Thursday, April 28, 2005

Free Will v. Determinism

There's a good discussion on Evangelical Outpost about the perennial philosophical problem of free will vs. determinism. The discussion specifically addresses the difficulty in reconciling human freedom with God's sovereignty. The thread was triggered by a "tormented youth" who is seeking an answer to this conundrum, and there are a number of interesting responses in the comment section.

Liberal Humor

The left has demonstrated time and again that many of them suffer from an apparently incurable case of arrested development. Their political discourse is often characterized by an adolescent nastiness, and their attempts at humor are generally unfunny, tasteless, and incredibly juvenile. This report of a skit on the left-wing radio network Air America is just the latest example:

Government officials are reviewing a skit which aired on the network Monday evening -- a skit featuring an apparent gunshot warning to the president!

The announcer: "A spoiled child is telling us our Social Security isn't safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here's your answer, you ungrateful whelp: [audio sound of 4 gunshots being fired.] Just try it, you little bastard. [audio of gun being cocked]."

The audio production at the center of the controversy aired during opening minutes of The Randi Rhodes Show.

"What's with all the killing?" Rhodes said, laughing, after the clip aired.

Hilarious, isn't it?

Janice Rogers Brown

Now we know why the left is so desperate to keep the daughter of Alabama sharecroppers off the federal bench. The LATimes(free registration required) has an account of a talk Judge Janice Rogers Brown gave last Sunday. Here are some of the key points in the Times' report:

Just days after a bitterly divided Senate committee voted along party lines to approve her nomination as a federal appellate court judge, California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown told an audience Sunday that people of faith were embroiled in a "war" against secular humanists who threatened to divorce America from its religious roots, according to a newspaper account of the speech.

"There seems to have been no time since the Civil War that this country was so bitterly divided. It's not a shooting war, but it is a war," she said, according to a report published Monday in the Stamford Advocate.

"These are perilous times for people of faith," she said, "not in the sense that we are going to lose our lives, but in the sense that it will cost you something if you are a person of faith who stands up for what you believe in and say those things out loud."

The Advocate quoted Brown as lamenting that America had moved away from the religious traditions on which it was founded. "When we move away from that, we change our whole conception of the most significant idea that America has to offer, which is this idea of human freedom and this notion of liberty," she said.

She added that atheism "handed human destiny over to the great god, autonomy, and this is quite a different idea of freedom.... Freedom then becomes willfulness."

"No wonder the radical left opposes her," Gary Bauer, president of the advocacy group American Values wrote in an e-mail to supporters. "Janice Rogers Brown understands the great culture war raging in America. That is why the abortion crowd, the homosexual rights movement and the radical secularists are all demanding that Senate liberals block her confirmation."

Brown was first nominated by President Bush in 2003 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, an appointment considered a steppingstone to the U.S. Supreme Court. She has emerged as one of the president's most controversial judicial nominees - and one of the conservative movement's favorite examples of Democratic delays.

Democrats blocked Brown's confirmation by the full Senate, charging that she held extremist views that interfere with her ability to render objective judgments. She has a history of delivering provocative speeches.

Democrats have questioned speeches in which she called the New Deal the "triumph of our socialist revolution." She has described herself as a "true conservative" who believes that "where the government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates.... The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible."

Questioned in 2003 about her comments, Brown conceded that she was blunt when addressing conservative audiences. "I don't have a speechwriter," she said. "I do these myself. And it speaks for itself."

"It's so shocking that in the middle of this battle she would say such extraordinarily intemperate things," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Two religious leaders who heard Brown speak Sunday had only praise. The Rev. Michael R. Moynihan, pastor of a church in Greenwich, Conn., and an organizer of the Red Mass, said he was impressed with Brown.

"She caused all of us to reflect more profoundly on the intersection between law and morality, and on the role of religion in shaping those virtues and values, which are crucial to our democratic way of life," said Bishop William E. Lori, the head of the Bridgeport diocese, who invited Brown to address the group.

The Reverend Barry Lynn is "shocked" that the judge would say such outrageous things in the middle of her confirmation battle. He evidently can't comprehend that a judicial nominee would actually want people to know where she stood and what she thinks. He calls her remarks "intemperate" as though it were somehow scandalous to acknowledge what anyone who has one eye half open can plainly see, that we are in the midst of a struggle for the culture with those who wish to turn the United States into Sweden.

It's a peculiarity of this struggle that those who hold to views that have been commonplace in this nation for over two hundred years are labelled extremist by those who are eager to overturn traditional beliefs about religion, sexuality, marriage, and family.

Apparently, for such as Mr. Lynn statements of the obvious should have no place in our political discourse, and people who believe what Janice Brown believes are ipso facto unsuited to serve on the federal bench. The left recoils in sanctimonious horror from the accusation that they are deliberately seeking to exclude people from the judiciary based upon their religious beliefs, but anyone who can't see that this is so can look at a clear sky at noon and fail to see the sun.

Judge Brown said in her talk that "it will cost you something if you are a person of faith who stands up for what you believe in and say those things out loud." Indeed. Liberal Democrats and their groupies, like Barry Lynn, will do all they can to make you pay for being an uppity Christian. They are unwitting proof that what she says about the culture war is on the mark.