Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

Age and Media

June 4, 2023

It’s nice to see the major news outlets have taken my cue and brought up the issue of whether considering President Biden’s age is fair or not. Just today the New York Times weighed in on the topic as well as Forbes and the Guardian. Happy to do my part to stimulate global discussion and commentary. Such as it is.

Ageism is a term appearing often in these articles and particularly in the op-ed piece in Forbes. But ageism is pointedly different than asking about the particular capabilities of a particular person. An ageist has a problem with older people in general. I want to talk about the specific capabilities of a particular person, Joseph Biden, who happens to be and wishes to continue to be the President of the United States of America. Two very different things and it’s intellectually dishonest or pure idiocy to pretend otherwise.

The articles often compare Biden to Trump, who is only four years younger than Biden. I have the same concerns (in addition to other ones) about Trump’s ability to serve effectively as the leader of one of the most powerful nations in the world as I do about Biden’s.

I’m continually fascinated – not just on this issue and in these articles but in general – about how the President (any President) is discussed in isolation, as though he doesn’t have a battery of aides, advisors, counselors, associates, friends and peers providing advice and input on every single issue whether large or small. Yes, the President must make the final decision but even that is hardly within a vacuum, guided as it is by party platform demands. Arguably by the time you reach POTUS status you have incorporated those platforms into your own personal values and ethos and would not be likely to discard them, but it’s yet another layer of consideration into what a President can and can’t do as an individual.

All of these articles focus on whether he is capable. None of them mention the issue of whether it’s good for him to continue this path, regardless of his desire to or not. None of them talk in terms of what is best for Joe Biden as a person rather than as a representative of an age group or vocational abilities. I can’t imagine what he must be thinking about as he falls asleep at night. Not just the massive burden of the presidential mantle but the awareness of his limitations which, ageism aside, do increase as we get older.

My curiosities about this entire issue are (as far as I’m able to tell) separate entirely from ideological or political leanings. I remember well the mocking Reagan received from his critics due to his age. And though I think I’m being neutral in wanting to discuss this issue I wonder how many of those defending Biden would be on the attack if it were Trump in office, and visa versa.

Ageism or Elder Abuse?

June 1, 2023

Watching President Biden’s most recent tumble the other day I wondered whether voters or the Democratic Party ought to be held liable for elder abuse. Surely in any other situation, allowing someone of Biden’s age to continue to put themselves in danger of falling and severely hurting themselves or even causing their death would be seen as irresponsible in the highest degree. And I’m sure there is no shortage of folks who, watching their aging parents or grandparents being allowed to go about without assistance (human or mechanical) would find that suitable grounds for a negligence lawsuit.

But then I realized that such an action could be construed as ageism. According to no less an august authority than the World Health Organization (WHO), ageism is: the stereotypes (how we think), prejudice (how we feel) and discrimination (how we act) towards others or ourselves based on age.

But watching someone of any age continue to put themselves at risk – in fact requiring themselves to put themselves at risk – of serious personal injury or death is hardly a stereotype if that person does indeed demonstrate a repeated cycle of trips and falls. It isn’t prejudicial to note a specific case of someone who has increasing difficulty with walking and climbing stairs and is at risk because of that. And is it discriminatory to think and suggest or even require that such a person take reasonable precautions to prevent (as best possible) further risk of injury?

Instead, is it ageism to assume the President of the United States is better to risk his incapacitation or death rather than resort to a walker or other ambulatory aid? Granted, in my work with people older than myself the idea of relying on such a device is almost universally pushed away and resisted as long as reasonably possible. Until they see the risk they’re putting themselves at as a real and ever-present thing they won’t utilize any kind of assistance. Such devices are seen as indicative of a weakness or failing of some kind, and most people (myself included) don’t like to acknowledge such a weakness or failing, even if it’s completely out of their control.

With Biden planning to run for re-election the question of ageism vs. elder abuse is one that ought to be raised. It’s a non-partisan issue, for the most part. And it’s certainly an issue that has broader implications for other elder statespersons. Broad laws or rules about denying people of a certain age the privilege of serving if elected seem definitely closer to ageism. But addressing specific instances and individuals is more a matter of showing care and love to a person.

Or are such considerations not important if you don’t have a better candidate to represent your organization? Curious. I’m sure lawyers would have a field day with this sort of issue! Funny the press isn’t willing to ask such questions and instead reluctantly reports these continued stumbles without further comment or consideration.

Freedom at All Costs

May 23, 2023

A short blurb on – what else? – Florida.

This time the state is making the news for a new law denying citizens of China (or Iran, Russia, Korea, Cuba, Venezuela or Syria) from purchasing residential property in the state of Florida. In turn, the state is now being sued by Chinese citizens who claim the law is unfair for a variety of reasons.

Living abroad for over a year now this is fascinating and more than a little humorous. For years – long before living elsewhere in the world – I’ve maintained that the sale of US land to foreign firms and/or citizens should be at the very least monitored more closely and likely limited if not banned outright. Certainly there will be those who accuse me of racism (as they are accusing Florida), but this is not based on race or ethnicity but ideology. Many other countries stipulate more requirements for foreigners who want to purchase land in their country than simply having enough cash (some examples are here, but mostly these are countries where it’s possible for foreigners to buy land even if there are some restrictions or extra requirements). I’m currently living in a part of the world where foreign land ownership is not permitted at all (as explained a bit here, though I’m not living here). Is that racist? I don’t think so. There’s just the understanding that this is their land – literally – and they aren’t interested in having non-citizens own it. Makes perfect sense to me.

The litigants in the Florida situation make a variety of assertions why the law is wrong. Some of them are emotional – equating long-term presence in the state of Florida and property ownership as somehow a necessary reciprocity. Even if you can’t buy property in some countries you can still lease there and live long-term there provided you meet certain requirements (usually financial in nature to ensure you won’t become a financial burden to the host country – whoa, what a concept!!). In other words if you choose to make another country your home there is no de facto reason why that entitles you – or your great-grandchildren – to buy property there if you’re maintaining foreign citizenship. Of course, if you give up that foreign citizenship to become a citizen (assuming that’s possible) the situation might change dramatically.

I think it would be interesting in this discussion to disclose how much property in the US is actually owned by foreign companies, countries, or individuals (meaning citizens of foreign countries without American citizenship. The issue of dual-citizenship makes things more complicated all the way around). There is some data on this if you want to wade through it. For instance here is a chart on purchases of US residential properties by Chinese nationals over the last 12 years. It’s also clear that other states already implement restrictions or conditions on the purchase of land by foreign nationals (though the data referred to in this report is limited to agricultural land). Florida is not necessarily being draconian and their move may not be unprecedented. If it could successfully be argued this is a matter of state jurisdiction rather than Federal it would weaken the plaintiff’s position (which is why they’re trying to argue this law is unconstitutional).

Now, arguments can (and undoubtedly should) be made about what percentage of overall US property these figures represent and I’m sure the numbers are on the small side. But, once a property is sold to a foreign national (or anyone, but we’re talking about foreign nationals here) that property may never revert to the open market again to be purchased by someone else. So the small numbers need to be aggregated to reflect that every year the amount of foreign-national owned US property is growing as a whole. And if you want to be dark, you eat an elephant one bite at a time.

Maybe it’s better to continue allowing foreign nationals from hostile or problematic countries (ideologically again, not personally. Not all citizens of an ideologically hostile foreign country are individually hostile!) to purchase property in the US. Or even Florida. I just prefer that the arguments for (or against) would take into account a broader perspective. Just like the arguments about border control and illegal (and legal) immigration. Perhaps wisdom can be gained in our increasingly polarized culture by looking at what other countries are doing and how they’re doing it as well as why.

That’s a statement I couldn’t or wouldn’t have made as a teenager. I grew up in a much more patriotic climate than today and bought into some of the over-simplified jingoistic ideas of the day that scoffed at the possibility America could (or should) learn anything from anyone else. But a lifetime of broader engagement has changed my perspective substantially. I’m still American and proud of our country and what it stands for (or used to stand for) and the opportunities it has provided for so many people over the last 250 years. But I’m also humble enough to recognize some things are done better in other places, and rather than attempt (and often fail) to reinvent every single wheel better, maybe we could learn a few things from others.

Even in Florida.

Ending With a Whimper

May 6, 2023

Perhaps this will be my final Covid-related post. Living outside the United States for the last 15 months provides a fascinating comparison perspective. Unlike much of the rest of the world, the news out of the US in any regard to Covid is uniformly negative, as it has been since the inception of this virus three years ago. Dire warnings of triple-demics this past winter were, once again, grossly incorrect. Attempts to milk Covid for additional revenue whether in advertising dollars or ‘free’ vaccines and boosters have, however, inevitably run out of steam.

The pandemic is over. Some might argue it was over months ago or more but let’s not dicker. The World Health Organization (WHO) determined it’s over and of course they’re the wisest voice in all of this, right?

Before we get to the article and statements from the WHO, I’ll simply say I think the 6.9 million people who died would prefer we celebrate a bit, having gotten through all of this. Instead of a whimper and simply turning our voyeuristic and opportunistic lenses elsewhere, we ought to stop to give thanks to God. If your congregation hasn’t done this, let me humbly suggest it should. An opportunity to acknowledge losses and give thanks for those who avoided infection or found it didn’t affect them as direly as it did many others.

I find it fascinating that the article (if not explicitly the WHO) credit the end of the pandemic to vaccination, treatments and herd immunity. No mention of the weakening strains of the coronavirus that have proved less and less dangerous to most of the people they infect. In other words, the pandemic is over because we beat it, not because the virus weakened and diluted and became more and more inconsequential. Not even a combination of the two factors. It was simply our ingenuity. Really?

I’m curious about the statement in the middle of the article asserting “In most cases pandemics truly end when the next pandemic begins.” What in the world is that supposed to mean? Is the presumption we careen from one medical emergency to another, one bubonic plague to the next, one Covid to the next when clearly, historically this is not the case. Or perhaps Michael Ryan of the CDC simply means there is always a pandemic, always some contagion circling the globe. Of course that might be true, though substantiation of this would seem problematic at best. The only reason we paid attention to Covid – or swine flu, or any other number of illnesses – is that we proved ill-suited in our immunological response to it, to the point where enough people died in enough places to connect dots and determine something larger was happening.

But I’d argue the statement makes little sense regardless of which interpretative line you follow.

And I’m curious exactly how Mr. Ryan thinks we will fix our weaknesses, whether biological or systemic and bureaucratic, so that no other virus can ever threaten us again and we need never fear another pandemic. Again, history certainly doesn’t bear this out. A certain humility, lacking in the comments in this article, would seem appropriate when we realize our solution to Covid was by and large to hide for three years, separated from friends and loved ones to cower in fear. It’s clear that the promise of immunity from vaccines gave way to a less grandiose, muted hope that, if they did not prevent infection, they would at least weaken the symptoms of covid and the mortality rate.

If anything should be learned from Covid it’s a healthy humility and awareness of our fragility. An awareness that even the combined resources of the richest and most scientifically advanced countries could not prevent the spread of Covid nor significantly blunt its initial impact. Science is not the impervious or impartial champion it wanted to be in all of this. People did the best they could and I don’t fault the efforts in the least, but rather the overblown rhetoric by which certain measures were justified despite little reliable data on their effectiveness. The way in which people were demonized for disagreeing or even asking questions. There is indeed a lot we could learn from this pandemic experience, but I don’t think we’re likely to. History shows us this as well.

So when will your life go back to normal? When will you gather with friends again without cringing when someone blows out birthday candles before carving up the cake and handing you a piece? When will you not jump a little when someone nearby coughs or sneezes? There’s a powerful argument to be made that despite national or global decrees, the pandemic will never be over emotionally or psychologically for those of us who lived through it.

I was fumbling with something in my shirt pocket the other night, trying to figure out what it was. It wasn’t bulky enough to be a handkerchief (a necessary, constant companion in the oppressive heat and humidity of a tropical climate). I finally managed to pull it out, and it was a face mask. While there are still plenty of people going around with facemasks in Southeast Asia, and while this may be the case for years to come, or perhaps forever, it was a profound moment that I was so surprised at what it was, that I should have it on me and not need it any more. Or at least feel like I didn’t need it.

Maybe that’s a first step towards the true, personal end of the pandemic. Thank God.

Well You Can Rock Me To Sleep Tonight…

May 3, 2023

If someone had told me 40 years ago that the lead singers of Kiss and Twisted Sister would be some of the lone voices of sanity in a sea of incredulous goofiness, I would have called you looney.

I’d have been wrong.

Truth by Majority Opinion?

February 27, 2023

There is a logical fallacy called the Bandwagon Fallacy, or an Appeal to the Majority Fallacy, or various other permutations. The idea is that just because a lot of people (4/5 Dentists, for example) do something or believe something doesn’t mean they’re right or what they believe is true. In our age of ultra-connectivity, social media influencers, activist celebrities and all manner of other media onslaught this fallacy is more relevant and dangerous than ever.

The truth remains, however, that simply being the minority opinion does not mean you’re wrong. Or stupid. Or evil. And being the majority opinion doesn’t mean you’re right. Or smart. Or virtuous.

Thriving as we do on righteous indignation, cancel-culture and revisionism of all stripes, it is imperative we remember this. Not just in retrospect, but in the moment. The more people scream at you that you’re wrong because all these other people are convinced their right, the more you need to hold on in quiet maturity. Listen to what they have to say. Weigh the evidence (if there is any), be as objective as you can, but don’t cave in to pressure to change your opinion just because a lot of other people insist your point of view must be wrong. In the absence of incontrovertible evidence, we must recognize in humility the constant possibility of error – well-intentioned or otherwise.

Two excellent cases in point.

First, as I’ve maintained for years, if you object to a law the best course of action is not to ignore the law but to work to change it. Laws are there for a reason. They are not perfect and may need to be amended or replaced, but simply to ignore them creates bigger problems. Immigration laws are a leading example of this. But it’s not just the US where our laws are routinely ignored because of some vaguely defined public opinion. Case in point, Great Britain, and the story of someone who was due to be extradited for violations of the law but his case was reversed because of agitation by immigration lawyers and a slew of celebrities and political officials. Instead of being back in his own country where he legally belonged, he remained in Great Britain and went on to commit and be convicted of murder. Not surprisingly, those people who previously very publicly advocated for the man not to be extradited are now completely silent when asked to comment on the situation.

After all, no need to admit you might have been wrong, to question the use of celebrity to circumvent the rule of law and all that jazz. We’ll just pretend nothing happened and move on with our lives. Lovely.

Another example comes in the wake of Covid. I won’t go into the ridiculousness about the early promises regarding vaccines compared to their eventual reality. But just in the matter of trying to understand how all of it started there was a great deal of insistence on what could or couldn’t have happened. Early on there were suspicions that a Chinese biomedical research facility near Wuhan (the epicenter of the outbreak) might have accidentally leaked the virus. It’s not an unrealistic surmise, but it was angrily and loudly denounced by a great many media and other figures who found it racist or insulting to the Chinese.

Perhaps our relations were better with China back then because there certainly seemed to be a strong desire not to offend them, and the idea of a lab leak was scuttled by and large by the preferred narrative of a cross-over event in a wet market, possibly from contaminated bats. Also a possible explanation, to be sure. But I was curious at the time why so many people seemed so insistent that this had to be the truth, and not the equally plausible alternative of a lab leak – particularly in light of Chinese reticence to share information about the early stages of the outbreak.

Now, in addition to the FBI, the US Department of Energy released a report this week indicating a low-level of support for the lab leak theory. Interesting on a variety of levels (Why is the Department of Energy weighing in on this topic?!). Is there a need for this sort of report at this time? Is it another means of ratcheting up hypothetical pressure on or against China in light of their stance on the Ukraine War? It’s odd, to say the least.

But certainly not odd enough for the media to immediately begin mitigating it. We are assured in a follow-up article that the DoE’s report is only a low-confidence assessment, meaning they aren’t confident that their findings are correct, but they (I assume) warrant releasing the report (again, why?). And, further, the lab leak theory continues to remain a minority view among those who weigh in on this sort of thing (qualified or otherwise, I presume).

The heart of the matter is that we don’t know for sure what happened. Maybe we will someday, but I don’t think that’s likely at this point. Therefore to have two or more possible explanations hardly seems extravagant. There seems to be no compelling reason to accept China’s proffered explanation of a cross-over infection at a Wuhan wet market. Particularly in light of the information of a nearby lab known to be researching exactly this sort of virus. Yet the public is being coached in terms of a majority and minority view which view to have. Why?

Truth is not a matter of majority rule. Application may be. But truth remains truth regardless of what we say or think about it, or whether we accept it or recognize it. Objective truth simply is. Sometimes discoverable as such. Sometimes revealed as such. Sometimes surmised as much. Sometimes convenient and other times not so much. But always true. No matter how many people want it to be or not.

Let’s quit treating people as stupid when their conclusions don’t match our own. Instead let’s focus more on training ourselves and our children to know the difference between a logical fallacy and a truth. Let’s teach them that media and celebrities can be just as flawed and inaccurate in their judgments and conclusions as the people they’re comfortable attacking. That should keep us plenty busy as the truth is ferreted out.

Revival (?)

February 18, 2023

Several readers and friends have forwarded me articles on the revival being reported in some circles at Asbury University in Kentucky. This is a Christian (Methodist) school and a typical chapel service started early last week started and hasn’t ended yet. Understandably this has generated a lot of interest in some Christian circles (if not secular). Much of this interest comes from social media posts from people at Asbury University (including the chaplain) being reposted over social media. This has led to people traveling to the school from other places to experience it for themselves.

So what should be made of this?

I’d say overall, nothing in particular needs to be made of this. I’m grateful for the students (and others) experiencing this moment and pray it is a continued blessing in their lives. Many Christians experience moments of profound awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence in their lives. Less often are these moments linked in time and place with other Christians, but just as I’d not (barring unusual issues) feel the need to question someone’s individual experience of God (unless it directly contradicted his Word), I don’t feel the need to question a communal experience. But, conversely, just as I wouldn’t try to extrapolate an individual’s experience into something greater, neither do I see the need for such an extrapolation of this communal event in Kentucky.

As usual, GetReligion has an excellent article on this topic. I’d highly recommend a read.

The things to look for in these situations are not the signs, not the experiences in and of themselves, but what and who they might point to or lead towards. The signs in and of themselves are fleeting and limited in scope. But what and more importantly who (Jesus) they point to or lead to are bigger.

A few years (12?!?!?!) ago all the rage was a book called Heaven Is for Real. It detailed a young boy’s account of visiting heaven and meeting Jesus and deceased family members. People made a big deal about the child’s experience. But why? Many Christians have reported encounters with Christ (so have some non-Christians I’ve met, and the experience brought them to faith in Christ). For Christians, such reports are just that, reports. They don’t tell us anything new. They may encourage our faith, but so should the Word of God first and foremost! Do we need additional reports to improve upon what God has already told us? I blogged about it here. And tangentially here. And again here, related to the aforementioned tangent.

Again, this is not to disparage such reports. I trust the boy did indeed have the experience he claims to. I am happy so many people are being touched at Asbury University. But these things don’t change my faith in Jesus Christ. At best, they encourage my faith. At worst, they have no impact at all because they aren’t happening directly to me.

Might revival be occurring? I suppose so, depending on how you define that word. Revival is nothing new in the Christian faith either on the individual or collective level. I don’t obsess about revival, which of course is in part due to my own church’s perspectives on such things. But I do pray as Jesus taught us that our Father’s will be done and that his kingdom come and that his name would be honored – most of all by those who profess to follow him. Is that the same thing as revival? Frankly, I think it’s probably much deeper, powerful, and longer-lasting than revival. Revival should lead towards these things. If revival is valued solely for the religious or emotional experience it imparts to those touched by it, we’re missing the deeper point.

Experiences and emotions fade. They can alter as we age, and of course Satan is happy to try and confuse us about them. God’s promises to us don’t change or alter. So I prefer to focus on and give thanks for those. I’m certainly not against a subjective, emotional spiritual experience, but my faith is not dependent upon having received one in the past or getting one now. My faith is grounded in God’s enduring Word and promise to me, objectively received in my baptism and received again and again at the Lord’s Table.

So, I pray that people’s lives are being touched in Kentucky. And in the rest of the world, whether it’s being reported on or not, whether or not there’s a critical mass of people involved. You don’t need to go to Kentucky to get in on the action. Likewise, if you’re so inclined and it doesn’t diminish your other vocational responsibilities, feel free to. Regardless, continue to nurture your life of faith in the Word of God and through his Sacraments and gathering in Christian community. If the Holy Spirit wants to reveal something to you or grant you some sort of special experience, don’t worry, He will. You aren’t going to miss out.

Elephants & Science

January 18, 2023

Two interesting articles this week that at least I see a connection with. Then again, I’m no scientist.

One is the first public study I’ve heard of linking (at least potentially) the growing trend of self-violence, self-medication and suicide with a decline in religious belief. I originally saw the reference on a Roman Catholic web site, but then saw it picked up by the Daily Mail. Although I’m sure it won’t result in any measurable change in public, academic or political policies, at least someone has pointed out that these two trends – falling levels of religious behavior and rising levels of deaths of despair – might be related.

Of particular interest is the correlation not between religious belief and despairing actions, but the correlation between religious behavior (weekly worship attendance) and deaths of despair. What you say isn’t nearly as important as what you do. And whether you think you have a deep spiritual life or not, spirituality and privatized beliefs are not the same as active participation in religious life.

How could such an obvious (at least to me) correlation have escaped study for so long? Perhaps it’s because there is an overall trend for scientific research and studies to be less challenging than they used to be. In other words, disruptive science has seen a marked decline since the mid-20th century. This could of course mean we’ve reached a plateau and we aren’t able at this time to make more disruptive discoveries.

But it could also mean science as a whole is less interested in looking for disruptions.

As such, elephants in the room such as a decline in religious life and a rise in self-harm (as well as harm to others, which the study didn’t cover but which I think is also directly related) are simply not seen. People don’t want to see them, perhaps. Or they’re simply so inculcated in a particular line of thought as to not even conceive of such possibilities.

I also think there are deeper spiritual powers at work here. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to think of Satan and his powers being particularly interested in prompting lines of thought and inquiry that appear to render religious understandings of creation invalid. And that having accomplished this (or convincing enough people that it was accomplished) there’s no further diabolical interest in sparking scientific inquiry in such directions. After all, a diabolical misdirect might be discovered if science was truly as objective as it claims to be. Since people are inherently non-objective, the idea that science is not either shouldn’t be a shocker to anyone, peer reviews and other mechanisms aside.

It could also be that science has reached a certain level of institutionalization, financially and otherwise, where bold ideas are suppressed as unhelpful to the larger edifice. Scientists nurtured from primary school through their doctoral work might be so inculcated in an acceptance of the status quo that outside thought seems, well, blasphemous. As well as directly threatening to their livelihood. We witness the vitriol and professional bans applied against those who dare disagree with an established line of scientific thought, and it’s obvious that even the best-intentioned of scientists or academics would be loathe to challenge such a juggernaut. Watching your funding disappear and facing the wrath of school administrators is terrible. Being blacklisted on social media for simply asking questions is the same sort of terrorism those now in control (apparently) of our culture levied against the cultural movers and shakers of just a few generations ago.

I’m all for science in it’s proper contexts. But it’s no shock to me that those contexts have been warped and exceeded wildly on the one hand, and curtailed perhaps unprofitably on the other hand. Science as a monolithic institution of sorts may find itself caught in the very same difficulties it so glibly derided the Church for (and not entirely unfairly, to be sure). Either reason or faith when misapplied or misdirected can be terribly damaging, and Satan has proven himself adept at using whichever extreme is most advantageous at the moment.

Lying and Hating

November 25, 2022

Living on the other side of the world I try to keep abreast of global news including back home in the US. Lately it seems most of the news stories revolve around Americans killing other Americans in America. Sometimes for reasons we know, other times not.

All of these are atrocities and tragedies. The Biblical rule against murder is not conditional. The Biblical command to love our neighbor as ourselves (and even to love our enemies) is not conditional either. Which means Christians should be praying for everyone. Certainly this should be a standard practice but certainly in times of crisis the need is more obvious. Those Christians who refuse to pray or pray selectively should go back to Scripture and remind themselves that our political or cultural identities do not define us and our duties to our Lord. Our Lord determines them and has made himself pretty clear. If society and culture has rejected the Biblical truths we confess, it does not free us of our Lord’s command to love and to pray.

That being said, there are more than a few disturbing aspects to the Colorado Springs shooting at a gay club.

It caught my attention that the initial information about the shooter indicated that, by all accounts, he likely shared some commonalities with more than a few of the attendees of the club. I was prepared for the barrage of anti-conservative critics pointing out the shooter’s fundamentalist Christian background. Instead, I read the shooter identified as non-binary and preferred non-gender-specific pronouns. Although I’m sure such indicators don’t preclude Christian (anymore) or conservative ideologies, in my experience that would not be the more likely reality.

Perceptions and expectations are tricky things. But so is outright ignorance.

So while I pray for the owner of the club, his patrons, the victims, everyone associated directly and indirectly with the event and our country and society as a whole, his recent comments on the event are problematic. His interpretation is the shooting is simply the logical outcome of those who oppose normalizing alternative sexual or gender identities. Once again it’s the alternative lifestyles being victimized by the oppressive conservatives who refuse to promote their preferences.

But that isn’t the case in this situation. This seems more to be the case of one who might see himself – or be seen by his victims – as somewhat similar. More like one of their own. Which complicates attempts to cast it otherwise. Or at least should. Perhaps it’s just a way of interpreting life that is so ingrained with the owner it still gets voiced even when the facts don’t support it.

As always, I’m happy to retract any of my statements disproved by additional news sources or information I may not have seen.

The owner seems to at the very least not be aware of or understand the shooter.

Similar to the situation in this article, which is much larger and more problematic level.

Now, to be fair, I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of everything Boebert has said about the LGBTQ+ community or agenda. I know she’s mouthy and not exactly diplomatic, a trait shared by a disturbingly larger and larger percent of the population it seems and our leaders as well.

For clarification – religious or otherwise – disagreeing with someone yet still caring about them is not hypocritical. To disagree with someone does not necessitate (and should not necessitate) dehumanizing them or wishing evil upon them. This is a typical assertion of the LGBTQ+ community, insisting that anything other than full acceptance of and promotion of their radical redefinitions of humanity is hateful. Disagreement is not hatred. Failure to understand this is a failure to understand the fundamental rules of logic and disputation.

Again, perhaps Boebert has said things in the past that deserve the hypocritical charge. But if not, if she – like many, many, many Americans (far more than the left or the media would like to admit) – disagrees with attempts to redefine humanity, then it is not hypocritical (especially if they are Christian) to still pray for those they disagree with. It is, rather, commanded of them. Failure to understand this is a failure to understand even the basic elements of the religious convictions of roughly a third of the world’s population and the overwhelming majority religion in America.

I’ll put the best construction on things and assume the statements by the owner of the club and leaders of the LGBTQ+ movement are just ill-informed rather than lying about the facts at hand or about the fact that disagreeing is not hatred. Otherwise, the alternative seemingly insisted upon is that we always agree with anything anyone says about anything at any time for fear of creating hate of some sort that erupts into violence. By such logic LGBTQ+ advocates immediately null their own argument.

Violence is not the answer, and anyone on either side of this or any other argument that first resorts to it is wrong and should be condemned. In fact, it is facile attempts to invalidate opposition through words and reason and faith that can lead people to frustration and eventually violence. Let’s agree that there is a profound disagreement over the LGBTQ+ agenda and treat it as an actual intelligent disagreement that deserves to be vetted in the public square rather than immediately squashing and vilifying any dissent (on either side, by either side).

It won’t stop the killing, but it may slow it down some. Stopping it completely is going to take a long time and a much more difficult willingness to recognize we’ve been going down the wrong ideological rabbit hole for the last 70-some years. I don’t think that will happen in my lifetime but I pray it begins soon. It’s the only way these horrible killings (whether murder or suicide) will stop.

Nary A Peep

November 4, 2022

As I blogged about earlier this year, the continued media hypocrisy about older men and younger women (and not older women and younger men) continues. Cher is out with someone over half a century younger than her and the Internet thinks this is just juicy and peachy. No hint of accusations against some sort of matriarchal scheme. Granted, the article specifically states the nature of the relationship between Cher and AE is not clear, but it also goes to lengths to clear the way for the possibility of something romantic, ending on the subject of AE’s singleness.

I’m not trying to argue this sort of age difference is ideal (if it is romantic in nature), just highlighting the very different response from people at large when it’s the woman who is older and the man who is younger. Maybe people need to just chill out a bit.