Or at least pauses, as a “lesbian” who wanted a man’s haircut from a Muslim barber who is isn’t supposed to even touch women other than his wife heads toward Canada’s Human Rights Tribunal. Isn’t there a “gay” barber around who can do the job? Story here at Toronto Sun. The new regulations that will need to be written for the 58 genders of Facebook and discrimination policies will rival the IRS tax code in complexity. “You have to have your lawyer present” won’t be a joke.
Just up the road from us lies Trinity International University (Deerfield, IL), which has just named today outgoing President of Union University David S. Dockery as its new President, effective June 1. We congratulate Dr. Dockery and look forward to his ministry at TIU, wishing him and his family the Lord’s blessing and guidance in the days ahead. Here is the PRESS RELEASE from TIU.
Meet a Syrian Christian Delegation, Jan. 27, DC.
As readers know, Christian in the Middle East are under fire, and perhaps in no place more than Syria at this time. Syrian Christians will be on hand to speak at the Heritage Foundation this coming Monday, Jan. 27, in Washington, DC. I wish I could be there.
If you need to be inspired and reminded that it is important to bear witness against lies despite the cost, here at the Daily Mail is a recent article about Hans and Sophie Scholl, who were both executed by the Nazis for distributing leaflets critical of Hitler’s regime. It quotes their sister, Elisabeth, who is 93. (HT: Alex Schadenberg.)
The mindset of tyranny should not be beyond us. If we say, “It can’t happen here,” we forget the power of sin and desire to deceive the human heart, which is desperately wicked above all things. How could Dachau, Rwanda, Jim Crow, Anti-Semitism, witch-hunts ever occur? Here is the creeping spirit of it in the flesh. Just a small example. The New Intolerance.
I know, I know, lots of commentary on Duck Dynasty, but something worth reading here at Patheos, part One of Two. Part Two will be posted there tomorrow.
And for good measure, and quite complementary to the above, I am posting this second piece on the underlying issue.
‘I Stand With Phil’: Religions Old and New
Stephen Richard Turley, Ph.D.
Fans of the A&E television show, Duck Dynasty, were dealt a blow. After making rather disparaging remarks toward homosexual behavior, the patriarch of the show, Phil Robertson, was suspended by the network, which affirmed their support for the ‘LGBT community.’ In response to the suspension, cyberspace lit up with a firestorm of online petitions inviting supporters to ‘stand with Phil Robertson.’
The current debate, however, betrays the complexity surrounding the emergence of gender communities and so-called ‘same-sex marriage,’ precisely because such an emergence draws into itself several points of reference, such as theology, cosmology, gender, sexuality, love, society, history, politics, and law. It would thus seem that a mature and insightful conversation would seek to disambiguate the historical and cultural contingencies in which this controversy is situated.
I am, however, under no illusions that such a conversation will or even can take place. This is because the issue surrounding the fallout over the Robertson interview is not ultimately one of free speech, intolerance, or bigotry; rather, it involves the clash between two fundamentally different embodiments of religious fidelity.
If a century of cultural anthropological research has taught us anything, it is that ‘religion’ is not merely a private or personal set of values or beliefs in gods or spirit beings. Rather, anthropologists see religion as constituting the rules, understandings, and goals that govern any social order. All social orders operate according to communally shared presuppositions that are considered absolutely true and unquestionable and thereby provide the foundation for a collective sense of the common good. If I get pulled over by a police officer for speeding and I voice my displeasure at that law, he may say, “That’s all fine and dandy, but you still broke it.” In this case, the law is absolute, it is unquestionable; I don’t define it, it defines me. I may want to have the law changed, but if I do, then there is a procedure to do so that is itself absolute and unquestionable. There is no social order that can operate without basic rules, understandings, and goals that define the common good for society in ways that are considered absolute and unquestionable.
What this means then is that there is simply no such thing as a social order that is organized and governed apart from religion. All social orders are by definition religious; all social orders are organized and governed according to some vision of the sacred: rules, understandings, and goals considered absolute and unquestionable. It is therefore not a question of whether our society is going to be organized by a religion, but rather which religion is going to organize our society. (more…)
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W. Bradford Wilcox wrote recently at National Review about the link between school shootings and sons of divorce or fatherless homes. Of course, fatherlessness is rampant in the ranks of one group where most shootings in America today occur: urban gang members. I remember a chaplain who served in a few Texas prisons telling me that he always asked new groups of men to whom he spoke how many of them had grown up in a home with their biological fathers. He didn’t recall even one ever saying “yes” to that question.
Of interest, also, is an article and interview at Dappled Things, “Restoring Faith in Fiction: A Visit with Walker Percy and Paul Elie,” by Joseph O’Brien, who is editor of Tuscany Press, as well as an award-winning journalist and a poet. O’Brien lives with his wife and nine children on a homestead in the Driftless region of rural southwest Wisconsin. He is the staff writer for The Catholic Times of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Two excerpts:
Walker Percy: “The self becomes itself,” Percy writes, “by recognizing God as a spirit, creator of the Cosmos and therefore of one’s self as a creature, a wounded creature but a creature nonetheless, who shares with a community of like creatures the belief that God, who transcends the entire Cosmos and has actually entered human history—or will enter it—in order to redeem man from the catastrophe which has overtaken his self.”
DT: In your article, you admit that there are rare exceptions of fiction being written today with faith integral to the story. But why do you feel you have to qualify even these works?
Paul Elie: I feel I can’t find them and if I do find them characteristically they’re set in the past. Gilead(2004) [by Marilynne Robinson], for instance, is a wonderful book, but as I say in the essay, it’s a book that’s the exception that proves the rule in that it’s set in 1950s and the man who’s telling the story is already old. The plausibility of his account has to do with the fact that at some level it’s quite believable there were pastors who were thoughtful readers of the classics in 1955.