Daily Archives: 9 Feb 2010

The Prop 8 Trial Judge is Gay? Well So Much For Impartiality

The federal judge in the California Proposition 8 “gay marriage” case apparently is himself a homosexual — a fact that has been known for months by attorneys involved in the case but one that only became public when it was discussed in a San Francisco Chronicle Sunday column. The newspaper’s Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross said Judge Vaughn Walker’s sexual preference was the “biggest open secret” in the landmark trial, which could result in “gay marriage” being legalized in all 50 states. Walker, 65, is not married.

Not convinced?

“We have no idea whether the report is true or not,” Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, an organization that supports Prop 8, wrote in an e-mail to constituents. “But we do know one really big important fact about Judge Walker: He’s been an amazingly biased and one-sided force throughout this trial, far more akin to an activist than a neutral referee. That’s no secret at all.”

Still not convinced?

Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, wrote in a blog at NationalReview.com that Walker’s actions have shown that he is intent “to use the case to advance the cause of same-sex marriage.” Walker should have recused himself, Whelan argued.

Sounds to me like simply another case of a crusading Judge using the bench to usurp the majority and impose a narrow view. I wonder how he will rule… (I don’t really).

Schadenfreude At Pompous Dimwittery

This made me laugh.

Leading French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy has been caught red-faced for praising the work of a philosopher who, it turns out, was invented as a joke by a journalist from a satirical daily. In his latest book “De la guerre en philosophie” (Making war in philosophy), Levy quoted Jean-Baptiste Botul, an expert on German philosopher Immanuel Kant created by journalist Frederic Pages. Levy acknowledged late Monday that he had often quoted Botul’s work “The sex life of Immanuel Kant” during many public appearances and in the pages of his latest book. “As it turns out, it was a hoax,” admitted the author in an opinion piece posted on the website of his magazine La Regle du Jeu.

Oh yes, that’s funny.  The pompous caught in their own web.  It’s like watching some biblical scholars and theologians quote rubbish and act like it’s earth shattering and mind blowing.  Pompous dimwittery.  Priceless.

Google Buzz? Isn’t That A Style of Haircut?

A style, if I recall, that doesn’t leave much behind.

Whatever it means, Buzz apparently aims to usurp Twitter and Facebook in the sin blackened hearts of internet-dom’s social climbers.

Of course I’ll have to check it out.

The Best of the Web

If you want to know which sites – related to the field of biblical studies and theology – are the best of the web- here they are:

The Best Archaeology Blog – The ASOR Blog

The Best New Testament Blog – NT Gateway Blog

The Best Old Testament Blog – The Old Testament Audio Blog

The Best Dead Sea Scrolls Blog – Dr Robert Cargill

The Best English Language Theology Blog (General) – Ben Myers

The Best English Language Theology Blog (Reformed) – Heidelblog

The Best German Language Theology Blog – Theoblog

The Best All Around Theology, Church History, and Biblical Studies Blog – It’s right here!

Of the making of lists there is no end.  That’s my list.  And those really are the best of the lot (with the exception of the last one, which I included only because there has to be a bit of self effacement spattered in amongst our doings.  Otherwise we take ourselves too seriously and no one else takes us seriously at all- and rightly).

Not So Fast, There, Mister

George Thomas, one of the 5 involved (and 4 convicted so far) in the brutal kidnapping, carjacking, rape, torture, and murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom will not be granted the acquittal his lawyer was seeking, a judge announced today.

A judge has denied an acquittal Tuesday for George Thomas, one of three men convicted in the Christian-Newsom murders. Thomas was convicted in December 2009 and sentenced to life in prison without parole. His attorneys had filed a motion for acquittal, but Judge Richard Baumgartner, the presiding judge in the trial, ruled that the state’s case was “well presented.” The judge upheld Thomas’ conviction after reviewing the pleadings, evidence and state law.

Good.

The last defendant in the case, Vanessa Coleman, is due to stand trial in May.

Good. And if you aren’t from the Knoxville area you probably have never heard of the case. You should familiarize yourself with it. It shows what happens when drugs, evil, and a pack mentality all combine. Just follow the link above and scroll down to the bottom of the page- there’s plenty there to keep you occupied for quite a while.

Total Depravity: The Israeli Edition

This guy reminds me of Charles Manson.  Not that he’s killed anyone- but his persona, methods, and manipulations.  You’ll have to read the whole account- it’s too much even to excerpt properly.

Is Frankincense A Cure for Cancer?

The gift given by the wise men to the baby Jesus probably came across the deserts from Oman. The BBC’s Jeremy Howell visits the country to ask whether a commodity that was once worth its weight in gold could be reborn as a treatment for cancer.

Read the whole piece.

Religious Indoctrination?

So what’s it called when atheist teachers indoctrinate their students with their point of view?  Education? I suppose they would so aver.

One mans indoctrination, though, is another mans instruction.

A California community college professor has read from the Bible in class and expressed anti-abortion views as fact, students and civil rights advocates say.

Oh how horrible! How could he dare express his views??? The scoundrel… (said sarcastically).

Fresno City College President Cynthia Azari wouldn’t comment on the accusations against Department of Health Sciences Professor Bradley Lopez, citing confidentiality issues. But a taped lecture obtained by KMPH-TV, Fresno, Calif., and aired Monday reveals Lopez calling abortion “murder.”

Well it is murder. So he’s in trouble for telling the truth? What absurdity. If an atheist instructor said abortion was the right of the mother to be and none of anyone else’s business that would be his opinion and I bet no one would raise an eyebrow. Hence, the double standard of academia is on display yet again.

Two students have submitted grievances against the teacher. One, Jacqui Mahaffey, told the broadcaster, “He actually read the Bible in a couple of occasions and expressed his opinion on homosexuality.”

Oh the terror!!!!! He should be drawn and quartered… (said sarcastically).

Of course the ACLU is getting its nose in on things:

The American Civil Liberties Union asserts the professor has created a “hostile environment” for gay and lesbian students. Elizabeth Gill, staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California, told KMPH, “A health science instructor is basically using the classroom as a pulpit to teach religious indoctrination.

Please… what an absurdity. Again, if gays and lesbians were put on display as the prime examples of what it means to be a human being, the ACLU wouldn’t say a word about the poor Christians in the room for whom an environment of hostility would then exist.

Academic study is about the pursuit of truth. You can’t pursue the truth if you don’t examine every issue from every side. So if you want real indoctrination, exclude religious thought and religious people from discourse. Hire all atheists and pagans and wiccans and spiritualists and Oprah-ists and let the folly flow. That way, American students can be dumber than they already are.  But then that’s what atheists want- idiots filling the world, like themselves.

Total Depravity: The Meth Maker

Since this report concerns doings in the County in which I live, I find it particularly meaningful that the woman sentenced has been sentenced for as long as she has.  And though I hope her purported ‘jail house conversion’ is real, I’ve seen such false conversions so many times you can’t believe it.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports

“Girlfriend, you’re looking at a long prison term,” Senior U.S. District Judge Leon Jordan said as he doled out a 135-month sentence – more than 11 years – for 53-year-old Deborah Phillips.

Phillips has been in and out of jail numerous times, and

Phillips’ record is littered with state court convictions and violations of the probationary terms she often received via the state judicial system. Jordan told her to expect no such leniency in the federal system.

Indeed. The local system operates on what can only be called a ‘catch and release’ mentality. Catch ’em, and let ’em go to carry on their illegal and deadly activities. This is particularly true now, since it’s an election year for Sheriff here. Drug busts have become routine but the amazing thing is, the persons arrested are normally seen around town that very day or within 3 at most. It’s a local joke really.

Assistant Federal Defender Kim Tollison noted that it was Phillips’ cooperation with federal authorities that allowed authorities to bust up a meth-making ring in Morgan and Roane Counties.

And this is what’s so enraging about the system- criminals make deals to roll over on other criminals and those criminals roll over on other criminals and they all get a ‘deal’ so no one ever really serves any significant time. This too is vanity, saith Qoheleth.

Phillips wept at the hearing, so much so that Tollison had to read her statement to Jordan.

They all feel bad. When they get caught. But the proof is in the pudding, as they say.

“I would like it to be known since my arrest I have become a new person,” Phillips wrote in the statement. “I have reconnected with God. This experience has been nothing short of a miracle.”

We shall see. As I said above, this kind of ‘jail house conversion’ is so common that you would think everyone who ever spent a day in jail was a Christian as Christlike as Paul the moment they got out. Funny thing is, 99% of the time you can see those same ‘converts’ standing around at the local drug distribution center (which everyone around knows about, except, apparently, the law) and making deals for drugs they claim to have sworn off.

Sure, call me skeptical if you must. But if you hang around this – or I suspect any – rural county, you’ll see how prevalent meth is and how many lives and families are being destroyed by it and how impotent and indifferent local law enforcement is and you’ll be skeptical too.

Total depravity isn’t just destroying oneself and one’s family with illegal drugs; it’s also turning a blind eye to the problem and doing nothing about it.

Total Depravity: The Man From Buffalo

A 26-year-old Buffalo man has been accused of holding a 13-year-old runaway in his house for six months, having sex with her more than 100 times and making her baby-sit his 1-year-old son. Michael Abdallah remains jailed after being arrested Friday. He pleaded not guilty in Buffalo City Court on Saturday to second-degree rape, unlawful imprisonment and custodial interference.

Appalling. Just gross and appalling.  Here’s his photo:

Dealing With Doubt: Part Two

Emil Brunner delineates the cure for doubt when he observes

A genuine Evangelical faith does not suppress doubt, but it overcomes it.

How?????  Isn’t that the million dollar question?  Brunner remarks, on his way to answering, that

[Doubt] is overcome when its real nature is uncovered.

So to solve the problem of doubt, we have to understand what doubt is.   And doubt is nothing other than a refusal to acknowledge the claim of the Word of God.  Brunner writes

… [It is] our duty is to ask him [the doubter] why he refuses to acknowledge the claim of the Word of God.  It is our duty to show that his doubt is really a refusal to face the light.

Doubt, then, in Brunner’s understanding, is a rejection of God’s right to us.  ‘Has God really said’ – uttered by the serpent in the garden – is the underlying question every moment of doubt raises.  And doubt is the answer ‘no’.

Doubt is unveiled, and shown to be the intellectual form of sin.

And

Doubt is not a function of the reason as such, but it is the fruit of the falsely autonomous human reason, which sets itself up as an absolute authority.

A bit more about the foundation of doubt, and its defeat, next time.

On the Doctrine of Justification

Scott lets out word that Justification will be the topic of his next podcast.  Here are the details of the when and where.