The World Wide (Religious) Web for Tuesday, July 12, 2011


“Closing the Book on Open Marriage”:

When it comes to marriage, one of the few bright spots to emerge over the last forty years is increasing public support for sexual fidelity—in both theory and practice. Indeed, social science tells us that married couples who remain faithful to one another enjoy higher-quality marriages, lower rates of divorce, and, yes, higher levels of emotional satisfaction with their sex life. Sexual fidelity also increases the odds that children are born into and reared in a stable, two-parent home.

For all these reasons, and even though Savage is right to point out that fidelity can be a difficult virtue to live, turning the clock back to the swinging seventies is a stupid idea. Better for the sake of adults, children, and marriage as an institution to keep the book closed on open marriage.

Come to think of it, turning the clock back to the seventies on just about anything—politics, economics, foreign policy—is a stupid idea.

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“Focus on the Family Responds to TOMS’s Founder Apology”: The latest strategy of gay rights groups is to criticize or boycott businesses that associate with pro-family groups. Here, they applied that strategy to TOMS’s founder, Blake Mycoskie.

Focus on the Family still hopes to broadcast an interview with TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie after the entrepreneur distanced himself from the organization yesterday. In an apology to some upset that he would partner over an “anti-gay, anti-choice” group, he said, “TOMS, and I as the founder, are passionate believers in equal human and civil rights for all.”
Evidently, in Mycoskie’s mind, “equal human and civil rights for all” does not include the right of Focus on the Family to advocate unpopular views.

[FOTF President Jim] Daly said Mycoskie’s apology was an “unfortunate statement about the culture we live in, when an organization like ours is deemed unfit” over beliefs about marriage. “It’s also a chilling statement about the future of the culture we live in,” he said.

Yes, it is.

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“Illinois Severs Foster Care Ties with Catholic Charities”:

In America you can have religious liberty or you can have homosexuality be a protected class of “minority”—but you can’t have both. And when they conflict, guess which one will lose out?

The kids, evidently.

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“My Second Thoughts About Gay Marriage”:

The point is not that there are no morally serious arguments for same-sex marriage. Of course there are. The point, rather, is that the arguments against same-sex marriage are now so countercultural. Even more depressingly, it seems to me true that so few people want to entertain arguments at all.

This column was the most depressing thing I’ve read all day.

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“Extra Pay for Being Gay Married”:

And if you’re an unmarried worker and you add a dependent to your health insurance, will Cambridge be paying the extra tax? Don’t be silly. This isn’t really about equal pay for equal work. This was merely a publicity stunt by the city of Cambridge to signal what side of the politically-correct divide they are on.

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“Social teaching and the federal budget: a Catholic politician’s views”: In which Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc) replies to Catholic theologians who criticized his “Roadmap” for violating Catholic social teaching and its preferential option for the poor.

Catholic social doctrine is indispensable for officeholders, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to understand it. The wrong way is to treat it like a party platform or a utopian plan to solve all of society’s problems. Social teaching is not the monopoly of one political party, nor is it a moral command that confuses the preferential option for the poor with a preferential option for bigger government.

Makes sense to me.

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“Increased Demons in the Middle East”: Tony Campolo notes the increased persecution of Christians in Iraq and Egypt, two nations which have benefitted from democratization.

Jesus once warned us that when we cast out the devil, make sure that we are not making room for devils that are far worse than the one that is cast out.  I fear that while certain devils in the Middle East are being run out of their offices, there will be far worse devils that will replace them.

I share Campolo’s fear. However, I hope that over the long term, democratization will foster greater accountability in government and will moderate religious passions. For the short term, however, it does seem that democratization in Arab Muslim countries means increased persecution of Christians.

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 “Casey Anthony, the Jury’s Decision, and the Neuroscience of Morality”:

The jurors were charged with the task of weighing the evidence rationally and inferring whether A was proven or whether B had some probability. Yet the public, the para-jury you might say, the national collection of us watching from a distance and forming our own opinions—we pursued a different approach. Our task was to decide what we felt about the case, the characters involved, and especially the little girl. It is a sad and upsetting case. TV pundits, especially, framed the case in terms of an emotional revulsion toward the crime and the accused. Under these two different ways to frame the moral dilemma, given the science, it is not surprising that the jury and the public arrived at diametrically opposite decisions, and moreover, that the side of moral right should seem so terribly obvious to everyone. Frame the question one way, recruit one set of brain mechanisms, and A is the morally right choice. Acquit. Frame the question differently, engage a different set of brain mechanisms, and B becomes the obvious moral choice. Convict.

We needed neuroscience to tell us that our rational consideration about the facts of a case and our emotional involvement in that case might conflict? This article promised a big insight but failed to deliver it.

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“Meet Joel Osteen’s Forefather, Charles Finney”:

Charles Finney’s ideas are at least partly responsible for much that is wrong with American Christianity. But at the same time, heirs such as Lakewood’s Joel Olsteen, while at times terribly misleading and deserving of critique, are also the very messengers through whom thousands upon thousands of people first consider the possibility that they matter to God. Throughout Scripture and history, God has displayed a penchant for somehow using even the most questionable of characters to accomplish his work. People like Charles Finney. Even people like you and me.

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One thought on “The World Wide (Religious) Web for Tuesday, July 12, 2011

  1. Regarding the homosexual and gay marriage agenda…here is one pastor (my hand goes up) that has consistently kept this before the people of the church I pastor in, what I hope is, a thoughtful and biblical way and encourage them to engage the culture.

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