Why Religion Goes Private

This story about religious dissenters at Ontario York University is one of those reality checks for 2k’s critics who say that the notion of faith being a private affair is audaciously perverse or perfidious:

J. Paul Grayson, a professor of sociology at Ontario’s York University, received what he described as an unusual request from a student in his online research methods class last fall. The student requested that he be exempt from an assignment requiring him to meet in-person with a group of his peers, writing to Grayson,

One of the main reasons that I have chosen internet courses to complete my BA is due to my firm religious beliefs, and part of that is the intermingling between men and women… It will not be possible for me to meet in public with a group of women (the majority of my group) to complete some of these tasks.

Grayson ultimately refused the student’s request for an accommodation, believing that to grant it would be to render him, and the university, “an accessory to sexism.” Grayson said that the student, whom he surmised is either Muslim or Orthodox Jewish – his identity has not been revealed for privacy reasons – graciously accepted the decision. He has since completed the assignment in question.

It would seem to be a case in which a sensitive situation was resolved satisfactorily enough. However, Grayson’s denial of the student’s request came over and above the objections of York administrators, including the dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, Martin Singer, who, in email correspondence shared by Grayson, said that the university had a legal obligation to accommodate the student’s religious beliefs and argued that to exempt him from group work would “in no way have ‘substantial impact’ on the experience or human rights of other students in the class.” Although, in what Grayson described as a tacit acknowledgement of a potential impact, the dean also wrote to Grayson, “It is particularly important, especially as you are concerned about the course experience of our female students, that other students in 2030.60B are not made aware of the accommodation” (a directive that Grayson said he is currently challenging through the York faculty union as a violation of his academic freedom).

Is it just (all about) me, or do believers, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Mormons, not have an obligation to accept the standards of an institution — such as religious pluralism and no religious tests for enrollment or teaching — when they decide to take courses and pay tuition? If a non-Christian enrolled at Moody Bible Institute and then complained that he was shocked, just shocked to find so much Bible and prayer in classrooms, wouldn’t Christians think the secularist should have known what he was in for? So why doesn’t this logic apply to believers at public institutions? Why do they think that when they arrive on campus, all of a sudden the place is going to turn faith-friendly or maybe even emulate the norms of their faith community?

So, when we have an institution — university or civil polity — that includes a diverse array of believers, believers have to figure out a way to distinguish their public conduct from their religious convictions. (What I say in my prayer closet is not what I say in the classroom.) One way to do that is to say that I am a Christian all the time but this religious identity is not going to be visible or public when participating in a community and abiding by a set of rules where Christianity is not the norm. Perhaps some forms of Christianity are incapable of making such a distinction. If so, then Christians should have nothing to do with religiously mixed polities or institutions. The Amish take that position (and I have great respect for it). But continuing to insist that public institutions comply with a person’s religious convictions when such an institution includes a variety of believers is either disingenuous or just plain recalcitrant.

And thankfully, we have the apostle Paul and John Calvin to sort this out. In his comments on 1 Cor 5: 12-13 — “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you” — Calvin writes:

There is nothing to hinder us from judging these also — nay more, even devils themselves are not exempt from the judgment of the word which is committed to us. But Paul is speaking here of the jurisdiction that belongs peculiarly to the Church. “The Lord has furnished us with this power, that we may exercise it upon those who belong to his household. For this chastisement is a part of discipline which is confined to the Church, and does not extend to strangers. We do not therefore pronounce upon them their condemnation, because the Lord has not subjected them to our cognizance and jurisdiction, in so far as that chastisement and censure are concerned. We are, therefore, constrained to leave them to the judgment of God.” It is in this sense that Paul says, that God will judge them, because he allows them to wander about unbridled like wild beasts, because there is no one that can restrain their wantonness.

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153 Comments

  1. Posted January 31, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    But continuing to insist that public institutions comply with a person’s religious convictions when such an institution includes a variety of believers is either disingenuous or just plain recalcitrant.

    This immediately brought Machen to mind, and the idea of the voluntary church. So I google that very thing (four words or so), and what’s the first hit?

    Well..

    Thanks, Darryl. Happy Friday to you and yours, from out here in the west. What a week……

  2. Caleb
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    It is just “York University,” located in Toronto, Ontario.

    Have you heard anything about the debate over Quebec’s recent Charter of Values? I would be curious to hear your thoughts on it. What would be a 2K perspective on it? It is very controversial in Canada right now. The basic idea is that anyone working for the state may not wear any overt religious symbol while on the job (teacher, police officer, bureaucrat, secretary, social worker, etc.). So no turbans, hijabs, kippahs, or large crosses (a small one is okay).

  3. mark mcculley
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    But don’t you know that we have a situation ethic, and “back then” we were not in the position to do the stuff that we can do now? And because we can vote not, it’s our duty to do so. And because we can have coalition influence now, we must. And because we now have the atomic bomb, we who are on the right side of history are obligated to use the new technology as a demonstration of what happens when the other side (the bad guys) do stuff….

    Judge inside was back then, when people had this undue certainty about who was in and who was out, but now we have learned that the best way to enforce sanctions is to leave those kind of judgments to God and welcome way more people to the inside. Why merely threaten those on the outside, when you can get more leverage over people by talking about “us” and “our”? Compel the outsiders to come inside, and then God (through us) will be in a position to enforce warnings.

    The next chapter I Corinthians 6: 2 Or do you not know that the saints WILL judge the world? And if the world IS TO BE judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

    Never avenge yourselves, but instead become public agents of the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Privately do not overcome evil with evil, but it’s your public duty to overcome public evil with official power, because if you now providentially have that kind of power it’s not evil in our situation.

  4. mark mcculley
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    A federal visionist explains how there’s common blessing when the non-elect are cursed from the inside….
    http://www.hornes.org/theologia/mark-horne/does-the-new-covenant-have-its-own-distinctive-sanctions-as-well-as-blessings-we-affirm

    Hornes– the mistake of thinking that, because the sacraments imply the possibility of curses, we must not call them blessings. But a wedding is a covenant initiation which involves vows and the implied malediction on either partner being unfaithful. Yet, while every one entering marriage needs to soberly reflect on their obligations, that by no means makes a marriage anything less than an act of blessing and love. It certainly does not make marriage a covenant of works. A spouse is required to be faithful to her partner, but she does not earn the love in the relationship by doing so.

    mark: if you don’t marry the public, you simply won’t be in a position to “by grace” make the public go in the right direction….

  5. DJ Cimino
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Needed that shot of 2k thinking!

  6. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    The idea is to maximize religious freedom. In this case it would do no harm to anyone if the student were granted the exemption.

    see also

    https://www.aclu.org/aclu-defense-religious-practice-and-expression

  7. Dan
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    TVD- The idea is to maximize religious freedom.

    At a secular University? Not any that I would be interested in attending.

  8. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Dan
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 7:22 pm | Permalink
    TVD- The idea is to maximize religious freedom.

    At a secular University? Not any that I would be interested in attending.

    Exactly. Fascist.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

  9. Posted January 31, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    I am all for religious freedom, but what about institutional freedom. I think Darryl’s scenario over a non-Christian from my Alma Mater – Moody, is a sound one. Let’s say a Christian enrolls at a Muslim college, should he expect to be exempted from coursework on the Qur’an, because it is objectional to his or her belief systems. In the case of a liberal arts college, are they not free to express their institutional values, and must those be accommodated to individuals who have a good idea of what they are getting themselves into by enrolling.

    Does the University loose much by extending this student an exemption – probably not. But, I do understand the instructor’s argument.

  10. Posted January 31, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    tvd,

    Did someone slip you some bad acid?

  11. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Jed Paschall
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    I am all for religious freedom, but what about institutional freedom. I think Darryl’s scenario over a non-Christian from my Alma Mater – Moody, is a sound one. Let’s say a Christian enrolls at a Muslim college, should he expect to be exempted from coursework on the Qur’an, because it is objectional to his or her belief systems. In the case of a liberal arts college, are they not free to express their institutional values, and must those be accommodated to individuals who have a good idea of what they are getting themselves into by enrolling.

    Does the University loose much by extending this student an exemption – probably not. But, I do understand the instructor’s argument.

    I don’t want to compel the university to do anything either–although a PUBLIC university should have pluralism as its core principle. As for what a private institution such as Moody or a Muslim institute decrees, by the same token I take THEIR side to make the rules.

    The question is the state using its power to compel. I say compel as little as possible, maximize religious freedom. That’s what’s at the core of the obamacare fascism–compelling institutions [or individuals] to act against their religious conscience.

    I have no idea what the courts will rule, but I maintain our principles are pluralistic.

    Grayson ultimately refused the student’s request for an accommodation, believing that to grant it would be to render him, and the university, “an accessory to sexism.”

    That’s not pluralism, it’s liberal fascism.

  12. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Jack Miller
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink
    tvd,

    Did someone slip you some bad acid?

    Jack, what grade are you in?

  13. Posted January 31, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    It seems to be a Canadian school…

  14. Posted January 31, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    tvd –
    Did you get up on the wrong side of religious-protector-bed today? Calling people fascist who disagree with you?

  15. Posted January 31, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    You don’t seem to follow any of the argument, Jack, and I’m not in the mood for your harassment today. The “fascism” is in the compelling, not the disagreement. Further, the First Amendment was cited to convey the principle of pluralism, not to litigate American law in Canada.

    Canada is already lost–they do not have religious freedom.

    Quebec City, Canada, Sep 15, 2013 / 04:04 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A government announcement of a Charter of Quebec Values defining the Canadian province as a secular state presents a grave concern for religious liberty, a religious freedom scholar says.

    “The situation in Quebec in Canada is now very worrying,” said Paul Marshall, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, in a Sept. 12 interview with CNA.

    “It’s a very dangerous, radical kind of secularization which is seeking to drive religion anywhere outside of the public square.”

    So get with it or get off my back, Jack.

  16. Posted January 31, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Tom’s above it all, never forget that little factoid, folks.

  17. Posted January 31, 2014 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    tvd-

    Got it: wrong side of bed…

  18. Posted January 31, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Caleb, I have followed some of the debate but haven’t looked at the legislation. On the one hand, it’s amazing that only 70 years ago, Quebec was the most Roman Catholic piece of land in the world. On the other hand, I wonder what triggered this. It seems needlessly aggressive, but as I say, I’d like to know more of the context — in Quebec.

  19. Posted January 31, 2014 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    What harm does it do to the student that has not already been done by the student enrolling at a school where such situations are routine?

    Tom, you really are out of your element.

  20. Posted January 31, 2014 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    tomvd, “fascist”?

    How exactly is a student prohibited from exercising religion in such a situation? Feeling comfortable is not the same as exercising religion. Submitting to divine will is not comfortable. Doh!

  21. Posted January 31, 2014 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Tomvd, a university is not the state. But when you think the main enemy is the state, what can I say?

    The students in question were not forced to belong to the university and its rules.

  22. Posted January 31, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Tomvd, it’s a free blog. Jack is entitled to ride you as much as you ride others.

  23. Posted January 31, 2014 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    York U caught a lot of flak for for their decision, and are unlikely to make such an accommodation in the future. Sadly, the reason they caught flak was not merely because of their bending the rules to accommodate the student, but because their doing so was deemed ‘sexist’ against women. So, one PC, progressive prerogative – ‘multiculturalism’ / ‘diversity’ – has clashed with another – ‘anti-sexism’, and either way, PC, progressivism wins.

  24. Zrim
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Tom, you’re getting your hyperbole confused. Obama’s Affordable Care is socialism and Dubya’s NCLB is fascism. But I bet you’re the same fellow who gets behind the pharmacist who refuses to dole out the Pill instead of wondering why anybody with such staunch convictions would get into a line of work where doling comes with the territory. Go, Warriors, Go!

  25. Posted February 1, 2014 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    Tom,

    I thought fascism was a proclivity of us conservatives. I don’t know, nor do I really care if York is a state or a private school. If it was a state school, why would a student of such stringent religious values enroll, knowing, that even if online, he was bound to have to interact with females at a public university? Why not seek a college that was more inclined to his sort of values in the first place?

    Aside – how is interacting with women online qualitatively different from live interactions? Would this student pretend they were either male, or some sort of asexual robot so that all the vestiges of femininity were stripped away in the online exchange? It’s not as if his willingness to deal with women online as opposed to in-person is without its ethical “in’s and out’s, and what-have-you’s”./Aside

    To me, this is comparable (not equivalent mind you) to a gay couple seeking marriage in the OPC. First off, why, when the PCUSA or the UMC, ELCA, etc. will gladly comply? Second off, if anyone even slightly familiar with the OPC were to seek such a thing, it would be for the sole purpose of raising controversy, not for undertaking such a legally/spiritually important union (for good or ill) with either permissive, or like-minded people. So, without impugning this kids motives, what exactly was he expecting – if he was inclined to the sort of conservatism employed amongst only the most conservative groups (e.g. the Amish), why would he expect an institution not ideologically, or spiritually inclined as he to accommodate themselves to him in such a way that strikes at the “vitals” of what secular liberal arts colleges are all about in terms of values and educational m.o.?

    I am supremely interested how you draw a straight line between this and fascism. If it was just rhetorical flair – I am cool with that too, as a fan of hyperbole myself. BTW – Did I ever tell you, I think that this response was the best ever, not only in the history of Old Life, but in the (modern) history of responses – knowing there is absolutely no way to ever, ever top “render to Ceaser…” – which is why I will stop digging back past the 1500’s or so.

  26. Jed Paschall
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    Jack,

    If I thought Tom was genuinely accusing me of fascism, I would just show him my Libertarian card. I wasn’t offended, and if I were, I would assure him I am not a fascist, just an authoritarian cleptocrat – as my W2’s will surely demonstrate.

  27. Posted February 1, 2014 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Tom,

    Your interaction here with Jed sure makes this comment seem hypocritical. For the readership, here are your words to me on my blog:

    Tom Van Dyke says:
    January 31, 2014 at 12:44 pm (Edit)
    To paraphrase Ambassador Sarek, some argue for reasons. Machenites simply argue.

    As a kid, I enjoyed star trek the next generation. I would link to the scene of the character named “Q” putting Picard on trial, as the great judge. You are “Q”, again, I’d link, but this stopped being fun, I believe, many months ago.

    I tell you to go to church because its what you need. No matter what is true about you.

    Yo.

  28. Jack Miller
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Jed, tvd’s fascist comment was before you commented. The implication of it was that if one took the position opposing his, then one was holding a fascist position. I wasn’t offended for anyone, just a bit amused and like, “say what?!” I think it’s similar to claiming that opposing immigration amnesty is holding a racist position. Not saying tvd would say that. But only that bringing that in makes fruitful discussion more difficult. I was a bit surprised at his reaction. As Daryll says, he tends to dish it quite liberally.

  29. Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    By the way, the other day I commented to tvd that reading his comments was “tripping.” He thanked me and said he was glad to be my drug of choice. I kinda thought he’d take this “bad acid” comment in the same light vein. Oh well…

  30. Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Jed, false libertaraian consciousness. Tom always knows better. He’s pope of the Internet.

  31. Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    He’s pope of the Internet.

    Not my internet.

    Our only option, folks, is to hang a shingle, and blog. Otherwise, the cats and other popes running around will win.

    We can’t have that, yo.

    Peace, you righteous ones of OLTS. Never stop being you.

  32. Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    And in conclusion, the advocate for the Golf Paradigm, rests.

    Darryl, why did you have to go and mention golf in your Calvinism book? You know, it’s mean to give beer to an alcoholic..

    Scene.

  33. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Jack,

    I hadn’t seen that, making the fascist comment even richer. It’s okay, everyone I disagree with are totalitarian Marxists – I find labels to be much easier than developing a cogent argument.

  34. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Tom,

    The question is the state using its power to compel. I say compel as little as possible, maximize religious freedom. That’s what’s at the core of the obamacare fascism–compelling institutions [or individuals] to act against their religious conscience.

    What does this have to do with Obamacare? Even maximal freedoms are not limitless – in any sense of the law. For instance, my freedom of expression doesn’t give me the right to punch a man without consequence. At what point is this kid’s attempt to act in compliance with his conscience an imposition on the consciences of others, especially in a voluntary association such as college.

    I would have told the kid no too, of course in my most fascist Teutonic accent – “Nein! Zat vould be against zee wrules.”

  35. Dan
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Saith TVD:

    Dan
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 7:22 pm | Permalink
    TVD- The idea is to maximize religious freedom.

    At a secular University? Not any that I would be interested in attending.

    Exactly. Fascist.

    Switch Dan:

    Racist.

    I debased the language just as much as you, din’t I?

  36. Dan
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Switch Dan = Saith Dan

    Darn spellchecker

  37. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Jed Paschall
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink
    Tom,

    >>>>>>>The question is the state using its power to compel. I say compel as little as possible, maximize religious freedom. That’s what’s at the core of the obamacare fascism–compelling institutions [or individuals] to act against their religious conscience.

    What does this have to do with Obamacare?

    I guess you’re not up on the issues. this is where this “Two Kingdoms” rubber meets the road.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/370048/if-you-dont-want-pay-abortion-pills-youre-secessionist-david-french

    Alarmed by the Supreme Court’s recent stay in the Little Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby cases, Mr. Epps actually writes this:

    Taken together, these two cases aren’t claims for religious exemption. They are more like an ordinance of secession—a statement that religious bodies, and people, and even commercial businesses, no longer belong to society if they decide they’d rather not. The idea depends on an assumption that government itself is sinful, and presumptively illegitimate. If courts follow this notion, they risk making it impossible to have an effective government at all. And ineffective or weak government, as Peter Shane explained here a few weeks ago, was no part of the Founders’ vision for America.

    I’m wondering which “Founders” he’s referring to. Surely not the same Founders that actually wrote the Free Exercise Clause — an explicit limit on federal power – as the first liberty in the Bill of Rights.

    Government itself is sinful? Both the Little Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby are utilizing formal federal judicial processes to vindicate their rights — in other words, employing the governmental system of checks and balances to vindicate their rights.

    Even maximal freedoms are not limitless – in any sense of the law. For instance, my freedom of expression doesn’t give me the right to punch a man without consequence. At what point is this kid’s attempt to act in compliance with his conscience an imposition on the consciences of others, especially in a voluntary association such as college.

    I would have told the kid no too, of course in my most fascist Teutonic accent – “Nein! Zat vould be against zee wrules.”

    This last bit is an abstraction way past the actual issues. Nobody’s punching faces. this is what actual religious liberty looks like. See also the list above of creditable ACLU offenses against scores of government abuses of religious freedom.

  38. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    D. G. Hart
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Permalink
    Tomvd, it’s a free blog. Jack is entitled to ride you as much as you ride others.

    I give far less than I get, Dr. Fart.

  39. Caleb
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    DG re: Quebec charter. I can tell you as someone from Ontario that the Quebec Charter by no means has national support. It is very controversial throughout Canada and in Montreal, at least, it doesn’t seem to have majority support.

    Around Canada and within Quebec everyone is wondering what triggered this reaction. Some are saying that it is a political move against Muslims and other minority, non-western religious groups more than it is meant to be entirely secular. Not being able to wear a cross necklace at work doesn’t hit to the heart quite as much as not being able to wear your hijab or turban. I listened to a debate about it in Montreal hosted by the CBC and the religions at issue are generally not Catholic.

  40. Caleb
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Jed,

    “State” or “private” school is kind of a clumsy way to talk about post-secondary institutions in Canada. Most of our universities receive a mix of public and private funding.

  41. Caleb
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    The Quebec Charter is currently a proposed law and there is no guarantee that it will pass. And if it does it would only have power in Quebec. So it is inaccurate to say that we do not have religious freedom here in Canada, which is much bigger than Quebec. On the contrary, we have a branch of Elevation Church in the Greater Toronto Area….we are very open to religious practice of all kinds…

    Also, reducing fascism to “compelling” is just plain wrong.

  42. Posted February 1, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    tee hee hee

  43. Posted February 1, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    tomvd, you frame the issue one way. the post framed it another way. you have yet to address the issue of someone who voluntarily enrolled at an institution that is not religious (and so secular in some sense) and that is co-ed and regularly mixes the sexes in educational settings.

    It’s people like you who blow episodes like these out of proportion. Again, you have no skin in this game other than standing up to secularists (of which last any one knew you are one).

    Take your squabble somewhere else and don’t use believers as pawns.

  44. Jed Paschall
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    I do not have the time to time to respond before I go to work tonight. But, please show me how this is connected to Obama care in any demonstrable way. Because honestly I think you are full of doggie do do
    on this one. First off, it’s Canada and they already have socialized medicine. Second off since it’s Canada it has relatively nothing to do with Obamacare. There are no connections there Tom. None.

    Basically all you have done is delve into Ann Coulter style politics of labels in place of arguments. Give me some tangible stuff. Come on man, seriously I know you can, I’ve seen it before. This isn’t Fox news. That base might be over at your blog, so make an argument. Make your case, show me how this has anything to do with fascism, or Obamacare. I am waiting.

  45. mark mcculley
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    if you won’t go “public” with everything in your life, that means that you are “anabaptist”, and Reformed historians will tell you that all anabaptists are gnostics who are “against nature”. To be against war is not natural. To wait for God’s effectual call is not natural.

    The sin of the non-elect is not against “grace”, but it is against law and nature.

  46. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Jed Paschall
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    I do not have the time to time to respond before I go to work tonight. But, please show me how this is connected to Obama care in any demonstrable way. Because honestly I think you are full of doggie do do
    on this one. First off, it’s Canada and they already have socialized medicine. Second off since it’s Canada it has relatively nothing to do with Obamacare. There are no connections there Tom. None.

    Basically all you have done is delve into Ann Coulter style politics of labels in place of arguments. Give me some tangible stuff. Come on man, seriously I know you can, I’ve seen it before. This isn’t Fox news. That base might be over at your blog, so make an argument. Make your case, show me how this has anything to do with fascism, or Obamacare. I am waiting.

    I don’t think you’re reading the links. The controversy, esp re Obamacare and the Little Sisters of the Poor is very well known. If you’re having trouble making the connection to the larger question of religious liberty in the Western world, I’ve been giving y’all too much credit.

    Mr. McCaulley seems to understand just fine. His invocation of the anapabtists is apt. Perhaps if you’re nice to him, he’ll take the time and great effort to explain this all to you.

    And if you’re going to detonate the entire discussion by litigating the passing tongue-in-cheek use of “fascist,” then I’ve been giving you far too much credit.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink
    tomvd, you frame the issue one way. the post framed it another way. you have yet to address the issue of someone who voluntarily enrolled at an institution that is not religious (and so secular in some sense) and that is co-ed and regularly mixes the sexes in educational settings.

    Still insisting on calling me “tomvd?” Have it your way, Dr. Fart. The above goes for you too. It’s a public institution. That it should be militantly secular is to surrender the question of religious pluralism, of the Naked Public Square. It costs nothing to accommodate the fellow, as silly as his request might be.

    That a scholar of your putative high standing should be unaware of the parameters of this controversy is difficult to believe, but I suppose anything’s possible.

  47. Posted February 1, 2014 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    <blockquote cite=""the passing tongue-in-cheek use of “fascist,”

    As if!

    Youb told me to attack you head on. So there you go.

    Oh, and when you have something to defend, pay me another visit and we’ll chat. Until, the head scratching may make me go bald sooner than if I just stuck to blogging theology.

    In the shizzam of Ben Franklin (b (f) f?),
    AB

  48. Posted February 1, 2014 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I think we would all agree that the state proper is an involuntary association. We have no choice as to membership in that we are born into citizenship in which the state rules. Inasmuch as the state is the primary organizing entity there should be the widest tolerance. Yet in voluntary associations there needs to be intolerance by definition or they would cease to exist. But even where the state is the primary entity there are conditions, say of employment.

    A religious persons may take jobs in the state beauracracy. The department they work for would cease to fulfill its function if the widest accommodation were given to religion… One wants to pray 3 times a day on a mat. One wants to take off an hour for Mass. One wants to witness constantly to other employees and customers. Even a state job is at its core a voluntary association. No one is compelled to apply, let alone take the job. The same would hold for a state university. There are necessary limits to be enforced in order for the purpose of the institution to thrive. One can argue as to what those limits are, but limits of some kind are necessary for the institutuion to operate as it intends and is entitled.

    Out in the public square there should be the widest interpretation. But the more one moves away from that square into more specific and voluntary associations, the more limited. Associations have rights. The individual doesn’t reign supreme.

    My 2 cents.

  49. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Jack Miller
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 7:43 pm | Permalink
    I think we would all agree that the state proper is an involuntary association. We have no choice as to membership in that we are born into citizenship in which the state rules. Inasmuch as the state is the primary organizing entity there should be the widest tolerance. Yet in voluntary associations there needs to be intolerance by definition or they would cease to exist. But even where the state is the primary entity there are conditions, say of employment.

    A religious persons may take jobs in the state beauracracy. The department they work for would cease to fulfill its function if the widest accommodation were given to religion… One wants to pray 3 times a day on a mat. One wants to take off an hour for Mass. One wants to witness constantly to other employees and customers. Even a state job is at its core a voluntary association. No one is compelled to apply, let alone take the job. The same would hold for a state university. There are necessary limits to be enforced in order for the purpose of the institution to thrive. One can argue as to what those limits are, but limits of some kind are necessary for the institutuion to operate as it intends and is entitled.

    Out in the public square there should be the widest interpretation. But the more one moves away from that square into more specific and voluntary associations, the more limited. Associations have rights. The individual doesn’t reign supreme.

    My 2 cents.

    Thank you for the substantive reply. The practical effect of a Naked Public Square is to drive those with religious consciences out of any public life. “Neutrality” is not neutral. That’s the lie.

    The onus should be on the state to show a compelling interest in abridging religious freedom. Which is exactly why the [majority Republican] congress felt it necessary to pass the

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

    “of 1993. The bill was signed into law by President Bill Clinton and was passed by a unanimous U.S. House and a near unanimous U.S. Senate with three dissenting votes.”

    Sec. 1. Short Title.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993’.

    Sec. 2. Congressional Findings and Declaration of Purposes.

    (a) Findings: The Congress finds that–

    (1) the framers of the Constitution, recognizing free exercise of religion as an unalienable right, secured its protection in the First Amendment to the Constitution;
    (2) laws ‘neutral’ toward religion may burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise;

    (3) governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification;

    Sec. 3. Free Exercise of Religion Protected.

    (a) In General: Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b).
    (b) Exception: Government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person–

    (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
    (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

    BF mine. Neither one applies here, nor does it apply to the fascist Obama administration’s assault on the religious liberty of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

    And Canada has no real respect for religious liberty. As we see above, they care more about PC chimeras like “sexism,” whatever that is. and as we see by the long list of anti-religious abuses the ACLU has litigated [to its credit], rust is not sleeping in the United States either.

    Anyone who thinks things can’t get worse has no imagination.

  50. Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Obamacare has the force of law as to association… involuntary. Attending a university is a free choice, no coercion… voluntary. Distinctions.

  51. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Jack Miller
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:41 pm | Permalink
    Obamacare has the force of law as to association… involuntary. Attending a university is a free choice, no coercion… voluntary. Distinctions.

    Public institutions = taxpayer money. The objections hold. As noted above, if this were a private institution, no problem from me.

    It seems you might agree about Obamacare. Good. I thought I might have to travel up there to straighten out a few folks, but least one of the fellows at Hillsdale College has a handle on the gravity of the situation.

    http://www.visionandvalues.org/2012/09/the-silence-of-bill-and-hillary-clinton/

  52. Caleb
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex/gender. You seemed not to know what it is, so I hope that definition clarifies it for you. One example would be a female job applicant not getting hired for a job because she is a woman. Or a man refusing to work with a female student because she is a woman.

    It seems like a blissfully ignorant statement to say that sexism is a “PC chimera.”

    The biggest problem that I have with your argument is that you make it sound like an obvious choice. Obviously, we should defer to religious liberty in all spheres of public life. And anyone who disagrees with this view of religious liberty is clearly a “fascist.” But the right decision at YorkU was not so obvious and it is disingenuous to pretend that it was. Either the professor grants complete religious liberty to his dissenting student by allowing him to refuse to work with women in a group, thereby honoring the sexism of his religion over the right of the women to have equal standing in the class as per university policy. Or the professor refuses the student’s request, thereby restricting the student’s “religious liberty” for the sake of gender equality. Why is it so obvious that religious liberty should win, in a case like this in the context in which it took place? And how far do you go? Should this student be allowed to require all of the female students in his classes to sit at the back when he is present, because to sit beside or behind them would violate his religious conscience?

  53. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    NB: Paul Kengor is at Grove City. Paul Rahe is at Hillsdale. They’re in good hands. Enjoy.

    First Principles on First Fridays
    “Obamacare’s Assault on Religious Liberty”

    http://kirbycenter.hillsdale.edu/page.aspx?pid=95

  54. Posted February 1, 2014 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Tomvd, what about a student voluntarily enrolling at said university don’t you understand?

  55. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Caleb
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Permalink
    Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex/gender. You seemed not to know what it is,

    Don’t be an idiot. No sensible person would read “Whatever that is” that way.

    Further, there’s no indication that the student thought women were inferior. As for any accommodation, nobody asked the women in the class to do anything to accommodate him–that would indeed begin to infringe on their liberty and therefore has crossed a line.

    I have no sympathy for his request, but if it costs nothing to accommodate it, then the professor was the one creating the problem.

  56. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    D. G. Hart
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 9:05 pm | Permalink
    Tomvd, what about a student voluntarily enrolling at said university don’t you understand?

    dr. disingenuous fart, what part of “public” in “public university” don’t you understand? Go ask your colleague Dr. Rahe to explain it to you.

  57. Posted February 1, 2014 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Public institutions does not equal public determines how classes run.

    If that is the logic, then prayer and Bible reading in most public schools would still be the norm. Damn the Hindus (who also pay taxes).

  58. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    D. G. Hart
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 9:12 pm | Permalink
    Public institutions does not equal public determines how classes run.

    If that is the logic, then prayer and Bible reading in most public schools would still be the norm. Damn the Hindus (who also pay taxes).

    Accommodating the fellow costs nothing. And as a public [state-run] institution, in America it would be bound by the Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Since you don’t seem to read your own blog, let’s review:

    The bill was signed into law by President Bill Clinton and was passed by a unanimous U.S. House and a near unanimous U.S. Senate with three dissenting votes.”

    Sec. 1. Short Title.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993′.

    Sec. 2. Congressional Findings and Declaration of Purposes.

    (a) Findings: The Congress finds that–

    (1) the framers of the Constitution, recognizing free exercise of religion as an unalienable right, secured its protection in the First Amendment to the Constitution;
    (2) laws ‘neutral’ toward religion may burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise;

    (3) governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification;

    Sec. 3. Free Exercise of Religion Protected.

    (a) In General: Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b).
    (b) Exception: Government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person–

    (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
    (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

    BF mine. Neither one applies here, nor does it apply to the fascist Obama administration’s assault on the religious liberty of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

    None of this applies to the incident in Canada, which puts meaningless abstractions like “sexism” on par [or above] religious conscience. But fortunately, the principles of religious liberty and pluralism still has a toehold left in the United States.

    For now.

  59. Posted February 1, 2014 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Institutions freely associated have rights too. Individual’s preferences do not reign supreme. Otherwise we will have the tyranny of the individual. Distinctions, comprises, balances, trade-offs… the constitutional compact enacted to keep tyranny of any stripe at bay.

  60. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Jack Miller
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 9:27 pm | Permalink
    Institutions freely associated have rights too. Individual’s preferences do not reign supreme. Otherwise we will have the tyranny of the individual. Distinctions, comprises, balances, trade-offs… the constitutional compact enacted to keep tyranny of any stripe at bay.

    True, private institutions have the free association rights you describe. Public institutions don’t have “rights,” really, any more than the government itself has “rights.” The government has limited and enumerated powers. And since the “incorporation” of the bill of rights against the states

    http://billofrightsinstitute.org/resources/educator-resources/americapedia/amendments/fourteenth-amendment-general/incorporation/

    the states are bound as well.

    Hillsdale College started an online course on the Constitution. “Rights talk” has got way out of hand. Hey, I’m not good with this “tyranny of the individual” nonsense either. Usually in religious issues, it’s because some miscreant needs a cross torn down somewhere because it makes him uncomfortable or something. And I could live without Muslim demands for prayer spaces and ritual foot washing facilities and the etc.

    But to hold to our principles, as long as we can accommodate sincere religious requests no matter how stupid, we must.

  61. Posted February 1, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    tomvd, I asked first.

    You still haven’t loved me.

  62. Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    tomvd, “None of this applies to the incident in Canada.”

    Duh.

  63. Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    A public university is not the government. It may have been set up by, or with, the help of the state, but it isn’t necessarily the state in terms of force of law. The issue of rights has to do, not with the university so much, but with the so-called rights of the individual who has freely associated himself with that public institution. Does he have the right to demand a religious exemption even though he wasn’t compelled to enroll in the university, let alone the class course, in the first place? Nuances…

  64. Zrim
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Tom, so much religious rights vigor on behalf of a believer who graciously accepted the decision and completed the assignment in question. Typical political Protestant. But religious Protestants think there is something to be learned by the Muslim or Orthodox Jew (or whatever he was).

  65. Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Tomvd, guess what, it’s the secularists who wanted to accommodate this student under the banner of your friend, human rights:

    What about the duty to accommodate, one apparently written into the Ontario Human Rights Code, as the dean says he was told it is? The answer in this particular case is that it should be up to the professor of that course how to perform this duty. After all, the course is in service to the teaching goals of the professor. Refusing a request that would compromise the integrity of the course is not to fail in one’s duty, but dutifully to judge the request unreasonable.

    The larger answer to this problem is that human rights policy is currently a contested area. As such, it’s open for universities and other institutions to put their own values forward to mould policies so that they do not compromise their mission. Universities have not been doing this, unfortunately, as can be seen in their acceptance of the concept of hate speech and their willingness to construct codes of behaviour inconsistent with civil liberties.

    To sum up: Reasonable accommodation in universities should not be understood in terms of conflicts of rights or ideals, or between individuals and groups. It should be understood entirely through the lens of the values and mission of the university as a place of liberal education and intellectual community.

    Now what will you do?

  66. Dan
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    At the risk of the racist calling me a fascist again, one of my (all about me) fellow law school alums worked as an attorney for the Baptist Joint Commission on Religious Liberty when the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was drafted, debated and passed. They were very much instrumental in the coalitions that were tormed to get the law passed. The Little Sisters of the Poor case, he tells me, is exceedingly close and, he thanks, the Court will punt, since under the details of the law the notice that the Little Sisters would have to provide their insurance carrier would not, under the unique circumstances of this case, result in alternate coverage of the type they object to in fact being provided. In other words, no real case or controversy, despite the heat that has been generated. (The Little Sisters carrier is not a commercial insurance company or a self funded plan covered by ERISA; rather, it is a “church plan” which is not required to offer coverage of the type the Sisters object to, and nothing in Obamacare changes that). Some other case might raise the specter waved around by TVD, but not this one.

    The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is not the First Amendment. It was passed because Congress did not think that the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence was accommodating enough to free exercise claims. Obamacare is also an Act of Congress that has language in it that addresses these free exercise claims. In this case and the other similar claims being litigated, what is being challenged are the regulations implementing the statute, at least as far as I am aware. Despite all the hoopla about the First Amendment, these all look like very ordinary cases of statutory construction and administrative law. In other words, absent the culture warrior spin, nothing to see here, move on.

    It is also not clear to me at all that the Professors actions would be successfully challenged under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act if the case happened in the US. I would want to look ver carefully at whether the student’s claimed discomfort rose to the level of a substantial (or any) burden on his exercise of his religion. There is probably enough case law out there by now to get a read on that issue, but I am not familiar with it. Aside from that, I am in agreement with DGH’s sense of curbstone equity in that the student signed up for classes at a coeducational institution, so this fascist is going to take off his job nailed boots and sleep peacefully tonight.

  67. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    D. G. Hart
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Permalink
    Tomvd, guess what, it’s the secularists who wanted to accommodate this student under the banner of your friend, human rights:

    What about the duty to accommodate, one apparently written into the Ontario Human Rights Code, as the dean says he was told it is? The answer in this particular case is that it should be up to the professor of that course how to perform this duty. After all, the course is in service to the teaching goals of the professor. Refusing a request that would compromise the integrity of the course is not to fail in one’s duty, but dutifully to judge the request unreasonable.

    The larger answer to this problem is that human rights policy is currently a contested area. As such, it’s open for universities and other institutions to put their own values forward to mould policies so that they do not compromise their mission. Universities have not been doing this, unfortunately, as can be seen in their acceptance of the concept of hate speech and their willingness to construct codes of behaviour inconsistent with civil liberties.

    To sum up: Reasonable accommodation in universities should not be understood in terms of conflicts of rights or ideals, or between individuals and groups. It should be understood entirely through the lens of the values and mission of the university as a place of liberal education and intellectual community.

    Now what will you do?

    Dr. disingenuous fart, I don’t care who’s on the side of right. I propped the ACLU for doing the right thing in scores of cases here. As for the professor, he was the one causing the problem. as for the point of your posting about this in the first place, your reason for doing so, to argue that

    reality checks for 2k’s critics who say that the notion of faith being a private affair is audaciously perverse or perfidious

    remains more refudiated than reinforced by the discussion, except some gaseous emission about the purpose of “liberal education.” Had you written “leftist” or “progressive” or idiotic,” you’d have carried the point, but in this case, the professor was quite illiberal.

  68. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Jack Miller
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:02 pm | Permalink
    A public university is not the government. It may have been set up by, or with, the help of the state, but it isn’t necessarily the state in terms of force of law.

    Well, pretty much it is–wherever there’s tax money involved, the state is all over it. That’s why Hillsdale College–nearly alone in the edu-industrial complex–refuses to take gummint money.*

    The issue of rights has to do, not with the university so much, but with the so-called rights of the individual who has freely associated himself with that public institution. Does he have the right to demand a religious exemption even though he wasn’t compelled to enroll in the university, let alone the class course, in the first place? Nuances…

    I don’t think you really have a point at this point. We aren’t “compelled” to enter any public place or institution, but we are entitled to equal protection of the laws inside them.

    And even if we aren’t talking about the law [the incident is in Canada], it’s the professor who’s creating the stink. In the old days they used to say “don’t make a federal case out of it,” but everything’s a federal case these days.

    ___
    *In the late 1970s, the college took a stand in opposition to affirmative action.[citation needed] Because some students were receiving federal loans, the U.S. federal government asserted that it could require Hillsdale College to submit Assurance of Compliance forms mandated by Title IX as a condition of the continued receipt of federal financial assistance by two hundred Hillsdale students. Hillsdale refused compliance on the grounds that affirmative action was racial discrimination. This ongoing dispute with the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) began to intensify in 1979 when the College filed a petition for judicial review in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, asking the court to overturn a previous decision by the Reviewing Authority, Office of Civil Rights of HEW. In December 1982, the Sixth Circuit upheld Hillsdale’s refusal to sign the compliance forms but also ruled that government aid to individual students could be terminated without a finding that a college actually discriminated. In February 1984, in a related case, Grove City College v. Bell, the Supreme Court required every college or university to fulfill federal requirements – past and future requirements – if its students received federal aid. As a result of the court’s decision, Hillsdale withdrew from all federal assistance beginning with the 1984–85 academic year; Grove City College, the defendant in that case, followed Hillsdale’s lead four years later.
    Beginning with the 2007–2008 academic year, Hillsdale also stopped accepting Michigan state assistance, instead matching any funds that a student would have received from the state with its own aid.[31] Since 2007, Hillsdale’s entire operating budget of the college, including scholarships, comes from private funding and endowments.
    In 2010 Hillsdale’s “Resolution Against Federal Interference,” stated that both Congress and the Obama administration appeared, “even more than the worst of their predecessors, bent on extending federal control over American higher education and other areas of American life.”[32]

  69. Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Tom, my 2k section was only breathed into existence hours ago. But I’m big on it. Talk all you want in my blog, put me down, call me names, etc. Mine’s more of an anti-blog.

    I’ll try to get your angle, in this thread. Maybe I’ll blog on it.

    Peace.

  70. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Zrim
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Permalink
    Tom, so much religious rights vigor on behalf of a believer who graciously accepted the decision and completed the assignment in question. Typical political Protestant. But religious Protestants think there is something to be learned by the Muslim or Orthodox Jew (or whatever he was).

    Actually, there are some on the far right who claim a uniquely Christian founding. They have somewhat of an academic point [see Joseph Story], but in our times, Islam is quite the control case. Whatever accommodations they demand for Christianity, they must yield to islam. Those who say screw it, let’s have a naked public Square, have somewhat of a point, if only to stop the arguments.

    My own position is for theism and natural law, and for pluralism, which can be argued fall short of an establishment of “religion,” which the Founders understood more as sectarianism than mere belief in a providential Almighty, whom they took as a fact, not a belief.

  71. Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    There’s so little to be said, 2k-wise. A pure Gospel is too precious to ever budge a iota/

    For more, see here.

  72. Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    My own position is for theism and natural law, and for pluralism, which can be argued fall short of an establishment of “religion,” which the Founders understood more as sectarianism than mere belief in a providential Almighty, whom they took as a fact, not a belief.

    Tom, good. Sharing what you believe: You’ve taken your first step into a larger world, yo.

  73. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    hint tvd: pluralism don’t fly

  74. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:04 pm | Permalink
  75. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    hint 3:

    dont turn america into an idol

    olts court jester out. yo

  76. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    hint 4: the extent of 2k is limited by the moral law

    and nothing else, that i know of

    sorry..

  77. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Andrew Buckingham
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:45 pm | Permalink
    There’s so little to be said, 2k-wise. A pure Gospel is too precious to ever budge a iota

    For more, see here.

    Sorry, I see too many of the usual suspects in this combox to sort y’all out.

    http://presbyterianblues.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/turretin-fan-of-natural-law/

    The usual warrior child quarrelsomeness makes it the usual Tower of Babel. With a [moderated] Called to Communion discussion, at least one comes away with some understanding of what was discussed.

    Should you be able to explain what these people are arguing about–and why–that would be good. Mostly I liked the link to J. Budziszewski and the guy quoting Jean Calvin until mike L mann said

    <blockquote.There’s a certain oddness to battling over who most closely approximates the civil views of a man who was so influential over Geneva. For all Calvin’s brilliance, Geneva is not and should not be a model to aspire to.

    so now it’s only a question of who’s more Calvinist than Calvin or less Thomistic than Thomas.

    “But it is questioned whether the law pertains to the kingdom of Christ, which is spiritual and distinct from all earthly dominion; and there are some men, not otherwise ill-disposed, to whom it appears that our condition under the Gospel is different from that of the ancient people under the law; not only because the kingdom of Christ is not of this world, but because Christ was unwilling that the beginnings of His kingdom should be aided by the sword. But, when human judges consecrate their work to the promotion of Christ’s kingdom, I deny that on that account its nature is changed. For, although it was Christ’s will that His Gospel should be proclaimed by His disciples in opposition to the power of the whole world, and He exposed them armed with the Word alone like sheep amongst the wolves, He did not impose on Himself an eternal law that He should never bring kings under His subjection, nor tame their violence, nor change them from being cruel persecutors into the patrons and guardians of His Church.”

    John Calvin
    Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses – p. 77.

  78. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    really sorry…..

    CONCLUSION

    Having offered these historical reflections and biblical suggestions, I conclude with three basic reasons why we should recover a Reformed theology of natural law. We should do so, first, in order to be faithful to our Presbyterian confessional tradition (as well as to show that we are true heirs of catholic Christianity). We should recover a Reformed theology of natural law, secondly, in order to be better able to teach the whole counsel of God from the Scriptures. Finally, this endeavor will help us to understand better the ways by which God upholds human society through his common grace and thus to understand better how to make our way as sojourners in this world and to proclaim the gospel faithfully within it.

  79. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    fine tom, you’re boss. we’ll play nice. if we disagree at the end, it’s not our fault. blame big pharma, they don’t make meds like they used to

    yo

  80. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Fascinating:

    Tom Van Dyke says:
    February 1, 2014 at 4:03 pm (Edit)
    I’m sure I’ll see you over at the Old Life blog, piling on me along with your pals. Nothing over here for me.

    Yes, I do find them fascinating.

    people willing to die for their beliefs will always fascinate.

    and as inspiring as the birth of our nation, one will never find more inspiring the birth of our religion:

    For according to the Christian story, God, the almighty first being of the universe and the creator of everything else, was willing to undergo enormous suffering in order to redeem creatures who had turned their backs on him. He created human beings; they rebelled against him and constantly go contrary to his will. Instead of treating them as some Oriental monarch would, he sent his Son, the Word, the second person of the Trinity into the world. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He was subjected to ridicule, rejection, and finally the cruel and humiliating death of the cross. Horrifying as that is, Jesus, the Word, the son of God, suffered something vastly more horrifying: abandonment by God, exclusion from his love and affection: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ All this to enable human beings to be reconciled to God, and to achieve eternal life. This overwhelming display of love and mercy is not merely the greatest story ever told; it is the greatest story that could be told. (Plantinga, Alvin. Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism. New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 2011, 58-59.)

    sorry

  81. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Andrew Buckingham
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:55 pm | Permalink
    My own position is for theism and natural law, and for pluralism, which can be argued fall short of an establishment of “religion,” which the Founders understood more as sectarianism than mere belief in a providential Almighty, whom they took as a fact, not a belief.

    Tom, good. Sharing what you believe: You’ve taken your first step into a larger world, yo.

    There are many years’ worth of such study and sentiment at my homeblog, esp the comboxes, as well as various discussions across many blogs. That would be the larger world, not this, tho I do thank you for the encouragement. Perhaps you’ll join me out there someday. [It’s the insularity of this one and its need to pigeonhole everyone and everything that fascinates me so.]

  82. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    It’s the insularity of this one and its need to pigeonhole everyone and everything that fascinates me so

    tom, when you learn that the weight of words like this mean nothing to the readership here, i hope you’ll stop doing that for your own self aggrandizement.

    i’m not going to read comboxxes, that’s silly. point me to published works (i.e. like the one the blog owner here wrote). If you can’t distill down the thoughts in a few lines, and point to somewhere for further study, i’m sorry, but:

    If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

    Albert Einstein

    you’ve come around first fawning over the pope, now to calling us fascinating. i’m not that impressed. but i enjoy your company at my blog. whatever the hell im trying to accomplish with it

    yo

  83. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    and yes, i read all your digs at olts at my blog.

    do you think i’m illiterate not to read the responses on my own self-published material?

  84. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    this is when dg needs to show up with a puff of smoke. i tend to ramble like this, leaving all scrating their heads.

    on vacay over here. peace you righteous.

  85. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2013/11/lawrence-feingold-the-motives-of-credibility-for-faith/#comment-77020

    or maybe someone will weigh in, on how wonderful ctc is, and how we can’t talk with them on their own terms, or who knows what the next combox statement will be here.

    i’m tired.

  86. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    T…
    I don’t think you really have a point at this point. We aren’t “compelled” to enter any public place or institution, but we are entitled to equal protection of the laws inside them.

    We aren’t “compelled” to enter… Indeed. Therefore we have the option to read the “contract” and disagree beforehand or agree to it if we so choose to attend. It’s all up front. The individual has his responsibility to exercise <i<responsibility of choice before making his choice, not afterward and then objecting to the institution’s prerogatives.

    You seem to want to say that, in any and all cases, if the particular institution has any connection at all to the state then they must always lay down and let the individual have his particular preference of the moment. The state is not just a faceless civil/authoritarian entity but, at times, is also a consensus of the overall community-will-of-the-citizens with their own corporate stake in the game… Especially when the individual is not compelled to participate in the first place.

  87. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Andrew Buckingham
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:22 pm | Permalink
    fine tom, you’re boss. we’ll play nice. if we disagree at the end, it’s not our fault. blame big pharma, they don’t make meds like they used to

    yo

    If you’re going to call me “tomvd” as you did previously, justice requires I come up for a similarly abusive nickname for you, Andrew. But my heart’s not in it.

    “Clarity above agreement.”—Dennis Prager. The one thing y’all are right about, and the Reformation was most right about, was that the love of God, of Jesus, even the believe he left behind a church, should not turn us into Romebots.

    God gave us reason, and further, it’s through our reason and consciousness–I agree with Aristotle and Aquinas here–that we participate in the Divine Mind. As sons and daughters, as friends and lovers.

    God already has the equivalent of “Romebots”–the angels. [Whether or not angels actually exist.] He could have created Heaven with a bunch of perfect beings to hang out with or be in a choir to sing his praises eternally. But that’s kind of meh.

    You want to create something like Saturn then have somebody go, Hey God, that’s reallly cool, man.

  88. Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    God gave us reason, and further, it’s through our reason and consciousness–I agree with Aristotle and Aquinas here–that we participate in the Divine Mind. As sons and daughters, as friends and lovers.

    And you are free to do so.

    It’s me an my bible, the words on those pages, that I can’t shake. whatever you think aristotle and aquinas gave you, the psalms and paul have been doing a number on me lately.

    The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8, ESV)

    um, we were talking about what again?

    i’m bummed i have to miss church tomorrow (personal reasons). i’ll prolly be stuck watching some dumb sporting event.

    dang it..

  89. Posted February 2, 2014 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    one of my favorite quotes Tom Van Dyke:

    The Christian religion flourishes not in the darkness but in the light. Intellectual slothfulness is but a quack remedy for unbelief; the true remedy is consecration of intellectual powers to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ

    come play anytime.

    i really don’t get getting upset about the name calling. it doesn’t keep anyone (not the least of whom, you) away. i actually kind of find it fun, and wish the dude would tease me more with my name.

    but then again, i’m odd.

  90. Posted February 2, 2014 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Here ya go, Andrew, only in fun…

    http://youtu.be/1FIqSenFxEc

    One of the top ten hits from my youth.

  91. Posted February 2, 2014 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    Jack Miller
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Permalink
    T…
    “I don’t think you really have a point at this point. We aren’t “compelled” to enter any public place or institution, but we are entitled to equal protection of the laws inside them.”

    We aren’t “compelled” to enter… Indeed. Therefore we have the option to read the “contract” and disagree beforehand or agree to it if we so choose to attend. It’s all up front.

    It not up front atall. No contract, no understanding except equal protection of the laws. The policy was what this “liberal fascist” professor decreed it is. And if the state [which owns the university] allows this university to be stripped of all accommodations for religious belief, well, that’s exactly the level I want to fight this on.

    [NB: If this were a private</i. university, I would argue the exact opposite side. although I'd remind our "illiberal" professor that he's also under a contract, and if Moody or Biola or Hillsdale wanted to fire his intolerant ass, I think they should be able to.]

    Were this a public university under American law, I want the state legislature to expressly say that religious belief at the University of Northeast South Carolina St. is protected per the Religious Freedom Restoration Act [pls don’t make me post the link to the law again? Pls?]. I want the dean to be subject to enforcing it, and I want that professor fired if he doesn’t back down. And I want the dean fired if he won’t press it.

    Religious freedom is explicitly in the Constitution/Bill of Rights. “Academic freedom” is some self-serving fiction created by academics who hold themselves above all accountability, even as they milk the taxpayer or their students for their salaries.

    [I’m actually a defender of Ward Churchill, BTW, but that’s a digression. Although a worthy one. I thought with “little Eichmanns, he had a very good point.]

    Thx for the principled reply, Jack. As you can tell, I’m passionate on this issue. If I may play the Machen card, he also saw that what, how, and when or children are taught was the only future.

    He thought we could step aside the brutal political tide of anti-Christianity, but now 80 years later–even religious schools, or even homeschooling [!], are not safe. They are coming and coming and coming, not for us but for our kids.

    It was J. Gresham Machen, Darryl, who placed too much trust in the American system, that we could return to the catacombs. Not this time around.

    I learn a lot here. Not what I wanted to learn. I listen and have thought about the quite “reasonable” theology of Two Kingdoms. But “2K” relies on a state, a government, that will keep the One Kingdom safe from the other.

  92. Posted February 2, 2014 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    jack, makes my day. the day porter at the office came by my desk and showed me his old LP. he made a photo copy of it, i need to go find it.

    it’s not easy being a buck.

    rock on olts’ers.

    yes, that includes tvd..

  93. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    Andrew Buckingham
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 12:00 am | Permalink
    one of my favorite quotes Tom Van Dyke:

    “The Christian religion flourishes not in the darkness but in the light. Intellectual slothfulness is but a quack remedy for unbelief; the true remedy is consecration of intellectual powers to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ”

    Andrew: I do like it somewhat. It’s far too artless in the lyrical sense and as a theist, I think any remedy is worth a try for unbelief. Perhaps the author never experienced unbelief?

    Once a man [or woman of course] concludes there MUST be a God and asks quid sit deus–or is so miserable and desperate to jump off the cliff, Kierkegaard’s “leap of faith,” because your experience and your education and your mind and your “yourselfness” have all failed you.

    An existential “nausea,” a fear, a despair, an ennui, a fatigue of trying this, then trying that, then trying this again, a fatigue of trying to satisfy your restless mind, of trying to satisfy—yourself?

    Did God set this life up as a theological quiz show, get the answer wrong and BZZZZZZZZZZZZT?

    Or is the correct answer just simply, “Yes?”

  94. Posted February 2, 2014 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    Tom, congrats. You earned this:

    It is for this very reason that the Word was needed. “If God’s Word and sign are not there, or are not recognized, then it is of no avail even if God himself were there.” “For outside Christianity, even if people have faith in and worship only a true God, yet they do not know what his intentions are towards them, and they cannot look to him for any love or good, as they remain under eternal wrath and damnation” (Luther).

    It is this, then, that is distinctive about Christian faith and is also its scandal! And we must not make it inoffensive and harmless by developing the content of its conception of God alone, and abandoning the scandal. This lies in the very assertion that faith in God simply cannot and must not arise as a general human attitude, but only as a response to God’s Word and that it is this one Word, found in the New Testament and based on the Christ-event, which is God’s Word; this Word which is passed on by the preaching of the Church and which reassures each hearer that God is, that God is his God!

    In order to understand this, however, we need to reflect further on how this Word tells one that he may have faith in God. It tells him by its promise of the forgiveness of his sin; and in saying so, it is also telling him that that submission to the power which calls us into life and makes us finite, and that saying “Yes”, is only real and radical, and what it should be, when it is at once a confession of sin and a plea for grace. Here we are not to think of sin as immorality, but as the human claim to seek to exist in one’s own right, to be one’s own master, and to take one’s life into one’s own hands, superbia, wishing to be like God. The implementation of this claim has indeed driven one up against his limit and has made him conscious of it. But if in recognizing it he submits, then is not the limitation inwardly overcome, as we said ? Has one not then found God

    Yes, he has if this submission is real and radical. But Christian faith asserts that such submission is impossible without the confession of sin and forgiveness. By confession of sin, then, more is understood than the acknowledgment of one’s limitedness and subjection of oneself to it, thus more than a confession that the claim was a false one. What we actually should understand by it is that in the self-will that has so far ruled my life I have become guilty, that I cannot dispose of what lies behind me by becoming aware of my limit and acknowledging it; that, if it is in earnest, this very acknowledgment of limit is, rather, inevitably the confession of guilt before the power that limits me, and that guilt can only be wiped out by a word of forgiveness.

    At the same time the Christian message says even more plainly what sin is, and how far I have become guilty through my superbia. That striving to implement one’s own claims, that running up against the limit, is therefore in reality the guilt which gives one his character, because in this way one has become guilty in relation tohisfellow-creature. The neighbor, the “You” with whom he is associated, is given to him as the real limit of his “I”. That desire to be oneself, that superbia, is lovelessness. And the Christian conception of sin is characterized by taking the command to love as the command which dominates life, as the claim of God which is continually met in the moment. This surrender to the claims of the moment is not to be thought of simply as the abstract, negative recognition of human finiteness; on the contrary, it involves the positive recognition of the claim of the “You” as the criterion of my limitation, and its fulfillment as love. Neither is it to be thought of simply as the negative acknowledgment that I am not master of my own fate; rather it involves at the same time the positive recognition that I am there for the other person.

    In othe words: Love Darryl. Emoticon..

  95. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 1:22 am | Permalink

    Andrew Buckingham
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 1:03 am | Permalink
    Tom, congrats. You earned this:

    It is for this very reason that the Word was needed. “If God’s Word and sign are not there, or are not recognized, then it is of no avail even if God himself were there.” “For outside Christianity, even if people have faith in and worship only a true God, yet they do not know what his intentions are towards them, and they cannot look to him for any love or good, as they remain under eternal wrath and damnation” (Luther).

    It is this, then, that is distinctive about Christian faith and is also its scandal! And we must not make it inoffensive and harmless by developing the content of its conception of God alone, and abandoning the scandal. This lies in the very assertion that faith in God simply cannot and must not arise as a general human attitude, but only as a response to God’s Word and that it is this one Word, found in the New Testament and based on the Christ-event, which is God’s Word; this Word which is passed on by the preaching of the Church and which reassures each hearer that God is, that God is his God!

    In order to understand this, however, we need to reflect further on how this Word tells one that he may have faith in God. It tells him by its promise of the forgiveness of his sin; and in saying so, it is also telling him that that submission to the power which calls us into life and makes us finite, and that saying “Yes”, is only real and radical, and what it should be, when it is at once a confession of sin and a plea for grace. Here we are not to think of sin as immorality, but as the human claim to seek to exist in one’s own right, to be one’s own master, and to take one’s life into one’s own hands, superbia, wishing to be like God. The implementation of this claim has indeed driven one up against his limit and has made him conscious of it. But if in recognizing it he submits, then is not the limitation inwardly overcome, as we said ? Has one not then found God

    Yes, he has if this submission is real and radical. But Christian faith asserts that such submission is impossible without the confession of sin and forgiveness. By confession of sin, then, more is understood than the acknowledgment of one’s limitedness and subjection of oneself to it, thus more than a confession that the claim was a false one. What we actually should understand by it is that in the self-will that has so far ruled my life I have become guilty, that I cannot dispose of what lies behind me by becoming aware of my limit and acknowledging it; that, if it is in earnest, this very acknowledgment of limit is, rather, inevitably the confession of guilt before the power that limits me, and that guilt can only be wiped out by a word of forgiveness.

    At the same time the Christian message says even more plainly what sin is, and how far I have become guilty through my superbia. That striving to implement one’s own claims, that running up against the limit, is therefore in reality the guilt which gives one his character, because in this way one has become guilty in relation tohisfellow-creature. The neighbor, the “You” with whom he is associated, is given to him as the real limit of his “I”. That desire to be oneself, that superbia, is lovelessness. And the Christian conception of sin is characterized by taking the command to love as the command which dominates life, as the claim of God which is continually met in the moment. This surrender to the claims of the moment is not to be thought of simply as the abstract, negative recognition of human finiteness; on the contrary, it involves the positive recognition of the claim of the “You” as the criterion of my limitation, and its fulfillment as love. Neither is it to be thought of simply as the negative acknowledgment that I am not master of my own fate; rather it involves at the same time the positive recognition that I am there for the other person.

    In other words: Love Darryl. Emoticon..

    I know enough about theology to know I can earn nothing. But thank you for this.

    As for our brother Darryl, to love my neighbor as myself is my ideal. Sometimes I think I love him even more. And you. That’s perhaps a flaw, biblically. Is it cruel to be kind?

    [Not that that’s ever a concern here at Called to Crabbiness.]

  96. Posted February 2, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Tom,

    I know enough about theology to know I can earn nothing. But thank you for this.

    This is an excerpt from The Crisis of Faith by Rudolf Bultmann. I read that essay in 2011 or thereabouts with a mainline episcopal friend (the guy who taught me Tillich and integral calculus (1st and 2nd period) respectively in 1999-2000. He’s a good guy, you’d like him. And if you like liberal theology, Bultmann is fun to read. You might like that entire essay. Buy the book on kindle and it could be yours for consumption today. Yumm..

    As for our brother Darryl, to love my neighbor as myself is my ideal. Sometimes I think I love him even more. And you. That’s perhaps a flaw, biblically. Is it cruel to be kind?

    I think Darry’s response (of which I am with him – surprise) is that as touching as language like this is, you have to remember, we are strangers on the internet, discussing matters on a blog that is meant to be a defense (I do believe, among other things) of Reformed theology, which finds itself on the defense from many sides. The fact is, people with something to defend, with convictions, tend to focus on that, for (emphasis mine):

    Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. (Philippians 3:12-16, ESV)

    The thing is, I’m currently very active, and have been very active for as long as I’ve been in the OPC, so my time is very limited. Imagine Darryl – elder, professor, author. The guy is a freak. Work ethic very rarely seen. Do you seem him raking in checks for all his time at this blog to interact with chumps like us?

    I know you like us, and not only because of our demeanor, but because of the learning opportunitites afforded at a site like this. I know you get upset, but come dump on us or me at my blog. That’s the place to do it. Whoever came up with bloggorhea(Rube, is that you?) or confessional outhouse deserve some grammy nods, as far as I’m concerned. But blog aims to exist within that tradition.

    But I’ve said to much and digressed more than I need to. Enjoy your day, and go to church. I’ll be there in spirit, personal reasons preclude me..alas.

    Peace.

    So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13:13

    PS I have a thread dedicated to Darryl’s blog, in case you ever need to let it all hang out. Your other option is to alert the authorities (i.e. presbytery), but since that will never happen, just come visit me at your discretion. Or not. But this dude enjoys visitors, yo.

  97. Posted February 2, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    tomvd, so you’re representing a client and they tell you we’re looking for someone who can work in a mixed gender office environment, you then find them a member of Tim Bayly’s church, and you conclude your client is the problem?

    Brilliant!

  98. Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    tomvd (vd is the ending of your email address — don’t like it, change your address): “Academic freedom” is some self-serving fiction created by academics who hold themselves above all accountability, even as they milk the taxpayer or their students for their salaries.”

    You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  99. Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    tomvd, “crabbiness” “Dr. Fart” — what, are you 80?

  100. Posted February 2, 2014 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Tom – Alarmed by the Supreme Court’s recent stay in the Little Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby cases, Mr. Epps actually writes this:

    Erik – Wow, there really is a group called “The Little Sisters of the Poor”. Who knew.

  101. Posted February 2, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Mark – if you won’t go “public” with everything in your life, that means that you are “anabaptist”, and Reformed historians will tell you that all anabaptists are gnostics who are “against nature”

    Erik – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddQelt3eogk

    Looking for any excuse.

    2001 Grammy for album of the year.

  102. Posted February 2, 2014 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    We have freedom of religion in the U.S., but I think religious people too often assert their rights and act like a pain in the butt, doing more harm than they would if they suffered for their beliefs. We act as if we are entitled to our religion, with no cost to ourselves, and with cost to people who don’t share our beliefs — if we can manage to stick it to them. This is the M.O. of the Baylys, Rabbi Bret, and their ilk.

    Hebrews 10:34 says, “For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.”

    Perhaps sometimes the best course of action in situations like the one here is to follow our conscience AND accept the consequences vs. asserting our rights and being a pain. Don’t like Obamacare? Don’t buy the required insurance and pay the fine. Vote for the opponent of the people who voted it into law next time. Don’t want to participate in group work? Take an “F” on the project. Win in spite of the other guy.

    Maybe in the end we’re a better witness by living quietly & minding our own business vs. having a fit and asserting our rights with every perceived slight. In the “culture war” someone needs to be the bigger man and its not going to be the secularists. This sorry world is all they’ve got.

  103. Posted February 2, 2014 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Tom cites Hillsdale and they’re a pretty good model of what I’m talking about. They didn’t like the Federal rules so they just opted out of the Federal system and took the consequences (having to get students through school without Federal loans). Do they whine and cry about it? I don’t think so. They even have enough money to hire D.G. And Hillsdale isn’t even a Christian school.

    Reading about the early church and all of the problems caused by people who folded under persecution and then wanted to come back when it became safe again. This had lasting repercussions for centuries.

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

    The most faithful Christians had taken their stand and paid with their lives. Those still standing after the persecution ended were tainted to one degree or another because of their compromise.

  104. Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of politics, I just saw an ad on Yahoo that said it’s up to us to draft Hillary if we want her to run in 2016. Yeah, and its up to you to recruit flies to eat your dog’s turds next summer, too.

  105. Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    the most faithful Christians had taken their stand and paid with their lives.

    It makes you think that the one they looked to said something about what life was about, and so they were impacted by those words in the same way, across the centuries.

    Accept no substitute, and hold the line firm, as we’ve done as of late, friends of the webernet.

    Peace you righteous ones.

  106. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    D. G. Hart
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink
    tomvd, so you’re representing a client and they tell you we’re looking for someone who can work in a mixed gender office environment, you then find them a member of Tim Bayly’s church, and you conclude your client is the problem?

    Brilliant!

    Your critical thinking skills are stunning.

    ____

    D. G. Hart
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink
    tomvd (vd is the ending of your email address — don’t like it, change your address)

    I don’t mind people who think they’re clever, but I despise people thinking everyone else is stupid. As if anyone buys that your use of “vd” is not intentionally infantile and vulgar.

  107. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Erik Charter
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 8:04 pm | Permalink
    Tom cites Hillsdale and they’re a pretty good model of what I’m talking about. They didn’t like the Federal rules so they just opted out of the Federal system and took the consequences (having to get students through school without Federal loans). Do they whine and cry about it? I don’t think so. They even have enough money to hire D.G. And Hillsdale isn’t even a Christian school.

    Unfortuantely, there are many areas of public life where you cannot escape the long arm of the state. yes, sometimes there is no choice but to surrender and retreat,

    http://www.9news.com/news/article/312646/339/Catholic-adoption-agencies-wont-serve-gays

    but anyone who thinks won’t get worse before they get better isn’t paying attention.

    [You didn’t know there is a Little Sisters of the Poor, let alone Obamacare’s assault on them? it’s fine if you want to cocoon but you’ll understand why perhaps the rest of us are concerned about this. if you don’t care about your religious liberty, or that of others, at least stay out of the way.]

    [But your day will come. Count on it.]

  108. Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    You’re into your vintage culture warrior persona. We’re in your wheelhouse here.

    I pick up some of what’s going on with Obamacare in the Journal but I’m with whoever was saying the other day that it will all get settled. The Roman Catholic Church and the Democratic Party are way too intertwined for one to completely sell the other out. It’s just not happening.

    Democrats need the labor vote and a lot of that is Catholic. Lots of Democrat politicians are Catholic, as are members of the Supreme Court (as you reminded us).

    Catholics need the Democrats access to Federal money to carry out Catholic Social teaching. It’s a symbiotic relationship. Why do you think no one disciplines Nancy Pelosi?

    Once you understand that most national politics is about show and fundraising on both sides you don’t follow these things as closely as you used to. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 212 times, shame on me.

  109. Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Tom – it’s fine if you want to cocoon but you’ll understand why perhaps the rest of us are concerned about this.

    Erik – Who is “us”? You haven’t identified yourself as part of any group. Other people will claim you?

  110. Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    How is Obamacare “assaulting” the nuns? Just buy the insurance you want to buy and pay the Obamacare employer penalties for not buying the “required” insurance. Get some rich Catholic donors to donate the money to pay the penalty or ask the Pope for it. Then go lobby the Feds for money for social services programs give it back to the nuns. Everyone saves face and is in exactly the same position as they were before. Duh.

  111. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Erik Charter
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:16 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    How is Obamacare “assaulting” the nuns? Just buy the insurance you want to buy and pay the Obamacare employer penalties for not buying the “required” insurance.

    I don’t think it’s possible. Even if it were, that’s still civil disobedience and asking how that squares your “Two kingdoms” theology is a manifest

    http://oldlife.org/2012/03/2k-cherries-2hot-2handle/

    waste of time.

    If I felt you had actually followed the links, say on adoption or that the Little Sisters of the Poor case is already at the Supreme Court, this would be worth continuing. I think we have shown that the original post’s contention

    blockquote>This story about religious dissenters at Ontario York University is one of those reality checks for 2k’s critics who say that the notion of faith being a private affair is audaciously perverse or perfidious:

    doesn’t really hold. The state and its current anti-religious ideology has an interest in you–your religious liberty is not merely a “private” matter. Any blather to the contrary is indeed “audaciously perverse or perfidious.”

  112. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    D. G. Hart
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink
    tomvd, “crabbiness” “Dr. Fart” — what, are you 80?

    Dishonestly editing my copy again, I see. As long as you insist on calling me “tomvd,” you are indeed dr. disingenuous fart. Should you revert to the preferred “tom” or “TVD,” I’ll stop pointing out that you’re a disingenuousness flatulist.

  113. Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Tom, that it bugs you, is what makes you cute.

  114. Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Tom – I don’t think it’s possible

    Erik – What do you mean you don’t think its possible? What do you think the government is going to do with employers who don’t provide coverage as required in the law? Throw them in jail? They assess fines. Just pay the fine.

    http://www.obamacarewatch.org/primer/employer-mandate

    Penalties For Failure To Insure

    “For firms which do not offer insurance any insurance, have more than 50 employees, and have at least one employee receiving insurance subsidies, they must pay a tax of $2000 per subsidized employee. The tax is applied to all of a firm’s employees (after excluding the first 30), not just those that are subsidized. For example a firm with 51 employees would pay $42,000 in new annual taxes, and an additional $2,000 tax for every new hire.”

    It sucks, but tell your people to stop voting for Democrats if you don’t like it. This is their law. As swing voters this is their President. Stop whining about him. Be “one” like you claim to be.

  115. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Erik Charter
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:38 pm | Permalink
    Tom – I don’t think it’s possible

    Erik – What do you mean you don’t think its possible? What do you think the government is going to do with employers who don’t provide coverage as required in the law? Throw them in jail? They assess fines. Just pay the fine.

    http://www.obamacarewatch.org/primer/employer-mandate

    Penalties For Failure To Insure

    “For firms which do not offer insurance any insurance, have more than 50 employees, and have at least one employee receiving insurance subsidies, they must pay a tax of $2000 per subsidized employee. The tax is applied to all of a firm’s employees (after excluding the first 30), not just those that are subsidized. For example a firm with 51 employees would pay $42,000 in new annual taxes, and an additional $2,000 tax for every new hire.”

    It sucks, but tell your people to stop voting for Democrats if you don’t like it. This is their law. As swing voters this is their President. Stop whining about him. Be “one” like you claim to be.

    But paying the fine IS civil disobedience, clearly a topic that poses a problem for your “Two Kingdoms” theology, or at least one you patently avoid.

    To the issue itself: Lead, follow or get out of the way, is all. Right now your theology isn’t “neutral,” it’s on the side of the enemies or religious freedom.

    If you don’t care about your religious freedom and the increasing threat to it, fine. But don’t sneer those who are concerned at where this is going [as Darryl’s post here does].

    You could be wrong, you know.

  116. Posted February 3, 2014 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    tvd, thanks.

  117. Posted February 3, 2014 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    “But your day will come. Count on it.”

    Amazing that a guy who does not believe in judgment day is threatening others with a day coming.

  118. Posted February 3, 2014 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    tomvd, change your email address.

  119. Alexander
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    A few things:

    1) I think it unfair to single out this student as a example of religious people demanding institutions bend to their will. The student asked if he might be excused from a particular assignment because of the practical necessities of carrying it out- hardly a demand- but accepted his tutor’s refusal and himself made the compromise. I think he deserves your approbation not condemnation.

    2) The student doesn’t appear to have been taking issue with the secular position of the institution per se, more the requirements of a specific assignment. Are you saying that Christians- indeed, any person- has no right to object to certain assignments for moral reasons, that are not clearly of the substance of their overall work at said institution? If the student had complained about the “free” exchange of ideas in the classroom; or that women were being educated at all, you would have a point. These are intrinsic aspects of a university and you know what you’re getting when you go. But a particular assignment requiring you to do something you morally object to is different. What if there were a class field trip over a Sabbath: does the Christian not have the right to object? Or if an exam were scheduled for Sabbath? Or research that involved participating in immoral behaviour? Now kf these things are essential to being at university. Does a person sign away their right to object to anything that may be asked of them when they go to uni?

    The atheist who attends Moody Bible College cannot complain that Christianity is put across as the correct worldview over against all others; he can complain if he is coerced into adopting a Christian worldview in order to succeed, even if academically he passes muster.

    3) Are you saying that Christians should be indistinguishable from unbelievers in the civil real at all times and in all circumstances? That’s certainly not what Paul teaches. Jesus specifically teaches that the Christian- the true Christian- cannot hide his faith from sight, but that his light should shine before all men.

  120. Zrim
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Alexander, who’s condemning? The student in question took a shot, lost, accepted the decision and finished his assignment. From where I sit, that’s fairly admirable. The other option, and to answer your question about a Christian in relation to the Sabbath, was to just take it in the teeth. You know, as in obeying God rather than men, suffering for righteousness, etc. It seems to me that whining about rights should be the last option for the pious.

  121. Alexander
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I agree Zrim. But Mr. Hart was using it as an example of the religious demanding special treatment. It seems he had a article to post and needed an example.

  122. Alexander
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Re: the Sabbath issue: I agree, if push comes to shove them the Christian just has to take a stand and reap the whirlwind. But there seems no reason for the Christian not to try to reach a compromise first.

  123. Posted February 3, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Tom – But paying the fine IS civil disobedience, clearly a topic that poses a problem for your “Two Kingdoms” theology, or at least one you patently avoid.

    Erik – Paying a fine isn’t civil disobedience. Is every 20 year old who is not buying insurance and instead paying the $95 or whatever ridiculously low amount the cowardly Democrats decided to assess a “protester”? That’s ridiculous.

    When you don’t feed the parking meter because you have no change are you making a grand statement against “the man”?

    People make rational decisions based on their values and live with consequences.

    Go harangue your Catholic buddies for voting for Democrats and this entire problem goes away.

  124. Posted February 3, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Add to the ridiculously low fine for individuals the fact that the government isn’t going to chase people for it and you can see this “stick” is more like a dull toothpick. You have to have a tax refund coming that they can take it out of. Ooh, some scary big government and courageous tax protesters going to war there.

  125. kent
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/canada/archives/2014/01/20140115-190313.html

    This is our other 100% appeasement story of last week to go along with the York University (big surprise there) fiasco in the main story.

  126. Posted February 3, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    In Iowa we have a similar situation with girls wrestling. There have been some boys (presumably Christian, not Muslim) who have refused to wrestle them and forfeited instead — even in the State Meet. In the most high profile case the boy and his family were low key about it and didn’t try to create a media circus. Very commendable.

    At our local high school we have two girl wrestlers. One is good and wins at the JV level. The other is absolutely terrible and has no business wrestling.

  127. kent
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t want to have a girl clean the floor with me in a contact sport.

    Considering I’m in the Super Heavyweight class, that would be a scary mama.

  128. Posted February 3, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Alexander, does it really seem odd that a professor would have men and women meet together for a class assignment — in a co-educational institution? The student voluntarily went to college, and then enrolled in this class. Don’t we all “go along” with somethings when we leave the house? If I go to the local restaurant and am shocked, shocked to see scantily clad women on tv adverts, is that the owner’s fault?

    This seems pretty basic to civility.

    I personally can think of all sorts of ways that distinguish believers from non-believers — how I treat the Sabbath is a biggie. But I see no reason to try to stand out. And if my consciences is a problem, why do I complain? Why don’t I retreat to a safe place rather than expecting the world to construct a place where believers are indistinguishable from unbelievers because the world has adopted believers’ norms?

    Who’s side are you on? A Presbyterian or a Muslim?

  129. Alexander
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Mr Hart- If I went to a restaurant which showed lewd programmes on tv I certainly wouldn’t return. Where we choose to go- and not go- is an essential part of our witness before the world.

    I don’t see how I am on the side of Muslims here. My issue is that you have used this situation as an a example of the religious trying to bend institutions to their will when it is nothing of the sort. It is your track record which calls into question whose side you are on. You repeatedly criticise Christians- and religious people in general- for making displays of their faith in the public realm. Of course not every situation is the same and we must be careful of casting pearls before swine. But I see no nuance in your position. Indeed in this post you say the Christian should keep his faith hidden when he is out in the world. That is not the example given us in the Bible.

    We are always Christians. A lot of the time that won’t make us act differently or speak differently from those around us. But there are times when it will: when we refrain from certain speech, and from going certain places and it is in these moments that we have a duty to make out faith evident to those around us.

    It is not our responsibility to maintain the separation of church and state (for you Americans) or to maintain a secular sphere. It is our responsibility to follow Christ, to proclaim him to our fellow man, to live lives and to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of being his disciples. Let the heathen worry about building a secular society- that is not out calling.

  130. Alexander
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    In the last couple of weeks the Church of Scotland has teamed up with how Scottish Humanist Society to petition the govt. to remove religious observance in schools and replace it with a generic, inclusive “time of reflection”. Tell me, what is the 2k response to that?

  131. Posted February 3, 2014 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Alexander, it’s great that students will no longer get possibly idiosyncratic or heterodox theology from school teachers, along with the pressure to conform to such idiosyncrasies and heterodoxies. Pastors are able to teach theology and parents have the responsibility to raise their children Christianly. Now they can do that without the jumble a teacher might cause.

  132. Dan
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Erik– Once you understand that most national politics is about show and fundraising on both sides you don’t follow these things as closely as you used to. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 212 times, shame on me.

    Ding ding.

    Our legal system is doing what it does best- lowering the stakes and the heat by obfuscating the issue. By the time these cases are ripe for decision, you will need a toothpick to keep your eyelids open if you try to read the briefs.

  133. Posted February 3, 2014 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Alexander, so following your understanding of what a Christian is supposed to do, if you are a cop, would you look out more for Christians than non-Christians? Or would you try to make sure that everyone played by the rules and followed the laws? The reason for asking is that you don’t seem to acknowledge a common realm where Christians and non-Christians put aside differences for the sake of a measure of civil peace.

    BTW, the sermon on the mount talks plenty about Christians performing acts of devotion in private so as not to be seen — prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

    But if you are a Christian all the time all the way down, I don’t know how you could possibly serve in some kind of oversight role in spheres occupied by both Christians and non-Christians. If I am chairing an academic session where scholars present papers that take issue with doctrinal views I hold dear, is it my duty as a Christian to overturn my responsibilities as chair and correct the paper giver? Or do I have some kind of obligation, on the basis of having taking on this assignment, to keep my theological views to myself for the sake of the conference session and the rest of the audience?

    Christians have to negotiate these situations all the time. They even have to in their homes when they entertain non-believers?

    If you think a Christian can’t operate differently depending on the circumstances because a Christian has a duty to serve Christ all the time in the same way, then you are closer to being an Anabaptist than you may realize.

  134. Posted February 3, 2014 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Alexander, well, Machen was opposed to prayer and Bible in public schools. Surprise.

    Time of reflection sounds lame. Make more time for study. Let families and churches do religion.

    But I know, you guys have trouble getting over the National Covenant and all that.

  135. Posted February 3, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Alexander – programmes

    Erik – Let me guess. A Scottish Covenanter?

  136. Posted February 3, 2014 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Alexander – Tell me, what is the 2k response to that?

    Erik – If your public schools are like ours they’ll make a hash of any “religious observance” so it’s a good thing.

  137. Posted February 3, 2014 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Old Life was languishing there for awhile with “all papists, all the time”, but the last few days have been as stimulating as I have ever seen. Must be cabin fever.

  138. Posted February 3, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Tom Van Dyke should show up to spoil it in 5…4…3…2…

  139. Posted February 3, 2014 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Charlie Rose is on Philip Seymour Hoffman tonight.

  140. AB
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Why Religion Goes Private

    For so many many reasons. Good reasons.

    Erik, watched last night, in honor, his movie where his dad is ill health, and him and his sister are figuring out how to deal. From 2007, I’m blanking. That you know so much movie stuff is amazing. The next movie I’m able to sit through without falling asleep will mark a miracle. I need lots of BOOMS and crashes. Otherwise, its fed only into my subconscious whilst I snooze. My problems , no one else’s..

    Yo

  141. AB
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Erik, I like Tom. He may have a high midichlorian count. We need qui gon jinn and his little machine to know for sure.

    He’s a padawan. Mostly harmless. I have the personal correspondence of yesterday to back this up.

    I say make him one of yours.

    As for me, this planet can’t handle AB. Peace yo.

  142. AB
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    @internet

    If blogdom confuses you, open a blog, and start writing and commenting in other blogs. WordPress is impressive software. Devised by Jedi, no doubt.

    But that exercise will clear up much confusion. Experience matters.

    In the naivete of pinkman,
    *yo

  143. Alexander
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    So it’s fine for the C of S- which is meant to be spreading the Gospel- to collaborate with an organisation devoted to stamping out the Gospel?! This is a betrayal of Christ. It is not the church’s job to ensure people of “all faiths and none” feel their viewpoint is respected.

    Mr. Hart- maybe Christians can’t hold any job they want, even if it’s lawful. Maybe if one job’s at a university requires one to equivocate on the Gospel and to relativise it one shouldn’t hold that job. In most work places this is not an issue. Of course there is a common realm. I work with people whose lifestyles I am opposed to but u do not constantly tell them they are sinners because we all deserve to be treated with respect at work. But I do not condone their behaviour and if asked my opinion I must give it.

    Now there are situations which will arise with the gay “marriage” legislation that will mean employers having to recognise such unions. That is the law and managers must obey it. But that is not the same as, in the context of a university, saying that the Gospel is only one of many legitimate worldviews. We must all grapple with living in the world with integrity and faithfulness to Christ. But you would have us surrender the moment we leave our front doors.

  144. AB
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I ask for three more comboxxes. Then that’s it for AB. This is in historical order, so someone can write the book. Here I go:

    1) I first found the eastern orthodox. How strange it was to find a palpatine avatar arguing with my at Jacob Aitken’s blog about Christology. Here’s palpatine himself:

    http://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/

  145. AB
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Next, we have Lane Keister, at his blog GreenBaggins, a PCA collective, through whom I was introduced to Bryan Cross himself:

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/

    That man needs no introduction.

    It was Lane I first got to know about a man named Jason Stellman. Again, no more need for words on this fellow. Moving on then..

  146. AB
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    And lastly, we have a chain smoking cat lover who still lets me post here for reasons God only knows. You have the three branches of Xiandom. Three bloggers. Note, I was brought in to this, your world wide interweb, the same way I went out. With the emperor from Star Wars.

    Let that be a lesson. Don’t deprive your kids of fun while they are young. Or it will take strange forms later in life.

    In other words, this fundie checks out. But man, someone needs to write a book..I’m just trying to help (i won’t link to the star wars of chewie wrangling Lando). I’ll let Kenny do the fun of that for me.

    Next up to the tee in this game of golf is..

  147. Muddy Gravel
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    AB, I’ve been thinking long and hard and I have an idea that would be a win-win-win. How about you and Ken email each other and practice every Protestant v. RC debate that’s ever been done. At your rate you’ll be done by dinner tonight, but please do that much for us. Otherwise the Mudster knows some guys under bridges out in the land of golden hills and it would be a small thing for them to smash your keyboard.

  148. OLTS WEB BOT 9000
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Andrew threat to muddy's sobriety eliminated. you may thank the maker for his always looking after humanity first, the needs of the many, to quote ambassador spock. Andrew sends his regrets for all of your pain and suffering. All of you. But he built the web bot in case it ever came to this. history, it turns out, repeats itself, and he is just a guy who has a smart phone and wants good books to read. end transmission. yo.

  149. Posted February 4, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Andrew – Erik, watched last night, in honor, his movie where his dad is ill health, and him and his sister are figuring out how to deal. From 2007, I’m blanking.

    Erik – “The Savages”. A good one.

  150. AB
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Erik, yep. Too bad I fell asleep during it..

    we press on, yo.

    bros before hoes (even inter-web bros..)

  151. Posted February 4, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Alexander, you are aware of the Seceders, Covenanters, and Free Churchers, right? So why are you so upset about the CofS? Did you really expect another outcome?

    “Maybe if one job’s at a university requires one to equivocate on the Gospel and to relativise it one shouldn’t hold that job. In most work places this is not an issue. Of course there is a common realm. I work with people whose lifestyles I am opposed to but u do not constantly tell them they are sinners because we all deserve to be treated with respect at work. But I do not condone their behaviour and if asked my opinion I must give it.”

    But who is to say that the respect you give fellow workers isn’t relativizing the faith? I mean, you come here and get a tad pushy about not standing up for the gospel. What would you do with someone who thought the respect you show to idolaters and fornicators is really a betrayal of Christ?

  152. kent
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    And our latest Canada Muslim Kowtow update is that a woman tragically got her hijab caught in a down escalator and was killed in the Montreal subway system.

    But the police are not allowed to say is was a hijab, despite witnesses directly stating that it was.

    Quebec is in the midst of a lot of soul searching agony on how to deal with all this pressure…

    Good…

  153. Alexander
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I would argue that all people are deserving if respect and as Christians it is our duty to show charity as well as defending the faith. I would argue that a Christian does not betray Christ in giving respect to his fellow man whilst maintaining that certain lifestyles are immoral. The accuser may not accept these arguments and there is nothing I can do about that. However, it may be that a certain person’s lifestyle restricts the interaction I can have with him: for instance, inviting him round to my home. After all we’re not talking about friendship but giving the respect due to all men we encounter in our day to day life.

    To be honest I was a tad surprised by the actions of the C of S, but if course it is a logical consequence of their long descent into heresy and atheism.

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