Friday, 31 August 2018

Politicians and Do-Gooders Living in Alice's Wonderland

Gangs are Changing All Right – For The Worse

David Garrett

Gangs are changing alright – for the worse

One of the “experts” at Andrew Little’s justice talkfest is Dr Jarrod Gilbert of Canterbury University. Gilbert has pretty much supplanted Greg Newbold as the media’s “go to” guy on gangs and crime. Gilbert is the author of “Patched: the history of gangs in New Zealand”. In it, Gilbert manages for the most part to disguise the fact that he is essentially an apologist for gangs. His recent message – and no doubt the message  he will  preach  at the Justice Summit – is that gangs are changing for the better, and so must our attitude to them. The subtext is that gangs are becoming more like the “alternative form of whanau” that Tariana Turia has claimed for years that they are. Nothing could be further from  the truth.

This morning, 21 August,  Stuff reports a gang shooting in Wanganui in which a gang member died  when a rival gang invaded his house. Two months ago there was a similar incident in which a young gang associate died and his girlfriend, who he apparently died trying to protect, was seriously injured. Wanganui was also the scene of a drive by gang shooting in which a young baby was killed in 2007.

And it’s not just  gang members shooting at  each other. In January 2017 the Black Power took a funeral procession through Mongrel Mob “territory” in Whakatane. It was an organized confrontation in  which numerous shots were fired at police in the streets of Whakatane. The members of the two gangs involved  were obviously totally unconcerned about the safety of innocent bystanders. By pure chance, no-one was killed.

This sort of behaviour has been going on for at least twenty years, and contrary to Gilbert’s claims,  gang violence involving firearms is becoming more not less common.  This morning’s murder is just the latest such incident. And for any reader of Gilbert’s book, none of this can be a surprise. The Mongrel Mob for example idolize  and aspire to ever more “mongrelish behaviour”. “Mongrelish behaviour” is anything which is contrary to and grossly affronts the norms of ordinary civilized behaviour: raping and sometimes killing women to get a patch (Mallory Manning); bashing and even  killing anyone who gets in their way; bashing, raping and intimidating the “bitches” who serve their material and sexual needs.

The gang problem is of course not new: in 1972 Norman Kirk pledged to “take the bikes off the bikies”. Once in office, nothing was done.

Daily Meditation

Renewing the Mind

It is possible to have knowledge without having wisdom. It is not possible, however, to have wisdom without knowledge. Knowledge is a necessary precondition for wisdom. The practice of godliness demands that we know and understand what godliness requires.
The Christian life is a transformed life. The transformation of life comes about, as the apostle Paul declares, through the renewal of the mind. An understanding of the Word of God renews the mind. The Word of God expresses the mind of God to us.
Our minds are to be conformed to the mind of Christ. That conformity does not automatically or instantly occur with conversion. Our conversion by the power of the Holy Spirit is not the end of our learning process but the beginning. At conversion we enroll in the school of Christ. There is no graduation this side of heaven. It is a pilgrimage of lifelong education.
The pursuit of wisdom is the pursuit of the knowledge of God. In one sense, Socrates was right in his insistence that right conduct is right knowledge. This is not in the sense that correct knowledge guarantees right behavior, but in the sense that knowledge, when it grows to wisdom, leads into right behavior. Thus, philosophers can become philotheos, “lovers of God.”

Coram Deo

Renew your mind today by immersing it in God’s Word.

The Corruption of Power And Its Antidotes

Messy Republicanism Any Day

As we watch nations around the world descend into unimaginable horrors it gives reason to pause.  What a blessing and privilege it is to live in a country protected by the rule of law, on the one hand, and governance by limited state authorities, on the other.

A recent Weekly Guardian carried a front page story on the Congo.  The headlines read, "Congo Fears A New Civil War" and "Violence and political turmoil as people living in DRC are caught between rebel militias and lawless soldiers."  It profiles the case of a dying 22 year old rebel fighter:
Kapitu was wounded in a clash between his rebel group and a rival faction in December.  Even in the remote valleys and hills of the far east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the battle took place, few paid much attention.  Such scrappy, bloody confrontations have become an almost daily occurrence. . . . "I was just a foot soldier so I don't really know why we were fighting," he said.  "There are lots of reasons I think. . . . I don't think the wars here will ever stop.  They will probably only get worse."
This kind of lawlessness is widespread.  Couple that with tyrannical regimes which exercise cruel oppression over their own citizens--South Africa stripping farmers of their land, for example--and one is forced to concede that the world generally is a wicked place.  Law and order, exercised by a self-disciplined and constitutionally limited state, is a "luxury" not to be taken for granted.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Chinese Regime's Wickedness

The Persecution of the Uyghurs

The Editors
National Review Online

It is the secrecy that makes whatever is happening in Xinjiang so sinister. The silence of the Xi Jinping regime is broken only by euphemism, which raises suspicions that something epochal, horrible is going on. The population of 12 million Uyghurs seems cowed. The province is under martial rule. Anyone attracting attention is liable to wind up in — where, exactly? A concentration camp? A penal colony? Or, as the People’s Republic of China would have it, a “vocational training center”?

American officials estimate that 1 million Uyghurs have been incarcerated in these facilities, located in a province in northwest China named the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The XUAR, or alternatively, East Turkestan, is the historic home of a group of non-Chinese, ethnically Turkic Muslims called Uyghurs. Since the Qing dynasty reasserted control of the region in the 19th century, relations between the Uyghurs and the Chinese have been tumultuous. But the mass detention and “reeducation” of them, part of China’s ongoing effort to Sinicize the province, is a step down a dark and dangerous path.

The history of the Uyghurs in China is that of a restive minority generating fears among the Chinese majority that the fringe of their empire is pulling away, and the Chinese responding with brutal consolidation. Uyghurs tried to declare independence from the Republic of China multiple times before the Communists came to power; under Mao, there was no shortage of Red Guard violence bent on stamping out their religious practice. More recently the PRC encouraged Han Chinese to move to Xinjiang, hoping to dilute the Uyghur presence in the region. And it has exploited international fears of Islamic terrorism as a pretext to build an immense surveillance state that involves DNA collection, cell-phone monitoring, and the installment of facial-recognition software.

Now authorities are using this surveillance apparatus to round up and incarcerate Uyghurs suspected of dissident activity or excessive religiosity.

Daily Meditation

Forgiven for Jesus’ Sake

For your name's sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great. (Psalm 25:11)

John Piper

The righteousness of God is the infinite zeal and joy and pleasure that he has in what is supremely valuable, namely, his own perfection and worth. And if he were ever to act contrary to this eternal passion for his own perfections he would be unrighteous, he would be an idolater.

How shall such a righteous God ever set his affection on sinners like us who have scorned his perfections? But the wonder of the gospel is that in this divine righteousness lies also the very foundation of our salvation.

The infinite regard that the Father has for the Son makes it possible for me, a wicked sinner, to be loved and accepted in the Son, because in his death he vindicated the worth and glory of his Father.

Now I may pray with new understanding the prayer of the psalmist, “For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great” (Psalm 25:11). The new understanding is that Jesus has now atoned for sin and vindicated the Father’s honor so that our sins are forgiven “on account of his name” (1 John 2:12).

The Father’s infinite pleasure in his own perfections is the fountain of our everlasting joy. The fact that the pleasure of God in his Son is pleasure in himself is not vanity. It is the gospel

The Fruits of Liberal Social Ideology

We Reap What We Sow

Yesterday we blogged on a piece by Garth McVicar on crime and punishment.  McVicar went on to discuss what he believes is the most significant driver of criminality in New Zealand.  

We strongly endorse his argument.
I was born in 1951, a time when New Zealand's crime and prison numbers were incredibly low — in fact, the country was averaging one or two homicides a year until the early 1960s.  So what went wrong? How did one of the safest countries in the western world end up spiralling to a totally unacceptable level of crime? Why is it that even locking people up doesn't stop new criminals emerging? What is different about our country now that is creating this new breed of criminal?

The one common denominator that [Minister of Justice] Little and his colleagues won't dare talk about is the traditional family. I'm talking about a stable family unit — two parents and the children they bring into a loving, cherished relationship ... where the child grows up being taught right from wrong to become a law-abiding, contributing citizen.

The figures speak for themselves. In 1961, 95 per cent of children were born into a traditional family with married parents. By 2015 only 53 per cent of children were brought into the world by parents who were married.  A child that grows up without a father is five times more likely to commit crime.  The evidence shows more children are abused in de-facto-type households and a child who has been abused is 20 times more likely to end up in prison when an adult.

For Māori the figures are worse. In 1968, 72 per cent of Māori children were born to married parents. They had both a mother and a father as role models, just as the vast majority of Pacific Island children do today.  By 2015 only 21 per cent of Māori children were born into a traditional mother and father married-to-each-other family. The stark, staring fact is that the mantra "all forms of family or whānau are equal" is clearly absolute nonsense, and the statistics clearly prove that to be so.

The evidence is clear that a child needs a father who wants and loves them. This is the best way to raise a child to become a law-abiding, contributing member of society.  Little's justice summit won't dare say anything like that. They fear they might offend the left-wing liberals who have been at the forefront of breaking down the family unit.

These liberals would rather focus on the problem of prison numbers than face the reality of what their social ideology has created.  [NZ Herald]
• Garth McVicar is founder of the Sensible Sentencing Trust.
The causes of crime are a multi-headed hydra.  But we believe McVicar had identified the Big One.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Daily Meditation

Understanding Relationships

In the Bible, the supreme feminine image is ascribed to the church. Before the church is ever seen as mother, though, she is first revealed as a bride. In the Old Testament, the commonwealth of Israel is the bride of Yahweh. In the New Testament, the church is the bride of Christ.
The resulting familial imagery is somewhat strange. God is the Father; Christ is the Son. As the Son of God, Christ is then referred to as our Elder Brother. The church is His bride. In the language of family, this would then mean that the church is our sister-in-law. But no one speaks of holy sister-in-law church.
We, both men and women, are given the title “bride of Christ.” I am male, yet I am part of a body that is described in feminine terms. What is stranger is that the same entity that is called bride, of which I am a part, is regarded as my mother. I cannot be my own mother.
These images are not the result of a jumbled mass of nonsense or confusion. It is not a matter of nonsense to refer to the church as mother. Though we are born of the Spirit, it is chiefly within the cradle of the church where we are birthed into spiritual life. If the church is not our birthplace, it is surely our nursery. It is in her bosom that the means of grace are concentrated. The church nurtures us unto mature faith.

Coram Deo

Reflect on how God has used the church to birth you, nurture you, and mature your faith. Thank God for this divine process that is at work in you.

Passages for Further Study

Here We Go Again

Crime and Punishment

Garth McVicar has written an opinion piece in the NZ Herald on crime and prisons in New Zealand. 

The saying, "We reap what we sow", highlights the farming experience that if you don't work in partnership with nature, you get a dud crop. It comes to mind when I think about the latest twist in the crime and punishment debate; the number of people in prisons.  The focus on the product of crime, prisoners and victims, gives little attention to the root causes of the problem. That is to say, we are worried by what we're reaping and not enough by what we're sowing.

Minister of Justice Andrew Little wants to find ways to reduce the prison population. Essentially, this will be achieved by softening bail legislation and making parole easier to get.  The result will be more offenders on the streets. The streets will become more dangerous and public safety will suffer as a consequence.

The inconvenient truth about high prison rates is that crime has fallen. New Zealand's homicides peaked at 176 a year but have now declined to around 80 per year and are still falling.  As New Zealand locked up its criminals for longer, the terrible crimes that resulted in the formation of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, such as those against Teresa Cormack, Kylie Smith and Karla Cardno, have declined. But locking people up is a response to criminals, not the complete answer to preventing the creation of criminals.
Violent crime rates are dropping substantially in New Zealand.  Prison numbers are rising.  McVicar argues that there is a causal connection between these two hard statistical measures.  In other words, the reason violent crime statistics are reducing is due to violent offenders being kept longer in prison. 

The extremely liberal Labour Government finds this offensive.  Labour denies McVicar's causal link. Its position appears to be this: when it reduces prison numbers as it plans to do, it will have no effect on the incidence of violent crime in New Zealand.  Rather, Labour's position appears to be that reducing prison numbers will create a virtuous circle whereby reducing the number of people in prisons will actually reduce criminal offending in New Zealand. 

That is an extremely bold position to hold.  But there it is.  Labour in all its glory. 

Actually, in order to get to Labour's naive position, they have to add in a couple of suppressed, or hidden, premises.  Their whole case turns upon these not-so-often-talked-about beliefs.

Sexual Nimbyism

The Sexual Revolution Hits Another Speed Bump

Tim Challies

Well, it looks like the sexual revolution has hit another speed bump. As it continues its long press toward completely redefining all we’ve ever believed about gender and sexuality, it has encountered a pretty significant issue. This issue appears to prove that many people are expressing loyalty to the revolution outwardly while actually denying it with their deepest and truest desires. Let’s take a quick look, then consider some of the implications.

A recent study by two Canadian researchers attempts to “describe the demographic characteristics of individuals who are willing to consider a transgender individual as a potential dating partner.” The researchers wanted to know whether people discriminate against transgendered people when it comes to romantic or sexual interest. How would they know whether such discrimination exists? Well, according to the terms of the sexual revolution, if transgendered people are truly the gender they identify with, they should be romantically and sexually desirable to those who are attracted to that gender. Thus people who were born male but now identify as women should be sexually appealing to heterosexual men. They are, after all, really and truly women, right? People who were born female but now identify as men should be considered romantically appealing to heterosexual women since they are really and truly men. Similarly, people who were born female but now identify as men, should be appealing to homosexual men. Anything less than this is evidence of a kind of inconsistency between what people say they believe and what they are actually willing to practice.

So what did this study find?

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Crumbling Western Europe

Europe’s Lawless Streets And Prisons

Amsterdam is one of the most liberal cities in the West, with open and free drug laws and red-light districts. That has resulted in the city becoming a den of chaos.

Sumantra Maitra
The Federalist

A curious little piece of news came out in the French press, which was picked up by a few sources but largely ignored: Amsterdam’s top police officer has warned that city in the Netherlands is incapable of dealing with rising lawlessness.

Amsterdam is one of the most liberal cities in the West, with open and free drug laws and red-light districts. That has resulted in the city becoming a den of chaos. Tourists come from all over Europe to take advantage of lax drug and prostitution laws. Many don’t respect local police, nor care about local customs, hygiene, or safety.

European police, including those in Amsterdam, are so neutered they are not allowed to carry weapons or use force. This results in miscreants freely defecating or urinating in public, even on police cars. European police are also gender-neutral, which has resulted in comical footage of three or four officers trying to capture one strong male suspect.

Other footage of miscreants overpowering female police officers is less comical and more horrifying. In Paris recently, a female cop was sent by her superiors to tackle an African migrant gang. Again, the result was exactly what one might expect.

Violent crimes have increased. There are turf wars between drug gangs. Illegal taxis thrive, and street races are plenty. In the words of the officer, “the city centre becomes an urban jungle at night.” The officer added that the police are powerless to do anything.

Daily Meditation

Accepting Nurturing from the Church

Holy mother church”—historians are not certain who first said it. The statement has been attributed by some to Cyprian, by others to Augustine. The assertion has survived since the early centuries of Christian history—“Who does not have the church as his mother does not have God as his Father.” From its earliest days, the church was given the appellation “mother.”
The use of paternal and maternal language is an intriguing phenomenon in religion. We cannot deny the virtual universal tendency to seek ultimate consolation in some sort of divine maternity. We have all experienced the piercing poignancy that attends the plaintiff cry of a child who, in the midst of sobs, says, “I want my mommy.” Who of us, when we were children, did not utter these words? Among those who are parents, which of us has not heard these words?
The nurturing function of the church most clearly links it to the maternal image. It is in the church that we are given our spiritual food. We gain strength from the sacraments ministered to us. Through the Word we receive our consolation and the tears of broken hearts are wiped clean. When we are wounded, we go to the church for healing.

Coram Deo

Spend some time reflecting on the nurturing function of the church. Is this evident in your church fellowship?

The Fallacies of Circular Argument

Fundamentally Flawed

The Chinese version of totalitarianism flowered under Mao Zedong.  But, then, the poisonous consequences of totalitarianism started to bud and flower.  After his death, China appeared to want to "modernise" and move toward more liberal doctrines of the State and government.

Now, a Second Mao has emerged.  Xi Jinping has begun a purge and a crackdown upon Chinese churches and Christians. 
The Communist Party will retain absolute control over religious activities in China, wrote Beijing’s religion czar in a Communist Party journal this week, in the midst of talks with the Vatican to reestablish diplomatic relations.

“There is no affiliate relationship between our country’s religions and foreign religions,” wrote Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), in the latest issue of the bi-monthly journal Qiushi.  “Our country’s religious groups and religious matters do not accept domination by foreign forces,” he said.  [Breitbart News]
For the Chinese State there is no higher power or authority than the State.   This notion of course is profoundly circular.  Who says that there is no higher power or authority than the State?  Why, the Chinese State says it, of course.  And pray tell, on what authority can such a claim rest?  On the authority of the Chinese State, naturally.  By relying upon, and appealing to circular arguments, the Chinese government defames and disgraces itself.  It is an embarrassment.

The official communist party has pronounced that no party member must be a Christian--or a believer in any other religion, apart from a believer in the religion of Chinese Statism, or Chinese Marxism.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Oh Dear, Oh Dear, Oh Dear . . .

Prime Minister, Speaker Fumble Political Bombshells

Tracy Watkins

Unfinished business can be toxic in politics. Which is why Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern should have ripped off the plaster and stripped her beleaguered minister Clare Curran of all her portfolios, rather than allow her to limp on with her authority undermined.

Curran already had form for doing the very same thing she was demoted over: failing to be upfront about dealings with people related to her portfolios.  Ardern will keep facing questions about why she failed to cut her loose.

Speaker Trevor Mallard has also created a vacuum that would only be filled by conspiracy theories and unanswered questions.

Having announced a full-scale inquiry into "limogate" leaking of Opposition leader Simon Bridges's expenses just this week, he pulled the rug out from under it, creating bad blood between himself and National.

On any given day, either story would be huge.

Letter From the UK About Vanishing Acts

A policeman on patrol? 

You're more likely to see a wildebeest

Peter Hitchens
Daily Mail

Have you noticed how politicians, police chiefs and media have all stopped pretending that crime is falling? Even the supercilious academics who have sneered for years at real public concern about crime and disorder, tittering from their safe, secluded homes about ‘moral panic’, may eventually have to change their tune.

This is partly because of the exposure – which I helped to publicise – of the systematic fiddling of crime figures by the police. It is also partly because the police like to pretend that minor cuts in their enormous numbers have made crime more common – though how this can be when the police are almost entirely invisible I cannot tell. In the days of regular foot patrols, we had about half as many officers as we do now.

But there’s another reason. You can hide and fiddle the truth about many types of crime. But you can’t keep stabbing and murder secret in any remotely free society.

The authorities long ago gave up doing anything serious about shoplifting, public drunkenness and disorder, vandalism, bike theft, car theft, robbery and burglary. They just stick up notices telling you that these things are your own fault.

The authorities long ago gave up doing anything serious about shoplifting, public drunkenness and disorder, vandalism, bike theft, car theft, robbery and burglary

The authorities long ago gave up doing anything serious about shoplifting, public drunkenness and disorder, vandalism, bike theft, car theft, robbery and burglary

They now publicly admit they cannot be bothered to pursue anyone for possessing illegal drugs, even though this offence is at the root of so much other crime. Indeed, they boast about it, as if this laziness and defeatism, a mutinous refusal to do the job we pay them for, were somehow enlightened. They pretend that their inaction will free them to tackle other crimes. It never does.

The Worst Is Yet To Come

A God-Inflicted Blindness

The Bible speaks of a judicial blindness that falls upon cultures and communities that deliberately rebel against God's Law. 

Here is the text of the Biblical indictment that falls upon those cultures or jurisdictions which self-consciously lift the high hand against God:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. . . . Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;  and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.  And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. . . .   [Romans 1:18--31]
The West is going through just such a self-inflicted death, resulting from a divine, judicial curse.  God has given the West up to a "debased mind".  Here is an example now unfolding in the UK:

Saturday, 25 August 2018

An Excellent Piece on the Government School System

Teachers' Pay Reflects the Way They Bargain

John Roughan
NZ Herald

My granddaughter is in Year 2 at her nearest primary school and loving it. For that I thank her teachers. They work hard to make schools happy, lively, friendly, healthy and stimulating for all children. But teachers will never be paid what they deserve until they organise themselves professionally.

I'm not talking about primitive industrial tactics and pathetic placards in the streets, though those are bad enough. I don't know whether my granddaughter knew why we were looking after her on Wednesday. If she did, she didn't mention it, for which I was grateful.

How do you reinforce their respect for teachers who want more pay and have refused to work that day to show how angry they are? Children understand that is what a child would do but not adults in their experience. They are too young to understand that the reason teachers are not well paid is that they adhere to bargaining structures designed to protect the weakest in their ranks rather than sell their best work at its market value.

This is teachers' choice and they are proud of it.

Daily Meditation

Giving Meaning to Life

The broad question that the writer of Ecclesiastes seeks to answer is, “Is there any meaning to the time that I spend in this world?” We put on a man’s tombstone that he was born on a certain date and that he died on a certain date. Between these two poles of time we live our lives. The basic question is, “Does my life have meaning?”
A common refrain echoed in Ecclesiastes is that there is futility, vanity, and “nothing new under the sun.” If our lives begin under the sun as a cosmic accident, a result of random collisions and mutations of inert matter, and if our ultimate destiny is to return to the dust that bore us, there can be no purpose.
When we cease to look “under the sun” and seek our destiny “under heaven,” we find our purpose. Our origin was not in the primordial soup but in the very hands of God, who shaped us and breathed life into us. Our destiny is not to return to dust, but to give honor and praise to God forever. Under heaven we find purpose. If we have God as our origin and as our destiny, between those poles there is purpose and meaning.
The writer answers the question with a resounding “Yes!” There is a reason for our lives. There is a reason for our suffering and a reason for our pain. There is also a reason for our joy.

Coram Deo

Are you living your life “under the sun” or “under heaven?” Have you found true purpose and meaning to life?

A Revolution is What's Needed

The Uncommon Herd

Fabian Socialism (aka Totalitarian Communism by stealth) proceeds on the assumption that the state and its agencies know what's best for us.

Compulsory government schools, for example, exist because they are built on the assumption, the febrile assertion that the State and its bureaucracies know what ordinary parents don't.  The state knows how to educate our children far, far better than we ever do or would.  And that ruling assumption, dear reader, is why New Zealand's education standards are dropping, illiteracy is rising, and absenteeism from schools is rampant.  Actually, in one sense, the state's claim to competence has a grain of ironic truth in it: the State knows how to educate to irrelevance and ignorance much more competently than, say Maori iwi in Rotorua, who have had the temerity to set up a Charter School for their children, only to have the Government forcibly shut it down.

Another example of "We Know What's Best For You" is the state broadcasting organs.  If ever there were a state administration that is an absolute failure on just about every conceivable measure it is the state broadcasting agency--NZ On Air.  As long as two people put their hands up to say they enjoyed a particular gummint programme, the statists swell with pride and claim the "public" has voted with their eyeballs, justifying the millions upon millions spent on puffed up cotton wool.

Broadcaster Mike Hoskings pokes the borax:

Friday, 24 August 2018

National Review's Editorial on the US Roman Catholic Church

Cleanse the Temple

By The Editors
National Review Online

The Catholic Church in America is going through another season of scandal. Earlier this summer, the powerful retired archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick, was removed from the College of Cardinals after credible reports that he had sexually molested the first boy he ever baptized. Accompanying stories also revealed a culture in the Church in which many knew of McCarrick’s reputation for sexually preying on seminarians. Yet his rise in the Church and his influence were never impeded, not even after the Church made court settlements with his victims.

Now comes the Pennsylvania grand-jury report, which has unearthed decades of sexual abuse and cover-up in six Catholic dioceses in that state. The details of crimes by priests are stomach-churning. And the feeble response of their bishops, shuffling abusers from one assignment to the next, or trying to delay investigations until the statute of limitations passed, is utterly demoralizing.

Daily Meditation

Pleased to Praise

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! (Psalm 67:3, 5)

John Piper

Why does God demand we must praise God?

C.S. Lewis: 
Just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?”

The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about. My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value.

I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.

There is the solution! We praise what we enjoy because the delight is incomplete until it is expressed in praise. If we were not allowed to speak of what we value and celebrate what we love and praise what we admire, our joy could not be full.

So if God loves us enough to make our joy full, he must not only give us himself; he must also win from us the praise of our hearts — not because he needs to shore up some weakness in himself or compensate for some deficiency, but because he loves us and seeks the fullness of our joy that can be found only in knowing and praising him, the most magnificent of all beings.

If he is truly for us, he must be for himself! God is the one Being in all the universe for whom seeking his own praise is the ultimately loving act. For him, self-exaltation is the highest virtue. When he does all things “for the praise of his glory,” he preserves for us and offers to us the only thing in all the world that can satisfy our longings.

God is for us! And the foundation of this love is that God has been, is now, and always will be for himself.


Massey University Academics Defend Free Speech Rights

Massey University is attempting to wash off the anti-free speech excrement smeared all over its campuses.  At least some of its faculty are valiantly attempting to do so.

The Vice Chancellor of Massey, Professor Jan Thomas recently squelched free speech on the Palmerston North Massey campus.  Former leader of the National Party, Don Brash was invited to speak at a campus meeting, only to have Thomas dis-invite him (otherwise known as "de-platforming").  Her reason--an alleged threat to public peace and order made by those opposing his presence.

Professor Thomas was ambiguous on the cancellation and its reasons.  She claimed some had threatened harm to someone if Don Brash spoke.  She said the police had not been notified despite a (prima facie) breach of the law.  She then added insult to injury and went on publicly to criticize Don Brash, his views and opinions, as if that were a justification for shutting down his free speech rights at Massey University.

Several staff at Massey University have spoken out against the "de-platforming" censorship by the Vice Chancellor.  We applaud them.  Here is one such contribution--written and published on Massey University letterhead, which (we believe) speaks volumes on the depth and extent of the disgust and rejection of the Vice Chancellor's illiberal, oppressive act.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Is Planet Earth Round?

Are New Zealand's Universities Too Left Wing?

Alex Davies

The recent controversy surrounding Don Brash's banning by Massey University has opened the lid on deep bias within universities, both in New Zealand and offshore.

As any number of graduation speeches tell you, the purpose of a university education is to “open minds”, “search for truth” and inspire students to think broadly and freely. In the “knowledge economy” we turn to academia for what we assume is scientifically rigorous, evidentially based, objective and unbiased knowledge about the world and how to solve its many and varied problems.

Except of course that’s not actually the case. Six decades of research from the United States clearly demonstrate that universities and academics are frequently heavily biased and skew overwhelmingly to the political left.

In the 1955 (ironically out of concern that right wing McCarthyism was negatively impacting academic freedom), Paul Lazarsfeld led the first systematic attempt to poll academic political leanings. Lazarsfeld surveyed 2,451 social science professors. He found they leaned left (liberal) to right (conservative) by a factor of 2 to 1.

In 1969 the hugely influential American sociologist Seymour Lipset surveyed over 60,000 academics in multiple fields about their political views and found that almost half of professors identified as liberal, while only a quarter identified as conservative. Follow up studies in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s showed an intensifying swing to the left. This trend took a sharp turn further left in the 2000’s. Research from this period found that barely 12 per cent of American university professors identified as Republican (right wing).

Drilling down to the disciplines within universities the results were even more concerning. Researchers at George Mason University examined six fields: anthropology, economics, history, philosophy, political science and sociology. Within these fields professors supported left-wing candidates to right wing candidates by an average of 15 to 1. In anthropology and sociology this skew to the left increased to almost 30 to 1.

Interestingly in the more empirical field of economics this skew dropped to “merely” 3 to 1 to the left. A federal study of political donations by academics found that of those who donated to politicians, 99 per cent (literally) donated to Democrat (left) candidates.

What is particularly concerning is the extremist nature of left wing academic bias. In 2012 UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute found that while barely 0.4 per cent of academics held “far right” views, over 30 times that number (12.4 per cent) held “far left” views.

Based on a variety of studies, the best evidence suggests that fewer than 1 in 10 professors hold conservative political, social, moral or economic views.

Regrettably there is virtually no research on this issue in New Zealand.

Daily Meditation

Looking through the Mirror

When Paul declared the mysterious and breathtaking promise that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8: 28), he was musing in teleology. He was dealing with the realm of the remote rather than the proximate. This suggests that the proximate must be judged in light of the remote.
Our problem is this: We do not yet possess the full light of the remote. We are still looking in a dark mirror. We are not utterly devoid of light, though. We have enough light to know that God has a good purpose even when we are ignorant of that good purpose.
It is the good purpose of God that gives the final answer to the appearance of vanity and futility in this world. To trust in the good purpose of God is the very essence of godly faith. This is why no Christian can be an ultimate pessimist.
The world in which we live is not a world of chance. Its beginning was not an accident, its operation is not an accident, and its telos, or goal, is not an accident. This is my Father’s world and He rules it without caprice. As long as God exists, vanity is a manifest impossibility.

Coram Deo

Spend some time reflecting on the goodness of God. In what specific ways is His goodness being manifested to you right now?

Passages for Further Study

Poking the Borax

What!  That's Not On

There is talk of a female only taxi service about to be launched in Auckland.  Here is the skinny:

Women-only ride-sharing coming to NZ with launch of DriveHer app

Brittany Keogh
Uber is getting a new competitor when an Auckland law student launches a female-only ride sharing service later this year.

An Auckland law student is starting a female-only ride-sharing service, believed to be the first of its kind in New Zealand.  DriveHer is similar to Uber, where users can hail a car using a cellphone app. The difference is its drivers - and riders - must be women.

DriveHer founder Joel Rushton, 23, told Stuff he often worried about his partner's safety when she caught taxis home late at night when they were living in Melbourne and was inspired to start the business after learning about a women-only ride-sharing service in Australia called Shebah.
So far, so good.  But, let's just run with this a bit.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

A Roman Catholic Convert Expresses Dismay and Anger

The Vatican’s Pathetic Statement About ‘Shame and Sorrow’

John Nolte
Breitbart News

The Vatican released a statement expressing “shame and sorrow” Thursday about the hundreds of predator priests uncovered in Pennsylvania. This statement comes after two days of silence and offers no quote from Pope Francis.

“There are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow,” the statement reads. “The Holy See treats with great seriousness the work of the Investigating Grand Jury of Pennsylvania… The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors.”

“Victims should know that the Pope is on their side. Those who have suffered are his priority, and the Church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent.”

In the middle of these platitudes, comes this: “By finding almost no cases after 2002, the Grand Jury’s conclusions are consistent with previous studies showing that Catholic Church reforms in the United States drastically reduced the incidence of clergy child abuse.”

This is what stood out to me… “Almost no cases after 2002.”

We are talking about the kind of sexual abuse against children that would make Harvey Weinstein blush and the Church is using the words “almost no” in its defense.

Let’s read that another way…