ContraCelsum Backup

Dear Reader: Although Google professes to have a policy of free speech, there are now disturbing examples of Google peremptorily shutting down blogs on the Blogger platform espousing views which (presumably) Google wants to censor. Therefore ContraCelsum has set up a mirror blog via WordPress (http://contracelsum.com/). We update the latter weekly. If this site should suddenly go dark, you will find ContraCelsum alive and well at the above address. You may want to bookmark it now (just in case).

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

The 5 Smooth Stones of Theocratic Libertarianism

Douglas Wilson

Things in our public life together are gummed up enough that I believe we can openly call for radical reform. Whether we do or not, I think we are going to get the same treatment. We might as well respond with something that might actually help. Whatever the case, we will not be able to trim or pirouette our way out of this mess. As an insightful sailor on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor might have said, as the third wave of Japanese bombers flew over, “The time for nuance is passed.”

A few posts ago I mentioned the five smooth stones of theocratic libertarianism. This was in the context of an illustration using David and Goliath, and as with David, I think most of our problems would probably  be addressed in principle with just the first one.

At any rate, here are the basic features of theocratic libertarianism. Here are my five smooth stones.

Daily Devotional

Keeping On


TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On keeping to a regular pattern of religious life during the storms of life.

C. S. Lewis

9 November 1955

I agree: the only thing one can usually change in one’s situation is oneself. And yet one can’t change that either—only ask Our Lord to do so, keeping on meanwhile with one’s sacraments, prayers, and ordinary rule of life. One mustn’t fuss too much about one’s state. Do you read St. Francis de Sales? He has good things to say on this subject. All good wishes.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Yours, Jack
The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Death Spiral

Void-Integration Moving Apace

It seems that the Democratic Party in the United States has become relentlessly committed to abortion.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair of the Democratic National Committee faced up to a question indirectly put to her by Senator Rand Paul.

The latter was being pilloried by media with a whole host of gotcha questions about abortion provided by the Democratic National Committee (led by Debbie Wasserman Schultz).  These questions only went one way, to one kind of candidate (i.e. conservative Republican candidates).  The press as a rule never press advocates of abortion.  Paul deflected the questions, by suggesting that the media ask Wasserman Schultz what her position was:
Why don’t we ask the DNC: is it OK to kill a 7-pound baby in the uterus? You go back and you ask Debbie Wass. if she’s OK with killing a 7-pound baby that is just not yet born yet. Ask her when life begins, and you ask Debbie when she’s willing to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, come back to it.
Wasserman Schultz rose to the challenge.

Friday, 17 April 2015

A Vast Menu of Crimes

The Tyrannical Administrative State

According to the national anthem of the United States that country is the "land of the free and the home of the brave".  But well over one hundred and fifty years ago, the United States decided that Christendom was dead, and the Age of Man was just beginning.  The moot question at the time was whether there could be a secular society (with the odd, occasional reference to a Deity) which would be able to maintain the freedom from that tyranny which was the casus belli of the War of Independence. 

Now the question is no longer moot.  It has become obvious that when a society believes there is no higher power than man himself, collective man (the state) will construct an elaborate, comprehensive tyranny by which it will crush the citizens.  Now, more than ever before, it is apt to call Americans not citizens, but subjects.  The United States is no longer the "land of the free". 

George Will addresses this reality in a piece published in National Review Online.  He calls for the fixing of a tyranny.  He has no clear solutions about how to go about dismantling this tyranny, beyond a call for it to be done.  Banning the national anthem as a lie might be a startlingly good start.

Daily Devotional

Talk to God, Not Just About Him

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. (Psalm 23:4)

John Piper

The form of this psalm is instructive.

In the first three verses David refers to God as “he”:
The Lord is my shepherd . . .
he makes me lie down . . .
he leads me . . .
he restores my soul.
Then in verses 4 and 5 David refers to God as “you”:
I will not fear, for you are with me;
your rod and staff comfort me;
you prepare a table before me;
you anoint my head with oil.
Then in verse 6 he switches back to the third person:
I shall dwell in the house of the Lord.
The lesson I have learned from this form is that it is good not to talk very long about God without talking to God.

Getting The Terms of Argument Clear

A Deformation of Islam

Let's have a reformation, shall we.  Ayaan Hirsi Ali has just published her latest book, entitled Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now.  She begs an important question, What is a "reformation"?

Before we get into the details, for those of our readers unfamiliar with Ali, one of the most courageous voices of our day, The Daily Beast provides a brief biography:
Few figures on the intellectual scene today are as controversial or as compelling as Ayaan Hirsi Ali. A Somali-born author, speaker, activist, and former politician, Ali, 45, became a hijab-wearing radical Islamist as a teenager in Kenya, then a liberal atheist as an immigrant in the Netherlands; the Sept. 11 attacks of 2001 led her to a final break with faith. She became a member of parliament who championed the rights of women and girls in immigrant Muslim communities, drawing both applause and ire with her forceful statements about the role of traditional Islam in their oppression. That theme was at the center of the 2004 short film Submission, on which she worked with gadfly filmmaker Theo Van Gogh—and which led to Van Gogh’s murder by a Muslim man and a death threat against Ali. She lives under heightened security to this day.
In calling for a reformation within Islam, we intuitively understand what Ali is arguing for. She goes on to explain:

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Letter From the UK (About an Anti-Christian Agenda in the NHS)

More Persecution in the UK

Christian NHS worker appeals ruling she 'bullied' Muslim colleague by praying for her; Suspended for Gross Misconduct

Lawyers for Victoria Wasteney lodge appeal against tribunal, claiming human rights were breached when she was disciplined after claims she tried to convert Enya Nawaz 


A Christian health worker who was found to have bullied and harassed a junior Muslim colleague when she prayed for her has launched an appeal, saying the ruling breached her human rights. Senior occupational health therapist Victoria Wasteney, 37, claimed she was branded a "religious nutcase" after being disciplined when she was accused of trying to convert 25-year-old Enya Nawaz.

Miss Wasteney denied she ever attempted to convert her Pakistani Muslim colleague, saying she thought she and Miss Nawaz were friends.She also alleges Miss Nawaz was "manipulated" into complaining against her by colleagues at the East London NHS Trust, who allegedly had an "anti-Christian agenda".

Victoria Wasteney was suspended by the NHS


Miss Wasteney, from Ilford, had been the £50,000-a-year head of forensic occupational therapy at the John Howard Centre in Homerton, a secure hospital for mentally ill patients, since 2007.  She took the trust to an employment tribunal claiming it had failed to clear her of wrongdoing after an eight-month disciplinary process because it would be "politically incorrect" to find a Christian innocent.

The trust insists the disciplinary hearing was fair and denies it discriminated against Miss Wasteney.

The decision was upheld by an employment tribunal, but now lawyers have lodged an appeal citing article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of conscience and religion. Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: "The tribunal found it was inappropriate for her to engage in prays [sic] or give her colleague a book given her senior position.

"She is just an open, friendly, kind person and had a normal relationship with a colleague and there was nothing untoward. We are going to the Employment Appeals Tribunal and will be arguing that the ECHR enshrines the freedom to be able to speak about faith in the workplace and not be disciplined for it and have conversations with others. We lodged the papers on Thursday."

She added: "The NHS is increasingly dominated by a suffocating liberal agenda that chooses to bend over backwards to accommodate certain beliefs but punishes the Christian."

The tribunal had heard Miss Nawaz, whom Miss Wasteney had previously met when she was a student, started as an occupational therapist as part of a group of 30 managed by Miss Wasteney.  Miss Wasteney told the tribunal the younger woman had "sought a personal friendship" with her as well as regularly seeking her out for advice on how to "grow professionally within the service".

She added they would speak in a "mutually curious" way about their "shared passion for the things of God", adding it was "not unusual" for Miss Nawaz to initiate conversations about faith.

The John Howard CentreThe John Howard Centre

Miss Wasteney said it was the Muslim woman who had first approached her about her interest in combating human trafficking and was "so excited" when she came to an anti-slavery event hosted by the Christian Revival Church at the O2 Arena, which she attended.

She said Miss Nawaz had then come to her in tears because she was upset about health problems and had agreed for Miss Wasteney to pray for her. Miss Wasteney also gave Miss Nawaz a book, "I Dared to Call Him Father", about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity - but denied it was an attempt to make her convert.

On June 14 2013, the claimant was presented with the complaint by her supervisor John Wilson, which accused her of wanting to convert Miss Nawaz to Christianity.  The allegations included Miss Wasteney requesting Miss Nawaz pray with her, setting up healing sessions at Miss Nawaz's house and telling she would not be healed unless she was converted. She was suspended on the grounds of "gross misconduct" and a hearing held in February 2014 heard there had been a breakdown in the "firewall" between her personal beliefs and her work.

She was given a final written warning as a result, which was later reduced to first written warning on appeal. She returned to work in March 2014, but alleged the "hostility" she experienced pressured her into leaving the John Howard centre and moving to the trust's headquarters.


Christians should 'leave their beliefs at home or get another job'

Daily Devotional


The World's Honour

"O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame?"
Psalm 4:2

Charles H. Spurgeon

An instructive writer has made a mournful list of the honours which the blinded people of Israel awarded to their long expected King.

1. They gave him a procession of honour, in which Roman legionaries, Jewish priests, men and women, took a part, he himself bearing his cross. This is the triumph which the world awards to him who comes to overthrow man's direst foes. Derisive shouts are his only acclamations, and cruel taunts his only paeans of praise.

2. They presented him with the wine of honour. Instead of a golden cup of generous wine they offered him the criminal's stupefying death-draught, which he refused because he would preserve an uninjured taste wherewith to taste of death; and afterwards when he cried, "I thirst," they gave him vinegar mixed with gall, thrust to his mouth upon a sponge. Oh! wretched, detestable inhospitality to the King's Son.

3. He was provided with a guard of honour, who showed their esteem of him by gambling over his garments, which they had seized as their booty. Such was the body-guard of the adored of heaven; a quaternion of brutal gamblers.

Sally Kohn For President!

More Qualified Than Most

We are reasonably hopeful that the homosexual shock troops will find themselves embarrassed by one Sally Kohn.  Once again the vanguard of secular statism is probably finding itself afflicted by the syndrome of the embarrassing advocate.  If so, you have our sympathy and condolences.  There's nothing much you can do when you have friends like Sally.

This, from Patterico

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Our Transgressive Daisy Chain

Douglas Wilson
Blog&Mablog


The great need of the hour is for Christians in North America to get a map in their heads, a map that has an x on it, that x indicating “you are here.” Related to this, we need to know how exactly we got here. We need to be oriented, and that means we need to be oriented by Scripture — not by the secularists who taunt us, on the one hand, or by the evangelical bedwetters, who believe every last one of their taunts, on the other.
It is not as though we were not warned. We were warned repeatedly, but we did not have the right categories in our minds to process those warnings. We had some prophetic souls who were able to point out where the x was going to be a century after their time. We are now standing on it and we still don’t know. Here is Chesterton, near the beginning of the 20th century.

Goliath
Too big to fight, or too big to miss?
“For the next great heresy is going to be simply an attack on morality; and especially on sexual morality. And it is coming, not from a few Socialists surviving from the Fabian Society, but from the living exultant energy of the rich resolved to enjoy themselves at last, with neither Popery nor Puritanism nor Socialism to hold them back . . . The madness of tomorrow is not in Moscow, but much more in Manhattan.” (G.K. Chesterton: ‘The Next Heresy,’ in G.K.’s Weekly, June 19, 1926).

And this libertine excess, which throws off the “chains” established by God’s moral order, does not result in greater freedom for all. It results in petty tyrannies, soft despotism, and all those 16 ounce soda bans. Chesterton again:

“For when you break the great laws, you do not get liberty; you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws” (Chesterton on Dickens, Collected Works XV, p. 151).

A glaring example of breaking the great laws would be our culture-wide unwillingness or inability to tell the difference between boys and girls, along with our unwillingness or inability to admit that these are the only two possible options on the menu.

Daily Devotional

On Bereavement And Loneliness

TO MARY MARGARET McCASLIN: On how, after weathering a bereavement, one feels abandoned by God; on how God works on our behalf even when we feel He is inactive; and on the necessity of continuing to use the ordinary means of the spiritual life during times of extraordinary need.

C. S. Lewis

2 August 1954

Thank you for your letter of the July 25th. I will certainly put you in my prayers. I can well believe that you were divinely supported at the time of your terrible calamity. People often are. It is afterwards, when the new and bleaker life is beginning to be a routine, that one often feels one has been left rather unaided. I am sure one is not really so. God’s presence is not the same as the feeling of God’s presence and He may be doing most for us when we think He is doing least.

Loneliness, I am pretty sure, is one of the ways by which we can grow spiritually. Until we are lonely we may easily think we have got further than we really have in Christian love; our (natural and innocent, but merely natural, not heavenly) pleasure in being loved—in being, as you say, an object of interest to someone—can be mistaken for progress in love itself, the outgoing active love which is concerned with giving, not receiving. It is this latter which is the beginning of sanctity.

But of course you know all this: alas, so much easier to know in theory than to submit to day by day in practice! Be very regular in your prayers and communions: and don’t value special ‘guidances’ any more than what comes through ordinary Christian teaching, conscience, and prudence.

I am shocked to hear that your friends think of following me. I wanted them to follow Christ. But they’ll get over this confusion soon, I trust.

Please accept my deepest sympathy.
From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Yours, Jack

The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.  Sourced from BibleGateway.

What is the Truth?

Just the "Framing" Ma'am

Why is truth important?  Well, in everything but a Christian society it's likely not. Telling lies, gilding the lilly, burnishing a narrative, propaganda for the cause are all perfectly acceptable in the worldview of secular materialism.  It's the narrative.  It's the framing.  It's the vibe of the thing.  That's what's important.  At least Muslim ideology is candid about it.  Its doctrine of taqiyya justifies lying in a number of "circumstances".  In Hindu belief, since good and evil are part of the panoply of deities, both truth and lies are equally ultimate.

It is becoming more and more acceptable in the West to "lie for the cause".  The most recent example is a completely false story of an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia perpetrated for ideological reasons.  The gullible were gulled--as expected.  Rolling Stone published the sensational story whilst the Chattering Classes ululated into their Chardonnay.  Dramatic stuff.  But . . .

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

A Man-Made Disaster

California's Drought

Carly Fiorina describes how the worst ever drought in California is due to the ignorance of the pagan natives.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said Monday that California’s water crisis is the result of “liberal environmentalists” who are “willing to sacrifice other people’s lives and livelihoods at the altar of their ideology.”

“With different policies over the last 20 years, all of this could be avoided,” Fiorina said on Glenn Beck’s radio program. “Despite the fact that California has suffered from droughts for millennia, liberal environmentalists have prevented the building of a single new reservoir or a single new water conveyance system over decades during a period in which California’s population has doubled.”  Fiorina said that as a result, 70 percent of California’s rainfall “washes out to sea” year after year. . . .

“In California, fish and frogs and flies are really important — far more important apparently than the 40 percent unemployment rate in certain parts of central valley,” Fiorina said. “So the Senate and the president could waive some of those water restrictions. They have been asked to do so, and they have refused to do so.”  [TheBlaze]

Daily Devotional

God Strengthens Us Through Others

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31–32)

John Piper

What about the other ten apostles (not counting Judas)?  Satan was going to sift them too. Did Jesus pray for them?  Yes he did. But he did not ask the Father to guard their faith in the very same way he guarded Peter’s.

God broke the back of Peter’s pride and self-reliance that night in the agony of Satan’s sieve. But he did not let him go. He turned him around and forgave him and restored him and strengthened his faith. And now it was Peter’s mission to strengthen the other ten.  Jesus provided for the ten by providing for Peter. The strengthened becomes the strengthener.

There is a great lesson here for us. Sometimes God will deal with you directly, strengthening your faith alone in the wee hours of the morning. But most of the time (we might say ten-elevenths of the time) God strengthens our faith through another person.  God sends us some Simon Peter who brings just the word of grace we need to keep on in the faith: some testimony about how “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

Eternal security is a community project. Whenever God encourages your heart with the promise that in Satan’s sifting your faith will not fail, then take that encouragement and double your joy by using it to strengthen your brothers and sisters.

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see DesiringGod.org.

The Balkanisation of Western Europe

Stupid Arrogance

Cultures never exist in a vacuum.  Never.  Every human culture draws upon habits, beliefs, and truths which, consciously or unconsciously, reflect a particular world-and-life view.  For many, if not most, particular cultural beliefs and practices have no more foundation than habit.  We do this or that (for example, female genital mutilation, or drinking in the pub on a Friday night) because we "have always done it".

But if one starts to think further Big Questions immediately come into play.  Is female genital mutilation right or wrong?  Is drinking at the pub right or wrong?  If both are moral actions, by what standard are they justified?  And upon what standard does the standard justifying female genital mutilation and pub-drinking rest in turn?  Whence does its authority come and upon what or whom does it rest?    And so forth.  Every culture will have embedded, tacit answers to these questions.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Ickybod

Douglas Wilson

Usually Jonah Goldberg talks good sense, but yesterday I heard him defending the Indiana law as nothing more than a pitiful little consolation prize for the religious right. He was saying that the same sex mirage juggernaut has carried the day, and all conservatives are asking for now is the right to be left alone. I want to explain why this is not the case. I want to provide a theological explanation on why this is not what is happening at all.

For those of you who check this site regularly in order to get your daily dose of whimsy, that mild, unassuming form of humor that I use to put a smile on your face, and a politically-correct spring in your step, I am afraid that today might be a little different. Usually I write with high levels of restraint, but I am afraid that we are now in a position where I cannot explain what is happening without getting into what is actually happening.

First, opponents of same sex mirage have often failed to recognize that rebellion against God’s order for marriage can fail on multiple levels, and not just one. In other words, homosex is not just immoral, as opposed to moral. It is not just disgusting, as opposed to alluring. It is not just kinky, as opposed to straight. All observations along those lines would be correct, but they do not explain why the current battleground is made up of florist shops, bakeries, and photography studios. That is what I wish to explain.

Daily Devotional

Cross Bearing

"On him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus."
Luke 23:26

Charles H. Spurgeon

We see in Simon's carrying the cross a picture of the work of the Church throughout all generations; she is the cross-bearer after Jesus. Mark then, Christian, Jesus does not suffer so as to exclude your suffering. He bears a cross, not that you may escape it, but that you may endure it. Christ exempts you from sin, but not from sorrow. Remember that, and expect to suffer.

But let us comfort ourselves with this thought, that in our case, as in Simon's, it is not our cross, but Christ's cross which we carry. When you are molested for your piety; when your religion brings the trial of cruel mockings upon you, then remember it is not your cross, it is Christ's cross; and how delightful is it to carry the cross of our Lord Jesus!

Knowing One's Place

Recovering The Joy of Battle 

In our corporate experience there are plenty of faithful Christians who live conscience stricken.  They are sure that they are not obeying sufficiently well to satisfy the exhortations and injunctions that come upon them like a deluge every Lord's day.  The preacher has just completed an exposition of the Apostle's command, "pray without ceasing" and many poor saints depart certain that they have failed to obey that command and that they live miserable Christian lives, racked with general unfaithfulness.  So the saints perpetually mourn, with little gaiety and laughter. 

They have forgotten (or have perhaps never been taught) that most of the commands and exhortations, particularly in the New Testament, are given to the church corporate, of which the individual believer is one part--or to use a Pauline illustration, a single member of an entire body.  True, the believer must play an role--a role appropriate to their gifts and calling--so that the congregation as a whole can pray without ceasing. 

When Christians sort this out, the joyful release from false guilt can be palpable.  Theologian, John Frame provides a broader and deeper biblical argument for this reality.  He argues that each of us must prioritize God's commandments in the light of one's situation and, in particular, one's callings.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Culture War — Now More Than Ever

Douglas Wilson
Blog&Mablog

1992, Pat Buchanan put the phrase “culture war” on the map with his speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention. Since that time, there’s been a lot of water under the bridge, but — we should be careful to note — it is all the same river. One of the things you may have noticed lately is that various Christians of various stripes have been trying to put distance between themselves and this culture war. They are “tired” of it. It just seems to go on and on, and what’s the point? Instead of all this, the Church should be focusing its energies on things like furrowed brow concern over climate change — something that will garner applause instead of sneers.

When it comes to the culture wars, I would like to begin by making a distinction between those who are tired from being on the right side, and those who are tired of being on the right side.

Daily Devotional

Only One

On hell

C. S. Lewis

[The fictional George MacDonald is speaking.] “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell choose it. Without that self-choice, there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek, find. To those who knock, it is opened.”. . .

“Hell is a state of mind—ye never said a truer word. And every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind is, in the end, Hell. But Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly.”. . .

“Hell is smaller than one pebble of your earthly world: but it is smaller than one atom of this world, the Real World. Look at yon butterfly. If it swallowed all Hell, Hell would not be big enough to do it any harm or to have any taste. . . .

“A damned soul is nearly nothing: it is shrunk, shut up in itself. Good beats upon the damned incessantly as sound waves beat on the ears of the deaf, but they cannot receive it. Their fists are clenched, their teeth are clenched, their eyes fast shut. First they will not, in the end they cannot, open their hands for gifts, or their mouths for food, or their eyes to see.”

“Then no one can ever reach them?”

“Only the Greatest of all can make Himself small enough to enter Hell. For the higher a thing is, the lower it can descend—a man can sympathise with a horse but a horse cannot sympathise with a rat. Only One has descended into Hell.”

From The Great Divorce
Compiled in Words to Live By
The Great Divorce. Copyright © 1946, C. S Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed 1973 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.  Sourced from BibleGateway.

"Equality Commission" Stamps Down on Christians

The Tyranny of Secular Law

By Nick Hallett
Breitbart London

[It's had to believe, but the following case is making its way through Northern Irish courts.  A baker was asked to bake a cake celebrating the achievements of ISIS in Syria.  The cake was to have depicted the ISIS black flag, and the legend, "Glory to the Caliphate".  The baker refused, and is now being hauled before the courts by the Equality Commission for its denigration of Islam and the Islamic customer who requested the special celebratory cake.

The above case is fictional.  The case below is not.  Spot the difference between the two cases. JT.]

Friday, 10 April 2015

Systemic Or Exceptional Injustice?

Bad Faith Forensics

There are few things more evil than when a judicial system preys upon the weak and the vulnerable.  The Guardian reviews the case of one man who has been facing execution in Alabama for the past 28 years.  He has just been released because wrongful conviction.

It is inevitable that mistakes in the justice system occur--hopefully rarely.  It is to be expected that such mistakes may be made in the very best of good faith--that is, without malice, intent, or a deliberate attempt to "fit" or frame the accused.  When such has not been the case and wrong convictions have resulted from an  accused not being able to fund an adequate defence, the very system becomes complicit in wickedness. When the state seeks conviction on the grounds of shonky, slip-shod forensic evidence, the sin and crime of bearing false-witness is almost inevitable.
Anthony Ray Hinton, 58, spent half his life on Alabama’s death row, sentenced to die for two 1985 murders that for decades he insisted he did not commit.  Over 28 years, the outside world changed while Hinton spent his days largely in a 5ft by 8ft prison cell. Children grew up. His mother died. His hair turned gray. Inmates he knew were escorted off to the electric chair or the lethal-injection gurney.

He was set free on Friday after new ballistics tests contradicted the only evidence – an analysis of crime-scene bullets – that connected Hinton to the slayings.  As he left the jail, Hinton said he would pray for the victims’ families as he has done for the past 30 years. They have suffered a “miscarriage of justice” as well, he said. He had less kind words for those involved in his conviction.  “When you think you are high and mighty and you are above the law, you don’t have to answer to nobody. But I got news for them, everybody who played a part in sending me to death row, you will answer to God,” Hinton said.

Daily Devotional

What Binds the Hands of Love

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. (Colossians 1:3–5)

John Piper

The problem with the church today is not that there are too many people who are passionately in love with heaven. The problem is not that professing Christians are retreating from the world, spending half their days reading Scripture and the other half singing about their pleasures in God all the while indifferent to the needs of the world.

The problem is that professing Christians are spending ten minutes reading Scripture and then half their day making money and the other half enjoying and repairing what they spend it on.  It is not heavenly-mindedness that hinders love. It is worldly-mindedness that hinders love, even when it is disguised by a religious routine on the weekend.

Where is the person whose heart is so passionately in love with the promised glory of heaven that he feels like an exile and a sojourner on the earth? Where is the person who has so tasted the beauty of the age to come that the diamonds of the world look like marbles, and the entertainment of the world is empty, and the moral causes of the world are too small because they have no view to eternity? Where is this person?

Highest Second Strike Sentence


Law is Working Exactly as Intended

David Garrett
New Zealand

Left leaning pundits have reacted with glee to two recent cases in which Judges have invoked the “manifestly unjust” provision in the “three strikes” (3S) law to avoid what would otherwise have been a sentence of life without parole (LWOP) for two second strikers convicted of murder. I doubt they will say much about Hugh Hemi Tuatua Tareha, who yesterday received the longest “second strike” sentence yet – 12 years nine months –  for sexually assaulting an 87 year old woman.

Tareha is pretty much the epitome of the type of offender 3S was intended to take out of circulation – a violent offender with a lengthy history who has a propensity for sexually attacking elderly women. A propensity which – according to a psychiatric report – is “escalating”, a view which the Probation Service shares.

His most recent offence was not just committed while on parole, but the day after  he had appeared before the Parole Board, which wanted to monitor his progress. At that appearance he fooled the Parole Board a second time – the first was when he was released a year into a sentence of three years nine months for the robbery of an elderly woman because the Board believed he could be “managed in the community”.

At his appearance on  6 November last Tareha, according to media reports,  convinced the Parole Board that he was, “motivated to make changes”.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Child Abuse

Repentant Transsexual Crusades Against ‘Quick Fix’ Reassignment Surgery


Breitbart News

In an essay published April 1, Walt Heyer offers a chilling autobiographical account of abuse and gender confusion, sexual reassignment surgery, a short reprieve from anxiety and eventually deep regret at his decision. Heyer, now 74 years old and married to his wife for 18 years, spends his energy raising public awareness of the tragic consequences of gender reassignment.

“Changing genders is short-term gain with long-term pain,” writes Heyer. “Its consequences include early mortality, regret, mental illness, and suicide.”  Having been incorrectly diagnosed and pressured into a sex-change operation, Heyer is exceptionally sensitive to the plight of the many young people today who are confused about their own sexuality and receive mixed messages from a society very eager for them to take steps that can never be undone.

Daily Devotional

Sauron's Creed

Screwtape reveals the Enemy’s intentions:

C. S. Lewis

Now it may surprise you to learn that in His [God, the Enemy’s] efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His special favourites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else. The reason is this. To us a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense. But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing.

One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself—creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His.

We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct.

From The Screwtape Letters
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters. Copyright © 1942, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.  Sourced from BibleGateway.

Oppression and Tyranny

Forced to Celebrate Evil

The spiral of Unbelief into the void is ineluctable.  Getting the "right" to do evil is no longer enough.  Now anyone who refuses to join in celebrating that evil must be punished.

Imagine the following moral monstrosity: the SS had been busy raiding a neighbourhood in down-town Warsaw.  They went from house to house, arresting Jews, then lining them up before putting them on the cattle trucks.  Then they force all the remaining (non-Jewish) householders out on the street, ordering them to dance a jig and chant "death to the Jewish scum".  Anyone who refuses is summarily shot.

The depravity has grown so extensive and so perverse that to do evil is not enough. Everyone else must join in celebrating that evil--or else. 

Thus, it is not surprising that, overnight it seems, the people being targeted in the campaign of relentless homosexual hatred are those in the celebration industry--bakers, cake makers, photographers, and marriage celebrants.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

The After Deck of the Pirate Ship

Douglas Wilson

Whenever I write on things like liberty and taxes, it is easy for some to try to stuff me into the wrong box. And upon my making this objection, some might expect me to go on to say that I hate labels. But actually I love labels, which are the precondition of all honest discourse. Con artists hate labels.

But the label should be accurate. I am no anarchist, and I actually am in favor of both liberty and taxes. I’m against parodies of either, and because these parodies are currently dominating the landscape, they are the problem which must be addressed.

The parody of liberty is found in the libertarian image of the fornicating pot smoker – but you can get high and get laid in a 6′ x 8′ prison cell. There is one who defiantly cries out that he wants more liberty – so that he can enslave himself ever more tightly in chains he has forged himself. But no tyrant has ever been successfully resisted by cluster of lotus eaters, however big the cluster might be. Virtuous people cannot be kept as slaves, and an effete and self indulgent people are made for slavery. It is their native habitat.

Daily Devotional

Two of Our Deepest Needs

To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:1)

John Piper

We as a church are “in” a Father and “in” a Lord. What does that mean?

The word “Father” implies primarily care and sustaining and protection and provision and discipline. So to be “in” the Father would mean mainly to be in his care and under his protection.  The other designation is Lord: we are in the Lord Jesus Christ. The word “Lord” implies primarily authority and leadership and ownership. So to be “in” the Lord means mainly to be in his charge, under his authority and in his possession.

So Paul greets the Thessalonian church in such a way as to remind them that they are a family (in the care of a Father) and that they are servants (in the charge of a Lord). These two descriptions of God as Father and Lord, and thus of the church as family and servants, corresponds to two of our deepest needs.

The two needs that every one of us has are the need for rescue and help and the need for purpose and meaning.
  1. We need a heavenly Father to pity us and rescue us from sin and misery. We need his help at every step of the way because we are so weak and vulnerable.

  2. But we also need a heavenly Lord to guide us in life and tell us what is wise and give us a great and meaningful charge to fulfill. We don't just want to be safe in the care of a Father. We want a glorious cause to live for.
We want a merciful Father to be our Protector, and we want an omnipotent Lord to be our Champion and our Commander and our Leader. So when Paul says in verse 1, You are the church “in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” we can take rest and help from one and take courage and meaning from the other.

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see DesiringGod.org.

Rumblings of Discontent

Treachery Afoot

The Washington Post has been a front for the Left in the United States for decades.  So, when this loyal ally of Democratic politicians lacerates the US government's recent agreement over nuclear development by Iran, one reasonably concludes that President Obama and Secretary of State, John Kerry are on translucently thin ice.

Here are the main points of a recent editorial on the "agreement":

1. The agreement is far less than Obama promised it would contain.  This comes as no surprise, as the President's vain rhetoric and bluster usually bears no relation to transpiring reality.