Archive for May, 2009

Empathy on the Bench?

May 29, 2009

President Obama’s now famous “empathy” criterion for appointments to the Supreme Court is, in my opinion, nothing more than a veiled reference to a personal philosophy of liberalism.  In fact, I think it is diametrically opposed to the kinds of qualities a judge should embody. 

Judges are the voice of the law.  And the law is incapable of empathy.  Empathy is a personal quality that inevitably veers from the law.  The very reason we have law is to avoid situations where empathy dictates how society should respond to a situation.  The law is what it is: solid, stable, unwavering, unflinching, impartial, no respecter of persons.  The law ensures that empathy does not pervert justice.  

As Ann Coulter has recently pointed out, empathy is often selective.  And I think that is necessarily so.  Minorities will likely empathize more easily with other minorities, women with other women, white men with other white men, and so forth.  That fact is simply human nature. 

And that is precisely why we have the law.  The law does not recognize skin color or gender (or, perhaps I should say that ideally it should not).  The law does not cater to one group or another.  The law does not empathize.  It simply pronounces.  And the reason justice is blind is because the law pronounces the same for every kind of person.  It gives no preference to one group or another.

Apparently, the President’s nominee for the next Supreme Court vacancy, Sonia Sotomayor, is an empathetic person.  In fact, she is so empathetic that she is quite confident that a Latina is, overall, a bit more capable than a white man at rendering good judgments.  Her empathy even extends far enough to deny qualified firefighters a promotion that they earned because the promotion would not have included any black firefighters who did not earn the promotion.  Liberal empathy for the minority often results in discrimination against the majority.  And this is unjust.  Reverse racism is still racism.  And if Judge Sotomayor were a white man who had said the kind of thing about Latinos that she, a Latina, has said about white men, she would have no chance, absolutely none, at Senate confirmation. 

She is obviously a gifted, intelligent woman with a long list of impressive accomplishments.  But that kind of intellect in the service of a warped idealogy is doubly dangerous.  Darth Vader was so scary not just because he was directed toward the Dark Side, but because he was so darn good at what he did: his command of the Force was masterful.  A top notch intellect, saturated with liberal empathy, is probably the worst combination for the Supreme Court.  People like Judge Sotomayor can pervert justice and subvert the Constitution with enough intellectual prowess to make it look and sound eminently reasonable, at least to the person who has not ears to hear. 

UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer and I apparently think alike, although he obviously thinks more deeply and clearly, and he expresses himself so much better (though I promise I did not read his column before writing the above).  Read his column especially for the details it provides about what Frank Ricci, one the firefighters denied a promotion for which he qualified, went through in order to get that promotion.  Thankfully, Ricci and his fellow firefighters still have hope that the Supreme Court will likely find in their favor.  And, ironically (as Krauthammer points out), Judge Sotomayor will then shortly join the Supreme Court, the very body that will have overturned her previous ruling.       

A Prophetic Word

May 25, 2009

From Doug Wilson’s Ascension Sunday sermon, addressed to President Obama:

Mr. President, your past record, your campaign promises, your political affiliations, your supporters, your political philosophy, and your record since the election, all consistently indicate that your appointment to the Supreme Court will be a pro-abortion nominee, one who favors the continued recognition of a ghoulish “right” to slaughter the unborn. Your rhetoric, as displayed very recently at Notre Dame, hypocritically aspires to transcend this moral confrontation, sometimes disingenuously called “a debate,” as though you are somehow above it all—but your record and actions indicate otherwise. You are radically down to earth in your complete support of unrestricted abortion rights. You are a thoroughly committed partisan in this sick war that adults have declared on children. This means that we have every reason to believe that you will decide, or that you already have decided, to nominate a pro-abortion judge to this vacancy. And so we come to the central point of this message, declared to you by a minister of Jesus Christ, speaking in His name and on His behalf. You may not do this thing. And if by the time this message is preached, you have already placed the name of such a person in nomination, you are commanded in the name of the Lord Jesus to repent, and withdraw that name from consideration. The one to whom you ultimately answer is the Lord Jesus Christ, and not the American people. And this Jesus, who is the Lord of all presidents and parliaments, kings and congresses, forbids what you are in the midst of doing. And so I say it again. You may not.

You said in the campaign that you did not have “a litmus test” for your nominees, but it is important for you to know and recognize that the Lord Jesus does have a litmus test for judges. He requires them to hate injustice and to judge righteously (Dt. 1:16), to defend the fatherless (Is. 1:23; Jer. 5:28), and to keep the land from being soaked with the blood of innocents (Hos. 6:6-8; Ps. 10:18). Judges must adjudicate with godly wisdom (Prov. 8:16). Judges must recognize that there is a Judge above them, one to whom they answer. The Lord is our judge, lawgiver and king (Is. 33:22). And judges who refuse to acknowledge the wisdom of heaven are judges that the Lord will bring down to nothing. He makes the judges of the earth as vanity (Is. 40:23).

Read the whole sermon.

The United States of China

May 23, 2009

I just read a troubling story from WorldNet Daily.  Apparently, a San Diego pastor and his wife have been ordered by a county official that if they want to continue holding Bible studies in their home, they will have to jump through a plethora of bureaucratic hoops.  What is happening to my country? 

Of all people, the ACLU should be all over this, telling the government to back off.  I hope they will take up this fight; it would certainly give them more credibility.  They claim that their purpose is to defend the Constitution, but I don’t know that I have ever heard of them doing anything but pushing a leftist idealogy, quite often one that tramples the Constitution.  In any case, this looks like a very significant court battle.  If we do not have the right to assemble freely in our own homes for the purpose of a religious gathering, what has become of the United States of America? 

If this kind of thing becomes a national trend, and the federal government adds its blessing, then I would definitely say it would be time for Texas to get out.  And then I would probably move back to Texas.

Wow!

May 22, 2009

Every once in while I check my blog stats, mainly in order to remind myself how much no one cares what I have to say (that way I won’t feel so compelled to say it and then I can spend time doing other things that actually have value).  Well, today I just checked them, and something extraordinary happened on Wednesday, May 20th.

I normally run between about 12-30 views per day.  Not impressive by any stretch of the imagination.  But on the 20th I got 230 views.  Now, this sort of thing has happened before, and I have always been able to trace it back to one particular post of mine (usually a political one) that ends up getting linked by a FoxNews story or something like that.  And when I say “ends up getting linked,” I don’t mean that the author of the story intentionally links to me.  I mean it gets linked under the “automatically generated” category that you find at the end of blogs. 

So, on those few occasions when I have had multiple hundreds of hits in one day, I can figure out why pretty quickly.  But I have no idea how this happened on Wednesday.  I checked out the hits and noticed that they were widespread over a number of different posts.  For some reason, about ten times more people than normal visited my blog on Wednesday. 

If any of you were part of that group that came by on Wednesday, what was it that drew you here?

Where Do Republicans Go from Here?

May 10, 2009

I would not consider myself a talk radio junkie.  I like to listen to talk radio if I happen to be in my car when my favorite shows are on, but I am not the kind of person who is going to leave the radio on while I work.  So I generally catch snippets of Rush Limbaugh and Michael Medved, usually in about 20 minute intervals. 

Rush airs from 12:00-3:00pm, and Medved airs from 3:00-6:00pm here in the eastern time zone.  Lately it has been interesting to listen to one and then the other address the same issues.  For example, on Arlen Specter’s recent defection to the Democrats, Rush basically said, “Good riddance.”  Medved, on the other hand, interpreted the defection as a tragedy for the Republican party, which he argues must pursue a “big tent” policy if it wants to regain any measure of power in the federal government.

Although they are fairly similar in their own political views, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Medved represent opposing viewpoints on the kind of strategy Republicans should pursue for the future.  Rush is what you might call a “purist,” one who argues that if Republicans simply get back to the business of articulating true conservatism, their ideas will win them support.  The worst thing Republicans can do now, he argues, is try to be more like Democrats.  Medved, on the other hand, sees the only hope for the Republican party in a broad appeal to moderates and conservatives alike.  If Rush is a “purist,” Medved is more like a pragmatist, one who is seeking a “middle-of-the-road” political strategy.

What should Republicans do now that they have been soundly thumped in two straight elections?  Although I typically prefer Medved’s show over Rush’s, I have to say that Rush has the better argument on this one.  In recent history I can think of two occasions when Republicans pulled off resounding electoral victories: Reagan’s two landslide victories in 1980 and 1984 and the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 under the leadership of Newt Gingrich.  Both of these victories were won on the principles of conservatism.  Republicans simply presented a better vision for America, and they did it in an appealing, simple, and articulate way.  That’s how you win elections.

If Republicans want to get off the endangered species list, they need to espouse true conservatism again.  They need to pursue a course of contrast to the Democratic party instead of putting forth “liberalism lite.”  As it did with Bush, the voting public will soon grow tired of the Democratic leadership in Washington.  The better they position themselves as the sensible alternative to liberalism, the better position Republicans will be in to win in 2010 and beyond.

Profound Statement

May 6, 2009

Those who know that their sexual failures are sin are in a different category than those who want to remake the world in a way that conforms to their lusts.

I find this an extremely helpful and necessary distinction to make.  Read Doug Wilson’s post on this issue.

What Would Your Mom Think About This?

May 5, 2009

This Sunday be sure to give your mother parent a call and wish her that particular person a happy Mothers’ Parents’ Day. 

It appears that the United Nations’ Commitee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has serious concerns about the social ramifications of setting apart one day a year to show honor and gratitude to the women who carried us for nine months, who gave birth to us, who fed us, who clothed us, who sat up with us through fussy nights, who wiped our noses and tushies, who bathed us, who entertained us, who taught us the ABC’s and 123’s, who loved us through all the grief we gave them, who celebrated our successes, who hurt more than we realized when we failed, who nursed our wounds, who set us on course to be the people we are today. 

According to its report from the year 2000 (scroll down to page 45 and read paragraph 361),

The Committee is concerned by the continuing prevalence of sex-role stereotypes [in the nation of Belarus] and by the reintroduction of such symbols as Mothers’ Day and a Mothers’ Award, which it sees as encouraging women’s traditional roles.  It is also concerned whether the introduction of human rights and gender education aimed at countering such stereotyping is being effectively implemented.

I would like to insert a sarcastic comment here, but I think I have reached the end of sarcastic possibility.  Sarcasm requires some measure of hyperbole.  For example, in order to communicate the lunacy of the left-wing attack on everything good in this world, one might remark jokingly that the next thing liberals will want to do is outlaw Mothers’ Day.  It would seem to be self-evident that honoring and thanking one’s mother is a good thing, and thus the crack about banning Mothers’ Day would be an evident hyperbole for rhetorical effect. 

I don’t know how to hyperbolize above this.  These left-wingers actually do want to ban Mothers’ Day.  One thing is for sure: I would hate to be one of their mothers.

Ethan Thomas O’Kelley

May 1, 2009

Ethan Thomas O’Kelley was born on April 28th.  He was born at 7:11am, and he weighed 7 pounds and 11 ounces.  This means Benjamin is now a big brother.

And the Slaughter Will Go On

May 1, 2009

Justice Souter has announced his plan to retire.  President Obama will soon have the opportunity to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court.  Without a doubt, he will nominate someone who, like Souter, is committed to the idea that the Constitution guarantees women the right to abort their unborn children. 

What if John McCain were making this decision?  Certainly, there are variables at play that we cannot know with certainty:

(1) Would Souter have chosen to retire at this time, knowing that a President McCain would choose his replacement?  Or is it specifically the fact that Obama is President that gives Souter the freedom to retire, knowing that someone like him (or farther to the left) will be his replacement? 

(2) Would McCain have nominated a strict constructionist to replace Souter, one who would have shifted the balance of the court in a 5-4 conservative direction, thereby making the overturn of Roe v. Wade a foreseeable possibility? 

In answer to number 1, we simply cannot know.  But whether Souter would have chosen to retire during a McCain administration or not, the net result would still be better for the unborn.  If Souter had chosen to stay on for another four years, then we have the same balance on the court, but Souter’s seat would still be occupied by Souter, a liberal justice whose time on the court would be short.  In addition, whatever Souter might have chosen to do, I can’t imagine that the liberal justice Stevens, at 89 years old, will stay on very much longer.  Like Obama, McCain very likely would have been in a position to appoint at least two, if not more, supreme court justices.

In answer to number 2, I can only say that based on his record and his campaign promises, it seems very likely to me that John McCain would have appointed a conservative, thereby shifting the balance of the court and putting Roe v. Wade in the crosshairs.  The election of 2008 could have been a political turning point for the pro-life cause.  But with Obama in the White House at this critical juncture, we can be certain that the slaughter of the unborn will go on. 

Justin Taylor has astutely observed,

One small but safe prediction: no matter who is nominated, and no matter how radical is their record on abortion, some Evangelical and Catholic supporters of Obama will claim that the nomination will somehow reduce abortion.

As the slaughter of abortion will continue, so will the self-justifying delusion of pro-life Obama supporters.