October 2008 Archives
October 1, 2008
Pro-life issues--suicide and profiting from one's crime
Pro-lifers are understandably disturbed about a recent court ruling in Wisconsin that those who assist in suicide can profit from doing so by inheriting from the person who commits suicide. The court decision of the state court of appeals is here.
At issue is the applicability of a Wisconsin law (854.14) that expressly bars from inheritance those who "unlawfully and intentionally kill" someone else. Linda and Megan Schunk were the wife and daughter, respectively, of Edward Schunk, who had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. They took him home on a day trip from the hospital, drove him to a cabin, provided him with a loaded shotgun, and left him. He used the shotgun to kill himself. They were beneficiaries under his will, and other children of Edward who were not beneficiaries argued that Linda and Megan should not inherit because of the state law just mentioned. Linda and Megan petitioned for summary judgement in their favor--that is, they petitioned against the claim that there must first be a trial to determine whether they had in fact assisted Edward in his suicide. Linda and Megan denied that they had assisted Edward in committing suicide, but they argued, via their lawyers, that even if they did assist in his suicide, they could not be barred from inheriting under the law in question.
October 3, 2008
Endorsements for Return to Rome
Brazos Press recently published on its website several endorsements for my forthcoming book, Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic, which is set for release on December 1, 2008.
I am humbled and honored to have received these endorsements from such an august group of Christian thinkers and writers, including my dear friend and frequent WWWtW commentator, Michael Bauman. You can read the endorsements here.
October 5, 2008
It was a Bank Panic
I think people still don't understand what Secretary Paulson was faced with a week ago Thursday.
It was a bank run.
Actually, it was a bank panic, since a bank run applies to one bank and a bank panic is when it is widespread and happens to many banks at once.
We did not have the threat of one, but one actually underway, with all that that implies: disappearing savings accounts, following the Joads west with all remaining possessions packed into the car, etc.
We have not had a bank panic like that since the Great Depression.
It was not a visible bank panic, with physical lines of people outside of physical banks. It was an invisible bank panic, with computerized lines of people and mostly institutions outside of the computer network doorways of the banks.
This bank panic was stopped by one thing, and one thing only: Secretary Paulson's promise that (1) money market funds will be backstopped, and (2) $700 billion would be allocated to sop up all the illiquid mortgage paper clogging the system. This should work, and if it works and is left to be run well it will even be profitable, though the delays introduced by the criminally negligent House of Representatives last Monday have done irreversible damage.
So yeah, swallowing the "bailout" is a bitter pill, and it is unfair, and it sets terrible precedents, and it will be abused and misused in every conceivable way (even though run properly, with less interference by Congress rather than more, it could be profitable and could reduce the national debt), and all that. It was the worst thing to do, except for all the alternatives.
And yes, it may not be the last and final major intervention required.
What made this bank panic different from the ones during the Depression was its invisibility to everyman. You didn't see the lines; you didn't see the "bank tellers" involved in millions of transactions each second during that two hour period. That is a big problem with modernity: our relentless capacity to hide bad news and atrocity behind computer network cables, carefully prepared media presentations, and sanitarily marked medical waste bins.
Using the defibrillator was the easy part. Reforming our lives will be the difficult part. And if we don't reform our lives, we'll just end up in the emergency room again.
A Dissent from CSL on love and marriage
I've been recently re-reading some portions of The Four Loves. I don't remember having very strong views about this book when I read it years ago. There certainly are some excellent parts, especially when he talks about the love of God.
But on the subject of love and marriage, it simply will not do. I think the biggest underlying problem here is that Lewis had at that time too rigid a view of what it meant to love one's spouse. He may (we can hope) have gotten more information later when he fell in love and got married himself. But at the time of writing The Four Loves, he seems to have thought of love between man and wife as either a mere tempest of emotion--hence, transient and unimportant--or as the settled unity of many years--hence, and by definition, impossible at the beginning of marriage. This view of Lewis's is quite evident in the following passage from a letter (April 18, 1940):
October 7, 2008
October 7, 1571: Lepanto
The Turks, in Chesterton’s rousing verse, had by the late 16th century, “dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,” and “dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea”: the Ottoman Empire was master of the eastern Mediterranean, and nowhere upon that “inmost sea of all the earth” was the might of the Turk, his great navy, and his dread shock troops the Janissaries, not felt. The great Christian city upon the Golden Horn, which for a thousand years had resisted the protean armies of the Crescent — the Greek city that called itself the Second Rome — had fallen a century before in a great shock to the Christian world. Venetian power (the Lion of the Sea) on the Albanian coast had suffered grievous blows. Malta, under the Knights of St. John, had by great valor and some good fortune narrowly escaped defeat and ruin; Cyprus, a Venetian possession, had not been so lucky. Massacre and enslavement was her fate. (But resistance endured to the end: on a ship full of young slaves, destined for the harems of leading Turks, a young woman of fierce pride would endure no such dishonor: she set fire to the vessel’s powder magazine.) In July of 1571, the fortress town of Famagusta on Cyprus had fallen after a year-long siege, and its Venetian ruler, his terms of surrender wantonly betrayed, was subjected to an unspeakable torture and humiliation. The Agony of Famagusta rang like a tocsin throughout Christendom; and on a cool October day in the Gulf of Corinth, the menace of the Turk on the Mediterranean was delivered a blow from which it would never fully recover.
The Battle of Lepanto can justly lay claim to being one of the single bloodiest battles ever fought, on land or at sea. Indeed, it was both: for the collisions between, on the one side, Italians and Spaniards, along with some German mercenaries, and on the other, Janissaries and Turkish conscripts; collisions which rapidly degraded into the great congestion of an infantry battle on the interlocked the decks of hundreds of galleys. 40,000 men lost their lives that day, more than 150 every minute. But it was also an enormous and complex naval encounter, where superior leadership and tactical maneuvering on the Christian side played a crucial role.
October 8, 2008
Fairweatherman friendship?:Testimony of a victim of Professor Ayers' terrorism
This appeared today on JohnMcCain.com:
Statement From John M.Murtagh On Barack Obama's Relationship With William Ayers
ARLINGTON, VA -- Today, John M. Murtagh made the following statement on Barack Obama's relationship with William Ayers:
"When I was 9 years-old the Weather Underground, the terrorist group founded by Barack Obama's friend William Ayers, firebombed my house. Barack Obama has dismissed concerns about his relationship with Ayers by noting that he was only a child when Ayers was planting bombs at the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. But Ayers has never apologized for his crimes, he has reveled in them, expressing regret only for the fact that he didn't do more.
In 1996 Barack Obama supported same-sex marriage, though Obama supporter, Kmiec, says his present views would likely establish it nationwide.
According to Obama supporter, Doug Kmiec, if the senator's present position--calling for the repeal of the 1996 Federal Defense of Marriage Act --would become a reality, it would lead to the proliferation of same-same marriage nationwide, which Senator Obama presently claims he opposes while also opposing bans on same-sex marriage. (Don't ask me to try to make those two positions coherent.) Professor Kmiec made these comments in August 2007.
I made a commitment to myself last week, labouring as I was - and still am - beneath the combined weight of a handful of (temporary) declining health indicators, to the effect that I would not write, among other abstinences. Why wrack one's brain for blogging matter when one is already fatigued? Nonetheless, no commitment is made but that is soon put to the trial, and I fear I must announce the buckling of my resolve to despair quietly and retire early each evening. I'll endeavour to split the difference, writing something, but keeping it short; I'm only cheating a little.
All I want to state is the following: Obama's association with William Ayers, whatever its nature and duration, is relevant to this particular election, at this juncture of American history, if and only if an Obama administration is likely to be staffed with terrorist Commie retreads from the halcyon days of the New Left. Which it won't be. It will, should things come to that pass, be staffed by the policymaking elite of the center-left of the American establishment, which some might say assuredly would be worse than a McCain administration staffed by the policymaking elite of the center-right of the American establishment; but, in reality, the respective halves agree on 95% of the strategy and quibble - though we exaggerate the significance of these disputes, imagining them to be moments in a rolling Ragnarok between, say, McGovernite socialists and Defenders of the American Way - over 15% of the tactics. The dispute, to the extent that there even is a dispute, over Iraq is part of that miserable 15%, because both parties, and both candidates, are committed to an hegemonist view of the American position in geopolitics, each adding a slight inflection - not even a dialect - to the common tongue of Indispensable Nationhood. That is merely one example, and true to my half-hearted commitment, I'll not belabour the point.
It's hard to believe...
...but, apparently, I will live out my days in a world where Margaret Mead - Margaret Mead - is remembered by seemingly intelligent people as something other than one of the biggest frauds and dupes of a century rich in frauds and dupes:
For me, experiencing stuff like this is like what it would be for a liberal to live in a world where the Nazis won.
Except that the music is trashier.
October 9, 2008
...for the "beyond parody" files:
Britain's Daily Mail reports that:
"A gardener has been ordered by council chiefs to remove three foot high barbed wire ringing his allotment - in case thieves scratch themselves climbing over it...
Craig Hazen's review of Bill Maher's film, Religulous
October 10, 2008
Douthat on the Ayers Strategy
Then the subject turns to the Presidential race - and if the news channel behaves the way the McCain campaign clearly hopes it will, the first thing you'll see is a short feature on how John McCain has cut a new anti-Obama ad featuring Ayers, Ayers and more Ayers. It's possible that this inspires you to think: Man, that terrorist-sympathizing Obama can't be trusted in an economic crisis. In that case, Steve Schmidt, Andy McCarthy and sundry others are political masterminds, and I am a plain fool.
But I don't think I'm a fool. I think McCain looks, to our hypothetical undecided, utterly disconnected from what's happening in the world, and the details of the Ayers connection, however troubling they might be in another context, blur away into a broader impression of a flailing, desperate, out-of-touch candidate. At this point, the McCain camp seems to be taking its cues more from the liberal caricature of past conservative campaigns - that they've all been fundamentally unserious exercises in culture-war button-pushing - than from the campaigns themselves. It's as though they're being paid under the table by Thomas Frank to goose his book sales and vindicate his thesis.
As I've stated in another of the comment threads on this theme, that I've arrived at the same analysis of the situation as the co-author of a recent book that could be described as 'applied neoconservatism for the Twenty-First century is indicative of the disarray of conservatism: the battlefield is a rout, and, in the melee, people who might otherwise disagree with respect to substantive proposals at least discover, in their flight, that they agree on the causes of the rout. Republican stewardship of the American economy, which has accelerated the globalization producing such traumatic dislocations for middle-class Americans, has by that very consequence lent some measure of credibility to left-wing canards; it is as if, at a time when middle-class incomes have stagnated - which they have, during the Bush years - the Republican party, via its economic policies, sought to prove the truth of those left-wing canards. Douthat's book, Grand New Party, is an attempt to redress this failing of the GOP's public philosophy. Now, as if to compound this disconnect from the circumstances of the very voters the GOP requires if it is to succeed, the Republican presidential candidate pursues a campaign strategy which seems calculate to validate left-wing assertions of ritualistic bad faith.
What more can be said? This is a recipe for disaster.
October 11, 2008
Stratfor on Iran, Russia, and America Geostrategy
In comments downthread, I asseverated that the American foreign-policy establishment would like to shift gears - bearing in mind that such shifts of policy, particularly after momentous commitments such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - may require several years of unwinding and transition in order to effectuate. I advance the contention not as a certitude, but as an hypothesis, much as Stratfor's analysts are doing. Below are excerpted two essays published by that firm during the preceding two months.
Prolife issues--Assisted suicide in nursing homes in Switzerland
Via Wesley J. Smith comes word of a new front being opened in the culture of death: In Switzerland, pro-death groups (literally, pro-death) seek to force nursing homes to allow them access to patients to assist them in committing suicide.
Apparently some doctors in Switzerland retain professionalism, and the suicide group Exit says there have sometimes been "showdowns" with doctors when they have shown up to help patients kill themselves on the premises. Since in Switzerland it has been declared a legal right to kill yourself (even if you are mentally ill), Exit claims that nursing home directors and doctors must be forced to allow them to "help" patients die.
October 14, 2008
Review of Modern Times
Bob Dylan has just released a new album, but I’m behind the times, and have only recently completed my review of his previous album, Modern Times (2006). Two years late, but here it is.
Flippantly, I might merely set down a single sentence to compose my judgment — “He’s still got it” — and leave it at that. More mischievously, I might merely quote the final verse of “Spirit on the Water,” one of this album’s finer selections:
You think I’m over the hill
You think I’m past my prime
Let me see what you got
We can have a whoppin’ good time
— I could do either of these things, thereby render a useful review of the album, and spare the reader my further cogitations. But what fun would that be?
“Obama’s Abortion Extremism” by Robert P. George
That is the title of the essay that appeared this morning on the Witherspoon Institute's new web page, The Public Discourse. It is authored by my good friend, Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. This should be distributed far and wide to Catholic and Evangelical groups throughout the United States. Here are some excerpts:
Sen. Barack Obama's views on life issues ranging from abortion to embryonic stem cell research mark him as not merely a pro-choice politician, but rather as the most extreme pro-abortion candidate to have ever run on a major party ticket.
Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress.
Yet there are Catholics and Evangelicals-even self-identified pro-life Catholics and Evangelicals - who aggressively promote Obama's candidacy and even declare him the preferred candidate from the pro-life point of view.
What is going on here?
I have examined the arguments advanced by Obama's self-identified pro-life supporters, and they are spectacularly weak. It is nearly unfathomable to me that those advancing them can honestly believe what they are saying. But before proving my claims about Obama's abortion extremism, let me explain why I have described Obama as ''pro-abortion'' rather than ''pro-choice"....
October 15, 2008
My 30-Year High School Reunion
I just got back from 7 days in Las Vegas for my 30-year high school reunion. I graduated in 1978 from Bishop Gorman High School in Vegas, the city where I grew up. Here are some pictures of the October 11 party that I posted on my website, francisbeckwith.com. My wife and I had an amazing time. It was great to catch up with so many friends, two of whom, Jaime Holcomb and Ricardo Hawkins, were my teammates on Gorman's first big school (AAA) state championship basketball team (1978). Also present was Bob Glennen, with whom I was on both the track and cross-country teams.
Laura Ingraham v. Heather McDonald on Sarah Palin
You can listen here.
My take: McDonald--with "a self-ordained professor's tongue too serious to fool" (to borrow from B. Dylan)--reveals a deep loathing for those who do not share her cultural proclivity for academic pedigree, pontifical articulation, and self-congratulatory verbosity. She is, sadly, not alone among the hob nob right snobs. She is joined by the linguistically adept David Brooks, David Frum, Chris Buckley, and Kathleen Parker. They, of course, like George Barnard Shaw, Aldous Huxley, and Margaret Sanger, write well, think big thoughts, and attend all the right parties.
To clip and paste from a famous line offered by Chris Buckley's late father, Bill: I would rather be governed by the first 500 names in the Wasilla, Alaska phone book than the guest list for a party at Sally Quinn's house.
Apparently, sometimes the apple does fall far from the tree.
October 16, 2008
Site Downtime on October 24th
On October 24th between 12 midnight and 6 am, What's Wrong with the World will be offline while the hosting provider upgrades some central networking infrastructure. Overall downtime is anticipated at no more than 1 hour but that hour may fall at any point within the maintenance window.
The closet is your private place, redux
The title of this post is boldly stolen from my esteemed colleague, Zippy Catholic, who used it for an inaugural post of his at this very blog about a year and a half ago. It seemed so perfect for this post that I could not resist but have added "redux" to it and trust that he will not mind.
Probably a number of my readers have already heard about the case in Massachusetts a couple of years ago in which parents, Mr. and Mrs. Parker, were denied an opt-out for their five-year-old from discussions and promotion of homosexual "marriage." The problem began with the child's being sent home with a "diversity bag" containing a book about a girl, her father, and her father's homosexual partner, all of whom live together and are treated in the book as a "family."
Biden disenfranchises the letter "S"
Robert George (and Yuval Levin) respond to Obama's born-alive claim in the debate
Earlier this week, I linked to an essay by Princeton professor Robert P. George ("Obama's Abortion Extremism") clearly showing that Senator Obama's views on abortion are the most extreme of any presidential candidate in U. S. History. Now, with Yuval Levin, Professor George replies to Obama's misleading defense of his abortion record in Wednesday's debate. Here are some excerpts from the essay:
Obama's latest excuse for opposing the Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Act is that the law was ''unnecessary'' because babies surviving abortions were already protected. It won't fly.
In last night's presidential debate, Sen. John McCain finally found an opportunity to confront Sen. Barack Obama on his vote against protecting children who were born alive after an attempted abortion. Obama's response followed the pattern of his approach to this subject throughout the campaign: deny the facts and confuse the issue. He said:
''There was a bill that was put forward before the Illinois Senate that said you have to provide lifesaving treatment and that would have helped to undermine Roe v. Wade. The fact is that there was already a law on the books in Illinois that required providing lifesaving treatment, which is why not only myself but pro-choice Republicans and Democrats voted against it.''
But the facts of the born-alive debate tell a different story...
October 17, 2008
Jesus was an unlicensed carpenter
Senator Obama's supporters are making a big deal of the fact that Joe the Plumber is unlicensed. It's now time to play the Messiah card:
Jesus was an unlicensed carpenter, and Brutus was a senator.
Ironically, the Romans were innovators in sewage management and plumbing. This probably put the crap hole diggers and clay pot carriers out of business. Apparently, they did not have a strong protectionist union.
We are pleased today to welcome to What's Wrong with the World a new Contributor, the esteemed philosopher and theologian Ed Feser of Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California. We have Lydia to thank for cajoling him into joining us. They were colleagues at the late great Right Reason. Prof. Feser's writings have circulated widely. His bio is here. He is the author of four books, including, most recently, a polemic against that obnoxious faction known as the New Atheists, whose project is to assail religion wherever its principles are advanced most ineptly and studiously ignore it where its principles are advanced most competently. Accordingly, we can expect these dutiful scholars to pay Prof. Feser no attention at all.
In any case, we shall pay the professor and his incisive defenses of right reason plenty of attention. We might even ask his opinion of Bob Dylan.
My response to Eduardo Peñalver on the Commonweal blog
Archbishop Chaput on Doug Kmiec
The unbearable lightness of being Christopher Buckley
By now you may have heard that Christopher Buckley, son of the late William F. Buckley, Jr., and until yesterday a columnist for his father’s magazine National Review, has declared himself an Obama supporter and resigned his position at the magazine. His reasons? McCain has “changed,” Buckley tells us, having become “irascible and snarly” in the course of a failing campaign; “his positions change, and lack coherence; he makes unrealistic promises,” and his attack ads are “mean-spirited and pointless.” Buckley also dislikes McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate.
October 20, 2008
Time for Civil Disobedience in Victoria, Australia
Most pro-lifers are familiar with the argument that there is no such thing as being called upon to disobey the current abortion regime in the United States, because the current abortion regime doesn't require anyone to participate in an abortion.
Welcome to Abortion Regime, Stage 2: In Victoria, Australia, a law just passed last week that says, inter alia,
1)If a woman requests a registered health practitioner to advise on a proposed abortion, or to perform, direct, authorise or supervise an abortion for that woman, and the practitioner has a conscientious objection to abortion, the practitioner must--(a) inform the woman that the practitioner has a conscientious objection to abortion; and (b) refer the woman to another registered health practitioner in the same regulated health profession who the practitioner knows does not have a conscientious objection to abortion.
October 21, 2008
What the heck is a proportionate reason, anyway?
Folks may not agree with my particular conclusions about voting in the upcoming Presidential election, but maybe we can make some progress in mutual understanding of what constitutes a proportionate reason for engaging in remote material cooperation with evil. Inspired by an inquiring commenter, I give you the following:
Suppose we are contemplating doing act X in order to block a big evil E, where X is not intrinsically evil but doing it involves remote material cooperation with evil.
A proportionate reason to do X obtains when (1) X is reasonably effective in stopping E without being excessive, and (2) stopping E does not produce evils and disorders graver than E.
Folks tend to make a reasonable case for (2): that is, they make a reasonable case (lets stipulate, in case you disagree) that McCain winning does not produce evils and disorders graver than those which would follow from Obama winning.
October 22, 2008
The Amazing Disappearing Embryo
Back in May, NRLC was mentioning the fact that John McCain has been an enthusiastic supporter of ESCR. Well, not exactly in those words. But in some words, with as much downplaying as possible.
Since then, we have had an ad, interpreted by an official campaign spokesman, reaffirming that support for the benefit any ESCR supporters who might be worried.
Here is the present NRLC candidate comparison chart. (HT: Zippy) What's missing?
October 23, 2008
If the Emperor has no clothes, is he still the Emperor?
In the comments of a post on my personal blog, Steve G writes:
Zippy DOES have a position that is compelling to me, but I haven’t seen him argue it as forcefully as the negligible vote position. His more compelling argument is that the whole electoral process is a myth, or a sham, that we take part in. That it’s not to choose a leader, but to validate the ‘system.’To which I replied:
That the election itself is primarily about choosing the kind of leader we want is a myth; a myth connected to the fact that our votes do not exert a significant influence over how we are governed, but exert a large influence over our acceptance of things done in our name. The election itself isn't necessarily a sham, any more than a coronation pageant for the king is a sham. Under the mythology of what elections are about it is a sham, but it is the mythology itself which is a sham not the election itself.
More generally, a lot of the damage which occurs to us under the rubric of voting for mass murderers has to do with reinforcing the lie of what elections are really about.
October 24, 2008
Election season comic relief
This is to help us all lighten up. Bob Hope in Ghost Breakers.
HT: Esteemed husband
October 25, 2008
Boiled Frogs, Redux
Professor Michael Bauman comments in Lydia's post:
[The political Left] own[s] the schools and colleges; they own the Senate, the House, and soon the White House and Courts; they own entertainment; they own the news media; they own the laboratories; they own everything -- even lots of the churches. They ran the board on us, and it's not an accident.I think that is right. And I think a key reason why is because where the Left is going is where political liberalism naturally goes, and we on the Right are for the most part liberals too. This is not merely an airy philosophical observation, but an eminently practical one. "Conservatism" is in our time not conservatism but right-liberalism: political liberalism with a few 'conservative' unprincipled exceptions. The exceptions are unprincipled in the sense that they are not founded in our liberalism, and we for the most part don't recognize their incompatibility with our own liberalism. For a while that meant that 'conservatism' was classical liberalism; now it means, for the most part, culturally 'big tent' neoconservatism. In general it means 'whatever liberalism was about 30 or 50 years ago'.
So looking beyond the election of this very moment, the way to beat the Left politically, and (among other things) effectively save the children being massacred by the acolytes of Moloch -- the only way to beat the Left politically, as an eminently practical concern -- is to stop becoming the Left, through a quasi-Hegelian process which seems to take about two generations. As Lydia observes, the hard Left has a whole core worldview which anchors it and which it will not give up for anything. The Right has nothing of the kind: the political Right is basically a classical liberalism / neoconservatism which is nominally against abortion and a few other enumerated issues. Think for a moment of the laughable dissonance of the term "hard right" in our culture: in general it brings up images of failed projects of modernity, not images of a viable political movement drawing members from respectable parts of society.
As long as that remains the case, 'conservatism' will be the tail on the dog. And as long as 'conservatives' are willing to support liberals like McCain just because he tepidly throws them a few policy bones, conservatism will be not merely neutralized, but will remain complicit in the inexorable march of liberal modernity/postmodernity.
Things are every bit as bad as Professor Bauman has stated rather eloquently here. Christians of good will have had their clocks cleaned politically for a long time now. That is because there are core parts of modernity which are set firmly against not merely Christianity specifically but nature generally, and we - that is, political 'conservatives' - are adrift in them. Unless and until we find our anchor political conservatism will continue to be nothing but a foil for the hard Left, a way station where men of good will can be held while being spoon fed acceptance of the latest hard-Left atrocity.
The reason we always lose even when we win is because we are frogs in a pot, being slowly brought to a boil.
A Few Good Men
Via Jihad Watch's Raymond Ibrahim comes this must-see video from the Arabic-language satellite TV station Al-Haya (Life TV). Al-Haya is, as Ibrahim describes it, a Christian missionary TV station aimed at converting Muslims. Ibrahim doesn't mention where it is based, perhaps deliberately. I would guess in the U.S., but it would be entirely understandable if the location were kept secret. The two hosts of the show "Daring Question," known only by their first names, take telephone calls from Muslims around the world about Islam and Christianity.
In this Youtube clip, subtitled in English, they receive a call from a Moroccan woman named Sana, calling from the UK. Sana has come to believe that Christianity is true but is terrified lest her husband find out, because she believes he will divorce her and take her children away from her. She cannot lose her children, she feels, and she wants her children to be Christians, too. The hosts pray for her and with her over the phone.
October 26, 2008
Apple Computers opposes California Prop. 8, and my response
According to the Los Angeles Times, and its website, Apple Computers has come out the California proposition that would re-affirm male-female marriage as normative, which was the case before the California Supreme Court declared that position unconstitutional earlier this year. This is what the Apple website states:
October 27, 2008
New blog by a pro-life physician
An e-mail correspondent just sent me news of this new blog by Eric Telfer, a physician with whom I have corresponded to my profit in years past. It looks good. (He appears to have comments disabled.) Warning: Disturbing abortion-related picture presently on the page.
HT Alex Pruss (from whose blog my correspondent learned of Eric's blog)
Bauman on "Heather Has Two Mommies."
Michael Bauman's comments under my previous blog entry reminded me of the excellent piece he wrote several years ago about the children's book, Heather Has Two Mommies. You can find his essay here. With his permission (which he gave to me several weeks ago), I republish it below:
Heather has Two Mommies by Michael Bauman
I just finished reading Heather Has Two Mommies, approved for grade school use by New York City public schools and by Joe Fernandez, their Chancellor. The plot is simple: Two lesbian lovers decide to have a child by artificial insemination. That child is Heather. Complications result.
You know, of course, that it's a lie.
Heather doesn't really have two mommies; she's got only one. The other lady is just the woman mommy has sex with. Having sex with mommy doesn't make you a mommy. Otherwise, what would daddy be?
But daddy is the one person missing from this book. And not daddy only. No adult male appears in its pages. Not one adult male is even named. The closest this book gets to identifying any adult male is in passing references like those to Stacy's two daddies. (Yes, two.) Heather, you see, lives in a man-free zone, a gender-cleansed ghetto built and patrolled by feminazis.
October 28, 2008
Where's my referral?
I have reported earlier on the new law in Victoria, Australia, that mandates that any doctor who has conscientious objections to abortion refer women who consult him on the subject to a doctor who has no such objections.
There seems to be a particularly insane liberal idea going about that a doctor who does not offer a woman such a referral is, or plausibly may be, "harming" her, since if such conscientious objections are widespread it may become difficult (heaven forbid!) for an abortion-seeking woman to get "access" to this all-important service. One commentator at Secondhand Smoke, speaking of a doctor who refused to provide a referral, literally alluded to the phrase, "Your right to swing your arm is limited by the point where my nose begins." Get that? Refusing to help a woman have her child terminated is like hitting her in the nose. Upon questioning, he was willing to qualify this a bit by saying that his point stands if it's genuinely hard for her to get an abortion as a result of the refusal of a referral. Poor lady.
What is supposed to happen in Victoria if all doctors have conscientious objections and hence have no one to whom to refer abortion-seeking women is, as far as I know, a question the law does not address. But the intent is clear: Pro-lifers are not to be allowed to prevent abortion by changing the culture so that doctors stop performing abortions and abortions become hard to get as a result. That would be hurting women. "A woman has a right to an abortion" is now to be taken with the strictest literalness: A woman has a right to be given an abortion by someone or other, and by golly, if you won't do it, you'd better make sure she can find somebody else who will.
Thinking about this particularly horrific craziness inspired the following thought: Liberals have succeeded in changing our culture in their direction quite radically, so that we conservatives have difficulty obtaining access to things and services we want. Herewith, I claim a right to some stuff that I'm having trouble finding. I demand access. If you won't give these things to me, I want a referral. Let's see if readers can add to the list.
My return to Biola University: October 30, 2008
It has been several years since I have given a talk at Biola University in La Mirada, California. It is an institution that has a number of my friends on the faculty including Craig Hazen, John Mark Reynolds, J. P. Moreland, and Scott B. Rae. So I am very much looking forward to this Thursday, when I return to Biola as a speaker in its Distinguished Speaker Lecture Series for Christianity and Culture.
Scheduled for October 30 at 6 pm in Biola's Calvary Chapel, I will be delivering a lecture on the topic of abortion and American politics. After the lecture I'll be meeting for an informal Q & A at the Philosophy House of Talbot School of Theology (Biola's seminary) with some students in the school's M.A. program in philosophy of religion and ethics.
If you are in southern California, feel free to attend. The lecture is open to the public.
October 29, 2008
Obama and the Catholic Vote: read that memo that should be in every church bulletin this Sunday
Just received this. Before voting next Tuesday, Catholics should take this very seriously:
Catholics Urged to Consider Obama Record Weekend Before Election Urgent Memo Released to Catholics Nationwide
CHICAGO – CatholicVote.com has released an urgent national memo addressed to all American Catholics urging them to consider the record of Sen. Barack Obama as they head toward the final weekend before the Election Day. The memo outlines a series of statements and facts taken from Obama’s public record dealing with the issues of life and marriage.
This Sunday thousands of Catholic parishes across the country are expected to address the importance of voting, and the moral responsibilities of Catholics to defend and protect human life and marriage. The memo is intended to assist Catholic priests and the laity as they preach on and discuss the issues involved in the coming election.
Brian Burch, President of CatholicVote.com commented, “The protection of innocent human life and the institution of marriage are of fundamental concern, and Catholics deserve to know exactly where each of the candidates stand on these issues. We encourage every Catholic to distribute our memo throughout their dioceses and particularly to their local pastor or priest.”
The memo released today has been distributed directly to priests, pastors and the national network of CatholicVote.com members.
CatholicVote.com has received national attention for its 3:30 minute voter education film. The film has recorded over 3.1 million viewers since its launch in early September. According to Quantcast.com, CatholicVote.com now ranks #719 among all major websites, and is now more popular than websites such as United.com and Ford.com.
“As a result of the success of our film, we have been registering thousands of new members every day willing to assist in voter education and outreach. We are mobilizing these members to distribute today’s memo,” said Burch.
The memo is intended as a summary of facts from the public record of Sen. Obama relevant to the issues of life and marriage. The memo does not advocate voting for or against any candidate.
To download a copy of the memo, visit: http://www.scribd.com/doc/7606214/Barack-Obama-on-the-Issues-of-Importance-to-Catholics
CatholicVote.com is a project of the Fidelis Center for Law & Policy.
What Same-Sex "Marriage" Has Wrought in Massachusetts
(HT: Melinda at STR)
This is the conclusion of an essay penned by a resident in Massachusetts:
Homosexual “marriage” hangs over society like a hammer with the force of law. And it’s only just begun.
It’s pretty clear that the homosexual movement’s obsession with marriage is not because large numbers of them actually want to marry each other. Research shows that homosexual relationships are fundamentally dysfunctional on many levels, and “marriage” as we know it isn’t something they can achieve, or even desire. (In fact, over the last three months, the Sunday Boston Globe’s marriage section hasn’t had any photos of homosexual marriages. In the beginning it was full of them.) This is about putting the legal stamp of approval on homosexuality and imposing it with force throughout the various social and political institutions of a society that would never accept it otherwise. To the rest of America: You've been forewarned.
Read the whole thing. This is what Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) meant by the "dictatorship of relativism." Conjugal relativism is a jealous God that will not tolerate any dissent.
October 30, 2008
Some brief arguments for dualism, Part IV
On my personal blog, I have been writing a series of posts summarizing in a relatively brief way some of the main arguments for the immateriality of the human mind. W4 readers might find them of interest. What follows is the latest installment of the series. Earlier installments can be found here, here, and here, with a related post here (though what follows is largely independent of these earlier posts).