Two Cars Spinning

On the morning of June 23, 2016, I was working with my head down in a local coffeeshop. Tunes blared in my ears as I stared and typed. Then, in a moment, someone left and the room got quiet. This place was never quiet. I looked up.

At 12:09pm, a westbound silver minivan made a blind turn across four lanes of traffic and hit a small eastbound black SUV, sending both cars spinning. The crash totaled both cars, demolishing the front left corner of the SUV. I had never seen an entire wheel assembly lying on the pavement, but there it was.

 

At the scene, people swirled, helping each driver and the passengers. The woman in the SUV shook terribly, surprised that her simple trip down the hill became a nightmare. Men swept the busy street. Police arrived on the scene. EMS removed the injured woman from her car. I directed oncoming traffic to the nearest detour.

There was a palpable mourning across that intersection. We mourned the pain, the terror, the shock. We moved to help. But only one driver was at fault. 

Which brings us to the the hot topic of the last thirty-ish months: police shootings.

Instead of merely looking at a wreck the way a child does, “Wow, that’s a mess,” we should be mature in our thinking and consider the biblical claims of the following:

  1. God values human life, regardless of ethnicity, age, criminal history, socioeconomic class. All life is valuable in the first place.
  2. The government bears the sword, and in our culture that most directly means the local police force.
  3. Police officers are called to enforce laws. If they do not do so, they are putting other citizens in danger and are themselves liable for the damage criminals subsequently cause.
  4. Not all crime is equal. Please read the Old Testament. There is unquestionably a civil hierarchy of sins. “Every sin is the same” is nonsense, in this life and in the next. Some sins are culmination of years of sinning, others are momentary acts. Some give a bruise; others take a life.
  5. All unjust killing, whether of the preborn in the womb at the local Planned Parenthood (a direct slap in the face to parents) or of a citizen by a police officer, is evil and must be prosecuted.
  6. Every human is a sinner and tainted, mind, body, and soul, with sinfulness. Every human, because he is a  sinner, is an innate self-server, racist, and liar. 
  7. Sinfulness doesn’t excuse mistrust in an entire system, because you are a sinner, too. Transparency and accountability are needed.
  8. Policemen have hard jobs and are not perfect. You and I likely do not know the first thing about what it takes to approach a dangerous situation and handle everything involved. This doesn’t mean they’re always right or always wrong.
  9. It is not a sin for an authority to shoot a dangerous criminal. Please see #2 and #3.
  10. The media, being full of self-serving sinners (#6), have a vested interest in speaking half-truths and outright lies to make better “news.” This news, in these cases, is not the truth at all.
  11. The viper-tongued media puts police officers and citizens at risk. Please see the Dallas shootings and the widespread anger toward police.
  12. Marching is one thing; loving is quite another. Both have their place, but one is immeasurably more important. You also don’t have to march with people in order to love those people.
  13. Disobedience is not necessarily racism. A hatred of authority by one party (a young man, let’s say, detained by a police officer) does not necessarily equal a surface-level racism by the acting authority. The facts, instead, must come to light. The officer may have been acting in a racist fashion, or the young man may simply hate authority, or both.

Each of these can (and maybe should) be expanded into a separate post, but for now these categories are important because they help us think through issues like that of Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling, Philandro Castile, and the host of part-myth, part-real stores the media tells us. 

If this local crash were a more “sensational” story, there’s no telling how the media might have portrayed it. It might have been an issue of environmentalism, or driver brutality, or racism.

Eyewitnesses know that, in the wreck on June 23, both drivers lived. Both suffered very real damage to their lives, bodies, and potentially souls. Either driver could have avoided the wreck.

In this case, only one was at fault.

Privileged Hate

It’s really weird what’s going on in the West right now: we hate and maim and murder the least of these (children, via “abortion”) and trumpet the guilt of the “privileged” class. This madness is one reason I feel the need to respond to Dr. Christena Cleveland. 

Dr. Cleveland was asked by Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) leadership to speak to women, and men, at their recent national staff conference. We’ll leave the obvious “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over men” violation for another time and just deal with what she said, publicly and on the record. Exploring the “feminist” decision of Cru might be labeled sexist bigotry – forget that it’s addressed plainly in Scripture.

Over and over again, Dr. Cleveland wants Cru staff to feel guilty about their privileged backgrounds (how she knows all of their privileged backgrounds?). This, dear friends, is classism. Dr. Cleveland deeply wants privileged people to feel guilt over their “privilege.” Marx does much the same thing in the pages of Communist Manifesto, so it’s nothing new, really.

If classism is treating people differently based on their social or economic “class,” and it is evil, then we should also clarify the name of its brother, racism. Racism is treating any human differently, positively or negatively, based on skin color. Strangely, in the name of “racial reconciliation,” Dr. Cleveland speaks as a racist, too:

  • “Crusade needs to divest itself of whiteness and maleness,” she claims at one point.
  • The white, privileged class has “inherited a fault,” in gaining land 100+ years ago through government programs.
  • With a bit of class, race, and religious guilt, she claims, “Christians are accommodated in the West.”

The madness of liberalism is the desire to use racism to combat racism, to use murder to combat “unwanted” children, to use welfare to encourage work. The Bible does none of these. In fact, the Word of God goes to great, careful lengths to avoid racism when speaking of race, to avoid classism when speaking of class:

  • For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. Romans 10:12
  • For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace… Ephesians 2:14-15
  • Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Colossians 3:11

Phrases like “no distinction” and “there is not” teach us to stop looking at each other through the eyes of class and race. Trying to fight the fires of pride with more fiery arrogant racism is nonsense, Dr. Cleveland. Only Christ is the answer. Of him you spoke very little, seeming more interested in discussing race, class, and “white guilt.”

The Bible, conversely, is careful to condemn all of us – with actual evils we have done, not false ones – that we would come together to Christ.

 

 

Goodness Doesn’t Depend on Wanted-ness

The goodness of a child does not depend on whether or not his or her parent(s) want him or her. A parent’s estimation of a child’s value doesn’t actually determine that child’s value. Children aren’t worth only what we think.

They’re worth much more.

The problem with the whole pro-choice worldview (and, yes, they have a worldview – a system of beliefs as solid and rigid as any religion’s) is that one of its bases is the subjectivity of truth. And make no mistake, it’s a rather large base.

If a born child’s worth depends on the parent’s appraisal, said child could be rightly killed whenever he or she disappointed the parent. But when a parent determines an unborn child’s worth, this parent can commit a quiet murder and the pro-choice community applauds.

Remember, there are other manifestations of wantedness-as-worth:

  • eugenics
  • racism
  • child abuse
  • domestic abuse
  • genocide

This is why we must remind each other that a child’s worth is objective, fixed, and inherent in his or her humanity, not in his or her desirability or even usability. People are worth more than our thoughts or feelings about them precisely because they are people. Being human means being made in the image of something much bigger than ourselves.

But sin always tries to turn a human’s worth into a barometer of other’s feelings about them. The gospel, in which Jesus Christ became an unborn child, grew to an adult, lived a sinless life, died a criminal’s death, and rose from the dead, tells us that we are made to know and enjoy God. A human soul in this way has infinite value, because it is linked to its Creator.

A child’s goodness doesn’t depend on his or her wanted-ness. Jesus has already blessed the little children.

The “When” is Part of the “If”: Sharpton, Race, and Abortion

I’m so thankful for Rick Santorum and his unequivocal stand for the constitutional rights of the unborn.  In this interview at least, he’s an example of what a thoughtful, clear, gracious pro-lifer should be.  

As the video shows, Al Sharpton isn’t any of those things.  Apparently, Rev. Sharpton thinks that raising his voice raises the moral quality of his points.  It doesn’t.

Sharpton does, however, do a good job confusing the issue.  Santorum’s point is that the issue of personhood for the unborn is very similar (if not the same) as the issue of personhood for African-Americans.  Sharpton’s point is that these two issues have nothing to do with one another.  Sharpton is wrong.  Here’s why:

  1. Denying when someone becomes human is very much the same as denying that someone is human.  Sharpton says these two issues are not the same; but we all know that if the debate were over African-American personhood before, say, the age of 18, he would be quickly up in arms.  “You can’t deny personhood to blacks under 18!”  But, for the pro-death camp, we can do the same to children under the age of birth.
  2. The when is intrinsically part of the if.  The “when” is the “if” up until a certain point.  If you attach an age on personhood, then you are denying personhood to those under that age, just like we did to African-American slaves.
  3. The when is subsumed under the if.  Not only is the question of “when” part of the question of “if,” it is also a subset of it. In any discussion of “if,” the “when” must always be agreed upon.  

To put it another way, everyone agrees that US citizens were wrong to treat African-American slaves as non-citizens, as less than full people, as less than human.  So, before that was changed with the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, were we not in the wrong when we treated them as non-persons? If a 45-year-old man became a citizen on July 9, 1868, were we not wrong to deny him personhood when he was 44, or 35, or 12, or 2?  Was not our failure in “if” also a failure in “when”?

History, logic, and the Bible say yes, which is why Rev. Sharpton’s argument fails, at whatever volume.

HT: Hermonta Godwin

The Racism of Welfare

“The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn’t do, what Jim Crow couldn’t do, what the harshest racism couldn’t do – and that is to destroy the black family.”

says George Mason University economist Walter Williams in a recent Wall Street Journal interview on his new autobiography, Up from the Projects.

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