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CBS’s newest Tebow hater

A writer at CBS Sports hates Tim Tebow. I’m shocked, shocked!

Why the written rage? (Hint: it isn’t about football…)

Tebow has agreed to speak at a hateful Baptist preacher’s church, an evangelical cretin named Robert Jeffress…

Pump your brakes there, sports boy: “Hateful” and “cretin” don’t go with “evangelical.”

What follows is the real reason for the writer’s angst: all writing, including sports writing, is autobiographical.

Tebow’s religious views are not mine…

So the real reason for the Tim Tebow hate—the same sort of “hate” sports writer deplores—is this: Tebow will be a speaker at a church where the pastor doesn’t hold the same values the writer.

Since sports writer doesn’t approve of the pastor’s thoughts, by extension, Tim Tebow is worthy of all derision. (And by further extension, were Tebow to appear at a prison, sports writer would think he’s a criminal.)

The left tells us tolerance and diversity based on race and gender is a good thing. However, by their words, we can see tolerance and diversity based on differing religious views is a bad thing (unless one is a member of the religion of peace). Opiates of the masses and all that. The left believes the people only need the welfare state as their true opiate and our “free press” as the opiate delivery system.

I would imagine if Tebow had only picked his engagements and issues in a more politically correct manner, sports writer would by good with it. A more PC manner would include (for example) consorting with a domestic terrorist, condemning waterboarding, hanging with Al Sharpton for some fun with smoke and fire, advocating for gun control, homosexuality, abortions, and pre-marital sex, and/or speaking at a Scientology temple.

This sort of diversity—the rigid and disingenuous “diversity” of the left—would make Tim Tebow OK.

Why? Because it would mean he’s one of their own.

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Cafeteria Christianity; Cafeteria Catholicism

Barack Obama is the epitome of cafeteria Christianity while his partner and the Administration’s thought-leader (Joe Biden, not Michelle Obama) is the face of cafeteria Catholicism.

And just as you can pick and choose at a cafeteria, Barry and Joe have picked and chosen.

Traditional Christian and Catholic stances on homosexual marriage, abortion, black-liberation theology, illegitimacy, right and wrong absolutes, and a guilt-free hook-up culture (pre-marital sex, homosexual sex, and extra-marital sex)? On such topics the Administration has de-selected traditional guidance.

On topics like the state stepping in to provide “free” food stamps, Obamaphones, public housing, healthcare, contraception, cash benefits, and high-speed internet, beating our swords into plowshares, turning the other cheek as Americans are murdered in Benghazi, and rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s? With these, Christian and Catholic guidance is claimed.

If you harbor politically incorrect ideas, you’re guilty of one or more self-selected hate/thought crimes. If you want to abort a child, it’s a state-sanctioned issue of personal choice. If you prefer Dr. Pepper over Coke, it’s an issue of personal taste (so long as neither are super-sized). If you prefer homosexual relationships over heterosexual relationships, you were born that way.

Finally, does Mr. Obama think his mother was “punished with a baby”? (Based on his record, America has certainly been so punished…)

P.S.—if a man in a homosexual marriage (or is the term actually an oxymoron?) cheats on his partner, is that adultery? So much to litigate, so little time. And on a related note, is homosexual marriage an invention of the legal community?

The difference between The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated

The difference between The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated is simple and profound.

TSN will run an article like this (in which USC quarterback Matt Barkley’s Christian faith is an essential issue); Sports Illustrated would not.

Watch what they do AND what they say

By its actions, the Obama Administration is clearly interested in tearing down the traditional ethics and institutions that made America great.

Homosexual marriage? Obama is (now) for it; natural families are so 20th century. Hard work and individual success? You didn’t build that. Voter fraud? Obama is still for it (and against military voters). Destroying the Bill Clinton-era welfare reform? The imperial Barry Oh! is all-in on taking and then giving away other people’s money (as long as it doesn’t hurt Obama’s Hollywood ATM or other favored constituencies).

But tearing down traditional Americanism for what purpose (other than to simply tear it down/watch it burn)?

There is only one explanation that makes any sense—the Administration and its front-man are in it to remake America into their desired vision, one no longer constrained by antiquated ideas like the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

This America would be ruled by an (asserted to be) wise, loving, and benevolent government matriarch who will possess an all-powerful ability to settle squabbles, reallocate allowances, assign chores, and determine what can and can’t be said at the supper table (or anywhere else). Uncle Sam gives way to Big Brother who becomes Big Mother.

While history indicates this type of vision results in national or even global level fails—think world wars and national socialism, communism, and today’s slow-motion fail or soft-state socialism AKA the welfare state—these lessons of history are explained away by the President and his surrogates with made-up “composites,” unprovable assertions (or outright lies), and vapid logic.

And the truth? The Administration would say truth is just a construct for the powerful to suppress the weak (and since they hold political power… oh, it would be too much typing).

But I believe the truth, real truth, is still here, available to all of us. And it isn’t in the form of a government…

Faith no more?

Obama once said his Christian faith prevented him from supporting homosexual marriage.

Now, he’s flipped and does. But that presents a few disconnects.

Is it uncouth to point out that in 2004, when it was politically convenient for him, Obama argued that his religious faith dictated that marriage should be between a man and a woman? Now his faith dictates the opposite. What has changed during the last eight years isn’t the Golden Rule or the words and teachings of Jesus, the New Testament, or the Hebrew Bible; it is what is most politically expedient for a certain politician from Chicago.

Here are some other possible explanations: (Christian) faith no more? Full-blown cognitive dissonance? Maybe an extra-Biblical divine revelation?

And what does the President think Jesus Christ would have said about homosexual marriage?

Why Does Christianity Exist?

I’m not Catholic, but this, from the text of the of Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, is powerful stuff:

There is only one basic reason why Christianity exists and that is the fact that Jesus Christ truly rose from the grave.

The disciples never expected the resurrection. The unanimous testimony of all four Gospels is that the terrible death of Jesus on the cross entirely dashed all their hopes about Jesus and about his message. He was dead, and that was the end of it. They looked for nothing more, and they expected nothing more.

So as much as they had loved him, in their eyes Jesus was a failed messiah. His dying seemed to entirely rob both his teaching and even his miracles of any lasting significance.

And they were clearly terrified that his awful fate, at the hands of the Sanhedrin and the Romans, could easily become their awful fate. So they hid, trembling with terror, behind shuttered windows and locked doors.

When the Risen Christ suddenly appeared in their midst, their reaction was shocked incredulity. They simply could not believe their own eyes.

Snip:

There is no other explanation for Christianity. It should have died out and entirely disappeared when Christ died and was buried, except for the fact that Christ was truly risen, and that during the 40 days before his Ascension, he interacted with his Apostles and disciples, and on one occasion even with hundreds of his followers.

But our Faith, when it is fully lived, is a fighting faith and a fearless faith. Grounded in the power of the resurrection, there is nothing in this world, and nothing in hell, that can ultimately defeat God’s one, true, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

For 2,000 years the enemies of Christ have certainly tried their best. But think about it. The Church survived and even flourished during centuries of terrible persecution, during the days of the Roman Empire.

The Church survived barbarian invasions. The Church survived wave after wave of Jihads. The Church survived the age of revolution. The Church survived Nazism and Communism.

And in the power of the resurrection, the Church will survive the hatred of Hollywood, the malice of the media, and the mendacious wickedness of the abortion industry.

So what does it mean today?

The Church will survive the entrenched corruption and sheer incompetence of our Illinois state government, and even the calculated disdain of the President of the United States, his appointed bureaucrats in HHS, and of the current majority of the federal Senate.

May God have mercy on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil.

As Christians we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, but as Christians we must also stand up for what we believe and always be ready to fight for the Faith. The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction.

In our own families, in our parishes, where we live and where we work – like that very first apostolic generation – we must be bold witnesses to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We must be a fearless army of Catholic men, ready to give everything we have for the Lord, who gave everything for our salvation.

Can we learn from the past? Hopefully:

Remember that in past history other governments have tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches like the first disciples locked up in the Upper Room.

In the late 19th century, Bismarck waged his “Kulturkampf,” a Culture War, against the Roman Catholic Church, closing down every Catholic school and hospital, convent and monastery in Imperial Germany.

Clemenceau, nicknamed “the priest eater,” tried the same thing in France in the first decade of the 20th Century.

Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.

In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama – with his radical, pro abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.

Now things have come to such a pass in America that this is a battle that we could lose, but before the awesome judgement [sic] seat of Almighty God this is not a war where any believing Catholic may remain neutral.

The way ahead is clear, regardless:

No matter what happens in this passing moment, at the end of time and history, our God is God and Jesus is Lord, forever and ever.

Well said, Bishop Jenky!

When is a “Reverend” not a “Reverend”?

What is a “reverend”? A reverend, simply stated, is a traditional Christian prefix for the clergy.

And yet, CBS reports:

The Detroit reverend who shouted that residents would “burn the city down” if the state approves an emergency financial oversight board defended himself and lobbed even more racial bombs during a radio appearance this week.

Who is the aforementioned “reverend”?

Rev. Malik Shabazz [who] called the Charlie Langton Talk Radio 1270 morning show where he spent an entire hour discussing the disastrous state of Detroit.

OK, that’s the Rev.’s name, but who is Malik Shabazz? The Anti-Defamation League tells us

Malik Zulu Shabazz, the anti-Semitic and racist leader of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), has sought to recast himself as a serious civil rights leader in recent years by cloaking his bigotry and intolerance in religious and civil rights principles and inserting himself in high profile, racially charged issues around the country. 

OK, but that still doesn’t answer the whole “reverend” thing. But this comes closer:

As National Chairman of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), which he has led since the death of its former leader, Khallid Abdul Muhammad, in 2001, Shabazz has maintained his predecessor’s legacy of bigotry as well as the NBPP’s status as the largest anti-Semitic and racist black militant group in the U.S.

…“There is no division in the Black nation. The Nation of Islam and the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense are one,” Shabazz said.

So is Shabazz a “reverend” in the Nation of Islam?

That might better explain why the “Reverend” has said some things which don’t align in any way with Christianity:

During a protest in front of the B’nai B’rith building in Washington, D.C. (April 20, 2002), Shabazz led chants of:

    “death to Israel,” “the white man is the devil,” and “Jihad.” Shabazz also said, “Kill every goddamn Zionist in Israel! Goddamn little babies, goddamn old ladies! Blow up Zionist supermarkets!”

While all this is useful in understanding Shabaaz as a part of the race-grievance industry, I’m still at a loss as to which denomination ordained him, thus rendering him, according to CBS, a “Reverend.”

Could this be a CBS effort to lump all “religious” leaders into one bin, regardless of their actual beliefs (and thereby demonstrating all their nuttiness)? Or is it an issue of attempting to denigrate Christianity by association with a racist? Or is it mere laziness/carelessness?

Christian Persecution Around The World

From National Review, The World’s Worst Religious Persecutors, written by Nina Shea:

This year, Uscirf named 16 countries as the most egregious and systematic religious freedom violators in the world and recommended them for official “Country of Concern” (CPC) designation by the U.S. State Department. They are:

Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, (north) Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

I thought Afghanistan should be on the list as well and said so in my dissent, which is excerpted further down in this column.

What to do? If the United States government—largely the President and the State Department—cares about this issue, they can address it through U.S. national power. The most common national power “model” is the DIME, an acronym representing the diplomatic, information, military, and economic elements of national power.

Of the nations on the list, the U.S. government would likely categorize the Saudis, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, and Egypt as allies, either current, recent, conditional, or historical. It’s also interesting that bad actors like Somalia and Syria are not on the list, nor, as Shea notes, is Afghanistan.

But the fact Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq are on the list is a compelling reason to develop our existing energy resources to the maximum extent practicable (meaning solar, wind, algae, electric cars, etc. no longer receive preferential treatment and oil, coal, nuclear, and natural gas do). Why? To use our own economic power to be able to create more effective diplomatic pressure.

What DIME options remain for the others? China is significantly more difficult based on their vast manufacturing capability, their military power, and the large amount of U.S. debt they hold. Vietnam lives in a shadow of fear of China and would like the U.S. as a counterbalance. Turkey is a NATO member who has been trending Islamist for some time. Pakistan is a nuclear weapons power and little else; North Korea has nuclear weapons without the numbers or delivery systems like Pakistan. And Egypt: how’s that U.S. endorsement of the revolution working out?

Nigeria is oil-rich and has been feeding at the Chinese buffet for some time. The others are fourth-rate powers the U.S. is unlikely to care about, except perhaps to counter China, or possibly, Russia.

More from Shea’s column (and emphasis added):

Christians are far from the only religious group persecuted in these countries. But, Christians are the only group persecuted in each and every one of them. This pattern has been found by sources as diverse as the Vatican, Open Doors, Pew Research Center, Newsweek, and The Economist, all of which recently reported that an overwhelming majority of the religiously persecuted around the world are Christians. Globally, this persecution is experienced by all Christian faith traditions from Pentecostal and evangelical to Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox.

Is the reason the overwhelming majority of the persecuted are Christians because a) Christians are more likely than other religions to take the persecution these states dish out, b) because these nations view Christianity as dangerous, c) some combination of the above, d) something else, like there simply are more Christians?

Personally, I suspect “b.” Christianity can be dangerous, and as Dietrich Bonhoeffer knew, costly. That’s why the National Socialists created a state “church” on behalf of the Third Reich, the German Christians. The German Christians—who were Christian only in name and arguably, heritage—did not observe the essential tenets of historical Christianity and were part of an attempt to create a non-Biblical and state-approved religion that would instead, benefit its masters.

The Silence of the (Media) Lambs

From NewsBusters comes the Tom Blumer post Not News: Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Calls For ‘Destruction of All Churches in Region’.

The crux of the post is the media has ignored the call of the Grand Mufti, the highest Islamic law authority in Saudi Arabia, to destroy Christian churches on the Saudi peninsula.

But silence for what reason(s)?

In my view, that leaves two possible motivations for establishment press organizations not treating this as the news it really is. The easier and obvious one is that they don’t want us to know. The second is that the Arab state paymaster arrangement first disclosed six years ago, where supposedly reputable news organizations are being paid to present news about the Middle East and Islam in as favorable a light as possible while dumping on Israel at every opportunity, is still in place and as strong as ever.

Or both.

Think an Arab state paymaster arrangement sounds kinda conspiratorial? Then what would you think about the Saudi funded Middle East studies programs—in schools of all sorts, not just colleges—here in the U.S.?

As Depeche Mode would say, enjoy the silence.

Enjoy the silence of the media lambs

Obama and the Bible

You may have heard the question If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be any evidence to convict you?

Now take that question and turn it on its head: if you were accused of not being a Christian, would there be any evidence to convict you?

Based on the axiom that actions speak louder than words, you’d have to say the President is clearly not one of those who clings to his religion.

Is it possible to be a Christian without any external evidence? Absolutely. Think of the concept of cultural Christianity.

The Bible, Barack Obama Translation

First, the line of the day from Jerry Bowyer at Forbes:

The government can only be our shepherd if we are its sheep…

Bowyer’s article re-addresses the President’s comments at the 2012 National Prayer Breakfast, which include a somewhat-tangled, but perhaps heart-felt (like the Jefferson Bible?) Presidential theology.

Here is a passage of much discussion from a transcript of the President’s speech:

…But part of that belief comes from my faith in the idea that I am my brother’s keeper and I am my sister’s keeper…

One of Bowyer’s big points is that the President’s comment takes the context of the phrase and turns it on its head. The am I my brother’s keeper? phrase is actually used mockingly in Genesis by Cain after he has killed his brother. It constitutes a part of Cain’s lie to God.

At least one theologian has said the three most important things in Biblical study are context, context, and context. That’s why systematic theology, what the whole of the Bible says about the whole of a subject, is so important and cherry-picking verses may result in grievous error(s).

(And of course, since we live in a post-modern PC world, my sister’s keeper must be explicitly added.)

Bowyer’s biggest point is the President attempts to use the Bible to justify his social-political positions. The poor you will always have with you was somehow left out of Obama’s speech, perhaps because of its inconvenient truth and the fact the rest of the verse encouraged the disciples to focus on Christ, first and foremost. Also ignored in the President’s speech is the whole he who does not work should not eat idea.

An important part of the poor you will always have with you passage is not that we shouldn’t help the poor, but that there is always more to be done than there is time and money to do, and beyond that, there are even more important things to first pursue, or as Steven Covey might say, Put first things first.

Is this cherry-picking on my part or avoidance by omission on the President’s part (better, the part of his speechwriters)?

Of course, the President could have explicitly leaned on the give to Caesar what is Caesar’s idea since he is the closest thing we have to Caesar. Along this line, it seems he wants the nation (ideally, the people to include the the legislature–in the name of bipartisanship–but if not them, at least the courts and our myriad bureaucrats) to provide his desired social-political outcomes. Naturally, these outcomes are veiled in language like sound decision making and smart policies. After all, who could be for unsound decisions or foolish policies?

However, calling on us to give to Washington what is Washington’s (and especially when the government establishes its own boundaries and thus becomes the de facto grantor of rights versus having a Creator who has bestowed on us certain unalienable Rights) is a risky political position; saying such a thing with an out-loud Presidential voice would be most unimaginable. Now as to Joe Biden saying such a thing, that’s another story…

Finally, since the President mentioned the need to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, I have to wonder if that’s an anti-abortion reference.

No, after pondering my own question for a full nanosecond, I think it’s just me.

(Image courtesy of Thepeoplescube.com. Brilliant!)

The Jeremy Lin Problem?

David Brooks writes an article entitled The Jeremy Lin Problem. The problem with Brooks’ title—and article—is that there is no problem.

The issue (as I’ll call it) according to Brooks’ hypothesis, is that Lin is “a religious person in professional sports” which leads to the “moral ethos of sport” being “in tension with the moral ethos of faith.”

The moral universe of modern sport is oriented around victory and supremacy. The sports hero tries to perform great deeds in order to win glory and fame. It doesn’t really matter whether he has good intentions. His job is to beat his opponents and avoid the oblivion that goes with defeat.

The modern sports hero is competitive and ambitious. (Let’s say he’s a man, though these traits apply to female athletes as well). He is theatrical. He puts himself on display.

He is assertive, proud and intimidating. He makes himself the center of attention when the game is on the line. His identity is built around his prowess. His achievement is measured by how much he can elicit the admiration of other people — the roar of the crowd and the respect of ESPN.

His primary virtue is courage — the ability to withstand pain, remain calm under pressure and rise from nowhere to topple the greats.

That’s where Brooks’ athletic analogy goes off the rails. Rather, an athlete’s primary virtue is an ability to perform the skills required for the sport being executed.

This is what we go to sporting events to see. This sporting ethos pervades modern life and shapes how we think about business, academic and political competition.

But there’s no use denying — though many do deny it — that this ethos violates the religious ethos on many levels. The religious ethos is about redemption, self-abnegation and surrender to God.

At this point, Brooks’ theology has also departed the building. Without attempting to cherry-pick Scripture (emphasis added below), there is 1 Corinthians 10:31: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. I think sports fall in the “whatever you do” category.

How about Colossians 3:17? And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Again, sports can be considered under the umbrella of “whatever you do.”

Or 1 Peter 4:11? If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. Yes, “in all things” does include sports.

Ascent in the sports universe is a straight shot. You set your goal, and you climb toward greatness. But ascent in the religious universe often proceeds by a series of inversions: You have to be willing to lose yourself in order to find yourself; to gain everything you have to be willing to give up everything; the last shall be first; it’s not about you.

For many religious teachers, humility is the primary virtue. You achieve loftiness of spirit by performing the most menial services. (That’s why shepherds are perpetually becoming kings in the Bible.) You achieve your identity through self-effacement. You achieve strength by acknowledging your weaknesses. You lead most boldly when you consider yourself an instrument of a larger cause.

The most perceptive athletes have always tried to wrestle with this conflict. Sports history is littered with odd quotations from people who try to reconcile their love of sport with their religious creed — and fail.

Ah, I like that part better but Brooks still fails to grasp that sports is not life, nor is it “religion” (except perhaps for SEC football. I also suspect one of the NFL’s goals is to make itself as much a religion as SEC football).

Jeremy Lin has wrestled with this tension quite openly. In a 2010 interview with the Web site Patheos, Lin recalled, “I wanted to do well for myself and my team. How can I possibly give that up and play selflessly for God?”

Lin says in that interview that he has learned not to obsess about stats and championships. He continues, “I’m not working hard and practicing day in and day out so that I can please other people. My audience is God. … The right way to play is not for others and not for myself, but for God. I still don’t fully understand what that means; I struggle with these things every game, every day. I’m still learning to be selfless and submit myself to God and give up my game to Him.”

The odds are that Lin will never figure it out because the two moral universes are not reconcilable….

I disagree. It seems Lin (along with Tim Tebow and plenty of others) has figured it out quite nicely.

Jeremy Lin is now living this creative contradiction. Much of the anger that arises when religion mixes with sport or with politics comes from people who want to deny that this contradiction exists and who want to live in a world in which there is only one morality, one set of qualities and where everything is easy, untragic and clean. Life and religion are more complicated than that.

“Anger”? Where’s the anger we see in ‘mixing’ religion with sports or politics, David? The anger I see is that aimed towards Biblical Christianity, Jews around the world, and Israel by secularists and other religions. It may have a lot to do with politics (and power), but it has nothing to do with sport.