Archive for January, 2009

Thomas Sowell on the Expansion of Government

January 27, 2009

Here is another great column from Thomas Sowell, this time on the way the government is using the current economic crisis as a means of expanding its own power. 

President Obama has (rightly or wrongly) criticized President Bush for using a threat to our national security as an excuse to expand the power of the executive and transgress the Constitution.  Could it be that Obama is using a threat to our economic well-being to do the same thing? 

The only urgent action we need from the government is that it should urgently cut taxes and urgently cut spending.  Other than that, we need to face the music and let the full extent of the pain come now.  The more bailouts we have and the more big government economic stimulus packages we pass, the more we drag ourselves into debt and the more we prolong this crisis.  Rip off the band-aid now, and just deal with the pain.  It will go away after a while.  That’s my economic philosophy.

God Has a Sense of Humor

January 26, 2009

This is just plain funny.

Why Do Women Abort?

January 26, 2009

Some have argued that President Obama will, in spite of his radical support for abortion rights, actually help reduce abortions by addressing factors that cause women to choose abortion in the first place.  These factors are all tied to economics: poverty, lack of affordable daycare, etc. 

As I have said before, this is a puzzling argument to me.  President Obama favors using federal tax dollars to pay for abortions for those who cannot afford them.  According to that logic, poverty actually prevents abortions by preventing women from being able to pay for them.  And yet, abortion is part of the total nexus of the “right” to healthcare that President Obama espouses, leading him to believe that my money should be confiscated to pay for this procedure to be done for those who otherwise would not have access to it. 

So which is it?  Does poverty cause abortions, or should we use public funds to pay for abortions precisely because poverty prevents them from happening?  Pro-life Obama supporters say one thing, and Obama says another, and yet that did not prevent Obama from riding at least part of the pro-life vote to victory on the false notion that he would reduce poverty and thereby reduce abortions. 

A new study further illuminates the falsehood of the premise that poverty causes abortions.  According to results published by Life News, the most important factor that leads a woman to choose to have an abortion is not her financial situation but her perception of the level of support that the child’s father will provide in raising the child (by “support” I refer to the father’s involvement in the life of the child, which goes well beyond financial considerations).  This factor in turn is very closely related to whether or not the mother and father of the child are married.  If they are married, the chances of the woman choosing to have an abortion drop dramatically.  It is no coincidence that in the African American community, where out-of-wedlock pregnancies by far outnumber pregnancies within marriage, the rate of abortion is entirely out of proportion with the percentage of the African American population in this country.  As Abort73.com has written, “abortion has thinned the black community in ways the Ku Klux Klan could have only dreamed of.” 

If President Obama wants to reduce the number of abortions that occur apart from legislation that restricts abortion, he needs to reform those aspects of public policy that have led to the weakening of marriage and the breakdown of the family.  This would involve welfare policy, income tax policy, divorce laws, and the protection of heterosexual marriage as the law of the land.  One thing that Obama did on the campaign trail that I really appreciated was issue a call to fathers to be men of responsibility.  He himself has modeled that as a successful African American man who has been a faithful husband and father.  Ultimately, this is where real change must happen, and this is where the government is very limited.  Government has the ability to cause great damage to the family, as Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” has done, but now that the damage has been done, government is very limited in what it can do to repair the damage.  Local communities, churches, families, and individuals must be the leaders of this kind of change.  President Obama and the big government he proposes cannot be a surrogate father for the millions of children who might be aborted in the coming years.  Big government, even if it could reduce poverty (which it can’t), still would have little effect on the abortion rate.

New Link: Moral Accountability

January 23, 2009

In office now for only two full days, President Obama has already issued an executive order that will cause more deaths.  He has repealed the Mexico City policy, a policy that prevented non-governmental organizations from receiving tax dollars if they provided or promoted abortions as part of a family planning method in other nations.  The bottom line is this: our federal tax dollars can (and likely will) now be used to pay for abortions overseas.  It only took about forty-eight hours in the White House to do this.  I tremble at what could be done in four years.  Increased government funding for research that destroys human embryos is sure to follow.  Piece by piece, I fear, this administration will lead us farther into a culture of death than we have ever been.  Let us pray for President Obama’s heart to change on this.

Of course, the mainstream media cannot be trusted to tell the truth about anything pertaining to Obama.  Anything that might be perceived as radical will be hidden from the public.  That is why I am thankful that several leading intelletcuals (including Robert George and Francis Beckwith) have started MoralAccountability.com, a website that will bring to light every move that President Obama makes on issues of life and marriage.  All Americans who value human life from conception to natural death–and especially those who supported Obama–should not allow this administration to pursue a radical agenda under the cloak of darkness.  We were promised fewer abortions.  We were promised transparency.  Let us see if we will have them.  I will follow Moral Accountability very closely over the next four years. (HT: Justin Taylor)

Another good site that I am also adding to my blogroll is Abort73.com, a page dedicated to raising awareness and eliminating ignorance about what abortion is, how it is performed, and what have been the results of this barbaric practice.

Unreasonable Faith

January 22, 2009

I just stumbled across Daniel Florien’s blog, aptly titled “Unreasonable Faith.”  Florien is an apostate Christian who now seems bent on attacking evangelical Christianity constantly.  Reading his arguments on various issues, I am reminded of a passage from G. K. Chesterton:

As an explanation of the world, materialism has a sort of insane simplicity.  It has just the quality of the madman’s argument; we have at once the sense of it covering everything and the sense of it leaving everything out.  Contemplate some able and sincere materialist, as, for instance, Mr. McCabe, and you will have exactly the same unique sensation.  He understands everything, and everything does not seem worth understanding.  His cosmos may be complete in every river and cog-wheel, but still his cosmos is smaller than our world.

Unbelief is a false religion.  It is built on the unproven (and self-contradictory) assumptions of anti-faith.  It cannot claim to stand in an unbiased, objective position from which to evaluate all other viewpoints, including Christianity.  In fact, as Van Til said, unbelievers are like the child who climbs up in her father’s lap in order to slap him in the face; they cannot even attack the Christian faith without standing on Christian assumptions about themselves, about rationality, about predication, about the external world.  Unbelief subsists only on borrowed capital.  Not only is it a false religion, it is also quite boring to boot.  Mr. Florien’s story is a sad one.

My Thoughts on the Inauguration

January 21, 2009

– Rick Warren gave a great prayer.  President Obama made an excellent choice in him.  I realize that it was a political choice aimed to make evangelicals like me happy, but even knowing that I appreciate the fact that President Obama has exhibited a desire to reach out to people like me.  Warren’s prayer was distinctively Christian, biblical in content, and uncensored. 

– The string music was outstanding.  Aretha Franklin’s song and Elizabeth Alexander’s poem, not so much. 

– I felt bad for Obama when he had trouble with the oath; that was not his fault.  Chief Justice Roberts inverted the word order and threw the whole thing off.  (I can imagine Mrs. Roberts saying, “John, you had one job to do!”  after it was all over). 

– The President’s speech was very good.  I will probably oppose many of the fiscal and social policies of this administration, but if, as he said, he will take a hard stance against Islamic terror, and if he will promote personal responsibility over dependence on government, I will support him in these endeavors.

– The first family is a beautiful family.  It will be great to have children in the White House. 

– I felt the significance of the end of an era as President and Mrs. Bush boarded the helicopter and waved to the cameras one last time.  I am deeply grateful to our former President for keeping us safe, for standing firm on his convictions in spite of political pressure, and for leaving on the Supreme Court two amazing justices whose influence will endure far beyond his own.  I felt happy for Mr. and Mrs. Bush as they will be able to return to a quiet life in Texas, knowing the pressures of the spotlight will afflict them no longer, the cruelty of the uncivilized portion of the left will largely ignore them, and the biased media will follow suit.  They have endured enough, and it is time to retire.  I imagine they have many joyful year ahead of them. 

– After it was all over, I heard reports that some large segments of the crowd actually mocked President Bush when he came out for the ceremony.  The treatment of our 43rd President has been a disgrace, and all Americans should be ashamed of it.  I’m not saying everyone should have agreed with him on everything; I am saying that civility, fairness, and respect for those ordained by God to lead us should be the rule of our public discourse.  That has simply not been the case these past eight years.  Shame on us for that. 

– In light of the previous point, then, I here pledge my commitment not to do the same to President Obama.  I did not vote for him, but he is my President.  I will respect him, pray for him, and submit to his authority.  I will not oppose his good ideas or beneficial courses of action simply because they originate from his administration.  I will not eagerly hope for bad news in order to see his political capital spent.  I will not purchase anti-Obama T-shirts or bumper stickers.  I will not cruelly mock him.*  I will likely criticize many things he will do, but I will do so in a civil and respectful manner.  And I genuinely desire to see him succeed, for the sake of the country. 

– All in all, January 20th, 2009 was a great day for America.   

*Some of the things I have said about the messianic theme of the Obama administration is satirical in nature and could, therefore, be construed as mocking.  However, I don’t think anything I have said in this regard could be considered cruel, and my aim has been to expose the ridiculous messianic fervor of the Obama movement, which is much bigger than Obama himself.  To give an example: the woman who, at an Obama rally, said that because of Obama she wouldn’t have to worry about putting gas in her car or paying her mortgage is simply deluded.  That kind of naivete deserves to be mocked.

Russell Moore Hates Sanctity of Life Sunday

January 19, 2009

but for a good reason.  Don’t miss this.

Global Warming Apocalyptic Messianism

January 18, 2009

According to at least one scientist, President Obama has four years to save the world.  Apparently, this scientist can pinpoint with precision the date when global warming will be too far gone to correct, and it just so happens that it coincides with the end of Obama’s first term.  Wow, aren’t we lucky that we elected someone who promised to slow the rise of the oceans just in the nick of time?

I think the biggest problem I have with global warming propaganda is that its view of man is way overestimated.  Neither Barack Obama nor any other mere human being has the power to change the earth’s climate, period.  He does, however, have some power to establish unwise policies in an attempt to change the climate that will intensify this economic disaster and increase the burden of energy costs on the poor.  You should have seen my heating bill last month, and this month (with its record low temperatures in the middle of this “warming” catastrophe!) it will be worse.  If President Obama bankrupts the coal industry, as he promised to do, then those heating bills will skyrocket, and the Democrats will have to exchange their poster child elderly widow who must choose between buying food or medicine for a new poster child elderly widow who can buy neither food nor medicine because the cost of heating her home took it all.  And I imagine they’ll figure out a way to blame Bush for that too.

Barack Obama is not the Messiah.  No, really, he’s not.  Prepare yourself for that disappointing reality.

The Inauguration Prayer

January 17, 2009

Rick Warren has taken a big risk by agreeing to give a prayer at the inauguration of President Obama.  I hope that he represents the Christian faith in its uniqueness and integrity and offers a prayer that will be genuinely pleasing to God, even if that means it may not be pleasing to some sectors of our society.

Dan Phillips of Team Pyro has invited several well-known, faithful Christian leaders to weigh in on the question of whether they would pray in this context and, if so, what they would say.  Thabiti Anyabwile’s response may be found here, and John Frame’s response here.  Here is what Frame said:

Dear Dan,

I would accept the invitation only on the condition that I would pray in the name of Jesus Christ. If Mr. Obama accepted that condition, I would have to think long and prayerfully in preparation, which I cannot do now. But my current inclination would be to say something like this:

We pray to you our creator, the mighty king of kings and lord of lords, who governs all things that come to pass and rules over all the nations. You raise up rulers and cast them down at your own pleasure, in the pursuit of your just and merciful purposes. We thank you for the freedom we have to worship you, sought by the founders of this nation, freedom you have given to us through the righteous laws of this land. So we call on you to be with us again during this new era. Be with our new president and all the leaders of this country, that they may be willing to hear the wisdom of your word and thus may image your justice, mercy, and integrity in their public life. As the one who remains constant throughout history, and yet who ordains change from each moment to the next, move our leaders to know how to maintain the foundations of our nation, while changing to meet the demands of new situations. Be our rock, when so much is changing in our lives. We pray for those families whose loved ones have died in defense of our country, and we pray for the young men and women who continue to fight our battles, that they may be victorious, and that their efforts may bring about the fruit of peace. We pray for those who have experienced terrible losses through the changes in the economy, and we pray that the leaders of this nation may seek out the wisest ways of responding. Above all, pour out on this nation your Holy Spirit, that there will be revival in our land, that the hearts of many will be moved to seek you, and that they may find that new life you offer us of love, joy, and peace.

This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ,

AMEN

Dr. John Frame
Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy
Reformed Theological Seminary

I would very much like to hear a prayer like this delivered at the inauguration of a President.  It may sound odd, but I think we should be in prayer about the prayer, namely, that Pastor Warren would have the leading of the Spirit to take part in this very public event in a way that will bring glory to God.

The Real Substance of the Abortion Debate

January 16, 2009

I saw a bumper sticker today that said, “Pro-Choice: Keep Abortion Safe and Legal.”  I wondered if the same logic would hold true for liberals if the subject were not abortion but the death penalty:

“Pro-Justice: Keep Executions Safe and Legal.” 

What would happen if we conservatives used the same kind of rhetoric on the death penalty that liberals used on abortions?  What if we said that outlawing the death penalty would force the families of murder victims into dangerous back-alley executions of murderers?  What if we claimed that outlawing the death penalty would not actually reduce the number of executions but would only give rise to a pervasive culture of vigilante justice?  What if we said that, since executions will happen anyway, we should provide legal means for them to be done in the safest manner possible?

Maybe that kind of argument would force them to think through the emptiness of that kind of rhetoric.  Maybe they would realize that the word “safe” rings hollow when we’re talking about the taking of a life.  Maybe they would begin to see that the real issue of debate is not how “safe” or “unsafe” the practice is, but rather the moral standing of the one who is killed and the moral authorization (or lack thereof) of the one doing the killing.  This is where the real debate over abortion must be waged, and this is exactly where liberals refuse to go because they know they will lose every time.