Senator Ted Kennedy died early this morning from brain cancer. He will be remembered as one of the most powerful senators ever to have served, as well as one of the Senate’s most effective orators. He was the third-longest-serving senator in American history. He will also be remembered for his infamous role in a 1969 scandal that came to be known as “Chappaquiddick,” an auto accident that left a young woman dead. Many think that this incident ruined any hope that he might one day be elected president. Continue Reading →
The Associated Press reports that Americans may be getting more than they bargained for from healthcare legislation that is now making its way through Congress.
“Health care legislation before Congress would allow a new government-sponsored insurance plan to cover abortions, a decision that would affect millions of women and recast federal policy on the divisive issue. . .
“Advocates on both sides are preparing for a renewed battle over abortion, which could jeopardize political support for President Barack Obama’s health care initiative aimed at covering nearly 50 million uninsured and restraining medical costs. The dispute could come to a head with House and Senate floor votes on abortion this fall, a prospect that many lawmakers would like to avoid.”
Continue Reading →
Robert George has a must-read opinion piece in today’s Wall Street Journal. He argues that the Supreme Court should stay out of any effort to redefine marriage. The Supreme Court sparked the fire of a culture war in its Roe v. Wade decision, and the court would do so again if they were to issue a decision on marriage. Instead, George argues, the matter should be resolved democratically. He concludes with this:
‘Because marriage has already been deeply wounded, some say that redefining it will do no additional harm. I disagree. We should strengthen, not redefine, marriage. But whatever one’s view, surely it is the people, not the courts, who should debate and decide. For reasons of both principle and prudence, the issue should be settled by democratic means, not by what Justice Byron White, in his dissent in Roe, called an “act of raw judicial power.”‘
George knocked this one out of the park. Read the whole thing here.
There’s a national debate going-on about healthcare reform, and the battle is at a fever pitch. Today’s The New York Times reports that the President Obama’s proposal is losing support with Americans who fear that reform will cause costs to rise and care to diminish in quality.
One item that is not often reported is the way in which reform could affect social policy. There is a group of pro-life Democrats, for instance, who have said they will oppose any bill that requires abortions to be financed by the American taxpayer. Russell Moore had a fascinating discussion on this very topic last week on “The Albert Mohler Program,” and I highly recommend that you listen to it. He asks how Christians should react to healthcare reform in light of pro-life concerns. You can download it here or press the play button below.[audio:http://www.sbts.edu/media/audio/totl/2009/AMP_07_23_2009.mp3]
Ross Douthat calls the Iraq War “The War We’d Like To Forget.” He argues that American opinion on the war is set:
“Having spent the better part of the Bush era arguing foreign policy with a fury not seen since Vietnam, Americans have settled on a remarkably durable consensus: It was a mistake. We’re winning. Let’s leave. Each of these beliefs is contestable. But almost nobody — right, left or center — seems to have much interest in debating them.”
I think Douthat is right. Americans by and large seem to agree that the war was a mistake. The sad thing is, however, that I suspect that some of those same Americans never really understood why we went to war in the first place. If you ask folks about the case that the Bush administration made for war, you are more likely to hear canards than you are history. The President’s opponents were very effective at rewriting the narrative of events in the lead-up to the war. I still think that good people can disagree about the case that the Bush Administration made for war. I just wish that more people understood it.
In any case, Ross Douthat has an interesting take on this, and you can read the rest of it here.
Former President Jimmy Carter recently revisited his decision to leave the Southern Baptist denomination. In an article for the British Observer, he stated the following:
“My decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when th e convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief – confirmed in the holy scriptures – that we are all equal in the eyes of God.”
Carter develops this theme in the rest of the article and makes some pretty outlandish (and sometimes uninformed) statements. I am not going to make a point-by-point rebuttal here. I can hardly improve on what Albert Mohler has written, so I recommend that you read it. Mohler concludes that the basic problem here is that Carter does not accept the inerrancy and authority of the Bible on the topic of manhood and womanhood. He writes:
“Does President Carter really believe that he will convince Christians — Southern Baptist or otherwise — to see any human statement as holding a higher authority than the Bible? That question, more than anything else, points to the real reason that President Carter and the Southern Baptist Convention have parted ways. The point of division remains the ultimate authority and total truthfulness of the Bible as the Word of God.”
Read the rest here.
The Baptist Press reports some disturbing news:
‘The U.S. Senate passed legislation July 16 to expand hate crimes protections to include homosexuals and transgendered people.’
Here’s how the Baptist Press explains the significance of the measure:
‘The measure, combined with existing law, could expose to prosecution Christians and others who proclaim the Bible’s teaching that homosexual behavior and other sexual relations outside marriage are sinful. For example, if a person commits a violent act based on a victim’s “sexual orientation” after hearing biblical teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, the preacher or teacher could be open to a charge of inducing the person to commit the crime, some foes say.’
Pope Benedict XVI has some fascinating things to say in his latest encyclical titled Caritas in veritate “Charity in Truth.” A papal encyclical is a general letter to Roman Catholic Christians, and Popes use such letters to teach the church the Christian viewpoint on key issues. The document is 30,472 words, which translates to about 54 pages of single-spaced text. For a good summary, see Francis Beckwith’s piece at the Christianity Today website.
Among other things, I found it interesting that the Pope attempted some “public access” arguments in favor of marriage. Much of this letter is taken up with economic issues, and the Pope insists that healthy economic policies must be built upon the recognition that economies are comprised of persons created in the image of God and that these persons owe one another “love in truth.” The Pope holds furthermore that some “formerly prosperous nations” are experiencing economic decline precisely because of a shortage of human capital due to “falling birthrates” (44). For this reason, the Pope concludes: Continue Reading →
United States Attorney General Eric Holder is contemplating something pretty big. Here’s the scoop from Newsweek:
“Four knowledgeable sources tell NEWSWEEK that he is now leaning toward appointing a prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation practices, something the president has been reluctant to do. While no final decision has been made, an announcement could come in a matter of weeks, say these sources, who decline to be identified discussing a sensitive law-enforcement matter. Such a decision would roil the country, would likely plunge Washington into a new round of partisan warfare, and could even imperil Obama’s domestic priorities, including health care and energy reform.”
John Fund has an interesting OP-ED in today’s Wall Street Journal on “Why Palin Quit.” In a nutshell, he says that the Beltway media have likely gotten it wrong. Fund suggests that there may not have been any political strategery involved in this decision to resign the governorship. The reasons for her departure were uncomplicated. Not only were Palin’s legal bills piling up due to frivolous ethics complaints, but her family was also taking a beating in the press. Fund writes:
“Ms. Palin gave birth to a baby with Down’s Syndrome in 2008, and also has a six-year old. Everyone in the family was weary of endless personal attacks, including mean-spirited suggestions on liberal blogs that all of her children should have been aborted and that she would run on a presidential platform promoting retardation.”
One can only imagine what kind of a toll such venom took on Palin’s family. Fund concludes,
“Ms. Palin mostly likely will not run for president — in 2012, at least. She made many mistakes after suddenly being thrust into the national spotlight last year, but hasn’t merited the sneering contempt visited upon her by national reporters. She simply was not their kind of feminist — and they disdained the politically incorrect life choices she had made.
“In helping to convince Sarah Palin that her road forward in national politics would demand even more sacrifices and pain than exacted from most politicians, the media did nothing to encourage women or people of modest means to participate in politics.”
I am not a Palin-apologist. In the 2008 campaign, I liked her views but not her candidacy. She delivered a barn-burner of a speech at the Republican National Convention but was not up to the task in subsequent interviews where there was no script. To me it seemed she was not quite ready for prime time.
That being said, I think that some of the attacks on her and her family have been unconscionable and completely out-of-bounds. Fund does well to point out this fact. Who can blame her for wanting to spare her family another year and a half of such abuse?