if you did happen to encounter a good-faith disagreement, you would not be saying anything helpful if you thumped the table and declared that “blind people should be treated equally.” You would only be begging the question.

                You can’t drive if you’re blind, or under a certain age, or haven’t taken a driving test. Heck, you can’t vote if you’re a felon, or under a certain age, or mentally incompetent. So even with voting, there are inequalities. And therefore, just demanding marriage equality, without considering the nature of marriage, is useless.

                And so what, then, is that nature of marriage? That’s the next logical question, and something I will be taking up in a subsequent episode. Until then, I have another link in the show notes to a rather lengthy paper by the Heritage Foundation on what marriage is, why it matters, and the consequences of redefining it. I’ll be pulling points from it for when I tackle this subject later on. You may want to take a look at it and perhaps write or call with your thoughts to be included in the episode.

                But this foundation of the issue of equality needs to be laid first. Suffice to say, for now, that just spouting “Equality” with your fashionable, red equal sign doesn’t really mean much. It’s not an argument. It’s not a reason. It’s just a slogan.


                If you want to let me know what you think, call 267-CALL-CT-0 (267-225-5280) for the feedback line, or e-mail considerthis@ctpodcasting.com.

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                  In arguing for the deity of Jesus Christ (i.e., that he is, in fact, God), many Christians will point to places in the Gospel accounts where Jesus is referred to as the Son of God. For example,

                  And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

                  - Matthew 14:28-33 ESV

                  or, more specific to the point,

                  Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.”

                  - John 19:4-7 ESV

                  Yet, when presenting these apologetic arguments, many times Christians will face the response that Jesus never claimed to be God but merely ‘the son of God’.

                  This, I think, is an unfortunate consequence of our current culture’s thinking (and, perhaps, most of Western culture). The mindset we are facing, and most times have ourselves, tends to see individuals rather than groups. When we meet someone who is introduced as so-and-so’s son we think along the lines of, “Oh, your name is Frank, and you’re John’s son.” Is it any surprise, then, that we have instances of surnames such as “Johnson”?

                  We do this all the time. “Hello Mary. Yes, I know your mother Kate, and don’t you have a daughter named Rebecca?” In such a dialogue, despite understanding the familial relationship between the mother – daughter – granddaughter, we assign (inadvertently, perhaps) more importance to the individuality of each person. Hence, the argument that if Jesus is the Son of God, then he is God, carries little weight with us.

                  However, this does not seem to be the case with the culture with which Jesus interacted. Consider this excerpt from the book of John,

                  The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

                  - John 10:31-39 ESV

                  Here we see that the Jews were ready to stone Jesus because, as they stated, “you, being a man, make yourself God.” In his response Jesus actually takes their charge and clarifies it so as to make it clear that, yes, he is in fact making himself out to be God. Note his reference back to his saying, “I am the Son of God”.

                  So, how does this all tie in with CS Lewis, Narnia, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?

                  At the beginning of chapter 2, just after the Faun (Mr. Tumnus) spots Lucy, we have the following,

                  “Good evening,” said Lucy. But the Faun was so busy picking up its parcels that at first it did not reply. When it had finished it made her a little bow.

                  “Good evening, good evening,” said the Faun. “Excuse me – I don’t want to be inquisitive – should I be right in thinking that you are a Daughter of Eve?”

                  “My name’s Lucy,” said she, not quite understanding him.

                  “But you are – forgive me – you are what they call a girl?” asked the Faun.

                  “Of course I’m a girl,” said Lucy.

                  “You are in fact Human?”

                  In these few short lines of text Lewis wonderfully parlays the aspects of cross-cultural issues in how we understand textual meaning. Notice how when the Faun asked “Are you a daughter of Eve?” he was asking if Lucy was “in fact Human”. Lucy, “not quite understanding him” (in true Western form), immediately looked to the individuality aspect of her status as the daughter of her mother – that they were two distinct, and therefore separate, persons. Luckily, the Faun understood this confusion on Lucy’s part and stepped her through the process, first by asking if she was “a girl”, and then asking his initial question in a point blank fashion: “You are in fact Human?”

                  The point here is that the title Daughter of Eve had nothing to do with the individuality of Lucy but everything to do with her being of the same species as Eve: Human. In like manner, when Jesus was referred to or claimed to be the Son of God it had everything to do with him being of the same “species” as his Father: God.

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                    In many of the debates / flat-out-arguments regarding gun control, recently, it’s been interesting to see how some anti-2nd Amendment folk trot out the notion that gun owners who claim self defense as the basis for their right to own firearms must have some gender inferiority complex. What are you compensating for?, is the Dr. Phil-ish question that explains what these misguided gun owners are suffering from. Essentially, advocates of gun control claim that the supposed need for having firearms is inexorably linked to the fabrication of an essence, be it ever so false, of manhood.

                    Maybe they have a point. If I own firearms for self / family defense then what exactly am I compensating for? Well, I’ll tell you what:

                    Among other things, I’m compensating for the 6′-4″, 225 pound, 25 year-old thug who, after breaking into my home, would not think twice about shooting me in the head (or stabbing me or clubbing me) regardless of whether I was armed or complied with his demands. I’m compensating for the multiple assailants who, after training in prison*, would not think twice about slitting my throat, raping my family, and then strangling them to death. I’m compensating for the inevitability of civil unrest given a natural or man-made disaster in the metropolitan area I live in. And I’m compensating for the sheep-like mentality you display, insuring that your such departures from reality will not inhibit my right to defend the lives of those I hold dear to my heart.

                    In the meantime, let’s take a look at some stories which illustrate that there are many women who seem to have taken to “compensation”, regardless of whether they suffer from the gender-complex issues that gun grabber psychoanalysts say they do. And, as a sidenote, notice that not all defensive gun uses (DGUs) involved actually firing the weapon.

                    15 Million women “pack heat” in the US

                    And that was in 2011. From the article,

                    One mother named Elena who lives in Roseburg, Ore., explains how her job as a 911 dispatcher led her to overcome the discomfort she felt about owning a gun.

                    “Dealing with the calls that we field on a daily basis made me really aware of what people are capable of doing,” Elena writes. “I’m a single mom and I’ve got two kids, so I feel like if I’m ever put in a situation where I need to protect them, I’d prefer to have a gun.

                    Gun-toting Grandma pulls handgun on two men who tried to rob her

                    More women using guns for fun and protection

                    From the article,

                    Several factors are driving women to the gun range, experts say.

                    “The first and foremost reason is women no longer want to feel vulnerable,” Parsons says. “They want to feel responsible for their own personal safety and the safety of their families. Just by their physical size, the perpetrator is going to be bigger and stronger. A firearm is the great equalizer.”

                    More and more women…

                    From the article,

                    To those who say guns are masculine, Ellanson says, “It would depend on how you define femininity. I think a capable woman is the most feminine expression of power that there is.”

                    15 year-old girl scares burglars (note – plural) with dad’s… gun

                    From the article,

                    Officials said a teen in Texas City was alone when a pair of intruders broke into her family’s house, but she turned the tables on the suspects by grabbing her father’s handgun.

                    911 is a joke

                    In Detroit. From the article,

                    The people of Detroit are taking no prisoners.

                    Justifiable homicide in the city shot up 79 percent in 2011 from the previous year, as citizens in the long-suffering city armed themselves and took matters into their own hands. The local rate of self-defense killings now stands 2,200 percent above the national average. Residents, unable to rely on a dwindling police force to keep them safe, are fighting back against the criminal scourge on their own. And they’re offering no apologies.

                    More women…

                    From the article,

                    More women throughout the United States are buying guns and learning how to use them. And we’re finding that to be true in South Dakota. In fact, a 2011 Gallup Poll found that 43% of women say there’s a gun in their home. KSFY’s Courtney Zieller is finding out why numbers are at a new high.

                    21 year-old woman shoots and kills intruder who kicked in her door

                    Oh, and at least one of the intruders was armed with a gun. From the article,

                    Tweets sent from the official Dallas Police Department Twitter account said two suspects kicked in the door of the home at about 11:30 a.m. The resident was alone upstairs and heard the noise. She confronted the two burglars as they ascended the stairs and shot at them several times.

                    The two ran out the front door and one collapsed from a gunshot wound. Police later recovered a gun at the scene, “indicating at least one of the suspects was armed.” Nobody has been identified.

                    12 year-old girl shoots intruder

                    Yeah, this one kicked his way in as well. From the article,

                    A 12-year-old girl took matters into her own hands during a home invasion in southeast Oklahoma.

                    It happened on Wednesday when the girl was home alone. She told police a stranger rang the doorbell, then went around to the back door and kicked it in. She called her mom, Debra St. Clair, who told her to get the family gun, hide in a closet and call 911.

                    * Not based on my own knowledge but as related by a retired LA County Sheriff and a current LAPD Police Officer.

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                      Happy New Year! And Happy 240th!

                      Today is January 1st, 2013. Happy New Year! It also happens to be the 240th anniversary of the sermon with which John Newton introduced his newly written poem, Amazing Grace. From Near to the Heart of God: Meditations on 366 Best-Loved Hymns,

                      On Friday morning, January 1, 1773, John Newton, former slave trader and infidel, preached a New Year’s message from 1 Chronicles 17:16–17 in his church at Olney, England. Newton opened his sermon, saying, “The Lord bestows many blessings upon His people, but unless He likewise gives them a thankful heart, they lose much of the comfort they might have.” He told his church to look back at God’s goodness, look around at God’s promises, and look forward to future usefulness. In concluding, Newton introduced a poem he’d written for the occasion, the hymn “Amazing Grace.”

                      - Morgan, Robert J., Near to the Heart of God: Meditations on 366 Best-Loved Hymns

                      The scriptural text that Newton referred to in his sermon, the setting just after the announcement of the Davidic Covenant,

                      Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and said, “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And this was a small thing in your eyes, O God. You have also spoken of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and have shown me future generations, O LORD God!

                      (1 Chronicles 17:16-17 ESV)

                      And Newton’s original six verses:

                      Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
                      That sav’d a wretch like me!
                      I once was lost, but now am found,
                      Was blind, but now I see.

                      ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
                      And grace my fears reliev’d;
                      How precious did that grace appear
                      The hour I first believ’d!

                      Thro’ many dangers, toils, and snares,
                      I have already come;
                      ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
                      And grace will lead me home.

                      The Lord has promis’d good to me,
                      His word my hope secures;
                      He will my shield and portion be
                      As long as life endures.

                      Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
                      And mortal life shall cease;
                      I shall possess, within the veil,
                      A life of joy and peace.

                      The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
                      The sun forbear to shine;
                      But God, who call’d me here below,
                      Will be forever mine.

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                        Links for Monday, 31 December 2012

                        Exporting the “old and sick” to another place

                        But don’t worry – I’m sure it’s for “the common good.”

                        From The Guardian,

                        Growing numbers of elderly and sick Germans are being sent overseas for long-term care in retirement and rehabilitation centres because of rising costs and falling standards in Germany.

                        …with increasing numbers of Germans unable to afford the growing costs of retirement homes, and an ageing and shrinking population, the number expected to be sent abroad in the next few years is only likely to rise. Experts describe it as a “time bomb”.

                        Germany has one of the fastest-ageing populations in the world, and the movement here has implications for other western countries, including Britain, particularly amid fears that austerity measures and rising care costs are potentially undermining standards of residential care.

                        Something to think about as we travers the road towards nationalized healthcare.

                        ###

                        The Last Radicals
                        From the National Review,

                        There is exactly one authentically radical social movement of any real significance in the United States, and it is not Occupy, the Tea Party, or the Ron Paul faction. It is homeschoolers, who, by the simple act of instructing their children at home, pose an intellectual, moral, and political challenge to the government-monopoly schools, which are one of our most fundamental institutions and one of our most dysfunctional.

                        The author contends that opponents to homeschoolers have three core reasons.

                        The first is that progressives by their nature do not trust people as individuals and feel that, whether we are applying for a credit card or popping into 7-Eleven for a soft drink, Americans require state-appointed overseers.

                        The second reason for this hostility is that while there is a growing number of secular, progressive, organic-quinoa-consuming homeschool families, there remains a significant conservative and Christian component.

                        A third reason is that the majority of homeschool teachers are mothers. A traditional two-parent family with one full-time breadwinner and one stay-at-home parent is practically built into the model.

                        Long live independence!

                        ###

                        Safe, legal and… rare?
                        From Touchstone Magazine,

                        The Federal Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) released a report on the eve of Thanksgiving showing that there was an historic drop of five percent in the abortion rate, the most in a decade. The data is from 2009, the latest year available, and shows that there were only 789,000 abortions. [emphasis in original]

                        The author states that data from California was not included, so the number of abortions most likely was over 1,000,000.

                        As for the demographics, this unsettling note,

                        Approximately 85 percent of women who aborted their babies were unmarried. The majority of abortions are performed by the eighth week of pregnancy. White women had the lowest abortion rate, at about 8.5 per 1,000 women of child-bearing age; the rate for African-American women was about four times that; and the abortion rate for Hispanic women was about 19 per 1,000.

                        The liberal mantra of being there for the disadvantaged seems to get turned on its head.

                        And to put some perspective on the killing of 1,000,000 unborn children every year, it’s like having 137 Sandy Hook mass killings EVERY DAY.

                        ###

                        A belated Christmas Light Painting link for you all
                        Here’s a great example!

                        Merry Christmas Everyone!

                        © Michael Ross

                        ###

                        Doctrine vs. Methodology?
                        From The Gospel Coalition,

                        Pastors constantly face temptation to devote more time and energy to methods rather than to doctrine. If that includes you, then give heed to Paul’s instruction in 1 Timothy 4:16: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

                        Following the imperative to keep watch on himself, Paul further instructs Timothy to keep watch on his doctrine. My observation, however, is that most ministers aren’t doing this. They don’t talk about doctrine. They don’t read it. If they’re paying close attention to anything, it is their methods and psychology. What’s the result? Less biblical fidelity. Less interest in truth. Less seriousness. Less depth.

                        Neglecting doctrine results in less capacity to offer a compelling alternative to the thinking of our generation. I often hear the excuse that pastors aren’t studying theology because they’re too busy trying to reach more people. Ironically, this pursuit of identification often comes with a corresponding loss of communication. We put forth all this effort to make people feel comfortable and at home so they don’t feel the difference between life in Christ and life without Christ. Problem is, it is supposed to be different when you come to Christ. That is the point.

                        [emphasis added]

                        ###

                        From Radicals to Oddballs
                        Oh, those homeschoolers,

                        There are two facets to educating a child well. The first is to recognize that education is not merely the accumulation of facts, but that it has an unavoidably moral aspect. A suitable education must do more, therefore, than simply teach facts, even moral facts. Education must seek to cultivate the moral imagination of the child, for reducing moral education to a list of rules is bound to fail.

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                          Links for Sunday, 30 December 2012

                          No, despite America’s obsession with guns, the U.S. isn’t the most violent country
                          It’s the U.K. From the article,

                          Britain’s violent crime record is worse than any other country in the European union, it has been revealed.

                          Official crime figures show the UK also has a worse rate for all types of violence than the U.S. and even South Africa – widely considered one of the world’s most dangerous countries.

                          In terms of violent crimes per 100,000 residents, the U.K. comes in at 2,034 per 100K (with the U.S. listed at 466 per 100K).

                          For those who may be unaware, the U.K. has effectively banned the general public from owning firearms.

                          ###

                          Besides that, gun control doesn’t reduce crime – just ask the U.K. or Australia
                          From the Wall Street Journal,

                          We aren’t alone in facing this problem. Great Britain and Australia, for example, suffered mass shootings in the 1980s and 1990s. Both countries had very stringent gun laws when they occurred. Nevertheless, both decided that even stricter control of guns was the answer. Their experiences can be instructive.

                          The results have not been what proponents of the act wanted. Within a decade of the handgun ban and the confiscation of handguns from registered owners, crime with handguns had doubled according to British government crime reports. Gun crime, not a serious problem in the past, now is. Armed street gangs have some British police carrying guns for the first time. Moreover, another massacre occurred in June 2010. Derrick Bird, a taxi driver in Cumbria, shot his brother and a colleague then drove off through rural villages killing 12 people and injuring 11 more before killing himself.

                          Read it all.

                          ###

                          Enacting “Gun-Free [sic] School Zones” increases the frequency of active killer events
                          So says David Codrea, and he links to an interesting graphic provided by GeorgiaCarry.org.


                          ###

                          The Mayor of Newark gets it
                          Mayor Cory Booker,

                          I’m not afraid of law-abiding citizens who buy a gun… Listen to me, the people dying in Chicago, the people dying in Newark are not being done with law-abiding gun owners.

                          ###

                          The World according to murder
                          An interesting infographic (have not vetted the accuracy of it).

                          murder
                          Provided by Survival Goods

                          ###

                          Be careful what you ask for
                          CNN asked its “iReporters” the question, “Was your gun banned?”, and also asked them to “upload a photo of your gun and share your thoughts on gun control.

                          An intrepid young iReporter decided to have a little fun with the assignment, and uploaded a photo of a nerf gun* (shown below), stating,

                          My ak 47, 5th generation model. This one uses the 9.88x33mm round. I believe the only nation that uses it is Canada. They need this kind of firepower actually. I got mine in yellow because nothing says, “I’m big, bad and scary like yellow”…banana yellow.

                          This gun is actually at the top of the ban list. I don’t like that. We have rights to bear arms. Don’t take that away from me, don’t take that away from us. Guns are a part of our heritage, or history, our roots, our blood.

                          What happens if tyranny arises? What if North Korea invades? What if a meth head randomly walks into my house? The only thing between life and death, survival, and non-survival, freedom and slavery is this baby.


                          * “Not vetted by CNN”

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                            Do You Really Own Your Property?

                            We were told, point blank, that we don’t, by a local government employee.

                            Here’s the story. In the tiny town we live in, apparently there have been an increasing number of code violations regarding, among other things, people parking cars on their lawns, off the driveway. My wife, returning from our town’ s annual Christmas parade, was pulling up to our house with plans to park on the street in front of our house for the moment. She saw a Code Enforcement car coming down our dead-end street, and parked a little bit further off to the side, thinking that maybe this officer might be concerned that she was blocking too much of the street. In doing this, about 1/3 of the tire width was actually on the grass; a few inches.

                            When the Code Enforcement office turned around and came back down our street, he rolled his window down and said to my wife that, FYI, he was patrolling for, among other thing, cars on lawns and that, technically, he could cite her for her current parking situation, but wouldn’t this time. In the ensuing conversation, he told her a number of very odd things.

                            Now, I understand if a community doesn’t want to live in an area where people regularly park on their lawns. I can see erosion issues, and I can understand that this could lead to people who turn their property into auto mechanic yards. He mentioned that cars can leak fluid and it would get into the water supply. (Of course, those leaks from a car on the road would wind up in the storm drain where it would go directly into the lake behind our house, unfiltered by the ground. But he didn’t seem to realize that.) The community decides that it will make certain rules about how you keep your property, and you might get fined for breaking these rules, but it’s still your property. Not according to this guy. In his mind, since the government can create restrictions on what you can do, then it’s not your property. You only have the license to use it. He didn’t go into who actually owns it or who you’re licensing it from, but he was quite clear that  our ownership of the property was an illusion.

                            And, since I can’t, for instance, use my house as a factory, then I don’t really own that, either.

                            Really?

                            Now, my guess is this is just one, incredibly misinformed, random government worker we ran into. But still, is this indicative of a bigger issue regarding what government thinks? Perhaps folks at higher levels still do, in fact, understand the concept of private property, and that having regulations on the use of something doesn’t mean the regulatory body owns it. But really, this is unbelievable.

                            I can be put in jail for child abuse. Wonder what this guy thinks about my kids.

                            Doug Payton blogs at Considerettes and podcasts at "Consider This".

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                              Death Panels in the UK

                              From the Daily Mail in London:

                              Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’.

                              Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults.

                              But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies.

                              One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone.

                              Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a  baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken’.

                              The LCP – on which 130,000 elderly and terminally-ill adult patients die each year – is now the subject of an independent inquiry ordered by ministers.

                              The fact is, when a bureaucracy pays for health care, its main focus over time becomes the money, not the lives. This, frankly, must happen when we hand over our freedoms to the government. Human nature fairly dictates that, again over time, our better natures lose to the almighty dollar/pound/euro. When we, individually, determine how and where our money’s spent, we can make better choices than society in the aggregate.

                              Individuals have a conscience. Government entities don’t.

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