Using the innocents, continued
: Following Debra Burlingame’s devastating attack on the International Freedom Center’s plans for the World Trade Center, its head, Richard Tofel, writes about it in today’s Wall Street Journal — but does not answer one of her (or my) issues. I challenge anyone to read Tofel’s drivel and tell me what the center will do, what it will have, what it will say, unless its walls will be covered in platitudes like his.
: Michele Malkin continues the attack on the center.
: Oliver Willis, in turn, attacks me for agreeing with Malkin on this. But, unfortunately, that’s the high-school mentality Oliver brings to such matters: He doesn’t address the issues but instead judges people merely by their associations. Malkin and I have met and agreed that we don’t agree about many things. But we most surely agree about this. We will not tolerate seeing the construction of a Why They Hate Us Pavillion, a Selective Sin Center at the World Trade Center.
: Kathy Shaidle isn’t suggesting what could happen at the new Center — and neither am I — but she can imagine what it might be.
: The big question is what we can do about this. We the people had some small input into the decision on the memorial — we at least got to submit our own and saw all the submissions. That process was transparent. This is opaque. As Wizbang says, Tofel merely tells us to trust him. But I don’t.
This mess at the World Trade Center falls — once again — squarely at the feet of Gov. Pataki. We need to demand that Pataki and Bloomberg open up the process and assure us that this will not turn into the International Flagellation Center.
: Gallup has put up a bunch of handy RSS feeds of polls. The only problem is that some of it goes to pay pages ($95/year). But it’s good for pulse-checking. I also subscribe to Polling Report, which aggregates many results in ongoing topics.
Are you a thyroid patient?
: Mary Shoman, who writes the excellent thyroid guide at About.com (where, remember, I’m consulting: full disclosure) is looking for a thyroid patient in the New York area to appear on a big national TV show to talk about treatment. Go to her post to see the requirements. It so happens that I am a thyroid patient myself (having waved goodbye to half of mine… that’s how I know Mary’s site) but I don’t meet any of those requirements, save for living in Jersey. Pass the word, please.
: Thanks to Carsonfire in the comments below, we read a most remarkable evangelical Christian editorial opposing attempts to extend FCC censorship to cable and satellite. It’s more than just tactical, political advice; it takes the evangelical imperative to say that such intereference is distracting and dangerous. Amen, brother. Jordan J. Ballor writes:
Such an unprecedented move speaks to the growing influence of evangelical Christian political activism. Indeed, some evangelicals have long supported huge increases in FCC fines and expanded powers for the governmental agency….
Christians should certainly be active participants in every facet of society, including politics. But Christian activists need to be wary of falling prey to the temptation to use political power to impose external standards of morality for a number of interconnected reasons.
First, there is a disturbing trend among American evangelicals to stress public exhibitions of virtue, often to the detriment of personal practice. The furor over the public displays of the 10 Commandments is one example, but the fight over broadcast decency has taken on a similar flavor.
For Christians, the significance of the new covenant means that it is more important that the law be written on our hearts than that it be displayed in our courtrooms. For Christian concern to be otherwise brings us under Jesusí condemnation of Pharisaical hypocrisy.
This truth flows into a second and closely related problem. Overzealous political activism poses a threat to the fundamental task of the church: proclamation of the gospel. Many criticize the relief efforts of nominally Christian groups, such as the National Council of Churches, which divorce evangelism and charitable work. But where Christians rightly decry such inconsistency in other quarters, we should also beware the temptation elsewhere to confuse or obscure the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
The gospel is not reducible to the institution of laws amenable to Christian morality.
Isn’t that wonderful? In short: You can’t legislate morality. You have to live morally.
And a disproportionate emphasis on such laws tends toward a position that is inimical to Christianity. Yet the perception often remains that the way the church is to ìengage cultureî is primarily, if not solely, through public policy.
Beyond these theological problems lies a prudential question of the wise use of political power. While Christians maintain the influence to form policy in a certain area, the laws are likely to remain in accord with Christian morality. The danger is that once the power of such regulation of speech and free expression has been ceded to the government, it is nearly impossible to get it back. And it is almost certain that the current season of Christian political influence will eventually wane.
Today perhaps the antics of a Howard Stern will be outlawed by increased governmental regulation. But tomorrow it may be that simply reading from Paulís letter to the Romans will be prohibited as hate speech, indecent or otherwise intolerant.
Couldn’t have preached it better myself.
Every tyrant’s 15 minutes of fame
: Do we smell a trend: A week ago, Tom Brokaw got into Iran for a series of reports and now ABC News is getting into North Korea. [via MediaBistro]