Abdication of Duty: Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

The Presidential Oath of Office (U.S. Constitution – Article II, Section 1)

On February 23, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a memorandum to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John A. Boehner, informing him that President Obama’s administration “will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman”. I consider any decision to refuse to give full, proper and vigorous representation to defend all laws of the land in accordance to the sworn duties of office, to be an impeachable offense. This severe indictment has nothing to do with the gay rights issue. Rather, in the name of this issue, this administration has proceeded to violate an elementary principle of civics; which because it concerns a highly public issue, will likely invoke worse ramifications in the ensuing years.

However, before making the argument, a couple of necessary disclaimers are required. As noted elsewhere on this web site (The Problem of Gay Marriage), I consider it unwise for the state to have made or make any definition for marriage or to involve itself so extensively in legislative or judicial regulation of the Estate. Such involvement has always led to travesties and injustice of various sorts (Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act – 1753 relating to religion and age, Anti-miscegenation laws, eugenic-associated marriage laws). The benefits to the state of such laws are far outweighed by the risks to civil unrest on a matter in this day. There are guaranteed losers upon making any public definition on marriage. Either perceived violations against equality or violations against conscience will invariably suffer. And it will just add one more item to the litany of flashpoints in a culture war which will increasingly heat up in waves until its climax.

Secondly, although I might consider myself a moderate conservative, the best description of the increasingly polarized factions in the U.S. is encapsulated by The Doors. “And All the Children Are Insane” (“The End” –  1967). I would find it difficult, in good conscience, to vote for either side, even were I able. I considered the deceit of the Bush Administration concerning WMDs in Iraq, which was the purported justification to obtain public support for initiating and conducting a foolish war, to be also grounds for impeachment. Surely, if Puritanical prosecutors can beat the bushes to induce a few lies about minor scandals and abuse of power in the Clinton years, surely a whopper weave of deceit and lies such as the WMD deserves a prosecutor or two. Thus, I am an equal opportunity impeacher. And I consider the practice of de facto not forcing the law to the best of ability to be similar grounds for impeachment.

When I heard about this decision last year, the memory of the last years of the Wiemar Republic and early years of the Nazi regime came to mind. Though laws were on the books, the cops, sympathetic to right-wing and Nazi sentiments, failed to enforce the law and protect the Jewish and other minorities from thuggery as well as pick sides in riots between the Nazis and the Communists.

This issue bumped up into consciousness again last week when encountering a report concerning similar neglects of duty by Greek bureaucrats, judiciaries and cops against immigrants, minorities and political enemies without police intervention. The issue is relevant in the contemporary political setting.

For example, immigrants were first demonized by the state itself. They were interned, and their rights were cancelled in practice. Bureaucrats failed to enforce protective labour legislation. The police and the judiciary do not prosecute fascists under existing laws, which are more or less adequate, and don’t penalize racial attacks, antisemitism and spreading of hate, all trademarks of Golden Dawn.

Golden Dawn and the Rise of Fascism, The Guardian, June 19, 2012

If one faction or the other side, decides, for whatever excuse it gives itself, not to defend a duly initiated law, which in this case had acquired overwhelming support in both U.S. Congressional Houses and the executive branch; it is akin to doing to law what would occur to a charged defendant in which no lawyer would defend nor be appointed. In an already unjust judicial system, where money buys the best sophists, the dynamics of this refusal to uphold the laws of the land, on the basis of self-appointed interpretation of the law in reference to the Constitution, lends to practicable tilting of the balance of justice.

However, the great peril lies in this. It sets precedent, by which either side can effectually nullify any law that they dislike through not giving full defense of it. Certainly, the rabble rousers and the single-minded zealots within each faction may denigrate the issue of rule of law or procedural niceties of the political process, in the name of their concept of a “higher principle”. Such zealots, animated with only myopic self-interest and without principle, will not appreciate the a graver threat lies in lawlessness, even to their own long-term interests. Instigating a principle of capriciously setting aside full defense of any given law, whenever the mood strikes, soon proliferates into a habit by whichever faction acquires the Commanding Heights of sociopolitical power. Surely, the adversaries of the Obama Administration will simply retaliate when power returns to their hands, having been given full justification by precedent. And such precedents have tendency to proliferate with even more flimsier basis than those provided in this incident. The complaint by the losing liberal parties of the Weimar Republic at Hitler’s use of the anti-hate laws to suppress free expression, was legitimately cast in these liberals’ faces.

The long term consequences could include a deepening detestation of each other faction as each perceive the other as violating law and equity to pursue their own self-interests and agendas. A government of laws could hereby easily descend into a government of raw power. Free civil institutions and government will be effectually overthrown. Herein, in this most basic of civic principles, the current Obama administration shows itself to be incompetent and foolish.

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Justin Bieber: The Callow Kid

I must confess that I take special amusement in incidents like “Justin Bieber booed, Lightfoot lauded at splashy Grey Cup halftime show” (Toronto Star – November 26, 2012). Schadenfreude surely qualifies as a most unchristian of personal qualities. However, as much as I might consider Bieber a decent and nice lad, the disdain has more to do with what he represents. More importantly; in those boos, lay some hope that there remains a modicum of vitality of soul in modern humanity.

The only “chumps” are those who think it’s acceptable, even laudable, to boo an 18 year-old kid. It’s rude and uncultured.

Pathetic, He’s a young kid. What ever happened to behaving like adults and having manners?? Seems it was a crowd of ill-mannered rednecks, which sadly reflects the general intellect of Canadians these days.

Next year get the Trailer Park boys and dogs chasing frisbees, so CFL fans can cheer their own type while some 60’s geezer band plays.

(not uncommon sentiments found on Toronto Star comments in response to story)

Little in me will be found to exist in common with these supposedly rustic “rubes”, which attend football games. I was more that high school nerd than jock. However, on the basis of $400 ticket prices to these events, it is highly doubtful that those aspersions are any more than expression of effete prejudices of the self-regarding intelligentsia and culturati. The one thing to appreciate about these plain, simple and “vulgar” rustics is their closer fidelity to authenticity and soul.

I doubt that I would have audacity to join in on such a communal groan. I have anal-retentive self-regard for dignity and decorum. However, I cannot say that I disapprove. After one saunters past aisles upon aisles in Zellers or Wal-Mart; plastered with  Bieber’s face and torso over what seems to be every product from industrial-strength power tools to tampon pads; it is not rocket science to figure out that the lad’s song and dance is a manufactured product; a triumph of packaging over content.

And it is not as if Bieber is an unknowing and unwilling participant of this overbearing marketing. The rags-to-riches narrative that his handlers promulgate is one of a child from impoverished single mom family, who through his own shrewd self-promotion over the Internet became success story. He represents a true model of “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” capitalist success; the “overcoming overwhelming adversity” theme promoted by libertarian conservative propagandists. Give the kid kudos for mastering the game of branding and networking. But in an age where people “will be judged by the [smoothness] of their skin [rather than] by the content of their character”, the Horatio Alger mythology is pretty thin narrative for one with such a pretty face.

The communal groan, I hope, emanates from disgust with the vacuity of culture that the capitalist ethos invariably produces. As much as capitalism provides a useful device, one component for producing prosperity; there is difference between exploiting capitalism’s utility and celebrating capitalism’s ethos. Neither should one think that civic generated culture is any less inane. As a favour from my sister, I was granted a few day sabbatical from my sabbatical in camp grounds near Lake Huron last summer. As part of camp activities, we were subjected to a “stage play” that quickly deteriorated to pedantic local history lesson and bludgeoning morality play about environmentalism and conservation. When bureaucrats do culture!

Just as Bieber, and his marketing idol Michael Jackson, finds it necessary to tug on crotches to juice up the affections of their “Glee” ridden audience, these campground “posers” resorted to heavy reliance on coarse jest and innuendo to keep the mosquito pestered audience in their seats.

God protect culture from the vapidity of capitalist marketing and the heavy handedness of statist propaganda! They produce such a vacuous sterility of ersatz culture, which speaks no poetry to the soul.

However, if football fans represented redneck rubes, in their appreciation for a 74 year old geezer in a youth oriented culture, and whose lyrics show some artistry and depth of soul; they must be more cultivated than their detractors. Compare the sentiments of the best from the respective artists and let them justify themselves.

Gordon Lightfoot – If You Could Read My Mind (1970)

If you could read my mind love
What a tale my thoughts could tell
Just like an old time movie
‘Bout a ghost from a wishin’ well
In a castle dark or a fortress strong
With chains upon my feet
You know that ghost is me
And I will never be set free
As long as I’m a ghost that you can’t see
If I could read your mind love
What a tale your thoughts could tell
Just like a paperback novel
The kind that drugstores sell
When you reach the part where the heartaches come
The hero would be me
But heroes often fail
And you won’t read that book again
Because the ending’s just too hard to take

I’d walk away like a movie star
Who gets burned in a three way script
Enter number two
A movie queen to play the scene
Of bringing all the good things out in me
But for now love, let’s be real
* I never thought I could ACT this way *
And I’ve got to say that I just don’t get it
I don’t know where we went wrong
But the feelin’s gone
And I just can’t get it back
If you could read my mind love
What a tale my thoughts could tell
Just like an old time movie
‘Bout a ghost from a wishin’ well
In a castle dark or a fortress strong
With chains upon my feet
But stories always end
And if you read between the lines
You’ll know that I’m just tryin’ to understand

The feelin’s that you lack
I never thought I could feel this way
And I’ve got to say that I just don’t get it
I don’t know where we went wrong
But the feelin’s gone
And I just can’t get it back

Justin Bieber – “Beauty and A Beat” (2012)

Show you off
Tonight I wanna show you off (aye,aye,aye)
What you got
A billion could’ve never bought (aye,aye,aye)

We gonna party like it’s 3012 tonight
I wanna show you all the finer things in life
So just forget about the world, we’re young tonight
I’m coming for ya, I’m coming for ya

Cause all.
I need, is a Beauty and a Beat
Who can make my life complete
It’s all..
Bout you, when the music makes you move
Baby do it like you do
Cause.

Body rock,
Girl, I can feel your body rock (aye,aye,aye)
Take a bow, you on the hottest ticket now (aye,aye,aye)

We gonna party like it’s 3012 tonight
I wanna show you all the finer things in life
So just forget about the world, we’re young tonight
I’m coming for ya, I’m coming for ya

Cause all.
I need, is a Beauty and a Beat
Who can make my life complete
It’s all..
Bout you, when the music makes you move
Baby do it like you do

Uh, Uh
In time, ink lines, b-bitches couldn’t get on my incline
World tour, it’s mine, ten little letters, on a big sign
Justin.. Bieber, you know Imma hit ’em with the ether
Buns out, weiner, but I gotta keep an eye out for Selena
Beauty, Beauty and the Beast
Beauty from the east, beautiful confessions of the priest
Beast, beauty from the streets, we don’t get deceased
Every time a beauty on the beats
(Body rock, girl, I wanna feel your body rock)
(Yeah, Yeah, yeah, Let’s go, Let’s go!)

Cause all
I need, is a Beauty and a Beat
Who can make my life complete
It’s all..
Bout you, when the music makes you move
Baby do it like you do
Cause…

The lyrics of popular songs in this generation do not deviate much from the Hallmark inanities in “Beauty and A Beat”. To be fair, there were songs of vacuity in generations ago. However, one with soul did occasion the top hit parade. Is there anything of even Lightfoot’s quality in this frivolous age? So, is it really just a matter of being a crotchety middle-aged man with that universal complaint about the fecklessness of youth? Or am I representative of a people aching for escape from the sawdust that corporate profit and statist agenda foist upon us?

Intellectual Integrity and Sociopolitical Prejudice – Part 1

Lack of intellectual integrity in this polarized and politicized era has become an enormous personal bugaboo. Recent history has confirmed the truism that the first casualty of war, cultural war (“Kulturkampf”) in this case, is truth. From science to theology, from academia to ecclesia, in economics, politics, journalism, history, neuroscience, psychiatry climatology, philosophy, sociology, law and so on and so on…; all I encounter is factual dishonesty and data selectivity, intentioned deceit, disingenuity, logical fallacies, empty arguments and sophistry on a par with St. Jerome. I have come to distrust any non-fiction book or article written past the 1960s. For, while prior to that decade, one might encounter perspectives distinctly objectionable to one’s own; one senses that there was at least some scholarly devotion to factual truth. The late U.S. Senator from New York (Daniel Patrick Moynihan) is attributed with saying “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” It is oft repeated because of its current resonance. Intellectual honesty has become so despairingly scant, that I find myself marveling at how the ol’ proverbial used salesmen seems to be amongst the most honest in the planet. (Those who have a special reputation toward particular vices, tend to pay special attention at repairing the reputation.)

Truth has stumbled in the streets,
      honesty cannot enter.
Truth is nowhere to be found,
They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; 1

That same chapter from Isaiah notes a corresponding lack of clarity in knowledge and understanding.

So justice is far from us,
      and righteousness does not reach us.
We look for light, but all is darkness;
      for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
Like the blind we grope along the wall,
      feeling our way like men without eyes.
At midday we stumble as if it were twilight;
      among the strong, we are like the dead.2

There exists natural relationship between intellectual dishonesty; unwillingness to ruthlessly and rigorously pursue the truth; and muddlement of mind. One becomes lost in one’s self-deceits. Like a math problem, requiring a complicated resolution, an initially skewered misunderstanding, often presuppositional prejudice, will obscure or color all later facts examined. To relate temporary results concluded from initial faulty understanding to those final facts, one will invariably construct even more skewered hypotheses. Thus, one is caught in a labyrinth of lies and errors within lies and error within lies and errors. Those who deliberately make truth servant to personal preference and agenda, self-inflict their own blindness.

The human ‘sciences’ (i.e. psychology, sociology) are particularly prone to intellectual dishonesty. For, there is inverse relationship between intellectual integrity and the importance of the research findings to self-interest and self-image. I have come to spurn almost every sociological survey which doesn’t use nationally gathered statistics. The capacity for deceit within the research methodology is too easy to fabricate and too difficult to detect.

One fluff piece of sociological ‘research’, which stands out for its prejudicial mendacity and/or incompetence must be awarded to Phil Zuckerman, Professor of Sociology, Pitzer College in Claremont, CA in his book “Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment” (2010). The thinly disguised intentions of his study is to discredit the notion, usually forwarded by the religious and social conservative, that “religion is what keeps people moral, that a society without God would be hell on earth: rampant with immorality, full of evil, and teeming with depravity”.3 He uses Denmark and Sweden as his tableau to prove that society can be both moral and happy, apart from God.

And the good professor will cite worldwide “happiness indexes” such as one by Ruut Veenhoven (Erasmus University Rotterdam) which gave godless Denmark top spot. Such indexes ought to be tossed in general; particularly when subjective perspectives contradict objective measurements. Secondly, such indices will be conditioned on the values and weightings of such values which the initiator of such surveys find most important. If a European fashions the study, be assured that cultural prejudices of that continent will influence the choice of criteria. However, that poses such a complicated argument, I dare not go there.

However, what is of particularly interest since it is difficult for ideological faction to deny importance is death and life issues. The suicide rates between relatively irreligious countries of Denmark and Sweden in comparison the United States, is one such measure.

Suicide Rates (per hundred thousand)
GECD Society at a Glance 2001, Statistical Annex Table D3

Age Group Denmark Sweden America
15 to 24 Years 9.3 9.4 13.7
25 to 34 Years 16.9 13.8 15.3
35 to 44 Years 23.9 21.0 15.3
45 to 54 Years 35.9 23.0 14.3
55 to 64 Years 32.1 20.9 13.3
65 to 74 Years 43.9 19.4 15.3
Over 75 46.3 27.0 22.0

Suicide Rates (per hundred thousand) over time
World Health Organization (1950 -2005)

Country 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
Denmark 23.3 23.3 20.3 19.3 21.5 24.1 31.6 27.9 23.9 17.7 13.6 11.6
Sweden 14.8 17.8 17.4 18.9 22.3 19.4 19.4 18.2 17.2 15.3 12.7
America 7.6 10.2 10.6 11.1 11.5 12.7 11.8 12.3 12.4 11.9 10.4 11.0

If one is postulating that the social conditions are more conducive to happiness in these liberal, godless European states and subjective opinion surveys are confirming it, these disjointed suicidal rates must be explained. It is not small potatoes. For, over the course of a lifetime, any annual rate of 20+ per 100,000 amounts to about 1.5% of people committing suicide over a life time. And even the notorious murder rate in the United States is small potatoes against the historical differentials in self-murder between the U.S. and Scandinavia.

It must be granted that secular ethics will not be so encumbered by taboos against suicide. However, in that so many self-inflict death in the prime of their lives (ages 35-65), where terminal disease is not as likely to be a significant factor, it would seem to indicate that the official happiness indices are somewhat misleading. The objective and the subjective do not jive. The social and economic environmental factors that promoters of these “happiness index” choose do not necessarily promote actual happiness.

Even if it is true that modern Western humanity thinks little about existential and eternal questions in their Vanity Fair of ever extreme and deviant distractions; over a period of decades, the pall of meaningless, implied in a non-theistic universe must nevertheless cast some despair upon the human psyche.

However, what puts the bee up my butt is the deceit or incompetence concerning Zuckerman’s crime assertions. According to the good professor:

Although they may have relatively high rates of petty crime and burglary, and although these crime rates have been on the rise in recent decades, their overall rates of violent crime – including murder aggravated assault, and rape – are among the lowest on earth.3

It is a disingenuous assertion. For, while it is true that if one were to consider the whole earth, including developing nations, Denmark and Sweden is among the lowest. However, the thrust of his thesis is intentioned against a comparable wealthy nation, such as the United States, with religiousity. However, except for murder, religious American has per capita crime rates considerably lower then Sweden and violent crimes comparable to Denmark. Petty crime is endemic throughout Scandinavia.

Various Summary Crime Statistics

Per 100,000 (2007)

Age Group Denmark4 Sweden5 United States6
Total # of Crimes 9,616 14,465 3,730
Murder 2.86 5.61
Sexual Offenses 49 192 29
Violence against the person 358 961 432

And while the United States has experienced an enormous reversal in crime since the early 1990s, which has returned crime rates (per capita) back to early 1960s levels, Sweden’s crime wave from 1960 (and even earlier) has just kept on going and going.

Crime Rate per 100,000 population7

Sweden United States
Total #  Crimes  Violent Crime  Death  SexualOffenses Total #   Crimes Violent Crime Death

Sexual

Offenses

1960 3,982.07 131.32 0.98 54.07 1,887.18 160.86 5.08 9.59
1961 4,108.42 131.38 0.89 52.75 1,906.09 158.14 4.78 9.41
1962 4,262.56 128.74 0.85 48.60 2,019.80 162.30 4.59 9.45
1963 4,466.24 132.39 1.33 49.30 2,180.29 168.17 4.58 9.36
1964 4,798.79 137.24 1.02 50.77 2,388.09 190.55 4.90 11.21
1965 5,800.79 167.20 2.60 50.87 2,448.97 200.17 5.15 12.10
1966 6,063.19 184.05 2.51 47.53 2,670.82 219.96 5.64 13.20
1967 6,421.50 188.81 2.02 49.19 2,989.73 253.18 6.20 13.99
1968 7,167.16 228.11 1.26 46.98 3,370.23 298.40 6.92 15.88
1969 7,671.84 240.99 1.46 41.86 3,679.95 328.66 7.33 18.46
1970 8,157.03 247.19 1.24 41.29 3,984.54 363.53 7.87 18.69
1971 8,814.60 237.91 1.44 38.16 4,164.74 395.95 8.62 20.49
1972 8,509.19 241.54 1.40 31.95 3,961.39 400.95 8.97 22.50
1973 8,054.58 233.50 1.32 33.40 4,154.43 417.40 9.36 24.49
1974 8,274.89 261.20 1.53 40.60 4,850.43 461.10 9.80 26.21
1975 9,220.63 281.80 1.49 33.42 5,298.52 487.84 9.62 26.32
1976 9,720.25 278.85 1.56 28.91 5,287.32 467.82 8.75 26.59
1977 10,232.64 306.01 1.59 32.61 5,077.65 475.93 8.84 29.35
1978 9,706.35 297.07 1.50 34.46 5,140.33 497.82 8.97 31.01
1979 9,840.07 301.46 2.05 45.60 5,565.46 548.86 9.75 34.71
1980 11,169.97 319.63 1.62 47.90 5,950.01 596.64 10.22 36.83
1981 11,247.24 315.28 1.75 48.74 5,850.02 593.47 9.81 35.95
1982 11,816.55 363.42 1.50 58.20 5,600.51 570.82 9.07 34.00
1983 11,515.47 377.93 1.45 54.17 5,179.22 538.12 8.26 33.76
1984 11,793.48 396.38 1.39 58.07 5,038.40 539.93 7.93 35.72
1985 12,195.25 410.81 1.51 61.47 5,224.95 558.06 7.98 36.85
1986 13,086.99 417.94 1.76 61.87 5,501.90 620.14 8.58 38.09
1987 13,020.31 440.94 1.60 68.07 5,575.45 612.49 8.29 37.60
1988 12,875.20 476.62 1.73 78.24 5,694.54 640.58 8.46 37.83
1989 13,479.50 496.92 1.77 82.78 5,774.02 666.90 8.71 38.29
1990 14,240.59 504.18 1.41 77.77 5,802.67 729.61 9.40 41.11
1991 13,914.99 496.89 1.64 80.79 5,898.36 758.18 9.80 42.27
1992 13,788.06 549.48 2.01 100.76 5,661.38 757.67 9.32 42.76
1993 13,663.45 614.06 1.98 118.23 5,487.10 747.15 9.51 41.13
1994 12,669.93 640.79 1.81 108.09 5,373.82 713.59 8.96 39.26
1995 12,982.37 647.42 2.03 107.26 5,274.93 684.46 8.22 37.09
1996 13,294.19 639.91 2.25 102.35 5,087.64 636.64 7.41 36.29
1997 13,520.88 653.85 1.77 106.12 4,927.33 610.98 6.80 35.91
1998 13,343.80 674.38 2.09 115.93 4,616.36 567.58 6.28 34.47
1999 13,481.46 712.74 2.12 126.27 4,266.51 522.95 5.69 32.79
2000 13,694.25 696.43 1.97 121.26 4,124.79 506.53 5.54 32.04
2001 13,370.05 701.26 1.88 126.42 4,162.61 504.52 5.62 31.85
2002 13,835.20 726.84 2.45 134.12 3,885.04 494.38 5.64 33.07
2003 14,013.63 769.73 2.11 141.85 3,845.62 475.84 5.68 32.29
2004 13,884.93 786.78 2.32 145.10 3,803.06 463.16 5.50 32.38
2005 13,795.54 848.45 2.64 172.17 3,900.58 469.04 5.65 31.82
2006 13,585.59 895.33 2.66 181.39 3,808.14 473.63 5.69 30.98
2007 14,464.75 960.77 2.86 191.69 3,730.45 466.92 5.61 29.98
2008 15,232.67 985.53 2.31 218.76 3,666.71 457.54 5.40 29.73
2009 15,515.23 1,006.76 2.54 238.75 3,505.77 431.88 5.02 29.07
2010 15,102.39 1,025.23 3.63 254.87 3,345.52 403.65 4.78 27.46

Indeed, unbeknownst to all including self, when I found myself having to defend my neighbours to the south from European opprobrium thirty years ago, (so good has been European propaganda); Swedish crime rates have generally exceeded the American all throughout the last 50 years (and beyond). However, violent crime rates perked up in the United States at the start of the LBJ administration (mid 1960s) and did not level off until the Bush Sr./Clinton years and then went into deep reverse since. Private murder rates in America have always exceeded any European state. This is to some extent a function of greater anti-authoritarian sentiment in the U.S. and more liberal guns laws (people may kill people, but more effective weaponry enables people to kill more efficiently).8

Intellectual integrity repudiates any effort to make any automatic and simple-minded declaration of ideological victory for the religious faction. Definitions of crime, violent crime (and particularly sexual offenses) vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction depending on the laws of the land, strictness of enforcement (deterrence, longer sentences keeping criminals off streets, judicial leniency in reducing crime definition), rate of victim reportage, etc. Thus, although we might not be comparing apples with oranges, we are comparing Macintoshes with Granny Smiths.

Nevertheless, Europe had lost its religious vitality by the First World War. Liberal Danish theologian/philosophy Kierkegaard (1813-1855) complained vociferously about the formalism and coldness of the established churchmen in his country in the latter years of his life. Preachers Spurgeon and Ryle posted similar complaints in late Victorian Britain. Lutheran theologians in Germany (i.e. Bonhoeffer, Barth) spoke against cultural and corrupted Christianity in the Weimar Republic and Hitler’s Germany. America, in comparison, has been seen to be “a nation with the soul of a church” (British G. K. Chesterton 1874 – 1936).

In the United States, there was a religious/spiritual revival in the 1970s which showed up on the sociopolitical radar in the early 1980s (Moral Majority / Reagan Revolution). And there is always a lapsed delay between revolutions of mind and heart and their practicable reverberations, for good or for ill; an idea that the late Christopher Hitchens would not have debated (ideas precede and influence events). Rousseau preceded the French Revolution; Second Great Awakening preceded the Social Gospel, anti-slavery and Prohibition; Darwin preceded eugenics and euthanasia of the mental and physically disabled and insane (275,000 killed in late 1930s / early 1940s Germany). A spiritual revival would show its manifestations later not only in the moral reformation of those converted and those in close proximity (copy cat admiration) but in the political advocacy for harsher “Biblical” justice, which tends to prevail in religious societies.

The historical data would seem to bear that out. While the U.S. has engaged in a far more rigid and severe justice system (i.e. prison population, much longer sentences), Europe, especially Sweden, has spearheaded in liberalizing their laws and penal system. Sweden was among the first to ban corporal punishment against parents outright (1979).

Thus while America has experienced a reversal in crime rates since 1992 (decline of 41% overall, 47% in violent crime, 49% in murder, 36% in sexual offenses), the Swedish crime rate has been an EverReady bunny (increase of 10% overall, 87% in violent crime, 26% in murder (2009 because 2010 is an anomaly), 153% in sexual offenses). The incidence of crime per capita in Sweden exceeds the U.S. by over a multiple of 4x overall and 2.5x in violent crime. Isolating out criminality from the Muslim population, (which if one does, the same principle should apply to whatever special group one chooses in the U.S.), does not sufficiently account for the increases or much higher rates.

These two measures, even the liberal secularist would not deign to discredit and disregard.

It has become clearly evident that stable marriages produce better material benefits, longer lifespans, less mental health distresses and antisocial behaviour. Yet Sweden peaks the earth with 30% of all relationships being less stable cohabitations, while the U.S. is nearing 10% (In 2000, according to Statistics Canada (2002), the U.S. is at 8.2%). Consistent with the lapsed ramifications of spiritual revival; the divorce rate per 1,000 has dropped from 5.2 (1980) to 3.6 (2009). In the marriage/cohabitation paradigm, some care must be taken as to solidity of such statistics. What does constitute a marriage and a cohabitation, if as I believe, the essence of marriage, like religious conversion, is of the heart and not of forms.

Swedish social policy offloads the care of children to the state from the age of 2. Bans on corporal punishment have extended to non-corporal discipline. Consequently, local Swedish papers are complaining that parents have the lost the ability to parent. Consequently, youth crime is exploding. As I had anticipated in the early 1970s, reading from Roman history; birth rates in secularized societies would plummet. “No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to Have Children” and the French policy of paying parents to have children has its historical precedent in the Augustinian “Family Values” laws in 18 B.C. / 9 A.D.. As Germaine Greer noted in comparing developed and developing countries, the ethic of the West has become selfish and narcissistic whereas parents of the developed put their hopes in the future of their children.

In the prejudicial and capricious nature of these “happiness indices”, these measures will not be included or will be underweighted. What will also not show up on these indices is the level of bureaucratic bullying and soft/hard social totalitarianism tyranny; or the lack of civic courage to face potential foes within and without. The full weight and resources of effete Europe could not put down a second rate Serbian tyrant. The Yanks had to be called in.

Implied in a non-theistic universe is, at its rational and logical center, both a loss of raison d’être and principled foundation for ethical conduct. A person might seek to live ethically, (or at least, boast that they do); but they do so in the face of no rational basis to do so; (other than to remain part of the crowd perhaps). In the lack of a universal, unified and principled foundation for ethical conduct, the ensuing subjectivism leads to ethical nihilism. Those who fail to see this nevertheless will encounter others, whose subjective code of conduct and attitude differs from their own.

Consequently, there will be social alienation between the two because of the conflicting ethos. In large numbers, it produces separate solitudes, in which neighbours do not come to the aid of those of separate communities. It produces the loss of social cohesion and unifying strength of society; entropy. Western civilization has been here before in the religious pluralism of the Roman Empire. The pluralism enervated over time the innate moral strength and fortitude of its subjects. They might be willing to live in peaceful conformity to the rapacious autocracy that was Rome. But lacking a unified vision to believe in, the Roman Empire lacked the type of civic courage and dedication that brought it to its apex in the first place. From citizen-soldier, it was protected, in the end, by mercenaries, bribed from the very barbarian tribes it was fighting. Lack of conviction creates a flotsam of cowardice. It was in understanding this, that Emperor Constantine turned his back on the Pantheon and sought unified strength through unified belief. (However, coercive belief and ethics is no panacea neither.)

This is not to suggest the superiority of the American Way of Life. The atomism (excessive individualism) at the expense of the common good depredates quality of life, in such things as economic inequality which will overflow into social and political/legal inequality. However, pre-tax Gini Co-Efficients are rising in tandem in Scandinavian countries and the distributive efforts of governments to ameliorate the problem is near the limit of tax policy. (Further tax increases would probably invoke loss of capital flows, incentive to earn etc). And the sociopolitical and economic schisms that threaten social cohesion, civil conflagration and inability to co-operate for the common good, is at dangerous levels in the U.S.

However, the point being demonstrated here is not whose society and the underlying ideas/values that undergird them are superior. Rather, this good professor, who has been given considerable exposure and good press, engages in blatant factual dishonesty and deceit. He is one to whom the hand of the corpse of that most excellent Democrat Senator Moynihan points. The partiality, which produces this propaganda, is very evident in his assertions, which incontrovertible data disputes. The empirical evidence is in. Irreligion, over time, produces anti-social behaviour and a pall of despair.

Mendacity discredits an already discredited discipline. It demonstrates that science as an epistemological method is no less vulnerable to human mendacity and methodological and conceptual sophistry than any other epistemology. Sociology has some value in giving superficial snapshots of a society at points in time. However, in that change in ideology and cultural values and virtues require decades to roll out their material and sociopolitical ramifications, the discipline of history and historical trends have a superior validity. However, in this day, history is discredited by the scientistic as mere opinion and anecdote. Disciplined and honest historical literacy is nowhere to be found.

All intellectual disciplines and endeavours are diseased with dishonesty and sophistry; regardless of ideological bent. I am particular incensed with the mendacity, which I find amongst colleagues of my own ideological sentiments. I expect and demand better. I observe such levels of fallacious arguments and disingenuity in every field; theology, philosophy, soft and hard sciences, history, medicine and psychology/psychiatry, political theory, education. The level of thought is too incompetent to be mere incompetence; especially since these opinion makers claim such high credentials and positions.

There is no love or esteem for the truth or truthfulness.

It is little wonder that the life of the mind is so discredited. Or that Postmodernism finds its footings in this mendacity, which abets the nihilistic Nothingness. Most people have not the time to untangle the spaghetti code within the methodologies of individual research; especially when the scientists themselves refuse to commit to a standard. Did not Michael Polanyi say “Science is what scientists do”? And even if the scientific demur from that frank statement; investigation demonstrates that a large number live by it. As Climategate emails demonstrate, the supposed safeguards of peer review are embankments of straw against the tidal pressure of internal politics within organizations and disciplines and against the partiality of dogmatism, confirmation bias, human cowardice and just plain dishonesty.

As the spirit moves me, I hope to show in harder sciences and other disciplines the pervading mendacity of our times.

APPENDUM

I do not subscribe to the simple-minded thesis that happiness and morality, at least of the external variety, requires religion. Many ancient gods; the lusty and capricious Hellenist gods of Homer and Hesiod, for instance, were found wanting by Ionian Physiologists and later classical materials, atheists, skeptics and other philosophers. Religious affiliation usually does but not necessarily suffice for ethical behaviour. Many ancient Hebrews, late 19th Century Europeans and present day Americans subscribe to belief in the God of the Bible. But their lack of knowledge, understanding, wisdom and virtuous behaviour and attitude betrays real belief.

However, the discipline of sociology is condemned to the studying by forms. Departure from formal categorization and externally delineated forms lends to the potential and accusations of partiality and intellectual chicanery. However, is the definition of marriage about pomp (religious consecration) and paper (license), if the participants lack marital levels of commitment and fidelity? Sociology relies too much on subjective criteria and response, which are often contradicted by accompanying objective artifact. Most sociologists have little and only superficial understanding of the innards of religion, particularly self-declared sociologists of religion. Therefore, how would they be able differentiate nominal belief from genuine?

What I have found is that belief itself, whether in God, or gods, persons, objects, goals or other worthy ideals, encourages virtue; although not necessarily happiness. The morality of Roman Republicans around the Second Punic War was of austere and disciplined nature. There were very rare cases of divorce prior to that war. Chastity and duty was held in high esteem. The common good, to which all benefited, retained strong resonance and appeal and kept the society courageous, cohesive and strong, if harsh and brutal. A conquered Greek Polybius in his Histories (Book 6) recognized that the defeat of the Greeks was due to that cohesiveness that could endure even Cathage’s Hannibal rampaging up and down the Italian peninsula.

Although pagan Rome had their gods, they were largely the gods of the Greeks; the same ones which were found repugnant to later Greeks. There was ancestral worship. However, that practice had more to do with promotion of the family lineage than in religion. They sought their immortality in that family lineage. They believed in the state and its eternality; because when they surveyed the neighbouring polities, they sensed the superiority of their ethic and politic. The sociopolitical structure was conditioned to align personal promotion within that state with promotion of the civic polity.

When a Greek Skeptic, Carneades, in 155 B.C. sought to inferentially discredit the virtue of truth and justice, Cato the Elder led the mission to exile him and others. For contained in Hellenist thought were the seeds of disbelief in the Roman ideal and polity. Cato wrote his son prophesying that in the appeal of Hellenist literature and art etc, laid the seeds of the destruction of the Roman ideal and free civil constitution. The eventual degradation in Roman morality to that, which is commonly associated with the Romans, correlates (and is caused) with loss of belief in the Republican ideal. The ideal proved insufficient and too demanding.

A genuine belief in any worthy cause can, at least for a time, lead to moral virtue. Ultimately, if that entity of belief is found to not warrant such high regard, moral virtue will fade away with the belief; just as patron gods fade away with the destruction of the patron city. The idol will be determined to be mute or unworthy. It is also valid argument that the demands of that worthy object of reverence may be just too high and demanding for the people to abide. The Hellenist influence was welcomed by generations of Romans in the 2nd and 1st Century B.C. mostly because the ethical code of Republican Rome was seen as unnecessarily severe, harsh and unaesthetic after the Second Punic War.

Ultimately, belief in a worthy entity is the only security for the continued survival and prosperity of a society. But courage and fortitude of conviction must be met with a conviction that its object has objective merit. However, there is no guarantee that the justified and right convictions of one generation will pass on to succeeding ones.

For me, it is quite evident that the only one worthy is the great “I Am”.

Endnotes:

  1. Isaiah 59: 14-15, 4
  2. Isaiah 59:9-10
  3. Phil Zuckerman, The Virtues of Godlessness: The least religious nations are also the most healthy and successful, Psychology of Religion, 2009, http://www.psywww.com/psyrelig/zuckerman.htm
  4. Based on Statistical Yearkbook 2007,  Statistics Denmark, March 2008, http://efus.eu/en/category/policies/national/denmark/ (2,700 Sexual Offenses, 19,600 Violent Offenses, 425,000 Reported Crimes in a Population estimated at 5,475,791)
  5. Based on Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention
  6. Based on FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports
  7. Population estimates for Sweden until 2004 provided by Rodney Edvinsson, Stockholm University, “Growth, Accumulation, Crisis”, 2005 and by the CIA World Factbook thereafter. Criminal estimates for Sweden provided by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention.  Criminal estimates for the United States provided by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports.
  8. I do not want to enter a gun control debate here, especially since of far greater complexity than stupid mottos would have it. One of the civic functions of the right to bear arms is to provide deterrence from would be tyrannical regimes, which are generally far more efficient killers, having the systematized organs of the state at beck and call. Higher private and anarchic rates of violence are a price to bear for that deterrence. On the other, excessive murder rates have a tendency to push a population to seek strong arm law and order regimes and tyrants.

Ramifications of the 2012 U.S. Federal Election: A New Manifestation of Social Schisms: Race

The Presidential U.S. Election of 2012 exposed another emerging and dangerous schism in that nation. In addition to cultural and class wars, we must add that of race or tribe. In a nation, whereby those of European ethnicity handed a landslide trouncing to the incumbent black president (39% versus 59%), the wishes of this 63.4% of the population and 72% of the electorate, was overturned by an even greater margin amongst its ethnic minorities.1 It was a repeat of the 2008 election but with intensification of the tribal schisms. In 2008, the overturning of a sizable majority white vote (43% – 55%) could be understood in the context of a disastrous preceding presidency.2 However, in that the current administration has been equally incompetent; those rationalizations wear very thin, this go-around. For many who supported him, Obama might be a disaster. But he is our boy!

The fact that 93 – 95% of the black electorate voted for one of their skin coloration destroys the last vestige of the noble “I Have a Dream” legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. It is apparent that the dream “that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” need only apply to that tribe’s adversaries. The moral credibility of that sentiment has been undermined by the extreme tribalism of King’s own tribe. And in loose sociopolitical adaptation of Newton’s Third Law of Motion; “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction”; it is the inevitability of human nature that a corresponding subterranean movement of an intensifying Caucasian ‘closing of the ranks’ will ensue in response. This is not a dynamic peculiar to the United States. The intensifying racial/cultural divide, which has spawned radical nativist and even Fascist movements in Europe, is testimony to this modern rendition of an ancient, enduring and universal reality.

However, hardening endemic racial attitudes are less causative to the racial divides. Rather, these are incidental consequences of the other schisms. This is not to suggest racism on both sides has not resurged; as attested by silly conspiratorial theories, like those trumpeted by Donald Trump (i.e. Birthers).

Rather, America’s minorities are of a radically different cultural mindset to the traditional American heritage. The socioeconomic environment in which such minorities find themselves is conducive to rejecting the civic religion of that tradition. And though less causative; this radical difference and rejection will spawn a racial manifestation by those who see these minorities as palpable threats to that traditional ethic, an ethic, which is believed as having made America great. And in being superseded by another ethic, America is perceived threatened with diminishing and devastation. In this, a future resurgence of racism would be more powerful and intractable because of more credible foundations than those of the past.

Regardless of all other elements of this racial alienation, ‘white’ traditional America is suffering political blowback for its failure to address the economic disparity and ensuing loss of mobility; to which visible minorities are palpably visible. In short vacations to the Eastern seaboard in the last decade or so; even though I was aware of stronger racial divisions in the U.S. than at home, I was stunned to the extent by which visible minorities act as the economic underclass.

Both political factions have failed in this regard. The traditional Right continues to preach a ‘lift oneself by one’s boot straps’ self-righteous capitalist ethic in the face of a playing field that has become inordinately tilted. The traditional Left has placated the less fortunate with ‘bread and circuses’ entitlements, which calcify the underclass into permanency. However, from the partisan perspective of the Right, the onus is upon them to resolve the extreme disparities in income and wealth. Politically, the short-term prospects of the Left are good, by merely middling through with the status quo.

 Endnotes:
  1. Edison Research as reported by (Lydia Warrant) Daily Mail U.K., “Record number of Hispanic and Asian voters head to the polls to help Obama secure second term – as his support among whites plummets”, November 7, 2012, (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2229225/Presidential-election-2012-Record-number-Hispanic-voters-head-polls.html),  November 6, 2012 Exit Polls (25,565 voters included 4,408 early/absentee voters contacted Oct 29 – Nov 4, 2012).
  2. Edison Research, November 4, 2012 Exit Polls (18,012 voters included 2,378 early/absentee respondents contacted October 24-November 2, 2008. http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/elections/how_groups_voted/voted_08.html#.UKkkVGe8GSo

Ramifications of the Folly of Covenantal Theology

The conflation of the two Covenant regimes of ‘law’ confuses the Christian himself/herself. And how could it not be so? If the underlying ethos and emphasis of the Mosaic Code is justice and the law of Christ is graciousness; the nature of their respective forms of holiness will differ. The admixture is akin to plowing with an ox and a donkey yoked together. 1 Each ethos and emphasis has its own tangential proclivities, pulling away from the other. Those conceiving of Christ’s ruminations as adjuncts to the Mosaic code; to conceive His admonitions in the tinted light of the Old Covenant justice; will underestimate the extent of graciousness, we are called to live by. (“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called.”2)

Cursory observation of the different faith traditions writings and behaviours gives confirmation that while the Dispensationalist is prone to promote grace and graciousness at the expense of justice, the Reformed and orthodox Protestant tradition becomes hooked on justice at the expense of grace/graciousness. The tendency and danger of the former is toward antinomianism and lawlessness; of theological innovations without Scriptural warrant which lead to ethical travesties. The shameless and irksome rush to forgive the rapist and murderer of their children before the parents have given due consideration of their child’s and their own loss, the evil and the injustice, is one manifestation of this unsound form of graciousness.

The tendency and danger of the latter is toward high Pharisaic moralism and legalism; of dutiful observance of the “Christian Sabbath” and tithing, which clean and plain rendering of New Testament does not give warrant; of a tendency towards de facto hierarchical marriage and disciplinarian child rearing; of disingenuous dismissal and override of Scriptural injunctions concerning liberty of conscience and of civic impositions of Biblical law. The historical reputation of dour and anal-retentive Calvinists is not entirely without warrant; although those who were most enlivened and zealous in the Reformed tradition are far less sourpussed than their lessers. However, that dynamic validates the contention. That is; lesser minds and less lively hearts within those traditions will be prone to stultifying legalism and anal-retentive moralism. It is built into the emphasis.

Cursory observation also perceives a historical Dispensationalist propensity to ‘otherworldly’ and Separatist unconcern for the particulars of sociopolitical affairs; at least, until that unconcern allowed their adversaries to threaten their very ability to remain Separatist. Or to perceive that the only legitimate form of morality is private morality. Having denigrated and ignored the counsel contained in the Mosaic Law, but more so in the Prophets, this emphasis on private morality forms of sociopolitical governance lends major private actors to oppress the weak and defenseless and to promote a ruthless and heartless law of the jungle within a rotting hulk of a civilized framework. However, the call to peace must include social peace as well a private peace. And extreme disparities in wealth have overwhelmingly demonstrated historically to lead to civil conflagration. And Scriptures and history demonstrate, though counterintuitive to human belief, that civil conflagration has not been conducive to the purity and spread of the Gospel (i.e. Thirty Years War, American Revolution).

On the other hand, those conceiving of Christ’s ruminations as adjuncts to the Mosaic code; to conceive His counsels in the tinted light of the Old Covenant social justice and forms; have been prone to subscribe to varying degrees of theonomy; of imposition of Biblical norms on an unwilling populace. The problem in this day and age is that because of the major error that a moral law of God, innately inscribed on the hearts of men exists; these theonomic pretensions are abhorrent to the unbeliever.

Contrary to prevailing belief and longstanding theological assumptions; the Biblical norms, desired by Christendom to impose, are incomprehensible to large sections of society. It is not a matter of suppression of Law, which the unbeliever knows innately or thoroughly, through natural revelation. Although suppression of that which an unbeliever knows is scripturally, rationally and empirically valid; that which an unbeliever knows of the natural rhythms of existence is only partial and limited. Not all has been inscribed in the heart. Therefore, what evils that the unbeliever does, will have some basis in ignorance for some as well as some basis of suppression of knowledge in others. This is even true of regenerated Christians!

In clean and plain rendering of the New Covenant to which the converted are called, there is little in the way of sociopolitical advocacy or in promoting private and social virtues through sociopolitical means enjoined by New Testament Scriptures. A call to peace, which must include social peace as well a private peace, is encouraged. Prayer for the welfare and wisdom of sovereigns is another enjoinment. And if one takes 2nd James discourse to heart, those who pray for the welfare of others must be willing to be the conduit by which such is achieved.3 However, if the New Covenant becomes adjunct to the Old; the theonomic pretensions become manifest; although there is neither warrant by Christ, nor by Apostles nor the first three centuries of Christian history.

Endnotes:

  1. Deuteronomy 22:10. Also 2 Corinthians 6:14
  2. 1 Peter 3:9
  3. James 2:14-16

Ramifications of the 2012 U.S. Federal Election: The Collapse of Honourable Journalism

Skepticism toward the possibility of impartial and objective truth within the ‘journalistic’ professions decades ago has denigrated toward the collapse of all pretense of impartiality. In choice of stories published, in facts selected, in language deployed; the News has become merely prejudicial opinion. The conscientious pursuer of truth about objective reality must distrust all socially popular organs of news and piece together the current state of affairs like a forensic scientist.

Consequently, one of the social roles of the media, as an independent check against power, becomes discredited and denigrated. The different media organizations become viewed, merely as cheerleaders for their respective sociopolitical faction. With one source of potential credible opposition discrediting itself, would-be tyrants have one less burden on their quest for power.

The Harbinger and Other Post Facto Prophetic Words

The Lord has sent a message against Jacob;
      it will fall on Israel.
All the people will know it—
      Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria—
      who say with pride
      and arrogance of heart,
“The bricks have fallen down,
      but we will rebuild with dressed stone;
      the fig trees have been felled,
      but we will replace them with cedars.
But the Lord has strengthened Rezin’s foes against them
      and has spurred their enemies on.
Arameans from the east and Philistines from the est
      have devoured Israel with open mouth.
      Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
      his hand is still upraised.”1

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s “The Harbinger” (2012) follows a stream of other prophetic words by the self-anointed; although the book, being in fictionalized form; allows Cahn is claim deniability about his interpretation of the 9/11 Twin Tower Disaster as God’s Judgment. However, the Good Rabbi has preached on these ‘signs’ with no such pretense in July 2005.2 It is a different take on the even than Jerry Falwell’s in the immediate aftermath.

The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.3

This careless remark was something for which Jerry Falwell apologized. 4 And this pattern continues apace after every natural and man-made disaster and tragedy.

Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it,” he said on Christian Broadcasting Network’s “The 700 Club.” “They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it’s a deal.”

Robertson said that “ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other” and he contrasted Haiti with its neighbor, the Dominican Republic.

“That island of Hispaniola is one island. It is cut down the middle; on the one side is Haiti on the other is the Dominican Republic,” he said. “Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to god and out of this tragedy I’m optimistic something good may come. But right now we are helping the suffering people and the suffering is unimaginable.5

Or…

“All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are — were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades. So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing. I know that there are people who demur from that, but I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the day of judgment. And I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.” 6

And lest anyone think that this hoof-in-mouth disease is only the domain of the Christian and religious; consider that after every significant hurricane or season of extraordinary intemperate weather, the Climate Warmer dogmatists are out in force, making similar extrapolations from their AGW models.7 8 Some have even deigned to claim that even a spate earthquakes and volcanoes have relation to Climate Change.9 It is equal opportunity racket for all in an age of gullibility.

It is not that the times would not call for such harbingers and there is possibility that a Divine message and warning is being delivered. However, such messages only become necessary when the natural consequences of evils committed are being ignored. And the prophetic word ought to precede the events predicted. The self-anointed prophet ought to put his neck on the line, without hiding behind cover of pulp fiction. It ought to be based on truth.

The 2001 Twin Tower disaster was natural consequence and blowback of folly of foreign policy. For instance, whose bright ideas was it to station American troops in Saudi Arabia; when the Qur’an specifically condemned the armies of ‘infidels’ on such holy soil. Could the Islamists have fashioned a better recruiting tool?

Were these post facto prophets forthcoming with their analysis prior to the events? Is there even any truth in the analysis?

There are only two nations in history, in world history founded and dedicated from their inception upon God. They are Israel and America…America, like ancient Israel was called to be a light to the nations. It was founded as a new Israel. And like ancient Israel, we would be blessed if we follow God. If we did not, we would be removed.2

When was America called to be a light to the nations? Puritan Governor John Winthrop on board the Arbella (1630), spoke of virtuous consequences if his fellow colonials constructed and abode by principles of Scriptures; of disastrous consequences if they did not.

We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when He shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “may the Lord make it like that of New England.” For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world…

 

…But if our hearts shall turn away, so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worship other Gods, our pleasure and profits, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good land whither we pass over this vast sea to possess it.10

However, this thesis is more consistent with a general Scriptural principle that “Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people11. Even Winthrop did not propose that America was called. His sights were only on New England as compared to Virginia in the south. Nor would have the Founding Fathers, who predominantly Deists, they would have found the idea of continuing Divine interference in the affairs of men, contrary to their beliefs. Jonathan Cahn plays fast and loose with Scriptures and conflates it with elements of the American civic religion.

Even though Christ had pronounced future calamities to the Jewish homeland as consequence of not recognizing their day of visitation…

And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If you had known, even you, at least in this your day, the things which belong to your peace! but now they are hid from your eyes. For the days shall come on you, that your enemies shall cast a trench about you, and compass you round, and keep you in on every side, .And shall lay you even with the ground, and your children within you; and they shall not leave in you one stone on another; because you knew not the time of your visitation.12

…when disasters did before those within the nation…

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”13

…Christ refrained from retrofitting some Divine motivation behind the event, I would wish more of those who speak in His name would take the hint, before having to retract and apologize…

 “As a believing Christian, I see the hand of God in everything that happens here on earth, both the blessings and the curses,” Hagee said in a statement issued through his public relations firm. “But ultimately neither I nor any other person can know the mind of God concerning Hurricane Katrina. I should not have suggested otherwise. No matter what the cause of the storm, my heart goes out to all who suffered in this terrible tragedy. There but for the grace of God go any one of us.14

…which, good as it is; the original foot-in-mouth pontifications discredit both prophecy and Christianity.

Endnotes:

  1. Isaiah 9:8-12
  2. Jonathan Cahn, “The End of America – The Harbinger – part 1 of 5”, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-1Next79yY
  3. Jerry Falwell with Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, September 13, 2001, Transcript: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2001/09/You-Helped-This-Happen.aspx
  4. CNN, “Falwell apologizes to gays, feminists, lesbians”, September 14, 2001, http://articles.cnn.com/2001-09-14/us/Falwell.apology_1_thomas-road-baptist-church-jerry-falwell-feminists?_s=PM:US
  5. Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, January 13, 2010  http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/Archive/Club/700Club011310_WS Transcript: http://articles.cnn.com/2010-01-13/us/haiti.pat.robertson_1_pat-robertson-disasters-and-terrorist-attacks-devil?_s=PM:US
  6. John Hagee, (NPR “Fresh Air” – Interview with Terry Gross), September 18, 2006 http://mediamatters.org/research/2008/03/14/abc-repeatedly-noted-controversial-comments-by/142899
  7. Art Horn, “Was Hurricane Sandy A Sign Of The “New Normal”?, Energy Tribune, November 02, 2012 http://www.energytribune.com/64549/hurricane-sandy#sthash.Va4K3gzQ.fUqrgyiF.dpuf
  8. EarthShare, “ Hurricane Sandy & Climate Change”, October 31, 2012,        http://www.earthshare.org/2012/10/hurricanesandy.html
  9. Bill McQuire, “Climate change will shake the Earth”, February 26, 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/26/why-climate-change-shake-earth
  10. John Winthrop, Sermon: “A Model of Christian Charity”, 1630
  11. Proverbs 14:34
  12. Luke 19:41-44
  13. Luke 13:1-5
  14. Foon Rhee, “Hagee retracts Katrina comment”, Boston.com, April 25, 2008, http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2008/04/hagee_retracts.html