Apologizing apologists

When defending Christianity and its historical record, Christian–and especially Catholic–apologists often seem very eager to point out that yes, terrible atrocities have been committed in the name of the Church. Obviously, this is true–any large institution that has been around for so long is bound to contain all the extremes of humanity–but that should be obvious to anyone who is qualified to operate a blanket. Besides, when the apologist, in the typical manner, simply waves his hand in the general direction of non-specific atrocities, his listeners will probably think of the Crusades and the Inquisition, and the urban legends about them will thus live on. There is no other creed or institution that has to self-flagellate in this way even as it defends itself (keeping in mind that “white” and “European” are not creeds), even though the record of the Church is, if anything, far better than that of any of its competitors. (When was the last time you heard a fan of the “Enlightenment” apologize for the Slaughter of the Vendée?) The enemies of the Church don’t think that, of course, but why should their misconceptions dictate what we are and aren’t allowed to say?

I probably suck as a person

And so, probably, do you. I learned this from Rebecca Searles of the Huffington Post, who recently claimed that you are entitled to call yourself a feminist if and only if your answer to the question, “Do you believe men and women should have equal rights and opportunities?” is “Yes.” Furthermore, says Ms. Searles, if you answer “No,” “you probably suck as a person.” Continue reading

“You social conservatives are so sex-obsessed!”

Only because you social liberals were sex-obsessed first. It was only because you lobbied–hard, and ultimately successfully–for the normalization and legalization of (in roughly chronological order) divorce, contraception, cohabitation, abortion, pornography, and homosexuality that we’ve then had to lobby against these things. In this way, “you social conservatives are so sex-obsessed” is the moral and political equivalent of “stop hitting yourself.”

Is It Possible to Discriminate and Still Be a Christian?

This is a guest post by regular commenter Finn McCool

This very question has been percolating in my mind for many years now. I am a middle-aged man and I have never heard a sermon preached in any church which did not at least tacitly affirm the standard liberal view; i.e. that all discrimination is sinful. You may be wondering if I have any standing that would qualify me to speak on such a delicate subject. Well, I can tell you that I am an ordained presbyter, with orders in one of the conservative “alphabet soup” Anglican groups (e.g. ACC, ACNA, APCK, REC, etc.). I have an M. A. in Theology from a conservative, evangelical seminary, and I have been employed as a Bible instructor in a small Christian high school for close to ten years. I teach the Bible for a living, and in working through the scriptures I am daily reminded that the Triune God of the Bible is far tougher than the Unitarian god in whom “we trust” as Americans.

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Who is a liberal Christian?

Someone who accepts (or claims to accept) at least some of the basic truths of Christianity, but who does not regard these truths as the most important truths in the world. In other words, a liberal Christian is someone who accepts (or claims to accept) at least some propositions that are essential to Christianity, but whose basic worldview is not Christian. The liberal Christian puts something other than Christianity first, and Christianity second—at best. Continue reading

Repost: Ten Reasons to Legalize ILA

I originally published this post on my now-defunct blog Dispatches from the North in January of 2012.

  1. To reduce the prison population and ease police workloads. As of 2008, more than 175,000 Americans were behind bars for ILA. Statistics for other countries with anti-ILA laws are similar. Anti-ILA laws thus put a tremendous strain on both prisons and law enforcement, giving them less time and fewer resources to deal with other, more important problems, such as poverty and racism.
  2. To combat discrimination. In many countries, those who have been convicted of ILA are forbidden from voting or running for political office. Furthermore, tremendous social stigma is attached to ILA, reducing practitioners’ opportunities in housing and employment, among other things. Laws against ILA are also often used to legitimize institutional racism: In the United States, a disproportionate number of people convicted of ILA are Hispanic or African-American, and again, the statistics for other countries are similar. We believe that the legalization of ILA should be complemented with anti-discrimination laws, mandatory sensitivity training for police and public servants, and the introduction of an ILA History Month aimed at making society more inclusive of ILA and its practitioners. Continue reading