Sunday, 9/3/17

  1. Law of Merited Impossibility Update
  2. No enemies on the Right?
  3. Cardinal Sarah is a Mensch
  4. The Left awakens, slowly, to the Alt-Left
  5. Will Houston hurt more than N’Awlins?
  6. Made IN

1

Vanco, a credit card processing company that appears to be affiliated with scandal-plagued Wells Fargo Bank, abruptly and without warning ceased processing credit card transactions for The Ruth Institute.

They were cut off because the character assassins at the pseudo-charitable Southern Poverty Law Center branded them a “hate group.”

One especially interesting twist is this:

The Vanco company markets itself to religious organizations. Many churches use their services for processing donations. We surmise that Vanco dropped us because we hold views about marriage, family and human sexuality that are considered “Anti-LGBT.” Our beliefs are the common heritage of all Christian groups. Christian organizations that utilize Vanco’s services may wish to reconsider.

(H/T Rod Dreher)

The SPLC’s Hate List, though, is a distillation of increasing mainstream media propaganda. Take this Eliel Cruz New York Times opinion piece, for instance:

This week, an influential group of evangelical Christians publicly doubled down on intolerance in a message about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people that represents a renewed commitment to open bigotry.

The Nashville Statement, released by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood on Tuesday, says that only heterosexuality is permissible, calls people born with intersex conditions “disordered,” derides transgender identities as “transgenderism” and makes clear that anyone who is an L.G.B.T. person is immoral …

Cruz goes on to call the Nashville Statement “a particularly dangerous message,” “harm [that] is more than symbolic,” and “hateful beliefs [that] have real-life, devastating consequences.”

Well, we can’t allow that, now, can we? “It’s a complete absurdity to believe that Christians will suffer a single thing from the expansion of gay rights, and boy, do they deserve what they’re going to get.

2

Alastair Roberts signed the Nashville Statement, which makes his long list of concerns about its problems all the more powerful. One or two strike me as petty, but I guess he was trying to “get them all out there” before addressing why he nevertheless signed.

Among the observations:

  • leading signers of the document have also been leading advocates of profoundly unorthodox understandings of the Trinity (Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware, in particular), which they have developed in close connection with their understanding of gender relations.

  • … it emerges from a context with a pronounced good ol’ boy network where much peer pressure, arm-twisting, and other forms of subtle coercion occur behind the scenes to ensure compliance and enforce consensus …

  • The perception that the signers of the document don’t strongly oppose each other on their obvious points of error, which leads to skepticism about their commitment to speak the truth in love: is there a ‘no enemies on the right’ attitude at play here?

I obviously am flirting again with paying too much attention to the Nashville Statement, partly prompted by the New York Times hit piece cited above.

But I’m glad I read Alastair Roberts’ concerns (H/T Wesley Hill), and I’m glad, too, that I read Rosaria Butterfield’s signing statement, if only for this:

Twenty years ago, I lived as a lesbian.  I delighted in my lover, our home on one of the Finger Lakes, our Golden Retrievers, and our careers.  When Christ claimed me for His own, I did not stop feeling like a lesbian.  I did not fall out of love with women.  I was not converted out of homosexuality.  I was converted out of unbelief.

Conversion to Christ did not initially change my sexual attraction for women.  What conversion did change immediately was my heart and mind …

In this crucible I wondered how this could be so.  How could that which I loved be sin?  How could I hate my sin without hating myself?  How could I both hate my sin and feel drawn into it simultaneously?

I learned that sin does not lose its character as sin because I loved it.  I learned that my homosexuality was a logical consequence of the fall of man, the thumbprint of original sin on some of us.  It is true that some of us are born this way.  It is also true that we are all  born in sin, in one way or another.  We can hate our sin without hating ourselves because we who have committed our lives to Christ stand in his righteousness and not our own.  Our real identity is not in the sin we battle but in the savior we embrace …

Today, some influential people who claim to know Christ no longer believe that God hates sin.  Sin is in the eyes of the beholder, they say.

Just a few years ago, these people blamed sin on the devil, saying “the devil made me do it.”    Now these same people—some of them leaders in the church—blame sin on the Holy Spirit, declaring that He is blessing what the Bible condemns.  In a few short years, blame shifting has morphed into  blasphemy.  And this blasphemy is coming from people who claim to have Christ’s salvation and from the pulpits and blogs that they wield ….

(The Babylon Bee has the best summary of the Statement to date, by the way. Indispensible reading.)

3

I am now following Cardinal Robert Sarah on Twitter. He appears to be a magnificent human being, who took on dissident Jesuit James Martin in the Wall Street Journal Thursday:

For the unmarried—no matter their attractions—faithful chastity requires abstention from sex.

This might seem a high standard, especially today. Yet it would be contrary to the wisdom and goodness of Christ to require something that cannot be achieved. Jesus calls us to this virtue because he has made our hearts for purity, just as he has made our minds for truth. With God’s grace and our perseverance, chastity is not only possible, but it will also become the source for true freedom.

In her teaching about homosexuality, the church guides her followers by distinguishing their identities from their attractions and actions. First there are the people themselves, who are always good because they are children of God. Then there are same-sex attractions, which are not sinful if not willed or acted upon but are nevertheless at odds with human nature. And finally there are same-sex relations, which are gravely sinful and harmful to the well-being of those who partake in them. People who identify as members of the LGBT community are owed this truth in charity, especially from clergy who speak on behalf of the church about this complex and difficult topic ….

4

From the sublime to the satirical. NSFW/Trigger Warning.

“We will stop at nothing to prevent these vile fucking neo-Nazi hatemongers from gathering, or, if not them, someone else,” said Sarah Jackson, 26, adding that the only way to end the spread of fascism is to physically confront Nazis, peaceful right-wing protesters, or just random people going about their daily lives.

(Antifa Organizers Announce Plans To Disrupt Neo-Nazi Rally Or Whatever Else Going On That Day — The Onion, of course, because Babylon Bee is too prim for F-bombs)

Not The Onion:

In Berkeley, a news anchor for KTVU, Frank Somerville, wrote: “I experienced hate firsthand today. It came from these people dressed in all black at a protest in Berkeley. Ironically they were all chanting about no hate. Some had shields and gloves. Some had helmets. Some had gas masks.”

And yet it seems as excruciating for many liberals to condemn antifa outright as it was for Trump to unequivocally denounce the neo-Nazis. Indeed, masked thugs were welcomed by the entirely peaceful people in the Boston protest, and mingled freely among them. As John Fund also pointed out, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, in its lengthy and proper condemnation of the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, refused to include a single sentence that also condemned antifa violence: “Though we support peaceful protest and note that most of the counter-demonstrators were peaceful, we condemn violence by anyone, including violence by so-called antifa demonstrators.” Nah. Out of bounds.

The Washington Post ran an op-ed declaring that the American left had long ago cleansed itself of violence; the New York Timesfeatured an apologia for the black-masked thugs by Todd Gitlin, who called them “a defensive response to the growing presence of right-wing extremism.” Others even lionized antifa, comparing them with the allied troops who fought the Nazis in the D-day landings. Really? Black-masked vandals the same as the Normandy advance troops? Surely a better analogy, if we’re going there, would be with Stalin’s Red Army marching on Berlin from the East. Antifa activists, after all do proudly describe themselves as communists, among other things ….

(Andrew Sullivan) Sullivan reports some signs that liberals have snapped out of their denial (from his pen to God’s ear!) and professes, for a few enumerated reasons, that the far right is a bigger threat.

I’m not so sure; if Antifa only rallied in response to far right gatherings, I’d consider it less dangerous, but there’s Ann, and Milo, and Rose Parades, and those “random people going about their daily lives” that, though slightly hyperbolic, is in the right ballpark. It’s Charlottesville Envy; no “provocation” too small for violent “defense.”

5

The major activity [in Houston] has been the refining and distribution of oil products, and no activity is more central to the functioning of the US economy. So the public and our currently clueless leaders across the political spectrum, plus a legacy news media lost in the carnival of race and gender freak shows, is about to discover the dynamic relationship between energy and an industrial economy.

The pivot in this relationship is banking, which enables the conversion of oil’s raw power into everything else that goes on in a so-called advanced economy. The popular assumption is that federal disaster relief can compensate for all losses. That assumption may go out the window with the Houston flood of 2017 ….

(James Howard Kunstler)

6

Best “Made In Indiana” Logo Ever

* * * * *

“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.