Posted by: readerjohn | July 1, 2011

Tasty Tidbits 7/1/11

Here’s today’s tasty tidbits:

  1. Evangelicals lose political influence; should they thank God for that?
  2. McCarthyism in the darndest places
  3. The cost of freedom?
  4. Why should the Scots have had so many good preachers?
  5. An un-Reformed clergyman addresses a once-Reformed denomination.
  6. Bereft!
  7. OCD Strikes AmConMag.
  8. Is the root of the problem something other than Islam itself?
  9. Near miss?
  10. Disneyfication provokes cyber-attack.

***

Evangelicals are fretting about their declining influence, as if they thought they were entitled to rule. Joel J. Miller reflects on the limits of coercion and on the source of real influence:

People confuse politics with some sort of magic lever; just yank it hard enough and the world is yours. But at its most basic, politics is just legal coercion. That can only get you so far before diminishing returns set in — something we’re apparently witnessing before our very eyes.

The early Church flourished without any political power ….

I’d go a step further and suggest that some of the decline in influence of Christianity in the U.S. is the result of backlash against Evangelical ham-handedness and extreme partisanship (not without cause do some see the Religious Right as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the GOP). Albert Mohler Jr., the kind of Evangelical I grew up being taught to admire, tacitly concedes that Evangelicals have earned the deaf ear they get particularly on matters homosexual: “We have often spoken about homosexuality in ways that are crude and simplistic.” (That doesn’t explain why the other side’s crude and simplistic message has found a receptive ear, however. The zeitgeist is not solely the Evangelicals’ fault, as the Gospel has always been scandalous even when well preached and lived.)

I’m no Evangelical any longer, but when they (the most visible audible Christianity in many ways because of their strategic command of so many radio stations) provoke backlash, all Christians are in the crossfire.

***

How’s that identity politics thingy working for ya’, Fabio? And what does this do to the old rhetorical question “Who would choose to be gay and suffer such indignities?”:  Three Straights and You’re Out in Gay Softball League (from the New York Times, so it may count toward your freebies. It’s about gay sports leagues trying to make sure teams aren’t bringing in straight ringers).

***

Maybe I’m being petty, but there’s something unseemly, it seems to me about the Menards ad that boasts you can “Show your patriotism with an American Flag … for just $3.88!

***

Father Patrick Henry Reardon thinks that Scotland produced fabulous preachers because they’re job was unimaginably hard: reconciling the Gospel with the teachings of John Calvin. ;-)

***

Archpriest Siarhei Hardun was invited to observe the Presbyterian Church USA General Assembly last summer, and got a real eyeful and earful before he was invited to address the assembly. (HT The Arena, who reminded me of what I admired a year ago)

Considering where the PCUSA finally arrived this summer, it apparently took neither the Archpriest nor the Scottish preachers to heart. The Orthodox position on one of the hot-button issues is abundantly clear and expressed with admirable brevity here.

***

I think Peggy Noonan must be on vacation or something! There’s no Friday column at the Wall Street Journal this week! How can she do that to me! :-(

***

At least I still have the tireless American Conservative blog, which says “Pawlenty’s patter is perfectly progressive.” I like alliteration a lot, but I think Jack Hunter may be showing a bit of Obsessive Conservative Disorder.

***

A “liberal Muslim from the Middle East” adds his voice to Michael Novak’s in predicting, equivocally, the rise of a freer Islamdom. His reasoning differs, but he certainly questions that Islam itself is the problem. Having seen Christians fighting over the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, I find it plausible that Mideast culture is a partial culprit.

***

Whew! Three Google searches (Kahn, French, and DSK) of this site exonerate me from having inflicted on the world my apparently-erroneous reaction to the Dominique Strauss-Kahn encounter with the hotel maid. Ann Althouse prompted me to check, and the reactions to her posting are vociferous and polarized.

***

The hacker group “Anonymous” has “declared a cyberwar against the City of Orlando ….” (From the New York Times, so it may count toward your freebies.)

Why?

“The group described its attacks as punishment for the city’s recent practice of arresting members of Orlando Food Not Bombs, an antipoverty group that provides vegan and vegetarian meals twice a week to homeless people in one of the city’s largest parks.”
“Anonymous believes that people have the right to organize, that people have the right to give to the less fortunate and that people have the right to commit acts of kindness and compassion,” the group’s members said in a news release and video posted on YouTube on Thursday. “However, it appears the police and your lawmakers of Orlando do not.”

Orlando is home to famous theme parks that make the world seem perfect, where never a gum wrapper is to be seen on the ground, let alone a homeless person. Are they trying to extend the theme park boundaries to the City Limits?

Bon appetit!


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