Thursday, April 30, 2009

sojo misrepresents, for their own agenda

'Religious Left' agenda advances on hate crimes

A person who follows religion and politics more closely than I tells me the decision of two major conservative Christian leaders, Joel Hunter and David Gushee, to sign on in support of legislation outlawing "hate crimes" against gays and lesbians, is a pretty big deal:

Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners:

A fundamental Christian belief is that every person is created in the image of God. Too often in our country when violence has been directed against gay and lesbian people, most Christians have been painfully silent. The hate crimes legislation now in the House is designed to strengthen our society's ability to prosecute these crimes. It contains additional explicit protection for free speech and religious liberty, rights which are already guaranteed by our Constitution, and allows for continued free expression of speech about controversial issues around homosexuality, gay marriage, etc. Regardless of the theological differences we may have on these issues, Christians should all agree on the fundamental protection of human rights. That is why I support this legislation.

The problems with "hate crimes" laws is this, that they make some wrongs "more equal than others".

What Sojo and other "progressive christians" (note the non-capitalization, which is not accidental)(is that an example of hate on my part?) don't see or don't want to say is that simply being against "hate crimes" laws does not mean one is for the crimes; rather, it is about treating some crimes as worst than others based on factors not related to the crime.

For example, murder is murder, and those who murder should be punished. If someone murders a straight man with a wife and four kids, the crime is no more serious than someone who murders a lesbian woman. But "hate crimes" laws have us look at them differently, trying to kind some kind of motive of hate behind the murderer of the lesbian woman, and so treat it as a more serious crime than the other murder.

What it is about, really, is not the crime itself, but the intent or supposed intent of the criminal. Perhaps what it is most about is how people see the crime. As an example of that, check out this article.

ABC Debunked Matthew Shepard Murder as No Hate Crime, MSNBC Savages Republican for Repeating

But, on the November 26, 2004, 20/20, ABC host Elizabeth Vargas ran a report in which a number of figures tied to the case, including the prosecutor, were interviewed, and made a credible case that Shepard was targeted by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson not because of anti-gay sentiment, but because McKinney was high on methamphetamines, giving him unusual violent tendencies as well as a desire for cash to buy more drugs. Vargas not only found that a meth high can lead to the kind of extreme violence perpetrated against Shepard, but that McKinney had gone on to similarly attack another man, causing a skull fracture, very soon after his attack on Shepard. Additionally, McKinney’s girlfriend and another friend of McKinney’s even claimed that McKinney himself has bisexual tendencies, although McKinney himself denied it.

Vargas appeared on the November 16, 2004, The O’Reilly Factor on FNC and summarized her findings:

The prosecutor who prosecuted these crimes says that he never believed it was a hate crime. He believes it was a drug crime. Aaron McKinney, according to Aaron McKinney himself and to several other witnesses, was coming down from a five-day methamphetamine binge. He freely admits he not only used methamphetamine but dealt them, sold them. Five days up with no sleep, strung out on drugs, desperate to buy more, desperate to rob somebody to get money to buy more drugs. This was the motive, according to Aaron McKinney and the other witnesses.

Shepherd is the poster boy for hate crimes laws, and the current hate crimes bill is named after him, as the Newsbusters blog points out. And one can see how some lefties react when the truth of the matter is pointed out.

Hate crimes laws don't promise more justice, but less. It's a political tool, not a matter of justice. Murderers and thugs should be dealt with, no matter whom they murder or beat. Treating them differently based on whom they murder or beat will not bring about justice, but instead cause injustice.

That is why the attempts by such as Sojo to paint us against hate crimes laws as being unloving and unchristian is a joke, and they should be ashamed of themselves for stooping to such blatant lies.

Monday, April 27, 2009

what the supposed "tell-all-ers" aren't telling us


As should probably come to no surprise, Sojo has voiced it's opinions of the latest "Blame all the world's problems on the Bush administration" antics by the current administration. In this case, it's about the ways used to get information from captured terrorists.

Torture Memos: ‘What Is Done in the Dark’

Some things they aren't telling us, though, are...

First, that many of their own lib leaders were in the know on what was going on, and were not only not unhappy about it, but even encouraged it.

Fair-Weather Hawks

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, then on the House Intelligence Committee, and others knew of the tough methods as long ago as 2002. A December 2007 Washington Post story revealed that in September of that year, Pelosi attended an hour-long meeting in which she "was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk."

In fact, top Democrats like Pelosi and Rockefeller sat in on about 30 such bipartisan private briefings. One of those in attendance, former House Intelligence Committee Chairman and former CIA Director Porter Goss, remembered: "Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing." According to the onetime Florida GOP congressman, "the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement."

Statements from Pelosi and other Democrats suggest maybe they were dozing off when the briefers described waterboarding. Such excuses, if the expression can be excused, hold little water.

The fact is clear: Top Democrats in Congress chose not to object to getting tough with terrorist prisoners because the poll ratings told them it was politically dangerous not to be an anti-terrorist hawk in 2002 and 2003.

Second, that such tactics may have succeeded at getting important information.

Extraordinary redaction

President Obama's national intelligence director told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists.

"High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa'ida organization that was attacking this country," Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday.

Admiral Blair sent his memo on the same day the administration publicly released secret Bush administration legal memos authorizing the use of interrogation methods that the Obama White House has deemed to be illegal torture. Among other things, the Bush administration memos revealed that two captured Qaeda operatives were subjected to a form of near-drowning known as waterboarding a total of 266 times.

For my part, I'm willing to agree that there may be a need for more consideration in regards to what is acceptable and what not in regards to ways of getting information from these terrorists. I suppose all of us would agree there are lines that should not be crossed. The problems come when we try to consider what would be acceptable.

For example, there are people out there who would likely consider a parent spanking a child a form of torture. Making those kinds happy would likely only involve making sure the terrorists have cozy cells and satellite TV access. These would be justly laughed out of the discussion.

Equally bad would be the "anything goes" types. A "whatever works" mindset may lead to some ugly abuses.

But my own thought is that politics is going to play too big a part in the discussion. It's going to be about painting the last administration in a bad light, and not about really fixing anything.

Monday, April 20, 2009

drinking the taxation flav-r-aid

A Christian Argument for Progressive Taxation

I can't help but think of this post of Butler-Bass' as awful. Whatever her own take on "tax day" (one wonders if she's ever been audited, and how such an experience would effect her)(or, considering how evasive libs try to be on taxes (consider the current president's own nominees for offices), what a look into her own tax situation would reveal), some of her arguements for "progressive" taxes are rather hypocritical, if not scary.

No, taxes aren’t such a bad deal. Nor are they, as might have been heard at the ersatz “tea parties” around the country, at odds with Christianity.

As one commenter asked on her blog, where did she hear anyone claiming the taxes are at odds with Christianity, among any of the Tea Party goers? If she cannot show where any of them said such a thing, her statement is irresponsible and a deliberate misrepresentation.

Indeed, tax day is a day that progressives should celebrate — as we participate in one of the greatest social reforms of the 20th century: the progressive income tax.

"Yea, we progressives are happy, because we take from the people who work for it, and give to those who don't!!!"

Thus, progressive theologians developed a Christian argument for taxation. They believed that a progressive tax would increase the overall morality of society.

Isn't Butler-Bass among those types of people who get learly about 'legislating morality'? But apparently, you can make people moral by taxation, and that's fine.

For example, Scudder pointed out that “the Church, like her Master, is in a way more concerned over the spiritual state of the prosperous than over that of the poor” because the rich “countenance unbrotherly things.”

"We progressives take from you, you filthy rich scum, because we care about you."

Although many progressive Christians understood the spiritual dimensions of taxation, other church people lagged behind. “Again,” she insisted, “no Christian can remain indifferent or non-partisan toward movements for the protection of the weak.” The church should — and must — be on the frontlines of social justice.

First, I do not believe in social justice, and this is one reason why--they idea that one should take from those that have (irregardless of how they attained) and give to those who do not (irregardless of reason why or why not) is a prime example of bad and shallow thinking.

And trying to make 'progressive taxation' a matter of "spiritual dimensions" is asenine, a way of playing the "We're more spiritual than you are" card.

Friday, April 10, 2009

the compromisers, of course, support compromise

Be Not Afraid: Faith and Reason in the Notre Dame ‘Scandal’

I'm not Catholic, and have more than a few concerns about things that particular church says and does. I have no big feelings this way or that about Notre Dame, particularly in regards to their football team.

I'm no so ambiguous abot Sojo, so it's a safe rule that anything they support likely has something ugly behind it.

The Cardinal Newman Society, a watchdog group for perceived breaches of orthodoxy on Catholic campuses, calls it an “outrage and a scandal” and has circulated a petition admonishing Notre Dame to “halt this travesty.” Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, warns that the commencement would represent the “cultural rape of true Catholicity.” These stark responses betray a rich Catholic intellectual tradition revered for centuries for promoting the values of civil debate, prudence, and reasoned engagement.

It's always amusing how pomo's hate to call a spade a spade, unless they are the one's doing it, like the Sojo big guy himself, Jim Wallis, quoting this about Rush Limbaugh...

And for the leader of the Republicans? A man who is aggressive and bombastic, cutting and sarcastic, who dismisses the concerned citizens in network news focus groups as ‘losers.’ With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence…

As another rule, one should be ware when one comes on those who whine when they receive what they dish out. If you're going to engage in such vitriol, or quote those who do, you should be be sensitive when you receive it back in return.

The Catholic university is not a defensive fortress walled off from diverse ideas that flourish in a pluralistic democracy.

Being open to new ideas is one thing, but the President's views and supported positions one many things are rightly considered anathema to many Catholics, and they are right to see this as a serious breach.

Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins is facing furious backlash after inviting President Barack Obama to give the university’s commencement address next month.

One would assume that being invited to give a university'e graduation commencement is a thing that is an honor to do, that since these the university's last charges to the graduates (not counting student loan payments :-)), that the person asked to give it would be someone for whom the university largely approves, and doesn't disapprove of in any serious ways.

Some critics of Notre Dame have expressed their disagreement in measured tones that foster fruitful debate.

I suppose the question is, why should debate be fostered? What is there to debate? Does Obama not support abortion and even infanticide?

Sadly, this controversy has largely been exploited by ideologues and culture warriors more interested in scoring political points than advancing common ground and principled dialogue.

Exploited, perhaps, but by those like the Sojo writer.

The president’s commitment to a budget that uplifts the poor, universal health care as a human right, and finding common ground on divisive issues reflects traditional Catholic values in the public square.

A budget that merely spreads the poverty? Universal (bad) health care? Perhaps the writer should get his head out of his socialist hole, and look at the real world. A world where such budgets do far more damage than good. A world where universal government-run health care as he sees it has been an abyssmal failure.

Faithful Citizenship, the U.S. Catholic bishops’ election year political responsibility statement is clear that “direct assaults on innocent human life and dignity, such as genocide, torture, racism, and the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war,” are also actions that “can never be tolerated.”

I’m still waiting to hear from outraged culture warriors when it comes to those moral scandals.

"Direct assaults on innocent human life and dignity". Someone who supports the current Presidents has lost a lot of credibility when it comes to any of those issues. Someone who thinks that it's ok for a person who supports abortion and infanticide to have the honor of giving a commencement address has no grounds trying to "call out" others.

And anyway, if he'd again get his head out of the little liberal socialist enclave he obviously lives in, he's likely to find that we conservatives are doing more than just have nice little protests about those things. We're actually doing stuff about them.