LITMUS TEST

Temperance Lecture by Edward Edmondson, Jr. (1830–1883)
Temperance Lecture by Edward Edmondson, Jr. (1830–1883)

Moderation in all things. — Terence (from here)

I have a commenter, novascout (or scout, depending upon his mood), who is confused about litmus tests.

litmus test (noun)

  1. Chemistry. the use of litmus paper or solution to test the acidity or alkalinity of a solution.
  2. a crucial and revealing test in which there is one decisive factor.

With respect to our judgement of politicians, the second definition is relevant.

left a string of comments on DO LIBERAL DEMOCRATS REALLY THINK THEY ARE TOLERANT? starting here. That post is about a court decision that supports punishing a baker for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex “marriage.” In his first comment  took issue with my application of a litmus test.

Tell me more about the Judge. How do you know that he’s a “liberal Democrat”? Did you research his history before you wrote the post? Does he have a track record of importing liberal Democrat ideas into his dispensation of justice? Did you read the decision to see how it tracks with relevant precedent on the point, in Colorado or elsewhere? (continued here)

Based upon the fact that the “Judge” had supported punishing a baker for refusing to participate in a same-sex wedding, I labeled that “Judge” a Liberal Democrat. That is, I used the issue of forcing business people to participate in religious ceremonies they think abhorrent as a litmus test. Is my litmus test appropriate? Here are the relevant facts.

  • The Colorado Court of Appeals has 22 members.  Three sat as judges on the case, and I know almost nothing about them.
  • Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution of Colorado says the following:

    Religious freedom. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever hereafter be guaranteed; and no person shall be denied any civil or political right, privilege or capacity, on account of his opinions concerning religion; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be construed to dispense with oaths or affirmations, excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the good order, peace or safety of the state. No person shall be required to attend or support any ministry or place of worship, religious sect or denomination against his consent. Nor shall any preference be given by law to any religious denomination or mode of worship.

    Marriage has huge religious significance.

  • Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution of Colorado says the following:

    Marriages – valid or recognized. Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.

  • The movement for the approval of same-sex “marriage” has come primarily from the courts. In spite of our government-run, secularized public schools and a Liberal Democrat dominated mass media, the People in various states have repeatedly voted against same-sex “marriage.” There is absolutely no constitutional basis for a “right” to same-sex “marriage.” The people who wrote the U. S. Constitution obviously never intended any such thing. To make it happen, judges violated their oath of office and lied. Oath-breaking is highly intemperate, extreme behavior.
  • After “evolving” (most would call it lying) during Obama administration, the Liberal Democrat party now adamantly supports same-sex “marriage.” How do people change their minds that fast? Democrats have reconsidered the situation. They looked at where their campaign funds are coming from. They looked at the beliefs of the people in the mass media. They put their fingers up in the air.
  • Republicans still strongly oppose same-sex “marriage.” Even RINOs, while they may waffle on the issue, have not come out in favor of it.

So why did I decide “the judge” is a Liberal Democrat? Temperance is a virtue. Therefore, we should not judge the views of others too readily. However, when a politician or a political appointee holds a radically intemperate view (an extreme view), we have a litmus test. Punishing someone for refusing to bake a cake, prepare flowers, cater, and so forth in support of a religious belief they find abhorrent is extreme. In fact, we rightly call forcing someone to serve someone else involuntary servitude. That is a fancy way of speaking about slavery.

Those in support of same-sex “marriage” don’t know when to stop. Even after getting away with abusing our legal system and getting what they say they wanted, a “right” to “marry,” they still are not happy. They have to punish anyone who expresses disapproval their “right.” Just to silence their critics, they would participate in the complete destruction of our republic. Don’t they understand that without freedom of conscience, freedom to believe and practice our own religious beliefs, their “right” to marry becomes meaningless.

The animal needing something knows how much it needs, the man does not. — Democritus (from here)

Those advocating same-sex “marriage” proclaim themselves caring and understanding. In reality, they are simply intemperate.

We need water? Without water, we die of thirst. Too much and we drown.

We need food. Without food, we starve. Too much, and we grow fat. We can even acquire certain debilitating and painful diseases like gout.

We feel the need for sexual intercourse, but unless we discipline that need, it destroys our relationships and our bodies.

Look at our government. Has it not become a disaster in the making? Why?

  • We need laws. Without laws, the strong prey upon the weak until all are subjected to tyranny of the mighty. But too many laws, and we are en-shackled again. Only this time, it is by our own design.
  • We need government spending. Without some government spending, we will not have the military forces we need to protect our sovereignty. Without some government spending, we will not have the police forces and the courts we need to protect us from each other. Too much spending on things our government should not even be doing, however, just drives us into bankruptcy and poverty.

Too many laws and too much government spending. That is the price we pay for voting for intemperate Liberal Democrats.

RERUN: WHAT DO THE WORD “GAY” AND THE REBEL FLAG HAVE IN COMMON WITH HERESY?

Lee with stars and bars

Note:  I originally published this post on

A Book Review

I just finished reading A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War by Amanda Foreman. The book ended up being far more fascinating than I anticipated. I read it, and then I immediately read it again.

Why was Foreman’s book so interesting?

  • I saw that the problems that Britain encountered during the American Civil War remain relevant to America today. As a great power, Britain confronted and stumbled over the same problems this country now faces. Whenever people start fighting thousands of miles away, both the combatants and many Americans often insist that America must take sides. Yet, like us, when they tried to figure out what the fight was about, the Brits encountered real difficulties. And, just like ours, their news media was too biased to be of much help.
  • I learned, perhaps even things she had not intended, more about the history of the war. Conventional wisdom says the South had the better generals. Yet I saw that when the South chose to attack the North, the South lost. Generally, Southern generals had the advantage of fighting a defensive war. In addition to the ability to being able to fight from prepared positions, the defense has more subtle advantages. Because defenders are on their home turf, they know the territory, they can gain better intelligence from the locals, and they can rouse the ferocity that comes from defending ones homeland.
  • What made General Ulysses S. Grant successful? He did not attack tentatively. His predecessors had seen the huge causalities and grown fearful. Is that not what any ordinary man would do? Yet the sooner a war ends the sooner people stop dying. Therefore, even though he grew somber and sad because so many died, Abraham Lincoln had to find generals who could withstand watching thousands die frightful deaths and still order their armies to attack without relenting.
  • After so many years we forget the implications of Americans fighting Americans, but Abraham Lincoln understood. His wife, Mary, had a several half-brothers who served in the Confederate Army, and these were killed in action.  Another brother served the Confederacy as a surgeon, and that must have been nightmarish.
  • I swiftly grew interested in the characters Foreman describes in her book. Through the lives of many people, Foreman describes the diplomacy, the South’s struggles for supplies, and the battle scenes in sufficient detail that we can begin to appreciate how even those on the other side of an ocean could be so affected by that great war.
  • With an extraordinarily long (and interesting) epilogue, Foreman continues the story, describing how America and Britain finally resolved the conflicts between them stirred up by the war. In addition, she describes what each of the characters she mentions in her book did after the war.

So why did the Brits choose to stay out of the American Civil War. The British decision to stay out of the war hinged on the moral issue of slavery. Even though they desperately wanted the South’s cotton for their textile mills, the Brits condemned slavery. Therefore, because the Brits could easily have broken the North’s embargo of the South, it may not be an overstatement to say that the United States owes it present unity to William Wilberforce, the man who led the battle to end the slave trade.

So what do the word “gay” and the Rebel Flag have in common with heresy?  Let’s consider one thing at a time.

That New Meaning For The Word “gay”

For the sake of propaganda, homosexual “rights” activists have succeeded in replacing the word “homosexual” with the term “gay” (See the etymology here.). Yet few seem to appreciate just how inappropriate this word swap has been. I suspect those most aware this problem have the word “Gay” as their surname (see here and here).

Think about that. How would you like to be called Gay?

The Distorted Meaning Of The Rebel Flag

When I reblogged Southern History Month 2014, I did not anticipate a positive response. In their unending effort to peddle political correctness, race baiters have transformed the once proud Confederate battle flag into a symbol of racism.

Was the Civil War ultimately about slavery? Yes. Without the issue of slavery, the United States may still have had a Civil War, but then the country would have divided along entirely different lines and for entirely different reasons.

Look at the picture above, at the beginning of this post. In the version of PowerPoint I use, Microsoft did not provide a picture of the “Rebel Flag.”  However, they did provide a picture of the Stars and Bars. Look it up if you must (here), but that is a picture of what actually was the Confederate Flag. What we call the Rebel Flag is shown in the picture below.

THE LAST SALUTE. (PAINTING BY DON TROIANI. PHOTO COURTESY OF HISTORICAL ART PRINTS, SOUTHBURY, CT.)

The painting above depicts the remains of Army of Northern Virginia as it surrendered at Appomattox Court House. And yes, that picture shows what we now call the Rebel Flag. That flag was actually Army of Northern Virginia battle flag.

What the picture shows is the Union troops honoring the Confederate troops as they surrendered their arms and their battle flags. Whatever we may think of that flag now, the men who fought the Confederate soldiers respected them and their flag as one soldier honors another.

The South paid a frightful price for the Civil War. The Union troops at Appomattox Court House saw that price. They saw the thousands of hatless, shoeless, famishing Confederate soldiers before them, and they knew those Confederate soldiers had surrendered only because they had no other choice. Under the flag they carried, those Union soldiers had killed a quarter of Southern manhood, burned and pillaged the South, and left those who survived half starved. Such is war.

Because the Confederate Army had fought bravely and honorably, the Union troops answered honor with honor.   That’s what that picture shows.

Heresy

Just as we have twisted the meaning of the word “gay” and rendered a once proud battleflag into a symbol of racism, we have turned heresy into something almost opposite, something to be proud of.

Consider how G. K. Chesterton began his book, Heretics.

Nothing more strangely indicates an enormous and silent evil of modern society than the extraordinary use which is made nowadays of the word “orthodox.” In former days the heretic was proud of not being a heretic. It was the kingdoms of the world and the police and the judges who were heretics. He was orthodox. He had no pride in having rebelled against them; they had rebelled against him. The armies with their cruel security, the kings with their cold faces, the decorous processes of State, the reasonable processes of law—all these like sheep had gone astray. The man was proud of being orthodox, was proud of being right. If he stood alone in a howling wilderness he was more than a man; he was a church. He was the centre of the universe; it was round him that the stars swung. All the tortures torn out of forgotten hells could not make him admit that he was heretical. But a few modern phrases have made him boast of it. He says, with a conscious laugh, “I suppose I am very heretical,” and looks round for applause. The word “heresy” not only means no longer being wrong; it practically means being clear-headed and courageous. The word “orthodoxy” not only no longer means being right; it practically means being wrong. All this can mean one thing, and one thing only. It means that people care less for whether they are philosophically right. For obviously a man ought to confess himself crazy before he confesses himself heretical. The Bohemian, with a red tie, ought to pique himself on his orthodoxy. The dynamiter, laying a bomb, ought to feel that, whatever else he is, at least he is orthodox. (from here)

Civil War References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Appomattox_Court_House

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_the_Confederate_States

http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/primarysources/the-last-salute-of-the-army.html

http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Surrender_at_Appomattox

http://www.historynet.com/appomattox-court-house-battle

IF WE KNEW THEN WHAT WE KNOW NOW: A POST FOR MEMORIAL DAY

While the fortune teller entertains him, he is robbed from behind.
While the fortune teller entertains him, he is robbed from behind. “The Fortune Teller” by Simon Vouet (1590-1649).

When someone claims the ability to predict the future, they claim the ability to do the impossible. Then we have no choice except to suspect their honesty. Therefore, when someone offers to “read” your palm, shuffles a deck of Tarot cards, or puts a crystal ball on the table, we should protect our wallet and back off. Yet fortune tellers always entice some people. Frightened by the unknowable, we all want to believe, and some do. These stay to listen, and the rest of us are apt to smugly call them gullible.

Yet there is a different type of fortune teller who has almost no trouble getting everyone to listen.  Instead of predicting the future, these fortune tellers grandly proclaim as peerless the intelligence of hindsight. These speak with the perfect knowledge of the critic.

Want an example?

In hindsight, was invading Iraq and toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein a mistake? Here is probably the most famous answer to such blabbering critics.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. — Theodore Roosevelt from THE MAN IN THE ARENA

When as a nation, we decided to invade Iraq and end an evil tyrant’s bloodthirsty rule, we did so for many reasons, but we could not do so with perfect knowledge. Until the future becomes the past, except for what our Lord has blessed us to know, we must pray, guess, and hope for the best.

Accurate or not, President George W. Bush correctly used the intelligence given him, and our military forces succeeded in pacifying Iraq. Then the critics took over, and with increasing rapidity the Middle East is descending into chaos. Yet instead of trying to correct President Barack H. Obama’s obvious foolishness, the corporate-owned news media wants to grill Republican presidential candidates as if it were possible to know in the past what we know now. When we know that such perfection is impossible, questions solely based upon knowledge gained in hindsight do nothing but stupidly insult people who have dedicated their lives to serving us.

If you are one who wants to properly contemplate what it means to be a doer of deeds, please consider reading A Memorial Day Devotion for Christians.

SEEMS APPROPRIATE TO ME

Here is the winning entry American Freedom Defense Initiative‘s ‘Draw the Prophet’ Muhammad contest.  What’s the problem with this?

H/T to Reformation at Keith DeHavelle. Keith has a great post on this, BTW.