Another Perspective

Another Perspective

ISIS Horrors and Just War Teaching

By 8.20.14

The ISIS invasion of Iraq and subsequent horrors, for which Iraq’s dwindling Christian minority is a chief victim, has reanimated talk about Christian Just War teaching.

Citing the call by Iraq’s Chaldean Patriarch for military intervention, a group of prominent Christian thinkers, with others, has declared that “nothing short of the destruction of ISIS/ISIL as a fighting force will provide long-term protection of victims.” Urging U.S. and international help for local forces against ISIS, they assert that “no options that are consistent with the principles of just war doctrine should be off the table.” They want expanded U.S. air strikes against ISIS and U.S. arms for the Kurds, among others. The most prominent church official on this list is the Southern Baptist Convention’s chief public policy spokesman.

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What About Watertown?

By 8.18.14

Before the folly of the Ferguson Police Department’s overreaction to looting and rioting following the fatal shooting earlier this month of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black teenager, there had been concerns raised about the militarization of our local police departments by the federal government. Last month, Fox News Channel’s John Stossel wrote: 

I want the police to be better armed than the bad guys, but what exactly does that mean today?

Apparently it means the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security equip even the tiniest rural police departments with massive military vehicles, body armor and grenade launchers. The equipment is surplus from the long wars we fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Following the Ferguson folly, Alec MacGillis of the New Republic picked up on this theme:

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Does Anybody Really Know What Genocide Is?

By 8.11.14

There are some words in the English language that are misused. In the course of such misuse words lose their meaning.

In the misuse of the word genocide its meaning is not only lost, but is being butchered.

The country that is most frequently accused of committing genocide is Israel. Consider what has been said in the weeks following Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

An online petition signed by 525 Italians, mostly academics, accuses Israel of committing a “slow genocide” demanding not only Israel’s government and military be put on trial, but the entire Jewish populace as well.

Feminist author Naomi Wolf declared on her Facebook page, “I mourn genocide in Gaza because I am the granddaughter of a family half wiped out in a holocaust and I know genocide when I see it.” She went further. “I stand with the people of Gaza exactly because things might have turned out differently if more people had stood with the Jews in Germany. I stand with the people of Gaza because no one stood with us,” cried Wolf.

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Crimes, Misdemeanors, Magic and Moonlight

By 8.6.14

Woody Allen’s films, for many, are an acquired taste, imperfectly digested, especially for those not of a certain age. Some are crude, often base, and border on the ridiculous. Yet, the very best of the director’s films are not just funny, but profound, revealing a lifelong struggle with his perpetual predicament regarding life’s meaning, or, as Allen believes, meaninglessness.

Allen’s predicament is this: he simply cannot abide the consequences of his complete rejection of transcendent meaning in the universe. Whether he is fretting about the evil of an Adolf Hitler or lampooning the pompous and cruel, he is obviously using a kind of vaguely objective yardstick in making judgments. Yet, consistently, despite a valiant struggle to discern something like order amidst chaos, he falls back into existential despair mitigated by his sense of irony, humor and sex.

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Obama Foreign Policy Fiascoes Reveal Liberalism’s Fatal Flaws

By 8.5.14

The administration’s foreign policy fiascoes also expose the failure of liberal relativism. Hard as it may be to see now, there is a possible silver lining to the growing gray cloud hovering over the White House’s handling of foreign affairs. Failure abroad is providing a more readily discernible outcome of the approach liberals are pursuing here at home. 

Just when it appeared the administration had fallen as far as it could before November, foreign policy has lowered it further. In results released on June 23, a CBS News/NY Times nationwide poll showed Obama’s handling of foreign policy rated significantly lower (36% approval, 58% disapproval) than his handling of the economy (41%-54%). A nationwide Quinnipiac poll released on July 2 showed the same with Obama’s handling of foreign policy (37% approval, 57% disapproval), polling lower than his handling of the economy (40%-55%) or health care (40%-58%).

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Pass the House Border Bill

By 8.1.14

Conservative and liberal media alike were all atwitter with Thursday’s midday news that the House of Representatives was going on its summer recess without passing a border-related bill because Republicans did not have the votes to pass it. The left was particularly pleased in the apparent inability of the new House leadership team to pass a relatively inexpensive bill that contained at least one conservative priority on an extremely visible issue.

Later in the day, we learned that Speaker of the House John Boehner and House GOP leadership are keeping the House in session until there is a vote on a bill, which may occur on Friday.

Boehner is right to do this, and the House should pass the bill under consideration.

According to Boehner’s office, key aspects of the House bill include that it:

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Whom Would Jesus Shoot?

By 7.30.14

This question is posed by a liberal Baptist Huffington Post columnist, and the answer has potential public policy ramifications for all.

It’s both a strength and weakness that Protestantism and Evangelicalism traditionally emphasize personal relationship with Jesus. The strength is that faith becomes intimate and warm. One potential negative is that it tends to focus on Jesus the man during His earthly walk while often unconsciously minimizing that Jesus, according to Christian theology, is the eternally existent Second Person of the Trinity.

The Christ of Christian faith was present at creation and present through all the drama of the patriarchs and prophets of the Hebrew narrative. God in Christ ordained kings, summoned nations, ordered generals into battle and presided over great and often violent events.

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Fences and Neighbors

By 7.28.14

President Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras said, “We are neighbors and it’s best to remain friends with your neighbors,” as he arrived in Washington for meetings with his U.S. confrère in the presidents’ club this weekend. They are concerned about emigration and immigration, which are causing tensions and difficulties on the Rio Grande, the great river that forms our natural border with our neighbors. We too want to be neighbors, and in fact have little choice. They are there. We are here. They are so far from God, so close to the United States, as the Mexican proverb has it, we can tell them to complain to God, or better yet, get it through their heads that God helps those who help themselves, but since the surest and quickest way of helping themselves is to cross the Rio Grande, we have to face it: their problems are ours. So what do we do?

Our great poet Robert Frost provides sound advice: “Good fences make good neighbors.” He means this in several ways, including the neighborly bonds that are formed in a common project. Consider:

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My Father, L. Brent Bozell Jr.

By 7.25.14

As his title suggests (“An appreciation ….” TAS, July 4), Daniel J. Flynn’s review of Dan Kelly’s book Living on Fire: The Life of L. Brent Bozell Jr. is meant as a salute and I’m grateful for that sentiment. But it’s also flawed. I suppose that reaction’s a normal one for the progeny of the person discussed, but in this case it’s serious enough to beg a response. I pre-emptively plead guilty to the charge of bias while underscoring that I also speak with authority.

Just one paragraph in this review is devoted to my father’s contributions to the modern conservative movement (which, he might joke were he still with us, is one paragraph too many). Less than two deal with his final years in service to the poor. Everything else in Mr. Flynn’s piece focuses on my father’s eccentricities, some which were nothing of the sort, and manic depression, which was very real. It is essential that both topics be discussed, but not this way.

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They Shoot Illegals, Don’t They?

By 7.17.14

There is a way to deal with the children, teenagers, and adults who are crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States.

Shoot them.

It is simple. It is straightforward. It is efficient. It is politically, strategically, legally acceptable. I am not sure about morally, but who is sure about anything morally these days?

There is no law that says the Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona National Guards cannot be mobilized to protect the hundreds of miles on our southern border that are violated daily by illegal immigrants. Reports differ, but recent estimates have close to a hundred thousand entries since the beginning of this year, most of them, we are told, from Central American countries.

There is no law, and no political wisdom, that says that if persons refuse direct orders to halt at a border crossing, you cannot stop them forcibly. It is widely acknowledged the world over that national sovereignty includes the right to defend recognized international borders.