ALPB Forum Online

ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: peter_speckhard on November 23, 2007, 08:13:29 PM

Title: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 23, 2007, 08:13:29 PM
A voice is heard in Ramah, laughter and great celebration,
Rachel rejoicing for the planet
And refusing to lament
That her children are dead.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=495495&in_page_id=1879
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: MMH on November 23, 2007, 08:54:03 PM
I grieved to read about the life she destroyed to save the planet.  I am reminded of the Jewish proverb that "he who saves one life saves the world."  One wonders about the negative corollary.

But as for the sterilizations, I recall  a liine used often as an undergraduate- "that's not a tragedy- that's evolution in action!"  At least these wingnuts will not be spreading their craziness on.

Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: John Dornheim on November 23, 2007, 09:10:24 PM
That some people shouldn't be parents comes as a surprise?

John Dornheim
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: LCMS87 on November 23, 2007, 09:18:04 PM
Given Toni's rationale for aborting her child and the reason all four people quoted in the article give for being sterilized, wouldn't consistency suggest that they would be doing an even "greener" thing by committing suicide?  According to their values, wouldn't that be sort of a "Greater love has no one than this . . ." kind of thing?  They couldn't help being born, of course, but not to put an end to their carbon footprint at the earliest opportunity?

Lord, have mercy.    

Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 23, 2007, 10:07:28 PM
That some people shouldn't be parents comes as a surprise?

John Dornheim
I never said I was surprised. Her actions are perfectly consistent with the worldview I constantly criticize and you constantly defend.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: MMH on November 23, 2007, 10:12:45 PM
Given Toni's rationale for aborting her child and the reason all four people quoted in the article give for being sterilized, wouldn't consistency suggest that they would be doing an even "greener" thing by committing suicide?  According to their values, wouldn't that be sort of a "Greater love has no one than this . . ." kind of thing?  They couldn't help being born, of course, but not to put an end to their carbon footprint at the earliest opportunity?

Lord, have mercy.     



Maybe we are going about this all the wrong way.  All this time, I have been anti-abortion. Maybe what we need are retroactive abortions.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 23, 2007, 10:15:43 PM
A person may validly and in good conscience choose not to bear children or father children for a lot of reasons, but "saving the planet" is a dumb one. And then to make such a silly action a "public witness" rises to a level of idiocy that hardly bears discussing. The whole thing dishonors those who seek to have children responsibly and those who care about over-population (which is not, by the way, the most serious threat the world faces.) 
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Rev. BT Ball on November 23, 2007, 10:53:12 PM
Charles, more than idiocy; it is idolatry.   
Ben Ball
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: John Dornheim on November 24, 2007, 12:00:06 AM
Charles, more than idiocy; it is idolatry.   
Ben Ball

Yes, but idiocy seems all the rage these days.
John Dornheim
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 24, 2007, 09:27:35 AM
Idolatry may put our souls in peril; idiocy puts our earth in peril. It's more dangerous.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: MMH on November 24, 2007, 09:37:11 AM
Idolatry may put our souls in peril; idiocy puts our earth in peril. It's more dangerous.

Except some itinerant 1st Century Palestinean rabbi  with an apocalyptic fixation is reputed by some to have said "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. "

But it's not like he was God or something.... ;)
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Gary Hatcher on November 24, 2007, 09:41:24 AM
Idolatry may put our souls in peril; idiocy puts our earth in peril. It's more dangerous.
Idolatry is idiocy taken to the extreme, thus it too places the earth in peril.  Witness the idolatry of Hilter, Pol Pot, Stalin or any of a hundred who in their idiocy thought they were God.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 24, 2007, 10:13:44 AM
It seems that the most casual comment gives rise to theological disputation.  ;)

So Matt writes:
Except some itinerant 1st Century Palestinean rabbi  with an apocalyptic fixation is reputed by some to have said "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. "

And I comment:
I have a way to "escape" the idolaters who would heave my soul into hell, so they do not scare me; but I am stuck on this earth with the idiots who would poison the air and water I breathe before I go somewhere else.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 24, 2007, 11:24:44 AM
It seems that the most casual comment gives rise to theological disputation.  ;)

So Matt writes:
Except some itinerant 1st Century Palestinean rabbi  with an apocalyptic fixation is reputed by some to have said "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. "

And I comment:
I have a way to "escape" the idolaters who would heave my soul into hell, so they do not scare me; but I am stuck on this earth with the idiots who would poison the air and water I breathe before I go somewhere else.
I knew it! I knew Charles was amphibious! But either way, the very same "escape" has promised that A) there will terrible times in the last days, and B) your heavenly Father will take care of you. So no need to be afraid of anything. Work for what is right and wholesome, to be sure, but don't be afraid. The reason for this thread is the increasingly mainstream eco-fanticism that views people as pollution and people-lessness as sacred.

I once did a Bible study on Christian evironmentalism and the feedback I received made clear that people were not used to defining their terms at all. For example, what is pollution? It must be something out of place or out of proportion. For example, the giant heaps of coal I see across the river are not pollution; if that much coal in one place made for pollution, the mountains that coal was mined from would have been nothing but pollution from day one. The question is whether people want to live next to a heap of coal or not, or whether they're willing to trade some amount of coal and smoke in the air (where they don't want it) in exchange for heat int he house in winter (where they do want it). Tourism boards, industry, and the local populace all might have competing but intertwining views on the usefulness of that coal pile. But to call something pollution is to say that its usefulfness to our purposes is what justifies it or not. After all, who is it that determines whether something is out of place or out of proportion? Out of place or out of proportion for what? To whose purposes? Even environmentalists tacitly acknowledge this with the arguments they make for wht we should not pollute. So it is inconsistent to then make the claim that people are pollution. 
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 24, 2007, 11:31:38 AM
Peter writes (re pollution):
the mountains that coal was mined from would have been nothing but pollution from day one.

I comment:
Peter! Thou knowest that those mountains "from day one" - if there was a "day one" - were not originally "mountains," nor were they coal.  ;D ;D
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 24, 2007, 01:15:20 PM
Idolatry is idiocy taken to the extreme, thus it too places the earth in peril.  Witness the idolatry of Hilter, Pol Pot, Stalin or any of a hundred who in their idiocy thought they were God.
I once asked a psychiatrist why psychiatrists and clergy are high on the list of people who commit suicide. His answer was along the lines of, "They often think that they are god, and they will fail." Before looking at the extreme examples, we also need to be constantly aware of our own tendencies to try and rule the universe -- even if it's just the little universe of a congregation.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Gary Hatcher on November 24, 2007, 01:45:33 PM
Idolatry is idiocy taken to the extreme, thus it too places the earth in peril.  Witness the idolatry of Hilter, Pol Pot, Stalin or any of a hundred who in their idiocy thought they were God.
I once asked a psychiatrist why psychiatrists and clergy are high on the list of people who commit suicide. His answer was along the lines of, "They often think that they are god, and they will fail." Before looking at the extreme examples, we also need to be constantly aware of our own tendencies to try and rule the universe -- even if it's just the little universe of a congregation.
Which is why humility, true Christ like humility, has been one of the chief goals of those seeking to follow the Savior.  The root sin of all humans is the desire to be like God.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 24, 2007, 01:49:12 PM
Peter writes (re pollution):
the mountains that coal was mined from would have been nothing but pollution from day one.

I comment:
Peter! Thou knowest that those mountains "from day one" - if there was a "day one" - were not originally "mountains," nor were they coal.  ;D ;D
Surely we agree that there was a day one. We probably don't agree as to roughly when it was, but sometime there had to be evening and morning, the first day. btw, did you all use the Thanksgiving OT text in which God describes the Promised Land as a place where the people can dig copper out of the hills? Does that sound like an environmentally sound sort of gift?

This is a thought experiment I've used here (I think) before. Imagine the discovery of another earth inaccessibly far out there exactly like our own in every way except that there are no people on it. Would the existence of plenty of "virgin" wilderness, say, in the arctic region of that planet free us up to explore for oil in ours? How much virgin wilderness is enough? Somehow I doubt our environmentalists would take that approach to the discovery. Why? Because we can't go to that other planet, so even though it is pristine and natural, it does us no good. But what this reveals to me is that all the practical reasons commonly given for environmental extremism are mere masks for religious zeal. And it is an anti-human religion, and it is becoming more mainstream every day.  
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 24, 2007, 03:03:34 PM
So, Peter, do we have any responsibility as the people of God - those of us who may be that, understanding that to some all are not - to care for the earth and its air and water? Or is it all a "religion" of environmental extremism that may actually be getting in the way of God, who is winding things down in Creation?
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: pr dtp on November 24, 2007, 03:35:15 PM
The Worship of Molech rises again.....

Even the worship of Ba'al and Asherah wasn't this bad...(though it too brought God's wrath, temporal and eternal) with them, you were the only one to suffer.  With this idolator, innocents are killed prior to even hearing of God's word.

As to anyone who think idiots are more dangerous than idolators, did you ever have any of those you shepherded swayed by such idolators, and thereby abandon their faith and salvation?  If you can think of them, and honestly make your statement, please leave the ministry far behind.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 24, 2007, 04:39:36 PM
So, Peter, do we have any responsibility as the people of God - those of us who may be that, understanding that to some all are not - to care for the earth and its air and water?
Of course we do. My point is that the definition of "clean" as opposed to "polluted" air hinges on us. If it is good for us to breath, it is clean. People in third world countries do not have clean water; they have naturally occuring water sources instead of processed water. Properly understood, caring for the environment can mean changing it every bit as much as leacing it alone. Perfectly natural things like radon seepage are "pollution" in our basements because even though the radon was there first, we don't want it there. My objection to environmentalists is that when they say "care for" they tend to mean "leave alone". Thus, for them, coal inside a mountain is not pollution, but coal outside a mountain is. If God gave us hills to dig copper out of, the environmentalist would insist that we leave the copper in the hills. It is as though human hands are the Midas Touch of pollution; if we drilled for oil in Alaska, the land would somehow be ruined thereby. What is that oil for? If we take oil out of a cavern, that is polluting. And if we put oil into a cavern, that would also be polluting. The only thing to do is leave everything alone and call that "care" for the environment. This is the view that leads to the idiocy of the woman in the article that started this thread, and it is far more mainstream than most environmentalists would like to admit--that people are pollution. A proper view of the relationship between Man and the environment is far more pro-development than most environmental groups would ever sign off on.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: grabau14 on November 24, 2007, 08:44:10 PM
The problem arises when we treat the creation as the Creator.  This is often the case with enviromentalism.  First the earth was going to freeze, yet it has not.  Then the earth is supposed to be ABLAZE!tm, still waiting (esp. up here in Lake Superior country)

Christians are called to be stewards of the enviroment.

It is interesting though that the man who brought "global warming" to our attention is also the same man who sells DVDs and "carbon credit" indullgences for those who are upset about flying, etc...  There was a RC church in my area that had a viewing of said DVD in their parish with its 12 known falsehoods in the DVD (so saith the British who now sell the DVD with a warning label of sorts)
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 24, 2007, 08:58:50 PM
So, Peter, do we have any responsibility as the people of God - those of us who may be that, understanding that to some all are not - to care for the earth and its air and water?
Of course we do. My point is that the definition of "clean" as opposed to "polluted" air hinges on us. If it is good for us to breath, it is clean. People in third world countries do not have clean water; they have naturally occuring water sources instead of processed water. Properly understood, caring for the environment can mean changing it every bit as much as leacing it alone. Perfectly natural things like radon seepage are "pollution" in our basements because even though the radon was there first, we don't want it there. My objection to environmentalists is that when they say "care for" they tend to mean "leave alone". Thus, for them, coal inside a mountain is not pollution, but coal outside a mountain is. If God gave us hills to dig copper out of, the environmentalist would insist that we leave the copper in the hills. It is as though human hands are the Midas Touch of pollution; if we drilled for oil in Alaska, the land would somehow be ruined thereby. What is that oil for? If we take oil out of a cavern, that is polluting. And if we put oil into a cavern, that would also be polluting. The only thing to do is leave everything alone and call that "care" for the environment. This is the view that leads to the idiocy of the woman in the article that started this thread, and it is far more mainstream than most environmentalists would like to admit--that people are pollution. A proper view of the relationship between Man and the environment is far more pro-development than most environmental groups would ever sign off on.

Peter,

As a person who agrees with you most of the time, I have to say I find your blanket portrayal of environmentalists insulting.  I have been an environmentalist most of my life.  I still am, belonging to the Audobon Society and Nature Conservancy.  Saying all environmentalists are like the woman who aborted her child is like saying all those who are Pro-Life are like Eric Rudolf.  You are trafficking in stereo-types as much as liberals do when they say that conservatives are are hungry for war. 

Don't worry, I don't think a concern for the environment will ever eclipse our desire for more.  Most communities in America will pursue unlimited growth regardless of the environmental consequences.  The future is bright!

David Charlton
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 24, 2007, 09:22:31 PM
Mystery writer P.D. James wrote and interesting novel called "Children of Men." Self indulgent adults, practicing abortion, birth controll and sterilization suddenly discover that the human race has become sterile.  It seems that God has granted modern humanity its wish.  Depression and meaninglessness ensue.  Comfort, entertainment and an easy death are the best one can wish for.  Sounds familiar.

David Charlton 
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 24, 2007, 10:29:22 PM
All that I can say in my astonishment, Peter, is that it seems to me that you do not know any environmentalists; or are guilty of the most bizarre kind of stereotyping of environmental views.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 24, 2007, 10:33:38 PM
Someone hiding under a phony name, who has been in this forum for less than one month and has blasted out only 42 postings, none of them sounding very sincere in dialog with the rest of us, says of my post upstream:

As to anyone who think idiots are more dangerous than idolators, did you ever have any of those you shepherded swayed by such idolators, and thereby abandon their faith and salvation?  If you can think of them, and honestly make your statement, please leave the ministry far behind.

To which I respond:
What a load of codswallop! I'd suggest that you have the decency to engage in some honest and serious fraternal conversation, treating the others like fellow members of the body of Christ, before you start telling us to "leave the ministry far behind".
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 24, 2007, 10:41:10 PM
So, Peter, do we have any responsibility as the people of God - those of us who may be that, understanding that to some all are not - to care for the earth and its air and water?
Of course we do. My point is that the definition of "clean" as opposed to "polluted" air hinges on us. If it is good for us to breath, it is clean. People in third world countries do not have clean water; they have naturally occuring water sources instead of processed water. Properly understood, caring for the environment can mean changing it every bit as much as leacing it alone. Perfectly natural things like radon seepage are "pollution" in our basements because even though the radon was there first, we don't want it there. My objection to environmentalists is that when they say "care for" they tend to mean "leave alone". Thus, for them, coal inside a mountain is not pollution, but coal outside a mountain is. If God gave us hills to dig copper out of, the environmentalist would insist that we leave the copper in the hills. It is as though human hands are the Midas Touch of pollution; if we drilled for oil in Alaska, the land would somehow be ruined thereby. What is that oil for? If we take oil out of a cavern, that is polluting. And if we put oil into a cavern, that would also be polluting. The only thing to do is leave everything alone and call that "care" for the environment. This is the view that leads to the idiocy of the woman in the article that started this thread, and it is far more mainstream than most environmentalists would like to admit--that people are pollution. A proper view of the relationship between Man and the environment is far more pro-development than most environmental groups would ever sign off on.

Peter,

As a person who agrees with you most of the time, I have to say I find your blanket portrayal of environmentalists insulting.  I have been an environmentalist most of my life.  I still am, belonging to the Audobon Society and Nature Conservancy.  Saying all environmentalists are like the woman who aborted her child is like saying all those who are Pro-Life are like Eric Rudolf.  You are trafficking in stereo-types as much as liberals do when they say that conservatives are are hungry for war. 

Don't worry, I don't think a concern for the environment will ever eclipse our desire for more.  Most communities in America will pursue unlimited growth regardless of the environmental consequences.  The future is bright!

David Charlton
David, I never said all environmentalists are like the woman who aborted her child. You're hearing a lot more than I'm saying. I'm saying that the view that "caring for" the environment really means "leaving it alone" is becoming more mainstream within the environmental movement, and it stems from a worldview of man's relationship to nature that I think is not Christian at all, and, followed logically, does lead to this woman's views. There is a big difference between stewardship and preservation or conservation. Certainly many environmentalists do not share this eco-religious worldview, which is why it is important for them most of all to speak out against it lest their movement be co-opted. I'm all for a "green" outlook as long as we understand that its value comes from people who prefer grass to pavement, clean air to smoky air, rivers filled with fish rather than dead rivers, etc. and not from some implied moral obligation to leave the world the exact same as we found it. There is a plce for conservation and preservation-- people like "unspoiled land. There ought to be some set aside. But not because it was holy the way it was and rearranging it would spoil it, but because most people want some set aside. But it isn't a matter of "the more set aside the better". And the issue does come up, especially regarding land management and any sort of development, be it housing, mining, logging, damming a river for energy, or whatever. My thesis is that caring for the environment and being good stewards of the land means changing it just as often as it means leaving it alone.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 24, 2007, 11:00:25 PM
Peter,

Thank you for the clarification. 

I also agree with you that preservation and development should not be pitted against each other if we want to care for the environment.  For one thing, it ain't gonna happen.  For another thing, as a critic from within the environmental movement has pointed out, only wealthy countries with free market economies have the luxury of  protecting the environment.

David Charlton
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 24, 2007, 11:02:44 PM
All that I can say in my astonishment, Peter, is that it seems to me that you do not know any environmentalists; or are guilty of the most bizarre kind of stereotyping of environmental views.
To what stereotype do you refer? You're wrong, of course. I know many environmentalists. But I'm a little insulted that you think I was talking about all of them. I never said that. But I was talking about a sizable and growing number of them, and if you don't think that is true, then you're astonishingly ignorant of the issue because you look at it through a lens that refuses to see the less than Christian philosophical underpinnings employed by these (not ALL, but some) environmentalists.

The only sterotype I can see in my post was that when they say "care for" they "tend to mean" (not everyone all the time, explicitly, but as a tendency) "leave alone", which I maintain is an accurate portrayal. Honestly, speech is not possible if that description amounts to an overly broad-brush stereotype. You have to be able to label a tendency as distinct from a blanket law, and since I clearly and explicitly did the former and not the latter, it is inappropriate of you to respond as though I did the latter. As a writer, you knew that, of course. But then, you're from out East so I should have expected as much.  
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: grabau14 on November 24, 2007, 11:57:02 PM
Peter,

I don't know about you, but I have had several students in confirmation (here in Duluth/Superior) ask me if we are destroying the earth like that DVD from the former V.P. shows?   Middle School kids watching this movie in Social Studies and science classes. They are distraught and think that we have the power to destroy creation all because of some inspiid movie. 

I am a conservationist.  I take part in being a steward of creation.  Envirmomentalism has become a "relgion" to a growing number of people.  And this "relgion" is one that sees the earth as first and humanity as  not necessary.  One only needs to look at the op-ed pieces of many of these folks to this as a relgion.  One even went so far as calling the former V.P., Noah.

It is sad and disturbing, especially when these kids have to sit and listen to this.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 25, 2007, 06:40:38 AM
The Rev. Matthew J. Uttenreither writes:
I have had several students in confirmation (here in Duluth/Superior) ask me if we are destroying the earth like that DVD from the former V.P. shows?   Middle School kids watching this movie in Social Studies and science classes. They are distraught and think that we have the power to destroy creation all because of some inspiid movie.

I comment:
The response might be: Yes, we are. Not because of some "insipid" movie, but because of greed and arrogance. (By the way, it's all right to say or write Vice President Gore's name; Satan does not sink claws into a person who does.)

Matthew J. Uttenreither continues:
Envirmomentalism has become a "relgion" (sic) to a growing number of people.

I respond:
Which does not mean that it is not a valid concern.

Matthew J. Uttenreither continues:
And this "relgion" (sic) is one that sees the earth as first and humanity as  not necessary.  One only needs to look at the op-ed pieces of many of these folks to this as a relgion.  One even went so far as calling the former V.P., Noah.

I respond:
An unfair characterization, on a par with those who say that Christians are theocrats who would pass laws legislating morality and forcing everyone to conformer to their views on every aspect of human conduct. And one could probably find an Op-Ed piece calling President Bush or Pat Robertson "savior."

MJU concludes:
It is sad and disturbing, especially when these kids have to sit and listen to this.

I respond:
I am more concerned when kids sit and listen to "American Idol," "Survivor" or any of a number of perverse, brain-draining and morality corrupting television shows or are told the myths of American history that are used to justify anything this country wants to do in the world.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Dave Benke on November 25, 2007, 08:38:06 AM
Maybe a little re-focus, even from one of those dreaded people from the East.  I have an old friend, my former dentist, who advised me against overusing anti-biotics.  Why?  I asked.  He answered, "Because they're anti-biotic.  They're against what's living.  So they're not that discriminating inside your body.  They're wiping out lots of living stuff that you'd like to stay alive, even though they're knocking off what you need killed." 

In this case, it's the opposite.  We are/I am PRO-life.  I'm in favor of that which is living.  I'm protective of it, cherishing of life.  I believe it to be the MOST biotic point of view.  Does that make me an environmentalist?  I'd say it makes me a better citizen of that which cherishes and protects the whole creation.  I too have had trouble following Peter's train of thought on this, even with the clarifications.  To me, the woman who takes the life of the child within her for environmental reasons has not only sacrificed the child to a false god, but has sacrificed falsely to the god she claims to be serving, because she has behaved anti-biotically.  And she wants to be a heroine for the pro-biotic forces.  If, as Peter thinks, she's an apostle of "leaving life alone," then the life within her would be the place to start.

I say that what I'm saying as a citizen of the United States and as a Christian.  I could also say that as a citizen of the United States who was simply environmentally conscious.  Or as a citizen of the world who was Muslim.  Although Christianity in theory or theology provides the strongest home for the Pro-Life movement, its march through actual history has been profoundly antibiotic at times.  Indeed, violent and anti-life religious activity marks all the world's religions.   The United States has the same sad distinction.  "We had to destroy the village in order to save it" is a classic antibiotic phrase.  The nations of the world are no better.

In trying to think this through, though, I'd say there's a quantitative difference in the word "utilitarian"  - I have far more utilitarian flexibility when it comes to the environment - the creation - and being PRO-life than I do when it comes to abortion and the cherishing of human life.  There the utilitarian posturing must cease in the face of the human life within. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 25, 2007, 09:28:13 AM
Maybe a little re-focus, even from one of those dreaded people from the East.

Or, perhaps, one of the wise men from the East . . .  :)
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: grabau14 on November 25, 2007, 02:28:12 PM
The Rev. Matthew J. Uttenreither writes:
I have had several students in confirmation (here in Duluth/Superior) ask me if we are destroying the earth like that DVD from the former V.P. shows?   Middle School kids watching this movie in Social Studies and science classes. They are distraught and think that we have the power to destroy creation all because of some inspiid movie.

I comment:
The response might be: Yes, we are. Not because of some "insipid" movie, but because of greed and arrogance. (By the way, it's all right to say or write Vice President Gore's name; Satan does not sink claws into a person who does.)

Matthew J. Uttenreither continues:
Envirmomentalism has become a "relgion" (sic) to a growing number of people.

I respond:
Which does not mean that it is not a valid concern.

Matthew J. Uttenreither continues:
And this "relgion" (sic) is one that sees the earth as first and humanity as  not necessary.  One only needs to look at the op-ed pieces of many of these folks to this as a relgion.  One even went so far as calling the former V.P., Noah.

I respond:
An unfair characterization, on a par with those who say that Christians are theocrats who would pass laws legislating morality and forcing everyone to conformer to their views on every aspect of human conduct. And one could probably find an Op-Ed piece calling President Bush or Pat Robertson "savior."

MJU concludes:
It is sad and disturbing, especially when these kids have to sit and listen to this.

I respond:
I am more concerned when kids sit and listen to "American Idol," "Survivor" or any of a number of perverse, brain-draining and morality corrupting television shows or are told the myths of American history that are used to justify anything this country wants to do in the world.



Charles,

The difference is that students are forced to watch a DVD with known falsehoods as a part of their studies, are told by their teacher that Al Gore is a prophet.  American Idol is not forced on the children by authority figures,  this movie is. 

I won't even comment on the remark about American History classes. 

You should pay a visit to this neck of the woods.  It may be the mid-west but we have rapid enviromentalists all over the place, in the city government.  So what you view as a unfair characterization is a reality over here.

The article that Peter cited sounds like many of the people that live around here

Creation may or may not be winding down (and if it is should we be complaining) but we have heard the "sky is falling" from many a person.  In the 70's we heard that the earth was going to freeze, the aquatic wildlife was going to die and yet here we are.  Now we have it again in the global warming religion of envirmomentalism that would rather see babies aborted than grow up and comsume the bounty of the Lord's creation in a responsible way.



Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 25, 2007, 03:00:14 PM
Maybe a little re-focus, even from one of those dreaded people from the East.  I have an old friend, my former dentist, who advised me against overusing anti-biotics.  Why?  I asked.  He answered, "Because they're anti-biotic.  They're against what's living.  So they're not that discriminating inside your body.  They're wiping out lots of living stuff that you'd like to stay alive, even though they're knocking off what you need killed." 

In this case, it's the opposite.  We are/I am PRO-life.  I'm in favor of that which is living.  I'm protective of it, cherishing of life.  I believe it to be the MOST biotic point of view.  Does that make me an environmentalist?  I'd say it makes me a better citizen of that which cherishes and protects the whole creation.  I too have had trouble following Peter's train of thought on this, even with the clarifications.  To me, the woman who takes the life of the child within her for environmental reasons has not only sacrificed the child to a false god, but has sacrificed falsely to the god she claims to be serving, because she has behaved anti-biotically.  And she wants to be a heroine for the pro-biotic forces.  If, as Peter thinks, she's an apostle of "leaving life alone," then the life within her would be the place to start.

I say that what I'm saying as a citizen of the United States and as a Christian.  I could also say that as a citizen of the United States who was simply environmentally conscious.  Or as a citizen of the world who was Muslim.  Although Christianity in theory or theology provides the strongest home for the Pro-Life movement, its march through actual history has been profoundly antibiotic at times.  Indeed, violent and anti-life religious activity marks all the world's religions.   The United States has the same sad distinction.  "We had to destroy the village in order to save it" is a classic antibiotic phrase.  The nations of the world are no better.

In trying to think this through, though, I'd say there's a quantitative difference in the word "utilitarian"  - I have far more utilitarian flexibility when it comes to the environment - the creation - and being PRO-life than I do when it comes to abortion and the cherishing of human life.  There the utilitarian posturing must cease in the face of the human life within. 

Dave Benke
Dave, I don't say she's an apostle of "leaving life alone"; she's an apostle of leaving the earth alone. Big difference, especially since her child was an enemy of the earth. Even rearranging inanimate objects, like cutting granite into counter-tops, is probably sacrilige to her because the granite was "natural" where it was in uncut form. The little life inside her was destined, as a human being, to becoming the among the chief rearrangers of creation, since he'd certainaly want a house and a car and use energy and probably shop at Wal-Mart. So the child had to be sacrificed, lest the earth suffer. And I agree with you-- she is not consistent with her own religion on this. If she were, as someone noted upstream, she would kill herself. The prince she unwittingly serves is probably working on that problem.

I think Charles hit on one of the real issues-- some people think "exploiting" the earth via industry amounts to greed and arrogance. I think they're wrong, or at least I don't think people drilling for oil or mining coal are doing it any more greedily than people in any other profession.

I think this whole discussion could use some definition of terms. What is pollution? What is natural? What does it mean to "care for" the environment?
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: grabau14 on November 25, 2007, 04:02:09 PM
Peter,

I think you are opening a can worms with that question.

Pollution:  puposely seeking to ruin creation either through laziness, greed.  Normally one finds the greatest polluters in the 2nd or 3rd world nowadays.  Accidents do not equate pollution insofar as they are not done in malice. 

NAtural:  Using the bounty that the Lord provides such as drilling for fossil fuels, proper care of the forests- for every tree a lumber company takes they plant something 3 or 4.

Care for the creation:  regulations that keep certain chemicals out of water, "Be a hoot, don't pollute'.  Also hunting falls under this catagory as to keep the population of a deer under control.

Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: jrubyaz on November 25, 2007, 05:20:54 PM

Charles, two comments:

You will be relieved to know that they don't teach myths in American history anymore. That is because most of the American history my kids are learning is selectively picked to showcase just certain parts of American history-mostly, that we are always the bad guys, for example, World War Two has two chapters on how terrrible we were to the Japanese AMerican (which we were), yet nothing on Hitler, Germany, or the Holocaust, nor anything about Pearl Harbor.

So don't worry, because no history is even being taught.

Secondly, maybe one of the reasons the ELCA is declining in membership is that instead of attempting to understand why people are engrossed in American Idol we judge them and dismiss them, as you just did. Why are they watching that? What alternatives can the Church give ? Given we think The Lutheran and Lutheran Partners is still the way to reach people, I hold little hope for what we come up with in the digital flat world age.

Jeff Ruby 




I am more concerned when kids sit and listen to "American Idol," "Survivor" or any of a number of perverse, brain-draining and morality corrupting television shows or are told the myths of American history that are used to justify anything this country wants to do in the world.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: grabau14 on November 25, 2007, 05:32:55 PM
Considering what is on t.v. American Idol is the least of our problems.  We should be more concerned with the sexuality that the kids are exposed to on MTV.  Up here, that is the filith they watch so when they tell me they watched American Idol, I am relieved.

Kids today get bombarded with a agenda that is not helpful.  Teachers spend veterns day talking about hippies and objecter to war instead of the brave soldiers, marines, etc.. who nobly serve this country and give their lives for our saftey.  They spoon feed them tihs Al Gore nonsense as well as the proper techniques for sex, yet Charles is concerned that kids watch American Idol.  Good Lord.

Charles is sounding like those people of old who complain about kids and their Rock and or Roll musci  ;).
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 25, 2007, 05:48:52 PM
Jeff writes:
You will be relieved to know that they don't teach myths in American history anymore. That is because most of the American history my kids are learning is selectively picked to showcase just certain parts of American history-mostly, that we are always the bad guys, for example, World War Two has two chapters on how terrrible we were to the Japanese AMerican (which we were), yet nothing on Hitler, Germany, or the Holocaust, nor anything about Pearl Harbor.

I comment:
Too bad you live where you do. In New Jersey, a section on the holocaust is a required part of the curriculum and every memorial day and veterans day, vets go to the schools and talk about their experiences.

Jeff writes;
Secondly, maybe one of the reasons the ELCA is declining in membership is that instead of attempting to understand why people are engrossed in American Idol we judge them and dismiss them, as you just did.

I comment:
And where did I "dismiss" those people? A media-awareness effort has always been part of my ministry, trying to get people to make consciencous and intelligent choices about media.

Jeff again:
Given we think The Lutheran and Lutheran Partners is still the way to reach people, I hold little hope for what we come up with in the digital flat world age.

Me again:
Well, Lutheran Partners isn't trying to "reach" folks outside, just the rostered people. And The Lutheran is not considered primarily an evangelism tool.
If that's all we were doing, I might agree. It isn't. And the issue is not what "the ELCA" does, but what we who deal with people in the parishes do.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: jrubyaz on November 25, 2007, 07:30:47 PM
Glad to hear that about Jersey. In California they recently passed legislation that boys who are girls in the self understanding and girls who are boys in the their self understanding can use each other's restrooms. I guess the wave starts West and will get to you eventually.

As to the Lutheran and Lutheran Partners, enough said. Declining subscriptions  tells the tale. At the time most rostered folks are computer literate, that magazine doesn't get much play amongst the clergy. I only read it for Pastor Loci, since he is retired I find it very boring. Occasionally a good article, but we need a digital age update.

Jeff Ruby


Jeff writes:
You will be relieved to know that they don't teach myths in American history anymore. That is because most of the American history my kids are learning is selectively picked to showcase just certain parts of American history-mostly, that we are always the bad guys, for example, World War Two has two chapters on how terrrible we were to the Japanese AMerican (which we were), yet nothing on Hitler, Germany, or the Holocaust, nor anything about Pearl Harbor.

I comment:
Too bad you live where you do. In New Jersey, a section on the holocaust is a required part of the curriculum and every memorial day and veterans day, vets go to the schools and talk about their experiences.

Jeff writes;
Secondly, maybe one of the reasons the ELCA is declining in membership is that instead of attempting to understand why people are engrossed in American Idol we judge them and dismiss them, as you just did.

I comment:
And where did I "dismiss" those people? A media-awareness effort has always been part of my ministry, trying to get people to make consciencous and intelligent choices about media.

Jeff again:
Given we think The Lutheran and Lutheran Partners is still the way to reach people, I hold little hope for what we come up with in the digital flat world age.

Me again:
Well, Lutheran Partners isn't trying to "reach" folks outside, just the rostered people. And The Lutheran is not considered primarily an evangelism tool.
If that's all we were doing, I might agree. It isn't. And the issue is not what "the ELCA" does, but what we who deal with people in the parishes do.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Mike Bennett on November 25, 2007, 08:37:02 PM
All that I can say in my astonishment, Peter, is that it seems to me that you do not know any environmentalists; or are guilty of the most bizarre kind of stereotyping of environmental views.

I thought Peter's description of a certain very common variety of environmentalism was spot on. That variety of environmentalism is a parody of itself, and doesn't need Peter to stereotype it.

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 25, 2007, 10:24:05 PM
Yes Mike, it was spot on about a certain kind of environmentalism.  But certainly not all.  It does not fit many, or I dare say most, environmentalists. 

Having lived in Florida most of my life, it is not rabid environmentalists who hold sway, but rabid developmentalists.  They hold that all growth is good, regardless of what it is.  Just travel US 192 west of Kissimmee, Florida if you don't believe me.  There you will find 13 miles of empty t-shirst shops, cheap motels, shopping malls, convenience stores, novelty shops.  Whenever anyone would raise and objection, the developers would label them environmental fanatics. 

If you want to talk about a "certain kind of environmentalist" then make it clear what kind you are talking about.

As to someone else's constant snide comments about Al Gore, I could just as easily make the same kind of comments about Our Supreme Leader, King George.  Usually, I try to leave my partisan political views at the door when I come on to this forum.  Boy, its a good thing a liar like Gore wasn't elected president, he might have led us to war based on false evidence!

David Charlton
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: grabau14 on November 25, 2007, 10:47:46 PM
So the argument about "global warming as told by Al Gore" is politcal.  Huh, never would have guessed.  Thanks.  As for enviromentalism, the only type I see up here in my neck of the woods is the kind that thinks humanity is a hinderance to "mother nature".  This world would be so great if it wasn't for those pesky humans.  Also, to use the public school as a indoctrination camp where they are told that their parents are bad if they drive a pick-up truck or any other vehicle, well that is wrong. 

It has also been shown that E-85 and the those vehicles who run on regular gas as well as E-85 burn up more gas than a normal vehicle.  And the energy and infastructure required for E-85 does more harm and causes more money than good.  But it does feel good to when you feel like you are protecting "mother earth."  Also the same E-85 has done more harm than good for the people of Mexico as they have seen the price of tortiilas go way up.  But it does feel so good that you are doing something for the enviroment.

When we believe that we have the power to ultimately do great harm to something has grand as Creation, we truly have a problem.  But it doesn't surprise me when the same people who want to believe in this doom-gloom scenerio are the same that believe that we came from monkeys.  After all , it all happened by chance.

Heck, my wife is watching one of these insipid "Made for t.v. Christmas movies" and the child is asking Santa to solve "global warming."  To quote a great cartoon character, "Good Grief."

This is what our children are hearing in school, on the t.v., etc..  They are made to feel bad for having a S.U.V. or a old pickup.  They are told by their teachers that their parents need to get a better car because their parents are destroying the enviroment.  3 kids in catechism told me this.  It is this type of idiocy that I rail against, the type that has become the norm.




Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 25, 2007, 11:06:21 PM
So you would say that it is only our sexual behavior that has consequences?  God will punish us for misusnig oiur own bodies.  But because God is creator, He will protect us from the consequences of our use or misuse of natural resources?  That doesn't seem to follow.  I think we are responsible for how we use all of God's gifts.

As to the misuse of of public education for partisan purposes, that certainly happens.  There was a certain Governor here in Florida who mandated a new testing regime.  Soon after, his brother began marketing software to help students "prepare" for the test.  The same governor used money from the the Florida teacher retirement fund to purchase Enron stock, continuing to do so even while it was tanking.  I don't remember whether that governer was a lib'ral or not.

David Charlton

P.S.  I was a member of the Republican Party in North Carolina in the 1980's.  I remember many there railing againt the hoax perpetrated by liberals, saying that tobacco caused cancer.  Public schools were even used to further this hoax.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: grabau14 on November 25, 2007, 11:13:22 PM
Please note the last quote in this article as it fits in with what we are talking about.    This artilce came at just the right time. 

http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article2103433.ece
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 25, 2007, 11:31:05 PM
Ah, now you're being specific.  I assume you think that last quote is a non-sequitor.  So do I. 

The misuse of our bodies and the misuse of creation are part of the same sinful presumption, that God's gifts are to be used for whatever end we choose.  All the vices arise from this same presumption, whether it is lust, greed or gluttony. 

Lets look at gluttony for a moment, since we might be able to agree on that one.  The purpose of food is to feed the body.  There are appropriate pleasures that accompany eating.  On the one extreme, complete abstinence leading to starvation is wrong.  On the other hand, complete indulgence, leading to obesity and related illnesses, is also wrong. 

In the same way there is a proper way to use natural resources.  It is to enhance life, both human and non-human.  We human beings may even take pleasure in the rightful use of nature.  (I can enjoy the venison on my table.)  Those who claim our use of creation is always wrong, are themselves wrong.  Those who think creation is mere raw material for human consumption are also wrong. 

If I criticize the misuse of sexuality, that does not mean I am anti-sex.  Not all who criticise the misuse of creation are anti-human.

David Charlton
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: grabau14 on November 25, 2007, 11:37:52 PM
I am in agreement with you.  The voices of creation first, humanity last are the loudest and are all over the place.  Whereas, those who see creation as raw materials for our consumption are not so prevalent.  The former have a affect on the youth of our churches whereas the latter do not.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 25, 2007, 11:48:57 PM
I am in agreement with you.  The voices of creation first, humanity last are the loudest and are all over the place.  Whereas, those who see creation as raw materials for our consumption are not so prevalent.  The former have a affect on the youth of our churches whereas the latter do not.

I wish you were right, but I don't think you are.  The "environmental extremists" may be loud, but they have no more influence than the "Christian theocrats" we hear so much about.  Volume is not always influence.

Having said that, I do understand that we affluent Americans like others to pay the price of our guilt.  Here in Florida, the responsibility for saving the Everglades usually falls on the rural counties.  For instance, Dade and Broward counties continue to boom, occupying land that was once Everglades.  The agricultural counties in the center of the state, however, bear the brunt of the wetland restoration.  New laws effect their way of life much more than it does ours on the coast.

David Charlton

 
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 26, 2007, 12:14:58 AM
I think another key word is "resources". What does it mean?

But to buttress Matthew's point-- Green Bay is hardly Berkely or even Madison. We're a solidly red area of a slightly blue state. Yet when my last child was born, one of the our babysitters, a high school girl from our church, said to her mother, "Isn't it wrong to have more kids. I mean, what about the environment?" On further review, it turns out she was being fed that line in high school, and was relieved to find out that, no indeed, having a large family is not immoral or destructive of creation. If it is here, it is mainstream; we're not that cutting edge of a place. So don't try to tell me that the idea that people are pollution is an odd view among environmentalists. It might not be the majority opinion, but at a convention of environmentalists it won't get shouted down as the purely evil idea it is, and those who hold it will not be shown the door. Yet it is worse than racism. Not only those who hold it, but those who tolerate it are complicit, and lots and lots of environmentalists are complicit in this. Not all. But if you're part of the "not all" you'd better be on record as not only not having espoused such a view, but having refused to be a part of any organization that tolerates such a view in its ranks.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 26, 2007, 12:42:24 AM
Here we go again.  Substituting innuendo for argument.  Thanks for letting me know what I "had better do." 

Shall I engage in anecdotal stories about the racist and murderous things I have heard from some conservatives in my congregations.  Things like we should "vaporize" any Iraqi village that resists US troops.  Or people advocating torture because it is being done to "them."  (All of these things were said in my presence.)  I'm sure those kinds of things are said from time to time at the meetings of the groups you belong to. Hadn't you better disaffiliate yourself with all organizations these people belong to.         

The thing is, when you take the time to get specific, and make a case, you make sense.

David Charlton 


Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Mel Harris on November 26, 2007, 01:04:22 AM

So don't try to tell me that the idea that people are pollution is an odd view among environmentalists.


I once heard a different view expressed; that humanity is simply one of the weapons used by the grasslands in their long war against the forests for domination of the earth.

I realize that this is a long way from the topic of this thread, but it does express a somewhat different perspective on how humans can be seen in relation to the rest of creation.

Mel Harris
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 26, 2007, 01:10:51 AM
I think another key word is "resources". What does it mean?


To paraphrase my dictionary, it means something at hand that I can make use of.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: revjagow on November 26, 2007, 11:10:54 AM
I think another key word is "resources". What does it mean?

But to buttress Matthew's point-- Green Bay is hardly Berkely or even Madison. We're a solidly red area of a slightly blue state. Yet when my last child was born, one of the our babysitters, a high school girl from our church, said to her mother, "Isn't it wrong to have more kids. I mean, what about the environment?" On further review, it turns out she was being fed that line in high school, and was relieved to find out that, no indeed, having a large family is not immoral or destructive of creation. If it is here, it is mainstream; we're not that cutting edge of a place. So don't try to tell me that the idea that people are pollution is an odd view among environmentalists.


Too bad we are unlikely to get someone who espouses the "people are pollution" view to argue that point-of-view.  Most "environmentalists" that I know range from the more conservative (called "conservationists" who wish for clean places for hunting, fishing, etc.) and the more liberal with the extreme "leave it alone" views.  The views expressed in the article are extreme, I think.  At least I have never heard/seen them expressed before I scanned that page.  I was revolted by the woman who was sterilized.  The Old Adam in me was a bit relieved, however, that she was desperate to take herself out of the gene pool.  ::)

Hopefully, all Christians agree that it is our role to be "caretakers" and we are all in some way responsible for the world around us (basic, First Article teaching, yes?).  We will disagree as to what extent that role is to be filled.  I'm a little more to the left on that continuum, perhaps, as I am all for government rules that limit pollution, promote recycling, and preserve clean places for me and my children to enjoy.  While I don't belong to any organizations, I certainly take those views to the voting booth with me.

Given your views above, and the fact that you are an avid Tolkien fan, I wonder what you think of Tolkien view of industrialization as expressed in "The Lord of the Rings?"  Namely, how Tolkien portrays the character Sauruman and what he does to the Ent's forest and the Shire.  There are obviously some strong "leave it alone" views expressed here, I think.


Quote
It might not be the majority opinion, but at a convention of environmentalists it won't get shouted down as the purely evil idea it is, and those who hold it will not be shown the door. Yet it is worse than racism. Not only those who hold it, but those who tolerate it are complicit, and lots and lots of environmentalists are complicit in this. Not all. But if you're part of the "not all" you'd better be on record as not only not having espoused such a view, but having refused to be a part of any organization that tolerates such a view in its ranks.
Quote

That would certainly fit what I consider to be a LCMS "scorched earth" method of theological dialog.  Not only is the that one point wrong, but anything and anyone that remotely touches it must be counted out as well.  Mind you, I agree that this is an evil idea that should be denounced.  I'm just not convinced that it goes much farther from women who sterilize themselves.  A related idea would be Eugenics - the idea of selective breeding and weeding out the weak (which, unfortunately, more than a few Christians found themselves supporting early last century - before Hitler actually gave that philosophy life in the concentration camps). 

Neither sterilization or eugenics really make sense, even from a non-theological point-of-view.  Nature, herself, loves diversity and reproduction ensures the prorogation of the species.  Mucking around with that process obviously interferes with what is most natural.  That is why, despite the babysitter anecdote, I doubt that the views that lots of babies are wrong (or environmentally unfriendly) have not gone mainstream yet.  I suppose that having lots of children does lessen one's ability to reduce one's "environmental footprint."  But, even among the crowd that goes dumpster diving to curtail their consumption, there is not any serious talk of sterilization that I'm aware of.  Again, too bad we don't have someone on the forum who is all about reducing their environmental footprint who would express their views on sterilization for the environment.  Failing that, or another article from a mainstream source, all we have is the woman who got sterilized.  Yeesh.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 26, 2007, 01:06:03 PM
Here we go again.  Substituting innuendo for argument.  Thanks for letting me know what I "had better do." 

Shall I engage in anecdotal stories about the racist and murderous things I have heard from some conservatives in my congregations.  Things like we should "vaporize" any Iraqi village that resists US troops.  Or people advocating torture because it is being done to "them."  Or perhaps a well know conservative donor using the word "darkie."  (All of these things were said in my presence.)  I'm sure those kinds of things are said from time to time at the meetings of the groups you belong to. Hadn't you better disaffiliate yourself with all organizations these people belong to.         

The thing is, when you take the time to get specific, and make a case, you make sense.

David Charlton 
When public school children are taught that Iraqi villages ought to be vaporized, I think you'll have a parallel case. There is a huge difference between somebody holding a view and a view being taught in the schools. Sure, any organization might have a racist in it. But not any organization teaches racism. And I still maintain that teaching people that large families are immoral because it hurts the environment is worse than racism. And my "anedote" is hardly the only instance I know of. My parents have friends whose son, all the way back a few decades ago got sterilized as a gift to his parents; their lack of grandchildren would help save the earth. I went to a new park in Cleveland (well, it was new about 15 years ago) and there you could take a, "how eco-friendly are you?" quiz, with points for recycling, taking your bike to work, etc. and negative point for using a fireplace and what-not. Everything got you five or ten points, but if you were an adult with no children you got something like 100 points and if you were over a certain age and had no grandchildren you pretty muched maxed out the score. This was an official display, not some fringe kook's view, and it was years ago. Would the park director come out and say that people are pollution? No, probably not. But you can find the underlying assumption that people are bad for the earth in museums, Animal Planet and other nature specials, news reports, and even in the little quips and asides in conversation. Racism is rarely overt, either. Virtually nobody would say, for example, "I think black people are inferior." But a lot of people, in subtle ways, act as though it is true. Similarly, few people (though there are some) would say that people are pollution. You don't look for that view in their overt statements. You discover it the way you discover racism. The famous example of German math textbooks having kids figure the cost of caring for mental patients pales in comparison to the constant barrage today of the message that fewer people=healthier earth, more people=destruction. Heck, I've seen it on the back of my kids' cereal boxes.

As for scorched-earth dialogue, again, I think the racism example is best. If a member of, say, the Chamber of Commerce is a racist, that is one thing. But if the official policies or action of the Chamber are racist, I won't be a member even if I agree with some of the goals of the Chamber. This doesn't make me anti-business or anti-dialogue. Similarly, if an organization cannot condemn the view that people are pollution (mostly in the implicit assumptions in what they support) then I won't join and I will urge others not ot join. That does not make me anti- envrionment or anti-dialogue.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 26, 2007, 02:48:15 PM
Well no, they probably didn't pick up on the idea of "vaporizing Iraqi villages" at public school.  They probably picked it up listening to talk radio, including "Christian" talk radio, or one some internet blog which will remain nameless.  Although they may also have picked it up in Christian churches and schools that teach the inevitability of a nuclear war because "It's all there in prophecy."  (See, I can paint with a broad brush too.)

Now, as I mentioned before, I belong to Audubon, Nature Conservancy and Florida Trail Association.  I have received magazines, solicitations and e-mail alerts for years.  Not once did they advocate sterilization.  Instead, they all advocate what is called "sustainable development."  They believe that it is not possible or desireable to pit human well being and conservation against each other.  They encourage a creative approach to conservation that works with farmers, developers, local governments and industry. 

You have identified something real, but it pervades our whole culture and is not limited to the environmental movement.  It is characterized by a despair that in response to the hubris of industrialized man seeks to justify itself through self destruction.  They both are indeed deadly sins and need to be identified as such.  The one is never the antidote to the other.    A Christian worldview is instead humble and hopeful, recognizing our limits and building for the future.  Because we have lost the wisdom of the Christian worldview, we swing back and forth between both extremes. 

David Charlton
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Bergs on November 26, 2007, 04:46:53 PM
Does anyone remember the "ZPG" of the late 60's and early 1970's.  I remember my dear sister coming home from Concordia-Moorhead in 1970 and announcing she would not be having any children.  She was totally bought into Zero Population Growth.  My brother and I began calling her "Miss ZPG."  My sister turned into a very liberal democrat which continues to this day. 

However, in terms of ZPG she changed her thinking, married, gave birth to 2 really wonderful children and is now a grandmother of 1 and in early 2008, God willing, will joyfully welcome a 2nd grandchild into the world.   This issue is not all that trendy, it's been around for a long time.  Most times folks move on with their lives.   

It saddens me that Toni Vernelli aborted her child then felt it necessary to celebrate that fact in public.   The fact that she will not reproduce, as previously mentioned, simply improves the gene pool.   

Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN



Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 26, 2007, 05:13:45 PM
Peter writes:
There is a huge difference between somebody holding a view and a view being taught in the schools.

I comment:
And are we sure that the dreaded "save-the-earth" agenda is being "taught" in the schools or is environmentalism a subject of discussion in the schools? There is a saved-whale worth of difference.

Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Dave Benke on November 26, 2007, 05:19:11 PM
So far, I like Mel Harris' riposte with the deconstructionist rendering of Psalm 8 best - we only THINK we're the ones who are a little lower than the angels.  Really it's "Grasslands v. Forests," and we've been enlisted on the side of "Grasslands."  That'll preach in Advent, based on the Isaianic "All Flesh is Grass."  Cool!  All the answers encoded in Scripture.

 I'm waiting with bated breath for the CTCR paper on Responsible Stewardship of Creation for the answers to the other questions.  Either that or I'm not holding my breath.  Something about breath.  Maybe that's just the way my mind works when I have this hacking cough because the air quality is so bad as the wind comes over the Hudson from New Jersey.  To say nothing of Staten Island.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 26, 2007, 06:19:32 PM
Well no, they probably didn't pick up on the idea of "vaporizing Iraqi villages" at public school.  They probably picked it up listening to talk radio, including "Christian" talk radio, or one some internet blog which will remain nameless.  Although they may also have picked it up in Christian churches and schools that teach the inevitability of a nuclear war because "It's all there in prophecy."  (See, I can paint with a broad brush too.)

Now, as I mentioned before, I belong to Audubon, Nature Conservancy and Florida Trail Association.  I have received magazines, solicitations and e-mail alerts for years.  Not once did they advocate sterilization.  Instead, they all advocate what is called "sustainable development."  They believe that it is not possible or desireable to pit human well being and conservation against each other.  They encourage a creative approach to conservation that works with farmers, developers, local governments and industry. 

You have identified something real, but it pervades our whole culture and is not limited to the environmental movement.  It is characterized by a despair that in response to the hubris of industrialized man seeks to justify itself through self destruction.  They both are indeed deadly sins and need to be identified as such.  The one is never the antidote to the other.    A Christian worldview is instead humble and hopeful, recognizing our limits and building for the future.  Because we have lost the wisdom of the Christian worldview, we swing back and forth between both extremes. 

David Charlton
True, the anti-human agenda is pervasive and not at all limited to the environmental movement. There are lots of other manifestations of it; environmentalism was simply the one in this thread. And I don't mind the "broad brush". I'd be nice to have an example of a Christian school teaching that nuclear war is inevitable because it is all there in prophesy, but if you know of one I'll take your word for it that such a thing exists. And I would assume you don't support it financially.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 26, 2007, 08:05:06 PM
Why would you ask me to give an example?  You certainly didn't name any organizations that support sterilization.   Furthermore, I have named the organizations that I do belong to.  Are you willing to give evidence that those organizations support sterilization?  If not, I think you should withdraw the charge.

Once again, I don't assume that all conservative Christians support the extreme and evil views I mentioned.  I would not presume to accuse you of holding those views, even though I understand you are a conservative.   I simply cannot understand why you will not extend the same courtesy to me.

A few weeks ago, there was quite a discussion of the nasty treatment Republicans get at more than one ELCA seminary.  In recent article, you seemed to complain about the condescending comments you get because of your views on creation.  If you don't like it when us "lib'ral ELCA people" mischaracterize your beliefs, you shouldn't do it either.  I guess it depends on whose ox is being "Gore-ed".

David Charlton
   

 
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: MMH on November 26, 2007, 09:04:21 PM
The difficulty in discussing environmental issues in the Church is the same difficulty in society: the paucity of accurate scientific knowledge.

Like the stem cell issue, we have a great deal of misrepresentation and misunderstanding when it comes to climate matters.  Are we talking about global warming or anthropogenic global warming?  There is evidence that the former is occuring.  The evidence for the latter, not so much.

And I am troubled that those wonderful folks at the UN and its satellite NGOs who are now saying a collective "my bad" with regards to AIDS diagnoses being inflated by several million are the same ones screaming that "the sky is warming the sky is warming."  Having deprived us of several liberties and some economic opportunities in the next several decades, will they then offer up a similar mea culpa?

So let us define our terms, and let us learn.  And let us beware of groups that substitute ideological agendas for science.  As an historian of science, I would point out that Lysenkoism came from the Left.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 26, 2007, 11:59:33 PM
I did some surfing and came across the following collection of quotes. They were gathered by a group charmingly named Negative Population Growth, so this is not a bunch of quotes put together by some social conservative to make environmentalists look bad. Rather, these quotes were assembled to make environmental groups look good precisely because they believe in the group's goal of negative population growth. They also come only from official statements of those groups-- published position papers or public advertising. I think it pretty well establishes my thesis that the idea that human population must be sacrificed to the environment is pretty mainstream within the environmental movement. Again, I'm not saying that every environmentalist believes this, but I am saying only what I've said all along-- this is a mainstream view within the environmental movement. These are not fringe groups, but things like the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, the League of Conservation Voters, and so forth. I've only reprinted portions of the list, mostly because some of the groups had no position or else focused more on immigration, or else were groups devoted first and foremost to population control rather than the environment, or else looked like fringe groups I'd never heard of.

The over-arching theme is that mankind must be altered to suit the environment rather than vice-versa. I think a Christian position would be that the number of people is the fact of the situation, and how they can live in the environment the problem to be overcome. Instead, these groups think that the need to preserve the environment is the first fact, and the number of people in the world is the problem to be solved. They stop short of a final solution, but they come close. I've put the names of the groups in bold and tried to focus on the parts of the statements that directly link human population with pollution and solve the problem by reducing the human population.

"Recognizing the direct link between the rapid growth of human population and the decline in the world's wildlife and the habitat on which it depends, the Board of Directors of Defenders of Wildlife adopted the following statement of policy:
Among the most important issues affecting the world's future is the rapid growth of human population. Together, the increase in human population and in resource consumption are basic causes of human suffering and environmental degradation and must become major priorities for national and international action.
Because of its pervasive and detrimental impact on global ecological systems, population growth threatens to overwhelm any possible gains made in improving human conditions. Failure to curb the rate of world population growth will magnify the deterioration of the Earth's environment and natural resources and undermine economic and social progress. A humane, sustainable future depends on recognizing the common ground between population and the environment.
Current national and international efforts to address the world's rapidly expanding population are not sufficient. A new commitment to population programs which enhance human rights and conditions is urgently needed. The United States and all nations of the world must make an effective response to the issue of population growth a leading priority for this decade."

Environmental Defense Fund"To resolve the world's major environmental challenges will require stabilizing the worlds' population, at the lowest possible level, along with using natural and human-made resources sustainably, alleviating poverty, promoting non-polluting technologies and implementing efficient and equitable economic development policies.
A successful strategy for stabilizing population requires a comprehensive approach to addressing the array of economic, health and educational issues confronted by families everywhere.
Women must be provided with educational opportunities, increased financial security and improved status if population, development, and environmental programs are to succeed."

League of Conservation Voters
"Rapid global population growth is one of the most serious threats to a healthy and sustainable environment, leading to depletion of natural resources and contributing to pollution."

"National Audubon Society focuses on supporting U.S. family planning assistance programs in order to reduce fertility in developing nations and in the U.S. In addition, we support state and local initiatives to limit the impact of local growth on bird and wildlife habitat.
National Audubon Society actions reflect an understanding of the relationships between human population growth, individual family decisions and habitat and wildlife trends."

National Wildlife Federation
"NWF has adopted formal positions regarding global population growth, U.S. population growth and U.S. immigration and reaffirmed these positions numerous times.
Population is important for both environmental reasons, and because æhumans deserve pleasant and productive lives spent in healthful and stimulating environments rather than merely struggling for survival.'
NWF encourages the President of the United States to initiate action, both in this country and abroad, which will result in the development of plans and/or programs to curtail the present expansion of human populations.

BALANCE successfully mobilizes its 10,000 members into action in support of policies designed to achieve U.S. population stabilization and immigration reduction while educating environmentalists, policy makers and others about the link between population growth and environmental degradation.

Sierra Club
"The ‘population explosion' has severely disturbed the ecological relationships between human beings and the environment. It has caused an increasing scarcity of wilderness and wildlife and has impaired the beauty of whole regions, as well as reducing the standards and the quality of living. In recognition of the growing magnitude of this conservation issue, the Sierra Club supports a greatly increased program of education on the need for population control.The Sierra Club believes that we must find, encourage, and implement at the earliest possible time the necessary policies, attitudes, social standards, and actions that will, by voluntary and humane means consistent with human rights and individual conscience, bring about the stabilization of the population first of the United States and then of the world; that pursuant to this goal, families should not have more than two natural children and adoption should be encouraged; that state and federal laws should be changed to encourage small families and to discourage large families; that laws, policies, and attitudes that foster population growth or big families, or that restrict abortion and contraception, or that attempt to constrict the roles of men and women, should be abandoned; that comprehensive and realistic birth-control programs should be available to every member of our society; that environmental, population, and sex education should be readily available; that there should be increased research into the sociology of population stabilization and into the improvement of contraceptive technology; that private and governmental departments, commissions, and committees should be created to deal effectively with the population problem; and that the foreign policy of the United States should reflect the urgent realities of the population-environment crisis.
The Sierra Club feels that an intensive and broad-based educational program should be instituted, directed at persons in all countries, regardless of economic or educational level, designed to increase their awareness of the direct relationship between large family size and the adverse consequences of excessive population growth, and the material advantages to existing and future world populations of restraint on growth.
The Sierra Club makes the following specific recommendations for action:
(1) The United Nations Conference on Population should urge that all national programs that provide incentives to large families (tax relief, financial assistance, etc.) be replaced with programs encouraging small families.
(2) Each nation should be urged to create a national population commission to formulate policy on population-growth restraint and implement any programs that may be developed.
(3) The United Nations or another appropriate international agency should expand and create a continuing program for the effective collection and dissemination of data on population-growth trends and densities, as well as the relation of such data to problems of resource allocation and conservation.
(4) Those countries with the available resources should be urged to contribute funds to defray the cost of population growth restraint programs initiated by less affluent nations and by international agencies.
(5) Achievement of these ends should be made a top priority for United Nations action at all levels, including formulation of concrete programs for national implementation and funding. If the above goals are immediately pursued on an international level, we believe that population reduction may be achieved by voluntary controls on reproduction."


Wilderness Society
"As a priority, population policy should protect and sustain ecological systems for future generations. We will support policies that have a goal of reaching population stability, at the earliest practicable date, through means respectful of human rights and individual conscience. The Wilderness Society will publicize analyses of the threats to our lands from U.S. population growth.
Government agencies should include population growth projections in their cost-benefit analyses of programs and projects.
To bring population levels to ecologically sustainable levels, both birth rates and immigration rates needs to be reduced."


Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 27, 2007, 12:01:56 AM

And let us beware of groups that substitute ideological agendas for science. 


Well, at least we never have to worry that the current administration might susbtitute its ideological agenda for science or intelligence!   :D
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 27, 2007, 12:03:23 AM
I think the Sierra Club says it best. The N.I.C.E. itself couldn't have said it better.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 27, 2007, 12:09:31 AM
I know that the Catholic church is opposed to birth controll of any kind.  Is the same true for the LCMS? 
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 27, 2007, 12:19:44 AM
I know that the Catholic church is opposed to birth controll of any kind.  Is the same true for the LCMS? 
The LCMS has no formal position on birth control that I know of. But where birth control is used, it would not be because more people in general are a bad thing in general, which is the clear and explicit position of those advocating for birth control (and dreaming of everyone being as progressive as China on this) for environmental reasons in the quotations above. Again, I think it is both anti-human and mainstream within the enviromental movement.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 27, 2007, 12:56:08 AM
Why do people use birth controll, if not to limit births?  By definition, that is what birth controll is.  Why is it moral for a couple to limit births for their own interests any more than it is moral to use it for "the common good." 

Are you suggesting that using birth controll is legitimate if it is used for recreational sex.  If so, you are seperating sex from procreation, using a gift of God for selfish pleasure, rather than for the purpose God intended.  Then you are in the same boat as homosexuals.   

I respect the Catholic church's stance because it is consistent.  Yours is not. 
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 27, 2007, 01:09:31 AM
I'm still waiting for you to denounce your political party because support for torture and wholesale slaughter is "mainstream."  If you don't believe me, go to a certain "mainstream" conservative website and do a search for "torture" and "nuclear option."

Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: MMH on November 27, 2007, 08:21:12 AM
I know that the Catholic church is opposed to birth controll of any kind.  Is the same true for the LCMS? 

Peter, you so totally rock!  I was wondering if I was the only one who sees the National Institute for Coordinated Experimentation at work here.  One wonders what the Head is up to these days.

Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: MMH on November 27, 2007, 08:41:19 AM
I know that the Catholic church is opposed to birth controll of any kind.  Is the same true for the LCMS? 

David-

Please remember Moynihan's Law- Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but no one is entitled to their own facts.

The Catholic Church does not oppose all forms of birth control

1) NEWS FLASH- Abstinence is a form of birth control

2) Natural Family Planning is seen as a perfectly fine practice for devout Catholic families

You may want to debate efficacy, which is fine.  But do not misrepresent people.

BTW- Which party is it that defends torture?  I am assuming you mean the Republicans, since the Democrats are too busy defending the right of individuals to commit murder in wholesale numbers (47G and climbing as we speak in this nation alone) to be pro-torture.  Why bother hurting people when you can just kill 'em?

So- please show me the plank in the RNC platform that is pro-torture.  Talk to Sens. McCain and Warner and see ther reaction to your statement.  If you want to condemn this current administration, by all means.

Well, befire I go off for my one meal of soylent green for the day, I recommend people check out http://www.catholiceducation.org/directory/Current_Issues/Population_Control/

for some articles that debunk the population bomb.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 27, 2007, 08:57:28 AM
Why do people use birth controll, if not to limit births?  By definition, that is what birth controll is.  Why is it moral for a couple to limit births for their own interests any more than it is moral to use it for "the common good." 

Are you suggesting that using birth controll is legitimate if it is used for recreational sex.  If so, you are seperating sex from procreation, using a gift of God for selfish pleasure, rather than for the purpose God intended.  Then you are in the same boat as homosexuals.   

I respect the Catholic church's stance because it is consistent.  Yours is not. 
I don't separate sex from procreation. But regardless of my personal views on artificial birth control, which are indeed a bit Romisch for most Lutherans, I do recognize that not everyone who uses birth control is doing so because more births in general are a bad thing. Perhaps a wife couldn't survive a pregnancy during certain health treatments or something. The point is that approving birth control in any particular instance because of special circumstances is not at all the same thing as approving birth control as a general policy because fewer people are better for the planet. People might fast without advocating famine. As Charles noted way upstream, there may be valid reasons for any particular person to choose not to have children (though I'm sceptical of some I've heard) but saving the planet isn't one of them.

My support for Republicans is entirely provisional. I have, I believe, a duty to vote because I live in a country in which my vote counts. Where there are only two viable options, I do my best to vote my conscience, which means voting for Republicans. If the GOP put forth a candidate who supports wholesale slaughter to the degree that pro-choice candidates do, I won't vote for him, though I'm not sure what I would do in that case. The point is, I vote because I think I have that duty. Nobody has a duty to belong to any advocacy group, so the threshhold of what we ought to demand from those assoiciations, it seems to me, is much higher. Furthermore, if by wholesale slaughter you're referring to the Iraq War, it seems to me that support and lack of support for that enterprise are both fairly mainstream positions in both parties. But even so, nobody I know of supports wholesale slaughter because fewer people are better than more people. They may be wrong about the morality and usefulness of war, but they are not necessarily wrong about the nature and value of humanity.

Maybe we're getting nowhere with this. People didn't want anecdotes so I provided official statements. People didn't want sterotypes so I got as broad sample of environmental groups. People didn't want an attack angle, so I gathered the info from a source "on the other side" of the issue, to let them describe themselves rather than being described by me. The fact remains (though it is tough to pick just one example) that the Sierra Club says, "(2) Each nation should be urged to create a national population commission to formulate policy on population-growth restraint and implement any programs that may be developed." I'm not sure what to make of anyone who doesn't find that proposal chilling.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: revjagow on November 27, 2007, 09:57:51 AM
"Man has got to take charge of Man.  That means, remember, that some men have got to take charge of the rest - which is another reason for cashing in on it as soon as one can.  You and I want to be the people who do the taking charge, not the ones who are taken charge of.  Quite."

"What sort of thing have you in mind?"

"Quite simple and obvious things, at first - sterilization of the unfit, liquidation of backward races (we don't want any dead weights), selective breeding.  Then real education, including pre-natal education, by read education I mean one that has no "take-it-or-leave-it" nonsense.  A real education makes the patient what it wants infallibly: whatever he or his parents try to do about it.  Of course, it'll have to be mainly psychological at first.  But, we'll get on to biochemical conditioning in the end and direct manipulation of the brain..."

"But this is stupendous, Feverstone."

"It's the real thing at last.  A new type of man: and its people like you who've got to begin to make him."

Where's Merlin when you need him?
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: mariemeyer on November 27, 2007, 09:59:25 AM
"(2) Each nation should be urged to create a national population commission to formulate policy on population-growth restraint and implement any programs that may be developed." I'm not sure what to make of anyone who doesn't find that proposal chilling.
 
 
I too find the Sierra Club statement chilling.

Marie Meyer
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 27, 2007, 10:10:19 AM
I know that the Catholic church is opposed to birth controll of any kind.  Is the same true for the LCMS? 

David-

Please remember Moynihan's Law- Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but no one is entitled to their own facts.

The Catholic Church does not oppose all forms of birth control

1) NEWS FLASH- Abstinence is a form of birth control

2) Natural Family Planning is seen as a perfectly fine practice for devout Catholic families

You may want to debate efficacy, which is fine.  But do not misrepresent people.

BTW- Which party is it that defends torture?  I am assuming you mean the Republicans, since the Democrats are too busy defending the right of individuals to commit murder in wholesale numbers (47G and climbing as we speak in this nation alone) to be pro-torture.  Why bother hurting people when you can just kill 'em?

So- please show me the plank in the RNC platform that is pro-torture.  Talk to Sens. McCain and Warner and see ther reaction to your statement.  If you want to condemn this current administration, by all means.

Well, befire I go off for my one meal of soylent green for the day, I recommend people check out http://www.catholiceducation.org/directory/Current_Issues/Population_Control/

for some articles that debunk the population bomb.


Matt,

Yes, I should have said "contraception."  I had no intention to misrepresent the Catholic church, as evidenced by my praise for their consistency.  This whole argument began because some here wanted to misrepresent me, and many others like me. 

I don't believe that the Republican party supports torture as a whole.  I was simply demonstrating that Peter's logic could be turned against him.  His argument was that if you could demonstrate that a belief was "mainstream" then it was perfectly fine to accuse the movement as a whole of supporting it.  You and I both know that there is quite a bit of support for torture in the conservative blogshpere.  That many id the Republican party were slow to condemn torture is also true.  That was my point and I think it was obvious what I was doing. 

You objection to my line of argument proves my point.  If it is a poor line of argument for me, so it is when others use it.

David Charlton

Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: revjagow on November 27, 2007, 10:30:23 AM
The thing is, one can be an environmentalist or a conservationist and be in either political party.  It goes beyond Republican and Democrat.  I tend to see things more on the local level and I try to be an advocate for preserving our great wetlands, and curbing development that is not properly planned for.

BTW- in light of the copious evidence presented by Peter, I completely back away from my earlier statement that the "babies = pollution" view was not mainstream.  I was obviously not that well informed.  Good research, Peter.  Well done.

A good debate here is how far to push the "scorched earth" policy of disengaging groups like the Sierra Club.  There are a lot of good organizations that fight for the same local causes that I would fight for, but who are completely misguided on population growth (again, pointing out the irony of people who fight for nature who are opposed to living the most natural way).  Further, there are good candidates that may push for one or more of the environmental concerns that you also have - but that person may be endorsed by an organization like the Sierra Club.  I would still vote for the person and not assume that he is an agent of N.I.C.E. looking to push forward a sterilization and re-education agenda in our government. 

Maybe I've just accepted that the political world is messy and it is never a morally simple environment for a theologian to wade into. 
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 27, 2007, 10:39:57 AM
Why do people use birth controll, if not to limit births?  By definition, that is what birth controll is.  Why is it moral for a couple to limit births for their own interests any more than it is moral to use it for "the common good." 

Are you suggesting that using birth controll is legitimate if it is used for recreational sex.  If so, you are seperating sex from procreation, using a gift of God for selfish pleasure, rather than for the purpose God intended.  Then you are in the same boat as homosexuals.   

I respect the Catholic church's stance because it is consistent.  Yours is not. 
I don't separate sex from procreation. But regardless of my personal views on artificial birth control, which are indeed a bit Romisch for most Lutherans, I do recognize that not everyone who uses birth control is doing so because more births in general are a bad thing. Perhaps a wife couldn't survive a pregnancy during certain health treatments or something. The point is that approving birth control in any particular instance because of special circumstances is not at all the same thing as approving birth control as a general policy because fewer people are better for the planet. People might fast without advocating famine. As Charles noted way upstream, there may be valid reasons for any particular person to choose not to have children (though I'm sceptical of some I've heard) but saving the planet isn't one of them.

My support for Republicans is entirely provisional. I have, I believe, a duty to vote because I live in a country in which my vote counts. Where there are only two viable options, I do my best to vote my conscience, which means voting for Republicans. If the GOP put forth a candidate who supports wholesale slaughter to the degree that pro-choice candidates do, I won't vote for him, though I'm not sure what I would do in that case. The point is, I vote because I think I have that duty. Nobody has a duty to belong to any advocacy group, so the threshhold of what we ought to demand from those assoiciations, it seems to me, is much higher. Furthermore, if by wholesale slaughter you're referring to the Iraq War, it seems to me that support and lack of support for that enterprise are both fairly mainstream positions in both parties. But even so, nobody I know of supports wholesale slaughter because fewer people are better than more people. They may be wrong about the morality and usefulness of war, but they are not necessarily wrong about the nature and value of humanity.

Maybe we're getting nowhere with this. People didn't want anecdotes so I provided official statements. People didn't want sterotypes so I got as broad sample of environmental groups. People didn't want an attack angle, so I gathered the info from a source "on the other side" of the issue, to let them describe themselves rather than being described by me. The fact remains (though it is tough to pick just one example) that the Sierra Club says, "(2) Each nation should be urged to create a national population commission to formulate policy on population-growth restraint and implement any programs that may be developed." I'm not sure what to make of anyone who doesn't find that proposal chilling.

I asked you to state which environmental groups advocated sterilization.  You still have not.  Population stabilization is not the same as sterilization.  Furthermore, the belief that the planet cannot sustain the present rate of population growth may be false, it is quite different from stating that human beings are pollution.  Finally, if attempts at population stabilization are morally wrong, then they are wrong whether practiced by large groups or individual families.  Again, the Catholic church deserves credit for being consistent on this score.  As I understand it, abstinence may be used as a form of spiritual discipline, it may also be used to better space pregnancies.  However, the conjugal act must always be open to the gift of new life.  In other words, population stabilization would not be an appropriate goal for abstinence either.

Regarding your provisional support of your political party, my support of certain environmental groups is also provisional.  Supporting them is not different from supporting a political party.  They are addressing important issues of public policy.  I was not required to take an oath of loyalty when I joined.  Are you a registered member of your party?  Have you contributed money?  Have you campaigned on its behalf.  Then you have done a much as I have for my environmental groups.  You are simply trying to excuse yourself from the same standard you are applying to others.  

As to the wholesale slaughter, I am referring to various individuals who have advocated nuking cities, villages, etc...  I think you know that.  I was simply applying your standard to you.  If I can show that those kinds of ideas are "mainstream" in conservative circles, which they are as any cursory search of the blogoshere will show, then by your standard, conservatism supports wholesale slaughter.  That such generalizations are absurd was my point.  

Several weeks ago, in our discussion of the political correctness of ELCA seminaries, I made it clear that I reject those kinds of generalizations when applied to conservatives.  What I find odd is that one day I hear whining from conservatives about how they are stereotyped by the PC crowd.  The next day, the same conservatives are using the same kind of tactics on this forum.  That you hold such a blatant double standard is very revealing.

Finally, I agree that arguing any more is pointless.  A week ago I thought of quitting this forum because of the absurd tactics of some "lefties" on this forum.  Now I add to that, the awareness that there are an equal number of fanatical ideologues on the right.  

David Charlton
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 27, 2007, 12:39:35 PM
David Charlton writes:
Now I add to that, the awareness that there are an equal number of fanatical ideologues on the right. 

I comment:
Not true, David, they far outnumber us.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: jrubyaz on November 27, 2007, 01:47:17 PM
Not according to one of your own. Brian McLaren of the emerging church school and prolific author  has a great line:

" Extreme liberals are  just fundamentalists with a different set of beliefs".

Jeff Ruby



 
David Charlton writes:
Now I add to that, the awareness that there are an equal number of fanatical ideologues on the right. 

I comment:
Not true, David, they far outnumber us.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 27, 2007, 02:16:41 PM
Not according to one of your own. Brian McLaren of the emerging church school and prolific author  has a great line:

" Extreme liberals are  just fundamentalists with a different set of beliefs".

Jeff Ruby


Gee, what an insight.  Did you have to read Brian McLaren to figure that out?  And if he is "one or your own," in other words an extreme liberal like Charles, what are you doing reading his books?

As for me, I don't like either kind of fundamentalist.

David Charlton
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 27, 2007, 02:23:29 PM
Matt,

Yes, I should have said "contraception."  I had no intention to misrepresent the Catholic church, as evidenced by my praise for their consistency.  This whole argument began because some here wanted to misrepresent me, and many others like me. 

I don't believe that the Republican party supports torture as a whole.  I was simply demonstrating that Peter's logic could be turned against him.  His argument was that if you could demonstrate that a belief was "mainstream" then it was perfectly fine to accuse the movement as a whole of supporting it.  You and I both know that there is quite a bit of support for torture in the conservative blogshpere.  That many id the Republican party were slow to condemn torture is also true.  That was my point and I think it was obvious what I was doing. 

You objection to my line of argument proves my point.  If it is a poor line of argument for me, so it is when others use it.

David Charlton
David, I've read through the whole thread again and I do see myself saying what you're attributing to me. I've been careful all the way through to stipulate that I'm not talking about all environmentalists. What I've said is that an evil opinion is very mainstream in the movement, and those who wish to support some of the goals of the movement but not the problematic one had better be very vocal and specific about their intentions. The Republican Party is not in favor of torture the way the Sierra Club is in favor population reduction. I would think anyone who objects to population reduction as a means of saving the planet would want to know if a group they send money to thinking they're saving the rain forests is actually using that money to convince the UN to adopt population control policies. If I don't want the Republican Party co-opted by, say, closet klansmen, then it is up to me as a Republican (though I'm not really a member per se, but merely one who typically votes for Republicans), not up to the Democrats, to decry klanish ideas in the party. If the Republican party comes out for torture (the real thing, not what sometimes gets called torture) then it will be up to me to justify any money I send their way, and it will be hard to do unless I can show how I have worked to dissociate the party from that view. But if if I just go along with it, unwillingly but not resisting, then I am complicit in the outcome. And if people keep mailing their yearly contribution to the Sierra Club without bothering to resist the population-oriented stuff, then I do indeed think they become complicit in the chilling program. As far as I can see, that is all I've said, and I don't think it is anything to take offense at. At least, I haven't been trying to give offense to you or anyone other environmentalist. If the movement can be disentangled from the population control crowd, it will become something a large majority can support, and do great things.  
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: revjagow on November 27, 2007, 02:30:21 PM
Just curious and too tied up at the moment to do the research myself - but what kind of programs are put forward to stabilize the world population?  Education and the availability of birth control?  What else?  Hopefully that unfortunate woman in the article that started this thread is one of the few who would advocate for sterilization. 
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 27, 2007, 02:59:48 PM
I asked you to state which environmental groups advocated sterilization.  You still have not.  Population stabilization is not the same as sterilization.  Furthermore, the belief that the planet cannot sustain the present rate of population growth may be false, it is quite different from stating that human beings are pollution.  Finally, if attempts at population stabilization are morally wrong, then they are wrong whether practiced by large groups or individual families.  Again, the Catholic church deserves credit for being consistent on this score.  As I understand it, abstinence may be used as a form of spiritual discipline, it may also be used to better space pregnancies.  However, the conjugal act must always be open to the gift of new life.  In other words, population stabilization would not be an appropriate goal for abstinence either.

Regarding your provisional support of your political party, my support of certain environmental groups is also provisional.  Supporting them is not different from supporting a political party.  They are addressing important issues of public policy.  I was not required to take an oath of loyalty when I joined.  Are you a registered member of your party?  Have you contributed money?  Have you campaigned on its behalf.  Then you have done a much as I have for my environmental groups.  You are simply trying to excuse yourself from the same standard you are applying to others.  

As to the wholesale slaughter, I am referring to various individuals who have advocated nuking cities, villages, etc...  I think you know that.  I was simply applying your standard to you.  If I can show that those kinds of ideas are "mainstream" in conservative circles, which they are as any cursory search of the blogoshere will show, then by your standard, conservatism supports wholesale slaughter.  That such generalizations are absurd was my point.  

Several weeks ago, in our discussion of the political correctness of ELCA seminaries, I made it clear that I reject those kinds of generalizations when applied to conservatives.  What I find odd is that one day I hear whining from conservatives about how they are stereotyped by the PC crowd.  The next day, the same conservatives are using the same kind of tactics on this forum.  That you hold such a blatant double standard is very revealing.

Finally, I agree that arguing any more is pointless.  A week ago I thought of quitting this forum because of the absurd tactics of some "lefties" on this forum.  Now I add to that, the awareness that there are an equal number of fanatical ideologues on the right.  

David Charlton
A group that thinks fewer humans on the planet would be, broadly speaking, a good thing is problematic from a Christian standpoint. The issue isn't birth control, sterilization, abortion or any other method of reducing the population. The issue is the goal of reducing the human population, which I think is an anti-human goal. There is a vast and qualitative difference between general policies for mankind and individual policies. The Sierra Club has a stated goal of having fewer people on the planet. A couple using birth control does not necessarily have that goal. They might have a tragic health issue themselves, but be delighted if their neighbor has nineteen kids and even encourage people to have large families. they can be very pro-child but simply unable to participate. (If they are simply divorcing sex from procreation for recreational or selfish reasons, then I am against that). In short, the groups I've quoted above have an explicit goal that is problematic. Couples using birth control may or not share that goal, and it is the goal that is the problem.

I don't think support for any advocacy group is that same thing at all as voting for candidates of a particular party. We have a duty to vote and there are only so many options. We have no duty to support the Sierra Club, Lutherans for Life, or any other group, so doing so requires a great deal more consonance between between our goals and the goals of those we send money to. I belong to Lutherans for Life, National Right to Life, and Wisconsin Right to Life, as well as the Concordia Bioethical Institute. If they adopted morally problematic goals, I would do everything in power to sway them away from that or else dissociate myself. I think that is consistent. On the other hand, if I dissociated entirely with every political party or politician with such problems, I would be unable to vote at all. Furthermore, I've never heard anyone with any real or informal influence, Republican or Democrat, seriously advocate nuking villages. Maybe there are crass jokes, but no stated policies in favor of that. It is a pretty reckless charge. I've backed up my charges about environmenal groups advocating for population reduction. I'd be interested to see similar evidence of a mainstream position in favor of nuclear war in the Republican Party. A cursory glance at the blogosphere will yield a bunch of fruit loops. I have offered official positions of mainstream environmental organizations, not quotes from Big Greenies Enviro-blog or some such. So I'm not really interested in what some guy on a blog said. I'm interested in what the Republican party's stated position or the position of any GOP candidate is. None that I know of advocates nuking villages, and if they do, I will shouting loudest against them.

Again, I'm not sure why you think I'm applying such a blanket stereotype. I've been very clear all along that I'm not talking about every person who believes in "green" causes.  
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: edoughty on November 27, 2007, 03:10:49 PM
I asked you to state which environmental groups advocated sterilization.  You still have not.  Population stabilization is not the same as sterilization.  Furthermore, the belief that the planet cannot sustain the present rate of population growth may be false, it is quite different from stating that human beings are pollution.  Finally, if attempts at population stabilization are morally wrong, then they are wrong whether practiced by large groups or individual families.  Again, the Catholic church deserves credit for being consistent on this score.  As I understand it, abstinence may be used as a form of spiritual discipline, it may also be used to better space pregnancies.  However, the conjugal act must always be open to the gift of new life.  In other words, population stabilization would not be an appropriate goal for abstinence either.

Regarding your provisional support of your political party, my support of certain environmental groups is also provisional.  Supporting them is not different from supporting a political party.  They are addressing important issues of public policy.  I was not required to take an oath of loyalty when I joined.  Are you a registered member of your party?  Have you contributed money?  Have you campaigned on its behalf.  Then you have done a much as I have for my environmental groups.  You are simply trying to excuse yourself from the same standard you are applying to others. 

As to the wholesale slaughter, I am referring to various individuals who have advocated nuking cities, villages, etc...  I think you know that.  I was simply applying your standard to you.  If I can show that those kinds of ideas are "mainstream" in conservative circles, which they are as any cursory search of the blogoshere will show, then by your standard, conservatism supports wholesale slaughter.  That such generalizations are absurd was my point. 

Several weeks ago, in our discussion of the political correctness of ELCA seminaries, I made it clear that I reject those kinds of generalizations when applied to conservatives.  What I find odd is that one day I hear whining from conservatives about how they are stereotyped by the PC crowd.  The next day, the same conservatives are using the same kind of tactics on this forum.  That you hold such a blatant double standard is very revealing.

Finally, I agree that arguing any more is pointless.  A week ago I thought of quitting this forum because of the absurd tactics of some "lefties" on this forum.  Now I add to that, the awareness that there are an equal number of fanatical ideologues on the right. 

David Charlton
A group that thinks fewer humans on the planet would be, broadly speaking, a good thing is problematic from a Christian standpoint. The issue isn't birth control, sterilization, abortion or any other method of reducing the population. The isuse is the goal of reducing the human population, which I think is an anti-human goal. There is a vast and qualitative difference between general policies for mankind and individual policies. The Sierra Club has a stated goal of having fewer people on the planet. A couple using birth control does not necessarily have that goal. They might have a tragic health issue themselves, but be delighted if their neighbor has nineteen kids and even encourage people to have large families. they can be very pro-child but simply unable to participate. (If they are simply divorcing sex from procreation for recreational or selfish reasons, then I am against that). In short, the groups I've quoted above have an explicit goal that is problematic. Couples using birth control may or not share that goal, and it is the goal that is the problem.

I don't think support for any advocasy group is that same thing at all as voting for candidates of a particular party. We have a duty to vote and there are only so many options. We have no duty to support the Sierra Club, Lutherans for Life, or any other group, so doing so requires a great deal more consonance between between our goals and the goals of those we send money to. I belong to Lutherans for Life, National Right to Life, and Wisconsin Right to Life, as well as the Concordia Bioethical Institute. If they adopted morally problematic goals, I would do everything in power to sway them away from that or else dissociate myself. I think that is consistent. On the other hand, if I dissociated entirely with every political party or politician with such problems, I would be unable to vote at all. Furthermore, I've never heard anyone with any real or informal influence, Republican or Democrat, seriously advocate nuking villages. Maybe there are crass jokes, but no stated policies in favor of that. It is a pretty reckless charge. I've backed up my charges about environmenal groups advocating for population reduction. I'd be interested to see similar evidence of a mainstream position in favor of nuclear war in the Republican Party. A cursory glance at the blogosphere will yield a bunch of fruit loops. I have offered official positions of mainstream environmental organizations, not quotes from Big Greenies Enviro-blog or some such. So I'm not really interested in what some guy on a blog said. I'm interested in what the Republican party's stated position or the position of any GOP candidate is. None that I know of advocates nuking villages, and if they do, I will shouting loudest against them.

Again, I'm not sure why you think I'm applying such a blanket stereotype. I've been very clear all along that I'm not talking about every person who believes in "green" causes. 

Huh.  Family planning is anti-human?  News to me. 

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 27, 2007, 03:18:53 PM
Huh.  Family planning is anti-human?  News to me. 

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN
Family planning is not anti-human. The view that fewer people are better than more people is anti-human. As I've stated above, not everybody who engages in family planning takes that view. The environmental groups advocating for general policies of birth control do take that view.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 27, 2007, 03:37:33 PM
Matt,

Yes, I should have said "contraception."  I had no intention to misrepresent the Catholic church, as evidenced by my praise for their consistency.  This whole argument began because some here wanted to misrepresent me, and many others like me. 

I don't believe that the Republican party supports torture as a whole.  I was simply demonstrating that Peter's logic could be turned against him.  His argument was that if you could demonstrate that a belief was "mainstream" then it was perfectly fine to accuse the movement as a whole of supporting it.  You and I both know that there is quite a bit of support for torture in the conservative blogshpere.  That many id the Republican party were slow to condemn torture is also true.  That was my point and I think it was obvious what I was doing. 

You objection to my line of argument proves my point.  If it is a poor line of argument for me, so it is when others use it.

David Charlton
David, I've read through the whole thread again and I do see myself saying what you're attributing to me. I've been careful all the way through to stipulate that I'm not talking about all environmentalists. What I've said is that an evil opinion is very mainstream in the movement, and those who wish to support some of the goals of the movement but not the problematic one had better be very vocal and specific about their intentions. The Republican Party is not in favor of torture the way the Sierra Club is in favor population reduction. I would think anyone who objects to population reduction as a means of saving the planet would want to know if a group they send money to thinking they're saving the rain forests is actually using that money to convince the UN to adopt population control policies. If I don't want the Republican Party co-opted by, say, closet klansmen, then it is up to me as a Republican (though I'm not really a member per se, but merely one who typically votes for Republicans), not up to the Democrats, to decry klanish ideas in the party. If the Republican party comes out for torture (the real thing, not what sometimes gets called torture) then it will be up to me to justify any money I send their way, and it will be hard to do unless I can show how I have worked to dissociate the party from that view. But if if I just go along with it, unwillingly but not resisting, then I am complicit in the outcome. And if people keep mailing their yearly contribution to the Sierra Club without bothering to resist the population-oriented stuff, then I do indeed think they become complicit in the chilling program. As far as I can see, that is all I've said, and I don't think it is anything to take offense at. At least, I haven't been trying to give offense to you or anyone other environmentalist. If the movement can be disentangled from the population control crowd, it will become something a large majority can support, and do great things.  

I have tended to shy away from the Sierra Club for years because their approach to conservation is what I'd call more ideological. 
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 27, 2007, 03:44:03 PM
Someone comments:
"an extreme liberal like Charles,"

And I respond:
with the strongest of objections. The very strongest of objections. Actually, in many places and on many issues I am considered a conservative. But not here. What does that say about here?
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 27, 2007, 03:49:51 PM
Someone comments:
"an extreme liberal like Charles,"

And I respond:
with the strongest of objections. The very strongest of objections. Actually, in many places and on many issues I am considered a conservative. But not here. What does that say about here?
In many places I am considered a liberal. But not here. What does that say about here? Nothing. I find it relatively meaningless that virtually everyone has people to their left and right depending on the circumstance.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 27, 2007, 04:08:05 PM
Someone comments:
"an extreme liberal like Charles,"

And I respond:
with the strongest of objections. The very strongest of objections. Actually, in many places and on many issues I am considered a conservative. But not here. What does that say about here?

It says that one reason you like to hang out here is that you are an aging baby-boomer (well, almost) who likes to remember what it was like to be considered "liberal" now that you aren't so considered by many.  ;D
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 27, 2007, 04:23:27 PM
Peter,

I appreciate your last two conciliatory posts.  I am almost at the point I can agree with you.  

In working for conservation, I support what groups I can.  I support the ones I listed earlier (Sierra Club was not on the list) because they focus more on tangible conservation goals and less on broad ideological agendas.  

However, if were to support no groups at all, where would I find a voice to support responsible stewardship of the earth.  No other forum exists.  I would be one person.  So I support the groups that today are doing the best work.  Audubon Society and Nature Conservancy are two I support.  As a citizen, I am not only obligated to vote.  I am also obligated to speak out in other ways.  I support groups that help me do that.

Yes, there are some very broad ideological agendas.  A good example of this from a theological standpoint is Sallie McFague's Models of God.  She proposes viewing the earth as God's body.  In her theological system, the eternal fate of individual human beings is of little consequence.  (I had to read this in seminary, much to my chagrine.)

Concerning the reckless charge about the Republican Party, it was intended to be a reckless charge.  It was hyperbole.  I chose that because even I consider it off base.  My point that based on your premise, one could come to conclusions that are outrageous.  

However, I would honestly like to ask you this:

a) is waterboarding torture?
b)does or has the U.S. used waterboarding?
c) does or has the U.S. used rendition to a third party for the purpose of torture?
d) if so, does that make us complicit in torture?
e) has the U.S. held persons without trial, outside the reach of U.S. or Military Law?
f) if so, doesn't that betray the principles on which our nation was founded?

I believe that the answer to all of those is YES, even if it may not be true at this moment.  I don't say that with glee either, but with sadness.  It may not be part of the Republican Party platform, but it is a very disturbing trend, that with the exception of men like John McCain, has not been adequately addressed by supporters of the current administration.  Neither have I heard a groundswell of indignation from the party faithful.  

You raise a good point, that supporters of environmental groups have not shown adequate conern for the ideological agendas of the organizations.  I will exercise greater vigilance in the future.  I hope you will show the same vigilance when it comes to the organizations or parties to which you belong.  I also hope we all use greater caution in the charges we make.

David Charlton

Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 27, 2007, 04:27:04 PM
Someone comments:
"an extreme liberal like Charles,"

And I respond:
with the strongest of objections. The very strongest of objections. Actually, in many places and on many issues I am considered a conservative. But not here. What does that say about here?

Charles,

I was the one who said that.  I meant to use quotes but forgot to do it.  It should have looked like this:

     an "extreme liberal" like Charles

Sometimes I assume others know when I'm joking.  My apologies.

David Charlton
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 27, 2007, 05:04:34 PM
I understand. Thanks.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: mariemeyer on November 27, 2007, 05:34:30 PM
The environmental organization we support is the Evangelical Environmental Network, publishers of the magzine Creation Care.
Suggest checking them out at www.creationcare.org.

IMO they make a good case for why Christians should be concerned about the environment.

Marie Meyer
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 27, 2007, 08:01:54 PM
Peter,

I appreciate your last two conciliatory posts.  I am almost at the point I can agree with you.  


However, I would honestly like to ask you this:

a) is waterboarding torture?
b)does or has the U.S. used waterboarding?
c) does or has the U.S. used rendition to a third party for the purpose of torture?
d) if so, does that make us complicit in torture?
e) has the U.S. held persons without trial, outside the reach of U.S. or Military Law?
f) if so, doesn't that betray the principles on which our nation was founded?

I believe that the answer to all of those is YES, even if it may not be true at this moment.  I don't say that with glee either, but with sadness.  It may not be part of the Republican Party platform, but it is a very disturbing trend, that with the exception of men like John McCain, has not been adequately addressed by supporters of the current administration.  Neither have I heard a groundswell of indignation from the party faithful.  
David Charlton

I think these are legitimate questions. At issue, I think, is gradually changing societal mores as to what constitutes torture. A few generations ago, giving a child a "whipping" with a belt was common practice. Now it is considered child-abuse. But what happens is that some people take longer to adjust, so a father doing to his son what his own father did to him and what ten generations of his family before him did without anyone raising an eyebrow is suddenly a child-abuser. This, I think, is what has happened to water-boarding. A generation ago, the idea that John Wayne in some Western was "torturing" the bad guy by holding his head in a barrel of water would have been laughable. Bullying, maybe. But "torture" evokes thumbscrews, the rack, whips and cages, and that kind of thing. Now we use the word "torture" to describe what in the past might have been called "roughing him up a little" or something like that. I'm not saying the change is bad, but only that it makes for a potentially misleading statement. Similarly, words like "rape" and "assault" get cheapened when they don't refer to the mental image people have and instead refer to some technical defintion. So on one had you can say the the eighteen year old "raped" his seventeen-year-old girlfriend on prom night because though it was consenual, she was not of an age to give consent and perhaps was drunk. Perhaps the charge is true in a legal sense, but to call the guy a rapist without qualifying what we mean by that is perhaps unfair-- it give people a different mental image of him than his actions warrant, immoral as they may have been either way. I say this to preface my answers because in some sense I do believe that representatives of our govenernment have probably engaged in or approved of what many people would call torture. But merely saying that would give a false impression, lumping them in with people who are guilty of actual torture in the common mental-image sense.

a) Waterboarding can be, but is not necessarily, torture. It is not torture according to the popular definition. If someone says "I was tortured in Nam" people will assume something worse than having his head held underwater happened to him. However, it probably is torture by technical definition, but I would need to see that definition. Some definitions of torture are so inclusive as to include any form of intimidation whatsoever, while others set a much higher threshhold.

b) While I have no firsthand knowledge, my guess is that yes, agents of the U.S. have used waterboarding on captives, possibly in violation of the Geneva Convention, though this is unclear, since I think that convention only applies to the uniformed soldiers of an enemy nation. A Red Cross truck must be clearly marked and is off limits for enemy fire, but the minute those trucks get used for military purposes such as troop transport, they become fair game. Similarly, anyone claiming protection under the Geneva Convention, at least as I was taught it, must be a uniformed combatant. Once you engage in warfare as a civilian, you lose your claim to protection by the Geneva Convention. I could be wrong about that, but that's how I remember being taught it.

c) I don't know if we've used rendition to a third party, but it would not surprise me. This may be a double-standard, but it is no greater than people supporting the most repressive regimes in the world crying "torture" when they're treated almost as bad as the culture and governments they support routinely treat people. I think it might be the very kind of hubris and arrogance people are always accusing us of to assume that having other countries do interrogations according to their own standards is a violation of human rights, as though our standard is the only good one and ought to be binding on everyone. Many countries sent troops to Iraq. Why is ours the only rule and norm by which the war must be conducted? Because ours is better than everone else's? I would say yes, but point out that those who agree with me must therefore leave off their complaints about "American exceptionism" and cultural arrogance. Ours is the better standard and we ought to abide by it. If it were not so, handing people to foriegn countries to do interrogations would be no big deal. 

d) if we handed someone over to a foreign government for the purpose of letting that government torture them, then yes, that would make us complicit in whatever that country does to the prisoners, assuming we knew about it approved beforehand.

e) The U.S. has indeed held people without trial. What does one do with someone known to play a key role in an international terrorist network? It is a new situation, not adequately covered by military treaties such as the Geneva Convention or domestic law such as the Constitution. If you were president, would you order their immediate release? To whom would you take them to trial, and on what charges? I don't think our government has any incentive at all to keep people for no reason, but I do think the issue is complicated by the fact that our government doesn't know what to do with them. Since I don't know either, I guess I can't criticize.

f) I would have a hard time saying these action necessarily violate the foundations of our nation, for the simple reason that our founding fathers would have found the idea absurd that someone who was waterboarded was tortured. In a world in which sailors were routinely whipped, public executions the norm, slavery legal in the South, I think the founding fahters would have said that if the big trouble is waterboarding, we're doing pretty well. Certainly General Washington probably had worse things done to his own troops.

Lastly, I don't think much of this issue is new with the current administration. Was there a law against waterboarding under Clinton? Do we know that our military never engaged in any of these things in prior wars, or say, Kosovo? I'm not sure it is fair to consider this a Republican problem.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: grabau14 on November 27, 2007, 08:28:47 PM
Peter writes:  Lastly, I don't think much of this issue is new with the current administration. Was there a law against waterboarding under Clinton? Do we know that our military never engaged in any of these things in prior wars, or say, Kosovo? I'm not sure it is fair to consider this a Republican problem.

It was well known that Clinton would send the same types that G.W. Bush has in Gitmo to Saudi Arabia or Jordan to do much worse than what is done in Gitmo.  And no one made a peep.  It just goes to show that if you have a R behind your name, you can't do anything write but a D well than you are a saint.  (Clinton promised to have the troops home by Christmas from Kosovo.  And we are still there right now, still no one held Clinton to the fire when he had his generals order the aircraft to fire from 20,000 feet maiming and killing many.  Yet no one made a peep)

Peter, I aprreciated your analogy between John Wayne style vs. today.  It is interesting that Jack Bauer of 24 is a popular character in this country and he does the same things that this administration does (water boarding, etc...)  plus things that we do not do suh as shooting a prisoner to get him to talk. Also, do we torture our troops who go through water boarding as part of their training?
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 27, 2007, 10:11:02 PM
For heaven's sake! Peter! You have twisted yourself and your generally lucid thoughts into a quadrupled pretzel apparently to avoid even leaning towards the mere suggestion that what we are doing is wrong wrong wrong or (at least - at least !) questionable.



Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 27, 2007, 10:33:01 PM
For heaven's sake! Peter! You have twisted yourself and your generally lucid thoughts into a quadrupled pretzel apparently to avoid even leaning towards the mere suggestion that what we are doing is wrong wrong wrong or (at least - at least !) questionable.
Well, where do you think I went wrong? I never said I was avoiding even leaning toward the mere suggestion that what we are doing is questionable. I think there is a good chance that some of what we are doing (and always have done) is wrong and ought to be righted. And I think it will be. In the current context, the political overtones tend to cloud the issue. Why has waterboarding, which as far as I know is not new with this administration, suddenly become such a hot-button issue when it never really was before? If you want me to be more specific, I'll need to know what definition of torture you use. But it sounds to me like you don't want any part of "leaning toward" or "mere suggestion" or "questionable". You want me to agree with the foregone conclusion that we're a bunch of torturers because of Bush. 
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: grabau14 on November 27, 2007, 10:35:56 PM
Charles,

What is torture?

Is it torture when our military plays loud heavy metal music for a prolonged period of time or is it torture when the military does sleep deprivation?  The police do some of these techniques on murderers, rapists, etc...

Our military goes through water boarding to prepare them for it if they are captured.  I wonder why they go through that training?

When I think of torture, I think of being whipped, shot in a knee, brutal things that were done to our soldiers during many wars.  These things are terrible.  I don't think we do those things unless you watch 24.  

I thnk people need to stop reading left-wing blogs and listen to news.  The prisoners at Gitmo are treated better than any prisoner state side.  They receive gormet meals, heck they eat better than the guards.  Is that torture?  The Red Cross has reported on this and soldiers who are stationed at Gitmo have said as much.  They receive great health care.  

When our soldiers are captured, what do they receive.  Oh that's right decapitation, being set on fire.  It is truly amazing that you and others here do not point these things out.  America may have problems, but this country is the greatest country to live in and I thank God everynight for living in the freest country known to man.

Our country has done bad things and when we do, we own up to it.  But I get SICK when I read and hear things from people that defame this country.  My family has a long history of serving this nation from WW I and II, Korea, Vietnam, etc...  and their service is the stuff that keeps us this free and prosperous nation.

When my parishoners were last sent to Iraq, I gave them three things, a pocket Bible, LCMS's armed service booklet, and Luther's Whether a Soldier too can be saved.  They appreciated this. 

One more thing,

British Soldiers who have lost limbs in Iraq were in a pool rehabbing and the civilians were ridiculing them.  Those men who lost limbs should be treated like heros but they were treated like lepers.  These incidents are becoming regular events and it is a travisity. 

My rant is over. :D
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 27, 2007, 11:23:05 PM
We do not "defame" our country when we try to correct its errors, downplay its self-serving and historically inaccurate myths, denounce policies that are inhumane, refuse to accept government-sponsored lies and criticize our leaders when they are wrong. We "defame" our country when we uncritically swallow everything it does as "good" because we are doing it and we are such a terrific people with only the benefit of the world as our motivation.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 27, 2007, 11:58:38 PM
We do not "defame" our country when we try to correct its errors, downplay its self-serving and historically inaccurate myths, denounce policies that are inhumane, refuse to accept government-sponsored lies and criticize our leaders when they are wrong. We "defame" our country when we uncritically swallow everything it does as "good" because we are doing it and we are such a terrific people with only the benefit of the world as our motivation.
I don't think anyone here has done any of these things. Who has ever uncriticallly swallowed everything America does as good? But there is a certain spirit that comes with understanding the larger picture, and indeed, the point. I once discusses this with a theologian who was big into national apologies and setting the record straight, debunking self-serving myths, etc. In the afternoon of the conference he was going to Memphis to visit the MLK museum. I asked him what he would think of someone handing out pamphlets detailing MLK's extra-marital affairs. What would be the point of handing out those pamphlets? They would be true, but would you suspect that the person handing them out might be motivated by something more than mere zeal for the truth? Wouldn't you begin to suspect that this person was missing the real meaning and point of MLK, his life and mission? Well, people who are so hell-bent on making sure everyone knows about every bad thing our nation has ever done-- chapter after chapter about Japanese internment camps, Jefferson's slaves, Senator McCarthy being mean to communists, etc. strike me the same way as people who feel the need to talk a lot about MLK's sexual adventures. They're simply not getting the big picture, the point, the spirit of the thing at all. It isn't that anyone denies that the U.S. has done bad things. It is that only those who share that spirit about America, much like a certain attitude toward the Civil Rights movement, can really make valid criticisms. Chesterton said (in Orthodoxy, I think, in a chapter called "The Flag of the World") that there is a certain kind of lie that is also traitorous, and it is the man who says, "I'm sorry to say we're ruined," and he isn't sorry at all. Well, a lot of people claim to be pained to have to relate the truth about America, but I've rarely gotten the sense that it pained them. People who "regret having to be the one to have to tell the children the truth about MLK's morality" never seem to really regret it much. They don't understand.   
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: MMH on November 28, 2007, 12:05:09 AM
What is torture?

Is it torture when our military plays loud heavy metal music for a prolonged period of time or is it torture when the military does sleep deprivation?  The police do some of these techniques on murderers, rapists, etc...

Our military goes through water boarding to prepare them for it if they are captured.  I wonder why they go through that training?

When I think of torture, I think of being whipped, shot in a knee, brutal things that were done to our soldiers during many wars.  These things are terrible.  I don't think we do those things unless you watch 24. 

Matthew-

Go to the WHYY website and search around in Radio Times for one of the shows they did last week.  The speaker was ex Special Forces and a trainer for SERE.  He described waterboarding and its use in training on our forces since it is the least damaging form or torture.  But he was rather clear that it was torture because you ARE drowning, but under controlled circumstances.  It was eye opening for me.  This was not some Left wing moon bat (I have some roosting close by so I know 'em when I see 'em)



Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: John Dornheim on November 28, 2007, 12:31:42 AM
I don't think anyone here has done any of these things. Who has ever uncriticallly swallowed everything America does as good? But there is a certain spirit that comes with understanding the larger picture, and indeed, the point. I once discusses this with a theologian who was big into national apologies and setting the record straight, debunking self-serving myths, etc. In the afternoon of the conference he was going to Memphis to visit the MLK museum. I asked him what he would think of someone handing out pamphlets detailing MLK's extra-marital affairs. What would be the point of handing out those pamphlets? They would be true, but would you suspect that the person handing them out might be motivated by something more than mere zeal for the truth? Wouldn't you begin to suspect that this person was missing the real meaning and point of MLK, his life and mission? Well, people who are so hell-bent on making sure everyone knows about every bad thing our nation has ever done-- chapter after chapter about Japanese internment camps, Jefferson's slaves, Senator McCarthy being mean to communists, etc. strike me the same way as people who feel the need to talk a lot about MLK's sexual adventures. They're simply not getting the big picture, the point, the spirit of the thing at all. It isn't that anyone denies that the U.S. has done bad things. It is that only those who share that spirit about America, much like a certain attitude toward the Civil Rights movement, can really make valid criticisms. Chesterton said (in Orthodoxy, I think, in a chapter called "The Flag of the World") that there is a certain kind of lie that is also traitorous, and it is the man who says, "I'm sorry to say we're ruined," and he isn't sorry at all. Well, a lot of people claim to be pained to have to relate the truth about America, but I've rarely gotten the sense that it pained them. People who "regret having to be the one to have to tell the children the truth about MLK's morality" never seem to really regret it much. They don't understand.   

I am not sure why MLK's alleged extramarital activity would warrant much discussion at all. I should think that the only children who would need telling were the King children. So, for the rest of us, there wouldn't be much to regret.
OTOH, trying to explain the morality (or lack thereof) of the Bush Administration might be a more interesting discussion. Oh, wait a minute, they've figured it out for themselves. Another regretable discussion avoided. Phew!

John Dornheim
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 28, 2007, 08:59:40 AM
I don't think anyone here has done any of these things. Who has ever uncriticallly swallowed everything America does as good? But there is a certain spirit that comes with understanding the larger picture, and indeed, the point. I once discusses this with a theologian who was big into national apologies and setting the record straight, debunking self-serving myths, etc. In the afternoon of the conference he was going to Memphis to visit the MLK museum. I asked him what he would think of someone handing out pamphlets detailing MLK's extra-marital affairs. What would be the point of handing out those pamphlets? They would be true, but would you suspect that the person handing them out might be motivated by something more than mere zeal for the truth? Wouldn't you begin to suspect that this person was missing the real meaning and point of MLK, his life and mission? Well, people who are so hell-bent on making sure everyone knows about every bad thing our nation has ever done-- chapter after chapter about Japanese internment camps, Jefferson's slaves, Senator McCarthy being mean to communists, etc. strike me the same way as people who feel the need to talk a lot about MLK's sexual adventures. They're simply not getting the big picture, the point, the spirit of the thing at all. It isn't that anyone denies that the U.S. has done bad things. It is that only those who share that spirit about America, much like a certain attitude toward the Civil Rights movement, can really make valid criticisms. Chesterton said (in Orthodoxy, I think, in a chapter called "The Flag of the World") that there is a certain kind of lie that is also traitorous, and it is the man who says, "I'm sorry to say we're ruined," and he isn't sorry at all. Well, a lot of people claim to be pained to have to relate the truth about America, but I've rarely gotten the sense that it pained them. People who "regret having to be the one to have to tell the children the truth about MLK's morality" never seem to really regret it much. They don't understand.   

I am not sure why MLK's alleged extramarital activity would warrant much discussion at all. I should think that the only children who would need telling were the King children. So, for the rest of us, there wouldn't be much to regret.
OTOH, trying to explain the morality (or lack thereof) of the Bush Administration might be a more interesting discussion. Oh, wait a minute, they've figured it out for themselves. Another regretable discussion avoided. Phew!

John Dornheim

Thomas Jefferson's alleged extramarital affairs sure warranted a lot of discussion a few years back. It was from people trying to debunk the "self-serving myths" about our founding fathers. I doubt MLK will escape the same fate in a generation or too.

John, did the Clinton administration prohibit waterboarding? Or is that another regettable discussion avoided? The big reason these things don't get solved is that people insist on making them partisan issues. If it could be discussed in such a way that people weren't trying to get someone to vote a certain way or apologize for having voted a certain way, then maybe it could be discussed reasonably. But as long torture is all about Bush, the discussion not rise above the DialyKos comments section, which would be too bad.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on November 28, 2007, 10:26:28 AM
Quote
The big reason these things don't get solved is that people insist on making them partisan issues. If it could be discussed in such a way that people weren't trying to get someone to vote a certain way or apologize for having voted a certain way, then maybe it could be discussed reasonably. But as long torture is all about Bush, the discussion not rise above the DialyKos comments section, which would be too bad.
Quote

That is certainly true of all of us, right and left.  In the 90's it was all about Clinton, today it is all about Bush.  Many Democrats complained during the Clinton impeachment that other presidents had done the same.  That is probably true.  In the past, having "a little on the side" was the prerogative of a man of power.  Similarly, we can protest that Bush is doing nothing that other presidents haven't done.  The problem in both cases is that those things cannot be hidden in the world we live in today.  So when adultery or torture become public, no matter how common they were in the past, what do we do?  What kind of precedent does it set to say committing adultery and lying about it are okay if you are president?  What kind of precedent does it set to say that torture is the policy of the United States?  Many have attributed the increase in middle school oral sex to the Clinton scandal.  (Oral sex isn't really sex)  Recently, one of the service academies asked the show "24" to tone down the torture because it was giving cadets the wrong idea about interrogation.  People will imitate what they see their leaders or heroes doing.

As for debunking the past, I grew up in the south and absorbed a good deal of the mythology about the Civil War.  You know, the war wasn't really about slavery but states rights.  Generals Lee and Jackson were heroes.  Did it hurt me to be disabused of some of those myths.  One of the saddest things about the Civil War, apart from the death toll, was the fact that it need not have happened.  Southern leaders like Jefferson new slavery went against the principles on which our country was founded.  They knew it was not sustainable.  I think they had a guilty conscience about it.  But they failed to do what they knew was right.  That failure doomed our nation to it's most deadly war ever.  That failure of courage and conscience by men like Jefferson and Lee is something we all need to learn from.

There are a whole host of moral issues that we face today, from abortion and stem cell research to war and poverty.  We need to learn about the consequences of failing to act on what we know is right.

David Charlton
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 10, 2007, 09:21:11 PM
Here is Herod's latest effort.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22896334-2,00.html
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: ptmccain on December 10, 2007, 09:41:44 PM
Indeed.

Loved this line in the story:

"I think self-important professors with silly ideas should have to pay carbon tax for all the hot air they create," she said.
Title: Re: Herod is smiling
Post by: David Charlton on December 10, 2007, 10:08:29 PM
In another story, a leading scientist from B.F.E., Queensland reports that "many self important professors in Australia represent a potent source of harmful gas emissions for an average of 80 years, simply by pontificating on issues of the day."  ;D

David Charlton