Outtakes
08.23.07

Outtakes — By on August 24, 2007 at 1:01 am

Shameless Self-Promotion — National Review Online has published my op-ed on “Theocracy in America”. (Note: Its a rehash of former blog posts, so most EO readers will have seen it all before.)

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Aggies are #1? It’s No Joke — Move over Harvard–Texas A&M is now ranked as the “best” university in the country. So says The Washington Monthly magazine in its annual College Guide, which was designed as an alternative to US News & World Report and similar guides. Texas A&M takes the number one spot among national universities on the Washington Monthly list, while Princeton, U.S. News’s top-ranked school, comes in at 78.
UCLA and UC Berkeley place second and third respectively among national universities in the Washington Monthly rankings. Among liberal arts colleges, Presbyterian (SC), Smith (MA), and Wheaton (IL) take the top three spots respectively, far above their US News rankings. The magazine also ranks the best community colleges in America.
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Religion and Human Rights – Legal scholar Rob Vischer argues that “a belief in God is, in general, more supportive of a belief in human rights than atheism is.” (See here, here for Vischer’s claim and various rebuttals.)
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Online Theology ProgramReclaiming the Mind Ministries has a six course program of systematic theology that is created for lay-people. Online courses begin in September. Philosopher J.P. Moreland gives it a strong endorsement: “The Theology Program is the best thing I have seen to date and recommend it with great excitement.”
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Baptism Brawl — A few days ago Justin Taylor pointed out that Wayne Grudem had revised his view of baptism in his influential “Systematic Theology.” John Piper responded prompting Grudem to respond to the response. Soon after, Mark Dever, Aaron Menikoff, Abraham Piper, and Sam Storms all joined in the debate. It’s an interesting discussion but its real value is as a model for how to argue without rancor. Adrian Warnock has rounded up all the major posts on the debate.
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Internship Alert — My friends at Americans United for Life (AUL), a national public-interest bioethics law firm defending human life through vigorous legislative, judicial, and educational efforts, are looking for two highly-qualified and motivated law students to serve as legal externs during the fall semester.



  • http://gunny93.blogspot.com/ GUNNY HARTMAN

    Gig ‘em, Aggies!
    Whoop!
    Gunny ’93

  • Oclarki

    I noticed that the liberals arts schools included rankings for ROTC, and that Wheaton rated highly in that area. as a proud alumus of the Crusader battalion (’95) it makes me gald to see that Wheaton is still commited to turning out officers of faith.
    [Or if you’re JohnW, turning out cogs of the facist war machine created to serve the Bushitler administration.]

  • JohnW

    Funny Oclarki, but not that far off the mark.
    I saw the CNN special last night. While it is encouraging that kids are steered away from drugs, drinking and pre-maritial sex, it really seemed like Luce was manipulating their very impressionable young minds and whipping them up into an emotional frenzy.
    Why all the military/war symbols and metaphors at Teen Mania and Battle Cry? Why the running around with red flags and soldiers in combat gear on stage. Why? The whole Battlecry segment was disturbing-my wife wouldn’t come back into the room until it was over.
    Oh, I live in Dupage County not too far from Wheaton (and I vote).

  • Oclarki

    JohnW,
    So what do you think of Wheaton? Is military service a calling any less worthy for a christian than investment banking or philosophy?

  • Ethan C.

    As a Wheaton grad (’06, so still pretty fresh), it’s nice to see it get “props,” as the kids say, but I confess I’m a bit befuddled as to why it got third, looking at the report’s numbers. They must have some odd ranking algorithm over there.
    And did anyone else notice that Washington Monthly has a blurb from James Carville calling them a “progressive must-read,” yet they have Wheaton and VMI in the top five for liberal arts? How about that?

  • Johnw

    Oclarki,
    I like Wheaton it has a nice downtown and several forest preserve parks I enjoy.
    I live in Downers Grove where recently two people are being made examples of by the authorities for having the audacity to hold up “impeach the liars,bush/cheney” over a tollway overpass (this is perfectly legal as long as they hold the signs and don’t affix them to any structure.
    Bankers or Philosophers are usually not put in the position of having to participate in an illegal pre-emptive wars of agression. I am not a pacifist and recognize we need a military. Christ accepts us wherever we are in life, but when we accept him as lord and saviour of our life, we are to turn from what we know to be sin. A soldier, whether a christian or not is faced with the decision to participate in the occupation of Iraq. Soldiers take an oath to protect the constitution and also are expected to not follow unlawful orders. A person of integrity should not be involved in what we are doing in Iraq. There have been over 22,000 desertions from the military in the last few years-certainly not all were cowards, many left for moral reasons.
    People who love america need to make a critical assessment of what is going on in our nation and start speaking out against it. Its time to wake up and pay attention.

  • Oclarki

    JohnW,
    Funny I don’t recall Christ telling the Roman soldier whose daughter he healed that he should repent and leave the Roman army. In fact there are a number of instances of Roman soldiers and officers becoming Christians, yet no mention that their service was in any way in conflict with their faith.
    Additionally, I would hope that you would recognize the influence christian leaders can have on those that serve under them. I’d like to think that I provided a small example of Christ and of being a servant to those I was charged with leading. Or do you want to denigrate that as well?
    Finally, could you stop calling the war in Iraq illegal? You may disagree with it, but it doesn’t fit the definition of illegal in anyway shape or form, and your insistence on calling it that only makes you appear irrational.

  • JohnW

    Oclarki,
    The nuremburg trials following WW II declared pre-emptive wars of conquest to be a war crime. The congressional vote for authorization to use force was not a declaration of war as described in the constitution.
    Sorry, if you don’t like the way it sounds, but the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq is illegal. I suppose you would rather call it the liberation and reconstruction of Iraq, but this does not fit the facts on the ground (3 million refugees, hundreds of thousands civilians killed or injured, no electricity, and standing in line for hours for gas in an oil rich country).
    I am aware of and thought you might bring up the story of the Roman centurion, but let me ask you this: did the early christians worship and adore the leaders of the empire that killed Christ? If your answer is no, then why should they do so now?

  • Oclarki

    JohnW,
    I don’t worship anyone but God, and for you to intimate otherwise is highly insulting. Point blank, John, just have the guts to tell me I’m evil.
    Additionally, the international coalition that was assembled to invade Iraq was acting on the authority of multiple UN resolutions. There hasn’t been a formally declared war since world War II, were Korea and Desert Storm illegal as well?

  • JohnW

    Whoa, it’s not my place to call you evil or to denigrate your profession.
    You asked me what I thought and I told you, namely, my opinion that a follower of Christ would not take part in the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
    The words, Lord, Savior, and Gospel were all words used in New Testament times to refer to the Roman leaders. Where these words used in connection with Jesus Christ because God admired and approved of the Roman leaders? No, they were used because Jesus Christ is the true Lord, Savior, and his message is the true Good News.
    War hasn’t been formally declared since WWII. I know, but did we repeal that part of the constitution? If we had formal declarations of war, it would be more democratic and we would avoid going into something we had not business doing. We are supposed to be a democracy. The constitution orginally intended to the president to assume a commander in chief role only after war was declared-now we go to war when the president tells us to go to war and we have a little pretense of a vote like the 2002 vote or the gulf of Tonkin resolution.
    Are you comfortable having a president acting like a king? This is not a Bush hating thing. It would be no better with a democrat president assuming these same unconstitutional powers.

  • Oclarki

    JohnW,
    How come the UN hasn’t said anything about the war being illegal? How come no one in congress has attempted to do anything about this “illegal” war? The reason is, they know the law and while they might not like it, they don’t have a legal leg to stand on when it comes to calling it illegal

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick (gryph)

    Congrats on the NRO article Joe. (even if you are a tool of the devil). ;-)

  • JohnW

    Oclarki,
    You asked, “How come no one in congress has attempted to do anything about this ‘illegal’ war?”. Good question, and it is precisely this fact that shows we do not have a functioning constitutional democracy. A few such as as republican Ron Paul have spoken out against the war as being illegal in 2003. The questions/predictions he made prior to the war turned out to be quite valid (I’m sure you could find his comments by googling, [“Ron Paul” iraq war])

  • Oclarki

    JohnW,
    And you think evangelicals are the ones with the wacky political beliefs, good grief!

  • mikeVA

    NRO’s standards of excellence have reached rock bottom. Joe are you really like forty or fifty? Looked like a really young person’s commentary.
    Well, you are ‘prolly gifted in other ways. I’m sure you can contribute your talents to de minimis-Fred Thompson’s campaign. bwahhaha.

  • John Wacky

    Oclarki,
    Remember the exchange between Ron Paul and Guilania in one of the debates were Ron Paul had the audacity to tell the truth: our nation’s foreign policies have consequences? Guiliani expressed a lot of phony outrage and the media went along with it. However, if you read history-what he said is absolutely true. In Iran for instance, we overthrew a democratically elected ruler and installed the Shah of Iran (these actions have consequences).
    Oclarki, I am an evangelical, just not a war supporting evangelical that lets James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and Fox New determine what I think. Yeah, I want our government to be a democracy, follow the constitution, and not have a king-like president and yet, I am wacky. Good Grief.

  • Rob Ryan

    “Legal scholar Rob Vischer argues that ‘a belief in God is, in general, more supportive of a belief in human rights than atheism is.'”
    This is not much of a claim. Atheism is a lack of belief in a god or gods. It takes no position on any moral issue. It is not supportive of anything, whether good or bad. To me, this is so obvious that I wonder why legal scholars even devote a moment’s thought to it.
    If the atheist wants a worldview supportive of human rights, he must supplement his atheism with a moral code. I don’t know any atheists who don’t do this. Many call themselves secular humanists. Most don’t label themselves at all. Such a code would be, of course, subjective, but I would argue that the same is true of the moral codes of theists.
    It seems silly to me to criticize atheism for not doing what it cannot be reasonably expected to do.