November 22, 2017

The IM Saturday Brunch: July 29, 2017

THE INTERNET MONK SATURDAY BRUNCH

”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”

NEWS OF THE WEEK

This guy made all kinds of news.

This little guy got the worst possible news…and now it’s over.

This guy got good news…for him, anyway.

This guy gave his fans bad news.

This guy gave his team bad news.

This guy must be wondering what each day’s news will bring.

This guy’s words were too profane for the news.

Soldiers like this one got the news via Twitter.

• • •

YA GOTTA HAVE GOALS

Ray and Wilma Yoder, 80, of Goshen, Indiana, have been faithfully pursuing their dream, such as it is. The couple has visited 644 out of 645 Cracker Barrel restaurant locations, and they plan to eat at the only one they’ve yet to visit later this year.

As our local Fox TV station reported, the couple visited their 644th location in Lavonia, Georgia on July 7 when they attended the grand opening. The only one they haven’t seen is in Tualatin, Oregon, which is a suburb of Portland, but they are planning a trip there later this year.

Ray used to deliver RVs around the country, and he always ate at Cracker Barrel. Then, when he started taking Wilma with him, they began checking off which restaurants they’d visited. Now, after 40 years, they’ve almost gone to them all, and they’ve become celebrities in the “Cracker Barrel” world.

In order for a visit to count, they say, their own rule is that they have to buy something and leave a tip. Bon appetit!

• • •

THE TWEETER IN CHIEF

Just in case you’d like a comprehensive listing of the 350 351 people President Trump has thus far insulted on Twitter, complete with the tweets themselves, someone is keeping track.

Here’s the link: TRUMP TWITTER INSULTS

But hey, better check in regularly — the list is growing fast.

• • •

REST IN PEACE, HADDON ROBINSON

Students and practitioners of expository preaching in the evangelical world lost one of their heroes and role models when Haddon Robinson died on July 22. His memoriam from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary lists his accomplishments:

Originally from the Mousetown section of Harlem, New York, he received a Bachelor’s Degree from Bob Jones University, Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, Master of Arts from Southern Methodist University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Illinois. He was also awarded honorary degrees from Gordon College and McMaster Divinity College.

Dr. Robinson joined Gordon-Conwell in 1991 as the Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching, following 12 years as President of Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary, now Denver Seminary, and 19 years on the faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary. Throughout his long and distinguished career, he also served as Associate Pastor for the First Baptist Church in Medford, Oregon, Instructor of Speech at the University of Illinois and General Director of the Christian Medical and Dental Society.

In 1996, he was named in a Baylor University poll as one of the “12 Most Effective Preachers in the English Speaking World.” In 2006, he was recognized by Christianity Today in the top 10 of its “25 Most Influential Preachers of the Past 50 Years.” In 2008, he received the E.K. Bailey “Living Legend Award.” And in 2010, Preaching magazine named him among the “25 Most Influential Preachers of the Past 25 Years.”

Always looking for new ways to reach more people for Christ, he was also active in broadcast media. He hosted the television program, “Film Festival,” and with Dr. Alice Mathews and Mart De Hann, hosted “Discover the Word,” a radio program which for 20 years broadcast 600 times daily to two million listeners throughout North America and other English speaking countries.

A prolific writer, Dr. Robinson wrote more than a dozen books, including his hallmark text, Biblical Preaching, still used by seminaries and bible colleges around the world. His articles appeared regularly in Christianity Today, Bibliotheca Sacra, Moody Monthly, the American Lutheran Magazine, Leadership and Decision, and in the Our Daily Bread devotional. He also edited the Christian Medical Society Journal and the Theological Annual, and served on the editorial boards of Preaching and Christianity Today.

• • •

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON THE MATH HERE?

Small Church. Photo by Adon Metcalfe at Flickr. Creative Commons License

I have argued before that having many small churches is better for the kingdom and the world than having a few large churches.

Now, Karl Vaters has agreed with this opinion by listing 11 reasons. This is from his article: 11 Advantages of Having 50 Churches of 100 Instead of 1 Church of 5000:

  1. We’d have far more successful churches.
  2. More pastors would get to use their gifts.
  3. Church leaders would be under less pressure.
  4. Fewer pastors would quit in frustration and discouragement.
  5. Our time and energy could be utilized better.
  6. It would require less overhead, land, and resources.
  7. More people would get pastored by their pastor.
  8. We could reach more types of people.
  9. Failure wouldn’t be fatal.
  10. We could have more churches in hard places.
  11. More people might want to be pastors.

What do you think of his reasons and his reasoning?

• • •

PERSECUTION OF ATHEISTS!

“New Atheist” Richard Dawkins was scheduled to speak Aug. 9 at a book signing and benefit for KPFA, a Berkeley, CA public radio station. But the station, citing “Dawkins’ abusive speech against Muslims,” notified ticket holders by email that it was canceling the event.

Now, according to RNS, “On Thursday (July 27), Dawkins announced on Twitter that the event has been rescheduled on the same day 18 miles to the west at Book Passage, an independent bookstore in Marin County. It is no longer a benefit for KPFA.”

Despite KPFA’s long history of promoting free speech (it is in Berkeley, after all) Dawkins is in good company when it comes to the radio station’s recent history of cancelling speakers.

The university has been the center point for multiple free speech issues this year. In February, university officials canceled an appearance by former Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos after protests turned violent, and in April, the university canceled two scheduled appearances by conservative speaker Ann Coulter.

• • •

DON’T FAINT — I AGREE WITH JOHN MACARTHUR!

That’s right, friends. I’ve found at least one thing said by Pastor Mac that I can heartily commend.

He was participating in a panel discussion during Ligonier Ministries 2017 regional conference in Los Angeles last month, when, during a Q&A session, an audience member asked if it is “truly sinful” for a Christian business person to make a product for a same-sex wedding.

Here’s what MacArthur said in reply:

“No, it’s not sinful for a cake maker to make a cake for a gay wedding anymore than its sinful for a guy who runs a restaurant to serve dinner to somebody who is gay, sits in a booth and eats the food, or goes to the market and buys a loaf of bread and you own the market,” he argued. “What the issue is, is not whether that’s sinful. It’s whether the federal government can demand that people do certain things, which goes against their Christian conscience.”

MacArthur argued that this is “more of a political governmental issue.”

“I actually think that we need to show love to everyone and particularly, we need to do good to all those that are outside the kingdom, as well as inside the kingdom, as much as possible….”

Whaddaya know, I found something about which I agree with Pastor John!

Mark this down, iMonkers. You may never see the like again.

• • •

CHILLING, TERRIFYING TESTIMONY

I heard a few different interviews with William Browder, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week about his experiences with Russia. Here’s a brief summary of that testimony from NPR:

William Browder knows Vladimir Putin’s Russia all too well.

Browder made a fortune in Russia, in the process uncovering, he says, incredible amounts of fraud and corruption. When he tried to report it to authorities, the government kicked him out of the country and, he alleges, tortured and killed the lawyer he was working with.

In what one senator called one of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s “most important” hearings, Browder, a wealthy businessman-turned-activist-turned Putin-adversary shed a chilling new light on a Russian system of government that operates ruthlessly in the shadows — as Browder described it for lawmakers: a “kleptocracy” sustained by corruption, blackmail, torture and murder with Putin at its center.

“Effectively the moment that you enter into their world,” Browder told senators investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, “you become theirs.”

Here are some interviews with Browder you can check out:

• • •

RANDOM THOUGHTS & OBSERVATIONS

It has yet to be confirmed if this picture from Vladimir Putin’s childhood is genuine or has been doctored:

Comments

  1. Susan Dumbrell says:

    joy begins our day
    anger lessens our pleasure
    optimism rules

    • Susan Dumbrell says:

      I was upset by the toxicity of the posts yesterday.
      Today is Saturday guys, we IMonkers are not here to strangle each other.
      Let us enjoy each others company and have a gentle cross fertilization of ideas.
      More cups of tea and coffee shared in the sunshine today.
      Give us a breather. We all have stories and ideas to share and we do this so well. Let is be so.

      (more haiku Robert)

      Susan

      • Robert F says:

        steady rain all night
        at dawn the birds sing happy
        improvisations

      • Robert F says:

        Were the posts toxic yesterday, Susan? I’m not sure what you mean. I didn’t get that feeling from the post or posted comments yesterday.

        Now, the day before yesterday, that’s a different story. The comments took a decidedly wrong turn, went off the road into the ditch, and stayed there all day. I confess that I’m one of those who ended up in the ditch.

        • Mea culpa. The troll caught me in a very bad mood. :-/

        • DANG! What did I miss??

        • Naturally, you’ve sparked my curiosity. I just read through the comments and, as if for comic relief, there’s a spam-bot message at the bottom:

          Hi admin, i must say you have high quality posts here.

          Your website should go viral. You need initial traffic boost only.
          How to get it? Search for; [spam-bot]’s tips go viral

        • Susan Dumbrell says:

          You are right, Thursday was the ‘toxic day’ as I called it.
          The commentator I found distressing was also briefly mentioned yesterday..
          I think I read both days in one sitting.
          No Eeyore it wasn’t you, nor was it Robert.
          Peace.

  2. Robert F says:

    If there’s one person who can bring Democrats and Republicans together, it may be Vladimir Putin. He brought the Congress together this week; they almost unanimously approved a bill that now sits on the POTUS’s desk, requiring him to get their approval before modifying the sanctions that exist against Vlad’s Russia. I’d say that’s a pretty impressive feat. Thanks, Vlad, for bringing us together.

    • Ronald Avra says:

      Hopefully Congress will hang tough with the Donald on this one; would be entirely appropriate to override a veto.

    • Russia is what the US would be like if the Mafia ran the government. The problem was that after the fall of the Soviet Union the only organized part of society left was organized crime. What’s truly scary is what happens when Putin goes away? Chaos or something worse? And at this moment our Reality Show Host-in-Chief is pursuing policies that are actively alienating us from the Europeans who we should be actively supporting against Putin. After 9/11 it seems America gave itself permission to get stupid and I’m afraid we’re going to pay for it. The one thing our system is not is foolproof. What we need to do is stop just blaming the politicians and take a look in the frigging mirror. In our democracy the politicians only get away with what they’re allowed to get away with. Trump is a symptom, not the disease.

  3. senecagriggs says:

    David French –
    n some secular progressive circles, a certain myth persists. If you defeat the forces of traditional Christianity — you know, the rubes and fools who believe the Bible is the Word of God — then you’ll make way for a more enlightened, rational, and humane nation and world. In other words, the alternative to religion is reason, and reason is mankind’s great liberating force. Although I’ve heard some variation on this argument countless times, as I grew older I noticed something odd. Many of the best-educated and least-religious people I knew weren’t all that reasonable. They held to downright irrational views about reality.

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/449789/post-christian-america-superstitious-intolerant-reality

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      If you defeat the forces of traditional Christianity — you know, the rubes and fools who believe the Bible is the Word of God — then you’ll make way for a more enlightened, rational, and humane nation and world. In other words, the alternative to religion is reason, and reason is mankind’s great liberating force.

      Citizen Robespierre would agree 110%.

      Many of the best-educated and least-religious people I knew weren’t all that reasonable. They held to downright irrational views about reality.

      Reminds me of Paul Maier’s historical novels set in the early Roman Empire. In them, a lot of upper-class Romans are total Skeptics, yet they won’t get out of bed in the morning without consulting astrologers and soothsayers and/or taking the Omens.

      Didn’t Chesterton say once that when a person believes in nothing, he’ll believe in anything?

  4. senecagriggs says:
    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Anyone remember the “Saucer Cults” and “Space Brothers Cults” of UFO Contactees starting in the Fifties?

      And how their Nordic Space Brothers keeping us safe from Global Thermonuclear War mutated over time into the anal-probing, cattle-mutilating alien Greys breeding us for lab rats and livestock from their Secret Underground Bases?

  5. “Persecution of Atheists”? Judging from the list of who was disinvited, it looks more to me like “Persecution of Loudmouth Jerks”. Which is absolutely fine by me – I believe in free speech, but “free speech” DOES NOT equal “no social or political consequences if you say bad things”.

    • Robert F says:

      I recognize that because it was a public radio station things are a little complicated, since such stations receive significant government funding, but let’s remember: Censorship only happens when the law prohibits you from speaking freely, without prior constraint, in the public square. Editorial decisions to exclude certain speakers or subjects are not in and of themselves censorship.

      • I agree with you Robert that they certainly have the right to invite or cancel whomever they wish, but their reasoning is, to me anyway, is bothering. If they have a clue who Richard Dawkins is then they have to know that he is critical of all religions, especially those which seek to make converts. He has been especially critical of Christianity. And yet because they discovered he said some mean things about Islam, they cancel him. Is this just cowardice?Are the afraid there may be some violent attack against them because they have allowed Dawkins to speak? Or do they believe for some reason that Islam should be free from insult while other religions are fair game?

        • Robert F says:

          I’m not in a position to ascertain the station’s motives, and so I can’t criticize them either. It’s possible that, given the anti-Muslim spirit afoot in American politics and society right now, they want to avoid adding to it, even inadvertently. If that’s the case, I as a good liberal would support their desire to avoid inflaming anti-Muslim rhetoric. I understand that you may see differently; ain’t that America?

          • They could have easily done that by just not bringing it up, since the focus was supposed to be to promote his new book. In fact, they have probably done much more to promote anti-Muslim rhetoric by cancelling this event for the reason they did, than they ever would have by just having the event. How many more people have heard about Richard Dawkins the last couple of days than would have if they just had the event? Come to think of it, they couldn’t have done a better job of promoting him and his new book if they tried.

            • “They could have easily done that by just not bringing it up, since the focus was supposed to be to promote his new book.”

              You can’t always control what your guest is going to bring up. 😉

              “they have probably done much more to promote anti-Muslim rhetoric by cancelling this event for the reason they did, than they ever would have by just having the event”

              The kind of people who would get stirred up about that are going to promote abti-Muslim rhetoric no matter what. Any conceivable outcome would be used by them.

              “How many more people have heard about Richard Dawkins the last couple of days than would have if they just had the event?”

              Dawkins is already a household name among those who give two shakes about the existence of God, on both sides of the equation. 😉

            • Robert F says:

              To tell you the truth, the first I heard of this was this morning on iMonk. I can’t say it interests me very much, either the book or the controversy.

              • Robert F says:

                The serious and profound atheism of Nietzsche, which I encountered and passed through in my twenties, and which I’ve learned much from, has forever inoculated me against the soft-ball atheism of Dawkins and the other “New Atheists”. They just don’t interest me.

            • Eeyore,
              There is a difference between being well known and being in the news (think of President Trump for instance). Before this I thought Dawkins had kind of fallen off the radar. By cancelling the event, more people have been reminded of him, have heard of his book, and have read his “abusive” speech. Well done.

          • Robert are you saying there is no space from which to criticize Islam as an organized body of thought free from personal attacks on Muslims? If you criticized Young Earth Creationism how would you respond to someone who accused you of being bigoted against Christians?

            There are many folks within the Muslim community who are actively working to “reform” (if you want to put it that way) the most egregious aspects of their tradition without completely abandoning it. Why not support them? But if you do you are instantly branded as an “Islamaphobe” because apparently on the “left” no criticism of Islam is permissible. None whatsoever. Consequently they find themselves enabling the most reactionary and regressive parts of the Islamic tradition. Ain;t THAT America!

            • Just as on the right, no acknowledgement of any good in Islam is permissible. But knee-jerk stereotyping, left and right, is far easier than actually slogging through the murky gray areas of teality…

            • Robert F says:

              Stephen, As far as I know, and in my experience, Muslims in America receive much criticism with the greatest of tolerance and patience, and are more than ready to listen to and dialogue with other viewpoints. The violence that a small number of radicalized Muslims have committed in this country in the name of radical religion is really a tiny percentage and subset of the overall, much larger epidemic of gun violence that is as common in America as a regularly and frequently recurring sequence of natural disasters. America is violent; mass shootings are common; aside from 9/11, Muslim Americans and Muslim visitors to the US have been involved in only the tiniest number of such violent acts, but because of the way their acts are framed in the media coverage, we see the threat of radical Islam everywhere.

              What alarms me more than the small number of hidden, radicalized Muslims in this country is the sprawling, public, vitriolic anti-Muslim rhetoric, voiced by many people, that can be found all over social media and the internet. There are large numbers of Americans out there who are proud of their hatred of Islam and Muslims, and glad to be called Islamophobic. Many of them claim to be Christian. They want Muslim blood, and apparently the large quantities of that which America has spilled over the last twenty-five years is not enough; they want a final solution. I wish I could say about them, “That ain’t America,” but I can’t. America has a deep and frightening capacity for hate and destruction, and the greatest ability that any country has ever had to inflict them. That’s what alarms me.

            • Robert F says:

              Stephen, In a comment on another thread you said that Trump is a symptom, not the cause of our national disease. But he has intentionally and with deliberation fed the deliriums of the disease with snake-oil, poison labeled as medicine, and he did that for the better part of a decade before becoming president. He’s made it worse than it ever otherwise would’ve been at this point. It has now become a raging fire. He is going full thug, that’s his plan for survival, and his appointment of Scaramucci is the signal of that. Trump is now the #1 problem, the fever, that this nation has to deal with before it can ever hope to heal from its disease; remember that a fever is a symptom, but one that can kill.

              • Stephen says:

                Robert I’m going to respond to you in one email cause I’m lazy.

                “What alarms me more than the small number of hidden, radicalized Muslims in this country is the sprawling, public, vitriolic anti-Muslim rhetoric, voiced by many people, that can be found all over social media and the internet.”

                Absolutely, but Dawkins is not one of those and yet when he criticizes Islam as an organized body of thought he gets accused of “abuse of Muslims”. Can’t we say that Jihad is a really bad idea or oppose the awful misogyny of the tradition without being accused of bigotry? Can’t we support the efforts of Islamic reformers to critique their tradition from within without being accused of Islamophobia?

                Yes Trump is fanning the flames but he didn’t start the fire.

                • Robert F says:

                  I think we can criticize. I’ve heard liberals and leftist do it on many occasions. I don’t see that it’s forbidden by left/liberal culture, except in some places, like some universities and venues in and around them, such as the radio station we are referring to. The independent bookstore that hosted Dawkins after the radio station disinvited him — odds are it’s run by liberals. I don’t see the widespread prohibition on the left against criticizing Islam that you do, although I do see a heightened sensitivity to harsh rhetoric against it, and a desire to avoid it at all costs.

  6. Robert F says:

    Off subjects: Last Saturday I had a big birthday party for my wife’s sixtieth. I missed celebrating her fiftieth in a big way, and though I’m not practiced or good at arranging soirees, I knew that I couldn’t fail to arrange a big party for her this time. I have to admit that it went really well. She enjoyed herself immensely, the guests had a good time, and I’m pleased with myself. It took quite a bit of work, but with the help of a few (church) friends, it was manageable, and well worth the effort.

    Happy Sixtieth Birthday, Sweetheart!

  7. CM agreeing with John MacArthur doesn’t rank too high in my Signs of the Apocalypse scale. Now, the Cubs leading the NL Central? THAT is frightening. 😛

  8. I think rather than worrying about church size, we should focus more on church culture and church expectations, and allow pastors to be pastors rather than business CEOs. Of course this may naturally limit the size of a church because a pastor can only take care of so many people, as the article addressed.

  9. Karl Vaters has agreed with this opinion by listing 11 reasons. This is from his article: 11 Advantages of Having 50 Churches of 100 Instead of 1 Church of 5000:…

    I agree that it is better to have more smaller churches than just a couple of very large churches, HOWEVER…

    There are times when big congregations are more capable of providing resources for the congregants simple because of scale.

    In general I agree with Vaters, but, I’m leery of the way he comes at size from what I see as a “pastor-centric” perspective. It would be good if all of us rethought ecclesiology–which the Evangelical Circus doesn’t seem to do much…it’s all about the Business Model. Size isn’t as much the issue imo as purpose and reason.

    • “There are times when big congregations are more capable of providing resources for the congregants simple because of scale.”

      What resources did you have in mind?

      “it’s all about the Business Model. Size isn’t as much the issue imo as purpose and reason.”

      The two things are not as separated as you seem to think they are.

      • All sorts of “resources”, anything from professional counseling to material assistance–all of which is not restricted to church size, but it is often easier to accomplish with scale of size.

        I’ve done everything from mega-church to house church. No one form can be said to be the best. However, as per my original criticism if the church is pastor-centric then the model is defective.

        • I have yet to see a megachurch that is *not* pastor-centric.

          • I’ve yet to see a small to large church that isn’t pastor-centric. However, my experience is not exhaustive, and, hope yet abides. We’ve house churched with 2 different groups–once for a year, and the next for ~6 yrs.. That experience taught us that despite creating an environment free of top-down command authority very few people are capable of transcending their Evangelical Circus faux ecclesiology. Thermodynamic laws 2 & 3 eventually override every effort in the absence of a “pastor” type. A majority of people find it extremely difficult to distinguish between “leadership” and “command authority” and more often than not just demand a king. Makes life easier…

    • Rethink ecclesiology … +100

    • Josh in FW says:

      You make a good point about economies of scale. When I saw the article one of my thoughts was that 100 people is only 10-20 families. I do think Mega Churches are much too big, but the discussion makes me wonder what the maximization point would be for congregation/parish size before diminishing returns were experienced. I think 300 is a good target for member size and the sanctuary should maybe had a maximum of 500 so there is room for the Easter and Christmas crowd. If a congregation of 300 grows to 400 it can send out a planting group of 100 without the daily operations of the “mother” congregation struggling too much.
      [this is mostly a thought exercise. I don’t have any actual expertise in this area]

      • In my pastoral theology class, the prof gave his opinion that the optimax congregation size was about 150 – because sociologically, that’s about the number of people the average person can know and relate to on an ongoing basis. Anything above that and you *have* to build in some sort of impersonal authority structure just to hold it together.

        • Josh in FW says:

          That makes sense. So, it sounds like your professor is saying that if you had a 300 person active membership, it would need to support both a pastor and an associate pastor.

        • Wolfgang Simpson asserts that 200 is the breaking point for a single pastor.

          The book by church-growth researcher Bill M. Sullivan Ten Steps to Breaking the 200-Barrier has a very understandable intention which fits ideologically into the mainstream of the Church Growth movement of the 1970s and 1980s: good churches grow big, and very good churches grow very big, so anything that stops a ‘healthy’ church from growing is a barrier, and those barriers are bad and must therefore go.

          The idea of the ‘200-barrier’ is simple. Statistically, most churches stop growing somewhere between 100 and 300 people, on average at about 200. There are good cultural, sociological and even architectural reasons for that. One reason is structural, an in-built problem of the traditional one-pastor church: there are only so many people – in the USA, about 200 – a pastor can personally and effectively care for. He may have a lot of space in his agenda, but a quite limited space in his heart; and people realize that. As a result, growth winds to a halt and the church hits an invisible ceiling, the ‘200-barrier’. I suggest, however, there is a much more important barrier to overcome: the ’70-barrier’. How do we break it?

          (Houses That Changed the World, chapt. 1)

          The “70 barrier” is the number of people that most of us can know by name and be fairly familiar with.

          Simpson proceeds to explain how family gathering dynamics change when a gathering exceeds approximately 20 people.

          • Of course numbers are not the determinants per say, rather it’s the sociological necessities imposed/triggered by the numbers. We are a product of our hunter-gatherer evolutionary experience.

            I was part of a church for over 15 years that hovered at the 500 mark for decades. 520 in attendance was about the max of the physical plant (85% of seating capacity is the limit). That church in reality constituted 3 recognizable congregational groups–and it functioned that way reasonably well for decades. One of the groups wanted to relocate and build a large, facility. Another group, older establishment folks, where emotionally attached to the present facility. The third group didn’t give a damn and didn’t want to be disturbed. The first group went the “Bible Fellowship” heading toward mega-church status. The second group realized that 1/3 of the congregation vanished, got spooked, sold the old facility and moved more to the edge of town and built a “legacy” building and have essentially made themselves comfortable in decline. What happened to the third group? Only God knows.

  10. Great Brunch, CM !

  11. Robert F says:

    Little country house
    Bride of Christ Church, a sign says
    lonely in its fields

  12. I’m doubt MacArthur cares about the Christian conscience of, say, a Quaker woman who doesn’t want her taxes to pay for someone else’s guns or bombs:

    http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-3rd-circuit/1441988.html

    Nah, something that interferes with the right and proper operation of the Empire? Pfft. Pretty sure ‘Christian conscience’ begins and ends at the edges of the pelvis, either your own or anyone elses’.

    • (For anyone without the patience to read a whole legal finding:

      Quaker Woman: “I believe the RFRA says I should be able to redirect my taxes to non-military purposes due to my Quaker religious beliefs. I’m happy to pay them in full, I just want some say about what’s done with them.”

      U.S. Tax and 3rd Circuit courts: “Nah, that would be like . . . *really inconvenient* for the government.”

      If only she had been a major, conservative christian corporation–or, say, a B.S. biblical theme park in Kentucky–I’d imagine they’d find a way to accommodate her.)

      • The thing is, the share of any individual’s taxes in any particular program is infinitesimal. And to give every individual taxpayer individual veto power over what they want “their” money to be budgeted towards in the federal government is not only impossible, but an invitation to anarchy. If you really want the government to stop fighting wars, vote for pacifist politicians.

        • Robert F says:

          It would be nice if possible, but I too don’t see how it would be practicable for the federal (or state) government(s) to earmark tax revenues according to each individual taxpayer’s religious or ethical convictions. Unfortunately, a big part of the reason for the very existence of any government is to exercise coercive force in the protection of its citizens’ life and property; if it can’t or won’t do this, it will soon cease to exist, as may the people it governs. That since time immemorial governments have abused this duty, and oppressed many of the people they are charged with protecting, is no argument against the principle; to act otherwise would be, as you say, “an invitation to anarchy”.

          • Why not?

            We had a revolution so we could stop paying the king of England for military protection.

            Now we pay the king of Saudi Arabia, some Pakistani generals and the prime minister of Israel in return for absolutely nothing.

            • Just swapped out one protector for another. And a lot of folks back then were perfectly happy under the rule of the British, and got very little protection from the new US government when their neighbors turned on them after independence.

        • I’m pretty certain that the Quakers refusing to pay taxes are also voting (when possible) for less hawkish politicians.

          Quakers not paying has a long history. One of the things they did in England was refuse to pay tithes to support the established church (this was legally enforced then). It was one of the reasons that many ceased to be farmers and ended up as artisans or running businesses (only those farming were legally required to pay tithes).

        • There are no pacifist politicians.

          But I admit I’m kind of interested in invitations to anarchy. Anarchy appeal set to me. If your argument is that ‘anarchy is so violent’, well so is civilization. Whichever one gets rid of the presidential drone army and the short cops is fine with me.

          • Well, there was that representative from Montana who voted against BOTH world wars…

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeannette_Rankin

          • Anarchism is unworkable. For a completely revealing case study see George Orwell’s HOMAGE TO CATALONIA.

            Our founders realized that a governmental structure is necessary to protect the rights of the people. All surrender a little of their individual freedoms to protect everyone’s freedoms. It isn’t their fault that the American people are too stupid and lazy to realize that good government doesn’t come by default. You have to actively participate. It was designed that way.

            • I think that’s a big problem with a lot of folks, right and left, these days. We’ve had (relative to history) such a good economy and better than human average government for so long that people no longer realize how abnormal and fragile that situation is. We assume that prosperity, rule of law, and respect for human rights are the norm, and the inevitable result of Progress – instead of seeing them as a valuable heritage, bought with metaphorical and literal sweat and blood, and all too easily squandered…

              • Bass Bandit says:

                Incredibly, when they are tossed aside, it is often with a sigh of relief.

                • “Man is tormented by no greater anxiety than to find someone quickly to whom he can hand over that great gift of freedom with which the ill-fated creature is born.” – Dostoevsky, “The Grand Inquisitor”

                  • Robert F says:

                    And the Grand Inquisitor has prepared to take it from his hands while spending years eating locusts and honey in the emptiness and poverty of the desert. Remember that the freedom Dostoevsky is talking about is a spiritual one, and the anti-hero, the Grand Inquisitor, who is ready to unburden humankind of that freedom, is a spiritual one, an anti-Christ. He is a prelate of the church, not a politician of any stripe.

      • Clay Crouch says:

        Welcome to a representative democracy in a federal republic.

        • WW2: Buy war bonds!

          Now: We’re taking your money for hopeless, piss-in-the-wind ‘generational’ war, whether you like it or not.

      • Or Hobby Lobby…

    • True, but she’s not being forced to make the guns either

      • Isn’t she?

        Hobby Lobby wasn’t being forced to take birth control: just pay for it.

        • No she isn’t.

          • That’s the trick of being a participant in society – if you benefit from that society’s policies you are to that extent culpable in its actions.

            • Stephen says:

              And the system rewards those who have the most invested in it. Which is why the “anarchists” who want to lie on the couch and smoke dope and watch Star Trek reruns are mostly ignored.

              • Robert F says:

                Unfortunately, a good number of those “anarchists” have taken to the streets of late, pointlessly burning and destroying property, and on occasion physically assaulting individuals they think represent the opposite political viewpoint. I wish they’d go back to their couches and their dope.

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                  It’s the Beavis-and-Butthead definition of “anarchy”:
                  “I GET TO DO WHATEVER I WANT!”

                  Never realizing that someone bigger and meaner than them can also “Do Whatever I Want” — to them.

                • Destroying property like disguising oneself and throwing tea into the harbor?

            • Stephen says:

              I’ve always thought the “megachurches” were the smallest churches of all – if you take my meaning.

  13. Steve Newell says:

    As a Christian and as an American citizen, I am saddened by the POTUS acted at the Boy Scout event and his new director of communicated acted with a CNN reporter this week. Neither man presented himself in a manor that anyone could say is acceptable behavior. What is more sad is how people have defended both actions. While I am far from a support of the current or prior administrations, I can never remember either the prior POTUS nor members of his cabinet speaking in such a way that bring such sadness on how our public leaders are to act in public and towards others.

    • Robert F says:

      You ain’t seen nothing yet. Nothing is more dangerous, or more savage, than a cornered wild animal. There’s one in the Oval Office right now. Get ready.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Especially when you factor in a little Tom Lehrer:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frAEmhqdLFs

        • Robert F says:

          When he grows up, our Orange Clown wants to be like his friend Duterte in the Philippines, who yesterday had 12 people, including a city mayor and his wife, killed in an extrajudicial slaughter disguised as a police raid. Duterte publicly claimed before the ordered mass killing that the mayor was involved in drug trafficking, and in his country, all you need is Duterte’s word for execution to take place.

          Get ready, folks, we are being sucked down a similar maelstrom.

  14. Robert F says:

    three cattle eat grass
    in a steep pasture roadside
    unmoved by traffic