Are the fundamentals of the economy sound or not?

Filed under Election 2008, Politics
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During the campaign, Obama heavily criticized McCain for saying the fundamentals of the economy were sound. Now he’s saying the same thing. What has changed besides the economy getting notably worse?

More on ESCR

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Former President Clinton recently added his two cents to the debate. He said that scientists engaging in embryonic stem cell research must be careful to use only embryos that “have been placed beyond the pale of being fertilized before their use.” Somebody should tell him that fertilization is what produces an embryo and starts human development. It’s scary that the people we elect to make life and death decisions don’t even understand the issues. How can someone like Clinton be entrusted with the authority to decide whether or not it is permissible to destroy human embryos when he doesn’t even know what an embryo is? I wonder if Obama knows what an embryo is…Probably not.

Steve Chapman points out why this research should horrify even those who are not part of the pro-life movement:

What this mandate means is simple: It may be permissible for scientists to create cloned embryos and kill them. It’s not permissible to create cloned embryos and let them live. Their cells may be used for our benefit, but not for their own.

There lies the reality of embryonic stem cell research: It turns incipient human beings into commodities to be exploited for the sake of people who are safely past that defenseless stage of their lives.

It’s a change that poses risks not just to days-old human embryos. The rest of us may one day reap important medical benefits from this research. But we may lose something even more vital.

Whose morality?

Bob recently started a discussion on his blog about the issue of legislating morality after I made a comment on one of his posts that all laws legislate morality. As chance would have it, Joseph Farah has a column on WND today on that very topic. He says it better than I could, so here it is:

It’s time to recognize that all political issues are social issues.

When we use the phrase “social issues,” most people think about abortion, homosexuality, marriage, divorce and other moral concerns.

Many in our society today believe these “social issues” are matters of private concern only – and, thus, have no place in politics.

It’s ridiculous.

The truth is – all political issues are social and moral.

If you care about people not starving, then good economics becomes a social issue.

If you care about young men not dying in needless foreign wars, then national security and defense are social issues.

If you care about saving the lives of millions of fellow Americans, then civil defense should be a social issue.

Please tell me if you can think of any issue – local, state or national – that is not a social issue.

Traffic laws are the result of someone’s idea of morality being imposed on others. Some people believe it is safer to drive at 50 mph than 75. Thus, we have speed limits.

Some people believe second-hand smoke is harmful or, at least, annoying, so we have laws against smoking in public places.

We have mandatory seat-belt laws to protect the lives of people – whether they care about their own life or not.

So, this notion that some laws are based on a sense of morality and others are not is just plain silly.

In fact, it’s even more ironic that many of the very people who claim legislation against abortion is wrong because it imposes someone else’s morality on people who may not agree, use their own sense of right and wrong to impose their morality on others.

Have you ever noticed that?

Barack Obama, for instance, is doing his best to force those of us who believe it is wrong to kill unborn babies to subsidize the practice. He is even attempting to make it lawful to conduct so-called “scientific experimentation” on the cells of unborn human embryos to ensure there is an absolute, unequivocal, unhampered “right” to kill unborn babies at any time and for any reason. In fact, while he was a member of the Illinois state legislature, he fought against providing life-saving, emergency treatment for babies who miraculously, and against all odds, survived abortions. He suggested they should be denied medical treatment, nourishment and, perhaps, even air to breathe.

That’s Barack Obama’s sense of morality. And he is all-too-eager to impose it on helpless babies and those of us who stand in the way of the executioners.

Meanwhile, though, Barack Obama believes very strongly that the tax code should be used as a mechanism of imposing his own ideas about “social justice.” Thus, Barack Obama agrees with me that every issue is a “social issue.” He just has a different worldview – a different sense of morality.

Barack Obama will soon give Al Gore his wish – making so-called “global warming” one of the central operating paradigms of our time. The government will be empowered to control how high you keep your thermostat and how much gasoline you consume because it’s a matter of “saving the planet.”

Now who is it that is imposing their own warped ideas of morality on the rest of us?

Remember, Al Gore has said so-called “global warming” is a “moral issue that affects the survival of human civilization.” As such, there is no aspect of life that will not come under the control of government as part of the fight against this phantom and fraudulent problem.

So, don’t feel ashamed or guilty when someone accuses you of attempting to “legislate morality.” That’s what we do when we pass laws – all laws.

It’s simply a case of whose morality is going to rule the day – God’s or Barack Obama’s.

Lifting ban on embryonic stem cell funding not above Obama’s pay grade

For someone who says that the question of when life begins is above his pay grade, President Obama certainly seems sure that it isn’t at conception. After all, if the life of a human being begins at conception, as is the scientific consensus, Obama would surely not be able to say something like, “the potential [embryonic stem cell research] offers is great, and with proper guidelines and strict oversight, the perils can be avoided.” If embryos are human beings, then there is no way to avoid the so-called “perils,” because the research involves the destruction of embryos. The President says, “As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering.” Wow, so the implication is that those of us who are opposed to the killing of tiny human beings–even if there is a potential benefit to big human beings–don’t believe in caring for each other and working to ease human suffering?

The President also says, “And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society.” Obviously, he has left the door open for “therapeutic cloning” where the cloned embryo is simply destroyed before he or she has a chance to mature. Why ban cloning for human reproduction, though? Isn’t this a moral pronouncement? Isn’t the President forcing his moral values on us? Couldn’t proponents of reproductive cloning say exactly what Obama said about embryonic stem cell research, i.e. that “our government has forced…a false choice between sound science and moral values”?

The dirty little secret? There was no ban on embryonic stem cell research, only on federal funding of it. The reason researchers could not get funding for their research was because no private investors were willing to invest in ethically questionable research that has proven to be unfruitful despite all the hype about its potential.

The great Walter Williams on government healthcare

Filed under Politics

Walter Williams has a new column out on government healthcare. Conservatives and liberals want the same thing: affordable, reliable healthcare for all. The disagreement lies in how to achieve it. I am of the opinion that we should fix the problems with our own system rather than trying to convert to another failed system.

Government health care advocates used to sing the praises of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). That’s until its poor delivery of health care services became known. A recent study by David Green and Laura Casper, “Delay, Denial and Dilution,” written for the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs, concludes that the NHS health care services are just about the worst in the developed world. The head of the World Health Organization calculated that Britain has as many as 25,000 unnecessary cancer deaths a year because of under-provision of care. Twelve percent of specialists surveyed admitted refusing kidney dialysis to patients suffering from kidney failure because of limits on cash. Waiting lists for medical treatment have become so long that there are now “waiting lists” for the waiting list.

Government health care advocates sing the praises of Canada’s single-payer system. Canada’s government system isn’t that different from Britain’s. For example, after a Canadian has been referred to a specialist, the waiting list for gynecological surgery is four to 12 weeks, cataract removal 12 to 18 weeks, tonsillectomy three to 36 weeks and neurosurgery five to 30 weeks. Toronto-area hospitals, concerned about lawsuits, ask patients to sign a legal release accepting that while delays in treatment may jeopardize their health, they nevertheless hold the hospital blameless. Canadians have an option Britainers don’t: close proximity of American hospitals. In fact, the Canadian government spends over $1 billion each year for Canadians to receive medical treatment in our country. I wonder how much money the U.S. government spends for Americans to be treated in Canada. [Emphasis mine]

…I wonder how many Americans would like a system that would, as in the case of Mr. D. of Gothenburg, prohibit private purchase of your own medicine if the government refused paying. We have problems in our health care system but most of them are a result of too much government. Over 50 percent of health care expenditures in our country are made by government. Government health care advocates might say that they will avoid the horrors of other government-run systems. Don’t believe them. [Emphasis mine]

Christianity in Crisis: The 21st Century

I just got done reading Christianity in Crisis: The 21st Century by Hank Hanegraaff. It is an exposé on the Word of Faith movement, sometimes called the prosperity gospel.

The book starts out with a brief introduction to the movement along with those who are leading it, including Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyers and T.D. Jakes. The rest of the book is dedicated to addressing the errors of the movement–errors that should be self-evident to any student of the Bible. I was astonished when I read some of the things they teach that are so obviously blasphemous, not to mention physically dangerous.

Before reading this book I knew there were doctrinal problems with the prosperity gospel (including the teaching that being poor is a sin). I also knew that the leaders of the movement say some crazy things every now and then. Some of the funniest quotes in the book were from Benny Hinn, who said women originally gave birth out of their sides and that Adam “had dominion over the fowls of the air, the fish of the sea–which means he used to fly.” What I did not know was that these problems run deep and affect even the essentials of the Christian faith. The prosperity gospel is not simply a misinterpretation of a few verses here and there. It is a full-fledged heresy.

Hanegraaff begins by noting that many have simply been deceived and that it is important to “judge the theology of the Faith movement rather than those being seduced by it [page 8].” He also notes that there are “those who use the perversions of the Faith movement to drive a wedge between charismatic and noncharismatic Christians” and says that “this is both counterproductive and divisive, for the Faith movement is not charismatic; it is cultic [page 12].” He points out that the problem with the Faith movement is not about the nonessentials but about the essentials of the faith. The book is well-documented, with a 16-page bibliography and 54 pages of notes.

One of the fathers of the Faith movement was E.W. Kenyon who said, “The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth [quoted on page 17].” This is scary stuff. Hanegraaff explains the problems of the Faith movement using the acronym FLAWS, which stands for “Faith in faith,” “Little gods,” “Atonement atrocities,” “Wealth & want” and “Sickness & suffering [page 88].” The movement deifies man and satan while demoting God and Christ.

As an example, Kenneth Copeland, another leader of the movement, stated that “God cannot do anything for you apart or separate from faith” because “faith is God’s source of power [quoted on page 96].” Myles Munroe said, “I’m going to say it again! Prayer is man giving God authority, or God license, to interfere in the affairs of man. In fact, God–I’m giong to take a deep breath because some of you religious people aren’t going to understand me–Are you ready?–God cannot do anything in the earth without a human’s permission! [quoted on page 131]” However, contrary to the Faith movement’s teaching that faith is a substance or force, Hanegraff explains that “true biblical faith is faith in God as opposed to faith in substance (or ‘faith in faith,’ as Hagin put it). It is the object and the origin of faith that renders it effective [page 100].”

Copeland and Jerry Savelle teach that God is just like us…only a little bigger. Savelle said, “God is not 437 feet tall, weighing four thousand pounds, and got a fist big around as this room. He’s big, but He’s not a monster. He measured out heaven with a nine-inch span…The distance between my thumb and my finger is not quite nine inches. So, I know He’s bigger than me, thank God [quoted on page 144].”

In discussing the Faith movement’s misguided teachings on worldly riches, Hanegraaff quotes John Piper’s book Desiring God, which says, “God is not glorified when we keep for ourselves (no matter how thankfully) what we ought to be using to alleviate the misery of unevangelized, uneducated, unmedicated, and unfed millions. The evidence that many Christians have been decieved by this doctrine is how little they give and how much they own…God has made us conduits of his grace. The danger is in thinking the conduit should be lined with gold. It shouldn’t. Copper will do [quoted on page 243].” Indeed, even non-Christians can identify the hypocrisy of these Christians.

One part of the book that is useful outside the discussion of the Faith movement is Hanegraaff’s explanation of how the Scriptures should be read. He notes the principle of scriptural synergy and states, “…the whole of Scripture is greater than the sum of its individual passages. You cannot comprehend the Bible as a whole without comprehending its individual parts, and you cannot comprehend its individual parts without comprehending the Bible as a whole. As such, individual passages of Scripture are synergistic rather than deflective with respect to the whole of Scripture. Scriptural synergy demands that individual Bible passages may never be interpreted in such a way as to conflict with the whole of Scripture [page 239].”

I recommend this book to anyone interested in the heresies of the Faith movement, especially those with family members that have been deceived. It exposes the teachers using their own words. It is definitely a good reference and would be a valuable addition to a church library.

Please pray for PAZ Japan and the Japanese people

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The Japanese people are one of the largest unreached people groups in the world.

For more information, visit the PAZ Japan website.

Spammers using commenters’ names

Filed under Blogging

Has anybody else been getting spam from impersonators? I keep getting spam posted under the names of regular commenters. I wonder if these are individuals doing this or automated spambots? How annoying.

“How about we all stop paying our mortgages?”

Filed under Politics

Rick Santelli of CNBC asks traders, “How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills? Raise your hand.” Is a revolution underway?

People are idiots

Filed under Politics

I haven’t seen the movie Religulous, but I understand that the director would like us to believe that Christians (and religious people in general, I guess) are idiots. I’m sure he found a few. Creative editing may have allowed him to create a few, too. The thing is, though, Evan Coyne Maloney was doing the same thing as Bill Maher several years ago, except he was going out and showing just how loony liberals can be. I have run into my fair share of agnostics and liberals who are a few fries short of a Happy Meal, too. It’s not limited to the US, either. There are agnostic morons in Japan, too. It’s a worldwide phenomenon. Hollywood would like us to believe that conservative Christians are lunatics, but the truth of the matter is that there are nutcases in every group. No one has a monopoly.