Monday, 24 April 2017

Hindsight and Crystal Balls

 Rethinking The Causes of World War II

As we approach ANZAC remembrance in New Zealand, thoughts will be turning once again to war, and in particular, New Zealand's involvement in World Wars I &II, along with lots of smaller actions since the Korean War to which New Zealand has contributed soldiers.

We have been ruminating once more on whether World War II could have been averted.  Now, a disclaimer is required: hind sight is always 20/20 vision, which means that it is speculative to one extent or another.  But the matter has assumed more relevance, given that Hitler turned out to be the wild-card which led Europe into armed conflict.  In our days, we face similar kinds of threats.  Replace Hitler with Kim Jong-un and we all get the point.

Therefore, re-thinking how Britain failed to avoid the conflagration which exploded when Hitler unleashed his legions, is not as academic today as it was three or four years ago.  Historian Robert Tombs provides a list of some things, which, in hindsight, Britain got wrong during what he calls the "Twenty-Year Truce" between the two world wars.  These become potential lessons for the future.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Narks Are Watching and Listening--At Oxford, No Less

The Thought Police Are Right Behind YOU... 

Don't look now

Peter Hitchens
Daily Mail

I have a brilliant suggestion for a new TV detective drama. Its glamorous but sternly correct heroine is newly in charge of enforcing 'diversity' among the domes and towers of Oxford.  She lingers in its donnish common rooms, listening out for incorrect remarks and swooping righteously on those who 'stereotype minorities'.

As usual there are false leads and picturesque panoramas of Oxford embowered in water meadows. Unlikely suspects are revealed in the final minutes as homophobic reactionaries – or even Christians.
At the end of each episode we see handcuffed offenders being led away to police cars, their heads pushed down by officious constables as they bend to take the seat of shame.

Actually some of this is happening now. The arrests are a little way off still, but the nasty snooping is going on, and careers are in danger. We know this because of what happened to former Lord Chancellor Michael Gove when he recently attended a dinner at an Oxford College.

Daily Meditation

Take Comfort From the Fear of Our Saviour


C. S. Lewis

2 April 1955

In great haste. I hope your next letter will bring me news that the operation has gone swimmingly. Fear is horrid, but there’s no reason to be ashamed of it. Our Lord was afraid (dreadfully so) in Gethsemane. I always cling to that as a very comforting fact. All blessings.

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.

Trump's War Doctrine

Bombast, Money, and Technology

With the advent of Donald Trump "wartalk" has suddenly assumed much greater weight.  Jehu drove his chariot furiously, as does Trump.  This represents a radical change from Barack Obama, who appeared to like the blood and guts, but only cerebrally, you understand.   Obama, we suspect, was the ultimate arm-chair general.  He pondered extensively over the minutia of the matter.  He insisted (we were told) on personally authorizing each drone strike against Islamic mujahideen,  He thought himself into a blue funk over Syria, announcing a "Red Line" which overnight morphed into an "Invisible Line drawn with Fading Ink".

Meanwhile, he struck great blows for human rights within the military.  He recognised homosexuality in the ranks, striking down "don't ask, don't tell"; he strove to achieve gender equality; he wanted the military to resemble a modern liberal arts campus.  Obama was a feckless president.  He was also ideologically blinded.  He refused to see any real threat in Islam, preferring instead to see the whole matter as little more than a Marxist struggle on the part of Islamic nations for self-respect and independence.  His role, as he saw it, was not to make things worse, but to cut the mujahideen lots of slack.  Hence, he forbade calling terrorist attacks upon the US "Islamic"terrorist acts.  He proclaimed that Afghanistan was a war the US had to fight (as opposed to finishing the job in Iraq); within months the Afghan war morphed into "nation building", requiring a time frame of over twenty-five years.

Donald Trump is none of these things.  But this does not make him right.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

The Boutique Option

Douglas Wilson

[This piece is part of a series where Doug Wilson interacts with Rod Dreher's Benedict Option.]

The next chapter in The Benedict Option is well written, and makes many pertinent observations. A lot of true and necessary things are said, largely concerning the need for older doctrine and need for a liturgical worship that shapes cultures. But there is still a problem, and it is largely architectonic. The chapter has a structural problem.

One of the rhetorical virtues of this chapter is the ecumenical tone—while Dreher is Eastern Orthodox, he goes out of his way to be inclusively respectful of other believers in other communions. He promotes and argues for what he believes, albeit respectfully—but he is so respectful that the structural problem with his entire project is laid bare. This structural problem is, again, what is called the retreat to commitment.

In this chapter, Dreher commends, recommends, quotes and praises Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Calvinist Presbyterians, Anabaptists, Mainline Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, and Catholics, urging them all to recover their doctrinal roots, and urging them all into a more formal liturgical worship. He wants us to “immerse ourselves in the words and the world of the old saints” (Loc. 1566). Which old saints should we resort to? Well—and this is the problem—whatever works for you.

Daily Meditation

Pray for His Fame

“Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:9)

John Piper

Dozens of times Scripture says that God does things “for his name’s sake.” But if you ask what is really moving the heart of God in that statement (and many like it), the answer is that God delights in having his name known.

The first and most important prayer that can be prayed is, “Hallowed be thy name.” This is a request to God that he would work to cause people to hallow his name.

God loves to have more and more people “hallow” his name, and so his Son teaches Christians to put their prayers in line with this great passion of the Father.

“Lord, cause more and more people to hallow your name,” that is, esteem, admire, respect, cherish, honor, and praise his name. It is basically a missionary prayer.

Prejudice Against the Burka

Ah, the Idiocy Of It All

We posted yesterday on how the spirit of long dead Tom Paine stalks our cultural ghettos.  People, said Tom, have a right to be whatever they want to be.  It's a "funamenal" human right.  This has led many in the West to swoon in religious ecstasy, falling down before the claims of trans-genderism and trans-sexualism.

Further to this matter, a sensitive and sophisticated Auckland City councillor had laid a complaint against a shop in West Auckland which has allegedly discriminated against women and Muslims--at least in the mind of our precious petal councillor.  The jewellery shop has a sign banning certain items of clothing:

Councillor Casey apparently believes it's ok to ban customers wearing hoodies, sunglasses and helmets, but not burkas.  Consequently, it must be  OK to discriminate against those who wear hoodies, sunglasses, and helmets.  No human rights violated there.   Casey happily endorses discrimination against the desires and wishes and rights of those people.

Nevertheless, she has complained about the burka-ban.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Greenies Don't Do Science

Only Gullible Fools Believe that the Great Barrier Reef Is Dying

James Delingpole

The Great Barrier Reef is dead. It has ceased to be, expired and gone to meet its maker, kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and gone to join the bleedin’ choir invisible. It is an Ex Great Barrier Reef.  Well, at least it is if you believe the left-wing media such as the Guardian, which claims today that the reef is at “terminal stage” because of damage allegedly caused by “climate change”.

Lots of eco loons have been rending their garments and throwing their (recyclable, organic, gluten-free) toys out of the pram in horror at this hideous disaster.

But it’s OK. As I keep trying to explain here to anyone who’ll listen – and obviously, also, to annoy the greenies – is that the Great Barrier Reef isn’t in the remotest danger.

Daily Meditation

The Great King's Wine

We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

John Piper

I have never heard anyone say, “The really deep lessons of my life have come through times of ease and comfort.” But I have heard strong saints say, “Every significant advance I have ever made in grasping the depths of God’s love and growing deep with him, has come through suffering.”

This is a sobering biblical truth. For example: “For Christ’s sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Paraphrase: No pain, no gain. Or:  Now let it all be sacrificed, if it will get me more of Christ.

Here’s another example: “Although he was a Son, Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). The same book said he never sinned (Hebrews 4:15).

So learning obedience does not mean switching from disobedience to obedience. It means growing deeper and deeper with God in the experience of obedience. It means experiencing depths of yieldedness to God that would not have been otherwise demanded. This is what came through suffering. No pain, no gain.

Samuel Rutherford said that when he was cast into the cellars of affliction, he remembered that the great King always kept his wine there. Charles Spurgeon said, “They who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls.”

Do you not love your beloved more when you feel some strange pain that makes you think you have cancer? We are strange creatures indeed. If we have health and peace and time to love, it is a thin and hasty thing. But if we are dying, love is a deep, slow river of inexpressible joy, and we can scarcely endure to give it up.

Therefore brothers and sisters, “Count it all joy when you meet various trials” (James 1:2).

How Smart We Are

Beware People in Black Robes

The aged care industry in New Zealand had laboured under government price controls for many years.  Our "socialism without doctrines" has led us down the track of the government funding rest home care for the elderly.  Once upon a time it was incumbent upon each family to ensure reasonable care could be afforded for aging parents and grandparents.  But gradually the state has subsidised and paid more and more of the care of the elderly.  Smug New Zealanders patted themselves on the back and said to one another, "What a wonderful system we have here in 'godz own'."  

Baby boomers are now entering the demographic cohort of the "aged".  Large numbers are needing care.  There is a burgeoning aged care industry, with large corporates building swanky retirement and rest-care facilities.  But the industry has been effectively price controlled.  The presence of a state subsidy for rest home care functions as a price control in the market.  Therefore, the market is inefficient.  Price signals are grossly distorted.

Recently the government was (indirectly) hit with a court case.  A rest-home carer took her employer (and implicitly, the state) to court on the grounds of pay equity.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Irresponsible Parents

Your Kids Aren’t Equipped to be Public School Missionaries

Matt Walsh

A concerned parent sent me this. It’s the school newspaper for Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church, Virginia. Among the other hard hitting pieces of journalism targeted at children, ages 11-13, is an article on “transgender rights.”

The article explains how Obama “improved the lives of transgender people by fighting the discrimination against them,” but all of that is now in jeopardy because of President Trump. The next article delves into the intricacies and wonders of various forms of gender identity, including “transgenderism,” “non-binary,” “bigender,” “agender,” “demigender,” “genderfluid,” and “genderflux.” I’m obviously more innocent and naive than the typical middle schooler these days, so I’d never even heard of some of these. For anyone else who may be curious, here’s how the last three types of genders are explained to an audience of pre-pubscent kids:

Demigender: Demigender refers to people who partially identify as one gender. Demigender people may also identify as partially a different gender. Examples include demigirl, or someone who partially identifies as a girl; demiboy, or someone who partially identifies as a boy; demiagender, meaning someone who identifies as partially agender; and more broadly, deminonbinary, or someone who just partially identifies as nonbinary.

Genderfluid and Genderflux: Genderfluid refers to someone whose gender changes between any of the above categories. For example, someone may feel female one day, male another day, and agender the next day. Similarly, genderflux refers to someone whose gender changes in intensity. This typically means that someone’s gender will fluctuate between agender and a different gender, which could be binary or nonbinary. For example, someone might sometimes feel completely female, sometimes demigender, and sometimes agender.
Did you get all that?

Someone can partially not have a gender, while the other part of them has three genders, and the third part is a futon. These are the notions being implanted in our kids’ heads in their public schools.

Daily Meditation

On Forgiveness

C. S. Lewis

I find that when I think I am asking God to forgive me I am often in reality (unless I watch myself very carefully) asking Him to do something quite different. I am asking Him not to forgive me but to excuse me. But there is all the difference in the world between forgiving and excusing. Forgiveness says “Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology, I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.” But excusing says “I see that you couldn’t help it or didn’t mean it, you weren’t really to blame.”. . .

Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it.

From The Weight of Glory
Compiled in Words to Live By The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses. Copyright © 1949, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1976, revised 1980 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.

Our Disinterested Media

Veering Towards Sociopathy

It's a universal truth apparently: everyone believes the media are biased.  Except the media--at least officially and formally.  

The closest we have seen to public acknowledgement of media bias by the media is the Daily Mail.  It kindly gives a listing of columnists and bloggers who are published in that paper.  It has a category called "Rightminds Bloggers".  There is a whole other collection of columnists who are in no special category at all.  By implication, one assumes that all others, not listed in the "Rightminds" category, are "Leftminds".  The Mail, however, apparently believes that these folk are not biased at all.

The media in general has high self-regard and would tell anyone who listens that the media are thorough going professionals without bias of any sort.  Its only bias is to be professionally unbiased.  Now you just know that's codswallop.  Insofar as the belief may be genuinely held, it amounts to self-deceit, or at best a lack of self-awareness that moves towards sociopathy.

Liam Hehir puts it this way:

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

They Do Not Engage in Violence . . . Yet


Niall Ferguson in today's Sunday Times:
From Mick Hartley's blog.

The term “lone wolf” is a misleading one. No one becomes a jihadist all by himself, just by watching beheading videos. As my wife, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, argues in a powerful new report, jihad is always preceded by dawa — the process of non-violent but toxic radicalisation that transforms the petty criminal into a zealot.

The network of dawa takes many different forms. In the UK a key role used to be played by the organisation al-Muhajiroun (the Emigrants), which the jailed Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary led before his arrest. But there are many less visible organisations — Islamic centres with shadowy imams — busily spreading the mind poison.

To see how this poison works, read the recent Policy Exchange study of Britain’s Muslim communities, Unsettled Belonging. At first sight, the news is good. Altogether, 90% of those surveyed condemned terrorism. Most British Muslims, we read, have “fundamentally secular interests and priorities”. Only 7% said they did not feel a strong sense of belonging to the UK.

But read on.

Daily Meditation

A Most Necessary Blessing

"Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins."  Psalm 25:18

Charles H. Spurgeon

It is well for us when prayers about our sorrows are linked with pleas concerning our sins--when, being under God's hand, we are not wholly taken up with our pain, but remember our offences against God. It is well, also, to take both sorrow and sin to the same place. It was to God that David carried his sorrow: it was to God that David confessed his sin. Observe, then, we must take our sorrows to God.

Even your little sorrows you may roll upon God, for he counteth the hairs of your head; and your great sorrows you may commit to him, for he holdeth the ocean in the hollow of his hand. Go to him, whatever your present trouble may be, and you shall find him able and willing to relieve you. But we must take our sins to God too. We must carry them to the cross, that the blood may fall upon them, to purge away their guilt, and to destroy their defiling power.

The special lesson of the text is this:--that we are to go to the Lord with sorrows and with sins in the right spirit. Note that all David asks concerning his sorrow is, "Look upon mine affliction and my pain;" but the next petition is vastly more express, definite, decided, plain--"Forgive all my sins." Many sufferers would have put it, "Remove my affliction and my pain, and look at my sins." But David does not say so; he cries, "Lord, as for my affliction and my pain, I will not dictate to thy wisdom. Lord, look at them, I will leave them to thee, I should be glad to have my pain removed, but do as thou wilt; but as for my sins, Lord, I know what I want with them; I must have them forgiven; I cannot endure to lie under their curse for a moment."

A Christian counts sorrow lighter in the scale than sin; he can bear that his troubles should continue, but he cannot support the burden of his transgressions.

Never Again Must the Church Bear the Sword

The Axe Is Laid to the Root, Therefore . . . 

"May the Force be with you" evokes the legends of Hollywood.  It is a benediction which comes from a powerful work of fiction--and, therefore, an effectual commentary upon life and society.  But whenever the force has been "with us" and used by the Church of the Lord Jesus, disastrous outcomes have poured forth.   To the State--and to the State alone--God has granted the authority to deploy force.  It bears the sword.  The Church does not.

By the same token the State cannot perform the duties or take the prerogatives of the Church.  If the State bears the sword, the Church has been granted the Keys of the eternal Kingdom of God.  In bearing those Keys, the Church can both open the doors to allow penitent believers to enter the Kingdom, and it can shut them against the apostate and the reprobate [Matthew 16:19].  The Church, in bearing the Keys--with all the authority implicit therein--can shut out kings and great men from the Kingdom. The authority and function of the Church is eternal; the authority of earthly rulers and kings and the State is not.

Whenever the respective roles and responsibilities of Church and State have become intermingled and confused, the outcome has been disastrous for both Church and State.

Monday, 17 April 2017

We'll Take the Win, With Thanks to the Living God

Pro-lifers Celebrate Huge Win at UN Commission

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

NEW YORK, April 7 (C-Fam) The UN Commission on Population and Development ended Friday afternoon with a frustrated chairman withdrawing her draft of a resolution and the meeting ending without an agreement. The meeting had become bogged down in conflicting views of human sexuality.

The backdrop of the meeting was U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw over $75 million from the UN Population Fund, an action that sent shockwaves through the annual commission. European countries retaliated by loading up a document with controversial sexual rights language that caused member states to reject the resolution for the second time in three years.

While delegations traded blame in their parting statements at the end of the commission, the intransigence of abortion groups and their supporters from Europe and Latin America was plainly in sight.

The controversial issues included a notion called “comprehensive sexuality education” which proposes to teach young children about masturbation, homosexuality, and gender identity.

Daily Devotional

The Dreadful Woe of Our Saviour

"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"  Psalm 22:1

Charles H. Spurgeon

We here behold the Saviour in the depth of his sorrows. No other place so well shows the griefs of Christ as Calvary, and no other moment at Calvary is so full of agony as that in which his cry rends the air--"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" At this moment physical weakness was united with acute mental torture from the shame and ignominy through which he had to pass; and to make his grief culminate with emphasis, he suffered spiritual agony surpassing all expression, resulting from the departure of his Father's presence.

This was the black midnight of his horror; then it was that he descended the abyss of suffering. No man can enter into the full meaning of these words. Some of us think at times that we could cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" There are seasons when the brightness of our Father's smile is eclipsed by clouds and darkness; but let us remember that God never does really forsake us. It is only a seeming forsaking with us, but in Christ's case it was a real forsaking. We grieve at a little withdrawal of our Father's love; but the real turning away of God's face from his Son, who shall calculate how deep the agony which it caused him?

In our case, our cry is often dictated by unbelief: in his case, it was the utterance of a dreadful fact, for God had really turned away from him for a season. O thou poor, distressed soul, who once lived in the sunshine of God's face, but art now in darkness, remember that he has not really forsaken thee. God in the clouds is as much our God as when he shines forth in all the lustre of his grace; but since even the thought that he has forsaken us gives us agony, what must the woe of the Saviour have been when he exclaimed, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

By Their Fruits You Will Know Them

Surge in ‘Honour Crimes’ and Forced Marriages in London

Liam Deacon
Breitbart London

So-called “honour crimes” have risen by 40 per cent in five years in London, with the number of forced marriages doubling in the same period.  According to the figures, obtained by the Evening Standard, some of the children involved in the abuse were younger than ten-years-old.

Since 2012, honour crimes reported to the Metropolitan Police rose to 1,081 and those relating to forced marriages shot up to 367.  Women and girls were the victims in the vast majority of reported incidents, with over half coming from “Asian” backgrounds, the paper reports.  ["Asian" is a code word in the UK for "Pakistani".  Ed.]  Knives and guns were involved in more than 70 incidents, and dozens of rapes and other sexual crimes were reported.

Detective Chief Inspector Sam Faulkner, of the Met’s Community Safety Unit, said the crimes stem from communities using “cultural and/or religious justifications for male violence against women and girls and other people”.  They were often based on traditions whereby “an individual, family and community’s honour is weighted on women and girls”, he said, including refusing to go along with a marriage.  “We see an increase in these types of offences as a positive step, an indication that victims have more confidence to report offences to police and seek the support they need”, he added.

Politicians today called the findings “troubling”, “shocking” and “abhorrent”.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Paris Climate Agreement: Jehu Riding Hard

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Calls for ‘Exit’

Ben Kew

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, has called for America to “exit” the Paris Climate Agreement signed by Barack Obama last November.  In an interview with FOX and Friends, Pruitt said that “Paris [agreement] is something that we need to really look at closely. It’s something we need to exit in my opinion. It’s a bad deal for America,” he continued. “It was an America second, third, or fourth kind of approach. China and India had no obligations under the agreement until 2030. We front-loaded all of our costs.”

Pruitt’s comments increase the likelihood the U.S. will pull out of the agreement, which requires governments to present national plans to reduce emissions to limit global temperature rise, as well as regularly report on their progress. Pruitt has previously referred to the agreement as a “bad deal,” but has never openly called for America to quit.

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump was a prominent critic of the deal, promising to “cancel” it, and this week he refused to sign a statement endorsing the agreement. Although Trump could not instantly pull America out, he could initiate the process for the country’s exit.

Daily Meditation

On Heaven

C. S. Lewis

But God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love. Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it—made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.

From The Problem of Pain
Compiled in Words to Live By The Problem of Pain. Copyright © 1940, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 by 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.

Libertine Twisting Unto Destruction

Have Nothing to Do With the "Komos"

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, they say.  Never has this been more the case than in our day when modern pagans attempt to exegete or explain the teaching of the Holy Bible.  The modern world has form in this regard: its overwhelming predisposition is to see the West and its dominant cultural motifs liberated from the constraints and commands of the Scripture.

One facile trick to carry out this vast libertine exercise is to misinterpret the Bible--carelessly or callously, it matters not.  Consequently, we have learnt over the years, never to take anything said by Unbelievers about the Bible and its teachings without a very big dose of salt.

Not that the Bible is a wax nose to be twisted at will.  The message and teachings of Scripture are pretty plain to any fair minded reader, with only some things hard or difficult to understand.  The Bible itself warns against such twisting:
. . . as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.  [II Peter 3:16]

Friday, 14 April 2017

Hypocrisy--Thou Art a Jewel

For Corporate Social Hypocrisy, See Unilever’s CEO

A multinational boss fancies himself King of the World.

By Deroy Murdock
National Review Online

Polman is CEO of Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer-products multinational. Managing a corporation that operates in 100 countries, markets 400 different brands, employs 169,000 people, and grossed $56 billion in 2016 should be enough to keep Polman at his desk. But this Dutchman has had his mind on far bigger things since he took the helm in 2009.

“I am really more interested in development,” Polman declared in February.

Polman co-authored a 2014 essay in which he announced that capitalism has “proved dysfunctional in important ways. It often encourages shortsightedness, contributes to wide disparities between the rich and the poor, and tolerates the reckless treatment of environmental capital.”

Polman has directed his employees to avoid a singular focus on ROI [Return on Investment] and instead implement USLP: Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan. Its latest annual report trumpets the slogan: “making sustainable living commonplace.”

CEOs need not aspire to be Gordon Gekko. But they need not strive to be Mahatma Gandhi, either. Polman fancies himself as the latter. “As CEO of Unilever, my personal mission is to galvanize the company to be an effective force for good.”  The liberal media love Polman’s shift from generating black ink to pursuing a crunchy, green Weltanschauung.

Daily Meditation

Make Satan Know His Defeat

Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

John H. Piper

The more real Satan appears in our day, the more precious the victory of Christ will become to those who believe him.

The New Testament teaches that when Christ died and rose again Satan was defeated. A time of limited freedom is granted to him, but his power against God's people is broken and his destruction is sure.

“The Son of God appeared to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)
“Christ took on human nature that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Hebrews 2:14) *“God disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him.” (Colossians 2:15)
In other words the decisive blow was struck at Calvary. And one day, when Satan's time of limited freedom is over, Revelation 20:10 says, “The devil . . . [will be] thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone . . . and will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

What does this mean for those of us who follow Jesus Christ?

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
“Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies!” (Romans 8:33)
“Neither angels nor principalities nor powers nor anything else shall separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ.” (Romans 8:38)
“He who is in us is stronger than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
“We conquer him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony.” (Revelation 12:11)
Therefore, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you!” He has been defeated, and we have been given victory. Our task now is to live in that victory and make Satan know his defeat.

Islamic Lying About Islam's Teachings

Turning Away From Islam Requires the Death Penalty--In Australia

One of the complicating issues swirling around Islam is the doctrine of Taqiyya.  In Islamic jurisprudence  this allows Islamic believers to lie, to dissemble, when speaking to unbelievers.  It permits hiding their true intentions (that is, the truth) from the ears of non-Islamic hearers--including non-Islamic authorities and governments.  In Islamic belief, to lie to a non-Islamic person or authority may well be the holy and perfect thing to do.

Consequently, Islamic protagonists often assure Western folk that they are peace-loving, gentle, open-minded, and tolerant. And many may well be.  They may be pluralistic in their world-view, granting the rights of non-Islamic doctrines and practice to exist.  But others may not.

Every so often, however, the truth drips out.  Many would be startled to read the following headline which refers to Islam in Australia.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Doppelganger of Islamic Fundamentalism

"You Will Live, Move, and Have Your Being at Our Pleasure"

No Room for Dissent in Women’s Movement Today

Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who represents Republican candidates and conservative groups, says the women’s movement has morphed into a giant abortion rights lobby.

By Cleta Mitchell
New York Times

Is there a “women’s movement” in 2017? What is it? Who is it?

I became involved with the women’s movement in the early 1970s, when, as a junior at the University of Oklahoma, I was one of five founders of the Oklahoma Women’s Political Caucus. For over a decade, I traveled the state working for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Later, as an Oklahoma state legislator, I was a champion of women’s rights, including supporting abortion rights within the Roe v. Wade framework.

In the 1970s, we fought for legal equality and eradication of the laws, based on English common law, that put women in the same legal category as children and insane persons. We wanted access to the Ivy League schools, the professions, the clubs — everything. Wherever men could go and become successful, we wanted to be there, too.

And we got it all. Big time. The antiquated statutes were repealed. Women got into the professions and the C-suites and the schools and the TV news anchor desks. We got there. We ARE there.  So why, pray tell, were those women and girls wearing those ridiculous hats at the purposeless “women’s marches” in January? Why do they perpetuate the Freudian question, “What do women want?”

The women’s movement has ebbed because it succeeded. Yet the suffragist Susan B. Anthony’s mantra “Failure is impossible” has been so hijacked by post-millennium feminism that declaring victory is unforgivable.

All that a “movement” could responsibly achieve, has been achieved. My 32-year-old daughter doesn’t know the meaning of “girls not allowed.”

Daily Meditation

On Happiness

C. S. Lewis

What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could “be like gods”—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in Words to Live By Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, 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.

1066 And All That

Creatures of the Past, For Good or Ill

Myths and legends shape contemporary cultures.  It seems that it is inevitable.  Most countries and ethnic groups seem to have them.  The most enduring myths have to do with triumphs of right over wrong, good over evil, and order over chaos.  Legends are more or less grounded in historical fact.  Whilst they all need to be taken with a grain of salt, they are not worthless.  On the contrary they can be effective platforms for conveying truth and principle.  They can also (less helpfully) be misused to become slogans to rally the troops or justify ideological war.

In his chapter on the Norman Conquest of England, under William the Conqueror, Robert Tombs gives a brief recitation on enduring myths from the Conquest which have influenced England down through the centuries:

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America (Grading Trump's Syria Bomb Attack)

A Tomahawk Missile Strike Report Card

Douglas Wilson

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Trump,

Thank you for enrolling your son in our program, and we are pleased to present our first quarter foreign policy assessment to you now. Over all, we are pleased with your Donald’s progress although, as you will see, there are some areas of significant concern. We will start with the bad news.


We have been over this a number of times. Congress is the only entity that can declare war (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11). The president is the Commander in Chief once war is declared, but does not have the authority to start the whole shebang all by himself. Calling it something else doesn’t make it something else. Japan did not have the authority to call Pearl Harbor a limited strike, although it was, or to point out that they had put no “boots on the ground,” although that was also true.


China, Russia, the entire Middle East, and North Korea all have this in common—they don’t care about the niceties of the U.S. Constitution. All they care about is what is likely to happen to them and their causes if they do x,y, or z, and how quickly it might happen to them and their causes.

Daily Devotional

Deep Gratitude and Great Sorrow

"And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him." Luke 23:27

Charles H. Spurgeon

Amid the rabble rout which hounded the Redeemer to his doom, there were some gracious souls whose bitter anguish sought vent in wailing and lamentations--fit music to accompany that march of woe. When my soul can, in imagination, see the Saviour bearing his cross to Calvary, she joins the godly women and weeps with them; for, indeed, there is true cause for grief--cause lying deeper than those mourning women thought.

They bewailed innocence maltreated, goodness persecuted, love bleeding, meekness about to die; but my heart has a deeper and more bitter cause to mourn. My sins were the scourges which lacerated those blessed shoulders, and crowned with thorn those bleeding brows: my sins cried "Crucify him! crucify him!" and laid the cross upon his gracious shoulders. His being led forth to die is sorrow enough for one eternity: but my having been his murderer, is more, infinitely more, grief than one poor fountain of tears can express.

Why those women loved and wept it were not hard to guess: but they could not have had greater reasons for love and grief than my heart has. Nain's widow saw her son restored--but I myself have been raised to newness of life. Peter's wife's mother was cured of the fever--but I of the greater plague of sin. Out of Magdalene seven devils were cast--but a whole legion out of me. Mary and Martha were favoured with visits--but he dwells with me. His mother bare his body--but he is formed in me the hope of glory. In nothing behind the holy women in debt, let me not be behind them in gratitude or sorrow.

"Love and grief my heart dividing,
With my tears his feet I'll lave--
Constant still in heart abiding,
Weep for him who died to save."