Stark Relief



I hope the Republicans are paying attention

Ballot measure losses jolt the religious right

From the country's heartland, voters sent messages that altered America's culture wars and dismayed the religious right - defending abortion rights in South Dakota, endorsing stem cell research in Missouri, and, in a national first, rejecting a same-sex marriage ban in Arizona.

Conservative leaders were jolted by the setbacks and looked for an explanation Wednesday. Gay-rights and abortion-rights activists celebrated.

It's the religion, stupid. As mentioned later in the article:

In Missouri, anti-abortion groups, evangelical Christian clergy and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis campaigned hard against the stem cell measure, contending it would condone life-destroying embryonic research.

Debbie Forck, a Catholic from Jefferson City, Mo., was among those giving the measure a narrow victory.

"I've had several family members that have had debilitating illnesses," said Forck, 50. "It goes against my church, but to eliminate pain in my life, I thought it was worth it."

Good for you, Debbie.

The verdict on abortion rights was particularly clear. Oregon and California voters defeated measures that would have required parents to be notified before a girl under 18 could get an abortion, and South Dakotans - by a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent - rejected a new state law that would have banned all abortions except to save a pregnant woman's life.

Red-state rebellion
"This was really a rebellion in the heart of red-state, pro-life America - the heart of the northern Bible Belt," said Sarah Stoesz, head of the Planned Parenthood chapter that oversees South Dakota. "It sends a very strong message to the rest of the country."

South Dakota legislators had passed the law in expectation it would trigger a court challenge and lead to a possible Supreme Court reversal of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. Abortion-rights leaders said Wednesday that such strategies should be abandoned.

Now, if only the Republicans make the connection between religiously motivated ballot measures failing and their party's large loss yesterday. Like Debbie Forck, many Americans want to be able to live well here on Earth, regardless of the superstitions of themselves or others.


Checking in on The Moral Majority Coalition

Right after the election in 2004, I posted briefly about a new organization called the "Faith and Values Coalition", about which the Benjo Blog wrote:

It seems that the Moral Majority has been "born-again". From the AP:

Seeking to take advantage of the momentum from an election where moral values proved important to voters, the Rev. Jerry Falwell announced Tuesday he has formed a new coalition to guide an "evangelical revolution."

Falwell, a religious broadcaster based in Lynchburg, Va., said the Faith and Values Coalition will be a "21st century resurrection of the Moral Majority," the organization he founded in 1979.

Falwell said he would serve as the coalition's national chairman for four years.

He added that the new group's mission would be to lobby for anti-abortion conservatives to fill openings on the Supreme Court and lower courts, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and the election of another "George Bush-type" conservative in 2008.

It will be interesting to see how successful this group is in the next four years or so. If religion truly is on the march again, this group will have more influence culturally and politically than the Moral Majority did in the 80's. It's also interesting to see (in the story) that the board chairman will be theologian Tim LaHaye, known for his popular Left Behind series.

I checked to see how the Coalition was doing last night and I found that they had changed their name to The Moral Majority Coalition. Here's an interview with Jerry Falwell from 2004, in which he puts the third goal of the group as "voter registration beginning immediately to strengthen the president's hand in '06 and '08 and hopefully get another good George Bush-type elected in '08." Their platform has been changed to these 4 points now:

Platform # 1
The Moral Majority Coalition will conduct an intensive four-year "Voter Registration Campaign" through America's conservative churches, para-church ministries, pro-life and pro-family organizations.

Platform #2
The Moral Majority Coalition will conduct well organized "Get-Out-The-Vote Campaigns" in 2006 and 2008.

Platform #3
The Moral Majority Coalition will engage in the massive recruitment and mobilization of social conservatives through television, radio, direct mail (U.S.P.S. and Internet) and public rallies.

Platform #4
The Moral Majority Coalition will encourage the promotion of continuous private and corporate prayer for America's moral renaissance based on 2 Chronicles 7:14.

2 Chronicles 7:14

No doubt the backing away from endorsing candidates or parties directly is because "The Liberty Alliance/The Moral Majority Coalition is a not for profit educational and lobbying organization" and they would like to keep their tax-exempt status.

From their site is this timeline, to which I've added emphasis:

1973 - Thomas Road Baptist Church Founder and Pastor Jerry Falwell begins a series of meetings and conversations with theologian Francis Schaeffer (“How Should We Then Live?”). Dr. Schaeffer routinely encourages Falwell to defy traditional evangelical reasoning by taking on a policy of confronting the culture with the Gospel. In the months to come, Falwell begins to meet with conservative leaders, including Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), to formulate how Christians can begin to influence the culture, specifically in terms of the burgeoning environment of legalized abortion (initiated with the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade).

1979 - With the country in a seeming moral downfall, in April, Falwell joins with Drs. Tim and Beverly LaHaye, Dr. Charles Stanley and Dr. D. James Kennedy to launch an organization with a mission of organizing evangelical leaders who will boldly engage the culture. The Moral Majority kicks off with a pro-life, pro-traditional family, pro-national defense and pro-Israel platform.

1980 - By November, more than 100,000 evangelical pastors, conservative Cath-olic priests and orthodox rabbis have come on board along with seven million families. Add-itionally, the organization mobilizes 8.5 million new voters, largely through church-based voter registration drives, and raises $70 million to continue its efforts. The Moral Majority backs the presidential candidacy of Ronald Reagan and helps sweep him into office in dramatic fashion. In addition, 12 liberal Democrat senators and several liberal House members are also defeated, launching a new wave of political activity within the evangelical community. The political landscape is spectacularly altered.

1988 - At the end of his presidency, Ronald Reagan has appointed three Supreme Court justices and 378 federal judges and has almost single-handedly defeated the “evil empire” of communism. Continuing a close relationship with Falwell and the pro-life community, President Reagan has enhanced respect for unborn life. Most importantly, he has revived America’s esprit de corps, the combination of pride and purpose that is rooted in the values of the nation’s founding.

1989 - Determining that he must focus on the growth of Liberty University — which has today grown into an 8,100-student resident training ground for future political, social and church leaders — Falwell announces that he is disbanding the Moral Majority. The “religious right” continues to survive through the following years, but seems to decline and meander during the Clinton years.

1995 - In February, Falwell launches the National Liberty Journal. The monthly newspaper is designed to inform evangelicals on key moral and spiritual issues of the day. The publication serves as a major tool to encourage hundreds of thousands of pastors and leaders to once again conduct voter registration efforts and get-out-the-vote campaigns in 2000 and 2004.

2004 - In November, Falwell unveils The Moral Majority Coalition, an organization designed to continue the “evangelical revolution” that swept President Bush back into the White House and saw the election of many pro-life leaders to national office. Referring to TMMC as a “21st century resurrection of the Moral Majority,” Falwell, the father of the modern “religious right” political movement, commits to leading the organization for four years.

From "It’s Time for Christians to Get Out the Vote":

I don’t believe the polls accurately depict the preparedness of the conservative Christian community to vote.  Sure, I think the recent Foley scandal and other government indignities have discouraged some, but when you get down to brass tacks, these controversies don’t alter our core values.


Christians continue to want to elect those candidates that best reflect their biblical values and support the issues that have defined our movement since we swept Ronald Reagan into the Oval Office in 1980.  Our values have not changed.


As Gary Bauer, chairman of the Campaign for Working Families, says, “The right to life and traditional marriage are not wedge issues, they are winning issues.  Values issues are not distractions from the business of governing.  They are central to the survival of our republic.

And this is just disturbing:

Liberty University and Child Evangelism Fellowship announced that they are partnering in offering two new degrees in Children’s Ministry.  I believe this is an important endeavor because we must reach children with the message of Christ before they are tainted with the cynicism and corruption of the world.

Or, you know, before they are able to rationally evaluate our beliefs.

Liberty’s partnership with Child Evangelism Fellowship teams up the largest evangelical university in the world with the largest children’s ministry in the world.  It’s a natural affiliation.


CEF was founded in 1937 and operates in all 50 states and 156 nations.  In Sao Paulo, Brazil, the second-largest city in the world, CEF curriculum has been required by the government in the public schools for the past 40 years.  CEF’s focus is on children ages 5 to 12.


With 85 percent of all Christians making their decision to accept Christ during this period in their lives, it is evident that this program is more vital than ever.


Mathew D. Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and interim dean of the Liberty University School of Law, commented on this new partnership: “Our future is being shaped today in the minds and hearts of our youth.  Based on my work with children over the past several years, youth outreach has become my passion.  The lives of many children will be changed through this development.”

I don't doubt that they will be, unfortunately.


If only they had an RSS feed to make it easier to keep track of them...


Another good post on the mid-terms

This one from Andrew Medworth, especially worth reading is his reply in the comments, which starts out:

Thanks for your comment, and for linking to the SoloPassion debate. While many commenters make good and interesting points on it, some of the posts are very bad, involving sneering, name-calling and a few very fundamental misunderstandings of key philosophic concepts (”rationalism” and “concrete-bound” being two examples which spring to mind). These are not compatible with, nor are they a good advertisement for, Objectivism.

I must say I disagree with the idea that the Republicans are “jogging” towards tyranny, while the Democrats are “sprinting” towards it. The Democrats are not “sprinting” anywhere, especially not if they have nothing but small majorities in Congress. Bush will have veto power over any bill they could draft, and they will not have anything like the majority required to override that veto. And history shows that liberty does best when government is divided: some of the worst laws and the highest spending increases in American history have come under Republican government.

There is no question in my mind that a Democratic victory would improve the domestic policy scene in America - not much, but some. (And that is indeed a dire indictment of the Republicans.) The only question in my mind is over foreign policy: would a vote for the Democrats be a vote for retreat, surrender and defeat in the war against Islamic totalitarianism?

At present, my answer is no, at least not compared to a vote for the Republicans. I disagree with the assertion that the Republicans are “muddling through”, fighting a half-hearted war, and that this is better than the Democrats’ total lack of willingness to fight. The Democrats will certainly not fight the war properly. But the Republicans are actively aiding the enemy: they are fighting to establish the right of the Iraqis to vote in an Islamist, anti-American government which will be more dangerous to the United States than Saddam ever was.

Mid-Term Elections

Oh. My. God.

Where do I start? I have a ton to say/repeat, but it's been difficult to sit down and put it in writing. I'll start with a list of links that are very near to being required reading, insomuch as I can require my readers to do anything. :)

Leonard Peikoff's statement

Leonard Peikoff's DIM Hypothesis course, which can currently be listened to for free with registration [I talked about it a couple of years ago here; highly recommended and well worth the time commitment.]

C. Bradley Thompson's article "The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism"

If you have the Fall issue of The Objective Standard, I would also recommend Elan Journo's article "The Jihad on America"

Diana Hsieh has a great post from Sunday morning integrating a lot of information

Also on Sunday, Dr. John Lewis and Craig Biddle both posted on the blog of The Objective Standard, Principles In Practice

I believe that I have been vindicated in the reasons that I voted for John Kerry in 2004, and that the last 2 years have emphasized why the Republicans are so destructive to this country. Even more so than the Democrats, because they are destroying us in the name of Capitalism, Self Defense, and America and because they have [despicable, evil, religious] ideas behind them.


Of course the Republicans aren't trying to impose their superstitions on us


More on the clueless

Mike N. commented on my previous post about my experience of watching a few minutes of Hardball:

I agree with you in that I no longer get my news from the TV either. What little bit of truth you do get has to be deciphered from the false and even then it's only about 20% of what you need to know to make a rational evaluation.

I replied that while I do agree that TV news is very biased in presentation and in choosing what to present and what not to, my point is more that this news analysis program offers such patently absurd and illogical "analysis." How can anyone hear these "arguments" and be convinced, unless it's only by hearing phrases they emotionally respond to and howling in agreement, "Yeah! You tell it! Bush sucks!"

I guess I expected a little higher level of discourse here. One that wasn't patently nonsensical if you actually tried to follow their argument. Instead, I hear: "Katrina sucked. Bush didn't make it not suck. Therefore Democrats really can be trusted to govern." Either Scarborough really is a moron, or he isn't even trying to build an argument here, just getting people agreeing with him about President Bush, and then attaching another statement on that they're supposed to agree with because he uttered it right after the first part. My post title, "Are they really _this_ clueless?" could also be taken to be aimed towards the target audience of this approach.

I seriously do not think that news analysis programs were this bad at pretending to present a logical argument 10 or 20 years ago, but maybe I just wasn't as exposed to them when I was 10 or 20 years old.

I am all the more impressed with the ability of Yaron Brook to appear on such a show. I saw him on a show talking about profiling recently, and thought he did a wonderful job in such conditions. It also had someone from CAIR and I could hardly watch it due to the mixture of evasions, whining and threats that is so common from CAIR.

Why I don't recycle*

If it was valuable for a compaqny to use my trash, they would pay me for it.

Andy at the Charlotte Capitalist answers when his daughter asks, "Daddy, Why Don't We Recycle?" and today he elaborates more on Recycling.

*At work, I receive free cans of soda and juice, and every office, meeting room and cafeteria have aluminum recycling bins. I do use these, as I see them as an implicit part of the free drinks and I am willing to do with the company's trash as they see fit.