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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Laughable Liberal "Moral Imperative"

Here liberals go again. Trying with all their might to prop up an increasingly unpopular piece of legislation, no less than Robert Reich (note the lengthy liberal bio at the end) has now attempted to take the “moral” high-road and claim that there is a “moral imperative” to Obamacare.

Reich noted that recently he heard a young man express that he would rather pay a penalty than be forced by law to purchase health insurance. According to Reich, the young man asked “why should I pay for the sick and the old?” Reich’s answer is telling: “The answer is he has a responsibility to do so, as a member the same society they inhabit.”

When explaining why “richer people” have to pay higher taxes to finance health insurance for lower income Americans, Reich concludes “It’s only just that those with higher incomes bear some responsibility for maintaining the health of Americans who are less fortunate.” Did you catch that? A liberal exclaiming that “it’s only just” when explaining his plans for wealth redistribution.

Reich complains that Democrats have not properly made the argument in favor of redistribution. “This is a profoundly moral argument about who we are and what we owe each other as Americans,” he declares. Reich even goes so far as to lament that redistribution has become so “unfashionable” that it’s just easier to say “everyone comes out ahead.”

So redistribution of wealth by our benevolent federal government is not only moral but “profoundly moral.” So much so, that it’s okay to deceive the public at large about what is really happening. (Democrats are getting quite good at that.) Because, you see, as Reich puts it, “there would be no reason to reform and extend health insurance to begin with if we did not have moral obligations to one another as members of the same society.”

As you see, multiple times Reich makes a moral (almost desperate it seems) appeal in favor of Obamacare and the redistribution of wealth that it requires. I love it when liberals attempt to make moral arguments to support their Big Government programs. It opens up so many possibilities. To begin with, to what moral code is Reich appealing?

As is typical with so many liberals and their similar arguments, he never does say. I suppose it’s just assumed that everyone thinks that providing health care for those in need is the “just” or “responsible” thing to do as “members of the same society.” However, not so long ago the “responsible” thing to do was for men and women to get married before they decided to make babies.

Not so long ago, to kill a child in the womb was considered a terrible act of injustice. Now the “responsible” thing is to allow people to end the lives of all those unwanted children.

Not so long ago, no sane person would have thought that marriage was anything but a union of one man and one woman. And for that matter, not so long ago, homosexual behavior was considered immoral and something that needed to be cured. Today the “just” thing to do is to allow people to live their lives any way they choose, no matter the old moral standards or the consequences, because “love is love.”

Whether Reich, or Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid, or Jim Wallis, or Obama himself; and whether the issue is health care, marriage, abortion, climate change, education, and the like, time and again liberals attempt to make moral arguments in favor of their Big Government liberal worldview.

Yet, if conservatives attempt the same, we are “forcing our morality” on others, or we are attempting to “legislate morality.” In fact, such accusation has been leveled so often that even some conservatives have started to believe it. Speaking to young libertarians earlier this year, GOP representative Justin Amash said, “We can’t legislate morality and force everyone to agree with us.”

Bill O’Reilly called those of us who oppose same-sex marriage on biblical grounds Bible thumpers. He went so far as to say, “If you’re going to stand up for heterosexual marriage, and exclude gay marriage if you’re going to do that, you’ve gotta do it outside the Bible. You can’t cite the Bible, because you’ll lose if you do.” Yet, as I have noted before (see the links above), liberals will often cite the Bible to further their Big Government agenda, and the media barely bats an eye.

It’s time for the moral double standard to stop. It’s time for the media and pundits across the political spectrum to see that both sides—liberal and conservative—are making moral arguments when pushing their respective agendas. All that needs to be decided is by whose morality we want to be governed: a morality that is rooted and grounded in absolute truth or one that is guided by whatever political winds seem to be prevalent at the time.

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Liberal Cohen Critics’ Disdain Misdirected

It seems that liberals have finally had their fill of Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen. As fun as it might be to watch the left cannibalize one of their own, they’re doing it for all the wrong reasons.

Writing about Chris Christie’s TEA Party problem, Cohen followed much of the liberal playbook. Heck, along with attacking the TEA Party (Cohen admitted, “Why can’t intelligent liberals see I’m only mirroring their loathing of the Tea Party?”), he even insulted Sarah Palin. What got him in trouble with his pals is the last sentence of this paragraph:

“Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children.

Cohen was summarily deemed a racist across the spectrum of the liberal media. Many calls for his firing ensued. The Huffington Post pleaded “Dear Washington Post: Please Fire This Man.” Salon.com tweeted, “His horrifying new column reminds us why old racists like Richard Cohen need to be fired.” ThinkProgress declared, “Even if Richard Cohen Isn’t Racist, He’s Incompetent.”

Following the outrage, Cohen insisted (as his quote above indicates) that he is a good liberal and that he has been grossly misinterpreted. That is probably the case. However, in all of their caterwauling over Cohen’s supposed racist comment, liberals have missed a more blatant, albeit subtle, betrayal of left-wing doctrine.

Immediately following the sentence that got him in so much trouble, Cohen asked “Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?”

“Used to be a lesbian?” Given the worldview of modern liberalism, how is that possible? Isn’t homosexuality supposedly innate (genetic) and unchangeable? And if it is possible to turn from homosexuality (which it is), why would today’s liberals want such as that bandied about in the pages of the Washington Post?

In fact, even Chris Christie himself, the focus of Cohen’s column, in August of this year signed a bill into law that banned licensed therapists from performing homosexual conversion therapy. New Jersey became the second state (after California) to ban this practice.

After signing the law, Christie parroted typical liberal speak (joining such esteemed company as Lady Gaga), saying that he believed that people are born gay and that homosexuality is not a sin. I wonder if Ms. McCray’s conversion was as a result of therapy.

McCray has addressed this issue and said that she once “identified” as a lesbian, but, according to Out.com, “renounced her lesbian lifestyle after meeting her husband.” So, after meeting Mr. Right (or course, given de Blasio’s politics, “Mr. Left” is more appropriate) Ms. Mcray decides that she’s no longer a lesbian.

There is nothing at all surprising about this. As renowned psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Dr. Jeffrey Satinover noted over a decade ago, the idea of “sexual orientation” is pure fiction. He refers to a 1994 University of Chicago study which states, “…it is patently false that homosexuality is a uniform attribute across individuals, that it is stable over time, and that it can be easily measured.”

Dr. Satinover adds that, “Studies across the globe that have now sampled over 100,000 individuals have found the same. We now know that in the majority of both men and women, ‘homosexuality,’ as defined by any scientifically rigorous criteria, spontaneously tends to ‘mutate’ into heterosexuality over the course of a lifetime.”

In 2003, testifying before the Massachusetts Senate Judicial Committee, as they were considering the legalization of gay marriage, Dr. Satinover stated that the belief that homosexuality is a genetic and unchangeable condition is not “even remotely true.”  He continued, “however widely believed (these claims) may have become; the evidence of the kind that ‘everyone knows’ simply does not exist; even a cursory examination of the actual sources behind these claims will reveal a very strong preponderance of evidence to precisely the contrary; the claims are simply fiction.”

C.S. Lewis wrote in the mid 1940s that “…you and I, for the last twenty years, have been fed all day long on good solid lies about sex. We have been told, till one is sick of hearing it, that sexual desire is in the same state as any of our other natural desires…Our warped natures, the devils who tempt us, and all the contemporary propaganda for lust, combine to make us feel that the desires we are resisting are so ‘natural,’ so ‘healthy,’ and so reasonable, that it is almost perverse and abnormal to resist them.”

Seven decades later, the lies persist. So much so that pornography, prostitution, same-sex marriage, “transgenderism,” and the like enjoy not only widespread support among the populace, but also legal protection. Laws banning such behavior have been virtually wiped from our legal system. As recently as the early 1960s, every state in the U.S. had laws against homosexual behavior (sodomy). (Thomas Jefferson himself authored an anti-sodomy law for the state of Virginia.)

Also, as recently as 1986, upholding Georgia’s anti-sodomy law, the U.S. Supreme Court declared, “Proscriptions against [homosexual] conduct have ancient roots. Sodomy was a criminal offense at common law and was forbidden by the laws of the original 13 States when they ratified the Bill of Rights. . . . In fact, until 1961, all 50 States outlawed sodomy, and today, 24 States and the District of Columbia continue to provide criminal penalties for sodomy performed in private and between consenting adults. Against this background, to claim that a right to engage in such conduct is ‘deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition,’ or ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty’ is, at best, facetious [silly].”

Of course, the Court reversed itself in Lawrence vs. Texas in 2003, which nicely coincides with when the first state in the U.S. (Massachusetts) legalized same-sex marriage. So in a matter of about four decades, the U.S. went from laws against homosexual behavior to laws encouraging it. With 15 states joining Massachusetts—Hawaii’s governor just signed a law legalizing same-sex marriage that takes effect December 2, and the governor of Illinois is poised to sign a similar law this week that will take effect in 2014—and in spite of any real science to support such a position, the idea that homosexual behavior is normal, innate, and unchangeable is pervasive.

What’s more, as noted above, such a position now also has legal protection in two states. Just as with pornography, same-sex marriage, and “transgenderism,” how long until other states follow? Never mind that there are countless individuals like Ms. McCray (thanks for the publicity Mr. Cohen!) who have left the homosexual/transgender lifestyle behind, and many others who wish to do so.

In mathematics and philosophy, Ms. McCray is what is called a “counterexample.” And to prove a conjecture (“homosexuality is genetic and unchangeable”) false, only a single counterexample is necessary. Again, thank you Mr. Cohen.

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Want to be a Slave to Debt? Vote for Big Government

My wife Michelle and I are financial disciples of the late Larry Burkett. As I have noted in columns before (and as our newly published book details), due in great measure to Mr. Burkett’s ministry, on a teacher’s salary, we have lived the last 14 years of our lives completely debt free including building a home without borrowing a dime.

As I was first learning the biblical principles of finance, I encountered many Bible verses that deal with money and wealth (there are hundreds). One of the verses that most impacted me was Proverbs 22:7. It reads, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender (NIV84).” If you have ever had trouble with debt and creditors, you understand well what this verse is communicating. To be a slave to debt is a sad reality for far too many Americans today.

The debt of our federal government is well known. Many state and local governments have not fared much better—some even worse. We are in such a position for a myriad of reasons, but I believe that when it comes to debt (as is the case with most issues) our government is simply a refection of our culture. We have governments addicted to debt because far too many families and individuals in the U.S. are addicted to debt.

When governments are swimming in debt, especially when it gets to the point of bankruptcy, the consequences are far reaching. There is no better example than the city of Detroit. With liabilities totaling about $18 billion, Detroit’s Chapter 9 filing in the summer of this year was easily the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy.

With public services slashed, a fire-sale of city assets, and cuts to benefits for Detroit employees, Detroit’s citizens are in the midst of a whirlwind of financial chaos and uncertainty. True to the warning issued in Proverbs 22:7, a very recent L.A. Times column noted that the misery in Detroit had some citizens describing their situation as enslavement.

Of course, when dealing with something described as “enslavement,” as is typical of a liberal publication such as the L.A. Times and with the liberal mindset of the vast majority of Detroit’s citizens, “racism” is the frequent cry when lamenting the sad reaping the Motor-City is now enduring.

Detroit’s bankruptcy is being overseen by a state-appointed emergency manager. Some citizens are in court attempting to halt the bankruptcy. One of the more contentious issues is the law that empowers the emergency manager. Testifying in court, longtime Detroit resident Bill Hickey declared that he found the emergency manager law “to be racist in its aims and in its application.”

To further push the racism narrative, The Times found several individuals willing to use the “slavery” analogy: “‘We still remember—we haven't forgotten—that we are only a few footsteps away from slavery,’ said Monica Lewis-Patrick, a community activist who works at Hush House, a shelter in one of Detroit's most embattled neighborhoods.” Also testifying in court, Sheilah Johnson tearfully wondered, “When my 9-year-old grandson asks me, ‘Grandma, are they trying to make us slaves again?’ how do I answer that child?” Johnson added, “We do not need a slave owner, and I am not a slave.”

The Times piece ends with Hickey concluding, “But racism is still a huge issue. It's a hard conversation to have, but it's an important one, and we need to have it.”

Yes, there is a conversation to be had, and yes, we are dealing with a form of enslavement. However, racism has virtually nothing to do with it.

The most common themes with municipalities facing dire debt consequences are billions in unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities. Also, according to Stephen Moore, senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal, of the U.S. cities in the most trouble financially, “the vast majority are located in states with forced unions, non-right-to-work states.”

Moore points out that, “Unions control state legislatures and city halls in non-right-to-work states, so it can become politically paralyzing to try to fix the problem of runaway labor costs.” And of course, the most significant common trait of U.S. cities with heavy debt burdens is that for decades now their governments have been dominated by liberals.

As Moore explains, “
For at least the last 20 years major U.S. cities have been playgrounds for left-wing experiments—high taxes on the rich; sanctuaries for illegal immigrants; super-minimum wage rules; strict gun-control laws (that actually contribute to high crime rates); regulations and paperwork that make it onerous to open a business or develop on your own property; crony capitalism with contracts going to political donors and friends; and failing schools ruled by teacher unions, with little competition or productivity.”

Over 80% of Detroit’s citizens are black. Anyone with an attention span greater than that of a Miley Cyrus fan knows the overwhelming rate at which U.S. blacks vote for liberals. As more and more state and local governments draw ever closer to their day of reckoning with their debt masters, just as in Detroit, they too will learn the hard lessons of Proverbs 22:7. And any U.S. citizen, whatever the skin color, who doesn’t want to find himself feeling like a slave needs to get off the Big Government plantation.

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Monday, November 4, 2013

Why Big Government Can't Do Charity

Lost in all the uproar over Obamacare, and for that matter, in virtually every debate over government “entitlements” or “handouts” or whatever you want to call them, is the fact that, when it comes to charity, our government is just about the last place that one should turn. Time and again, Big Government liberals love to paint themselves as the champions of the poor and down-trodden—while at the same time making conservatives out to be selfish brutes (when, in reality, conservatives are far and away more personally generous than liberals).

That liberal of liberals, Paul Krugman of The New York Times, recently did so. “Republican hostility toward the poor and unfortunate has now reached such a fever pitch that the party doesn’t really stand for anything else,” he wrote on Halloween. He added that, “[Republicans are] still clearly passionate about making sure that the poor and unlucky get as little help as possible…” This is one of the greatest (if not the greatest) lies of liberalism.

In general, liberals aren’t for the poor and others in need. This may have been somewhat true of classic liberalism, but today most liberals are for those in need as long as it helps them feel good about their immoral anti-God behavior, make money, win elections, and/or remain in power (or keep other like-minded liberals in power).

So just why should we help those in need? The answer is not as obvious (to most) as it seems. First of all, the truly needy must be identified. To pad their voting rolls, liberalism has made this purposefully difficult. Of course, not all those who ask for help need it or deserve it. So what is our standard? Where do we look for moral guidance in this significant (literally to the tune of trillions of dollars) matter? The same place that we should look in all such matters: Scripture.

If you are secular minded, don’t balk. In his attempts to justify his extremely liberal Big Government agenda, Obama himself has made many appeals to the Bible (as do other like-minded liberals). In the 2008 election, when Obama was asked by pastor Rick Warren what he thought was, “the greatest moral failure of America,” Obama (almost certainly with his Big Government agenda on his mind) responded that, “I think America’s greatest moral failure in my lifetime has been that we still don’t abide by that basic precept in Matthew that whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me…”

When describing the “least” of us, Scripture often mentions those such as orphans, widows, and the physically impaired (lame, blind). Of course, people in those circumstances will usually be “poor.” The first laws God gave concerning those in need (in Leviticus) instructed the Israelites to refrain from “gleaning” their vineyards or reaping the corners of their fields (in other words, gathering every last morsel).

This was so that the “needy,” the “stranger,” or the “alien” would have something to harvest. Notice that even those described as needy were expected to work and gather for themselves. Those who owned the fields and vineyards were simply instructed to provide the “needy” with an opportunity.

In the New Testament, Jesus often spoke of ministering to the poor (sometimes more accurately described as “the poor in spirit”). Among other things, He instructed His followers to give to those in need without expecting anything (in this world) in return. Jesus’ ministry modeled such generosity. He went about healing those who were desperately ill, feeding the hungry, delivering the demon possessed, and even raising the dead. He told His followers to “go and do likewise.”

However, (and this is what often escapes those who attempt to justify their Big Government policies with the words and deeds of Jesus), Jesus didn’t perform acts of charity simply to fulfill some physical need a person had. Consider that the greatest miracle recorded in Scripture, performed by Christ, was raising someone from the dead. (There are three recorded instances of this occurring.) This was not done merely out of “niceness,” only to save the lives of those who had died. They would, after all (with apologies to James Bond), “die another day.” His ultimate goal was to give them “everlasting life.”

This could be said of every miracle Christ performed. It is true that He healed, fed, and cast out demons because of His great love for those in need. However, these acts alone did not save anyone. Those healed of one disease or sickness would someday die of another. Those fed would someday be hungry again. Christ’s ultimate goal was to bring people into His Kingdom. In other words, God became man not simply to help us with our troubles in this world, but to make us into new creatures.

“Niceness” and “good deeds” are excellent things. Jesus told His followers to
“let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16).” Inversely, as C.S. Lewis puts it, “When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world.”

Lewis continues, “We must try by every medical, educational, economic, and political means in our power, to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up ‘nice’ (performing good deeds); just as we must try to produce a world where we all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeed in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world—and might even be more difficult to save.”

Thus we see, the ministry of God—feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick—can never be separated from the message of God—to repent of our sins and believe that Jesus was who He claimed to be: the Son of God and the Savior of the world.

It should also be pointed out that, in today’s American culture that is so obsessed with self, especially the sexual gratification of self, the message of “repent of your sin” must include the truth about marriage (one man for one woman for life) and the sins of homosexuality, abortion, divorce, and the like. The ministry of God and the message of God—both together complete the mission of God. And this is why a secular government can never effectively do charity.

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World