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“Christian Nationalism”

via Liberty's Torch by Francis W. Porretto on Sun, 25 Aug 2019 15:25:00 GMT

     The relevant article is here:

     A gaggle of representatives from theologically liberal denominations recently issued a statement against Christian nationalism in America, claiming that it threatens both American democracy and the ability of our religious communities to live in peace.

     To be sure, Christian nationalism is an extremely odd place to find the threat to religious freedom in a world that increasingly makes demands like “shut up and wax that woman’s b-lls.” But the irony goes deeper than that. It’s not some stroke of blind chance that lead to religious freedom in the Christian West—it was, in fact, due to our Christian faith.

     The article is worth reading in its entirety. However, I argue that its premise – i.e., that “religious neutrality has failed” – lacks sufficient power to propel his recommendations in their entirety. Besides, how can something fail if it doesn’t exist?


     Author Matthew Cochran’s strongest point is that “religious neutrality,” in the dictionary sense, does not exist and never has existed – anywhere. That ties directly into his observations about “tolerance:”

     Under the guise of religious neutrality, too many Christians have been tricked into withholding their good judgment from matters of state. This has led to some profound changes, but there’s nothing religiously or morally neutral about them.

     We have, for instance, allowed women to choose whether to murder their offspring, but this is not neutrality—in this, the state blatantly values personal autonomy and privacy more than it values love or the right to live. We have forced people to speak as though men are actually women or act as though two women can be married to one-another, but this is not neutral—it demands that Christians set aside their understanding of marriage and sex. Even something as simple as getting rid of blasphemy laws that respected the name of Jesus Christ was never “fair” or neutral—it only cleared the way for new blasphemy laws that respect sexual deviancy and other politically correct subjects du jour instead.

     The Left has made capital out of the notion that “religious neutrality” should bar persons with certain beliefs from public life. Recently, we had the case of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and another involving Brian Buescher, a nominee to one of the District Courts. There’s no argument that this tool must be taken away from them. But it should be addressed separately from the larger subject of the promotion of Christian nationalism.


     The core of the problem arising from the free exercise of religion is that our Supreme Law, which states:

     Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

     ...lacks a definition of religion that would serve to distinguish the protected sort from unacceptable creeds that seek the protection afforded to religions. As matters stand, anyone can formulate a creed of whatever sort, founded on any theology or none, and promulgating any ethical creed, and claim that it’s a religion that deserves the protection of the law. The simplest approach to religion – the union of a theology with a moral-ethical code – is insufficient. It omits to specify what constitutes a genuine theology, and what would pass for an acceptable moral-ethical code.

     At this time there are three million persons resident in our lands who adhere to a “religion” that advocates:

  • Slavery;
  • Theocracy;
  • Wife-beating;
  • Unilateral divorce;
  • Conversion by the sword;
  • Polygamy and concubinage;
  • Enforced codes for dress and grooming;
  • The execution of apostates, heretics, and blasphemers;
  • The execution of homosexuals, adulterers, and fornicators;
  • War by which to eliminate all competing religions from the world.

     If any Gentle Reader of Liberty’s Torch believes that the advocacy of those things deserves the protection of the law, I’ve slipped into the “bearded Spock universe” without noticing.


     Cochran is correct that America’s conceptual basis proceeds directly from the nearly unanimous adherence to some variety of Christianity at the time of the Founding. However, his conception of a workable Christian nationalism needs work. It fails to say which aspects of Christian doctrine and practice are integral to our conceptual base and our public norms, and which ones are not.

     For example, Catholics, the largest individual denomination within American Christianity, observe certain holy days by obligation. We are required to attend Mass on those days. Until recently, we were also forbidden to perform “servile work.” This is a sectarian requirement; other varieties of Christianity do not include it and would bridle at the suggestion that it might be imposed upon them. Similarly, a couple of the smaller Christian denominations forbid wives to work outside the home. That wouldn’t be greeted warmly by the others. A nationalism founded on Christianity would perforce need to specify the extent to which Christian precepts and doctrines are to be honored by the law.

     Christians agree on the Ten Commandments of the Book of Exodus, and on the two Great Commandments that underpin them. Yet even here, many sincere Christians would object to having all of them become law. After the excisions and qualifications required to achieve consensus, Christian nationalism would be reduced to an acknowledgement of Christianity’s contributions to the political philosophy expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

     Perhaps that would be valuable by itself. After all, the Left-dominated educational system is striving with all its might to deny it. But its nebulosity makes it seem a very weak tea.

News Roundup

via Splendid Isolation by Kim du Toit on Sun, 25 Aug 2019 15:11:40 GMT
…wherein I couldn’t be bothered to post anything more than a one-line comment. 1)  Stanford pushes separate physics course for[...]

Why I use Twitter identity for the new email feature

via Scripting News on Sun, 25 Aug 2019 15:06:13 GMT

When I posted a note on Facebook for people to subscribe to the new email service, I got a bit of feedback saying it shouldn't require a Twitter login. So here's why it works that way.

I am gradually adding features to my blog that involve people more in what's going on here. You can Like items. You can comment on them. And now you can receive a nightly email. All but the last require identity, and if you want any options on how you receive your email, even that feature requires identity. (No such features have been implemented yet.)

We've been down this road before, it's not new territory. Back in the 90s and early 00s, we had blog hosting here, each blog had its own identity namespace. So I know how much human work it is to maintain such a service. I've done it.

I want the identity features but I don't run the identity service.

Remember it's just me here, and I'm doing this for free, before you judge me too harshly. If I can give Twitter a big job, that means I can do other work, or take time off, which I'm doing more these days. I'm not that ambitious anymore, I don't have anything to prove. And I think it's fair for readers and potential readers to understand that I'm nothing more than a human. Not trying to impress you with how much work I can do.

I want to be able to easily add features to scripting.com. That's why I use Twitter as the identity system.

There is one other reason. More and more my personal context is on Twitter. When they raised the character limit to 280 chars it became way more useful and it's a pretty good adjunct to this blog for short items. Very often I write something on Twitter first, and then copy it here.

That's why I'm using it for comments too. Because their restrictions actually make a load of sense for comments on a blog. I really just want to hear unique ideas, or simple bug reports. If I want more I ask for it in a braintrust query. Their limits are a practical implementation of my own comment guidelines. And being able to job-out a vital feature like comments to a reliable service, as Twitter has become, and as Disqus has become unusable, that's pretty welcome too.

It's hard to keep up with all the changes on the net. Sometimes a nightly email is more than it appears at first glance. ;-)

The G7 Summit: Kabuki Theater in All Its Glory

via Liberty Nation by Mark Angelides on Sun, 25 Aug 2019 15:00:36 GMT

By Mark Angelides

As the world watches Biarritz in southern France, what are the likely outcomes of the G7 Summit? Will there be […]

The China Questions

via The Z Blog by thezman on Sun, 25 Aug 2019 14:53:51 GMT
The trade war with China is heating up, so the usual suspects are now turning up in the media to pronounce on the issue. There is the sense that many of the pundits are relieved to take a break from … Continue reading

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