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The zoo was right to kill the gorilla to protect the boy

There’s a scene in the movie Man of Steel when Clark Kent’s dad sacrifices his life to save a dog. It’s very dramatic, and it’s portrayed as heroic. But despite all the pathos and drama, there’s nothing heroic about treating a dog’s life as the moral equivalent of a human life. In fact, it’s an evidence of pagan decadence to think like that, which is why that scene made sense to American movie-goers in 2013 but would have made no sense to Americans of previous generations. Continue Reading →

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A majority of millennials reject capitalism

The Washington Post reports on a survey indicating that a majority of millennials reject capitalism:

In an apparent rejection of the basic principles of the U.S. economy, a new poll shows that most young people do not support capitalism.

The Harvard University survey, which polled young adults between ages 18 and 29, found that 51 percent of respondents do not support capitalism. Just 42 percent said they support it.

It isn’t clear that the young people in the poll would prefer some alternative system, though. Just 33 percent said they supported socialism. The survey had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

The report goes on to say that it is difficult to interpret exactly what this data mean. It seems clear, however, that this represents a signficant shift. Taken together with the fact that Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist, has run a viable campaign for the Democratic nomination, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the ground is moving beneath our feet.

Albert Mohler comments on all this on his daily podcast “The Briefing.” You can download it here or listen below.

Mohler argues that many millennials are bereft of a basic economic worldview. They don’t like the way things are, but they don’t have a plan or view beyond that. Furthermore, there is a basic misunderstanding about what a free market economy is and how it operates. All of that adds up to rejection of capitalism on the one hand and to ad hoc government imposed solutions on the other.

Prince: “Don’t die without knowing the cross.”

I’m still absorbing the news that Prince has died. I confess that this was like a punch in the gut for me. Little known fact: I’m a huge fan of the artist formerly known as “the artist formerly known as Prince.” His music was the soundtrack of about a decade of my young life. In some ways, that is a sad commentary because so much of what he sang about was foul and salacious. But that is not why I was listening. I was listening because he was a musical genius—a kind of post-modern cross between James Brown and Jimi Hendrix, but better than both of them. Continue Reading →

Secretary of State accuses ISIS of genocide against Christians

You can read Secretary of State John Kerry’s full statement here or watch it above. Here is an excerpt:

My purpose in appearing before you today is to assert that, in my judgment, Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims. Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by actions – in what it says, what it believes, and what it does…

Daesh has executed Christians solely because of their faith; that it executed 49 Coptic and Ethiopian Christians in Libya; and that it has also forced Christian women and girls into sexual slavery.

CNN reports on the significance of this declaration:

This is the first time that the United States has declared a genocide since Darfur in 2004.

The House of Representatives on Monday unanimously passed a resolution labeling the ISIS atrocities against Christian groups in Syria and Iraq “genocide,” a term the State Department had been reluctant to use about the attacks and mass murders by the terror group.

The genocide finding does not legally obligate the U.S. to take any particular action, but it could put pressure on the Obama administration to take more aggressive military action against ISIS. It could also give weight to calls by other lawmakers and humanitarian groups pushing the Obama administration to welcome more refugees into the United States.

Some reflections on Justice Scalia’s passing

One cannot overstate how stunning Scalia’s death is. When I first saw the news yesterday, it was like a punch in the gut. But not like a normal punch in the gut. It’s more like a punch in the gut that damages the internal organs. There are consequences that long outlast the initial shock.

For his family, obviously, the loss has a personal dimension that is all their own. Scalia had nine children and 28 grandchildren. On that score, Ross Douthat said it right: “Politics aside, we should all die full of years, with 28 grandchildren, in our sleep after quail hunting. Antonin Scalia RIP.” Amen.

But of course for the rest of us, his death leaves us with the reality that perhaps the most important conservative in the world has just breathed his last. As a jurist, his name enters into the pantheon of justices who made their mark as great men of consequence—Marshall, Warren, Holmes, and now Scalia. We can hardly overstate his legacy as a jurist, much less his dogged determination that the rule of law meant that laws and the Constitution must be interpreted according to their framer’s intent. On this particular point, Scalia was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, and he was the voice of reason.

And now that voice is gone. And it is not clear that there is anyone on the horizon who can fill that void. And that is why those who care about the rule of law are so unsettled about his passing. I wasn’t exaggerating yesterday when I said that his death feels a little bit like the passing of King Uzziah of old. It leaves one with a sense of uncertainty and judgment. Who could possibly take his place? No one. At least not in our lifetimes.

In the meantime, we watch and grieve the passing of Scalia. His passing is another reminder that our life is a breath. It is here, and then it’s gone. Even if you live to be old and full of years, you still have to die. It’s the great equalizer that casts our minds to eternal things. And that is good for all of us.

“As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away… So teach us to number our days, That we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.” –Psalm 90:10, 12

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” –Psalm 20:7

Are you ready for your teenage daughter to be drafted into a combat role?

I said that this could happen, and now it has. The Army and Marine Corps chiefs are calling for women to register for the draft. The Washington Post reports:

The top officers in the Army and Marine Corps testified on Tuesday that they believe it is time for women to register for future military drafts, following the Pentagon’s recent decision to open all jobs in combat units to female service members.

Gen. Mark A. Milley, chief of staff of the Army, and Gen. Robert B. Neller, the Marine Corps commandant, both said they were in favor of the change during an occasionally contentious Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the forthcoming full integration of women in the military. They offered their opinions in response to a question from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who said that she also is in favor of the change.

“Senator, it’s my personal view that, based on this lifting of restrictions… every American who’s physically qualified should register for the draft,” Neller said.

The main reason that we ought to oppose this is because men and women are different. I know it’s not popular to say so, but that doesn’t make it any less true. This used to be obvious to everyone, but now it’s not. We would do well to remind ourselves what our grandparents and generations before them have always known.

Not only are men and women different dispositionally, but they also have fairly profound physical differences. On average, women are weaker than men. And you don’t have to be a bible-believing conservative to acknowledge this (e.g., 1 Pet. 3:7). It’s an empirical fact observeable by anyone with eyes to see. This puts women at a distinct disadvantage in combat.

One recent item that illustrates the point. MMA fighter Tamika Brents describes what it was like to face a man in the ring:

I’ve never felt so overpowered in my life. I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night… I can only say I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life, and I am an abnormally strong female.

What happened to Tamika during her fight with this man?

What Brents reportedly experienced at Fox’s hands was a concussion and a broken orbital bone that required staples. In other words, this woman was savaged by an opponent that was genetically advantaged with a thicker bone structure, longer reach, and denser musculature—or, put more simply, was a man. Fox was able to do this despite hormone treatments that made him more feminine in certain aspects.

Can you imagine this experience played out countless times on distant battlefields in places where women are treated as little more than chattel?  You need to imagine it because it may be your daughter or mother or niece called up. Can you imagine sending your daughter or mother into the maw of deadly conflict with men who will do much worse to them than what happened to Tamika Brents in the MMA ring?

In a widely circulated letter, a female Marine named “Sentry” puts a fine point on it:

This country and our military are NOT prepared to see what the enemy will do to female POWs… How is our 24/7 news cycle going to cover a captured, raped, mutilated woman? After the first one, how are the men in the military going to treat their female comrades?… Men in the military will move heaven and earth to protect women, never mind what it does to the mission. I present you with Exhibit A: Jessica Lynch. Male lives will be lost trying to protect their female comrades. And the people of the US are NOT, based on the Jessica Lynch episode, prepared to treat a female POW the same way they do a man.

I know that many women have served admirably in our military. And there are certainly some who are physically exceptional and who may show some aptitude and interest in combat. But that’s just it. They tend to be exceptional. They are not the norm. And opening the draft to all women and potentially exposing all women to combat service is treating the exception as if it’s the norm. This is absurd and dangerous.

In addition to these issues, there is the very real possibility that physical requirements will have to be lowered in order to achieve the egalitarian ideal of women in combat units. If this happens (and many believe that it certainly will), our force will be weakened as a result. This too is absurd and dangerous.

At the end of the day, this issue is irreducibly moral. It goes to the heart of what kind of people we want to be. Are we really so beholden to feminist propaganda that we are willing to send our daughters and mothers to be ground up by the rigors of a combat unit? I hope not.

Men ought to bear the burdens of combat. We are all diminished by foisting this burden on our mothers and daughters and nieces. We can do better. We must do better.

The infamy comes to Louisville

The Courier-Journal is reporting that Louisville’s Planned Parenthood moved to a new office in December. Planned Parenthood has been in Louisville for a long time, but its Louisville office did not offer abortions. That all changed this week. According to the report:

Planned Parenthood has begun offering abortions for the first time in Kentucky at a new health center it opened last month on South Seventh Street in downtown Louisville.

Operating as Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, or PPINK, the group on Jan. 21 began offering surgical and non-surgical abortion services at the health center, which replaced its former Louisville clinic on South Second Street…

The move to provide abortions is sure to be controversial in Kentucky’s political climate as several bills aimed at curbing abortion are pending in the current session of the General Assembly. Gov. Matt Bevin also has included in his proposed budget language that would bar any organization that provides abortions from receiving state funds.

And anti-abortion protests are a regular event at Louisville’s only other abortion provider, a private clinic downtown.

Downtown Louisville already has one abortion clinic. Unless that old clinic closes, we will now have two clinics performing abortions within about a mile of one another.

Planned Parenthood has fenced-in their new facility, likely making it impossible for “Speak for the Unborn” volunteers to interact with the women entering the clinic. I’m told that Planned Parenthood will be offering their services at a lower cost than the current abortion clinic. In other words, they are being shrewd and are making sure that mothers face no opposition to the decision to take the life of their unborn children. It is grotesque.

Fellow pro-lifers in Louisville, this is a call to action. We are going to need for pro-lifers to step up their support for “A Woman’s Choice/Necole’s Place” crisis pregnancy center.

Planned Parenthood is the leading provider of abortions in America. They kill over 300,000 unborn children in America every year. Now they have decided to double the infamy of abortion in Louisville. We have to respond.

UPDATE #1: In December, Planned Parenthood claimed that they had no plans to offer abortions at the new facility. Here’s how Insider Louisville reported it:

Just as the case was with their previous location, the clinic does not provide abortion services besides referrals, and Manier said they have no immediate plans to begin doing so.

Planned Parenthood had no plans a month ago to offer surgical abortions? That seems very unlikely. Why were they denying just last month that they would begin offering abortions?

UPDATE #2: This may explain why Planned Parenthood was trying to add abortion services on the quiet. The Courier-Journal reports that Governor Matt Bevin says this new service is unlicensed and illegal.

The news drew immediate fire from Gov. Matt Bevin, an anti-abortion Republican.

“They are openly and knowingly operating an unlicensed abortion facility in clear violation of the law,” Bevin said in a statement. “We will use the full force of the commonwealth to put a stop to this. There is no room in Kentucky for this kind of blatant disregard for proper legal procedure.”

A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman responded that the organization “applied for an abortion facility license and commenced services under the guidance of the Office of the Inspector General, the state office that is responsible for licensing health facilities.”

That office is housed within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, part of state government. Planned Parenthood didn’t say whether it had yet received the license, only that it followed the guidance of the licensing agency in beginning abortion services.

Governor Matt Bevin is a strong adovocate of the pro-life cause. I can’t overstate how thankful I am that he is on the job.

Update #3: Yesterday, the Bevin adminisration ordered Planned Parenthood to “cease and desist” performing abortions at their new facility. Planned Parenthood says  it has stopped offering abortions until they clear up their conflict with the State of Kentucky. Read about it here.

Women in Combat and the Undoing of Civilization

Our civilization just took a gigantic leap backward yesterday, though I’m wondering if anyone will notice. Yesterday, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter removed final obstacles restricting women from serving in combat units in the United States military. The decision was made three years ago by then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and now the three year period for studying the move has come to an end. The Washington Post Reports:

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said Thursday that he is opening all jobs in combat units to women, a landmark decision that ends a three-year period of research with a number of firsts for female service members and bitter debate at times about how women should be integrated.

The decision opens the military’s most elite units to women who can meet the rigorous requirements for the positions for the first time, including in the Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces and other Special Operations Units. It also opens the Marine Corps infantry, a battle-hardened force that many service officials had openly advocated keeping closed to female service members.

“There will be no exceptions,” Carter said. “This means that, as long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before.”

I understand that we are living in times of tremendous social change. Americans have by and large cast aside the “quaint” view that men and women are different and that they ought to have roles and responsibilities that correspond to those differences. So for many people, I’m sure this news merely appears as the next stage of progress toward equality in our society. I have a different view. Continue Reading →

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