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« August 2008 | Main | October 2008 »

September 23, 2008

The Point Radio: Despair, Inc.

Wall Street upheaval, hurricanes, rocketing food prices. You know, it's easy to give in to cynicism and despair...

Click play above to listen.

September 22, 2008

Chuck Norris and the Coming Revolution

Chuck Norris is promoting a revolution ... a revolution in the political arena that I think most of us agree needs to happen. He states that "good politicians are few and far between. The majority of them need to be replaced, and the rest of them need our help to do it." 

To that end, he is encouraging Americans to get involved in the upcoming election and beyond:

You know the words of British orator Edmund Burke, "Evil flourishes when good men do nothing." Well, evil has flourished for too long. It's time for the good people to rise up in another voter revolution. Don't be like the 90,000 people who ignored the evacuation orders as Hurricane Ike approached. Don't just sit back and hope it turns out OK. Get involved. Start in your community. Fight for your country and state. And together, we can reawaken our country.

To that, I can only say, "Amen!"

Why That Derby, Rotten ....

The Washington Post used to run radio spots with the theme "If You Don't Get It, You Don't Get It." Sometimes, that's how I feel about libertarian atheist John Derbyshire. Much of his sociopolitical writing is really quite smart. But then he expounds upon the topic of faith and demonstrates that he just doesn't get it.  Por ejemplo...

[C]ould believers please lay off bringing out their precious, nursed and petted "doubts" and displaying them to us? You guys don't really have any doubts. You believe the thing you believe, and you fully intend to go on believing it, because it's what you believe, and you believe it because it's true, and you know it's true because it's what you believe. Your "doubts" are all bogus. I, at any rate, find them deeply unconvincing. You just play with the idea of having doubts, "like playing at cards for no money." These doubts of yours are mere valueless tokens of humility, fake driver licenses to get you served at the Free Enquiry bar. There is no free enquiry in religion. The answers are all known in advance.

Ugh. Where to begin?

A call to prayer, and a call for assistance

Reader Leah Greene writes from Houston, Texas:

I have enjoyed this blog for as long as it's been up and running.  I check it several times a week, and your columns have challenged me to think about the world in different ways.  Thank you so much for your time and research.

I'm a Houston resident who was without power for seven days due to Hurricane Ike, and for that I feel fortunate, as half the city still has no power.  My law office was closed for nearly a week because our building lost power for almost that long.  Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula face unspeakably grim challenges in Ike's aftermath. 

On the flip side, Houstonians have shown incredible love to their neighbors by stretching extensions cords across streets when one side has power and the other does not.  People with power have opened their homes to those who do not.  Businesses are reopening gradually, often by owners and employees who do not have power at their homes.

After my power was restored, I checked The Point for any columns regarding how people have helped during the storm, a call for prayer for the people of Southeast Texas, or stories of triumph during these difficult circumstances.  The best I can tell, there has been nothing, which both surprises and disappoints me. . . .

We here in Southeast Texas feel like we're being forgotten by the national media.  We recognize that we aren't the only ones who have been affected by the hurricane, as Ike has knocked out power as far north as Kentucky and Ohio.  We would greatly appreciate if you would ask your readers to continue to pray for the victims of Ike. . . .

Leah also sent a link to the Houston Chronicle website, which has extensive coverage of the storm's aftermath.

Please join Leah and us in praying for those affected by Hurricane Ike. And her e-mail brings up another important point as well.

Continue reading "A call to prayer, and a call for assistance" »

More from Ken Myers

As is probably obvious from the fact that I've blogged about it twice in one morning, Ken Myers's talk at GodBlogCon was particularly full of resources and helpful hints. He offered an intriguing-looking reading list for those interested in new media and its implications, but it doesn't seem to be online yet. When it is, I'll put up a link. In the meantime, here's a list of action items he suggested that may be of interest:

  • Encourage people on your blog to read books (e.g., one blogger he knows whose blog is simply notes on his reading)
  • Figure out how to get your bloggers involved in local face-to-face conversation
  • Spend the rest of your life learning to use language better
  • Think about your publishing schedule and how you might fight the temptation on the part of your readers to spend time in restless surfing

I'd like to hear your perspective as readers: What do you think about these ideas, and how could The Point work on implementing them?

A Teacher’s Abuse of Power

Even in my liberal department, I wouldn't be able to get away with this. I'm glad to see that his Republican students complained and forced him to revise the assignment. However, I wonder if he will fairly grade papers that express an opinion contrary to his own. 

Re: What Happens In Vegas...


I do very much hope that you, once again, find yourself not actually meeting, at least in terrestrial space, anyone at GodBlogCon, but instead find yourself communicating with them via blog across the room.

This hilarious dynamic was an endless source of glee for me personally last year. Well, actually, no it wasn't "endless." That's the problem. The glee ended when the last of the blogeratti shut down their laptops and left -- eyes welling up at the thought of leaving all of these dear, newfound e-friends met remotely across the convention hall -- GodBlogCon 2007.

I want to relive that glee again! Make it happen! Do it for ME!

Your e-friend and (ho hum, I know) terrestrial friend,


The Point Radio: Ike’s Lessons

Hurricane Ike leaves lessons in its wake....

Click play above to listen.

No apologies here

The Anglicans may have felt the need to apologize to Darwin, but the Catholics are still holding out:

The Vatican said on Tuesday the theory of evolution was compatible with the Bible but planned no posthumous apology to Charles Darwin for the cold reception it gave him 150 years ago. . . .

In 1950, Pope Pius XII described evolution as a valid scientific approach to the development of humans, a view that was reiterated by Pope John Paul II in 1996. But [Archbishop Gianfranco] Ravasi said the Vatican had no intention of apologising for earlier negative views.

"Maybe we should abandon the idea of issuing apologies as if history was a court eternally in session," he said, adding that Darwin's theories were "never condemned by the Catholic Church nor was his book ever banned".

Thought from GodBlogCon

Not only are we transformed by the way we use our tools; we are not aware of how we are being transformed, so we need all the more to try to make explicit what the Net is doing for us and what it is doing to us in the process.

Hubert Dreyfus, On the Internet, quoted by Ken Myers in his talk "Renewed Minds Online: The Internet, Media Ecology, and the Christian Consciousness"


September 19, 2008

What happens in Vegas . . .

Las_vegas . . . gets plastered all over the Internet for everyone to see.

(Now we know why I was never hired by the tourism industry.)

By the time you read this, I'll be on a plane to Las Vegas for this year's GodBlogCon. I'll check in now and then to let you all know how it's going. (I'll even try to look up from my computer once in a while and meet my fellow bloggers!)

’The Year Journalism Died’

Somewhat related to Catherine’s post: Last week at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., I heard Fox News commentator and radio host Sean Hannity say in his speech that 2008 is the “year journalism died.” He stated that the American media has lost its credibility and reputation for delivering objective and balanced news reports, particularly regarding the upcoming election. And he cited a Rasmussen report that says 69 percent of the public believe that media outlets are partisan and rig their reporting to help the candidate they want to win.

I am one of the 69 percent. (Many examples of media bias can be found at the Media Research Center website.) But I still believe in journalism and its important role, and Hannity's charge that journalism is dead sounds a bit too hopeless for me. I'd rather change it to “the year objective journalism died” because the news industry is not dead, it just needs a wake-up call – a very loud wake-up call.

Ninja Cat

Ok, I'll fess up ... I'm a cat person. So, you can imagine how much I appreciated this video when I found it on YouTube.


Broken-Hearted Christianity

In these days when so many of our fellow citizens are suffering, it seems appropriate to revisit the words of the founder of World Vision, Bob Pierce: "Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God." 

What is God leading you (or your church) to do to help those who are hurting? 

How to brighten a Monday

If you live in the Washington, D.C., area, and can get over to George Mason University on Monday afternoon, you can hear our own Lori Smith speaking on her book A Walk with Jane Austen at the university's annual Fall for the Book event. More information is here and here.

Open book thread

Open_book_2 Today, I have just a snippet from Ravi Zacharias's The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists to share.

[This] story, reported in the Houston Chronicle on March 16, 2007, is about an eleven-year-old boy named Roger Holloway. His baby sister was delivered stillborn at thirty-one weeks and would have been disposed of in the usual manner -- nameless and unmarked. The "fetus," simply marked "Fetus Girl Holloway," had been held at the Harris County Medical Examiner's office. For one year, young Roger battled with the authorities for the body of the baby he had named Rachel. His mother was in a drug rehabilitation facility miles away, the baby's father was unknown, and Roger's own father was dead. But this little guy fought long and hard, speaking to the powers that be and even getting a nearby church to donate a burial plot. And on March 15, 2007, Roger and his three cousins held the funeral and carried the white casket to its resting place. In the casket containing Rachel's body he placed a baby blanket, flowers, and stuffed animals. "Since my dad died, I never got to know him," the boy said after the graveside service. "And since my sister died, I never got to know her either. The good thing is she's with God and my dad in heaven, and she's going to rest in peace."

The impact of this little boy was enormous. Hearing what he had done, his mother told her son by telephone that she was proud of him and asked for his forgiveness, and a bereavement counselor who helped Roger achieve his goal said, "I think this is amazing. I'm looking at greatness."

It is because of the values and the heart of a little boy such as Roger that I have hope in the future. I wish Sam Harris and those who write as he does would join me in celebrating such courage and values -- and that we would have a better world as a result.

What have you read lately that's moved or inspired you?

TV to look forward to

Priestphoto It says something sad about our society that a TV show "about a priest who is faithful and is in love with the Church" is billed as an "innovative drama." But it says something wonderful about Karen Hall that she has the brains, courage, talent, faith, and persistence to make it happen.

Read more about Vows here. (Don't be misled by the lead, though; the show won't be ready this fall. The final draft has just been turned in.) And pop over to Some Have Hats if you'd like to offer congratulations and best wishes to a weary but relieved writer.

(Image courtesy of the National Catholic Register)

The Point Radio: Where Are Your Kids?

It's seven o'clock. Do you know where your children are?...

Click play above to listen.

Suzanne Choney, “A Good Find: GPS to Locate the Kids,” MSNBC, 25 August 2008.

September 18, 2008

Daily roundup

’I hate her’

Palin3 I've heard several people, including friends, say they can't figure out why so many people love Sarah Palin so much. I'll concede that any phenomenon, including this one, may be hard to understand if you're not one of those caught up in it.

But for my money, this is the sort of thing that's truly hard to understand -- and truly creepy. And I can't help but wonder if the hatemongers realize that they're just creating a backlash that gets the fans even more fired up.

(I also can't help but wonder if, had we had the Internet in the days of Watergate, reputable media organizations would have been posting materials obtained illegally and focusing on what the DNC did wrong.)

(Image courtesy of eFluxMedia)

End of the World As We Know It?

Well, let's not minimize the problems on Wall Street. They're very real. But is it really time to start burying our gold coins in Mason jars in the backyard? To listen to the foreign press like Der Spiegel, you would think so. 

Certainly, this will be one whale of a correction, a coming to terms with extraordinarily risky loans made to people who had not yet secured their own finances enough to justify loaning them, collectively, billions of dollars. Much carnage will be left in the wake of this unholy mess.

But many financial analysts say that, while serious, these problems will correct themselves over time and, while scars will remain, the rest of America's financial house is relatively sound.

Regardless of which prognosticator is right on America's financial future, this is a prime object lesson for remembering where to put one's ultimate trust -- not in financiers, not in politicians, but in the only consistently reliable man that ever strode the earth: Jesus.

New Beginnings

Bridge Just over a year ago on August 1, I was interning at PFM and stunned to learn the news of the 35W bridge collapse.

Well, today is the day of new beginnings. The brand-new 35W bridge was opened to traffic at 5 this morning, and now is probably one of the safest and most state-of-the-art bridges in the world.

I find it so interesting that disasters, while terrible and catastrophic in nature, often bring about the most significant and positive changes. God does work in mysterious ways.

(Image © AP)

Word of the Day: ’Locavore’

Lifestyle6 Wikipedia definition: "Someone who eats food grown or produced locally or within a certain radius such as 50, 100, or 150 miles."

Should you join their ranks?

Internet Killed the Newark Star (Ledger)?

We've seen it coming, but looks like more and more newspapers will be shutting down this year. Those that aren't are already laying off staff:

Newspaper chain Journal Register has been delisted from The New York Stock Exchange and will sell off its assets. That was an early sign that the U.S. newspaper industry was in extreme trouble.

On Tuesday, there were signs that newspapers are not just in decline. Many of the largest papers may simply fail over the next year. Huge newspaper group, McClatchy (NYSE: MNI), which bought the Knight-Ridder chain, said ad revenue was down nearly 18% in August and that it would cut 10% of its work force, about 1,200 people. McClatchy has over $2 billion in debt and it is becoming clear it will not be able to pay that off. In other words, the company is close to being insolvent and will probably end up auctioning off its properties.

If McClatchy does begin a liquidation, dozens of newspapers will be for sale. Those will be added to the ones from Journal Register, Cox and probably another large chain, Gatehouse. As the market becomes awash with properties, the value of newspapers will move down sharply. Large firms like Gannett (NYSE: GCI) can no longer take on debt to cherry pick properties and build their businesses.

An even worse sign that the end of many newspapers is around the corner is the possible closing of one of the largest properties in the U.S, the Newark Star-Ledger. According to The Wall Street Journal, "the publisher of the Star-Ledger told employees that it may have to close the newspaper in January after struggling to reach a new contract with one of its key unions." The Newhouse family owns the paper.

Newspaper failures will probably come by the dozens now. It leaves open the question of how people will get local news. Some analysts believe that the internet killed the paper industry. That will leave a big void on the information super-highway.

Our media is evolving as we speak. What do you think are the ramifications of local newspapers closing up shop?

It’s an epidemic

First in California, now in Italy. (Suggestive image at link.) You'd think that women who had managed to hang onto their virginity this long in this culture would realize that it's supposed to mean something.

(Via The Corner)

The Point Radio: Mind over Movies, or Movies over Mind?

How are movies and TV shows manipulating your mind?...

Click play above to listen.

Jeremy Hsu, “Hollywood Gets Inside the Minds of Moviegoers,” Live Science, 22 August 2008.

September 17, 2008

Technical difficulties

Due to troublesome Internet connections and other computer problems, we're signing off for the day. Perhaps, like the former "Devil Rays," we need an exorcist! At the very least, a prayer or two would be most welcome. See you tomorrow, if everything gets back on track.

Getting the devil out

I caught a report on CNN this morning where the anchor pointed out a remarkable coincidence: Since changing their name from "Devil Rays" to just "Rays," Tampa Bay's baseball team has gone from "worst to first." Coincidence . . . or something else? Whatever the case, some Catholic fans of the team are surely enjoying the phenomenon. TampaBays10 has more.

How Missional Is Your Church?

I am currently involved in a study group at my church which is evaluating our current mission activities and, ultimately, formulating a mission strategy for the next three years. As a result, I'm reading lots of articles about missions, and looking at what a number of church and mission organizations are doing. My church has a long history of commitment to missions at all levels (local, state, national, and international), but we're seeking God's guidance in what we need to do next and what we can do better. 

To that end, I'd like to ask our bloggers and readers about their own church's involvement with missions: just how missional is your church? How do you encourage every member of the church to see all of life as a mission field? What specific mission goals or strategies have been set for your congregation?

This morning, I read a couple of articles by Arthur Glasser on the "Biblical Theology of Misson" which included this lovely reminder of what we are to be about: "Ours is an age in which people all over the world are losing all sense of hope touching the future. But the reality of the Kingdom means that God has a glorious future for Israel and all the nations. There is going to be God's tomorrow. And every Christian is called to be a 'sign' of God's tomorrow in the world today." 

Do you think your church is doing this? If so, how? 

When Two Rights Make a Wrong

I felt saddened today as I read through one bride and groom's recent controversy. It appears traditional marriage has, as Pacific Justice Institute President Brad Dacus remarked, "received [yet another] major slap in the face."

It's so dangerous the way we continue to let our so-called rights war against one another. Should this craving for these so-called rights continue, what happens when we begin to target more and more societal issues? I'm afraid we're going to arrive at a juncture where if all rights can't be equal, than all people should be deprived of them. I hate to think about what happens next.

Hubris Mars an Otherwise Likeable Personality

Senator Barack Obama is usually seen as an easygoing, erudite, and even hip fellow.

But when he let slip the "lipstick on a pig" remark recently (profanity in comments at link), pundits and other observers were bound to pounce.  It wasn't hard to imagine that a well-informed politico like Obama was referencing Governor Sarah Palin, whose own lipstick joke was THE well-publicized line in her acceptance speech a few days earlier at the Republican National Convention.

Whether Obama planned for the inference to be made or not, his reaction afterwards tells us a lot about his character under pressure.  The audience he was addressing in Virginia when he made his remark clearly felt that they "got" it, as evidenced by their nervous laughter.  Plenty of women around the country have been interviewed about it, and most of them seem to have been offended on behalf of Palin.

But let's say it was just poor timing for Obama and that his remark was innocently intended.

Continue reading "Hubris Mars an Otherwise Likeable Personality" »

This Too Shall Pass

I'm sure I'm like a lot of Americans these days, wondering what the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers means to the rest of us. If you listen to the news media, it sounds as if the entire nation is on the brink of economic collapse. However, this article from Investor's Business Daily, offers a welcomebalance.

The article points out that the current mess on Wall Street is not that different from previous periods when other huge corporations went belly up. While the situation is serious and will not be solved overnight, the writer sees a possible "silver lining in the decentralization of financial power." Why? Because "much of the nation's investment talent ... can be found elsewhere -- not only in Boston, ... but in places like Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. In fact, some of the best money managers we know use Wall Street as a contrary indicator. Whatever it's doing, they do the opposite."

IBD refuses to adopt the gloom-and-doom mood of the MSM on this issue. Instead, they trust that America will continue "to be driven by inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs who will go on creating the products and services that keep the economy growing and people at work." I hope they're right.

The Point Radio: An Organic Faith

How pure is your faith?...

Click play above to listen.

Learn more about the Organic Trade Association.

September 16, 2008

Daily roundup

Christian Singer Admits He’s Gay

Boltz_1 The day the tsunami hit Asia's coast was the day that award-winning Christian singer Ray Boltz came out of the closet. Boltz, an icon in the Gospel music world best known for his hit "Thank You," explains in a Washington Blade feature (caution: some ads may contain inappropriate material):

I’d denied it ever since I was a kid. I became a Christian, I thought that was the way to deal with this and I prayed hard and tried for 30-some years and then at the end, I was just going, "I’m still gay. I know I am." And I just got to the place where I couldn’t take it anymore … when I was going through all this darkness, I thought, "Just end this."

And so he ended it. He told his four grown children and wife of 30 years that he was gay and he couldn't go on pretending. In the four years since, Boltz has divorced his wife, quietly entered the gay lifestyle, and retreated from the Christian music scene, except to write personal songs about his journey, one with the title "God Knows I Tried."

(Before I go much further, I admit that I go with some trepidation, because I know that I will inevitably invite much criticism from those who say that I have no right--no experience that gives me permission--to say what I'm going to say. For those folks, my answer is that I do not pretend to understand the very painful struggle that same-sex attraction brings, nor do I attempt to speak as an expert on the matter. But, I do speak as one who has often wrestled with questions of sacrifice and discipleship. And that, I believe, allows me to speak with confidence, and, hopefully, humility.)

Continue reading "Christian Singer Admits He’s Gay" »

Greater love hath no man than this


Thomas S. Vander Woude would never have wanted a big display in his honor. The Nokesville [Va.] father of seven sons, who drowned last week while rescuing his disabled son when he fell into the family's septic tank, was more the type to try to elevate the lives of those around him, his family members and friends said.

But yesterday, more than 2,000 people packed the pews at Holy Trinity Catholic Church for his funeral Mass in Gainesville, some listening from the vestibule, others down a hallway watching on closed-circuit television. Among the attendees were his wife of 43 years, Mary Ellen, more than 70 priests, including the bishop of Arlington, and the friends accrued over decades who came to pay respects to a man who inspired them, right up until his final breath.

If Vander Woude saw the throng, he'd say, "Are you kidding me? . . . Don't waste your gas," said one of his sons, Steve Vander Woude of Nokesville, after the service. But "this guy did something saintly, and they wanted to come be a part of it."

Read more here (and here).

(Image courtesy of Christendom College)

Forum on Denominational Renewal

From my friend Glenn Lucke:

Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll, John Frame, Reggie Kidd and sixteen other church leaders are participating in a five week forum at Common Grounds Online regarding turmoil and theological trajectories in the Presbyterian Church in America. . . .

The forum will entail 20 essays written in response to talks given by young PCA pastors in a conference ("Denominational Renewal") in February, 2008.  These five PCA pastors are Greg Thompson, Jeremy Jones, Bill Boyd, Matt Brown, and Jeff White.

To listen to the audio of the original Feb. conference talks, go to Denominational Renewal and click on "Who's Speaking":

Tim Keller leads off on Monday, September 15, followed by Ligon Duncan, a leading pastor frequently on the other side of PCA issues from Keller.

The forum will focus one week on each of the five talks given at the Denominational Renewal conference.

CGO invites you to come these next five weeks, read the response essays, and then add your own perspective in the Comments section.  They ask that all comments be written in a gracious, winsome manner.

Must Read: Paglia on Palin

In "Fresh blood for the vampire," Camille Paglia -- a pro-abortion, Obama-supporting Democrat -- proves once again why she calls herself a "dissident feminist." In the article, she clearly outlines both her hopes and fears regarding Sen. Obama and the Democrats' chance at regaining the White House. But she also recognizes in Sarah Palin a woman who represents "a brand new style of muscular American feminism" that Paglia admires -- if for no other reason than Gov. Palin exemplifies the frontier woman who Paglia thinks is a better model for American feminism than the "prissy, victim-mongering, philistine feminist establishment." (Gotta love that line!)

Ironically, Paglia also takes on, head-on, the issue of abortion, which she has always admitted is murder. In her mind, the Democratic Party and American feminism have been hijacked by the pro-abortion crowd, who are unwilling to see that the pro-life position is "more ethically highly evolved than [her] own tenet of unconstrained access to abortion on demand." In that light, Paglia sees the "instantaneous coast-to-coast rage directed at Sarah Palin" as a "psychological response by loyal liberals who on some level do not want to open themselves to deep questioning about abortion and its human consequences." While Paglia has her own reasons for supporting abortion, she urges pro-abortion feminists to open themselves up to the possibility of a pro-life form of feminism.   

These are just a few highlights from Paglia's essay. It's lengthy, but worth the time to read. Obviously, I disagree with her on a number of key issues, but it was refreshing to read something by a liberal who is unafraid to question the liberal mantra.   

Going (Beyond) Beyond Tolerance

Last week, on the seventh anniversary of 9/11, I attended a lecture at Washington’s National Cathedral. Speaking: Gustav Niebuhr, author of a new book, Beyond Tolerance.

As a former religion reporter at the New York Times, Niebuhr was on the ground after 9/11 reporting on the fate of the American Muslim community. He found that--despite a small number who retaliated against Muslims living on American soil--a great number of non-Muslims were protecting and speaking out on behalf of their Muslim neighbors. In the seven years since, Niebuhr has noticed a trend of increasing dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims, as well as a general jump in interfaith dialogue across the religious spectrum.

He mentioned a rabbi who started a discussion group for Jews and Muslims, an Episcopal priest who sent the police to watch over a local mosque after 9/11, and a group of neighbors in Seattle who set up a watchdog program to protect a local Muslim school.

These examples, he said, demonstrate a counter trend to violence, and one that is “rehabilitating” America’s global image. Something that gives America an identity beyond being a “military power.” [Applause from the audience.] He said that there’s more than just tolerance to be had--there’s engagement, there’s fellowship, there’s community to be had between those of different faiths. There’s a place for conversation, for dialogue, for common ground.

Then, a man in the audience stood up. “But what about political Islam?” he asked, through a heavy Middle Eastern accent. “How do you dialogue with those who subscribe to political Islam?” He explained that he was from Pakistan and simply couldn’t imagine it possible to dialogue about faith with a radical Muslim.


Continue reading "Going (Beyond) Beyond Tolerance" »

The Point Radio: Who's Leading and Who's Following?

If life's a dance, are you stepping on toes?...

Click play above to listen.

Missy Good, “Dancing Fever Hits Wichita,” Wichita Eagle, 27 March 2008.

September 15, 2008

Daily roundup

’It takes a real man to still sleep with his bunny’

Crusher_bunny No big important Christian worldview point here -- at least, not from me. Our endlessly creative and resourceful readers may be able to find one. But I'm just posting this because it's adorable.

I considered heading it "Man Post," but Allen would hunt me down without mercy if I violated his brand integrity so shamelessly.

(Image © Karen Yudelson Sandler)

Will Politics Settle Abortion?

It seems we're in an endless loop on the issue of abortion as far as politics and legislation go. Maybe we should realize politics are not the answer to ending abortion, but rather part of the answer -- part of the larger effort of creating a culture of life where the notion of choosing abortion is passé.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Obscured by the polemics and theologizing, however, is the hard reality that abortion rates in the U.S., and legalized abortion, will not soon yield to restatements of the catechism or the notion that abortion is a violation of "natural law." Such arguments have not yet proved persuasive to the American public, and minds are not likely to be changed by judicial fiat, even from the Supreme Court.

That means that abortion today is primarily a political challenge, and in that context Democrats have been embracing a more effective strategy than the GOP. In an interview with ABC last week, Mr. Obama wisely noted (a month after his "above my pay grade" gaffe) that the theological question was one "I don't presume to be able to answer" for everyone else. "The better answer," he said, "is to figure out, how do we make sure the young mothers, or women who have a pregnancy that's unexpected or difficult, have the kind of support they need to make a whole range of choices, including adoption and keeping the child."

Mr. Obama's argument has won some surprising converts, most notably the former Reagan official Douglas W. Kmiec, whose switch has infuriated his erstwhile allies in the conservative movement. While Mr. Kmiec still strongly opposes abortion, he also believes that the status quo will be perpetuated by a McCain-Palin win. As he notes, Republicans have dominated the White House and Congress for nearly 30 years, and appointed most of the Supreme Court justices. Yet little has changed. (Abortion rates in fact dropped under Bill Clinton and are leveling off under George Bush.)

Mr. Kmiec also argues that Roe v. Wade is effectively settled law, and while the high court has a mostly Catholic conservative majority, only Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia would consider overturning Roe -- and not for moral reasons, but because they believe it was based on a flawed reading of the Constitution.

In any case, even overturning Roe would not end abortion. It would only turn the matter back to the states, most of which are not likely to eliminate the right to abortion. . . .

Read more. (HT Thunderstruck)

Image matters

Waffles2 If we've learned anything from this roller-coaster ride of an election year, it's this: Images are important. Both liberals and conservatives have made use of that fact -- and yet, sometimes, we still don't get it. Abortion advocates don't get the power of the image of a Down syndrome baby who was allowed to live (and if you think we've gone on too long about Trig Palin's importance, look at the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the fact that some abortionists may lose their meal tickets because of him.)

And sadly, it appears that some people at the Values Voter Summit this past weekend didn't get the power and the hurtfulness of stereotypical racial images.

Whoever authorized the selling of this product probably didn't realize what they were doing. But that's just it. We've got to start realizing what we're doing in this regard. And frankly, I'm getting a little tired of hearing from some quarters (though generally not around here), "This country's gotten so politically correct you can't say anything anymore!" It's not about political correctness. It's about simple respect and courtesy. It's about stopping to think, "How would I feel if I were on the receiving end of the stereotype?"

I've disagreed with Edward Gilbreath of Reconciliation Blog about many things this election season, but on this issue he has a perfectly valid point: If conservatives want to reach out to minority groups, we've got to start understanding their concerns and respecting their dignity, not just thinking of them as some mysterious voting bloc we can or can't count on or work with for reasons we don't fully understand. If conservative Christians are going to throw around verses like "There is neither Greek nor Jew . . . slave nor free," we have to mean it, and live it.

(Thanks to PFM correspondent Thom Gagné for the tip.)

Perry scores big at the box office again

12wome600 Kudos to Tyler Perry's latest for finishing a close second at the box office this weekend, with the highest per-screen average of the top ten.

As for that egregious-looking remake of The Women, it was way down in fourth with $10 million, despite opening in more theaters than either the first- or second-place finishers. I think I hear Clare Booth Luce snickering somewhere. Hollywood, Hollywood, Hollywood. We keep trying to tell you, lay off the remakes of the greats. When will you ever listen?

(Image © Claudette Barius for Picturehouse)

Left Hatred for Palin ... Not Earth’s Temperature ... Rising

Although the sheer numbers of Palin attacks transmitted via both the MSM and the Nutroots are something to behold, every once in a while, one of a special quality comes along that simply must be ridiculed.

And thus we come to Professor Wendy Doniger's gripefest at the WaPo.  If her complaint about Governor Palin's "pretense that she is a woman" doesn't induce a condescending "PFFFFFTTT!!!", then this should:

I'd love to know precisely how the Good Lord conveyed to her so clearly his intention to destroy the environment (global warming, she thinks, is not the work of human hands, so it must be the work of You Know Who), the lives of untold thousands of soldiers and innocent bystanders (He is apparently rooting for this, too, she says), and, incidentally, a lot of polar bears and wolves...


Continue reading "Left Hatred for Palin ... Not Earth’s Temperature ... Rising" »

Yakety yak

11talk190From high school all the way down to the cradle, kids are doing more communicating (or in some cases, having more communicating done on their behalf) than ever before. But that may not be the best thing for them.

(Image © Hadley Hooper for the New York Times)


Clearly, this guy is pining for the good old days of Lincoya Jackson, or Tazewell Tyler, or Octavia Taylor, or Kermit Roosevelt, or Doud "Icky" Eisenhower.

C of E Apologizes to...Darwin!?

Just when you thought the sell-out to popular culture was complete, there's this: Gripped by remorse over its initial rejection of evolution, the Church of England will issue a public mea culpa to Charles Darwin. The apology, written by the church's director of mission and public affairs, will read:

Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. We try to practise the old virtues of "faith seeking understanding" and hope that makes some amends.

An apology to a dead man by a dead church about a theory that is dead wrong. Astounding! Seems to me, a more fitting act of contrition would have read:

Lord Jesus: 2000 years from Your birth, the Church of England owes You an apology for misrepresenting You and, by abandoning the authority of Scripture and the faith once given, leading others to misrepresent You as well. Please forgive us for our arrogance and willful neglect. We humbly ask for Your grace and mercy as we turn back to You and Your Word.

The Point Radio: A Marriage Gene?

Are genetics harming your marriage?...

Click play above to listen.

Shankar Vedantam, “Study Links Gene Variant in Men to Marital Discord,” Washington Post, 2 September 2008.