March 31, 2020

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: January 18, 2020

The small volcano south of the Philippine capital that draws many tourists for its picturesque setting in a lake erupted with a massive plume of ash and steam Sunday, prompting thousands of people to flee and officials to shut Manila’s international airport. (Domcar C. Lagto/Sipa USA via AP)

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: January 18, 2020

In 1868, Charles D. Blake took advantage of the interest in President Andrew Johnson’s  impeachment by writing a polka in honor of the occasion. Since he added no words, we don’t know how the composer felt about the POTUS or his trial. However, the fact that he wrote a dance tune might suggest either that he was in favor, or that he was delighted for a chance to cash in — the most American stance of all.

• • •

VIRGINIA IN THE NEWS…

Equal Rights Amendment. Both houses of Virginia’s General Assembly passed the Equal Rights Amendment this week, fulfilling a promise that helped Democrats win control of the legislature and marking a watershed moment in the nearly century-long effort to add protections for women to the U.S. Constitution. Virginia is the pivotal 38th state to pass the ERA, the final one necessary for ratification. Passed in 1972. U.S. lawmakers set a deadline of March 22, 1979, for three-quarters of the states (38) to ratify the ERA, which was later extended to 1982. But since the deadline was not in the original amendment, supporters say it is not constitutional. Several efforts are underway in Congress to either extend or restart the ratification process.

Brouhaha over Guns. A sense of crisis has been growing in Virginia’s capitol this week. In anticipation of a rally planned for Monday (Martin Luther King holiday) to protest proposed gun control legislation in the statea. When intelligence warned of white supremacist violence, Gov. Ralph Northrum declared a state of emergency and temporarily enacted a weapons ban on the grounds of the state capitol. Then the FBI announced it had arrested three men connected with a neo-Nazi group who had obtained weapons, including an assault weapon they fashioned, and planned on attending the rally. [Update: three more have been arrested]. Online groups have been fanning the flames by calling Monday’s event a “boogaloo,” a crisis event designed to accelerate the race war they anticipate. Militia members from across the U.S. have said they will attend the rally. Virginia’s now Democratic-controlled legislature is proposing sweeping new legislation that would place new regulations and restrictions in the state’s gun laws. Is this a foreshadowing of the kind of rancor we might expect in the political year ahead?

In other gun news: The TSA reports that 4,432 firearms were confiscated at U.S. airports last year. 87% of them were loaded. 278 airports were involved, led by Atlanta’s Hartsfield, where 323 guns were seized.

• • •

100 YEARS AGO — PROHIBITION

NY Times: A century ago Friday, the 18th Amendment came into effect, outlawing the production, importation and sale of alcoholic beverages. Ever since, that day has been celebrated — or mourned — for formally ushering in the Prohibition Era.

Except that it didn’t.

Contrary to popular imagination — including recent coverage of the amendment’s centennial — there was no mad dash for hooch on the night of Jan. 16, 1920, no “going out of business” liquor store sales on Prohibition Eve. The United States had already been “dry” for the previous half-year thanks to the Wartime Prohibition Act. And even before that, 32 of the 48 states had already enacted their own statewide prohibitions.

“With little that differed from normal wartime prohibition drinking habits, New York City entered at 12:01 o’clock this morning into the long dry spell,” this newspaper solemnly noted. A few restaurants and hotels held mock funerals for booze, but the city’s saloons had long since been shuttered, and “the spontaneous orgies of drink that were predicted failed in large part to occur.” What with debates over ratifying the Peace of Versailles and a war scare with Bolshevik Russia, the 18th Amendment was barely front-page news.

That the final triumph of prohibition was met with shrugs, rather than the outraged street protests we tend to imagine, says less about prohibition back then and more about our inability to understand it today. The entire idea of prohibition seems so hostile to Americans’ contemporary sensibilities of personal freedom that we struggle to comprehend how our ancestors could have possibly supported it.

For decades now, popular histories have concocted false stories that the majority of the public had never supported prohibition, or that prohibition was conceived by a “radical fringe” of Bible-thumping, rural evangelicals trying to codify their Puritan morality. We use the same language to vilify prohibitionists as we do to describe ISIS or Al Qaeda: calling them “deeply antidemocratic,” “extremists” and “zealots.”

But this portrayal of prohibition as some reactionary, cultural-religious movement runs into a bevy of uncomfortable historical questions. How could such an “ultra-conservative” prohibition movement win its greatest victory during the middle of the Progressive Era? How could organizations like the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union champion progressive issues like the expansion of suffrage and civil and labor rights alongside supposedly reactionary prohibition?

If the victory of prohibition was all about Bible-thumping morality, why was there no evangelical revivalism at the time? If prohibition never had popular support, how did the 18th Amendment pass with a 68 percent supermajority in the House of Representatives and 76 percent support in the Senate, and then get ratified by 46 of the 48 states, all in record time? None of this adds up.

In reality, the temperance movement was anything but pinky-raising Victorians forbidding society to drink. Temperance was the longest-running, most widely supported social movement in both American and global history. Its foe wasn’t the drink in the bottle or the drunk who drank it, but the drink traffic: powerful business interests — protected by a government reliant on liquor taxes — getting men addicted to booze, and then profiting handsomely by bleeding them and their families dry.

…One legislator called for prohibition “for the safety and redemption of the people from the social, political and moral curse of the saloon.” That zealot was Abraham Lincoln, rising to support Illinois’s statewide prohibition in 1855. Similar sentiments were expressed by Frederick Douglass, Theodore Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony, William Jennings Bryan, William Lloyd Garrison, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and many other progressive leaders.

…For a better understanding of temperance and prohibition, forget Bible-thumping “thou shalt nots.” Think instead about a major industry making outlandish profits by getting people hooked on an addictive substance that could kill them. Maybe that industry uses some of those profits to buy corrupt political cover by currying favor with government and oversight bodies. Let’s call this substance “opioids,” and the industry, “Big Pharma.”

This is the same type of predatory capitalism that the temperance-cum-prohibition movement fought 100 years ago. Should big businesses be able to use addiction to reap tremendous profits from the poor? If your answer is no, and you were around 100 years ago, you likely would have joined the vast majority of Americans calling for the prohibition of liquor traffic.

For another look at a take Chaplain Mike had on Prohibition, read When Christians Won the Culture War.

• • •

MUSIC GOES TO THE DOGS

Spotify has launched playlists for dogs left home alone, after discovering that 74% of UK pet owners play music for their pets. According to Reuters, the streaming music service has also “launched a podcast featuring soothing music, “dog-directed praise”, stories, and messages of affirmation and reassurance narrated by actors to alleviate stress for dogs who are home alone.”

By the way, 4 in 10 owners say their pets have a favorite kind of music, and 25% report their pets dance to it.

In other music news: After reports that Nissan Motor boss Carlos Ghosn was smuggled out Japan by concealing himself in a musical instrument case, Yamaha Corporation tweeted: “We won’t mention the reason, but there have been many tweets about climbing inside large musical instrument cases. A warning after any unfortunate accident would be too late, so we ask everyone not to try it.” So there.

• • •

QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

Are cat lovers less likely to go to church?

Should Christians kill animals for sport?

How do I respond to sexual dreams? (Hey! John Piper has biblical answers!)

Can a Christian smoke marijuana? (Refreshingly, no biblical answers here)

Should parsonages get more respect?

What do we learn from silence?

OK, God loves us but does God like us?

• • •

MY THOUGHTS ON CHEATING IN BASEBALL

Is baseball by nature a cheating enterprise? I don’t think so, but it seems to me that every competitive endeavor provides ample temptation to try and gain advantage over one’s opponent, within or without the rules. And, as in every realm of life, better technology always brings with it new and more devious ways to succumb to that temptation.

And so we’ve come to baseball’s latest cheaters (who got caught) — the Houston Astros. While their cheating comes nowhere close to a Black Sox scandal, a Pete Rose gambling transgression, or a steroids debacle, I’m glad MLB is addressing and punishing it.

I just wish I was young enough to drill a fastball into Alex Bregman’s ribs.

• • •

ON MY WINTER PLAYLIST

Don’t stop trying to find me here amidst the chaos
Though I know it’s blinding, there’s a way out
Say out loud we will not give up on love now
No fear, don’t you turn like Orpheus, just stay here
Hold me in the dark, and when the day appears
We’ll say we did not give up on love today

 

by Sara Bareilles

Comments

  1. Regarding the baseball cheating (sign-stealing taken to the extreme)…

    You have to wonder if some of the increased production numbers (HRs, slugging, runs) over the past few years has NOT been due to juiced up balls (which the baseball manufacturer has fervently denied) and IS due to a more widespread sign-stealing culture than any of us thought was happening.

    And if Altuve, Springer, Correa and Bregman suddenly become .240/15 HR guys, we’ll know where all THEIR success came from.

    • Another thought…

      With their sign-stealing cheating, I would think the Astros’ home hitting splits would be significantly better than their road splits. Do any of you baseball nuts and statistical gurus know if that’s the case?

    • Maybe, maybe not, although that could also be connected in some way to modern strength conditioning. Hopefully we’re done with the steroid scandals which contributed to the gaudy home run totals around the turn of the century.

      The latest cheating scandal has not only tainted the Houston Astros but also the Boston Red Sox. Alex Cora, who was the Astros’ bench coach in 2017, became the Red Sox manager in 2018, leading them to a 108-win regular season and a World Series title. Now that accomplishment is as tainted as the Astros’ 2017 season. And both teams are looking for new managers just over three weeks before pitchers and catchers report for spring training. So are the New York Mets as manager Carlos Beltran stepped down after being implicated as an Astros player in the sign-stealing scandal.

      This is going to be a very interesting season.

  2. Pellicano Solitudinis says

    Killing animals with the intention of eating them is OK. Taking pleasure in the physical skills needed to be a successful hunter is OK. Taking pleasure in the death of a creature is not OK.

    Thoughts?

    • Intentionally prolonging an animal’s death, while hunting or at any other time, because one takes pleasure in its suffering is not okay. Recent psychological studies have found that enjoying the observed suffering of other beings, human and nonhuman, is actually very widespread among human beings. I think that much of the content on Youtube, for instance, exists because of that penchant. I’m reluctant to condemn the felt reaction many people have to observing suffering, particularly since such visceral reaction may be beyond their ability to control. But my reluctance to criticize stops at the place where intentionally causing suffering to animals or humans so that one may take pleasure in observing it starts.

    • I have always found the idea of taking pleasure in the death of a creature repugnant, & really think it’s a sign that there’s something wrong with the person who does it, when it’s just killing for the pleasure of killing.

      There can be contexts in which there is relief in the death of a creature- i.e. my old dog dying & so being at rest from his liver failure & its consequences, but those who find joy in killing healthy animals for fun or glory? No, it’s not okay.

    • Iain Lovejoy says

      Spot on.

    • Agree.

    • David Greene says

      I would agree that Killing animals with the intention of eating them is OK. And I would agree with taking pleasure in the physical skills needed to be a successful hunter is OK. I would also agree that taking pleasure in the death of a creature is not OK. However, I would add that taking pleasure in a successful legal hunt is OK. Deer, elk, pheasants, fish OK – elephants and lions not so much.

    • Christiane says

      agreed . . . killing an animal for ‘pleasure’ is an insult to its Creator

      “In His Hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”
      (Job 12:10)

  3. senecagriggs says

    So it’s Saturday. I suppose I’ll survive. Weather is quite mild this morning.

    • Expecting snow and ugly winter weather here starting a little later in the morning, and continuing throughout the day. I have to go out in the worst of it, since my wife is playing organ for a funeral service at our church; also the choir will be singing for the service, and I’m in the choir. Not looking forward to going out in it.

  4. Online groups have been fanning the flames by calling Monday’s event a “boogaloo,” a crisis event designed to accelerate the race war they anticipate. Militia members from across the U.S. have said they will attend the rally. Virginia’s now Democratic-controlled legislature is proposing sweeping new legislation that would place new regulations and restrictions in the state’s gun laws. Is this a foreshadowing of the kind of rancor we might expect in the political year ahead?

    Yes, it is a foreshadowing of that. It is moving from the conventionally political to insurgency. That movement toward insurgency has been gradually happening over the last few years; we can expect its acceleration in 2020, as this story illustrates. The question is: Do our law enforcement and security agencies still have the institutional integrity and soundness to meet the threat, and neutralize it?

    • Andrew Zook says

      The other day, I looked up some of the passed or proposed legislation… of course it’s very reasonable, hardly radical and no threat to the 2nd amendment.
      – universal background checks
      – no more than one handgun purchase per month (who the heck is buying more than one a month!)
      – allowing localities to ban guns from public events

      One bill was tabled… this “One bill, SB 16, was struck from the record, which included the ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, bump stocks and silencers.” (this is from ABC 13, WSET-TV, Lynchburg VA)

      That these gun worshippers are worked up about them to the point of violence is… I don’t have words… the mindset or worldview that’s involved there is something I don’t know what to do with exactly. (It makes a top-down, we’re-going-to-make-you-do-this strategy probably counter-productive, but neither can a society let these gun-worshipping, neo-nazi, white supremacist militias run unaccountable either… ) It’s a deep, deep conundrum we’ve allowed to fester…

      Needless to say, numerous of my conservative “christian” friends on social media are amped up by this and unknowingly or uncaringly, emotionally/rhetorically walking along side these more extreme elements, in their shared opposition (or insane fear of?) to this legislation and in full support of the local authorities who have vowed to run an insurgency against the legislation by not enforcing it or prosecuting any violators…

      Given that, I’m not surprised the gov has threatened the national guard – but given my earlier point, I doubt that will change the hearts & minds that need to be changed for sanity to have its sway… but again, one can’t just do nothing… Given the circumstances, and if you were in the Governors’ position, what would you do in the face of vowed resistance like this?

      • Perhaps what George Wallace suggested in 1967;

        “National Guard troops three foot apart with bayonets fixed.”

        • Is the fact that this gun rights rally is happening on MLK Day just a coincidence?

          • Doubt it.

            BTW, at the end of my comment I placed but without the spaces and the filters removed it.

          • https://wtvr.com/2019/01/21/lobbying-day-of-action-brings-hundreds-to-richmond/

            The content of the MLK Lobby Day event in 2019 is not that important, I just wanted to show that this is an established day where groups do meet to “lobby” their representatives on issues. So it is not a coincidence it is on MLK Day.

            What course of action should the voters concerned about the 2nd Amendment take in Va. Should they not be allowed to gather? Should they not be allowed to lobby their reps? 6 nuts from a fringe group get to set the agenda for the event that is open to all. We are a long way from the days when the liberals in this country including the ACLU and Jewish advocacy groups defended the rights for stupid, immoral American Nazi , with a small following were allow to march in Skokie , IlL.

            The press will play this up beyond proportion to promote their narrative. Would you be safer on Jan 20 in Richmond or in South Chicago or parts of most big cities? Not good for America to start the suppression of public protest and this is where we are headed,

            • They have not been prohibited from having their rally, and we shall not be prohibited or thwarted from making our objections to their rally — both are protected by the right to free speech. But they may not bring their guns to the Capitol grounds. Leave the guns at home — and while they’re at it, they should leave the white supremacists and the anti-government paranoiacs at home as well.

              Point about MLK Lobby Day taken. Did not know. Thanks for the info.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              6 nuts from a fringe group get to set the agenda for the event that is open to all.

              Take it from the 20+year veteran of Furry Fandom:

              LOUD CRAZIES HAVE A WAY OF DEFINING THE PUBLIC FACE OF A MOVEMENT. Any Movement.

              Because the rest of us have jobs and lives and the Loud CraziesDON’T. Only Dedication to The Cause in which they Live and Move and Have Their Being. They can spend 24/7/365 On Fire for Their Obsession, relentlessly Building Their Brand and out-screaming everyone else. Religious Fanatics without the Godspeak, just the Righteousness and Zeal of their Obsession

            • Christiane says

              big difference between ‘marching’ and killing Heather Heyer . . . . time to take these neo-Nazi’s seriously as ‘domestic terrorists’, you bet

      • > who the heck is buying more than one a month!

        It’s no different than any other form of consumerism – you buy an item not just for its actual utility, but for how culture and advertising has conditioned you to feel about acquiring that item. In that sense a person who buys dozens of guns in order to feel safe and powerful and in control is no different from a woman who buys dozens of purses to feel feminine and sophisticated or a man who buys a fancy sports car or pickup truck to feel manly.

        There’s a reason that gun sales spike when something happens (like losing an election) that makes people feel powerless. And there’s a reason that people like having handguns in their homes even though statistically, that gun is more likely to kill a member of their household than to save their life. We’ve invested guns with so much emotional allure that, especially if you feel like you have very little agency or control of the world around you, they’re hard to resist.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          no different from a woman who buys dozens of purses to feel feminine and sophisticated or a man who buys a fancy sports car or pickup truck to feel manly.

          Elaborating on that last (sports car) analogy:
          ASSAULT RIFLES ARE THE MUSCLE CARS OF FIREARMS.
          Once you realize that, a lot of their appeal falls right into place.

          • David Greene says

            “ASSAULT RIFLES ARE THE MUSCLE CARS OF FIREARMS. Once you realize that, a lot of their appeal falls right into place.”

            Sorry but that is just plain dumb. No one buys gets a muscle car to “feel safe” from… the government, other people groups, bad guys, conservatives, liberals or whatever.

      • Several thoughts from a lifelong Virginian on this issue:

        1. I would hardly be considered a gun nut but I’d be less than honest if I didn’t say I’m concerned about the proposed laws. I’ve lived in Fairfax County for more than 30 years. Gangs such as MS-13 have gained a strong foothold in the area over the last two decades. If vulnerable citizens are left unable to obtain the means to defend themselves, what happens next?

        2. I can’t help but wonder if the media are trying to fan the flames concerning Monday’s rally. Hopefully the wackos will be kept at bay, but the governor’s actions strike me as overkill.

        3. If the governor and the General Assembly succeed in weakening citizen’s rights under the Second Amendment, could the First Amendment be next?

    • One of President Trump’s tweets yesterday, 1/17/2020:

      “Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away. Republicans will win Virginia in 2020. Thank you Dems!”

      No, Mr. President, the Democrats can’t do that. Hillary can’t do that. It takes both houses of Congress, and a president’s signature. Your tweets will however, get and keep some votes for you, because people THINK the Democrats can repeal the 2nd Amendment.

      • Ted, well , if the Democrats have control of Congress and the President is a Democrat and they ran on a platform of restricting 2nd Amendment rights by national gun laws they can weaken the 2 Amendment . If they get enough 2/3 of Congress to approve then the States can vote on it. This will happen within the next 50 years as the country demographics and culture changes. Look at Va., the Democrats in control are working to undermine the 2 Amendment though state and local laws. My neighborhood is safe as we are not near a major city and police response is not fast. We as a neighborhood accept that as we chose to live here to be on the lake but I would say 85 percent of the homeowners in our association have weapons and many concealed permits. To the neighbors who are for gun control, I tell them to put a sign on their door, I do not have a gun, see which house they break into. Our crime rate in our community is low.

        • I don’t see it happening, despite Trump’s threats. A 2/3 majority in both houses, and ratification by 3/4 of the states, is unlikely. Oh, it’s possible, if we look at the 18th and 21st amendments, but I live in Maine where hunting and fishing are a way of life, as in a lot of rural states. I was talking with a friend from Virginia last year about hunting there, and we agreed that if other states treasure hunting as much as Maine and Virginia a repeal isn’t likely. It’s a hollow threat, designed to scare Trump’s base and enlarge it.

          • Ted, have you noticed the anti 2 amendment gun laws that were quickly enacted in Va? Do you think it will stop there. Was it a hollow threat that if Va. legislature was controlled by Dems they would enact gun control laws? Maine and Va. are changing by demographics and the hunting culture is disappearing. Yes, Trump is scaring people by speaking the truth about the Democrat agenda.

            • We’ve had national “gun control laws” at least since the beginning of the 20th century. A person who wants to own a fully auto machine gun must have a special permit. That’s a national law. Want a shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches? Nada, and that’s a national law also. Want to own an operational Vulcan mini cannon? Go ahead and see how long it takes for BATF to break down your front door.

              The 2nd was ratified with muskets in mind. Firing rate of 1:45 secs.

              IF the USGOV decided to move against citizens in some predatory fashion–how long do you think it would take the military to neutralize armed resistance?

              • Burro (Mule) says

                Organized armed resistance? Won’t happen. But what are the odds the military command will be unified as they are in Venezuela? You know they have two presidents there.

                How long do you think it would take bad faith state actors to start supplying one side or the other?

                Note to all monitoring algorithms: I am speaking hypothetically.

              • Combine that military weaponry with that the USGOV using the greatly increased power of the internet surveillance corporate-state, and resistance by means of semi-automatics in the hands of civilians becomes a third rate joke.

            • Christiane says

              how quickly? in Virginia?

              I hope so.

              Charlottesville is in Virginia. Did anyone see THAT COMING ??????

              Virginia is on guard now. ‘Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’

    • Burro (Mule) says

      The Internet is not very helpful for any studies of the Spanish Civil War, even in Spanish. History does not repeat, but it does rhyme, and the situation our country faces at the present is mirrored by the Spanish situation in the mid 1930s. Extreme polarization, maybe more extreme than ours, a lot of social instability, a lot of informal “prosecutions and executions”.

      Media propagandizers fed the polarization, seeing it as an excellent opportunity to sell newspapers.

      Needless to say, the Spanish Civil War continues to have its repercussions down to the present day.

      The clip is very powerful in Spanish. It is an Argentine family torn apart by politics, with the younger brother supporting the Argentine Left, and the older brother supporting the junta that precipitated the Dirty War. The elderly father, a supporter of the Republic, fled Spain after the Nationalist triumph, and his elder son is rubbing it in his face.

      “What? Did you think you could get away from that shit by coming here (Argentina)? The same thing happened! You can’t admit it to yourself even now, forty years later, but your side lost because you’re LOSERS! You were losers there and you’re losers here.

      “Forgive me for not being a loser, but we’re going to do you the same as we did to them.”

      OOph.

    • Burro (Mule) says

      Spanish Civil War post lost in moderation 🙁

  5. Iain Lovejoy says

    I think you can learn a lot by not listening to John Piper: from what I have read of his “advice” he is world class at making things worse. His long-winded, rambling answer has much to do with the absence of even one word about sexual dreams in the Bible, leaving his usual technique of finding an out of context proof text floundering.
    He instead uses his “go to” move of blaming the questioner for not being holy enough because he watches TV and goes to the movies. The scam works because when it doesn’t work you can blame the person again for not trying hard enough. Piper is pharisee incarnate.
    Slightly more sensible advice I have seen on this is, “It’s not really something to worry about, you’re probably just a bit stressed recently and need to take a break, chill, play golf (or whatever you do) and generally relax about it.”
    Piper’s advice of obsessing about it constantly and trying to avoid all forms of stimulation while suppressing all those “bad thoughts” is a pretty much a recipe for bringing on these sorts of dreams, fantasies and thoughts and making then more and more intense and all-consuming.
    (Sorry, I am not a big Piper fan.)
    The “coffee with Jesus” cartoon got me thinking. I am not sure what the cartoonist means by “displeased” but if I am “displeased” with my kids, that’s me being a less than stellar dad. Sure, part of being a dad is me telling them they shouldn’t be doing stuff, and getting all firm and authoritarian at them as necessary to get the message home, but “displeased”? If I lose patience with them and get snappy at them because they are not exactly conforming to what I want, that’s not good parenting, that’s me messing up.

    • Piper’s advice is like telling Pooh to go ahead and punch the Tar Baby.

    • I’m pretty sure by displeased he means displeased with something we do, which, if you are never displeased with something your kids do, then they are either perfect or you probably aren’t being a good dad. And as they get older it is entirely possible to be displeased with who they have become. If one of my children grew up to be a drug dealer I would be displeased with them. I would still love them, I would still try to help them and get them out of that life, but I would be displeased to say the least.

    • I, a non-Evangelical looking at Evangelicalism, heard for years about Piper as one of the great minds of Evangelicalism. Then I read some Piper. This is one of the great minds?!?

    • Agree. All Piper did was string together a few of verses completely unrelated to the question that just happen to use the word ‘dream’ and, voila, a ‘biblical’ answer (or non-answer). This kind of biblicism (that does little justice to the actual Bible) can provide answers to every question in life. Just ask him. 🙂

      It’s just like the ‘Roman Road’ – a few verses taken out of context to make a canned sales pitch for a ‘gospel’ that Paul would probably not recognize.

      Even when I was still an evangelical I’d shake my head at foolishness like this.

      • And, of course, the real ‘process’ is usually (and almost certainly in this case), well the Bible doesn’t directly address this (like most questions in life), but ‘this is what I think’ so let me go find some verses that ‘prove’ it. Does it matter that the verses have nothing to do with the actual question?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        It’s obvious The Pious Piper is madly in love with the sound of his own words. And probably the smell of his own farts.

      • Piper never appealed to me.

        Like the Rabbi’s blessings in “Fiddler on the Roof”, in EO we have a prayer for everything, including having bad dreams of any sort. If your dream wakes you up, pray the prayer – then go back to sleep. No big deal.

        Dana

    • John Piper must have been listening to Tom Waits. You’re innocent when you dream…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-y-qzVKT8_8

  6. senecagriggs says

    Checking Fox News: Hillary is still not president – “trollish smile”

    • CNN: People like you are still bringing up Hillary Clinton — “liberal smirk”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Hillary is a real piece of work (I peg her as a wanna-be Elena Ceaucescu) and her nomination in 2016 was largely Triumph of the Clinton Machine’s Will. Any other Dem (without the Clinton Baggage) would have beaten Trump in a landslide.

        We can thank a certain Barack H Obama for derailing that machine in 2008; his dark-horse win in the primaries and successful campaign managed to hold the Clinton Machine in check for his two terms. Otherwise it would have been Hillary in 2008 and Chelsea in 2016. THAT’s how strong the Clinton Machine was (those FBI files really helped).

        • As someone who actually was in Romania for a few days during the Ceaucescu years, that comparison caused me to skip a breath… yikes! Not completely sure about that part of your comment, HUG, but agree with the rest of it. I’m of the demographic that was supposed to be Hilary’s base – and would have none of her warmongering, and other policy positions, with two (at the time) children in the military.

          As for Bill – yes, it does matter that you keep true to your spouse. If you’re going to lie about that, what else are you going to lie about? He may have been a passable administrator, but that’s about it. Totally messed up things in the Balkans.

          Dana

        • Agreed, HUG.

          I lived in Arkansas 45 years and had more than enough of the Clinton dynasty.

          • David Greene says

            What about Huckabee? We here in Washington State had enough of him after he let that felon out of prison only to come here and kill four cops.

            • Huckabee was likeable in his earlier political career. It also makes a difference that I was definitively politically right at that time in my life, so Huck was a satisfying change. By the time he was running in the Repub presidential primary I had changed considerably in my politics (and my faith journey) and found him not appealing at all. I think either he’s either gone off the rails or is simply pandering to a particular demographic for personal gain. His daughter Sarah, IMO, was an embarrassment in the 4T5 admin–which in and of itself is FUBAR.

    • Having wet dreams Seneca?

    • Steve Newell says

      So we where given two choices both are immoral, dishonest, and corrupt in the 2016 election.

      The problem I couldn’t tell you which if the two is better.

      Head America Loses, Tales America Loses.

    • Christiane says

      Checking Fox News?

      have you seen THIS:
      https://youtu.be/GH9017Qaby8

      sorry, he wasn’t joking . . . trumpism rules on Fox which means PUTIN is praised there

      problem: Putin is the enemy of the USA and of NATO and of all the border countries he plans to ‘take back’ into his empire

      if you’re buying Putin’s logic, God help you

  7. “the vast majority of Americans call(ed) for the prohibition of liquor traffic”

    So it was only a tiny minority who supported the speakeasies, made “bathtub gin”, and provided the market for the rum runners? No. While alcohol consumption did drop markedly in the first few years, it quickly rebounded and came back to almost pre-Prohibition levels.

    https://www.nber.org/papers/w3675

    All Prohibition did, ultimately, was change *who* was making money off the stuff.

  8. How was prohibition different from the outlawing of any other drug or addictive substance? What is the reasoning that any substance should be outlawed?

    • “Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women; shall we therefore prohibit and abolish women? The sun, moon, and stars have been worshipped; shall we therefore pluck them down from the sky? Such haste and violence betray a lack of confidence in God.” – Martin Luther

      • Couldn’t conservatives say the same about guns?

        • Sex and alcohol have positive applications. Guns are instruments of killing pure and simple.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            But banning either (according to its Activist proponents) gives the same results:
            Unicorns Farting Rainbows and Free Ice Cream for Everybody! Forever!

            “I have a vision of the Future, chum:
            The worker’s flats in fields of soya beans
            Tower up like silver pencils, score on score;
            And surging millions here the challenge come
            From microphones in communal canteens:
            NO RIGHT! NO WRONG! ALL’S PERFECT! EVERMORE!”
            — T.S.Eliot

            P.S. A friend of mine has been telling me about a book on Prohibition by the guy who wrote Gangs of New York et al:
            The Great Illusion: an Informal History of Prohibition by Herbert Asbury
            https://www.amazon.com/Great-Illusion-Informal-History-Prohibition/dp/0837100089

            According to him, one of the anecdotes within is that during the run-up to Volstead, one of the things that would happen is when all the saloons were shut down (even those Italian holes-in-the-wall that served wine with their pasta), People Would All Go To Church Instead.

          • Yes but self defense and hunting can be positives, as well as shooting for sport. I haven’t looked it up, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there are more alcohol related deaths than gun related deaths, not to mention abuse and wrecks that don’t cause fatalities

        • Iain Lovejoy says

          Guns kill other people. Alcohol just wrecks yourself.

          • flatrocker says

            Tell that to the battered spouse and the abandoned child.

            • David Greene says

              Or the dead guy in the car wreck.

            • Iain Lovejoy says

              That’s probably true. There are (at least theoretically) good justifications for banning alcohol (or other drugs) on grounds of the social damage they do. The practical issue is whether the attempt at a ban does more harm than good. Prohibition and the “war on drugs” we know do great harm in terms of criminality etc in the way that gun control.does not. It is a matter of practicality rather than absolutes.

    • I’m ambivalent about the legalization of marijuana. On the one hand, I hate the endless and futile war on drugs in this country, which puts people, mostly people of color, in prison for years for the crime of selling a product that the majority of Americans have used. On the other hand, I anticipate marijuana usage to increase significantly as the result of legalization, that this increase will be disproportionately large in disadvantaged communities and communities of color, and that we underestimate the resultant negative health consequences and social problems that will occur.

      • Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. All we can do is try to ascertain which path would cause the least harm overall.

        • And I think the path of least harm is legalization.

          The former chief advisor on drugs to the British government, David Nutt, explains — if cannabis causes psychosis in a straightforward way, then it would show in a straightforward way.
          When cannabis use goes up, psychosis will go up. And when cannabis use goes down psychosis will go down.
          So does that happen? We have a lot of data from a lot of countries. And it turns out it doesn’t. For example, in Britain, cannabis use has increased by a factor of about 40 since the 1960s. And rates of psychosis? They have remained steady.
          In fact, the scientific evidence suggests cannabis is safer than alcohol. Alcohol kills 40,000 people every year in the U.S. Cannabis kills nobody — although Willie Nelson says a friend of his did once die when a bale of cannabis fell on his head.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-influence/real-reasons-marijuana-is-banned_b_9210248.html?

          https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/legal-cannabis-colorado/

          • And I think the path of least harm is legalization.

            We’ll know in a couple of decades — although of course some of us may not be around that long!

      • I think you can at least make the case that the societal harm of the War on Drugs has been worse than the societal harm of drug use. In any case it should be a medical issue rather than a police one.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          And guess who (outside the DEA) are the Biggest Fanboys of the War on Drugs?

          Donald J Trump and The Christians.

          • Norma Cenva says

            The drug war (and all its collateral damage) is as unwinnable as was the Vietnam war.
            It is driven by huge amounts of energy in the form of huge sums of money.

            I remember back a few years when talk of decriminalization was bandied about, the Obama administration would have none of it.

            I have sincere doubts that the Cartels (or the DEA for that matter) would want any serious consideration given to decriminalization and the deflation in revenue for product (recreational drugs) sent North to the Yanquis.

      • It’s kind of worrisome that our country is still digging itself out from a crisis where powerful corporate interests promoted a drug that they claimed would reduce pain and make life more bearable for people with very little negative side effects – and now we’re seeing a booming marijuana industry making exactly the same claims. And that, of course, is not very different from how cigarettes were billed as safe and medicinal… or, for that matter, laudanum and morphine back in the previous time opioids were commonplace.

      • Burro (Mule) says

        Well, it certainly will add an entirely new dimension to the church pot luck.

  9. Prohibition: The real take-away is that policy stances didn’t cluster together in quite the same way they do today. Learn someone’s stance on one or two issues and you learn what camp he is in. At that point you can make a pretty good guess at his stances on other issues that aren’t really related. This is not a criticism. Politics is a matter of coalitions. That single-issue guy who is otherwise completely misaligned doesn’t get anything done.

    The thing is, the way these various issues come together often depends on underlying logic that is not obvious later one, when a different underlying logic has shuffled the issues into different coalitions. And sometimes it is an entirely arbitrary coalition of convenience.

    So back in the 19th century you find prohibition or temperance (not quite the same thing) combined with abolitionism and women’s suffrage. If this seems a bizarre combination, this means you need to learn more about the period to figure out the underlying logic, while keeping in mind that there might be none.

    In this case, the logic is post-millenarian perfectability of society. There is, in the eyes of God, no slave or free, and no man or woman. We can prepare the way by making society more like this. As for prohibition, alcohol resulted in much suffering. Prohibiting it is another effort to prepare the way.

    This logic seems strange today. Catholic and mainline Protestant churches don’t think in these terms. Among Evangelicals, pre-millenarianism has been the trendy thing for at least half a century, with strong roots before then. Among the unchurched, this entire discussion is simply gibberish. As a result, the issues of Prohibition, Abolition, and Suffrage have been reshuffled, making the 19th century combination seem bizarre.

    • The one I always find fascinating is that 60 years ago or so, abortion was seen as a civil rights issue – and aside from the Catholics, many early right-to-life people were actually extreme liberals. It’s actually very analogous to Prohibition: you had people taking the exact same policy position but using completely different moral logic to arrive there.

      • Eugenics was tied to the early 20th century Progressive movement. One sometimes sees modern conservative polemicists raising this point, as if it told us anything about modern progressivism. It is one those those things where it might be that this person is clueless, or he might be consciously disingenuous. In my old age, I find myself unconcerned with determining which it is.

    • If you know anything about history, Prohibition, Abolition and Suffrage were all linked to what some would today term “family values”. Alcoholism, slavery and denying the vote to women and blacks were all seen to be the great causes of undermining society by undermining families. Women especially were hurt. Under slavery they had no assurance of having husbands and fathers around for help and protection. Not having the vote, they could not effect any change on a community level, except what they were able to do personally (like Jane Addams and Florence Nightingale and Elizabeth Blackwell and Harriet Tubman and others). And alcoholic husbands, whether they stayed at home or deserted, reduced women and children to penury with few, if any, resources. These things made social conditions much worse.

      Dana

  10. Should a Christian smoke marijuana? Not if I’m going to be a passenger in their car.

    • senecagriggs says

      Lol

    • There’s a funny Louis CK bit where he talks about getting high with a bunch of 20-year-olds after a show and then gets in his car. He says that he’s been driving for something like 20 minutes before he realizes that there was a whole world of responsibility on the other side of his windshield. He had been looking around the car searching for things and so forth. It’s a particularly funny bit for anyone who has smoked some pot in their life and experienced the ever tangential roaming nature of thought in that state.

    • should a Christian smoke grass?

      ‘for medicinal purposes only’? LOL

  11. “I just wish I was young enough to drill a fastball into Alex Bregman’s ribs.”

    This line made my whole week. Love it! Thanks for the chuckle CM.

  12. Great Sarah Bareilles song! Very hopeful.

  13. Klasie Kraalogies says

    Prohibition flourished as part of a broader social movement a lot like a certain brand of politics today. Prohibition was used as a weapon with which to marginalize black people and immigrants.

    See here: https://thedaily.case.edu/race-crime-color-line-prohibition-era-chicago/

    A lot of the anti-immigrant rhetoric had to do with how those nasty Catholics (Italians etc) use wine during communion, or how the Jews used wine during pascha and other occasions.

    It is easy to try and simplify these socio-political movements, but closer examination always shows a complex picture, often with less than desirable actions and factions.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      Here is a link to another good paper on the matter. This is serious historical research, not culture wars propaganda:

      https://dspace.sunyconnect.suny.edu/handle/1951/69895

      • Yes. People tend to forget that the Germans did not invent eugenics – upright, “decent” Brits and Americans did.

        • The “invention” was at least as old as the ancient Greeks – albeit with an updated spoonful of modern statistical analysis and biology just to give the concept an air of sophistry. Heck it might even have gone back to the first time Mr. and Mrs. Neanderthal met the prospective new son-in-law. Nothing much new here.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says

            Eeyore is referring to the defined socio-political movement that leaked itself in a thin veneer of scienciness…

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          The National Socialist German Worker’s Party just took all that Respectable Eugenics (“LIfe to the Fit, Extinction to the Unfit! Only Perfect Seed Must Be Sown!”) and ACTED on it. All The Way.

          If it had not been for Adolf Hitler AG, Eugenics and Master Race Theory would still be Respectable Mainstream Science. (And may become again, as ha-Shoah passes from living memory and We Now Can Genetically Engineer The Perfect Fit.)

          In his collections of essays, Stephen Jay Gould often wrote on the history of science; including how Bad Science was used to prop up that Inexorable Law of Nature, White Supremacy. A lot of his began with the “Scientific Racism” of the late 19th Century, which replaced Justification by BIBLE with Justification by Darwin in a convenient misinterpretation of “Survival of the Fittest” And “White” was defined MUCH more Narrowly than today.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Prohibition was used as a weapon with which to marginalize black people and immigrants.

      Same with Reefer Madness.
      The original War on Drugs of the time had a heavy Race Card angle; Reefer and Coke were associated with Jazz musicians at the time and We Must Protect Our Daughters from RAPE by Dope-Crazed N*gg*rs. (Like a variant of the KKK obsession with Protecting the Purity of White Womanhood.)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      A lot of the anti-immigrant rhetoric had to do with how those nasty Catholics (Italians etc) use wine during communion, or how the Jews used wine during pascha and other occasions.

      Like I mentioned above in my plug for Stephen Jay Gould’s essay collections, Scientific Racism/Eugenics defined “The White Race” MUCH more narrowly than today. Usually the tribe of the Eugenicist and nobody else.

      In the Anglosphere that was “The Anglo-Saxon Race” without cross-contamination by those Celts or Irish — tall, blond, blue-eyed. (Description sound familiar?)

      Italians weren’t White.
      Poles weren’t White.
      Slavs weren’t White.
      Spanish and Portuguese weren’t White.
      Irish weren’t White.

      Notice a pattern here?
      It’s the Us-or-Them breakdown from the Reformation Wars.
      Protestant Races were White.
      Catholic and Orthodox Races were NOT White.

  14. You guys bring up a good point the historical and current anti immigrant bias in USA. That is why so few people attempted to come to USA though Ellis Island and be subjected to this terrible abuse. It would have been better for them to stay in their home country where the social, political and economic system worked to their benefit. Even today I am amazed why the current legal immigrants flock to come to the USA which accepts more immigrants legally than any other country, are these people nuts? Why would the illegal immigrants subject themselves to the racist and anti immigration rigors of this nation, are they not aware of the opportunity in their own country. Why do they not go to the successful nations that have handled the issue so well? Why come here? There are other political systems that seem to give much more freedom and the ability to assimilate than this nation of white, old , racist white men who have done nothing to advance society. It seems a nation built on western civilization and Christian values will not succeed and it is time for the true diviners of good and natural noble values/purpose take over the reins of power by demographic change. That will be a wonderful day and the natural order will prevail.
    Not even Hal Lindsley can save us.

    • Dan, have you ever been in a country where there was corruption of one or all of the social, political and economic systems? As I noted above, I was in Eastern Europe during the Communist days. There was NOTHING about those systems in Romania at that time that worked to the benefit of the people; the only ray of light they had was their faith, if they managed to hold on to it. I saw 20-year-olds who looked like they were 50. There really was darkness over that beautiful land. Read some of what Richard Wurmbrand (Protestant Romanian) wrote about those years.

      My mother’s parents came from northern Italy around 1910. There was a huge recession around the turn of the last century, and even with a strong family and community (social), large numbers of people found that the political and economic systems couldn’t keep them from possible starvation – things were that bad, even in the countryside. My grandparents settled in a place where there were more immigrants than “whites” – Butte, Montana – and so did not face much bias there, although later on my mother was afraid that when she met my father’s parents in Kansas they wouldn’t consider her “white enough”; see Mule’s comment above. But things were changing for European immigrants (except Jews) in the ’40s and ’50s – there was much more acceptance.

      You might investigate the history of your immigrant ancestors coming to this country.

      Dana

      • Dana, your family history and story is very common, we all know that we are a nation of legal immigrants. My point was among others is that with all the trials and tribulations all legal immigrants faced in USA history they still sent for their families to come over and assimilated to make this nation greater. I think I know the true story of legal immigration to this country. There are far more illegal immigrants in this country today than ever came legally though Ellis Island during the time it was open. Your story is the story of the melting pot. Do you consider yourself an Italian – American or just an American? There are more Jews in NYC today than any other location outside of Israel , there would be no Israel today without USA support and protection In 1920 there were 1 million Jews in NYC in 1950 there were 2 million. Like every other immigrant group the Jews who came to America did well , prospered and were very much a part of the melting point. My ancestors came over to Georgia as indentured servants which the majority of European immigrants were in the 13 colonies. America has always been a land of opportunity based on it foundational beliefs that led us to be the shining city on the hill that is now mocked and derided, how sad. I am glad that my indentured ancestors came to Ga. or I would not be born in America, they paid a hard ticket for their children and their descendant to have the chance of the American dream.

        • I consider myself American, of Italian, German and British descent.

          Re legal vs illegal immigration: The situation we are in is CONGRESS’ fault. NEITHER party has acted in the last few decades to bring any kind of reasonableness to the situation. At the same time, I can’t blame people whose very lives are threatened with horrific violence, esp in Central America, for wanting to go someplace that’s relatively safe. But nobody is addressing any of the direct or indirect issues regarding immigration; everyone’s just complaining and blaming.

          Dana

    • Clay Crouch says

      “It seems a nation built on western civilization and Christian values will not succeed and it is time for the true diviners of good and natural noble values/purpose take over the reins of power by demographic change.

      Wait a minute, dan. A nation built on Christian values? How about a nation built on stolen land and genocide?

      • Clay we were not talking about Mexico or any Central American nation that did that. I was referring to the USA where everyone wants to come to. Where are the Indian casinos in Mexico or Central America. Russia was named after the Rus , who are long gone. Of course America is not perfect like all of its detractors who compare it to heaven, if I may say that.

      • Burro (Mule) says

        Man, you guys get tiresome. Like a bunch of scolding old maids.

        All cities are Omelas.

        There’s nowhere to go.

        Maybe you’d prefer if we had acted like the Portuguese in Brazil, oops, or the Spanish in Guatemala, oops, or the French in Sainte-Domingue, oops, or the Canadians, oops, or the Russians in Aleska…

        • I think most of us would just prefer if we all told the truth about our history, rather than dressing it up in idealized Christian values it never wore. The lies stink to hell.

          • Burro (Mule) says

            Killing people and taking their stuff is how a country becomes great. Its the job description. Jesus came to invert the equation, sure, but nobody’s ever figured out how to make his ethics work at that scale.

            • It’s not great to kill people and take their stuff. That’s the devil’s lie. If that’s what makes a country great, or makes it Great Again, and if it has to keep killing people and taking their stuff to maintain or restore its greatness, then that so-called greatness is based on a lie of the devil and deserves judgment. If that’s the foundation and cornerstone of America’s greatness, which it may well be — indeed I admit that it may be the foundation and cornerstone of whatever greatness any country has or has ever had– then I pray for the end of America’s greatness, and may I suffer along with it the loss of greatness. If you’re right, then we Christians should stop attributing that greatness of America to its exercise of Christian values — as dan does above and on which this whole thread is based — and admit that there is nothing holding it up but the brute exercise of pagan power. Whatever good seems to come out of it for Americans or others is then a result America having a surfeit of ill-gotten gains, with which it can afford to be pretend nobility and generosity. In that case, America is not great because it is good, as Tocqueville had it, but great because it is rich with the wealth taken from others, and it only appears good because that wealth can buy the appearance of goodness to put over the brutish reality of pagan greatness. There is nothing Christian in it; let’s stop lying. Why do you want to keep on lying, Mule?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Don’t forget the Belgians in the Congo.

        • Norma Cenva says

          I’m with you Burro, Columbia is still the Gem of the ocean and she will endure.
          Catcalls from the cheap seats or snooty snark from the box seats, she will endure.
          She’s still the best act to ever hit the world stage…

  15. Please attend, all you complainers that this site is nothing but a liberal echo chamber — today we have commentators often typified as liberal bad-mouthing Hillary Clinton bigly, questioning the wisdom of legalizing marijuana, and arguing with each other about whether or not guns are only destructive with no positive social value. Please take note.

  16. Robert F. I agree, it is noteworthy when the site is not a complete echo chamber of self righteous agreement. Let us hope this not mean that the site will become a home for self serving neo cons. God help us if we change our minds or perhaps look at a different point of view. However , whatever the minor disagreement Hilary is the elect of the site, the peoples choice, it is just how much guns should be controlled and regulated by the government not a right per amendment 2 and marijuana legalization is a sure thing and a good investment according to the flipped John Bonher. Some of my best friends are conservative can be the new catch phrase but I would not want my sister to marry one.

    • No, this site won’t become “a home for self serving neo cons” — they are all contending with each other for the president’s ear in the White House.

  17. What do we learn from silence? I’m not sure, since all ever do is talk talk.

  18. senecagriggs says

    TRIVIA: Best female athlete of all time?

    Caitlyn Jenner – hands down or up. Not sure which.

    ____________-

    [ I think Caitlyn has retained “the boys” and is dating a very attractive younger female. Hmmm ]

    • senecagriggs says

      Caitlyn has sired 6 children.

    • Burro (Mule) says

      If you asking that question in earnest and not just to roll a turd;

      Baba Didrickson Zaharias is beyond all doubt the greatest female athlete, maybe the greatest athlete, of the 220th century.

      My parents said I shook her hand once. I don’t remember.

      • Burro (Mule) says

        Uh, she’s “Babe” not “Baba”, and obviously she didn’t live in the 220th century, but the 20th.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says

        You might well be right! She was incredible.

        An interesting modern version is Clara Hughes, Canadian athlete who won 2 medals in cycling at the summer Olympics, then switched and won 4 medals at speed skating in the winter Olympics. Also a very nice person who does a lot for depression among young people.

        • senecagriggs says

          Clara sounds like a true women’s star who nobody knows about. The problem with Caitlyn is the insanity of anybody actually believing that Bruce Jenner is now a woman.

          Chromosones don’t lie.

        • senecagriggs says

          Oh, and I love Bianca Andreescue. She’s awesome