Sunday, September 28, 2008

I shall neither post nor moderate posts
until October 6,
discipline permitting.

Obama's Close Association with an American Terrorist

The Wall Street Journal ran a very significant story by Stanley Kurtz on Obama's close association with William Ayers, a member of the Weather Underground and an unrepentent advocate of violence against American institutions. Obama worked closedly with Ayers on The Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) in the mid-1990s. See Psalm 1 on the significance of our our close associations. This is not the fallacy of guilt by association, but the guilt of close collaboration with error.

This shows Obama's true colors. He is not reformer in the best American tradition. He is part of the anti-American movement of the 1960s, one of the "tenured radicals" who has now infiltrated the system from within,
in good Gramsci fasion. Will the "long march through the institutions" end up in The White House? God forbid it.

"When the foundations are being destroyed,
what can the righteous do?"--Psalm 11:3.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Open Letter to Governor Sarah Palin

Dear Govenor Palin:

Many of us were elated at your being selected Senator McCain's running mate. Those of us who are principled conservatives had qualms about Sen. McCain, and your selection told us that he would not alienate the conservative elements in his party. Moreover, I liked your stands on governmental corruption, fiscal conservatism, and on human life. I also appreciated your presence as an outsider, someone from my home state of Alaska. I defended you on the basis that Alaska is a tough state to govern, given its physical uniqueness and the fierce independence of Alaskans. I read your biography, Sarah, with great interest. I was delighted to find that you were my sister in Christ. I defended your interview with Charles Gibson on the grounds that he was out to get you.

However, I have some concerns about you and this election. I am not an ideologue, supporting a candidate no matter what without regard to the facts. I offer these with no rancor, but only with love and hope. It seemed that many conservative Christians were more excited about your biography than your political acumen. This was particularly evident on "The Hugh Hewitt Show" as Hugh gave over a week to first-time, female callers, who enthused in mostly emotive tones about you. There was more about your being a mother, having decided to keep a Downs child, being a hunter, and so on, than on your actual ability to lead at such a high level. I heard conservatives hail you as another Margaret Thatcher. That kind of hypertrophied praise borders on the obsequious. It is premature and overblown. We need informed citizens, not sychophants of the right or of the left. But you do have promise and have made an impressive start in the political world.

Several conservative commentators worry that you have not performed well on articulating your views on the issues. I share some of these concerns, given some of your recent comments in interviews. You have been somewhat shielded from the white heat of the press. That can be defended on the basis that you needed preparation. But now you must step right into the spotlight of inquisition.

Yes, the mainstream press had been unfair toward you, raking over your private life and not sparing even your children. Obama sent thirty operators to your home state to dig up Alaskan dirt on you. Welcome to American politics on the national level. Alaskan politics can be mean, since people everywhere are sinners, but Alaskans have rather limited resources in their attacks. Now the guns of the entire mainstream media and all the Obama operatives (which includes the mainstream media) are aimed directly at you and your dear family. They will sink to any level, likening you to Pontius Pilate and claiming you are not a real woman (since you are not a secular feminist).

None of this diminishes my support for the McCain-Palin ticket. Senator Obama is a disaster on every level. He is not ready to lead, given his paucity of experience. If he were ready to lead, his politics would be a disaster for our country. The killing fields of abortion on demand would widen and receive even more legal protections. National defense would suffer terribly. The state would swell to elephantine purportions (but without the intelligence of that noble beast). Obama is good at one thing: promoting himself. May he repent of that.

Nevertheless, Governor Palin and my sister in Christ, I exhort you to prepare yourself as best as possible on every level for the duration of the campaign. Your debate with Sen. Biden may be a turning point. If you rise to the occasion by out-arguing him and keeping your cool, many will applaud you. If you rely on talking points and mere charm, more will question your leadership.

I, for one, will pray hard for you and John McCain for the duration of this weary campaign. I will continue to argue that Christians and others should vote for you and Senator McCain. Many say the nomination of Obama is "historic." Perhaps, but there are failures of historic proportions as well. The election of Obama would be a failure of the nerve and wisdom of the American people, given his record and his abysmal politicies (the things that really count). Your election as vice president would be historic as well. I hope that I see that day and that history will applaud your political achievements.

The LORD bless you
and keep you;

the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;

the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.--Numbers 6.

Douglas Groothuis

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell, my favorite economist, gives some clarifying reflections on the financial crisis.

Lost: David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace, novelist and essayist, was interviewed on NPR. In this eight minute excerpt of a "Fresh Air" interview with Terry Gross, he speaks of how he was exhausted by the ironic, knowing, and weary tone of much contemporary writing (wherein everything is deflated, deconstructed, and nothing is left standing). Nevertheless, he dreaded appearing serious or earnest--"like Bill Bennett" (who wrote on virtues and the need for moral character). I cannot comment on the corpus of his writings, but this interview seems to speak volumes about the despair of so many contemporary writers and artists.

Wallace was, sadly, a brilliant but lost soul. He admits that he and his friends could not understand their own sorrows, in light of their economic and status successes. Having no stable reference point beyond themselves, they became mysteries to themselves. Pascal spoke profoundly to the inability of man without God to understand man:

Know then, proud man, what a paradox you are to yourself. Be humble, impotent reason! Be silent, feeble nature! Learn that man infinitely transcends man, hear from your master your true condition, which is unknown to you.

Listen to God.

Wallace took his life a few weeks ago at age 47. Great intelligence without root in objective truth and meaning, lacking a sense of life's larger purpose, can be a despairing and dangerous situation. His mind was at the end of its tether, and then he snapped the tether by hanging himself. His tragic death bears terrible witness to the truth of Jesus:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for you to gain the whole world, yet forfeit your soul? Or what can you give in exchange for your soul? --Matthew 26:24-26.


As far as the choices go, you must take the trouble to seek the truth, for if you die without worshipping the true principle you are lost. 'But', you say 'if he had wanted me to worship him, he would have left me some signs of his will.' So he did, but you pay no heed. Look for them; it is well worth it (158/236). --Blaise Pascal, Pensees.

True Fasting

In light of the national financial emergency, the impending election, and our desperate need for revivial, please read, ponder, and apply the following truths from Isaiah 58 (NRSV). Let us fast, pray, repent, and seek God.

1 Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet!Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins.

2 Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practised righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgements, they delight to draw near to God.

3 ‘Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?’ Look, you serve your own interest on your fast-day, and oppress all your workers.

4 Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high.

5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?

6 Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard.

9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,

10 if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.

11 The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong;and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.

12 Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.

13 If you refrain from trampling the sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call the sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honourable; if you honour it, not going your own ways, serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs;

14 then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Abortion, Obama: it Matters

Learn the truth about Obama's opposition to The Born Alive Infants Protection Act.

The Personhood Amendment

Ballot Measure #48. would amend the Colorado Constitution to say that personhood begins at conception. It is sponsored by Colorado for Equal Rights. This is the first time this kind of ballot measure has made it on to the ballot in the United States. I am listed on their web page as a supporter of this measure. Please visit their web page, pray for their work, and contribute time and money to this just cause.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain Shows Leadership

John McCain showed strong, nonpartisan leadership today by suspending his official campaign to focus as a Senator on the national financial crisis. He wants to delay his first debate in order to do this. As yet, Obama has refused. This speaks volumes.

About all Obama knows how to do is campaign and promote himself (writing two memiors and no significant legislation). He does not know how to lead. He was in the Senate in order to run for President, something he has been doing for nineteen months. Now the nation is in a profound economic crisis and he will not suspend campaigning for the good of the country.

Is McCain afraid to debate? No, he wanted to have multiple town hall debates with Obama over the summer. Obama declined. These don't allow for teleprompters. These words may seem hard, but I take them to be true, well-established, and pertinent to this election. Truth always counts.

Monday, September 22, 2008

"The Thinker"--Commending Philosophy Today

What sparks interest in philosophy? How can an obscure campus excel in this ancient discipline against the odds? In "The Thinker," The New York Times Magazine looks at the unlikely ascent of Auburn University's philosophy department, due largely to the philosophy of doing philosophy of one man, Professor Kelly Jolley.

Consider three salient factors to his approach.

1. He is a demanding teacher who requires immersion in primary sources. It is Aristocratic, not democratic.
2. His commitment is to the discipline of philosophy first. This chimes in with Roger Scruton's claim in Culture Counts that knowledge needs students, the traditions must be handed down. This cuts against the "student-centered learning" craze of recent years, an approach that too-often results in pedagogical fads and technological diversions.
3. He fostered a culture of philosophy at Auburn, as opposed to merely offering classes in philosophy.
4. He emphasized the mentor-apprentice model, more than the teacher-student model. This, of course, fits better the biblical understanding of teaching and learning--personal, not impersonal; embodied, not digitized.

All this makes me ponder how my own philosophy department might better commend itself and generate interest in this perennial tradition.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Saxophone, #1

The saxophone.
So many tones:
sonic tonic,
or manic panic.

Each with different voice,
By the cat's hippest choice.

Breath on reed
At whatever speed
in the need
of the Moment.

Speaking without a word.
Crying with the world.
Laughing upward.

Cutting through the air
into ears.
Lodging in the soul,
the metalic glare.

The saxophone.

Legislating Morality: Martin Luther King

Democrats, such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, often claim that since people disagree on the abortion question, the government should not restrict it. This often comes down to the mindless mantra that, "You cannot legislate morality." This ignores the fact that all law is based on one moral stance or another. No, you cannot make someone good by a law, but you may prohibit evil behavior (such as abortions). Moreover, law has a teaching function. Many think that what is legal is moral. Since abortion on demand has been legal since 1973, many think little of it, claiming that "My body, my choice." (Of course, the fetus is not part of the mother's body, but resides within it.)

In order to bring some sanity to this issue of legality and morality, consider this comment from Martin Luther King, made in an address in 1963. He was speaking of civil rights legislation, but the principle applies more broadly.

Now the other myth that gets around is the idea that legislation cannot really solve the problem and that it has no great role to play in this period of social change because you've got to change the heart and you can't change the heart through legislation. You can't legislate morals. The job must be done through education and religion. Well, there's half-truth involved here. Certainly, if the problem is to be solved then in the final sense, hearts must be changed. Religion and education must play a great role in changing the heart. But we must go on to say that while it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important, also. So there is a need for executive orders. There is a need for judicial decrees. There is a need for civil rights legislation on the local scale within states and on the national scale from the federal government.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Real Thing: Brother Yun at Denver Seminary

A leader of the underground Chinese church, Brother Yun, the author of The Heavenly Man (with Paul Hattaway), will be speaking at the Denver Seminary chapel on September 23 at chapel at 11:00 AM. He will also give a lunch discussion at 12:00 and speak again in the chapel at 7:00 PM. The address is 6399 S. Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, CO, 80120.

He has recently written a new book, Living Water, which will be available at the event. This remarkable man is a Chinese Christian and was part of the underground church in China, until he had to flee the country. He has been powerfully used by God in evangelism, training, and miracles. He has also suffered mightily in prison on several occasions.

Reading The Heavenly Man is a tonic against complacency and lukewarmness. I have written of him previously on this blog. I am hoping and praying his visit to Denver Seminary and Denver in general will awaken the church to seek God for great things in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Revive us again, O God!

Friday, September 19, 2008


I have been working on an apologetics textbook since 2003. But I've decided to give that up in favor of a memoir. Everybody is doing it. They sell. After all, apologetics demands facts, arguments, qualifications, the examintion of argument forms, endless reading, writing, rewriting, analytical anguish in extremis. Enough is enough! There is hardly a personal pronoun in the entire manuscript.

The title of my new book: Me: The Audacity of Autobiography or How I Discovered my Sacred Self through Writing About Myself for Myself (and I Know You Will Find Me Fascinating Because I am Me, After All). Highlights will include:
  • How I made God my mascot and found a blessing in it.
  • The endless profundity of my pain.
  • How narcissism got a bad name and what I did about it.
  • My faith, myself, my God.
  • When it comes to me, nothing is glib, all is profound.
  • Reality and how I conquered it through journaling and psychotherapy.
  • How I used the Bible to build a better me for me.
  • I believe in God because God believes in me.
  • The Kingdom of God is within me, and that's just where it should be.
  • The world is wrong; I am right; get that straight before its too late.
  • It is so hard being me, but you are better for it.

Ah, the clear, alpine air of untrammeled autobiography! It is endless; I contain multitudes.

(This is a satire, for you unmusical folks.)

Why Patriarchy in the Hebrew Bible?

Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, author of Women Caught in the Conflict and Good News for Women, has posted an essay called, "Excursus on Ancient Patriarchy" on her blog, which insight fully explains the reasons for and qualifications of patriarchy in the Hebrew Bible. I have not read anything else as insightful on this on this tough topic.

Blog Bog; Data Smog

Blog, bog

Instant post,
Inane joust,
Insane pounce.

Nameless names
naming nothing as

Hit and run,
Post and hum.
Spam the crowd
Say it loud.

Blog, bog:
gather data;
data unlimited;
uncontrolled data.
Dada data.

Where art thou?
Ignorance hidden by
blogspot fig leaves.

Fiction, the diction
of data in motion
without potion or

Blog bog;
data smog.

Obama's One Law Publication: Abortion on Demand

Barack Obama's Sole Article in Harvard Law Review Promotes Abortion

by Steven Ertelt

August 22, 2008

Washington, DC ( -- How strongly does Barack Obama believe in unlimited abortions? Strongly enough that the only article he wrote for the Harvard Law Review while he was a law school student talked about how fervently believed in legalized abortion. Obama's name wasn't attached to any other legal scholarship during the time.

In an article unearthed by the Politico web site, Obama, as the president of the Harvard Law Review, wrote an unsigned article touting abortion. (see below)

The web site says the article comes in at six pages and is contained in the third volume of the 1990 Harvard Law Review.

In the work, Obama considered a parenthetical abortion issue -- whether unborn children have a legal right to sue their mothers for damage sustained during pregnancy, from such things as alcohol or illegal drugs.

Obama says no and writes supportively of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case and another from the Illinois Supreme Court saying no such right exists.
According to Politico, Obama wrote: "[T]he case raises the broader policy and constitutional considerations that argue against using civil liability to control the behavior of pregnant women."
In a discussion of abortion itself, Obama wrote that government has more important business than "ensuring that any particular fetus is born."

He also decried any limits on abortion, saying the government has an interest in "preventing increasing numbers of children from being born in to lives of pain and despair."
Politico said the Obama campaign confirmed the pro-abortion presidential candidate wrote the piece in question and that it was one of the typical articles law students would write briefing and opining on federal and state court decisions.

In an email to the web site, Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt also confirmed that Obama "remains committed to" the sentiments he expressed in the piece.

Obama's article is on page 823 of Volume 103 of the Harvard Law Review and would likely be located in larger public libraries and databases that chronicle legal articles in scholarly publications.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sarah Palin's Political Heroes (from interview with Sean Hannity)

HANNITY: Historically — modern times — who inspires you politically? Who are people that you look to as maybe people that you can gain inspiration from in tough times?

PALIN: I'm thankful that I came of age politically in the era of Ronald Reagan, in high school and in college. You know, he — he is my inspiration. His vision of America and of the exceptional-ism of our country. I think about him every day. I think about what that Great Communicator has left our country and the rest of the world.

So he and then his partner on a lot of the good things that went on in the world at that time, Margaret Thatcher — just over the water. She too — she was underestimated as she came into office and proved herself with her abilities, her determination. She is another one.

Further back in history, Abraham Lincoln. Coming into office in a time of such turmoil. He was able to do some unconventional things, in assembling a very unusual Cabinet as was written about in "Team of Rivals." What Lincoln was able to do was marshal talents from disgruntled opponents even and adversaries and have everybody work together in order to fulfill the mission of unifying the nation and winning the war.

Palin interviewed by Hannity

Sean Hannity's interview with Sarah Palin can be found here. I could not get the video to work, but looked over the transcript. I believe the camera angles are more pleasing to Palin that what Charles Gibson and company set up. Of course, Hannity's tone is different as well.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Book Review: Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska's Political Establishment Upside Down

Kaylene Johnson, Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska's Political Establishment Upside Down (Epicenter Press, 2008).

Many who have been enlivened to the 2008 presidential race by Governor Sarah Palin's selection as McCain's running mate want to know more about this fresh face that has the left in paroxysms of ad hoc outrage. I wanted to know more, too, especially since she hails from my home state and grew up (in Wasilla) about thirty miles from where I did (in Anchorage). This book is an enjoyable, friendly, and compelling story of the rise of an Alaskan women to the Governor's mansion. It was written before Gov. Palin became the Vice Presidential nominee. Apparently, it is being republished by a major publisher. This edition is by a small publisher.

Sarah is not an expose or an in-depth assessment of Gov. Palin's personal life or politics. You will not find any psychoanalysis, cultural critique, or political theorizing. It is a homey biography. The broad outlines are of a truly Alaskan (tough, independent) women whose determination and principles led her into political leadership and to challenge some of the major political players in Alaska.

Readers will become more informed about the Alaskan way of life, which is quite alien to many in "the lower forty-eight," as we say. Alaskans love the outdoors, its scenery and wildlife. They often hunt, fish, climb, and sky. It is an oil-rich state with a significant population of native Alaskans from various tribes. (Gov. Palin is married to a man who is half native Alaskan.) Those who write off Gov. Palin as "the new governor of a sparsely populated state" (the Democrats' talking point) will find that governing Alaskans is anything but easy. The state brings its own unique challenges and requires real savvy from its leaders.

I'm sure several books will be written about Sarah Palin in the months and years to come--and from every possible angle. She is a compelling figure and may be in the political theater (I hope) for years to come. This book, though, will take its place as a matter-of-fact chronicle of an unlikely ascent to public service.

Farewell to England qua England?

The Times of London reports that UK courts are now recognizing decisions made by Muslims under sharia law. Rowan Williams, Arch Bishop of Canterbury, had just months before advised this. This "parallel law" situation means the following (the list is not complete):

1. Abuse against women will grow since the Qur'an allows men to beat their wives and divorce them easily and unilaterally.
2. Polygamy will be allowed.
3. Muslim men will rarely be prosecuted for rape, since sharia law makes this nearly impossible.
4. Muslim violence against infidels will be excused.
5. This "parallel law" will become a beachhead for establishing sharia for the entire country. Islam always aspires to be a civilization, not just a religion (in the Western sense).

Apparently, once proud England may have lost her will to be England. God save the Queen and her subjects. If you think my judgments are extreme, please read Mark Gabriel, Cultural Clash (2007). He was formerly a professor of Islamic history at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, and now a Christian convert.

Monday, September 15, 2008

She Opposed the Bridge and Much More: Palin vs. Obama/Biden on Earmarks

Read this article by Senator Jim Demint from The Wall Street Journal for an argument that Gov. Palin is far better than Obama or Biden on cutting earmarks. The mainstream media is lining up on the Obama side against Palin. This article argues otherwise.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Brother Yun to Speak at Denver Seminary

Brother Yun, the author of The Heavenly Man (with Paul Hattaway) will be speaking at the Denver Seminary chapel on September 23 at 11:00 AM. The address is 6399 S. Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, CO, 80120. He has recently written a new book, Living Water, which will be available at the event.

This remarkable man is a Chinese Christian and was part of the underground church in China, until he had to flee the country. He has been powerfully used by God in evangelism, training, and miracles. He has also suffered mightily in prison. Reading The Heavenly Man is a tonic against complacency and lukewarmness. I have written of him previously on this blog.

I am hoping and praying his visit to Denver Seminary and Denver in general will awaken the church to seek God for great things in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Revive us again, O God!

Why Not Start a Megachurch?

Perhaps I need a change of pace, a new thing. I know, I'll start a megachurch! Not a small church (why start small?), but a big one! How to do it?

The Blueprint for Exclamation Point Fellowship

1. I have a fair amount of hair, but will need to puff it out more.
2. The teeth needs some whitening.
3. I better lose some weight.
4. I need a new wardrobe.
5. Major portions of the Bible need to go into hiding for the sermons.
6. No more yelling during preaching.
7. I need to learn how to smile--all the time. I can hire a coach.
8. Hire a dozen sociologists to canvas the target audience and craft a designer church.
9. Cultivate the best parking lot philosophy. Hire a team of engineers.
10. Out hi-tech the hi-techs. Every seat will have a video screen, just like on airplane trips. People can get close ups of the stage, surf the net, or play Christian video games--all during the service. After each service each attendee will be asked to rate the service on line, so we can get feedback for next week. All who do this will automatically have their names entered into the church's own lottery! "The Lord's Lotto" (TM).
11. We will have hostesses serving refreshments during the service.
12. We will have a coffee bar.
13. We will have a real bar!
14. We will have a food court.
15. We will have a basketball court!
16. We will court celebrities for testimonies!
17. We will deploy special effects: laser lights on stage, sound effects, mist machines, blowers, risers. Demons and angels can be simulated. Even God can be simulated, given the proper lighting and mega-subwoofers!

Now, who will help me fund this ecclesiastical extravaganza? I assure you, we will start with a Bang!!!

Open Letter to Oprah

Dear Ms. Winfrey:

Please invite Gov. Sarah Palin onto your program. She is a remarkable women who has achieved many of the things that you desire women to achieve. She deserves to be put to the test and to show her stuff on your program.

Douglas Groothuis


Folks, please be patient with the new moderated format. I thought I was getting all the moderated comments on my email account, but a bunch had built up on the web page. Maybe some even got posted twice! Anyway, please bear with me.

Gibson's Gaffe: The Trick Question

Charles Krauthammer shows that Charles Gibson's supposed "gotcha" moment was a crock of attack dog journalism. Gibson's lecture to Sarah Palin on "the Bush Doctrine" was incorrect. There have been several versions of "the Bush Doctrine," and what Gibson intoned was not the Bush Doctrine. So, Sarah Palin didn't really stumble at all, since there is no one meaning to "the Bush Doctrine." The guy bluffed so well it fooled (even) me!

This makes me even more contemptuous toward the contemptuous (and errant) Charles Gibson.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Obama's Image-and-Speech Machine in Decline

Charles Krauthammer again perceptively assesses Obama's rise and fall. The messianic image-and-speech machine that is Obama is sputtering due to a lack of real fuel (all my terms, not his).

Sea Change Due to Dirty Waters

Comments are now moderated. This should cut down on obnoxious, off topic, and pointless posts.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Charlie Gibson vs. Sarah Palin

As many loyal readers know, I don't watch television--except on rare occasions, such as Sarah Palin's first major interview. I break my short-lived silence to make a few points.

We all saw an edited version of the interview. Given the media bias, you can be certain that we saw the worst of her performance, not the best of it. Nevertheless, she performed well. Charlie Gibson evidenced the media bias with a sour vengeance. He scowled at Gov. Palin the entire time, trying to trap her, pressing her in ways that Obama has never had to experience. Nevertheless. Palin held up quite well. She never stuttered (unlike Obama without a teleprompter), gave nuanced answers, refused to step into a trap, and rebounded well when she did not know exactly what Gibson meant by "the Bush doctrine," which he later contemptuously explained. She was honest about a disagreement with McCain on drilling in ANWR (she's for drilling there, and right on that) and said Gibson was cynical in his accusation that she was changing her mind on global warming. She invoked Abraham Lincoln to explain her views of God's will in warfare--a deft move.

She was well poised, confident, and insistent, but without being angry, bitter or scowling. And all of this came after two weeks of intense, relentless media scrutiny, which didn't spare the private details of her own family. It came after Obama likened her to a pig with lipstick; after a Democratic US congressman said that Jesus was a community organizer, but Pilate was a governor; and after another sagacious Democratic leader said that her primary credential was not having an abortion.

Sarah Palin will never sink to this level. Instead, she will rise to the occasion, as she did tonight.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Doug Groothuis review-article on line

My article from the July-August issue of Books and Culture, "The Great Debate" (on several books about atheism and theism) is now on line.


Too many words,
For too long,
With too little effect.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008


There have been a spate of rude, uncivil, and gratuitously insulting remarks in the posts recently--people throwing around words like "fundamentalist," "Christocrat," and the like. It is called ad hominem. Anything posted with these kinds of epithets will be summarily deleted by The CC. So, please don't waste your time.

Feminism and Sarah Palin

Rebecca Merrill Groothuis has written an insightful new post called, "Feminism and Sarah Palin," which addresses how traditionalist evangelicals are responding to her candidacy.

Obama Speaks

"The other side, suddenly, they're saying 'we're for change too,' " Obama told the crowd. "You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig. You can wrap up an old fish in a piece of paper and call it change. It's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough." From The Dallas News.

Last week, forty million people heard Sarah Palin say that the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom was lipstick. This Obama utterance is not exactly presidential, to put it mildly.

Must Read

If anyone things that deeming an embryo a human person from conception is merely a matter of private, religious belief (such as Joe Biden), please read Embryo: A Defense of Human Life (Doubleday, 2008) by Robert George and Christopher Tollefsen.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sarah Palin and Homosexual Change

The AP is upset that Sarah Palin's church believes that homosexuals can become heterosexual through prayer. What exactly is the moral offense here?

It seems that being a homosexual has become a sacred/secular right for many, something that is intrinsically good and must never be questioned. But what if a religious person who is a homosexual wants to change and believes God and the church can help him or her change? How is that in any way wrong? How can it be objectionable to help someone who wants to change in this way? Apparently, the wrongdoing comes by claiming that homosexuality is something that one needs to recover from, something abnormal.

Yet this is the historic teaching of the church and is affirmed repeatedly in the Bible. It is a part of Christianity rightly so called. But no one should be forced to become a Christian, and no homosexual should be badgered or harassed about their sexual status. Rather, the church should teach what the Bible affirms and invite people to seek help.

It is a fallen world and not all who seek a change in their orientation will find it. However, some miraculously change (one such story was told to me by a credible man who experienced this first hand), some change over time (I have a friend in this category), and some live with their condition, but honor God by not acting it out (I know people in this situation as well). Exodus International offers hope in these areas.

The leftist media is pummelling Palin for anything they don't like about her religion. But they avoid the truth claims of Christianity and its rational defense (apologetics). They presuppose secularism (homosexuality is a nonmoral issue, since relativism is true) and they attack any religion that makes moral judgments concerning sexual practices. They deem it fine to undergo sex change surgery, but it is wrong to seek to change one's sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual through prayer.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Joe Biden and the Fact/Value Dichotomy

Joe Biden on human life from The NY Times today:

"I’m prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception.”

You don't need religious faith to believe that, Mr. Biden. You only need an elementary knowledge of biology. Conception is the beginning of life. There is no controversy over this in the scientific literature. At that point, one receives a full and unique (unless one is twin) genetic code. At that point one is human with a human trajectory--unless one is aborted.

Does Biden take his "faith" to be fact? If so, then human life is being savaged in this country on a daily, hourly basis--over one million abortions a year. As a Roman Catholic, Biden should oppose abortion on demand and work to protect human life. But he is stuck in the fact/value dichotomy:

Values, religious faith, beyond reason
Fact, science, evidence, reason

Francis Schaeffer wrote about this dichotomy years ago in his brilliant work, The God Who is There (1968). Joe Biden should read it, but he won't. His faith is private, personal, and has no purchase on political policy. In other words, it is profoundly unbiblical.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

One More Time: What an Obama Presidency Would Mean

Let me put it plainly: Too many Christians are supporting Obama. Perhaps they do not understand the implications of an Obama Presidency. Consider just three issues: unborn human life, terrorism, and poverty.


All humans are made in God's image and are such from conception. God forbids murder (unlawful killing). The killing of the unborn is, therefore, immoral and sinful--especially so, since they are utterly helpless. They are among "the least of these" that Jesus told us to care for. (I take abortion to save the life of the mother to not be sinful, but this accounts for only a minute percentage of abortions in the US).

1. Obama would sign The Freedom of Choice Act if it comes to his desk. This would annul every state or local restriction on abortion in the 50 states.

2. Obama would appoint several Supreme Court justices. They would be pro-choice with a vengeance, thus wiping out the possibility of reversing Roe v. Wade, which (along with Doe v. Bolton) opened the floodgates to abortion on demand in the United States. In other words, over 40,000,000 legal abortions in the United States since 1973.

3. Obama would fund abortions through tax payer's money. That is chapter and verse from the Democratic Platform.

4. Obama even opposed the ban on partial birth abortions, and would likely do what he could to bring them back. He opposed a born-alive statute in Illinois that would have allowed hospitals to save aborted babies that survived their own execution.

5. Obama admits he is an ignoramus on when a fetus gets any human rights. It is "above his pay grade." He has also said that we don't know when human life begins. This is a crock. Biology tells us life begins at conception (once a complete genetic code comes into being); since that life comes from humans, it is human life from conception. What else could it be? This is not difficult. But even if one is not sure when human life begins, that does not justify abortion on demand! We should, rather, err on the side of caution, given the momentous stakes at hand.

The National Right to Life gave Obama a rating of o%--the worst possible. The National Abortion Rights Action League gave him a rating of 100%--the best possible. See their documentation of Obama and Biden's views on abortion.

John McCain has become more pro-life recently. He said at Saddleback Community Church that the fetus has human rights from the beginning. He is the polar opposite of Obama on this, as is Sarah Palin.


Evil is real in the world. The Bible does not forbid the use of force in a just cause. The innocent should be protected against attack.

1. Obama has no military experience. In fact, he has anti-military associations, such as William Ayers, a confessed bomber of American military sites. Like most political liberals, he views terrorism as a criminal justice question, not one of military concern. He has opposed funding for the Iraq war and would likely lose that war if elected, thus turning Iraq into a bloodbath and likely a terrorist stronghold, with the Iranians reigning down on it like vultures. They are already supporting terrorism around the world.

2. Obama views himself as a "world citizen" and would conform to international pressures rather than putting the US first. This would weaken us and make us more vulnerable to attack and lessen our ability to do good in the world.

McCain is a military man and has served in the Senate for over twenty years, getting more experience on these matters. He supported the recently successful troop surge (when it was unpopular) and realizes we cannot pull out of Iraq until the job is done.

The Poor:

Some Christians are deceived into thinking that political liberalism is better for the poor than conservatism. So, since the Bible tells us to care about the poor and the oppressed, we should support the Democrats. Not so fast. Saying you care about them and actually providing meaningful assistance are two different things. The liberal mindset is based on centralized, tax-funded programs. This slows down the economy and encourages dependence. This was the lesson of President Johnson's "War on Poverty." Poverty won. Read Winning the Race by John McWhorter (an African American) on that.

The conservative approach is to limit the power of the state, to cut taxes, and to give people more freedom to develop their skills and work on and give to the causes that concern them. It is not "Let them eat cake," but is based on a different philosophy of economics.

Moreover it is a leftwing fable that conservatives don't care about the poor. Studies show that conservatives give four times more to charity than do liberals. This is because liberals think the state should do this work, not individuals and private associations. (See Arthur C. Brooks, Who Really Cares? and The Acton Institute.)

McCain has articulated his concerns to help those out of work get reeducated and those without adequate health coverage to have more options. However, he does not want to socialize medicine and create a huge bureaucracy.

It is not an option for Christians to neglect the poor and marginalized. However, it is far from obvious that the Democrats have the best plan to help these people. They would certainly not help the unborn, the poorest and most marginalized of all.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Conservatives, Liberals, and Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin is shaking up the political and religious scene in several fascinating ways. With no attempt to be systematic or thorough, here are several observations on the passing scene.

1. Gov. Palin has attained the feminist dream, "having it all." She is a wife, mother, and successful politician and poised for greater influence than ever. However, she is not a liberal feminist, since she is Christian, pro-life, and politically conservative. This rankles liberal feminists to no end. What the heck happened?

2. Yes, you conservatives who hate "feminism" in all its forms, she has achieved something impossible without feminism: political success and a functioning, traditional family. Rush Limbaugh today said that "all feminism is BS." Well, without it, Rush, we'd have no Sarah Palin, your "babe." It's time that conservatives realize that feminism was never all bad. Its central premise (supported by the Bible itself) is that men and women are equal in their nature and potential for service and leadership. Gender differences do not make an essential difference in intelligence, savy, or leadership. Feminism went wrong when it became secular and liberal--something it was not originally in the latter 19th Century in America. Read Rebecca Merrill Groothuis's treatment of this in Women Caught in the Conflict. It is a good antidote to historical amnesia, a pandemic today.

3. Some conservatives, such as Richard Land, are swooning over Palin, and hope she will be elected; but they are quick to assert that, of course, she could never lead a church or do anything but unilaterally submit to her husband. This makes no sense at all. She can be a heartbeat from the presidency of the most influential nation on earth, but she cannot correct her husband if he is wrong. She can address the nation and political leaders from around the world, but she cannot be a pastor and give a sermon to fifty people on Sunday morning.

Of course, Land and others think the Bible forbids women from being pastors or equal partners in the home. As one with a high view of the Bible, I disagree with this exegesis, which is wooden and ignores larger redemptive themes in Scripture as well as the clear examples of women leaders, the foremost of whom is Deborah, a woman who held the supreme secular and religious authority over Israel and who is only praised in Scripture (Judges 4-5). And, no, God did not select her because no men were available. That must be read into the text (eisegesis); it cannot be extracted from the text (exegesis). Perhaps Sarah Palin is another Deborah--or, at least a Deborah in training.

4. The liberal media gives the religion of Obama a pass and does not hold against him the racist rantings of his twenty-year pastor, Jeremiah Wright (although Obama realized he had to distance himself from Wright after the Internet exploded with Wright's extremist pronouncements). But the liberal media will descend on Palin's religion and deem her a "holy roller," since she has a background in the Pentecostal Assemblies of God. This is how it works: religion held by a leftist is sacrosanct since it inspires him (Obama) to justice and goodness; religion held by a conservative is dangerous and fanatical, since you never know what a God-obsessed person (Palin) might do.

People Who Live Without TV

Robert Velarde sent me this link about TV-free living.

Doug Groothuis Preaching in Littleton

I will be preaching at both services (9:00 and 11:00) at Calvary South Denver (9052 West Ken Caryl Avenue, Littleton, CO 80128) on Sunday, September 7. My text is Acts 19:1-20: "Spirituality--True and False."

Thursday, September 04, 2008

On John McCain

One thing struck my wife and me tonight as we watched John McCain's acceptance speech at the Republican Convention. He repeatedly stressed the need to live and serve a cause greater than oneself, to not take the credit but serve others--lessons he learned in a Vietnamese jail cell.

The message was not personality-driven, but focused on ideals and ways to achieve them. He made few references to his opponent, which was presidential and fitting. Those points had been made in spades yesterday by Sarah Palin and Rudy Gulianni. But his life and message made the contrast utterly clear.

John McCain has a compelling story and gave a convincing speech. Despite my disagreements with some of his previous stances, I respect him and believe he tries to put principle above personality and fame. He has grown through the campaign as has my appreciation of him.

The choice should be clear. The choice is titanic.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Transcending Expectations: Sarah Palin in St. Paul

Before you are infected with mainstream media deconstructions of Sarah Palin's speech before the Republican Convention tonight (I refuse to consult them for a time, having just watched the speech), please consider the rumination of The Constructive Curmudgeon.

1. Governor Palin needed to impress the country with ideas, dynamism, and courage. She did so splendidly. She was composed, passionate, articulate, funny, and presentable--all after six days in the heat of the shameless national spotlight.

2. She emphasized the benefits of her unconventional background, thus resonating with many Americans wary of Washington insiders and elites. She has executive experience and has been an agent of real and significant change for the better in Alaska. She has a common touch without being overly folksy.

3. She was not afraid to unmask Barack Obama for what he is: a hyperreality. A hyperreality is an image that has no referent, like a cartoon or video game character. Yet, that hyperreality is taken to be the essence of reality, since people stoped caring about truth and are content with impressions. No, she did not use that term from media criticism (and often used by Jean Baudrillard); but she told the truth about the man who wasn't there, the man who wrote two memiors, but has authored no significant legislation, the man who looks good, but has accomplished nothing of substance. He is the first hyperreal presidential candidate. Her comments about there being nothing left after you bring back the Styrofoam Greek columns said it all: the Styrofoam candidate.
She told the truth about Obama's inability to face the evils of terrorism, his worship of gigantic government, and his love of hugh tax hikes. (She did not mention his militantly pro-abortion stance, but that is already well known.)
Sarah Palin told the truth about Obama--and she did so with spunk, spirit, humor, and verve. No, you mainstream pundits, it was not shrill (a term I'm sure they will use), it was solid and galvanizing for those willing to pay attention. Consider these zingers:
  • "Some candidates use change to promote their careers. John McCain has used his career to promote change. "
  • "The presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery.

4. Much has been made of Governor Palin being a woman. All I can say from this speech and what I know about her is that she certainly is a woman, a feminine woman, and a woman who is comfortable in her own skin (like Ronald Reagan). But this woman is not afraid to exercise her powers or to unmask pretenders. Who said leadership is (only) male?

5. Palin gave a ringing endorsement of John McCain, emphasizing his strengths and acheivements. She did not hog the stage, but commended the man who wisely chose her. He served and suffered for his country, he understands the military and terrorism, he does not worship big government as the answer to everything.

Sarah Palin transcended my expectations and my prayers were answered. It's a new race, and I'm committed.

Colson on Palin

Please read Charles Colson on the Sarah Palin selection. I plan to watch speech at the convention tonight, a rare TV-moment for the CC.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Making the Best of the Bad: Sarah Palin's Daughter's Pregnancy

Gov. Palin's 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant out of wedlock. This is wrong, since sex should be reserved for marriage.

This is Sarah Palin's statement:

Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support. Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media to respect our daughter and Levi's privacy, as has always been the tradition of children of candidates.

Consider what the family did right:

1. The girl went to her parents instead of having an abortion.
2. The girl will marry the father, thus giving the child a biological family. This could only be done with the support of the parents. (Giving up unexpected children for adoption can sometimes we the right thing to do; abortion is always the wrong thing.)
3. This is another indicator that the Palin's are pro-life when it counts: keeping a Downs baby and keeping an unexpected pregnancy.

Compare the Palin's approach with Obama's comment that he wants abortion safe and legal because he wouldn't want one of his daughters to be "punished with a pregnancy" if they conceived out of wedlock.

It's a fallen world. Good families have difficult problems due to sinful choices. My estimation of Sarah Palin has not dropped one bit. I am further moved to support and pray for her and her family.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Autobiography is not Character

Charles Krauthammer argues that Obama's appearance at the DNC lacked any solid testimonial evidence by others concerning his character as a national, public leader. That is no small omission. Instead, Obama has brilliantly built himself up through two autobiographies (the man is only 46!) and through deft posturing. In other words, Obama has fans, but no credible witnesses to his character. He is entirely fabricated. The only solid thing about him is his pro-abortion extremism, the worst possible feature for a politician to have.