25 February 2015
Uncommon Commentary #447: Don’t Snow on Our (“Victory”) Parade (Alternate Title: They've Also Established a Record Low for Ethical Standards)
Bostonians are probably wondering what they’ve done to deserve all these winter storms and record-low temperatures, but the answer is obvious: They cheated in football!
21 February 2015
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore recently made an appearance on CNN, concerning his defiance of a federal judge’s order to flout the State constitution by granting marriage licenses to homosexuals. He said “… our rights contained in the Bill of Rights do not come from the Constitution; they come from God.” Anchorman Chris Cuomo replied: “Our laws do not come from God, Your Honor, and you know that; they come from man.” (At least he didn't say "humans". See UC #1.) The anchorman said “laws” whereas the Chief Justice had used the word “rights”, but it seems probable that Cuomo, who is likely a leftist regardless of whether he’s related to the odious gubernatorial dynasty that shares his name, is proceeding from the left-wing conceit that what we have is owed to secular government rather than to the deity from Whom, as Romans 13:1 tells us, all secular authority comes. If so, he’s wrong; unhappily, though, so is Moore.
Innate rights come from God—It was reportedly the Roman Catholic Church that came up with the idea that we are born with rights as unique creations of God, although, as I explain below, the concept of “human rights” is greatly abused in our time—but, remember: Moore said that “… our rights contained in the Bill of Rights … come from God.” Let’s look at the Bill of Rights, which is a name for the first ten articles of, or amendments to, the US Constitution. The very first one ordains that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion; we therefore have a constitutional right, which, according to Moore, comes from God, to worship a deity of, e.g., Hinduism. In the First Commandment, however, God tells us not to worship any god but Him. Does Moore hold that He gives us a right to disregard His commandment?
The idea that God gave us the privileges that we enshrine in our constitutions as “rights” is not only presumptuous; it has also had a harmful effect. If one sets a precedent by claiming a divine justification for what cannot be inferred from Christian sources (viz., the New Testament, writings of Church Fathers, canons of Church councils, the magisterium, and perhaps post-biblical revelation) or from any other religion, what is to prevent someone else from simply inventing human “rights”? The United Nations has actually declared gun control (not gun ownership) to be a human right; many of my countrymen think that they have a natural right to wed someone of the same sex, which is the very reason why Chief Justice Moore was on CNN.The founders of the USA remind me of the Pharisees whom Christ criticized for passing off human innovations as if those innovations were of divine origin. Why not just reserve the enumeration of rights to the Church, which is responsible for the concept?
14 February 2015
One often hears people say such things as “I like this one, but I love that one”; “love”, however, is not the superlative of “like”. To like somebody merely means to get along with him, to enjoy his company; to love somebody is to care about that person, and so it’s quite possible to like someone without loving him and to love him without liking him. The importance of this distinction is more than academic. Another thing that one will hear people say, as a way of justifying themselves to those who try to save them from the consequences of their sins, is “God loves me just the way I am”. He does love you just the way you are, but that doesn’t mean that He approves of what you are. Being Christian doesn’t mean that you have to like people, but it means that you have to love them.
07 February 2015
Again saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, Emperor Nerobama seized the opportunity of the National Prayer Breakfast to liken our Christian forebears to the homicidal maniacs of the Islamic State. He said, in part:
… unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place -- remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ …. So [sic], it is not unique to one group or one religion; there is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.In addition to being inapt, this latest apology for militant Muslims is historically inaccurate. You can learn the truth about the Crusades here. I can’t link you to any similar resource regarding the likewise-maligned Inquisition, but I know that scholars have written books which prove that the negative modern view of it is almost entirely a product of disingenuous Protestant propaganda; if you try, you can find such a work without any help from me, although you probably won’t find any that have the nifty title of this u.c.
02 February 2015
The following sentence appears on page 563 of Sidney Harcave’s Russia: A History: “In November, 1920, it [Soviet Russia] legalized the performance of abortions, at the same time denouncing abortion as an evil which would in time be eradicated.” Half a century later, proponents of legally induced abortion here in the USA would likewise present fœticide as a necessary evil, whereas now they behave as if it were a violation of their rights merely to have to defend their position on this issue. I don’t know if pro-choicers ever view the Doman Domain, but, if you who are reading this u.c. are among their number: How do you feel to learn that even the Bolsheviks, who massacred the Romanovs and who created the Red Terror, had a higher regard for the most vulnerable human lives than you do?