A Further Perspective

A Further Perspective

Climate Worship at the Cathedral

By 9.26.14

Hundreds of thousands marched in New York recently for climate “justice” in “The People’s Climate March,” convinced that human industry is heating the earth to apocalyptic levels.

Naturally there was a religious auxiliary to the Global Warming jamboree in the form of the Interfaith Summit on Climate Change, sponsored by the World Council of Churches, among others. And of course it included earth-friendly worship at the flamboyant Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine, whose theologically provocative services some critics have labeled earth worship.

Those critics would have found vindication at the cathedral on Sunday, where “The Religions of the Earth Multi-faith Service” paid homage to Mother Earth by asking worshippers to pile stones on the altar to confirm their climate commitment. Over a thousand concerned religious activists filled the pews, praying for and at times seemingly to the earth, beneath two giant sculptures of feathered phoenixes that soared overhead in the huge gothic worship space.

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Sorry, Senator Durbin

By 9.25.14

The last few months a consulting job in the Chicago suburbs has taken me out of my writing rhythm. At the same time my Miami-Chicago commute has me traveling the Sotloff-Foley axis. In South Florida, where Steven Sotloff’s family are prominent in the Jewish community, his grim fate is the subject that most engages the man and woman in the street. In greater Chicagoland the talk is of James Foley, who was an alumnus of Northwestern University. The beheadings of these two journalists by the murderous band known as ISIS have sparked a fierce debate over the level of response such barbarism should draw. In my travels I hear passionate presentations by the advocates of the vying views.

There is a far-left approach that argues for no action to be taken at all. Our behavior should be dictated by our own conscience, not by provocateurs goading us into radical reactions. We should protect our citizens to the extent possible but retaliation in the form of violence is never warranted by the brutality of those who do not share our enlightenment.

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This Marine Does Not Belong in a Mexican Prison

By 9.24.14

Mexico is about to do something both vindictive and pointless. It’s close to sending a U.S. Marine reservist named Andrew Tahmooressi to prison for the crime of crossing the border with a loaded shotgun, pistol, and assault rifle—all three of which were licensed in his name. Officials south of the Rio Grande want to make a statement: Mexico is sovereign! 

Only they don't mean it in a "hey, we're a place, too" kind of way. What they mean is: Wrath to the uttermost! How dare ye quarrel with the mysterious administration of the sovereign! 

Now, it’s true that the object of this sovereign wrath likely violated the law, but he says he wound up at the border checkpoint where he was apprehended after making a wrong turn. The case against him could have been dropped long ago, but Mexican officials press on, that the rest of us may marvel that their legal code does in fact exist, and that it can be enforced with no bribes changing hands. Only we can't witness that, of course, because judicial proceedings in Mexico are secret, a mysterious administration rather more corruptible than the one Jonathan Edwards had in mind. 

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Polo Jazzes up the Summer’s Last Days

By 9.24.14

The thought of watching a polo match in the twilight of a fading summer’s day while turned-out in the sort of attire that made Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age girls come and go “like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars” made my sister and me feel as we should.

And then it rained.

An announcer on the loudspeaker said casually that the storm would pass over us quickly, and the match would start a fashionable twenty minutes late.

An hour went by.

The sudden summer shower had turned into a veritable monsoon, but it was polite enough to wait ’til we were all in our cars. There we picnicked, and discovered that sangria doesn’t taste the same inside a Subaru Forester as it does on the verdant floor of the Northern Virginia countryside. It may taste better. Consider how the intense sweetness and complex flavors of the infused fruits can be better appreciated when they aren’t mingled with the distracting fragrances of fresh fauna and flora.

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Cry, The Beloved Kingdom

By 9.22.14

Based on the results of the historic Scottish referendum announced on Friday, nearly half an educated electorate in a Western democracy has shown more emotional intemperance than it has reason. To follow one’s heart is one thing, but to do it at the expense of the economy and national security is quite another. Even the respected actor Sir Sean Connery, also known as Bond, James Bond, weighed in with a vacuous opinion: “Simply put — there is no more creative an act than creating a new nation.” By that relativist standard, all forms of creativity, however outlandish or exhibitionist, should be embraced for the common good. And it is ironic that Scotland, a land contributing so much to science and technology — the steam engine, penicillin, and equations of electromagnetism to name just a few — should eschew the values of the scientific method and demonstrate such self-destructive irrationality.

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Deep Six for Six Californias

By 9.18.14

California governors, from Ronald Reagan on, have glowed over the idea that if the state were a separate country it would have the seventh- or eighth-largest economy in the world. Perhaps Silicon Valley millionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper thought that if one California was that good, six Californias would be better.

Last December he set out to qualify an initiative for the state ballot that set the wheels in motion to carve up the state accordingly. He spent $4.9 million of his own money to gather the 807,615 signatures required to qualify. 

Successful ballot-qualifying campaigns in California are almost always carried out by paid signature gatherers. This requires deep pockets. Draper found no compatriots to share the cost. Nor could he find any endorsers among leading public figures in the state. In fact, those who did comment concluded that it was hopelessly impractical.

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Will We Keep the First Amendment Safe From Harry Reid?

By 9.17.14

Nobody tell Harry Reid that a few clauses of Magna Carta are still in effect—he’ll want to repeal them next.

We’ve only got a few tatters left of our own counterpart to that document, and Reid just led a party of Democrats on a raid to destroy them. Our Bill of Rights came with ten amendments, but we’re down to one that’s reasonably intact—the First Amendment—and now the Democrats want that one, too.

OK, I’ll concede the Third Amendment’s in fine shape, but only because there are no armies of soldiers crashing into bedrooms uninvited, whatever Claire McCaskill might think. But otherwise, the First Amendment is just about all we have left of our republican experiment. The forces of control have taken the rest, even our property, which they loan back to us on certain conditions.

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The Denialists

By 9.17.14

The more violence that comes out of the Islamic world, the more that the Left insists Islam is a “religion of peace.” The rise of ISIS has inspired Western leaders to redouble their attempts at reeducation. Appointing themselves Islamic authorities, they declare that ISIS is “not Islamic.”

These Western leaders are far more protective of Islam than their own historic religion. They are willing to subject Christianity to scrutiny for its supposedly reactionary teachings, even as they hold that the doctrines of Islam are flawless and beyond criticism.

At Yale this week, student groups that typically sponsor critics of Christianity denounced the appearance of a critic of Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, on campus. Had Ali arrived to blame Ray Rice’s domestic violence on patriarchal American culture, she would have been welcomed with open arms. But, instead, she came bearing a message they didn’t want to hear: that Islamic culture mistreats women. As a victim of genital mutilation and forced marriage at the hands of Muslims in Somalia, Hirsi Ali is understandably baffled by the Left’s enthusiasm for Islam.

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Ted Cruz’s Squandered Opportunity

By 9.16.14

When Senator Ted Cruz delivered the keynote address at last Wednesday’s inaugural In Defense of Christians Summit in Washington, D.C., he was expected to place a much-needed spotlight on the plight of the ancient and persecuted Christian communities of the Middle East.

Instead, under the guise of supporting Israel, Cruz placed the spotlight squarely on himself, and by so doing inflicted untold damage to the cause of Christianity’s survival in the Middle East.

There’s been some misinformation about exactly what Cruz said to the crowd and how it was received. (You can see for yourself here.)

First Cruz offered a few strong remarks about Middle Eastern Christians and the need for solidarity with Jews (all of which were unanimously applauded). Then he began making increasingly provocative statements about Jews and Israel, seemingly gauging the audience’s reaction with each remark. He said:

Christians have no greater ally than the Jewish state.

Let me say this: Those who hate Israel hate America. And those who hate Jews hate Christians.

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We Need the CIA ‘On That Wall’ More Than Ever

By 9.15.14

The violent ambitions of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have been condemned across the world: in Europe and the Middle East, by Sunni nations and Shiite ones, and by sworn enemies like Israel and Iran. Now, even Pope Francis has joined the call for ISIS to be stopped.

The recent military successes of ISIS, and the barbarous slaughter of women and children and the beheading of two American journalists sent a new round of national security chills throughout the country. These grisly events were stark reminders of the resourcefulness and dogged determination of terrorists hell-bent on inflicting grievous harm to Americans.

President Obama has vowed “to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.” This vital campaign will require maximum efforts by the CIA and special forces to achieve enhanced intelligence and to execute effective covert operations.

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