Global Christian Perspectives – September 25, 2015

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News Segment:  30  mins  – Times are flexible.

Pope’s visit

               General reaction to the Pope’s visit and what he says over the next few days

Ben Carson’s Statement on Islam and the Presidency

While At first I was troubled by the clips of Carson’s statement I heard when I heard the full clip I changed my view, and now see this in just another in a very long line of media hit pieces.  While I think he could have been a bit clearer, given it was an off the cuff answer, I do not really see any problem here.

Immigration in Europe

This remains a growing and major crisis.  My view is that it is likely to remain, and in fact get worse, until the source of the problem is dealt with, something few seem willing to address.

News Segment:  30  mins

Rights ? Do they exist? What are they?

Historically human rights were grounded in a belief in God, i.e. what God had given no one not even the King could take away.    This view was beautifully summed up by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence when he wrote,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

You can see this behind the argument of Lincoln in the 7th and last debate against Douglas when near the end he argues,

That is the real issue. That is the issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between these two principles-right and wrong-throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, “You work and toil and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.” No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.

Today rights have been disconnected from God, and without a basis have drifted into chaos where China can claim it can suppress individual rights because it has a Right to Develop.  Where every wish become a right because it is desired.

The slavery issue remains a factor here. I do not believe there is such a thing as a right that impinges on others.  Your right to life, liberty and the pursue of happiness, for example, should not affect me, nor does it make any demands of me.  The moment it does, it ceases to be a right.

The “right” of another cannot be to force me to work on their behalf, and yet much of the modern welfare state is built on just that sort of mandate. 2/3 of the US budget is transfer payments, taking money from some people to give it to others. Thus if I am lucky, I will only have to work well into my 70s before I can retiree because in part I have to pay for government workers some of whom retire with 100% pensions at 55.  What do we normally call it when one person is forced to work for the benefit of another? Now days it is called a right.

2 thoughts on “Global Christian Perspectives – September 25, 2015”

  1. The Pope – I hope that people listen to what the Pope has said and will say in the coming days. It is quite clear that he is not doing “business as usual” but trying to get the Catholic church back to what it is supposed to be doing. He is also more of a realist that some of predecessors. Taken together, he may be turning around the decline of the church.

    For me, the interesting thing is that many of his detractors probably don’t have a clue what he is talking about or how it fits into the scheme of things. A comment was made on Facebook today that categorized the speech to Congress as good theology, which it was.

    Ben Carson – I realize that it is entirely possible to say some of things that he said and mean them; but in the context of his background and education, I wonder how he pulls it off. I think that he is trying to become the “nicer Donald Trump”, catering to the same audience but trying to soften the tone.

    He does not do well with “off-the-cuff” remarks and his inability in that area is going to hurt more than help.

    Immigration – One of the things that I actually got to hear the Pope say to Congress today was that he was the child of immigrants and that everyone who listened to him were the children of immigrants as well. We tend to forget that (just as we tend to forget how the immigrants who are our ancestors were first treated). Now, having written that, how does this apply to Europe?

    I think that we have to understand that there aren’t too many people who can claim that their ancestors were among the first to live in a specific country. With one or two specific situations, an analysis of languages would show that there are common threads among all the people of Europe. That would say a lot about how the problem is resolved.

    Rights – One of the common sayings in the late ’60s was that my right to throw my fist in the your direction ends just before it hits your face. Perhaps that’s a bit overstated but the essence of rights is that I can do things as long as they don’t prevent others from doing the same. Laws evolve when there is a disagreement between individuals as to who is right and who is wrong.

    We must also have a level playing field. Slavery was justified (as was segregation and apartheid later) but saying that one group of people were somehow better than another. And when Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men were created equal”, he had a particular group in mind (which did not include a good portion of the population). Our vision of equality has radically changed that particular statement (and for the good, I hope).

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