Friday, 3/14/14

    1. Reliably unreliable
    2. Religion and Divorce
    3. NGO Go! Islamists come!
    4. Free “culture,” sort of
    5. Somebody loves you

1

South African blog Khanya finds the “usual suspects” press unreliable on matters like Ukraine:

I’ve been mainly relying on Al Jazeera for news from there, on the basis that since they don’t appear to have a dog in that fight, their reporting is likely to be less biased and more objective. The Russian and Ukrainian news media are full of mutual recriminations on this score. The Western media seem to give most prominence to the pronouncements of Western politicians on what is happening in Ukraine.

The Russian media tend to take the line that protests in Kiev were orchestrated by ultra-nationalists and fascists. The Western media contrive to give the impression that protests in eastern Ukrainian cities are orchestrated by Stalinist revanchists.

But once the principle has been established that demonstrators in the streets of one city decide the government of a country, then demonstrators in the streets of another city who dissent from that decision are descibed as “separatists”?

(Khanya)

2

Speaking of unreliable press:

[A] recent University of Texas study, which found that divorce was higher among Evangelicals and counties with lots of Evangelicals in the United States. For many in the media, the takeaway was not only that any religious efforts to resist the divorce revolution are doomed to failure, but can actually be counterproductive today insofar as they encourage strategies to family life that are ill-suited to the times. Indeed, a headline in the Nation asked “Is Conservative Christianity Bad for Marriage?”, with the article answering in the affirmative.

But what press coverage of the study generally overlooked is that this research also found that secular Americans, and counties with lots of unaffiliated Americans, had the highest divorce rates. The study reported, for instance, that the “unaffiliated effect [was] almost three times larger” than the Evangelical effect on county divorce rates. So, in general, evangelical divorce rates fall in the middle, while mainline Protestant, Catholic, and Mormon divorce rates were the lowest in America.

(W. Bradford Wilcox at First Things)

Did you notice the bias that Wilcox didn’t flag? I’m referring, of course, to the Nation calling Evangelicalism “Conservative Christianity.”

Wilcox, by the way, is urging that Pope Francis (to whom “Happy Anniversary”) not throw in the towel on divorce.

3

Meanwhile, in Somalia, people are happy to see Western NGOs go, al Shabab (read “Islamists”) come. Read it and you’ll know why.  (H/T Rod Dreher)

Or if you prefer singing to reading, Bruce Cockburn has a catchy little version, They Call It Democracy, written decades ago (because imperialism really doesn’t change that much). I’ll help you by linking the lyrics, too.

4

I’m kind of excited to have discovered the Open Culture blogsite. How cool is that?! While the Prole kids are watching stultifying – oh, I don’t know: Fox News? MTV? American Idol! – your kids can be getting smart for free.

5

Despite it all:

Genesis 5:1-24, especially vs. 1: “This is the book of the genesis of mankind in the day God made Adam, whom He made in God’s image.” We should keep in mind that this passage contains far more than a list of descendants. Herein God unveils hope! Life is not simply “poor, nasty, brutish and short,” as Thomas Hobbes and the swaggering Lamech assert (Gn 4:23-24). The blessing of God’s image remains within us, and His gift of life perseveres despite death. God continues to seek, enrich, and watch over us all, for we are pleasing in His sight.

(Dynamis)

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.