Monday, October 31, 2011

Innes and Harper at AEI

Friday was a big day. I took the Acela down to DC to speak at a luncheon event at the American Enterprise Institute. They invited me and my co-author, Lisa Sharon Harper of Sojourners, to speak about our book, Left, Right and Christ: Evangelical Faith in Politics. We each spoke for about 15 minutes and then took questions. AEI has released five clips from our remarks. Here are my two.

In this one I talk about God's purpose in establishing government.

In this one, I state that a more fully Christian view of government is that it must secure not only individuals, but families and the fabric of cummunities in general.

Here they catch Lisa in her astonishing Robin Hood view of the Republicans and the Democrats. When she was a girl in 1976, she followed her mother around campaigning for Jimmy Carter. "Why are we Democrats, Mom?," she asked. Mom said that whereas the Republicans take money from the poor and give it to the rich, the Democrats take back from the rich and give it to the poor. "It stuck," she said.

Yup. Apparently it's that simple. Politics is the practice of plunder and counter-plunder. That view is not unique to my co-author. It is the standard, Sojourners, left-wing Evangelical view. For this reason, I think that Left, Right and Christ is a valuable book for setting side-by-side the poilitical alternatives for the Evangelical community.

Update: Here is the whole hour! Jaw dropping moments here.

Here we are the same day on Fox's Lauren Green Show.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

More Weirdness from Herman Cain

Here is another reason that you don't put someone up for President who has never held elected office. This new Herman Cain ad is just plain weird. Who puts his campaign manager in a testimonial ad? And if you did, why would you let him blow smoke at the camera? And then Cain's creepy grin? What was that supposed to accomplish?

Will the Tea Party do for America what they did for Nevada (nominate the erratic and unelectable Sharron Angle) and Delaware (nominate the utterly incompetent and unelectable Christine O'Donnell), giving us ruinous, far left government?

Mitch Daniels, where are you?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Left, Right and Occupy Wall Street

People are comparing the Tea Party to Occupy Wall Street. Okay. Let's do that.

Tea Party people have jobs and families.  The Occupy Wall Street crowd is peopled largely by scruffy college students and full-time radicals with no clue as to how things really work. No one gets arrested at Tea Party rallies. There is no public copulation or distribution of condoms. I don't recall a theme of anti-semitism at Tea Party rallies. Not like this woman at an L.A. Occupy Wall Street west coast spin-off. 

Tea Partiers have no record of issuing death threats to their opponents. 

Like this:

we are going to sow the kind of choas [sic] you are unequipped to deal with,” the email said. “And you’re going to find yourself in a country where you and your wealthy friends are gonig [sic] to be hunted.”
“Let me slit your throat you corporate whore ... I would slaughter your family as well if given the chance.”
Now where were we? Oh yes...No one in the Tea Party wants to destroy the foundations of the country. They want to strengthen and return to them. The Tea Party also has a coherent and focused message: stop the spending and reduce the debt. Occupy Wall Street, by contrast, is a movement without a message. If OWS has any clear message, it's "I'm silly, young, and passionate. Co-opt me!"

On that subject, on Lisa Sharon Harper and I have dueling columns for the next few weeks. This week I wrote, "Dreamers at Occupy Wall Street."

I begin with the humorous tag line, "If Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" was the anthem for the 60s protests, the anthem for Occupy Wall Street has to be Harry McClintock's "Big Rock Candy Mountain." [Follow the link to the original video of McClintock singing the song]"

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
There's a land that's fair and bright,
Where the handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out every night.

I end with this surely-to-be-unheeded warning to the Evangelical left who are frantic with over-realized eschatology.

What I see in the Evangelical political left is a dangerous, and I believe unbiblical, combination of Utopian expectations for government combined with an unjustifiably optimistic willingness to empower government for this breathtaking work. They want the Kingdom of God on earth; they want shalom fully realized now through political and economic reform. But if they came into the power they would need for this, they would quickly find their own movement co-opted by opportunists and their beautiful new day turned into a nightmare.
The in my column today, "The Occupiers and the National Divide," I lament that Obama's embrace of OWS will just further deepen our national divide. "It will further radicalize the division in our country between the Friends of ’76 viewpoint of standing by our founding political tradition of limited government and the 20th century progressive vision of benevolent, centralized, technocratic oversight of all things."

Obama came to office promising "hope and change" in connection with being a "post-partisan president" who would take us beyond left and right, liberal and conservative, red state and blue state. But he meant that in the same way the the Soviet Union said they wanted world peace, by which they meant world communism. Obama wanted to make political debate irrelevant in an administrative state when everything was decided by liberal technocrats. Hence, Karl Rove today with truth, that Barack Obama is "the most rigidly ideological modern president." He doesn't actually believe in politics, the essence of which is self-government among equals.

By the way, in the column, I cite a Douglas Schoen OWS survey that revealed “nearly one-third (31 percent) would support violence to advance their agenda.” One of my students saw immediately that in the event of violence, much more than that would get caught up in the frenzy. Another WSJ article goes into the details of the survey to reveal subtleties in the data.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Our Ambivalence About Justice

Can you call yourself a political community, i.e., "a people," if you disagree with one another over what justice is. Both Aristotle and Augustine would say no.

That is the subject of my recent WORLDmag column, "Cheering Justice." Even Evangelicals (the Evangelical political left notwithstanding) seem ambivalent about the government's role in retributive justice.

In the end, the problem comes down to theology, not political theory. People do not believe that God has revealed Himself in the Bible as “infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, goodness, justice, and truth” (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 4). I find this squeamishness, even among some of my evangelical Christian students, about God’s retributive justice—about the effective execution of divine wrath by God’s appointed, sword-bearing agents—a cause for cultural and political concern.

If divine authority does not stand behind political office, then police power and the power of war become simply means of control, not instruments of justice. If there is no divine justice, no transcendent standard of good and evil, then politics is just as Thrasymachus told Socrates in The Republic, “the advantage of the stronger.”

Look at that! Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine all in the same post on current politics! How do people function in life without knowing these authors?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Gospel Seen from the Left

Here is my co-author, Lisa Sharon Harper, answering the question, "What is an Evangelical?"

Lisa Sharon Harper: What's an Evangelical? from Sojourners on Vimeo.

I have entitled this post "The Gospel Seen from the Left." Should it read "The Left seen from the Gospel?" Any comments?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Charming Cheers for Despotism

So Rosanne Barr would send the very rich to re-education camps or to the guillotine to cut off their heads. Ha, ha, ha. Well, she's funny. But she didn't seem to be joking.

She is down there at the Wall Street protests among the radicals who, like her, have no patience with constitutional government and the rule of law. They have no patience with other people who are not as enlightened as their 20 year-old selves.

But if Barr were spouting the same kill-your-political-opponents and concentration camp rhetoric from a Nazi or Fascist stance instead of from the communist direction (a la Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot), the liberal media establishment would respond with something other than charmed amusement. There is nothing charming about this.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Innes's Favorite Videos

Here are three FUNNY videos that come to mind these days when I think of funny videos.

This is a an instructional video on how to worship (in a charismatic church). You know that's going to be funny.

If there were a youth pastor on "The Office," this guy would be him.

From Christianity (more or less) to Kung Fu (so to speak). If you haven't met him before, you will never forget this Kung Fu Hillbilly.

Speaking of religion, here is John Pinette, the man with the Gleasonesque voice, on what he seems to love above all things (at least for comic purposes): food!

Of course this does not include the eTrade baby commercials! More fun stuff on my "humor" tag.