Turkey and NATO—the End of the Line” Caroline Glick

In her column titled “Turkey and NATO—the End of the Line,” Caroline Glick began by saying that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s optimism about Turkey’s commitment to the alliance is misplaced.

Then she documented Turkey’s track record:
For nearly 14 years, since his AKP party first won the national elections in late 2002, Erdoğan and his followers have made clear that they are ideologically—and therefore permanently—hostile to the West. … Ever since then, Erdoğan has paid lip service, and even assisted NATO and the EU from time to time, when it served his momentary interests to do so. But the consistent trend of his behavior has been negative. … Erdoğan was the first major leader to embrace Hamas after its electoral victory in the 2006 elections. … During Hezbollah’s 2006 war against Israel, Turkey was caught red handed as it allowed Iran to move weapons systems to Hezbollah through Turkish territory. Erdoğan has turned a blind eye to al Qaeda. And he has permitted [the Islamic State] to use Turkey as its logistical base, economic headquarters and recruitment center. Earlier this year the State Department claimed that all of the 25,000 foreign recruits to [the Islamic State] have entered Syria through Turkey. …

Posted in Dictatorship, Foreign Policy, Islam, Muslim, News and politics, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Terrorism Spills Blood on the Streets of Germany

Terrorism Spills Blood on the Streets of Germany

In the recent days, Germany has suffered four bloody attacks by men of Middle Eastern origins. The violence has shaken Germany and all of Europe, with many blaming refugee policies that allow terrorists to infiltrate the Continent. Here’s a rundown of the recent attacks:

  • July 18—A 17-year-old Afghan refugee wounded four people on a train in Würzburg and a fifth outside the train before being killed by police. The Islamic State claimed responsibility.
  • July 22—An 18-year-old German-Iranian killed nine at a shopping center in Munich and injured 35 more, before turning his gun on himself. He had previously been in psychiatric care, but officials are still considering all possible motivations.

July 24—A 21-year-old Syrian asylum seeker used a machete to kill a pregnant woman and injure two others in Reutlingen.

  • July 24—A 27-year-old Syrian man detonated an explosive device outside a concert in Ansbach, injuring 15 and killing himself. He had previously sworn allegiance to the Islamic State.

Even when a terrorist attack fails to kill many people, it succeeds in its goal of instilling terror and uncertainty.

Germany is a nation on edge, with many waiting and wondering where and when the next attack might be. This fear and the failed refugee policy are destroying the trust between the government and the public.

What happens when the majority of Germans realize that their leaders have green-lighted policies that endanger them?

What happens when the majority of Germans lose confidence and trust in mainstream leaders? Frustrated and angry, the German people, as any people would, will seek an individual, a political party, willing to heed their concerns and solve Germany’s migrant crisis. This trend is already evident in the dramatic rise of pegida and the AfD, a right-wing political party whose popularity is at all-time highs. Many of the Germans becoming disillusioned with mainstream politics and turning to these groups are not hardcore neo-Nazis. They don’t want to persecute the migrants or see them imprisoned, beaten up or killed. They are not extremists seeking genocide. They are regular, sound-thinking, rational people, many of whom have terrific empathy for those suffering in Syria and elsewhere. These people are simply concerned about the impact millions of migrants will have on their nation, its institutions, its infrastructure, its economy, its culture and on the German people.

They are concerned about Germany’s future. But Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government refuses to give serious attention to these concerns and refuses to tell the truth about the impact the migrants are having and will have on the nation.

If she continues to do this, Germany’s chancellor risks helping transform the German people—and Germany itself—into something very different and much more frightening than the democratic, peaceful, friendly nation we see today.

The Merkel government’s handling of this situation is turning the German people into a ticking time bomb! The more disillusioned, frustrated and angry the German people become, the more vulnerable they will be to radical politics and radical leaders with radical solutions.

Don’t be deceived by the images of Germans embracing the migrants or Germany’s chancellor making the cover of Time magazine as its “Person of the Year.” All is not well in Germany. Growing numbers of people are becoming unhappier by the month, not just with the migrants, but with Chancellor Merkel and her pro-migrant friends in the government and the media.

 

Watch for a Change

Common sense alone tells us an explosion is coming. But the Bible specifically warns us what will be the result: a radical change in German leadership.

The book of Daniel is written specifically for the “time of the end” (Daniel 8:17; 12:4, 9). In passage after passage, it talks about a powerful leader who will shake the world. He will be the “king of the north” (Daniel 11:40), ruling over a united European power. Most likely he will be the leader of Germany, which controls the rest of the European Union.

What type of man is this new leader? The Bible says that “the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god” (verse 36).

He will be a “king of fierce countenance” (Daniel 8:23).

He is assertive, aggressive and ambitious. He is a strong leader!

This leader shall come “understanding dark sentences” (verse 23)—or, as Clarke’s Commentary puts it, he is “very learned and skillful in all things relating to government and its intrigues.”

He is also very different from Germany’s current leader.

Angela Merkel has been one of the most popular and successful postwar German chancellors. During 2013, 2014 and the first half of 2015, her approval level generally hovered around 70 percent. She has been exactly the leader Germans have wanted. For Germans to desire this new stronger leader, there will have to be some big changes. This means more than simply being fed up with Ms. Merkel. They will begin desiring some radically different characteristics in their leader.

Daniel 11 says that this strongman comes into power through “flatteries” (verse 21). The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary says that “the nation shall not, by a public act, confer the kingdom on him, but he shall obtain it by artifice, ‘flattering.’” Daniel’s prophecy also says that the people “shall not give the honour of the kingdom” to this person. All this indicates that he may not come to power through normal democratic processes.

By autumn 2015, Ms. Merkel’s approval ratings had dropped to just under 50 percent. By itself, that’s not terrible, but it’s a huge drop in a very short time.

The migrant crisis is creating a desire for a strong leader.

The irony is, this change in attitude is exactly what Ms. Merkel, the police and the liberal media want to avoid. Jörg Luyken noted in the Local, “Newsrooms are at one and the same time scared of appearing racist and terrified of stirring up a latent racism they believe still exists in German society” (January 5). Nigel Jones made the same point in the Telegraph. Since the copyright of Mein Kampf expired in January, German officials have worked hard to keep the book out of people’s hands. Anyone publishing the unedited original faces prosecution on hate crime laws. Instead, only a heavily annotated 2,000-page version is available. “

It [is] as if Germany’s rulers do not trust their own people with the ability to handle uncomfortable truths,” wrote Jones. “Whether those truths are the poisonous doctrines that once entranced the nation and led to the Holocaust and the devastation of Europe in the Second World War, or the more immediately dismaying reality that parts of German cities are no longer safe for German women to walk in because of their own government’s policies, the instinct to suppress the truth remains the same” (January 12).

Ms. Merkel and those like her see the capacity for this transformation in the German people. That is why all the cover-ups have occurred in the first place. But in trying to suppress the truth, they’re undermining Germans’ confidence in just about every part of their government, creating an even bigger backlash, and paving the way for their own destruction.

Posted in Death of a Nation, Death of Western Culture, Foreign Policy, Islam, Muslim, News and politics, Politics, Society at Risk, Western Civilization | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Why the Definition of Marriage Matters, by Dr. Jim Eckman

Why the Definition of Marriage Matters

Apr 4th, 2015 | By | Category: Culture & Wordview, Featured Issues

marriage331On 17 March 2015, the Presbyterian Church (USA) [PCUSA] voted to change the definition of marriage within the PCUSA constitution to include same-sex marriage. The language of the constitution was changed from “a man and a woman” to “two people, traditionally a man and a woman.” The PCUSA thus joins other denominations/religious associations that permit their clergy to perform same-sex marriages: the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the Quakers, and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Churches, and both Reform and Conservative Judaism. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America permits individual ministers to decide for themselves whether they will perform same-sex marriages. Obviously, those within the theologically liberal wing of Protestantism as well as those within the theologically liberal wing of Judaism no longer take seriously the words of Scripture when it comes to marriage. How should we think about this incredibly rapid accommodation to the shifting winds of cultural change within Western Civilization?

I cannot resist the biting, but accurate comments in the minority Supreme Court opinion in United States v. Windsor(2013), written by Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justice Scalia. Roberts and Scalia both acknowledged how the majority opinion of the Court was painting supporters of marriage as it has been defined for millennia as “bigots” who sought to “demean,” “disparage,” “humiliate,” and “injure” same-sex couples. Thus, in a sweeping decision, the Supreme Court of the United States redefined “an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence—indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history,” while simultaneously defining proponents of traditional marriage as “enemies of the human race” [Quoted in Counter Cultureby David Platt, pp. 132-133].

That the Supreme Court of the United States should turn its back on millennia of teaching and practice about marriage is perhaps understandable. Long ago the Court and much of law gave up the proposition that there are absolute, unchangeable dimensions to law. But that the PCUSA has done so is absolutely stunning!! It is turning its back on God’s Word, on the Reformation and on the sound doctrine of genuine, biblical Christianity.

What follows is an outline of what the Bible teaches about marriage, its sacredness and its purpose. It is in outline form because I taught this material at my church, where, in my retirement, I serve a part-time teaching role.

The Foundation of Marriage: God’s Creation Ordinance, Genesis 1:26-27; 2:18-25

I. God created the human body and gender as a dimension of being in His image (Gen. 1:26-27)—“male and female He created them.”

  • Gender is a specific, intentional feature of God’s creation.
  • Two complementary sexes (male and female) is the first mentioned fact in connection with the “image of God” concept.
  • In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus cites Genesis 1:27 as the normal pattern for marriage that God expects.
  • The Apostle Paul also cites Genesis 1:27 as the norm in Romans 1:23-27. 
  • The Creation Ordinance and both Jesus and Paul’s citation of this Ordinance strongly imply sexual intercourse as a bond between a man and a woman brought together in a “one-flesh” union. 

II. God created woman as a complement to man in the marriage bond, Genesis 2:18-24

  • The importance of the term “helper” (‘ezer), which means she adds strength to the areas where the man is weak—and vice versa.
  • The result is a complementary union of two different human beings (“male and female He created them”), each with unique physical, emotional, and psychological characteristics. The result is a marriage bond in which both are stronger and more capable of serving God together in their integrity.

III. The One-Flesh Principle, Genesis 2:24

  • Genesis 2:22-24 connects the creation of Eve from a part of Adam’s body with the one-flesh sexual union between a man and a woman in marriage. Note the important term “therefore” in v. 24. It is the union of two constituent parts—male and female— into a sexual whole.
  • Jesus stresses this connection between the two different sexes—“male and female”—when He addresses marriage in Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-8.
  • The logic of sexual intercourse requires a sexual complement. The male is incomplete without the female and the female is incomplete without the male.

IV. God performed the first marriage 

  • The result is Genesis 2:25—there is no shame, no self-centeredness or selfishness; only total innocence and other-centeredness. This is God’s ideal and His goal.

Concluding Assumptions about Marriage from Scripture:

  1. Marriage is the fundamental institution God created for organized civilization. It is tied to His creation and His purpose for the human race as His image-bears who have dominion authority over His world.
  1. Marriage is monogamous and heterosexual, and, from Jesus’ perspective, permanent—“what God has joined together, let no man separate”, Matthew 19:6.
  1. Marriage is a commitment before God, regarded in Malachi 2:14 as a “covenant” commitment over which God stands as a “witness.” Indeed, Jesus states in Matthew 19:6 that “God has joined together” this union. The man and the woman have a new status before the Lord—they are husband and wife together.
  1. It is therefore logical to assume that some kind of public commitment is a necessary part of marriage. Society must regard the man and the woman as a couple, now bound together; they are no longer single. Therefore, sexual intercourse alone does not constitute a marriage. Cohabitation alone doesnot constitute a marriage. There must be some kind of public commitment recognized by God and by the community.
  1. Marriage is a metaphor, an archetype of the covenantal relationship between Jesus Christ and His church—see Ephesians 5:32. Our goal should thus be to build Ephesians 5:32 marriages.
Posted in Biblical Worldview, Breakdown of Marriage, Breakdown of the Family, Children at Risk, Christianity, Cultural Barometer, Death of a Nation, Death of Western Culture, Dr. James P. Eckman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daniel Patrick Moynihan: A Prophet about the Family by Dr Jim Eckman

Daniel Patrick Moynihan: A Prophet about the Family

Mar 28th, 2015 | By | Category: Culture & Wordview, Featured Issues

moynihanFifty years ago (1965), Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a sociologist, Assistant Secretary of Labor, and later one of the most important U.S. Senators of the 20th century, wrote a controversial but prescient report on the importance of the family for African-American children: The Negro Family: The Case For National Action (aka the Moynihan Report). It focused on the deep roots of black poverty in America and concluded controversially that the relative absence of nuclear families would greatly hinder further progress toward economic and political equality.

Moynihan argued that the rise in single-mother families was not due to a lack of jobs but rather to a destructive vein in ghetto culture that could be traced back to slavery and Jim Crow discrimination. As he wrote later, “The work began in the most orthodox setting, the U.S. Department of Labor, to establish at some level of statistical conciseness what ‘everyone knew’: that economic conditions determine social conditions. Whereupon, it turned out that what everyone knew was evidently not so.” Here are a few salient excerpts from the report:

“The United States is approaching a new crisis in race relations. In the decade that began with the school desegregation decision of the Supreme Court [1954], and ended with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the demand of Negro Americans for full recognition of their civil rights was finally met. . . .

. . . [But] three centuries of sometimes unimaginable mistreatment have taken their toll on the Negro people. The harsh fact is that as a group, at the present time, in terms of ability to win out in the competitions of American life, they are not equal to most of those groups with which they will be competing. Individually, Negro Americans reach the highest peaks of achievement. But collectively, in the spectrum of American ethnic and religious and regional groups, where some get plenty and some get none, where some send eighty percent of their children to college and others pull them out of school at the 8th grade, Negroes are among the weakest.

The most difficult fact for white Americans to understand is that in these terms the circumstances of the Negro American community in recent years has probably been getting worse, not better. Indices of dollars of income, standards of living, and years of education deceive. The gap between the Negro and most other groups in American society is widening.

The fundamental problem, in which this is most clearly the case, is that of family structure. The evidence — not final, but powerfully persuasive — is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling. A middle class group has managed to save itself, but for vast numbers of the unskilled, poorly educated city working class the fabric of conventional social relationships has all but disintegrated. There are indications that the situation may have been arrested in the past few years, but the general post war trend is unmistakable. So long as this situation persists, the cycle of poverty and disadvantage will continue to repeat itself.

The thesis of this paper is that these events, in combination, confront the nation with a new kind of problem. Measures that have worked in the past, or would work for most groups in the present, will not work here. A national effort is required that will give a unity of purpose to the many activities of the Federal government in this area, directed to a new kind of national goal: the establishment of a stable Negro family structure.”

Why is this still an important report fifty years later? Liberals at that time typically blasted the report as unfair and not helpful. But the truth is that the liberals were (and are) terribly unfair and biased when it came to Moynihan’s report. Moynihan cited slavery, discrimination and “three centuries of injustice” as the causes of black family disintegration. Who could argue with that conclusion? In fact, since Moynihan’s report, scholars have avoided studying the relationship between family structure and poverty, which seems absurd to me. Although Dan Quayle was ridiculed for arguing the same thing as Moynihan, it was William Julius Wilson who praised Moynihan and finally began serious research on the connection between family structure and poverty. As columnist Nicholas Kristof has recently shown, in 2013, 71% of black children were born to an unwed mother, as were 53% of Hispanic children and 36% of white children. Single parenthood is the new norm. Indeed, Sara McLanahan of Princeton and Christopher Jencks of Harvard write: “A father’s absence increases antisocial behavior, such as aggression, rule-breaking, delinquency and illegal drug use.” These effects are greater for boys than girls. It is time for Americans—liberals included—to acknowledge the role of the family—and the importance of the nuclear family— in fighting poverty, “as the primary transmitter of the social capital essential for self-reliance and betterment and as the primary indicator of social outcomes” (George Will).

Recently, famed sociologist Robert D. Putnam has added to our understanding of this social pathology with his new book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. Inequality within American society, he argues, has profound consequences on children and is rooted in various interrelated trends: family instability, community dysfunction and the collapse of the blue-collar economy. As columnist Michael Gerson demonstrates, Putnam’s case-study approach in his book reveals something important: Children experience these broad social trends mainly as “the absence of committed, trustworthy adults in their lives.” One boy, David, is on probation and stated: “I never really had around-the-table-family dinners at all, so I never got to miss it.” Sophia writes of her mother: “The day after my ninth birthday, she was arrested down the street from here for prostitution. And she never came to see me. She was so close, [but] she chose prostitution and drugs over me.” Throughout Putnam’s books children consistently describe their lives as one of neglect, isolation, loneliness and broken trust. In addition, poor children live in neighborhoods and go to schools that reinforce this dysfunction—“atomized, indifferent, drug-ridden and violent.” Putnam sees a symbiotic relationship between family instability and poverty: “Poverty produces family instability, and family instability in turn produces poverty.” If America is ever going to change this dismal situation it must reinforce the conviction that there really are no substitutes for stable families, functioning communities and a working blue-collar economy. As a culture, we seem to be ignoring the obvious, something which God declared from the beginning (see Genesis 2).

Posted in Biblical Worldview, Breakdown of the Family, Children at Risk, Christianity, Conservatism, Cultural Barometer, Death of Western Culture, Dr. James P. Eckman, Government is Too Large, Liberalism, Not Following God's Plan, Political Correctness, Politics, Postmodernism, Progressives, Shrink the Size of Government, Socialism, Society at Risk, Strip Agencies of Power, welfare state | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

America: The Secular, Postmodern, Post-Christian Triumph, by Dr. Jim Eckman

 

atheism321Genuine, biblical Christianity is colliding with an increasingly militant secularism in western civilization. In fact, western secularism is uncomfortable with religious convictions of any kind. Christianity has always been an integral part of western civilization—but no longer. Hence, secularists tend to lump together Christianity, Islam (in all its varieties), Judaism—indeed all faiths that claim something absolute. Several bizarre developments illustrate this trend toward militant secularism, which dismisses all religious convictions:

  • One of the most phenomenally successful books of the last few years is Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, the story of Louis Zamperini. Zamperini’s story is compelling: His B-24 Liberator bomber crashed into the Pacific in 1943, which led to him drifting for 47 days on a life raft. Captured then by the Japanese, he spent two unimaginable years in a Japanese prison camp. The bitterness and hatred he felt are well-documented in Hillenbrand’s book. His life after the war was characterized by nightmares, alcoholism and severe psychological problems. He obsessed with getting even with the Japanese; indeed, a desire for revenge overwhelmed every aspect of his life. In 1949, his wife talked him into attending revival meetings led by Billy Graham in Los Angeles. The second night of the crusade, Zamperini placed his trust in Jesus Christ. In the words of historian Grant Wacker, “He tossed out booze and cigarettes and embraced a lifetime of self-less Christian service, including a trip to Japan to forgive his [Japanese] tormentors. Though Ms. Hillenbrand recounts Zamperini’s conversion, she doesn’t say much about how it influenced the rest of his life. In the movie ‘Unbroken,’ Billy Graham goes unmentioned, and Zamperini’s redemption narrative is largely reduced to a few cards flashed before the closing credits. Yet Zamperini himself believed that the religious event was the pivotal moment of his long journey.” Zamperini stated in many different forums that Graham’s “message . . . caused me to turn my life around.” Why did Angelina Jolie’s film adaptation of Hillenbrand’s book mysteriously omit coverage of this decisive, life-changing moment in Zamperini’s life? It was the pivotal divide that explained the radical transformation of Louis Zamperini from a man plagued with bitterness and anger to a liberated life of service, freedom from addictive substances and mental stability. It is intellectually dishonest to avoid such a decisive part of Zamperini’s story. I do not know Angelina Jolie’s motives in doing so, but it seems reasonable to conclude that it betrays an anti-faith bias that permeates our Postmodern, post-Christian, autonomous culture.
  • Second, Mary Eberstadt, senior fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., has recently written on “the question of secularization—or how it is that societies that were once markedly religious become less so, particularly the societies of what’s known as Western Civilization—has been much studied in modern times. Urbanization, rationalism, higher education, industrialization, and feminism: these are just some of the possible causal agents debated by sociologists when they try to figure out why some people stop going to church.” Eberstadt gives singular focus to one profound cause of the growth of secularization—“the new intolerance” on campuses across the Western world. She writes: “‘The new intolerance’ is shorthand for the chilled public atmosphere in which religious believers operate. Many people of faith face unique burdens that would have been unthinkable even a couple of decades ago; burdens of ostracism, of losing the good opinion of their neighbors, of being trash-talked in the public square. Some even face the loss of livelihood or the constant threat and reality of litigation.” The typical campus today in the West is ground zero for the “new intolerance.” Eberstadt cites several examples: (1) A November 2014 scheduled debate at Christ Church College, Oxford, on whether the “abortion culture” hurts Great Britain was canceled because of last-minute “concerns” on the part of the college. A feminist campus group threatened disruptive protests vehement enough to frighten the authorities. (2) This past spring of 2014, a number of prominent commencement addresses were rescinded or the speakers backed down because of protests over them speaking (e.g., Condoleezza Rice). Eberstadt argues that “the same forces that are intimidating the intellectual expression of students can also be expected to intimidate their religious expression.” She concludes that “It’s time to air the idea that college students do not stay out of church or synagogue because their education leads them to enlightened conclusions about the big questions. No, the more likely dynamic is that thanks to the new intolerance, the social and other costs of being a known believer in the public square mount by the year—and students take note. Hence intimidation on the quad, multiplied over many years and campus, is an unseen engine of secularization.”
  • Third are the fall 2014 actions of Houston’s mayor, Annise Parker. Mayor Parker proposed a change in Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which was to include a rule that “no business open to the public could deny a transgender person entry to the restroom consistent with his or her gender identity.” Initially, she sought copies of all sermons from local pastors who opposed this change in the HERO. Specifically, the subpoena read: “. . . all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession . . .” That such a subpoena is draconian is self-evident! That it is a violation of religious liberty is also clear. One would expect something like this in secular Europe or even the old USSR or present-day Communist China. But the United States!? The secular, Postmodern, post-Christian, autonomous culture in which we live is producing such subpoenas because the “new intolerance” is winning the battle; at least for now. Thankfully, the subpoenas were revised and then basically dropped. But, if the first openly gay mayor of a major city—Houston—can attempt such thuggery, it will not be the last.

The seeming triumph of secularism in this Postmodern culture is actually a catastrophe. In terms of ethical standards, secularism is firmly anchored in mid-air. Because the secular, Postmodern, post-Christian, autonomous worldview rejects all outside sources of moral authority, secularism must construct its own moral authority. The result is often, “every man doing what is right in his own eyes.” It becomes moral/ethical anarchy, which results in a “new intolerance” that becomes increasingly antagonistic to those who argue for an absolute framework for ethical authority. This is what is now occurring in American culture. One final thought: The foundation of this Postmodern, post-Christian, autonomous worldview is the 18th century Enlightenment. One of the foundational arguments of the Enlightenment was that autonomous, rational individuals could reason his/her way to virtue. Anyone who still believes that proposition is being intellectually dishonest. The 20th century—with two World Wars, the Holocaust and the butchery of atheistic communism—proved that rationalism alone cannot produce virtue.

But genuine, biblical Christianity does produce virtue. The vital center of the transformed life in Christianity is agape love: a self-sacrificing, other-centered love for human beings. The last 2,000 years evidence the immense virtuous good that followers of Jesus Christ have produced—hospitals, educational institutions, medical clinics, translation work, day-care centers, prenatal care clinics, etc.

The secular, Postmodern, post-Christian, autonomous worldview is bankrupt! It is producing a civilization bent on self-destruction. John R. W. Stott, writing in his commentary on 1 Corinthians, characterized the 1st century church at Corinth (which was very similar to our present-day culture) as flowers growing out of the cesspool’s mud of Greco-Roman civilization. May that characterize those of us who today represent Jesus.

See Grant Wacker in an op ed piece in the Wall Street Journal (2 January 2015); Mary Eberstadt in the Intercollegiate Review (Spring 2015), pp. 16-19; Mike Morris on the Houston mayor subpoena in http://www.chron.com/news (October 2014); and David Brooks editorial in the New York Times (3 February 2015).

Posted in Biblical Worldview, Cultural Barometer, Death of a Nation, Death of Western Culture, Dr. James P. Eckman, God is Dead, Humanism, Not Following God's Plan, Political Correctness, Postmodernism, Progressives, Society at Risk, Worldview | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orestes Augustus Brownson (1803-1876), journalist and philosopher

Meet the 19th Century American Who Warned About Big Government, Religious Liberty Assaults by Robert Moffat

A scene from the Civil War. (Image: Getty Images)

2015 marks a milestone in American history. One hundred and fifty years ago, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant and ended the Civil War. Shortly thereafter, Orestes Augustus Brownson (1803-1876), a prominent journalist and philosopher, published “The American Republic,” an erudite defense of the Federal Constitution.

As noted in our Heritage Foundation “First Principles” essay, today a fresh reading of Brownson’s masterwork can give Americans a deeper understanding of their precious civic birthright, the unique federal order that guarantees their personal and political freedom.

Prophetically, Brownson warned that the greatest future threats to the Republic were internal. He called upon his fellow Americans to oppose the relentless centralization of power in Washington; a transformation fueled by a new secular ideology—“humanitarian democracy”—that would war against all prescriptions and traditions, as well as state and local powers, in the name of equality, and seek to crush all genuine diversity, individual distinctions, and subordinate even personal conscience itself on the altar of a fully secularized, and thus absolute, state.

The Founders’ genius was in devising a constitutional order that recognized the truth of man’s individuality, his flourishing in freedom, and the sacredness of his person, particularly in his relationship to God: “The American constitution is not founded on political atheism, but recognizes the rights of man, and therefore, the rights of God.”

brownson

Today, when Americans of all religious faiths have just cause to fear government assaults on religious liberty, the wisdom of Brownson—a devout Catholic—is a bounteous benefit for all. Protect the sacred, he warned, from the profane and thus preserve the moral order: “If they [government officials] could subject religion to the secular order, or completely secularize the church, they would reduce themselves to the secular order alone, and deprive themselves of all aid from religion. To secularize religion is to nullify it.”

While a journalist, urgently writing on contemporary topics in his Quarterly Review, many of his opinions, right or wrong, were exclusively relevant to his own time. However, Brownson also developed a sophisticated and consistent philosophical conservatism that imparted a timeless quality to his observations. Those hard hitting commentaries are strikingly relevant to contemporary America. For example:

  • On immigrants’ duty to assimilate: “It is not attachment to American soil, or sympathy with the American nationality, spirit, genius, or institutions, that brings the great mass of foreigners to our shores. No doubt we derive great advantages from them, but the motive that brings them is not advantage to us or service to our country. They come solely from motives of personal advantage to themselves; to gain a living, to acquire a wealth, or to enjoy a freedom denied them in their own country, or believed to be more easily obtained or better secured here than elsewhere. The country, therefore, does not and cannot feel that it is bound either in justice or in charity to yield up its nationality to them, or to suffer the stream of its national life to be diverted from its original course to accommodate their manners, tastes or prejudices…If I from motives of hospitality open my doors to the stranger, and admit him to the bosom of my family, I have the right to expect him to conform to my domestic arrangements, and not to undertake to censure or interfere with them.”
  • On crony capitalism: “Louis XI was not weaker against Charles the Bold than is Congress against the Pennsylvania Central Railroad and its connections, or the Union Pacific, built at the expense of the government itself. The great feudal lords had souls, railroad corporations have none.”
  • On fiscal irresponsibility and debt: ‘The journalists tell us that the country is rich, and we count our millionaires by the thousands, if not by hundreds of thousands; and yet, if called upon suddenly to pay its debts or to redeem its bonds of every sort, it would be found to be hopelessly insolvent, and the reputed wealth of the millionaires would vanish in smoke. Our present wealth is chiefly in evidences of debt, that is, created by mortgages on the future.”
  • On Communism’s false promises: “Communism, if it could be carried out, would not…as the communists dream, secure to all the advantages of wealth, but would result in the reduction of all to the most abject poverty—the very thing which they are ready to commit any crime or sacrilege in order to escape.”

The Civil War was a terrible trial for millions—Brownson himself lost two sons—but the calm courage of the American people prepared them for world leadership:

“With larger armies on foot than Napoleon ever commanded, with their line of battle stretching from ocean to ocean, across the whole breadth of the continent, they never, during four long years of alternate victories and defeats—and both unprecedently bloody—or a moment lost their equanimity, or appeared less calm, collected and tranquil, than in ordinary times of peace…Their success proves to all that what, prior to the war, was treated as American arrogance or self-conceit, was only the outspoken confidence in their destiny as a providential people, conscious that to them is reserved the hegemony of the world.”

That “hegemony” was moral, not militaristic. Rather it was the success, for the entire world to witness, of America’s providential mission to secure the greatest degree of human liberty under law; a unique experiment in self-government realized through the ingenious Federal Constitution, the priceless gift of America’s Founders. This was a recurrent theme in Brownson’s writings. It was a theme that, over a century later, President Ronald Reagan also expressed in his vision of America as a “Shining City on a Hill.” Brownson’s name recognition may be low, but his ideas and insights have endured.

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50 shades of abuse: Book, movie set stage for future victims by Lauren Jones

50 shades of abuse: Book, movie set stage for future victims
by Lauren Jones The Marietta Daily Journal
February 17, 2015
Lauren Jones

Lauren Jones

He was perfect and he wanted me.

He was debonair and handsome. He knew all the right things to say and do. He made me feel beautiful, something I rarely felt. He drove a really nice car and had an impeccable appearance. He was smart, my God, was he brilliant. He was a 21-year-old naval officer, training to be a pilot. He was king and I was his queen at the proverbial masquerade ball; it was a fast and furious romance. And though I wasn’t Anastasia Steele, the main character in “Fifty Shades of Grey,” he was my Christian Grey.

And he was the reason why, five months later, I spent the night in a domestic violence shelter in Corpus Christi with a broken eardrum and dried blood still caked in the creases of my nose.

The film “Fifty Shades of Grey,” based on the novel series by E.L. James, (was released) on Valentine’s Day, and I am afraid. I am very afraid of the violent chaos the impact of this film is all but guaranteed to cause in our culture.

The main characters in “Fifty Shades” fit all the criteria of a very abusive relationship, but the story ends well. In real life, relationships that follow that same pattern usually end with several people in therapy trying to rebuild their spirits, if they’re not yet in the ground.

I am afraid that women all over the world and especially young, adolescent women have come to view Mr. Grey as Mr. Right and are seeking him, while at the same time risking their lives.

THE PREDATOR’S GAME

Dating and domestic violence is one person in a relationship using control and manipulation to dominate the other person. It is a degrading pattern of abusive behavior that isolates someone and objectifies them by denying them their personal dignity and freedom.

The truth is, when you’re young and have little experience in romance, you’re developing your own ideas of what relationships are supposed to be like. This makes one vulnerable and impressionable. So reading books and consuming media such as “Fifty Shades” can have serious repercussions on people in romantic relationships.

Some of the major warning signs of DV are: isolation, intimidation, excessive jealousy and possessiveness, stalking, your partner having a bad/unpredictable temper, feeling emotionally helpless, nervousness, your partner controlling what you do, where you go, what you wear, who you interact with. The list goes on.

Within the first four chapters of “Fifty Shades,” we see Grey stalk Ana twice — once showing up at her workplace, despite her never having told him where she works, and another time showing up at a bar where she is with her friends.

We later learn that Grey is tracking Ana via her cellphone. He also attempts to coerce her into signing a contract that prohibits her from talking about him or their relationship to anyone.

He becomes insanely jealous after he sees her talking to one of her male friends, then leaves her without any explanation, essentially punishing her. So you have excessive jealousy, stalking, bad temper and isolation on a silver platter in those examples, and there are more-severe examples later on in the story.

The character of Christian Grey perfectly exhibits predator behavior.

He preys on Ana, interpreting right off the bat because of the way she carries herself that she has low self-esteem, is shy and inexperienced, yet smart.

He makes a game of pushing her limits and, throughout the series, enjoys watching both sides of her conscience play tug o’ war with whether or not she will succumb to his dominance.

A TRICKY POSITION

There seems to be some confusion regarding the abusive relationship in “Fifty Shades” and BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism). The abusive behaviors in the relationship and BDSM are not mutually inclusive. BDSM is a subculture of intimacy that explores kinky sexual techniques but has very strict rules regarding consent and communication.

Both parties have very, very clear communication rules as to what their limits are, and those limits are fiercely respected. Trust and clear communication are the foundation stones in any intimate relationship, handcuffs or no handcuffs.

BDSM experts have spoken out since “Fifty Shades” hit the shelves, about the abysmal portrayal of BDSM in the story. Grey has antagonized and intimidated Ana to the point that she is afraid to openly communicate with him, and his instillation of fear in her is one of the things that makes that relationship so abusive. She can’t communicate whether or not she consents to the nature of their intimacy.

Emma Green, assistant managing editor of The Atlantic, wrote in her article, “Consent isn’t Enough: the Troubling Sex in Fifty Shades,” that “Bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, and sadism are ‘varsity-level’ sex activities, as the sex columnist Dan Savage might say, and they require a great deal of self-knowledge, communication skill, and education. ‘Fifty Shades’ eroticizes sexual violence, but without any of the emotional maturity and communication required to make it safe.”

Furthermore, to excuse Grey’s behavior because we learn later he was abused as a child is dangerous. While it gives insight into his behaviors, it does not make them acceptable. He should have gotten more intensive therapy about his abuse years before the book even started. Though statistically their chances are higher, it is dangerous to suggest that all victims of child abuse grow up to be abusers or the abused.

We do not let a child-raper off the hook because he or she was molested as a child, therefore we should not sweep Grey’s behaviors under the rug, either.

A HAPPIER ENDING

The first thing an abuser does is completely charm and seduce you. The second phase is to isolate you, and the final phase is to introduce violence into the relationship to see how you react.

This cycle is seamlessly followed in “Fifty Shades,” and what’s worse is that it has a happy ending. They ride off into the sunset at the end, happily married with a baby and all is well. This says to the emotionally vulnerable reader that with enough patience, love and understanding, we can change broken, abusive partners.

Nothing is further from the truth. The best thing you can do to change an abusive relationship is to get out of it. The best thing an abuser can do to change his or her behavior is to realize they have a problem and seek help for it.

My Christian Grey isolated me. He moved me from Georgia to Florida and then Texas to ensure I had no support system. He slowly introduced abuse into our relationship, calculatedly increased its severity, until I woke up one morning having fainted from blood loss to find myself locked in a house, being closely monitored to prevent my leaving. I managed to escape three days later, got to a domestic violence shelter, and eventually got home and started putting my life back together again.

I am afraid for the Anas out there, the current ones and the future ones who think “Fifty Shades” is an exciting method to spice up their love lives. Because I highly doubt E.L. James will write a fourth book in the series, depicting Ana trying to flee her relationship while trying to protect her baby from the abuse.

But that’s a story that happens every day.

Lauren Jones is the outreach advocate at the Hospitality House for Women Inc. in Rome and a freelance writer. Her email address is fvahhouse@gmail.com.

Copyright 2015 The Marietta Daily Journal. All rights reserved.

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February 19, 2015
Saw my neighbor women reading the book at the pool, etc. and decided to see what the deal was. I thought it had and interesting idea, but by the time I got to the end, I had a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended) not because of the sex (I’m no prude) but because it was such an abusive, strange and really DUMB relationship. I could see how it could screw you up if you were 18 and inexperienced.

The book series and movie are made for dumb women. Not thinking women. Sexual content notwithstanding.

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