Potpourri 2/22/19

1

“We’re in a cage match,” said Rob Renfroe, a conservative pastor in Texas who believes the denomination should break up. “The loser can’t get up off the mat. The winner is beaten up, bloody, battered.”

Frank Schaefer, a Methodist pastor who was defrocked and then reinstated after officiating his son’s same-sex wedding, is in full agreement. “It’s better for our LGBTQ community if we split,” he said.

… [M]any congregations object to allowing such differences on an issue they consider central to their faith, and are preparing for divorce—and for the disputes over church property that will inevitably follow.

“All of this comes down to money,” said Mandy McDow, the pastor of Los Angeles First United Methodist Church and a supporter of LGBT rights. “If people wanted to leave, they would have left a long time ago, but they would have had to give up their buildings and their pensions.”

Ms. McDow said she would be in St. Louis to see “the great divorce of my denomination. It’s going to be awful.”

Ian Lovett for the Wall Street Journal on United Methodists.

It boggles my mind, and should serve as a cautionary tale about Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, that both sides think the deep integrity of the Christian faith is at stake — especially when one side is thus tacitly condemning 20 centuries of its spirtual ancestors to the status of inferior pseudo-Christians.

But I agree with Mandy McDow. I’ve seen quite a few clergy who waited until retirement to follow their changed convictions into different Christian traditions, and had personal communication with one who was frank about the financial straits earlier “conversion” would put on his family.

I’m thankful that I did not have direct financial ties to the Christian Reformed Church (of course, one tends to do business with people one knows from Church) when, unbidden, my investigation into the falsity of a new Orthodox Church in town persuaded me of Orthodoxy’s truth.

2

Mr. Smollett deserves to be punished for his hoax to deter others. The media’s punishment will be its continuing loss of public credibility.

Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

Yes, but what of us putatively innocent bystanders, who’d like reliable news? Are we deluded about what we really want? Or have the appetites of our countrymen for sensational confirmation of their biases driven legitimate news out of the market?

I caught a few minutes of the CBS national news last night and quickly caught them eliding legitimate issues to fit complex stories into their narrative and their time-per-story constraints.

For instance, they tried to make sure that viewers would “see” a rifle’s crosshairs, oddly placed in the corner of a picture motormouth Roger Stone posted of Judge Amy Berman Jackson, when the lines were way too thick and too long, the placement was certifiably weird if a threat was intended, and the accompanying tweet was a plea for defense funds:

DzthWx-VAAAaYtR

Had I not listened to a legal podcast, All The President’s Lawyers, I probably would have fallen for that spin, for spin it was, becoming one of the semi- and mis-informed with a cartoonish notion of what’s going on, and who the good guys and the bad guys are.

And that’s probably what I am.

It’s impossible to read/view/hear and evaluate all world news at length. The sweet spot is knowing what matters, and that’s probably mostly local news, even as local media sink into insolvency that not even sensationalism can fix.

It may become necessary for local news to get its funding from patrons, not just from readers and advertisers, perhaps on the public radio model. We’re on terra incognita.

3

Should corporations, especially big, megarich ones, be given tax benefits for locating in a city or state? No, actually. They should come in simply as grateful and eager new citizens, especially in a place like New York, since there’s nothing like us. But that is not the world in which we live. In this world politicians are desperate to expand the tax base and brag about creating jobs. Companies can and do press every advantage.

Here is the truth: New York’s progressives weren’t tough, they were weak. They don’t know how to play this game.

You want to be tough and mean, get what you want, and keep those jobs for your constituents? Here was the play:

You don’t unleash the furies and hold hearings where crowds jeer, hiss and chant “GTFO, Amazon has got to go.” You don’t put stickers on every lamp pole saying “Amazon crime.” You don’t insult and belittle their representatives. You don’t become Tweeting Trotsky.

You quietly vote yes, go to the groundbreaking, and welcome our new partner in prosperity. Then you wait. And as soon as the new headquarters is fully built and staffed, you shake them down like a boss.

Peggy Noonan

4

A tax preparer in Russiaville, Indiana declined to do a repeat customer’s return when she showed up with her new “spouse,” also a “she.”

My first thought was that the culprit drew a dubious line. But then I thought back to the days after the Supreme Court littered same-sex marriage onto the nation’s legal landscape. I believe there were pledges circulating to “never recognize same-sex marriage in any way,” which was a tempting bit of proposed civil disobedience and which might fit doing a joint tax return.

The pair was able to get it’s “married filing jointly” return done elsewhere, of course.

In Indiana, there’s no law against what he tax preparer did.

Because her beliefs warrant respect, too, I’m content with Indiana’s status quo, the only argument against which is that it’s vitally important to Corporate America (and some United Methodists, but I digress) that sex trump all countervailing considerations and that we’ll be on its “naughty list” until our laws say so.

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I left Twitter and I’m leaving Facebook, but you can read other stuff at Micro.blog (mirrored at microblog.intellectualoid.com) and, as of February 20, 2019, at blot.im, at both of which I blog shorter items. Both should work in your RSS aggregator, like Feedly.

About readerjohn

I am a retired lawyer and an Orthodox Christian, living in a collapsing civilization, the modern West. There are things I'll miss when it's gone. There are others I won't. That it is collapsing is partly due to calculated subversion, summarized by the moniker "deathworks." This blog is now dedicated to exposing and warring against those deathwork - without ceasing to spread a little light.
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