Wedding Cakes Are Not Simple

I wish Jack Phillips’ case was easy but after listening to Ben Domenich’s interview with Mike Farris I can’t side entirely with the baker who refused to make a cake for the gay couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig. One of Phillips’ lines of defense is that he refuses to do something that contradicts his religious convictions about marriage. And making a cake for a gay marriage would be to participate in a religious ceremony that violates Christian teaching.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the couple and guests at a marriage do not consume a wedding cake during the service. Cake is not like the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper. A wedding cake is not sacramental (neither is marriage for Protestants). Are receptions biblical? Do we have a “thus saith the Lord” about the necessity and exact order of a reception? Personally, if I were a dad, I’d be saying to daughters from an early age, “cake and punch, cake and punch.” Have the reception in the church basement. Get on the road to your first night. And save the money on the meal and cake for a down payment on a car or home. (In parts of the U.S., homes are as cheap as cars — ahem.)

Which is to say, if I were Mr. Phillips’ pastor, I’d encourage him to rethink how narrowly he identifies a cake with his beliefs. Heck, I think 5:00 each day is borderline sacramental, but the regulative principle helps me draw a line.

As for Mr. Mullins and Mr. Craig, did they really need to take Mr. Phillips to court? Did they have nowhere else to find a cake for their wedding reception? Turns out they did:

As for Mullins and Craig, they got hitched without any other major hitches, marrying in Massachusetts before going back to their home state of Colorado to celebrate with family and friends. After their story spread across the Internet, the couple was inundated with cake offers — “even from China,” Craig noted — and, ultimately, they landed on a special plan.

When whites denied blacks access to certain schools or luncheon counters, African-Americans did not have a long line of people signing up to educate or sell them a meal. This is why gay rights, for starters, is different from ending racial discrimination. Gay people since roughly 1990 have had a remedy for services desired — another business down the block. African-Americans did not have such a remedy.

That is why blacks had good reason to make a federal case of Jim Crow. Gays of decorated cakes? Not so much.

Advertisements

102 thoughts on “Wedding Cakes Are Not Simple

  1. His religious convictions may be incorrect, but it is not the place of the state to determine the correctness of religious convictions…error has rights. If a sect of Christianity teaches that creating something to celebrate a sinful event is itself sinful, it seems that the state should take that conviction seriously. A good place to draw the line is in commissioned expressive activity. It is one thing to require a business to sell one’s products to all comers. It is something else to say that if you engage in commercial expressive activity, you have to express whatever the customer wants. If he refused to sell a gay couple a pre-made wedding cake, that would be on a different side of a line from refusing to make a custom cake celebrating a ssm. Or so it seems to me… I guess, I’m naive. I don’t understand why this is hard.

    Like

  2. Who would have thought that the decline of Western Christendom would come not from the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Darwin, Marx, Einstein, or Freud but from Western Man’s pursuit of Liberalism’s One True God: The Almighty Orgasm.

    The Almighty Orgasm is a jealous god with only one commandment: All consensual sexual relationships between two or more adults shall not be despised, denigrated, devalued, debated, detested, repressed, oppressed, or suppressed, but instead must be exalted, extolled, promoted, praised, and – in the case of homosexual sex – preferred and put on a pedestal above all other sexual relationships.

    Mr. Phillips simply disobeyed and must face the consequences of his sin. Will Anthony Kennedy be merciful?

    WWMD? What would Machen do?

    Like

  3. I remember once being turned away from a motel (in Gundagai, Australia) because I had the temerity to question the tariff – it seemed too much at the time. I didn’t question the proprietor’s right to refuse me service, even though I thought he over-reacted. Isn’t a more fundamental issue the one of liberty? Why should a citizen providing a service be obliged to provide it to anyone? Gay cake-makers should have the liberty to refuse to bake cakes with Rom.1 quoted on them! The civil rights red herring, and American guilt over slavery, has deprived you of a more basic liberty, so it seems to me.

    Like

  4. If you want to compare the history of discrimination between Blacks and gays, we need to go back into history. For centuries, homosexual acts were criminal offenses that carried with it the death penalty. The death penalty was removed long before homosexual acts were no longer criminal offenses. But in most states, people can still be legally harassed at work and even be fired from their jobs for their sexual orientation. And whether gays today can find a baker to provide a wedding cake depends on the location. But the difficulty in finding another baker does not take away from the discrimination and resulting marginalization that both Blacks and the LGBTThe history of discrimination against either Blacks or those from the LGBT community is a disgrace to our nation.

    I appreciate what D.G. would have said if he was the baker’s minister. Here, D.G. is trying to make a distinction. But there is another question I would have asked Mr. Phillips: How should we share society with others? Should we share society with others as equals or do we want a privileged place in society where we can exercise some kind of exceptional status or place of supremacy.

    Like

  5. Personally, I’d bake/sell the cake because it’s a good business decision and because of loving your neighbor. However, looking at court docs, Phillips wasn’t refusing business to the couple, but was simply refusing to sell a specific product/design. He previously refused to make Halloween themed desserts as well. However misguided his biblical beliefs may be pertaining to cake making, he’s a private business owner and what he sells and doesn’t sell is up to him (or we’ll soon find out if it is).

    Like

  6. Curt,

    Why do we need to multiply the number of protected groups? Probably in most places polygamists could be fired or harrassed legally as well. Are people doing that?

    Where in 21st-century America are homosexuals being fired or harassed on the job en masse?

    Like

  7. SDB,

    ” I don’t understand why this is hard.”

    Because your not suppressing the witness of God on your conscience and so want to marginalize anyone who reminds you of what you’re suppressing.

    Like

  8. Perd Hapley says: Personally, I’d bake/sell the cake because it’s a good business decision and because of loving your neighbor.

    people deny God all the time for money, nothing new about that. Also, loving your neighbor and not warn them? hmm.

    …the rest of mankind did not repent of the works of their hands…

    Like

  9. “ For centuries, homosexual acts were criminal offenses that carried with it the death penalty. “

    Was that unjust in your estimation? If so was the Mosaic law unjust? If it was OK then, why was it unjust for centuries? If it wasn’t, why compare it to racism?

    Like

  10. Ali,
    Why is selling a cake to a gay couple denying God? Do we need to warn every unbeliever of every sin we see them committing?

    Like

  11. Robert,
    It isn’t whether we need to multiply the number of protected groups. It is whether each group being considered for protection deserves to be marginalized..

    To answer your question, because of the lack of legal barriers, it is in around 28 states where those from the LGBT community can be harassed and/or fired from their jobs. How much we hear about that depends on multiple factors but you can find some examples just by using the internet.

    Like

  12. Perd,
    What we are looking at with Phillips is a partial and selective discrimination. One doesn’t have to totally discriminate against a group to partially discriminate.

    Like

  13. sdb says: Ali,Why is selling a cake to a gay couple denying God? Do we need to warn every unbeliever of every sin we see them committing?

    Why are you asking me sdb? You’re not an orphan- those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God

    Like

  14. @Ali
    Iron sharpens iron Prov. 27:17
    See also proverbs 11:14.15:22, and 24:6.

    God’s word is our only infallible source of His revelation, but he gives fallible fellow believers to aid our understanding and application og His word. Discernment is not just choosing what to accept and reject. It is also learning from other’s errors. You might be wrong about something, but your mistake might be one that brings a flaw in my own thinking to light. Of course one might be flat out wrong in a trivial way that doesn’t move a conversation forward. That isn’t my experience with you though in the comments here.

    Like

  15. Curt
    You still have not explained why it is valid to appeal to the OT law to tell us how the government must treat the poor, but it is unjust to appeal to the OT law to tell us how the government should address homosexual acts.

    It looks to me like you have settled on your political positions and selectively pick and choose bits of Scripture in an effort to shame believers into adopting your politics. You strike me as a modern day Judaizer. Perhaps you think you have everything to teach and nothing to learn from those who embrace the spirituality of the church?

    Like

  16. It isn’t whether we need to multiply the number of protected groups. It is whether each group being considered for protection deserves to be marginalized.

    And how do we determine that? And why don’t the conscience rights of business owners deserve to be protected as well. What about opening a business means that you are no longer free to practice your faith no matter how strange we think that faith may be? There is a first amendment after all.

    And evidently we need to multiply protected groups. First it was race, religion, and sex. Then age. Then sexual orientation. Now it’s transgender and intersex. Why is no one fighting for the polygamists and the fetishists yet? Where are the workplace protections for vegans? What about protections from harassment for fans of Jar Jar Binks?

    To answer your question, because of the lack of legal barriers, it is in around 28 states where those from the LGBT community can be harassed and/or fired from their jobs. How much we hear about that depends on multiple factors but you can find some examples just by using the internet.

    I don’t doubt that there are some places that do this, but it’s a significant problem? No major corporation is going to be firing you simply because you are gay; everyone is seeking the 100 percent Human Rights Campaign equality rating. Major businesses led the push against the RFRA, a rather toothless piece of legislation, in Indiana.

    And where are the laws preventing corporations from firing those who dissent from the LGBT consensus for being fired for creating a hostile workplace environment simply because their coworker asked them their opinion on gay marriage and it has been declared wrongthink?

    Is the problem really so large for either side that it needs to be addressed via legislation?

    Like

  17. ok sdb.

    sdb says: Do we need to warn every unbeliever of every sin we see them committing?
    -No. We do care about their eternal destiny though, right?

    sdb says: Ali,Why is selling a cake to a gay couple denying God?
    -We’re told falling away from the faith looks a certain way. It may include “but this is just good business practice”, or ‘but this is loving my neighbor” eg.

    Jesus tells us whoever denies Him before men, He will also deny him before the Father; the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith. We’re told this includes ungodly persons turning the grace of our God into licentiousness denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ; that some will give hearty approval to those who make willful practice of such things worthy of death.
    As the Lord said even before He came to earth as a man: They hold fast to deceit. They refuse to return. They have spoken what is not right; No man repented of his wickedness, Saying, ‘What have I done?’ Everyone turned to his course, like a horse charging into the battle. They have rejected the word of the LORD,

    Like

  18. sdb,,
    First, the OT doesn’t prescribe how governments should treat the poor. However, it tells us in multiple places that we are to care for and protect the poor and that is confirmed in the NT.

    Second, if it is just the OT that tells us to care for the poor, then isn’t it just the OT that tells us to tithe or have a prescribed way of observing the Sabbath? Is it just the OT that tells us not to commit adultery or not to murder?

    Third, do you really want to compare how the government should regard homosexuality with how it should care for the poor? Don’t the NT passages give us an adequate picture of what it means to live in society? Doesn’t 2KT distinguish what is acceptable in society alone from what is acceptable in the Church? Are you saying that because government is not required to criminalize homosexuality, it is also not required to care for the poor? If only you would answer that question in person in an open public forum with a mixed audience than on a religious blog where your views are kept relatively private.

    The problem with not caring for the poor is this: it involves the committing of murder and theft. In addition, you might want to consider the parable of the Good Samaritan. What is the summation of the 2nd table of the law by which everyone is judged?

    Like

  19. Robert,
    Seriously? How do we determine whether people of a particular race should be marginalized? Or how should we determine whether Quakers should be marginalized as the Puritans did? Or let’s take a look at the LGBT community? How, when Paul states in Romans 2:1ff that we should not judge others and how in Romans 3:9 that no one is superior because of sin, could we say that the LGBT community deserves to be marginalized? And when Paul states in I Cor 5:12-13 that he is not concerned with the sexual standards of society, why should we not regard homosexuals, which according to Paul is something we should expect unbelievers to become, as equals in society?

    Listen, if you want to believe that businesses should treat customers anyway they want to, that is your business. Just accept the consequences for acting on that belief and the responsibility for the Gospel being looked down on because of how you treat others. The government is there to protect members of society from harm that would come from those from other countries as well as from those within a country. Discrimination against groups is considered harm. History supports that view.

    Finally, the mention of polygamists seems to overlook the legal sphere of marriage along with the fact that monogamous same-sex marriage has much more in common with monogamous heterosexual marriage than with polygamy so that the comparison seems rather disingenuous. Of course, if polygamy ever becomes legal here, we can always blame the OT.

    Like

  20. Curt,

    Seriously? How do we determine whether people of a particular race should be marginalized? Or how should we determine whether Quakers should be marginalized as the Puritans did?

    Not what I asked. I asked how we determine which group to marginalize? Because we certainly marginalize polygamists, for example. And then, how do we determine what constitutes marginalization?

    How, when Paul states in Romans 2:1ff that we should not judge others and how in Romans 3:9 that no one is superior because of sin, could we say that the LGBT community deserves to be marginalized? And when Paul states in I Cor 5:12-13 that he is not concerned with the sexual standards of society, w

    You can refuse to participate in a gay wedding without marginalizing the LGBT community unless we’re defining marginalization as anytime someon’e feelings are hurt.

    why should we not regard homosexuals, which according to Paul is something we should expect unbelievers to become, as equals in society?

    Which Constitutional rights were ever systematically denied to homosexuals? Marriage is not a Constitutional right for all citizens and never was. The Constitution is actually silent on it. You can designate any adult you want to make medical decisions for you and what not.

    Discrimination against groups is considered harm.

    How is a florist not making flowers for a gay couple harming them when the florist next door will make them and when you can order anything you want online. I mean honestly. Being slightly inconvenienced isn’t being harmed.

    Just accept the consequences for acting on that belief and the responsibility for the Gospel being looked down on because of how you treat others.

    Unbelievers by definition will look down upon the Gospel apart from the grace of God. The church excommunicates sinners of all kinds. That makes us look mean to the unbeliever. I guess that means we should stop disciplining heterosexual adulterers

    You don’t have to be a jerk, but the definition of jerkiness should come from Scripture. You’re so worried about how the “Gospel” will look except, of course, when you identify it with socialism, which killed millions of people in the last century. Your identification of the Gospel with socialism turns off non-socialist unbelievers. I guess you should therefore stop being a socialist.

    Finally, the mention of polygamists seems to overlook the legal sphere of marriage

    We can change the laws and make adjustments for polygamy. We did it for same-sex “marriage.” The fact that it might create complications shouldn’t stop us because things such as the Civil Rights Act created lots of complications.

    along with the fact that monogamous same-sex marriage has much more in common with monogamous heterosexual marriage than with polygamy so that the comparison seems rather disingenuous.

    No. Polygamy is wrong, but it isn’t against nature in the same way that same-sex marriage is. God made men and women for each other sexually . He didn’t make men for one another. Further, you also have the problem that God is apparently williing to tolerate polygamy in at least some contexts. There’s no mandate for a polygamist to divorce all his wives when the gospel comes to him. You simply don’t have this with homosexuality. There’s no Scriptural provision for tolerating it.

    Now you can argue that such doesn’t inform modern civil legislation, and there’s an argument for that. But apparently in God’s eyes, polygamy has more in common with male-female marriage than homosexual marriage has in common with it.

    I can’t say for certain that its a sin to bake a cake for a gay wedding, so I wouldn’t enact church discipline for the Christian baker who does so. But I also say it’s dangerous for the state to tell Christians what is and is not participation in something your deeply held beliefs find anathema, especially when nobody suffers any real hurt if they have to go buy flowers or cake somewhere else.

    Like

  21. First, the OT doesn’t prescribe how governments should treat the poor. However, it tells us in multiple places that we are to care for and protect the poor and that is confirmed in the NT.

    So your position is that only the parts of the OT reiterated in the NT still binding on believers? I think that may be too narrow a standard. As far as the poor go, I agree that the scriptures do not require a particular political program to help the poor and that Christians are responsible for helping the poor. How we do so is left open-ended suggesting that declaring economic policies as sinful or not based on how such policies allegedly help the poor is itself a sinful legalism. One might think that one should rely on private charity that holds men accountable to work for their aid rather than impersonal government.

    Second, if it is just the OT that tells us to care for the poor, then isn’t it just the OT that tells us to tithe or have a prescribed way of observing the Sabbath? Is it just the OT that tells us not to commit adultery or not to murder?

    Good questions! Of course, Paul and Christ condemn murder and adultery. The exegetical question is not whether “only” the OT contains a particular prohibition, but rather what the context of the prohibition was. The Sabbath and marriage are grounded in the created order – not a part of the Mosaic covenant that has been abrogated by the new covenant. When the minor prophets are speaking to Israel, we have to look at the particulars. Is Amos laying down the law for how governments should act or is he describing how God’s covenant community should act. Getting this right is important for properly applying the texts in the new covenant.

    Third, do you really want to compare how the government should regard homosexuality with how it should care for the poor?

    I wasn’t making a comparison. I was asking how you make the distinction. If the call of the minor prophets to Israel to take care of her people a particular way applies to secular governments today, then why don’t the calls about sexual ethics, ethnic cleansing, etc… apply today? My answer is the call to the civil realm doesn’t carry over, and the church has been given the keys to the kingdom, not the sword.

    Don’t the NT passages give us an adequate picture of what it means to live in society? Doesn’t 2KT distinguish what is acceptable in society alone from what is acceptable in the Church? Are you saying that because government is not required to criminalize homosexuality, it is also not required to care for the poor? If only you would answer that question in person in an open public forum with a mixed audience than on a religious blog where your views are kept relatively private.

    Curt, I don’t have all the answers. I value the semi-anonymous nature of this blog for exploring ideas. I apologize if that frustrates you. I do think the NT gives us an adequate picture of what it means to live in society, and that does not include anything about political theory. 2KT doesn’t describe what is and isn’t acceptable for civil society. Rather, it recognizes the limits on the authority of the Church. The church doesn’t get to say, “Thus saith the Lord” unless the Lord has actually spoken. If the Lord hasn’t spoken, then the Church doesn’t have the authority to call that thing sinful. This applies to politics. Not only is the government not required to criminalize homosexual acts, but the government is not required to care for the poor, control currency, or establish clear borders. These might be good or bad ideas, but they aren’t righteous or sinful. Similarly, the church does not have the authority to judge the immoral (sexual or otherwise) outside the church. They do have the responsibility to discipline believers, but only on matters that the word speaks. It is sinful to neglect the poor. It is not sinful to vote libertarian (stupid maybe, but not sinful). Abortion is sinful, but thinking the state shouldn’t be in the business of outlawing abortion is not (whether that is a stupid political stance or not is a different matter).

    The problem with not caring for the poor is this: it involves the committing of murder and theft. In addition, you might want to consider the parable of the Good Samaritan. What is the summation of the 2nd table of the law by which everyone is judged?

    Right. I agree we should care for the poor. I don’t think that entails a particular political stance. Once could care for the poor and vote for Trump, support eliminating minimum wage, want a corporate tax rate of 0%, etc…. Those positions might be unwise or incoherent. But the church doesn’t get to condemn stupidity not condemned by scripture.

    Like

  22. sdb,
    While yuu are seeking so hard to be theologically correct, are you concerned that, just perhaps, you are, in part, imitating the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’s day? When the OT prophets speak against the neglect and oppression of the vulnerable, are we to ignore their concerns because they did so before NT times? And what is Jesus saying when He tells the Good Samaritan parable. It seems that in your effort to remain theologically correct according to whatever theological model you are following, you are forgetting how Paul ranked ranked faith, knowledge, and love. For while many theological models of thought would rank knowledge or faith above love, Paul ranks love as being #1. No playoff or championship game is needed. And what the Pharisees and Scribes of Jesus’s time excelled at was to exclude love in their interpretation of the Scriptures.

    Yes, how we help the poor is open ended. But how we neglect to help them is easily observable. And how society is being currently told to neglect the poor is often through the failure of the state to establish workable and effective programs. And yes, if the government is suppose to represent all of its people, then it is the duty of the government to help the poor with programs and with laws that protect the poor from exploitation and oppression as well as preventing an increase in the number of the poor. And if you read both the OT and NT, you will find that one of the prominent enemies of the poor are those with wealth and power.

    What you seem unaware of is how publicly owned companies tend to operate. They tend to operate in ways to maximize profits in order to continually increase shareholder ROI. That basic ethic is not only stupid, it becomes immoral when it is known ahead of time the negative consequences that will befall the other stakeholders of the corporation. In today’s neoliberal capitalism, a corporation’s executives and shareholders has become synonymous with stakeholders and that allows a deliberate neglect of the suffering of others. And that is immoral. What is immoral is what Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out about society in his day and is still true now:


    I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

    Amos 6 states something similar to what King said above. And though the state can’t require its citizens to love people more than things, it can prevent some of the harm that comes about when that occurs. In the meantime, you can be content in just worrying about whether something was said in the OT or the NT.

    BTW, according to the theological models of some, the Sabbath is grounded in the created order. But when was Adam given the command to rest on the 7th day? And why, if the Sabbath is part of the created order, does Paul speak as if keeping the Sabbath is a matter of personal liberty (See Romans 14 and Colossians 2)? Why do we have no NT command to keep the Sabbath let alone any NT prescriptions for how to keep it? Why are some so vigilant in promoting the Sabbath and so lax in knowing what hurts the lives of the vulnerable? How close are we coming to imitating the Pharisees who defended Corban and neglected loving their parents?

    Like

  23. While yuu are seeking so hard to be theologically correct

    You say that like it is a problem. Perhaps part of keeping the greatest commandment is understanding God’s nature, revelation, and requirements of us clearly?

    are you concerned that, just perhaps, you are, in part, imitating the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’s day?

    No. I have the opposite problem of treating God’s law too lightly. That’s why I need a savior. I’m grateful for the work he has done in me, but I have a very, very long way to go.

    When the OT prophets speak against the neglect and oppression of the vulnerable, are we to ignore their concerns because they did so before NT times?

    Nope. But neither should we blindly appropriate commands given to Israel to modern day political situations. Sound exegesis demands that we understand the context in order to understand how to apply God’s revelation correctly.

    And what is Jesus saying when He tells the Good Samaritan parable.

    That even when we think we have done enough to merit his favor, we still have a very long way to go. That’s why we need a savior.

    It seems that in your effort to remain theologically correct according to whatever theological model you are following, you are forgetting how Paul ranked ranked faith, knowledge, and love.

    Only to someone who confuses political votes with love of neighbor. Since I haven’t revealed what I do (and I don’t think it is proper to boast about one’s “good works”), you have no idea whether my actions reveal love of neighbor. Perhaps you find this frustrating, but I really would like to stick to the principles rather than personalize things with complete strangers on the internet.

    For while many theological models of thought would rank knowledge or faith above love, Paul ranks love as being #1. No playoff or championship game is needed. And what the Pharisees and Scribes of Jesus’s time excelled at was to exclude love in their interpretation of the Scriptures.

    I’ve never seen a theological model that does that. You would need to be specific. The problem with the Pharisees was not that they lacked love – they thought that their actions were indeed loving. Paul explains this when he describes his pre-conversion state. Rather they believed that they could merit salvation by keeping the law. I don’t believe that.

    Yes, how we help the poor is open ended. But how we neglect to help them is easily observable. And how society is being currently told to neglect the poor is often through the failure of the state to establish workable and effective programs.

    One man’s neglect is another’s tough love. Society is not being told to neglect the poor, and the fact of the matter is that the poor in this country do quite well. I have lots of first hand experience as a poor person and with helping the poor. We aren’t perfect to be sure, but the programs that will do the most good are highly uncertain and all come with trade-offs. There is recent work for example that suggests that direct cash transfers are the best way to the help the poor. Uh-oh! That’s the opposite of what we have been doing with aid. There is strong evidence that medicaid does nothing to improve the physical health of recipients, yet consumes a huge share of our aid to the poor. There is strong evidence that minimum wage laws are inefficient ways of directing benefits to the working poor, make it harder for the poor (especially those released from prison and treatment facilities) to get their first job and build up a record of work that will allow them to advance. But the strong evidence for both is not conclusive. There is evidence that education spending does little to aid the poor – especially advanced education (the nations with the most degrees would shock you!). At the national level, there are major uncertainties, and many of the interventions are not benign (aid to unwed mothers may have exacerbated single parenthood for example), and evidence form the nordic countries indicates that many of the laws intended to benefit women seem to have locked them out of advancement. One might believe that there should be no government welfare because Paul tells us that if a man doesn’t work, he shouldn’t eat and that the most loving thing we can do is with hold government aid so that people have to rely on churches. I would disagree with that, but I can’t say that their motives are unloving or sinful.

    And yes, if the government is suppose to represent all of its people, then it is the duty of the government to help the poor with programs and with laws that protect the poor from exploitation and oppression as well as preventing an increase in the number of the poor. And if you read both the OT and NT, you will find that one of the prominent enemies of the poor are those with wealth and power.

    Well, I’m not sure that God requires governments to represent all of its people. If the US government wants to prevent an increase in the number of poor, the best thing it could do is halt immigration from south of the border. I’m not sure increasing the number of poor people in this country is a bad thing though. I’d rather be poor here than poor in Honduras, Haiti, Cuba, or Mexico. How about you? I’m not sure that the OT and NT teach that the prominent enemies of the poor are those with wealth and power. Those with wealth and power are certainly tempted to use those resources to oppress the poor, and that is bad. But the reason for poverty are myriad.

    What you seem unaware of is how publicly owned companies tend to operate.

    What have I written that makes me seem to be unaware how publicly owned companies operate? I’ve ready my Michael Novak. What am I missing?

    They tend to operate in ways to maximize profits in order to continually increase shareholder ROI. That basic ethic is not only stupid, it becomes immoral when it is known ahead of time the negative consequences that will befall the other stakeholders of the corporation.

    This is incorrect. Businesses exist to provide services in exchange for revenue. The promise of turning a profit is why we invest in them. If we didn’t, we would not increase wealth, productivity, and general well being. Far from being stupid, it is the reason that human beings have it better today than at any other time in history. It is the neo-liberal economic policies that have swept the globe giving rise to improved commercial farming, trade, and exchange of medial care that has resulted in the global life expectancy increasing from 47yrs in 1950 to 70 years in 2011. The percent of the world’s population that lives in extreme poverty has decreased from 40% in 1981 to 14% in 2010. The fraction of countries characterized as low-income has declined from 63% to 44%. Refrigeration, climate control, and improved hygiene are improving lives across the globe. The number of deaths from war, famine, and crime have plummeted through the 20th century. The worldwide murder rate in 2008 is half of what it was in 2001. It is no accident that we see inflections in these declines when nations gave up socialism and adopted neoliberal capitalism. Even China (especially China) has embraced market reforms. The Nordic countries have tossed aside socialism for social democracy. Countries are largely embracing free trade, private ownership of enterprise, and strong property rights. This is capitalism, and it is fully compatible with establishing a strong safety welfare net.

    In today’s neoliberal capitalism, a corporation’s executives and shareholders has become synonymous with stakeholders and that allows a deliberate neglect of the suffering of others.

    And that is immoral. What is immoral is what Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out about society in his day and is still true now:

    I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

    Worldwide evidence of wellbeing suggests otherwise.

    Amos 6 states something similar to what King said above. And though the state can’t require its citizens to love people more than things, it can prevent some of the harm that comes about when that occurs. In the meantime, you can be content in just worrying about whether something was said in the OT or the NT.

    Funny enough, I care about a lot of things that aren’t in the Bible, only appear in the OT, or only appear in the NT. But if we are talking about where the authority of the church to call some behavior sinful stops, then we absolutely must turn to careful exegesis. I think your politics are utterly wrongheaded and if they were implemented (they won’t be), then they would cause untold suffering across the globe. That doesn’t make your views sinful though.

    BTW, according to the theological models of some, the Sabbath is grounded in the created order. But when was Adam given the command to rest on the 7th day?

    I would start with Genesis 2:3 (God set that day apart and made it holy), and then follow up with Exodus 20:8-11 (you shall not do any work because God made the Sabbath holy)

    And why, if the Sabbath is part of the created order, does Paul speak as if keeping the Sabbath is a matter of personal liberty (See Romans 14 and Colossians 2)? Why do we have no NT command to keep the Sabbath let alone any NT prescriptions for how to keep it?

    Romans 14 doesn’t have observance of the Lord’s day in mind. Rather he is focused on feast days and days of fasting. That’s something different. The same is true for Colossians 2. We have the example of people gathering on the Lord’s day throughout the NT, commands for how to live together in community, requirements that we submit to our elders, and a command not to neglect the gathering in Hebrews. Furthermore, Jesus tells us that he fulfills the law, he does not abrogate it. The sabbath was not part of the ceremonial law, it is part of the created order as we see in Genesis 2:3. The Lord’s day is holy, and we should keep it thus.

    Why are some so vigilant in promoting the Sabbath and so lax in knowing what hurts the lives of the vulnerable? How close are we coming to imitating the Pharisees who defended Corban and neglected loving their parents?

    I’d have to meet someone this applies to in order to say. The legalists among us tend to be those who are the most politically active – how can you stay home during our pro-life demonstrates? Don’t you care about the millions of babies being slaughtered? Substitute in your favorite cause… These folks are the ones I see forgetting something important about life together and adiaphora.

    Like

  24. sdb says: Sproul is wrong.

    About all of it? How can that be-it can’t. Which part(s) sdb?
    -The Christian who compartmentalizes his or her life into two sections has failed to grasp the big idea.
    -The big idea is that all of life is religious or none of life is religious.
    -To divide life between the religious and the nonreligious is itself a sacrilege.
    -Integrity is found where men and women live their lives in a pattern of consistency.
    -It is a pattern that functions the same basic way in church and out of church.
    -It is a life that is open before God.
    -It is a life in which all that is done is done as to the Lord.
    -It is a life lived by principle, not expediency; by humility before God, not defiance.
    -It is a life lived under the tutelage of conscience that is held captive by the Word of God.
    -Coram Deo … before the face of God. That’s the big idea.
    -Next to this idea our other goals and ambitions become mere trifles.”

    sdb says: And what is Jesus saying when He tells the Good Samaritan parable. That even when we think we have done enough to merit his favor, we still have a very long way to go. That’s why we need a savior.

    Jesus says this His point about the Good Samaritan story to ones “ wishing to justify themselves” was that the Samaritan felt true compassion and mercy and acted on it at his expense proving to be a good neighbor and Jesus said “Go and do the same.”

    sdb says: the problem with the Pharisees was not that they lacked love – they thought that their actions were indeed loving. Rather they believed that they could merit salvation by keeping the law.

    The problems Jesus said he had with the Pharisees was that they were a people who honored Him with their lips, but their heart was far from Him- with a veneer of godliness but not truly worshipping Him -not following Him with a pure heart nor truly seeking after Him. They did not practice what they preached; they burdened people by adding to God’s law; they did everything for people to see; they nit-picked about lesser things and neglected more important matters -justice, mercy and faithfulness.

    Like

  25. @Ali His central thesis is incorrect.

    -The Christian who compartmentalizes his or her life into two sections has failed to grasp the big idea.
    I disagree. Christianity should not be reduced to an ideology.

    -The big idea is that all of life is religious or none of life is religious.
    I disagree. Adiaphora exists. What I consider when my toilet is plugged is not the same things I consider when I talk to someone struggling with their faith. One problem is of this world and the other is spiritual.

    -To divide life between the religious and the nonreligious is itself a sacrilege.
    The scriptures don’t teach this. Indeed Paul teaches the opposite. Religion, coming from the root word meaning to bind together, are those things that unite believers. Those things we are obligated to believe or do. But this framework doesn’t govern all of life. I can root for the Cowboys and hope the Seahawks lose. You can do the opposite. I can believe in noninterventionism, free markets, and state’s rights while you believe the US should fight preventative wars, protectionism, and central planning, but we can still be one in the faith. How can that be if all of these things are part of our religion?

    -Integrity is found where men and women live their lives in a pattern of consistency.
    That sounds nice, but do you really want your husband to be consistent in how he greets you, your daughter, and his secretary? We fulfill different roles in different spheres of our life, so we don’t treat everyone the same.

    -It is a pattern that functions the same basic way in church and out of church.
    So I should treat my Sunday school class the same way I treat my class at the University? That doesn’t seem right.

    -It is a life that is open before God.
    Of course, but God doesn’t govern His church the same way he governs the world. One has the sword, and the other does not.

    -It is a life in which all that is done is done as to the Lord.
    Well Paul speaking to slaves in Colossus tells the to perform their duties as unto the Lord. In 1 Cor 10, Paul emphasizes how we are to behave around other believers. I don’t think Paul had THE BIG IDEA in mind in these texts.

    -It is a life lived by principle, not expediency;
    Of course expediency is a principle…ask Naomi.

    by humility before God, not defiance.
    Yes, we should be humble.

    -It is a life lived under the tutelage of conscience that is held captive by the Word of God.
    Yes. This is true.

    -Coram Deo … before the face of God. That’s the big idea.
    Well, I don’t know what do with this. Maybe we should drop the ideology and deal with the particulars. Some things can be, indeed should be, distinguished and other things shouldn’t be. To decide we should submit our conscience to scripture, and when scripture is silent, we should look to general revelation.

    Like

  26. Curt,,art thou deliberately obtuse? I believe my Lord commands that I not pass by the bruised and bleeding body of a gay man on the side of the road, after he was beset upon by rabid homophobes. Nevertheless, I need not bake that same man a cake for him and his ‘mate’.
    Apples and oranges, man.

    Like

  27. sdb says: And what is Jesus saying when He tells the Good Samaritan parable. That even when we think we have done enough to merit his favor, we still have a very long way to go. That’s why we need a savior.

    Jesus says this His point about the Good Samaritan story to ones “ wishing to justify themselves” was that the Samaritan felt true compassion and mercy and acted on it at his expense proving to be a good neighbor and Jesus said “Go and do the same.”

    Do you think that is the final point of the parable? I don’t. It’s placement in the gospel is a good clue.

    sdb says: the problem with the Pharisees was not that they lacked love – they thought that their actions were indeed loving. Rather they believed that they could merit salvation by keeping the law.

    The problems Jesus said he had with the Pharisees was that they were a people who honored Him with their lips, but their heart was far from Him- with a veneer of godliness but not truly worshipping Him -not following Him with a pure heart nor truly seeking after Him. They did not practice what they preached; they burdened people by adding to God’s law; they did everything for people to see; they nit-picked about lesser things and neglected more important matters -justice, mercy and faithfulness.

    Yes. Good points, but don’t forget zeal without knowledge. The Pharisee we know the most about is Saul…

    Like

  28. Sdb,
    The Good Samaritan parable should have a similar effect as the parable of the judging of sheep and goats. It points out our sin. But they also point out our responsibilities even though we live by God’s forgiveness in Christ.

    Like

  29. utterly reformed,
    You have a point unless baking the cake prevents marginalization. If you want to know the effects of the marginalization that comes with having been denied goods and services because of the group one belongs to, then read or listen to the comments of Blacks who suffered through Jim Crow.

    The issue here is about how we should share society with others. The NT passages on discipline say that our sharing of society with others is a fixed cost. In addition, and there are no indications from the NT that we should share society with others while taking some privileged place of supremacy over them. Church discipline is for those who are or would be Church members.

    Since when we call ourselves Christians, everything we do becomes associated with the Gospel in the eyes of those who see us, what do you think they associate with the Gospel when people see us either neglect to treat others as equals?

    Like

  30. Sdb,
    Yes, the overall de facto moral standard in the business world, especially, though not exclusively, among publicly owned businesses, is to maximize profits. That has been the de facto ethic of capitalism since its beginning. Your reduction of business to provide goods or services for revenue does not address cultural values of the business world and it certain excludes other stakeholders and externalities in any business transaction.

    Your quote of ‘Worldwide evidence suggests otherwise’ doesn’t even address King’s concern.In fact, how you define what benefits the world, that evidence confirms it. Wealth and political disparity are already at high levels both within nations and between them. This is true where neolibaral capitalism goes unchecked. Countries that employ codetermination do put a partial check on those effects. But your answer totally neglects what King said: King pointed out that for as long as we are a thing-oriented society, we will be plagued with racism, materialism, and militarism. Now what evidence challenges that?

    And yes, Romans 14 does have the Sabbath in mind. And with the Sabbath and food in mind, it states that those with a weaker faith tend to be legalistic. Besides that and Colossians 2, you have no NT passages that teach what the WCF say about the Sabbath for today. And the point of bringing that up is that you are so particular with the sabbath observance and what involves your personal piety, but you demonstrate no concern over the effects of how the systems that govern the status quo have on the marginalized. According to you, government is allowed to ignore the vulnerable. And businesses are there to live for themselves. What do you think Amos 6 says? Does it not talk about how the many live in a materialistic bubble that shields them from the distress they should be feeling over the brokeness around them.

    Quite frankly, I would respond to more in your note but you have no clue how out of touch you are with the world around you. You live in an ideological world, not the real world.

    Like

  31. sdb, isn’t it time to be announcing the full gospel – our Savior Jesus is in the process of …saving us completely.

    I think you might be throwing a smokescreen up. You don’t think your imperfect ‘Sabbath’ keeping is not also in need of a Savior? You can’t have it both ways, if you are such a promoter of living out one’s faith by keeping the Sabbath , you can’t back off on other aspects of the greatest and second greatest commandment. We all fall short of the glory of God. God accepts our imperfect practicing by faith because of Jesus. He gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds

    The Jews had zeal, but not according to epignosis. They had puffing up gnosis.

    Jesus said truly, truly unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God; truly, truly unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said ‘You must be born again.’
    Jesus said to Nicodemus “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?”
    He said “I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God.”

    Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.

    Like

  32. Curt says Finally, the mention of polygamists seems to overlook the legal sphere of marriage along with the fact that monogamous same-sex marriage has much more in common with monogamous heterosexual marriage than with polygamy so that the comparison seems rather disingenuous. Of course, if polygamy ever becomes legal here, we can always blame the OT.

    Are you charging God with wrongdoing Curt?
    Even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    “And some people say, “Oh well, God’s not so holy, He allows polygamy,” right? You’ve heard the critics say that. “Why look at Lamech. Lamech was a polygamist.” Right, and God drowned the whole world, including Lamech. You say, “What about Esau? Esau had three wives.” Yes, and Esau was a profane person. “But Jacob married two sisters.” Yeah, and a life of grief. And nowhere does God approve of polygamy. You go back to Genesis 2, one man, one woman come together to make one flesh for life. And in the period after the patriarchs there are only 13 recorded instances of polygamy in the Old Testament, only 13. Now listen to this, 12 of the 13 polygamists were absolute rulers who were answerable to no laws in their own thinking. Nine of them were kings, absolute monarchs. Three out of the remaining four were judges in Israel who were, in a sense, above the law. Only one of them was a non-absolute ruler of one nature or another. It was practiced by those who felt themselves non-subject to courts.

    “Look at Proverbs 5:15 and this is just very clear. “Drink water out of your own cistern, running waters out of your own well. Let your fountains be dispersed abroad and the rivers of waters in the streets let them be only thine own and not for strangers with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe, let her breasts satisfy thee at all times, and be thou ravished always with her love. And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman and embrace the bosom of a foreigner?
    In other words, God says you’ve got your woman and that’s all you need. That’s the standard. So there’s no advocation of polygamy at all in Scripture. “ from gty.

    Like

  33. Curt: I would respond to more in your note but you have no clue how out of touch you are with the world around you. You live in an ideological world, not the real world.

    I tend to find SDB to be pretty well-grounded, actually.

    Like

  34. Curt,

    If you want to know the effects of the marginalization that comes with having been denied goods and services because of the group one belongs to, then read or listen to the comments of Blacks who suffered through Jim Crow.

    This is utterly ridiculous. In the first place, being denied a cake or floral arrangement doesn’t cause anyone suffering unless the person in question has the emotional maturity of a 6 year old. Further, homosexuals are not consistently denied employment or advancement for the sake of who “they are.” In fact, in most of the elite sectors of society, homosexuals have a great advantage. And finally, we live in a digital era when you can order the cake of your choice from anywhere in the world with a click.

    I don’t know that I would refuse to sell a cake, but that’s immaterial. These bakers and florists are being sued out of their livelihood simply for wrongthink.

    The issue here is about how we should share society with others.

    Sure. And the Bible gives very few specific guidelines on what this means in a postindustrial twenty-first century pluralistic society with a strong Christian emphasis. Love your neighbor isn’t that specific. Live quiet lives is a little more specific, but how that applies to a business owner is not easy to parse.

    The NT passages on discipline say that our sharing of society with others is a fixed cost. In addition, and there are no indications from the NT that we should share society with others while taking some privileged place of supremacy over them. Church discipline is for those who are or would be Church members.

    I don’t know what you mean by fixed cost, but refusing to sell a wedding cake or wedding floral arrangement is not taking a privileged place of supremacy, especially when you can buy anything else you want from the artist, and that is true of homosexuals in these cases.

    Since when we call ourselves Christians, everything we do becomes associated with the Gospel in the eyes of those who see us, what do you think they associate with the Gospel when people see us either neglect to treat others as equals?

    But what if homosexual marriage really isn’t equal and really isn’t a thing? Is the Christian obligated to act like it is simply because the courts say so. You are assuming that the wider culture has the right to define what is and what is not “treating other as equals.” But we know the culture can be wrong.

    Like I said, I don’t know what I’d do if I were the cake, but the Christian florist and baker can also make the argument that homosexuals aren’t treating them as equals by suing them into oblivion simply for a little inconvenience.

    We don’t have to be jerks, but at some point you just have to recognize that simply because people associate something with the gospel doesn’t mean that they should or that we should kowtow to their association.

    Like

  35. you have no clue how out of touch you are with the world around you. You live in an ideological world, not the real world.

    They don’t call it an ivory tower for nuthin’! More seriously though, the stats I provided you show that as the world has embraced neo-liberal market reforms, the world has gotten less hungry, less violent, less racist, much healthier, and much wealthier. The data on this incontrovertible. We did basically the opposite of what you and King recommended and things have gotten much, much better. No revolution was needed… There’s a reason that the nordic countries, Britain, and even China have made significant freer market reforms and moved away from state ownership of industry and agriculture…capitalism works!

    You demonstrate no concern over the effects of how the systems that govern the status quo have on the marginalized. According to you, government is allowed to ignore the vulnerable. And businesses are there to live for themselves.

    I’m not really trying to demonstrate anything. You are misreading me if you think that my conclusion that the church should limit itself to ecclesial matters means that nothing else matters. The fact that something isn’t sinful does not mean that anything goes! My student who incorrectly solves an exam problem isn’t sinning by getting the problem wrong. It still matters though. It isn’t sinful to advocate for a $15/hr minimum wage, but I think it would be disastrous to implement such a policy. I care very much about it, but I don’t think our church should discipline you or call you to repent for advocating that policy. The temporal consequences are real… similarly the state shouldn’t judge your religion. I might care that one of my students denies the deity of Christ, but in my capacity as a professor at a public university, I don’t allow that to affect how I evaluate that student. It isn’t that I don’t care about his spiritual state, but rather I don’t have the authority as a professor to give that student a worse grade because of his unbelief. This is the issue that I’ve been trying to get across to you for some time now. The church shouldn’t judge you on behavior not condemned by scripture. That means you can advocate for really bad government policies without censure by the church. That doesn’t mean that I don’t care about government policy.

    Like

  36. sdb, isn’t it time to be announcing the full gospel – our Savior Jesus is in the process of …saving us completely.

    Not sure what you mean here. The full gospel is “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.”

    That I am being saved because Christ died for me, was buried, and raised from the dead is at the core of what I believe. I am being sanctified though I recognize that it will be imperfect in this life. That is why I live my life in view of the resurrection – when death will be defeated and I and the elect will forever be freed from the very presence of sin.

    But that doesn’t mean that we don’t fulfill different roles in different aspects of our life. However, the fact that not everything carries over doesn’t entail that nothing does.

    I think you might be throwing a smokescreen up. You don’t think your imperfect ‘Sabbath’ keeping is not also in need of a Savior?

    Huh? I know that I do not keep the sabbath perfectly, that my worship is not pure, and my heart is often cold. I repent of this and plead on the merits of Christ for forgiveness and growth in godliness. It is great to see progress, but I find that with progress comes a deeper realization of how much further I have to go.

    You can’t have it both ways, if you are such a promoter of living out one’s faith by keeping the Sabbath , you can’t back off on other aspects of the greatest and second greatest commandment. We all fall short of the glory of God. God accepts our imperfect practicing by faith because of Jesus. He gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds

    Yep. Why would you think I disagree? Why is it that caring about a day God set apart as holy at the creation of the universe entail that I care less about my neighbor or God who is Lord of the sabbath? Perhaps part of my concern about sabbath is love of neighbor. Most of us white collared types still get Sunday off. But the retail clerks and the food servers – those largely at the bottom economically are the ones forced to be willing to work on Sunday in order take a job. I suspect most all of them would prefer a full weekend off while their kids are out of school! God gave us the sabbath because we need rest. We decided that we know better I guess, and those of us who care about such things are just legalists? I don’t see why concern that God be honored on the Lord’s Day entails that I don’t think the great commandments matter.

    But what does that have to do with whether the church should condemn people because of their political views?

    The Jews had zeal, but not according to epignosis. They had puffing up gnosis.

    Hmmm… I’m not so sure that is the best way to put it. Paul describes himself as one who had zeal for God. In describing other devout Jews, he notes that they had “a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Maybe that is what you mean? If so, then I think we are agreeing that the problem with the Pharisees wasn’t a lack of love per se, but rather ignorance of their need for Christ’s perfect righteousness. Even Saul’s blamelessness according to the law was not sufficient after all!

    Jesus said truly, truly unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God; truly, truly unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said ‘You must be born again.’
    Jesus said to Nicodemus “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?”
    He said “I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God.”
    Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.

    Not much to disagree with here, but I don’t see how any of that is relevant to the discussion above…

    Like

  37. b, sd, “the stats I provided you show that as the world has embraced neo-liberal market reforms, the world has gotten less hungry, less violent, less racist, much healthier, and much wealthier.”

    Yeah, but what has capitalism done for me lately?

    Like

  38. Robert,
    Again,If you want to know the effects of the marginalization that comes with having been denied goods and services because of the group one belongs to, then read or listen to the comments of Blacks who suffered through Jim Crow.

    Your exhibiting the most common error of a conservative Christian interested in theology, you deduce what reality must be for other people. And neither knowing their experience nor being willing to listen to people who have been marginalized by the that kind of denial of goods and services, you’ve ensured that there will be no evidence to stand in the way of your deductions.

    What have you personally experienced as being a member of the LGBT community? Both of us could answer that question saying ‘nothing.’ But the difference between us is that I am willing to listen to and read about what they have experienced. Certainly their experiences are diverse, but they do share many of the kinds of persecution that Blacks have shared and that has occurred for centuries. And if you have a personal animosity toward the LGBT community because of their choices or lifestyles, then there will be the tendency to minimize the impact of the abuse they suffer from not being treated as equals.

    Second, how we share society with others is more than just how we love the person who lives in our neighborhood. How whites use to share society with Blacks was for whites to assume a privileged place in society and using laws to show their supremacy. Those laws subjugated Blacks and attempted to keep them in an inferior status. Don’t you remember the history of slavery that was followed by Jim Crow which has been followed by race disparity in wealth and incarcerations and where having an African name can very well mean that one is discriminated against in getting job interviews–a discrimination that is statistically shown to be true even today.

    So how do the laws we pass or pass over reflect how we share society with the LGBT community? That is the issue when we are considering how we should share society with others. Somehow, you seem to bypass real life as it is experienced by others.

    Third, the term ‘fixed cost’ is an accounting term. It means that the is there regardless of what you’ve done. And again, what do you know about what position one feels when they belong to a group that has been marginalized for centuries and is still denied goods and services given to others because of that group one belongs to? And if because of the lack of experience, we can’t know what they feel when they are denied goods and services because of the group they belong to, how could we so easily detect what actions of ours exhibit supremacy?

    My guess is that you may not have a clue as to the contributions that members of the LGBT have made to your life either personally or because of contributions made to society. Why? Because, especially in the past, many from that community felt the need to be in the closet. At the same time, you seem very comfortable with declaring how they feel when goods and services are denied to them because of the group they belong to.

    You would do well to investigate what those from the LGBT community feel when they experience certain situations. And the best way to investigate is to ask those from the LGBT community about their experiences in society. You will find a diversity of answers.

    Like

  39. sdb-the racer’s edge.
    I’ve read those stats before and they show no such thing. What has neoliberal capitalism brought? You’ll find that the biggest relief in abject poverty occurs in China, which has a hybrid economic system that is still more centrally controlled than not, and India. IN India, the free market for agricultural goods has led to sky rocketing of bankruptcies for farmers. But not only that, slavery in India is sharply increasing–btw, slavery in China is either stagnating or growing slowly. Outside of that region, the “positive” effects of neoliberal capitalism are less pronounced if not negligible.

    We should note that the claims made that neoliberal capitalism reduces abject poverty, not all poverty, works on a very low bar: living on $1 plus change a day. That doesn’t fly in 1st world countries. And it doesn’t alleviate poverty in 3rd world countries. But when one looks at what is going on more closely, one finds exploited labor where workers are living in camps while working long hours in unsafe conditions. Sure they are being paid where they hadn’t been before, but excusing the abusive conditions in which they work by pointing to a rise in their income is the epitome of exploitation. IN addition, it shows the economics filter that supporters of neoliberalism use to justify their system. The filter they use reduces economics to commerce.

    BTW, since offshoring has padded the economic stats for nations like China and India, you seem to forget that neoliberalism has brought more American families either closer to or into poverty. And because many manufacturing jobs have been offshored for the benefit of major sotckholders, the resulting increase in the supply of labor for service jobs holds down wages for those jobs–you know, the usual law of supply and demand miracle.

    Perhaps you are not aware of how the IMF is reexamining neoliberalism with its drawbacks of austerity and the unrestricted flow of capital. According to Noam Chomsky, the latter enables foreign investors to act as a ‘virtual senate’ for any nation relying on neoliberalism. We should note that it is not difficult to understand that mechanics of that process. You should note that the poster child for neoliberalism’s success is Chilé. But wealth disparity is growing there. And neoliberalism’s introduction came by way of the military coup in 1973 and the resulting dictatorship of Pinochet who was indicted for human rights violations. BTW, Chilé’s economic success lasted between 1985 to 1996. What the IMF is now saying about neoliberalism is as follows. First, it does not provide real growth. Second, it increases inequality. And third, that inequality surpresses growth (see https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2016/06/13/editorials/challenge-economic-orthodoxy/#.WjpfZbXoSfY ).

    What would have happened if neoliberalism was force on the US when it first became a nation? The US would be unable to protect emerging industries and thus it would not have been able to develop industrially as it did when it used protectionism to shield those industries. Thus, forcing neoliberalism on developing countries has been called ‘kicking away the ladder.’ Of course, neoliberalism can further enrich private sector elites both in the industrial nations and emerging nations, but it does little to spread the wealth.

    The results of America embracing neoliberalism late including increasing wealth and political disparity (for the latter, see http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746 ). And with the spike in attacks on regulations designed to protect workers and the environment by the Trump Administration, we should expect more of the same while our nation’s political and economic systems hide their heads in the sands of climate and other environmental changes that becoming ominous. And to include D.G. in on the discussion. along with a growing wealth disparity because of the growing consolidation of wealth, childhood poverty and food insecurity is growing here as well.

    Like

  40. sdb says…– when death will be defeated and I and the elect will forever be freed from the very presence of sin. …

    You don’t even mention the best part of the gospel sdb…!!
    Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them

    sdb says Maybe that is what you mean? If so, then I think we are agreeing that the problem with the Pharisees wasn’t a lack of love per se, but rather ignorance of their need for Christ’s perfect righteousness.

    They underestimated and did not know God’s holiness and they did not know God; it would follow too, then, a problem is they did not know love.

    Like

  41. Curt,

    Again,If you want to know the effects of the marginalization that comes with having been denied goods and services because of the group one belongs to, then read or listen to the comments of Blacks who suffered through Jim Crow.

    Okay. Blacks suffered legitimate marginalization. The LGBTwhatever community hasn’t suffered anything comparable to black Americans. Moreover, since LGBTwhatever isn’t an inherent condition, anything they have suffered has been due to their choice of behavior.

    Your exhibiting the most common error of a conservative Christian interested in theology, you deduce what reality must be for other people. And neither knowing their experience nor being willing to listen to people who have been marginalized by the that kind of denial of goods and services, you’ve ensured that there will be no evidence to stand in the way of your deductions.

    I’m going to listen to what Scripture says about marginalization thank you very much. Literally, your arguments could be used to justify equal treatment for anyone who claims marginalization. Child molesters, thieves, nudists, etc. can all claim marginalization. You haven’t given me a standard for what constitutes true marginalization and which groups claiming it we should actually care about.

    What have you personally experienced as being a member of the LGBT community? Both of us could answer that question saying ‘nothing.’ But the difference between us is that I am willing to listen to and read about what they have experienced.

    Virtue SIGNALLED loud and clear.

    Certainly their experiences are diverse, but they do share many of the kinds of persecution that Blacks have shared and that has occurred for centuries. And if you have a personal animosity toward the LGBT community because of their choices or lifestyles, then there will be the tendency to minimize the impact of the abuse they suffer from not being treated as equals.

    I don’t have personal animosity. I don’t think someone should be fired from a secular job simply for living a homosexual lifestyle, for example. I just don’t agree that the LGBT community is suffering in the same way blacks have. When you choose to live your life in a way that violates the created norm, you shouldn’t be surprised that there are consequences.

    Second, how we share society with others is more than just how we love the person who lives in our neighborhood. How whites use to share society with Blacks was for whites to assume a privileged place in society and using laws to show their supremacy. Those laws subjugated Blacks and attempted to keep them in an inferior status. Don’t you remember the history of slavery that was followed by Jim Crow which has been followed by race disparity in wealth and incarcerations and where having an African name can very well mean that one is discriminated against in getting job interviews–a discrimination that is statistically shown to be true even today.

    All that is true of black Americans. Homosexuals have not been enslaved en masse or bought and sold like property. Furthermore, being a homosexual is a privileged place in today’s society

    So how do the laws we pass or pass over reflect how we share society with the LGBT community? That is the issue when we are considering how we should share society with others.

    Sure. Now where is the concern for the business owners? Why do they surrender every right they have simply because they sell cakes. And why do you want the government to have the power to shut them down? The same power can be used against you.

    Somehow, you seem to bypass real life as it is experienced by others.

    I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m not the one promoting a collectivism that has led to massive poverty and the wanton killing of millions of people.

    And again, what do you know about what position one feels when they belong to a group that has been marginalized for centuries and is still denied goods and services given to others because of that group one belongs to? And if because of the lack of experience, we can’t know what they feel when they are denied goods and services because of the group they belong to, how could we so easily detect what actions of ours exhibit supremacy?

    I understand that they have had their feelings hurt. Now tell me why that should be a basis for law. My feelings have been hurt multiple times in my life, but I’m not suing people into nonexistence. Again, the fact is that nobody suffers any kind of real hurt—as in loss of life or livelihood—if they have to go next door to buy a cake. It might be impolite to refuse service, but we’re not talking about denying lifesaving medical care.

    My guess is that you may not have a clue as to the contributions that members of the LGBT have made to your life either personally or because of contributions made to society. Why? Because, especially in the past, many from that community felt the need to be in the closet. At the same time, you seem very comfortable with declaring how they feel when goods and services are denied to them because of the group they belong to.

    BS. I’ve had several gay friends, teachers, etc. all of whom have enriched me in many ways. People who felt no need to be in the closet. And I’m very comfortable declaring that the only harm done to them by florists and bakers is hurting their feelings. No one is dying by having to purchase a cake somewhere else. It’s not my job to ensure that no one ever gets their feelings hurt. And if that is my job, whose job is it to make sure my feelings never get hurt.

    You would do well to investigate what those from the LGBT community feel when they experience certain situations. And the best way to investigate is to ask those from the LGBT community about their experiences in society. You will find a diversity of answers.

    And you can use this argumentation to justify anything. Pedophiles, those who have sex with animals, practitioners of incest, and a whole host of other people who practice aberrant behaviors all feel hurt and humiliated by society. Why should I care?

    I don’t mean to be cold. I don’t think the law should criminally penalize adults in consensual adult relationships. But I also don’t see how my neighbor’s decision to violate the natural order demands that Christians support rewriting the law to give him a privileged place over my neighbor who runs a business. And I don’t see that my Christian responsibility to that citizen is to ensure that he never feels ashamed or humiliated. He should be ashamed of his actions. They are sinful. We don’t have to be mean, but again, you aren’t presenting to me any evidence of harm other than “they feel bad.” That’s insufficient for public policy, contrary to leftist groupthink.

    Scripture will define harm an meanness and love, not the feelings of sinners.

    Like

  42. Are receptions biblical? Do we have a “thus saith the Lord” about the necessity and exact order of a reception?

    Wedding ceremonies themselves are not even biblical. “By the power vested in me by the state of X”, sure, but where in the bible does God vest pastors with the power to pronounce couples wed?

    Like

  43. You’ll find that the biggest relief in abject poverty occurs in China, which has a hybrid economic system that is still more centrally controlled than not,

    Yes, the majority of the gain went to a country with 1/5th of the world’s population that was deeply impoverished until they implemented significant freer market reforms and opened up on trade. It is true that they are still held back to a degree by central planning, but there is not question that they people are way better off now than they were under Mao’s regime.

    and India. IN India, the free market for agricultural goods has led to sky rocketing of bankruptcies for farmers. But not only that, slavery in India is sharply increasing–btw, slavery in China is either stagnating or growing slowly.

    Yes, India comprises another fifth of the world’s population and there we have also see that poverty rates have been cut in half since the early 80’s in large part due to the economic reforms in that country – a lot of this in the rural communities that have had to deal with bankruptcy. Overall the people are much better off as the number living in extreme poverty has plummeted. As far as slavery goes, you need to watch your statistics here. In the 19th century, 15% of Indians were slaves. Now it is about 1.5%. That’s a huge improvement. Not perfect, but certainly the right direction. Modern definitions of slavery include child marriages, child labor, forced begging along with what we traditionally understand to be slavery, so this understates the scale of the improvement.

    Outside of that region, the “positive” effects of neoliberal capitalism are less pronounced if not negligible.

    You need to define less pronounced. It is a much smaller number of people we are talking about, but the benefit to those people has been huge. Life expectancy in sub-saharan africa has increased from 40 in 1960 to 55 in 2010. There was a stalling out in the 80’s because of the AIDs epidemic, but since 2000 because of increased trade and the resultant stabilization of countries there (the socialist paradise of Zimbabwe excluded), the life expectancy increased 10% in a decade. This is pretty pronounced even if the number of people per country is much smaller than China. In Latin America, the we see life expectancy from birth go up from 55 in 1960 to almost 75 in 2010. This is huge and it has largely been driven by the increasing wealth in those countries (mainly Brazil).

    We should note that the claims made that neoliberal capitalism reduces abject poverty, not all poverty, works on a very low bar: living on $1 plus change a day. That doesn’t fly in 1st world countries. And it doesn’t alleviate poverty in 3rd world countries. But when one looks at what is going on more closely, one finds exploited labor where workers are living in camps while working long hours in unsafe conditions. Sure they are being paid where they hadn’t been before, but excusing the abusive conditions in which they work by pointing to a rise in their income is the epitome of exploitation. IN addition, it shows the economics filter that supporters of neoliberalism use to justify their system. The filter they use reduces economics to commerce.

    It is a positive good that the number of people living on less than a $1/day has plummeted and life expectancies have risen. No one is claiming that everything is fine in these countries. Rather the claim is that the free-market reforms in those countries have dramatically improved their living conditions. Things are better, not perfect.

    You seem to forget that neoliberalism has brought more American families either closer to or into poverty.

    This is false. First of all, neoliberal capitalism has been the norm in the US since the nineteenth century. Secondly, since 1959, we saw the fraction of Americans living poverty fall from about a quarter of the country. Now it bounces between 11-15%.

    And because many manufacturing jobs have been offshored for the benefit of major sotckholders, the resulting increase in the supply of labor for service jobs holds down wages for those jobs–you know, the usual law of supply and demand miracle.

    There is more manufacturing in the US today than ever before. It is automation that has eaten into those jobs more than off-shoring (even the number of manufacturing jobs in China peaked a decade ago). It is much like Ag. It takes few people to feed more people. Ergo, fewer farmers. Not less food. As far as stagnating wages, this is only part of the story. The question is what is the total cost of compensation and what can the compensated do with their income. As we’ve gotten richer, we have chosen to spend more on services. Spending on vet services has climbed the same way as it has for other highly skilled service jobs. Health is no exception, and almost everyone gets their health care paid for by their employer in the form of very expensive (tax free) health benefits. On average employers pay $13000/yr on health benefits for their workers (and workers chip in another $5k or so). If you are a secretary at my university, your starting salary is likely only about $30k/yr – not great, but not terrible for a job that doesn’t require a college degree. Our custodial staff start at about $22k/yr. They both get the same health benefit that cost the university about $15k per person. They also get retirement, life insurance, and disability insurance. If you add in the 7.5% the university pays in payroll tax, the typical new worker $40-50k/yr to employ. So when we say that median wages have stagnated relative to the top 5% (and they have – the top 5% grew 110% since 1965 and the median grew by 30%, and the median is $59k) we ought to include the cost of benefits. These are a small part of the compensation of the top-5%, but they are a third of the median income. I’m not saying there are no problems, but this explains the gap. Why are health costs so high? I have a few hypotheses: healthcare is a cartel. Wages are artificially inflated in the US driving up costs. Medical schools limit the number of entrants into the field creating artificial shortages, much of the health care we need does not need to be delivered by doctors. Since most health care is paid by a third-party, there is little individual incentive to cut costs by giving up luxuries like private/semi-private rooms. And so forth… Free market reforms of the health care industry might help, but it is clear that the political will to do so is not there. Whatever the case, highly regulated commerce isn’t the antithesis of capitalism nor is a strong welfare system. One might also note that consumption inequality in the US has remained more or less constant, so if we measure wealth by what we can consume, it doesn’t look like the rich are getting richer. On the other hand, assortative mating seems to be a major driver in income inequality among households. Highly educated men are now more likely to marry highly educated women and stay married. In the working class, marriage and household stability has fallen apart. The divorce revolution coupled with women entering the workforce has kept the gap between rich and poor from closing more than it has.

    Perhaps you are not aware of how the IMF is reexamining neoliberalism with its drawbacks of austerity and the unrestricted flow of capital. According to Noam Chomsky, the latter enables foreign investors to act as a ‘virtual senate’ for any nation relying on neoliberalism. We should note that it is not difficult to understand that mechanics of that process. You should note that the poster child for neoliberalism’s success is Chilé. But wealth disparity is growing there. And neoliberalism’s introduction came by way of the military coup in 1973 and the resulting dictatorship of Pinochet who was indicted for human rights violations. BTW, Chilé’s economic success lasted between 1985 to 1996.

    Noam Chomsky is a bully and irresponsible scholar who trades on expertise in linguistics to pass himself off as an expert in areas where he is embarrassing wrong. His most influential work is falling apart. Citing Chomsky as an authority on economics is like citing Dawkins as an authority on religion. As far as the IMF goes, I think you are referring to this article? The one that says,”There is much to cheer in the neoliberal agenda. The expansion of global trade has rescued millions from abject poverty. Foreign direct investment has often been a way to transfer technology and know-how to developing economies. Privatization of state-owned enterprises has in many instances led to more efficient provision of services and lowered the fiscal burden on governments.­” Hmmm…. sounds pretty good to me. Much better than socialism! Is it perfect? No. Are there reforms that would improve things? You bet! Does that mean a return to socialism and centrally planned economies? Absolutely not. By the way, You might be interested in the work calling Piketty’s conclusions into question. It is a contested issue, and i’m no expert, but it seems pretty clear that there is little evidence that socialism will cure what ails us.

    And with the spike in attacks on regulations designed to protect workers and the environment by the Trump Administration, we should expect more of the same while our nation’s political and economic systems hide their heads in the sands of climate and other environmental changes that becoming ominous. And to include D.G. in on the discussion. along with a growing wealth disparity because of the growing consolidation of wealth, childhood poverty and food insecurity is growing here as well.

    That’s curious. The data I’ve seen going back to the late 1950’s show that after a sharp decline, childhood poverty has been more or less flat. There was an uptick at teh end of the last decade that has since flattened out and started to decline. I suspect that the sharp drop in unemployment that we’ve seen will drive the poverty rate down further. I haven’t seen much evidence for much growth in wealth disparity. I have seen some for wage disparity, but that isn’t the same thing. The consumption gap is flat and the life expectancy gap is shrinking. As far as the regulation cuts, if I see life expectancy shift, I will concede you have a point. The suicide rate and opioid problems are concerning. I am also deeply concerned with the incarceration rate and the vast swaths of our country that are underserved medically and educationally. I’m not sure the issue here is straight economics though.

    Like

  44. You don’t even mention the best part of the gospel sdb…!!
    “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them”

    Funny…either did Paul…!!

    Seriously though, I love how Paul concludes 1 Cor 15,

    Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

    “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
    “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

    The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

    Like

  45. Curt,
    Are you really ready to say that marginalization is never ‘OK’? As long as there is more than, oh let’s jet spitball here, 1 of you, then you are a bona fide, legitimate group that all the civil powers must exert muscle to protect you from any other ‘group’ out thre?

    The idea that ‘black’ and ‘gay’ are synonyms, seem somewhat arbitrary… Maybe an argument needs to be made. But of course that exposes one to the need to defend against a counter-argument, and that does not seem to be the name of the game these days. Why is that? Maybe because the need to defend oneself is a big pain in the a##, and it is better to cry ####phobia until someone legitimizes you to just shut you up..are you sure that never happens? Are you sure you are on the ‘right’ side of history? What makes you think that the ‘underdog’ is always right?

    Like

  46. sdb says: Funny…either did Paul…!!

    the best news ever though, right, sdb?

    God (Ezekiel): I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. I will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling place will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.
    God (Paul): in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
    God (Paul or ?) Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us within the veil ( the very presence of God)
    God; (John) He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them
    God (John) the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb – the temple

    Like

  47. Utterly Reformed,
    Depends on the direction. Think about the history of how Blacks have been treated in this country? Would today be a good day to legally allow some marginalization? One could easily make the argument that homosexuals have received traumatic marginalization in the past. In fact, it is still subject to marginalization considering that, in 28 states, people can be harassed on or fired from their jobs for sexual orientation. And court cases have upheld that.

    As a Christian, why would you want to allow small instances of marginalization when the past has been filled with horrific marginalization? I guess that depends on how one feels about the group. And I am not saying Blacks and gays are synonymous. I am saying both have a history in this nation of suffering horrific marginalization.

    Like

  48. sdb-the racer’s edge,
    You’re missing the point on China. Free markets alone did not help China. IT was a hybrid that was predominantly not.a free market. So to use China as a poster child for free markets is dishonest. It would be like telling the world that the gains made in China came from their government’s central control of the government.

    As for India, again, you are reducing the variables focused on. And that is the weakness of your argument. For not only does the reduction in the factors you are looking at result in coming close to equating economics with commerce, you ignore the tradeoffs involved and thus can’t make an accurate assessment.

    Be specific now, how and where have those poverty rates cut in half? Did the cutting of those rates illustrate a zero-sum gain? Who lost in order for those poverty rates to be cut in half. And did the ever increasing number those who were trafficked and sold or made into slaves part of the numbers who saw a reduction in poverty? And what about the sky rocketing bankruptcies of farmers?

    And what factor did sweatshop labor play in the reduction of poverty. Because poverty is reduced, should we allow for the use of sweatshop labor or even complain about it? Isn’t that principle illustrated by the Districts in the Hunger Games movie series?

    And in terms of economic grwoth, hasn’t both China and India suffered grave environmental costs?

    Those who employ back-white thinking are in the business of reducing the factors involved in assessing the success of a given venture. The reduction of factors is used to whitewash the sins committed in those ventures. The reduction of factors in this case is used by some to tell those who question to ‘shut-up and be happy because you can’t have everything.’ IN the meantime, have you noticed that Scriptural principles for how to regard and treat people have vanished. And this justified by someone who believes that the Scriptures contain all we need to believe and live rightly before God? Do you understand why I have been saying that the Church here has been supporting those with wealth and power. That is because these other factors, which you have relegated to nonexistence, hide the fact that much of this reduction in poverty is paid for by the suffering of others and the enrichment of those with wealth.

    BTW, that you would say neoliberalism capitalism has been the norm since the 19th century shows that you haven’t a clue as to what neoliberal capitalism is. For prior to neoliberal capitalism and soon after the end of WW II, we survived on the Bretton-Woods system of capitalism. THe world’s transition into neoliberal capitalism began on 9-11 in Chilé with the millitary coup that made Pinochet the leader of that country. And that occurred in 1973. You are arguing for something you neither know about nor understand.

    Like

  49. Robert,
    There are a number of problems I find with your response. First, what do you know about the marginalization of the LGBT community in America? Are you are aware that for the vast majority of the history of the European settlement of America that homosexual actions were counted as criminal acts. For much of our history here, those guilty of practicing homosexuality were legal candidates for the death penalty. That those from the LGBT community have been beaten and killed because of their sexual orientation. They have lost jobs because of their sexual orientation. They have been denied services and goods by businesses because of their sexual orientation? That they can still be harassed and fired in 28 states?

    Your logic says that the above does not constitute real marginalization because Blacks have suffered much more. But do you realize the implication of your reasoning? The implication of your thinking is this: the marginalization that Blacks suffered is the minimum standard of evil for marginalization. That as long as we find a group that has suffered more than the LGBT community, then they haven’t really suffered at all says your logic. It is like saying that those with stage 3 cancer have not really suffered because they don’t have stage 4 cancer.

    Your logic shows a great tolerance for allowing the LGBT community to be abused as long as they are not abused as badly as Blacks. And that might reflect that you have a lack of respect for the intrinsic value of those in the LGBT community.

    Like

  50. You’re missing the point on China. Free markets alone did not help China. IT was a hybrid that was predominantly not.a free market. So to use China as a poster child for free markets is dishonest. It would be like telling the world that the gains made in China came from their government’s central control of the government.

    That is why I said that the freeR markets in China brought about great improvement. I did not suggest that there were no trade-offs, that things were perfect, or that other factors didn’t play a role as well. Rather what we have seen since the 1970’s world wide is a move away from centrally planned economies to market based economies. This is neoliberalism in a nutshell. It doesn’t go as far as the laissez-faire systems in the 19th century, but it is a rejection of the central tenets of socialism. Most would agree that economics in China are neoliberal while the authoritarian government is centralized.

    As for India, again, you are reducing the variables focused on. And that is the weakness of your argument. For not only does the reduction in the factors you are looking at result in coming close to equating economics with commerce, you ignore the tradeoffs involved and thus can’t make an accurate assessment.

    Doubling or tripling the life expectancy, reducing slavery by 90%, and dramatically reducing the number of people living in abject poverty are all good things, and neoliberal economic reforms were a principal driver of these gains.

    Be specific now, how and where have those poverty rates cut in half? Did the cutting of those rates illustrate a zero-sum gain? Who lost in order for those poverty rates to be cut in half. And did the ever increasing number those who were trafficked and sold or made into slaves part of the numbers who saw a reduction in poverty? And what about the sky rocketing bankruptcies of farmers?

    Poverty rates in India were slashed in both urban and rural communities, though the gains were greater in urban communities. Life expectancy rose everywhere. These were not zero-sum gains – there aren’t a lot of people who are worse off today after significant liberalization of their economy. that’s not to say that everyone benefited equally or that there are not other reforms necessary. But all of these are compatible with capitalism. Trfficking is a problem that should be addressed and is being addressed. The percentage of Indians that this effects has dropped from 15% to 1.5% in 150yrs. That’s a major victory. There is still more work to do and dismantling the caste system they have is a big part of it. Yes, farms are consolidating and many people are ceasing to work as farmers and are moving to cities. But overall these people and their children are better off. Infant mortality has declined as has the number of children in a family. These are all positive goods that you seem to want wave away because they came on the coat tails of the wrong ideology. Try getting your information from non-polemical sources.

    And in terms of economic grwoth, hasn’t both China and India suffered grave environmental costs?

    There is not question that poor countries have a tough time dealing with more abstract issues like environmental care. This was true of the eastern block, it was true of western Europe and the US in the 19th century, and it is true of China and India today. As countries get richer though, we find that they are more willing to sacrifice wealth for environmental care. Surely you aren’t arguing that socialism has a better environmental track record are you? That would be absurd.

    Those who employ back-white thinking are in the business of reducing the factors involved in assessing the success of a given venture. The reduction of factors is used to whitewash the sins committed in those ventures. The reduction of factors in this case is used by some to tell those who question to ‘shut-up and be happy because you can’t have everything.’

    Well those factors are infant mortality, fraction of people living in hunger, life expectancy, frequency and violence of war, fraction of people living in extreme poverty, and the fraction of people in slavery. The market reforms that have swept the nordic countries, britain, China, Africa, Latin America, India, and the US have dramatically improved life for billions of people. The only one guilty of back-white thinking is you when you cannot allow that there is anything to learn or that the poor have gained from the architects of the neoliberal reforms. I’m certainly not arguing that things are perfect or that there is no work to do. In the US, the most pressing issues is criminal justice reform. In China, it is the challenge of the number of surplus men and environmental concerns. In Europe, it is migration. In India, it is the caste system. Not all of these bear directly on economic policy. None of them will be improved by increased central planning of economies.

    IN the meantime, have you noticed that Scriptural principles for how to regard and treat people have vanished. And this justified by someone who believes that the Scriptures contain all we need to believe and live rightly before God?

    From where? The scriptural principles for how to treat individuals haven’t vanished from my consideration. Have they vanished from yours? On the other hand, the scriptures don’t tell us how secular states are supposed to for the poor. Should it be left to private charity? How does one weigh the trade-offs of various interventions? Does Paul’s injunction that those who don’t work shouldn’t eat apply to governmental policy?

    Do you understand why I have been saying that the Church here has been supporting those with wealth and power. That is because these other factors, which you have relegated to nonexistence, hide the fact that much of this reduction in poverty is paid for by the suffering of others and the enrichment of those with wealth.

    The dramatic decrease in mortality worldwide did not come at the cost of worse conditions for some. What we do see is that while everyone benefited to some degree, the benefit was not evenly distributed. Some gained more than others. But there is no question that even those in sweatshops today (and that is a problem!) are better off than those who came before them. The idea that the reduction in poverty was paid for by the suffering of others is simple minded and highlights a profound error in your thinking. The fact of the matter is that one can enrich a nation where everyone benefits, and this has been the case. THat’s not to say that things are perfect. There is more to do of course.

    BTW, that you would say neoliberalism capitalism has been the norm since the 19th century shows that you haven’t a clue as to what neoliberal capitalism is. For prior to neoliberal capitalism and soon after the end of WW II, we survived on the Bretton-Woods system of capitalism. THe world’s transition into neoliberal capitalism began on 9-11 in Chilé with the millitary coup that made Pinochet the leader of that country. And that occurred in 1973. You are arguing for something you neither know about nor understand.

    What nonsense. Only if you get all of your information from the Nation and geographers like Harvey. Bretton-Woods was not a system of capitalism. Neoliberal capitalism is simply shorthand for the third way between socialism on one hand and radical laissez-faire systems of the 19th century. It is not the repudiation of all regulation, rather it is the recognition that regulations should evolve over time and that some should be retired. It is also the recognition that regulations come with trade-offs and can be used by large corporation to consolidate their gains. With the dawn of the 20th century and trust busting, we entered the age of neoliberalism. There were attempts at centralized planning under FDR and these were widely recognized to have failed which is why they were retired post WWII. The nordic countries, Britain, and France have all liberalized their economies dramatically over the past 30years. It is only all about Pinochet if you buy Harvey’s nonsense. But whatever. It is pretty clear that you have nothing to learn and everything to teach, so I’m signing off.

    Like

  51. SDB,

    There are a number of problems I find with your response. First, what do you know about the marginalization of the LGBT community in America? Are you are aware that for the vast majority of the history of the European settlement of America that homosexual actions were counted as criminal acts. For much of our history here, those guilty of practicing homosexuality were legal candidates for the death penalty.

    We’ve had lots of laws in this country. How often were these penalties still enforced?

    That those from the LGBT community have been beaten and killed because of their sexual orientation.

    Yes that has happened, and its not a good thing.

    They have lost jobs because of their sexual orientation. They have been denied services and goods by businesses because of their sexual orientation? That they can still be harassed and fired in 28 states?

    But what is the evidence that this is happening en masse? Maybe 100 years ago. But now? The reason why the cake baker is making news is because its so rare. Where are homosexuals being fired except from churches and Christian or other religious organizations. I know the rhetoric. Where is the evidence this is happening.

    Your logic says that the above does not constitute real marginalization because Blacks have suffered much more. But do you realize the implication of your reasoning? The implication of your thinking is this: the marginalization that Blacks suffered is the minimum standard of evil for marginalization. That as long as we find a group that has suffered more than the LGBT community, then they haven’t really suffered at all says your logic. It is like saying that those with stage 3 cancer have not really suffered because they don’t have stage 4 cancer.

    No. The implication of my thinking is that lots and lots of other groups have suffered as well and nobody is pushing to normalize them. Defining marriage only as a heterosexual union is not marginalization. Denying a cake or a flower arrangement is not marginalization. If people were getting fired en masse for being homosexual, I might be more open to what you are saying, but where is the evidence? Granted, I grew up and live in major metropolitan areas. Maybe these things are rampant in rural areas. But I haven’t seen any evidence. I haven’t seen any evidence that things are so bad that we must step in and create a protected class of people based on who they want to have sex with.

    Your logic shows a great tolerance for allowing the LGBT community to be abused as long as they are not abused as badly as Blacks. And that might reflect that you have a lack of respect for the intrinsic value of those in the LGBT community.

    Curt—define abuse biblically. Being killed without due process. That’s abuse. Not being able to buy a cake here but being able to buy one next door. That’s not abuse. The homosexual community is really good at playing the victim. But how much of a victim are you when you have the power to sue elderly florists into oblivion simply because your feelings are hurt?

    So, let’s summarize. I don’t think that homosexuals should be fired from secular work as long as they are good workers. I think the government should allow you to designate anyone you want as your decision-maker for health related things. I think you should be able to put anyone in your will that you want. But I see no Christian or federal duty to give them a “right” to marriage, a right to adoption, or anything of that nature. The fact is that being homosexual gives you an automatic advantage in education, the media, and most Fortune 500 companies. There’s no systemic marginalization going on today that I can see.

    And you haven’t answered my question: Why homosexuals and not polygamists? Why homosexuals and not pedophiles? Why homosexuals and not group X? Why does a class that is defined by a particular behavior deserve special treatment when other groups defined by behavior don’t. Seems like you are just jumping on a leftist bandwagon.

    Like

  52. @Robert
    You might enjoy this column by Carl Trueman. It is a reflection on Camille Paglia’s essay, “The Joy of Presbyterian Sex”.

    Let’s just say that anyone paying to the gay rights movement for more than fifteen minutes realizes that the current bourgeoisie approach to gay rights (with concerns over marriage, cakes, and adoption superceding the desire to dismantle patriarchal and heteronormative institutions including marriage itself) is not the last word on the subject. It’s almost as if it isn’t all black and white.

    On the other hand, I am fully in favor of a patriarchal, heteronormative culture but then I never enjoyed theater….I can barely stand TV and movies (sorry Darryl).

    Like

  53. Robert,
    So killing without due process is abuse? Glad to agree with you there. But why is it abuse? Doesn’t the due process contributes to why it is abuse.

    Refusing to provide goods and services because of the group one belongs to, is that abuse? It isn’t murder, does that mean it is not abuse?

    You haven’t given any principles to define abuse. At the same time, you are not going ask people who have been denied goods and services because of the group they belong about their experiences? And that seems to be an odd position take for a Christian who wants people to listen to him/her about the Gospel. For why should people listen to those who don’t return the favor?

    In your note, are you saying that murder is the minimal standard for abuse? If so, isn’t your response a continuation of what your wrote before about those in the LGBT community not being marginalized because they didn’t suffer as much as Blacks did? That is an odd position to take in a nation that promises equality.

    And for your unanswered question. You haven’t shown why it should be answered. You haven’t shown how same-sex marriage is more similar to polygamy than it is to monogamous heterosexual marriage for the question to be answered. Though one could add that since marriage is a complete union between two parties including a legal union, that adding another party destroys the kind of union that the original two parties have. That laws regarding property ownership for spouses and property division after death of a spouse cannot accommodate any form of polygamy. That polygamous marriages introduces with it inequality in relationship, property ownership and division after separation or death. BTW, people are free to practice polygamy outside of marriage. But when it comes to marriage, laws regarding the marital union of two people cannot accommodate polygamy.

    Like

  54. sdb,
    You are still not making your point. No, free markets didn’t bring China prosperity for free markets don’t exist in China. That is like saying China’s controlled economy brought prosperity to China. But since its economy is not totally controlled, that would be wrong too. Rather, China’s hybrid model brought prosperity to China. But it did so at great cost. And that is the second problem with your approach. You have reduced economics to commerce and therefore you don’t pay due attention to those factors that lie outside of what people live on per day. IN addition, the only poverty that has been statistically reduced is abject poverty. There are other levels of poverty above that.

    And, btw, China’s slavery rate has not been reduced. Rather, it is counted as either slightly increasing or stagnating. Or you comment about life expectancy is not only false, it is stated without context. Life expectancy in both India and China were rising at a significant pace before the neoliberalism came into existence and before China switched to a hybrid economic system. And where you forget where the zero-sum gains have been made is that jobs that were offshored to India and China were at the expense of American workers who then had to compete for low-skilled, lower pay jobs. And if you add to that that many of our companies operating here do so by using gov’t assistance programs to subsidize their payrolls, the zero-sum gains become even clearer here. But that with your previous claims along with what you previously said about neoliberalism, you show that you don’t know what you are talking about. Again, the first instance of neoliberalism occurs in Chilé in 1973. That was while other nations were still under the Bretton-Woods system that started after WW II. It isn’t just me making the distinction here, the article I provided the link to shows the IMF making the same distinction.

    Again, slavery is between stagnating and slightly increasing in China while it is sharply increasing in India. And the environmental problems with the economic growth in China and India pose serious hazards to people’s health there and even contributes to pollution here. The estimate is that 25% of LA’s air pollution comes from China.

    Finally before we discuss what socialism’s track record is, we need to define it. For the environmental track record of nations whose governments do not respond to environmental concerns are horrendous. Personally, you’re making false claims about the conditions within nations as well as about neoliberalism. I have already provided documentation about the IMF’s concerns over neoliberalism. If you continue with the false claims, I am just going to ignore what you have to say. You are showing with those claims that you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Like

  55. ” free markets didn’t bring China prosperity for free markets don’t exist in China”
    Good thing that is not what I wrote. You keep dropping that “r”, and that makes all the difference. Liberalizing their economy helped. That is not a claim that they have a free market economy. I’m looking at the slope.

    ” IN addition, the only poverty that has been statistically reduced is abject poverty. There are other levels of poverty above that.”
    Hmmm this is a curious claim. I don’t doubt it, but wouldn’t that be a good thing if the reason is that the abject poor are now just poor and the long term trend is positive? Isn’t that also compatible with the suggestion I made that more work is necessary?

    “And, btw, China’s slavery rate has not been reduced. Rather, it is counted as either slightly increasing or stagnating. Or you comment about life expectancy is not only false, it is stated without context. Life expectancy in both India and China were rising at a significant pace before the neoliberalism came into existence and before China switched to a hybrid economic system.”
    Don’t recall making a claim about Chinese slavery. I did about India because the lingterm trend is down, and I noted more needed to be done on tge caste system. I also noted that the definition of slavery has been expanded well beyind owning other people in order to get to the modern day numbers, so we are understating the decline.

    If the dats I refered to on life expectancy is false (I took it from a ThinkProgress piece), please point me to a btter source.

    As far as your idiosyncratic definition of neoliberal thst you have adopted from leftist sources writing polemical pieces. There is no body that has provided a noncontsted official definition (funny how you get this when you critique the use of the socialist label). As I noted to clarify things, I am referring to neoliberal as the adoption of regulated, market based economies. It is a repudiation of both the laissez-faire ideal and centrally planned economies.

    My argument is simple and data driven. By switching to more market based economies and liberalizing trade, the world has improved dramatically on several different fronts: war is rarer, life expectancy is longer, infant andmaternal mortality is lower, literacy is up, starvation is down, abject poverty is down, and migration is freer. There have been trade-offs, and there is more to accomplish.

    Cleanse your mind from crackpots like Zinn and Chomsky. Spend more time with Cowen, Krugman, Summers, and DeLong. Maybe you don’t have everything to teach and nothing to learn. Perhaps it isn’t all black and white. Maybe you will even recognize fellow blog denizens as neighbors and extend the charity you extoll to them by assuming good faith and the opportunity to learn rather than condemn and excoriate.

    Like

  56. Curt Day: Refusing to provide goods and services because of the group one belongs to…

    Stop right there. This is the canard that keeps being pushed in order to justify rolling over 1st amendment rights.

    The plain fact of the case is that Phillips did not refuse any gays service because of the group they belonged to. He has an established track record of providing services to gays.

    Rather, he refused to allow the couple to reach into his mouth and hands to compel him to say “You are married”, when he does not in fact believe that they are or can be.

    Wrangle over economic theory if you must, but at least be minimally factual about it.

    http://www.scotusblog.com/2017/09/symposium-matter-marriage-law-wedding-cake-expressive-conduct/

    Like

  57. Curt,

    Refusing to provide goods and services because of the group one belongs to, is that abuse?

    Note what Jeff said. No one was refused goods or services. Phillips serves gay customers. He just doesn’t make cakes for homosexual weddings. He doesn’t make them for Halloween either. Are the Wiccans right to sue him?

    It isn’t murder, does that mean it is not abuse?

    No.

    You haven’t given any principles to define abuse.

    Nor do I need to. I’m not arguing that homosexuals have in the past and are even now suffering systemic abuse. I asked you for evidence that widespread employment discrimination, murder, etc. is happening now. You’ve given me nothing. The best you have is “28 states can fire somebody…” That’s very misleading. Simply because 28 states don’t have an “equal treatment of homosexuals in employment law,” doesn’t mean people can be up and fired, and even if it did, it doesn’t mean they are being fired. There are lots of laws on the books that simply aren’t enforced.

    At the same time, you are not going ask people who have been denied goods and services because of the group they belong about their experiences?

    No one is being denied goods and services. What is being denied is the right for one group to tell another: “You must endorse me.” And I might be somewhat sympathetic if someone’s feelings were hurt or their life was made inconvenient, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to change the law because of it. If you have to choose another baker to get a cake, you have not been harmed. Period. If they beat you up while refusing service, you’ve been harmed.

    And that seems to be an odd position take for a Christian who wants people to listen to him/her about the Gospel. For why should people listen to those who don’t return the favor?

    I’m happy to listen. I’m not happy to agree that real harm has been done.

    In your note, are you saying that murder is the minimal standard for abuse? If so, isn’t your response a continuation of what your wrote before about those in the LGBT community not being marginalized because they didn’t suffer as much as Blacks did? That is an odd position to take in a nation that promises equality.

    And for your unanswered question. You haven’t shown why it should be answered. You haven’t shown how same-sex marriage is more similar to polygamy than it is to monogamous heterosexual marriage for the question to be answered.

    I’ve said that polygamy is more similar to heterosexual marriage than heterosexual marriage is similar to homosexual marriage. And that’s because gender differences really matter.

    Though one could add that since marriage is a complete union between two parties including a legal union, that adding another party destroys the kind of union that the original two parties have.

    Marriage is not “a complete union between two parties.” It never was that before Obergefell, and it never was that in history. It was a union between man and woman for the purpose of raising children and producing virtuous citizens. And even now, marriage is not legally “a complete union between two parties including a legal union.” There’s all sorts of limitations: age, family relationships, etc.

    That laws regarding property ownership for spouses and property division after death of a spouse cannot accommodate any form of polygamy.

    Why? You can divide things more than two ways.

    That polygamous marriages introduces with it inequality in relationship, property ownership and division after separation or death.

    Why? Spend equal time with each wife; divide property according to number of spouses. etc.

    BTW, people are free to practice polygamy outside of marriage. But when it comes to marriage, laws regarding the marital union of two people cannot accommodate polygamy.

    Sure they could. Change the laws. The laws were changed in Obergefell.

    You’re all up in arms calling inconvenience harm with the cake bakers, but you don’t like polygamy because it would be inconvenient to change the laws?

    Maybe try to think a little bit more with your mind than with your emotions. I’m under no obligation by the Gospel to have my life ruled by immature homosexuals who can’t believe that they might have to go next door for a cake. I’m sorry if that sounds cruel, but sinners don’t get to define right and wrong.

    Like

  58. I’m just waiting for the Reformed baker to refuse a first communion cake for the Catholic, i.e. confirming idolatry with pastry. Not likely to capture much high profile attention, insider religion not being as exciting as sex, but isn’t it true in any of these cases that sometimes it’s just a cake?

    Like

  59. Zrim: isn’t it true in any of these cases that sometimes it’s just a cake?

    Sure. If you ask for a plain cake, no decorations — it’s just a cake.

    If you ask for a wedding cake, it’s just a wedding cake.

    If you ask for a wedding cake with “Congratulations Dave and Charlie”, it’s just a wedding cake with a congratulatory message.

    Recommended reading: the first few pages of petitioner’s brief. Phillips is not being unreasonable here.

    Like

  60. @z should a Jewish baker be forced to make a cake with an 88 on it?? Can he distinguish between a mom getting her kid a cake woth his favorite reciever’s numbwon it and a biker dude with a swastika tatted on his hand? The rule has to be value neutral. The line should be commissions it seems to me.

    Like

  61. Zrim,

    It might be just a cake, but that’s not the issue. The issue is forcing someone to do something that is against their conscience, whether you think their conscience is right or not, or consistent or not.

    Like

  62. Jeff, thanks. That one actually makes some sense. It has nothing to do with conscience, the shop simply doesn’t sell Catholic stuff. I don’t se what’s anti-Catholic there.

    sbd, I don’t know about forcing anyone to do anything here. I’m just wondering from one conscience to another what the problem is. It’s hard to see how providing a cake for an occasion amounts to some kind of intrinsic approval of a thing. Seems to me it’s part of the territory of any sort of merchant to have to broker items for occasions or activities with which that merchant may not personally approve. Of course, consciences are free in indifferent matters but sometimes I can’t help but wonder if some are simply over-sensitive.

    Like

  63. @Z Whether one’s conscience *should* be opposed to baking cakes celebrating same sex weddings is not really the question in this case. The question is whether one must express an idea one finds offensive if refusing to express that message results in a de facto discrimination against a protected group. If I’m a custom hat maker but refuse to make Yarmulkes, I could be guilty of religious discrimination. I might argue that I wouldn’t make one for a baptist or a jew, but I would lose. On the other hand, if I own a t-shirt company and someone wants a shirt that says “Calvinists are Jerks”, I can refrain from fulfilling the commission, because I cannot be forced to express an idea I disagree with. The hard question is when one is engaged in expressive activity whose literal message is neutral. Hence the example of 88. To one person it is Dez Bryant’s jersey number, to another it represents “Heil Hitler”. It seems pretty easy to me to distinguish between custom commissions and selling pre-made products. However, the situation is not so simple – activists on one side want to make statement that opposition to ssm (and the moral licitness of homosexuality more generally) should be stamped out of polite society and commerce. The other side wants to make a stand against this trend.

    I don’t know what I would do in this situation myself. I can see the argument that it isn’t the place of the Christian to judge the sexual mores of those outside the church (following Paul), so engaging in commerce that includes ss couples should not be a problem. On the other hand, none judging is not expressing the idea that something is a positive good which is what these florists, photographers, and bakers are being asked to do.

    Like

  64. Do I really need to know whom exactly and how many black persons have contributed to my betterment? How many gay persons names should I know? Do I need to know that the architect who designed that city hall over there was a member of NAMBLA? Oh wait, that is a voluntary affiliation. Never mind. But surely, I need to know he is sexually attracted to young males, right? I need to know for two purposes, according to Curt; firstly, so I can be assured the he and his likeminded members of our society do not suffer any marginalization, merely because he has ‘alternative’ sexual inclinations. And second, so we can appropriately celebrate it, and his courage to live ‘not like everybody else’. And all this so the world won’t judge the gospel harshly. Because, you know, if we loved Love, and loved loving Love, the whole world and their mothers would want to come to church.

    Like

  65. …but if said architect also believes that white people are the better race, then of corse we must burn down the building and make sure he and his family are ‘race-shamed’ for at least 100 years.

    Like

  66. Robert,
    That is not true. Goods and services were denied to a wedding service because of the orientation of the two people getting married. It’s like a pizza maker who delivers pizza to individual Christians but who refuses to deliver pizzas to any church function. Here, the discrimination is partial rather than full. And to declare that there is no discrimination simply because it is partial ignores when discrimination occurs.

    IF you are going to declare what is abuse or what isn’t, then, to avoid being arbitrary or prejudiced against a group or from requiring the rest of us to use the force, you need t identify the principles by which you are saying what is abuse or what isn’t abuse.

    Your request for widespread employment discrimination is akin to you claim that because individual gays were being served, there is no discrimination if same-sex weddings are being denied. Discrimination doesn’t have to be widespread for it to exist. And allowing sporadic discrimination only sets precedents for others to make that sporadic discrimination widespread. And whether sporadic discrimination can cause deprivation depends on the location and number of centers available. Whether such discrimination is systematic can depend on a number of factors. The first is whether the system allows for such discrimination. Without laws to prohibit such discrimination, the fact is that the system allows for that discrimination. That such discrimination against employment of gays in government jobs is documented. And that such allowable discrimination thus occurs in the private sector is documented too. Examples include the firing of 5,000 federal employees from 1947 to 1961 because of the sexual orientation of the worker. One could also include a 1950 US Senate committee report that declared that homosexuals were unfit for government service. And one only needs to look at the military and how long discrimination against gays serving in the military lasted. In those days, the scare of homosexuals was linked to the scare of Communists. What was also included was a federal registry with a list of those who were identified as homosexuals and they were labeled by some in the government as sexual perverts. The denial of employment based on sexual orientation lasted until 1975. That resulted in only a partial easing of discrimination because those identified as homosexuals could be denied security clearances. And that was addressed in 1990. But discrimination against homosexuals still occurred in the military, the FBI, and the Secret Service.

    With the criminalization of homosexuality, state occupations could be denied to those who were homosexuals. For example, hundred of educators lost their jobs in California during the 1950s. In Florida in the late 1950s and early 1960s, over one hundred lost state or federal jobs.

    In Iowa, some homosexuals could be legally labeled as sexual psychopaths. A purging in Sioux City cost over 30 homosexuals their jobs. There were other states that also conducted job purges and that lasted until the 1980s. But what is missed by that date is the stigma that resulted from laws and legal purges that lived past the 80s.

    Now none of the above includes those who were denied employment or how federal and state law policies spread to the private under various guises. But when the government pronounces that those who engage in homosexual acts are criminals or perverts, then a variety of reasons could be used by those in the private sector to deny jobs to those who are homosexual. And none of that includes the social stigma that follows the perceived need by many homosexuals to hide their orientations from even their families. And the above does not include those who are still legally harassed and/or dismissed from their private sector jobs because of sexual orientation because no state laws provide protection for those from the LGBT community.

    BTW, the above comes from the following report https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/5_History.pdf

    Also, the act of businesses selling goods and services to people is not an of endorsement. It is act that under the social contract, one is required to do in a capitalist economy. What businesses provide are goods and services in exchange for money. Providing goods and services for free, especially when the name of the business doing so could be used as PR, is an endorsement. The stores I shop at are not endorsing my actions, they are selling me stuff. But you should be able to reason how the past labeling of homosexuals by federal and state government produces discrimination when when one conflates the mere selling of goods and service with endorsing.

    As for your analogy, why do gender difference matter more than monogamy? Sorry, but in terms of seeing marriage as a union of two people and all of the spheres that union touches, gender differences don’t compare with the differences between polygamy and monogamy outside of the religious concerns of some faiths. After all, marriage isn’t for Christians only, it is open to all in a society we share with unbelievers. And that last point is the point that my fellow religiously conservative Christians consistently miss when they want to use their faith as a justification for discriminating against the LGBT community in public life.

    Like

  67. Jeff,
    One’s rights do not extend to the denying other people their rights. Your argument here uses the same basis as those who used their Christian faith as a defense for Jim Crow laws and practices. What Phillips did is akin to a pizza shop delivering pizzas to individual Christians but refusing to do the same to Christian events because of how the owner of the pizza shop religiously viewed Christianity. It was the group of those for whom the wedding reception was thrown that caused him to deny goods and services. Let me ask this: did he also deny making cakes for heterosexual couples whose marriages were not bibilically sound?

    Like

  68. sdb,
    If you want to argue for hybrid economies, I could join you. But that was not what you were writing.

    As for the rest, you are only showing an inbred ignorance of economics. Sorry but your denial of the Bretton-Woods system neoliberalism having become the preferred form of Capitalism and how I provided a link to an article that showed the IMF’s concern with neoliberalism shows how empty your comments are especially your comment that says neoliberalism seems to only exist in the minds of Chomsky and Zinn.

    You are only exhibiting an ignorance that hurts the reputation of the Gospel you are acting like a flat earther. There is much documentation identifying the Bretton-Woods System, neoliberalism in economics, even some distinguishing classical, neoclassical, and neoliberal economics. You need to read more than the sources you have been relying on. You are talking about economics in ways that conservatives, whose only knowledge of socialism comes from reading conservative sources, talk about socialism. Right now, I am not going argue when your lack of exposure causes you to make such blatantly false statements. And, btw, would call those who are living on under $2.00 a day middle class?

    Like

  69. Curt,

    Goods and services were denied to a wedding service because of the orientation of the two people getting married. It’s like a pizza maker who delivers pizza to individual Christians but who refuses to deliver pizzas to any church function. Here, the discrimination is partial rather than full. And to declare that there is no discrimination simply because it is partial ignores when discrimination occurs.

    Wait. So now you’re in favor of free markets?

    Like

  70. Curt,

    That is not true. Goods and services were denied to a wedding service because of the orientation of the two people getting married.

    Incorrect. They were denied because of the event. The same cake maker said he would deny a cake to a heterosexual couple buying a cake if it was for a gay wedding. He wouldn’t bake a cake for a polygamous wedding either. You’ve bought into the lie that gay marriage=heterosexual marriage.

    It’s like a pizza maker who delivers pizza to individual Christians but who refuses to deliver pizzas to any church function. Here, the discrimination is partial rather than full. And to declare that there is no discrimination simply because it is partial ignores when discrimination occurs.

    IF you are going to declare what is abuse or what isn’t, then, to avoid being arbitrary or prejudiced against a group or from requiring the rest of us to use the force, you need t identify the principles by which you are saying what is abuse or what isn’t abuse.

    The principle is what Scripture says is abuse. Scripture doesn’t say being inconvenienced is abuse. And there’s no psychological damage from being denied a wedding cake. The people who claim such damage are the ones who need psychological help. They’ve never grown up. They’re stuck at about age 3.

    Your request for widespread employment discrimination is akin to you claim that because individual gays were being served, there is no discrimination if same-sex weddings are being denied. Discrimination doesn’t have to be widespread for it to exist. And allowing sporadic discrimination only sets precedents for others to make that sporadic discrimination widespread.

    So all you can give me is widespread discrimination that is 30 plus years or more older. So you’ve got nothing. There’s no evidence of discrimination in 21st century America except when people like you define discrimination as making somebody have to walk ten feet to the cake maker next door.

    Now none of the above includes those who were denied employment or how federal and state law policies spread to the private under various guises. But when the government pronounces that those who engage in homosexual acts are criminals or perverts, then a variety of reasons could be used by those in the private sector to deny jobs to those who are homosexual. And none of that includes the social stigma that follows the perceived need by many homosexuals to hide their orientations from even their families. And the above does not include those who are still legally harassed and/or dismissed from their private sector jobs because of sexual orientation because no state laws provide protection for those from the LGBT community.

    Homosexuality is a perversion and it should have a social stigma attached to it. Please show me Scripturally where the Apostles or prophets encourage people to be open and unashamed of their sexual deviancy.

    Also, the act of businesses selling goods and services to people is not an of endorsement.

    Maybe for you it isn’t. But again, that isn’t the case here. The case is being forced to create a message celebrating something one finds to be anathema. I don’t know what I would do if I were the baker. What I do know is that I don’t want the government telling me what does and doesn’t contradict my religious beliefs.

    It is act that under the social contract, one is required to do in a capitalist economy.

    I thought capitalism was inherently exploitative and abusive in your mind. Now you’re defending it? Consistent much?

    What businesses provide are goods and services in exchange for money.

    That’s one aspect of what it is, yes.

    Providing goods and services for free, especially when the name of the business doing so could be used as PR, is an endorsement.

    And on what basis do you conclude this?

    The stores I shop at are not endorsing my actions, they are selling me stuff. But you should be able to reason how the past labeling of homosexuals by federal and state government produces discrimination when when one conflates the mere selling of goods and service with endorsing.

    What was denied is a cake produced for one specific event. The same baker makes holiday cakes but not Halloween cakes. Is he discriminating against Wiccans?

    As for your analogy, why do gender difference matter more than monogamy? Sorry, but in terms of seeing marriage as a union of two people and all of the spheres that union touches, gender differences don’t compare with the differences between polygamy and monogamy outside of the religious concerns of some faiths.

    Scripture does not say the essence of marriage is a union of two people. The essence is union of man and woman. All other forms of marriage are deviations. And Scripture is clear that some deviations are more acceptable than others. Polygamy is not God’s ideal, but it does not violate the norm the same way that homosexual marriage does because polygamy retains the man-woman complementarity. Scripture knows nothing of homosexual marriage, but there’s lots of polygamy. This isn’t an argument for polygamy. It’s trying to get you to recognize that the number two is irrelevant unless it is grounded in male-female complementarity. Homosexual marriage eliminates that. So now there is no principled reason to deny incestuous marriages, polygamous marriages, etc. other than existing law makes it somewhat impractical for polygamy. Guess what—existing laws made the Civil Rights movement inconvenient. The law can be changed.

    God very clearly does not view homosexual marriage as more analogous to heterosexual marriage than polygamy is analogous to heterosexual marriage. You could be executed for homosexual acts under the Mosaic law. Not for polygamy. Paul explicitly says that homosexuality is a particularly clear rejection of God’s authority and revelation.

    Both Scripture and natural revelation testify that homosexuality is a deviant behavior. We don’t have to be mean to homosexuals, but we also don’t have to normalize them. And again, why do you care only about the “civil rights” of homosexuals? We’re denying the “civil rights” of polygamists merely because of inconvenience, adult incestuous couples, people who want to marry their dog, etc. I don’t see much evidence you’ve thought through any kind of consistent moral framework that would allow one and not the other. All you are doing is repeating the left’s talking points. How often have you said, “Love is love”? I reckon an awful lot.

    After all, marriage isn’t for Christians only, it is open to all in a society we share with unbelievers.

    Yes. It is open to everyone who wants to marry someone of the opposite gender. That’s what GOD gave to humanity in Genesis 2.

    And that last point is the point that my fellow religiously conservative Christians consistently miss when they want to use their faith as a justification for discriminating against the LGBT community in public life.

    More mindless repetition of the left’s talking points. If it were one issue, that would be one thing, but all we hear from you is leftist economics and now leftist descriptions of civil rights issues.

    Like

  71. utterlyreforemed,
    What building are we burning down?

    And can we first stop the significant amount of racism before talking about the difference between never forgetting and forever shaming someone? Should Germany forget the part of its history where the Nazis were in charge?

    Like

  72. D.G.
    I don’t believe that requiring a business to provide goods and services to protected groups is in accord with free markets. Somehow, the word ‘free’ lost its meaning in your question. Plus, I already explicitly told you what kind of markets I believe in. Have you no memory?

    Like

  73. As for the rest, you are only showing an inbred ignorance of economics. Sorry but your denial of the Bretton-Woods system neoliberalism having become the preferred form of Capitalism and how I provided a link to an article that showed the IMF’s concern with neoliberalism shows how empty your comments are especially your comment that says neoliberalism seems to only exist in the minds of Chomsky and Zinn.

    No idea how you got any of that from what I wrote. What I denied was that neoliberalism is identical Bretton-Woods. Bretton-Woods was a monetary among the “western” nations (allied nations and those they occupied). “Neoliberalism” is a loose term usually used polemically. It is generally understood to be the mid-20th century trend away from socialism without turning back to the 19th century laissez-faire ideals. Here is Milton Friedmann on “neoliberalism” from a 1951 article,

    Neo-liberalism would accept the nineteenth century liberal emphasis on the fundamental importance of the individual, but it would substitute for the nineteenth century goal of laissez- faire as a means to this end, the goal of the competitive order. It would seek to use competition among producers to protect consumers from exploitation, competition among employers to protect workers and owners of property, and competition among consumers to protect the enterprises themselves. The state would police the system, establish conditions favorable to competition and prevent monopoly, provide a stable monetary framework, and relieve acute misery and distress. The citizens would be protected against the state by the existence of a free private market; and against one another by the preservation of competition.

    Perhaps Friedman should have read more economics as well? At any rate, substitute whatever phrase you prefer. My thesis is simple: The shift from economic collectivism and state owned industry (i.e., socialism) to privately owned industry and freer markets (i.e., capitalism; not anarcho-capitalism, laissez-faire economics, or whatever straw man happens to be in vogue among those who complain about the reduction of any state power). As nations in the west shifted away from socialism in Britain, France, Nordic countries, and throughout developing countries, we saw a decrease in infant mortality, hunger, war, and poverty and a concomitant increase in wealth, life expectancy, and freedom. Things certainly aren’t perfect and trade-offs are an issue. More reform is definitely necessary, and the interaction between culture and technological developments mean that regulatory needs will vary from nation to nation and overtime within a nation. However, it has become quite clear that centralized planning and state ownership of industry is suboptimal. That being said, those of us who adhere to a 2K perspective would say that it isn’t sinful for you to adhere to your naive political/economic stance even if its adoption would make everyone much worse off. Your uncharitable accusations of ignorance point towards a more concerning problem – those who like to accuse others of selfishness and lack of love while extolling care for people in the abstract all the while lacking these virtues in their character. You know log, speck, and all that. Anyway, I don’t see that further conversation in this thread will be fruitful. Have a Merry Christmas.

    Like

  74. D.G.,
    What are you saying? That markets are completely free or totally regulated? And if there is some regulation, how are they forced? What do you mean by ‘forced markets’? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Like

  75. sdb,
    What you practically denied was the existence of the Bretton-Woods System since you said that we have had basically the same economy since the 19th century and that caused slavery in India to drop from 15% of the population to 1.5%. What you didn’t account for in your percentages was the population differences. So you have shown that, in terms of the number of people, slavery has dropped in percentages, but not necessarily in numbers. And not all of that drop could be attributed to neoliberalism, which has been distinguished from past economic systems from which it borrows. IN addition, slavery has been spiking in terms of raw numbers in India for the past few years.

    You really need to get out more when it comes to reading. Overall, Neoliberalism is a response to the Bretton-Woods system and the problems it experienced in the 1970s. In nations like Chilé, it was used to replace an economic system that was beginning to lean to the left, but it required a military coup and subsequent dictatorship to install. And, if one wanted to replace Chilé’s economic system, it wouldn’t have to do so with neoliberalism. America’s and Great Britain’s adoption of neoliberalism had nothing to do with socialism. Neoliberalism is a global phenomenon and showed the changing direction of Capitalism, not necessarily the alternative to Socialism.

    Why didn’t you read the article, which I provided a link to, that cited the IMF’s criticisms of neoliberalism? Its criticisms revolve around the austerity that neoliberalism promotes and the free flow of capital. Its conclusions is that the growing wealth dsiparity, which is a common experience in those nations that employ neoliberalism, interferes with and even stops development. Austerity contributes greatly to that wealth disparity. And here, again, is a difference between neoliberalism and the Bretton-Woods system. With the Bretton-Woods system, growth in America occurred equally among all economic classes. That is opposed to the growing wealth disparity seed in neoliberaism.

    Also, please note that when the state is a democratic state, then neoliberalism doesn’t protect the citizen against the democratic state, it limits the level of democracy that people in a given state can enjoy. The only rule of thumb Freidman uses for the state to intervene is competition. But that competition favors developed nations while putting undeveloped nations in an economic caste system. And we should note that America used protectionism, not free markets, to develop many of its industries. Thus, to force neoliberalism on developing nations is to ‘kick away the ladder’ that got nations like America to where it was, and partially still is, in the world.

    Like

  76. Curt,
    You linked an editorial about a paper by the IMF. In my response, I cited the original paper. I read both the editorial and the original paper. The editorial uses “neoliberalism” polemically. I’m adopting a more value neutral understanding that refers to post-19th century flavors of capitalism that reject the laissez-faire ideal on one hand and state owned/directed economies on the other. The IMF article you cling to starts: ”There is much to cheer in the neoliberal agenda. The expansion of global trade has rescued millions from abject poverty. Foreign direct investment has often been a way to transfer technology and know-how to developing economies. Privatization of state-owned enterprises has in many instances led to more efficient provision of services and lowered the fiscal burden on governments.­”

    The gains in India and China are largely driven by the liberalization of their markets and trade. That is true of South America and Africa as well. Capitalism >>Socialism.

    Like

  77. D.G.,
    If requiring someone to do business in a way they don’t choose interferes with exploiting people or the environment, then perhaps the way people are doing business has problems.

    Whatever happened to the consent of the buyer and seller? There are two problems with that statement. First, consent is sometimes coerced and thus that question becomes more complicated that it appears to be. Second, there are other stakeholders involved in commerce besides the buyer and seller. IN other words, the fault of your question is that it employs reduction to oversimplify what happens in any business transaction..

    Like

  78. sdb,
    Again, you are demonstrating a lack of knowledge. The references to neoliberalism were technical, not polemic. Both austerity and allowing for the free flow of capital out of a nation are standard parts and practices of neoliberalism. Today’s neoliberalism is not identical to what you are referring to from the 19th century. Thus attributing gains in China and India that date back to the 19th century to neoliberalism shows, again, a lack of knowledge of the subject. If you want to look at what neoliberalism has wrought, then examine the parts of the world that have employed it starting with Chilé and Argentina both of which suffered military coups to pave the way for neoliberalism.

    Like

  79. D.G.,
    You really don’t know what socialism from a Marxist tradition is about. That form of socialism believes that the workers should control the means of production. Perhaps you should take a break from reading the Westminster standards to read what Socialists say before commenting on socialism.

    Like

  80. “The references to neoliberalism were technical, not polemic. Both austerity and allowing for the free flow of capital out of a nation are standard parts and practices of neoliberalism.”
    That is not how I have been using it. Nor is there an uncontested “technical” definition of the term. Those labeled “neoliberal” by leftist critics do not accept the characterization for themselves. Right of center economist use it to refer to the rejection of state-run economies on onehand and laissez-faire economicson the other. This encompasses a broad range of economic policy which is why I selected the label originally. But whatever. If you don’t like my use of the label pick another to describe the roll back of state control of economies and rejection of laissez-faire policies that we saw in the US, Britain, Nordic countries, China, India, and Africa

    “Today’s neoliberalism is not identical to what you are referring to from the 19th century.”
    Exactly. It is the rejection of the laissez-faire ideal. ‘Limited’ regulation is not ‘no’ regulation. After the 19th century things started to improve, but really took off in the “west” post-ww2 and elsewhere as socialism was pared back and trade made more free. Again, my argument is about trends. As economic trends went the opposite direction advocated by MLK, the world got better.

    “Thus attributing gains in China and India that date back to the 19th century to neoliberalism shows, again, a lack of knowledge of the subject.”
    Virtually all the gains in China have happened in las 40yrs. India’s reforms were earlier. My point in going back to slavery rates in the 19th century is that there is a massive long term trend over the past 100yrs after 50,000 yrs of modern humanity. That’s a big deal that contextualizes the fluctuations you are harpingon.

    ” If you want to look at what neoliberalism has wrought, then examine the parts of the world that have employed it starting with Chilé and Argentina both of which suffered military coups to pave the way for neoliberalism.”
    Only if you rely on leftist polemicists for framing your analysis. I don’t. Chile is great – I have made several trips a year for the past 15yrs. Lovethe culture. Economy is pretty good, but too dependent on mining. Free trade helps them a lot. Socialism has killed Venezuela, Cuba, and is crushing Bolivia. Hopefully these lessons further moderate Chile’s leftward direction.

    At any rate, you have completely missed the mark on whst I do and don’t know. When you teach a graduate seminar on econophysics, you can assess my knowledge. Until then you would benefit from reading responses charitably, responding to the argument made, and dropping the accusations of bad faith and ignorance. My argument is simple and so far u refuted. As economies have liberalized and trade has gotten free”r”, life expectancy has gone up, infant mortality has dropped, hunger has dropped, war has declined, violence has declined, those living in extreme poverty hss plummeted, and literacy is up. Over the past 50 yrs, virtually every measure of well being has gotten better. The data are clear. One might try to argue cause and effect, but your approach of denying gains and playing word games is indicative of one who thinks he has everything to teach and nothing to learn. Your authoritarian instincts are showing.

    Like

  81. D.G.,
    According to Socialists/Communists like Gorbachev and Khrushchev, no he wasn’t. In fact, if you look at what Rosa Luxemburg wrote, Lenin did not institute a Socialist government, he installed and maintained a bourgeoisie dictatorship. Now who said these things is not as important as why they said those things.

    It was Marxist who insisted that the proletariat dictatorship was necessary to bring utopia. That means that the proletariat dictatorship was necessary for socialism or communism. And, btw, that proletariat dictatorship was, in actuality, a partial democracy. But you will find in the reigns of Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Mao, and even Chavez, that such a dictatorship was nowhere to be seen. Gorbachev’s Glasnost and Perestroika was approaching such a dictatorship. But what approaches that dictatorship more than Gorbachev’s plans, which were opposed by the major lenders to Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union, are the codetermination laws that exist in several European nations like Germany and Denmark. Do those laws install a proletariat dictatorship? No. But they do invest in workers more political power at the workplace by requiring certain percentages of worker representation on a company’s board of directors depending on the number of employees. It is that redistribution of power that defines how socialistic, from a Marxist tradition, a structure is. Of course, that alone doesn’t address the need to redistribute political power in government, but it helps.

    Like

  82. sdb,
    That is fine, but we can’t use terms as if they were a waxed nose. Austerity measures and the free flow of capital are part and parcel of today’s neoliberalism. And today’s neoliberalism has significant differences from yesteryear’s neoclassical or liberal economic systems. We are talking about today and not then. And your admission of how you were using the term supports my contention that you do not know what you are talking about.

    Further proof that you do not know what you are talking about is when you claim that neoliberalism is a rejection of laissez-faire capitalism. That could not be farther than the truth. Trade organizations, like the WTO, and agreements like the proposed TPP push a more consistent application of laissez-faire capitalism that what existed before. And Freidman’s view of where the government is necessary is a limit on laissez-faire capitalism.

    Now I am not going to respond anymore to you. It isn’t just the combination of your claims to know what you are talking about with your ignorance that makes these discussions go nowhere. It is responses like your claim that my recanting of his is due to leftist polemics. Such a response shows a refusal to deal with the details of positions and views rather than a rebuttal of them.

    Like

  83. Curt, workers representation on a company’s board? That’s all it takes to buy you off? That’s a long way from the abolition of private property. Make radicalism great again.

    Like

  84. D.G.,
    No, but it is a start. We also need greater worker representation in government. After all, both the Senate and the House represent by location. And the top 3 occupations of those elected officials are government employees including elected officials, lawyers, and business people. Educators come in 4th. So other occupations go unrepresented because representation in Congress is based solely on location and it requires money to get elected so most of our representatives are already wealthy or pander to those with wealth.

    So why not keep one house in Congress the status quo and change the other so that representation is based on occupation. And something similar could be modified or added to our state governments.

    You might like radicalism for the sake of radicalism, I don’t. Most radicalism forgets the following modified quote from Martin Luther King Jr:


    The ________ arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

    With today’s ideological, religious, and racial tribalism, one could legitimately insert a number of group names into the fill in the blank. Hybrid thinking helps avoid the above pitfall.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.