Matthew Bracken – Enemies Foreign and Domestic
The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and we have our winners for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.
In justice, too, to our excellent Constitution, it ought to be observed, that it has not placed our religious rights under the power of any public functionary. – Thomas Jefferson
The life of West, Nietzsche said, is based on Christianity. The values of the West are based on Christianity. Some of these values seem to have taken a life of their own, and this gives us the illusion that we can get rid of Christianity and keep the values. This, Nietzsche says, is an illusion…Remove the Christian foundation, and the values must go too. – Dinesh D’Souza
Those who want the government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide. – Harry S. Truman
There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire. If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage. – James Witherspoon, 1775
This week’s winning essay, Bookworm Room’s Jesus would have supported RFRA is a superb look at the current assault on religious freedom in America by government diktat. Here’s a slice:
The useful thing about the Left’s willingness to expose its ignorance is that analyzing its errors often leads one to greater truths. For me, the greater truth flowing from a poster highlighting Leftist stupidity is that Jesus almost certainly would have approved of Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as well as similar acts in other states and under federal law.
Being Jewish, I have to admit that I don’t usually run things through a “What Would Jesus Do” filter. However, I started thinking along those lines when a large number of my Leftist Facebook friends got very excited about this Easter poster:
My first thought was that, in general principle, the man who preached the Sermon on the Mount would not have approved of that poster. Jesus was not generally a fan of flogging:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
Still, there’s a grain of truth in that anti-Christian poster. Upon his entry into Jerusalem, Jesus did yell at the money changers and tip over their tables. What enraged him, though, wasn’t their profession, even though he did castigate their enclave as a “den of thieves.” Instead, he was upset because they were profaning the holy area of the Temple. Matthew describes an angry man:
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
John describes a man willing to use the lash to clean God’s house:
And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;
And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
What Lefties, who are “instruction” learners, rather than “principle” learners, take away from John is very specific: Flog people who handle money. In fact, that’s completely wrong. I’ve already noted that, as a general. matter, Jesus did not believe in using violence against his fellow man, even if said fellow man was doing something mean or sinful. There was a bigger principle at stake here. What drove Jesus to a violent frenzy was the desecration of the Temple. Jesus had a clear hierarchy: Treat your fellow man with love and kindness; but treat God, his house, and his words, with absolute reverence, untainted by government or commerce.
Jesus’s clear delineation between religious and secular matters appears again when he was called upon to talk about taxes. When hostile questioners tried to get Jesus to reject as a matter of faith the taxes that Rome imposed on Jews, he instead drew a bright line in the sand: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”
The Founders, all of whom were steeped in the Bible even if they were not practicing Christians, knew about Jesus’s efforts to keep commerce and government away from the purity of faith. They were also aware of their own history: For more than 100 years, Christians and Jews had come to America to escape the stifling, and often deadly, restrictions imposed upon them by European governments because of their faith. It was in this context that the First Amendment came into being:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
More at the link.
In our non-Council category, the winner was Ace of Spades HQ with The New Intolerance: We Are Now Required To Embrace Just About Everything, Except the Gutter Religion Christianity submitted by Rhymes with Right. A must read.
Here are this week’s full results. Only Ask Marion was unable to vote this week, but was not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:
- *First place with 2 2/3 votes! – Bookworm Room – Jesus would have supported RFRA
- Second place *t* with 1 2/3 votes – The Noisy Room – Grover Norquist – The Enemy From Within On The Right
- Second place *t* with 1 2/3 votes – The Right Planet – Post-Mortem: Glenn Beck vs. Grover Norquist
- Third place *t* with 1 1/3 votes – Nice Deb – Pushing Back Against The Left’s Attack on Religious Freedom
- Third place *t* with 1 1/3 votes – The Independent Sentinel – Lt Gen Flynn-‘Incredible Policy Confusion’ While There Is a ‘Complete Breakdown of Order in the Middle East’
- Fourth place *t* with 1 vote – Don Surber – Norman Borlaug. He saved a billion lives
- Fourth place *t* with 1 vote – Joshuapundit – Cornell Dean: ‘Why Yes, ISIS Is Welcome To Train Jihadis On Campus!’
- Fifth place with 2/3 vote – Rhymes With Right – Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District Dies Not With A Bang, But A Whimper
- Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote – VA Right! – Is Hanover School Superintendent Wilson Allowing Porn in School Libraries? You be the Judge!
- Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote – GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD – Forget The Nukes – Kill The Regime
- *First place with 3 1/3 votes! – Ace of Spades HQ – The New Intolerance: We Are Now Required To Embrace Just About Everything, Except the Gutter Religion Christianity submitted by Rhymes with Right
- Second place *t* with 1 2/3 votes – The Diplomad 2.0 – Let’s Hear a Big “Yemen!” for Obama’s Foreign Policy! submitted by The Glittering Eye
- Second place *t* with 1 2/3 votes – Ross Douthat/NY Times – Questions For Indiana’s Critics submitted by Nice Deb
- Second place *t* with 1 2/3 votes – Victor Davis Hanson – The Putin Way submitted by The Watcher
- Third place with 1 1/3 vote – Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion – Exclusive: Virginia State Bar case against Israel trip falling apart submitted by Don Surber
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 votes – Alan Johnson/World Affairs Journal – Iran’s Latest Bait and Switch submitted by GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 votes – Sultan Knish – Obama’s Two State Tantrum submitted by The Noisy Room
- Fifth place *t* with 1/3 vote – Frank Gaffney, Jr./Center for Security Policy – Grover Norquist is No ‘Useful Idiot’ submitted by The Right Planet
- Fifth place *t* with 1/3 vote – Stately McDaniel Manor – Rape Investigation: Reality v. Narrative submitted by Bookworm Room
- Fifth place *t* with 1/3 vote – Timothy P. Carney/Washington Examiner – The Left wages total war; and then plays victim submitted by The Watcher
See you next week!
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the week’s nominees for Weasel of the Week!
And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.
It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it… or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.