Archive for October 28, 2009

What Happened To The Public Servants?

questionface“The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God.”

– Nehemiah 5:15

The Old Testament character Nehemiah represents the best of what its means to be a public servant. After being appointed Governor of the region of Judea by the Persian King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah set out to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He had all authority over the inhabitants of the region. He could have exacted taxes, built up his own residence with public labor, and filled his storehouses with the best of the produce yet he did not. Nehemiah sacrificed his privilege to take care of the needs of the people first. Why did he do this? Well, the last part of this verse makes it abundantly clear, “…because of the fear of God.”

As I sit here writing this post I am listening to a hearing of the North Carolina State Board of Elections. They are investigating possible violations of campaign finance law by former Governor Mike Easley and the Democrat Party. Governor Easley is reported to have receive illegal perks and kickbacks such as home repairs, automobiles, and real estate deals. He is also accused of circumventing campaign finance laws to receive illegal contributions. Governor Easley may or may not be guilty of these charges. The hearings and any subsequent court actions will determine that. What is unquestioned is that many elected officials no longer view their positions as a means of service but a means of enrichment.

Governor Easley could have avoided these hearings had he taken the mindset of Nehemiah. Fearing the voters or the media is not enough. We need politicians that fear the judgment of a righteous and Holy God. I wonder how quickly the federal and state government would shrink if before introducing their bills or casting their votes our elected officials would pause to remember that one day they will have to stand before God and account for their decisions. This is accountability that even the vote cant match.

Has Feminism Delivered The Goods?

feminismThe feminist movement promised women many things. Women, so the narrative went, were economically and socially repressed and deserved their shot at the reins of power. This thinking ushered in a wave of social change in the 60’s and 70’s known as the feminist revolution. The lasting effects of this revolution are clearly evident. In a recent Time magazine article entitled, The State of the American Woman, reporter Nancy Gibbs documents,

“In 1972 only 7% of students playing high school sports were girls; now the number is six times as high. The female dropout rate has fallen in half. College campuses used to be almost 60-40 male; now the ratio has reversed, and close to half of law and medical degrees go to women, up from fewer than 10% in 1970. Half the Ivy League presidents are women, and two of the three network anchors soon will be; three of the four most recent Secretaries of State have been women.”

With such wonderful returns on investment, American women should be the most happy, fulfilled, and content sector of our society, but are they? Not according to renowned feminist matriarch Susan Faludi who recently made this candid statement,

“The woman’s movement wasn’t about happiness.”

Ms. Faludi’s is more correct than she may realize. In fact in the same article cited above Nancy Gibbs also points to research that documents an alarming trend trend toward unhappiness among American women. In as study entitled The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness, economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers reveal that while in the 70’s women polled much higher than men in overall subjective well-being but over time that data has completely reversed.

This article and the studies that it cites must give pause to feminists and to all American women. They stand in the best position to be the judge of whether feminism delivered what it has promised. From an outsiders perspective, it would appear that the great feminist revolution may have won women power but it caused women lose their proverbial souls.

HT: Dr. Al Mohler

Capitalism: A Warped Worldview Story

capitalism_a_love_storyMichael Moore has produced one of the greatest movie values ever to grace the silver screen. For the mere price of a theater ticket you discover that it is Capitalism that has caused the ills that have corrupted American society. What philosophers have missed for hundreds of years Moore can indoctrinate teach you in only 127 minutes.

The film begins with an old newsreel clip outlining the events that led to the fall of the Roman Empire. Weaving the visual imagery with his consoling vocal tones, he creates a historical context that for the unsophisticated appears credible. As the film picks up speed what you begin to see is that Moore is not just making a political statement, he is espousing a worldview.

In Moore’s world, Christianity plays a very prominent role. His worldview, however, is not distinctly Christian. Moore dilutes, and even bludgeons Christianity with leftist, socio-political ideology. This gets very convoluted especially when he uses Scripture, the Catholic Church, and even Christ to assert that Capitalism is by nature inherently evil. Moore’s assertions couldn’t be further from the truth. There is no scriptural mandate against wealth, private property, or Capitalism. It is disturbing how Moore manages to leave such obvious truths out of his narrative.

For all of the many omissions that Moore makes, the greatest of these is his omission of sin. This is without question the fundamental flaw of the film. Moore lays the blame for the corruption of western society at the feet of Capitalism. This is extremely naive and intellectually dishonest. Capitalism is no more culpable for corruption than chocolate is culpable for obesity. It is ironic that Moore goes to such great detail to portray human beings as victims of corruption while simultaneously eliminating humanity from the cause of the corruption. This sort of philosophical evasion enables Moore to spend the bulk of the film fashioning Capitalism as a straw man.

In addition to the glaring philosophical misrepresentations and omissions there are a myriad of cultural and historical references take out of context. Here are a few examples:

  • Moore asserts that after World War 2, the United States enjoyed a unfair auto industry trade advantage because of the intentional destruction of German and Japanese factories.
  • Moore paints President Ronald Reagan as a spokes-model for corporate greed completely ignoring his role in bringing an end to the repressive Soviet regime.
  • He asserts that by collusive action Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan sought to force the elderly from their homes.
  • He documents with great detail the sub-prime mortgage meltdown without even one reference to the detrimental effects of the Community Reinvestment Act or the calls by President Bush and others to reign in the egregious lending practices.
  • Moore portrays the democrats in the House and Senate as being the primary opposition to the bank bailouts while ignoring the fact that democrats Pelosi and Reid were two of its main proponents.

So if Capitalism is the problem, what does Moore offer as a solution? In Moore’s narrative the only way to end the corruption and misery is to return America to its more democratic roots. Moore’s nostalgia for democracy is both misguided and uninformed. He never once cites the fact that America never was or has been a democracy but a republic. He also attempts to appeal to some sense of worker equality that smacks of communism and is quite frankly untenable. Moore portrays his vision of America by playing a newsreel of President Franklin Roosevelt calling for a second bill of rights that would guarantee a job with a living wage, freedom from unfair competition and monopolies, a home, medical care, education, and recreation. According to philosopher Richard Weaver, Moore’s vision is fundamentally flawed because,

“Nothing but a despotism could enforce anything so unrealistc, and this explains why modern governments dedicated to this program have become, under one guise and another, despotic.”

– from Ideas Have Consequences

This might explain, however, Moore’s fascination with and admiration for Castro’s paradise.

Moore’s film, however, is not devoid of merit. He rightfully demonstrates that there are tragic cases where greed and corruption have ruined peoples lives. He also correctly asserts that bailing out investments banks with taxpayer dollars was a huge mistake for which many republicans and democrats alike must share the blame. Its extremely vexing that in order to get these few nuggets of truth you have to sit through a morass of inaccuracy, distortion and fabrication. The greatest tragedy of Capitalism: A Love Story is that where Moore could have used his talents to further the work of the Church and assist the less fortunate, he uses them promulgate his own warped worldview.

Forefeiting Common Grace

bible“[Common grace] curbs the destructive power of sin, maintains in a measure the moral order of the universe, thus making an orderly life possible, distributes in varying degrees gifts and talents among men, promotes the development of science and art, and showers untold blessings upon the children of men,”

– Louis Berkhof

Common grace, although by no means native to, is woven in the founding fabric of our republic. The writings and recorded statements of our founding fathers all reflect a respect for common grace. This does not mean that they were all partakers of the gospel. Indeed many were not. They were cognizant of the fact that apart from the benevolence of the creator there would be no orderly or civil society.

Consider the following statements as a representative sample:

“Religion, as well as reason, confirms the soundness of those principles on which our government has been founded and its rights asserted.”
– Thomas Jefferson

“[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
– John Adams

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
– George Washington

“I must own I have so much faith in the general government of the world by Providence that I can hardly conceive a transaction of such momentous importance to the welfare of millions now existing, and to exist in the posterity of a great nation, should be suffered to pass without being in some degree influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipotent, omnipresent, and beneficent Ruler.”
– Benjamin Franklin

There are many more quotes that could be added. Sufficed to say that the unquestioned view of the founding fathers was that God’s blessings come upon that nation that recognize and cherish His common grace.

There are identifiable societal building blocks that can be recognized as common grace. These building blocks are civic virtue, integrity, morality, marriage between one man and one woman, family, self-sacrifice, honest work, and chastity, just to name a few. Not content to attempt to rid our society of the overt propagation of the gospel, philosophical and social leftist elites have long desired to remove any tie to God by removing the evidences of common grace. This pursuit is by no means new nor is it native to any political party or administration. What is troublesomely novel, however, is that whereas in times past these eradicators of common grace were marginal, they are now concentrated and employed by the current administration. It is foolishness to think that the future of our republic is secure when those who hold the reins of power eschew those basic virtues without which no civil society can long survive.

If we as a society, do not ourselves cherish and foster common grace and expect such conduct from those who represent us there is no hope. We can forfeit but so much of our foundation before the whole house collapses in on itself. We had better remember the words of Thomas Jefferson who said,

“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”