• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

Reducing Murder by Slaughter in America

Roe v. Wade Repeal a Heartbeat Bill Away

by Daniel John Sobieski        (Article sent by  Mark Waldeland.)
I have often said that said that if ultrasound pictures of the unborn had been available in 1973, the Roe v. Wade decision would have been quite different. It is hard to talk about “lumps of tissue” and “collections of cells” when one can actually see a leg kicking, a hand reaching, a mouth sucking. Or listening to a heartbeat.

Since then four decades of medical advances have changed the meaning of the word “viable” when applied to the unborn. They should also have changed the meaning of the word “human.” Consider the case of the world’s tiniest baby born recently weighing just over eight ounces . . . https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/06/emroe_v_wadeem_repeal_a_heartbeat_bill_away.html#ixzz5q6SRuCsJ

Star GOP Recruit for Coming Senate Race in Michigan!

In the battle for control of the U.S. Senate in 2020, Republicans got some welcome news Thursday when Republican John James announced that he would challenge Democratic Sen. Gary Peters in Michigan’s Senate race. With the GOP defending 22 of the 34 seats that will be up in 2020, the party could really use more opportunities to go on the offensive — and the Michigan race may be just that.

Why is James’s candidacy notable? Well, the businessman and Army veteran ran for the state’s other Senate seat in 2018 and outperformed expectations against longtime Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, losing by only 6.5 percentage points. In the context of the 2018 cycle, this was the GOP’s seventh-best performance, according to a simple regression analysis that predicts a Senate race’s result by looking at the partisan lean of each state (how much more Democratic- or Republican-leaning the state is than the country as a whole1) and whether an elected incumbent from either party was running or not.2 That shows us how the actual candidates did compared to the baseline expectations for a generic candidate from that party:

James was one of the strongest Republicans in 2018

Margins of victory or defeat for Republican Senate candidates vs. their forecasted margins based on incumbency and the state’s partisan lean

MARGIN OF VICTORY OR DEFEAT
STATE REPUBLICAN RESULT EXPECTED DIFFERENCE
Utah Romney R+31.7 R+17.0 R+14.7
New Jersey Hugin D+11.2 D+22.5 R+11.3
Massachusetts Diehl D+24.2 D+34.5 R+10.3
Rhode Island Flanders D+23.1 D+31.8 R+8.7
Florida Scott R+0.1 D+8.5 R+8.6
Mississippi Wicker R+19.0 R+11.1 R+7.9
Michigan James D+6.5 D+13.5 R+7.0
Indiana Braun R+5.9 R+0.9 R+5.0
Washington Hutchison D+16.9 D+21.2 R+4.3
Missouri Hawley R+5.8 R+1.7 R+4.1
Mississippi special* Hyde-Smith R+7.3 R+5.1 R+2.2
Wyoming Barrasso R+36.9 R+35.1 R+1.8
Nebraska Fischer R+19.1 R+17.6 R+1.5
Wisconsin Vukmir D+10.8 D+11.5 R+0.7
Delaware Arlett D+22.1 D+22.7 R+0.6
Connecticut Corey D+20.2 D+20.6 R+0.4
Ohio Renacci D+6.8 D+7.0 R+0.2
California* NA D+30.2 D+30.3 R+0.1
Pennsylvania Barletta D+13.1 D+11.6 D+1.5
North Dakota Cramer R+10.8 R+12.3 D+1.5
Minnesota special* Housley D+10.6 D+8.0 D+2.6
Arizona McSally D+2.3 R+0.5 D+2.8
Hawaii Curtis D+42.3 D+39.5 D+2.8
Maine* Brakey D+19.1 D+16.2 D+2.9
Virginia Stewart D+16.0 D+12.6 D+3.4
Tennessee Blackburn R+10.8 R+14.6 D+3.8
Montana Rosendale D+3.6 R+0.7 D+4.3
New York Farley D+34.0 D+29.0 D+5.0
Maryland Campbell D+34.5 D+29.4 D+5.1
Nevada Heller D+5.0 R+0.6 D+5.6
New Mexico Rich D+23.6 D+17.9 D+5.7
Vermont* Zupan D+39.9 D+30.6 D+9.3
Texas Cruz R+2.6 R+12.2 D+9.6
Minnesota Newberger D+24.1 D+14.1 D+10.0
West Virginia Morrisey D+3.3 R+10.3 D+13.6

* In Vermont and Maine, the independent is treated as the Democrat. In California, two Democrats advanced to the general election, so the aggregate results for all Democratic candidates in the June 5, 2018, primary used in the calculations and no Republican is listed in the table. However, in the Mississippi special election, the result of the Nov. 27, 2018, runoff is used since that race featured a Democrat against a Republican. Races with appointed incumbents — namely, the Minnesota and Mississippi special elections — are treated as open seats rather than as equivalent to races with elected incumbents.

SOURCE: DAVE LEIP’S ATLAS OF U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

The only Republicans who did better than James in races that were at least somewhat competitive (races our model rated as anything less than “solid” for either party) were Rick Scott in Florida and Bob Hugin in New Jersey, though Hugin was likely aided by Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez’s scandals. During the campaign, James attracted support from top Republicans, including President Trump. James’s showing immediately put him on 2020 candidates-to-watch lists, and Peters’s seat seemed like a likely target.

Speaking of the incumbent, Peters could be vulnerable — in particular, more vulnerable than Stabenow was. First, he’s defending one of just two Democratic Senate seats that will be up in 2020 in states that Trump carried in 2016. (Alabama is the other.) The president only won Michigan by a whisker, but if Trump can keep the state in play next year, that would probably help down-ballot Republicans — Senate contests increasingly align with presidential races when they’re on the ballot at the same time. In 2016, for the first time in a presidential cycle,3 every Senate race went for the same party that carried the state at the presidential level.

Second, Peters remains fairly unknown to his fellow Michiganders. In the first three months of 2019, 43 percent said they had no opinion of Peters — the largest share for any senator — according to Morning Consult’s job-approval data. Although Peters’s net approval rating was +10, his relative anonymity might make it easier for Republicans to define him negatively. His voting record is more conservative than that of many other Democrats in the Senate, but he has voted in line with Trump less often than the partisan lean of Michigan would predict.

Still, Peters shouldn’t be underestimated. He first won this seat in 2014 by a margin of 13 percentage points, successfully retaining it for Democrats despite a Republican wave environment that saw the GOP gain nine seats in the Senate. Peters also has a history of winning tough contests. Besides the 2014 campaign, which was initially viewed as competitive, he also won an incumbent-vs.-incumbent House primary in 2012 after being redistrictedfrom the suburbs into a Detroit-centered seat where then-Rep. Peters, who is white, prevailed in a majority-black district against Rep. Hansen Clarke, who has a mixed-race background (his mother is black and his father was an Indian immigrant).

Election handicappers agree that the Michigan race favors the Democrats, though there is some disagreement as to how much. With James in the race, the Cook Political Report and Inside Elections rate the contest as “likely” to go Democratic, but Sabato’s Crystal Ball says the race only “leans” toward the Democrats. Peters starts as a favorite, but James gives Republicans a real chance of winning Michigan’s Senate race in 2020.

Geoffrey Skelley is an elections analyst at FiveThirtyEight.  

 

 

Mall of America Miracle? Five Year Old Boy Survives “Assassination” Attempt

Boy thrown from MOA balcony has ‘zero brain damage,’ his pastor says

Article from St. Paul Pioneer Press sent by California conservative, Lisa Rich:

The 5-year-old boy who was thrown from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America on April 12 shows no signs of brain damage, according to video posted on Facebook by his family’s church.

Mac Hammond, pastor of the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, updated his congregation on the boy’s condition on Easter Sunday.


The boy, who Hammond identified as Landen, underwent an MRI last week to determine the extent of his injuries from the nearly 40-foot fall at the Bloomington mall, according to the video.

 

 

More American Christians Saw CAPTAIN MARVEL than UNPLANNED!

UnplannedCaptain Marvel, and the State of the American Church

by Michael Brown  at  the Stream:    (Article sent by Mark Waldeland.)

I’m thrilled to hear about the great impact that Unplanned is already having. It has exceeded box office expectations and, more importantly, the movie is changing many lives. How wonderful to hear of Planned Parenthood workers who are resigning after seeing it.

At the same time, we can be reasonably sure that many more American Christians saw Captain Marvel than Unplanned. Why? It’s because we’d rather be entertained.

Which Movie Were Christians Flocking to See?

Let’s focus on just one segment of the professing Christian population of America, those who identify as evangelical or born-again, amounting to roughly 40 percent of the populace.

Even if we cut that number in half (which is quite drastic), that would still be 20 percent of the nation, meaning 1 in every 5 people.

Now, let’s look at the box office totals for Captain Marvel and Unplanned.

The former has grossed about $386 million so far, the latter about $16 million, meaning that Captain Marvel has out-earned Unplanned by about 24 to 1.

You do the math. You tell me what movie Christians were flocking to see. The answer is obvious.

To be clear, I’m not criticizing someone for seeing Captain Marvel. I haven’t seen it myself, so I don’t know what’s in the movie. And I have no problem with believers enjoying some clean entertainment (again, I have no idea where Captain Marvel fits in that spectrum).

But to see a movie? We can’t even do that? No wonder Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land.

What I do know is this: Most American Christians are so apathetic about abortion that we can’t even take the time to see a powerful, even watershed, pro-life movie. Think about that for a moment, and let the weight of reality sink in.

It’s one thing to share the gospel in front of an abortion clinic. Or to adopt a child destined for abortion. Or to volunteer time to serve at a pro-life pregnancy center. Or to make a sacrificial donation to the pro-life cause. Not every Christian can (or will) do this.

But to see a movie? We can’t even do that? No wonder Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land.

A Woeful Lack of Conviction

Over 50 years ago, Scottish evangelist James Alexander Stewart addressed the superficial state of the church in the West. Of our public gatherings, he wrote, “The atmosphere of these meetings is so much like Hollywood that one might almost expect some comedian or film star to rush on the platform.” (Remember: He wrote this more than 50 years ago.)

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream »

He said:

I refuse to entertain sinners on their way to hell. […] I want to preach every time as though it were my last chance. I do not want souls to curse my name in the lake of fire and say, “Yes, I went to such-and-such a Gospel meeting, but that preacher Stewart only entertained and joked. He made Christianity a farce!”

The old-fashioned method of evangelism was to make people weep, but the modern “Hollywood” way is to make people laugh. Everybody has to have a jolly good time. […] We must have plenty of jokes or it would not be a good meeting. That is why there is such a woeful lack of conviction of sin in modern evangelism. The Holy Spirit cannot work in a frivolous atmosphere.

Here is a solemn truth that very few of God’s people seem to see: Everything depends on the atmosphere of the meeting. […] For example, if you were saved in a jazzy sort of atmosphere, light and frivolous, with the song leader more like a clown and the preacher merely glorifying himself and using fleshly effort, you will also turn out to be a jazzy frivolous Christian with no depth in your spiritual life.

Does that not speak to the state of the church in America today? We would rather be coddled than convicted, entertained than exhorted, babied than burdened.

Chocolate Soldiers for Christ

The famous missionary C. T. Studd also addressed the phenomenon of spineless, superficial Christianity in his little classic, “Chocolate Soldier.”

He wrote:

EVERY TRUE CHRISTIAN IS A SOLDIER—of Christ—a hero “par excellence!” Braver than the bravest—scorning the soft seductions of peace and her oft-repeated warnings against hardship, disease, danger, and death, whom he counts among his bosom friends.

THE OTHERWISE CHRISTIAN IS A CHOCOLATE CHRISTIAN! Dissolving in water and melting at the smell of fire. “Sweeties” they are! Bonbons, lollipops! Living their lives on a glass dish or in a cardboard box, each clad in his soft clothing, a little frilled white paper to preserve his dear little delicate constitution.

And then this biting poem:

“I must be carried to the skies
On a flowery bed of ease,
Let others fight to win the prize,
Or sail thro’ bloody seas.

Mark time, Christian heroes,
Never go to war;
Stop and mind the babies
Playing on the floor.

Wash and dress and feed them
Forty times a week.
Till they’re roly poly—
Puddings so to speak.

Chorus:
Round and round the nursery
Let us ambulate,
Sugar and spice and all that’s nice
Must be on our slate.”

The good news is that, “GOD NEVER WAS A CHOCOLATE MANUFACTURER, AND NEVER WILL BE. God’s men [and women] are always heroes. In Scripture you can trace their giant foot-tracks down the sands of time.”

Heroism and Decency

May that same spirit of heroism and valor rise up in the church of America today.

Or, if that’s too much to ask, how about a spirit of decency — enough to get us off our couches to see a life-changing, redemptive movie about the slaughter of the unborn on our watch.

Is that too much to ask?

 

Unplanned, Captain Marvel, and the State of the American Church

Will Most American Jews Always Be Lefties?

Jews have strong grounds for a new exodus — from the Democratic Party

A PEW poll this week found that while Republicans are more likely to perceive anti-Christian discrimination, Democrats are more likely to see discrimination against Muslims, gays and Jews. Would that that bit about Democratic sensitivity to anti-Semitism were true. If it were, more Democrats would be sounding the alarm about the cancer of Jew-hatred infesting their party.

Leading Democrats remain blasé at best, however. On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed herself to be in ­utter denial about the disease, telling CNN that “we have no taint of that in the Democratic Party.” Self-delusion on this scale is almost heroic, what with Rep. ­Ilhan Omar’s repeated evocations of classic anti-Semitic tropes about Israel “hypnotizing the world” and buying US support with “Benjamins, baby.”

The cancer is fast-moving and invasive, and if Democrats don’t excise it from their midst, they will make it impossible for Jews to comfortably remain. Is it possible for Jews to actually leave the Democratic Party en masse? It’s not as outlandish as some may think. Just look to how British Jews have handled Jeremy Corbyn, who has brought a once-honorable and philo-Semitic Labour party into league with the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah.

This month, the Jewish Labour Movement passed a no-confidence motion against Corbyn’s leadership. As The Guardian newspaper reported, Labour and Corbyn both “were dealt a blow” when the acting general meeting of the JLM “voted to describe the party as ‘institutionally ­anti-Semitic.’ ”

Sad to say, but the US Democratic Party is sliding toward a similar fate. Soon, “institutionally anti-Semitic” could serve as an apt description for the Democrats, as well. Consider: Just this week, Pelosi, the most powerful Democrat in government, sat down with . . . none other than Corbyn.

To her credit, Pelosi didn’t shy away from the topic of anti-Semitism in her meetings in Britain, taking care to meet not just with Corbyn but also three defectors from ­Labour who left over anti-Semitism concerns. On Twitter, Pelosi wrote of her meeting with these former Labour party members.

Then again, in a tweet on her meeting, Pelosi wrote: “Pleased to have had a candid discussion with @JeremyCorbyn today about the direction of Brexit, Northern Ireland, NATO, acting boldly on climate, protecting human rights and the necessity of forcefully confronting anti-Semitism and ­Islamophobia.” What exactly did Pelosi have to say to a man who has laid wreaths at the graves of Palestinian terrorists?

Then, too, her lumping together of anti-Semitism with all other phobias, instead of treating it as a particular scourge, sounded all too familiar. It’s exactly what happened when Pelosi’s House Democrats impotently attempted to pass a bill in the wake of Omar’s anti-Semitic ­remarks last month but ­instead passed a wishy-washy and vague resolution against the ambiguous scourge of “hate.”

Pelosi herself claimed Omar’s remarks weren’t “intentionally anti-Semitic,” while Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, said he didn’t believe Omar is an anti-Semite. Other Democrats went further in the whitewashing department. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a freshman congresswoman, said: “We need to have equity in our outrage. Islamophobia needs to be included in this. We need to denounce all forms of hate. There is no hierarchy of hurt.”

Omar’s BFF, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said:“No one seeks this level of reprimand when members make statements about [Latino and] other communities.”

And it’s not just the radical wing of the Democrats that is to blame. Remember: It was President Barack Obama who set out to put “daylight” between the United States and the Jewish state, whose Middle East policies consistently empowered Iran at the expense of Israel (and America’s traditional Arab allies), who in his final days in office allowed the UN Security Council to pass a resolution singling out Israel for condemnation.

Already under Obama, the Democrats were pursuing policies that the likes of Omar surely cheered. Only, Obama still retained a thin veneer of pro-Israel rhetoric.

If American Jews wish to stop the Democrats from turning their party into an American version of Corbyn’s Labour, they shouldn’t permit their votes to be taken for granted. The Democrats, like the Republicans, should have to earn Jews’ votes, and for the past 10 years, and especially lately, they’ve done little to do so. Come 2020, American Jews need to send a clear message — with their votes and their money.

 

https://nypost.com/2019/04/17/jews-have-strong-grounds-for-a-new-exodus-from-the-democratic-party/

Comment from Glenn:  Mandel is a Jewish name.

I was born and raised in a Jewish minority community in St. Paul, Minnesota before the beginning  of World War II.   Jewish  children were not allowed to play or spend  time after school  with any Gentiles before or after school, a Jewish rule, NOT a Christian one.

Every Tuesday afternoon,  the Jewish kids would leave a hour before 3:30 afternoon recess to attend Hebrew School.  During school recess unless it was raining,  from second grade on, as I remember,  classes would gather outdoors for a run around a three block area for a half hour  “to keep in shape”…..Trust me..NO ONE WAS OBESE IN THOSE DAYS!….teachers, students, neighbors, relatives!  No one could afford extras. There simply wasn’t much food around…..these were Depression years.

I had serious asthma problems from age three to about age fifteen, when the “serious” eventually began to wane in quantity, but not in severity.   Running would cause croup  in about twenty  seconds.  I’d occasionally pass out which would scare the teachers.   In our classes of about 40 students, only one other student in my classes also suffered from croup asthma…..a Jewish boy, Walter Pistner.   So, there we were for about three for four grades, walking together around the blocks while others ran…  We were allowed to talk with the walk, so Walter and I got to know each other via our asthma.

The running kids weren’t allowed to talk, and not walk while running or the teacher’s whistle would blow to correct the matter with a threat or two.

We had two Jewish families living on our block of twenty four residents.   During the War the neighborhood would gather twice a year, in Spring and Fall, in our Victory Garden across the alley from where I lived…..the Victory Garden over which I had from age 8 to 11 dominion for planting, clean up, insect control, and harvest.  I loved doing every bit of it myself.   It was also my  annual duty to pass out invitations to all the neighbors to join our gatherings.   I knew I had invited them to the neighborhood “feast”, but they never showed up.

 

 

Goodness Still Exists in America

The Life of Sean

by David F. Watson on Down Syndrome & the Lives That Matter   (Article sent by Mark Waldeland.)

As I watch my eleven-year-old son, Sean, make movies on his iPad, I worry about the future. In this era in which many have taken it upon themselves to insist loudly and publicly that their lives matter, many also insist that lives like Sean’s do not. Last March, the Washington Post published an article by Ruth Marcus entitled “I would’ve aborted a fetus with Down syndrome. Women need that right.” As a thought experiment, replace the words “with Down syndrome” with terms for other categories of people. Substitute a particular racial group, gender category, or sexual orientation. The hue and cry over such an article would rattle the heavens. Western culture has developed a normally unspoken hierarchy of humanity, and people with diminished intellectual capacities are on the low end of it.

One might object that categories of race, gender, and sexual orientation do not carry with them the familial and social burdens that people with Down syndrome do. This assumes that “burden” is an appropriate criterion for abortion, an assumption I reject. For the sake of argument, however, let’s grant the validity of this position for a moment. At what point, then, do we decide that the level of “burden” justifies the elimination of an entire category of people?

If you would prefer a closer analogy than that of race, gender, or sexual orientation, replace “Down syndrome” in the headline with another genetic condition, like a predisposition to obesity. “I would’ve aborted a fetus with a genetic propensity to become obese. Women need that right.” Think of the strain that obese people place on our healthcare system. If we could only eliminate such people before they were born. . . . Or how about: “I would have aborted a fetus with a genetic predisposition toward depression.” Or “alcoholism.” Or “Alzheimer’s.” Or “autism.” It is now possible to administer a highly accurate prenatal test for Down syndrome. No doubt the medical community will in time develop tests for other conditions as well. Imagine the headlines our children will read twenty years from now.

To its credit, the Post did publish an opposing opinion by George Will called “The real Down syndrome problem: Accepting genocide.” Will defines genocide as “the deliberate, systematic attempt to erase a category of people.” Consider also the eugenic character of efforts to eradicate people with Down syndrome. We are witnessing a concerted attempt to eliminate an entire category of people precisely because these people bear genetic characteristics considered undesirable. This has, by and large, already happened in Iceland, and it is happening in other parts of Western Europe and the United States. People with Down syndrome are depicted as inflicting a burden on both their families and the wider society. Therefore, this line of thought goes, their elimination makes life easier for all of us. One wonders which group of undesirables will next bear the unfortunate label of “burden.”

Conferring Value on Lives

Do not miss the significance of an article making the case for eugenics appearing in the Washington Post. It is now entirely acceptable to depict people like Sean as superfluous both to families and to society. These people are commonly understood to matter less than other people. Let’s be clear about what is happening here: the devaluing of a certain category of people because of a disability. That is the very definition of ableism. To suggest, then, that it is appropriate to eliminate this category of people in the womb is nothing less than to advocate eugenics. Why is this not considered hate speech? In a world where college students have to run to their safe spaces when a tenured professor opts not to use their preferred pronouns, how is it acceptable to advocate ableist, eugenic policies in an established forum such as the Washington Post?

The reason is that, culturally speaking, we determine the value of certain categories of people by the effectiveness of those who advocate on their behalf. In Western culture, the church has lost a great deal of its once-pervasive influence. Some people—many, in fact—insist that this is a good thing. We have finally thrown off the puritanical shackles of Christianity and entered into a new era of individual freedom. This, however, is a lie. We are no freer than we were before. We have simply decided to serve different masters.

We have entered into an era in which we have to insist that various categories of lives actually matter. The Black Lives Matter movement has given rise to other advocacy groups. We are now reminded that blue lives, brown lives, and gay lives matter. In response to these various slogans, some people have begun to insist that “all lives matter.” But do they? The emergence of these advocacy movements suggests that any widespread cultural notion that human life is intrinsically valuable has vanished. We now establish the value of lives through the will to power. Nietzschean voluntarism has replaced philosophical and theological notions of the intrinsic value of human life.

In this world, people with Down syndrome are at a significant disadvantage. Because they normally experience diminished intellectual capacity compared to “typical” people, it is very difficult for them to enter into the arenas of advocacy and public discourse. The will to power is not within their grasp. We might expect their parents to advocate on their behalf, and some do, but the abortion rate of children with Down syndrome indicates that their parents are often the very ones from whom they need protection.

The Need for Clarity

I am not surprised to see the rise of ethical voluntarism in secular cultures. It is a logical outworking of the epistemic consequence of sin. Under the influence of original sin, people replace the values disclosed to us through divine revelation with values they believe serve their own interests. What frightens me, however, is seeing these values penetrate the church. They have established innumerable outposts within mainline Protestantism, and they are increasingly infiltrating Western Evangelicalism.

I spend considerable time in various communities of the Protestant world: mainline, Evangelical, charismatic, and African-American. When faced with complex ethical issues, Protestants stand at a significant disadvantage relative to Roman Catholics. We tend to make ethical decisions based upon emotivism, biblicism, or some combination of the two. What many Protestant traditions lack is a well-thought-out body of doctrinal and ethical resources rooted in Scripture, but drawing out its implications in disciplined and systematic ways that can help to shape the life of the church. We need more than feelings about the value of life and Scripture passages that support our feelings.

We need more than the writings of theologians and ethicists whose work remains peripheral to the church’s decision-making processes. We need real doctrinal clarity that can give rise to ethical clarity. In the case of the lives of people with Down syndrome, we need theological anthropology. Without clear, reasoned teaching from the church, many of our congregants will simply adopt the values of the dominant culture in which they live.

Reinders’s Insights

One of the finest pieces of theology I have ever read is Receiving the Gift of Friendship: Profound Disability, Theological Anthropology, and Ethics, by Hans S. Reinders (-Eerdmans, 2008). This work is not simply an outstanding example of the theology of disability, but it could also serve as a model for many other areas of theological inquiry. In the book, Reinders takes up the matter of “profound disability,” by which he means a “state of mental development that has not gone beyond a toddler’s stage of development” (48). Reinders asserts that “being created in God’s image indicates a unique relationship” and that “this relationship is affirmed extrinsically by the triune God. . . . From a Christian point of view, all of this is to say that the human being exists truthfully in God’s friendship, regardless of his or her abilities and disabilities” (313).

When we become friends with people with profound disabilities, we are acting in agreement with God’s friendship with them. In the process, we ourselves are changed. We learn about what it means to be truly human. People with profound disabilities teach us about our own -friendship with God. They show us that “being accepted by God does not depend on our goodness” (320). They show us that, as we age and lose some of the capacities in which we have been taught to take so much pride, our value as human beings is not diminished. In other words, Reinders constructs a theological vantage point from which it is impossible to distinguish differences in value among people with various levels of abilities.

Put differently, in Reinders’s schema, the value of human life is not based on what a person can accomplish on the one hand, or on how much of a “burden” he or she may be on the other. The value of human life is based in God’s love. When we come into agreement with God’s love, we will understand the value of all human life, regardless of disability or any other category we wish to consider. The church must continue to insist that human life has value that is independent of an individual’s ability and power. We must resist the lure of voluntarism. We must be ever vigilant to make sure that our own values are not simply the values of the wider culture with Christian window dressing.

Picking Up Our Game

Particularly among Protestants, this means that we need to pick up our game. We need to take more seriously the theological teaching office of the church, and to help our congregants understand why each human life matters. The people in our churches don’t simply need to know that one human life matters as much as any other; they also need to know why this is the case. If we do not intentionally shape them intellectually and ethically, someone else will.

In her Post article, Ruth Marcus provides us with a moment of exquisite irony when she describes legal efforts to prevent eugenic selection against people with Down syndrome with this comparison: “In an argument worthy of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. . . .” Marcus evokes the specter of a fictitious dystopia for women when she herself is contributing to a real-life dystopia for people with Down syndrome.

Indeed, as I watch Sean make movies on his iPad, I worry about the future. I worry about his future, not because of his level of ability, but because of the voices of those who will say that his life matters less than others’. I pray that the Body of Christ will stand up for him, and those like him, in a world that sees them as burdens rather than gifts.

David F. Watson serves as Academic Dean and Professor of New Testament at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. His most recent book is Scripture and the Life of God: Why the Bible Matters Today More Than Ever (Seedbed, 2017), and he blogs at http://www.davidfwatson.me. David and his wife, Harriet, have two children, Luke and Sean.

 

http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=32-01-016-v

Democracy Man Wins Supreme Court Seat in Wisconsin!

Major Upset: Conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidate Shocks Liberals With Surprise Victory

by Guy Benson  at  Townhall:

It was a statewide race that only the nerdiest of political nerds were following at the national level, but suffice it to say that we’d be hearing a lot about it if the expected outcome had come to pass.  By way of background, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has been decidedly conservative for years, but when a liberal justice won a resounding 12-point victory last fall (Badger State voters choose Supreme Court members in nominally “non-partisan” elections), the Left immediately set it sights on the 2019 contest.  If a left-leaning candidate had defeated another right-leaning jurist — as was widely anticipated by political experts — liberals believed they’d have a very real shot at wresting ideological control of the state’s high court in 2020.  But a funny thing happened on the way to that liberal judicial renaissance.  Voters intervened:

Molly Beck

@MollyBeck

Brian Hagedorn declares victory in tight Wisconsin Supreme Court race that has both campaigns bracing for a recount https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2019/04/02/wisconsin-supreme-court-judge-election-lisa-neubauer-vs-brian-hagedorn/3345051002/  via ⁦@patrickdmarley⁩ and me

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates locked in tight battle with both campaigns bracing for a recount

Judge Brian Hagedorn held a narrow lead Tuesday in the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court, according to unofficial tallies

Appeals Judge Brian Hagedorn held a narrow lead early Wednesday in the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court, according to unofficial tallies that were so close both sides were bracing for a recount.  In an early morning tweet and statement to supporters, Hagedorn claimed victory. “The people of Wisconsin have spoken and our margin of victory is insurmountable,”the statement read…Hagedorn led fellow Appeals Judge Lisa Neubauer 50.2% to 49.8% with nearly all of Tuesday’s votes unofficially counted — at a margin that allows a recount.  A win by Hagedorn would defy the predictions of prominent groups that typically back conservative judicial candidates but counted him out and wouldn’t spend on his behalf during the race.

Hagedorn, the conservative, was seen as such a long-shot underdog that some deep-pocketed conservative groups decided not to spend money in the race, resulting in a large disparity that favored the left-wing message machine. But a concerted push by grassroots activists, and an eleventh-hour blitz by former Governor Scott Walker, helped secure what appears to be a major upset.  Conservative groups closed the race with an ad reminding voters of the Kavanaugh fight, while liberal organizations (like Eric Holder’s) tried to tie their opponent to President Trump.  Also, you night think that Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss would’ve helped Democrats internalize the lesson that, contra their own talking points and hilarious posturing, money does not necessarily “buy” elections. This outcome should reinforce that reality: