Saturday, July 18, 2015

Matt 24 watch, 267: Yale's Diplomat in residence Charles Hill and Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post, warn of consequences of the Iran "deal"

Charles Hill speaks (article):



His conclusion is striking: "[the US has] handed over our leading role in the Middle East [to Iran]."

The unwisdom of such in light of Iran's global track record since 1979, is patent.

Caroline Glick, Editor of The Jerusalem Post, is equally sobering:
the damage caused to the nonproliferation system by American weakness toward Pakistan and North Korea is small potatoes in comparison to the destruction that Tuesday’s deal with Iran has wrought.

That deal doesn’t merely show that the US is unwilling to exact a price from states that illicitly develop nuclear weapons. The US and its allies just concluded a deal that requires them to facilitate Iran’s nuclear efforts.

Not only will the US and its allies remove the sanctions imposed on Iran over the past decade and so start the flow of some $150 billion to the ayatollahs’ treasury. They will help Iran develop advanced centrifuges.

They even committed themselves to protecting Iran’s nuclear facilities from attack and sabotage.

Under the deal, in five years, Iran will have unlimited access to the international conventional arms market. In eight years, Iran will be able to purchase and develop whatever missile systems it desires.

And in 10 years, most of the limitations on its nuclear program will be removed.

Because the deal permits Iran to develop advanced centrifuges, when the agreement ends in 10 years, Iran will be positioned to develop nuclear weapons immediately.

In other words, if Iran abides by the agreement, or isn’t punished for cheating on it, in 10 years, the greatest state sponsor of terrorism in the world will be rich, in possession of a modernized military, a ballistic missile arsenal capable of carrying nuclear warheads to any spot on earth, and the nuclear warheads themselves.

Facing this new nuclear reality, the states of the region, including Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and perhaps the emirates, will likely begin to develop nuclear arsenals. ISIS will likely use the remnants of the Iraqi and Syrian programs to build its own nuclear program . . . . 

After all, now that the US has capitulated to Iran, its avowed foe and the greatest state sponsor of terrorism, who will take future American calls for sanctions against nuclear proliferators seriously? Who will be deterred by American threats that “all options are on the table” when the US has agreed to protect Iran’s nuclear installations and develop advanced centrifuges for the same ayatollahs who daily chant, “Death to America”? For Israel, the destruction of the West’s nonproliferation regime means that from here on out, we will be living in a region buzzing with nuclear activity. Until Tuesday, Israel relied on the West to deter most of its neighbors from developing nuclear weapons. And when the West failed, Israel dealt with the situation by sending in the air force. Now, on the one hand Israel has no West to rely on for sanctions or deterrence, and on the other hand, it has limited or no military options of its own against many of the actors that will now seek to develop nuclear arsenals . . . . Years from now, perhaps historians will point out the irony that Obama, who loudly proclaims his goal of making the world free of nuclear weapons, has ushered in an era of mass nuclear proliferation and chaos.

Israel can ill afford the luxury of pondering irony.

One day the nuclear Furies Obama has unleashed may find their way to New York City.

But their path to America runs through Israel. We need to ready ourselves to destroy them before they cross our border.
[read it all]
Patently, the international system of stability is coming apart through a gross failure of leadership, as Charles Hill noted.  This particularly holds for nuclear non-proliferation and other weapons of mass destruction. And the spread of such arms to irresponsible or unstable states should give any sober-minded person serious pause.

Given the precedent of the collapse of the League of Nations in the 1930's in the face of rising aggressive states, that should give us sobering pause. Especially as the logic of other Western states is likely to be that if the US lacks the will, they can do little but follow the strategic surrender of initiative to Iran. Russia and China, likely, see themselves as profiting from a Western geo-strategic withdrawal.

The predictable consequence is war, including much amplified terrorism.

The difference is, this time, nukes are plainly in play in the same unstable Middle East that is the main oil supplier to the world.

The world is sowing nuclear dragon's teeth. END

Friday, July 17, 2015

Earthquake cluster off Barbados July 16 2015

There has been an earthquake cluster off Barbados on July 16, at least one of which was startling to people there.



Heads up. END




Thursday, July 16, 2015

Matt 24 watch, 266: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's warning regarding the Iran Nuke "deal"

Video:



Transcript, clip:
The world is a much more dangerous place today than it was yesterday.

The leading international powers have bet our collective future on a deal with the foremost sponsor of international terrorism. They've gambled that in ten years' time, Iran's terrorist regime will change while removing any incentive for it to do so. In fact, the deal gives Iran every incentive not to change.
In the coming decade, the deal will reward Iran, the terrorist regime in Tehran, with hundreds of billions of dollars. This cash bonanza will fuel Iran's terrorism worldwide, its aggression in the region and its efforts to destroy Israel, which are ongoing . . . . 



Amazingly, this bad deal does not require Iran to cease its aggressive behavior in any way. And just last Friday, that aggression was on display for all to see.

While the negotiators were closing the deal in Vienna, Iran's supposedly moderate President chose to go to a rally in Tehran and at this rally, a frenzied mob burned American and Israeli flags and chanted 'Death to America, Death to Israel . . . 
 Why are we so blind, why are we so forgetful of hard-bought lessons of history regarding aggressive dictators? 

I can only conclude that in many influential circles our civilisation has become suicidally self-deluded -- something that growing attitudes to sex, family, morality and principle tend to reinforce. END

Monday, July 13, 2015

Matt 24 watch 265d: Shirley Richards and Ravi Zacharias provide a perspective on the "Christian homophobia/bigotry" accusation and the insinuation that principled objection to homosexualisation of marriage is the moral equivalent to racism

Current series: 1, 2, 3, 4 - this

Sometimes, regardless of whether you are interested in a cultural civil war flash-point, that flash-point is interested in you. Especially, when one is being willfully branded with the false accusation of the moral equivalent to racism.

It is in that context that a response by Atty Shirley Richards in the Jamaica Gleaner (tellingly, published in the notoriously low circulation Saturday issue) came to my attention, e.g.:
Same-sex 'marriage' requires changing the male-female prerequisite, which goes to the very core of marriage. In the first case, an unreasonable limitation - which in the Loving case [of banning inter-racial marriage] was racist in nature - is placed on the man and woman who can enter the institution of marriage, but in this case, the very nature of marriage itself is being changed.

The reference to the Loving case prompts a comparison between the civil-rights struggles of African-Americans and the homosexual debate. However, there are differences between the two. One such difference is that race is immutable, while being homosexual is not immutable. [cf here] Ask Donnie McClurkin, Dennis Jernigan and others who have left the homosexual lifestyle. As others have said, "Being gay is not the new black." . . . .

In another incident, Fox News reported in 2014 that "the city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city's first openly lesbian mayor. Those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court." (LINK provided. Note, this is a case of blatant censorship.)

Describing same-sex 'family life' as "a life which harms no one else" is like ignoring an elephant in plain sight. How does one explain the fact that this "life which harms no one else" is reordering society in its image? What about harm to the individuals themselves? Shouldn't the society be concerned about undeniable medical statistics on the consequences of high-risk sexual behaviour for the participants?

It should be clear to all that the homosexual lifestyle is not a harmless one, neither to the individual nor to society. Furthermore, it is not a lifestyle that is prepared to stay in the bedroom but, instead, insists on forcing itself into the centre of the public square
In this context it is not insignificant that Mrs Richards' support for marriage in accord with the naturally evident Creation Order was re-labelled by the Gleaner's Editor as advocacy of "opposite-sex marriage." By their Orwellian new-speak shall ye know them.

I should add a comment I had to make overnight at UD when the issue was again raised:
. . . the notion that complex human behaviours above things like reflexes and breathing are genetically or otherwise programmed beyond choice is quite problematic, especially when implications for responsible rational freedom are brought to bear. I suggest a comparison of the 12-step addiction recovery methods and movements is helpful (noting that vulnerability to alcohol may have a genetic component), as would be this text. We should be very wary indeed of any scheme, notion, ideology or movement — whether or not it is dressed in a lab coat — that would undermine human responsibility and the point and hope that conscience-guided reason linked to supported moral discipline and recovery methods sustained across several years can lead us to walk in a better way. There are many, many, many cases of successful transformation of people in bondage to all sorts of addictions, dependencies, and destructive lifestyles. A truth that seems to be very politically incorrect and widely suppressed today. Let me just say finally for now that 60+ years ago Alcoholics Anonymous was mocked and derided by the experts and media, especially when a co-founder backslid. But now, its approach, on long significant success, has become a widely respected and adopted model. Teen Challenge is similar. Though of course if you don’t want to have to fight for your life to get off the barbed hook, don’t bite on the seemingly tasty fly floating by.

Further to all this, noted Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias, answering a question, provides food for thought:



We would do well to ponder where our civilisation is headed:



Then, we need to ponder also, what we should do. END

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Matt 24 watch 265c: F/N2 . . . a possible homosexualist intended endgame for the cultural civil war

Brent Bozell points out an "obvious" onward homosexualist strategy in America (with implications far beyond the USA):
We've already seen the first signs of businesses punished for failing to participate in gay marriage ceremonies, with six-figure fines and barrels of negative publicity. [--> not to mention mobs baying to punish the "heretics" from political correctness.]

The obvious next step is forcing churches to participate in gay marriages, and if they refuse, it will be time to revoke their tax exemptions. [--> which effectively de-lists as a church and opens up further more ruthless measures] Shortly after the latest court decision, Time posted an online commentary advocating the end of all tax benefits for religious organizations. Naturally, it will follow that churches and religious groups will also be forced to employ people who in no way share their religious beliefs. 

Justice Anthony Kennedy claimed in his majority opinion that "The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths." But if the Democrats win the White House again, it's obvious they will appoint more liberal justices that share their obvious devotion to steamrolling "religious freedom" -- which they now routinely put in scare quotes. 

For decades the media have tilted dramatically in favor of gay lobbies. They have won. What next? No one expects the media elites to tap any brakes as America heads over the cliff.
Out here in the Caribbean, we have already seen emissaries sent out to try to "deconstruct" the "texts of terror" in the Scriptures, in Barbados and Antigua -- hosted by the US Embassy.

That should be a warning and wake-up call on what is in store.

Especially, when I saw a microphone snatched away from someone asking a reasonable question, refusal by "New Testament Scholars" to address Rom 1 and 1 Cor 6:9 - 11, walkout and abrupt termination when reasonable questions were asked.

The easy days are over. END

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Five-year oil price trend:

Oil price trends are a key economic indicator. So, it is worth noticing a snapshot of the oil price widget for the RH column of this blog:



This looks like a change to a new level after several years in the US$ 100+ range. 

But this level is about double the about US$ 30/bbl that hitherto obtained. 

It is also a level that supports fracking and shale oil, which would be locked out at the lower level. 

A clue -- given the economic concept that prices are set at the margin -- as to what is likely driving this. END

Matt 24 watch, 265b: F/N . . . The Communist Manifesto (1848) on the Family and linked, Neo-Marxist Critical Theory driven thought

Last time, we cited a discussion by Kengor on the longstanding  hostility of the radical left to the family. 
(Let me add, Jun 29: I am not trying to paint all on the "left" -- whatever that is these days -- with a tarred brush, I am providing documentation on troubling roots and how such has explicitly played out in examples of radical thought up to current times, examples that come up early and easily in Google searches so can be taken as indicating a real phenomenon. If the result is unpalatable, yes it is, but it is part of the reality we must now face as we look at some pretty radical and likely ruthless social engineering of marriage, family, education, media, policy, law and more that "are already in progress." In short, I am saying we all need to pause and think again in light of what has now been put on the table and where it so dangerously -- even, menacingly -- points. Or, in the form of a question: Do we really, really want to go down this road as a civilisation? Do we know where it is likely to end? Are we really, really, really sure we want to go there?)
As a key step of documentation, here is a clip from the Communist Manifesto, 1848, on what Marx and Engels derided as the bourgeois family (and on linked childhood education):
Abolition [Aufhebung] of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists.
On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution.
The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.
Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.
But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social.
And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, &c.? The Communists have not invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class.
The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labour.
But you Communists would introduce community of women, screams the bourgeoisie in chorus.
The bourgeois sees his wife a mere instrument of production. He hears that the instruments of production are to be exploited in common, and, naturally, can come to no other conclusion that the lot of being common to all will likewise fall to the women.
He has not even a suspicion that the real point aimed at is to do away with the status of women as mere instruments of production.
For the rest, nothing is more ridiculous than the virtuous indignation of our bourgeois at the community of women which, they pretend, is to be openly and officially established by the Communists. The Communists have no need to introduce community of women; it has existed almost from time immemorial.
Our bourgeois, not content with having wives and daughters of their proletarians at their disposal, not to speak of common prostitutes, take the greatest pleasure in seducing each other’s wives.
Bourgeois marriage is, in reality, a system of wives in common and thus, at the most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with is that they desire to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalised community of women. For the rest, it is self-evident that the abolition of the present system of production must bring with it the abolition of the community of women springing from that system, i.e., of prostitution both public and private. 
 This is a capital example of irresponsibly setting up and burning a toxically laced strawman caricature to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere. A wife and mother simply is not a "private prostitute," likewise, it is patently false that the family in the industrial era or any other would simply be founded on "capital, on private gain." Nor is "community of women," either the general rule or a reasonable answer to challenges with the family. And, that some men may be adulterous does not address the natural bonds of husband and wife, mothers, fathers and children, or the underlying governing moral principles long since classically stated by Jesus of Nazareth, in reply to a challenge about divorce:
Matt 19:He [Jesus] answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” [ESV]
What God joins, Marx and Engels would obviously separate, and they would seize upon public education to twist it into a means of indoctrination, forgetting the similar grim warning about he who would cause a child to stumble.

We may go a bit further, by citing University of Michigan philosophy professor Daniel Little's summary on links to Frankfurt-style critical theory and feminism (with implications for lesbianism etc), as one illustrative sample:
Neither Marx nor Engels offered a coherent statement of socialist feminism, and neither offered specific commentary or criticism of the political, social, and economic disadvantages experienced by women in nineteenth-century Europe. 
 
However, the fundamental themes of social criticism that Marx puts forward—alienation, domination, inequality, and exploitation, and a critique of the social relations that give rise to these conditions—have clear implications for a theory of gender equality and emancipation.  First, Marx’s theory of alienation is premised on assumptions about the nature of the human being, involving the ideas of freedom, self-expression, creativity, and sociality (Marx 1964 [1844]) .  The situations of everyday life in which patriarchy and sexism obtain—the situations in which existing social relations of power, authority, and dominance are assigned on the basis of gender and sex, including marriage, the family, and the workplace—create a situation of alienation and domination for women.  Second, Marx’s theory of exploitation (expressed primarily in Capital (Marx 1977 [1867]) ) extends very naturally to the social relations of patriarchy.  Patriarchy and the bourgeois family system embody exploitation of women, within the household and within the workplace. Finally, Marx’s strong moral commitment to the overriding importance of social equality is directly relevant to a socialist feminist critique of contemporary society. The unequal status and treatment of women is an affront to the value of human equality.  Thus Marx’s principles lay the ground for a formulation of a socialist feminism.
Likewise illustratively as an example, Stephanie Coontz of Solidarity ("a socialist, feminist anti-racist organization") writes:
Engels correctly recognized that the subordination of wives and the growing independence of the nuclear family from larger kin networks were associated with the development of private property, but he had an idealist interpretation of the reason for this "world historical defeat of the female sex"--men's desire to pass wealth onto their own biological sons. As Plekhanov later pointed out in The Role of the Individual in History, an economic interpretation of history is not the same as a materialist interpretation of history, because analysis remains at the level of people's motive and ideas, merely substituting a cynical assessment of intentions for a utopian one . . . . 

Marx and Engels accepted the Victorian assumption that most sexual and gender interactions were part of nature, and that nature was of a lower order than culture. They correctly noted that the first social division of labor was between men and women, but wrongly equated this with sexual intercourse, suggesting that the division of labor in the family was "natural." Accordingly, they concluded that the division of labor became "truly" significant only when a split between mental and manual labor appeared. They thus failed to incorporate gender relations and sexual systems into their theory of productive forces and social conflict . . . . 

Under capitalism, Marx and Engels argued, only labor that is exchanged against capital is productive labor and produces value. If the good is not sold, however, its value cannot be realized, or even be said to exist. The social labor that went into making the good becomes trapped in the unsold commodity. In consequence, human cooperative endeavors are disguised and controlled by the exchange of things.

Meanwhile, the most important kinds of work that humans do--nurturing, for example, and many other "family"-type activities--produce no value under capitalism and are therefore marginalized and denigrated. The implications of this theoretical breakthrough for family analysis are profound.
The second contribution of Marx and Engels to the study of families was their dialectical insistence that social relationships, not just technological forces, lie at the heart of class analysis. In The German Ideology Marx suggests that "a certain mode of production, or industrial stage, is always combined with a certain mode of co-operation, or social stage, and this mode of co-operation is itself a `productive force.'"

Modes of cooperation--or coercion--are critical in defining class and understanding social change. And families, along with other socially constructed relationships such as race and gender, are central mechanisms for organizing cooperation and coercion. They are also sites of contradiction in the Marxist sense--places where inherent oppositions occur that are necessary to perpetuate a particular process or social system, and yet also undermine that process or social system.

These insights point the way toward a deeper and richer understanding of families and their meaning in the lives of working people today. Male privilege within the family is real, for example, but men support women and children at a level beyond which the latter could reproduce themselves in this society (as post-divorce statistics on poverty show) at the same time as they appropriate work and deference from them.
All of this, of course reflects neo-marxist style critical theory, with its focus on identifying centres of exploitation and pretensions to provide a liberating critique and superior socialised, state-backed "solution."

Yes, there are tensions in marriages and families, and men too often have been abusive or oppressive. On the other hand, the history of the past 100 years has shown that the state out of control has been far more destructive, as the ghosts of over 100 million murdered by the state tell us. The sin problem -- that which seemingly must not be named -- is an ever-present problem. And in any decision-making situation that cannot tolerate deadlock, decisions have to be made, pointing to the role of leadership balanced by the need for partnership and mutual respect. Where, the dismissiveness to the biology of reproduction and the patent need for committed nurturing, disciplining and protective stability speak volumes.

It is worth a pause to reflect on some thoughts by Larrey Anderson at American Thinker:
. . . work for the male is a biological, psychological, and even philosophical necessity for the preservation of the family.

Once his participation in coitus is over, the man plays no biological part in the creation of his offspring. Unlike the woman, who carries her baby to term and then nourishes the newborn infant at her breast, the man's role in the family is necessarily ideal. He is biologically and psychologically separated from the procreative process. The man needs a reason to stay with his wife and family. If he is to remain with his family, his role (at least initially) can only be that of provider and protector [ii].


The surest and quickest way to eliminate the family is to make certain that a young man (who might wish to marry and start a family) does not have access to a job. This ensures that the young man has no reason to remain with an impregnated female.


It is not by accident that over 70% of black children in America are born out of wedlock. Almost 50% of young black men in America are unemployed. And without a job, a man has no incentive to start or remain with his family.
________________
F/N: [ii] This does not mean that a man cannot eventually become the caretaker of his children and his wife become the provider -- or that the tasks of provider and caretaker cannot be shared. But the man's initial role in the family, during and shortly after the procreative process, can only be that of provider and protector. Otherwise, there is no reason for a man to stay with his family. Men cannot give birth.
In short, the creation-order family based on the covenantal, one flesh union of husband and wife leading to childbearing and upbringing, is a reasonable answer to our biological, social and cultural challenges. One that is as imperfect in actual cases as any institution based on finite, fallible, sinful and morally struggling human beings in need of redemption and godly transformation will inevitably be.

Which of course invites cynical critique, but we have no good reason to imagine that the radical alternatives being offered are any reasonable improvement. Homosexualism, transgenderism, the divorce and remarriage game, or having children out of wedlock all fail the test.

So, in the end, we are back to Jesus' warning: what God has joined, let not man put asunder. END

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Matt 24 watch, 265: Understanding the homosexualist redefinition of marriage as a sign of our times

In Matt 24, of course our Lord, Jesus . . . the now crucified, buried and risen, exalted Messiah . . .  speaks of how -- even as the gospel of the kingdom of God goes forth as a witness in power to all nations -- we will face widespread deception, chaos, polarisation, hatred and even outright persecution:
Matt 24:As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 

And Jesus answered them, See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then many will fall away[a] and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. [ESV]
It seems we are now patently moving on to the second wave of birth-pains, a shift to a fundamental polarisation and hostility that targets those whose loyalty is to the Living God in the face of the risen Christ. Driven, by deceptions that put lies for truth and dismiss the truth as lies, put wrong for right and call right wrong, and more in a topsy-turvy chaos of moral confusion.

In that context, I must reflect on the US Supreme Court ruling yesterday that its freedom of religious objection clause seems to be subtly defective. For, as Matt Barber notes:
The majority opinion emphasized that this newfangled “right” to “gay marriage” should not be construed to trump religious liberty:
“Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons.”
I’m not na├»ve. We’ll have to see what this actually means in coming years, but when filtered through any honest reading of the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause, what it means is that Christians cannot be forced to violate their conscience through compulsory participation in, or recognition of, counterfeit “gay weddings” or “marriages.”

Ever.

Of course there’s nothing honest about the five liberals on this court, and Chief Justice Roberts makes that point in his dissent. He expresses skepticism as to the majority’s sincerity: “The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to ‘advocate’ and ‘teach’ their views of marriage,” he writes. “The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to ‘exercise‘ religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.”

“Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage,” he continues. “[W]hen, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples, or a religious adoption agency declines to place children with same-sex married couples. Indeed, the Solicitor General candidly acknowledged that the tax exemptions of some religious institutions would be in question if they opposed same-sex marriage. There is little doubt that these and similar questions will soon be before this Court.”

Little doubt indeed.

As many of us have long warned, all this “gay marriage” nonsense was never about “marriage equality.” It was, and remains, a spiritual battle camouflaged in the formal attire of judicial and public policy wrangling. It was always about forcing Christ’s faithful followers, under penalty of law, to abandon biblical truth and embrace sexual sin. The goal of “LGBT” activists and secular progressives has long been to pit the government directly against the free exercise of religion – Christianity in particular – and to silence all dissent . . .
The problem here is first, that there is a difference between speaking and acting on convictions. This is multiplied by a circumstance where . . . in a context of might and manipulation making "right" manifest in the law-twisting that has already happened to manufacture this counterfeit right . . . words, however promising, fall under the cynical proverb that "a promise is a comfort to a fool."

So, smooth words like this offer little or no comfort.

I see, that US Sen. Ted Cruz has suggested: “In order to provide the people themselves with a constitutional remedy to the problem of judicial activism and the means for throwing off judicial tyrants, I am proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution that would subject the Justices of the Supreme Court to periodic judicial-retention elections.”

That offers some hope, though perhaps a forlorn one: it is quite difficult to get an amendment through, and the existing provision of impeachment seems to be effectively broken.

A deeper level of analysis reflects on how the Kingdom of God interacts with the key institutions in the kingdoms of man, as the discipleship mandate seeks to teach the gospel-truth and call for a gospel-based lifestyle. It will be convenient to look at the seven mountains simplified picture of the resulting challenge to fill all of life with the grace, light and blessing of Christ:


We are clearly looking at a clash involving Government, the Media, Education, Family and Religion. 

One, where Bible-based Christian Faith took a major governmental defeat yesterday, one with global consequences given the  significance of the USA. (For us in the Caribbean, we must realise that there is a point to the saying that if the Americans sneeze, we get flu.)

Underlying, is the issue of worldviews and cultural agendas driven by long run intellectual forces.

For that,  prof Paul Kengor of Grove City College, has some sobering thoughts:
The typical American who supports gay marriage has friendly motives, looking to extend a new “right” or new “freedom” to a new group. I get that. I don’t agree, but I understand. Unfortunately, these Americans don’t realize that, for the far left, gay marriage is the Trojan horse to achieve what the earliest communists called the “abolition of the family.” To many Americans, gay marriage is about “marriage equality,” but to the far left, it’s about the final takedown of the family that it has long desired . . . . 

I very carefully state that this isn’t a conspiracy. I want to be clear on this. Liberals, please do not caricature me and my argument. We do a disservice to the truth when we boil down complex things to simple caricature. However, just as we can easily overstate things, we can also easily understate them, and to do the latter, likewise, would be a mistake here.

What the left has steadfastly said and written and done to marriage and the family over the last two centuries cannot be ignored. Those actions have been undeniable contributing factors – along with many other factors – that in part help explain where we are today.

Same-sex marriage is not a Marxist plot. It is, however, a crucial final blow to marriage – the only blow that will enable a formal, legal redefinition that will unravel the institution . . . .  [W]hat the left has steadfastly done to marriage and the family over the last two centuries – from Marx and Engels and early utopian socialists like Robert Owen and Charles Fourier to modern cultural Marxists and secular progressives – cannot be ignored. The current rapid redefinition of the male-female marital and parental bond that has undergirded civilization for multiple millennia is the end-road of a steady evolution that should not be viewed entirely separate from some very successful attacks by the communist left and radical left generally. The journey had many prior destinations. A people do not just one morning wake up and ditch the sacred and natural character of the male-female marital union that served their parents, grandparents, great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents. Ground had been plowed to ready this soil . . . .

Anyone advocating something as culturally unthinkable as male-male or female-female “marriage,” in any time other than ours, from the ancient Greeks and Romans of 2,000 years ago to the Democrat and Republican parties of just 20 years ago, would have been laughed at – maybe even hauled off by the authorities as dangerous public menaces. Marx and Engels were under surveillance by the governments in their countries simply for arguing for non-monogamous marriage. Even gay people weren’t thinking they’d soon live in a culture where not only was the mainstream population supportive of gay marriage but where liberals – our great champions of “tolerance” and “diversity” – would be suing, picketing, boycotting, demonizing and dehumanizing a Baptist grandma who begs them not to force her to make a cake for a gay wedding. Marx and Engels and even wild cultural Marxists like Herbert Marcuse and Wilhelm Reich – who broke down sexual barriers in areas like homosexuality and bisexuality – would be rolling over in their graves. Nonetheless, they would be thrilled to see that every-day (non-communist) Americans have finally found a vehicle to assist the long-time communist dream of (to quote the Communist Manifesto) “the abolition of the family.”
The late Francis Schaeffer (with adjustments and extensions) helps us develop a deeper understanding of even deeper civilisational roots, through his line of despair analysis:


That is, when nature is made autonomous from grace creating a split-level world in which the world of thought locks God out, nature gobbles up grace:



This then leads us to the challenge of costly prophetic intellectual and cultural leadership:



We now come full circle to Matt 24: those who profit from or are locked into a lifestyle that depends on a worldview in rebellion against God, will often find such a challenge utterly unwelcome and in too many cases will react with hostility. 

It is then all too tempting to resort to blame and shoot at the messenger tactics, projecting their own hostility on those who challenge a culture of hell-bent sinful marches of folly heading for disaster.

Again, God loves and seeks to redeem the world, through Christ.

Thus, we need to recognise that we have spiritual cancer, sin.

A devastating diagnosis, and one that calls for radical spiritual surgery, starting with facing the truth of the diagnosis.

Clinging to a fatal disease is absurd.

But, absurdity is at the heart of deception.


Where, we need to recognise also that truth is not hate, it is truth -- the only sound basis for hope . . .  however painful and unwelcome the prospect of spiritual surgery is.

This brings the issue of standing for the defense of the truth of the gospel to the fore.

Peter:
1 Peter 3:15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you . . .

And again:
2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 

17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son,[i] with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 

19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.  

21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Paul:
2 Cor 10: For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ [who is "the way, the truth and the life . . . "]

Jesus, in grim warning to the deeply deceived:
John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
And of course, many have been led to dismiss the gospel. Let me again call attention to some reasons for the credibility of the gospel, including inviting us to watch:

The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel from Slaves4Christ on Vimeo.


Truth and right under God are now on the table, and in a context where the degree of polarisation just shot up by a quantum leap. 

So, the question is in the scriptural challenge: today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.

Like unto this, we must burn into our hearts a classic diagnostic text of warning and of hope:
1 Cor 6:Or do you not know that the unrighteous[b] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[c] 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
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F/N c: 1 Corinthians 6:9 The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts

(And this book may help those caught up in the notion that same sex attraction and behaviour are genetically in-stamped unchangeable behaviours. In a nutshell, such media-spread, lab coat clad myths are far from the truth and never had serious evidential basis. We are, after all responsibly free, morally governed creatures. But, that points straight to God as the IS who grounds OUGHT, and for too many any absurdity is preferable to such unpalatable truth. But what is credible and well warranted as truth has little to do with what we may wish were so. Truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. Truth puts us in contact with reality: sin-cancer may be unpalatable truth, but if we are to survive spiritually, we have to face the diagnosis and act on it.)

So, now, we are at kairos, and must face a decision, individually, as families and communities, as societies and as a civilisation: we are diagnosed with sin-cancer, what will we do about it?

For sure, blaming and attacking the messenger telling us we have to face the diagnosis, undergo radical spiritual surgery then recovery and reformation of life is not a reasonable response.

If we are wrong, show us how.

(But note, millions of us can show the healed spiritual scars and testify as to successful treatment by Dr Jesus.)

The day of decision is upon us, and so far we are weighed in the balances and found wanting.

It is time to face and act on -- not attack -- the truth. END

Friday, June 26, 2015

Matt 24 watch, 264: A civilisationally suicidal ruling by the US Supreme Court regarding homosexualist counterfeits for marriage

Today, I opened up Drudge,  only to see the announcement of the US Supreme Court Ruling on so called same sex marriage or so-called marriage equality. (In fact, there simply can be no "same sex marriage," no more than that such a court could decree and declare that God does not exist.  Nor can imagining that calling the tail of a sheep a leg have any power to give five real legs to a sheep -- echoing Lincoln. But, so deep is our moral confusion today that we have come to such a pass in the leading nation-state in the world. [NB: cf. Matt 24 watch, 259 on how courts have progressively imposed this absurdity on the USA; this ruling is not unexpected.])

The real pivotal issue is this: are we or are we not morally governed, responsibly free beings?

If we are -- and to deny this at once ends in patent absurdity, then there is and must be a world-foundational IS that grounds OUGHT; that is the only level at which OUGHTNESS can be grounded, in an IS that is simultaneously the root of good, right, justice, worth and more. 

Including, rights.

That is, binding moral expectations for respect in light of our inherent dignity as human beings. For life, liberty, pursuit of purpose, innocent repute and more.

For such an IS, there is exactly one serious candidate: the inherently good Creator-God, a maximally great, necessary being; One who is worthy of ultimate loyalty and of the reasonable service of doing the good.

That is the wisdom behind these immortal words of the second paragraph of the US Declaration of Independence, 1776; which the justices of the US Supreme Court would have done far, far better to heed:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness . . . ”

The United States and several other leading countries in our civilisation have shown by a long train of destructive abuses and usurpations that the time has come to reform or replace failed government.

Though, doubtless many have become deeply confused and imagine that such is not the case.

The sad, predictable result of such false establishment of absurd evil in the place of the patent good, is destruction and chaos.

When it comes to marriage, family and sexuality, the Creation order is patent and naturally evident from the complementarity of man and woman in reproduction -- the only major bodily function that requires two . . . a man and a woman, and from the inextricably linked requisites of a stable nurturing environment for the upbringing of children. So, whatever undermines that is inherently disordered and destructive to human thriving and so also to society. 

This is the underlying context in which Jesus -- our prophesied, manifested, crucified but Risen Lord and Saviour -- said:
 Matt 19:He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” [ESV]
 He of course directly responded to divorce, but in so doing underscored the naturally evident Creation order mandate for marriage and family. Man and wife, father, mother and children.

 The homosexualist counterfeit -- yes when one passes off the false imitation as if it were genuine there is fraud there, nowadays presented under false colours of "equality," simply cannot pass the test of naturally evident Creation order.
 
That condemns it irretrievably.

Next, the Apostle Paul, commissioned by the risen Christ as apostle to the nations, warns us in no uncertain terms:
 1 Cor 6:Or do you not know that the unrighteous[b] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[c] 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
_________________
F/N c: 1 Corinthians 6:9 The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts
"Do not be deceived . . . " he warns, listing specifically passive and active homosexual act participants along with the generally sexually immoral, adulterers, drunkards, the greedy, swindlers etc  as among those whose behaviour is incompatible with inheriting the kingdom of God.

In Romans 1, he amplifies:
Rom 1:Paul, a servant[a] of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David[b] according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ . . . . 

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,[e] as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”[f]

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 

19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.  

21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.


24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 

32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Here, we see clearly that both male and female forms of homosexual behaviour are incompatible with righteousness.

And yet, as 1 Cor 6:11 reminds us, through the grace of God in Christ, there is hope:
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
There is hope, as morally governed, redeemable creatures we may find rescue and release from many forms of sinful bondage through God's grace in Christ; requiring penitent trust in and surrender to the risen Saviour.

This is non-negotiable, on pain of betrayal of the gospel.

Yes, the easy days are over and now we will have to stand in the face of state power and abuse of the power of laws, courts, parliaments and rulers with almost suicidal boldness and courage to bear witness to utterly unwelcome truth.

But if we are to love the sinners Christ died to save, we must confront sin and call it by its ugly but truthful name: sin.

Truth -- rescuing truth -- is truth, not hate.

And to try to poison the atmosphere by falsely accusing those who stand for principled truth, is a compounding wrong.

To those now literally hell-bent on perverting civil rights law to persecute those who dare to stand for unwelcome truth, in witness, I have a word of warning:
He who would rob me of my livelihood,
would rob me of my life;
he who would rob me of my children,
would rob me of my future;
he who would rob me of my conscience,
would rob me of my soul.
Understand, sirs, what you are setting out on, and where it will end if unchecked.

Understand, and in the name of God, stop and turn back before it is eternally too late. END

PS: KF Blog posts on the porn-perversion agenda: