Tag Archive for society

Christmas and the Cross

jesuscrossThe love of God comes to us through Christ crucified so that we can see what our sin really deserved. It is morally impossible to be proud at the foot of the cross. And so for those who don’t want to humble themselves before God, the cross remains an offense and a scandal.”

– Rev. John Piper

Scandal is a good word to describe what happened a few days ago in a Massachusetts classroom. On December 2nd a 2nd grade teacher asked her students to draw pictures of things that remind them of Christmas. One little boy decided to draw a picture of Jesus on the cross. Any sane person, even a non-religious one, would respect the boys sketch as an expression of his faith and move on. Sadly this was not the case.

Instead of lauding the boy for creative expression, the principal of Lowell Maxham Elementary School in Taunton, Massachusetts decided that the boy had violence issues and suspended him. To make matters worse, the school told the boys father that a psychological evaluation, at the parents expense, would be required before the boy could return to school. The superintendent of the school district defended the actions claiming that the district has safety protocols that it must follow when they have concern for a child’s safety.

I find it troubling that a school teacher and superintendent find it necessary to protect a child from the cross of Christ. Yet, the concern expressed by the school district serves as a perfect illustration that the message of the cross is offensive. People who will subject themselves to all manner of abject violence in a movies theater or in front of a TV suddenly get squeamish at a pencil sketch of a cross. Only slightly less offensive is a Christmas manger scene. Newspapers all over the country document cases of people trying to sue government agencies for displaying manger scenes. The rationale used to defend such hubris is a gross misinterpretation of the “establishment clause” of the 1st amendment. Which, by the way, does not include the phrase, “separation of church and state”.

While I am disappointed by the actions of Superintendent Julie Hackett of the Taunton, Mass. school district, I am not surprised. The cross is offensive to those who refuse to take responsibility for their sin and seek the grace and forgiveness of Christ. I feel sorry for Ms. Hackett and any other people who seek to remove the cross, or a manger scene or any other symbol of Christ from our society. They do a harm to themselves and deprive us all of a timely reminder that God sent Jesus so that we could have victory over sin, death, and evil.

Authors Note: If you would like to respectfully express your concern over this incident please feel free to use the following information:

Concerned individuals may e-mail Maxham Elementary School or call Principal Rebecca Couet at (508)821-1265, or fax to (508) 821-1274. The Taunton Public Schools district office may be reached by calling (508) 821-1100 or e-mailing Superintendent Julie Hackett.

HT: World Net Daily

Should We Say, “Merry Christmas” ?

bensteinAlready this year I have been confronted with the alleged effrontery of saying Merry Christmas. It seems that every year around December the ghost of Christmas holiday past rears its ugly head to guilt the majority of us who like to say Merry Christmas. The rationale being used is that such language is offensive to those who are Jewish, etc. Well, I don’t buy it. I don’t believe that the majority of Jewish people are offended by Christmas anymore than I am offended by Happy Hanukkah.

Ben Stein, a famous Jewish actor, writer, and commentator, offered a unique perspective on the whole issue of Christmas in an article that he wrote a few years ago. Here are his thoughts:

Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart:

I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important? I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise's wife.

Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are.

If this is what it means to be no longer young. It's not so bad.

Next confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu.

If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.

I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution, and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?

I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too.

But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

I must agree with Ben. Should we say Merry Christmas? Absolutely, and shame on anyone who is too squeamish to do so. This is the United States of America not the united states of Hollywood, or the united states of PC, or the united states of Berkley. Here we say Merry Christmas!

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.