Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween, Ugliness and Beauty


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Thursday, October 29, 2009

What to expec of Tony Blair is made President of Europe

This morning the Guardian reported that this evening's summit in Brussels will likely be the first occasion in which the subject of Tony Blair's candidacy to be Europe's first president is broached.
In response, I have written the following article for Signs of the Times blog:

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"no safety issues for a long time"

Artificial life 'could be created within five years' according to THIS article in the Telegraph. It is not surprising that this has raised safety concerns, given all of the books and films that play off of the Frankenstein motif, where the scientist creates life that then becomes a threat to the human race.

In response to the safety concerns, the Telegraph article reports that scientists are assuring us that “there would be no safety issues for a long time.” This is because any initial organisms would be very primitive and need large-scale life support systems to be sustained.

“No safety issues for a long time”? What is that supposed to mean?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Swine Flu and National Emergency

Today I posted an article on Salvo's Signs of the Times blog titled, "Swine Flu creates 'national emergency' of a different sort" looking at some of the political problems inherent in the concept of emergency.

Edmund Burke on the American Problem

The English statesmen, Edmund Burke, couldn’t have entered politics at a more critical time in history. As a member of Parliament during one of Europe’s most tumultuous periods (1765-1794), his career spanned both the French and the American revolutions. It is interesting that while he vigorously opposed the former, he was sympathetic with the grievances of the American colonies, saying

"Again and again, revert to your old principles—seek peace and ensue it; leave America, if she has taxable matter in her, to tax herself. I am not here going into the distinctions of rights, nor attempting to mark their boundaries. I do not enter into these metaphysical distinctions; I hate the very sound of them. Leave the Americans as they anciently stood, and these distinctions, born of our unhappy contest, will die along with it...Be content to bind America by laws of trade; you have always done it...Do not burthen them with taxes...But if intemperately, unwisely, fatally, you sophisticate and poison the very source of government by urging subtle deductions, and consequences odious to those you govern, from the unlimited and illimitable nature of supreme sovereignty, you will teach them by these means to call that sovereignty itself in question...If that sovereignty and their freedom cannot be reconciled, which will they take? They will cast your sovereignty in your face. No body of men will be argued into slavery. Sir, let the gentlemen on the other side...tell me, what one character of liberty the Americans have, and what one brand of slavery they are free from, if they are bound in their property and industry by all the restraints you can imagine on commerce, and at the same time are made pack-horses of every tax you choose to impose, without the least share in granting them. When they bear the burthens of unlimited monopoly, will you bring them to bear the burthens of unlimited revenue too? The Englishman in America will feel that this is slavery; that it is legal slavery, will be no compensation either to his feelings or to his understandings.

...the people of the colonies are descendants of Englishmen...They are therefore not only devoted to liberty, but to liberty according to English ideas and on English principles. The people are Protestants...a persuasion not only favourable to liberty, but built upon it...My hold of the colonies is in the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are ties which, though light as air, are as strong as links of iron. Let the colonies always keep the idea of their civil rights associated with your government,—they will cling and grapple to you, and no force under heaven will be of power to tear them from their allegiance. But let it be once understood that your government may be one thing and their privileges another, that these two things may exist without any mutual relation,—the cement is gone, the cohesion is loosened, and everything hastens to decay and dissolution. As long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you. The more they multiply, the more friends you will have; the more ardently they love liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience. Slavery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that grows in every soil. They may have it from Spain, they may have it from Prussia. But, until you become lost to all feeling of your true interest and your natural dignity, freedom they can have from none but you."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Too Busy

I came across this quote by John Ortberg which I will pass on:

“For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so busy and distracted and rushed that we will settle for a mediocre version of it.”
Obama and Domestic Business
The following video shows how Obama's policies will penalize domestic businesses.

Obama Worship
As I have noted the phenomenon of Obama worship HERE and HERE, I can't let this video of school children reciting praises to our president pass unnoticed. Also see THIS clip of children singing for health care reform.
Gnostics in the Closet
I've finished reading Against the Protestant Gnostics by Philip Lee. It is a must-read for all Protestants, especially the last chapter on his solutions to the endemic Gnosticism within the Protestant project. (Lee is a Protestant himself).
The European Problem
My favorite lawmaker, Daniel Hannan, puts the whole European problem in a nut shell in the following video:

Also see THIS article on the Great EU deception.
The National Debt
Those who have not already read my article on the national debt, should click HERE. Somebody shared with me THIS link to the national debt clock. I don't know where they get their information from, but if its accurate all I can say is it is scary to watch America going bankrupt before my very eyes.
Britain Doesn't Have to be the Worst Place to Live
Britain is the worst place to live in Europe, according to a new survey. Richard Littlejohn (what a great name!) suggests why in THIS article. As someone who spent ten years in England and watched it change before my eyes into what it is today, I can concur with much of Littlejohn's observations.
God save the queen! God save us all!
Taking Gender Confusion to a new Level
I recently stumbled upon THIS bizarre story. I have written before about gender confusion but this takes it to a new level. What would the headlines have said if “he” was successful in his attempted pregnancy (something that is conceivable since "he" was once a woman)? "First man to ever give birth?"
Musical Resource
I just came across THIS wonderful musical resource.
Presumed Guilty
Building on what I shared the other day regarding the shift in European law away from innocent until proven guilty, THIS article by Henry Porter is a must read. He shows that the structure of British jurisprudence is changing, with citizens no longer innocent until proven guilty. A new category, that of presumed guilt, is emerging with disastrous implications. In 2007 I warned of the changes that were occuring to English common law.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Ruth Gledhill questions the Equality Directive

Ruth Gledhill, the Religion Correspondent for The Times , raised the following concerns on her blog about the EU's new Equality Directive.

The Roman Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland along with most other Christian groups are upset about the new European anti-discrimination directive. 'Homosexual groups campaigning for same sex marriage may declare themselves offended by the presentation of the Catholic Church’s moral teaching on homosexual acts; Catholics may declare themselves offended by a ‘Gay Pride’ march; an atheist may be offended by religious pictures in art gallery; a Muslim may be offended by any picture representing the human form,' warn the Catholic bishops. 'It is not clear whether ‘goods and services’ would apply to the activities of a Catholic priest, if, as recently occurred, he were to refuse to take a booking for a Church Hall from a group of witches.'

Will an Anglican or a remarried divorcee be able to sue a Catholic priest who denies them communion? Will women be able to demand access to Mount Athos? Where will this leave men-only clubs such as the Garrick? Will the Church of England and Roman Catholic churches lose their exemptions under present equality laws and be forced, in the case of the former, to consecrate women bishops and in the case of the latter, to ordain both women priests and bishops? Will women priests presiding at Blackburn be able to prosecute the Dean and Chapter for discrimination and making them feel 'tainted'?

See Law Professor Warns of "cultural genocide" under new EU Directive

Law Professor Warns of "cultural genocide" under new EU Directive

THIS interview with William Wagner shows some of the issues that Christians in Europe are facing under an increasingly totalitarian EU.

Professor Wagner, who serves with Christian Concern for Our Nation, warns that if this proposal is not adequately addressed, it “has the potential to create a cultural genocide.”

The Directive is part of a series of measures aiming to promote equality and combat discrimination among organizations and individuals across EU Member States in the areas of disability, age, religion and belief and sexual orientation. The Directive is worded in such a way that many Christian activities could fall foul of the law if someone believes equal treatment has not been received.

It has the “horrendous potential to completely eliminate the Christian worldview from any professional activity that involves providing a service,” said Professor Wagner.

During the above interview, Dr. Wagner points out that the Directive entails a de facto reversal of an ancient Anglo-Saxon law principle known as the assumption of innocence. According to this principle, a person is innocent until proven guilty. The Directive defines harassment as something which is perceived by a person to have caused offence or to create an offensive environment.

Wagner commented that, "
It’s your job in court, if you’re accusing someone of something, to produce evidence and actually prove your case. Discrimination law has taken a different route. Again, almost in a Darwinistic, evolutionary way, they have said we need to evolve the legal principles to do something different in discrimination cases. What they have done is they say once someone accuses you of harassment or of offending them, then the burden of proof no longer is on your accuser, but the burden of proof now shifts to you, the accused, to prove that this person actually wasn’t offended. Now there are some great lawyers out there in the United Kingdom and the European Union, but I don’t know of any that can win a case like this. How do you prove the negative? And after you inevitably lose a case like this, how do you appeal? You can’t. And I think the lawyers who wrote these provisions know this."

Friday, October 16, 2009

What the Treasury Department is not telling Americans about the National Debt


According to treasury figures released today, government spent $46.6 billion more in September than it took in, a month that normally records a surplus.
However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Few Americans are actually aware what a serious financial situation America is currently in.
The Treasury Department doesn't like to advertise the fact, but America’s national debt is larger than the total economies of China, the United Kingdom, and Australia combined and is quickly approaching or exceeding the USA's 14 trillion GDP. (It appears less than that in charts, because the government has been cooking the books since the Clinton Administration. They are not counting Social Security and Medicare obligations as part of the debt.) If the pattern continues over the next decade, the government will borrow approximately $1.72 million every minute.
Our debt to China alone is approximately $776.4 billion, having grown more than $240 billion in the last year.
How did we get to this point and what are the long-term consequences if America continues down this same course, borrowing itself into oblivion? H
ow did America get itself into this position?
A Brief History of Fiscal Foolishness
When George Bush took office in 2001, he inherited a national debt equivalent to 57.4% of America’s yearly GDP. But he also inherited a budget surplus of $128 billion - the second successive surplus after roughly 30 years of budget deficits.
(For those who don't know, a budget deficit occurs whenever a country spends more money during a year than it has taken in. A budget surplus occurs every time the country takes in more money than it has spent during a year. The national debt is the accumulation of all the unpaid deficits in a nation’s history. Servicing the interest on the debt becomes a central part of successive budgets, making it progressively harder to achieve a budget surplus.)
Instead of building on the opportunity afforded by the surplus and reducing the national debt, Bush quickly ran up unprecedented deficits, as the chart below left reveals.

Not only did he engage in foreign wars costing hundreds of billions, but he also initiated an array of new government goodies on a scale unseen since the days of Franklin Roosevelt. His Medicare Prescription Drug Act alone will cost more than $1 trillion by the end of the decade, possibly a lot more as the baby boomers begin accessing it.
Far too few people asked where the money for all of Bush’s new programs and his
bank bailout was going to come from. The answer, of course, is that it could only come from running up huge budget deficits and digging the nation deeper into debt.
Obama took office in early 2009, the economy was crippling under the weight of so much unpayable debt. Blaming his predecessors for the recession he inherited, Obama allegedly set out to correct their foolish choices. Among the irresponsibilities that Obama pledge not to repeat was the practice of making financial commitments that the country couldn’t afford. As Obama said in a speech to the Joint Session of Congress: “Now, part of the reason I faced a trillion-dollar deficit when I walked in the door of the White House is because too many initiatives over the last decade were not paid for -- from the Iraq war to tax breaks for the wealthy.


A few weeks ago I was sick and confined to bed. This gave me a chance to watch the movie I.O.U.S.A. which Michael Collender recommended I watch a few months ago. It is available on instant play through Netflicks.

The topic of the movie is America's national debt, a subject that has always given me sense of fascinated horror.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Doug Wilson on Pop Culture

Earlier in the year I wrote about pop culture, trying to get away from the uncritical approach that permeates both the legalistic rejection of pop culture as well as those Christians who believe that any aspect of pop culture which isn't sinful is therefore benign. Doug Wilson strikes the right balance in the following video, offering insights into the Christian approach to pop culture that will help any parent with teenagers.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Is Evil Necessary?

Some thinkers have suggested that evil is necessary since without evil there could be no appreciation of goodness.

I have always been uneasy with that type of reasoning. For one thing, consider that the Triune God is completely self-sufficient and doesn't need to have evil to demonstrate His personality any more than He needed to create the world to demonstrate His personality, let alone redeem it, as Saint Augustine points out in his Enchiridion. God could have left our first parents in a state of bondage, He could have chosen to redeem less or more, He could have chosen not to create at all. The only things God cannot do are those things which contradict His nature.

What about the argument that without the evil we could never appreciate the good by contrast? Those who adopt this position are forced to believe that God's love, grace, goodness, etc. are only intelligible in a world marred by evil. On a purely practical level this doesn't make sense. I don't need to go down to the local dump and gaze upon the garbage there in order to appreciate the beauties of Tub's Hill (a local hike the children and I enjoy). I don't need to feed on putrefied fruit and rotting bread in order to enjoy a bowl of strawberries and cream.

In his book Desiring God John Piper formulates the argument that evil is necessary in order for God's goodness to be manifested. Perry Robinson has refuted it
HERE (if nothing else, click on the link to read Piper's quotations on the subject). Perry asks Piper the following question: If evil is necessary in order for God's goodness to be manifested, then is creation necessary in order for God to be Lord? What then of before the creation of the world? Is the Son subordinate in essence in order for the Father to be Father and Lord over someone, lest God’s attribute of being Lord go unrealized? You can see how one could keep drawing out the implications. Perry also points out that Piper's view entails a kind of daulism with the good eternally dependent on evil which, if taken to the logical consequence, would entail that evil needs to be eternal.

In The Pleasures of God, Piper seems to go further, suggesting that the pain, evil and the misery of some are a necessary pre-condition for the ever-increasing enjoyment of the saints. That seems different from the attitude of Biblical saints like Moses and Paul, who would never wish destruction on people even as a means to their own increased enjoyment.

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“Balder, too, was a hero, but not one of the blustering kind, like Thor. He slew no giants; he never went into battle; he never tried to make for himself a name among the dwellers of the mid-world; and yet he was a hero of the noblest type. He dared to do right, and to stand up for the good, the true, and the beautiful. There are still some such heroes, but the world does not always hear of them.” From The Story of Siegfried, James Baldwin.
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