The World Wide (Religious) Web for Friday, June 24, 2011


Robert P. George discusses “the authoritarian impulse” of some modern liberals.

But as liberals around the country—not all, but many, and indeed increasingly many, it seems—abandon support for conscience protection and seek to force pro-life and pro-marriage citizens and institutions to comply with liberal ideological beliefs by, for example, referring for or even participating in abortions and providing facilities or services for celebrations of same-sex sexual partnerships, it seems clear that the Rawlsian ambition has been thrown over in favor of a crusade to establish what might be called (following Rawls himself) “comprehensive liberalism” as the official pseudo-religion of the state.  The impulse to crush the rights of conscience (where conscience is considered in its classical sense of what Newman called a “stern monitor,” and not in the degraded sense of a faculty for writing moral permission slips) to ensure conformity with what have become key tenets of the liberal faith (abortion, “sexual freedom,” “same-sex marriage”) is the authoritarian impulse I mentioned.  (I want to emphasize the words “have become.” Such ideas were no part of the liberalism embraced by such great figures in the tradition as Cesar Chavez, Hubert Humphrey, or Sargent Shriver, just to name some leading liberals from the quite recent past.)

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“Civility Under Fire”:

Our country is grappling with many high-stakes, emotionally charged issues: government spending, war, medical care, collective bargaining rights, abortion, gay marriage. Our democracy cannot prosper if people vilify, slander, and even shout down those with whom they disagree.

We should defend our positions vigorously and with conviction—but with civility. Scripture tells us to always be ready to make a defense for the hope we have in Christ—which leads to the convictions we carry—and yet to “do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame” (1 Pet. 3:15-16, ESV).

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“Godly politics: neither left nor libertarian”:

But Trinitarian politics mirrors the Triune God of the Bible, who is one God in three Persons (see Anthony Bradley’s column from yesterday on the Trinitarian worldview). He is a true unity that preserves the genuine individuality of each person within that divine community. As we are made in God’s image, we too are created to be true individuals living together in real community. We are individually redeemed but into the body of Christ, the covenant community, the church. A soteriology without a corresponding ecclesiology is not a fully biblical gospel. And a Christian political theory that values individual liberty without giving due respect to community, something as natural and good as the people who compose it, is a merely gospel-influenced, secular ideology.

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“N. Y. Senate doesn’t take up gay marriage bill.” For now. The sticking point seems to be religious exemptions. Religious exemptions? How about First Amendment rights?

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“Why does Kate have three mommies?” This article examines the growth of “nontraditional families” in California. Apropos of this, you might also want to check out “Baby Makes Four, and Complications,” which examines the situation of a single mom who gave birth to a boy with the help of a gay friend, who served as the sperm donor.

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“Kia Sportage Ad Sparks Pedophilia Controversy.” You can see the ad at the link. What it implies is disgusting.

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“Quivering with Fear”

Many of us tend to react with righteous indignation when we read stories of women in foreign countries denied higher education, the chance to support themselves, and the freedom to live independently and make their own decisions.

How do we react when women are denied those same freedoms here in America—by some of our fellow Christians?

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“Women ministers gaining ground in Baptist life.” Good, and about time.

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“When does a pastor tainted by scandal deserve forgiveness?” The Assemblies of God wrestled with this question in the late 1980s because of the high-profile moral failures of Jim Bakker, Marvin Gorman, and Jimmy Swaggart. The answer we came to, if I understand it correctly, is (1) that forgiveness follows repentance and (2) restoration to ministry follows rehabilitation. The problem with the Eddie Long case, in my opinion, is that forgiveness is being conflated with restoration to ministry. Bishop Long should be forgiven if he has repented, but that doesn’t necessarily entail that he should be restored to ministry.

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“Group Drops Case Against Pastor Housing Allowances.” Whew!

A constitutional challenge to the tax-free housing allowances and parsonages provided to thousands of American pastors is over after the plaintiffs who filed the original lawsuit voluntarily requested its dismissal Friday in a California district court.

But the battle is far from over. More legal challenges from opponents of the provision are promised, while a federal commission reviewing the benefit has been asked to determine whether it needs additional protections.

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“13 Questions Leaders Should Ask Themselves”:

  1. Is narcissism 90% of Twitter?
  2. Is social media your newest time-waster?
  3. Are we insulting Jesus with all the books and blogs denigrating his church?
  4. Do you lead your organization too softly?
  5. Are you blinded by your own vision?
  6. Is it time for you to make a personal leadership change?
  7. If you were hired to replace yourself, what would you do differently in your job?
  8. What excites you these days?
  9. Do you need to be more accountable to someone?
  10. What do you pray about?
  11. Is your near-term future one big question mark, or do you have a plan?
  12. Who was the last person you witnessed to that accepted Christ?
  13. Do you read enough books?

One thought on “The World Wide (Religious) Web for Friday, June 24, 2011

  1. Excellent quote by Innes. Actually the left and right can work to balance each other in society and particularly Christian society, though all too often the church society is the least diverse demographically.

    I guess I won’t be buying a Kia anytime soon for the same reason I won’t eat at Carl’s Jr.

    When does a pastor … deserve forgiveness? Last I heard, not all sins are treated equally when it comes to restoration.

    Love your column even when I disagree with you 🙂

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