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Archive for October, 2011

Cracks in the Foundation…Bats in the Belfry

(HT:  Patriot Post)  Arnold Ahlert nails it concisely (emphases added):

The trouble with the OWS movement is that it’s centered around two concepts, both of which are abject lies. First and foremost, it doesn’t represent ninety-nine percent of anything, no mater how many time the protesters themselves, their enablers, or a corrupt mainstream media repeats the slogan. Second, there is nothing inherently virtuous about being poor or middle class, any more than there is anything inherently evil about being wealthy. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar or a fool. Percentage-wise, there are just as many low-lifes on Main Street as there are on Wall Street, and if people don’t like the direction in which this country is moving, they might want to consider the fact that the "everything is a shade of gray" moral relativism that afflicts this nation is the ultimate scourge. And make no mistake: it is a virus that infects every ethnic group, both genders and, as you may have guessed, every income class.

Until some kind of national integrity is restored, everything else comes down to dealing with the symptoms of the problem instead of the problem itself. How do you restore integrity? One self-aware person at a time coming to the realization that without it, you’re nothing but the member of a mob, whether that mob resides in Zuccotti Park, a bank boardroom, or the Beltway in Washington, D.C.

You want to camp out all winter and rail against the inequities of the world? Knock yourself out. I’m hoping a writer’s job or two opens up as a result.

Meanwhile, on the home front…

Political Cartoons by Gary McCoy

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Is this really the best way to select a candidate?

I mean really, how often does the President actually debate anyone once he’s in office and executing the duties thereof?

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

Much ado about Mormonism vs. Christianity

Much ado has been made about the status of Mormonism given Mitt Romney’s affiliation with that religion as a practicing member.  Now press and liberals are up in arms because a pastor of a major Baptist church in Dallas has said point blank that Mormonism is a cult, not Christianity.  (If I understand the situation, his “endorsement” of Rick Perry was personal and not in his role as pastor, but he certainly clouded the issue the way he did it.  I think using that venue was unwise, but he does have a right to express his opinion in these matters.)  This has also brought others out of the woodwork to spout their opinion, e.g., one Joel Osteen.

Really, in context, this should be much ado about nothing since Article VI of the United States Constitutions clearly states, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Having said that, however, there is likewise a clear definition of Christianity if you are talking about biblical Christianity, i.e., the Christianity defined in the Holy Bible.  For a much more detailed description, I invite you to read my page on the theology of this blog.  Suffice it to say that historically and biblically, five distinctives or fundamentals of Christianity have been derived from the Scriptures.  Failure to adhere to and embrace any of these five disqualifies a position from the adjective “Christian” despite how it might make the practicioners thereof feel, and regardless of how close they are to Christian behavior otherwise.

Those five distinctives are:

  1. The inspiration and authority of the Bible;
  2. The virgin birth of Jesus Christ;
  3. The deity of Jesus Christ;
  4. The substitutionary atonement achieved by Jesus Christ; and
  5. The truth/reality of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Mormons do not hide their doctrine.  The history of Mormonism is well known.  It is a simple fact that it has been considered a cult by mainstream Christianity since its founding.  In point of fact, to quote the Reformation Theology post on this point:

Mormonism is not Christian at all – it is not Christian doctrine to deny the Trinity, to proclaim that the god who rules this earth (and who we are to worship) was once a man and who lives now on a planet encircling a star called Kolob; that Jesus was conceived by a sexual union between God and Mary… that the Bible has been superseeded by the book of Mormon; that Jesus’ death and resurrection merely secured an opportunity to be saved if people will work for it.

    Every Mormon needs to hear and embrace the true Gospel, not be affirmed as already being a Christian, especially by someone as prominent as yourself Joel [Osteen]. If you dont know what you are talking about say nothing – admit that you have not studied what Mormonism teaches – but PLEASE don’t affirm the Mormon faith as Christian. Mormonism is the most polytheistic faith on the planet.

A close examination of that brief overview shows that several of the fundamentals are denied by Mormonism.

Now some of you may be saying, now wait a minute, this means that not only Mormonism, but a host of other allegedly “Christian churches” are not really Christian by this definition!  Yes, sadly, that is true.  There is an important distinction to be discerned here, and that is the distinction between “Christendom” and “Christianity.”  You see, as the Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.”  Many claim to be Christian but deny critical parts of the faith and so fall into the category of Christendom rather than Christianity.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’

“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”  (Matthew 7:21-23 [NKJV])

So the bottomline is, Mormonism is not Christianity although it may be considered a part of Christendom.  But again this is irrelevant relative to the question of whether or not Mitt Romney is fit to be president of these United States.  While his religion may inform his ethics and the way he does his politics, our Constitution requires that his religion not form his policies.  This is true for every President, for every human has a religion, even  the materialist atheist.  I, for one, prefer a competent atheist to an incompetent Christian for critical matters like leading this country (or, e.g., brain surgery on yours truly).  Remember Jimmy Carter was a liberal Southern Baptist and turned out to be one of the most feckless idiots to ever inhabit the Oval Office.  (And I say that as an independent fundamental Baptist who spent considerable time in a conservative Southern Baptist church in which I was even married.)  Thus, it is much more important to ascertain whether or not he is a true conservative, and to date the evidence seems to strongly suggest otherwise.

As of right now, I may even have to go back to endorsing my candidate from 2008!

How to answer a liberal…

From Mark Steyn’s mailbox, an excellent example of a liberal trying to muddle the issue and missing the primary criticism, and Mr. Steyn’s politically incorrect response:

Mark…

Read your recent "Jo Biden Teachable Moment" essay. True, Vice Presidents and their selected quotes are often even easier targets than Presidents. Ask Dan Quayle. The task of taking Biden’s words to a group of school children trying to explain his point of view… and then using that somewhat simplistic narrative as "policy gospel" was easy pickings. Just not necessarily accurate gospel.

What has been happening (sometimes, more accurately, what’s not happening) with funding for public education locally, as well as at the state national levels over the years, is pathetic.

No Child Left Behind, which was formulated based upon a series of exaggerations and lies (Sound familiar? Think WMDs. Same "brain trust.") regarding public education in Texas (The widely debunked "Houston Miracle") has gone a long way towards wasting precious resources in both money and educator talent. More like Plenty of Children Left Behind… married to No Tax Dollars Left Behind.

Here in Pennsylvania, former Republican Governor Ridge (before Rendell), wasted enormous resources chasing very unpopular voucher programs which were constantly rejected by a vast majority of state voters. New Republican Governor, Corbett, has again picked up this dubious, mostly for-profit voucher legislation, and is pushing it mightily despite the fact that poll after poll, study after study, across all of PA and the country, shows no real educational benefits of vouchers.

Moreover, virtually 2/3s of Pennsylvania’s population is opposed using public tax dollars for sending kids to private and/or parochial schools.

Not to mention the unconstitutionality issue of using public tax dollars in an often thinnly-veiled attempt to prop up struggling religious schools.

State and federal net funding for public schools has dramatically shrunk over the years… not just during these tough economic times… and that support is still shrinking…. exacerbated by increasing and costly state and federal unfunded mandates. And, at least in PA, the state actually has a budget surplus.

So, we can take pot shots at a Vice President’s speech to some school children, or we can get serious… and take more meaningful shots at politicians in State Capitols and in Washington who seem far more invested in smearing and stonewalling their opposition than they are in supporting adequate financial support for our public schools.

There are many successful, high-functioning schools and school districts in our country. I happen to live in one. But there are also many struggling schools and school districts. I happen to live "across the street" from one. It’s not the kids faults. It is, to a great extent, the fault of those adults who would rather play politics with the future of our children than to responsibly address their needs. Like smoking political crack, partisan rhetoric may feel good for a moment, but does not replace the hard, day-to-day work of tackling the education of all our children with all their needs. In fact, such partisan rhetoric, when it continuously stalemates unselfish, real educational solutions, is as destructive to generations of students as is poverty… or drugs.

In the end, the real decision people will have to make is, do we want to again start committing adequate resources to our public schools? Or do we want to build more and bigger prisons.

Our adults should know better. Our kids deserve better.

Sincerely,

David Rackow, Board of School Directors, School District of Cheltenham Township
Cheltenham, Pennsylvania

Mark Says:

C’mon, man, you’re a big-time educrat on a "Board of School Directors" and the best you can do is a Dan Quayle dig? With the benefit of your fine education, you’re not even up to a Charles Gates Dawes crack? Oh, and by the way, for future reference, the "Jo" of "Jo Biden" takes an "e" at the end – like "potatoe".

Hey, you know what’s even funnier about that Dan Quayle guy? He’s so dumb he couldn’t even come up with his own misspelling! When he corrected the kid’s answer to "potatoe", he was going from the flash card written out by the teacher. You have to wonder what was going through Quayle’s head: Gee, that doesn’t look correct, but she’s a teacher and she must know the answers, right? Like far too many politicians, he deferred to the wisdom of the professional educators – and it destroyed him. That’s the real lesson of that incident – not that Dan Quayle can’t spell "potato" but that an American schoolteacher teaching spelling can’t.

Be that as it may, obviously "No Child Left Behind" is a racket, as some of us said years ago. But that wasn’t what my column was about. You say America won’t "commit adequate resources". I pointed out that America as a whole spends more per pupil on education than any developed nation except Switzerland – and York City spends a third above that. And you have nothing to show for it. Why can’t you address that fact? Bush is gone, get over it. But the Finns and the Koreans and the Chinese and the Swiss and the Japanese and Canadians and Dutch and New Zealanders, Singaporeans, Brits, Australians, Austrians, Germans, Belgians, French, Icelanders, Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, Estonians, Slovenes, Luxembourgers and Liechtensteiners are all still out there, and they’re cleaning your clock. As I pointed out, the York City budget deficit is higher than what the Slovaks spend per student in total – and yet amazingly they get better math results than you do. That’s the question for you "educators": why are you both so expensive and so utterly crap?

If per capita spending is a third above the per capita spending in the highest spending nation in the OECD and it’s still not "adequate", what would be "adequate"? Fifteen grand per pupil? Twenty-five? Forty-three? Or, in your more honest moments in the deepest darkest recesses of your soul, do you have a vague suspicion that, even if you "committed adequate resources" of a million dollars per student, they’d still be mediocre and unable to compete with Finland or Slovakia or anywhere else because the system you represent is mediocre and unable to compete. Instead of answering that, you start pansying around with Bush WMD cracks. That may still wow ’em on Open Mike Night at the NEA cocktail lounge, but do you realize what a parochial dweeb you sound to the rest of us? To repeat: The problem in Pennsylvania is not the lack of money, but that so much of the money is entirely wasted. On the evidence of your letter, I would include whatever remuneration you receive from the School District of Cheltenham Township.

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I think that left a mark!

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Watching the OWS Riots

As you watch the various MSM outlets describe the “riots” generated by the evictions of the Occupiers, you need to be very careful in how you assimilate what you see and how it is reported.  The video below comes from Dr. Francis Schaeffer’s magnum opus entitled How Should We Then Live?, which is both a book and a film series.  It is most instructive.

Stupidity on Display = Ingratitude

Bill Whittle is one of those prodigious anti-idiotarians with a gift for clear and concise analysis.  Enjoy:

 

UPDATE:  See here for an earlier analysis regarding character and gratitude from Dennis Prager.

Old Age + Cunning vs. Youth + Enthusiasm

OK, my warped sense of humor was tickled by this enough to want to share it.  It’s from the JumboJoke website, which as I’ve warned before, sometimes posts jokes that some might find offensive for various reasons, but which are marked so that the reader is forewarned and can avoid them if necessary.  So, set down your beverage and enjoy!

~~~

An old farmer in Kansas had owned a large farm with a nice pond in the back 40. It was fixed up nice: picnic tables, horseshoe courts, and some apple and peach trees.

One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pond, as he hadn’t been there for a while, and look it over. He grabbed a five gallon bucket to bring back some fruit.

As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee. As he came closer he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his pond.

He made some noise so the women would be aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end of the pond. One of the women shouted to him, "We’re not coming out until you leave!"

The old man frowned, "I didn’t come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or make you get out of the pond naked."

Holding the bucket up he said, "I’m just here to feed the alligator."

The Moral: Old age and cunning will triumph over youth and enthusiasm.

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