Archive for ‘Christianity’

April 25, 2009

Blind Men and the Elephant: Hayek, Christianity and Catholic ‘Social Teaching’

Sometimes I describe myself as a conservative in politics, an Austrian in economics, a Christian by faith, a Calvinist by doctrine and a Southerner by the grace of God. All of these commitments are involved in my colloquy with Andrew Cusack, who took umbrage at my proudly Protestant skepticism toward Catholic “social teaching,” inspiring me to respond at length:

Every faithful Christian seeks to understand what is required of him, as an individual, in dealings with his fellow man. We strive, or at least should strive, for honesty and fairness in matters of business. Yet when we attempt to reason upward, as it were, from the level of individual morality to the question of “social justice,” the One True Way becomes increasingly less obvious. Thoughtful minds see that this is a utopian mission, an effort toward universalistic one-size-fits-all prescription, with some central authority dictating down to the minutest level what is prohibited and what is required. During the 1970s, after radicals had captured majority power in the municipal government of Berkeley, Calif., a shopkeeper put up a sign in his window sarcastically describing the new order: “That which is not forbidden is mandatory.”
This is the meddlesome tendency unleashed when we make “social justice” our goal in politics and economic. What is “social justice” to the SEIU labor organizer, to the ACORN activist, to the HHS bureaucrat, to the La Raza militant, to the GM executive, to Tim Geithner?

Please read the whole thing. Man, this “top Hayekian public intellectual” stuff keeps a fellow busy. You ought to hit the tip jar. That’s my idea of “social justice.”

November 11, 2008

Palin: A praying woman

During her interview with Greta Van Susteren, Sarah Palin discussed the possibility of a 2012 presidential campaign:

“You know, I have — faith is a very big part of my life. And putting my life in my creator’s hands — this is what I always do,” said Palin, who served as running mate to Senator John McCain.
“I’m like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I’m like, don’t let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is,” she added.
“Even if it’s cracked up a little bit, maybe I’ll plow right on through that and maybe
prematurely plow through it, but don’t let me miss an open door.
“And if there is an open door in ’12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I’ll plow through that door.”

I remember, shortly after she was nominated, seeing a video of her talk to a church group, where she said she hoped that the U.S. mission in Iraq was in accordance with God’s will. And I felt, at that moment, a great calm. This is obviously a praying woman, who sincerely seeks God’s will, and it seemed obvious that He had some work for her to do in the mysterious scheme of Providence. Whether or not, the Republicans won, I felt that God had a hand in it, and so I am perfectly at ease with the idea that Obama’s election is likewise part of the divine plan.

Shortly before the election, and long after I had written off the possibility of a Republican victory, a Christian woman I know told me that she’d heard that the McCain campaign had instituted daily prayer sessions. And I told her that I was taught that God always answers prayer — but “no” qualifies as an answer. She didn’t mind that reply, and though she desperately wanted the GOP to win and was heartbroken by the defeat, she remains steadfast in her faith that God’s will is ultimately sovereign.

God’s chosen people, the Israelites, were enslaved by Egypt, then conquered by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. A remnant of Judah was restored, but then conquered by the Romans, who ultimately destroyed the temple at Jerusalem and scattered the surviving Jews. Does this mean that God favored Egypt, Assyria or Rome? No, those heathen nations were mere instruments in His work of chastising Israel for its sins, and in ultimately perfecting His great work of salvation.

We can deserve no favor of God. He is sovereign, and any blessing He bestows upon us is grace and mercy, since we deserve nothing but destruction. We should be grateful even for His chastisement as a blessing, an indication of His special interest in us. If it is God’s will to destroy us, nothing can save us. However, if it is His will to save us, nothing can destroy us. Therefore we ought to be humble and grateful to have hitherto escaped destruction.

If Sarah Palin believes in that basic Romans 8:28 kind of truth — and it seems she does — and He “opens that door,” then I will feel that it is for a reason, without presuming to know what the reason is. But the fact that this formerly obscure woman is now the No. 1 news topic in America (frankly, she’s far more interesting than Obama) ought to be recognized for the miracle it is.

Hey, Allah: Believe, baby!