Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fatal Union Games?

Those of us in Illinois remember the blizzards of the late 70s — one of which cost the late Chicago mayor Michael Bilandic his job. Now we have a similar contretemps brewing in New York City in the wake of the weekend blizzard that crippled transit.

Enter this little story from the New York Post, claiming that the city union bosses ordered a slowdown to protest budget cuts. People are mad enough at Michael Bloomberg, but if this story actually checks out, their rage could well be re-directed and rightly so.

Mayor Bloomberg was high-handed enough in his dismissal of the complaints, and he deserves a bit of a slap-down for his attitude. But this alleged action by the unions contributed to fatal consequences for several people. If proven, someone should cool their heels in jail for a while.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Obama's Faith

There has certainly been no shortage of commentaries and articles -- both print and broadcast -- on the religious faith of President Barack Obama. The latest examination comes from Politico, and they're discussing how Obama is increasingly talking about his faith on the stump.

I find that interesting on several levels, but I'll comment on one -- namely, I have found that liberal Democratic politicians who dare speak publicly about Scripture usually muff it pretty badly. Remember the howler of a misquote that Bill Clinton gave at a Democratic convention? "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what we can build together . . . "

What? Ahem! Cough, cough. I think the verse actually reads . . . but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him. That's in I Corinthians 2:9, if you're interested.

Bill Clinton loved to carry that huge Bible. It would have been nice if he had actually read it, not to mention taking to heart how seriously the Lord takes it when His Word is misquoted or mishandled.

The linked Politico article talks about President Obama often referencing as a "mantra" the biblical phrase, "I am my brother's keeper." He uses it to justify the ever-expanding government reach into peoples' lives, businesses and the economy. But just where did that little phrase come from, you might ask. Let's see. I believe . . . ah, yes! It comes out of Genesis, and the one who says it is none other than Cain, son of Adam and the world's first murderer . . .

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is too great to bear! Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” So the LORD said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him. Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden (Genesis 4:9-16).

As you can see from the context (a wondrous thing that is -- context), the oft-quoted phrase from Obama has nothing to do whatsoever with expansion of government, even to do good things. It's a smart-aleck response from a guilty man trying to pass off just snuffing his brother.

I wish these politicians would actually read Scripture. They just might learn something. They might even get saved.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A False Prophet Strikes Again

For my first post after Christmas, why not something to raise our blood pressure? It looks like Harold Camping is at it again. Specifically, Harold is once again date-setting for the return of Christ, despite the clear teaching of Scripture that no one will know the date or the hour.

Harold muffed the date back in the 1990s. Edgar Whisenant muffed it back in the 80s. Edgar did the same thing Harold did this time. Edgar predicted in a book "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988." The day came and went, and Edgar said his mathematics was off a year. Well, 1989 came and went too. Edgar justly lost any credibility and faded away into the woodwork.

Unfortunately, Harold has a broadcast network and people still send him money.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Christmas Week Addendum

As a supplement to yesterday's post, it would be good to peruse this USA Today article about how the Christian aspect of Christmas is steadily losing out in American society.

Ironic, because there wouldn't even BE a Christmas without the Lord Jesus Christ. And while I find the story very saddening, it also should serve as a motivator for churches (and individual believers) to do what the church is supposed to do, and that is to proclaim the truth — also known as the Gospel.

The long and short of it is that we need to take back our holiday, and stop apologizing for it. We are WAY too concerned over whether or not someone is offended. I find the anti-Christian spirit highly offensive, and I'm not the slightest bit worried over whether someone is bothered by it. They can just go rub their mad place.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

No doubt you have noticed the dearth of posts for the past month, and before that, my increasingly sporadic attempts at maintaining this blog. I don't like neglecting The Seventh Sola, but the past few months have been challenging in both my work and family circumstances. Beginning with my late stepfather's illness starting this past spring and subsequent passing in October, I've been absorbed quite a bit at home caring for my mother, which demands a lot of attention. The office is busy also, with changes in personnel requiring me to pick up additional duties.

I am hopeful things will settle down a bit after the first of the year, and that I can get back to being a more regular contributor to blogdom. I am going to take a bit of a Christmas-week hiatus, and plan on being back with a post the following week -- definitely before the first of the year.

In the meantime, let me wish you and yours a most blessed and wonderful Christmas. May we always remember the true meaning of the season -- beginning in that humble Bethlehem manger 2,000 years ago . . .

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them
(Luke 2:1-20).

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nuking in the News?

Yesterday in USA Today. I saw a story on surviving a nuclear attack -- I guess some new consideration of that question is afoot. I looked on their website this morning and couldn't see it, and didn't feel like slogging through a bunch of clicks. So instead, I googled and found this story from the New American on the same thing. I guess the "newspaper of record," the New York Times, originally published on the topic December 15.

Yes, you can still find old fallout shelter signs in some cities, but I suspect most Americans have forgotten about those. Interesting to me that now we have a spate of stories on surviving a nuclear attack.

Kind of makes you wonder if they're trying to prepare us for something coming, doesn't it? That's a nice thought for a very merry Christmas, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chavez: Dictator for Life?

I never cease to be amazed that someone like Hugo Chavez can get elected to the position of dog-catcher, much less the presidency of a country. I'll bypass for now the wisecrack I could make about my own nation.

Anyway, the Associated Press posted this little story about Chavez wanting the authority to rule by decree for a year. I guess this will be the fourth time he's done it. The Venezuelan opposition seems powerless to do anything about it.

Let's have some fun. Suppose our own Mr. Obama takes a notion to ask Congress for authority to rule by decree for a year? Aside from the obvious constitutional issues, would he get away with it? I used to think, "no way." Now, I'm not so sure.

Look at the rioting across Europe because people are suddenly realizing that womb-to-the-tomb social programs cost a lot of money, and eventually the government runs out of other people's money. What would happen here in the U.S. should the government checks suddenly dry up?

I'm sure it wouldn't be pretty. And I'm sure some in the government would love the opportunity.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Obamacare and the Court

The news is all a-chatter tonight (as I write this) about a federal judge striking down the mandate portion of Obama/Pelosi/Reid's health care law as unconstitutional. Please allow me to join in some of the chatter and a bit of prognostication.

The first thing I found interesting about today's coverage is that the AP and other media breathlessly reported that it was a Bush-appointed federal judge that struck the law down. In passing, they casually mentioned that two other judges had ruled to uphold the law. Wouldn't it have been more fair and balanced if they had mentioned the party affiliation of the president who appointed those judges? Can I guess that it probably was a Democratic president? Just asking.

Next, a couple of things to watch. The governors, state attorneys general and others are planning on asking the Justice Department's concurrence in bypassing the appeals courts and taking this directly to the Supreme Court to get it settled. It is possible that the Obama Administration might try and run out the clock on this one, dragging it out as long as possible in hopes of being able to appoint more justices to the court. That is, assuming one or more of the conservative justices either retires or dies. Barring that scenario, if it does actually get to the Supreme Court, it is no guarantee that the law will be found unconstitutional there, despite a 5-4 split between conservative vs. liberal justices. Justice Anthony Kennedy has largely taken Sandra Day O'Connor's place as the "swing" justice. He could go either way on this one.

I would like to see more federal courts tell the executive branch and the legislative branch they have gone too far in ignoring the Constitution and usurping states' rights. I'd love to see the Supreme Court do that in this case.

I won't hold my breath.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stirring the Pot With God's Word

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by Philip Mauro
Attorney at Law

Here is one book among countless millions which is singled out for relentless hatred, and that fact alone is sufficient to provoke astonishment and invite the closest scrutiny to ascertain the explanation of the unique phenomenon. What characteristic is it that distinguishes this Book from all other books in so strange a fashion? Has its influence upon men been corrupting or otherwise evil? Does it teach doctrines dangerous to individuals or communities? Does it promote disorder, vice or crime?

On the contrary, it will not be questioned that its influence, wherever it has gone, has been beneficial beyond that of all other books combined, and that the most fruitful human lives are those which have been moulded by its teachings. One explanation alone will account for the astounding fact that such a Book should be the only one now or ever in existence to provoke active and persistent animosity among men who refuse to acknowledge it as from God; namely, that it declares man to be a fallen creature, and his whole career to be the mere outworking of his corrupt nature in the path of disobedience; and that it predicts in plain language what the end of that path will be for all who do not accept God's method of deliverance out of it through Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Hey, Bud! Got a Nickel?

Thanks to James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal for reminding me of this in his column today. I've seen this fact referenced many times by various talking heads and meant to call attention to it, but I kept forgetting.

Anyway, we are hearing an increasing number of liberal-friendly wealthy people cheering the idea of a tax increase by saying that they'd LOVE to pay more taxes. That's fine. Go ahead. But I'll thank you to write the check yourself and leave me out of your coerced charity.

The federal government would be happy to receive the heartfelt gifts of liberal millionaires and billionaires who think the government doesn't have enough money. Here's where you can send your generous contribution . . .

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
Hyattsville, MD 20782

My word to the rest of you -- don't hold your breath waiting for them to do it. I've found many of them have a hard time putting their money where their mouths are.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Evolution in the Pulpit

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by "An Occupant of the Pew"

If, as some assert, the clergymen who accepted the evolutionary theory were driven to it by fear of ridicule, or of not being thought abreast of "the trend of modern thought," it was not only cowardly on their part, but grossly inconsistent with their Christian profession. For even a partial investigation of the subject must have made clear to them that evolutionism and Christianity are, essentially, intensely antagonistic.

The pulpit efforts of some ministers at reconciling them would be laughable from a logical standpoint were the issues involved not so serious and the effects upon some of their unthinking hearers not so deplorable. Certainly, scholarship can no longer be pleaded as an excuse for clinging to Darwinism; and, in the interest of common honesty, these men ought to either drop their materialism or leave the Christian pulpit.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

When Sodom Reigns

As the so-called "lame duck" session of Congress proceeds, one of the things the rabid "progressives" are pushing is repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on open homosexuals serving in the military.

In this column, Dave Welch examines the long term implications of American society's sexual permissiveness.

Worth reading and pondering.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Not Ashamed of the Gospel

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury in England, is helping to publicize "Not Ashamed Day" in response to what UK Christians believe are growing attacks on their faith.

Here is a BBC web article about the campaign. I am glad to see this, and personally think we could do with a bit of it here in the United States before we get to the state of affairs believers are experiencing in England. A notable clip from the article:

In recent years, Lord Carey said Christians had been penalised for activities such as wearing crosses and offering to pray for other people.

"Christianity is a public religion, always has been and always will be," he said as he launched the campaign outside the House of Lords. What we believe in is of paramount importance to our nation and were we to lose it, then I have no idea what will happen to the Christian faith in this country."

The former archbishop unveiled a leaflet warning that Britain's Christian culture was "under attack".

I was watching a video today put out for the 60th anniversary of Slavic Gospel Association's UK branch. In it, almost as an aside, one of the individuals being interviewed from the UK office was harkening back to what Christian ministry was like during the communist years in the Warsaw Pact nations, comparing it to the freedom believers had in the UK. Then he added, "back then, at least." It was a quiet acknowledgement of how the tide has turned against Christian expression in England, and Western Europe in general.

It's a warning we'd do well to heed.