Tuesday, September 23, 2003
MAN KNOWS NOT HIS TIME
4/1/1932 - 9/22/2003 (illness)
"As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
---Mr. Carlson, "WKRP in Cincinnati"
Sunday, September 21, 2003
YET ANOTHER BLOG
I found this blog through Barb's blog. Seems like a good guy, and has a pretty fair critique of Rev. Doug Wilson's brief comments on the New Perspective on Paul. I hope you'll enjoy it, too.
Saturday, September 20, 2003
Cool! Peter Leithart has a blog, which I learned from Rev. John Barach's blog. I also went ahead and added A Minor and CORRIGENDA, Rev. Meyer's blog.
A little late, but one of my close friends has finally entered the blogsphere. All I can say, "What took you so long?" :)
I hope you'll take a look at Contra Tyrranus and that you will enjoy it. He is a good writer, and has a good gift of sarcasm (as one who has been on the receving end of it a few times, I know ;))
Another blog I read is Rev. Jeff Meyers's blog. Check out his September 19 entry in which he posted a letter from the PCA elder. This is how badly "Rome-a-phobia" (i.e. if it even remotely sounds like Rome would do it, then it's gotta be heretical!!!) has infected the Reformed Church. Pastor Meyers's response is all that need be said in response.
Just out of curiosity: Chief Justice Ray Moore believes that his principles dictate to him that he should ignore the federal court ruling against the Ten Commandments monument. He is lambasted for not obeying the rule of law. Judge Harry Perguson, one of the three judges who halted the California recall election, said in 1979 during his confirmation hearing to the 9th Circuit, that if the law violated his conscience, then he would vote his conscience.
So where's the outrage?
And by the way, this is the same Judge Perguson who issued a personal stay of the execution of Robert Alton Harris in 1992 while he was strapped to the chair in the gas chamber. This would be the fourth stay issued by the 9th Circuit to prevent California from executing its first inmate in over 20 years. The 9th Circuit was publically rebuked when the U.S. Supreme Court issued the following words: "No further stays of execution shall be entered by the federal courts except upon order from this Court."
If it's O.K. for Pergusron, why not for Moore? Or Justices Brennan and Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court? Can anyone name *one* case after Gregg vs. Georgia in which they did not dissent and say they would vacate the death penalty in the case?
Perhaps that should be his defense when he appears at his hearing.
Friday, September 19, 2003
GUNS AND TENNESSEE
Phil Hendrie (warning: there is material that some may find offensive, and there is some explicit language on the web site, so take note if you click), on his talk show, had an interesting take on what happened in the school in Tennessee. "The time has come for us to arm ourselves," he replied.
He is right. I agree whole-heartedly with his statement that every responsible, law-abiding citizen who is legally entitled to a gun should purchase one. He is not advocating an overthrow of the government; he is advocating total arming for self-defense because as good as the cops are, they cannot protect you. What would have happened if one of those students were armed? if the profesor were armed? Instead of "13 Students Killed in School Massacre," perhaps it could have been "Two Gunmen's Heads Blown Off into Nebraska After Attempting to Kill Students in Colorado."
Now of course, someone called in and talked about the 5 year old who accidently kills his 7 year old sibling. The caller said that it was because of the gun. As Phil noted, "No, it's because there's a moron parent in the house...no, it's because there is a moron parent in the house." As he later said, "You show me a kid who blows his brains out, and I'll show you a parent who needs to be beaten with a crowbar." Millions of kids live with gun, and they don't go out shooting people "accidently" because they know what a gun can do, and are trained in gun safety. Of course, she said,"Well, if the gun weren't there, then it wouldn't have happened." Of course, the idiocy of the argument can be shown here: if the parents hadn't had sex, then it wouldn't have happened. If they'd never gotten married, it wouldn't have happened, etc.
It's was a fascinating discussion he had. If anyone wants to hear the Biblical arguments against gun control, I'd recommend you order this
set of tapes. The debate is fascinating.
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
WHY DO POLLS DIFFER?
The Bird Cage Liner, er, The Los Angeles Times have run two polls on the recall. Both have had the recall at around 50% Yes and 45-47% No. This is in contrast to the Field Poll, which had Yes at 55% and No at 40%. This is also in contrast to Democrat and Republican insider polling that both show the recall winning by at least 10 percentage points. The Los Angeles Times, after their second poll, ran a story and attempted to show why their polls differ. The Field Poll has responded to that story, and you can see that story here.
In essence, the Times oversampled the black voters in their poll. This is significant because black voters are the only ethnic group that are, as a group, against the recall. All other major ethnic groups, including the dreadedfully labelled "Other," are in favor of the recall. Furthermore, the Times then runs stories based on this flawed poll to try to argue against the recal in its news coverage. For instance, The Times on Sunday ran a story about people who didn't like Governor Davis, but were still going to vote against the recall in principle because he should be allowed to finish his term. The Times made it appear that these people were going to decide the election and possible derail the recall. Given that appears the true percentage is about 55%-40% in the polls, how could this be so? And remember, this is the same newspaper that had Governor Davis winning by double digits over Republican challenger Bill Simon in 2002. He only won by 4 or 5 percentage points, and he didn't even win with a majority. Yep...53% or so of the voters wanted Davis out.
The better question is, why do polls someitmes smell like a pile of elephant excrement?
JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
Eric Leonard, a reporter for the KFI AM 640 News Department, is to my knwoledge the only reporter who has challenged the ACLU and their "facts" that they alledge about the punch voting machine error rates in their appeal to the 9th Circuit. It'll be interesting to see if other news outlets will report on this.
Just some of his observations that he reported on the air through his research over the last two days:
1. The study that the ACLU is depending on to promote their case came from a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He was asked to commission a sudy on the error rates of the punch card cting machines...for a company that sells more modern voting machines.
2. No one at the ACLU could answer his direct question on how they knew that errors came from minority votes.
3. The "40,000" number came from a very strange imposition and deduction using the 2000 election and the census data.
4. Colusa and Lake Counties had the highest voter error rates in the State. These two counties are overwhelmingly (almost 85%) white.
5. The second highest error rate in the State came from a county (either Colusa or Lake) that used more modern procedures of voting.
6. No evidence was brought because there was no trial, so the Circuit Court's claim that it is "universally acknowledge" that punch card voting machines are error-prone is devoid of facts in question.
I heard these while I was listening to the radio at work, so I don't have all what he reported. It may sound cliche, but I don't care: The KFI News Team sets the standard for journalism. They don't take things at face value and will investigate stories much more deeply to get to the real truth. Eric said on The John and Ken Show that he hadn't slept in 24 hours because he was busy researching the ACLU story. Eric was also the one who broke the lie that Governor Davis's press office was telling English Speaking media. When Davis was going to sign the bill, his press office only told Spanish speaking news outlets about the signing and the location of where it would be (an East L.A. DMV office). English speaking media were given a different schedule for the Governor that didn't mention the signing. It was Leonard that found out about it, and reported it, until finally. Eventually, ENglish speaking media were told about the signing.
KFI's slogan is "More Stimulating Talk Radio." It's the same with the news people, too.
Monday, September 15, 2003
THE RACISTS WIN A ROUND, FOR NOW
You think I was kidding about the judiciary tyranny of the federal courts? The 9th Circuit, in its finite wisdom, has said that the recall is postponed, for now.
What I find ironic is that they fell for the racist argument advanced by the Amercian Civil Liberties Union. Apparantly, according to the ACLU, people of color, like me, are too stupid to figure out how to use a punch card ballot. Affluent white people, I guess, have the superior brain power to know learn how to use the ballot. Here's a question, racists, if Hispanics are too stupid to be able to read written instructions in English and Spanish to use a punch card ballot, then tell what makes you think they will be able to understand more modern ways of voting? Are they too stupid to read the instructions that if they make a mistake, they are should request a new ballot by the poll workers?
This recall election has shown the true racists of the country: the ACLU, the three judges of the 9th Circuit Court Appeals, and of coruse, Cruz "Busta-mecha" Bustamante.
Anyone want to send them the white sheets that they're missing?
Friday, September 12, 2003
MAN KNOWS NOT HIS TIME
Forever known as Jack Tripper to me. May God bring comfort and grace to his family and friends during this trying time.
Thursday, September 11, 2003
SOLA CONSTITUTION (PART 2)
I saw this on Doug Phillip's blog. He's is referencing a letter by Gary De Mar to Alabama'a Attorney General William Pryor regarding his claim that if the "nonestablishment clause cannot be enfored on the State, then neither can other clauses in the First Amendment, including guarantees of free religous exercise or free speech."
BY George, I think he's got it! Well no duh, sir. As has always been the tradition of the Country until the humanistic era of the 19th century, the Bill fo Rights, like the First Amendment, unless specifically mentioned, was a restriction on the federal government. It was not for the States. Anyone who believes that this was the intention of the founders of the country will have to answer the question why a State that was admitted to the Union in 1850 would have put the following in its COnstitution:
"The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed in this State: and no person shall be rendered incompetent to be a witness on account of his opinions on matters of religious belief; but the liberty of conscience, hereby secured, shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this State."
--Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution of the State of California (1849)
Believe it or not, the 1st Ammendment can be repealed by another ammendment to the Constitution. It happened with the 18th, and it can happen with any of them. Now, suppose it was repealed. COngress, then, could pass any law that prohibits any exercise of religion. WOuld this, therefore, be illegal in California, and make this statue null and void?
OK, another one:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor shall cruel or unusual punishments be inflicted, nor shall witnesses be unreasonably detained.
Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution of the State of California. (1849)
Sounds an awful lot like the 8th Amendment, doesn't it? Hmm, so if the 8th Amendment already applied to the States, then why this redundancy?
Oh, and for some other clauses in the 1st Amendment:
Every citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press. In all criminal prosecutions on indictments for libels, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury; and if it shall appear to the jury that the matter charged as libellous is true, and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted; and the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the fact.
---Article 1, Section 9 (1849)
If the 1st Amendment were repealed, and Congress passed a law that enforced prior restraint on anything published anywhere, would that have made this article null and void?
The people shall have the right freely to assemble together, to consult for the common good, to instruct their representatives, and to petition the legislature for redress of grievances.
---Article 1, Section 10 (1849)
Oh, but let's not keep it to California; how about a State that was admitted in the 20th century?
Every person may freely speak, write, and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right
--Article 2, Section 6 of the Constitution of the State of Arizona
"The liberty of conscience secured by the provisions of this constitution shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state. No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise, or instruction, or to the support of any religious establishment. No religious qualification shall be required for any public office or employment, nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror in consequence of his opinion on matters of religion, nor be questioned touching his religious belief in any court of justice to affect the weight of his testimony."
Article 2, Section 12.
What's interesting about that particular section is that here, the illusory "seperation of church and state" that allegedly exists in the 1st Amendment is explicitly written into the Arizona Constitution. Why would they do this? If the source of freedom of speech and press in this country is the 1st Amendment, and it's always been thought of that way, why would a State admitted in 1912 have to write this in?
The 6th Amendment, by the way, also applies to the federal government even though it does say "State." The jury of a federal case is composed of people of the State of the crime, so someone from Florida would not be judged by someone who was in Atlanta. Furthermore, again, if this did apply to the States, then one wonders why the States' Constitutions all have the guarantees that are in the 6th Amendment?
Hopefully, one day the federal judiciary will realize this, and realize, contrary to the United States Supreme Court's arrogant opinion, the supreme law of the land is the Constitution, not the opinion of the Court on the Constitution (unless it wants to claim infallibility, like the ROman Catholics (among others) do with Scripture?)
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Given all the controversy that has surfaced, especially in the area of the objectivity of the covenant and the charges that certain men are on the Road to Rome and denying the foundations of the Reformation, I find it very ironic that many of the critics of the Revs. Shepherd, Wilson, Wilkns, Barach, and Schlissel are functionally acting like Roman Catholics. Please notice the wording: "are functionally acting like," not simply "are."
One of the problems that plagues Rome is that their extra-biblical and other unbiblical traditions have become so interconnected with the Scriptures that it has become impossible to seerate them. hence, any attack on the traditions or interpretation or teachings of the Church have become the equivalent of attacking the Scriptures themselves. Now everyone has presuppositions in how they read the Bible, but the key is whether our presuppositions are the ones that the Bible wants us to see. In this case, then, our presuppositions, although they do influence us, should not be considered the absolute lens in how we read the Bible. We could become so commited to those presuppositions that we sart to think that an attack on them is an attack on the Scripture.
Consider this: people can and do find what they feel is Biblical support for their presuppositions in the Bible, but these interpretations may be objectively false. We should always be prepared to change how and what we believe in light of our study and meditation on the Word, and of course, through the teaching guidance of the Church.
But this is not what has been happening. Tim Enloe writes about what's been happening to his in today's blog and what has happened to him personally. Everything I wrote habout he has seen. Evangelical traditions have been elevated to the status of dogma, and how dare anyone challenge the notion that they may not have been the original thoughts of the original Protestants. How dare anyone think that perhaps the modern Protesant Church has been influenced more by Platonic reasoning than Biblical reasoning (as is the case in Roman Catholciism), and that perhaps we should re-evaluate our claims.
It's sad. The teaching authority of the Protestant Church has been relegated to a joke. No one will take the teachings of any of the authoitative councils or assemblies of the various denominations seriously. When one does not like what the Church says, just leave and find another one, or form your own denomination and become independent. Sola scriptura has been relegated to sola me! Individualism, the hallmark of American and Western culture, has dominated the Protestant Church for far too long. Platonism has dominated the church, and I find it very ironic that some people use their status as "scholars" to silence opposition from those who are not. I remember someone asking another, "Well, how many Commentaries on the Bible have you written?" as if that is a barometer of one's Biblical competancy. On that basis, then, Bishop N.T. Wright should be among the the elites, becaue he has wirtten countless commentaries on the Bible, including a now-massive 2000+ page work (covering three volumes) on the Origin of the People of God.
But he is a liberal will be the charge, or he is unregenerate because he does not share "my" presuppositions, will be another explicit charge. That's just very sad, and it shows how committed we have come to our presuppositions. Now Wright may be wrong, but perhaps there are some good things that have come out of it. Wright himself once said that Marcus Borg of the Jesus Seminar is one of the most able scholars on Jesus today---hence, why Wright is dumbfounded by his conclusions. It is possible to learn something from liberals without conceding the entire war to them. Likewise, it is veyr possible to learn something from Rome without conceding anything to them.
If an argument against the one's definition of sola fide is advanced not simply Rome but also by other Reformed people, this does nt mean there is a compromise. The only agreement is that the definition and defense of the definition is bad. Agreeing on that does not mean that the Reformed person, like TIm Enloe, is becoming a Roman Catholic. It does mean that maybe they have a point, and that we in the Reformed community should rethink and reconsider and, if necessary, reformulate what we thought was fine in the first place.
Monday, September 08, 2003
THAT IS HOW YOU PRONOUNCE IT!
This story shows just how pathetic and desperate Governor Davis has become in trying to fight his the recall and kepe his job. Apparantly, he thinks that anyone who can't pronounce the name correctly should be govenror.
Well, sir, if that's your position, then yu should resign immediately because it is in point of fact that Ah-nuld is pronouncing the name of the State correctly, and in fact you are not. "California" is a Spanish word, not English. The correct pronunciation is "k-ah-l-ee-for-nya," Long "i," not short. SO Ah-nuld's pronounciation is correct. If anyone knows Spanish, just say the Spanish pronunciation and compare it. They are nearly identical
By the way, Gray, if someone can't say the correct name of the city, should they be able to run for mayor? Well, you got Mayor Jim Hahn. I've heard him many times pronounce "Los Angeles" as "Loss Ann-gel-eh-s" It's pronounced "L-oh-sss Ah-n-hell-es." San Pedro is "S-ahn Peh-dro" not "S-ann Pee-dro" or "S-ann Pay-dro"
Now, just out of curiosity...who is the racist?
Also, one candidate is so obsessed with keeping the Mexicans isolated from assimilation that he, as a *STATE* official, went down to Santa Ana (pronounced "Sahn-tah Ah-nn-ah" or, to the locals there, "S-ahn-tah-nah") to oppose the recall of a school board member who was against English immersion programs even though the vast majority of Hispanics in a city that has the largest Hispanic proportion in the country supported and wanted and demanded English immersion for their kids. Furthermore, this school board member wanted the Santa Ana schools to ignore a state law requiring English only and continue to teach in Spanish. For the records, he was recalled by 71% of the vote, and to further note, he was with Governor Davis at the illegal alien license signing on Friday.
THis may be a surprise to Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, but many Hispanic families, both legal and illegal immegrants as well as citizens, do want their kids to learn English and to actually have a chance at succeeding i the country. If they do not learn English, and learn to master it or at the very least have a working knowledge, they will be isolated from higher paying jobs. Do you want that to happen, sir? Or should they just remain poor and isolated and dependent on the state and federal government?
Oh, and of course, there is the orgainzation that was suing to delay the recall because they think Hispanics in Monterey COunty were too stupid to not be able to find a new polling place because the County, to save money, was not going to hire as many county workers. I know they think they may not believe this, but this in essence what there aregument is.
October 7th can't get here quickly enough.
Friday, September 05, 2003
Twice I have made posts and then suddenly, they disappear because blogger wants a login. Even when I try to save it periodically, it does the same thing. This is getting annoying, so I may end up changing to another system. Well see.
Thursday, September 04, 2003
SOLA CONSTITUTION AND SOLA SCRIPTURA (PART 1)
I haven't blogged in a little while mainly because I have been thinking about the whole 10 Commandments monument controversy. The monument has since been moved, but the controversy rages on. Let me affirm a few things. The issue, despite what seems to be a continual stream of red herrings, is not personal worship. It is whether a State has the right to acknowledge that God as the sourceof its laws and justice. Secondly, there is no constitutional conflict in the State affirming that God, the God of the Old and New Testament, is the source of its laws of justice. Finally, I believe in sola scriptura.
It is studying that issue which has caused me to rethink partly some of my views regarding the federal judiciary and the Constitution. In earlier blogs, I had stated that Marbury vs. Madison was wrongly decided. However, as the Constitution does plainly state, the judiciary power extends to all cases that arise under the Constitution. In this case, the Supreme Court and the judiciary must necessarily interpret what certain words in the Constitution means, and what remedies are available when a law violates the Constitution. So in this sense, I have to soften the earlier position of declaring acts of Congress or laws of States unconstitutional. What caused the change of mind?
It was the doctrine of sola scriptua as how the Reformers defined it. To them, Scripture was the sole infallible rule of faith, and that it is to be translated consistant with the historic apostolic faith. However, this is not an individualistic activity. As the Westminster Confession of Faith states in Chapter 31, Section 3, it belongs to councils and synods, magesterially, to determine controversies of faith. There is no conflict here. The Supreme Judge "by which all controversies of religion are to be determined" is the Scriptures, but it is ministerally that these controversies are settled. The parallel to the constitutional law is striking. The Supreme Law of the land is the Constitution, and it is through the federal judiciary that Constitutional controversies are to be settled. Therefore, just as the Orthodox Presbyterian Church has a record of its rulings that it believes is faithful to the Bible, so do the US Supreme Court and lower federal courts have records of their holdings which they believe to be consistant with the Constitution, among their other jurisdictions granted by the Constitution.
Therefore, as the WCF has a method that prevents the authority of autonomous individualism, so to does the Constitution prevent the States and People from individualistically and authoritatively binding interpretations. It is the responsibility of the Courts to interpret the Constitution. Of that there can be no doubt.
However, what happens when the interpreter becomes out of control? If the interpreter becomes out of control and no longer "defends the Constitution" faithfully, then it no longer becomes the interpreter by which the Supreme Law is applied: it becomes the Supreme Law. Ever since the Supreme Court ruled in the Slaughterhouse Cases that the 14th Ammendement forces the Bill of Rights upon the States, the Court has become out of control, albeit moreso within the last century. The Constitution has now come to mean whatever the Judges say it mean: it's no accident that this past Supreme Court Justices have realized this. Furthermore, current Justices of the Supreme Court have now officially stated that they can look to foreign laws, particularly in the Western Culture, to help decide cases. (see the Lawrence vs. Texas case, and Justice Scalia's dissent.) When words no longer mean what they seem to plainly mean to others, and when the Courts can simply ignore its own past history and develop constitutional law on the fly (for instance, is this a secular country (County of Alleghany vs. American Civil Liberties Union) or a Christian country (Church of the Holy Trinity vs. United States, decided 100 years prior)), it shows that the interpreter has become out of control.
Indeed, look at how much it has become out of control. Yes, the "seperation of church and state" dichotomy is, for at least the last 56 years, firmly established in this country's jurisprudence, but that does not mean simply because the Supreme Court ruled that way that it is what the Constitution says. On its face, there is no constitutional prohibition in the 1st Ammendment against a State explicitly acknowledging God. It simply is not there, and the tradition of the Constitution (i.e. the intention of the author) was for the Bill of Rights to be something that was to be applied to the States. Just as the intention of the Council of Trent was to state that there were two sources of divine revelation, so was the intention of the founders to apply the Bill of Rights to the federal government. In both cases, as history has progressed, original intentions have overall been ignored by those sworn to uphold them, and have in fact flatly contradicted them.
It is not the Constitution is the sole Supreme Law of the land; today, it is the federal judiciary that is the Supreme Law of the land.
What bearing would "sola constitution" have on the Alabama case? I believe the case might have been handled differently. Does what I wrote about the courts being the interpreters contradict what I have stated, given that I am giving my own interpretation of the Constitutionality of the Courts? No, it does not. The discussion of those ideas is for next time...or roughly thereabouts :)