Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rom 1 reply, 20: Angeline Jackson vs Piero Tozzi -- A case study on how warped "rights" and "black consciousness" thought joined to Saul Alinsky tactics has become a gateway for the dechristianising tidal wave in the Caribbean

{NB: Some follow-up remarks are here,
particularly on the appeal to rage}

Caribbean communicator, journalist and philosopher, Billy Hall, is known for a favourite saying that "one slice of the cake has in it all the ingredients."

That is why, though international human rights lawyer and counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom Piero Tozzi and web designer and Jamaican "human rights" activist Angeline Jackson are hardly in the same league, it is appropriate to note on how the latter (it seems "Sept 8th," she has failed to properly date her post . . . ) tried to denigrate, demonise and dismiss a recent presentation of the former in Jamaica by invitation of the Lawyers Christian Fellowship, under the heading "Right wing Christianity in Jamaica":
It’s a shame that they did this, but what is worse is that (and I know people may dislike this), black people have once again open the doors to allow a new type of slavery and a new type of colonization. We black people have decided that we will take the white man’s word for it and become so evil to other black people based on something natural to them, on the premise that the white man’s god, -imposed on us for centuries, used to justify our slavery, used to rape our women and destroy our homes- will be angry at us and destroy our countries! We hold on so tightly to the god of our colonial and slave masters that we have forgotten how to think for ourselves.
It is immediately obvious that this is an exercise in dismissal by atmosphere-poisoning ad hominem projection, starting from the "Right Wing Christianity" tag, which is meant to lead us to infer to would-be theocratic, fascist tyrants. 

At the risk of using a sledgehammer instead of a nut-cracker, I think it is important to address Ms Jackson's short but exceedingly manipulative argument, step by step, on points. 

I do so as a case study on how dechristianisation is affecting at least some of the rising generation of young people in our region today in the guise of human rights activism.

Let us observe how a cluster of mutually reinforcing fallacies can lead to such a tangled thicket that is very hard indeed to clear away so that the one enmeshed can be set free to think and decide based on clear, coherent, well-grounded thinking:

>>It’s a shame that they [--> the alleged "Right Wing Christians"] did this,
 a --> This immediately brings out why it is so important for us to get straight that Fascism is actually a statist, identity group, politically messianistic ideology, so it is technically of the "left," not the "right," the latter being a distractive tag created by no less than the late and utterly unlamented dictator of Soviet Russia, Joseph Stalin.

b --> Similarly, it underscores why we need to be very clear indeed that of the two most notorious Fascists, Mussolini was a Socialist leader who took up the nationalist mantle to advance his cause, and Adolph Hitler was a somewhat skeptical neo-pagan occultist and manipulator of Christian symbols, who did not shun from anti-Christian blasphemy in presenting himself as a political messiah for Germany. Where, Nazism is itself short for: National Socialist German Workers' Party. Yes, socialist and populist/ mass-based as well as racist.

c --> Third, we must not allow ourselves to be intimidated or manipulated by the use of smear-words such as "right wing." Instead, we must be willing to point out that the substitution of namecalling for reason is not only rude but revealing of the lack of respect for fairness and truth that too often characterises today's activists.   This young lady would be well-advised to reflect on the straight vs spin issues here. Also, on the implications of Saul Alinsky's tactics, as are exposed here.
but what is worse is that (and I know people may dislike this), black people have once again open[ed] the doors to allow a new type of slavery and a new type of colonization.
 d --> Playing the race card to smear those with whom one disagrees based on skin colour. [--> Cf. following post here.] Mr Tozzi has raised a moral and legal case regarding the imposition of a homosexualist agenda in law under the false colours of equality, freedom and rights, and the undermining of respect for life based on the spreading of abortion on demand. Please deal with his case on the merits instead of on accusations of racism, and by extension of insinuations of betrayal of blackness by those who disagree with you. (And BTW, as a person of Italian ancestry, he would have had little to do with the slavery we faced in our region at the hands of the black African, Berber and Arab raiders and traders who sold our ancestors to the English merchants who brought them to Jamaica.)

e --> Similarly, the slavery and colonialism accusations are simply smeared across those with whom one disagrees. Not only is this unfair, but it fails to reckon in a balanced way with the actual history of the ending of slavery in our civilisation, whereby many convinced Christians of all races fought injustice and oppression because they understood the importance of fundamental rights through their Bible-rooted worldviews. Names like Wilberforce, Buxton, Equiano, Fry and many others come to mind.

f --> This shows how the inculcation of an unbalanced view of the history of our region is warping the ability of young people to think straight once colour is injected into a discussion. A point for serious correction of our education approaches.
We black people have decided that we will take the white man’s word for it
g --> This is a naked appeal to thinking and deciding based on colour of skin, instead of on the merits of the case. For shame! 

and become so evil to other black people
 h --> This of course further plays the race card as though disapproval of homosexual conduct is tantamount to betrayal of our race and oppression of other black people. This presumes a knowledge of what is good and evil that not only cuts across the general consensus of humanity across the ages, including our own race, but it raises serious questions on grounding such claims. For a first instance, what grounds good/evil? Has this young lady thought seriously about the warning the prophet Isaiah gave us 2,700 years ago, on what can ever so easily happen if we lose our way on matters of morality and the need to attend to and heed the voice of our Creator in our morally freighted thinking and doing:
 Isa 5:18 ​​​​​​​​Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
        who draw sin as with cart ropes . . . .
        20 ​​​​​​​​Woe to those who call evil good
        and good evil,
        who put darkness for light
        and light for darkness,
        who put bitter for sweet
        and sweet for bitter! 
      21 ​​​​​​​​Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
        and shrewd in their own sight!
      22 ​​​​​​​​Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
        and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
      23 ​​​​​​​​who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
        and deprive the innocent of his right! 
      24 ​​​​​​​​Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
        and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
        so their root will be as rottenness,
        and their blossom go up like dust;
        for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts,
        and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.[ESV]
i --> Instead of simply dismissively sweeping away the counsels of Scripture, one needs to first address its grounding as truth, especially based on the prophesied Messiah, who in the person of Jesus of Nazareth came, walked and served among us, loving, healing, setting free, teaching, dying on a cross by unjust sentence, but using that as the pivot of redemption. And then, having died as the willing sacrifice for our sins, was buried and rose from death with over 500 witnesses. And, who, having ascended to the Right Hand of the Father, has poured out his life-transforming Spirit so that millions of people -- "red and yellow, black or white" -- from across the whole world, for 2000 years now, have met and been positively transformed by God in the face of the risen and exalted Christ and in light of the thousands of powerful promises in his Word.

j --> Sadly, the impression one gets from the attitude of smear-laced contempt we are seeing, is that there has been no serious examination of the facts about Jesus, and the truth of the gospel, which by its very nature would transcend barriers of race, sex, class etc. God's rescue, restoration and blessing plan for sinners. I therefore take opportunity to invite her and others of like ilk to examine a short survey here, a more detailed discussion here (an online book), and the video here:

k --> Also, has Ms Jackson seriously thought about the gap between IS and OUGHT that can easily appear in a worldview (as Hume notoriously pointed out in his "guillotine" argument) and which points to the need for a worldview foundational IS that can bear the weight of OUGHT? [Cf here on grounding worldviews in general.]

l --> Has she realised that -- after literally thousands of years of debate at the highest levels -- the only serious candidate for such a foundational IS, is the inherently good, wise and loving creator God who has made us equally in his image, so that "red or yellow, black or white, all are precious in his sight"? (Does she know that this is a cite from a typical evangelical Christian Sunday school chorus? Does she understand how this leads on to the question of how we have moral worth, rights and freedoms?)

m --> Let me therefore cite a general remark by Arthur F. Holmes, on the sound grounding of ethics and morality in worldviews:
However we may define the good, however well we may calculate consequences, to whatever extent we may or may not desire certain consequences, none of this of itself implies any obligation of command. That something is or will be does not imply that we ought to seek it. We can never derive an “ought” from a premised “is” unless the ought is somehow already contained in the premise . . . .
R. M. Hare . . . raises the same point. Most theories, he argues, simply fail to account for the ought that commands us: subjectivism reduces imperatives to statements about subjective states, egoism and utilitarianism reduce them to statements about consequences, emotivism simply rejects them because they are not empirically verifiable, and determinism reduces them to causes rather than commands . . . .
Elizabeth Anscombe’s point is well made. We have a problem introducing the ought into ethics unless, as she argues, we are morally obligated by law – not a socially imposed law, ultimately, but divine law . . . . This is precisely the problem with modern ethical theory in the West . . . it has lost the binding force of divine commandments. [Ethics: Approaching Moral Decisions (Downers Grove, IL: 1984), pp. 70 – 72.]
n --> In terms of core sexual ethics, the Judaeo-Christian view was aptly summarised by Jesus -- the one who demonstrated his authority by rising from the dead -- in answering a question on divorce and remarriage:
Mt 19: 3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?”
4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 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’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” [ESV]
o --> The pivot of sexual morality is its purpose, as manifested in the Creation order for man and woman. So, Jesus' reply to anything that takes sexual conduct out of that context of committed marital union of man and woman, is: "What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."

p --> That is why Paul, discussing moral issues in 1 Cor 6:9 - 11, includes among "the unrighteous" that "will not inherit the kingdom of God," as yardstick cases: "the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,  nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers."

q --> However, he highlights that there is hope: "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." And indeed, we have a great many cases where such life dominating sins have been overcome by the grace of God, the twelve-step type approach being particularly successful with cases of addictive or habituating, life-dominating sins. So, the gospel is not just a matter of disapproval of sins, but empowering the penitent believer in Jesus to, by the indwelling Spirit, overcome and live a life of growing purity and love by God's grace.
based on something natural to them, 

r --> Plainly, the creation order purpose of sex is the bonding of man and woman in God-blessed union, leading to the birth of children and their nurture in stable families. Anything that undermines such cannot be properly "natural," and is indeed an expression of a twisting of nature out of its proper course -- the very definition of what "evil" means.  That is why the apostle Paul, writing to a culture deep in rebellion against God and suffering its consequences, on the consequences of cultures turning their backs on God, says:
Rom 1: 19 . . . 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, 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.  [--> in the old days, in pagan temples, nowadays, maybe in museums or on TV or in textbooks]
 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 decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. [ESV]
s --> There is a common argument that tries to sweep away this grim warning, by appealing to how people are programmed by their genes and cannot help their sexual conduct if their genes have made them that way. As the just linked book will document in more details, this is specious:

1: We can roughly summarise the genetic role in human behaviour as that about 10% of essentially any behaviour by human beings is genetic, i.e you have to be human before you can act like a human being does

2: But, because we are complex, intelligent, thinking and responding, deciding creatures with minds of our own, we generally have power to choose how to behave, never mind how strongly our impulses impel us. 

3: If you doubt this, think about why -- despite the the impulses and hormones that may move a young man -- we hold someone who seduces or rapes someone, responsible for his actions. That is, the impulses and thoughts of what could be possible or desirable are an input to our behaviour, but we do have a responsible choice on how we act on such impulses. (Taking in the across time dimension, this even holds for things such as habituation or addiction to drugs and alcohol or porn, etc.)

4: In this context, no gay gene has been reliably scientifically identified, and in fact the incidence of homosexual behaviour in cultures and communities ranges from essentially zero, to the about 1 - 3% that statistics documents for contemporary Western culture [the 10% number commonly repeated is a myth], to -- in certain Melanesian cultures, compulsory -- yes, 100% -- for certain periods of life. 

5: In addition, there is no fixed range of time for onset of such behaviour, it tends to fade away with time, and cultural patterns of such behaviour vary from urban to rural areas [much more common in urban areas], and across the time scale of decades to centuries.

6: For instance, in various Melanesian societies [look up the Sambia], formerly, boys were made to participate in compulsory ritualistic homosexual behaviour tied to the animist religion of that area for a certain period, then they were married and it was expected to cease; as it apparently overwhelmingly did. In our own civilisation, historically the predominant form of such behaviour among males, was the seduction of boys by older men. However, under legal pressure in recent centuries, a new pattern emerged of men going with men. And so forth.

7: These are consistent with a cultural pattern, accidents of upbringing and primary relationships, leading to habituation, rather than genetically stamped behaviour. 

8: There are in fact serious studies and entire movements that underscore the accuracy of Paul's remark "such were some of you." That is, though it is admittedly a difficult challenge, life dominating questionable habits, addictions and behaviours can be addressed with appropriate methods. 

9: And it is worth noting that the alcoholics who pioneered the 12-step type approach, were the targets of dismissive and "gotcha" professional and media hostility sixty years ago too, but they overcame this by dint of the basic fact that what they were doing worked often enough and reliably enough that it is by far and away the most successful addiction recovery approach.
on the premise that the white man’s god, -imposed on us for centuries, used to justify our slavery, used to rape our women and destroy our homes- will be angry at us and destroy our countries! 

 t --> this is the race card game again, which is not only a fallacy but a false accusation. Besides, Ms Jackson here shows an utter misunderstanding of the history of the way slavery [formerly the universal wrong] was successfully challenged and ended in large part through the formation of movements of opposition by explicitly Evangelical Christians, acting on explicit biblical principles.  [U/D: Cf remarks here, in an onward reply.]

u --> Indeed, it is worth noting how the very symbol and motto of the antislavery societies on both sides of the Atlantic, were taken from the Biblical book of Philemon, which exactly lays out the case that undermines all types of abuse and exploitation, with slavery in the lead:

 v --> And in fact the way in which we would destroy ourselves by undermining marriage and the purpose of sexuality is obvious. We live in a world where sex is a powerful force, for good if used correctly, but when it is twisted out of its Creation-order purpose it goes out of control and this has patently destructive consequences. If we abuse our bodies, relationships and creation order institutions for nurturing children aright, do we have any just reason for complaining if the consequences we have been warned against turn out to be destructive?

w --> And indeed, the Kantian Categorical Imperative works as a criterion of identifying immoral behaviour in part on just that: if a pattern of behaviour were to become universalised, if it would be destructive to the community, it is obviously wrong. (In short, evils work by parasiting off the fact that most of us, most of the time, do not act like that. As a non-controversial case, try out: lying. A society in which all people lie all the time is an impossibility and so we see why lying is a destructive abuse of our power of communication.)
We hold on so tightly to the god of our colonial and slave masters 
x --> This tries to poison the atmosphere by associating God and the teachings of the gospel with colonialism and slavery. The teachings themselves are not examined nor fairly addressed. Such is a plain failure of duty of care to the truth and fairness in discussion. The grounding of belief in God has nothing to do with whether slave masters and colonial overlords came from Christianised but imperfect cultures.
y --> Instead, it has everything to do with evidence in the world around us and in our hearts and minds, that render us without excuse for dismissing God in the teeth of abundant and even compelling warrant. (And, in case you were unaware, Paul was a member of an oppressed minority, who was writing to fellow believers under the evil tyrant Nero and writing in part about why the oppressive culture they had to confront day by day was like that. No, the Christian faith is not at root that of oppressors. I guess it is worth noting that the Christian faith reached Africa in Egypt and Ethiopia well before it was established in Europe, and that it was welcomed by the peoples of Africa then and again 150 years ago when 100 Jamaican former slaves went as missionaries to West Africa. That is why the Christian faith is vibrant and growing in Africa today.)

that we have forgotten how to think for ourselves.
 z --> As the above documents, by and large just the opposite is the case. Please think again, and on the subject of basic critical thinking you may wish to look here, on dealing with media spin and similar manipulative propagandistic indoctrination in the name of education cf. here, and on a toolkit for grounding a worldview, cf, here. >>

I trust that the above will be helpful to Ms Jackson (who seems to have completed high school in Jamaica about six years ago) and others of like ilk.

In the meanwhile we can see underscored the urgent necessity for something like the AACCS that has been under discussion for some time. END

PS: Forgive the situation where instead of hitting save early this morning I seem to have hit, post on a half-complete post.

F/N: I have notified Ms Jackson about this post and will shortly notify the LCF in Jamaica and the ADF about this post and so also the online remark it responds to.