Senseless killings and media overkillâ€¦ What can be said about the Virginia Tech massacre? Very little. What should be said? Even less. The lives of 32 innocents, chosen randomly and without purpose, are extinguished most brutally by a deeply disturbed gunman. With an event such as this, consisting of nothing but suffering and tragedy, the only important questions are those of theodicy, of divine justice. --syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.
Gay demands shift from equality to special endorsement
In current debates over gay relationships and their position in society, we’ve moved beyond a plea for acceptance and equality to an increasingly strident claim of homosexual superiority and a demand for special status and endorsement.
In a recent syndicated column about Pastor Ted Haggard, the former head of the National Association of Evangelicals who confessed to a three year affair with a gay, drug-dealing prostitute, Ellen Goodman wrote of “people who heard a man wounded by the culture of demonization. Their sympathy was for a man primed for repression and deception by the teaching of homosexuality as a sin… More gays, more friends, families, co-workers have come to believe that gayness is not a choice, let alone a sin…” –excerpted from an article by Michael Medved that appeared at www.townhall.com 12.06.06
What is the Most Politically Incorrect Opinion?
At or near the top of the list is the view that the traditional family is best for children — and, by implication, that single motherhood and other “alternative family structures” deny to children the advantages offered by the traditional family.
Each semester I teach Tom West’s fine book, Vindicating the Founders and I save chapter four, titled, “Women and Family,” for the end. And each semester I watch as students struggle with questions of whether modern liberal marriage and family law and the culture of sexual libertinism it has spawned are desirable or not.
The basic trade-off between our modern ways versus those of the Founding generation is this: Our way offers more opportunities for women, but at the same time less security for women and children; their way offered more security for women and children, but the opportunities for women, especially in the workplace, were much fewer.
The liberal and feminist solution is to deny that modern policies and culture afford less protection for women and children. In particular, they insist — they must insist — that children do just as well growing up in broken homes and being raised by government bureaucrats, daycare providers, and other forms of institutionalized child rearing as children raised by married parents. But the numbers just don’t back it up.
The Wall Street Journal highlighted the most recent data on unmarried mothers offered by the National Center for Health Statistics. And it doesn’t look good: “Past research indicates that the bulk of unwed births are to young women, typically in their 20s, who are not college-educated and are not prospering. There’s also a mountain of evidence to suggest that children raised by such single mothers are at an increased risk for virtually every social problem you can think of — poverty, crime, drug-use, etc. — including single parenthood.”
But the same social scientists who publish these depressing statistics just cannot bring themselves to suggest what is perhaps the single most important institution for helping people better their lives and the lives of their children: Marriage. Why? Because American intellectuals are good multiculturalists and they do not want to risk being judgmental toward unmarried mothers or any other group.
And what has been the cost of the multicultural aversion to making moral judgments against single motherhood? As Kay Hymowitz argues, “we have created a new demographic, which is the poor, working, single mother.”
The solution, Hymowitz argues, is to promote marriage less on the ground of moral judgment and more by appealing to the self-interest of Americans and their children — teach Americans that through lasting marriage they and their children will be happier and more prosperous. Maybe. But the more entrenched multiculturalism becomes, the more difficult is will be to defend any way of life as moral or beneficial, because any such defense necessarily implies a judgment against those with alternative “values.” And in the world of multiculturalism, judgmentalism is the only sin left. –by Thomas Krannawitter as found on The Claremont Institute website at www.claremont.org
Wary of self promotion
The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Unwed-Birth Boom: Bad News
More American children are being born to unmarried mothers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell us. Don’t let anyone convince you this is not bad news.
The CDC preliminary data released last week: A record 37 percent of all U.S. births were to unmarried women in 2005.
It’s not a teen issue: The birth rate for under-20 women fell to the lowest on record. But births to unmarried women aged 20 to 44 continued a long-term rise. The fact that these single mothers are older doesn’t make their decision to have a baby on their own any wiser – for either them or the children.
The headlines may go on about Hollywood stars who opt to become single moms, but the majority of women having children outside of marriage are on the bottom end of the socio-economic ladder. And the grim fact is that having a child without a husband sinks these women’s chances for a stable, prosperous future.
Unmarried moms and their children are five times more likely to live below the poverty line.
The CDC data show that more than half of births to women aged 20-24 were outside of marriage, and nearly a third of those to women 25-29. (Among mothers 30-39, the rate was above 15 percent – having more than doubled since 1975.)
It doesn’t help much that nearly half those non-marital births are to women who are cohabitating. The numbers on this are very clear: America’s nearly 1.7 million unmarried-couple-with-kids households just aren’t as stable as married family homes… –excerpted from an article by Christine B. Whelan in The New York Post, 11.29.06
Not treating the source of the ailment?
A society that can call anywhere in the world on a cell phone, must just as easily end war, poverty, or unhappiness, as if these pathologies are strictly materially caused, not impoverishments of the soul, and thus can be materially treated. –Victor Davis Hanson
Six Christians Murdered by Muslim Mob in Ethiopia
The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC), has learned that in early October, a mob of three hundred Muslims murdered six Christians, and seriously wounded fifteen others during a midnight worship service in Beshasha, a town located in the Agaro province, 408 kilometers West of Addis Ababa.
On October 14, Orthodox Christians held a midnight worship service when a group of three hundred Muslims, carrying guns and knives approached the church. The mob could not enter the locked doors to the church but then proceeded to pour gasoline around the building, forcing the Christians to come out of the building.
The men of the church came out first and attempted to defend the men and women but had no real weapons, in comparison to the guns and knives used against them. The Muslim mob began to attack the Christians. Fifteen individuals from the church suffered sever knife wounds. Six people died as a result, two priests, two elderly women, and two men. –excerpted from an article from The Christian Newswire, 11.30.06, as submitted by Muriel McConnon
Conservative Jews Allow Gay Rabbis and Unions
The committee on Jewish law in the Conservative Jewish movement this week voted to permit the ordination of gay rabbis and the blessing of same sex unions. It approved an opinion saying Jewish law does not forbid such practices. It also approved two conflicting opinions saying it does. That allows Conservative Jewish synagogues and seminaries to decide for themselves which ruling to follow. The Reform branch of Judaism, which is generally liberal, already allows gays to become rabbis. Orthodox Jews bar both gays and women from ordination. —from the PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly site.
(Ed: They are only partially correct. The Law of Moses did not need to specifically prohibit such things. Perpetrators of these underlying acts and behaviors and many others like them, whether they might petition for “married” status or they might consider themselves to be suited to be priests, or any other such nonsense, were to be taken outside of the cities and stoned to death with the city council acting as witness. Therfore, few such requests were ever brokered or considered, that is until we decided that blatant declared sinful activity should somehow be sanctioned in the name of God.)
More news from “The Religion of Peace Department”
Gul Shah is overcome with grief as she recalls how her 11-year-old daughter was traded for a prizefighting dog. A gang of 12 Afghan men broke into her home at midnight and kidnapped her daughter, Sanobar, dragging her from her bed. “They were strangling me and stabbing me,” Mrs Shah said. “I almost died. I had no one to protect me, no men.”
Mrs Shah claims that Sanobar was kidnapped under the orders of the district governor, to fulfil a marriage that was arranged when her daughter was only six months old. When Sanobar’s father died four years ago her mother vowed that the marriage would not go ahead, and refused to allow her daughter to become the wife of a man who is almost 30 years her senior. She hid Sanobar and used a disguise to protect her identity. But the impoverished woman was unequal to one of the most powerful men in the region.
The man who had drawn up the agreement with the husband of Mrs. Shah is a wealthy and influential villager named Namatullah, who wanted the girl for his son, a deaf man who is more than 40 years of age and who suffers from mental health problems. –excerpted from and article originally from The London Times, as it appeared on the New English Review website.
The Parent Hood – How technology and social progress are turning procreation into self-actualization.
Newsweek some weeks back had an arresting picture on its cover. The famous photographer Annie Leibovitz–tall, blonde, and 57, dressed in black trousers and a black V-neck top–stands with her three young daughters: a radiant, curly haired 5-year-old and adorable blonde toddler twins. Leibovitz is holding one of the chubby twins on her hip. All four are gently smiling.
Inside the magazine, in the middle of the cover story, there appear, without further explanation, these two sentences about Leibovitz’s family: “She gave birth as a single mother to her daughter Sarah just after 9/11. Then, a few months after [her friend Susan] Sontag and Leibovitz’s father died, her twin girls were born, via a surrogate mother.”
The same week that Newsweek ran this subtly edgy photograph, a report was unveiled in New York on “The Revolution in Parenthood,” the growing phenomenon of the deliberate creation of children without a mother and a father. The juxtaposition was a nice instance of what film and TV editors call “random sync.”
But random sync with a difference. For while Leibovitz is apparently in the vanguard of this revolution, and Newsweek is eagerly mainstreaming it, the report is skeptical. Its subtitle warns of “The Emerging Global Clash Between Adult Rights and Children’s Needs.”
“Around the world, the two-person, mother-father model of parenthood is being fundamentally challenged,” begins the report. Produced by the Commission on Parenthood’s Future, an independent, nonpartisan group of scholars and leaders, and written by Elizabeth Marquardt, the document is an appeal for “reflection, debate, and research about the policies and practices that will serve the best interests of children” at a time when a redefinition of parenthood is taking place “at breakneck speed around the world.”
Certainly, developments in reproductive science and the law have raced ahead, making it possible for adults to choose parenthood apart from nature’s one-male-plus-one-female reproductive scheme.
* In Spain, new legislation eliminates the words “mother” and “father” from birth certificates, replacing them with the terms “Progenitor A” and “Progenitor B.”
* Scientists in several countries “are experimenting with the DNA in eggs and sperm in nearly unimaginable ways, raising the specter of children born with one or three genetic parents, or two same-sex parents.”
* In Canada, “in an amazingly contradictory pair of moves, in some provinces it is now the right of an adopted child to know the identity of his or her biological parents; whereas in the case of children conceived by sperm or egg donors, revealing to the child the identity of his or her biological parents is a federal crime, punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both.”
* In the United States, where reproductive technology is almost completely unregulated, courts improvise as they are forced to decide who a child’s parents are, among all the adults, married and unmarried, involved in its planning, conception, birth, and rearing. Increasingly, we see situations like this: “In Erie County, Pennsylvania, a judge recently had to decide parentage in a case in which a surrogate mother carried triplets for a 62-year-old man and his 60-year-old girlfriend. When the couple failed to pick up the infants, the hospital initiated steps to put them in foster care. In response, and eventually with the judge’s approval, the surrogate mother took the children home and began raising them as her own. But the commissioning couple continues to fight for access to the children (and the 62-year-old man has been ordered to pay child support), while the college student who contributed her eggs for their conception is asserting her parental rights as well…” –excerpted from an article by Claudia Anderson in The Weekly Standard, 12.04.06
Expelling God from the academy
In the Gospel of Matthew (19:24), Jesus speaks to his disciples about wealth: “[I]t is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
The Christian life, at its foundation, is characterized by humility, which is to say that wealth, which fosters elitism, is often at odds with Christianity. The Bible does not say that prosperity is sinful, but those who place wealth above God are engaging in idolatry–as defined in the Second of the Ten Commandments.
One may rightly infer that a wealth of knowledge leading to academic elitism, like economic elitism, is also hostile to Christianity. Idolizing knowledge or wealth isolates one from the Truth and Light.
While the federal judiciary erroneously cites the so-called “Living Constitution” to justify the eradication of God from the public square, it is wealthy university trustees and academic elitists who, under the aegis of “tolerance and diversity,” seek to eradicate God from the academy.
How is it that historic institutions such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton have all but forsaken their Christian foundations–particularly in the last few decades? The answer is that, commensurate with the growth of their economic and academic stores, they rely on ever-wealthier trustees and enrollment prospects. (The average tuition among these institutions is now $42,000–and that’s before room and board.)
This is certainly not to say that our nation is devoid of wealthy and intelligent Christians, or that being of modest means insures one from materialist idolatry. Idolatry is not, after all, what you own, but what owns you. This is to say, however, that the potential for idolatry increases exponentially with growth in economic and academic elitism. Consequently, left-elite academicians, and their cadre of wealthy “Rockefeller conservatives” (economic conservatives/social liberals), who comprise majorities on most academic boards, harbor contempt for Christianity in academia. –excerpted from The Patriot Post No. 06-49