Archive for September 2011

Be like me

September 2nd, 2011 — 12:27pm

There’s a much finer line than many of us would like to admit between (a) wanting someone else to be like Jesus and (b) wanting someone else to be like me, since I’m so much like Jesus.

Comment » | Pastoral Pondering

Those blasted purists

September 2nd, 2011 — 11:33am

Readers wishing to learn how to make a wax nose out of history should consult Timothy Egan’s article in yesterday’s Times, “Purists Gone Wild.” He recently finished reading Daniel Okrent’s Last Call, a “haunting and entertaining book on Prohibition,” so he tells us, and Okrent’s “gallop through one of the most otherworldly episodes in American history” made our poor Opinionator “shudder at the parallels to this age.”

What, you ask, might these be? Well, don’t strain your imagination. The Prohibitionists make Egan think of “the increasingly unpopular Tea Party” – who else?

What (he asks with Okrent) could possibly have led people a century ago to embrace such a “social engineering nightmare” as Prohibition? “How did a freedom-loving people decide to give up a private right that had been freely exercised by millions upon millions since the first European colonists arrived in the New World?” I confess, my first thought on reading this was what Egan’s question might have to do with Obamacare, but for some reason his mind went elsewhere: how can freedom-loving people be so enamored of a political outfit (think headdresses and barrels of tea) that promises “to amend the Constitution in several ways to take away freedoms”? One such amendment “would prevent gays from ever getting married. Another would outlaw a woman’s right to decide when to end a pregnancy.” And so on.

Which just goes to show what a difference presuppositions make. My assumption (whether shared by the Tea Party, I couldn’t say) is that government is accountable to a higher and divine Lawgiver; that its laws must be good in His eyes; and that where it has not been given jurisdiction to act, it has no authority to act. (I know, I’m about 150 years behind the times, but then, that’s not so very long.) Egan’s assumptions have little to do with transcendent things: his bottom line is a fairly foggy, but all-embracing, notion of individual rights. Government must preserve the individual’s right to act as he or she pleases, without moral imposition. (It’s a fetus, not a child, as any idiot knows – Justice Blackmun said so! And don’t tell me your stupid metaphysical ideas about the non-interchangeability of men and women should have the force of public policy; any fool knows men and women are interchangeable where consensual sex is concerned!) On the other hand (and here’s where the foggy part comes in), government shall ensure the physical and psychological well-being of its citizenry, even if it means doing so by force. If you want to kill one of your children in the womb (my mistake: “reduce” your pregnancy), government will stand by and cheer. It will, however, insist that you use its health care plan to cover the expenses . . . or else. Oh, and if you make too much money, it will tax the hell out of you (at gunpoint, so to speak) to make sure your neighbor’s retirement, groceries, fuel, post office, education, senator’s salary (including retirement), and Xbox Halo are comfortably paid for.

Beware the purists, my friends. They’re everywhere.

Comment » | Things Come Lately

Carter hits a homerun

September 1st, 2011 — 4:28pm

Kudos to Joe Carter over at First Things for this article. Exceptionally well said.

Comment » | The Way of All the Earth

Back to top