Month Archives: November 2012

Is Capitalism Over?

by Krystle Gabele

November 14, 2012

Recently, Values and Capitalism, a project of the American Enterprise Institute, has published a blog post about how Christian hipsters are declaring the demise of capitalism.  First, I know what many of you are thinking…what exactly is a Christian hipster and how is capitalism over?

A Christian hipster, according to Brett McCracken, author of “Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide,” is a young evangelical who strays from the typical stereotypes of the evangelicals of the 80s and 90s and prefers the progressive viewpoints, as well as intellectual Christianity.  While most evangelicals prefer to help Republicans, the Christian hipster prefers Barack Obama. 

Now that we have this lined out, it should not surprise you that a Christian hipster would consider capitalism over. 

Young Protestants today seem to be rebelling against the traditional Protestant work ethic because they associate it with a greedy, selfish, superficial version of the American Dream. Evangelical hipster culture implies that Christians should oppose capitalism and adopt pro-regulation, pro-environmentalism, pro-universal health care political positions to truly live a Christ-like life.

There is something wrong here. I am pretty certain that many Christian hipsters work hard. If they don’t work hard, it becomes impossible to survive. In fact, if they would look at things, they would realize that they promote capitalism more than they think. Take for example, increased government regulations would squash freedom and innovation. This is surely something they might be against.

They do not realize though capitalism is all around them. After all, many of the products they use, whether it be Apple products or Starbucks coffee, received their start due to a capitalist society. It was the free market and innovation that brought many of the modern conveniences they rely upon to light.

So, is capitalism over? No. I have a feeling we will see a reversal from the Christian hipsters soon enough.

Does Contraception Reduce Abortion?

by Family Research Council

November 13, 2012

Libby Anne, of Love, Joy, Feminism, recently blogged about “How [She] Lost Faith in the ‘Pro-Life’ Movement.” Marc Barnes addresses Libby Anne’s statements in a three-part blog post series. I won’t speak to his first two posts, but the third, entitled “Does Contraception Reduce the Abortion Rate? (Rebuttal Part 3),” addresses the oft-repeated argument that if pro-lifers are unhappy about the number of abortions taking place in the United States, we should make sure condoms show up as an item on adolescents’ school supply lists and not complain about the HHS mandate that insurance plans cover contraception without copay.

Mr. Barnes covers a variety of arguments, including the apples-to-oranges nature of comparisons of Eastern and Western Europe’s contraception use/abortion rates, but here’s one reason he argues contraception may not actually reduce abortion:

As Guttmacher researcher Stanley Henshaw noted in his review Unintended Pregnancy in the United States, contraceptive users appear to have been more motivated to prevent births than were nonusers. The CDC has consistently reported that the majority of abortions are performed on women who were using contraception at the time of their last menstrual cycle, that is, at the time they conceived. If contraceptive users are more motivated to have abortions than non-contraceptive users, then it is not ridiculous to posit that the increased use of contraception in the USA was a major factor in the simultaneous increase in abortions…The use of contraception is the attempt to have sex while avoiding having children. To conceive a child despite using contraception means that that attempt has failed. If the attempt fails, then that newly created human life naturally represents a failure. The contraceptive mentality a mentality I believe can exist whether or not one uses specifically uses contraceptive devices while having sex carries over into pregnancy. If I want to avoid a child while having sex, chances are I will want to avoid a child when my partner becomes pregnant.

The author goes on to state that, of course, not all couples who use any form of contraception will go on to abort their child, should they conceive. I would argue this is particularly true among Evangelical Christians, many of whom have not been advised by their clergy to eschew contraception but most of whom oppose abortion. Regardless, Mr. Barness point stands: It may be that members of a society lulled into a false sense of security about its ability to have sex without consequences are more likely to abort than those not using contraception at all.

To Protect AND Serve: Why the Pro-Life Movement Needs Both

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 13, 2012

In a compelling op-ed in Her.meneutics, Thea Ramirez writes of the need for Christians not only to be against abortion but for adoption. “Are we really for life if unwilling to help bring unwanted pregnancies to term for women who do not want to parent?,” she asks. “Could we make Roe v. Wade obsolete by raising adoption awareness? I think so.”

Thea is living-out her convictions. Last year, she founded Adoption-Share, “an independent and highly complex website meant to connect and link together all qualified parties involved in the process: birth parents, adoptive parents, and licensed private adoption entities, such as agencies and attorneys. The site functions much the same as Facebook, but is restricted to those interested in adopting.”

As an adoptive father, there is much Thea says with which I, and most adoptive parents, resonate. The world is full of orphans, and in the United States the need remains great, especially for non-infant children who deserve a loving home. There is also no question about her loyalty to the sanctity of life movement. I find myself a bit troubled, though, by this line she writes of pro-lifers: “we are not much better (than “pro-choice” advocates) when we are only focused on being against abortion.”

The issue for me is that after 25 years in the pro-life movement, I don’t know anyone who is “only focused on being against abortion.” The fact that there are 2,300 pregnancy care centers now operating in our country, and that Evangelical Protestant and Catholic adoption services now exist within reach of the vast majority of American women, shows that professing Christians are working to put their faith into active practice.

Can believers do more for children needing homes, here in the U.S.and abroad? Yes, resoundingly. Some friends of my wifes and mine have a bumper sticker on their car: Empty nester? Adopt a child! They did this in adopting their sweet little girl from Russia when their sons were in their late teens. Now, with both of their boys out of the house and on their own, their little one one of my own daughters best friends is bringing new life and joy into their home.

With that said, it is an overstatement to suggest that Roe would become obsolete if only women were more aware of adoption as a realistic option. Human nature being what it is, abortion will never be safe, legal and rare. We are fallen creatures, and when an avenue for ready escape from difficulty is provided to us, often we will take it, refusing to think about the consequences of our decision as long as the immediate stress is removed.

This tendency is not a gender phenomenon; rather, it is inherent in every member of Adams race. And it is why, without the constraints of law, abortion will remain a common option even if adoptions accelerate dramatically.

We need a both/and approach to advancing the sanctity of life: Working to protect the unborn through legislative and judicial action, and also enabling women in crisis situations to pursue adoption as the means by which to give themselves, and their unborn children, hope and a future.

Welcoming Dmitry

by Robert Morrison

November 13, 2012

My wife and I rolled into the Exxon Mobil station to fill up our tank. Gas was cheap. (At $3.17 a gallon, that at least passes for cheap under this administration.) I stood in line to pre-pay. The kid behind the counter had a name tag: Dmitry. I heard him speaking to the person in front of me with a heavy Slavic accent.

When I came up to the counter, he asked which pump. Nomyer Shest, I said with a straight face. Number Six. Dmitry wasas the Brits would saygobsmacked. He didnt expect to see anyone in the area speaking Russian to him. I was startled, too, since I didnt expect to find any Russians in that neighborhood.

We quickly broke into razgavorconversation. Dmitry seemed genuinely excited to meet someone to whom he could speak his mother tongue. I was truly excited to realize that the language I learned in the Coast Guardeons agocame back to me so readily. (And without the obligatory shot of that clear white liquid that seems to be so essential to any conversation in Russian.)

It was two days after the 2012 presidential election. The state we were traveling through had gone for President Obama. Demographics are changing was the mantra of the election night broadcasts. They sure are, Id say, if you can hear Russian being spoken in that remote area.

Last summer, on our way to the beach, we stopped at a McDonald’s just over the Delaware line. A clutch of Russians were there, happily burbling away in their language. Surrounded as I was by family, all eager to press on, I didnt try any shutkas (jokes) with the Big Mac crowd.

What are they doing in Delaware? All over America, immigration is changing our country. We need to know more about the people who are coming here. Many of us see them in church. Many of the immigrants come to America, yearning to breathe free, and eager to find a sense of community here.

In Maryland, where we live, you can hardly pass a church without seeing either Spanish-language signs for servicesoften Pentecostal servicesin mainline churches. Korean language signs are up, too, although many of these congregations have churches of their own.

In 1800, New Yorker Aaron Burr scurried around Manhattan gathering the votes of Germans, Dutch, Scots-Irish, French Huguenot and Irish immigrants. Burr was not interested in political philosophy so much as in winning elections.

Thats why youll probably never see the collected writings of Aaron Burr. Things written remain, he said, as a caution. (Ill bet Gen. Petraeus wishes he had observed that warning.)

Still, Aaron Burrs actions in New York City tipped the Empire State for the Jefferson-Burr ticket that year. New Yorks 12 Electoral Votes carried the election for the Jeffersonian Republicans.

The Federalists had passed the Alien & Sedition Acts in 1798. They viewed the immigrants with suspicion. They fretted over the demographics. They feared they would never win another election. They never did.

I must admit Im rather tickled at the idea I will get to speak Russianand not have to go to Russia. There is not much in Vladimir Putins not-quite-so-evil empire to attract me.

But I welcome those like Dmitry who come here seeking liberty, seeking an opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their children. I believe we can enlist them in the pro-life, pro-family cause. I believe they will rally to the defense of religious freedom.

When Elian Gonzales, the 6-year old refugee from Cuba, was seized at gunpoint by federal agents on orders of Bill Clintons Attorney General, Janet Reno, Cuban-Americans were outraged. So was I.

Renos raiders grabbed that little boy from the arms of his loving family on Easter Sunday morning. That November, the Cuban-Americans voted overwhelmingly for George W. Bush. Florida turned out to be crucial in the 2000 elections, when Bush won by a mere 537 votes statewide.

Immigrants have many times determined presidential outcomes. Are we their friends? Shouldnt we be?

A Little Courtship: A Revelation or Reinventing the Wheel?

by Family Research Council

November 9, 2012

Tracy Clark-Flory writes for Salon:

When my recent date showed up at my door, minimalist bouquet in hand, I imagine I looked like Id seen a ghost of courtship past. He took me out to a restaurant with actual reservations, not to a taqueria or dive bar. He planned it nearly a week, not minutes, in advance. He picked me up in a cab rather than having me meet him there and, on his way over, he called instead of texting to give me a heads up.

Dont be fooled by the articles title, Who needs casual sex! (BEWARE: some crudity!) Ms. Clark-Flory is quick, in post-modern feminist fashion, to insist that hooking up and courting are two equally valid love-life options. Her point is that being romanced, for a change, is niceshe phrases her reaction to her dates cutting off the evening before hes tempted past his resolve as a revelation.

Im relieved Ms. Clark-Flory has finally enjoyed a taste of what romantic relationship ought to look like, but I find what she writes about her past experiences simultaneously disheartening and unsurprising.

As I wrote four years ago in my essay In defense of casual sex, hookups can be a legitimate way of getting to know other people, as well as ourselves. And even when they arent, who cares: Women are just as entitled to meaningless flings as men. But, yes, as Ive gotten older, casual sex has lost some of the luster of freedom. It isnt that Ive forsaken the delights of no-strings flings, but rather that Ive tired of hookup cultures dictatorial reign over modern courtship. It doesnt feel so free when it doesnt feel like an intentional choice. [emphasis added]

Clark-Flory states that hooking up often seems less about a pursuit of pleasure than an avoidance of actual intimacy. Here, I think she misses the mark. I believe that many young women hooking up are hoping that somehow men looking only for sex will somehow accidentally fall in love with them. This is how love works for the bright, quirky heroines of the romantic comedies weve been fed since our early teens. This is not how love generally works. Many young women are actually desperately seeking intimacy and love; they just dont know where to look for it, who can give it to them, or what to give (or not to give) to obtain it.

Ms. Clark-Flory closes by writing that shes conflicted: I dont believe that ones sexuality can be broken like fine china, but I do think its special…I would never advocate a return to traditional gender roles, but courtship, actual effort, is refreshing no matter the sex of the courter. I disagree completely. I believe ones ability to relate to another sexually in a healthy, whole manner can really be broken. I dont think men even want to be courted. And I dont know if true courtshipnot merely effort, but romantic interaction driven by genuine mutual interest, with no expectation of sexual intimacyis even possible for those who eventually plan to consummate their relationship before any formal commitments or vows are made. Clark-Flory may, out of desire to appear impartial, chalk her taste for courtship up to age or the sense that sex has become an imperative. Id argue that courtship just serves men and women better.

The Social Conservative Review: November 8, 2012

by Krystle Gabele

November 8, 2012

Click here to subscribe to The Social Conservative Review.

Dear Friends:

As we consider the results of this week’s election, our priorities as social conservatives remain unchanged.

We need to reconsider how we communicate our message, and demonstrate more persuasively that our ideas are both practical and compassionate, that they strengthen families more effectively than the policies of the Left. We need the intellectual rigor and moral courage necessary to engage our fellow citizens in ways they find convincing, clear, and compelling. Talking among ourselves and continually re-enforcing mutually-held ideas is insufficient in an era of profound philosophical, political, and demographic division.

But our message itself should remain unchanged, and is summarized well in these words from the Manhattan Declaration:

While the whole scope of Christian moral concern, including a special concern for the poor and vulnerable, claims our attention, we are especially troubled that in our nation today the lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are severely threatened; that the institution of marriage, already buffeted by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is in jeopardy of being redefined to accommodate fashionable ideologies; that freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized by those who would use the instruments of coercion to compel persons of faith to compromise their deepest convictions.

May we, by God’s grace, never depart from or equivocate about these bedrock beliefs. We owe our fellow image-bearers of God, and our Creator Himself, no less.


Rob Schwarzwalder

Senior Vice-President

Family Research Council

P.S. Watch FRC President Action Tony Perkins and a panel of experts discuss the meaning of Tuesday’s elections here.

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Losers Last Lines

by Robert Morrison

November 7, 2012

One of the things I had to learn some forty years ago was how to concede an election. I was totally unprepared for my loss, so I hadnt given any thought to what I would say. Suffice it to say, I didnt say it well. I soon learned that Americans dont like sore losers. Richard Nixon lost the California governorship in 1962 and told the media to take a hike. You wont have Nixon to kick around any more, he said with no little bitterness. And, as we all know, that was the end of him.

Henry Clay was the high-minded sort. After losing the White House for after his third try, he said: I had rather be right than be president. Voters agreed. They respected Clay and they came to despise the president who beat him.

Abraham Lincoln lost his second bid for the U.S. Senate from his home state of Illinois. His comment was typically touching: I feel like the little boy who stubbed his toe: Im too big to cry, but it hurts too much to laugh. Fellow Illinoisan Adlai Stevenson liked that line so much, he used it when he was defeated for president by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952. Adlai liked that Lincoln line so much that he got to use it again: When Ike beat more soundly in 1956.

The Great Commoner William Jennings Bryan ran for president three times, 1896, 1900, and 1908. He was the thunderer, the powerful orator who brought down a prairie twister of denunciation on the bankers of Wall Street. Bryan, an Evangelical and teetotaler, got a laugh when he compared himself to the drunk who got tossed from the saloon three times. Im getting the impression they dont want me in there.

In 1916, the election looked over in the East as the candidates and most other Americans went to bed. They were confident that the bearded Charles Evans Hughes had defeated President Woodrow Wilson. But late returns from California painted a different picture. One enterprising reporter telephoned the Hughes residence in New York and asked to speak to the candidate. Somewhat huffily, Hughes son replied that the President was sleeping and was not to be disturbed. Thats okay, dont wake him, said the scribbler, but when he gets up, tell him he aint president.

Ronald Reagan rarely had to concede a defeat. In 1976, he lost, narrowly, to Gerald Ford for the Republican presidential nomination. On the last night of his partys convention in Kansas City, Jerry Ford gave the best speech of his life. I was so impressed, I even considered voting for him. After that splendid performance, President Ford motioned to his defeated rival. Gov. Reagan, tanned and wearing a light colored sport coat, aw shucksed the victor and mouthed the words: No, No, Jerry, this is your night.

The president was not to be put off. He virtually ordered Reagan to come to the speakers podium. Alright, Reagan said, ambling down to the stage. Then he delivered a stirring address that left the convention delegates and millions of Americans deeply moved. On their way to the Kansas City airport, the homebound Republican delegates had to follow a single route. One enterprising conservative put up a billboard: Republicans: You nominated the wrong man! Four years later, many of those same Ford delegates corrected their error.

My favorite concession speech was from Gov. Thomas Dewey in 1948. He was stunned, the world was stunned, when President Harry Truman defeated him. Every poll showed Dewey winning over the embattled incumbent. The Chicago Tribune even went to press early with a stunning headline: Dewey Defeats Truman. Well, he didnt. (Thats not the last time the media hosed things up.)

Dewey recovered from his shock quickly however. The very dapper, dignified New Yorker described his reaction: I feel like a man who wakes up in his own casket. If Im alive, what am I doing here? If Im dead, why do I have to go to the bathroom?

But the best line of that surprising night goes to Mrs. Dewey. The governor was so confident of victory, he had bought his wife a fetching nightgown because, he said, beaming, tonight youll be sleeping with the President of the United States.

Mrs. Dewey asked her hubby: Well, Tom, is Harry coming over here or do I run over to the White House?

Congratulations Mr. President, I Will Pray for You

by Family Research Council

November 7, 2012

I am thankful that once again we had a peaceful election in America with the loser conceding defeat and the winner accepting through gracious speeches. We have the great privilege of enjoying liberty and prosperity still in America. God has been good to us and I thank Him for it. I am concerned with many things in our country but I know that I serve a God Who can solve all problems. My prayer is that more Americans will be thankful for the blessings that we have from God, even the peaceful election of a President with whom we disagree with on many issues. I will continue to pray for my President and his family and for our country that we might lead as II Timothy 2:2 says a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

An Eternal Perspective on Today’s Elections

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 6, 2012

The Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes (Daniel 4:32).

My mother used to quote this verse when political topics would come up. It was her way of reminding my family and me that God has been and remains in control of time and eternity, whatever the puny efforts of man to challenge his Lordship.

It was true in the case of Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king God humbled and then restored.

It is true today, whether President Obama is re-elected or Gov. Romney replaces him.

It is true whatever the outcome of every race, however minor or major, that occurs in our country today.

Does this absolve Christians of their duty to work hard for candidates who stand for faith, family, and freedom? Of course not. Yet in His sovereign way, the Most High is accomplishing His purposes. Let’s be encouraged by that, whatever befalls us politically.

Jesus wins in the end - I know; I’ve read the Book.

Working the Polls on Election Day

by Sherry Crater

November 6, 2012

My assignment for today is working the voting polling site at my local precinct. My county in Virginia, Prince William County, is a bellwether county for Virginia. The word to describe the activity at the voting site is intensity. One-third of the voters in my precinct have already voted by 11:00 a.m. and there is a steady and fairly heavy stream of voters that will pick up during the lunch hour and at the end of the day. Early voters waited close to 2 hours to vote and the average voting time is about 1 hour at this writing. It seems that we are witnessing what the polls have said…..a head to head race. Some voters have started to leave due to the long time in line, but there has been good opportunity to remind them of the importance of their vote and that the average precinct can be won or lost by 1-3 votes. Thankfully, that reminder has worked to help folks stay and make their vote count.

Voters seem to be on a mission too, as they arrive with their minds made up and most are determined to vote even if they arrive with several young children and are alerted that they will have a long wait. Some go back to get a stroller but return resolved to wait and vote. One man I encountered could hardly walk but he was determined to “vote against Obamacare” as he put it.

Of interest, most voters are respectful but resolved. A minor dustup occurred regarding some damaged signs of one of the candidates, but that is being resolved too. The lawyers and polling officials are respectful too, but it is all business. The serious decisions being made today are apparent to all these voters.

Heading back to the polls now and realizing how really important this poll working job is.

October 2012 «

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