Thursday, July 23, 2015

Shedding dead skin

Arminian theologian Randal Rauser did a post entitled "Is American Religious Conservatism driving people away from the church?"

i) Why is this Canadian obsessed with American evangelicalism and American politics? Does Rauser think his native land is too unimportant to discuss? 

What about Canadian religious conservatives? What doesn't he talk about them?

The cultural wars in the US are paralleled in Canada. So why does he fixate on the US to the exclusion of his native land?

One explanation is that he's a coward. If he were to attack his fellow Canadian Christians, that would provoke a backlash, so he uses American evangelicalism as a stalking horse.

ii) I also notice that he's more charitable to atheists than members of the religious right. That shows you that his sympathies are closer to atheism than conservative evangelicalism. 

iii) He pounces on Sarah Palin, even though she's a marginal figure. Moreover, her baptism=waterboarding quip received scathing criticism from members of the religious right. So it's not as though that's representative.

And yet, one constantly hears rhetoric about shrinking government coupled with a pathological aversion to new taxes, as if that’s the way to “starve the beast” (thanks, Grover Norquist).

I oppose the default assumption that all our money belongs to the gov't, and it's just a question of how much money the gov't is willing to give us. That's the philosophy of a totalitarian state. All property belongs to the gov't. It's then a question of how much the gov't will share with the public. 

While every other developed nation in the world has socialized health care for its population, time and again I’ve heard American religious conservatives strongly oppose it.

Because the quality of healthcare deteriorates under socialized medicine.

Despite all this fear of big government, I hear not a whisper of concern among American religious conservatives about big military, despite the fact that by some estimates the military sucks up more than half of all government spending. 

i) Not from what I've read:

ii) American military power has been seriously degraded during the Obama administration. 

iii) More to the point, if you have the second best military in the world, that puts you at the mercy of the nation with the best military in the world. The country with the most powerful military is in a position to dictate to militarily weaker nations. Would you rather to be vulnerable Russia, China, Iran, &c? 

iv) I expect Canada benefited from being adjacent to a military superpower. During the Cold War, Russian didn't dare invade Canada. The US wouldn't tolerate a Soviet occupation force sitting on our border. 

And while American Christian conservatives rage against Obamacare, on the whole they are bizarrely silent on government surveillance of the civilian population.

Rauser offers no evidence for that claim. How does he distinguish Christian conservative opposition from political conservative opposition to government surveillance of the civilian population? Not only are libertarians critical of that, but several contributors to National Review are critical of that. How does Rauser know that's unrepresentative of how many conservative Christians view the issue? He routinely shoots from the hip.

And while we’re talking about corrupt banks, how about the fact that British bank HSBC laundered hundreds of millions of dollars for the Sinaloa drug cartel? Why don’t American evangelicals get angry about that? Why haven’t they even heard about it?

Why should American evangelicals be mad about the shenanigans of a British bank? It's it the duty of the British authorities to deal with that.

Consider the case of the approximately half a million Iraqi children who died in the mid-nineties as a result of the Clinton administration imposing strict sanctions to punish Sadam Hussein.

i) No, those were UN sanctions. 

ii) And in any event, he cites no evidence that American evangelicals supported the sanctions regime. 

Regardless, time and again I have found conservative Christians distressingly cavalier when it comes to government policies and military actions (e.g. drone strikes) that lead to the death of foreign civilians.

Every war has civilian casualties. Is Rauser a pacifist? If so, then he objects to combat casualties as well. 

When people think Christianity is about support for big military, opposition to socialized medicine and immigrants, and callous indifference to the poor and the environment, it’s no surprise they are leaving the church.

i) How many Latin American immigrants does Rauser have living in his home at any given time? I'm sure he demonstrates his superior charity by opening his doors to them. 

ii) How does he define "callous indifference to the poor"?

iii) Environmentalism is callous towards the Third-World poor. 

iv) If this causes folks like Rauser to leave the church, then that's a promising trend. The church is better off without them. Like shedding dead skin.

1 comment:

  1. Rauser can't talk about Canadian issues because he knows he would be reported to a government tribunal for investigation and re-education.

    It's a much safer and more popular sport to take cheap shots at Americans.