Thursday, August 04, 2016
I just read an interesting book, God Hates, about Westboro Baptist Church. WBC has a hyper-Calvinist, double-predestination, antelapsarian theology. This means that they think God damns - even hates - all sinners, and saves only a few for God's own inscrutable reason.
Westboro is not trying to change the world. They are, at most, trying to convince the damned that they are damned, but should repent anyway.
Like the Joker in Batman, they are not trying to save the world. Some churches just like to watch it burn.
Wednesday, August 03, 2016
For years I have had a mental list of things I am grateful that I do not have to do. I always begin it with "Thank you, Lord, I don't have to own a boat" or "go skiing."
I do not think those things are bad. I just don't want to do them, and am grateful that I do not have to.
My wife and I just read J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy, about escaping his Appalachian upbringing of drinking, yelling, fighting, and running away - even while he appreciated the virtues of the fierce family loyalties of Appalachian honor culture. I know many family trees with branches ruined by heavy drinking - my own included.
From my teen years I have been grateful for the freedom to not take part in drinking culture. Don't get me wrong, I am not against alcohol as such. Jesus made wine - it can't be all bad.
But I have realized that the invisible first item on my "Thank you, Lord, I don't have to ..." list has always been "drink or take drugs."
This is a great freedom of a free society.
Sunday, July 31, 2016
As soon as the Supreme Court ended the federal supervision of voting laws enacted in the Voting Rights Act in states that used to prevent voting by African Americans, North Carolina proposed a raft of voter suppression provisions.
A federal panel reviewed the history of how the law was made, and concluded that the legislature blatantly sought to suppress those, and only those, methods of voting and voter identification most favored by African Americans.
Before enacting that law, moreover, “the legislature requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices.” After receiving that data, “the General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African Americans.” Indeed, this data appears to have guided the state’s lawmakers in drafting a law that would have maximal impact on African-Americans.
This decision is good for democracy in itself. It is also a good step in restoring the wisdom behind the Voting Rights Act that our country has had a pernicious pattern of suppressing black voting.