Tax Exemption

Mark Oppenheimer at Time Magazine, writing about ending tax exemptions for churches.

Before the Supreme Court ruling, there were plenty of churches that endorsed sexual disorder, without threat of losing something. After the ruling, it looks like it’s time for tax exemption to go. Sexual expression has become the primary value of the land, usurping freedom of religion and freedom of speech. If there’s a conflict, guess which one has to bend. So there is no doubt now, that controlling money is the same as controlling religion and controlling speech.

Also, what a strange view of subsidy. Formerly, to subsidize meant to provide money that wasn’t already there, as in school lunch subsidies and food stamps. Now it means that what you have perhaps may not be taken away. So the assumption is that whatever wealth you have belongs first to the government and only to the citizen as a kind of dispensation. It’s rather a religious view, isn’t it? Very well. Render unto Washington what is Washington’s; render unto God what is God’s.

It would be different, anyway

Richard Fernandez on Christian Militias in Iraq: The Odds Against.

  1. Yes to the God-created right of self defense and all government codes that recognize it. Self defense, and the arms that go with it, is always in the absence of stable government, or in support the lesser magistrate against an overweening empire. Militias against the police are called something else, since any legitimate militia would begin its recruitment among its most likely volunteers – the police.
  2. Requiring some kind of overarching political coordination of the final collapse of the Ottoman empire by some Western administration strikes me as that very sort of overweening empire. I’m conflicted on this one: As a Christian and a Soldier, I recognize some responsibility for us as Americans to act as the world’s police, especially in support of obvious non-negotiables, such as religious freedom. By all means protect the saints! On the other hand, as an American Soldier, I’m not really interested in picking sides as a civilization collapses. I’m not sure that liberty is a vine that can survive well on the trellis of a foreign military power.
  3. Here’s a thought experiment: Islamic civilization is collapsing (and good riddance). Who knows what will spring from the ashes? But European civilization collapsed once, and what came after was much better. Now imagine what would have happened to the West if China in its golden age had stepped in and rescued Europe from the barbarians. Would we exist at all today?

Good thing he ran for congress

The fewer English teachers like this that we have in the world, the better.

My favorite correction is the one that says the bill is only 286 pages, by word count, instead of over 1000. Here’s the full bill, weighing in at 1190 pages. It may be that the word count to pagination ratios are different on a legal bill than on a term paper.

Overall, though, if you read through all the corrections, it’s pretty clear that “the teacher” gave “the student” an F, not because of poor logic or bad rhetoric, but because he didn’t like the student’s political goals. Yeah. And we wonder why kids hate school.

All Fall Down

It’s interesting to think that, without God, science turns into engineering, philosophy turns into vocabulary, and ethics turns into politics.  With God, all of these fields of study are transformed into subcategories of theology.

For those who want to protest, here’s what I mean:

Unless there is a God, there is no designer for the universe.  Without a designer, there is no design.  If there is no design, then there is no reason to want to discover the fundamental principles of the universe. What makes you think that there are fundamental principles at all, or that such principles won’t change?  All that is left to science is figuring out how to make stuff.  Everything else is storytelling, with the intent of covering up unproductive employment.

Similarly, if there isn’t a God who generated such abstract concepts as beauty, truth, goodness, agency, and happiness, then those concepts are entirely flexible, and they can change from era to era, and place to place.  Furthermore, there’s no real reason to think that they exist at all, or are worth any effort to achieve.  All that remains is careful defining of terms, so that they can be used cogently in sentences.  You have to know exactly what sort of wind you are sewing.

And Ethics?  The answer to every ethical assertion is always “says who?”  And if the reply to that isn’t “God,” then the next reply is always, “Try and make me.”  Trying to make people do things is the bread of politics.

There’s more than one way  that Jesus Christ holds the universe together.