Monday, December 13, 2004

Another Transatlantic Voice

Ray D. at Davids Medienkritik takes on the anti-Americanism of SPIEGEL ONLINE, when they apparently conclude that because one individual with past terrorist connections had difficulty obtaining a U.S. visa, all of Germany, the doors of the U.S. have now slammed shut for all Germans. (The SPON article in question is titled AMERICA'S NEW ENEMIES: Why a German can't travel in the USA.) Now, it may be hard to believe that any thinking person would expect to find a credible article under a headline like that one. If I had been asked to guess its source, my first thought would have been The Onion, but I digress unnecessarily, because Ray D. does a beautiful job of addressing this nonsense. He says:

SPIEGEL staff have openly admitted that they exploit anti-Americanism to please their millions of readers. If pleasing your readers means taking advantage of a personal tragedy, stirring up hatred and damaging transatlantic relations, well, than SPIEGEL ONLINE is entirely prepared to do just that...
Does my heart good to know that somebody is standing up for sanity over there.

From the other side of the Atlantic . . .

The EU Referendum has some Very Interesting Stuff on issues involving the the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy. Check out the Thoughts of a European security expert, part 1 and part 2.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Yes, Virginia, there's good news too...

You thought the news from Iraq is all bad? No, the media thinks that only bad news is news. So, if you want the good part, you've got to look elsewhere. Chrenkoff is a good place to start - check out his Good News from Iraq, Part 16. Yup, sixteen parts. Read 'em all. You'll feel better.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Lest We Forget. . . .

It isn't our intention to devote this blog to a continual discussion of the left's response to (or attempts to communicate with) evangelical Christianity. But at the moment there's just so darn much material, as democrats grapple with the peculiar lingo of evangelical Christian faith, as Bruce Reed does here:

The good news is, we have done this before. We don't have to learn to speak in tongues, join the NRA, or start thinking like my evil twin Ralph Reed.
Whew. I'm sure that's a relief, Bruce, and probably no more likely than the rebirth of the entire party:
"The underlying problem here is, there is no call to arms that the Democratic Party is making to the country," Carville told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. "We've got to reassess ourselves. We've got to be born again."
But certain things just wouldn't be feasible, would they? They're just so darn back-woodsy. Then again, in the circumstances, potential candidates do (and say) what they must:
We welcome back to the area Senator Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.), who has been spending so much time here in Little Rock lately that she's practically joined the church choir! "I'm here spending time at my husband's library," she told the Lamp when we caught up with her after a Sunday camp meeting, "and of course, I always take time to worship God in as evangelical a way as is feasible, given time and location constraints. As you know, I consider myself an evangelical Christian, really a Christian conservative, if you want to know the truth, so it's nice to be 'home' again in the South, which I really consider my quote-unquote home even though I live in New York most of the time. Well, Washington, D.C., most of the time, actually, but if I'm not there I'm in New York, of course, but always thinking about being here, in the South, my spiritual home, where I shared so many wonderful evangelical . . . moments and . . . events. Can you read that back to me?"

(Via National Review)
(There's been some discussion about whether this is a legitimate quote. My question: Does this guy often use words like "apocryphal"?)
Despite the comedic value of the early attempts at framing liberal agendas in Biblical terms, we should remember the underlying gist:
Let's face it; the South and the American heartland still hold to the often selective moral values of our parents and their parents. While mainline Protestant religions are shrinking, evangelical churches are thriving. There's no way liberals can change that fact, at least not in the immediate future.
Yikes. What does this ominous reference to the future evangelical churches mean? It could be that William L. Anderson over at has a clue:
To be honest, most Democrats that I know are absolutely ignorant about evangelicals, and they are incensed that they even go to the polls. Their first inclination, unfortunately, is to try to find ways to suppress that brand of religion. As James Hitchcock notes, many Democratic intellectuals already claim to have "discovered" that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution actually encourages the suppression of conservative Christianity. He writes:
According to Kathleen M. Sullivan of the Stanford University Law School, the "establishment clause" actually establishes a culture from which there can be no legitimate dissent in which religion is tolerated only "insofar as it is consistent with the establishment of the secular moral order." She candidly admits that "the religion clauses enable the government to endorse a culture of liberal democracy that will predictably clash over many issues with religious subcultures." But believers "must pay for the secular army which engineers the truce among them" for the sake of civil peace. Critics of the theory of evolution, for example, are accused by Sullivan of being in violation of the spirit of the Constitution, which, she claims, has been "shaped by an argument honoring Galileo's defense of empirical rationality against the abuses of Bible interpretation." Hence the state is obligated to encourage "scientific rationality."

It follows logically that churches should be denied the right to be fully self-governing. Thus in A Wall of Separation (1998) Ted Jelen accuses a Catholic bishop who threatens religious sanctions against dissident church members of being guilty of "a religiously based threat to the prerogatives of democratic citizenship." The same charge would be brought against religious officials who express or enforce opposition to homosexual marriages or abortion. Sullivan thinks that churches can be allowed to exclude women from the ranks of the clergy only so long as this does not "impede the functioning of the civil public order." In Please Don't Wish Me a Merry Christmas (1997), Steven Feldman goes so far as to argue against allowing the major Christian denominations to proselytize among non-Christians.

The liberal state, Sadurski argues, should discriminate among religious groups on the basis of how "progressive" each is thought to be, and Rogers Smith insists in Liberalism and American Constitutional Law (1990) that religion can only enjoy constitutional liberties if it undergoes a basic transformation to make itself more "rational" or "self-critical." Going further, Steven Macedo, who explicitly identifies his view as "comprehensive," defines liberalism in The New Right Versus the Constitution (1987) as "a permanently educative order" for the preservation of liberal values and argues that the power of government can be legitimately used against illiberal churches because doing so promotes greater overall freedom. He urges "the right sort of liberal partisanship in all spheres of life," and, despite the Constitution's explicit prohibition of any religious test for public office, he argues that certain religious believers (notably Catholics) can justly be excluded from certain public functions, such as serving as judges.
Read all of James Hitchcock's article here.

We can chuckle at the fumbling attempts to understand and speak "evangelicalese", and the idiotic accusations, and utterly unfounded paranoias. But I would hope that whether you are a member of an "illiberal church", or not, you find this bigoted agenda of suppression as offensive and sinister as I do. So laugh, yes. Poke fun - who can resist? But let's not lose sight of the underlying ideology. It's deadly.